Democracy Now!

Headlines for October 14, 2019

The Stanford Sexual Assault Case Made Her "Emily Doe." In New Memoir, Chanel Miller Tells Her Story

We spend the hour with author Chanel Miller speaking about her recently published remarkable memoir, “Know My Name.” The book chronicles how Miller reclaimed her name, her story and her life after being sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, a member of the Stanford University swim team, in 2015. At the time, she was known as “Emily Doe.” The case gained national prominence when a California judge sentence Turner to just six months in a county jail after he was convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault. He ended up spending only three months locked up. The sentencing sparked outrage. Voters in California later recalled the judge in the case. During the trial, Miller read a victim impact statement addressed to her assailant. The text of the letter later went viral, being read by millions around the world.

Headlines for October 11, 2019

Justice for Kaysera: Native Teen's Mysterious Death Highlights Epidemic of Murdered Indigenous Women

The family of Native American teenager Kaysera Stops Pretty Places is demanding justice after she was found dead in Hardin, Montana, in late August, just two weeks after her 18th birthday. Kaysera was a member of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribal communities in Montana. She lived with her grandmother. According to her family, Kaysera was reported missing after she never came home on the night of August 24. On August 29, the body of a young woman was found in the town of Hardin. It wasn’t until two weeks later that local law enforcement confirmed it was Kaysera. The circumstances surrounding her death and disappearance remain a mystery. Her family believes she was murdered, but says local law enforcement is not treating her sudden disappearance and death as foul play. Kaysera is among at least 27 indigenous girls and women reported missing or murdered in Big Horn County in the past decade. Since 2010, there have also been at least 134 cases of missing or murdered indigenous girls and women in the state of Montana. We speak with Grace Bulltail, Kaysera’s aunt and an assistant professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We also speak with the family’s lawyer, Mary Kathryn Nagle, a citizen of Cherokee Nation and a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., a law firm dedicated to the restoration of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction.

Turkey Moves to Crush Rojava, the Kurds' Radical Experiment Based on Democracy, Feminism & Ecology

As Turkey launches an aerial and ground assault on northern Syria targeting Kurdish-controlled areas, we look at how the offensive threatens the Kurdish region of Rojava with Debbie Bookchin, co-founder of the Emergency Committee for Rojava. She is a journalist and author who co-edited a book of essays by her father, Murray Bookchin, “The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy.” We also speak with Elif Sarican, a Kurdish Women’s Movement activist and anthropologist at the London School of Economics, and Ertuğrul Kürkçü, honorary chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party in Turkey, known as the HDP. He is a former member of Parliament in Turkey.

After Trump Abandoned Kurds, Turkish Invasion Raises Fear of Kurdish Genocide & ISIS Resurgence

Turkey has launched an aerial and ground assault on northern Syria targeting Kurdish-controlled areas. The offensive began Wednesday, just days after President Trump ordered U.S. troops to fall back from their positions on the Turkish-Syrian border. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports at least 16 Kurds have been killed so far. Turkey is claiming the death toll is far higher. The Trump administration has faced widespread criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for abandoning the stateless Kurds who had helped the U.S. fight ISIS. Turkey is claiming the assault is needed to establish a “safe zone” in northern Syria where Turkey could relocate Syrian refugees who fled over the past eight years of fighting, but the Kurds see the offensive as part of a decades-long attack by Turkey to crush their attempts at greater autonomy. The Kurds have been responsible for holding over 10,000 ISIS fighters and their families in detention. While Trump has claimed Turkey will take control of the makeshift jails, there is growing concern many former ISIS fighters will be able to escape during the Turkish assault. At least one Kurdish prison has already been shelled. To discuss the implications of Turkey’s assault, we speak with Elif Sarican, a Kurdish Women’s Movement activist and anthropologist at the London School of Economics. We also speak with Ertuğrul Kürkçü, honorary chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party in Turkey, known as the HDP. He is a former member of Parliament in Turkey.

Headlines for October 10, 2019

Divided Supreme Court Hears Landmark LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination Case

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in three cases that will determine whether LGBTQ people can be fired from their jobs due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Among the court’s conservative justices, only Neil Gorsuch appeared open to prohibiting such workplace discrimination. One of the cases centers on a transgender woman from Michigan named Aimee Stephens, who was fired from her job at a funeral home in 2013. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision in the three cases by early next summer. We speak to James Esseks, director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, who attended Tuesday’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

Julián Castro Backs Impeachment Effort & Condemns Trump’s “Betrayal” of Kurds in Northern Syria

Turkey’s government says its troops are prepared for an imminent assault on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, after President Trump ordered U.S. troops to fall back from their positions on the Turkish-Syrian border. Kurdish fighters said they’re bracing for a “humanitarian catastrophe.” This follows warnings that former Kurdish allies of the U.S. who feel betrayed by President Trump will abandon thousands of prisoners captured during the U.S.-backed war against ISIS over the past two years. We speak to former housing secretary and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, who says Trump’s move is a “stunning betrayal of allies.”

Julián Castro Slams Trump's "Deranged" Immigration Policies After Escorting Asylum Seekers to Border

On Monday, 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro escorted a dozen asylum seekers to the U.S. port of entry at Brownsville, Texas, in a challenge to President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. The group included a disabled Salvadoran woman and her relatives, as well as nine LGBTQ people from Cuba, Guatemala and Honduras. Many of them report they’ve been threatened and assaulted while they’ve been forced to wait in the Mexican border city of Matamoros. The asylum seekers were refused entry into the United States. Castro speaks with us from San Antonio, where he served as mayor from 2009 to 2014.

Indigenous-Led Anti-Austerity Protests Shut Down Quito Forcing Ecuadorian Government to Move Capital

Tens of thousands of people, led by indigenous leaders, are expected to again bring Ecuador to a standstill today in massive ongoing anti-government protests. Demonstrators flooded the streets of Quito Tuesday to decry government-imposed austerity measures and a steep hike in fuel prices, despite a severe police crackdown. Civil unrest has been growing since President Lenín Moreno ended a decades-old fuel subsidy program last week as part of a so-called reform plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund after Ecuador took a $4.2 billion loan from the IMF earlier this year. Hundreds of people have been arrested as the government cracks down on protesters and the media. Tuesday’s mass demonstrations come one day after Moreno said he was temporarily moving government operations from Quito to the southern city of Guayaquil. We go to Quito to speak with David Cordero Heredia, a law professor at Pontifical Catholic University. He is one of the lawyers representing protesters who have been detained in this latest round of protests.

Headlines for October 9, 2019

Will Chicago Teachers Be Next to Go Strike? Union Head Speaks Out As Walkout Date Approaches

In Chicago, union leaders and the nation’s third-largest school district are racing to reach an agreement to avert a teachers’ strike authorized to begin later this month. In late September, 25,000 educators voted overwhelmingly to authorize a work stoppage, demanding more staffing and lower class sizes. On Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused the union of not coming to the bargaining table with a proposal to counter the offers the district has made in recent weeks. This comes as about 7,000 school support staffers with the Service Employees International Union have also made preparations for a strike, as have over 2,000 Chicago Park District workers with SEIU Local 73. From Chicago, we speak to Jesse Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Striking UAW Member: We'll Strike "As Long as It Takes" to Demand Fair Salaries and Benefits

About 48,000 workers at General Motors have entered their fourth week on strike. It is the longest national strike at GM by the United Auto Workers in nearly 50 years. Workers are seeking higher pay, protection of their healthcare benefits, greater job security and a commitment from GM to build more cars and parts in the United States. On Sunday, UAW officials announced they had rejected the company’s latest offer, saying negotiations had “taken a turn for the worse.” We speak with Steve Frisque, a striking GM worker and former president of UAW Local 722.

This is Not A Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis With Direct Action

More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two weeks of protests in 60 cities worldwide, demanding urgent government action on the climate crisis. Its members have superglued themselves to government buildings, occupied public landmarks, shut down roads and taken to the streets to sound the alarm about the impending catastrophe of global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a nonpolitical movement, launched last year in the U.K. and rose to prominence in April, when it disrupted traffic in Central London for 11 days. For more about the significance of the coordinated global protests, we speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.

Headlines for October 8, 2019

"A Shakespearean Act of Betrayal": Trump Agrees to Let Turkey Invade Kurdish-Controlled Syrian Area

U.S. troops have begun withdrawing from northeast Syria as Turkey prepares to invade Kurdish-controlled areas of the country. For years, the Kurds have been close allies to the United States in the fight against ISIS. On Sunday, however, the White House released a statement that surprised many in the region, announcing that Turkey would be “moving forward with its long-planned operation in Northern Syria,” following a phone call between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in that operation, and the United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial 'Caliphate,' will no longer be in the immediate area,” the statement said. The announcement marks a major shift in U.S. policy, since as recently as January President Trump threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacked Kurdish forces in Syria. Meanwhile, in neighboring Iraq, the death toll continues to rise as police and soldiers fire on people defying a government-imposed curfew in mass anti-government protests. For more on events in the region, we speak with Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper.

"A Backlash Against Our Existence": Laverne Cox Speaks Out on Violence Against Trans Women of Color

At least 18 transgender people have been killed in the United States in 2019 — most of them trans women of color. Last year, there were at least 26 killings of transgender people. The American Medical Association has declared the wave of violence an “epidemic.” Laverne Cox, the award-winning transgender actress and longtime trans rights activist, says such violence has long been part of the lives of trans people. “For my entire life as a trans woman, for 21 years, I have been hearing about, witnessing, going to memorials [and] going to Trans Days of Remembrance,” she says. Cox says the violence reflects a society-wide backlash against the gains made by trans people and others in the LGBTQ community, including from the Trump administration. “Now we’re coming out of the shadows, and as we come out of the shadows, people want to force us back into the dark,” she says. Cox joined Democracy Now! ahead of Supreme Court hearings this week on whether federal nondiscrimination laws extend to LGBTQ people. She was joined in studio by Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project.

"We Have to Mass Mobilize": Laverne Cox & Chase Strangio Sound the Alarm on Major LGBTQ SCOTUS Cases

At the start of its new term, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in three cases to determine whether LGBTQ people can be fired from their jobs due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of sex, as well as race, color, national origin and religion, but the Trump administration claims the law does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The cases mark the first time the Supreme Court will rule on LGBTQ rights since conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Anthony Kennedy, who wrote many of the court’s major LGBTQ rights rulings. We speak with Laverne Cox, a longtime trans rights activist and award-winning transgender actress best known for her role on the show “Orange Is the New Black,” and Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project. His work includes impact litigation, as well as legislative and administrative advocacy, on behalf of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV across the United States.

Headlines for October 7, 2019

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