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: 2 hours 30 sec ago

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."

Killing Nature's Defenders: Study Finds Global Surge in Murders of Environmental Activists

Wed 07 49 AM

A new reports finds the killings of environmental and land rights activists worldwide has tripled over the past decade. The group Global Witness documented 147 activists who were killed in 2012, compared to 51 in 2002. The death rate is now an average of two per week. Almost none of the killers have faced charges. We air interviews with some of the late activists featured in the report, including José da Silva, a Brazilian conservationist and environmentalist who campaigned against logging and clearcutting of trees in the Amazon rainforest. In 2011, José and his wife, Maria, were murdered by masked gunmen. "This could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the scale of the real problem," says Global Witness campaigner Oliver Courtney, who says details about the murders were nearly impossible to locate.

New York Drops Police Unit that Spied on Muslims, But Will It End Broader Profiling & Surveillance?

Wed 07 34 AM

The New York City Police Department is disbanding a controversial spying unit that targeted Muslim communities. The so-called "Demographics Unit" secretly infiltrated Muslim student groups, sent informants into mosques, eavesdropped on conversations in restaurants, barber shops and gyms, and built a vast database of information. But after years of collecting information, it failed to yield a single terrorism investigation or even a single lead. We get reaction from Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York, who calls the unit’s closure a "welcome first step," but says it will "take years to undo the trauma that the American Muslim community has endured." We are also joined by Matt Apuzzo, who was part of the Associated Press team that first revealed the NYPD’s post-9/11 surveillance program. The AP’s series won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Apuzzo is co-author of "Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America."

Was Kansas Shooting Avoidable? White Supremacist was Ex-Informant with Criminal Past & Hateful Views

Wed 07 09 AM

Notorious white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller has been charged with killing three people at two Jewish community sites in Kansas. Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, has openly railed against Jews and African Americans for decades. He served three years in prison on weapons charges and an assassination plot, but avoided a longer sentence after testifying against other white supremacists. Miller claims to have been an FBI informant, and the federal government reportedly shielded him in the early 1990s as part of the witness protection program — the possible source of his multiple names. We are joined by two guests who have tracked Miller for years: Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, and broadcaster David Pakman, who interviewed Miller in 2010.

War Tax Resisters Mark April 15 with Call to Stop Military Spending

Tue 07 52 AM

Millions of Americans are rushing to file their federal and state taxes today by the midnight deadline. But others are using the day to protest the use of tax dollars to fund war. The War Resisters League estimates at least 45 percent of the 2015 federal budget would be used for current and past military expenses, as well as interest on the national debt, some 80 percent of which stems from military spending. To voice their opposition, some Americans are taking a stand by personally refusing to pay their federal taxes. Lida Shao, a pre-med student at Columbia University, has been a war tax resister for three years with support from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Shao joins us to discuss why Tax Day for her is a day of resistance.