Democracy Now!

Headlines for July 20, 2020

Philadelphia Delays Unhoused Encampment Eviction as CDC Says "Let Them Remain" & Stop COVID Spread

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says unhoused people living in encampments should be allowed to remain where they are to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we go to Philadelphia, where the mayor has postponed the eviction of an encampment planned for this morning. “The Philadelphia Housing Authority has about 5,000 vacant properties,” notes Sterling Johnson, an organizer with Black and Brown Workers Cooperative, who joins us from the camp. “We want to use them to create a community land trust. What they want to do is auction them off to private developers.” The move comes as many cities have continued to criminalize their unhoused communities despite the recommendations of public health officials.

Sonia Shah: "It's Time to Tell a New Story About Coronavirus — Our Lives Depend on It"

The United States hit an all-time high of 75,600 new COVID cases Thursday — the largest number recorded in a single day since the pandemic began. Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the spike in cases resulted from states rushing to reopen their economies. We speak with investigative journalist Sonia Shah about the government’s failed response, the false idea that the virus is a “foreign incursion,” and “vaccine nationalism.” In her latest piece for The Nation magazine, she argues, “It’s Time to Tell a New Story About Coronavirus—Our Lives Depend on It.”

"This Is Trump's War": U.S.-Backed Saudi Bombing in Yemen Continues as Coronavirus Spreads

As the coronavirus spreads in Yemen, where the population already devastated by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis faces growing hunger and aid shortages, the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition continues to drop bombs in the country. We speak to Yemeni scholar Shireen Al-Adeimi, who calls the ongoing crisis “Trump’s war.” “We’re seeing death rates that are just astronomical,” Al-Adeimi says. “The war continues, the bombing continues, the blockade is still enforced.”

Headlines for July 17, 2020

"The Pandemic Could Get Much, Much Worse": Is Another Lockdown the Only Way to Avoid Catastrophe?

As health experts warn the coronavirus is on the rise in 41 states, many governors are reimposing restrictions after attempts at opening up the economy, but President Trump wants schools open. We speak with public health historian John Barry, who warns “The Pandemic Could Get Much, Much Worse” if we don’t take bolder action now. Barry is a professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”

In Attempt to "Intimidate Protesters," 87 Face Felony Charges for Kentucky Sit-In for Breonna Taylor

In Louisville, Kentucky, civil rights groups are calling on prosecutors to drop felony charges against 87 people who held a peaceful sit-in protest Tuesday outside the home of Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The demonstrators were demanding the arrest and prosecution of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor, a Black Louisville resident who was shot inside her own home in March. Among those arrested: the president of the Minneapolis NAACP, Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills and Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour. If convicted on felony charges, they could face up to five years in prison. “What they’re attempting to do is intimidate protesters,” says Marc Lamont Hill. “They’re attempting to send a message that nobody should be out here investigating something that clearly needs investigation.”

COVID-Stricken Marc Lamont Hill: New Floyd Video Shows Familiar Ritual of Racist Police Terror

In Minneapolis, newly released police body camera footage reveals devastating new details of George Floyd’s killing on Memorial Day, showing that officers pulled a gun, swore at George Floyd to “get out of the f—ing car,” as he wept and pleaded, “Please don’t shoot me.” The video also showed that medics did not appear to rush to Floyd’s aid after they arrived on the scene. We discuss the latest developments in the case that sparked an ongoing national uprising against racism and police violence, with Marc Lamont Hill, author of “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.” Lamont Hill also discusses how he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Headlines for July 16, 2020

Tucson Mayor Romero Slams Arizona Gov. Ducey for Downplaying COVID & Hasty Reopening as ICUs Fill

As COVID-19 cases soar in the U.S. South and Southwest, we go to the hot spot of Arizona, where 88% of ICU beds are full and the family of one man accuses Arizona Governor Ducey and President Trump of being directly responsible for his death, after they downplayed the threat of the virus and obstructed local officials from requiring masks even as Arizona’s case numbers were exploding. “We have been in a state of crisis since Governor Ducey decided to hastily reopen the state,” says Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, who has been standing up to Ducey and is the first Latina and the first woman to be elected mayor of Tucson, and the daughter of migrant farmworkers.

The Left Remakes the World: Amna Akbar on Canceling Rent, Defunding Police & Where We Go from Here

We look at another looming crisis for the American public: mass evictions. More than four months into a pandemic that has left millions unemployed, eviction freezes across the country are ending, even as case numbers rise and states reimpose lockdown measures. As the Cancel the Rent movement inspires rent strikes and protests nationwide, a coalition of labor unions, workers and racial and social justice groups in 25 states plans to stage a mass walkout this Monday called the “Strike for Black Lives.” We speak with Amna Akbar, law professor at Ohio State University, who wrote about how to respond to all of this in her op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times headlined “The Left Is Remaking the World.”

As COVID-19 Cases Spike, Epidemiologist Warns "The Road to an Uncertain Vaccine Is Paved in Death"

As the U.S. reports its highest one-day spike in infections and 11 states report record hospitalizations, the Trump administration is demanding states stop sending COVID patient data to the CDC, which then releases it to the public. We speak with Dr. Ali Khan, epidemiologist and the dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, about the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis and his hopes for a vaccine. “The road to an uncertain vaccine is paved in death,” notes Dr. Khan. He is the former director of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, where he oversaw the Strategic National Stockpile. We also ask him about the ongoing shortages of masks and tests.

Headlines for July 15, 2020

Trump's Fox Fave Tucker Carlson Goes Fishing After Lead Writer Resigns over Racist Online Comments

The lead writer for President Trump’s favorite Fox News TV show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” — the most popular cable show in history — has resigned for posting disturbing racist and misogynist messages to an online forum under a pseudonym. Now Tucker Carlson says he’s going on vacation, and his advertisement blocks “are a wasteland,” says Matt Gertz, senior fellow at Media Matters, where he documents the relationship between Fox News and the Trump administration.

We Are Not Your Mascots: Washington NFL Team Removes Racist Name After Years of Indigenous Protests

The Washington NFL team, whose name and mascot have been a slur against Native Americans for nearly 90 years, announced Monday it will change its racist name, facing mounting pressure from corporate sponsors. The decision is a hard-fought victory for Indigenous activists who for years have demanded the team remove the R-word from its name. It also comes as the Black Lives Matter movement has forced a reckoning about monuments and tributes to racism around the country. We get response from Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo activist who has led the fight to change the name and logo of the Washington R-dsk-ns football team.

"Release Is Only Way to Save Lives": Migrant Families Face Separation as COVID Spreads in ICE Jails

As the United States leads the world in coronavirus infections, we go behind the walls of immigrant jails, where infection rates are also soaring, and also look at how thousands more jailed migrant parents may be separated from their children starting Friday. “Release is the only way to save the lives of people in custody,” says reporter Jacob Soboroff, who went inside these ICE jails and first witnessed kids in cages in 2018, which he writes about in his new book, “Separated: Inside an American Tragedy.”

Headlines for July 14, 2020

Disability Rights Activists Take on Twin Pandemics of Racist Police Brutality & COVID-19

Two months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked an international uprising, we look at the underreported but devastating impact police violence has on people with disabilities, especially Black disabled people. According to at least one study, up to one-half of people killed by law enforcement in the U.S. have a disability. “People with disabilities have always been attacked by police. And people with disabilities and poor people have our own answers,” says Leroy Moore, a Black disabled activist and artist, POOR Magazine co-founder and founder of the Krip-Hop Nation. “Our own answer is to really get rid of police.” We also speak with POOR Magazine co-founder Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia and discuss challenges they’ve faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attempted Lynching in Indiana. No Arrests? Meet the Survivor, Human Rights Commissioner Vauhxx Booker

We go to Bloomington, Indiana, to speak with the African American human rights commissioner for Monroe County, Vauhxx Booker, who says he survived an attempted lynching when a group of white men pinned him against a tree over the Fourth of July weekend. “You have to be aware of George Floyd and how many other Black folks in our history have heard their executions spoken before them in real time,” Booker recalls. “I felt myself want to cry out 'I can't breathe’ with these men on top of me, and I just couldn’t say the words.” Police were called, but no arrests were made. “These men remain loose in my community,” says Booker. The FBI is investigating the encounter as a potential hate crime, and Bloomington’s mayor has condemned the incident in a statement. But Booker is now calling on the U.S. District of Southern Indiana to convene a grand jury to take up the case. “At this point, I’m not sure that we can find justice in our local system,” he notes, “so we’ve asked for the federal government to step in.”

As COVID Infections Soar, Trump Attacks Dr. Fauci, CDC & Pushes Schools to Reopen at All Costs

As the world and the United States shatter the daily records of COVID-19 infections, President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continue to push for public schools to reopen in the fall without a plan to adhere to CDC guidelines. “We need to be doing this safely,” responds emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen. “We’ve already seen what happens when we use shortcuts.” Meanwhile, the White House continues to attack the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Wen says, “I fear that at this point we are not even seeing the peak of this epidemic.”