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: 6 hours 18 min ago

Internet For the 1 Percent: New FCC Rules Strike Down Net Neutrality, Opening Fast Lanes for Fees

Fri 07 13 AM

Federal regulators have unveiled new rules that would effectively abandon net neutrality, the concept of a free and open Internet. The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission would allow Internet providers like Verizon or Comcast to charge media companies like Netflix or Amazon extra fees in order to receive preferential treatment, such as faster speeds for their content. If the new rules are voted on next month, the FCC will begin accepting public comments and issue final regulations by the end of summer. “What we’re really seeing here is the transformation of the Internet where the 1 percent get the fast lanes, and the 99 percent get the slow lanes,” says Michael Copps, retired FCC Commissioner. “If we let that happen, we have really undercut the potential of this transformative technology. This has to be stopped.” We are also joined by Astra Taylor, author of the new book, “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age."

"Silenced" Film Explores the Human Toll of Obama's Crackdown on National Security Whistleblowers

Thu 07 44 AM

How far would you go to tell the truth? That is the question posed by the new documentary "Silenced," which follows three national security whistleblowers who fight to reveal the darkest corners of America’s war on terror while enduring the wrath of a government increasingly determined to maintain secrecy. The three are former Justice Department lawyer Jesselyn Radack, former senior National Security Agency official Thomas Drake, and former CIA officer John Kiriakou. On the heels of the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, we speak with director James Spione about the extraordinary lengths the government has gone to in order to wreak havoc on the whistleblowers’ personal lives through a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment.

In Landmark Ruling, U.S. Ordered to Release Memo Behind Targeted Killings of U.S. Citizens

Thu 07 29 AM

In a major development chipping away at the secrecy of the Obama administration’s drone wars, a federal appeals court has ordered the government to release a legal memo that provides the legal rationale for killing U.S. citizens overseas. The court ruled that the government had waived its right to keep the memo secret following public statements in defense of the killings by top officials, as well as the release of a Justice Department "white paper" on the subject. We speak with Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit to release the memo along with The New York Times.

Muslim Americans Who Claim FBI Used No-Fly List to Coerce Them Into Becoming Informants File Lawsuit

Thu 07 13 AM

Naveed Shinwari is one of four American Muslims who filed suit against the government this week for placing them on the U.S. "no-fly list" in order to coerce them into becoming FBI informants. The plaintiffs say the government refuses to explain why they were named on the no-fly list. They also believe that their names continue to be listed because they would not agree to become FBI informants and spy on their local communities. "It’s very frustrating, you feel helpless," Shinwari says. "No one will tell you how you can get off of it, how you got on it. It has a profound impact on people’s lives." We are also joined by Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is seeking to remove the men from the no-fly list and establish a new legal mechanism to challenge placement on it.

Toms River: How a Small Town Fought Back Against Corporate Giants for Toxic Dumping Linked to Cancer

Wed 07 34 AM

Environmental reporter Dan Fagin joins us to discuss his book, "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation," which has just won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Fagin tells the story of how a small New Jersey town fought back against industrial pollution and astronomical rates of childhood cancer, and ultimately won one of the largest legal settlements in U.S. history. "We don’t look for patterns, we don’t analyze those patterns. That is a terrible tragedy," Fagin says of the failure to examine environmental and industrial data gathered by local, state and federal agencies. "People are dying because we do not do effective public health surveillance in this country."

Jim Crow in the Classroom: New Report Finds Segregation Lives on in U.S. Schools

Wed 07 12 AM

As the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a ban on affirmative action in Michigan and the country marks 60 years since the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education, we look at how segregation is still pervasive in U.S. public schools. An explosive new report in ProPublica finds school integration never fully occurred, and in recent decades may have even been reversed. Focusing on three generations of the same family in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the story concludes: "While segregation as it is practiced today may be different than it was 60 years ago, it is no less pernicious: in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, it involves the removal and isolation of poor black and Latino students, in particular, from everyone else. In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened." We are joined by Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose article, "The Resegregation of America’s Schools," is the latest in the ProPublica series "Segregation Now: Investigating America’s Racial Divide."

Earth Day Special: "Fierce Green Fire" Documentary Explores Environmental Movement's Global Rise

Tue 07 13 AM

In an Earth Day special, we look at the history of the global environmental movement as told in the sweeping new documentary, "A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet." We air extended highlights from the film — from New York housewives who take on a major chemical company that polluted their community of Love Canal to Greenpeace’s campaigns to save whales, to the fight by Chico Mendes and Brazilian rubber tappers to save the Amazon rainforest. We also speak to the film’s Oscar-nominated director, Mark Kitchell. "We were really looking to tell stories of the movement. We thought it would be a more engaging and impassioned approach to what are very difficult subjects. Usually environmental films, no matter how good they are, are an eco-bummer," Kitchell says. "These people succeed against enormous odds. And that should give us some kind of hope." "A Fierce Green Fire" airs tonight on PBS American Masters.

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter Dies at 76: Wrongly Jailed Boxer Championed Justice After Winning His Own

Mon 07 29 AM

The celebrated boxer and prisoner-rights activist Rubin "Hurricane" Carter has died at the age of 76. Carter became an international symbol of racial injustice after his wrongful murder conviction forced him to spend 19 years in prison before he was exonerated. Since his release, Carter championed the cause of wrongfully convicted prisoners. His ordeal was publicized in Bob Dylan’s 1975 song "Hurricane," several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, "The Hurricane." We are joined by two guests: John Artis, Carter’s co-defendant and close friend, who cared for him until his death, and Ken Klonsky, co-author of Carter’s autobiography, "Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom," and a director of media relations for Carter’s group, Innocence International. We also broadcast an excerpt from a 1994 speech by Carter about his life’s struggles and triumphs. Says Artis about his close friend: "He was a David against the justice system’s Goliath."

Exclusive: 4 Years After BP Disaster, Ousted Drilling Chief Warns U.S. at Risk of Another Oil Spill

Mon 07 10 AM

Four years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded and killed 11 workers, causing more than 200 million gallons of oil to spew into the Gulf of Mexico, the Environmental Protection Agency has lifted a ban that excluded BP from new federal contracts. In a broadcast exclusive, we speak with Elizabeth Birnbaum, who was director of the Minerals Management Service in the Interior Department at the time of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. She was forced out soon after. In her first broadcast interview since her departure, Birnbaum warns the risk of another offshore oil drilling blowout is real. We are also joined by Jaclyn Lopez, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

"He Gave Us Back Our History": Isabel Allende on Gabriel García Márquez in Exclusive Interview

Fri 07 27 AM

In an exclusive interview, Chilean novelist Isabel Allende remembers the life and legacy of late writer Gabriel García Márquez. She reads from his landmark novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and talks about how García Márquez influenced generations of thinkers and writers in Latin America and across the world. "He’s the master of masters," Allende says. "In a way, he conquered readers and conquered the world, and told the world about us, Latin Americans, and told us who we are. In his pages, we saw ourselves in a mirror." Allende describes the first time she read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and how it impacted her. "It was as if someone was telling me my own story," she says. We also air video of García Márquez in his own words and hear Democracy Now! co-host Juan González read from "The General in His Labyrinth."

Gabriel García Márquez in His Own Words on Writing "100 Years of Solitude"

Fri 07 12 AM

One of the greatest novelists and writers of the 20th century has died. Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez passed away Thursday in Mexico at the age of 87. It has been reported that only the Bible has sold more copies in the Spanish language than the works of García Márquez, who was affectionately known at "Gabo" throughout Latin America. His book "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is considered one of the masterful examples of the literary genre known as magic realism, and it won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. The Swedish Academy described it as a book "in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts." We air clips of him speaking in his own words about writing his acclaimed book.

Former Drone Operators Reveal Air Force Plays Key Role in Secret CIA Assassination Campaign

Thu 07 45 AM

A new documentary film reveals how a regular U.S. Air Force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike program in Pakistan. "Drone" identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which is located on the Creech Air Force Base, about 45 miles from Las Vegas. We are joined by the film’s director, Tonje Hessen Schei, and Chris Woods, an award-winning reporter who investigates drone warfare. Woods is featured in "Drone" and is working on a forthcoming book on U.S. drone warfare.

Fixing the Electoral College: New York Joins Pact to Elect President by Popular Vote

Thu 07 33 AM

New York has become the latest state to join an agreement that would transform the U.S. presidential election. Under the compact for a National Popular Vote, states across the country have pledged to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. If enough states sign on, it would guarantee the presidency goes to the candidate with the most votes nationwide. This would prevent scenarios like what happened in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote but still lost the election to George W. Bush. The compact will kick in only when enough states have signed on to reach a threshold of 270 electoral votes. By adding its 29 electoral votes, New York joins those already pledged by nine other states and Washington, D.C. We are joined by New Yorker staff writer Hendrik Hertzberg, an advocate of the national popular vote and a board member of the electoral reform organization FairVote.

"We Are Not Beginning a New Cold War, We are Well into It": Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Thu 07 12 AM

As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an "abyss" and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a series of steps to reinforce its presence in eastern Europe. "We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land," Rasmussen said. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. "We are not at the beginning of a new Cold War, we are well into it," Cohen says, "which alerts us to the fact 'hot war' is imaginable now. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable — and if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it."