Democracy Now!

Ibram X. Kendi: IQ Tests, SAT Scores and Other "Intelligence" Tests Propagate Racism

Author and professor Ibram X. Kendi joins us to discuss his new book, “How to Be an Antiracist.” He talks about the racist development of intelligence tests that blatantly discriminate against people of color under a veneer of scientific objectivity. “Even when we talk about antiracism, when most people think of who needs to be an antiracist, they think of Southerners. They think of people who voted for Trump,” says Kendi. “They don’t think of people who are advocating for the maintenance of these tests, which are denying access to some of the best schools in New York City to black and Latino kids.”

"Today the Lynch Mob Only Needs an Assault Rifle": Ibram X. Kendi on White Supremacist Violence

This week marks two years since white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, where a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of antiracist protesters, killing 32-year-old activist Heather Heyer. Days later, President Trump claimed there were “very fine people on both sides.” Since Charlottesville, white supremacists have committed at least 73 murders, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Just last week, a white supremacist in El Paso, Texas, opened fire in a crowded Walmart and killed 22 people. It’s been described as the deadliest attack to target Latinos in modern American history. We speak with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and author of the new book, “How to Be an Antiracist.”

Headlines for August 13, 2019

"The Next Step Is the Kremlin": Why Moscow Protests Have Putin's Government Worried

Up to 60,000 protesters gathered Saturday in Moscow in the largest demonstration Russia has witnessed in years. Although the protest was officially authorized, dozens of protesters were arrested in the capital, and dozens more were also arrested in demonstrations across the country. Saturday’s protest was organized to denounce the recent barring of opposition candidates from running in an upcoming election for Moscow City Council. We speak with Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at The New School. She is the co-author of “In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’s Eleven Time Zones.”

Hong Kong Grounds Flights as Mass Sit-in Shuts Down Airport After Weekend of Protests

All departing flights were grounded as chaos engulfed the Hong Kong International Airport Monday, after thousands of pro-democracy protesters filled the travel hub to protest police brutality. Many eventually left the airport, fearing threats of more police action, but hundreds of activists remain. The latest escalation follows a weekend of bloody clashes between the police and protesters. Confrontations turned especially violent on Sunday night as riot police fired tear gas inside a subway station and were filmed beating protesters with batons. Meanwhile, Beijing has escalated its rhetoric against the protesters, with a Chinese official saying their actions show signs of “terrorism.” It’s been 10 weeks since mass demonstrations erupted in Hong Kong, when millions took to the streets to demand the withdrawal of an extradition bill that would have sent people from Hong Kong to mainland China to face criminal charges. Demands quickly escalated for the resignation of Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, an independent investigation into police brutality against demonstrators, and pro-independence reforms. We speak with Mary Hui, a reporter for the business news outlet Quartz who has been covering the mass demonstrations for more than two months.

Jeffrey Epstein Is Dead, But Victims Call for Probes of His Sex Trafficking Ring to Continue

Jeffrey Epstein is dead. The accused serial sex trafficker who once counted President Trump and former President Bill Clinton among his high-profile friends was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell Saturday morning. Authorities say he hanged himself. Epstein had been put on suicide watch after he was found unconscious with marks on his neck in July, but authorities had removed him from suicide watch 11 days before his death. Epstein had been in jail since July, when he was arrested for allegedly running a sex trafficking operation by luring underage girls as young as 14 years old to his mansion in Manhattan. His death came less than 24 hours after hundreds of pages of court documents were unsealed with testimonies from former employees and new details of sexual abuse committed by Epstein, which also implicated a number of well-known figures. Men named in the papers include former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Senator George Mitchell, Alan Dershowitz and Prince Andrew. While the federal criminal prosecution of Epstein will likely end, prosecutors can still pursue charges against any of his accomplices. Civil suits will also continue against Epstein’s multimillion-dollar estate. We speak with Casey Frank, the Miami Herald’s senior editor for investigations. The newspaper’s multipart series published in November is largely credited with reopening the Epstein case.

Headlines for August 12, 2019

Documents Reveal Monsanto Surveilled Journalists, Activists & Even Musician Neil Young

Explosive new documents reveal the U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto ran a “fusion center” to surveil and discredit journalists and activists who criticized or wrote damning reports about Monsanto, as well as legendary singer-songwriter Neil Young, who released an album in 2015 called “The Monsanto Years.” Monsanto monitored Young’s Twitter activity and even analyzed the lyrics of his album. The fusion center also surveilled journalist Carey Gillam, who has done extensive research and writing about Monsanto and its popular pesticide Roundup, which has been linked to cancer. The corporation also targeted the nonprofit research group U.S. Right to Know, which submitted Freedom of Information Act requests about the company. From Kansas City, Missouri, we speak to Carey Gillam, a veteran investigative journalist and author of “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science,” and from Berkeley, California, Gary Ruskin, co-founder of U.S. Right to Know.

Supersizing Climate Change: U.N. Says Meat Production Destroys Land & Diminishes Key Water Sources

The United Nations’ top panel of climate scientists warns that humans are consuming land and water resources at an unprecedented rate, with the destructive effects of the climate crisis increasingly threatening the planet’s biodiversity and the food security of hundreds of millions of people. In its latest climate change and land special report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that without dramatic action, extreme weather and rising temperatures will turn even more fertile land into desert, shrinking the global food supply, even as the world’s population rises to more than 7.5 billion people. The IPCC recommends dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, along with more efficient farming methods and a shift in diets away from dairy and meat — which produce vast amounts of methane and carbon dioxide while using large amounts of land. We speak with Pamela McElwee, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University and co-author of the IPCC report.

Mass ICE Raids in Mississippi After Workers Fought for Better Conditions Leave Kids Without Parents

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept through seven poultry processing plants in Mississippi this week and arrested 680 people. It was the largest single-state raid in U.S. history.The mass arrests also came on the first day of the school year, and some children walked home from school only to find their doors locked and their family members missing. Wednesday’s raids targeted chicken processing plants operated by Koch Foods, one of the largest poultry producers in the U.S. Last year, the company paid out $3.75 million to settle an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission class-action suit charging the company with sexual harassment, national origin and race discrimination, and retaliation against Latino workers at one of its Mississippi plants. Labor activists say it’s the latest raid to target factories where immigrant workers have organized unions, fought back against discrimination or challenged unsafe and unsanitary conditions. We speak with Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and L. Patricia Ice, legal projects director at the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance.

Headlines for August 9, 2019

Emergency Doctor to Trump: You Are Wrong, Mental Illness Is Not to Blame for Gun Violence Epidemic

President Trump went to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, where he was met by hundreds of protesters condemning his presence after the mass shootings over the weekend, which killed at least 32 people. Prior to his visits, Trump hinted at the need to strengthen background checks for gun purchases, and doubled down on what some healthcare professionals say is dangerous rhetoric linking illness to mass shootings. Numerous other political figures have pointed to mental illness as a contributing factor in mass shootings. From Montreal, we speak with Dr. Megan Ranney, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Alpert Medical School, Brown University, and chief research officer of AFFIRM Research, a nonprofit focused on firearm injury reduction.

Kashmir Under Siege: India Moves to Annex Territory, Heightening Tensions with Nuclear Rival Pakistan

Tensions are escalating over the disputed region of Kashmir following India’s revocation earlier this week of its special status, which granted the area some autonomy. Kashmir remains on lockdown, with internet and other communications blocked and leaders placed under house arrest. The Modi government has also deployed tens of thousands of additional troops in Kashmir. Pakistan announced Wednesday it would expel India’s ambassador and stop its newly appointed envoy from assuming his position in New Delhi. It also announced it was cutting off all bilateral trade with India. We speak with three guests: Sanjay Kak, a New Delhi-based Kashmiri documentary filmmaker; Mirza Waheed, journalist and award-winning Kashmiri novelist; and Siddhartha Deb, award-winning Indian author and journalist.

Headlines for August 8, 2019

"Toni Morrison Will Always Be with Us": Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni & Sonia Sanchez Pay Tribute

Toni Morrison, one of the nation’s most influential writers, died this week at the age of 88 from complications of pneumonia. In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. She also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her classic work “Beloved.” Much of Morrison’s writing focused on the Black female experience in America, and her writing style honored the rhythms of Black oral tradition. Her work was deeply concerned with race and history, especially the sin of transatlantic slavery and the potentially restorative power of community. In 2012, President Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We speak with three legendary writers and close friends of Toni Morrison: Angela Davis, author and activist; Nikki Giovanni, poet, activist and educator; and Sonia Sanchez, award-winning poet.

Headlines for August 7, 2019

Puerto Rico in Political Crisis: Senate Sues over Appointment of New Governor Pierluisi

The political crisis in Puerto Rico continues as its Senate has sued against the appointment of Pedro Pierluisi as the new governor following Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation last week. Pierluisi was sworn in despite not having been confirmed by the Puerto Rican Senate. But he argues that he is in the line of succession for governor after being nominated as secretary of state by Rosselló last week. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz also sued after his swearing-in. We speak with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González for his analysis of the current political climate.

Parents of Parkland Victim Planned to Unveil a Mural in El Paso Then Another Mass Shooting Happened

During this weekend’s deadly gun violence in El Paso, Texas, Manuel and Patricia Oliver were in the vicinity because they were planning on commemorating what would have been the 19th birthday of their son, Joaquin Oliver. Joaquin was one of the 17 people gunned down during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day last year. Manuel and Patricia had traveled to Ciudad Juárez, across the U.S. border into Mexico, to visit an immigrant shelter in honor of their deceased son, saying no child should ever be separated from their parents by either gunfire or immigration agents. They planned to travel to El Paso the next day, where they were going to paint a mural commemorating their son’s life and passion for immigration rights, when they got word of the mass shooting at the Walmart. From Ft. Lauderdale, we speak with Manuel and Patricia Oliver.

"Fascism Will Not Go Away by Itself": George Ciccariello-Maher on Confronting White Supremacy

Just before the mass shooting at a crowded El Paso Walmart this weekend, the gunman wrote in a lengthy manifesto saying that the massacre was in response to what he described as a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” He also prompted a white supremacist conspiracy theory known as “great replacement” that has been cited by other mass shooters. From Mexico City, we speak with George Ciccariello-Maher, visiting scholar at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute. In December 2017, Ciccariello-Maher resigned from Drexel University after a year of harassment and death threats from right-wing white supremacists. The threats stemmed from a 2016 tweet that said, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide,” mocking the white supremacist ideology that white people are being replaced by communities of color and non-white immigrants.

"We Can't Wait for McConnell": Advocates Call for Bold Action to Curb Gun Violence Epidemic

The death toll in Saturday’s anti-immigrant shooting rampage at a Walmart in El Paso has risen to 22, after two more injured victims died Monday. Just before the shooting, the gunman published a manifesto claiming his actions were being done in response to what he described as a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Most of the dead in El Paso were Latino, including eight Mexican nationals. Thirteen hours after the massacre in El Paso, a gunman in Dayton, Ohio, killed nine people, including his own sister, after opening fire outside a bar. We speak with Kris Brown, president of Brady, formerly the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Igor Volsky, the executive director of Guns Down America.

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