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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 34 min ago

Chaos in Iowa: Caucus Results Delayed, But Bernie Sanders' Internal Data Shows He May Have Won

Tue, 02/04/2020 - 08:10

The Iowa Democratic Party delayed releasing results from Monday’s caucuses after uncovering inconsistencies in the reporting of data. Caucuses were held in 1,600 precincts across the state on Monday, but many precincts had trouble reporting the delegate totals to the state Democratic Party. Part of the blame was placed on a new smartphone app designed to help precinct chairs tabulate and report the vote. Early Tuesday morning, Bernie Sanders’s campaign released internal caucus numbers from 40% of the precincts in Iowa showing the Vermont senator was in first place with nearly 30% of the final count vote. According to the data released by the Sanders campaign, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg placed second with about 24.5% of the vote, followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren with 21%. Former Vice President Joe Biden placed a distant fourth with 12%, just beating Senator Amy Klobuchar. For more on the chaos in Iowa, we speak with John Nichols, national affairs correspondent for The Nation and host of the podcast “Next Left.” He’s been reporting on the ground in Iowa and just wrote the piece “How to Figure Out Who 'Won' the Iowa Caucuses.”

Laurie Garrett on How Trump Has Sabotaged America's Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 08:47

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, the United States has declared a public health emergency and is barring foreign nationals who have recently traveled to China from entering the country. So far, there are 11 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. The virus has claimed at least 361 lives in China. A 44-year-old man in the Philippines became the first casualty of the disease outside of China Saturday, and over the weekend the number of confirmed cases worldwide rose to at least 17,205 across more than two dozen countries, with most of those cases occurring in China. U.S. citizens who have visited Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, will be quarantined when re-entering the country. Questions are being raised about the handling of the disease by Chinese authorities, who critics say delayed their response and downplayed the severity of the problem. The local Red Cross in Hubei has also come under fire for failing to distribute essential medical supplies to the hospitals which need it most. Meanwhile, Chinese and Asian communities in countries including France and Canada say they have been the target of increased racism because of the outbreak. We speak to Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer.

ACLU: Trump Is Expanding His Racist Travel Ban, This Time Targeting Africans

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 08:38

The Trump administration has expanded its contested travel ban to six additional countries — most of which are African nations. Under the new restrictions, nationals of Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan will no longer be able to obtain visas to live and work in the U.S., while Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be able to participate in the diversity visa lottery program. The ban, commonly referred to as the “Muslim ban,” already affects citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea. The expansion is expected to affect more than 350 million people. Democrats say they will challenge the new ban and are expected to introduce the NO BAN Act in Congress soon. The latest travel ban takes effect February 22. We speak to Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

"A Grand Tragedy": Democrats Slam Republican Stonewalling in Senate Impeachment Trial

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 08:30

The Republican-controlled Senate appears poised to acquit President Trump in just the third impeachment trial in U.S. history, with a final vote on the two articles of impeachment scheduled for Wednesday. On Friday, the Senate voted 51 to 49 against calling witnesses to the Senate trial. Just two Republican senators supported calling for witnesses and collecting new evidence: Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine. Without new witnesses, Republicans have cleared the biggest hurdle in their drive to acquit President Trump on the two impeachment charges, which relate to his withholding of military aid to Ukraine in return for that country launching investigations into his political rivals. The final vote in the Senate is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, a day after President Trump gives his State of the Union address. To talk more about the impeachment trial, we are joined by John Nichols of The Nation. He is the author of many books, including “The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism.” John Nichols joins us from Des Moines, Iowa, where he is covering the Iowa caucuses.

As Bernie Sanders Surges Ahead of Iowa Caucus, DNC Under Fire for Changing Rules to Help Bloomberg

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 08:10

The Iowa caucuses take place today, kicking off the official start of the 2020 presidential election season. Democratic presidential candidates spent the weekend making last-minute pitches to voters at rallies across Iowa. Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee is facing criticism for overhauling its rules, opening the door for billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is running a self-funded campaign, to take part in the next debate. This comes as fear is growing among some Democrats that Bernie Sanders might win the nomination. Politico reports a small group of DNC members have begun discussing a proposal to increase the role of superdelegates to give the party establishment more say in who becomes the nominee. From Des Moines, Iowa, we’re joined by John Nichols, The Nation’s national affairs correspondent and host of the podcast “Next Left.” He’s covering the Iowa caucuses on the ground and recently wrote the piece “The DNC’s Move to Accommodate Bloomberg Stirs Outrage in Iowa.”

“Disclosure": Groundbreaking Documentary Examines a Century of Trans Representation in Film & TV

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 08:25

As South Dakota becomes the latest state to pass anti-transgender legislation in the state’s lower house, we look at how trans people have been depicted in film and television over the last century. The film “Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen,” which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, traces trans representation from the 1914 silent film “A Florida Enchantment” to the Oscar-winning 1999 film “Boys Don’t Cry” to the new hit television series “Pose.” Through in-depth interviews with transgender actors, activists and writers, the documentary reveals the way Hollywood and the media both manufacture and reflect widespread misunderstandings and prejudices against transgender people. The film also champions the transgender people in film and television who have fought and continue to fight tirelessly for accurate and dignified representation on screen. We speak with the film’s director, Sam Feder, as well as actress Jen Richards, Emmy Award-winning director Yance Ford and ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio — all of whom are featured in “Disclosure.”

Inappropriate, Not Impeachable: Key GOP Senator's "Astonishing" Statement Clears Way for Acquittal

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 08:09

The Republican-led Senate appears poised to acquit President Trump as early as today in his historic impeachment trial. On Thursday night, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announced he would vote against calling witnesses. Alexander said it was “inappropriate” for Trump to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival, but he went on to say “there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.” Democrats need four Republican senators to support calling for witnesses, but it appears they will fall short. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney have said they will vote yes. If Lisa Murkowski of Alaska votes with them, it will result in a 50-50 tie, meaning no witnesses will be called unless Chief Justice John Roberts casts a tiebreaking vote. If the vote to call witnesses fails, the Republican leadership is expected to move quickly to end the trial and vote to acquit the president. Democrats have been demanding that former Trump national security adviser John Bolton testify in the trial. In an upcoming book, Bolton writes that Trump personally told him that $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was held up in order to pressure that country into launching investigations into Trump’s political rivals, including Joe Biden. We speak with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate magazine, where she is the senior legal correspondent and Supreme Court reporter, as well as host of the legal podcast “Amicus.”

"Coded Bias": New Film Looks at Fight Against Racial Bias in Facial Recognition & AI Technology

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 08:39

A new documentary looks at the dangers of artificial intelligence and its increasing omnipresence in daily life, as new research shows that it often reflects racist biases. Earlier this month, Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the latest major city to ban facial recognition technology, joining a growing number of cities, including San Francisco, to ban the artificial intelligence, citing flawed technology and racial and gender bias. A recent study also found that facial recognition identified African-American and Asian faces incorrectly 10 to 100 times more than white faces. The film “Coded Bias” begins with Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, discovering that most facial recognition software does not recognize darker-skinned or female faces. She goes on to uncover that artificial intelligence is not in fact a neutral scientific tool; instead, it internalizes and echoes the inequalities of wider society. For more on the film, we speak with Joy Buolamwini, a researcher who uses art to raise awareness on the implications of artificial intelligence and is featured in the documentary “Coded Bias,” which just premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. We also speak with Shalini Kantayya, director of “Coded Bias.”

Ex-Solicitor General: Alan Dershowitz Is Wrong. Trump Is Not Above the Law & Should Be Impeached

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 08:10

President Trump’s legal team offered an extraordinary new defense during Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday. Attorney Alan Dershowitz said that a sitting president could take any action to boost his re-election chances if he felt his re-election was in the public interest. “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” Dershowitz said. Trump was impeached by the House last month for freezing military aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation of Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden. Dershowitz’s claim came during a portion of the trial where senators were given a chance to submit written questions to Trump’s legal team and the House impeachment managers. The question-and-answer period continues today. The impeachment trial could end as soon as Friday if the Senate Republican leadership succeeds in blocking Democrats from calling any witnesses. Democrats are hoping to secure enough votes to get Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. For more on President Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate, we speak with Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general in the Obama administration, a Supreme Court lawyer and a Georgetown University law professor. Katyal is the author of “Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump.”

South Dakota May Criminalize Lifesaving Healthcare for Trans Youth in Latest Attack on LGBTQ Rights

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 08:40

The South Dakota Legislature is expected to debate a bill today that would criminalize gender-affirming surgery for transgender youth. If passed, House Bill 1057 would make it a felony for doctors to provide anyone under the age of 16 with puberty blockers, hormones and other transition-related healthcare. Medical professionals who provide this care could face up to 10 years in prison under the terms of the Republican-backed bill, which was passed in committee last week. On Tuesday, South Dakota introduced another anti-trans bill that would authorize parents to deny gender-affirming treatment to their children. It’s the third bill targeting trans youth introduced in South Dakota this year alone and one of more than 25 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced around the country. We speak with Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, and the award-winning director Yance Ford, who became the first openly transgender director nominated for an Academy Award for his film “Strong Island” in 2018. “It never ceases to amaze me how determined people are to erase trans people — even when they’re children,” Ford says.

Mehdi Hasan: The Impeachment Trial Has Been a Farce Since Day One Filled with GOP Lies

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 08:32

At the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow Republican senators in a private meeting Tuesday that he does not yet have enough votes to block Democrats from calling impeachment witnesses. Democrats have pushed for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. On Sunday night, The New York Times published details about a draft of Bolton’s forthcoming book, in which he claims Trump personally told him in August he wanted to maintain a freeze on $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until Ukraine turned over materials related to former Vice President Joe Biden. On Tuesday, Trump’s defense team wrapped up their opening arguments. We speak with Mehdi Hasan, senior columnist at The Intercept and host of “UpFront” on Al Jazeera English. John Bolton’s role in the impeachment trial is “hugely ironic, because we’ve always known that John Bolton wanted regime change around the world; I just didn’t realize he wanted regime change in Washington, D.C.,” Hasan says.

Mehdi Hasan: Trump's Middle East Plan Is a Policy of Apartheid & Settler Colonialism

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 08:22

We continue our discussion of President Trump’s long-awaited Middle East plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he has described as the “deal of the century.” The plan was drafted by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner without any input from Palestinians and would give Israel sovereignty over large areas of the occupied West Bank, control over all of Jerusalem, and keep all illegal settlements built in the occupied West Bank. We speak with Mehdi Hasan, senior columnist at The Intercept, and Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University. Khalidi’s latest book is titled “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine.”

"Yet Another Declaration of War on Palestinians": Rashid Khalidi on Trump's Middle East "Peace" Plan

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 08:09

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to annex about 30% of the occupied West Bank, after Israel was given the green light to do so by the United States. On Tuesday, President Trump — with Netanyahu by his side — unveiled a so-called Middle East peace plan that was drafted by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner without any input from Palestinians. Under the plan, Israel will 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 will be allowed to remain in their homes. The plan also calls for a four-year settlement freeze and the possible creation of a truncated Palestinian state, but only if a number of conditions are met. Palestinians responded to the U.S. plan with protests in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the deal. Only hours before the plan was announced, Netanyahu was indicted for corruption, marking the first time in Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister will face criminal charges. We speak with Mehdi Hasan, senior columnist at The Intercept, and Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University. Khalidi’s latest book is titled “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine.”

Chinese Artist & Filmmaker Ai Weiwei on State Violence from Mexico to Hong Kong to Xinjiang

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 08:37

In 2014, 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College disappeared after they were abducted in Iguala, Mexico. More than five years after their disappearance, the families of the students are still fighting for justice. The story is the subject of a stunning new documentary by the world-renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The film, “Vivos,” follows the families of the disappeared students in their daily lives as they grapple with the absence of their loved ones and attempt to hold the Mexican government accountable for their disappearance. We sat down with Ai Weiwei earlier this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, to speak with him about “Vivos,” why his next project will focus on Hong Kong, and more.

Murder of Mexican Artist Isabel Cabanillas Highlights Endemic Issue of Femicide in Ciudad Juárez

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 08:30

Isabel Cabanillas, a 26-year-old beloved feminist activist and artist, was recently assassinated in Ciudad Juárez, resurfacing the border city’s painful legacy of femicides and violence against women. Cabanillas was reported missing on social media by her friends on Saturday, January 18, after she never returned home. On that same day, she was found shot to death on a sidewalk next to her bicycle in downtown Juárez. We speak with Nana Rebell, a feminist activist in Ciudad Juárez and a member of the Juárez feminist collective Hijas de su Maquilera Madre, about Cabanillas’s life and the endemic issue of femicide in the region.