This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first ever show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust. Maybe you rely on our daily headlines. Maybe you come looking for the in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. One thing you know you can count on is that Democracy Now! is always free—you'll never hit a paywall. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.
Please do your part today.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he’s cutting hundreds of campaign staffers as he concentrates his efforts on the upcoming California primary. The move comes after rival Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in four of the five contests Tuesday. Clinton won Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut. Sanders won Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has named former presidential rival Carly Fiorina as his vice-presidential running mate.
Sen. Ted Cruz: “After a great deal of time and thought, after a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States, that I will run on a ticket with my vice-presidential nominee Carly Fiorina.”
It’s the first time in four decades that a presidential hopeful has named a running mate before winning the party nomination. The last candidate to do so was Ronald Reagan during his 1976 campaign.
Meanwhile, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump unveiled some of his foreign policy proposals during a speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Trump pledged to significantly increase the size and funding of the U.S. military. He also promised to destroy ISIL, although he gave no details on his proposed strategy. Trump also repeated his pledge to reject trade deals.
A federal judge has sentenced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert to 15 months in prison for financial crimes related to his attempts to cover up his sexual abuse of high school wrestlers decades ago. Hastert was the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history. In October, he pleaded guilty to breaking banking reporting laws while paying one of his victims millions in hush money to keep quiet about the sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, an Oklahoma appeals court has sparked controversy after ruling that having oral sex with someone who is unconscious from drinking does not constitute rape. The ruling stems from a case in which a 17-year-old boy is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl who had passed out from drinking. The court ruled that existing Oklahoma law did not specifically name incapacitation due to intoxication in its definition of forcible oral sodomy. In response, Michelle Anderson, dean of the City University of New York School of Law, called on Oklahoma to change the statute, which she said “creates a huge loophole for sexual abuse that makes no sense.”
The White House has backed calls for Greece to continue to implement widespread austerity measures, following President Obama’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week. Greece and its international creditors are once again negotiating the terms of Greece’s bailout and the extent of the austerity measures creditors can impose. On Wednesday, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters the administration believes Greece must follow through on “structural reforms.”
Josh Earnest: “Obviously, you know, we’re very supportive of the efforts that members of the EU have made to deal with the financial challenges posed by Greece’s finances. Part of that agreement included Greece following through on a number of structural reforms. And we certainly believe that—that Greece has a responsibility to do that.”
Doctors Without Borders says at least 14 patients and three doctors have been killed during an airstrike on a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday. Residents said the airstrikes were carried out either by the Syrian regime or by Russia.
The retail giant Target has announced employees and customers can use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. This comes as a Missouri House committee has voted down an anti-LGBT bill that would have led to a ballot measure proposing to allow businesses, people and organizations to use their religious beliefs as a legal excuse to discriminate against LGBT people. Meanwhile, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has signed a new law that allows mental health counselors to refuse service to LGBT patients on religious grounds.
In New York City, as many as 700 New York police officers and federal law enforcement agents swarmed residential neighborhoods of the Bronx Wednesday morning, arresting about 100 people in the largest mass arrest of suspected gang members in recent history. The massive operation included SWAT teams, police helicopters, and federal agents from the DEA, the U.S. Marshals and a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement known as HSI. Police say those arrested are part of two gangs that are linked to a number of murders. But some community members questioned the operation, especially the heavy involvement of ICE agents. Doris Salazar of the group ICE=Free NYC spoke out.
Doris Salazar: “If this was a local gang raid, then why were ICE and deportation officials involved in the first place? Local news is telling the story like this is exactly what Bronx residents needed. But, honestly, it seems very suspicious. We are a largely immigrant community. And, frankly, ICE does more to break up families and to create social unrest than the people who were arrested Wednesday morning in the raid.”
In Baltimore, police have shot and wounded a 14-year-old African-American boy carrying a toy gun on the first anniversary of the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died from injuries sustained in police custody. On Wednesday, plainclothes police officers began chasing 14-year-old Dedric Colvin after they spotted him with a BB gun. Police say the officers opened fire, striking him, as he ran away. His mother says he was shot in the leg and in the shoulder. He is expected to recover. This comes two days after Cleveland officials agreed to pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old African-American boy who was fatally shot by police in 2014 while playing with a toy pellet gun in a park.
And legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone is directing a new movie about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is a clip from the just-released trailer.
Edward Snowden: [played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt] “How is this all possible?”
NSA worker: “Think of it as a Google search, except instead of searching only what people make public, we’re also looking at everything they don’t—emails, chats, SMS, whatever.”
Snowden: “Yeah, but which people?”
NSA worker: “The whole kingdom, Snow White.”
Snowden: “The NSA is really tracking every cellphone in the world.”
Unidentified: “Most Americans don’t want freedom. They want security.”
Snowden: “Except people, they don’t even know they’ve made that bargain.”
Lindsay Mills: [played by Shailene Woodley] “Are they watching us?”
Snowden: “There’s something going on inside the government that’s really wrong, and I can’t ignore it.”
That’s a clip of Oliver Stone’s upcoming film, “Snowden.” Stone’s previous films include ”JFK,” “Nixon,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Platoon.”