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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 41 min ago

How Trump's Call for More Military Spending by NATO Countries Benefits U.S. Weapons Manufacturers

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 08:50

As President Donald Trump pushes for more defense spending from NATO countries, we speak with Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, about how Trump’s foreign policy benefits weapons manufacturers. During an Oval Office meeting Tuesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump demanded Germany and other NATO countries increase their military spending from 2 to 4% of GDP. But Cirincione says NATO’s biggest problem is not insufficient funding. “The biggest problem NATO faces is the president of the United States, who keeps putting in doubt U.S. commitment to the alliance, who keeps putting in doubt whether the U.S. will come to the aid of NATO allies if they’re attacked,” he says. Cirincione also calls national security adviser John Bolton a “serial arms control killer.”

"Corporate Homicide": Ralph Nader Demands Boeing Recall Jets After Ethiopia Crash Kills His Niece

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 08:32

A wrongful death case was filed against Boeing on the same day that a preliminary investigation into last month’s Ethiopian Airlines crash revealed damning details about the aircraft manufacturer and raised new questions about whether it gave pilots proper instructions for navigating new software. The findings were released Thursday in Ethiopia, based on the analysis of a team of 18 investigators, less than a month after the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash killed all 157 people on board. The report found similarities in the technical issues experienced by pilots on both the Ethiopian Airlines flight and October’s Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, which also crashed just minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board. Both flights were on a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. On Thursday, the first American lawsuit related to the devastating crash was filed against Boeing on behalf of the family of 24-year-old Samya Stumo, who died on the flight. Samya was the grandniece of Ralph Nader, the longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate. We speak with Nader about his calls to ground all 737 MAX 8 aircraft and the legacy of his grandniece. We also speak with Paul Hudson, the president of Flyers Rights, the largest nonprofit airline passenger rights organization in the U.S.

Meet the Family Suing Boeing in First U.S. Wrongful Death Suit Since Ethiopia Crash Kills 157

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 08:14

The first American lawsuit has been filed against Boeing for its role in the Ethiopian Airlines crash that left 157 people dead last month. The family of 24-year-old Samya Stumo, who died in the crash, sued Boeing and filed a claim against the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday. They filed the suit in federal court in Chicago, where Boeing is headquartered. It reads in part, “Blinded by its greed, Boeing haphazardly rushed the 737 MAX 8 to market, with the knowledge and tacit approval of the United States Federal Aviation Administration … Boeing’s decision to put profits over safety … and the regulators that enabled it, must be held accountable for their reckless actions.” Samya Stumo’s father, mother and brother spoke alongside their lawyer at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.

The Invisible People: France's Yellow Vest Revolt Against Macron & Elites Reaches 20 Weeks

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 08:45

Yellow vest protesters took to the streets of Paris on Saturday for the 20th straight week of anti-government demonstrations, in spite of the French authorities’ crackdown on the movement. Last month, the French government deployed military forces and banned protesters from marching on the Champs-Élyseés and in other areas, after clashes with the police, nearly 200 arrests and damage to businesses by some protesters. Police used tear gas and water cannons on crowds in Paris. More than 33,000 demonstrators nationwide joined the demonstrations Saturday, down from nearly 300,000 in November, according to government estimates. The weekly protests began last year when France announced plans to hike gas taxes, with demonstrators across France taking to the streets to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The demonstrators gained their name by wearing the yellow safety vests that French drivers are required to keep in their cars in case of emergency. Since then, in protests that have now lasted five months, the “yellow vests” have called out Macron’s pro-business economic policies, demanding fair wages for working- and middle-class citizens, and heavier taxation on the wealthy. We go to Paris to speak with Alexis Poulin, the co-founder of the news website Le Monde Moderne.

After Algerian President Resigns, Demonstrators Demand Government Overhaul & Vow to Keep Protesting

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 08:31

After two decades in power, longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on Tuesday following weeks of protest. The move came shortly after military leaders called for him to step down. The 82-year-old president has been in power for 20 years and has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013. Algerians have gathered in mass protests for weeks demanding his resignation as well as an overhaul of the current political system, and more protests are scheduled Friday. We speak with Sihem Mellah-Sliker, an Algerian-born activist who moved to the U.S. in 2010 after winning the visa lottery. She founded the group SandByMe to promote Algerian and North African culture. She’s in close touch with her family members and protest leaders in Algeria. Mellah-Sliker is currently an adviser to Democratic New York state Senator Andrew Gounardes and serves on the board of the New York Progressive Action Network.

"A Great Moment for Democracy": Erdogan's AK Party Suffers Major Defeat in Local Turkish Elections

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 08:14

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party suffered major setbacks in local elections this weekend after dominating the country’s political system since 2003. The AK Party lost control in both of Turkey’s largest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, and is now disputing the results. Voters expressed frustration with Erdogan’s autocratic rule and are also facing soaring inflation and rising unemployment. Now the results are being disputed, and recounts are underway. “Whoever is criticizing Erdogan right now is held accountable for either terrorism charges or libel against the president,” says The New School professor Koray Caliskan, faculty fellow at the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies at The New School who has been indicted 25 times in Turkey. “This is how he’s silencing dissent.”

AMLO: How Mexico's New Leftist President Has Navigated Corruption, Inequality and Trump

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 08:46

As President Trump continues his threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border to stop the flow of asylum seekers, we look at the response from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the first four months of his presidency. In Mexico City, we speak with Humberto Beck, professor at El Colegio de México and co-editor of “The Future Is Today: Radical Ideas for Mexico.” He says that while López Obrador doesn’t want to openly confront Trump on stopping immigration, “he knows that sending back migrants to Central America is sending back these people to unlivable situations.”

Chicago Makes Herstory: First African-American Woman and Gay Chicago Mayor Wins in Landslide

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 08:28

Chicago voters made history Tuesday when Lori Lightfoot won a landslide victory as both the city’s first African-American woman mayor and openly gay mayor. This comes after a February runoff election that pitted her against Toni Preckwinkle, a former alderperson who is president of the Cook County Board. While Preckwinkle had been viewed as a highly formidable candidate, Lightfoot is a political outsider who has never held elected office. We are joined by Barbara Ransby, professor of African American studies, gender and women’s studies and history at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her article for The Nation is headlined “The Rising Black Left Movement Behind Chicago’s Historic Elections.”

Rep. Ro Khanna on WH Security Clearances, Ending Support for the Saudi War in Yemen, and Venezuela

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 08:13

The House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed the director of White House personnel security after a whistleblower revealed senior Trump officials overturned 25 security clearance denials, despite “serious disqualifying issues.” We speak with California Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna, who says, “Congressional oversight is not a choice—it’s the law.” We also speak to him about the latest congressional actions around Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

"The Status Quo Is Not Sustainable": How Medicare for All Would Fill Gaps in Obamacare Coverage

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:48

As Trump attacks the Affordable Care Act, we look at the growing case for Medicare for all. More than 100 Democratic lawmakers co-sponsored a House bill last month to dramatically revamp healthcare in the United States by creating a Medicare-for-all system funded by the federal government. The bill would expand Medicare to include dental, vision and long-term care, while making the federally run health program available to all Americans. It would also eliminate health insurance premiums, copayments and deductibles. We speak with Dr. Adam Gaffney, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, which has endorsed the measure.

As Trump Threatens Another Obamacare Repeal, Mother Warns That Losing ACA Would "Wipe Me Out"

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:36

Just a week after President Trump’s Justice Department supported a federal court ruling to wipe out the Affordable Care Act, Trump changed course in a series of tweets Monday and said he is willing to wait until after the 2020 presidential election for Congress to vote on a new healthcare plan. Trump has vowed to replace the ACA so that the Republican Party will be known as “the party of healthcare.” We speak with Jamie Davis Smith, a mother of four, civil rights attorney and member of Little Lobbyists and Health Care Voter. Her daughter Claire has multiple severe disabilities. In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, Davis Smith wrote, “If Trump ends Obamacare, keeping my daughter alive will wipe me out.”

"The System Is Rigged": Democrats Drop Corporate and PAC Money Amid Pressure from Progressives

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:27

We look at the growing push for lawmakers to refuse money from corporate political action committees, as more than half of the Democrats newly elected to Congress have vowed not to accept such donations. We speak with Congressmember Nydia Velázquez of New York, a long-term legislator who has stopped taking corporate PAC donations. “In order to return trust [to] our democratic institutions, we need to … allow for the voters to feel that their voices are heard and that they don’t have to write a big check in order to gain access into our congressional offices,” she says.

"This President Is Cruel": Congresswoman Slams Trump for Fighting Against Puerto Rico Disaster Aid

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:14

We look at the fight in Congress over disaster aid for Puerto Rico since it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history. On Monday, two competing disaster relief bills stalled in the Senate. A companion to a January package passed in the House failed after Republicans objected to the lack of relief funding for recent flooding in the Midwest. Another Senate bill supported by Republicans fell short of the 60 votes needed. It contained just $600 million for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program, a number Democrats say is far too low as many Puerto Ricans are still recovering from the devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Democrats also say aid should cover rebuilding and other forms of disaster relief. Trump responded Monday night on Twitter that “Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right, the place is a mess–nothing works.” We get response from New York Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. She is the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress and is the former the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

"Our Will of Life Is Stronger Than Despair": Palestinian Ahmed Abu Artema on Israeli Attacks on Gaza

Mon, 04/01/2019 - 08:47

Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, including three teenagers, at a mass demonstration Saturday on the first anniversary of the Great March of Return in Gaza. Israeli soldiers used live ammunition, tear gas and rubber bullets on the protesters. As tens of thousands of Palestinians came out to demand an end to the ongoing siege of Gaza and the right to return to their ancestral land, we speak with Ahmed Abu Artema, the Palestinian poet, journalist and peace activist who inspired the Great March of Return and helped organize it as a cry for help. Artema was frustrated by Israel’s more than decade-long land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip, upon which it has waged three wars in the past 10 years.

Why the Real Migration Crisis Is in Central America, Not at the Southern U.S. Border

Mon, 04/01/2019 - 08:34

President Trump has announced the United States will cut off funding to the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that are the primary source of a wave of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, including caravans of families with children. He is also threatening to close the border with Mexico.
 This comes after Trump declared a national emergency to justify redirecting money earmarked for the military to pay for building a wall at the border. 
We speak with John Carlos Frey, award-winning investigative reporter and ”PBS NewsHour” special correspondent who has reported extensively on immigration and recently traveled with the first migrant caravan from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border.