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: 8 hours 44 min ago

Turkish President Erdogan Regains Parliamentary Majority in Vote Held Amid Violence & Fear

Mon 07 52 AM

In Turkey, the party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has regained its parliamentary majority in national elections. On Sunday, Turkish voters elected Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party—the AKP—to 330 of the Parliament’s 550 seats. It’s a major comeback for the AKP after losing its majority in the last campaign five months ago. The victory will help Erdogan strengthen a hold on power critics say has become increasingly authoritarian and divisive. We are joined from Istanbul by Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, who has been reporting on the Turkish elections.

More Countries Than Ever Are Bombing Syria -- Will They Find a Way to Make Peace?

Mon 07 44 AM

The new U.S. deployment to Syria comes more than a year after it launched a bombing campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. It also comes weeks after Russia escalated its role by launching airstrikes against foes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, says that while the military dimension in Syria is escalating, the foreign powers involved could be a step closer to seeking a diplomatic resolution.

Andrew Bacevich: Ongoing Wars in Iraq & Syria Continue Decades of Failed U.S. Militarism in Mideast

Mon 07 31 AM

The U.S. deployment of a team of special operations forces to Syria comes after the first U.S. combat casualty in Iraq in four years. Just last month, President Obama reversed course in Afghanistan, halting the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops fighting in the nation’s longest war. In an escalation of the air war in Syria, the United States has also announced plans to deploy more fighter planes, including 12 F-15s, to the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. On top of the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the U.S. continues to carry out drone strikes across the globe from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia. "[Obama’s] policy has been one of mission creep," says Andrew Bacevich, retired colonel, Vietnam War veteran, and international relations professor at Boston University. "The likelihood that the introduction of a handful of dozen of U.S. soldiers making any meaningful difference in the course of events is just about nil."

The Endless War Grows: Obama Sends U.S. Forces to Syria, Reversing Pledge of No Boots on the Ground

Mon 07 13 AM

The White House has announced a team of special operations forces numbering less than 50 will be sent to Syria. This marks the first sustained U.S. troop presence in Syria since President Obama launched a bombing campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in September 2014. It’s also a reversal of Obama’s repeated promise of no U.S. boots on the ground in Syria, a pledge he also violated in Iraq. One day after the announcement, the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross made what they called an "unprecedented joint warning" for states to end wars, respect international law and aid the 60 million refugees made homeless from recent conflicts. We are joined by Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, author of several books, including "Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror."

Resolved: Debate Win for Inmates Against Harvard Shows Benefits of Higher Education Behind Bars

Fri 06 50 AM

Despite their stellar record, a loss by the Harvard University debate team wouldn’t normally be national, let alone international, news. But one match last month wasn’t your typical sparring contest. Three members of the Harvard team squared off with opponents not from a rival university, but a maximum security New York prison. The topic was whether U.S. public schools should be able to deny enrollment to undocumented students. Despite being forced to advocate a position they don’t agree with, the prison team was declared the winner. The story went viral across the United States and around the world. The prisoners were debating as representatives of the Bard Prison Initiative, a program that offers inmates a college-level liberal arts education. Since its founding in 2001, more than 300 alumni have earned degrees while behind bars. We are joined by Max Kenner, founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative.

"How the Other Half Banks": Author Says America's Two-Tiered Banking System is a Threat to Democracy

Fri 06 37 AM

The nation’s financial crisis taught us that when it comes to Wall Street giants, political leaders consider some banks "too big to fail." After initial misgivings, Democrats and Republicans joined together to commit over $700 billion to rescue major firms from collapse. Now a new book looks at the inverse of this policy: when it comes to serving communities on the local level, some banks are just too small to rescue. In "How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy," University of Georgia law professor Mehrsa Baradaran explores how poor communities have been denied the normal banking opportunities that help sustain households and grow economies.

We Won't Torture Anymore: APA Tells U.S. to Withdraw Psychologists from Nat. Sec. Interrogations

Fri 06 33 AM

The American Psychological Association has officially notified the U.S. government of its new policy barring psychologists from participating in national security interrogations. The new rules were approved in August after an independent investigation documented how the APA leadership actively colluded with the Pentagon and the CIA torture programs. In a new letter to the White House and top federal officials, the APA asks the government to withdraw psychologists from any interrogation or prison setting that could put them in violation of the new ethics policy. We get reaction from Widney Brown, director of programs at Physicians for Human Rights, who says the changes are key to protecting health professionals from military prosecution "when they stand by those ethical codes of conduct and refuse to engage in what is patently unlawful behavior."

Freedom for Shaker Aamer: After 13 Years Behind Bars, British Prisoner Released from Guantánamo

Fri 06 31 AM

British resident Shaker Aamer has been freed from Guantánamo after more than 13 years behind bars. Aamer had been cleared for release since 2007, but the Pentagon kept him locked up without charge. During his time in captivity, Aamer claims he was subjected to abuses including torture, beatings and sleep deprivation. At one point, he lost half his body weight while on a hunger strike. Aamer is en route to London where he’ll rejoin his wife and four children. "If you think about how much our world has changed, it’s like they’re dropping them into a completely different place with very little support, and there’s no right to a remedy for the allegations of torture—which are absolutely credible—for the prolonged arbitrary detention and for any of the other violations that happened," says our guest Widney Brown, director of programs at Physicians for Human Rights.

While Condemning Assad, U.S. Bombs Afghan Hospital & Backs Devastating Saudi War on Yemen

Fri 06 25 AM

The latest figures from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) show the U.S. airstrike on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, earlier this month killed 30 people—13 workers, 10 patients and seven others who remain unidentified. Another 27 staffers were injured, along with an unknown number of patients and caretakers. The bombing left the 94-bed trauma center in ruins and hundreds of thousands of Afghans without a critical surgical facility. Doctors Without Borders has accused the U.S. of a "war crime" and demanded an independent international probe. Just three weeks later, another MSF hospital was destroyed in Yemen, this time by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition that has waged war there since March. Doctors Without Borders says the attack will leave 200,000 people without access to medical care. "The U.S. has been very strong at condemning the Syrian attacks on hospitals in Syria, yet it is backing the Saudis in Yemen, supplying them with weaponry—just like Russia is in Syria—and ignoring the fact the Saudis are doing in Yemen everything the U.S. government is accusing the Syrian government of doing in Syria," says Widney Brown of Physicians for Human Rights.

Russia's Entry into Syria Worsens Killings of Medical Workers on War's Front Lines

Fri 06 08 AM

As global talks on Syria take place in Vienna, we look at the dangers to medical workers on the front lines of the world’s deadliest conflict. Nearly 700 medical personnel have been killed in Syria since the war erupted in March 2011. The group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) says there have been more than 300 attacks on health facilities—with the Syrian regime responsible 90 percent of the time. According to Doctors Without Borders, airstrikes in Syria have killed at least 35 patients and medical staff since an escalation in bombings late last month. Russian airstrikes have damaged six Syrian health facilities this month, killing at least four civilians and wounding six medical staffers. We are joined by PHR’s Widney Brown and a Syrian doctor who fled his country under the cover of night.

Do Black Lives Matter to GOP? Christie Slams Obama for Backing Movement Against Police Bias

Thu 06 55 AM

At Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seized on comments by FBI Director James Comey that added scrutiny and criticism of police officers has fueled an increase in crime. Christie also criticized President Obama for his comments last week in support of Black Lives Matter. "We need to make it so that this country — Americans, police, the government — values black lives but also realizes that black people aren’t saying that only our lives matter, but that our lives matter, as well," says Imani Gandy, senior legal analyst at RH Reality Check and co-host of the podcast This Week in Blackness.

John Nichols on Paul Ryan: The GOP's Best Actor Since Ronald Reagan

Thu 06 49 AM

Republican Congressmember Paul Ryan is set to become House speaker after winning his party’s backing. Ryan replaces John Boehner, who announced his resignation last month after a lengthy dispute with far-right members of his own party. The tea party "Freedom Caucus" had threatened to hold a no-confidence vote amid disagreements with Boehner over negotiating with Democrats and how to use the Republicans’ House majority. Boehner was pressured to take a more confrontational approach with the White House and congressional Democrats over issues including government spending, immigration reform, Obamacare and abortion. Ryan is known for crafting sweeping budget proposals that target public spending, cut taxes for the wealthy and impose deep budget cuts. We speak to journalists David Cay Johnston and John Nichols.

"Donald Creates His Own Reality": David Cay Johnston on Trump Rewriting History at 3rd GOP Debate

Thu 06 47 AM

At Wednesday’s Republican debate in Boulder, Donald Trump denied making several statements only to be shown the source of the claims came from his website. "You have to understand Donald creates his own reality," says Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston. "Whatever Donald says at the moment is, to Donald, the truth."

Is Jeb Bush Finished? Establishment-Backed Dynasty Candidate Might Not Overcome Family Ties

Thu 06 38 AM

Initially viewed as a GOP front-runner and backed by over $130 million from wealthy donors, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is struggling in fourth place. Highlighting his fading chances, Bush spoke less than any other candidate at Wednesday’s debate and failed to seize opportunities to revive his campaign. "I think Donald Trump has very possibly finished off Jeb Bush by wrapping George W. Bush around him," says John Nichols, political writer for The Nation.

Flat Taxes, Ending Medicare-Medicaid, Banning All Abortions: Meet New GOP Front-Runner Ben Carson

Thu 06 26 AM

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has surpassed Donald Trump in most polls to become the new Republican front-runner. Carson’s proposals include a 10 percent flat tax, replacing Medicare and Medicaid with private health savings accounts, and banning abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. We assess Carson’s background and policy platform with New Republic editor Jamil Smith, Imani Gandy of RH Reality Check and This Week in Blackness, and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston.

"We're on the Verge of Picking Someone Who Can't Do the Job": Fraying GOP Holds 3rd Primary Debate

Thu 06 12 AM

With the campaign at roughly the halfway point between its opening summer debate and the Iowa caucus next year, Wednesday’s Republican debate was the first with business mogul Donald Trump no longer leading the polls. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has surpassed Trump in recent days, though the two are still way ahead in the crowded Republican field. The surge of these two relative outsiders has thrown the Republican Party into turmoil. The more established political candidates are scrambling to gain ground as party leaders grapple with Trump and Carson’s outlandish views—and the potential that one of them might end up the nominee. We assess the debate and the state of the GOP field with four guests: John Nichols of The Nation, New Republic editor Jamil Smith, Imani Gandy of RH Reality Check and This Week in Blackness, and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston.