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: 7 hours 19 min ago

From Historic California Drought to Deadly Indian Heat Wave, Global Warming Is Wreaking Havoc

Fri 07 07 AM

As California’s massive drought worsens, new mandatory water restrictions have just gone into effect, requiring residents to cut back water use by a net total of 25 percent. A new study by the University of California, Davis, finds that in 2015 alone, the drought will cost the state’s farmers and agricultural industry $2.7 billion and more than 18,000 jobs. The study notes: "The socioeconomic impacts of an extended drought, in 2016 and beyond, could be much more severe." Meanwhile, the death toll from India’s heat wave has topped 2,300, making it the fifth deadliest heat wave on record. We speak to two leading climate scientists at Stanford University, Noah Diffenbaugh and Mark Jacobson.

A Victory for Privacy or Extension of Mass Surveillance? Co-Sponsor of USA FREEDOM Act Rejects Bill

Thu 07 52 AM

Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law a measure ending the mass phone surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden two years ago. The Senate passed the USA FREEDOM Act on Tuesday with a vote of 67 to 32. The law stops the bulk collection of telephone records. It instead requires the NSA to ask companies for a specific user’s data rather than vacuuming up all the records at once. Congressman Jared Polis initially co-sponsored the legislation but ended up voting against the measure. He joins us from Washington, D.C.

Colorado Congressman Calls for Probe into School Cancellation of Evan Young's Graduation Speech

Thu 07 44 AM

Twin Peaks Charter Academy has announced the the school will launch an investigation into Principal BJ Buchmann’s decision to cancel Evan Young’s coming-out graduation speech. The school has defended decision by saying "the Valedictorian failed to follow the guidelines established by the school. The initial draft of the student’s speech submitted for review was condescending toward the school and the student’s peers and included, among other things, ridiculing comments about faculty and students. The draft speech also included references to personal matters of a sexual nature." We go to Washington, D.C., to speak with Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) who called for the school probe. He is the first openly gay member of Congress to become a parent.

Evan Young: Meet the High School Valedictorian Barred from Giving Coming-Out Graduation Speech

Thu 07 27 AM

Part two of our interview with Evan Young, 2015 valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Longmont, Colorado. Young’s principal prevented him from delivering his graduation speech in which he planned to out himself as gay. This past weekend, Evan was able to give his speech at an Out Boulder fundraiser in a backyard before an audience of hundreds, a number of them politicians congratulating him for his bravery, including Colorado Congressman Jared Polis. Polis is the first openly gay member of Congress to become a parent.

"These are War Crimes": Shocking Details Emerge of U.S. Resident Majid Khan's Torture by CIA

Thu 07 08 AM

Shocking new details have emerged about how the CIA tortured a former resident of Baltimore, Maryland, who has been in U.S. detention since 2003, first at a CIA black site, then at Guantánamo. Majid Khan is the only known legal resident of the United States to be held at Guantánamo. Over the years, Khan has detailed U.S. torture practices to his attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights, but until recently much of the information remained classified. According to the declassified notes, Khan was waterboarded on two separate occasions, he was hung on a wooden beam for days on end, he spent much of 2003 in total darkness, and he experienced repeated beatings and threats to beat him with tools, including a hammer. Khan also faced rectal feeding, which his lawyers described as a form of rape. Part of Khan’s torture was outlined in last year’s Senate torture report, but the declassified information provides new details on the abuse. We are joined by Majid Khan’s lawyer, J. Wells Dixon, a senior staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Fracking Protests Continue in Texas as New ALEC-Backed Law Bars Towns from Banning Drilling

Wed 07 48 AM

The city of Denton, Texas, is in a showdown with Big Oil after it tried to pass a ban on fracking within its city limits. On Tuesday night, residents of Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth, packed a city council meeting to oppose a vote to repeal the ban. The vote was ultimately tabled. The move comes after Texas lawmakers passed a new law that prohibits such bans. The measure went into effect on Monday. That same morning, three protesters locked themselves to the entrance of the first fracking well to reopen. It was just this past November that nearly 60 percent of Denton residents supported the ban at the ballot box. But they were immediately threatened with lawsuits by the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Texas General Land Office. Those same interests worked with lawmakers and the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, to pass this new ban on fracking bans known as House Bill 40. All of this comes as Oklahoma became the second state to ban fracking bans on Friday. Meanwhile, Maryland became the second state, after New York, to ban fracking. We are joined by Tara Linn Hunter, volunteer coordinator for Frack Free Denton.

Australian Whistleblower Who Took on FIFA Corruption: Sepp Blatter's Resignation Long Overdue

Wed 07 33 AM

The beleaguered head of the international soccer governing body FIFA has resigned over a growing corruption scandal. Sepp Blatter’s announcement follows last week’s indictments of 14 people on corruption charges, including two FIFA vice presidents. The New York Times reported Blatter’s secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, allegedly made $10 million in bank transactions that are central elements of the bribery scandal. U.S. officials have confirmed Blatter is the focus of a criminal investigation, with investigators hopeful those already charged will cooperate. The resignation won’t take effect for another four months due to FIFA rules. We are joined by Bonita Mersiades, the former head of corporate and public affairs with the Football Federation of Australia during Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup, which ultimately was awarded to Qatar. Mersiades was let go from the bid team after disagreeing with a policy to influence the vote of FIFA’s Executive Committee members with money for pet projects, and testified during FIFA’s own investigation into corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

"Cultural Genocide": Landmark Report Decries Canada's Forced Schooling of Indigenous Children

Wed 07 10 AM

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada has concluded the country’s decades-long policy of forcibly removing indigenous children from their families and placing them in state-funded residential Christian schools amounted to "cultural genocide." After a six-year investigation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report concluded: "The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to aboriginal people and gain control over their lands and resources. If every aboriginal person had been 'absorbed into the body politic,' there would be no reserves, no treaties and no aboriginal rights." The first schools opened in 1883. The last one closed in 1998. During that time over 150,000 indigenous children were sent away to rid them of their native cultures and languages and integrate them into mainstream Canadian society. Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages and losing touch with their parents and customs. The report also documents widespread physical, cultural and sexual abuse. We are joined by Pamela Palmater, associate professor and chair of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, an Idle No More activist and author of "Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity and Belonging."

Organic Farming Flourishes in Cuba, But Can It Survive Entry of U.S. Agribusiness?

Tue 07 43 AM

Over the past 25 years, Cuba has built a largely organic farming system out of necessity. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba lost its main supplier of fertilizers and pesticides. What will the changing U.S.-Cuban relationship mean for Cuban farmers? We air a video report from a farm outside Havana produced by Democracy Now!'s Karen Ranucci and Monica Melamid. We also speak to filmmaker Catherine Murphy, who has studied Cuba's agricultural system.

Video Postcard from Havana: Cuban Tourism Industry Adapts During These Changing Times

Tue 07 31 AM

As the United States moves to normalize relations with Cuba, more than a million Americans are expected to visit the island this year. How will this change Cuba? Who will prosper? Democracy Now!’s Karen Ranucci and Monica Melamid recently traveled to Cuba, where they produced this piece on the growing private tourism industry.

As U.S. Drops Havana from Terror List, Cuba Aims to Preserve Sovereignty & Independence

Tue 07 22 AM

The U.S. has formally removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, clearing a main obstacle to restoring diplomatic ties with Havana for the first time in over five decades. Cuba was placed on the terrorism list in 1982 at a time when Havana was supporting liberation struggles in Africa and Latin America. While Cuba is now off the terrorism list, most of the U.S. sanctions remain in place. We speak to historian Jane Franklin, author of "Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History."

WikiLeaks Launches Campaign to Offer $100,000 "Bounty" for Leaked Drafts of Secret TPP Chapters

Tue 07 09 AM

Despite the Senate vote approving a measure to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, opposition to the deal continues to mount ahead of this month’s House vote. Critics, including a number of Democratic lawmakers, oppose the TPP, saying it will fuel inequality, kill jobs, and undermine health, environmental and financial regulations. The negotiations have been secret, and the public has never seen most of the deal’s text. Well, this morning the whistleblowing group WikiLeaks launched a campaign to change that. The group is seeking to raise $100,000 to offer what they describe as a bounty for the leaking of the unseen chapters of the TPP. We speak to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Exclusive: Gay High School Student Delivers Valedictorian Speech He Was Barred from Giving

Mon 07 41 AM

Eighteen-year-old Evan Young was supposed to be the 2015 class valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Longmont, Colorado. But his principal prevented him from giving his graduation speech after learning he would announce he is gay. Instead, two weeks later, Young got to give his speech at an Out Boulder fundraiser before an audience of hundreds, a number of them politicians who congratulated him for his bravery. We air Young’s full address and speak to him about his experience.

Glenn Greenwald: As Bulk NSA Spying Expires, Scare Tactics Can't Stop "Sea Change" on Surveillance

Mon 07 12 AM

The government’s authority to sweep up millions of Americans’ phone records has expired. The practice exposed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden could now face limited reforms as the Senate weighs the USA FREEDOM Act, which would require the government to ask phone companies for a user’s data rather than vacuuming up all the records at once. We get reaction from Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who first reported on Snowden’s revelations.

Code Blue: U.N. Accused of Giving Immunity to Peacekeepers Who Commit Sexual Abuse

Fri 07 50 AM

The United Nations is coming under criticism for failing to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic between December 2013 and June 2014. The Guardian obtained a leaked report that says French soldiers raped and sodomized starving and homeless young boys who they were supposed to be protecting at a center for internally displaced people during intense fighting in the country. Even after the exploitation was brought to the attention of senior U.N. officials, the U.N. never reported it to French authorities — nor did it do anything to immediately stop the abuse. So far, the only person to be punished is a U.N. aid worker, Anders Kompass, who stepped outside official channels to alert French authorities about the sexual exploitation. Kompass has since been accused of leaking the confidential report in breach of U.N. protocols and now faces dismissal. We speak to Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World, which has launched the Code Blue campaign.