The richest 1% of US Americans earn nearly a quarter of the country’s income and control an astonishing 40% of its wealth. Inequality in the US is more extreme than it’s been in almost a century – and the gap between the super rich and the poor and middle class people has widened drastically over the last 30 years.
Meanwhile, in Washington, a bitter partisan debate over how to cut deficit spending and reduce the US’ 14.3 trillion dollar debt is underway. As low and middle class wages stagnate and unemployment remains above 9%, Republicans and Democrats are tussling over whether to slash funding for the medical and retirement programs that are the backbone of the US’s social safety net, and whether to raise taxes – or to cut them further.
The budget debate and the economy are the battleground on which the 2012 presidential election race will be fought. And the United States has never seemed so divided – both politically and economically.
How did the gap grow so wide, and so quickly? And how are the convictions, campaign contributions and charitable donations of the top 1% impacting the other 99% of Americans? Fault Lines investigates the gap between the rich and the rest.
This episode of Fault Lines first aired on Al Jazeera English on August 2, 2011 at 0930 GMT.
In the first of a two-part series, Fault Lines examines how the Obama administration is reacting to the enormous changes taking place across the Middle East. Part one examines the decision to intervene in Libya and what it reveals about US priorities in the region.
Here’s our new episode from tonight on labor, unions, and the Occupy movement that aired today 2230 GMT/ 5:30p EST on Al Jazeera English. All our livetweets are on our Twitter account, @ajfaultlines. Join us next week at the same time for a new episode on drone journalism.
For decades, labor unions in the United States have been on the decline. While they are widely credited with boosting safety standards and worker pay, many have received blame for wanting too much in the struggling economy. Unemployment is at 9% and people are clamoring for jobs, unionized or not. And their greatest political ally, the Democratic party, has taken its’ support for granted weakening its’ pull on the strings of power in Washington, DC.
A new battle has emerged in 2011 as Republican governors have taken on public sector unions, in some cases stripping them of rights that have been in place for 50 years. It’s part of a trend that is happening in key swing states and may weaken democratic voting strength in next year’s presidential election. But organized labor has fought back hard. In Wisconsin unions occupied the state capitol as 100,000 protesters took to the streets. In Ohio, voters overturned a law that was intended to greatly reduce the right that unions have in that state to bargain collectively.
Now as Occupy Wall Street galvanizes Americans to take action against financial institutions and big corporations, Labor has a new ally. But can organized labor harness the anger that everyday Americans are emitting or will this opportunity pass it by? Do Labor unions still have the strength to organize or has their power waned to the point that they will no longer be a major player in American politics?
Episode two on Season 2011 of Fault Lines, “Mexico’s Hidden War,” aired tonight on Al Jazeera. Above is the full episode; please do reblog and share.
The spectacular violence of Mexico’s drug war grabs international attention. Some 40,000 people have been killed since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed Mexican military and security forces in the so-called war against the cartels – often in gruesome and sadistic ways.
But behind the headlines, under cover of impunity, a low-intensity war is being waged.
In the second episode of a two-part series, Josh Rushing and the Fault Lines team travel to the state of Guerrero to investigate claims that Mexican security forces are using the drug war as a pretext to repress indigenous and campesino communities. In one of Mexico’s poorest and top drug-producing states, where struggling farmers are surrounded by the narco-economy, we ask about the cost of taking the struggle against dispossession into your own hands.
Photos from Producer Andréa Schmidt from her new episode for Fault Lines, “Life after Guantanamo” airing tonight, Sunday, September 1, 2013 at 7 and 10p ET on Al Jazeera America. This episode premieres on Al Jazeera English later in the week and on both channel in repeat broadcasts.
In the episode, Fault Lines travels to Yemen to meet former Guantanamo detainees, and asks what have been the consequences of the US’ policy of indefinite detention. Photos were taken in Yemen.
Fault Lines’ Seb Walker travels to the Perisan Gulf to look at US policy in the region, and to explore why the United States has taken an interventionist policy in Libya, but not in Bahrain, where there has been a brutal crackdown on protesters. Why does the White House strongly back democracy in one Arab country, but not another?
Fault Lines travelled to Bahrain to hear from those who had been protesting, to ask them what they think about the lack of real US pressure on their country’s rulers. The country is also home to the US 5th Fleet, where Fault Lines gained exclusive access to the USS Ronald Reagan, an American aircraft carrier deployed in the Arabian Gulf.
The film traces America’s response to the protests in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and examines how the stability of oil prices, the steady supply of crude, and concerns over Iran have affected America’s response.
This episode of Fault Lines, “The US and the New Middle East: The Gulf,” first aired on Al Jazeera English July 25, 2011 at 2230 GMT.
Livetweets during last night’s first episode airing from the program staff appear at @AJFaultLines
Producer Jeremy Young on the reality of filming in Libya near borders and oil facilities in this video extra from the upcoming episode of Al Jazeera Fault Lines.
“I can’t tell you how many times on this trip someone has taken their hand and put it over the lens of our camera. We’ve actually had material that was forcibly deleted off of our cameras…there hasn’t been a lot of freedom for us to operate.”
The new episode of Fault Lines, “The US and the New Middle East: Libya,” first airs on Al Jazeera English July 18, 2011 at 2230 GMT.
We doorstep in most Fault Lines episodes. This is from our new episode “Life after Guantanamo” that first aired Sunday night.
The episode airs again on Wed at 5:30p ET on Al Jazeera America and later this week (we’ll update this post) on Al Jazeera English. If you live outside the U.S., the episode will then be available in full on our YouTube channel.
This episode was produced by Andrea Schmidt, the Correspondent is Wab Kinew, and this part was filmed by Singeli Agnew.
We return with new weekly Fault Lines episodes next Friday, January 31st on Al Jazeera America (the following week on Al Jazeera English).
This photo of Jose was taken in the San Juan Bosco Shelter in Nogales, Mexico. Josh was back in the country of his birth for the first time in 31 years. He had been deported hours later and hadn’t yet told his family. Two days before this in Phoenix, Arizona, he had been riding his bicycle when a sheriff asked to see his papers.
We will be livetweeting the new episode as usual from @ajfaultlines next Friday at 9:30p ET/6:30p PT.