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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

  • Juan Cole: Mass Sunni Uprising Forces Iraq to Confront Sectarian Blowback of 2003 U.S. Invasion

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    As the United States briefly holds talks with Iran over the crisis in Iraq, President Obama has announced the deployment of 275 U.S. military personnel to protect U.S. personnel and facilities in Baghdad. The Obama administration is reportedly weighing other options in Iraq, including drone strikes and the deployment of special forces to train Iraqi troops. This comes as Sunni militants have launched a new offensive against the city of Baquba less than 40 miles from Baghdad. We speak to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, author of several books, including the forthcoming "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East."

    Image Credit: Reuters

  • 50 Years Later, How a New Freedom Summer Could Mobilize the South’s Disenfranchised People of Color

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    This month marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. In June 1964, more than 1,000 out-of-state volunteers traveled to Mississippi to help register African-American voters and set up "freedom schools." Activists risked their lives to help actualize the promise of America’s democracy: the right for everyone to vote. Out of Freedom Summer grew the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party that challenged the legitimacy of the white-only Mississippi Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Half a century after Freedom Summer, a new report suggests much work remains to be done. According to the report, people of color continue to be locked out of statewide politics, and people of color candidates rarely get elected to statewide office. The report features state-by-state graphics that demonstrate how a targeted wave of voter registration among people of color voters could shift the balance of power in key Southern states. The report, "True South: Voters of Color in the Black Belt 50 Years After Freedom Summer," was just released by the Southern Elections Foundation and the Center for American Progress. We are joined by the report’s author, Benjamin Jealous, a partner at Kapor Capital and a senior fellow the Center for American Progress.

  • "The Last Magazine": One Year After Death, Michael Hastings’ Lost Novel Satirizes Corporate Media

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    June 17 marks the first anniversary of the death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings. Just 33 years old, Hastings died in a car crash at a time when he was considered of one of the country’s most daring young reporters. His dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan unveiled the hidden realities of war. His 2010 Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, sparked a political controversy after McChrystal and his aides were quoted making disparaging remarks about top administration officials. The article exposed longstanding government discord over the Afghan War’s direction and led to McChrystal’s firing. One year after his death, Hastings’ reporting has made waves once again. In 2012, Hastings wrote a major investigation for Rolling Stone on the American prisoner of war, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. At the time, Hastings thought it was the most important story of his career. But it only recently earned widespread attention after Bergdahl’s release for five Taliban members sparked a political firestorm. In his report, Hastings revealed Bergdahl was profoundly disillusioned with the Afghan War and may have walked away from his base as a result. With Bergdahl still silent as he recovers from five years in Taliban captivity, Hastings’ article remains the definitive account of the young soldier’s story. Today, another major work from Hastings is upon us: "The Last Magazine," a posthumous novel and scathing satire of the corporate news media based on Hastings’ time at Newsweek. We are joined by Hastings’ widow, Elise Jordan, who brought the book to life after coming across the manuscript following her husband’s death.