Democracy Now!

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.

Headlines for August 6, 2019

After Dayton Shooting, Gun Violence Reporter Says Misogyny "Clear Link" Between Many Mass Shootings

Over the span of 13 hours, the country was shaken by two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, where a total of 29 people were killed. Shortly before the attack, the El Paso gunman posted an anti-immigrant manifesto on the far-right message board 8chan, while there is still no clear motive for the Dayton shooting. Senator Bernie Sanders and other Democratic leaders are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a special session of the Senate to vote on two gun safety bills recently passed in the House. This all comes as the National Rifle Association is imploding. We speak with Alex Yablon, a reporter at The Trace, a news outlet devoted to gun-related news.

Ex-FBI Agent Speaks Out: Federal Authorities Have Downplayed White Supremacist Violence for Too Long

According to The New York Times, white extremist shooters have now killed at least 63 people in the United States over the past 18 months. Late last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that crime driven by racism and white supremacy was on the rise compared to the past nine months. But former FBI agents say there is reluctance within the agency to tackle white nationalist violence in part due to President Trump’s rhetoric. We speak with Mike German, fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law. From 1988 to 2004, German served as an FBI agent specializing in domestic counterterrorism.

El Paso Shooting Probed as Domestic Terrorism After Anti-Immigrant Gunman Kills 20 People

Over the span of 13 hours, the United States was shaken by two mass shootings. Saturday morning, a heavily armed gunman opened fire inside a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 people, including a number of Mexican nationals. Federal authorities are treating the El Paso attack as an act of domestic terrorism. The suspected gunman has been identified as a 21-year-old white man named Patrick Crusius, who lived 600 miles away in a suburb of Dallas. Shortly before the attack in El Paso, the gunman posted an anti-immigrant manifesto on the far-right message board 8chan. Some of the language in the manifesto echoed remarks by President Trump, including his use of the word “invasion” to describe immigrants crossing the southern border. We speak with César Blanco, Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, and Fernando Garcia, founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso.

Headlines for August 5, 2019

Climate System "Getting Unhinged" as Massive Heat Wave Causes Record Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet

The massive heat dome that shattered all-time temperature records across much of Europe last week has settled in over Greenland, driving temperatures across the vast region to as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. In July, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice, the equivalent of around 80 million Olympic swimming pools. This comes as the World Meteorological Organization said Thursday that July was the warmest month in recorded human history. It followed the hottest June on record, as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels climbed to a record high of 415 parts per million earlier this year. We speak with Jason Box, professor and ice climatologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

Ex-Health Insurance Exec: Industry Is Using Decades-Old Scare Tactics to Fight Medicare for All

The Democratic presidential candidates remain deeply divided on how to expand healthcare to the tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both pushed for abolishing private health insurance and establishing a Medicare for All system. Their rivals have pushed a number of different, more incremental approaches. During the first night of the latest debates, Sanders pointed out that the country has taken sweeping action before to expand health coverage to millions of Americans, referring to the 50th anniversary of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. We speak with Janet Golden, professor emerita at Rutgers University-Camden and a historian of U.S. medicine, and Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive.

"You're Gonna Kill Me": Bodycam Video Shows Dallas Officers Mocking Man as He Died Pinned to Ground

In August 2016, 32-year-old Tony Timpa called 911 to ask for help. Timpa had schizophrenia and depression, and was off his medication for schizophrenia. Timpa told the Dallas dispatcher that he was scared. The police responded, and within 20 minutes Timpa was dead. For the past three years, the city of Dallas has fought efforts to release police bodycam footage showing what happened, but the video was finally released this week after a prolonged legal battle. The shocking video contains disturbing footage, with officers arriving on the scene where Timpa was already handcuffed by a private security guard. In the video, Timpa repeatedly pleaded for his life. Police officers mocked Timpa as he died. We speak with Geoff Henley, an attorney representing the Timpa family. “They don’t tend to spend money on the front end to prevent tragedies such as this,” Henley said, referring to the Dallas Police Department. “You have to hit them in the pocketbook to make them change their conduct.”

Headlines for August 2, 2019

Cornel West: Corporate Media's Superficial Coverage Helped Create "Fascist Frankenstein Trump"

On Tuesday night, Senator Bernie Sanders openly criticized CNN’s handling of the debates. He told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “Your question is a Republican talking point. And by the way, the healthcare industry will be advertising tonight on this program.” We speak with Cornel West and Dolores Huerta about the media coverage and the structure of the debate.

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