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: 18 min 54 sec ago

Police Killing of Michelle Cusseaux Raises Questions of Wrongful Death & Handling of Mentally Ill

Wed 07 33 AM

Last year on August 14, just days after Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, Michelle Cusseaux was killed at close range by a Phoenix police officer who had been called to take the 50-year-old woman to a mental health facility. The officer, Sgt. Percy Dupra, claims Cusseaux threatened him with a hammer. Her family joined supporters the week after her death in marching her casket from Phoenix City Hall to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to call for an outside investigation. Phoenix police say they are now creating a crisis intervention squad to respond to calls involving the mentally ill. We are joined by Michelle Cusseaux’s mother, Frances Garrett.

Say Her Name: Families Seek Justice in Overlooked Police Killings of African-American Women

Wed 07 29 AM

As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest. During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the new report, "Police Brutality Against Black Women."

Watch more #SayHerName coverage from today’s show:
Police Killing of Michelle Cusseaux Raises Questions of Wrongful Death & Handling of Mentally Ill

Illinois Judge Calls Police Killing of Rekia Boyd "Beyond Reckless" But Acquits Cop on Technicality

Sgt. James Brown, 26, Survived Two Tours in Iraq Only to Die Begging for His Life in Texas Jail

Wed 07 09 AM

Newly released video has revealed the dying moments of an African-American active-duty soldier who checked himself into the El Paso, Texas, county jail for a two-day sentence for driving under the influence, and died while in custody in 2012. Authorities claimed Sgt. James Brown died due to a pre-existing medical condition, but shocking new video from inside the jail raises new questions about what happened. The video shows guards swarming on top of him as he repeatedly says he can’t breathe and appears not to resist. By the end of the video, he is shown naked, not blinking or responding, his breathing shallow. Attorneys say an ambulance was never called. Brown was eventually brought to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His family had long suspected foul play in his death but received little information from authorities. They’ve now filed a lawsuit against El Paso County saying his constitutional rights were violated. We are joined by Brown’s mother, Dinetta Scott.

"By Any Means Necessary": Remembering Malcolm X on His 90th Birthday

Tue 07 54 AM

Ninety years ago today, on May 19, 1925, Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He would go on to become one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century. We hear Malcolm X in his words speaking in 1964 — half a year before his assassination — delivering his famed speech, "By Any Means Necessary."

How an 85-Year-Old Nun, Activists Infiltrated Top U.S. Nuclear Site, Exposing Dangers & Urging Peace

Tue 07 25 AM

Three peace activists who infiltrated a nuclear weapons site have been freed from prison after their convictions were overturned. In 2012, the self-described Transform Now Plowshares broke into the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Known as the "Fort Knox of Uranium," the complex holds enough uranium to make 10,000 nuclear bombs. The activists cut holes in the fence to paint peace slogans and threw blood on the wall, revealing major security flaws at the facility, which processes uranium for hydrogen bombs. The break-in sparked a series of congressional hearings, with The New York Times describing it as "the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex." The three were convicted of damaging a national defense site. After two years behind bars, a federal appeals court recently vacated their convictions, saying the prosecution failed to prove the three intended to "injure the national defense." All three were released this weekend until their resentencing on a remaining charge of damaging government property. They have likely already served more time than they are set to receive under their new sentencing. We are joined by two of the activists — Sister Megan Rice, an 85-year-old Catholic nun, and Michael Walli — as well as their attorney, Bill Quigley.

With House Passage of Extreme 20-Week Abortion Ban, GOP Continues Assault on Reproductive Rights

Tue 07 11 AM

Republicans continue to seek the erosion of reproductive rights with a series of measures at the federal and state level. Last week the Republican-controlled House approved a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks. The vote came months after Republicans were forced to withdraw their initial version following dissent from women in their own party. The new revised measure drops a requirement that rape and incest survivors who seek an exemption must first report to police. But it instead imposes a mandatory waiting period for such women of at least 48 hours before they can have an abortion. The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on the medically debunked contention that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Its passage in the House is seen as largely symbolic, with Senate Democrats opposed and a previous veto threat from President Obama. But it shows Republicans remain determined to advance an anti-choice agenda on the national level as they do so in the states. According to The New York Times, 11 states have passed at least 37 new anti-abortion laws in the first five months of this year. We are joined by Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Ralph Nader on Bernie Sanders' Presidential Bid & His Unanswered Letters to the White House

Mon 07 45 AM

Since independent Senator Bernie Sanders announced his presidential candidacy in April, polls in Iowa show support there for him has increased to 15 percent among Democrats, up from five percent in February. This compares to about 60 percent backing for former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Clinton. Sanders is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history, yet he is going to run in the Democratic Party for the Democratic nomination. We discuss Sanders’ plans with former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, author of the new book, "Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015."

Death Penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Anti-Execution State Brings Complications, Not Closure

Mon 07 12 AM

A federal jury has sentenced 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death by lethal injection for setting off bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon that killed three and injured more than 260. The sentence was issued in Massachusetts, a state which has banned the death penalty since 1987 and has not carried out an execution since 1947. Polls show 85 percent of Bostonians oppose the death penalty for Tsarnaev, as well as 80 percent of Massachusetts residents. The jury in the case was "death-qualified," meaning each member had to be open to considering the death penalty, and anyone who opposed it could not serve. Tsarnaev’s lawyers are now expected to appeal. The process could take more than a decade to finish. Since the federal death penalty was reinstated, just three federal prisoners have been executed, none since 2003. We host a roundtable with three guests: James Rooney, president of Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty; Eric Freedman, professor of constitutional law at Hofstra Law School, who has worked on many death penalty cases; and Denny LeBoeuf, director of the ACLU’s John Adams Project, who has 26 years of experience as a capital defense attorney.

We Are Seneca Lake: Josh Fox & Fracking Opponents Fight Natural Gas Storage Site in Upstate NY

Fri 07 43 AM

On Wednesday, Josh Fox, director of "Gasland," the documentary which exposed the harms of the fracking industry, was arrested along with 20 other people after forming a human barricade at a natural gas storage facility in upstate New York. The action was part of a long-standing campaign against plans by Crestwood Midstream to expand gas storage in abandoned salt caverns at Seneca Lake, a drinking water source for 100,000 people. We speak to Fox and air his new documentary short, "We Are Seneca Lake."

As Torture Victims Win $5.5M in Reparations, Could Chicago Be a Model for Police Abuses Nationwide?

Fri 07 29 AM

Earlier this month, the Chicago City Council approved a $5.5 million reparations fund for victims of police torture. More than 200 people, most of them African-American, were tortured under the reign of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge from 1972 to 1991. Tactics included electric shocks and suffocation. The reparations package will provide free city college tuition for victims and relatives, counseling services, a memorial to victims, inclusion of Burge’s actions in the school curriculum, and a formal apology. We are joined by two guests: Flint Taylor, a founding partner at the People’s Law Office who has represented survivors of police torture for more than 25 years, and Darrell Cannon, a former prisoner who spent more than 20 years behind bars after being tortured into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit. Prosecutors dismissed Cannon’s case in 2004, and he was released three years later. He has since focused on the roughly 20 men tortured during the Burge era who remain behind bars.

As Chicago Pays Victims of Past Torture, Police Face New Allegations of Abuse at Homan Square

Fri 07 13 AM

More victims have come forward to detail recent abuse inside Homan Square, a secret compound used by Chicago police for incommunicado interrogations and detentions which some have described as the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site overseas. Exclusive video obtained by The Guardian shows a Chicago man named Angel Perez being taken inside a "prisoner entrance." Perez says police handcuffed his right wrist to a metal bar and then sexually assaulted him with a metal object, believed to be a handgun barrel. Perez says the officers also threatened to "go after" his family members, including his father who is battling cancer. Perez is now the 13th person to describe his detainment at the secret police site to The Guardian. Like many detainees, he apparently was never formally arrested — neither booked, nor permitted access to an attorney, nor charged. Now, Perez and four others have filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. We are joined by the reporter who broke the Homan Square story, Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.

30 Million Gallons Under the Sea: Five Years After BP Disaster, New Drilling OK'd by Spill Site

Thu 07 47 AM

We turn now from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico, where drilling has resumed near the site of the BP-operated offshore oil rig that exploded five years ago in the worst industrial environmental disaster in U.S. history. On Wednesday, Harper’s Magazine revealed a Louisiana-based oil company purchased the area from BP and is now drilling into the Macondo reservoir. The report also looks at the ongoing impact of the 2010 spill. We speak to reporter Antonia Juhasz, who spent two weeks on a ship in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a scientific research mission exploring the impacts of the BP Gulf oil spill. She participated in a dive in the Alvin submarine nearly a mile below the ocean surface, getting closer to the site of the blowout than anyone had ever been.

Seattle Mobilizes to Shut Down Shell Operations to Protest Arctic Oil Drilling

Thu 07 42 AM

The Port of Seattle has voted to seek the blockade of rigs used by the oil giant Shell for its planned drilling in the Arctic this summer. Shell has signed a lease to station its rigs in the Puget Sound while it drills for oil in pristine and highly remote waters in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. The Port of Seattle’s board called for a legal review of Shell’s plans and a temporary postponement of its docking. The move came after a wave of activism in Seattle challenging Shell’s effort. On Tuesday, activists set up a tripod to block work at the site of a fuel transfer station. Meanwhile, thousands of kayakers will try to block the arrival of a Shell rig on Saturday, the start of a three-day Festival of Resistance.

"Irresponsible & Reckless": Environmentalists Decry Obama's Approval for Shell Drilling in Arctic

Thu 07 33 AM

The Obama administration has tentatively approved Shell’s plans to begin oil extraction off the Alaskan coast this summer. Federal scientists estimate the Arctic region contains up to 15 billion barrels of oil, and Shell has long fought to drill in the icy waters of the Chukchi Sea. Environmentalists warn Arctic drilling will pose a risk to local wildlife and exacerbate climate change. They fear that a drilling accident in the icy Arctic Ocean waters could prove far more devastating than the deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill since any rescue operations could be delayed for months by harsh weather conditions. We speak to Subhankar Banerjee. He is a renowned photographer, writer and activist who has spent the past 15 years working for the conservation of the Arctic and raising awareness about indigenous human rights and climate change. He is editor of the anthology, "Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point."

As Train Crash Death Toll Reaches 7, GOP Votes to Cut Amtrak Budget by $250M & Delay Safety Upgrades

Thu 07 10 AM

The death toll from Tuesday’s Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia is now at seven and is expected to rise. About a dozen passengers are still missing. Authorities now say the train was traveling at about 106 miles per hour, more than double the speed limit, as it headed into a steep curve. National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said the accident would have been preventable if Amtrak had installed positive train control technology on that section of track. Just hours after the crash, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee rejected a Democratic amendment to offer $825 million to speed up positive train control implementation. In addition, the committee voted to cut Amtrak’s budget by $250 million. We speak to Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, which represents two million transportation workers, including the vast majority of Amtrak workers, and David Sirota, senior writer at the International Business Times. His recent piece is headlined "Lawmakers Moved to Delay Rail Safety Rule Weeks Before Philadelphia Derailment."