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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 15 min ago

How Bloomberg-Funded Center for American Progress Censored a Report on NYPD Surveillance of Muslims

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 08:23

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s self-funded campaign has flooded the airwaves with political advertisements, with the billionaire former New York City mayor having already spent more than $400 million on TV, radio and other ads — far outpacing other campaigns. But it’s not just Bloomberg’s unprecedented campaign spending that has raised eyebrows. As The New York Times reports, Bloomberg has also kept potential critics quiet by making major donations to progressive causes and advocacy groups around the country over the years. This may have played a part in obscuring Bloomberg’s checkered record as mayor of New York. In 2015, researchers at the liberal Center for American Progress published a major report on anti-Muslim bias in the United States, and though the draft included a chapter of more than 4,000 words about New York City police surveillance of Muslim communities under Bloomberg, that chapter was excised from the final report — as was any mention of Bloomberg’s name. We speak with Yasmine Taeb, one of the people behind the report, who says the authors were told to make major changes to the chapter or remove it. Other officials told the Times they revised the report to make it focused on right-wing groups targeting Muslims. When the report came out, Bloomberg had already given the Center for American Progress three grants worth nearly $1.5 million, and he contributed $400,000 more in 2017. Yasmine Taeb is now a member of the Democratic National Committee.

How Billionaire Michael Bloomberg's Deep Pockets Have Let Him Win Friends and Buy Influence

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 08:14

With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, many Democratic candidates are courting voters in state and increasingly targeting their attacks on a new challenger — billionaire Michael Bloomberg — whom they are accusing of buying his way into the election. In the lead-up to Super Tuesday on March 3, when voters in 14 states go to the polls, Bloomberg has spent an unprecedented $417 million of his own $60 billion fortune on advertising. He’s also paid meme influencers to share sponsored content on Instagram, and hired thousands of on-the-ground political operatives to work in more than 125 offices around the country. The Washington Post reports several lawsuits have been filed over the years alleging that women were discriminated against at Bloomberg’s business-information company, including one case filed by a former employee who blamed Bloomberg for creating a culture of sexual harassment and degradation. But a major investigation in Sunday’s New York Times, headlined “In Bloomberg, Liberals See a Wallet Too Big to Offend,” lays out how Bloomberg established a foundation for potential critics to stay silent during his presidential bid by making major donations to progressive causes and advocacy groups in dozens of states and cities. The Times estimates Bloomberg has spent at least $10 billion on his charitable and political pursuits related to his political ambitions. We speak with Blake Zeff, a journalist and documentary filmmaker who has covered New York politics and Michael Bloomberg’s terms as mayor.

One Billion Rising: Eve Ensler & Taína Asili Mark V-Day and Campaign to End Sexual Violence

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 08:47

This Valentine’s Day, people around the world are taking to the streets to protest violence against women and girls. From the Philippines to India to Italy to Bolivia, thousands of women in more than 100 countries will reclaim public space through dance and performance as part of a global movement called One Billion Rising. The movement takes its name from the shocking statistic that one in three women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. One Billion Rising started on Valentine’s Day 2012 and has continued to grow every year since. Participants say they won’t stop dancing until violence against all women — cis, transgender and those with fluid gender identities — has ended. We speak with Eve Ensler, the award-winning playwright and author of “The Vagina Monologues.” She is the founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising. We’re also joined by Taína Asili, a Puerto Rican singer, filmmaker and activist whose song is the One Billion Rising anthem.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib: Trump's "Racist" Plan Would Legalize the Theft of Palestinian Land

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 08:42

We continue our conversation with Congressmember Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress. She responds to President Trump’s Middle East plan, under which Israel would gain sovereignty over large areas of the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem would be under total Israeli control, and all Jewish settlers in the occupied territory would be allowed to remain in their homes. Tlaib says the plan was formulated with a “racist lens” that ignores Palestinian lives and aspirations. Tlaib says she wants people “to know what the human impact is of taking people’s land, taking people’s livelihood away from them.”

Detroit Overtaxed Residents by $600M, Causing Foreclosure Crisis. Residents Are Now Fighting Back.

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 08:20

In Detroit, a showdown between progressive lawmakers and the city is taking on racist housing policies that robbed African Americans in Detroit of their homes and widened the racial wealth gap. On Thursday, the Coalition for Property Tax Justice announced a class-action lawsuit against the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan in response to unfair property tax foreclosures. One in four Detroit properties have been subject to property tax foreclosure, a level comparable only to tax foreclosure rates during the Great Depression. According to legal experts, many of the foreclosures were caused by illegally inflated property taxes that violated the state’s Constitution, which says that no property can be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. Detroit is now 80% African-American, and 40% of the city’s residents live below the federal poverty line. But as downtown Detroit becomes increasingly gentrified, thousands of the city’s longtime residents, mostly African-American families, have lost their homes to foreclosure for property taxes they should not have been paying in the first place because the poverty tax exemption excuses those in poverty from paying. From Detroit, Michigan, we’re joined by Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who has worked on this lawsuit from before the time she entered Congress, and Bernadette Atuahene, a professor at IIT, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and research professor at the American Bar Foundation. She is a member of the Coalition for Property Tax Justice, and her forthcoming study, to be published in the UC Berkeley Law Review, is titled “Predatory Cities.”

The Corporate Media Is Directly Profiting from Mike Bloomberg's Rise as He Spends Fortune on TV Ads

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 08:14

Billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is rising in the polls in the wake of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Democracy Now! co-host Juan González speaks with us about Bloomberg’s approach to campaign spending, the administration’s policies during his three terms as mayor of New York City and the scores of lawsuits filed against Bloomberg and his company. “It’s amazing to me that Michael Bloomberg is getting as much attention as he is,” González says.

Did Amy Klobuchar Send an Innocent Teenager to Life In Prison? Questions Mount Over Her Record as DA

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 08:48

After a surprising third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is attempting to gain ground in the national polls. But Klobuchar is also facing mounting scrutiny over her record as a district attorney in Minnesota. The Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities and other racial justice groups recently called on Klobuchar to suspend her presidential campaign following a shocking investigation by the Associated Press. The AP report centered on the case of Myon Burrell, an African-American teenager who was sentenced to life in prison over the 2002 murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. Klobuchar led the case against Myon Burrell when she was Hennepin County’s district attorney, but the AP report says she may have mishandled the case and that Burrell could be innocent. The Associated Press report shows how prosecutors had no DNA or fingerprints tying Burrell to the murder and that they relied on jailhouse informants, some of whom have since recanted their testimonies. Burrell has always maintained his innocence. On the campaign trail, Klobuchar has cited the jailing of Burrell as one of her achievements and brought up the conviction during a debate in September. We speak with Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney, activist, head of the Racial Justice Network and former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP. “It’s shocking at this point that Amy Klobuchar is still in the race for president of the United States, given the significance of Myon Burrell’s case,” she says.

The Wet'suwet'en Fight Against New Pipeline Spreads Across Canada With Blockades & Occupations

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 08:32

A major anti-pipeline struggle continues in Canada, where protests have broken out across the country in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders whose sovereign land in northern British Columbia was raided last week and over the weekend by Canadian police. Dozens were arrested in the days-long raid of unceded indigenous territories, where hereditary chiefs have been in a protracted battle to protect their land from the construction of TransCanada’s 400-mile, $4.7 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline. The raids took place about 700 miles north of Vancouver and sparked outrage across the country. In Ontario, a Mohawk solidarity protest has shut down the Canadian National Railway for days, halting travel for tens of thousands of passengers. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a quick resolution to the protests on Wednesday. In New York, protesters on Wednesday gathered for a sit-in outside the United Nations headquarters in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders.

For more, we go to Wet’suwet’en territory, where we’re joined by land defender and matriarch Molly Wickham. Her clan, the Gidimt’en Clan, was raided last week by 60 heavily militarized officers with assault rifles and dogs. And in Toronto, we’re joined by Pamela Palmater, Mi’kmaq lawyer and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She is the chair in indigenous governance at Ryerson University.

"Traumatizing From the Get-Go": Weinstein Trial Exposes Flawed Approach to Sexual Assault Cases

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 08:20

We continue our conversation about the trial of alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, ahead of the scheduled start of opening arguments today. Weinstein is facing five felony charges, based on accusations brought forth by two women in the case, and, if convicted, could face up to life in prison. Last week, one of his accusers, Jessica Mann, broke down and went into an apparent panic attack during questioning from Weinstein’s lawyers, forcing the judge to adjourn proceedings for the day. Mann was made to read past emails to a boyfriend, in which she disclosed she had been sexually assaulted before meeting Weinstein. She accuses Weinstein of raping her in New York and Los Angeles and said she had an “extremely degrading” relationship with him.

We speak with Louise Godbold, the executive director of Echo, which provides training to trauma survivors and those who support them. The organization is hosting a conference for trauma survivors, including Weinstein survivors, next month called “And Still We Rise,” a reference to the Maya Angelou poem.

Time's Up For Harvey Weinstein? Closing Arguments Begin in Rape Trial in NYC

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 08:10

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday in the trial of disgraced Hollywood mogul and accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. The jury is expected to begin deliberating on Tuesday. Weinstein faces five felonies based on accusations by two women and, if convicted, could face up to life in prison. The trial comes more than two years after initial accusations against the film producer were published in The New Yorker and The New York Times, fueling the #MeToo movement that swept Hollywood and beyond. Since then, over 100 women have accused Weinstein of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. During the trial, six women told the jury in graphic detail about how Weinstein had sexually assaulted them. Weinstein did not testify, but his lawyers described the sexual encounters as consensual and repeatedly attempted to discredit the claims of the women. While the trial centers on the accusations of two women, many other women who say they were victimized by Weinstein have attended the trial.

For more, we speak with J. Clara Chan, media and politics reporter at The Wrap, where she’s been covering the Weinstein trial extensively.

South Bend Politician: I Worked with Pete Buttigieg. He Did Not Respect Black Residents' Struggles

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 08:50

2020 presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg has surprised many with his strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the country’s whitest states. But as the race moves on to South Carolina and Nevada, Buttigieg continues to poll extremely low with African-American voters. His own former constituents are condemning his treatment of the black community in South Bend during his time as mayor, calling out systemic racism in the police force. During Buttigieg’s tenure, black residents were 4.3 times more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than white people. We speak with Henry Davis Jr., a South Bend city councilmember since 2008, as well as legendary feminist scholar Barbara Smith, co-founder of the Combahee River Collective.

Meet the Journalist Who Exposed Bloomberg’s Racist Defense of Targeting Black & Brown Youth

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 08:40

“#BloombergIsRacist.” That’s the hashtag that’s trending on Twitter since audio of remarks made by 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg surfaced earlier this week. In the clip from the 2015 Aspen Institute, Bloomberg is heard defending the New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policies, saying, “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murdered victims fit one MO. You can just take the description, xerox it and pass it out to all the cops.” He continues, “They are male minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York. It’s true in virtually every city.” Bloomberg issued a statement Tuesday saying, “I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused. By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized.” But Bloomberg didn’t just inherit stop-and-frisk. During his tenure, use of the practice increased sevenfold. At its height, there were nearly 700,000 stops in 2011 compared to around 100,000 in 2002. The vast majority of those stopped were black or Latino. Bloomberg defended stop-and-frisk as recently as 2019, only apologizing for the practice publicly in November, shortly after entering the presidential race. We speak with the journalist who unearthed the 2015 audio of Bloomberg, Benjamin Dixon, the host of “The Benjamin Dixon Show” and podcast. Dixon is the co-founder of the TheNorthStar.com, the revitalized abolitionist newspaper of Frederick Douglass.

Feminist Scholar Barbara Smith on Identity Politics & Why She Supports Bernie Sanders for President

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 08:22

We speak with the legendary African-American feminist scholar Barbara Smith. She is a founder of the Combahee River Collective and of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. Barbara Smith recently wrote a column in The Guardian newspaper titled “I helped coin the term 'identity politics'. I’m endorsing Bernie Sanders.” Her latest book is “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith.”

Bernie Sanders Wins New Hampshire Primary with Key Support from Youth Voters

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 08:09

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has won the New Hampshire primary a week after he won the popular vote in Iowa. As of Wednesday morning, with 89% of precincts reporting, Sanders has 25.8% of the vote, narrowly beating former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is at 24.4%. Senator Amy Klobuchar placed third with nearly 20% of the vote. Both Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden received under 10% of the vote, after seeing their support plummet in recent weeks and months. At a celebration in Manchester, Bernie Sanders said his victory in New Hampshire is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump. As the results of the New Hampshire primary came in, two more Democratic candidates dropped out: Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who campaigned for a universal basic income. For more on the New Hampshire primary and what comes next in the presidential race, we speak with John Nichols of The Nation.

Molly Crabapple: Bloomberg Is a Billionaire Republican Who Terrorized Black & Brown Youth

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:46

Polls open Tuesday in New Hampshire for the first primary of the 2020 presidential cycle. The Democratic candidates have been criss-crossing the state in the days leading up to the vote, which has even more significance this year following the muddled results of the Iowa caucuses. We continue our conversation with Arnie Arnesen, a longtime radio and TV host in New Hampshire and a former New Hampshire legislator; Norman Solomon, co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org, which is supporting Bernie Sanders; and we are joined in New York by Molly Crabapple, an artist, writer and activist who recently published a series of sketches from her time on the campaign trail with Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Despite Corporate Media's "War on Bernie," Sanders Rides Wave of Support into New Hampshire Primary

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:38

Polls have opened in New Hampshire for the first primary of the election season. The vote comes eight days after the still-disputed Iowa caucuses, where both Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed victory. Both candidates have asked for a partial recanvass of the results. We speak with Arnie Arnesen, a longtime radio and TV host in New Hampshire and a former New Hampshire legislator, and Norman Solomon, co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org, which is supporting Bernie Sanders.

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