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: 10 hours 21 min ago

Not a Bug Splat: Artists Confront U.S. Drone Operators with Giant Picture of Pakistani Child

Thu 07 56 AM

In an act of protest against drone attacks, a group of artists and villagers have unveiled a giant banner on a Pakistani field featuring the face of a young child. Organizers say the child lost her parents and two young siblings in a U.S. drone strike. Her picture is large enough to be picked up by satellite imagery. The "Not a Bug Splat" campaign is the work of Pakistanis, Americans and the French street artist JR. The project derives its name from a piece of military software that generates computer models of the destruction a bombing raid might cause — those models reportedly resemble the remains of a squashed insect on a windshield. Now, drone operators will see the face of the little girl staring up at them instead. We speak with Dr. Akash Goel, a physician who is one of the co-creators of the "Not a Bug Splat" project.

Wall Street's Land Grab: Firms Amass Rental Empire, Ousting Tenants & Threatening New Housing Crisis

Thu 07 40 AM

The Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, is now the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the country. In one day alone, Blackstone bought up 1,400 houses in Atlanta. And as private equity firms gobble up huge swaths of the housing market, they are partnering with big banks to bundle the mortgages on these rental homes into a new financial product known as "rental-backed securities," reminiscent of the "mortgage-backed securities" that helped cause the last financial crisis. Could this new private equity rental empire help spark the next housing crisis? We are joined by Laura Gottesdiener, author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," who calls this wave of purchases "a land grab." Gottesdiener’s latest article focuses on New York City’s rental market, a case study in what critics call "predatory equity." Large firms have used abusive tactics to oust tenants in a bid to hike up rents — and tenants have been resisting. We are also joined by Benjamin Warren, who, along with nearly 1,600 families in 42 buildings, is a victim of one of the largest single foreclosures in the city’s recent history.

As Deportations Top 2 Million, Should Activists Push for Executive Order or Congressional Action?

Thu 07 11 AM

Protesters took to the streets in more than 60 cities on Saturday to call on President Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Some marked it as the date when the Obama administration likely reached its two millionth deportation. This comes as The New York Times reports that two-thirds of those deported under Obama had committed minor infractions, such as traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. More than 5,000 children whose parents were removed from the country have ended up in foster care. But some activists say presidential action on deportations is not enough. They are focused instead on the passage of a bill in Congress that includes a path to citizenship. As Obama’s policies come under increasing scrutiny, we host a debate: Should the immigrant rights movement push Obama to take executive action to immediately stop deportations, or should the focus remain on pressuring Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill? We are joined by two guests: Pablo Alvarado, president of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Is India on a Totalitarian Path? Arundhati Roy on Corporatism, Nationalism and World's Largest Vote

Wed 07 12 AM

As voting begins in India in the largest elections the world has ever seen, we spend the hour with Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy. Nearly 815 million Indians are eligible to vote, and results will be issued in May. One of India’s most famous authors — and one of its fiercest critics — Roy is out with a new book, "Capitalism: A Ghost Story," which dives into India’s transforming political landscape and makes the case that globalized capitalism has intensified the wealth divide, racism, and environmental degradation. "This new election is going to be [about] who the corporates choose," Roy says, "[about] who is not going to blink about deploying the Indian army against the poorest people in this country, and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations." Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, "The God of Small Things." Her other books include "An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire" and "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers."

Can Any Court Hold U.S. Accountable for Killing Americans Overseas with Drone Strikes?

Tue 07 54 AM

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s killing of three Americans in Yemen drone strikes. The case was filed by the families of Samir Khan, Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, his teenage son, Abdulrahman, accusing top U.S. officials of unlawful killings. But on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled the victims’ constitutional rights were never violated and said the U.S. officials involved cannot be held liable. We get reaction from Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the attorneys working on Anwar Al-Awlaki’s case. "The courts have abdicated their roles with torture, they’ve abdicated their roles with indefinite detention," LaHood says. "Here we thought finally the courts would uphold the Constitution with the killing of American citizens."

"Science Does Not Exist on Capitol Hill": Rep. Peter Welch on House GOP's Climate Change Denial

Tue 07 45 AM

Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont reacts to his Republican colleagues’ recent vote to effectively force government agencies to stop studying climate change. The House measure calls on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and related bodies to focus on forecasting severe weather — but not explore one of its likely causes. The vote comes just as the U.N.'s top climate panel issued a report calling on governments to prepare for global warming's worsening impact and to cut emissions in order to prevent it from getting worse. "Science does not exist on Capitol Hill," Welch says. "We’re in a fact-free zone here." Welch also discusses his effort to repeal tax giveaways to pharmaceutical companies, the future of nuclear power in the United States, and the growing heroin problem plaguing Vermont and rural communities across the country.

"We Can't Just Give a Blank Check": Lawmakers Call for Ending Secrecy of U.S. Intel's Black Budget

Tue 07 34 AM

We speak with Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont about a bipartisan bill that would force President Obama to include the total dollar amount requested for each of the 16 intelligence agencies in his budget proposal. Using documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Washington Post has revealed the nation’s so-called "black budget" to be $53 billion, a 54 percent hike over the past decade. The documents also revealed the NSA is paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year to U.S. telephone and Internet companies for clandestine access to their communications networks. Welch has joined Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, a fellow member of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, in co-sponsoring the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act. "If you are going to have any oversight whatsoever, you have to know what the budget is," Welch says.

All the Presidents' Bankers: Nomi Prins on the Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion

Tue 07 11 AM

With U.S. inequality at its highest point since 1928 and Wall Street bonuses hitting pre-2008 levels, we look at the 100-year history of secret collusion between Washington and the financial industry. In her new book, "All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power," financial journalist Nomi Prins explores how a small number of bankers have played critical roles in shaping a century’s worth of financial, foreign and domestic policy in the United States. Prins examines how these relationships have influenced events from the creation of the Federal Reserve, the response to the Great Depression, and the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Now a senior fellow at Demos, Prins is a former managing director at Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs, and previously an analyst at Lehman Brothers and Chase Manhattan Bank.

Refusing to Call It Genocide: Documents Show Clinton Administration Ignored Mass Killings in Rwanda

Mon 07 47 AM

Declassified U.S. documents show the Clinton administration refused to label the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide. One State Department document read: "Be careful … Genocide finding could commit U.S.G. to actually 'do something.'" At a press briefing in 1994, Reuters correspondent Alan Elsner asked: "How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?" State Department spokesperson Christine Shelley responded, "Alan, that’s just not a question that I’m in a position to answer." Samantha Power, who is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, described the U.S. inaction in her 2001 article, "Bystanders to Genocide." She wrote, "The United States did much more than fail to send troops. It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorization of UN reinforcements." We speak to Emily Willard of the National Security Archive, and University of Wisconsin, Madison, Professor Scott Straus, author of "The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda."

20 Years Later, Rwanda Commemorates Genocide the World Ignored

Mon 07 30 AM

Rwanda is holding commemorations for the 20th anniversary of the genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. On April 6, 1994, Rwanda’s extremist Hutu government and military began a campaign to exterminate the minority Tutsis. Men, women and children were massacred in an orchestrated, pre-planned campaign of genocide not seen since the Nazi Holocaust. The world claimed it was unaware of the magnitude of the slaughter, and the United Nations peacekeeping force stationed in the country stood by helplessly and watched the massacre unfold. Today, Rwandan President Paul Kagame will light a flame that will burn for 100 days, the length of time it took government soldiers and Hutu militia to carry out the killings. France has pulled out of the events following accusations by Kagame that it participated in the mass killings. We are joined by two guests: Jina Moore, international women’s rights correspondent for BuzzFeed, reporting from Rwanda, and Jean-Marie Kamatali, a former dean of the National University of Rwanda School of Law.

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

Mon 07 08 AM

Was Turkey behind last year’s Syrian chemical weapons attack? That is the question raised in a new exposé by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh on the intelligence debate over the deaths of hundreds of Syrians in Ghouta last year. The United States, and much of the international community, blamed forces loyal to the Assad government, almost leading to a U.S. attack on Syria. But Hersh reveals the U.S. intelligence community feared Turkey was supplying sarin gas to Syrian rebels in the months before the attack took place — information never made public as President Obama made the case for launching a strike. Hersh joins us to discuss his findings.