Democracy Now! - August 5, 2015

The White House has rejected a bailout package for Puerto Rico days after the U.S. territory failed to pay a small portion of the massive $72 billion it owes to bondholders. It was the biggest municipal bond default in U.S. history. Unlike U.S. states and municipalities, Puerto Rico cannot declare bankruptcy. Juan González discusses how the roots of the crisis are deeply tied to Puerto Rico’s colonial status.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of a landmark achievement of the civil rights movement. It was August 6, 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act, as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and now 14-term Congressman John Lewis looked on. The law has been under constant attack ever since. Just two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down parts of the measure in a case called Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder when it ruled states with histories of voting-related racial discrimination no longer had to "pre-clear" changes to their voting laws with the federal government. One month later, North Carolina passed sweeping voting restrictions that cut early voting and eliminated same-day registration. During the midterm elections in 2014, these new rules prevented thousands from casting their vote. We speak to Ari Berman, author of the new book, "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America."

As the Republicans prepare for their first debate of the 2016 race, we speak to Ari Berman, author of the new book, "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America." In 2000, Jeb Bush was governor of Florida during the infamous recount that helped his brother, George W. Bush, take the White House. As governor of Ohio John Kasich has signed a number of voting restrictions. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is known for signing a controversial voter ID law. We speak to Ari Berman, author of the new book, "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America."

"The Making of Leopoldo López: A Closer Look at the Democratic Bona Fides of the Rock Star of Venezuela’s Opposition." That’s the headline to a new investigation into Venezuela’s most prominent opposition leader who has been jailed since February 2014. President Nicolás Maduro dismisses him as a criminal. But López’s supporters call him a political prisoner and accuse Maduro of silencing a dissenting voice. We speak with Roberto Lovato about his new piece in Foreign Policy. Lovato is a writer and visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research.

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Amy Goodman Colonialism Democracy Now! Puerto Rico The Voting Rights Act Venezuela

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