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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 25 min ago

Arundhati Roy: Capitalism Is "a Form of Religion" Stopping Solutions to Climate Change & Inequality

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:42

As one million species face extinction due to human activity and the globe faces a growing climate crisis, we speak with world-renowned author Arundhati Roy about the threat capitalism poses to the future of life on earth. Roy says that those most responsible for creating the climate crisis “will see to it that they profit from the solution that they propose.”

Arundhati Roy on Why She Admires WikiLeaks & Opposes Assange’s Extradition to the U.S.

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:37

In Sweden, prosecutors are reopening an investigation into sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and are seeking his extradition to face charges in Sweden. Prosecutors had dropped the investigation in 2017 because they said the case could not proceed while Assange was holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he lived for seven years before being forcibly removed by British police last month. Assange has since been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail in Britain for skipping bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Assange has denied the sexual assault accusations. Assange previously faced another sexual misconduct allegation but its statute of limitations expired in 2015. The United States is also seeking Assange’s extradition over the publication of leaked documents by Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, which showed evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq. We speak with award-winning writer Arundhati Roy, who has criticized the arrest of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange. Roy and other public intellectuals in India called for Assange’s immediate release, writing in a statement, “The journalism WikiLeaks and its Editor-in-Chief stand for is a journalism of outrage — outrage against the injustices and atrocities that take place round the world — but always with an eye to factuality, substantiation, and precision… If the U.S. had charged Assange and Wikileaks for publishing classified material, the legal case would have been no different from charging The New York Times with publishing the Pentagon Papers”.

Arundhati Roy on the Indian Election and Narendra Modi's "Far-Right, Hindu Nationalist" Agenda

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:15

In India, the sixth phase of voting has concluded in a highly anticipated parliamentary election that is widely seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking a second term in office. India is the world’s largest democracy with 900 million eligible voters. The final phase of voting will take place on May 19 and vote counting will begin on May 23. Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP won a landslide victory in 2014. His government has been criticized for a crackdown on civil society, targeting political opponents, journalists, human rights activists, lawyers and writers. Human rights groups have also raised the alarm on attacks against vulnerable populations, especially Dalits and Muslims. We speak with world-renowned, award-winning Indian writer Arundhati Roy. She is the author of The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Her new book My Seditious Heart, a collection of her nonfiction writing, will be out next month.

Explosive Investigation Uncovers Greed & Infighting at NRA, Shattering "Myth" of the Group's Power

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:50

Is the National Rifle Association imploding? As the nation grieves over another deadly school shooting, we turn to look at how internal turmoil inside the NRA threatens the future of the gun lobbying group. A major new report published by The Trace in partnership with The New Yorker finds that while the NRA has blamed its recent financial woes on left-wing attacks on the Second Amendment, the real damage to the organization comes from within. Chief among the NRA’s problems is its three-decade-old relationship with Oklahoma-based public relations firm Ackerman McQueen. The firm, which is behind the NRA’s imaging, messaging and most of its initiatives, was paid more than $40 million dollars in 2017. We speak to Mike Spies, staff writer at The Trace.

"We Have No Reason to Trust the Police": Sandra Bland Arrest Video Reignites Anger Over Her Death

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:44

The family of Sandra Bland is calling for authorities to reopen the investigation into her death. The 28-year-old African-American woman died in a Texas jail cell in 2015, three days after she was arrested for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. Authorities have claimed Sandra Bland committed suicide while in jail by hanging herself with a garbage bag, but her family has long rejected this claim. On Monday, the Dallas TV station WFAA aired cellphone video filmed by Bland capturing the moment when she was pulled over. In the 39-second video you can see the officer — Brian Encinia — drawing his stun gun and saying, “I will light you up.”

"Black Mama's Bail Out Day”: Movement Grows to Free Black Women From Jail for Mother’s Day

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:38

Racial justice groups around the country are bailing black women out of jail so they can spend Mother’s Day with their families. For the third year in a row, “Black Mama’s Bail Out Day” is raising money to bail out as many black women from jail as possible. The effort is taking place in dozens of cities to call attention to the injustice of cash bail. We speak to Mary Hooks, the co-director of Southerners On New Ground, which is part of the National Bail Out Collective.

Trump Steps up War on Whistleblowers: Air Force Vet Daniel Hale Arrested For Leaking Drone War Info

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:11

A former U.S. intelligence analyst was arrested Thursday and charged with violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking documents about the secretive U.S. drone program.
Daniel Hale, 31, was arrested in Nashville. He faces up to 50 years in prison. Hale is accused of disclosing 11 top secret or secret documents to a reporter. The indictment does not name the reporter but unnamed government sources have told media outlets that the reporter is investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept. In 2015, The Intercept published a special report called the Drone Papers exposing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. We air excerpts of the documentary “National Bird” that features Daniel Hale and speak to The Intercept’s James Risen, director of First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund.

Shocking UN Report Warns up to a Million Species are at Risk of Extinction Due to Human Activity

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:45

An alarming new report by a panel of leading scientists warns that human activity is causing the disappearance and deterioration of wildlife at a rate that could represent an existential threat to humanity within our lifetimes. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released its conclusions earlier this week, and found that one million plant and animal species could go extinct in the foreseeable future unless current trends are reversed. The study estimates the global extinction rate is “already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it averaged over the past 10 million years.” It is the largest and most comprehensive global study of biodiversity ever. It took three years to complete and is based on 15,000 scientific papers. The landmark report singled out industrial farming and fishing as major drivers of the crisis and called for “transformative change” to arrest present trends of biodiversity loss and species extinction. We speak with Kate Brauman, one of the coordinating lead authors of the UN report. She is an environmental scientist at the University of Minnesota. And we speak with Ashley Dawson, a professor of post-colonial studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center and College of Staten Island. His books include “Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change” and “Extinction: A Radical History.”

Gig Economy Drivers Strike: Uber Has Built Its $90 Billion Empire on an Anti-Worker Model

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:36

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance helped organize the Uber and Lyft strike in New York City on Wednesday. We speak to the group’s executive director Bhairavi Desai.

Striking Driver Speaks Out: Uber & Lyft Are "Slave Systems" That Exploit Workers

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:31

Uber and Lyft drivers in cities around the world went on strike Wednesday to protest low wages and poor treatment of workers just days before Uber’s initial public offering, which could value the company at up to $90 billion dollars. But while Uber prepares for what could be one of the biggest IPOs in history and executives plan to take home millions, drivers say their conditions are worse than ever. Drivers in Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, São Paulo, New York and other cities temporarily halted work Wednesday to demand Uber and other rideshare companies like Lyft treat drivers like full-time employees rather than independent contractors, guarantee a livable income and end deactivations for drivers without explanation, among other demands. On Wednesday, striking Uber and Lyft drivers gathered on Wall Street to call out the practices of the ride-sharing companies. Democracy Now! producer Libby Rainey spoke with Inder Parmar, an Uber driver who says he has lost two-thirds of his income as the company has slashed compensation.

The Gig Is Up: Rep. Deb Haaland Introduces Bill to Make Uber & Lyft Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:25

As Uber and Lyft drivers staged a strike on Wednesday, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) announced legislation that would require Uber and Lyft to pay for drivers’ Social Security and Medicare costs. Because drivers are considered “independent contractors,” they are currently required to pay Social Security & Medicare costs themselves. Haaland’s legislation would place that burden entirely on Lyft, Uber, and other multinational corporations employing large numbers of so-called independent contractors in the gig economy. Rep. Deb Haaland said in a statement “The gig is up.” She joins us from Capitol Hill.

A Constitutional Crisis? House Panel Holds AG Barr in Contempt as Trump Claims Executive Privilege

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:10

The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over his refusal to turn over the unredacted Mueller report and the underlying evidence to lawmakers. Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has issued a subpoena to the Justice Department for the unredacted report. This all came after the White House invoked executive privilege to prevent the full report’s release to Congress and to bar former White House counsel Don McGahn from providing documents to Congress related to the Mueller probe. We speak with Ian Millhiser, a columnist for ThinkProgress whose recent piece is headlined “Trump’s claim that the Mueller report is protected by executive privilege is hot garbage.”

New Era for the ERA? 35 Years Later, Will Equal Rights Amendment Finally be Ratified?

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:45

Activists and lawmakers testified last week before a House Judiciary subcommittee in the first congressional hearings on the Equal Rights Amendment in more than 35 years. The constitutional amendment was approved by Congress in 1972, and was ratified by 35 states over the next decade — three states short of the required total needed by a 1982 deadline. Nevada and Illinois have since ratified the amendment. A bill by Rep. Jackie Spear would eliminate the 1982 deadline, leaving the ERA just one state away from becoming a part of the U.S. Constitution. We speak with co-presidents and CEOs of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality: Carol Jenkins and Jessica Neuwirth. Neuwirth is also the author of the book “Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for an Equal Rights Amendment is Now.”

Cecile Richards: Georgia’s New "Fetal Heartbeat" Bill Criminalizes Women Who Seek Abortions

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:35

Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed into law Tuesday a six-week abortion ban, or so-called “fetal heartbeat law” that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected—something that typically happens just six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women realize they’re pregnant. It is now one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws. “It doesn’t just make abortion illegal,” says
Cecile Richards, former head of Planned Parenthood. “It basically would allow women to be convicted and either sentenced to death or to life imprisonment in Georgia.” She notes the real medical crisis for women in Georgia and nationwide is maternal mortality.

Supermajority: Cecile Richards Teams With Alicia Garza & Ai-jen Poo to Mobilize Women Voters in 2020

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:25

As the 2020 primary and general election season heats up, we speak with former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards about Supermajority, the new political action group she helped launch that aims to train a new generation of women activists to take on grassroots campaigns and electoral politics. “Women are the majority of voters … the volunteers, we’re increasingly the donors, increasingly the candidates, and it’s time for political equity,” says Richards. “We want to build a multi-racial, intergenerational movement to increase women’s power.” Supermajority was co-founded by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and Ai-jen Poo, the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Richards says since their launch a week ago, more than 80,000 people have signed up, and adds: “There’s a real need and interest in the country.”

Billion Dollar Loser: NYT Report on Trump’s Taxes & Massive Losses May Prompt Fraud Investigation

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:13

We look at a major exposé from The New York Times, which obtained tax information on Donald Trump that shows his businesses lost $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994. While Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, printouts from his official IRS tax transcripts for a 10 year period ending in 1994 show that in multiple years during that stretch, Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual taxpayer in the country and paid no federal income taxes for eight of the 10 years. “Almost every two cents of every dollar reported as losses one year, by everyone in the United States, were recorded by Donald Trump,” notes our guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter previously with the Times, now founder and editor of DC Report.org.. He has been reporting on Donald Trump since the 1980s and his new piece for the Daily Beast is headlined “Trump’s Tax Leak Hints at Potential Fraud Investigations.”

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