Democracy Now

Democracy Now!
A daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 1,100 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States.
Updated: 9 hours 58 min ago

As Second Dallas Nurse Diagnosed with Ebola, Are U.S. Hospitals Failing Healthcare Workers?

Wed 07 13 AM

As a second healthcare worker at Dallas’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital tests positive for Ebola after caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan, the Centers for Disease Control has identified what it calls a "large group" of other workers who may still be at risk. Ebola patients are also being treated at the Nebraska Medical Center and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, but so far no workers there have contracted the virus. This comes as the country’s largest nurses union, National Nurses United, says hospitals across the country are largely unready to take in Ebola patients and have failed to adequately train healthcare workers and provide necessary protective gear. In a conference call Tuesday, the union’s co-president Deborah Burger said nurses at the Dallas hospital described having to use medical tape to secure openings in their flimsy garments, and were worried that their necks and heads were exposed as they cared for a patient with explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting. We are joined by the co-president of National Nurses United, Karen Higgins, who works as an intensive care unit nurse in Boston, and hear from Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, who reports on the nurses’ concerns in his latest column for the New York Daily News.

James Risen on NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden: He Sparked a New National Debate on Surveillance

Tue 07 54 AM

New York Times investigative reporter James Risen faces jail time if he refuses to name a whistleblowing source, but he insists the actual whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden, are “much more courageous that we reporters are." Risen won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the National Security Agency. "We revealed the framework for … how the Bush administration turned the NSA on the American people," Risen says. He argues Snowden revealed that "under Obama and in the years since we had first written about it, the American people had become much more of an online citizenry … as a result, the NSA had grown dramatically in their ability to watch the online presence of Americans."

James Risen Prepared to "Pay Any Price" to Report on War on Terror Amid Crackdown on Whistleblowers

Tue 07 15 AM

We spend the hour with veteran New York Times investigative reporter James Risen, the journalist at the center of one of the most significant press freedom cases in decades. In 2006, Risen won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the National Security Agency. He has since been pursued by both the Bush and Obama administrations in a six-year leak investigation into that book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration." Risen now faces years in prison if he refuses to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of giving him classified information about the agency’s role in disrupting Iran’s nuclear program, which he argues effectively gave Iran a blueprint for designing a bomb. The Obama administration must now decide if it will try to force Risen’s testimony, despite new guidelines issued earlier this year that make it harder to subpoena journalists for their records. Risen’s answer to this saga has been to write another book, released today, titled "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War." "You cannot have aggressive investigative reporting in America without confidential sources — and without aggressive investigative reporting, we can’t really have a democracy," Risen says. "I think that is what the government really fears more than anything else." Risen also details revelations he makes in his new book about what he calls the "homeland security-industrial complex."

Campaigners Call for "One Fair Wage" to Help End Sexual Harassment for Tipped Restaurant Workers

Mon 07 46 AM

A new report finds up to 90 percent of women working restaurant jobs that depend on tips have experienced workplace sexual harassment. More than 70 percent of tipped workers are women, and female restaurant workers are especially vulnerable to harassment in states where tipped workers earn a federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour. Today, just seven states require employers pay a regular minimum wage before tips. We speak with Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Center United, which has released a new report, "The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry." Jayaraman is director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of "Behind the Kitchen Door." We also speak with restaurant worker, Ashley Ogogor, and with former waitress, Eve Ensler, the award-winning playwright and author of The Vagina Monologues. She helped create V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls, and the One Billion Rising campaign, which is now in its third year.

Socialist City Councilmember on Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai: "Socialism is the Only Answer"

Mon 07 39 AM

We speak to Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant about the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who has expressed support for socialism. In 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded her school bus, but she survived and continued to campaign for the rights of girls to go to school. While she was recovering in England, she sent a message to a meeting of Pakistani Marxists in Lahore that "I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation." "I think she’s right on the mark," Sawant responds. "All the places which have been the target of brutal imperialism from the West … where is the solution to all of this? The only solution can be on the basis of rejecting capitalism." Sawant also comments on the Indian child labor rights Kailash Satyarthi, who was jointly awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with Yousafzai.

Seattle Marks Indigenous Peoples' Day Amid Calls to End Federal Holiday Celebrating Columbus

Mon 07 27 AM

Today marks Columbus Day, a federal holiday to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the so-called "New World" in 1492. But the holiday has long evoked sadness and anger among Native Americans, who object to honoring a man who opened the door to European colonization, the exploitation of native peoples, and the slave trade. Last Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously adopted a resolution to celebrate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the encouragement of indigenous activists — joining many other cities and states with non-Columbus Day holidays. "We’re making sure that we acknowledge the absolute horrors of colonization and conquering that happened in the Americas at the hands of the European so-called explorers, and Columbus was one of the primary instigators," says Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, one of the sponsors of the resolution to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. She is a member of Socialist Alternative, a nationwide organization of social and economic justice activists.

Ferguson October: Thousands March in St. Louis for Police Reform & Arrest of Officer Darren Wilson

Mon 07 11 AM

Since the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown two months ago, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, have defied a militarized crackdown and taken to the streets to call for the arrest of police officer Darren Wilson, who shot him. Their efforts have made Ferguson the ground zero for the movement against police brutality and racial bias. Democracy Now! was there this weekend when thousands of people traveled to St. Louis to take part in "Ferguson October," four days of action calling for justice in Brown’s case and the reform of police practices nationwide. “Everybody that we know and love is held accountable for breaking the law,” says activist and actor Jesse Williams, star of the TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy.” “So those who break the law, if they happen to be wearing a blue shirt with a button-up that we paid for, they should probably be held accountable also.” We hear from residents of St. Louis, and from many of the protesters who traveled to Ferguson from around the country. “Everybody here is representing a family member or someone that’s been hurt, murdered, killed, arrested, deported,” notes Richard Wallace, with the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative. Over the weekend, 17 people were arrested in a sit-in at a gas station near the St. Louis neighborhood of Shaw, where protests have broken out since last week when police fatally shot Vonderrit Myers, an 18-year-old African American. Police say Myers fired at them and that they recovered a gun at the scene. But his family claims he was unarmed, holding only a sandwich he had bought minutes before. On Sunday night, Myers’ parents led a march to Saint Louis University, where they held a four-minute moment of silence for their son. Ferguson October organizers say more nonviolent civil disobedience is planned for today.

"I Am Coming to the End of a Long Journey": Legendary Detroit Activist Grace Lee Boggs in Hospice

Fri 07 55 AM

As we broadcast from Detroit, Michigan, we get an update on Grace Lee Boggs, the 99-year-old activist, author and philosopher based in Detroit. She is considered a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America. Throughout her life, Boggs has participated in all of the 20th century’s major social movements — for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and has inspired generations of local activists. In 1994, she co-founded Detroit Summer, "a multi-racial, inter-generational collective" that functions as a training ground for activists, attracting young people across the country each year. Boggs has been in hospice care at her Detroit home, largely bedridden after taking a bad fall last month. She recently posted a statement on her website that read in part, "I am coming to the end of a long journey — a journey that began over 70 years ago at the beginning of World War II." We broadcast an excerpt from our 2011 interview with Boggs, and speak with her longtime friend, Alice Jennings, who is one of two people in charge of her care.

Detroit Faces "Humanitarian Crisis" as City Shuts Off Water Access for Thousands of Residents

Fri 07 46 AM

We are on the road in Detroit, broadcasting from the "Great Lakes State" of Michigan, which has one of the longest freshwater coastlines in the country. But its residents are increasingly concerned about their access to affordable water. A judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy recently ruled the city can continue shutting off water to residents who have fallen behind on payments after a judge concluded there is no "enforceable right" to water. The city began cutting off water to thousands of households several months ago, prompting protests from residents and the United Nations. Today, some 350 to 400 customers reportedly continue to lose water service daily in Detroit, where poverty rate is approximately 40 percent, and people have seen their water bills increase by 119 percent within the last decade. Most of the residents are African-American. Two-thirds of those impacted by the water shutoffs involve families with children. We speak with Alice Jennings, the lead attorney for residents who have lost their water access. "What’s happening here is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis," Jennings says. "In a military way, the truck would start at one end of the street, and by the time it reached the other end maybe 50 percent of the homes were shut off."

Ferguson October: Activists Call for Nationwide Convergence to Demand Justice for Michael Brown

Fri 07 24 AM

Demonstrations over the police killing of an unarmed teenager in St. Louis, Missouri, continued for a second night ahead of a national weekend of action in nearby Ferguson over the police killing of Michael Brown two months ago. Organizers have invited the Brown family to take part. Dr. Cornel West and actor Harry Belafonte are also among those expected to attend the events, which include a mass march and a planned act of civil disobedience. They will join local activists who have been calling for the arrest of police officer Darren Wilson, who killed Mike Brown; for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the case; and the firing of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. We speak with three of the organizers who have been involved in the protests since the beginning: Tef Poe, a St. Louis rapper and activist; Tory Russell, an organizer with Hands Up United; and Ashley Yates, of Millennial Activists United. "The message that we’re sending to the system is that we’re not going to stop. We are resilient," Poe says.

Pakistani Education Activist Malala Yousafzai Becomes Youngest Winner of Nobel Peace Prize

Fri 07 11 AM

Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. At age 17, Yousafzai is the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize. In 2012, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded her school bus. She survived and continued to campaign for the rights of girls to go to school. Satyarthi, age 60, has been a leader for decades in the international movement against child slavery and the exploitation of child workers. In a statement, the Nobel committee said it "regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism." Last year on July 12, her 16th birthday, Yousafzai appeared at the United Nations and delivered her first speech since she underwent surgery, saying she was undeterred by the Taliban’s efforts to silence her voice. The event marked a global day in her honor. We broadcast an excerpt from her address. "Let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism. Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are the most powerful weapons," Yousafzai says. "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution."

"Kill the Messenger" Resurrects Gary Webb, Journalist Maligned for Exposing CIA Ties to Crack Trade

Thu 07 39 AM

The new Hollywood film "Kill the Messenger" tells the story of Gary Webb, one of the most maligned figures in investigative journalism. Webb’s explosive 1996 investigative series "Dark Alliance" for the San Jose Mercury News revealed ties between the CIA, Nicaraguan contras and the crack cocaine trade ravaging African-American communities. The exposé provoked protests and congressional hearings, as well as a fierce reaction from the media establishment, which went to great lengths to discredit Webb’s reporting. We revisit Webb’s story with an extended clip from the documentary "Shadows of Liberty," and speak with Robert Parry, a veteran investigative journalist who advised Webb before he published the series.

Iraqi Journalist Who Embedded with Shia Militias on Fighting ISIS & Why US Strategy is Bound to Fail

Thu 07 22 AM

As ISIS continues to make advances in the face of U.S.-led airstrikes, we are joined by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi journalist working with The Guardian who recently embedded with Shia militias around Baghdad fighting the Sunnis. "The war that ISIS is raging on the Iraqi government is a coalition of many different tiny little wars," Abdul-Ahad says. "Everyone has his own grievances against the central government of Iraq, yet ISIS has managed to include them all under a single umbrella." Abdul-Ahad argues that any attempt by the United States and its allies to fight the Islamic State as a monolithic organization is bound to fail. "By sending more weapons, sending more money, you’re just adding to the fuel of the war. You need a social contract with the Sunnis of Iraq." We are also joined by Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent. His new book is "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising."

U.S. Faces "Massive Military Failure" as ISIS Advances on Syrian Border Town of Kobani

Thu 07 10 AM

Two months after the United States began airstrikes in Iraq that then expanded to Syria, the Islamic State remains in control of most of the territory it has seized — and now threatens to capture the Syrian town of Kobani, just six miles from the Turkish border. If Kobani were to fall to the Islamic State, the group would be in control of more than half of Syria’s border with Turkey. "If Kobani does fall, this will be a symptom of a massive military failure," says Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent. "And it’s not just in Syria that this is happening, [but] in Iraq as well."

San Antonio's Esperanza Peace and Justice Center Campaigns Against Fracking and Militarization

Wed 07 53 AM

Broadcasting from Trinity University, we speak with Graciela Sánchez, director of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, which is going on its 28th year as a community gathering space in San Antonio, Texas. The center recently hosted an exhibit on fracking, "Frack-aso! Portraits of Extraction in Eagle Ford and Beyond." The Eagle Ford Shale is the site of a massive fracking project in the local area — the flares burning off excess natural gas can be seen by satellite at night. Sánchez also talks about grassroots efforts to demilitarize their community.