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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: 10 min 15 sec ago

Who Can Beat Trump? After Iowa Caucus Debacle, Stakes Increase for New Hampshire Primary

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:26

As voters head to the polls in New Hampshire for the nation’s first presidential primary, we speak with Arnie Arnesen, a longtime radio and TV host in New Hampshire and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Trump's New Budget Funds Endless War & Nuclear Weapons While Slashing Aid to Poor & Hungry Americans

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:13

President Trump unveiled his 2021 budget request Monday, proposing massive cuts to Medicaid and food stamps while increasing spending on the military and his border wall. The $4.8 trillion budget would slash Environmental Protection Agency spending by more than a quarter while allocating $18 billion for Trump’s newly established Space Force. Trump is also requesting billions more for nuclear weapons, including a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead. Experts and Democratic lawmakers warn that increasing the nuclear stockpile will increase the likelihood of nuclear war and defy international agreements. Democrats are expected to reject the budget. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston. “If you want endless wars, dirty air, and you think that the poor and hungry in America are getting too good of a deal, this is a budget for you,” he says.

A Victory for Vulture Funds: Puerto Rico's Unelected Financial Control Board Strikes Debt Deal

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:10

Puerto Rico’s financial control board has struck a deal with bondholders to shed about $24 billion from its general obligation debt. The deal announced Sunday will cut the island’s outstanding general obligation debt from $35 billion to about $11 billion; however, the island would have to pay about $3.8 billion upfront. The agreement will still need to be approved by Puerto Rico’s Legislature. Puerto Rico’s financial control board filed for bankruptcy in 2017 to attempt to restructure $129 billion in debt. The board, which is often referred to as “La Junta,” is an unelected board that runs much of Puerto Rico’s economic affairs and has for years been plagued by corruption allegations. We speak with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González.

"Our Very Existence Is the Resistance": An Hour w/ AOC, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib & Ilhan Omar

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 08:13

On Friday, Democracy Now! co-host Nermeen Shaikh sat down for a rare joint interview with the Squad, the group of four freshmen Democratic congresswomen who have taken Capitol Hill by storm: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Omar and Tlaib are the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Omar is a former refugee from Somalia, and Tlaib is the first female Palestinian-American member of Congress. Ayanna Pressley is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts. Ocasio-Cortez was just 29 years old when she took office last year, making her the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress. Born to a mother from Puerto Rico and a father from the South Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez — or AOC — has emerged as one of the most popular lawmakers in the country. Last week, Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley boycotted President Trump’s State of the Union address, Tlaib walked out during the speech, and Omar stayed for the speech, saying, “My presence tonight is resistance.” Nermeen Shaikh spoke with the four politicians at an event organized by The Rising Majority at Howard University.

Human Rights Watch: 200 Salvadoran Asylum Seekers Killed, Raped or Tortured After U.S. Deportation

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 08:48

A shocking new report says at least 200 Salvadoran asylum seekers were either killed, raped or tortured after being deported from the United States back to El Salvador. Human Rights Watch found that some 138 people deported to El Salvador were murdered by gang members, police, soldiers, death squads or ex-partners between 2013 and 2019. The report says most of the victims were killed within two years after being deported, by the same perpetrators the asylum seekers had fled from. From Denver, Colorado, we speak to Clara Long, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch. And joining us from El Salvador, we speak to “Arturo,” a Salvadoran national who was deported back to El Salvador after living in the United States for 19 years. He asked for his real identity to be concealed for safety.

Laurie Garrett: World Can't Let Racist Attitudes Impact Handling of Coronavirus Outbreak

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 08:32

The Chinese doctor who warned the government about a possible coronavirus outbreak has died after contracting the virus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital. Thirty-four-year-old ophthalmologist Li Wenliang warned his fellow medical workers about coronavirus on December 30. He was then investigated by police and accused of “making false comments.” His death has sparked a wave of anger and outrage in China, where the hashtag “We want freedom of speech” went viral on Chinese social media site Weibo this week. The death toll from the coronavirus has now topped 630 people in China, with more than 31,000 confirmed cases worldwide. The central Chinese government has ordered officials in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to round up and quarantine all infected residents. Residents are being ordered to report family members who show symptoms of the virus to authorities. Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett says, “China is doing things that really no other nation on Earth could do” to contain the spread of the virus, including quarantining tens of millions of people. We spoke with Garrett just days before the whistleblower doctor died.

Risk of Nuclear War Rises as U.S. Deploys a New Nuclear Weapon for the First Time Since the Cold War

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 08:12

The Federation of American Scientists revealed in late January that the U.S. Navy had deployed for the first time a submarine armed with a low-yield Trident nuclear warhead. The USS Tennessee deployed from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia in late 2019. The W76-2 warhead, which is facing criticism at home and abroad, is estimated to have about a third of the explosive power of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) called the news “an alarming development that heightens the risk of nuclear war.” We’re joined by William Arkin, longtime reporter focused on military and nuclear policy, author of numerous books, including “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.” He broke the story about the deployment of the new low-yield nuclear weapon in an article he co-wrote for Federation of American Scientists. He also recently wrote a cover piece for Newsweek titled “With a New Weapon in Donald Trump’s Hands, the Iran Crisis Risks Going Nuclear.” “What surprised me in my reporting … was a story that was just as important, if not more important, than what was going on in the political world,” Arkin says.

Erasing History: The National Archives Is Destroying Records About Victims of Trump's ICE Policies

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 08:51

Last month, the National Archives and Records Administration apologized for doctoring a photo of the 2017 Women’s March to remove criticisms of President Trump. The shocking revelation that the agency had altered the image was first reported in The Washington Post. In an exhibit called “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” the National Archives had displayed a large image of the first Women’s March. But signs referencing Trump had been blurred to remove his name — including a poster reading “God Hates Trump” and another reading “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women.” Other signs in the photo referencing female anatomy were also blurred. The National Archives initially stood by its decision to edit the photo, telling The Washington Post that the changes were made “so as not to engage in current political controversy.” For more, we turn to a historian who says this was only the latest example of “a great and growing threat to our nation’s capacity to protect and learn from history.” The National Archives reportedly is allowing millions of documents, including many related to immigrants’ rights, to be expunged. We speak with Matthew Connelly, professor of history at Columbia University and principal investigator at History Lab. His recent piece for The New York Times is headlined “Why You May Never Learn the Truth About ICE.”

Chaos Continues in Iowa as Democrats Mistakenly Award Delegates for Bernie Sanders to Deval Patrick

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 08:34

Results from Monday’s Iowa caucuses continue to trickle in, with 97% of precincts reporting as of Thursday morning. Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg are now in a virtual tie. Sanders maintains a lead in the popular vote, but Buttigieg has a slight advantage in what’s known as the “state delegate equivalent” race. Buttigieg has 26.2% of state delegate equivalents, while Sanders is at 26.1%. The New York Times is now predicting Sanders has a greater chance of winning overall, in part because of the Vermont senator’s overwhelming strength in satellite caucuses. Responding to widespread criticism for the inexplicably slow reporting process, Democratic officials have attributed the chaos in Iowa to a newly created app built by a little-known firm called Shadow, which has financial ties to the Democratic establishment as well as the Buttigieg campaign. For more, we speak with Chris Schwartz, chair of the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors in Iowa and state co-chair for Bernie 2020.

Historian: With Impeachment Acquittal, the GOP Has Given Trump a Blank Check to Do Anything He Wants

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 08:12

The U.S. Senate has acquitted President Trump of two impeachment charges in just the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. Trump was accused of abusing power and obstructing Congress to aid his re-election campaign by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Every Democratic senator voted to remove President Trump from office, but they were joined by just one Republican: Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who supported impeaching Trump on abuse of power. Romney became the first senator ever to vote against his own party’s president in an impeachment trial. President Trump responded on Twitter by hailing the vote as “the country’s Victory” and described the impeachment effort as a hoax. He also tweeted a video claiming Mitt Romney was a secret Democratic asset. Donald Trump Jr. called for Romney to be expelled from the Republican Party. While the impeachment trial is over, the probe of President Trump’s actions could continue. On Wednesday, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler said the House will likely subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton. We speak with Manisha Sinha, professor of American history at the University of Connecticut and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

Publisher Agrees to Boost Latinx Representation After Backlash to Whitewashed Novel "American Dirt"

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 08:47

We look at the massive backlash and criticism against the novel “American Dirt” as a movement led by Latinx writers declares victory, demanding more representation in the publishing industry. Dignidad Literaria, or literary dignity, formed in response to the controversial immigration novel “American Dirt.” The author, Jeanine Cummins, who is not Mexican, received a seven-figure advance for the book, and it was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club. But its critics say “American Dirt” exploits and misrepresents Mexico and the experience of Mexican migrants. Critics also say the novel completely erases the voices of Central Americans. On Monday, the leaders of the literary dignity movement celebrated a successful meeting in New York City with the book’s publisher, Macmillan, the owner of Flatiron Books. The publisher agreed to expand Latinx representation in its staff and its publications. The campaign is also calling for an investigation into discriminatory practices in the publishing industry at large. We speak with two co-founders of Dignidad Literaria: in Los Angeles, Myriam Gurba, Chicana writer, podcaster and artist, who wrote the first viral review of “American Dirt” that ignited criticism of the book, and in New York City, Roberto Lovato, award-winning journalist and author of the forthcoming book “Unforgetting: A Memoir of Revolution and Redemption.”

Roberto Lovato: Dems & GOP Share Same Playbook on Immigration, Foreign Policy & Corporate Domination

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 08:35

President Trump delivered his 2020 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. The speech reprised many of the themes of Trump’s 2016 campaign, including demonization of immigrants. We continue our discussion with Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, and Roberto Lovato, author of the forthcoming book “Unforgetting: A Memoir of Revolution and Redemption.” About 10 Democrats skipped the speech and a few more walked out while it was in progress, but Lovato says the Democratic establishment doesn’t differ with Trump on many key issues. “Nancy Pelosi may have ripped the speech, but they both draw from the same playbook on issues like immigration, foreign policy, corporate domination. Trump knows that,” Lovato says.

In State of the Union, Trump Celebrates Hate & Xenophobia While Touting "Great American Comeback"

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 08:26

President Trump delivered his third State of the Union address Tuesday night, just a day before the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote to acquit him in the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. Trump’s speech, which focused heavily on the economy and immigration, sounded at times like a campaign rally, with Republican lawmakers chanting “Four more years!” He never once mentioned his impeachment trial. Prior to the speech, Trump refused to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand, and once the speech was over, Pelosi was seen on television ripping up her copy of Trump’s remarks. She later called the speech a “manifesto of mistruths.” Several Democrats, including Congressmembers Rashida Tlaib, Tim Ryan, Seth Moulton and Bill Pascrell, walked out during Trump’s address. Some Democrats boycotted the night altogether, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Maxine Waters of California, Al Green of Texas, Hank Johnson of Georgia, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Frederica Wilson of Florida. We’re joined by Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, and Roberto Lovato, author of the forthcoming book “Unforgetting: A Memoir of Revolution and Redemption” and co-founder of the campaign #DignidadLiteraria, which seeks to elevate the voices of Latinx writers in U.S. literature. At the State of the Union address, Trump was “throwing red meat to his base,” Fang says. “It was clear, from anyone watching this: This was a campaign rally speech — Trump previewing his election message for 2020.”

Sanders & Buttigieg Lead in Early Iowa Results After Faulty App Leads to Catastrophe at Caucus

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 08:10

The final results of Monday’s Democratic Iowa caucuses remain unknown, with 71% of precincts reporting the final tallies of the first 2020 presidential contest. Senator Bernie Sanders is leading in the popular vote, while former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a narrow lead of 26.8% of precincts — the state delegate equivalent traditionally used to determine the winner — followed by Sanders with 25.2%. Sanders won the popular vote in both the first and second rounds of voting, followed by Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Former Vice President Joe Biden placed fourth, followed by Senator Amy Klobuchar. It is unclear when full results will be released and how the reporting problems will impact the Democratic race. Democratic officials cited problems with a newly created app built by a firm called Shadow that was supposed to help precincts report results. The Democratic Party in Nevada was also planning to use the app during its upcoming caucuses but abandoned that plan on Tuesday. We speak with Lee Fang, a reporter with The Intercept. His new piece is titled “New Details Show How Deeply Iowa Caucus App Developer Was Embedded in Democratic Establishment.”

Can Bernie Sanders Defeat Trump? Jacobin's Bhaskar Sunkara & The Atlantic's David Frum Debate

Tue, 02/04/2020 - 08:31

After a chaotic night in Iowa, the focus of the Democratic race has now shifted to New Hampshire. Senator Bernie Sanders is leading in most New Hampshire polls a week ahead of the state’s primary. While Sanders has been surging in popularity across parts of the country, the Democratic Party establishment is openly expressing concern that the self-described democratic socialist could win the nomination. While Bernie Sanders faces attacks from the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, many of his supporters say he is the candidate best suited to beat Trump in November. We host a debate with two guests who have different views on Sanders’s electability. David Frum is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.” In 2001 and 2002, he served as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and was credited with helping write Bush’s famous “axis of evil” line. Frum’s recent article is titled “Bernie Can’t Win.” Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor and publisher of Jacobin and the author of “The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality.” Sunkara’s recent piece in The Guardian is titled “Sanders is leading the pack in Iowa — and that’s good news for Democrats.”

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