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The Alyona Show: The Secret Government

The Washington Post reports that the US intelligence community has become a hidden world, growing out of control. Programs implemented since the 9/11 attacks have become so large, expensive, and complicated that we have no idea if they are working, partly because their work is labeled top secret or classified. Alyona talks to investigative journalist and labor activist Tim Shorrock about how we have no idea if America is any safer. Alyona points out that this report isn’t breaking news, but that it won’t stop the government from continually expanding this national security web.

Then, the economy in Washington, DC is booming while the rest of America is suffering. A new Politico poll says that 45 percent of "Washington elites" believe that the country and economy are headed in the right direction, while only 25 percent of the general population said they felt that way. In Washington, Democrats and Republicans have been battling it out over whether or not to extend unemployment benefits for weeks, leaving the fate of 2.5 million long-term jobless Americans at risk. Radio Host Thom Hartmann weighs in on how to bring DC back to reality.

Pakistan is one of the countries where US drone use is most prevalent, where the population is becoming increasingly skeptical of America's strategies and intentions. So how is the US trying to fix its bad reputation and wipe the slate clean of civilian deaths? US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Pakistan to unveil $500 million dollars in aid projects, all part of a five-year, $7.5 billion package deal. Alyona asks if this can really win over the people and convince the country to get tough on militant groups, like the Haqqani network. She discusses this with Rabia Chowdhry, a research associate at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

Later, marijuana advocates and experts are claiming that California Proposition 19 could bring in $1 billion dollars in taxes if the people vote to make recreational use legal. Proposition 19 has a good chance of passing now more than ever due in part to the economy. But this has mom-and-pop growers fearing if legalized, industrial scale gardens would put them out of business. Alyona talks to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, to find out if this will be the next corporate playground in America.

Finally, “My Life, My Death, My Choice,” a controversial billboard in New Jersey, was paid for by Final Exit Network, a nationwide group that provides guidance to adults seeking to end a life of constant pain from incurable illness. It's advocating for what some call the right to die. But is it also advocating taking away someone's right to live? Alyona talks to Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy & communications and secretariat of pro-life activities at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.