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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  March 31, 2016 9:30pm-10:01pm EDT

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>> that is our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. the news continues here on al jazeera america. >> thanks for joining us. as the dialogue changes for the lgbt community in america, the nation's largest christian denomination, american catholics are reconsidering the place of
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gays and lesbians in the church. the pope began that with who am i to judge. there are still strong limit is as for openly gay catholics. >> this letter is to jane form you of a serious situation at st. anthonys in oceanside. i have made numerous calls to your office i believe have fallen on deaf ears. >> a parishioner sent this letter to the bishop at new york's catholic diocese in 2012. >> nicholas is a religion teacher. >> nicholas keeps this to remind him of how he was pushed out at his neighborhood church. >> the problem is that he was a homosexual. he was recently married to another man. he does not hide this or keep it silent. with all that the catholic church has been dealing with to stop, why is this permitted?
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>> this is in capital letters. >> when you read this, what went through your he'd? >> at my able, it's very difficult to shock me. i got to be honest, i wasn't surprised. disappointed, but not surprised. >> nicholas is openly gay, and at the time the letter came in, he was a member of the parish at st. anthony's church in long island. >> what was it like when you set foot back on this property? >> i actually have a very good feeling being here. i never have a bad feeling. i was a part of so many wonderful things. >> a devastating construction accident at work left nicholas with debilitating back pain. volunteering at church helped the lifelong catholic find motivation to get out of bed. >> i started attending daily mass. it helped me a tremendous amount, gave me a purpose to get up in the morning and get going. i had something that i was able to give back because i wasn't able to work.
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>> the pastor invited nicholas to play a more significant role in regular services by assisting the priest and reading religious texting at mat. nicholas was delighted for the opportunity. >> you're a very active representative of the church in your volunteer work. what did that mean to you? how welcome did you feel? >> i felt 100%, there was never a moment that i did not feel welcome. >> that was until he got married to his long-time love, david and that letter arrived. >> somebody writes the letter saying we don't like that there is a married, gay man teaching catholic things in our church and what happened to you as a result? >> i was removed, completely from any and and you have active minute city. he said nick, you are not allowed on the altar. >> the catholic church opposes gay marriage and teaches
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marriage should be between one man and one woman. home sow sexual behavior according to the church is immoral. the local diocese imposed these beliefs on nicholas's local parish. >> what do you remember about the day somebody came up to you and said you can no longer practice ministry in our church. >> it was a shock at first. i never felt discrimination that was directed at me, 100%. this was the first time i had that experience and it hurt. >> what did it feel like? >> it's a very difficult feeling to -- it's embarrassing. it's humiliating. it's sad. disappointing. just any -- there are so many adjectives and there's not a positive adjective to it. >> why didn't you just walk away from the catholic faith and the catholic church after that experience? >> because it's my church. my parents bob tides me, they
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raised me catholic. i'm an italian american. it would be like saying italians didn't want me. it's part of my identity. that's the way i feel. >> the church sometime allows nicholas to attend mass at st. anthony's, but that doesn't ease his pain. >> it's very difficult, because one, although i am welcomed to celebrate in the lit you are gee, i can't be an active member of the parish. i believe our faith calls us to be an active member of the community, to help people in our community. those celebrating the mass, i could come here, but again, it's been how can i say, kind of poisoned in a way because the politics penetrated the lit you are gee here. he now attends st. france xavier in manhattan. it has an active gay ministry. he said he feels more welcome
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here. he goes even though it's an our and you have his way the pope has given him hope. >> i was thrilled. i november jesuits are very supportive of the lgbt community publicly and privately. there was something about him that i knew at that point that we were going to see good things, and the word that followed proved to be true, that he is a compassionate and accepting pope who really knows the problems of the church and understands the problems of the church. >> what is the most positive impact you feel he's made for the gay and lesbian community? >> the fact that he's talking about it in open conversation, that he's not ignoring it. he hasn't said gay people are
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welcome in the church but he does say gay people are welcome in the church. i believe the issue now is more married gay people in the church. >> nicholas who has been friends with his partner for 25 years says he was inspired when the pope said who am i to judge when speaking about gays in 2013. >> with this pope, it's been very difficult not to be excited, not to be hopeful with the words you hear. >> since then, nicholas and other lgbt rights leaders have been trying to further the conversation. as throngs of devotees lined up to see the pope, this sign was
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there. >> i want to come home, i want to come back unconditionally. i don't want to be treated better than anyone else, i wanted to be treated exactly the same way. >> while he enjoys the progressive church he attends now, nicholas hopes one day his marriage will be recognized at his neighborhood church, st. anthony's and that he'll be welcomed back to fully participate in the ministry that he loves. >> you think that the pope could do something to change the way parishes are so different and interact with the lgbt community? >> i think it's very simple, comes down to a simple statement that the catholic church welcomes lgbt people, single and married. >> many, like nicholas are working toward the progressism pope to put politics aside and reach out to lgbt catholics. al jazeera, long island, in the
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morning. budget cuts at the pentagon and new military aircraft ding sent straight to the down yard? evidence your tax dollars are at work?
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>> new military airplanes coming straight off the assembly line and then mothballed. the department of defense spent more than half a billion of your dark collars an the c27j spartan. why aren't the planes being used? is this an example of government waste? adam may visit add storage facility in tucson, arizona for answers. >> collecting dust in the arizona desert, the u.s. military's new fleet of c27j. spartans. at about $30 million apiece, the cargo planes sit idle, without a mission, a casualty of sequester cuts. >> they are here because the air force had to find a way to reduce their budget and they chose to divest them.
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>> he is in charge of the air force base, commonly called the boneyard, the u.s. military's largest aircraft storage facility located in tucson, arizona. a dozen of the aircraft of already here. >> it is the only place in the entirely world where you can go and see 4,000 airplanes in one particular location. >> the colonel took al jazeera tonight on a tour of the sprawling air base. control the cold warp to the iraq war, thousands of planes have a unique history, the dry weather a perfect place for long term storage. >> this c27 has started the preservation process. in the preservation process, we try and make sure we can maintain the aircraft in the best possible condition. in this aircraft, has already gone through the flush barn. we will wash it, make sure it's clean, get birth and things off
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and then we will actually flush all of the fuel out of the aircraft. >> i could imagine with a many like this, you didn't have to do a lot of cleaning on it. >> this aircraft is in great condition. >> most planes at the boneyard sit indefinitely. some are scrapped for parts, others chopped up and recycled. the c27j. faces a different future. >> they're going to be used by somebody else. >> they're not bog to sit here long. >> not very long. >> why do you say that? >> because their value is tremendous and their paid for. somebody in the federal government or we could sell them to an ally, will take these aircraft and put them back into service. they're too good a deal not to be used. >> some like this plane from the mississippi national guard have seen action. >> the crew writes not for long. >> they tell you they don't want them to stay in the boneyard.
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>> just before the sequester went into effect, some will come straight from the factory. it was commissioned five years ago to enhance the cargo fleet. it can take off and land on shorter runways than other cargo planes. the u.s. military order add total of 21 of them, valued at $567 million. >> there's no doubt that it is government waste at some level. >> michael o'halloran is a taxpayer watchdog with the brookings institution. he said the c27j was an extravagant military purchase, approved before the 2010 elections when the rise of the tea party led the massive budget cuts in the pentagon. >> this is the kind of partially redundant prom that are easier to justify when the budgets are flush. these had a niche purpose.
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>> he closely monitors news out of the boneyard. >> we do see a lot of waste. there's a sense in which a government contractor will say let's build the he begin in washington state, let's build the super structure for it in texas, let's build, you know, the avionics in massachusetts, and spread these jabs all around america so that there's a whole lot of people lobbying for an aircraft to be purchased by the military. >> that's exactly what happened. despite the plans to scrap the plane, ohio senators, rob portman and democratic sherrod brown both fought to keep production going, claiming hundreds of ohio jobs were on the line at national guard facilities there. >> there's an awful lot politics and senators and congressmen looking to keep jobs and money in their districts.
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that's an extremely inefficient way to purchase weaponry and to equip a military. >> with half a billion dollars already spent on the c27j spartans, the defense department is making plans to unload the remaining 14 aircraft. >> they will be region rated for somebody probably in the federal government and i would expect fairly soon. >> what are the possible uses for this c27j? >> the three most common, the three tent at this time expressed in tent of special operations command, the forest service and coast guard. >> these handovers could end up costing taxpayers even more money. america tonight reviewed the u forest service proposal. it wants to use the aircraft as transport for parachute teams of firefighters or convert them into air tangors that can deliver fire retardant. the expensive reconfigure reaction calls for removing the body armor and cargo loading
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systems plus the cost of that new firefighting equipment. >> if you can retrofit for 10% or 20% of the original price tag, probably makes sense. if you spent 80% to 100% of the original price tag, probably doesn't. >> that needs to be carefully looked at. >> yeah, you don't do this to make your conscience better or suffer some decision-makers flank. you do it only if it makes economic sense going forward. >> whatever happens to these planes, the commander of the boneyard says he'll keep the c27j's good as new until they eventually find a use. >> the airplane will be at good in shape when we pull it back out as it is today. it's going to have its full service life. >> the taxpayers have nothing to worry about? >> everything we do here is designed to support the war fighter. these planes have a tremendous
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capability to do just that so i will be excited when they finally find a purpose to get them back out and support the war fighter in the united states. >> adam may, al jazeera. next here, talk about a toxic town, could more be done to keep residents safe from hazardous chemicals. america tonight visits ohio where residents say the politicians have left them behind.
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deep in the campaign season, more promises coming in from candidates each saying they will bring more security for our nation, more resolve to form our
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government and even more money for issues. the campaign trail in the all important swing states, you've heard it all before. we visited ohio where the campaign has often come to town. >> in 1992, desperate for help, the people of east liverpool turned to men promising change, bill clinton and al gore both campaigned here at eastern ohio and promised that they would be the ones to look out for the little guys. >> i went to wheeling and actually shook hands with al gore and he signed autographed a no wti poster of mine and assured us all over and over and over again we're elected, we will put a stop to this. >> but they didn't. the hazardous waste incinerator went on line a year later and
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the group has been fighting since. the activists say it releases lead from its smoke stack. >> this isn't normal that we have all these rare cancers here. we are at risk every day. >> there have been protests both in east liverpool and in washington, even arrests, but nothing has changed. >> the waste industry pores so much money into donating to politicians and their elections that we can't compete with. their dollars are always going to win. in the end, the people are the losers here. once president clinton and vice president al gore broke their promise to us, you know, if you
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can't -- if you can't -- i'm sorry, if you can't get results from your own president, where's left to turn, you know? >> that's the ad we took out for clinton. >> 87-year-old alonzo spencer has been fighting the hazardous waste incinerator for decades. >> shut this facility down. tear this facility down and move it out. >> you know, you've probably heard of gore and his running mate promised us that they would shut this plant down or it would never go on line. they didn't do it, but now, the politicians kind of stay away from it, because they see what's happened to this area and it's not a positive thing to run on that. it's all negative. >> the incinerator is worth 100 jobs to this depressed town, but
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spencer and others say its presence has kept other businesses from moving in, and caused families to move out. >> i think it has driven people away from here. i know of seven families, not individuals, i know of seven families that have left this area because of this facility being here. >> the population of east liverpool has dropped more than half from 26,000 in 1970 to just 11,000 today. this junior high is now closed. an elementary school was here, too. a mere 1,000 feet from the incinerator, but the city tore it down. spencer isn't giving up. >> we hope it will eventually get shut down, and if it isn't, we're going to keep fighting it and try to make sure that they obey the regulations, which they
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are not doing now. >> immunity organizer for communities united for responsible energy. first and foremost, i'm a resident of east liverpool. i guess i'm either fortunate or unfortunate enough to be able to work in my own neighborhood. all these shops were just filled with other, you know, mom and pop stores. there's video going around from the 1980's on a saturday afternoon and people were everywhere. we had movie theaters, there was a roller skating rink, you know. it was just booming. there were things to do. east liverpool was the place to go. now when you look, two out of three store fronts are shut down. we have two used furniture stores. we have a used game shop. lots of churches. even the churches aren't doing
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well. we are definitely a sacrifice zone here. we have high cancer rates, we have low rates of education, of graduation, you know, out of our high school. >> dennis dreer is sect and lives down the street from the hazardous waste in 16 rarity. except for the army, he's lived here all over the life. >> there's days the wind blows, depending what they're incinerating up there, you'll get this fine dust all over everything. it happened about three summers ago. it was a really bad one. it got on everything and it was summer. everybody was running their air conditioners. they said there's nothing wrong with it, it's not harmful, but they replaced everybody said air conditioners, gave vouchers to have it washed off their cars, was coming around and giving
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people groceries and produce. it seems to me like there is an awful lot of cancer down here, an awful lot of it. within two blocks, thee people who have serious cancer and how many more people i don't know about that keep it private. you can't crawl in a hole and cry about it. you've just got to deal with it. i mean, it's the cards you're dealt. >> dennis has been dealt cancer. colon cancer that he said has spread to his lungs. he's had two rounds of chemotherapy. >> that chemo, don't wish that on anybody. it's rough on you. >> at the end of the day, he's left with one very basic question. >> why is it there? this is a neighborhood. that's a hazardous waste incinerator.
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there's two words do not belong together. >> they may not belong together but along the ohio river, the people of east liverpool and the hazardous waste incinerator of shared this valley for more than 20 years with no end in sight. >> politics and promises. that is america tonight. please come back. we'll have more of america tonight tomorrow.
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>> on the front lines here at home. >> people manage to get across this border one way or another. >> members of the u.s. house and the u.s. senate have recklessly disregarded protecting these borders. >> to see this many people that have perished trying to make it. >> all of these people shouldn't be dead. >> these are people that are coming in that we really don't know a lot about... we're afraid. >> i think it's important that we don't play into the hands of these terrorist organizations because that's the tactics they use. >> the hopes, dreams and realities. >> for hundreds of refugee families, this represents a new start. >> philadelphia grew in the first time for 60 years, because of the immigrant communities. they are welcome... it is a safe place. >> if i become a good engineer, i can really contribute to the host community. >> i miss my country but it's safer here.
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>> my parents came here to the u.s. for a better life, but people say i don't belong here... i'm an american too. >> al jazeera america - proud to tell your stories. >> this show is captioned live. nuclear security. >> we are united in our other to deter and offend against north korean provocation. >> north korea and isil on the agenda, president obama meets with world leaders in washington to discuss nuclear demrats an international