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: 11 hours 55 min ago

Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

Tue 07 09 AM

Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a "justice" gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. "It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else," Taibbi says.

Polk Winner on Afghanistan: Slain Journalists, Ghost Polls & Unresolved U.S. Ties to Deaths, Torture

Mon 07 45 AM

Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins was honored with the George Polk Award on Friday for his Rolling Stone article, "The A-Team Killings," that uncovered "convincing evidence" that a U.S. Army Special Forces unit killed 10 Afghan civilians in Wardak province. Aikins joins us to discuss the latest on his story — as well as recent developments in Afghanistan, from the country’s elections to continued violence that recently killed two journalists.

"We Won't Succumb to Threats": Journalists Return to U.S. for First Time Since Revealing NSA Spying

Mon 07 21 AM

Ten months ago, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald flew from New York to Hong Kong to meet National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Poitras and Greenwald did not return to the United States until this past Friday, when they flew from Berlin to New York to accept the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. They arrived not knowing if they would be detained or subpoenaed after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described journalists working on the NSA story as Snowden’s "accomplices." At a news conference following the George Polk Award ceremony, Poitras and Greenwald took questions from reporters about their reporting and the government intimidation it has sparked.

"This Award is for Snowden": Greenwald, Poitras Accept Polk Honor for Exposing NSA Surveillance

Mon 07 10 AM

In their first return to the United States since exposing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance operations, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras were honored in New York City on Friday with the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. Over the past 10 months, Poitras and Greenwald have played key roles in reporting the massive trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden. They were joined by colleagues Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, with whom they shared the award. In their acceptance speeches, Poitras and Greenwald paid tribute to their source. "Each one of these awards just provides further vindication that what [Snowden] did in coming forward was absolutely the right thing to do and merits gratitude, and not indictments and decades in prison," Greenwald said. "None of us would be here … without the fact that someone decided to sacrifice their life to make this information available," Poitras said. "And so this award is really for Edward Snowden."

"Imagine Living in a Socialist USA": New Book Envisions Greater Democracy, World Without Capitalism

Fri 07 47 AM

We end today’s show looking at a new book titled "Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA." The book features essays by many prominent people, including Michael Moore, Angela Davis, Frances Fox Piven, Martín Espada, Rick Wolff and Democracy Now! co-host Juan González. The book comes out at a time when polls show Americans aged 18 to 29 have a more favorable reaction to the word "socialism" than "capitalism." The book is co-edited by the legendary book agent Frances Goldin, who has worked in the publishing world for more than six decades and will turn 90 years old in June. In 1951, at age 27, Goldin ran for New York State Senate on an American Labor Party slate headed by W.E.B. Du Bois. Goldin joins us now along with one of her co-editors, Michael Smith. He is a New York City attorney and a board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"Years of Living Dangerously": James Cameron, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford in TV Climate Change Series

Fri 07 29 AM

A new Showtime television show featuring Hollywood actors and award-winning journalists brings the issue of climate change alive with the full drama and suspense of a blockbuster movie. In the series, "Years of Living Dangerously," Harrison Ford travels to Indonesia to investigate the palm oil industry, and Arnold Schwarzenegger joins an elite team of wildland firefighters. Hollywood luminaries such as Matt Damon, James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub have paired up with top reporters and leading climate scientists such as Drs. Heidi Cullen, Joe Romm and James Hansen to tell the true stories of people affected by climate change. We speak to Joe Romm, chief science adviser to "Years of Living Dangerously" and founding editor of Climate Progress.

Momentum on Fossil Fuel Divestment Grows as Harvard Professors, Desmond Tutu Call for Action

Fri 07 12 AM

Momentum is growing in the movement to divest from fossil fuel companies. On Thursday, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for an anti-apartheid-style boycott and disinvestment campaign against the industry for its role in driving climate change. Meanwhile, nearly 100 members of the faculty at Harvard University released an open letter calling on the Ivy League school to sell off its interests in oil, gas and coal companies. "If the Corporation regards divestment as 'political,' then its continued investment is a similarly political act, one that finances present corporate activities and calculates profit from them," wrote the professors. "Slavery was once an investment issue, as were apartheid and the harm caused by smoking." Harvard has the largest university endowment in the country, worth more than $32 billion. We speak to James Anderson, professor of chemistry and Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. He is one of the signatories to the letter urging Harvard to divest from the fossil fuel industry. He has done groundbreaking work exposing the link between climate change and ozone loss. We also speak to Jamie Henn, co-founder of the climate change-focused organization, 350.org.

Not a Bug Splat: Artists Confront U.S. Drone Operators with Giant Picture of Pakistani Child

Thu 07 56 AM

In an act of protest against drone attacks, a group of artists and villagers have unveiled a giant banner on a Pakistani field featuring the face of a young child. Organizers say the child lost her parents and two young siblings in a U.S. drone strike. Her picture is large enough to be picked up by satellite imagery. The "Not a Bug Splat" campaign is the work of Pakistanis, Americans and the French street artist JR. The project derives its name from a piece of military software that generates computer models of the destruction a bombing raid might cause — those models reportedly resemble the remains of a squashed insect on a windshield. Now, drone operators will see the face of the little girl staring up at them instead. We speak with Dr. Akash Goel, a physician who is one of the co-creators of the "Not a Bug Splat" project.

Wall Street's Land Grab: Firms Amass Rental Empire, Ousting Tenants & Threatening New Housing Crisis

Thu 07 40 AM

The Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, is now the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the country. In one day alone, Blackstone bought up 1,400 houses in Atlanta. And as private equity firms gobble up huge swaths of the housing market, they are partnering with big banks to bundle the mortgages on these rental homes into a new financial product known as "rental-backed securities," reminiscent of the "mortgage-backed securities" that helped cause the last financial crisis. Could this new private equity rental empire help spark the next housing crisis? We are joined by Laura Gottesdiener, author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," who calls this wave of purchases "a land grab." Gottesdiener’s latest article focuses on New York City’s rental market, a case study in what critics call "predatory equity." Large firms have used abusive tactics to oust tenants in a bid to hike up rents — and tenants have been resisting. We are also joined by Benjamin Warren, who, along with nearly 1,600 families in 42 buildings, is a victim of one of the largest single foreclosures in the city’s recent history.

As Deportations Top 2 Million, Should Activists Push for Executive Order or Congressional Action?

Thu 07 11 AM

Protesters took to the streets in more than 60 cities on Saturday to call on President Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Some marked it as the date when the Obama administration likely reached its two millionth deportation. This comes as The New York Times reports that two-thirds of those deported under Obama had committed minor infractions, such as traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. More than 5,000 children whose parents were removed from the country have ended up in foster care. But some activists say presidential action on deportations is not enough. They are focused instead on the passage of a bill in Congress that includes a path to citizenship. As Obama’s policies come under increasing scrutiny, we host a debate: Should the immigrant rights movement push Obama to take executive action to immediately stop deportations, or should the focus remain on pressuring Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill? We are joined by two guests: Pablo Alvarado, president of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Is India on a Totalitarian Path? Arundhati Roy on Corporatism, Nationalism and World's Largest Vote

Wed 07 12 AM

As voting begins in India in the largest elections the world has ever seen, we spend the hour with Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy. Nearly 815 million Indians are eligible to vote, and results will be issued in May. One of India’s most famous authors — and one of its fiercest critics — Roy is out with a new book, "Capitalism: A Ghost Story," which dives into India’s transforming political landscape and makes the case that globalized capitalism has intensified the wealth divide, racism, and environmental degradation. "This new election is going to be [about] who the corporates choose," Roy says, "[about] who is not going to blink about deploying the Indian army against the poorest people in this country, and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations." Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, "The God of Small Things." Her other books include "An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire" and "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers."

Can Any Court Hold U.S. Accountable for Killing Americans Overseas with Drone Strikes?

Tue 07 54 AM

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s killing of three Americans in Yemen drone strikes. The case was filed by the families of Samir Khan, Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, his teenage son, Abdulrahman, accusing top U.S. officials of unlawful killings. But on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled the victims’ constitutional rights were never violated and said the U.S. officials involved cannot be held liable. We get reaction from Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the attorneys working on Anwar Al-Awlaki’s case. "The courts have abdicated their roles with torture, they’ve abdicated their roles with indefinite detention," LaHood says. "Here we thought finally the courts would uphold the Constitution with the killing of American citizens."

"Science Does Not Exist on Capitol Hill": Rep. Peter Welch on House GOP's Climate Change Denial

Tue 07 45 AM

Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont reacts to his Republican colleagues’ recent vote to effectively force government agencies to stop studying climate change. The House measure calls on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and related bodies to focus on forecasting severe weather — but not explore one of its likely causes. The vote comes just as the U.N.'s top climate panel issued a report calling on governments to prepare for global warming's worsening impact and to cut emissions in order to prevent it from getting worse. "Science does not exist on Capitol Hill," Welch says. "We’re in a fact-free zone here." Welch also discusses his effort to repeal tax giveaways to pharmaceutical companies, the future of nuclear power in the United States, and the growing heroin problem plaguing Vermont and rural communities across the country.

"We Can't Just Give a Blank Check": Lawmakers Call for Ending Secrecy of U.S. Intel's Black Budget

Tue 07 34 AM

We speak with Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont about a bipartisan bill that would force President Obama to include the total dollar amount requested for each of the 16 intelligence agencies in his budget proposal. Using documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Washington Post has revealed the nation’s so-called "black budget" to be $53 billion, a 54 percent hike over the past decade. The documents also revealed the NSA is paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year to U.S. telephone and Internet companies for clandestine access to their communications networks. Welch has joined Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, a fellow member of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, in co-sponsoring the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act. "If you are going to have any oversight whatsoever, you have to know what the budget is," Welch says.

All the Presidents' Bankers: Nomi Prins on the Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion

Tue 07 11 AM

With U.S. inequality at its highest point since 1928 and Wall Street bonuses hitting pre-2008 levels, we look at the 100-year history of secret collusion between Washington and the financial industry. In her new book, "All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power," financial journalist Nomi Prins explores how a small number of bankers have played critical roles in shaping a century’s worth of financial, foreign and domestic policy in the United States. Prins examines how these relationships have influenced events from the creation of the Federal Reserve, the response to the Great Depression, and the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Now a senior fellow at Demos, Prins is a former managing director at Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs, and previously an analyst at Lehman Brothers and Chase Manhattan Bank.