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Democracy Now! is an independent daily TV & radio news program, hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan González. We provide daily global news headlines, in-depth interviews and investigative reports without any advertisements or government funding. Our programming shines a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lifts up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. Democracy Now! is live weekdays at 8am ET and available 24/7 through our website and podcasts.
Updated: 59 min 27 sec ago

Judge Blocks Govt Plan to Add Citizenship Question to Census, Citing "Smorgasbord" of Broken Rules

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 08:55

A federal judge in New York City has ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to put a citizenship question on the census. In a lengthy opinion, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman wrote that in deciding to add a citizenship question to the census, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated a “veritable smorgasbord” of federal rules and “alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him.” Ross announced the citizenship question in March, touting it as a way to enforce the Voting Rights Act and protect minorities against voter discrimination. Voting rights activists feared the question would deter immigrants from participating in the census, leading to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities. That could impact everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. We speak with David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the addition of the citizenship question.

Could Trump's Attorney General Pick William Barr Be "Worse Than Jeff Sessions" on Civil Rights?

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 08:36

Senate confirmation hearings began Tuesday for William Barr, President Trump’s nominee for attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions. Barr served as attorney general for George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. During that time, he was involved in the pardon of six Reagan officials for the Iran-Contra scandal and oversaw the opening of the Guantánamo Bay military prison, which was initially used to indefinitely detain Haitian asylum seekers. Barr also openly backed mass incarceration at home and helped develop a secret Drug Enforcement Administration program which became a “blueprint” for the National Security Agency’s mass phone surveillance effort. But on Tuesday, senators asked few questions about Barr’s past record while focusing heavily on his views about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. We look at Barr’s history with David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. His recent article for the ACLU is titled “No Relief: William Barr Is as Bad as Jeff Sessions—if Not Worse.” We also speak with Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

"A Fight for the Soul of Britain": Theresa May's Brexit Deal Goes Down in Historic Defeat

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 08:13

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was crushed Tuesday in the biggest defeat for a sitting British government in modern history. After months of build-up, May’s plan for withdrawing Britain from the European Union was voted down 432 to 202, fomenting political uncertainty about the future of Britain, as well as May’s leadership. On Wednesday, Parliament will vote on a no-confidence motion in May’s government. We speak with Paul Mason, New Statesman contributing writer, author and filmmaker. His latest piece for the New Statesman is titled “To avoid a disastrous failure, Labour must now have the courage to fight for Remain.”

Arizona Activists Face Jail Time for Providing Life-Saving Aid to Migrants Crossing Sonoran Desert

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:46

As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history heads into its 25th day and President Trump continues to crack down on immigrants, we look at how the Trump administration is criminalizing humanitarian aid at the border. In Tucson, Arizona, activists with the humanitarian group No More Deaths go to trial today facing charges for a slew of federal crimes, all due to their efforts to leave water and food in the harsh Sonoran Desert to help refugees and migrants survive the deadly journey across the U.S. border. The charges were filed last year in January, just a week after No More Deaths published a report accusing U.S. Border Patrol agents of routinely vandalizing or confiscating water, food and other humanitarian aid, condemning refugees and migrants to die of exposure or dehydration. We speak with Paige Corich-Kleim, a humanitarian aid worker and volunteer with No More Deaths, and Ryan Devereaux, a staff reporter at The Intercept. His latest piece is titled “Arizona Judge in No More Deaths Case Had Secret Talks with Federal Prosecutors.”

Will Trump's AG Pick William Barr Face Questions over Gitmo, Mass Incarceration & NSA Surveillance?

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:32

Senate confirmation hearings begin today for William Barr, President Trump’s nominee for attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions, who was fired in November. Barr served as attorney general for George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. During that time, he was involved in the pardon of six Reagan officials for the Iran-Contra scandal and oversaw the opening of the Guantánamo Bay military prison, which was initially used to indefinitely detain HIV-positive asylum seekers from Haiti. Barr also openly backed mass incarceration at home and helped develop a secret Drug Enforcement Administration program which became a “blueprint” for the National Security Agency’s mass phone surveillance effort. We speak with Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"Public Education Is Not Your Plaything": L.A. Teachers Strike Against Privatization & Underfunding

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:11

Los Angeles public school teachers are on strike for the first time in three decades. On Monday morning, tens of thousands of teachers braved pouring rain on the picket line for the strike’s first day. Some 20,000 people marched through downtown Los Angeles, demanding smaller class sizes, higher pay, the regulation of charter schools and more nurses, counselors and librarians. Over 31,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles are striking. We speak with Cecily Myart-Cruz, strike leader and National Education Association vice president at United Teachers Los Angeles, and Eric Blanc, a reporter covering the strike for The Guardian and Jacobin. He is author of the forthcoming book “Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics.”

As Gov't Shutdown Drags On, IRS Continues to Aid the Rich & Corporations While Targeting the Poor

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 08:49

As 800,000 federal workers remain furloughed or working without pay in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, we look at how the Trump administration has restarted a division of the Internal Revenue Service to help corporate lenders. The Washington Post reports that an appeal from the mortgage industry has resulted in hundreds of IRS staffers returning to the agency to carry out income verifications for lenders. This process earns the $1.3 trillion mortgage banking industry millions of dollars in fees. We speak with Paul Kiel, a reporter for ProPublica and contributor to the series “Gutting the IRS.” His recent piece for the series is titled “Who’s More Likely to Be Audited: A Person Making $20,000—or $400,000?”

The Groveland Four: Florida Pardons Men Falsely Accused in Jim Crow-Era Rape Case in 1949

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 08:13

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has granted posthumous pardons to four young African-American men accused of raping a white woman near Groveland, Florida, in 1949. Two men were brutally murdered as a result of the false accusations. The case is now seen as a racially charged miscarriage of justice emblematic of the Jim Crow South. The story of the “Groveland Four,” now 70 years old, has continued to haunt the state of Florida. We speak with Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America,” and Carol Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, one of the Groveland Four.

Exclusive: Angela Davis Speaks Out on Palestine, BDS & More After Civil Rights Award Is Revoked

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 08:16

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, legendary activist and scholar Angela Davis speaks out after the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute rescinded a human rights award for her, reportedly due to her activism for Palestinian rights. In September, the institute announced that it would award Davis the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, named after the civil rights icon. But last Friday, the institute voted to withdraw the award and cancel this year’s gala event. The institute rescinded the award days after the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center sent a letter urging the board to reconsider honoring Davis due to her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Others in the Birmingham area criticized Davis for her support for the Black Panthers and Communist Party. We speak with Angela Davis in her first television interview since the controversy began.

Facing Mass Deportation, Haitians Sue Trump to Preserve Temporary Protected Status

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 08:53

A New York City trial is challenging the Trump administration’s attempt to end temporary protected status—known as TPS—for more than 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. Tens of thousands of Haitians were granted TPS after an earthquake devastated their country nine years ago this week. In November 2017, the Trump administration announced it would revoke TPS for Haitians, sparking protests and multiple lawsuits around the country. We speak with Marleine Bastien, executive director the Family Action Network Movement, or FANM, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. She testified on Wednesday as a witness in the trial.

There Are Thousands of Cyntoia Browns: Mariame Kaba on Criminalization of Sexual Violence Survivors

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 08:35

Cyntoia Brown was granted full clemency by Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday after serving 15 years in prison. The decision follows months of intense public pressure and outrage over her case. Brown was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder for shooting her rapist as a teenager. She had been sexually trafficked and repeatedly abused and drugged. The shooting happened when Brown was just 16 years old, but she was tried as an adult. We speak with Mariame Kaba, organizer and educator who has worked on anti-domestic violence programs, anti-incarceration and racial justice programs since the late 1980s. Kaba is the co-founder of Survived and Punished, an organization that supports survivors of violence who have been criminalized for defending themselves. She’s also a board member of Critical Resistance.

National Parks Overflow with Trash, Human Waste as Gov't Shutdown Approaches 3 Weeks

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 08:25

National parks around the country have seen overflowing toilets and trash piling up since the government shutdown began nearly three weeks ago. Park experts are now warning that the damage may take years to undo. We speak with Jonathan Asher, government relations manager at The Wilderness Society.

Public Citizen: Frightening Prospect If an Authoritarian Like Trump Declares State of Emergency

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 08:22

President Trump says that he will likely declare a national emergency over the border wall if negotiations over the government shutdown continue. We speak with Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The Congress has given the president quite a bit of authority to declare emergencies with terms that are almost unbounded,” Weissman says. “Congress has always expected, and society has always expected, that presidents wouldn’t abuse that authority recklessly, declaring emergencies just because they want to. We obviously have a president now who has no such constraints.”

From EPA to TSA, Agencies Devoted to Nation's Health and Safety Are Going Unfunded During Shutdown

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 08:13

The partial government shutdown has entered its 20th day. On Saturday, it will become the longest shutdown in U.S. history if a deal is not reached. President Trump reportedly stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Wednesday after they refused to back a deal to fund a wall on the southern border. Schumer accused Trump of throwing a temper tantrum. Trump described the meeting as a “total waste of time.” We speak with Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. The group just released a report titled “As Shutdown Drags On, Agencies Devoted to Consumer and Worker Health and Safety Unfunded and Deprioritized.”

William Arkin On Homeland Security's Creeping Fascism and Why the CIA & FBI Won't Save Us From Trump

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 08:50

Longtime NBC reporter and analyst William Arkin announced he was leaving the network last week in a blistering letter that took aim at the mainstream media for encouraging perpetual warfare and bolstering the national security state. In his letter, Arkin writes of Trump, “Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn’t get out Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don’t even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?” We speak with Arkin in New York City. He is the author of many books, including “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.”

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