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: 5 hours 55 min ago

Caught in the Crossfire: U.S.-Mexico Border Militarization Threatens Way of Life for Native Tribe

Fri 07 42 AM

President Obama has deployed thousands of new U.S. Border Patrol agents to the southern border of Arizona, a state known for its controversial crackdown on immigrants. Caught in the middle of the border militarization are about 28,000 members of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Their federally recognized reservation is about the size of the state of Connecticut, and for a 76-mile stretch it spans both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Broadcasting from Flagstaff, we speak with both Klee Benally, a Diné (Navajo) activist, and Alex Soto, a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and organizer with O’odham Solidarity Across Borders. He is also a member of the hip-hop duo, Shining Soul. "The Tohono O’odham people, which translates to desert people, are caught in the midst of colonial policies that are now militarizing our lands, from just the amount of Border Patrol agents, to checkpoints, to drones, to just the overall surveillance of our community," Soto says.

"A Slow Genocide of the People": Uranium Mining Leaves Toxic Nuclear Legacy on Indigenous Land

Fri 07 23 AM

The iconic Grand Canyon is the site of a battle over toxic uranium mining. Last year, a company called Energy Fuels Resources was given federal approval to reopen a mine six miles from the Grand Canyon’s popular South Rim entrance. A coalition of Native and environmental groups have protested the decision, saying uranium mining could strain scarce water sources and pose serious health effects. Diné (Navajo) tribal lands are littered with abandoned uranium mines. From 1944 to 1986, 3.9 million tons of uranium ore were chiseled and blasted from the mountains and plains of the region. More than 1,000 mines have closed, but the mining companies never properly disposed of their radioactive waste piles, leading to a spike in cancer rates and other health ailments. Broadcasting from Flagstaff, Arizona, we speak with Taylor McKinnon, director of energy with Grand Canyon Trust, and Klee Benally, a Diné (Navajo) activist and musician. "It’s really a slow genocide of the people, not just indigenous people of this region, but it’s estimated that there are over 10 million people who are residing within 50 miles of abandoned uranium mines," Benally says. Benally also describes the struggle to preserve the San Francisco Peaks, an area considered sacred by 13 Native tribes, where the Snowbowl ski resort is using treated sewage water to make snow.

"Utah's Carbon Bomb": State Plots Massive Tar Sands & Oil Shale Projects Despite Climate Concerns

Fri 07 12 AM

While the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline and the Alberta tar sands has galvanized the environmental movement, far less attention has been paid to a related story here in the West. The state of Utah has begun making preparations for its own major tar sands and oil shale extraction projects. According to one U.S. government report, land in the region could hold up to three trillion barrels of oil — that’s more recoverable oil than has been used so far in human history. Critics say Utah is sitting on a tar sands carbon bomb. The Utah Water Quality Board has recently begun giving out permits for companies to extract from the state’s tar sands reserves. We speak to Taylor McKinnon, energy director of the Grand Canyon Trust.

A War on Campus? Northeastern University Suspends Students for Justice in Palestine Chapter

Thu 07 46 AM

The Northeastern University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine has become the latest student group to face reprimand for organizing around the Palestinian cause. Northeastern has suspended the group until 2015, barring it from meeting on campus and stripping it of any university funding. The move comes just weeks after student activists distributed mock eviction notices across the campus during Israeli Apartheid Week. The notices were intended to resemble those used by Israel to notify Palestinians of pending demolitions or seizures of their homes. We speak to Northeastern Students for Justice in Palestine member Max Geller and Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the new book, "The Battle for Justice in Palestine." His new book includes a chapter titled "The War on Campus."

"Obama Is Trying to Vanish Us": Immigrants Fight Record Deportations with Protests, Hunger Strikes

Thu 07 34 AM

As the number of deportations under President Obama approaches two million people and immigration reform lags under Republican obstruction, undocumented immigrants are fighting back through acts of civil disobedience. Hundreds have gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border this week to support a group of undocumented youths and families seeking re-entry into the United States. Much further north, in Tacoma, Washington, a hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center that started with as many as 750 participants has entered its sixth day. The privately owned facility used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement is owned by the GEO Group. The hunger strikers say they are protesting record deportations and prison conditions that pay them as little as $1 a day. We are joined from Seattle by Maru Mora Villalpando, an undocumented immigrant and activist with the group Latino Advocacy.

New York City's Charter School Showdown Reignites National Debate on Privatized Education

Thu 07 11 AM

The battle over charter schools is heating up after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blocked three privately run charter schools from using rent-free space inside public schools. The city also announced it will cut $210 million in charter school construction funding and use the money toward universal pre-K and after-school programs. The moves have set off a fierce debate in New York and the country and have even pitted de Blasio against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat. We are joined by former public school teacher Brian Jones and Steve Barr, founder of the Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school network.

"Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name": NSA-Backing Senate Intel Chair Blasts CIA for Spying on Torture Probe

Wed 07 39 AM

The spat between the CIA and its congressional overseers has intensified after Senator Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to directly accuse the CIA of spying in an effort to undermine a probe of the agency’s torture and rendition program. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report has yet to be released but reportedly documents extensive abuses and a cover-up by CIA officials. Feinstein says the CIA broke the law in secretly removing more than 900 documents from computers used by panel investigators. She also accused the CIA of intimidation in requesting an FBI inquiry of the panel’s conduct. CIA Director John Brennan has rejected Feinstein’s allegations. Meanwhile, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has weighed in by accusing Feinstein of hypocrisy for criticizing alleged CIA spying on U.S. senators while condoning government surveillance of private citizens. We host a roundtable discussion with three guests: former FBI agent Mike German, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and Pulitzer-winning journalist Julia Angwin, author of the new book, "Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance."

Nader on Senate's Climate Stance, "Insanity" of U.S. Nukes, & Why Obama's Min. Wage Hike Falls Short

Wed 07 24 AM

Ralph Nader, the longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate, joins us to discuss a number of key issues: the Senate’s marathon filibuster to promote climate action and attendant failure to challenge President Obama on the Keystone XL; new disclosures revealing U.S. regulators hid concerns and uncertainty around the safety of U.S. nuclear plants in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis three years ago this week; and why he believes President Obama’s call for a $10.10 federal minimum wage falls well short of what workers deserve. Nader is author of the forthcoming book, "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State."

"A Culture of Timidity": Ralph Nader on How Regulators Ignored a GM Safety Defect Tied to 13 Deaths

Wed 07 11 AM

After hundreds of complaints and 13 deaths, the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into how the nation’s largest automaker, General Motors, may have covered up deadly safety defects in its compact cars. Six GM models made from 2003 to 2007 suddenly turned off while being driven — leaving drivers with no engine power, no power steering, no breaks and no air bags. For 11 years, GM reportedly treated the defect as a matter of customer satisfaction, not safety. Federal regulators also failed to take action, declining to investigate despite a flood of complaints. GM finally announced a massive recall of some 1.6 million vehicles last month. We speak with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who is no stranger to GM. After writing "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," he won a major settlement against the auto giant for spying on him and trying to discredit him. Nader faults what he calls "a culture of timidity" in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "bred by the lack of backing by the Bush White House and, to some similar extent, by the Obama White House." He adds: "That of course leads to a reluctance to follow up on the evidence, to stand tall for the American motorist. That is not why we established the auto safety agency in 1966, so maybe this will help turn it around. Often it takes a tragedy like this to turn it around."

Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm

Tue 07 52 AM

World-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky traveled to Japan last week ahead of the three-year anniversary of the Fukushima crisis. Chomsky, now 85 years old, met with Fukushima survivors, including families who evacuated the area after the meltdown. "[It’s] particularly horrifying that this is happening in Japan with its unique, horrendous experiences with the impact of nuclear explosions, which we don’t have to discuss," Chomsky says. "And it’s particularly horrifying when happening to children — but unfortunately, this is what happens all the time."

Ex-Japanese PM on How Fukushima Meltdown was Worse Than Chernobyl & Why He Now Opposes Nuclear Power

Tue 07 14 AM

Three years ago today a massive earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that struck Japan’s northeast coast, resulting in an unprecedented nuclear crisis: a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. As Japan marks the anniversary with continued uncertainty around Fukushima’s long-term impact, we are joined by Naoto Kan, Japan’s prime minister at the time. It’s rare that a sitting world leader changes his position completely, but that’s what Kan has done. He explains how he came to oppose nuclear power while still in office, as he weighed Tokyo’s evacuation. "It’s impossible to totally prevent any kind of accident or disaster happening at the nuclear power plants," Kan says. "And so, the one way to prevent this from happening, to prevent the risk of having to evacuate such huge amounts of people, 50 million people, and for the purpose, for the benefit of the lives of our people, and even the economy of Japan, I came to change the position, that the only way to do this was to totally get rid of the nuclear power plants."

Leftist Ex-Rebel Holds Narrow Lead in El Salvador After Entering Race as Heavy Favorite

Mon 07 53 AM

Both candidates have claimed victory in El Salvador’s presidential election after a preliminary count showed the vote was too close to call. The race pitted the governing party’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén against the right-wing candidate Norman Quijano. Sánchez Cerén, a former rebel commander, was running to replace Mauricio Funes, marking the first time an FMLN candidate succeeds another after decades of right-wing governments. Sánchez Cerén was seen as the favorite coming in, but the latest results show him ahead less than 1 percent. We go to El Salvador to speak with Laura Embree-Lowry of CISPES, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador.

War Workers: Vulnerable Foreign Laborers Swindled & Exploited to Toil on U.S. Bases in Afghanistan

Mon 07 32 AM

A new investigation by Al Jazeera America looks at the human trafficking system that brings tens of thousands of foreign laborers to work on U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. "America’s War Workers" examines how these laborers regularly end up deceived and indebted, victims of local recruiters who charge thousands of dollars and offer false promises of high-paying jobs. They are easy prey for labor traffickers who profit from military contracts. We are joined by Al Jazeera America correspondent Anjali Kamat and producer Sam Black, whose investigation spanned five months and several countries.

Ukraine's Longtime Divisions & NATO's Eastern Expansion to Russian Border Lay Ground for Crimea Vote

Mon 07 14 AM

Tens of thousands took part in rival pro-unity and pro-Russian rallies in Ukraine on Sunday ahead of a planned secession referendum in Russian-occupied Crimea. Crimean residents are set to vote this Sunday on whether to break off from Ukraine and join Russia following the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych last month. In a show of support for Ukraine’s new government, the White House has announced President Obama will host newly installed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the White House this week. We are joined from Crimea by freelance journalist Nicholas Clayton, who has covered the South Caucasus since 2009.

Debate: Do Venezuelan Protests Reflect Popular Discontent or the Old Qualms of a Divided Elite?

Fri 08 46 AM

The ongoing protests in Venezuela have left at least 20 people dead since breaking out last month. Both sides have staged massive rallies, with opponents accusing President Nicolás Maduro of authoritarianism and mishandling the economy and supporters backing his continuation of Hugo Chávez’s legacy of social welfare. Maduro has bristled at outside attempts to intervene. We host a debate on who is protesting in Venezuela, and why, with two guests: Margarita López Maya, a Venezuelan historian and political analyst with the Center for Development Studies at the Central University of Venezuela, and Roberto Lovato, a writer with New American Media who recently returned from reporting in Caracas.