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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 50 min ago

Ibram X. Kendi on Surviving Cancer & His Anti-Racist Reading List for Virgina Gov. Northam

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:48

As we celebrate the remarkable life and legacy of Frederick Douglass on his 201st birthday, we are joined by Ibram X. Kendi, a professor of history and international relations and founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. Kendi spoke Thursday night at the Library of Congress at an event honoring Frederick Douglass. He is the National Book Award-winning author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” and a contributing editor at The Atlantic.

"Agitate, Agitate, Agitate!": Great-Great-Great-Grandson Echoes Frederick Douglass on 201st Birthday

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:37

This month marks the 201st birthday of the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1818. He died a free man in 1895. Thursday night, leaders from around the country gathered at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to honor the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass as part of a ceremony culminating a year of events marking the bicentennial of the birth of the celebrated abolitionist, politician, writer, feminist, educator, entrepreneur and diplomat. We are joined by Kenneth Morris Jr., Frederick Douglass’s great-great-great-grandson, president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and also the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington. He says the lesson he hopes young activists will take from his great-great-great-grandfather Frederick Douglass is: “Agitate. Agitate. Agitate. … It’s really important that activists and young people understand that they can lift their voices and agitate.”

Asylum Seekers Are Being Imprisoned in an Abandoned Factory in Mexico Under Trump Admin Policy

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:32

As Trump plans to declare a national emergency, we look at what some have called the real humanitarian crisis at the border. Riot police in northern Mexico blocked hundreds of desperate Central American migrants Wednesday as they tried to escape an abandoned factory complex where they’ve been imprisoned while waiting for the U.S. to process their asylum claims. More than 1,700 migrants have been held in the maquiladora in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras since February 5, after they arrived in a caravan of people seeking asylum in the U.S. The vast majority have remained prisoners at the site, after the Trump administration adopted a “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers—processing just 15 asylum applications per day at the nearby Eagle Pass border crossing. We hear from a migrant adult and child who spoke with the Texas-based immigrant rights group RAICES, and get an update from Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

Immigrant Activists: Democrats Are Capitulating to Trump by Approving Border, DHS Funding

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:29

President Trump is expected to declare a national emergency today to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border despite opposition from Congress, after he signs the latest spending bill, which includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion he requested. Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib issued a statement that they voted against the bill because it gives more funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “That is the right thing to do. We’ve been pushing for Democrats to do the right thing, to stop playing [Trump’s] games,” says our guest Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

New Interior Sec. David Bernhardt May Violate Trump's Ethics Rule on Lobbyists in His Administration

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:24

According to an ethics complaint Public Citizen filed recently with the Interior Department’s ethics official and inspector general, President Trump’s selection of David Bernhardt as secretary of the Interior Department appears to have violated Trump’s executive order barring officials from working on any issues they had lobbied on in the two years prior to joining the administration. The complaint notes Bernhardt lobbied extensively on the Endangered Species Act, most recently on behalf of the Westlands Water District in 2016, when he reported lobbying on “potential legislation regarding the Bureau of Reclamation and the Endangered Species Act.” We speak with Public Citizen President Robert Weissman.

Public Citizen: Trump’s National Emergency Declaration Paves Way for Sweeping Authoritarianism

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:16

With one day left to pass a government spending bill before today’s midnight deadline to avert another government shutdown, both the House and Senate passed the measure Thursday that came out of the bipartisan conference committee earlier this week. The bill includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion requested by President Trump. Democrats quickly condemned the news, and consumer rights nonprofit Public Citizen vowed legal action against him. We speak with Public Citizen President Robert Weissman.

One Year After Parkland, 1,200 More Kids Are Dead by Gunfire—But Students Still Fight for Gun Safety

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 08:45

It’s been one year since the devastating massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized the nation to take action against gun violence and turned a generation of young people into activists. On February 14, 2018, a former student armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire, gunning down 17 students, staff and teachers in just three minutes. It was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. Students who survived the massacre quickly came to national prominence as leading activists for gun control. We speak with Lois Beckett, senior reporter at The Guardian covering gun policy. Her latest piece is titled “'We can't let fear consume us’: why Parkland activists won’t give up.”

Roberto Lovato: Elliott Abrams Is Bringing Violence of 1980s U.S. Latin America Policy to Venezuela

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 08:24

President Trump met with Colombian President Iván Duque at the White House Wednesday to discuss ongoing efforts to topple the Venezuelan government, the same day that U.S. special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams faced questioning from Congress about his role in atrocities carried out in Latin America in the 1980s. This includes defending Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt’s campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people. We speak with Roberto Lovato, independent journalist working out of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, about the violent history of Elliott Abrams and the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela.

Ilhan Omar Grills Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams on U.S.-Backed Genocide, Death Squads & Massacres

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 08:16

The new U.S. special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday on U.S. efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Abrams spoke three weeks after the U.S. recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s new president. Since then, the U.S. has placed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run oil company and rejected calls for an international dialogue to resolve the crisis. Elliott Abrams is a right-wing hawk who was convicted in 1991 for lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, but he was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. Abrams defended Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt as he oversaw a campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people in Guatemala in the 1980s. Ríos Montt was later convicted of genocide. Abrams was also linked to the 2002 coup in Venezuela that attempted to topple Hugo Chávez. Democratic Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota questioned Abrams about his record on Wednesday during his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Atlanta School Cheating Scandal: The Untold Story of Corporate Greed & Criminalization of Teachers

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 08:30

As teacher strikes in Denver and Los Angeles join a wave of recent labor actions bringing attention to the plight of the American public school system, we take a fresh look at one of the largest public school scandals in U.S. history. Public schools in Atlanta, Georgia, were thrown into chaos in 2015 when 11 former educators were convicted in 2015 of racketeering and other charges for allegedly facilitating a massive cheating operation on standardized tests. Prosecutors said the teachers were forced to modify incorrect answers and students were even allowed to fix their responses during exams. The case has fueled criticism of the education system’s reliance on standardized testing, and elicited calls of racism. Thirty-four of the 35 educators indicted in the scandal were African-American. We speak with Shani Robinson, one of the 11 convicted teachers, who has written a new book on the cheating scandal with journalist Anna Simonton. It’s titled “None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators.”

Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Secretly Shipping Arms After Weapons Found on Plane with Possible CIA Ties

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 08:14

A North Carolina-based air freight company has halted flights to Venezuela following a report by McClatchy linking it to possible arms smuggling. Last week, Venezuelan authorities claimed they had uncovered 19 assault weapons, 118 ammunition cartridges and 90 military-grade radio antennas on board a U.S.-owned plane that had flown from Miami into Valencia, Venezuela’s third-largest city. The Boeing 767 is owned by a company called 21 Air based in Greensboro, North Carolina. The plane had made nearly 40 round-trip flights between Miami and spots in Venezuela and Colombia since January 11, the day after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was sworn in to a second term. The flights ended after McClatchy first reported on them. Venezuela accused the U.S. government of sending the arms as part of its attempt to topple the Maduro government. While no definitive links between 21 Air and the U.S. government have been established, McClatchy reports the chairman of 21 Air, Adolfo Moreno, as well as another employee at the company have ties to Gemini Air Cargo, which was involved in the CIA’s rendition program during the administration of George W. Bush. We speak to McClatchy reporter Tim Johnson, who broke the story. Johnson was part of a team that shared a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for its investigation of the Panama Papers.

The End of Ice: Dahr Jamail on Climate Disruption from the Melting Himalayas to Insect Extinction

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 08:32

A new report finds at least a third of the Himalayan ice cap will melt by the end of the century due to climate change, even if the world’s most ambitious environmental reforms are implemented. The report, released by the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment earlier this month, is the culmination of half a decade’s work by over 200 scientists, with an additional 125 experts peer reviewing their work. It warns rising temperatures in the Himalayas could lead to mass population displacement, as well as catastrophic food and water insecurity. The glaciers are a vital water source for the 250 million people who live in the Hindu Kush Himalaya range, which spans from Afghanistan to Burma. More than 1.5 billion people depend on the rivers that flow from the Himalayan peaks. We speak with Dahr Jamail, independent journalist and author of the new book “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption.”

Wright State Faculty Ends One of the Longest Strikes at a Public University in U.S. History

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 08:21

In Dayton, Ohio, faculty members at Wright State University have just concluded one of the longest public university strikes in U.S. history. On Sunday, the university’s administration reached a tentative contract agreement with the faculty union’s executive committee, which union members will vote to ratify in coming days. The strike began late last month, when the university imposed a contract on faculty members that worsened working conditions and decreased benefits. When the administration refused to negotiate, 85 percent of Wright State University’s union members voted to authorize a strike. We speak with Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors. He is the chief negotiator for the association’s chapter at Wright State University, where he is professor emeritus of economics.

Denver Teachers Strike over Bonus-Based Pay System, Demanding Reliable Salary Plan & Better Wages

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 08:09

Public school teachers in Denver, Colorado, are striking for the second day, after negotiations between the teachers’ union and the school district failed to reach a contract over the weekend. The Denver Classroom Teachers Association is demanding an increase in teachers’ base salaries rather than putting money in incentives and bonuses. The Denver teachers walked out Monday following 15 months of negotiations over a controversial bonus-based pay system that educators say leaves them unable to predict their salaries and guarantee financial security. The starting salary for a Denver teacher for the 2019-2020 school year is $43,255, according to The Denver Post. This is the district’s first teacher strike in 25 years. We speak with Henry Román, a Denver elementary school teacher and president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

Greenwald: How Can Democrats Support Trump's Push for Regime Change to Seize Venezuela’s Oil?

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:54

The U.S. and Russia have proposed opposing draft resolutions at the U.N. Security Council as the leadership crisis in Venezuela deepens. The U.S. is calling for elections in Venezuela and for international aid deliveries to be allowed to enter the country. The Russians called out international intervention in the affairs of Venezuela and the threat of foreign military action. The Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro is accusing the United States of attempting to stage a coup. We speak to The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald about the actions of Washington and of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

"This Is Just the Beginning": Greenwald on Rising State Violence & Homophobia in Bolsonaro's Brazil

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:47

On Friday, an operation by Brazilian military police in Rio de Janeiro left at least 13 people dead after a shootout in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Police say they were there to investigate suspected drug traffickers but encountered gunfire when they entered the area. Last month, Rio’s new governor, Wilson Witzel, said that city security forces were authorized to shoot to kill suspects. He also said Rio should have its own Guantánamo Bay to house criminals, whom he labeled “terrorists.” Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has vowed to intensify the war on drugs. While running for president, Bolsonaro said a “good criminal is a dead criminal.” In other news from Brazil, Brazil’s first elected openly gay federal lawmaker, Jean Wyllys, recently left his post and fled Brazil, amid growing homophobic violence coinciding with the rise of Bolsonaro. He was replaced in Brazil’s Congress by David Miranda, a Rio city councilmember and husband of our guest, Glenn Greenwald.

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