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: 4 min 33 sec ago

Black Student Revolt Against Racism Ousts 2 Top Officials at University of Missouri

Tue 07 11 AM

A revolt by African-American students at the University of Missouri has forced two top officials to resign. On Monday, President Tim Wolfe and Columbia campus chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced they will step down in the face of protests over their handling of racism on campus. African-American students have staged weeks of demonstrations against what they called a lax response to bigotry and vandalism. In a key moment Saturday, African-American football players joined the protest, vowing to boycott games and other team activities until Wolfe resigned. We are joined by Mizzou student Danielle Walker, who has organized "Racism Lives Here" demonstrations on campus; and University of Missouri Black Studies Chair Stephanie Shonekan. "[Racist] incidents just seem to be almost a rite of passage for black students when they enter the University of Missouri," Walker says. "I think it is atrocious that these protests had to get to this point in order to truly bring about change, that a student was willing to give their life in order to bring the necessary attention [to] what we have been experiencing so long at this university."

"A Devastating Decision": No Charges for Border Guards in Beating, Taser Death of Mexican Immigrant

Mon 07 47 AM

The Department of Justice has announced no border agents will be prosecuted for their role in the killing of a Mexican immigrant near San Diego even though eyewitness video showed him being beaten and tasered. The incident occurred in May 2010 when 32-year-old Anastasio Hernández-Rojas was caught trying to enter the United States from Mexico. He had previously lived in the United States for 25 years and was the father of five U.S.-born children. The San Diego coroner’s office classified Anastasio Hernández-Rojas’s death as a homicide, concluding he suffered a heart attack as well as "bruising to his chest, stomach, hips, knees, back, lips, head and eyelids; five broken ribs; and a damaged spine." Agents say they confronted Hernández-Rojas because he became hostile and resisted arrest. But eyewitness video raised many questions. We are joined by Andrea Guerrero, co-chair of the Southern Border Communities Coalition and executive director of Alliance San Diego.

A Carbon Bomb Defused: Obama Rejects Keystone XL in Historic Win for Environmental Activism

Mon 07 32 AM

The environmental movement is celebrating one of its biggest victories to date: President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. After years of review and one of the most vocal grassroots campaigns this country has seen in decades, Obama announced Friday he will not allow Keystone on his watch. The pipeline would have sent 830,000 barrels of crude every day from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The fight to block the pipeline saw activists chaining themselves to construction machinery along the pipeline’s route, hundreds getting arrested in acts of civil disobedience outside the White House, and hundreds of thousands taking part in the largest climate change march in history, the People’s Climate March, just over a year ago. We are joined by two guests deeply involved in the victorious fight to stop the Keystone XL: Clayton Thomas-Muller, a leading organizer and writer on environmental justice and indigenous rights in Canada, and Jane Kleeb, executive director of Bold Nebraska, a political advocacy group that emerged as one of Keystone XL’s chief opponents.

Rejecting U.S. Claims, MSF Details Horrific Bombing of Afghan Hospital & Demands War Crimes Probe

Mon 07 11 AM

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) continues to demand an independent war crimes probe of the U.S. bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after releasing its own preliminary investigation. The U.S. airstrike on October 3 killed at least 30 people, including 13 staff members, 10 patients and seven unrecognizable victims yet to be identified. In a new report based on interviews with dozens of witnesses, MSF describes patients burning in their beds, medical staff who were decapitated and lost limbs, and staff members shot from the air while they fled the burning building. Doctors and other medical staff were shot while running to reach safety in a different part of the compound. MSF says it provided the GPS coordinates to U.S. and Afghan officials weeks before and that the strikes continued for half an hour after U.S. and Afghan authorities were told the hospital was being bombed. We are joined by Jason Cone, executive director of Doctors Without Borders USA.

We Are Many: Global Feb. 15 2003 Protests Didn't Stop Iraq War, But May Have Changed the World

Fri 07 51 AM

Up to 30 million people in nearly 800 cities rocked the globe on February 15, 2003, in antiwar rallies against the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq, making it the largest coordinated protest in history. And while the first U.S. bombs would hit Baghdad weeks later, a new documentary argues that the protests weren’t just a one-day historical feat, but a spark that changed the world forever. The new documentary "We Are Many" tells the story of that historic day of protest and how it’s helped shape global political movements ever since. We are joined by the film’s director and producer, Amir Amirani.

No Kids Behind Bars: For-Profit Texas Immigration Jails Challenged over Child Detention

Fri 07 46 AM

Two of the most controversial detention centers nationwide opened last year in the Texas towns of Dilley and Karnes. They are run by private prison companies, and together they can hold more than 2,500 women and children. Last week a Texas judge temporarily halted the state’s efforts to license their family detention centers as child care facilities, putting their future in jeopardy. For more, we are joined by Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, which filed the lawsuit prompting the stay in Texas.

The End of Family Detention? PA Immigration Jail Could Be Forced to Stop Locking Up Parents & Kids

Fri 07 34 AM

The state of Pennsylvania has taken what could be the first step to close a controversial family detention center that has housed thousands of parents with their children who are seeking U.S. asylum. State officials have told the Berks County Residential Center that it won’t renew its 15-year-old license because it was only authorized as a child care facility, not a detention site for families. The Berks jail is a part of the Obama administration’s "detention as deterrence" policy that locks up asylum seekers in what critics call "deportation mills." We get a report from Democracy Now! criminal justice correspondent Renée Feltz, who went inside the Berks County facility.

Locked Up & Neglected After Fleeing Danger, Immigrant Women Detainees Launch Hunger Strike in Texas

Fri 07 26 AM

Last week, 27 immigrant women detained at the for-profit T. Don Hutto facility in Austin began refusing meals, demanding an end to mistreatment and their immediate release. Most are asylum seekers from Central America, which has seen a surge in migrants fleeing violence and abuse. The detainees said they’ve faced threats and unjustified surveillance as they languish in custody without hope of freedom. Immigration officials have denied the hunger strike is even taking place. While exact figures are unknown, advocates say the hunger strike grew this week substantially, possibly into the hundreds. Hutto is run by the country’s largest private prison firm, Corrections Corporation of America. The hunger strike is the latest by immigrant detainees around the country, following three others in the past month. "Women are fleeing Central America and Mexico because they are in danger," says Cristina Parker, immigration projects coordinator for Grassroots Leadership. "We respond by putting them in a prison for profit that cuts corners, that serves bad food, that neglects people’s medical care and needs. This is the system that these women are exposing, and they’re doing so, so bravely."

Full Text of TPP Trade Deal Revealed -- and Critics Say It's Even Worse Than They Thought

Fri 07 09 AM

The details are out on the the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and critics say the trade deal is worse than they feared. The TPP’s full text was released Thursday, weeks after the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations—a group representing 40 percent of the world’s economy—reached an agreement. Activists around the world have opposed the TPP, warning it will benefit corporations at the expense of health, the environment, free speech and labor rights. Congress now has 90 days to review the TPP before President Obama can ask for an up-or-down vote. We are joined by Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and a leading TPP critic.

Acclaimed Actor Viggo Mortensen on the Pope, Poetry and Art in Politics

Thu 07 48 AM

Actor, poet, photographer and book publisher Viggo Mortensen, star of the "Lord of the Rings" franchise, reads his poem "Back to Babylon" from his newly reissued book, "Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation." Mortensen also shares his thoughts on the progressive bent of Pope Francis and speaking out about injustice while leading a creative life.

Actor Viggo Mortensen: On Foreign Policy, Democratic Candidates Aren't Too Far from the Hawks

Thu 07 40 AM

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have voiced support for President Obama’s plan to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his term in 2017. Obama had declared an official end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan last year, but announced last month he was halting the phased military withdrawal. "I wish Bernie Sanders would be president, for many reasons," says actor Viggo Mortensen. "I think in many ways he speaks truth to power, but even in foreign policy, in many ways, he is as hawkish as Hillary Clinton is."

"You Have to Speak Up": Viggo Mortensen Defends Quentin Tarantino's Criticism of Police Killings

Thu 07 27 AM

Award-winning film director Quentin Tarantino is refusing to back down from his criticism of police brutality, even as police unions have launched a campaign to boycott his films. Tarantino sparked controversy after he called fatal police shootings "murders" during the Rise Up October rally against police brutality in New York City on October 24. Tarantino’s comments have come under intense criticism, with several major police unions calling for a boycott of his films. "[Tarantino] clearly saw what anybody with eyes on their head could see," says Academy Award-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen. "What’s troubling is the tacit condoning of these abuses of power by certain police officers by their bosses, by people who should know better." Mortensen also looks back on his own brush with a right-wing political backlash, after he famously wore a T-shirt on the PBS show Charlie Rose that said "No more blood for oil."

Actor Viggo Mortensen: Warrior-King in Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth is Peace Activist on This One

Thu 07 16 AM

Viggo Mortensen, the actor known by millions for his portrayal of the warrior-king Aragorn in the blockbuster "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, joins us to talk about peace, the ongoing wars in the Middle East, U.S. empire, working with the late historian Howard Zinn, and his response to the growing police boycott of director Quentin Tarantino’s films for speaking out against police brutality. Mortensen is a vocal advocate of progressive causes, using his celebrity to speak out for social justice. On top of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Viggo Mortensen has starred in numerous films including David Cronenberg’s movies "A History of Violence," "Eastern Promises," for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, and "A Dangerous Method," for which he received a Golden Globe Award. Mortensen is also poet, painter, photographer and book publisher who spotlights alternative voices. He is the editor at his own imprint, Perceval Press, which has just reissued the 2003 book, "Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation."

Power Wars: How Obama Continued Bush's National Security State After Campaigning Against It

Wed 07 44 AM

With just over a year left in office, President Obama is running out of time to fulfill his longstanding promise to close the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay. The imprisonment of foreigners at Guantánamo is one of several Bush-era policies that continue under Obama’s presidency. While Obama has shut down the CIA’s secret prisons and banned the harshest of Bush’s torture methods, many others—the drone war, presidential secrecy, jailing whistleblowers and mass surveillance—either continue or have even grown. The story of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism legacy is told in the new book, "Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency," by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Charlie Savage.

With Historic Release of Drug Offenders & Help for Re-entry, US Takes "First Step" on Prison Crisis

Wed 07 26 AM

In the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in U.S. history, more than 6,000 inmates have been freed early under a resentencing effort for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes. Decisions by the U.S. Sentencing Commission last year reduced prison terms for certain drug offenses and applied those changes retroactively. Most have been released to halfway houses and home confinement, while close to one-third—about 1,700 people—are undocumented immigrants who now face immediate deportation. The release comes as President Obama has announced a series of steps to help former prisoners readjust to society, including "banning the box"—barring federal agencies from asking potential employees about their criminal records on job applications. We discuss the Obama administration’s steps and the societal challenges for newly freed prisoners with three guests: Susan Burton, founder and executive director of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, which provides support to former prisoners after their release; Five Mualimm-ak, a former prisoner and founder of Incarcerated Nation Collective, a collective of previously incarcerated people; Victoria Law, a freelance journalist and author of "Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women."

Election Day 2015: GOP Takes Kentucky, Ohio Rejects Pot Monopoly, and Houston Shuns LGBT Equality

Wed 07 13 AM

Tuesday was Election Day in the United States as voters across the country decided ballot initiatives and elected city and state leaders. In one of the most closely watched races, tea party favorite Matt Bevin won the governorship in Kentucky, becoming just the second Republican to hold the post in more than four decades. In Houston, Texas, voters repealed a City Council measure barring discrimination over factors including sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents ran what critics called a fear-mongering and anti-LGBT campaign. In Ohio, voters rejected a measure that would have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. Many legalization advocates ended up opposing the effort because it called for giving wealthy investors who funded the campaign the exclusive rights to growing commercial marijuana in Ohio. In San Francisco, voters rejected a measure to limit short-term rentals, which would have restricted the website Airbnb. We discuss Tuesday’s election results with John Nichols, political writer for The Nation.