Democracy Now!

Bernie's Back: AOC Backs Sanders as 26,000 Rally in NYC at Largest Presidential Rally of 2019

Vermont independent senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held the largest campaign rally of the primary season so far on Saturday. An estimated 26,000 supporters packed into Queensbridge Park in New York City. The event was held in the shadow of the nation’s largest public housing development. It was Sanders’s first campaign rally since he suffered a heart attack earlier this month. Sanders was joined on stage by three prominent supporters: Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico; filmmaker Michael Moore; and Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who volunteered on Sanders’s 2016 campaign before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2018. Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sanders at the rally.

Headlines for October 21, 2019

Sentenced to Life in Prison as a Teen, How Cyntoia Brown Survived Sex Trafficking & Won Her Freedom

At the age of 16, she was arrested for killing a man who had picked her up for sex, after she had been forced into sexual slavery as a child. She was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder for shooting the man who bought her for sex when she feared for her life. Today Cyntoia Brown-Long joins us to share her experience, what has happened in the 15 years she was incarcerated, and how she won her release. In an incredible development, after a years-long campaign to win her freedom, Cyntoia was granted clemency in January after former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam commuted her sentence. She was released from prison in August. We spend the hour discussing her experience as she recounts in her memoir, published this week, “Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System.”

Headlines for October 18, 2019

Rep. Ro Khanna: We Need a Responsible Withdrawal From Syria, Not One Oblivious to Human Life

As hundreds of thousands of civilians face displacement and violence amid Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria, the House of Representatives voted to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. support for the Kurds on Wednesday. The measure passed 354 to 60. We speak with Representative Ro Khanna, who says, “We can’t just get involved in a place and then walk away and not have some moral responsibility. We have a moral responsibility not just to the Kurds who fought with us against ISIS. We have a moral responsibility to accept Syrian refugees. We have a moral responsibility to help rebuild a society that was ravaged by civil war, where we were involved.” We also speak with Ozlem Goner, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at the City University of New York. She is a member of the Emergency Committee of Rojava.

"Meltdown": Trump Defends Syria Withdrawal as House Votes 354 to 60 to Condemn His Actions

As the displacement of 300,000 civilians over Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-controlled areas continues in northern Syria, the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to condemn President Trump’s actions. Turkey invaded the region on October 9, shortly after Trump virtually greenlit the Turkey assault by abruptly withdrawing a small number of U.S. troops who were protecting Kurdish areas in northern Syria. Since then, the Kurds have aligned themselves with the Syrian government, and a number of former ISIS fighters who were being held by the Kurds have escaped. We speak with Ozlem Goner, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at the City University of New York. She is a member of the Emergency Committee of Rojava.

30,000+ Chicago Teachers & Support Staff Go on Strike Calling on City to Invest More in Schools

More than 30,000 workers are walking out of Chicago Public Schools today to demand better pay and benefits, smaller class sizes and more nurses, counselors, social workers and librarians. The historic strike has brought the country’s third-largest school system to a standstill, with classes canceled for more than 350,000 students. The strike was confirmed Wednesday when the Chicago Teachers Union rejected a final offer by the city’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, following months of labor negotiations. The city offered pay raises of 16% over a five-year period, while union representatives have been calling for a 15% increase over three years. Seven thousand five hundred public school workers with the Service Employees International Union are also striking today after rejecting their own offer from the city. From Chicago, we speak with Stacy Davis Gates, executive vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and Science Meles, executive vice president of SEIU Local 73, about the strike and public school workers’ demands.

Headlines for October 17, 2019

It Was the Longest Debate So Far, But CNN & NYT Asked No Questions on Climate Crisis & Immigration

Despite ongoing climate chaos and a sustained humanitarian disaster at the southern border, The New York Times and CNN failed to ask candidates directly about immigration or the climate crisis at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate. We speak with Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, who says the lack of attention to immigraton “was a major gap in the three-hour debate.” We also speak with journalist Kate Aronoff about the debate’s failure to address the climate crisis.

Dem Debate: "Disingenuous" Attacks on Medicare for All Distract From Cost of Today's Broken System

Democratic candidates sparred at Tuesday’s debate over their healthcare platforms and Medicare for All. We speak with Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor at CUNY-Hunter College and the co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. Moderators in the CNN and New York Times debate repeatedly pressed Elizabeth Warren on whether taxes would increase under Medicare for All. “The framing of that question is crazy,” says Dr. Woolhandler. “What really matters is how much a household is paying.”

Warren and Sanders: A Wealth Tax Is Needed to Address Staggering Inequality

2020 progressive front-runners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren pushed for a wealth tax at the fourth Democratic debate Tuesday night. We speak with senior contributor at The Intercept, Mehdi Hasan, who hosts their “Deconstructed” podcast, and David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. He is the founder and editor of DCReport.org.

Mehdi Hasan: "There Should Only Be Two Front-Runners Right Now: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren"

Twelve candidates took to the stage for the fourth round of the Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio, Tuesday to spar over healthcare, foreign policy, impeachment, gun violence, economic inequality and more. Senator Elizabeth Warren — who is now leading some national polls — repeatedly came under attack from her rivals. In the first debate since Senator Bernie Sanders suffered a heart attack two weeks ago, the Vermont senator advocated for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a wealth tax. Former Vice President Joe Biden attacked the proposals of both Sanders and Warren and faced scrutiny for his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine. We host a roundtable with Intercept senior contributor Mehdi Hasan, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston and journalist Kate Aronoff.

Headlines for October 16, 2019

Homewreckers: How Wall Street, Banks & Trump's Inner Circle Used the 2008 Housing Crash to Get Rich

We speak with investigative reporter Aaron Glantz about his new book “Homewreckers,” which looks at the devastating legacy of the foreclosure crisis and how much of the so-called recovery is a result of large private equity firms buying up hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes. “Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream” reveals how the 2008 housing crash decimated millions of Americans’ family wealth but enriched President Donald Trump’s inner circle, including Trump Cabinet members Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, Trump’s longtime friend and confidant Tom Barrack, and billionaire Republican donor Stephen Schwarzman. Glantz writes, “Now, ensconced in power following Trump’s election, these capitalists are creating new financial products that threaten to make the wealth transfers of the [housing] bust permanent.” Aaron Glantzis a senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize this year for his reporting on modern-day redlining.

Botham Jean, Then Atatiana Jefferson: Outrage in Texas as Police Kill Another Black Resident at Home

A white police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, has been arrested and charged with murder, after he shot and killed an African-American woman who was inside her own home. Officer Aaron Dean was responding to a non-emergency call for a wellness check after a neighbor had called the Fort Worth police to report that 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson’s front door was open at around 2:30 in the morning on Saturday. Soon after the officers arrived, Dean, who never identified himself to be a police officer, shouted through Jefferson’s bedroom window to put her hands up, and then immediately opened fire, killing her. Minutes before the shooting, Jefferson had been playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew, who witnessed the shooting but was not physically injured. Atatiana Jefferson is the seventh person since June who has been killed by one of the police department’s officers. From Dallas, we speak with Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing the family of Atatiana Jefferson.

Headlines for October 15, 2019

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, Awarded Nobel Prize, Celebrated for "Remarkable Change" in Horn of Africa

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the 100th Nobel Peace Prize in an announcement Friday morning. The prime minister last year helped broker a historic peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea, where leaders of the neighboring countries signed a “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” and declared an end to nearly two decades of a “state of war” that lasted from 1998 to 2000 and killed 70,000 people. Soon after the peace declaration was signed, the first direct flights between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 20 years took off from Addis Ababa, headed to Eritrea’s capital Asmara. Ahmed has also lifted the state of emergency, released thousands of political dissidents from prison and appointed women to a record 50% of cabinet positions. We speak with Awol Allo, an associate professor at the Keele University School of Law in the U.K. His recent article for Al Jazeera is titled “Why I nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

"We're Still Here": Indigenous Peoples' Day Celebration Reflects Ongoing Resistance to Colonization

Christopher Columbus arrived in the Bahamas 527 years ago this week, unleashing a brutal genocide that killed tens of millions of Native people across the hemisphere. Cities and states across the country are acknowledging this devastating history by rejecting the federal holiday of Columbus Day and celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead to honor centuries of indigenous resistance. Alaska, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin have all officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day. So have more than 130 cities and counties, from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas to smaller places like Livingston, Kentucky, and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Last week, Washington, D.C., became one of the latest to recognize the holiday. Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia, takes its name from Columbus. We speak with Iakowi:he’ne’ Oakes of the Snipe Clan. She is a Mohawk of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is the executive director of the American Indian Community House in New York.

Kurds Turn to Bashar al-Assad for Protection as U.S. Abandons Former Allies to Turkish Assault

Syrian troops are massing near the Turkish border, one day after Bashar al-Assad’s government reached a deal to help protect the Kurds from Turkey’s deadly air and ground assault. On Sunday, the Kurds agreed, in a deal brokered by Russia, to hand over two border towns to the Syrian government in exchange for protection. The Kurds had been allied with the United States up until last week, when President Trump abruptly pulled U.S. troops from northern Syria, paving the way for Turkey’s assault. More than 130,000 people have already been displaced over the past five days since Turkey invaded northern Syria. The death toll is unknown. Turkey is facing increasing international condemnation for invading northern Syria. The European Union has called on all member states to stop selling arms to Ankara. We speak with Ozlem Goner, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at the City University of New York and a member of the Emergency Committee of Rojava.

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