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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: 1 hour 31 min ago

Bernie Sanders Spurs Debate on Prisoner Voting Rights, But the Idea Is "Not as Radical as It Seems"

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:29

Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said at a town hall Monday that he believed in restoring voting rights for prisoners, sparking a national discussion about re-enfranchisement for the more than 2 million Americans behind bars. Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has spoken out against prisoner voting rights, while Senator Elizabeth Warren said “I’m not there yet” on the issue. Senator Kamala Harris said “there has to be serious consequence for the most extreme types of crimes,” referencing her background as a prosecutor. We speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones, about the public debate on voting rights for imprisoned Americans. Berman notes that prisoners are currently counted in the U.S. census in the counties where they are imprisoned, despite not being allowed to vote in most states.

Supreme Court Appears Set to OK Census Citizenship Question Despite Risk of Undercounting Millions

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:17

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case challenging the Trump administration’s plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Voting rights activists fear that adding the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census and lead to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities. Census officials have estimated 6.5 million people will not respond to the census if the citizenship question is added. This undercount could affect everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. The case centers on whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had the authority to add the question to the census. The American Civil Liberties Union and 17 states have sued, saying Ross’s move was aimed at deterring immigrants from participating in the census. During the oral arguments, the court’s conservative majority appeared to side with the Trump administration, while the liberal minority questioned the administration’s motives and methods. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, “There’s no doubt that people will respond less. If you’re talking about prediction, this is about 100 percent that people will answer less.” We speak with Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. MALDEF is representing plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits challenging the census citizenship question. We also speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones. His new piece is titled “In Census Case, Supreme Court Suddenly Cares a Lot About Voting Rights Act.”

Baltimore Writer D. Watkins: "We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America"

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:48

“We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America.” That’s the name of a new book by D. Watkins that amplifies the experiences of poor black Americans typically sidelined by the public and the media—including his own life story. He writes, “I’m from the bottom, and what I mean by bottom is first-generation scholars, the project babies, the people without Wi-Fi, the workers, the people most likely to get hit by police bullets. We are the subjects of protests, the rarely heard-from even as our deaths are debated by media personalities who wouldn’t step foot on our blocks. … To quote the brilliant scholar and activist Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, 'You don't need to be a voice for the voiceless. Just pass the mic.’” D. Watkins is a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. He is also the author of “The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir” and “The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America.”

Johns Hopkins Students Enter Week 3 of Sit-In Protesting ICE Contracts & Plan for Armed Campus Cops

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:33

Students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, have entered their 21st day of a sit-in occupation of their campus administration building to protest the university’s plans for an armed police force on campus, as well as Johns Hopkins’s contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Students at Johns Hopkins are demanding the cancellation of contracts with ICE and a pledge to donate all money received from ICE to Baltimore’s immigration defense fund. They’re also demanding voluntary recognition for all workers wishing to unionize, and a student and faculty representative spot on the university’s board of trustees.

Charges Dropped for U. of Arizona Students Who Called Border Patrol "Murder Patrol" at Campus Event

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:27

Authorities at the University of Arizona in Tucson have dropped charges against three students who held a nonviolent protest against Border Patrol agents speaking on their campus. During the March 19 protest, the students called border agents “Murder Patrol” and an “extension of the KKK.” All three students were charged with misdemeanors. On Friday, motions to dismiss the charges were granted after the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups led a campaign on behalf of the students. We speak with Mariel Bustamante, one of the “Arizona Three.” She is a graduating senior who is double-majoring in law and anthropology.

Right-Wing Vigilantes Hold Migrants Hostage on U.S. Border. Did Border Patrol Give Tacit Approval?

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:12

The FBI has arrested the head of an armed vigilante group that has repeatedly filmed itself detaining migrant border crossers at gunpoint. Sixty-nine-year-old Larry Mitchell Hopkins is the leader of the far-right, pro-Trump group calling itself United Constitutional Patriots, which the American Civil Liberties Union described as an “armed fascist militia organization.” His arrest came just days after the ACLU accused the vigilantes of illegally detaining 300 migrants, including young children, near Sunland Park, New Mexico, last week. We speak to Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico.

Dallas Goldtooth: Hold Banks Accountable for Financing Climate Chaos & Violating Indigenous Rights

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 08:48

As millions celebrate Earth Day around the globe, we speak with organizer Dallas Goldtooth about indigenous-led anti-pipeline activism in the United States. President Trump signed two executive orders earlier this month to facilitate the approval of pipeline projects at a federal level, limiting states’ ability to regulate such projects. The move is intended in part to clear the way for permitting on the northeastern Constitution pipeline, which has stalled after New York invoked the Clean Water Act to reject the project on environmental grounds. This comes as climate activists have filed a federal lawsuit with the ACLU challenging three South Dakota laws that they say violate the First Amendment rights of anti-pipeline organizers. Dallas Goldtooth is one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit and an organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network.

Sri Lankan Gov't Responds to Unprecedented Attacks with Surveillance, Social Media Blackout, Curfew

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 08:16

In one of the worst terrorist attacks to hit South Asia, Sri Lankan government officials say a local Islamist extremist group called the National Thowheed Jama’ath coordinated a series of eight bombings on Easter Sunday at churches and luxury hotels throughout the country. The attacks killed at least 290 people, injured more than 500 and left behind scenes of carnage and chaos. The government has apologized for not taking more preventative measures. Sri Lanka’s telecommunications minister said a government memo circulated by Sri Lanka’s top police official 10 days earlier warned of a possible attack, but that the warning was ignored. Officials have forced the country of 21 million people to go on a dawn-to-dusk curfew, and blocked many social media networks in the wake of terrorist attacks. We go to the capital, Colombo, for an update from Bhavani Fonseka, senior researcher with the Centre for Policy Alternatives. “The discrimination, the targeting and the ethnic tensions have been there for decades,” says Fonseka. “This was most evident during the [Sri Lankan civil] war, but this has continued postwar, as well.” We are also joined by Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka project director at the International Crisis Group, and T. Kumar, former international advocacy director for Amnesty International USA. Kumar was a political prisoner for over five years in his native Sri Lanka.

The Mueller Report: Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston on Trump-Russia Ties, Obstruction & More

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 08:15

The Justice Department has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report detailing Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and President Trump’s attempts to impede the special counsel’s investigation. The report states the campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” but Mueller concluded, “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Mueller also outlined at least 10 instances where Trump attempted to impede the special counsel’s investigation, but Mueller came to no definitive conclusion on whether Trump broke the law by obstructing justice. In the report, Mueller suggests that this is a decision for Congress to make. We host a debate on the report’s findings between two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists: Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept and David Cay Johnston, who has covered Donald Trump since the 1980s. His most recent book is “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.”

Chomsky: By Focusing on Russia, Democrats Handed Trump a "Huge Gift" & Possibly the 2020 Election

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 08:48

As Attorney General William Barr releases Robert Mueller’s long-anticipated report into Russian interference in the 2016 election, we speak with world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky about what he sees as the political perils of “Russiagate.”

Noam Chomsky: The Green New Deal Is Exactly the Right Idea

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 08:42

Supporters of the Green New Deal are launching a nationwide tour Thursday to build support for the congressional resolution to transform the U.S. economy through funding renewable energy while ending U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Democracy Now! spoke with Noam Chomsky about the Green New Deal and the lessons of the old New Deal in Boston last week.

"We Can Be Whatever We Have the Courage to See": Molly Crabapple's Art Breathes Life Into Green New Deal

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 08:28

“We can be whatever we have the courage to see.” That’s the message of a stunning new video released by The Intercept, Naomi Klein and award-winning artist Molly Crabapple Wednesday that imagines a future shaped by the Green New Deal. It’s called “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The film was co-written by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez herself, along with Avi Lewis, the co-founder of The Leap. We speak with Avi Lewis and award-winning artist Molly Crabapple about the power of art to create social change.

"A Message from the Future with AOC": New Film Imagines World Transformed by the Green New Deal

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 08:14

As the push for the Green New Deal builds momentum in the United States, The Intercept has released a short illustrated video imagining a future shaped by the progressive environmental movement. It’s titled “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The New York congressmember narrates the film to envision an America that has been transformed by the Green New Deal policies, including a just transition of jobs, Medicare for all, and a total overhaul of the country’s energy system. The result is a vision of radical hope and transformation. The film features stunning artwork by award-winning illustrator Molly Crabapple. It is presented by The Intercept and Naomi Klein, co-written by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis, and co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt.

ICC Makes "Dangerous Decision" to Drop Probe into U.S. War Crimes in Afghanistan After U.S. Pressure

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 08:49

The International Criminal Court has announced it will not investigate possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the United States and other actors in Afghanistan. The court suggested the U.S.'s lack of cooperation with the investigation was behind the decision. Earlier this month, the U.S. revoked the visa of the ICC's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. A 2016 report by the ICC accused the U.S. military of torturing at least 61 prisoners in Afghanistan during the ongoing war. The report also accused the CIA of subjecting at least 27 prisoners to torture, including rape, at CIA prison sites in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania. We speak to Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Libyan Humanitarian Crisis Worsens as Over 170 Killed, 18K Displaced in Warlord Assault on Tripoli

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 08:34

At least four people died in heavy shelling on Tuesday in the capital city of Tripoli. According to the United Nations, over 170 people have been killed and 750 injured since a Libyan warlord launched an assault on Tripoli on April 5. The fighting pits the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord against a militia led by former Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, who already controls much of eastern Libya. The Libyan government has accused the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt of funding and arming Haftar, who has dual U.S.-Libyan citizenship. Meanwhile, Qatar has called for the enforcement of an arms embargo against Haftar. The fighting has displaced nearly 18,000 people, but authorities fear the humanitarian crisis could quickly escalate if the fighting continues. We speak to Anas El Gomati, director of the Tripoli-based Sadeq Institute, Libya’s first independent research organization.

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