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: 4 hours 21 min ago

Walmart & Contractor Settle $21M Wage Theft Suit, Days After Obama Praises Penny-Pinching Retailer

Thu 07 50 AM

Just days after President Obama praised Wal-Mart’s business practices in a speech at one of its California stores, more than 1,800 warehouse workers in the state have settled a major wage theft lawsuit against one of the retail giant’s largest contractors. On Wednesday, workers at three California warehouses used by Wal-Mart agreed to settle a wage theft lawsuit by accepting a $21 million settlement. The workers had sued Wal-Mart and Schneider Logistics, an outside company that owned and ran the warehouses. Schneider will pay the entire settlement. The lawsuit alleged that workers were often paid less than minimum wage, with no required breaks or overtime compensation. We speak with attorney Theresa Traber, who represented the warehouse workers, and Demos policy analyst Catherine Ruetschlin.

Fast-Food CEOs Oppose Worker Raises Despite Making 1,200 Times More Than Average Employee

Thu 07 39 AM

Thousands of fast-food workers in the United States and around the world are staging a one-day strike today to demand a livable wage. A recent report found fast-food CEOs make 1,200 times as much money as the average fast-food worker, a disparity that maximizes short-term profit while harming worker security and the overall economy. We are joined by the report’s author, Catherine Ruetschlin, a policy analyst at Demos; and by Terrance Wise, who has worked at Burger King for nine years and is striking today in Kansas City, his fourth such action since last August.

"We Have to Stop This Inequality": Fast-Food Worker Strike Spreads to Dozens of Cities

Thu 07 34 AM

In a historic move, thousands of fast-food workers are staging a one-day-strike today in least 150 cities including St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Organizers with Fast Food Forward say workers from 80 cities in more than 30 countries around the world will also join the day of action. The workers are demanding the right to organize and are calling for a doubling of their wages from the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. We hear voices from a protest in New York City outside a McDonald’s across the street from the Empire State Building.

Debate: As FCC Votes on Internet's Future, What's the Best Way to Protect Net Neutrality?

Thu 07 12 AM

The Federal Communications Commission is voting today on new rules that may effectively abandon net neutrality, the concept of a free and open Internet. The FCC proposal would let Internet providers charge media companies extra fees to receive preferential treatment, such as faster speeds for their products and content. Under previous regulations struck down earlier this year, providers were forced to provide all content at equal speeds. Just steps from the vote, demonstrators have set up an "Occupy the FCC" encampment calling for federal regulators to reclassify broadband service as a public utility, which would allow for the requirement of net neutrality rules. The CEOs of 28 U.S. broadband providers and trade groups have asked the FCC not to classify broadband as a utility, arguing that regulating broadband would "impose great costs, allowing unprecedented government micromanagement of all aspects of the Internet economy." We host a debate on net neutrality with two guests: Timothy Karr of the media reform group Free Press, who backs greater regulation, and Joshua Steimle, a tech entrepreneur who argues the government should not be entrusted with regulating the Internet.

Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Corporate Media is "Neutered, Impotent and Obsolete"

Wed 07 47 AM

In the final part of our extended interview, Glenn Greenwald reflects on the Pulitzer Prize, adversarial journalism and the corporate media’s response to his reporting on Edward Snowden’s leaked National Security Agency documents. "We knew that once we started publishing not one or two stories, but dozens of stories … that not just the government, but even fellow journalists were going to start to look at what we were doing with increasing levels of hostility and to start to say, 'This doesn't actually seem like journalism anymore,’ because it’s not the kind of journalism that they do," Greenwald says. "It doesn’t abide by these unspoken rules that are designed to protect the government."

"Right Out of a Spy Movie": Glenn Greenwald on First Secret Meeting with NSA Leaker Edward Snowden

Wed 07 11 AM

In part two of our extended interview, journalist Glenn Greenwald tells the inside story of meeting National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras were the journalists who first met Snowden in Hong Kong last June, going on to publish a series of disclosures that exposed massive NSA surveillance to the world. Greenwald has just come out with a new book on the Snowden leaks and their fallout, "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State." Recalling his first encounter with Snowden, Greenwald says: "The big question was: How are we going to know that it’s you? We know nothing about you. We don’t know how old you are, what you look like or what your race is or even your gender. And he said, ’You’ll know me because I’ll be holding in my left hand a Rubik’s cube.’ And so, he walked in, was holding a Rubik’s cube, came over to us, introduced himself, and that was how we met him."

"The Stuff I Saw Really Began to Disturb Me": How the U.S. Drone War Pushed Snowden to Leak NSA Docs

Tue 07 36 AM

In his new book, "No Place to Hide," journalist Glenn Greenwald provides new details on Edward Snowden’s personal story and his motivation to expose the U.S. surveillance state. "The stuff I saw really began to disturb me. I could watch drones in real time as they surveilled the people they might kill," Snowden told Greenwald about his time as a National Security Agency contractor. "You could watch entire villages and see what everyone was doing. I watched NSA tracking people’s Internet activities as they typed. I became aware of just how invasive U.S. surveillance capabilities had become. I realized the true breadth of this system. And almost nobody knew it was happening."

Greenwald joins us in studio to describe the inside story of the man behind the NSA leaks. "The fact that this individual with no power was knowingly risking everything in his life for a political cause, and really ended up changing the world, I think is a remarkable lesson for everybody," Greenwald says. "It’s certainly something that’s inspired me and has shaped how I think about things — and probably will for the rest of my life."

"Collect It All": Glenn Greenwald on NSA Bugging Tech Hardware, Economic Espionage & Spying on U.N.

Tue 07 10 AM

Nearly a year after he first met Edward Snowden, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald continues to unveil new secrets about the National Security Agency and the surveillance state. His new book, "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State," is being published today. It includes dozens of previously secret NSA documents, including new details on how the NSA routinely intercepts routers, servers and other computer hardware devices being exported from the United States. According to leaked documents published in the book, the NSA then implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal and sends them on. This gives the NSA access to entire networks and all their users. The book includes one previously secret NSA file that shows a photo of an agent opening a box marked CISCO. Below it reads a caption: "Intercepted packages are opened carefully." Another memo observes that some signals intelligence tradecraft is "very hands-on (literally!)."

Greenwald joins us in the studio to talk about this and other new revelations about the NSA, including its global economic espionage, spying at the United Nations, and attempting to monitor in-flight Internet users and phone calls. For his reporting on the NSA, Greenwald recently won a George Polk Award and was part of the team from The Guardian that just won the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.

"Once people understood that this extraordinary system of suspicionless surveillance, which was truly unprecedented in scope, had been created completely in the dark, it became more than a surveillance story," Greenwald says. "It became a story about government secrecy and accountability and the role of journalism, and certainly privacy and surveillance in the digital age."

With First Images Since Kidnapping, Boko Haram Offers to Swap Nigerian Schoolgirls for Prisoners

Mon 07 56 AM

The Boko Haram has released a video showing the first images of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls since their abduction nearly one month ago. Close to half of the nearly 300 girls are seen on the tape, chanting what appears to be a verse from the Qur’an. The Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appears to offer the girls’ freedom in exchange for the Nigerian government’s release of all the group’s prisoners. We speak with Nigerian journalist Omoyele Sowore, publisher of the online news site Sahara Reporters.

Did CIA's Fake Polio Vaccination Program in Pakistan Help Fuel a Global Health Emergency?

Mon 07 40 AM

The World Health Organization has designated the spread of polio in Asia, Africa and the Middle East a global public health emergency requiring a coordinated "international response." Three countries pose the greatest risk of further spreading the paralyzing virus: Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria. In an unusual step, the WHO recommended all residents of those countries, of all ages, to be vaccinated before traveling abroad. The organization also said another seven countries — Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria and Somalia — should "encourage" all their would-be travelers to get vaccinated. Until recently, polio had been nearly eradicated thanks to a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children. In Pakistan, the increase in polio is being linked to a secret CIA ploy used in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With the help of a Pakistani doctor, the CIA set up a fake vaccination campaign in the city of Abbottabad in an effort to get DNA from the bin Laden family. The Taliban subsequently announced a ban on immunization efforts and launched a string of deadly attacks on medical workers. We are joined by two guests: Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for Dawn, Pakistan’s largest English newspaper, who has been covering the rise of polio in Pakistan since the bin Laden raid; and one of Pakistan’s leading polio experts, Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta.

After Chaotic Autonomy Votes, Negotiations Could Be Sole Path to Prevent Ukraine's Disintegration

Mon 07 12 AM

Pro-Russian groups have claimed a landslide victory for a hastily organized referendum on self-rule in two parts of eastern Ukraine. The vote was held in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk less than two months after residents in Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The Russian government says it respects the results of the referendum but has not indicated any plans to annex eastern Ukraine like it annexed Crimea. The referendum was held under chaotic circumstances with irregular voting conditions and violence between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian forces. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University.

As Marijuana Refugees Flock to Colorado, Will Medical Community Force Rewriting of U.S. Drug Laws?

Fri 07 28 AM

Currently 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved, and regulate in some capacity, marijuana for medical purposes. However, insurance companies do not cover the costs of such prescriptions. Federally, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, making it against the law to possess. But the debate over marijuana is growing. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dave Philipps of the Colorado Springs Gazette. His most recent article is "As success stories of kids fighting seizures with cannabis oil mount, legal landscape is changing." We also speak to the pioneering medical marijuana doctor Dr. Margaret Gedde and a mother who moved with her epileptic nine-year-old daughter to Colorado for cannabis oil treatment.

Marijuana Refugees: Virginia Family Moves to Colorado to Treat Epileptic Child with Cannabis Oil

Fri 07 14 AM

Last year, Dara Lightle and her nine-year-old daughter, Madeleine, became "marijuana refugees" when they moved from Virginia to Colorado. At the time, Madeleine was suffering from hundreds of seizures a day. Her doctors in Virginia recommended brain surgery. Then Dara heard how cannabis oil had treated children suffering from similar conditions. The oil worked. But since the oil was considered an illegal drug in much of the country, they had to move to Colorado, where it is legal, to continue treatment. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, at least 115 "marijuana refugee families" from 43 states have left jobs, homes and family so they could obtain the cannabis oil to treat a variety of ailments. We speak to Dara and Madeleine in Denver.

After Abuse Under State Supervision, Transgender Connecticut Teen Held in Solitary Without Charge

Thu 07 49 AM

We look at the case of "Jane Doe," a 16-year-old transgender girl of color in Connecticut imprisoned in solitary confinement without any criminal charges. One month ago today, a Superior Court judge ordered her sent to prison after the Connecticut Department of Children and Families requested the transfer, claiming they could not safely care for her. The move is allowed under a rarely used Connecticut statute. To justify sending Jane Doe to prison, DCF cited her alleged history of violent behavior. But in an affidavit to the court, Jane Doe wrote: "I feel that DCF has failed to protect me from harm and I am now thrown into prison because they have refused to help me." She goes on to detail how she was repeatedly sexually and physically abused between the ages of eight and 15, at the hands of both relatives and DCF staff, all while she was under DCF’s supervision. Describing her confinement at an adult women’s prison in Niantic, Connecticut, Doe wrote in an op-ed for The Hartford Courant: "I’m in my room 22 hours a day with a guard staring at me — even when I shower and go to the bathroom. It’s humiliating. Women constantly scream and cry and it was hard to sleep. They moved me down a different hallway where it’s not as crazy. I tell myself that this is just a nightmare, but it doesn’t end." We are joined by Jane Doe’s lawyer, Aaron Romano, and Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project.

Protestant Church Faces New Sex-Abuse Scandal as Victims Defy Threats, Censorship to Speak Out

Thu 07 28 AM

Is the Protestant world is teetering on the edge of a sex-abuse scandal similar to the one that rocked the Catholic Church? We are joined by reporter Kathryn Joyce, whose cover story in The American Prospect profiles Boz Tchividjian, a law professor at Liberty University — a school founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell — and former prosecutor who worked on many sexual abuse cases. Tchividjian used his experience to found GRACE — Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. GRACE made headlines in February when the famous evangelical school, Bob Jones University, hired it to interview faculty and students about their experiences with sexual assault, then fired it before the it had a chance to report the results — only to hire it back after a public outcry. Tchividjian is the grandson of the famous evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham.