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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.
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From 1968 to 2018: Angela Davis on Freedom Struggles Then and Now, and the Movements of the Future

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 08:47

Legendary scholar and activist Angela Davis’s work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations. Amy Goodman sat down with her in Washington, D.C., in October to discuss freedom struggles over the past 50 years, and where people’s movements are going next.

Angela Davis: We Owe It to People Who Came Before Us to Fight to Abolish Prisons

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 08:25

Angela Davis is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a prisoner and a fugitive on the FBI’s top 10 wanted list more than 40 years ago. Once caught, she faced the death penalty in California. After being acquitted on all charges, she spent her life fighting to change the criminal justice system. Amy Goodman sat down with Angela Davis at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., in October to talk about the prison abolition movement.

Angela Davis on Running from the FBI, Lessons from Prison and How Aretha Franklin Got Her Free

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 08:01

For more than four decades, Davis has been one of most influential activists and intellectuals in the United States. An icon of the black liberation movement, Davis’s work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations. She is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a prisoner and fugitive on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list more than 40 years ago. Once caught, she faced the death penalty in California. After being acquitted, she has spent her life fighting to change the criminal justice system. Just before the midterm elections, Angela Davis sat down with Amy Goodman in Washington, D.C., at Busboys and Poets to tell her life story.

This Congressmember Camped in the Cold to Escort an Asylum-Seeking Honduran Mother Across Border

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 08:52

Nearly a month after a photo of a Honduran mother and her small children fleeing tear gas fired by U.S. Border Patrol captivated the nation, 39-year-old Maria Meza was finally admitted into the U.S. with her five children on Monday. Their asylum request is now being processed. But this came only after California Congressmembers Jimmy Gomez and Nanette Barragán intervened on behalf of Meza’s family, camping out overnight with them on the U.S. side of the border near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry between Tijuana and San Diego. We speak with Congressmember Nanette Barragán, who just returned from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congress Touts First Step Act as Criminal Justice Victory—But Critics Say Bill Makes False Promises

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 08:31

A major criminal justice reform bill is poised to become law after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in its favor Thursday. The First Step Act, passed in the Senate earlier this week with an 87-12 vote, would roll back sentences for federal prisoners, including mandatory life terms for third-time offenders and mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug users. The bill is now heading to the desk of President Trump, who has pledged to sign it into law. The bill only affects federal prisoners, who make up less than 10 percent of the more than 2 million U.S. prisoners. It has been endorsed by a wide range of supporters across the political spectrum, from the American Civil Liberties Union to the conservative Koch brothers. But the bill explicitly excludes immigrants and has been criticized by groups such as the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 black-led organizations, for encouraging profiteering and making “false promises” about bringing black prisoners home. We speak with Van Jones, president and co-founder of #cut50, a national bipartisan initiative to reduce the U.S.’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years. We also speak with Jessica Jackson Sloan, a human rights attorney and co-founder and national director of #cut50.

Andrew Bacevich on Mattis & Why We Need to End Our Self-Destructive, Mindless Wars in Middle East

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 08:13

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has announced he will resign at the end of February, in a letter publicly rebuking President Trump’s foreign policy. Mattis resigned one day after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria and on the same day that reports emerged that Trump has ordered the withdrawal of about 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. The New York Times reports Mattis is the first prominent Cabinet member to resign in protest over a national security issue in almost 40 years. Much of the Washington establishment expressed shock over Mattis’s resignation. We speak with Andrew Bacevich, a retired colonel and Vietnam War veteran. He’s the author of several books, including his latest, “Twilight of the American Century.” His other books include “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” and “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War.” He is professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University.

NAACP Launches Boycott of Facebook: Platform Is Unhealthy for African Americans & U.S. Democracy

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 08:46

Facebook is under fire again, this time for new revelations that Russian trolls targeted African Americans on social media in an effort to influence the vote ahead of the 2016 election. A pair of bipartisan reports published by the Senate Intelligence Committee Monday claim the Russian government focused on African Americans in its effort to suppress the turnout of voters likely to cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, spreading fake news and sowing discord in the run-up to the election. The NAACP has launched a Facebook boycott in response, demanding the social media giant be held responsible. We speak with Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP.

The Bombings Will Continue: Phyllis Bennis Warns U.S. Military Role in Syria Is Not Actually Ending

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 08:32

President Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw troops from Syria, in a move that has been praised by some in the American peace movement and some progressive lawmakers, as well as anti-interventionist Republicans, including Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee. We speak with Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, who warns that the U.S. warplanes and drones will continue to bomb the country. ”ISIS has not been 'defeated,' and the U.S. should not remain in Syria militarily,” Bennis says. “You cannot defeat terrorism militarily. Terrorism is a phenomenon that emerges out of social and economic and national and all kinds of crises, in all kinds of countries. And stopping it doesn’t mean playing whack-a-mole with your military.”

Trump Pledges to Withdraw U.S. Ground Troops from Syria—But Global Powers & Deadly Air Forces Remain

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 08:16

President Trump has ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, shocking many in Washington and around the world. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” He ordered the withdrawal despite opposition from within the White House. We speak with Yazan al-Saadi, a Syrian-Canadian writer and researcher, who warns that U.S. military presence in the region will continue. “You might have a large chunk of the boots on the ground leaving, but it seems very clear that the American air power is going to remain,” al-Saadi says.

Headlines for December 20, 2018

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 08:00

Cambodians Who Fled War, U.S. Bombs and Genocide Now Face ICE Raids and Deportations Under Trump

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 08:49

Cambodians are being deported from the U.S. at record numbers, including many who have been living in the U.S. for decades after fleeing war, U.S. bombings and genocide under the Khmer Rouge. On Monday, an Omni Air flight departed from El Paso, Texas, with 36 Cambodians on board. They were deported to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Attorneys believe it to be one of the largest deportation flights to Cambodia yet under the Trump administration. We speak with Kevin Lo, staff attorney in the Immigrant Rights Program at Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Asian Law Caucus. He has been working with Cambodians living in the U.S. who are facing deportation.

Mental Health Experts & Rights Groups Call for Unceasing Media Coverage of Detained Migrant Children

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 08:37

It’s been more than four months since a judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite all families that were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, but 140 children are still separated from their parents in U.S. custody. It is believed that 30 children will never be reunited. Despite this, family separation is no longer in the daily headlines. We speak with a Harvard psychologist who is trying to change this by calling on U.S. media outlets to highlight the growing number of days that migrant children have been forcibly separated from their parents. Dr. Paula J. Caplan is a clinical and research psychologist and associate at the DuBois Institute at Harvard University. She is leading a coalition of human rights groups and mental health professionals calling attention to the ongoing family separation crisis.

Greg Grandin: How U.S. Policies Punished Central Americans, Long Before Jakelin Caal Maquín's Death

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 08:22

As public outrage grows over the death of Jakelin Caal Maquín, a 7-year-old indigenous Guatemalan girl who died in Border Patrol custody, we discuss U.S. policy in Central America with Greg Grandin, prize-winning author and professor of Latin American history at New York University. Searching for answers after Jakelin’s death, Grandin points to border militarization policies dating back to the Clinton administration and the closure of safer urban routes to the U.S. border. He also links the displacement of Jakelin’s family to the U.S.-backed coup in Guatemala in 1954 and economic policies that destroyed subsistence agriculture in her region. Grandin’s latest piece in The Nation, co-authored with Elizabeth Oglesby, is titled “Who Killed Jakelin Caal Maquín at the US Border?”

Justice for Jakelin: Lawmakers Demand Answers in Death of 7-Year-Old Girl in Border Patrol Custody

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 08:13

Outrage is mounting over the death of a 7-year-old indigenous Guatemalan girl in Border Patrol custody, as lawmakers demand answers for the conditions that led Jakelin Caal Maquín to die after being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. Maquin died on December 8, two days after she and her father presented themselves at the border alongside 161 other Central American asylum seekers. She had been held in detention for more than eight hours when she began to have seizures. Border Patrol agents brought the girl to the hospital after her body temperature spiked to 105.7 degrees. The 7-year-old died of dehydration, shock and liver failure at an El Paso hospital less than 24 hours later. We speak with Clara Long, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, and Greg Grandin, prize-winning author and professor of Latin American history at New York University. His latest piece in The Nation, co-authored with Elizabeth Oglesby, is titled “Who Killed Jakelin Caal Maquín at the US Border?”

Marc Lamont Hill Speaks Out After CNN Fires Him for Pro-Palestine Speech at U.N.

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:44

Less than a month after CNN fired Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill for giving a speech at the United Nations supporting Palestinian rights, we speak with him about the international attention his comments have received, academic freedom and why he feels it’s more important than ever to speak out about Israeli human rights abuses. Marc Lamont Hill is a professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University. He is the author of several books, including “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.” We also speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, whose recent piece is titled ”CNN Submits to Right-Wing Outrage Mob, Fires Marc Lamont Hill Due to His 'Offensive' Defense of Palestinians at the U.N.”

Glenn Greenwald: Congress Is Trying to Make It a Federal Crime to Participate in Boycott of Israel

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:33

Twenty-six states have laws preventing state agencies from contracting with companies or individuals aligned with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS is an international campaign to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights. However, its opponents say BDS is a thinly disguised anti-Semitic attempt to debilitate or even destroy Israel. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept. His latest piece is headlined “A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States—So She Lost Her Job.”

Meet the Texas Speech Pathologist Who Lost School Job for Refusing to Sign Pro-Israel, Anti-BDS Oath

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:14

A Palestinian-American speech pathologist in Austin, Texas, has filed a federal lawsuit for losing her job after refusing to sign a pro-Israel oath. Bahia Amawi is an Arabic-speaking child language specialist who had worked for nine years in the Pflugerville Independent School District. But she lost her job last year after she declined to sign a pledge that she would “not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” and that she would not take any action that is “intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel.” We speak with Bahia Amawi and Gadeir Abbas, senior litigation attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He is representing Amawi in her lawsuit against the Pflugerville Independent School District and the state of Texas.