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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 54 min ago

Activist Faces Prison for Climbing Statue of Liberty & Southwest Key HQ to Protest Family Separation

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 08:13

Last week, immigrant activist Patricia Okoumou climbed the Southwest Key building in Austin, Texas, to protest the company jailing immigrant children. Now a judge in New York will decide whether to revoke her bail from her first arrest, when she climbed the Statue of Liberty on July 4 to protest President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. Okoumou was with the group Rise and Resist on July 4 last year as they dropped a banner from the statute that read ”ABOLISH ICE.” She broke away from the group and climbed all the way to Lady Liberty’s left foot, where she continued to protest and refused to leave until she was arrested. She has since pleaded not guilty to trespassing, interference with government agency functions and disorderly conduct. Her sentencing is scheduled for March 19, but prosecutors claim her latest protest was a violation of the terms of her bond, and she has been ordered back to court today. She joins us just hours before her appearance.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Grills Michael Cohen, Laying Out Plan to Probe More Trump Crimes

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:44

Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned Michael Cohen about President Trump’s shady tax dealings at Wednesday’s hearing, presenting a roadmap for investigators to look further into Trump’s crimes. We speak with independent journalist Marcy Wheeler, who says, “In five minutes, this freshman congresswoman just laid out a whole investigative plan for three more topics into Donald Trump’s potentially criminal activities.” Wheeler covers national security and civil liberties on her website EmptyWheel.net.

A Criminal in the Oval Office? Michael Cohen Accuses Trump of Lying, Racism & Illegal Activity

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:31

In an explosive 5-hour hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen accused his old boss of committing multiple criminal acts before and during his presidency. Cohen provided evidence that Trump had violated campaign finance laws by paying hush money to women, accused the Trump Foundation of committing fraud by using the tax-exempt organization for personal purposes, and said Trump lied when he said he couldn’t release his tax returns because they were being audited. He also claimed that Trump had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks was preparing to publish a trove of emails to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the run-up to the 2016 election. Cohen confirmed the president repeatedly checked in about the status of a proposed Trump Tower Moscow project well into the 2016 campaign, despite public claims to the contrary. But he said he had seen no direct evidence that Trump had colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign. The testimony came two months before Cohen is scheduled to begin a 3-year prison sentence for lying to Congress, a series of financial crimes and campaign violations. We speak with Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She runs the website EmptyWheel.net.

Peace Activists Say John Bolton Is to Blame After Trump Walks Away from N. Korea Nuclear Talks

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:13

A historic summit to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula ended without an agreement Thursday, after talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fell apart. Their second summit meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, failed after Kim Jong-un demanded that the U.S. lift all sanctions on North Korea in exchange for dismantling the Yongbyon enrichment facility—an important North Korean nuclear site. We speak with Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War.

Disarmament Expert on N. Korea Summit: An International Process Is Needed to Reduce Nuclear Threat

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:48

President Trump is meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un today in Vietnam in their second summit to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We speak with physicist, nuclear expert and disarmament activist Zia Mian. He is co-director of the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. He is the co-author of “Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation.”

dream hampton on Making "Surviving R. Kelly" & the Grassroots Activists That Helped Bring Him Down

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:33

R. Kelly was released from jail in Chicago on Monday, three days after he was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. The charges involve four women and girls, three of whom were under the age of 17 at the time of the alleged crimes. A judge set bail at a million dollars and forced the singer to surrender his passport. Almost immediately after he posted bond and pleaded not guilty on Monday, Kelly was spotted at a McDonald’s in downtown Chicago—a spot his accusers say he used to frequent to prey on young girls. Kelly has been accused of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia throughout his career but has avoided criminal conviction despite damning evidence and multiple witnesses. Last month, the explosive documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” thrust the case back into the spotlight. We speak with the documentary’s executive producer, dream hampton.

CodePink's Medea Benjamin on Peace Delegation to Iran & Fallout from U.S. Withdrawal of Nuke Deal

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:26

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is reportedly refusing to accept the resignation of his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who quit suddenly in a surprise move announced via Instagram Monday. Zarif played a central role in the negotiations leading to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Last year, President Trump withdrew from the landmark deal despite international condemnation of the move and U.N. inspectors saying Iran was adhering to the agreement. Zarif did not offer any reason for his resignation, simply writing, “I sincerely apologize for the inability to continue serving and for all the shortcomings during my service.” We speak with Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink and author of several books, including “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” She met with Zarif in Tehran just hours before he announced his resignation. We also speak with physicist, nuclear expert and disarmament activist Zia Mian. He is co-director of the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

As India and Pakistan Issue Veiled Nuclear Threats, New Ceasefire Urged to Defuse Kashmir Conflict

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:15

Tensions are escalating between the nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan. Pakistan claims it has shot down two Indian military jets and captured a pair of Indian jet pilots, and India claims it has foiled an attempt by Pakistan to bomb military installations inside India. This comes a day after India carried out airstrikes inside Pakistan for the first time since 1971. India claimed it was targeting a camp of the militant separatist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for a recent attack in the Indian-administered region of Kashmir that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers. India accused Pakistan of being directly involved in plotting the bombing. Pakistan denied the claim. Meanwhile, there are reports that Pakistani and Indian ground forces have exchanged gunfire in more than a dozen locations. We speak with physicist, nuclear expert and disarmament activist Zia Mian. He is co-director of the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. He is the co-author of “Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation.”

Incarceration Is a Deadly Health Risk: Former Chief Medical Officer of NYC Jails Speaks Out

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 08:34

The former chief medical officer of New York City jails has just published a remarkable new book about the health risks of incarceration. The book is titled “Life and Death in Rikers Island.” Dr. Homer Venters offers unprecedented insight into what happens inside prison walls to create new health risks for incarcerated men and women, including neglect, blocked access to care, physical and sexual violence, and brutality by corrections officers. Venters further reveals that when inmates become ill, are injured or even die in custody, the facts of the incident are often obscured. We speak to Dr. Venters and Jennifer Gonnerman, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.

U.S. Accused of Trying to Unconstitutionally Strip Citizenship of U.S.-Born Woman Who Joined ISIS

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 08:16

With the self-proclaimed Islamic State on the verge of losing its last area of control in Syria, nations around the world are debating what do with the men and women who joined ISIS but now want to return home. Here in the United States, the debate centers on a 24-year-old U.S.-born woman who left her family in Alabama in 2014 and moved to Syria, where she lived in the ISIS-controlled caliphate. While in Syria, Hoda Muthana married a series of ISIS fighters, all of whom died in battle. Now she is living in a refugee camp in Syria with her 18-month-old son but is seeking to return to the United States, setting off a constitutional debate. Last week, President Trump tweeted, “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” The Trump administration is claiming Muthana is not a U.S. citizen, even though she was born in the United States and has been issued U.S. passports. We speak to her family’s attorney, Charlie Swift, the director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America.

The Coup Has Failed & Now the U.S. Is Looking to Wage War: Venezuelan Foreign Minister Speaks Out

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 08:16

Venezuela’s opposition is calling on the United States and allied nations to consider using military force to topple the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is heading to Bogotá, Colombia, today to meet with regional leaders and Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president, opposition leader Juan Guaidó. The meeting follows a dramatic weekend that saw the Venezuelan military blocking the delivery of so-called humanitarian aid from entering the country at the Colombian and Brazilian borders. At least four people died, and hundreds were injured, after clashes broke out between forces loyal to Maduro and supporters of the opposition. The United Nations, the Red Cross and other relief organizations have refused to work with the U.S. on delivering aid to Venezuela, which they say is politically motivated. Venezuela has allowed aid to be flown in from Russia and from some international organizations, but it has refused to allow in aid from the United States, describing it as a Trojan horse for an eventual U.S. invasion. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Maduro’s days in office are numbered. We speak with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who has recently held secret talks with Trump’s special envoy Elliott Abrams.

"The Green Book: Guide to Freedom:" How African Americans Safely Navigated Jim Crow America

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 08:40

The Academy Awards take place this weekend, and one of the top contenders is the movie “Green Book,” which has renewed interest in the history of “The Negro Motorist Green Book.” So today we look at a remarkable new documentary called “The Green Book: Guide to Freedom,” that offers a real look at the history of a travel guide that helped African Americans safely navigate Jim Crow America. The film premieres Monday on the Smithsonian Channel and details the violence, insults and discrimination black travelers faced on the road, as well as the pride and sense of community they felt in the safe spaces they created around the country, in the form of restaurants, hotels and vacation retreats. We feature excerpts and speak with writer and director Yoruba Richen, professor in the documentary program in the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

This Is Not Humanitarian Aid: A Maduro Critic in Venezuela Slams U.S. Plan to Push Regime Change

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 08:14

We go to Caracas, Venezuela, for an update on the escalating standoff between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó. Guaidó claims he is preparing to deliver humanitarian aid from the Colombian border Saturday. Maduro has rejected the plan, saying the effort is part of a broader attempt to overthrow his regime. This comes as Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela and right-wing hawk, Elliott Abrams, is leading a U.S. delegation traveling by military aircraft to the Colombian border, supposedly to help deliver the aid. The United Nations, the Red Cross and other relief organizations have refused to work with the U.S. on delivering that aid to Venezuela, which they say is politically motivated. We speak with Venezuelan sociologist Edgardo Lander, a member of the Citizen’s Platform in Defense of the Constitution. “This certainly is not humanitarian aid, and it’s not oriented with any humanitarian aims,” Lander says. “This is clearly a coup carried out by the United States government with its allies, with the Lima Group and the extreme right wing in Venezuela.”

The Uninhabitable Earth: Unflinching New Book Lays Out Dire Consequences of Climate Chaos

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 08:45

“It is worse, much worse, than you think.” That’s the opening line of a damning new book by journalist David Wallace-Wells that offers an unflinching look at the growing climate catastrophe. “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” sounds the alarm about the climate crisis and the need for swift and radical action to save the planet from unimaginable destruction. We speak to Wallace-Wells about the rapid heating of the planet, which he says could reach more than 4 degrees Celsius by 2100.

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