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: 9 hours 15 min ago

Debate: Should Scotland Vote for Independence? Musician Billy Bragg vs. Historian Sam Wetherell

Wed 07 36 AM

Scotland is set to vote Thursday on whether to become independent from Britain for the first time since 1707. The question on the ballot will ask simply: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Polls show the referendum is too close to call, but many British politicians fear voters will choose independence. On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned voters that separation would be a "painful divorce." We host a debate between British musician and activist Billy Bragg and British historian Sam Wetherell. Bragg just published an article titled "Scottish Nationalism and British Nationalism Aren’t the Same" in The Guardian. Wetherell’s article, "Exit Stage Right: The Case Against Scottish Independence," appears in Jacobin.

As Activists Gear Up for People's Climate March, Rep. Jim McDermott Pushes Carbon Tax

Wed 07 21 AM

World leaders are gathering at the United Nations next week for a major summit on climate change. On September 21, more than 100,000 people are expected to attend the People’s Climate March being held in New York City. We talk to Rep. Jim McDermott about his bill, the Managed Carbon Price Act, that aims to reduce air pollution in the United States by establishing a federal price on the emission of greenhouse gases that are responsible for causing global warming. We also hear from one of the more than 170 climate activists from across the United States who are traveling to New York on "The People’s Climate Train" to attend this Sunday’s march. New figures show last month was the warmest August on record around the globe. According to NASA, West Antarctica saw hotter temperatures of up to 8 degrees Celsius higher than normal, or 14 degrees Fahrenheit. This year so far is the fourth hottest on record.

U.S. Ground Troops Back in Iraq? General Hints Broader Military Effort May Be Needed to Fight ISIS

Wed 07 13 AM

A week after President Obama vowed not to send ground troops into Iraq to fight the Islamic State, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted ground troops may be needed. “If there are threats to the U.S., I would of course go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces,” Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. President Obama is expected to visit U.S. Central Command headquarters in Florida today to discuss his strategy to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, Congress is voting this week on a request from Obama for authorization to arm and train Syrian rebels. We speak to Rep. Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington state.

An NFL Wife Tells Her Story: Intimidated Spouses Followed "Code of Silence" Around Domestic Abuse

Tue 07 45 AM

Calls are increasing for National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign over how the league has addressed domestic violence. So far this year, at least four players have been arrested for beating a spouse or partner, most notably Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. We are joined by Dewan Smith-Williams, the wife of former NFL player Wally Williams. When she asked the league for help, she was ignored and told to keep quiet. "It was just a code of silence — you didn’t tell, you didn’t talk about it," Smith-Williams says. "When you would talk about it, you always started to weigh just what’s happening to Janay Rice right now … It happened to many women — both physically and verbally — and it’s just what happens."

"We Will Not Be Silenced": Students Denounce Rape at Columbia as Schools Face Scrutiny for Inaction

Tue 07 24 AM

Hundreds of students turned out for a rally at Columbia University in New York City on Friday bearing mattresses and chanting "carry that weight," a reference to the emotional burden they say all survivors must shoulder each day. Some wore red tape over their mouths to symbolize the harms done by Columbia’s bureaucratic handling of sexual assault. Earlier this month, Columbia University senior Emma Sulkowicz announced she would carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves campus on his own. We play excerpts from Friday’s rally and speak to Sulkowicz and fellow Columbia University senior Zoe Ridolfi-Starr. She was also sexually assaulted at Columbia in 2012. She is the lead complainant in a federal complaint against Columbia over its handling of sexual assault.

A Survivor's Burden: Columbia Student Carries Mattress on Campus Until Alleged Rapist is Expelled

Tue 07 13 AM

A Columbia University senior who says she was raped on campus by a fellow student has launched an unusual act of protest. Emma Sulkowicz has vowed to carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves campus on his own. Sulkowicz says she was raped in her own dorm room in August 2012. That was only the beginning. After she reported her assault to Columbia, she appeared before a disciplinary panel, where she was forced to explain to a university official how the painful manner in which she had been raped was physically possible. Then the panel found her accused assailant not responsible. Two other students have accused the alleged perpetrator of sexual assaults, but he remains on campus. Sulkowicz joins us to tell her story.

Underestimated and Ignored, Growing Ebola Epidemic Requires Unprecedented Global Mobilization

Mon 07 43 AM

The World Health Organization is warning that the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than relief workers can manage. The organization says that thousands are at risk of contracting the virus in the coming weeks and more medical professionals are urgently needed to help contain the outbreak. So far, Ebola has claimed some 2,400 lives and continues to ravage Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It is the worst outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976. Meanwhile, Sierra Leone has lost a fourth doctor to Ebola after efforts to transfer her abroad for treatment failed. The loss is a major setback for the impoverished country, which is already suffering from a shortage of healthcare workers. Since the Ebola outbreak began, approximately 144 healthcare professionals have died while serving affected populations. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Who Pays the Pro-War Pundits? Conflicts of Interest Exposed for TV Guests Backing Military Action

Mon 07 31 AM

A new report finds many talking heads who have been fanning the flames of war in the news media have ties to Pentagon contractors. Reporting for The Nation, Lee Fang details how television analysts including retired generals Jack Keane and Anthony Zinni and former Department of Homeland Security official Frances Townsend have appeared on television recently, but their ties to military contractors were not disclosed. Fang writes many of these commentators "have skin in the game as paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world." Keane, for example, is a special adviser to Academi, the contractor formerly known as Blackwater, and a board member to military manufacturer General Dynamics. He is also a "venture partner" to SCP Partners, an investment firm that works with defense contractors.

Is There a Diplomatic Solution to ISIS Crisis? U.S. Could Turn to Aid, Arms Embargo & Engaging Foes

Mon 07 10 AM

An international summit on combating militants from the Islamic State has opened in France, bringing together around 30 countries from a U.S.-led coalition. The Obama administration says several Arab League countries have signed on for airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, but no sustained campaign is imminent. President Obama has already asserted he does not need approval from the Congress to expand U.S. airstrikes into Syria. On Friday, the Obama administration says it derives legal authority for the war on the Islamic State from both the 2001 war on terror resolution as well as the 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq War. The White House made the claim despite President Obama’s previous call for repealing the war authorization measures. On Saturday, video was posted online showing a member of the Islamic State beheading British aid worker David Haines, the third Western hostage to be beheaded by the militants in less than a month. In the video, the Islamic State issued death threats against another captive British aid worker, Alan Henning. We are joined by Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

The Untold Story of the Shejaiya Massacre in Gaza: A Former Israel Soldier Speaks Out

Fri 07 44 AM

On July 20, at least 90 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya. Days later, former Israeli soldier Eran Efrati was arrested by Israel after he posted details about the massacre based on interviews he conducted with Israeli soldiers who were there. Today he speaks out about what he learned and talks about the killing of 23-year-old Salem Khaleel Shamaly. Activists with the International Solidarity Movement posted a video on YouTube showing the fatal shooting of an unarmed Palestinian civilian during the massacre. Family members later stumbled onto the video and identified the man as Shamaly. In the video, Shamaly is seen lying on the ground, apparently wounded by an unseen sniper. As Shamaly tries to get to his feet, two more shots ring out, and he stops moving. Efrati interviewed three of the Israeli soldiers who witnessed the killing of Salem Khaleel Shamaly. His sources within the Israeli Defense Forces reportedly informed him soldiers were deliberately targeting civilians as "punishment" and "retribution" for the deaths of fellow soldiers in their units. Efrati is a former Israeli combat soldier turned anti-occupation activist and investigative researcher.

Click here to watch part 2 of the interview.

James Foley on the Dehumanization of War: Acclaimed Filmmaker Haskell Wexler Shares 2012 Interview

Fri 07 22 AM

In his address on Wednesday night, President Obama invoked the memory of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were recently beheaded by the Islamic State, as he outlined his case for expanded military actions in Iraq and U.S. airstrikes against the group inside Syria. We speak to Academy Award-winning filmmaker Haskell Wexler, who worked with James Foley in 2012 in Chicago while he was making a film about protests against the NATO Summit. "For the President to use Jim’s name and other journalists as reason to pursue the stated military policy to 'degrade and destroy the Islamic State so that it is no longer a threat' is an insult to the memory of James Foley and to the intelligence of the American people," Wexler wrote this week. We speak to Wexler and hear James Foley in his own words, from a video interview he did with Wexler.

"Insanity": CodePink's Medea Benjamin on Obama Plan to Bomb Syria, Expand Iraq Attacks

Fri 07 13 AM

The Pentagon has announced it will soon start flying bombing missions out of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq as part of an expanded U.S.-led military campaign against militants from the Islamic State. But it remains unclear when the U.S. will begin launching airstrikes in Syria. According to McClatchy, President Obama has not yet authorized the U.S. Central Command to conduct offensive combat operations in Syria as many questions over U.S. strategy remain unresolved. To talk more about President Obama’s plans to expand U.S. military operations in Iraq and to bomb Syria, we are joined by one of the nation’s leading peace activists, Medea Benjamin, founder of CodePink which held a protest outside the White House on Wednesday during President Obama’s speech. She is the author of "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control."

What Would Dr. King Do? As U.S. Moves to Bomb Syria, Tavis Smiley on MLK's Antiwar Legacy

Thu 07 43 AM

What would Dr. Martin Luther King do? As debate continues over U.S. plans to launch airstrikes in Syria, we look at the final year of King’s life when he became a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War, calling his government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." We speak to public TV and radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley, author of the new book, "Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year."

Obama Vows to Destroy Islamic State, But Expanded Strikes in Syria & Iraq Point to "Endless War"

Thu 07 12 AM

President Obama has authorized U.S. airstrikes for the first time in Syria and their expansion in Iraq against the militant group Islamic State. In a prime-time address, Obama vowed to hunt down Islamic State militants "wherever they are." Obama also announced he is sending 475 more U.S. military troops to Iraq, bringing the total to 1,600. He also called for congressional support to arm and train the Syrian opposition. We get analysis of Obama’s speech and this latest U.S. military foray into the Middle East with two guests: Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia who has worked on issues involving Iraq since the 1980s and a former adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government; and Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and author of several books. Prashad’s latest article is "What President Obama Should Not Do About ISIS."