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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: 1 hour 34 min ago

Bottle of Lies: How Poor FDA Oversight & Fraud in Generic Drug Industry Threaten Patients’ Health

13 hours 19 min ago

Generic drugs amount to 90% of all prescriptions filled in the U.S., most of them made in plants in India and China. Generic drugs can be more affordable, but in her new explosive book “Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom,” investigative journalist Katherine Eban works with two industry whistleblowers to expose how some manufacturers are cutting corners at the cost of quality and safety. This comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just issued its own update on the state of pharmaceutical quality that found the drug quality of factories in India and China scored below the world average. FDA officials say that’s because more robust inspections have uncovered problems and that “the quality of the drug supply has never been higher.”

Immigrant Activists Maru Mora-Villalpando & Ravi Ragbir Keep Speaking Out Despite Deportation Threat

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 08:45

President Trump has unveiled plans for a new, so-called “merit-based” immigration system that would prioritize “highly-skilled” and English-speaking workers, while further restricting asylum seekers and immigrants who have family living in the United States. Although no legislative details for the plan have been revealed, Trump’s proposal is likely to hit a wall in Congress, where the Democratically-led House has repeatedly clashed with the Trump administration over immigration policy. Trump’s immigration policies have led to dire conditions for asylum seekers to the U.S. On Wednesday, a two-and-a-half year-old migrant boy died in U.S. custody, three days after he and his family were detained by Customs and Border Protection. Immigrant communities already established in the U.S. are also being targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with activists claiming they have been targeted for speaking out against the Trump administration. We speak with two prominent and outspoken immigration activists who are fighting their own deportation and have been targeted for their activism: Maru Mora-Villalpando and Ravi Ragbir. Mora-Villalpando is an activist with La Resistencia and Mijente and Ragbir is executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Ragbir in a free speech case, saying the First Amendment bars ICE from targeting activists for deportation based on their political speech.

What Does a Post-Roe America Look Like? As Anti-Choice Laws Multiply, Many Already Are Living In It

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 08:37

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer issued what many considered a dire warning from the bench this week, implying that Roe v. Wade — the landmark ruling that recognizes the constitutional right to an abortion — is in danger. He wrote the comments in a dissent for an unrelated case in which the court voted to overturn a 40 year-old precedent. Breyer wrote “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” We speak to journalist Robin Marty about what a post-Roe America would look like, and how many people are already cut off from abortion access across the country.

Meet The Alabama Doctor Who Could Face 99 Years In Prison For Providing Abortions Under New Law

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 08:11

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban into law on Wednesday, effectively banning the procedure except in cases where a pregnant person’s life is at serious risk. The law does not make exceptions in cases of rape or incest and doctors could face 99 years in prison for performing abortions. We speak with Dr. Yashica Robinson, the medical director of the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, one of only three clinics left in the state that offer patients abortion services. She is one of only two abortion providers living and working in Alabama. Under the new Alabama law, she could spend the rest of her life in prison for doing her job.

The World Just Took a Major Step To Curb Plastic Pollution, But the U.S. Refused to Join Effort

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 08:49

Nearly every country in the world except the United States took a historic step to curb plastic waste last week, when more than 180 nations agreed to add plastic to the Basel Convention, a treaty that regulates the movement of hazardous materials between countries. The U.S. is one of just two countries that has not ratified the 30 year-old treaty. During negotiations last week in Geneva, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department joined the plastics industry in trying to thwart the landmark, legally-binding agreement. Despite this, the United States will still be affected by the agreement, because countries will be able to block the dumping of mixed or unrecyclable plastic wastes from other nations. The amended treaty will make it much more difficult for wealthy countries to send their plastic waste to poorer nations by prohibiting countries from exporting plastic waste that is not ready for recycling. The U.N. estimates there are 100 million tons of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. We speak with Pam Miller, co-chair of the International Pollutants Elimination Network and executive director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics.

As EPA Insists Weed Killer Roundup is Safe, a Jury Orders Monsanto to Pay $2B to Couple With Cancer

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 08:40

U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay its highest damages yet in a massive lawsuit over the popular weedkiller Roundup. A jury ordered Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion in punitive damages to Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a couple who were both diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer after using Roundup on their properties for decades. Monsanto is owned by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer. The main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, glyphosate, is said to cause the cancer. Attorneys estimate that there are thousands of similar cases against Roundup pending in courts around the country. Last year, a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a school groundskeeper who developed cancer after regularly using Roundup. The 46-year-old man, Dewayne Johnson, also has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The EPA says that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, but other scientific studies and the World Health Organization have found that human exposure can in fact lead to cancer. We speak with attorney Brent Wisner, co-lead trial counsel for Alva and Alberta Pilliod.

“Inside Syria’s Secret Prisons": A Harrowing Account of How Assad's Torture Machine Crushed Dissent

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 08:14

A shocking exposé by the New York Times looks at how Bashar al-Assad’s government has jailed and tortured tens of thousands of Syrians since the uprising began in 2011. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, nearly 128,000 people have disappeared. They are presumed to be either dead or still in custody. The group estimates almost 14,000 individuals have died under torture. The detentions are continuing even as the fighting winds down. More than 5,600 Syrians were reportedly arbitrarily detained last year in a 25 percent jump from the previous year. While the Syrian government has denied running a secret torture and detention program, more evidence — including internal Syrian government documents — has emerged showing the extent of the torture program. A United Nations panel has said the conditions in the prison —including the paucity of toilet facilities, rampant illness, minimal and rotten food, and the absence of medical treatment — are tantamount to “extermination.” We speak with the report’s author Anne Barnard. She’s a reporter at The New York Times and a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

After End of Dictatorship, Sudan's Protest Movement Demands Transition From Military to Civilian Rule

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:48

Mass protests in Sudan continue to call for civilian rule following last month’s military coup. On Monday, the Transitional Military Council says it has reached an agreement with protest leaders on a transitional power structure. Demonstrators have been demanding a transfer from military to civilian rule following last month’s military coup that ousted longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. The announcement comes after at least six protesters and a member of security forces were killed when security and paramilitary troops opened fire on crowds outside military headquarters in the capital Khartoum on Monday. Dozens more were injured. The same day, deposed President Omar al-Bashir was charged in the killing of protesters during the popular uprising that led to his overthrow. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors says 90 people were killed during the protests. Demonstrators have vowed to continue to sit-in and march until the government is transitioned to 100 percent civilian rule. We speak with Marine Alneel, a Sudanese activist based in New York City.

Medea Benjamin: We Need to Build Up the Antiwar Movement to Oppose War Against Iran

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:41

The State Department has ordered all non-emergency personnel to evacuate the U.S. embassy and consulate in Iraq, in response to what the White House says is a threat linked to Iran. No further details were given. Iraqi officials expressed skepticism about any purported threats, as did a senior British official who is the deputy commander of the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran are continuing to mount, despite both parties saying they are not seeking war. The New York Times reports the Pentagon has drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if President Trump decides to take military action against Iran. The U.S. also recently deployed a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the region claiming there was a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.” We speak with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin about the growing threat of war with Iran and the role of National Security Advisor John Bolton, who Benjamin says has been pushing for war with Iran for years.

Despite Threats & No Electricity, Anti-Coup Activists Remain Inside Venezuelan Embassy in D.C.

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:32

In Washington, D.C., four activists remain in the Venezuelan embassy after police raided the building Monday night. Activists with CodePink, ANSWER Coalition and Popular Resistance have been inside the embassy since late April at the invitation of Venezuela’s government in order to prevent it from being taken over by Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition, led by Juan Guaidó. Last week, authorities cut off water and electricity to the embassy. We speak with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin about the ongoing stand-off at the embassy.

Alabama Passes Near Total Ban on Abortion as Part of "Stealth Campaign" to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:12

Alabama lawmakers voted to effectively ban abortion Tuesday, passing the most restrictive anti-choice law in the country in a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. The bill approved by the Senate Tuesday and the Alabama House last month bans abortions at all phases. Doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing abortions. The bill’s only exception is grave risk to the mother’s life — not cases of rape and incest. The legislation is now heading to the desk of anti-choice Republican Governor Kay Ivey, and many expect she’ll sign it. Opponents say they’ll challenge the bill in court should it become law, but this is precisely the point. Architects behind the legislation want to use it to challenge Roe v. Wade, which recognizes the constitutional right to an abortion. We speak with Jessica Mason Pieklo of Rewire and Monica Simpson of Sister Song.

The Apology: Eve Ensler's New Book Is the Letter She Wishes Her Abusive Father Had Written

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 08:38

“I am done waiting.” Those are the first words in Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking new book The Apology, in which the world-renowned playwright and activist imagines what it would mean for a survivor of abuse to hear the words she’s been waiting for her entire life: I’m sorry. Eve Ensler’s father sexually and physically abused her throughout her childhood, beginning when she was just five years old. His abuse caused immeasurable physical and emotional damage, but he never apologized for his actions. So Eve Ensler decided to write an apology for him, decades after his death. The result is a stunning new book in which Ensler writes to herself from her father’s perspective. In the book’s introduction she writes: “My father is long dead. He will never say the words to me. He will not make the apology. So it must be imagined. For it is in our imagination that we can dream across boundaries, deepen the narrative, and design alternative outcomes.” Ensler says that she hopes the book will be a blueprint for an “age of reckoning.” Eve Ensler is the author of The Vagina Monologues and the founder of V-Day, an international movement to stop violence against women and girls. Ensler dedicates her new book to every woman still waiting for an apology.

Will John Bolton’s Dream to Bomb Iran Come True? Ex-Iranian Ambassador Warns About U.S. Escalation

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 08:13

The Pentagon has reportedly drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if President Trump decides to take military action against Iran. The New York Times reports the Pentagon presented the proposal on Thursday after National Security Advisor John Bolton requested a revision to an earlier plan. Bolton has long advocated for attacking Iran. According to the Pentagon, far more than 120,000 troops would be needed if a ground invasion was ordered. This comes as tension continues to escalate between the United States and Iran. The United States recently deployed the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the region claiming there was a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.” Iran has announced it will stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and resume high-level enrichment of uranium in 60 days if other signatories of the deal do not take action to shield Iran’s oil and banking sectors from U.S. sanctions. The U.S. has attempted to cut Iran off from the global economy, even though Iran has remained in compliance with the nuclear deal. We speak with Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a Middle East Security and Nuclear Policy Specialist at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served as spokesperson for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union from 2003 to 2005.

Arundhati Roy on the Power of Fiction: Literature is "The Simplest Way of Saying a Complicated Thing"

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:54

We speak with world-renowned author Arundhati Roy on the importance of reading and writing literature, even in the most dire of political times. On Sunday night, Roy delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, invoking James Baldwin to argue that literature can tell the truth when all other avenues fail. Roy told her audience, “I very much like the idea of literature that is needed. Literature that provides shelter. Shelter of all kinds.”

Arundhati Roy: A U.S. Attack on Iran Would Be "Biggest Mistake It Has Ever Made"

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:50

On Sunday night Arundhati Roy delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture at the Apollo Theater in Harlem as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. She reads an excerpt of the lecture. “Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged, and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the U.S. Government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state,” Roy said. “And now, resorting to the same old scare tactics, the same tired falsehoods and the same old fake news about nuclear weapons, it is gearing up to bomb Iran. That will be the biggest mistake it has ever made.”