Friday, June 19, 2009

19 Jun 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

As Part of Crackdown on Journalists, Iranian Security Forces Detain and Beat Canadian Journalist
In his first public remarks after days of demonstrations, Ayatollah Khamenei denied any possibility that last week’s vote had been rigged and defended President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as the rightful winner of the election. At the same time, the Iranian government continues to arrest journalists, prominent reformists and associates of the opposition candidates, including twenty-six-year-old Mohammadreza Jalaeipour, the top strategist for presidential challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi. We speak to Toronto Globe and Mail reporter George McLeod. On Sunday, he was arrested, briefly detained, and beaten by Iranian security forces. [includes rush transcript]

As Criticism of Obama Mounts within Gay Community, Gay Rights Pioneer Cleve Jones Calls for March for Equality on Washington
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a memorandum to extend some, but not all, benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Comprehensive healthcare, for example, is not included. President Obama’s promise to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, Wednesday came one week after his administration filed a controversial legal brief supporting DOMA, an action which greatly disappointed activists fighting for marriage equality. We speak with Cleve Jones, one of the giants of the gay rights and AIDS awareness movements. He is the founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and the co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. In the 1970s, Cleve Jones was a friend of the gay rights leader Harvey Milk.

Former Army Secretary Clifford Alexander Calls on President Obama & Congress to Repeal Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama vowed to work to overturn the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays and lesbians in the military. But since taking office, Obama has made no specific move to do so. Last week, the Supreme Court decided not to hear a challenge to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In a brief, the Obama administration had said the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is "rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.” We speak to former Army Secretary Clifford Alexander and Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Backs Vote Outcome
Senate Approves $106 Billion War Funding Bill
US Moves Missile Defense System to Hawaii
Supreme Court Denies Post-Conviction DNA Testing
Court Ruling Limits Workplace Age Discrimination Lawsuits
Immigrant Rights Groups Criticize Lax Sentencing in Penn. Murder Case
100 US-Born Children Filed Suit to Block Deportations of Their Parents
14 Anti-Coal Activists Arrested at West Virginia Mine
LA Teachers End 24-Day Hunger Strike
Peru’s Congress Overturns Land Laws
Texas Billionaire Stanford Surrenders to FBI
Court Overturns Ban on Military Recruitment of Minors
Senate Apologizes for Slavery
Aung San Suu Kyi Turns 64
Hortensia Bussi, 94, Widow of Salvador Allende, Dies

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