Democracy Now!

Race in America

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  • A battle over the death penalty is brewing in Florida, where Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala has announced her office will no longer seek the death penalty in any murder cases, including in the case of Markeith Loyd, who is accused of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and Orlando police officer Debra Clayton. Ayala’s announcement sparked immediate backlash from the police union and Florida Governor Rick Scott, who called on her to recuse herself from the Loyd case. When she refused, Scott signed an executive order removing her from the case and reassigning it. Now Ayala, the first African-American state attorney in Florida history, has been receiving death threats, including from local government employees. We are joined by Angel Harris, assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

  • As confirmation hearings begin for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, we look at his record on voting rights and speak with Ari Berman, senior contributing writer for The Nation. His recent piece is headlined "In E-mails, Neil Gorsuch Praised a Leading Republican Activist Behind Voter Suppression Efforts."

  • Is President Donald Trump’s top counterterrorism adviser, Sebastian Gorka, a member of a Hungarian far-right, Nazi-allied group? We speak with reporter Larry Cohler-Esses, who first reported the allegations in The Forward, a leading Jewish American newspaper. The outlet reports members of the Vitézi Rend elite order confirmed Gorka took a lifelong oath of loyalty to the Hungarian far-right group, which is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II. Questions first emerged about Gorka’s ties to the group after the website LobeLog published photographs of Gorka wearing a Vitézi Rend medal on his lapel at a presidential inauguration ball on January 20. Gorka has denied reports of his involvement with the group, but if he is found to have failed to disclose this in his immigration application, it could make him inadmissible to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The revelation comes as Jewish community centers and synagogues around the U.S. reported another wave of bomb threats over the weekend.

  • Iowa Republican Congressmember Steve King sparked outrage Sunday after publishing a racist tweet in support of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was rejected by the majority of Dutch voters during Wednesday’s parliamentary elections. Congressmember King was retweeting a cartoon by the anti-immigrant group Voice of Europe depicting Wilders with a finger plugging a leak in a dike, labeled "Western Civilization," holding back a toxic wave of Islam. The cartoon also depicts Muslim men with a sword and a suicide bomb vest. Rep. King’s retweet of the cartoon read, "Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies." For more, we speak with Democratic Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois.

  • Today marks President Obama’s last full day in office. On Friday at noon, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in Donald Trump as the country’s 45th president. On Wednesday, in his last press conference as president, Obama defended his decision to commute the sentence of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, and condemned the Israeli occupation. He also warned Trump that he will not stay silent if he sees what he called the nation’s core values at risk. To look back at Obama’s legacy and what lies ahead with the new administration, we speak to Eddie Glaude, chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. He is author of several books, most recently, "Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul."

  • At least 42 Democrats plan to boycott Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration this Friday, after Trump used the weekend to attack civil rights icon John Lewis. On Friday, Democratic Congressmember Lewis questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election during an interview on NBC News. Early on Saturday morning on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Donald Trump hit back at Lewis on Twitter, saying he was "All talk, talk, talk–no action." Trump’s comments sparked a massive national backlash. Congressmember Lewis is a civil rights legend. In 1965, he was beaten almost to death by Alabama state troopers as he attempted to lead a voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The images from what came to be known as Bloody Sunday helped galvanize support for the Voting Rights Act signed into law months later. Congressmember Lewis described what happened on Bloody Sunday during a 2012 interview on Democracy Now!

  • In a Democracy Now! and Pacifica Radio Archives exclusive, we air a newly discovered recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On December 7, 1964, days before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, King gave a major address in London on segregation, the fight for civil rights and his support for Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. The speech was recorded by Saul Bernstein, who was working as the European correspondent for Pacifica Radio. Bernstein’s recording was recently discovered by Brian DeShazor, director of the Pacifica Radio Archives.

  • By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan
    It wouldn’t be fair to hold Trump’s Attorney General pick Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III accountable for his namesakes, the long-dead heroes of the Confederacy. But Senate confirmation hearings are an appropriate forum to hold nominees accountable for their own words and deeds.

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