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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: 49 min 20 sec ago

U.S. Ramps Up Border Militarism as Trump Appoints DHS Head General John Kelly to Chief of Staff

August 4, 2017 - 7:28am

President Donald Trump on Wednesday embraced a proposal to slash the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. by half, in what would be the biggest overhaul of immigration law in over half a century. The RAISE Act would create a so-called merit-based immigration system that would favor applicants who speak English, have advanced degrees or can demonstrate job skills. The announcement comes as Trump replaced his ousted chief of staff, Reince Priebus, with retired General John Kelly, who was head of the Department of Homeland Security. We speak with two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist John Carlos Frey, whose new investigation in partnership with ABC’s "20/20" is titled "Life and Death at the Border."

"Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor": Trump Admin Attacks Emma Lazarus's Iconic Poem on Statue of Liberty

August 4, 2017 - 7:13am

Opposition is growing to the Trump administration’s new proposal to implement radical changes to U.S. immigration law and slash the number of immigrants allowed into the United States by half. The RAISE Act would create a so-called merit-based immigration system that would favor applicants who speak English, have advanced degrees or can demonstrate job skills. On Wednesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta pressed senior policy adviser Stephen Miller over President Trump’s push to admit only English-speaking immigrants in a back-and-forth that lasted for several minutes. Acosta asked Miller about the iconic poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus that is inscribed at the base of the State of Liberty, which reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." We speak about the woman who wrote those words, Emma Lazarus, with her biographer, Esther Schor, about why Lazarus wrote the poem, how it became one of the most iconic verses about the United States and why she has long been a target of white nationalists.

Trump Considers Prolonging Afghan War to Secure $1 Trillion in Untapped Mineral Deposits

August 3, 2017 - 7:51am

On Wednesday, two U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan after a suicide car bomber rammed a NATO-led convoy near a major U.S. base in Kandahar. The attack came a day after at least 33 worshipers died when suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in the city of Herat. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The latest round of violence comes as The New York Times reports that Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year-old war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly $1 trillion. Trump reportedly discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of minerals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. We speak with Jodi Vittori, senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. Jodi spent 20 years in the U.S. military, where she served in several countries, including Afghanistan. She has received numerous military awards, including two Bronze Stars. We also speak with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

"Cruel & Inhumane": Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Trump Push to Slash Legal Immigration

August 3, 2017 - 7:30am

President Donald Trump on Wednesday embraced a proposal to slash the number of legal immigrants allowed into the U.S. by 50 percent over 10 years in what would be the biggest overhaul of immigration law in over half a century. The RAISE Act, or Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment, would create a so-called merit-based immigration system that would favor applicants who speak English, have advanced degrees or can demonstrate job skills. We speak with Congressmember Pramila Jayapal, who represents Washington’s 7th District. She formerly served as executive director of OneAmerica, a pro-immigration advocacy group.

Nikole Hannah-Jones on DOJ's Attack on Affirmative Action & How School Segregation Never Ended

August 3, 2017 - 7:15am

The New York Times is reporting the Justice Department is preparing to investigate universities’ affirmative action policies for anti-white bias, in what critics say is the latest assault against civil rights by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Times says the Justice Department sent out an internal announcement looking for lawyers to lead "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions." The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action policies, which take race and ethnicity into account in college admissions in efforts to address centuries of institutionalized discrimination against people of color and women. We speak with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning reporter covering racial injustice at The New York Times Magazine.

Death at the Border: How CBP Agents Urged Mexican Teen to Drink the Liquid Meth That Killed Him

August 2, 2017 - 7:49am

Newly released video footage shows U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents telling 16-year-old Mexican teenager Cruz Velazquez to drink from a bottle of liquid methamphetamine at a border checkpoint in San Diego, causing him to die from an acute drug overdose. In 2013, the teenager was crossing from Tijuana to California with two bottles of what he claimed was apple juice. The video shows the border agents, who suspected the liquid was liquid meth, repeatedly encouraging the teenager to drink from it and prove he wasn’t lying. Minutes after the teenager sipped on the liquid, his body began convulsing, and he began shouting "my heart" in Spanish. He passed away shortly after. The agents only tested the liquid after Cruz took several sips and began overdosing. The officers were never disciplined. Critics say Velazquez’s case is just the latest example of rampant abuse and mistreatment by border agents. We speak with John Carlos Frey, two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. His new investigation is titled "Life and Death at the Border." The project was conducted in partnership with ABC’s "20/20."

Explosive Lawsuit: White House & Fox Peddled Seth Rich Conspiracies to Distract from Russia Probe

August 2, 2017 - 7:34am

An explosive lawsuit filed by a former Fox News contributor is alleging that his former network fabricated quotes and worked directly with the White House to push a fake news story to prop up conspiracy theories linking the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich last year to WikiLeaks. Rich was an aide at the Democratic National Committee who was fatally shot in Washington, D.C., in July 2016. In May of this year, Fox News published a piece titled "DC Murder Mystery: Slain DNC Staffer Was Wikileaks’ Source, Say Investigators." The article claimed that Rich—not the Russians—provided WikiLeaks with internal emails from the DNC. The only person quoted in the piece—Fox contributor and retired D.C. police detective Rod Wheeler—is claiming Fox knowingly attributed false quotes to him. The complaint also alleges direct White House involvement in the story. For more, we speak with independent journalist Marcy Wheeler.

Wray Confirmed as FBI Director as Questions Swirl over His Past Record & Close Ties to Big Business

August 2, 2017 - 7:14am

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Christopher Wray as the next director of the FBI, but in an unprecedented move, five senators voted against his nomination. Before yesterday, only one senator had ever voted against an FBI nominee. In addition, three senators abstained from the vote. Senator Ron Wyden, who voted against Wray’s confirmation, said he did so because of Wray’s position on government surveillance. "In his public and private statements, Chris Wray failed to oppose government backdoors into Americans’ personal devices, or to acknowledge the facts about encryption. That it isn’t about liberty versus security, it’s about more security versus less security." The American Civil Liberties Union also criticized Wray for his involvement in the U.S. torture program under George W. Bush. We speak with independent journalist Marcy Wheeler and economist James Henry.

Jill Stein on Trump as a "Grave Danger" & Why She was at 2015 Moscow Dinner with Putin & Flynn

August 1, 2017 - 7:52am

Former Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein assesses the Trump administration’s first six months and responds to questions about an infamous photo that showed her sitting at the same table as Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner in Moscow in 2015.

Negotiations, Not War: Green Party's Jill Stein Warns About U.S. Escalating Tension with N. Korea

August 1, 2017 - 7:43am

Tensions are again rising in the Korean Peninsula between the U.S. and North Korea. On Friday, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say is capable of reaching the West Coast of the United States. North Korea says the test was a warning to the U.S. to stop imposing sanctions against North Korea. In response to the test, the U.S. flew two B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula and tested its Alaska-based THAAD missile defense system. The U.S. has deployed a similar THAAD missile defense system to South Korea, despite objections from local residents. We speak with former Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who just returned from a peace delegation to South Korea. Dr. Jill Stein was the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2016 and 2012.

As U.S. Sanctions Maduro and Hints at Regime Change, a Debate on Resolving the Crisis in Venezuela

August 1, 2017 - 7:15am

The Trump administration has issued sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as tensions escalate in the country following a controversial vote to elect a new National Constituent Assembly—which will have the authority to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. According to the official tally, at least 8 million people—or 40 percent of eligible voters—cast ballots Sunday, despite an opposition boycott. The right-wing opposition has accused Maduro of attempting to consolidate his power. Two prominent leaders of the right-wing opposition—Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma—were taken from their homes by security forces early this morning. Meanwhile, the director of the CIA hints that the agency is working to push regime change. We host a debate with political science expert George Ciccariello-Maher and economist Francisco Rodríguez.

Is Trump Trying to Sabotage the Nuclear Deal to Lay Groundwork for War with Iran?

July 31, 2017 - 7:51am

The White House appears ready to abandon the landmark Iranian nuclear deal in favor of what experts say could lead to war with Iran. The New York Times reported last week that President Donald Trump has instructed his national security aides to find a rationale for declaring that Iran is violating the terms of the accord. The order came despite the fact the Trump administration reluctantly certified that Iran has complied with its obligations under the agreement earlier this month. Last week, Trump intensified his threats against Iran during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio. Observers say Trump’s actions are laying the groundwork for a disastrous military confrontation with Iran. We speak with Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council.

"Billion-Dollar Mistake": Democrats Neglect People of Color While Failing to Woo White Trump Voters

July 31, 2017 - 7:36am

As the Democrats prepare for the 2018 midterms, some ask whether the party is making a mistake by prioritizing the pursuit of wavering white voters over investing in and inspiring African-American voters. Last week in Virginia, party leaders unveiled their new slogan—"A Better Deal"—and rolled out an agenda to win back working-class voters they lost to President Donald Trump in November. The rebranding effort comes as the Democrats have lost all four special congressional elections this year to Republicans. The defeats come despite Trump’s approval rating dipping to 36 percent. It’s the lowest six-month approval rating of a U.S. president in 70 years. We speak to Steve Phillips of Democracy in Color, who says the party has invested $750 million on the 2018 midterms without addressing the Democrats’ core problem of connecting with disillusioned voters. Phillips is the author of the New York Times best-selling book "Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority."

Retired Police Detective: Trump's Comments Endorsing Police Brutality are "Treasonous"

July 31, 2017 - 7:15am

President Donald Trump is facing widespread criticism from police chiefs across the country following a speech he gave on Friday to police officers in Long Island, New York, that appeared to openly endorse police brutality. Commenting on the need to crack down on gang members, Trump suggested that police officers have license to use excessive force on suspects. The remarks come amid a controversial roundup of undocumented minors in Suffolk County, where Trump spoke, who were detained based on unconfirmed allegations of gang affiliation by local police. Trump painted what some say was an overblown picture of gang violence in the community. Following Trump’s remarks, the Suffolk County Police Department tweeted, "As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners." The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Foundation also criticized Trump’s speech, along with the police chiefs of New York, Boston, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles and other cities. We speak with chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, Maya Wiley, and Graham Weatherspoon, a retired New York police detective.

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