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: 11 hours 59 min ago

Hip-Hop Legend Boots Riley on #BlackLivesMatter & How His Cousin Was Acquitted in Cop Shooting

Tue 06 51 AM

Legendary hip-hop artist Boots Riley has just published a new book, "Tell Homeland Security–We Are the Bomb," of his songs, commentaries and stories from his work with the Oakland hip-hop group The Coup and the band Street Sweeper Social Club. Riley has been deeply involved in political activism for decades, from taking part in protests against police brutality to supporting Occupy Oakland to speaking out on Palestinian issues. Last week, he joined more than 1,000 black activists, artists and scholars in signing on to a statement supporting "the liberation of Palestine’s land and people." He also describes how his his cousin, Carlos Riley, who was accused of shooting a police officer in Durham, North Carolina, in 2012 was just found not guilty of shooting the police officer.

As Peace Talks Collapse in South Sudan, Film Shows "Pathology of Colonialism" Tearing Apart Nation

Tue 06 25 AM

Peace talks between South Sudan’s warring sides have failed to reach a deal to end a civil war which has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the world’s youngest nation. Last week, the United States proposed implementing a United Nations arms embargo on South Sudan and new sanctions unless the government signs a peace deal to end the conflict. Now the situation in South Sudan is the subject of a new documentary, "We Come as Friends," by Austrian director Hubert Sauper that provides an aerial view of the conflict in Sudan from a shaky, handmade two-seater plane. The film depicts American investors, Chinese oilmen, United Nations officials and Christian missionaries struggling to shape Sudan according to their own visions, while simultaneously applauding the alleged "independence" of the world’s newest state. What emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism. We speak with Hauper and feature excerpts from the film, which debuts this week in theaters.

"Casino Capitalism": Economist Michael Hudson on What's Behind the Stock Market's Rollercoaster Ride

Tue 06 09 AM

Black Monday is how economists are describing Monday’s market turmoil, which saw stock prices tumble across the globe, from China to Europe to the United States. China’s stock indices fell over 8 percent on Monday and another 7 percent today. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average initially fell a record 1,100 points before closing down nearly 600 points. The decline also caused oil prices to plunge to their lowest levels in almost six years. To make sense of what’s really behind the fluctuations in the market, we are joined by economist Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, a Wall Street financial analyst and author of the book, "Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy."

In Guatemala, Protests Threaten to Unseat President, a U.S.-Backed General Implicated in Mass Murder

Mon 06 52 AM

We turn now to Guatemala, where President Otto Pérez Molina is attempting to hold onto his office despite growing calls demanding for his resignation. The president has faced months of massive protests amid a multimillion-dollar corruption scandal in which importers paid bribes to Tax Authority officials to obtain discounts. Over the weekend, most of Pérez Molina’s Cabinet stepped down. The scandal has also led to the arrest of top officials, including Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested on Friday on corruption charges. On Saturday, crowds rallied outside the presidential palace chanting "Resign now!" and waving Guatemalan flags. On Sunday, the Roman Catholic Church joined in calling for the president’s resignation. Hours later, Otto Pérez Molina announced he would not resign. We go to Guatemala to speak with journalist and activist Allan Nairn about the current corruption scandal and Pérez Molina’s history as a U.S.-backed general implicated in the mass murder of indigenous Mayans during the country’s dirty war in the 1980s.

Facebook Accused of Censoring Hundreds of Prisoners by Purging Profile Pages Without Cause

Mon 06 48 AM

In a recent article for The Daily Beast, "Facebook Now a Place for Prisoners, Too," Sarah Shourd looked at the growing debate on prisoners using social media. Facebook has been accused of being too willing to delete profile pages of prisoners at the request of U.S. authorities. The company recently changed its policy after complaints from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups.

"Opening the Box": After Being Jailed in Iran, Sarah Shourd Examines Solitary Confinement in U.S.

Mon 06 41 AM

Since her 2010 release from an Iranian prison, Sarah Shourd’s work has focused largely on exposing and condemning the cruelty and overuse of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. She has just written a play about solitary confinement in the United States titled "Opening the Box." It was performed Thursday at an event hosted by the Fortune Society in New York City, before an audience of many who had been in solitary.

Sarah Shourd, Hiker Jailed in Iran, Says Nuclear Deal Could Lead to Release of Detained Americans

Mon 06 33 AM

As members of Congress continue to debate the historic Iran nuclear deal ahead of next month’s vote, more attention is being paid to the three—possibly four—Americans imprisoned in Iran: Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Robert Levinson, whose whereabouts are in question. During a recent press conference, President Obama defended his decision not to tie the nuclear negotiations to the release of the hostages, saying it would have encouraged Iran to use hostages perhaps to get additional concessions from the United States. We speak to Sarah Shourd, one of the three American hikers imprisoned in Iran for more than a year in solitary confinement. She was captured, along with her two companions, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, in July 2009 while hiking near the unmarked Iran-Iraq border in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan during a week-long trip from her home in Damascus, Syria.

We Need to Fix Our Democracy: Lawrence Lessig Weighs Presidential Run to Rid Money from Politics

Mon 06 11 AM

The 2016 presidential race is shaping up to be the most expensive political race in history. Experts predict as much as $10 billion could be spent by candidates, parties and outside groups on the campaign. A recent analysis by The New York Times shows fewer than 400 families are responsible for almost half the money raised to date. The vast majority of the $388 million raised so far has been channeled to super PACs which can accept unlimited donations in support of candidates. According to the Times, the political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign. That figure dwarfs how much the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees spent in the 2012 election. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has a set a fundraising goal of $2.5 billion. Today we are joined by a law professor who is considering challenging Clinton in the Democratic primary. His platform is simple: Get money out of politics. Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig says that if he won the presidency, he would serve only as long as it takes to pass sweeping campaign finance reform. Then, he says, he would resign.

In a Final Speech, Civil Rights Icon Julian Bond Declares: "We Must Practice Dissent"

Fri 06 50 AM

In one of his final speeches, the late civil rights leader Julian Bond spoke at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on May 2, 2015, as part of the "Vietnam: Power of Protest" conference. He was introduced by the actor and activist Danny Glover. Julian Bond died on August 15 at the age of 75. Bond first gained prominence in 1960 when he organized a series of student sit-ins while attending Morehouse College. He went on to help found SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Julian Bond would go on to co-found the Southern Poverty Law Center. He served as the organization’s first president from 1971 to 1979. From 1998 to 2010, he was chairman of the NAACP.

In Victory for Corporations, Court Rejects Rule on Labeling Goods Containing "Conflict Minerals"

Fri 06 42 AM

Since 1998, more than 5 million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo in what has been described as the deadliest documented conflict in African history. Much of the fighting has been over precious minerals including tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold. Tantalum has become a precious commodity in the digital age — it’s found in cellphones, DVD players, laptops and hard drives. Human rights groups have long pushed for mandatory labeling of so-called "conflict minerals" in order to allow consumers and investors to avoid fueling the bloody conflict through the purchase of their products. The mandatory disclosure policy became law as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. But this week a federal appeals court ruled the Securities and Exchange Commission cannot force companies to disclose whether minerals come from the Democratic Republic of Congo because the mandatory labeling would violate the companies’ freedom of speech. We speak to Zorka Milin, senior legal adviser with Global Witness.

Global Warming Worsens California Drought as July Becomes Hottest Month on Record

Fri 06 30 AM

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report Thursday showing that July was Earth’s hottest month on record. Nine of the 10 hottest months since record keeping began in 1880 have occurred since 2005. Climatologists also expect 2015 to be the hottest year on record. This news comes as scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory released a report that shows that global warming has worsened the California drought, now entering its fourth year. This new study is the first to estimate the extent to which rising temperatures are affecting the loss of moisture from plants and soil, and suggests that within a few decades continually increasing temperatures and resulting moisture losses will push California into a permanent drought by 2060. We discuss the report and the impact of the findings with the study’s lead author, Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: From Greece to Puerto Rico, the Financial Rules Are Rigged to Favor the 1%

Fri 06 17 AM

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders recently convened a panel of economists in Washington to discuss the debt crisis in Greece and throughout the world. In his opening statement, Sanders talked about the debt crisis in Greece as well as in Puerto Rico. "It is time for creditors to sit down with the governments of Greece and Puerto Rico and work out a debt repayment plan that is fair to both sides," Sanders said. "The people of Greece and the children of Puerto Rico deserve nothing less."

Greek PM Tsipras Resigns, Calls for New Election as Left Wing of Syriza Splits to Form New Party

Fri 06 10 AM

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation on Thursday, paving the way for new elections in which he will run. The move came after Tsipras lost the support of many members of his own Syriza party, which opposed his backing of the demands of international creditors for yet more austerity and economic reform in exchange for a new $96 billion bailout. Many analysts predict Tsipras will retain his post as prime minister after the election, but the conservative government has announced plans to try to form a new coalition government ahead of the elections. Meanwhile, 25 members of the left wing of Syriza have announced they are breaking away to form a separate party called Popular Unity. We speak to Costas Panayotakis, author of "Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy."

After NY Prison Escape, Other Inmates Faced Beatings, Solitary Confinement, Threats of Waterboarding

Thu 06 52 AM

When two prisoners escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, in June, the story dominated national headlines. Little attention was paid to what was going on inside the prison during the search. Though it was prison employees who were implicated in helping the two men escape, The New York Times recently revealed a campaign of retribution was waged against other prisoners. Some were beaten while handcuffed, choked and slammed against cell bars and walls. One prisoner was threatened with waterboarding. We speak to Michael Schwirtz, reporter at The New York Times.

The Beat Up Squad: NY Prison Guards Accused of Brutally Killing Prisoner & Covering Up Death

Thu 06 47 AM

Four months ago, Samuel Harrell died at New York’s Fishkill Correctional Facility. At the time, officers claimed Harrell, an African-American prisoner with bipolar disorder, may have overdosed on synthetic marijuana, known as K2. But The New York Times recently obtained an autopsy report that determined Harrell’s death was a homicide caused by a "physical altercation with corrections officers." According to interviews conducted by The New York Times, Harrell died after as many as 20 corrections officers kicked, punched and dragged him down a flight of stairs while he was handcuffed. Some of the officers were known around the prison as the Beat Up Squad. Officers then called an ambulance and told the medical crew Harrell may have overdosed on synthetic marijuana, known as K2. Harrell died that night in a nearby hospital. We speak to Michael Schwirtz, reporter at The New York Times.

Islamic Leaders Take on Climate Change, Criticizing "Relentless Pursuit of Economic Growth"

Thu 06 39 AM

A group of leading Islamic scholars have issued a declaration calling on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to do their part to eliminate dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and turn toward renewable energy sources. The declaration urges world leaders meeting in Paris later this year to commit to a 100 percent zero-emissions strategy and to invest in decentralized renewable energy in order to reduce poverty and the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The declaration comes on the heels of the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment earlier this year, which also calls for sweeping action on climate change. Like the encyclical, this declaration, endorsed by more than 60 leading Islamic scholars, links climate change to the economic system, stating: "We recognize the corruption that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption." We speak to Bangladeshi climate scientist Saleemul Huq, one of the contributors and signatories to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change.

As Jimmy Carter Discusses Cancer Diagnosis, Former Aide Praises Him as Honest, Noble Man

Thu 06 36 AM

Former President Jimmy Carter revealed today cancer had spread to his brain and that he would begin radiation treatment later in the day. He made the comment during his first public remarks about his cancer. We ask Gary Sick about his former boss. Sick served on the National Security Council under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis.