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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: 2 hours 44 min ago

Filipina Journalist Maria Ressa Helped Expose Duterte's Deadly Drug War; He's Now Trying to Jail Her

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 08:46

The award-winning Filipina journalist Maria Ressa has been arrested twice in recent months by the Philippines government as President Rodrigo Duterte cracks down on critics and the media. In February, she was detained in a cyber libel case that’s widely seen as politically motivated. She was arrested again in late March for allegedly violating a ban on foreign media ownership. Duterte has long attempted to shut down Rappler, which has published groundbreaking work on Duterte’s deadly war on drugs that has killed thousands. Duterte has repeatedly described the site as fake news outlet. We speak with Maria Ressa, the founder of the independent news site Rappler and a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Roe v. Wade Under Threat: Planned Parenthood Pres. Speaks Out as State Laws Threaten to Ban Abortion

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 08:41

Abortion rights are under threat across the United States, with 28 states currently considering legislation to ban or restrict abortion in various ways. Among the slew of strategies are trigger bans, to make abortion completely illegal in a state should Roe v. Wade be overturned, and six-week abortion bans. Earlier this month, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law a six-week abortion ban, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected—something that typically happens before many women realize they’re pregnant. The bill does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest. A similar law is set to take effect in Mississippi in July, while judges have blocked similar bills from going into effect in Kentucky and Iowa. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is expected to sign his state’s abortion ban in the coming weeks. While over two-thirds of Americans are pro-choice, anti-choice activists have the edge in state governments, with Republicans controlling roughly two-thirds of statehouses and 27 of the country’s 50 governorships. We speak with the president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen.

Planned Parenthood President: Trump's "Pro-Life" Agenda Is Killing Thousands in the U.S. and Globally

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 08:29

A second federal judge has blocked a gag rule that would have stripped federal funding known as Title X for Planned Parenthood and other clinics that refer patients for abortions or even mention abortion as an option. The judge’s ruling halts the rule, which was announced by President Trump in February and was scheduled to go into effect on May 3. Washington state Federal Judge Stanley Bastian ruled against the changes to Title X funding Thursday, saying they would require clinics “to face a Hobson’s choice that harms patients as well as the providers.” This came two days after an Oregon judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop the gag order from going into effect, calling the rule a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy.” Title X covers non-abortion services like STD prevention, cancer screenings and contraception, and provides over $280 million in funding for 4 million mostly low-income women every year. We speak with the president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen. She says the gag rule would force doctors “to compromise the oath that we took to serve our patients.”

"A Shameful Week for the U.S.": Trump Admin Guts U.N. Resolution to End Rape as Weapon of War

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 08:15

The Trump administration is under fire after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to end rape as a weapon of war on Tuesday that excluded any mention of sexual and reproductive health. The resolution was gutted after the U.S. threatened to veto the measure altogether unless language referencing reproductive health was taken out due to the Trump administration’s belief that the language was code for abortion. The watered-down measure also weakened references to the International Criminal Court, making it harder for women and girls to seek justice. We speak with Jessica Neuwirth, director of the Human Rights Program at Roosevelt House at Hunter College and the director of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute. She sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo protesting the U.S. stance on the Security Council resolution. We also speak with Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen.

Navy SEALs Tried for Months to Report Superior for War Crimes and Were Told to "Let It Go"

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 08:46

Navy SEALs who witnessed their platoon chief commit war crimes in Iraq were encouraged not to speak out, and told they could lose their jobs for reporting him at a private meeting with a superior officer last year, according to new reports from The New York Times. A confidential Navy criminal investigation obtained by the Times reveals that the commandos saw Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stab and kill an unarmed teenage captive, shoot to death a young girl and old man, and fire indiscriminately into crowds of civilians. But when the men on Gallagher’s team called a private meeting with their troop commander and demanded an investigation, they were told to stay quiet on the matter, and no action was taken. The group of seven SEALs eventually were able to force an investigation, and Chief Edward Gallagher was arrested in September on more than a dozen charges, including premeditated murder and attempted murder. The court-martial centers on a charge that Gallagher stabbed to death a teenage member of the self-proclaimed Islamic State while the unarmed youth was being treated by a medic. The trial begins May 28. If convicted, Gallagher could face life in prison. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and national correspondent for The New York Times Dave Philipps. His latest piece is headlined “Navy SEALs Were Warned Against Reporting Their Chief for War Crimes”

From Crime Bill to Iraq War Vote, Biden's Legislative History Under Scrutiny as He Enters Race

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 08:29

Former Vice President Joe Biden has entered the 2020 race for the White House, becoming the 20th Democrat to seek the nomination in the largest and most diverse field of Democratic candidates ever to run for president. Biden will face scrutiny for his long and checkered record in the coming weeks, including his 1994 crime bill, that helped fuel mass incarceration with financial incentives to keep people behind bars, and his handling of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Biden is also known for close ties to the financial industry and voting to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. In the weeks before Biden announced his bid for the presidency, at least seven women stepped forward to accuse him of inappropriate touching. We speak with Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper’s magazine, about Biden’s record. His recent piece is headlined “No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy.”

A "Death Trap" in Raqqa: Amnesty Finds U.S.-Led Coalition Killed More Than 1,600 Syrian Civilians

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 08:12

A major new investigation by Amnesty International and Airwars has revealed the U.S.-led military coalition killed more than 1,600 civilians during the 2017 offensive to oust ISIS militants from the Syrian city of Raqqa. The coalition launched thousands of airstrikes and tens of thousands of artillery strikes on the city. U.S. troops fired more artillery into Raqqa than anywhere since the Vietnam War. At the time, the United States claimed it was the “most precise air campaign in history.” We speak with Donatella Rovera, lead investigator with Amnesty International. She is calling on the U.S. and coalition nations to fully investigate the mass civilian casualties. Rovera is senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International. The new investigation is titled “Rhetoric versus Reality: How the 'most precise air campaign in history' left Raqqa the most destroyed city in modern times.”

Joseph Stiglitz: Elizabeth Warren & Bernie Sanders Want to Make the Economy Work for All Americans

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:49

As the 2020 election race barrels forward with nearly 20 Democratic candidates, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz about the policy platforms of progressive hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, including Warren’s plan to break up big tech companies and cancel student debt and Sanders’s commitment to democratic socialism, which Stiglitz compares to “what in Europe is called social democracy, sometimes called the welfare state.” Stiglitz has a new book out titled “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent.”

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Capitalism Hasn't Been Working for Most People for the Last 40 Years

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:36

We look at staggering inequality and the state of the U.S. economy with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. Joseph Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute. His latest book, out this week, is “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent.”

Bernie Sanders Spurs Debate on Prisoner Voting Rights, But the Idea Is "Not as Radical as It Seems"

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:29

Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said at a town hall Monday that he believed in restoring voting rights for prisoners, sparking a national discussion about re-enfranchisement for the more than 2 million Americans behind bars. Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has spoken out against prisoner voting rights, while Senator Elizabeth Warren said “I’m not there yet” on the issue. Senator Kamala Harris said “there has to be serious consequence for the most extreme types of crimes,” referencing her background as a prosecutor. We speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones, about the public debate on voting rights for imprisoned Americans. Berman notes that prisoners are currently counted in the U.S. census in the counties where they are imprisoned, despite not being allowed to vote in most states.

Supreme Court Appears Set to OK Census Citizenship Question Despite Risk of Undercounting Millions

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:17

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case challenging the Trump administration’s plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Voting rights activists fear that adding the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census and lead to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities. Census officials have estimated 6.5 million people will not respond to the census if the citizenship question is added. This undercount could affect everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. The case centers on whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had the authority to add the question to the census. The American Civil Liberties Union and 17 states have sued, saying Ross’s move was aimed at deterring immigrants from participating in the census. During the oral arguments, the court’s conservative majority appeared to side with the Trump administration, while the liberal minority questioned the administration’s motives and methods. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, “There’s no doubt that people will respond less. If you’re talking about prediction, this is about 100 percent that people will answer less.” We speak with Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. MALDEF is representing plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits challenging the census citizenship question. We also speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones. His new piece is titled “In Census Case, Supreme Court Suddenly Cares a Lot About Voting Rights Act.”

Baltimore Writer D. Watkins: "We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America"

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:48

“We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America.” That’s the name of a new book by D. Watkins that amplifies the experiences of poor black Americans typically sidelined by the public and the media—including his own life story. He writes, “I’m from the bottom, and what I mean by bottom is first-generation scholars, the project babies, the people without Wi-Fi, the workers, the people most likely to get hit by police bullets. We are the subjects of protests, the rarely heard-from even as our deaths are debated by media personalities who wouldn’t step foot on our blocks. … To quote the brilliant scholar and activist Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, 'You don't need to be a voice for the voiceless. Just pass the mic.’” D. Watkins is a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. He is also the author of “The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir” and “The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America.”

Johns Hopkins Students Enter Week 3 of Sit-In Protesting ICE Contracts & Plan for Armed Campus Cops

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:33

Students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, have entered their 21st day of a sit-in occupation of their campus administration building to protest the university’s plans for an armed police force on campus, as well as Johns Hopkins’s contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Students at Johns Hopkins are demanding the cancellation of contracts with ICE and a pledge to donate all money received from ICE to Baltimore’s immigration defense fund. They’re also demanding voluntary recognition for all workers wishing to unionize, and a student and faculty representative spot on the university’s board of trustees.

Charges Dropped for U. of Arizona Students Who Called Border Patrol "Murder Patrol" at Campus Event

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:27

Authorities at the University of Arizona in Tucson have dropped charges against three students who held a nonviolent protest against Border Patrol agents speaking on their campus. During the March 19 protest, the students called border agents “Murder Patrol” and an “extension of the KKK.” All three students were charged with misdemeanors. On Friday, motions to dismiss the charges were granted after the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups led a campaign on behalf of the students. We speak with Mariel Bustamante, one of the “Arizona Three.” She is a graduating senior who is double-majoring in law and anthropology.

Right-Wing Vigilantes Hold Migrants Hostage on U.S. Border. Did Border Patrol Give Tacit Approval?

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:12

The FBI has arrested the head of an armed vigilante group that has repeatedly filmed itself detaining migrant border crossers at gunpoint. Sixty-nine-year-old Larry Mitchell Hopkins is the leader of the far-right, pro-Trump group calling itself United Constitutional Patriots, which the American Civil Liberties Union described as an “armed fascist militia organization.” His arrest came just days after the ACLU accused the vigilantes of illegally detaining 300 migrants, including young children, near Sunland Park, New Mexico, last week. We speak to Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico.

Dallas Goldtooth: Hold Banks Accountable for Financing Climate Chaos & Violating Indigenous Rights

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 08:48

As millions celebrate Earth Day around the globe, we speak with organizer Dallas Goldtooth about indigenous-led anti-pipeline activism in the United States. President Trump signed two executive orders earlier this month to facilitate the approval of pipeline projects at a federal level, limiting states’ ability to regulate such projects. The move is intended in part to clear the way for permitting on the northeastern Constitution pipeline, which has stalled after New York invoked the Clean Water Act to reject the project on environmental grounds. This comes as climate activists have filed a federal lawsuit with the ACLU challenging three South Dakota laws that they say violate the First Amendment rights of anti-pipeline organizers. Dallas Goldtooth is one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit and an organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network.

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