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: 2 hours 11 min ago

Change in Ferguson Continues as Record Turnout Adds 2 Black Members to City Council

Wed 07 27 AM

Ferguson has made history in the Missouri town’s first municipal election since the police shooting of Michael Brown and the release of a scathing Justice Department report documenting racially discriminatory practices by police and local courts. For the first time in Ferguson’s 120 years, the six-member City Council will have three African Americans. Ella Jones and Wesley Bell were elected with record voter turnout of nearly 30 percent in an area that usually sees about 12 percent of registered voters go to the polls. When Brown was killed last August, Ferguson’s mayor, the police chief, the city manager and the municipal judge were all white. Since the shooting, all but the mayor have resigned. The newly elected city council members will be charged with hiring their replacements. We are joined by Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman of Ferguson Township. Bynes helped register residents and get out the vote, and served as a campaign manager for two candidates.

What If There Was No Video? White SC Officer Charged with Murder of Fleeing African-American Man

Wed 07 10 AM

A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder after a video showed him shooting an apparently unarmed African-American man who was running away. The killing happened Saturday morning after North Charleston police officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a broken brake light. On the video, Slager is seen shooting at Scott eight times as he tries to flee. The North Charleston Police Department had initially defended Slager after he said he feared for his life and claimed Scott had taken his Taser weapon. But the video shows Slager shot Scott in the back at a distance of about 15 feet. The video also appears to capture Slager planting an object next to Scott — possibly the Taser gun. The video does not appear to show Scott in possession of the officer’s stun gun at any time. We are joined by longtime South Carolina civil rights activist Kevin Alexander Gray, editor of the book "Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence."

TSA's Airport "Behavior Detection Program" Found to Target Undocumented Immigrants, Not Terrorists

Tue 07 52 AM

The Intercept revealed last month that it is quite easy to be deemed a "suspected terrorist" at airports in the United States. A leaked checklist used by the Transportation Security Administration shows an expansive list of "suspicious signs" for screening passengers, including yawning, fidgeting, whistling, throat clearing and staring at one’s feet. All of these, according to the TSA, are considered behaviors that indicate stress or deception. Well, now The Intercept has revealed who the program actually targets: not terrorists, but undocumented immigrants. Taking a five-week period at a major U.S. airport, The Intercept found that 90 percent of all those arrested were detained for being in the country illegally. Not a single passenger was arrested or suspected for ties to terrorism. The overwhelming detention of undocumented immigrants bolsters criticism that government screening programs have targeted passengers with racial profiling. We speak to the reporter who broke this story, Jana Winter.

Cowspiracy: As California Faces Drought, Film Links Meat Industry to Water Scarcity & Climate Change

Tue 07 39 AM

As California experiences a massive drought, we examine the overlooked link between water shortages, climate change and meat consumption. With some 98 percent of the state suffering from a water crisis, California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered residents and businesses to cut water use by 25 percent. It is the first mandatory statewide reduction in California’s history. One group not facing restrictions is big agriculture, which uses about 80 percent of California’s water. According to the Pacific Institute, 47 percent of a Californian’s water footprint is in meat and dairy products. We are joined by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, directors of the documentary, "Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret." The film contends livestock is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution despite many environmental organizations’ relative silence on the issue.

Are Obama's Record Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq Fueling Unrest in Middle East?

Tue 07 27 AM

As Saudi Arabia continues U.S.-backed strikes in Yemen and Washington lifts its freeze on military to aid to Egypt, new figures show President Obama has overseen a major increase in weapons sales since taking office. The majority of weapons exports under Obama have gone to the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia tops the list at $46 billion in new agreements. We are joined by William Hartung, who says that even after adjusting for inflation, "the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion. That also means that the Obama administration has approved more arms sales than any U.S. administration since World War II." Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, and author of "Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex."

"From Bad to Worse": Hundreds Dead & 100,000 Displaced as Saudi-Led Strikes Push Yemen to the Brink

Tue 07 12 AM

The death toll in Yemen continues to rise amid a Saudi-led military campaign and clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to ousted President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The most intense violence is in the southern city of Aden, with more than 140 people reportedly killed in a 24-hour period. The United Nations says hundreds have been killed and more than 100,000 have been displaced since Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign two weeks ago. The Saudi regime has asked Pakistan to provide soldiers, heightening the possibility of a ground invasion. The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned of a dire humanitarian situation and demanded access to besieged areas. We are joined by the journalist Safa Al Ahmad, whose latest documentary, "The Fight for Yemen," premieres tonight on Frontline on PBS stations nationwide. She was granted extremely rare reporting access to the Houthis as they advanced in Yemen.

American Pharmacists Association Urges Members to Stop Providing Execution Drugs

Mon 07 55 AM

A leading association for pharmacists in the United States has instructed its members to stop providing drugs for use in lethal injections, a change that could make carrying out executions even more difficult for death penalty states. Late last month, delegates of the American Pharmacists Association approved a declaration saying the organization "discourages pharmacist participation in executions on the basis that such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care." The association, which has more than 62,000 members, is responsible for determining pharmacists’ ethical standards, but cannot legally force its decisions. Pharmacists now join physicians and anesthesiologists in having national organizations with ethical codes that discourage their members from partaking in executions. We are joined by Dr. Leonard Edloe, a retired pharmacist who co-wrote the American Pharmacists Association’s new policy against supplying lethal injection drugs. Last year, he received a lifetime achievement award from the association. He now serves as a pastor in Virginia after owning and operating a community pharmacy for four decades.

Louisiana Denies Compensation to Dying Exonerated Death Row Prisoner as Former Prosecutor Apologizes

Mon 07 40 AM

After three decades on death row in Louisiana, Glenn Ford was freed in March 2014 based on new evidence clearing him of the 1983 fatal shooting a jewelry store owner. Ford is African-American and was tried by an all-white jury. In 2000, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing on Ford’s claim that the prosecution suppressed favorable evidence related to two brothers initially implicated in the crime. Then in 2013, an unidentified informant told prosecutors that one of the brothers had admitted to shooting and killing the jewelry store owner. Shortly after Ford’s release last year, he received a second death sentence: stage 3 lung cancer, which has now advanced to stage 4 and spread to his bones, lymph nodes and spine. His attorney says he has entered hospice care in New Orleans. Ford filed a federal lawsuit claiming prison officials and medical authorities knew he had cancer in 2011 but denied him treatment. Glenn Ford is one of the longest-serving death row prisoners ever to be exonerated. Under Louisiana law, he can ask for a maximum of $330,000 in compensation. But last week a judge denied his request, saying Ford was involved in two lesser crimes. We are joined by the lead prosecutor in Ford’s murder trial, Marty Stroud, who has come out in favor of his compensation. In a three-page letter to the Shreveport Times, Stroud said he no longer supports the death penalty, and apologized to Ford. "I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family," he wrote.

"They Couldn't Take My Soul": Anthony Ray Hinton on His Exoneration After 30 Years on Death Row

Mon 07 11 AM

Days after being exonerated and freed from an Alabama prison, Anthony Ray Hinton recounts how he got through nearly 30 years on death row as an innocent man. Hinton was convicted of murdering two fast-food managers in separate robberies in 1985, based on scant evidence that later turned out to be false. Hinton is said to be among the longest-serving death row prisoners ever to be freed after presenting evidence of innocence. Hinton joins us along with his attorney, Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, who says race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance, and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice. "This is a very powerful demonstration of the critique of the American criminal justice system, which we contend treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent," Stevenson says.

147 Killed at Kenyan University, Deadliest Al-Shabab Attack Since Kenya's 2011 Invasion of Somalia

Fri 07 52 AM

In Kenya, officials say at least 147 people, mostly students, were killed when al-Shabab militants stormed a university in Garissa, making it the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy. Al-Shabab militants reportedly went through the university dorms, separating Muslims from Christians and killing the Christians. The Kenyan government said at least 79 people were wounded in the assault. The siege lasted about 15 hours before security forces killed four militants. Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks inside Kenya following Kenya’s 2011 invasion of Somalia. We speak to Leslie Lefkow, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division.

Star Trek's George Takei on Leonard Nimoy: He Represented the Best of an Inclusive American Society

Fri 07 48 AM

Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies, died in February at the age of 83. We speak to his Star Trek co-star, George Takei, who said, "Leonard played an alien, but he was the most human individual I ever met."

George Takei: LGBT Protections Still Needed Despite Amended Indiana, Arkansas Religious Freedom Laws

Fri 07 37 AM

After a national outcry, both Indiana and Arkansas have passed fixes to their so-called religious freedom laws that threatened to sanction anti-LGBT discrimination. Both measures were signed into law Thursday by the states’ governors. The revisions to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act provide new protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, tenants and customers, lawmakers. The fixes do not apply to churches or schools. The new Arkansas bill is crafted to make the state’s religious freedom law more closely mirror a federal law that had been signed by former President Bill Clinton. Critics note the fixes to the anti-LGBT laws will not expand LGBT rights. We speak to George Takei, legendary actor and gay rights activist. Last week, he called for a boycott of Indiana to condemn its anti-LGBT law, saying he wanted to "not only send a clear message to Indiana, but also to help stop the further erosion of our core civil values in other parts of this country."

Former Iranian Ambassador: Historic Nuclear Deal Has Prevented a New War in the Middle East

Fri 07 11 AM

After eight days of talks in Switzerland, Iran and world powers have reached a framework agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program for at least a decade. In return, the United States and Europe plan to lift economic sanctions on Iran. As part of the deal, Iran must reduce the number of its centrifuges that can be used to enrich uranium into a bomb by more than two-thirds. Iran also has to redesign a power plant so it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium, eliminate much of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and be subject to regular international nuclear inspections. While U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the deal would contribute to peace and stability in the region, praise for the deal was not universal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the agreement as a "threat to Israel’s existence." We speak to Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator for Iran. He served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1997. He joins us from Princeton, New Jersey, where he is an associate research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Last year, he published the book, "Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace."

As NYU Expands Into Abu Dhabi, UAE Bars Professor Researching Migrant Worker Abuse

Thu 07 47 AM

The United Arab Emirates has barred New York University professor Andrew Ross from entering the country after he published research about migrant workers and labor abuse in the Gulf State. Ross learned of the ban after arriving at the airport in New York, where he was set to board a flight to continue his research in the UAE, a close U.S. ally. Now it has emerged that a private investigator was also hired to target him and a New York Times reporter who wrote the expose on workers at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus facing harsh conditions. Ross, who serves as president of NYU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, joins us to discuss the case.

20 Years in Prison for Miscarrying? The Case of Purvi Patel & the Criminalization of Pregnancy

Thu 07 34 AM

While Indiana has been in the spotlight over its new anti-LGBT "religious freedom" law, another state controversy is brewing. On Monday, Purvi Patel became the first person in U.S. history sentenced to prison for feticide for what the state said was an attempt to end her own pregnancy. While Patel says she had a miscarriage, delivering a stillborn fetus, prosecutors accused her of taking drugs to induce an abortion, even though no drugs were found in her system. They also used a discredited test to claim the fetus was born alive. Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison. We look at her case amidst the rising tide of anti-choice laws and the criminalization of pregnancy with Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

After Warmest Winter, Drought-Stricken California Limits Water But Exempts Thirstiest Big Growers

Thu 07 16 AM

As California’s record drought continues, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered residents and non-agricultural businesses to cut water use by 25 percent in the first mandatory statewide reduction in the state’s history. One group not facing restrictions under the new rules is big agriculture, which uses about 80 percent of California’s water. The group Food & Water Watch California has criticized Brown for not capping water usage by oil extraction industries and corporate farms, which grow water-intensive crops such as almonds and pistachios, most of which are exported out of state and overseas. Studies show the current drought, which has intensified over the past four years, is the worst California has seen in at least 120 years. Some suggest it is the region’s worst drought in more than a thousand years. This comes after California witnessed the warmest winter on record. We speak with environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard, author of the book, "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth."