Democracy Now

Democracy Now!
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: 10 hours 52 min ago

The Dominican Republic's "Ethnic Purging": Edwidge Danticat on Mass Deportation of Haitian Families

Wed 07 45 AM

The Dominican Republic is set to begin what some are calling "ethnic purging," placing the fate of hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent into limbo. Half a million legally stateless people could be sent to Haiti this week, including those who have never stepped foot in Haiti and don’t speak the language. In 2013, a Dominican constitutional court ruling stripped the citizenship of children born to Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic as far back as 1929, retroactively leaving tens of thousands without citizenship. Today marks the deadline for undocumented workers to register their presence in the Dominican Republic or risk mass deportation. However, only 300 of the 250,000 Dominican Haitians applying for permits have reportedly received them. Many have actively resisted registering as foreigners, saying they are Dominican by birth and deserve full rights. Dominican authorities have apparently organized a fleet of buses and set up processing centers on the border with Haiti, creating widespread fears of mass roundups. The Dominican Republic’s decision to denationalize hundreds of thousands of people has sparked international outcry. We are joined by the acclaimed Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat.

As Rachel Dolezal Breaks Silence, a Roundtable Discussion on Race, Appropriation and Identity

Wed 07 09 AM

We look at the growing national debate over racial identity sparked by the story of Rachel Dolezal. A Washington state civil rights advocate and educator, Dolezal resigned her post as president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP on Monday amid reports she falsely identified as black. The controversy began when Dolezal’s parents told reporters their daughter is white, and shared photographs of her as a child. On Tuesday, Dolezal broke her silence, saying she has identified as black since a young age. We host a roundtable discussion with four guests: Stacey Patton, senior enterprise reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education; Lacey Schwartz, producer/director of the documentary film "Little White Lie"; Linda Martín Alcoff, professor of philosophy at the City University of New York and author of several books; and Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history and director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut.

The Yes Men Are Revolting: In New Film, Legendary Pranksters Take On Polluters Behind Climate Change

Tue 07 51 AM

While kayaktivists took to the water in Seattle to protest Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic, the culture jamming group The Yes Men staged a different kind of anti-Shell protest last week. They took to the streets of New York posing as representatives of Shell. They handed out free shaved ice cones which they claimed were "remnants of the last icebergs of the North Pole." The action took place as the anti-corporate pranksters launched their third film, "The Yes Men Are Revolting," which looks at the group’s many actions around climate change. The Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno join us to discuss the film and their ongoing brand of signature anti-corporate pranksterism.

"Battling the Death Star": Seattle "Kayaktivists" Slow Arctic-Bound Shell Oil Rig as Fight Goes On

Tue 07 45 AM

The oil giant Shell is on its way to the Arctic, but not before a final showdown with environmental activists in kayaks. On Tuesday, dozens of "kayaktivists" were arrested after paddling up to a Shell drilling rig and preventing it from leaving the Port of Seattle. Several dozen supporters lined up behind them. The activists set off at 4 a.m. after learning of Shell’s plans to leave later that morning. Following a brief standoff, Shell’s Polar Pioneer was able to depart after the Coast Guard pulled the activists from the water. Monday’s action marked the latest in a series of protests since Shell arrived in Seattle last month. Shell is stationing its vessels in the Puget Sound while it drills for oil in pristine and highly remote waters in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. Environmentalists warn Arctic drilling will threaten wildlife and worsen climate change. The Obama administration has tentatively approved Shell’s plans to begin oil extraction off the Alaskan coast this summer. We are joined by John Hocevar, oceans campaign director of Greenpeace. He was one of the activists, or "kayaktivists," detained by the Coast Guard during Monday’s action against Shell oil drilling in the Arctic.

Bombing the Arctic: US Navy War Games in Gulf of Alaska Threaten One of World's Most Pristine Areas

Tue 07 31 AM

The U.S. Navy is set to begin a major war exercise in the Gulf of Alaska amid protests from local communities concerned about environmental damage. The Navy is reportedly unleashing thousands of sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines and Coast Guard members along with several Navy destroyers, hundreds of aircrafts, untold weaponry and a submarine for the naval exercises. The Gulf of Alaska is one of the most pristine places left on Earth; the region includes critical habitat for all five wild Alaskan salmon species and 377 other species of marine life. The Navy’s planned live bombing runs will entail the detonation of tens of thousands of pounds of toxic munitions, as well as the use of active sonar in fisheries. The Navy has conducted war games in the Gulf of Alaska, on and off, for the last 30 years, but these new exercises are the largest by far. They come at a time when scientists are increasingly worried about climate change causing Arctic melting. Meanwhile, the unprecedented melting has created an opportunity for the military to expand its operations into previously inaccessible terrain. We are joined by Dahr Jamail, staff reporter at Truthout, whose latest piece is "Destroying What Remains: How the US Navy Plans to War Game the Arctic."

As Yemenis Suffer from Strikes, Conflict and Siege, Will Geneva Peace Talks Offer Any Relief?

Tue 07 10 AM

Al-Qaeda in Yemen has announced its leader, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, has been killed in a U.S. bombing, likely a CIA drone strike. Al-Wuhayshi is a former associate of Osama bin Laden who became head of AQAP in 2009. Meanwhile, a delegation of Houthi rebels has arrived in Geneva for the second day of U.N.-backed peace talks. It has been nearly three months since Saudi Arabia launched its offensive against the Houthis in Yemen. On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a two-week humanitarian ceasefire to coincide with the start of the holy month of Ramadan. The United Nations recently said 20 million people, 78 percent of the population, need urgent humanitarian aid in Yemen. We are joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, reporting from the capital Sana’a, and by Joe Lauria, U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

What Do 800-Year-Old Magna Carta & Black Lives Matter Have in Common? A People's Historian Explains

Mon 07 45 AM

The Magna Carta turns 800 years old today. Known as the "Great Charter," it is widely considered the foundation of parliamentary democracy, human rights and the supremacy of the law over the crown. As dignitaries including the queen of England and Prime Minister David Cameron commemorate the sealing of the historic text, we go to Lincoln Castle in England, where the finest originals of the Magna Carta and the charters of English liberty are kept in a lockstone vault, and speak with people’s historian Peter Linebaugh, author of "The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberty and Subsistence for All." He is attending the event to draw connections between the Magna Carta and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Israeli Report Finds 2014 Gaza War "Lawful" and "Legitimate" Ahead of Critical U.N. Investigation

Mon 07 30 AM

The Israeli government has released a report that concludes its military actions in the 2014 war in Gaza were "lawful" and "legitimate." The findings come ahead of what is expected to be a critical United Nations investigation into the 50-day conflict that Israel has dismissed as biased and refused to cooperate with. More than 2,200 Palestinians died in what was called "Operation Protective Edge," the vast majority civilians. On Israel’s side, 73 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers. In its report, Israel says it made "substantial efforts" to avoid civilian deaths, insisting Hamas was to blame for the high number of civilian casualties and accusing Hamas militants of disguising themselves as civilians and of converting civilian buildings into military centers. We are joined by Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the former executive director of The Jerusalem Fund. We also go to Tel Aviv to speak with Gideon Levy, Haaretz columnist, whose latest piece is "Israel washed itself clean of Gaza’s dead beach children."

As Democrats Walk Out on Obama's TPP Deal, Where Does Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Stand?

Mon 07 12 AM

Former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Clinton kicked off her White House bid to become the first woman U.S. president by highlighting her support for income equality, regulating Wall Street and vowing to fight for a fairer economy. On Sunday, she broke her silence on the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, saying President Obama "should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers to make make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible. And if we don’t get it, there should be no deal." Clinton’s comments come as the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday rejected the first in a series of trade bills despite President Obama making a personal plea for his own party’s support ahead of the vote. We speak with Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and author of "The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority"; and Jeffrey Sachs, a leading economist, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and author of "The Age of Sustainable Development."

The Wanted 18: Israel Blocks Palestinian Filmmaker from Making NYC Film Premiere About Intifada Cows

Fri 07 45 AM

The annual Human Rights Watch International Film Festival is underway here in New York City, but one of its featured directors won’t be able to attend his film’s U.S. premiere this weekend. That’s because Israel recently deemed Palestinian filmmaker Amer Shomali a "security threat" and prevented him from traveling to Jerusalem to obtain a U.S. visa. Then he went to Amman, Jordan, where the U.S. approved a visa but said their visa machine was broken. Shomali had previously attended half a dozen European festivals without incident, and his film has drawn international acclaim. Interestingly, the film, "The Wanted 18," shows how Israel has historically tried to undermine any form of Palestinian nonviolent resistance by branding such resistance as dangerous and threatening, and recreates an astonishing true story from the First Palestinian Intifada when the Israeli army pursued 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel." We speak to Amer Shomali in Ramallah.

"A Monster of a Facility": Amid Manhunt for Fugitives, Advocate Urges Reforms at Dannemora Prison

Fri 07 40 AM

As two fugitives who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, remain at large, human rights and prison reform activist Five Mualimm-ak discusses the need for reform at the massive prison. "This is a facility that is historically known for its abuse, has no accountability," Mualimm-ak says. "This place needs to be changed."

From Solitary to the Street: Coping with Freedom After Years in Prison Isolation

Fri 07 26 AM

The Department of Justice estimates that about 80,000 prisoners are in solitary confinement. Some have been held in isolation for decades. Former Black Panther Albert Woodfox has been in solitary for over 40 years. While Woodfox could be released as early as today, we look at a new investigation by The Marshall Project and NPR that reveals prisons are sending thousands of people directly from solitary confinement back into their communities with almost no help or preparation. Many wind up homeless or back in prison. We speak to Christie Thompson of The Marshall Project and Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation Collective, a collective of previously incarcerated people. He spent 11 years in New York’s prison system, including five years in solitary.

Tamir Rice Killing: Activists Push for Arrests After Judge Finds Probable Cause to Charge Officers

Fri 07 10 AM

A judge in Ohio has found probable cause to charge a police officer with murder for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot dead at a playground while holding a toy gun. On Thursday, Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland Municipal Court said there are grounds to prosecute the officers. The ruling came after community leaders in Cleveland took the unusual legal step on Tuesday of appealing directly to the judge to commence prosecution of the officer, saying they were tired of waiting over six months without any progress on the case. We speak to Rice family attorney Walter Madison and Rhonda Williams, the director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University. She’s one of the eight community activists who signed the affidavits in Tamir Rice’s case.

As Ruling Threatens to Gut Abortion Access in Texas, Providers Vow to Take Fight to Supreme Court

Thu 07 49 AM

This week has seen a new round of restrictions on reproductive rights in the United States. In Texas, a federal appeals court Tuesday upheld anti-choice provisions which threaten to leave Texas with just 10 or fewer abortion clinics. The ruling upholds restrictions forcing abortion facilities to meet the standards of hospital-style surgery centers and forcing providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. If the decision goes into effect in about 20 days, attorneys for the clinics have estimated about 900,000 reproductive-age women will live more than 150 miles from the nearest open abortion facility in the state. The clinics plan to take their appeal to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill into law forcing women to wait at least 24 hours to have an abortion. And the Wisconsin state Senate has approved a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Like similar bans in other states and a federal ban passed by the U.S. House last month, the bill is based on the medically debunked claim fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks. We are joined by Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.

After Iraq-Syria Takeover, the Inside Story of How ISIL Destroyed Al-Qaeda from Within

Thu 07 31 AM

A year ago this month, fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State declared they had established a caliphate in the territories they controlled in Iraq and Syria. Since then, the Islamic State has continued to grow, building affiliates from Afghanistan to West Africa while recruiting new members from across the globe. In response, President Obama has sent thousands of U.S. troops back to Iraq. The deployment of another 450 troops was announced on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the rise of the Islamic State has reshaped the jihadist movement in the region, essentially bringing al-Qaeda to the brink of collapse. According to a new investigation by The Guardian, the Islamic State has successfully launched "a coup" against al-Qaeda to destroy it from within. The Islamic State began as al-Qaeda’s branch in the heart of the Middle East but was excommunicated in 2014 after disobeying commands from al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. While the Islamic State has since flourished, The Guardian reports al-Zawahiri is now largely cut off from his commanders and keeping the group afloat through little more than appeals to loyalty. We are joined by Guardian reporter Shiv Malik.

Backlash Against TPP Grows as Leaked Text Reveals Increased Corporate Control of Public Health

Thu 07 10 AM

As the Obama administration praises the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), backlash continues to grow against the deal. WikiLeaks has just published another section of the secret text — this one about public healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. Newly revealed details of the draft show the TPP would give major pharmaceutical companies more power over public access to medicine and weaken public healthcare programs. The leaked draft also suggests the TPP would prevent Congress from passing reforms to lower drug costs. One of the practices that would be allowed is known as "evergreening." It lets drug companies extend the life of a patent by slightly modifying their product and then getting a new patent. We speak to Peter Maybarduk of Public Citizen and John Sifton of Human Rights Watch about their concerns.