Wednesday, June 17, 2009

17 Jun 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon Condemns US Supreme Court's Refusal to Hear Appeal of Cuban Five
The Supreme Court declined Monday to review the case of the five jailed Cuban nationals known as the Cuban Five. The men were convicted by a Miami jury in 2001 for being unregistered foreign agents spying on the US military and Cuban exiles in southern Florida. All five are serving time in federal prisons across the country. Attorneys for the men say they weren’t spying on the US, but trying to monitor violent right-wing Cuban exile groups that have organized attacks on Cuba. The Miami judge in the case refused to move the trial to an area less dominated by Cuban exiles. Lawyers for the five say the jury pool in Miami was biased. The Cuban Five trial was the only judicial proceeding in US history condemned by the UN Human Rights Commission. [includes rush transcript]

Despite Campaign Promises, President Obama Adopts President Bush's Policy of Secrecy
In his first several months in office, Obama has embraced Bush administration justifications to keep secret key government information. Most recently, the Secret Service rejected requests from two organizations for public access to White House visitors logs. The logs document the West Wing meetings that have helped shape Obama’s policies on banking regulation, environmental policy, economic recovery and foreign affairs. The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Obama administration, seeking the release of the visits by coal company executives to the White House. [includes rush transcript]

Protests Continue in Iran; Government Cracks Down on Foreign Media
Thousands of Iranians took to the streets Tuesday as reformist politicians, including defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, rejected the Guardian Council’s offer of a limited recount of the disputed votes in Friday’s election. Both critics and supporters of President Ahmadinejad staged competing rallies in Tehran Tuesday, while Iranian security forces arrested at least three prominent reformists, including former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Saeed Hajjarian, as well as leading human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani.

Juan Gonzalez: Battle Over $12 Million Splits Labor Movement UNITE HERE
In the weeks before a bitter power struggle at one of the country’s biggest unions, UNITE HERE, erupted into an open split, the union’s general president ordered more than $12 million be transferred to local affiliates loyal to him and to outside groups. Bruce Raynor disbursed the money without the knowledge or required approval of the union’s co-president, John Wilhelm, UNITE HERE leaders said this week. Those funds, they claim, were then used to finance a breakaway group from the union. [includes rush transcript]

New York State Senate Remains in State of Turmoil
Sen. Hiram Monserrate has switched sides—again. Monserrate stunned the New York’s political establishment and paralyzed the legislature a week ago when he rebelled against his own party and voted with fellow Democrat, Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr., of the Bronx, to hand control of the Senate to the Republican minority. On Monday, the mercurial Monserrate returned to the Democratic caucus—without Espada. His decision creates an astonishing 31-31 deadlock in the Senate and further muddles the question of which party controls that body. [includes rush transcript]

House Passes $106 Billion War Spending Bill
UN: Record Number of Internally Displaced Persons
As Protests Continue in Iran, Ebadi Calls for New Election
Obama: US Should Not Meddle in Iranian Elections
Iranian Government Cracks Down on Foreign Press & Websites
Obama to Extend Federal Benefits to Gay Couples
Report: Anti-Gay Killings Jump 28 Percent in 2008
Obama to Outline Major Financial Regulatory Changes
Report: Unemployment Crisis to Continue Until 2014
Carter: Gaza Residents Are Treated "More Like Animals than Like Human Beings”
1979 State Dept Ruling: Israel Settlements "Inconsistent with International Law”
New Gov’t Report: Global Warming Is Unequivocal
Peruvian Prime Minister to Resign

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