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: 5 hours 52 min ago

Pulling a Gun on a Pool Party? Texas Cop Suspended After Manhandling Bikini-Clad Black Teen

Tue 07 13 AM

As a grand jury charges former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager with murder for the shooting death of unarmed African American Walter Scott, hundreds have protested in McKinney, Texas, against a white police officer who threw an African-American bikini-clad 14-year-old girl to the ground and pointed his pistol at other black youths at a pool party. We are joined by Cheryl Dorsey, a former sergeant in the Los Angeles Police Department, the third largest in the country. Dorsey’s autobiography is "The Creation of a Manifesto: Black & Blue."

Traumatized by 3 Years at Rikers Without Charge, Ex-Teen Prisoner Kalief Browder Commits Suicide

Mon 07 48 AM

A young man imprisoned for three years at Rikers Island jail in New York without charge has committed suicide. Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old high school sophomore when he was detained on suspicion of stealing a backpack. Browder never pleaded guilty and was never convicted. He maintained his innocence and requested a trial, but was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed. After enduring nearly 800 days in solitary confinement and abuses from guards, Browder was only released when the case was dismissed. Browder died Saturday at his home in the Bronx. He was 22 years old. We are joined by Jennifer Gonnerman, a staff reporter for The New Yorker who was the first to report Kalief’s suicide. She originally recounted Kalief Browder’s story last year in her article, "Before the Law: A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life," and later published exclusive surveillance footage of him being beaten by guards and fellow prisoners.

Protesters Press Secluded G7 Leaders on Harmful Policies, from Crippling Austerity to Dirty Coal

Mon 07 14 AM

As leaders of the seven wealthy democracies known as the Group of Seven hold talks in a secluded castle in Germany, thousands of protesters have been met with 20,000 police in the largest security operation in the history of Bavaria. Issues on the G7 agenda include climate change, a $10.4 billion bailout package for Greece, and more austerity measures. We are joined by three guests: Gawain Kripke of Oxfam America, which just published the new report, "Let Them Eat Coal"; Eric LeCompte of the Jubilee USA Network; and former banker Nomi Prins, author of "All the Presidents’ Bankers."

From Occupying Banks to City Hall: Meet Barcelona's New Mayor Ada Colau

Fri 07 39 AM

A longtime anti-eviction activist has just been elected mayor of Barcelona, becoming the city’s first female mayor. Ada Colau co-founded the anti-eviction group Platform for People Affected by Mortgages and was an active member of the indignados, or 15-M movement. Colau has vowed to fine banks with empty homes on their books, stop evictions, expand public housing, set a minimum monthly wage of $670, force utility companies to lower prices, and slash the mayoral salary. Colau enjoyed support from the Podemos party, which grew out of the indignados movement that began occupying squares in Spain four years ago. Ada Colau joins us to discuss her victory.

A Fossil Fuel-Free World is Possible: How to Power a Warming Earth Without Oil, Coal and Nuclear

Fri 07 23 AM

Is a 100 percent renewable energy future possible? According to Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, the answer is yes. Jacobson has developed plans for all 50 states to transform their power infrastructure to rely on wind, water and solar power. This comes as California lawmakers have approved a dozen ambitious environmental and energy bills creating new standards for energy efficiency. Dubbed the California climate leadership package, the 12 bills set high benchmarks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum use. We speak with Jacobson and Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University associate professor and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

From Historic California Drought to Deadly Indian Heat Wave, Global Warming Is Wreaking Havoc

Fri 07 07 AM

As California’s massive drought worsens, new mandatory water restrictions have just gone into effect, requiring residents to cut back water use by a net total of 25 percent. A new study by the University of California, Davis, finds that in 2015 alone, the drought will cost the state’s farmers and agricultural industry $2.7 billion and more than 18,000 jobs. The study notes: "The socioeconomic impacts of an extended drought, in 2016 and beyond, could be much more severe." Meanwhile, the death toll from India’s heat wave has topped 2,300, making it the fifth deadliest heat wave on record. We speak to two leading climate scientists at Stanford University, Noah Diffenbaugh and Mark Jacobson.

A Victory for Privacy or Extension of Mass Surveillance? Co-Sponsor of USA FREEDOM Act Rejects Bill

Thu 07 52 AM

Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law a measure ending the mass phone surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden two years ago. The Senate passed the USA FREEDOM Act on Tuesday with a vote of 67 to 32. The law stops the bulk collection of telephone records. It instead requires the NSA to ask companies for a specific user’s data rather than vacuuming up all the records at once. Congressman Jared Polis initially co-sponsored the legislation but ended up voting against the measure. He joins us from Washington, D.C.

Colorado Congressman Calls for Probe into School Cancellation of Evan Young's Graduation Speech

Thu 07 44 AM

Twin Peaks Charter Academy has announced the the school will launch an investigation into Principal BJ Buchmann’s decision to cancel Evan Young’s coming-out graduation speech. The school has defended decision by saying "the Valedictorian failed to follow the guidelines established by the school. The initial draft of the student’s speech submitted for review was condescending toward the school and the student’s peers and included, among other things, ridiculing comments about faculty and students. The draft speech also included references to personal matters of a sexual nature." We go to Washington, D.C., to speak with Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) who called for the school probe. He is the first openly gay member of Congress to become a parent.

Evan Young: Meet the High School Valedictorian Barred from Giving Coming-Out Graduation Speech

Thu 07 27 AM

Part two of our interview with Evan Young, 2015 valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Longmont, Colorado. Young’s principal prevented him from delivering his graduation speech in which he planned to out himself as gay. This past weekend, Evan was able to give his speech at an Out Boulder fundraiser in a backyard before an audience of hundreds, a number of them politicians congratulating him for his bravery, including Colorado Congressman Jared Polis. Polis is the first openly gay member of Congress to become a parent.

"These are War Crimes": Shocking Details Emerge of U.S. Resident Majid Khan's Torture by CIA

Thu 07 08 AM

Shocking new details have emerged about how the CIA tortured a former resident of Baltimore, Maryland, who has been in U.S. detention since 2003, first at a CIA black site, then at Guantánamo. Majid Khan is the only known legal resident of the United States to be held at Guantánamo. Over the years, Khan has detailed U.S. torture practices to his attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights, but until recently much of the information remained classified. According to the declassified notes, Khan was waterboarded on two separate occasions, he was hung on a wooden beam for days on end, he spent much of 2003 in total darkness, and he experienced repeated beatings and threats to beat him with tools, including a hammer. Khan also faced rectal feeding, which his lawyers described as a form of rape. Part of Khan’s torture was outlined in last year’s Senate torture report, but the declassified information provides new details on the abuse. We are joined by Majid Khan’s lawyer, J. Wells Dixon, a senior staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Fracking Protests Continue in Texas as New ALEC-Backed Law Bars Towns from Banning Drilling

Wed 07 48 AM

The city of Denton, Texas, is in a showdown with Big Oil after it tried to pass a ban on fracking within its city limits. On Tuesday night, residents of Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth, packed a city council meeting to oppose a vote to repeal the ban. The vote was ultimately tabled. The move comes after Texas lawmakers passed a new law that prohibits such bans. The measure went into effect on Monday. That same morning, three protesters locked themselves to the entrance of the first fracking well to reopen. It was just this past November that nearly 60 percent of Denton residents supported the ban at the ballot box. But they were immediately threatened with lawsuits by the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Texas General Land Office. Those same interests worked with lawmakers and the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, to pass this new ban on fracking bans known as House Bill 40. All of this comes as Oklahoma became the second state to ban fracking bans on Friday. Meanwhile, Maryland became the second state, after New York, to ban fracking. We are joined by Tara Linn Hunter, volunteer coordinator for Frack Free Denton.

Australian Whistleblower Who Took on FIFA Corruption: Sepp Blatter's Resignation Long Overdue

Wed 07 33 AM

The beleaguered head of the international soccer governing body FIFA has resigned over a growing corruption scandal. Sepp Blatter’s announcement follows last week’s indictments of 14 people on corruption charges, including two FIFA vice presidents. The New York Times reported Blatter’s secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, allegedly made $10 million in bank transactions that are central elements of the bribery scandal. U.S. officials have confirmed Blatter is the focus of a criminal investigation, with investigators hopeful those already charged will cooperate. The resignation won’t take effect for another four months due to FIFA rules. We are joined by Bonita Mersiades, the former head of corporate and public affairs with the Football Federation of Australia during Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup, which ultimately was awarded to Qatar. Mersiades was let go from the bid team after disagreeing with a policy to influence the vote of FIFA’s Executive Committee members with money for pet projects, and testified during FIFA’s own investigation into corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

"Cultural Genocide": Landmark Report Decries Canada's Forced Schooling of Indigenous Children

Wed 07 10 AM

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada has concluded the country’s decades-long policy of forcibly removing indigenous children from their families and placing them in state-funded residential Christian schools amounted to "cultural genocide." After a six-year investigation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report concluded: "The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to aboriginal people and gain control over their lands and resources. If every aboriginal person had been 'absorbed into the body politic,' there would be no reserves, no treaties and no aboriginal rights." The first schools opened in 1883. The last one closed in 1998. During that time over 150,000 indigenous children were sent away to rid them of their native cultures and languages and integrate them into mainstream Canadian society. Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages and losing touch with their parents and customs. The report also documents widespread physical, cultural and sexual abuse. We are joined by Pamela Palmater, associate professor and chair of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, an Idle No More activist and author of "Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity and Belonging."

Organic Farming Flourishes in Cuba, But Can It Survive Entry of U.S. Agribusiness?

Tue 07 43 AM

Over the past 25 years, Cuba has built a largely organic farming system out of necessity. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba lost its main supplier of fertilizers and pesticides. What will the changing U.S.-Cuban relationship mean for Cuban farmers? We air a video report from a farm outside Havana produced by Democracy Now!'s Karen Ranucci and Monica Melamid. We also speak to filmmaker Catherine Murphy, who has studied Cuba's agricultural system.

Video Postcard from Havana: Cuban Tourism Industry Adapts During These Changing Times

Tue 07 31 AM

As the United States moves to normalize relations with Cuba, more than a million Americans are expected to visit the island this year. How will this change Cuba? Who will prosper? Democracy Now!’s Karen Ranucci and Monica Melamid recently traveled to Cuba, where they produced this piece on the growing private tourism industry.