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Syndicate content 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: 4 hours 22 min ago

Immigrants in Houston Face Triple Threat: Flooding, Racist Texas Law SB4 & Potentially Losing DACA

August 29, 2017 - 8:31am

As the fallout from Hurricane Harvey continues, a potential public safety crisis has emerged affecting Houston’s nearly 600,000 undocumented immigrants. President Trump could announce as early as today that he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which provides legal status for some 85,000 Houston residents and nearly 800,000 people nationwide. Without the status, many residents will be unable to work and rebuild after the storm. Compounding the problem for immigrants, Texas will officially outlaw sanctuary cities on Friday, threatening police chiefs and city officials with criminal sanctions and penalties if they do not help deport immigrants. The law known as SB 4 is being challenged in court, but a federal judge has yet to rule on whether it can take effect. This has prompted concern that many immigrants are not coming forward to seek help amid the flooding because they fear being detained and deported. We speak with Cesar Espinosa, the founder and executive director of FIEL, a Houston-based nonprofit that helps young undocumented members of the Latino community. Espinosa is himself a DACA recipient.

Hurricane Harvey: Zip Code & Race Determine Who Will Bear Burden Of Climate Change

August 29, 2017 - 8:24am

Concern continues to grow over the environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area, home to more than a dozen oil refineries. The group Air Alliance Houston is warning the shutdown of the petrochemical plants will send more than 1 million pounds of harmful pollution into the air. Residents of Houston’s industrial communities have reported unbearable chemical-like smells coming from the many plants nearby. Stranded communities are “literally getting gassed by these chemicals," according to Bryan Parras, an activist at the environmental justice group t.e.j.a.s. Those closest to these sites in Houston are disproportionately low-income and minority communities. We speak with Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the “father of environmental justice.” He is currently a distinguished professor at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard speaks to us from his home in Houston, which he needs to evacuate later this morning due to the rising Brazos River.

Dr. Robert Bullard: Houston’s “Unrestrained Capitalism” Made Harvey “Catastrophe Waiting to Happen”

August 29, 2017 - 8:13am

The death toll continues to rise as massive amounts of rain from Hurricane Harvey flood Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana. The Houston police and Coast Guard have rescued over 6,000 people from their homes, but many remain stranded. Meteorologists forecast another foot of rain could fall on the region in the coming days. While the National Hurricane Center is now calling Harvey the biggest rainstorm on record, scientists have been predicting for years that climate change would result in massive storms like Harvey. We speak with Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the “father of environmental justice.” He is currently a distinguished professor at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard speaks to us from his home in Houston, which he needs to evacuate later this morning due to the rising Brazos River.

"Resurrected From Irrelevance": Arizona Republic Columnist Slams Trump Pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

August 28, 2017 - 8:51am

The White House announced on Friday that it was pardoning longtime Trump supporter and former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial Arizona lawman known for profiling Latinos. Arpaio once bragged that he ran his open-air tent city jail like a "concentration camp." Arpaio was first elected in 1992 and voted out of office in November after years of civil rights complaints and corruption allegations. In July, a federal judge found Arpaio guilty of contempt of court for defying an order to to stop his deputies from detaining people based on their perceived immigration status. He faced up to six months in prison at his sentencing, originally set for October 5. While pardons are usually granted to those facing felony charges, Arpaio was convicted of a misdemeanor and had not submitted an application for pardon. In a two-paragraph statement, the White House said Arpaio gave "years of admirable service to our nation." The Phoenix-based immigrant rights group Puente said Arpaio’s pardon sent a clear message that it’s “OK to break the law as long as it’s to further a white supremacist agenda.” We speak with Linda Valdez, an editorial board member and columnist at the Arizona Republic, the state’s largest newspaper. After Trump pardoned Arpaio, she wrote an editorial for the paper headlined, "Donald Trump Just Resurrected Joe Arpaio From Irrelevance."

A Dilemma for Undocumented in Texas: Wait Out Hurricane Harvey or Seek Help and Risk Deportation?

August 28, 2017 - 8:43am

Hurricane Harvey has threatened the safety of immigrants in Texas who are afraid to evacuate to shelters or approach authorities to seek help, in part because of a new law set to go into effect Friday that allows police in Texas to ask people they detain for their immigration status. Ahead of the storm, the U.S. Border Patrol said its roadside immigration checkpoints in the state would remain open. The agency later modified their statement, saying, "Routine non-criminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks." More than 50 immigrant women and children were left stranded by immigration authorities at a bus station in San Antonio on Friday after bus service was canceled due to Hurricane Harvey. We speak with Rocío Guenther, a reporter with the San Antonio nonprofit news outlet The Rivard Report. She broke the story about ICE in her report headlined, “Stranded Immigrants Find Shelter from Hurricane Harvey.” We also speak with Amy Fischer, policy director for RAICES, a Texas-based nonprofit legal advocacy organization that helped with the rescue of the asylum seekers.

"This Is the New Normal": How Climate Change Is Fueling Massive Storms like Harvey

August 28, 2017 - 8:31am

Hurricane Harvey has already dumped more than 9 trillion gallons of water on Texas—enough water to fill the Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City twice. Meteorologists project another 5 to 10 trillion gallons of water could be dumped on the region in coming days, potentially making this the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history. We speak with David Helvarg, executive director of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation organization, about how climate change is fueling massive storms like Hurricane Harvey.

As Catastrophic Flooding Hits Houston, Fears Grow of Pollution from Oil Refineries & Superfund Sites

August 28, 2017 - 8:15am

A catastrophic storm has hit Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city and home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the United States. The crisis began on Friday when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas. It was the most powerful hurricane to strike the state in more than 50 years. Much of the damage has been caused by the massive rainfall, with parts of Texas already receiving 30 inches of rain. That could top 50 inches in the coming days. Entire highways in Houston are now underwater. The storm has caused five reported deaths, but the death toll is expected to rise. Thousands of people are still stranded in their homes, waiting to be rescued. Meanwhile, the city of Dallas prepares to turn its convention center into a mega-shelter to host 5,000 evacuees. The National Weather Service released a statement on Sunday saying, "This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced." We speak with Bryan Parras, an organizer for the "Beyond Dirty Fuels" campaign with the Sierra Club in Houston, Texas. He helped found the environmental justice group t.e.j.a.s.

This is Transparent Discrimination: ACLU’s Chase Strangio on Trump’s Military Trans Ban

August 25, 2017 - 8:53am

Update: On Friday President Trump signed a directive to block transgender individuals from joining the military.

The White House has reportedly prepared a memo for the Pentagon outlining President Trump’s call to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. The memo instructs the Pentagon to refuse to admit transgender people to the military and to stop paying for the medical treatments for transgender people currently serving. According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the memo, the Pentagon will have six months to implement the ban. In response to the report, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who was severely injured, issued a statement urging Congress to block Trump’s announced ban. Five transgender military members have already sued Trump over the ban. Thousands of transgender people are currently serving in the US military. For more we speak with Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.

New DNA Evidence Cited As Missouri Governor Stays Execution of Prisoner Marcellus Williams

August 25, 2017 - 8:41am

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens issued a last-minute stay of execution for death-row prisoner Marcellus Williams just hours before he was slated to be put to death on Tuesday night. The order came after evidence surfaced showing that the DNA on the murder weapon did not match Williams’s. Williams, who is African American, was convicted in 2001 of killing a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Lisha Gayle, who is white, during a robbery. He was convicted by 11 white jurors and 1 black juror, after the prosecution was allowed to preemptively strike out 6 other prospective black jurors. Williams has always maintained his innocence. Amnesty International and other groups are now urging the Missouri governor to grant Marcellus Williams clemency. We speak with Kent Gipson, a criminal defense attorney representing Marcellus Williams.

Despite Protest from Johnson & Johnson, Florida Executes Man Using Untested Drug Cocktail

August 25, 2017 - 8:32am

Florida has executed a 53-year-old man convicted of killing two men in 1987 by lethal injection. The execution, performed on Thursday evening, involved the use of a powerful chemical never before used in a U.S. execution. The anesthetic drug etomidate was developed by a division of Johnson & Johnson called Janssen, and has been criticized as being unproven in an execution. In response, the Johnson & Johnson division said, "We do not condone the use of our medicines in lethal injections for capital punishment." Johnson & Johnson has joined a chorus of pharmaceutical companies that have spoken out against the use of their medicines in U.S. executions. After European pharmaceutical companies began refusing to sell drugs to be used in executions, many states turned to untested drug combinations and drugs sourced through unconventional means. The controversial formulas used may have subjected at least one prisoner to an excruciating death equivalent to drowning. We speak with Maya Foa, director of the international legal charity Reprieve, which campaigns against the death penalty.

Science Envoy Who Resigned in Protest of Trump: Climate Change Makes Storms Like Harvey More Severe

August 25, 2017 - 8:20am

In Texas, tens of thousands of residents began evacuating coastal communities Thursday, as forecasters predicted Hurricane Harvey could make landfall late Friday as a major Category 3 storm, delivering a life-threatening 35 inches of rain to some parts of the Gulf Coast. Texas Governor Greg Abbott called out 700 members of the National Guard as several coastal counties ordered mandatory evacuations. Hurricane trackers expect the storm’s eye to come ashore near the city of Corpus Christi, where Mayor Joe McComb called for a voluntary evacuation. For more, we speak with Dan Kammen, who just resigned as science envoy for the U.S. State Department.

Meet the State Dept. Science Envoy Who Spelled Out "Impeach" in His Resignation Letter to Trump

August 25, 2017 - 8:13am

The science envoy for the U.S. State Department, Dan Kammen, has resigned in protest of President Trump’s refusal to quickly condemn the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. In his resignation letter, Kammen, referring to Trump, wrote, "Your presence in the White House harms the United States domestically and abroad and threatens life on this planet." The first letter of each paragraph of his resignation letter spells out the word "impeach." We speak with Dan Kammen, professor of energy at University of California, Berkeley.

Pakistani Journalist: Why Is Trump Pushing for Failed Military Solution Instead of Diplomacy?

August 24, 2017 - 8:52am

On Monday, President Trump announced an escalation of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. He also issued a warning to Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan. President Trump went on to say that the U.S. would develop its strategic partnership with India, calling on the Modi government to help in Afghanistan. Observers say that the move might be a signal to Islamabad that the U.S. would back India in the struggle between the South Asian rivals, unless Pakistan severed ties with the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, one of its factions. For more, we speak with Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi, editor of the national Pakistani newspaper the Daily Times and a professor at Cornell University and Ithaca College.

Tariq Ramadan: As Muslims Condemn Spain Attack, Americans Must Denounce U.S. Killings in Syria, Iraq

August 24, 2017 - 8:34am

Spanish police are continuing to investigate last week’s attack in Barcelona, where 15 people died after a van plowed into a crowded walkway along Las Ramblas—the city’s most famous avenue. On Monday, police shot dead the man suspected of driving the van, a Moroccan-born 22-year-old named Younes Abouyaaqoub. Police believe he was part of a 12-person cell plotting to carry out a series of bomb attacks. Eight of the cell’s members are now dead; four suspected members have been detained. The events of the past week have shocked many in the Barcelona region. On Sunday, thousands of Muslims, including many from Morocco, marched against violence in Barcelona, chanting "Islam is peace" and "Not in my name." We speak to Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University. Ramadan was named by Time magazine as one of the most important innovators of the 21st century. In 2004, Tariq Ramadan accepted a job at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and Time magazine listed him among the top 100 thinkers in the world. But nine days before Ramadan was set to start teaching here in the United States, the Bush administration revoked his visa, invoking a provision of the PATRIOT Act that allows the government to deny entry to non-citizens who "endorse or espouse terrorism."

Trapped in Raqqa: Amnesty Says Civilians Caught in "Deadly Labyrinth" as U.S. Intensifies Airstrikes

August 24, 2017 - 8:16am

In Syria, the local journalistic group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently reports dozens of civilians have been killed by U.S.-led bombing and artillery fire over the last few days amid the ongoing battle to seize control of the city of Raqqa from ISIS. Amnesty International has just released an in-depth investigation documenting how hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured since the offensive began in June to capture the ISIS stronghold. Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that they were trapped on "all sides" between ISIS militants, the U.S.-led coalition force’s aerial bombardment and Russia-backed Syrian government airstrikes. Amnesty is now calling on all warring parties to prioritize protecting civilians and granting them safe passage. We speak to Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International.

Debate: As Trump Prolongs War in Afghanistan, Should U.S. Pull Out Troops Immediately?

August 23, 2017 - 8:47am

In a prime-time address on Monday, President Trump vowed to step up the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan which began nearly 16 years ago, extending the longest war in U.S. history. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly a trillion dollars. Shortly after the Times piece came out, we spoke with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare. We also spoke with Jodi Vittori, senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. Vittori 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.

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