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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.
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At least 11 people are feared to be dead in the Caribbean after the massive Category 4 Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti and the Dominican Republic Tuesday with winds up to 145 miles an hour and torrential downpours. It’s the strongest storm to hit the Caribbean in nearly a decade. In Haiti, Matthew has killed at least four people and displaced thousands more across a country still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake. The storm also knocked out most communications across Haiti and flooded a major bridge connecting southern Haiti to the rest of the country. The United Nations has warned the hurricane poses the greatest humanitarian threat to Haiti since the earthquake six years ago. The hurricane has also hit the Bahamas and Cuba, where the U.S. military evacuated 700 employees, and some family pets, from the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, although it did not evacuate the 61 prisoners held there. The storm is now hurtling toward the U.S. coast. In anticipation, multiple governors have declared states of emergency, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has ordered the evacuation of coastal regions inhabited by more than a million people.
Meanwhile, in South Korea, Typhoon Chaba has killed at least five people after it made landfall Wednesday, flooding out South Korea’s main port and major cities. The typhoon is now hurtling toward Japan. Scientists have linked the increasing intensity of hurricanes and typhoons to climate change.
In news from the campaign trail, vice-presidential candidates Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and Indiana Governor Mike Pence squared off Tuesday night in the only vice-presidential debate. It was held at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, and moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News. The debate was tense, with Kaine frequently attacking Pence over the proposals and character of his running mate, Donald Trump.
Sen. Tim Kaine: “I’ll just say this: We trust Hillary Clinton—my wife and I—and we trust her with the most important thing in our life. We have a son deployed overseas in the Marine Corps right now. We trust Hillary Clinton as president and commander-in-chief. But the thought of Donald Trump as commander-in-chief scares us to death.”
Governor Pence, meanwhile, defended Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, amid new revelations that suggest Trump could have avoided paying taxes for up to 18 years. This clip begins with Senator Kaine.
Sen. Tim Kaine: “But why won’t he release his tax returns?”
Gov. Mike Pence: “Well, we’re answering the question about—about the business thing.”
Sen. Tim Kaine: “I do want to come back on this, but—”
Gov. Mike Pence: “His tax return—his tax returns showed he went through a very difficult time, but he used the tax code just the way it’s supposed to be used, and he did it brilliantly.”
Sen. Tim Kaine: “How do you know that? You haven’t seen his tax returns.”
Third-party vice-presidential nominees were excluded from the debate. But on Tuesday night, Democracy Now! expanded the debate in real time: After every question answered by the major-party vice-presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, we paused to get response from Green Party vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka. We’ll run parts of this expanded debate after headlines.
In more campaign news, a fight broke out at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona, between a Trump supporter and a protester Tuesday. There have been episodes of violence at Trump rallies throughout the campaign, which some have linked to Trump’s rhetoric. In March, three anti-Trump protesters sued Donald Trump, arguing he “incited a riot” at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, causing them to be attacked by his supporters after he repeatedly called on the crowd to “get them out, get them out.”
In Indiana, state police have raided Indiana’s largest voter registration office. The Intercept reports nearly a dozen police officers searched the Indianapolis offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project, seizing multiple computers and workers’ personal cellphones. The police say the search is related to an ongoing investigation into possible voter registration fraud. But organizers say the operation was an attack on voter registration efforts in the Republican-controlled state.
Former President Bill Clinton is trying to walk back his comments Monday in which he called Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world” while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Flint, Michigan.
Bill Clinton: “The people who are getting killed in this deal are small business people and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these subsidies. Why? Because they’re not organized, they don’t have any bargaining power with insurance companies, and they’re getting whacked. So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have healthcare, and then the people who are out there busting it sometimes 60 hours a week wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”
On Tuesday, Bill Clinton attempted to walk back his comments by saying Obama’s signature legislation did a “world of good.”
Former employees of the email giant Yahoo say Yahoo secretly scanned the contents of hundreds of millions of email accounts and turned the information over to the NSA or FBI. In order to do so, Yahoo secretly built a special software program specifically designed to search every user’s emails for keywords provided by the U.S. government. If true, the practice represents the first known time a giant email company searched all arriving emails in real time at the behest of the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance programs.
This comes as newly revealed documents show how the Justice Department subpoenaed Open Whisper Systems, the maker of the popular encrypted messaging application Signal, in efforts to get a wide range of information about two phone numbers—and then imposed a gag order on Open Whisper Systems preventing the company from talking about it. The encrypted application maker did not turn over the desired information because the company does not store such information about its users. The Justice Department sought the information in early 2016, but it’s only coming to light now because the gag order has been lifted.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, police have released the full body camera video of the fatal police shooting of African-American father Keith Lamont Scott. The 16-minute video shows Scott lying on the ground, handcuffed, with multiple bullet wounds from the police shooting. The video does not show Scott with a gun, as the police have claimed he had, although officers did twice make reference to a gun during the video. North Carolina is an open-carry state. This is Scott’s family lawyer, Justin Bamberg.
Justin Bamberg: “I can tell you that it is very difficult to watch. It’s difficult for a wife to watch. And what you’re seeing is real life. You see Mr. Scott on the ground. You see him handcuffed. And you see a human being, a father, a husband, lose his life.”
Keith Lamont Scott’s killing by police has sparked massive protests in Charlotte and nationwide.
Meanwhile, the New York Police Department has admitted not a single one of its 34,800 officers is currently wearing a body camera. On Monday, the NYPD said it picked a company to provide about 5,000 body cameras to the force over the next five years, but no contract has been signed.
In Poland, as many as 6 million women poured into the streets for a nationwide protest Monday opposing proposals to completely ban abortions across Poland. Already by law, Polish women are only allowed to access an abortion if the child is the result of rape or incest, or if their lives are in danger as a result of the pregnancy. But the new proposed laws would make all abortions illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison for patients who obtain them. Doctors could also be jailed for providing abortions. The Catholic Church in Poland is supporting the proposed ban.
In Mexico, two students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in the southern state of Guerrero have been killed by gunmen on Tuesday. The attack came after gunmen stopped a bus traveling to the town of Tixtla. At least one other person was killed and three others wounded in the attack, including an 8-year-old boy. It’s not known who the gunmen were.
Meanwhile, also in Mexico, a group of women who were reportedly kidnapped, tortured and raped by Mexican police officers 10 years ago have now taken their case to the Inter-American Human Rights Court. The events occurred in San Salvador Atenco in the state of México. The women were kidnapped amid two days of popular protests in May 2006, after police cracked down on a group of female flower sellers. The current president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, was the governor of the state of México at the time. This is Bárbara Méndez, a survivor of the sexual torture.
Bárbara Méndez: “During the detention and during transportation, I was tortured physically, psychologically and sexually. I was caught up in the penal process for more than two-and-a-half years. It was a very heartbreaking experience, and it has left a big impact on my life, to be detained and tortured under those conditions.”
And in Minnesota, thousands of nurses have voted to remain on strike into a second month, as they demand a contract that includes safe staffing ratios in the hospitals, improved security in emergency rooms and the right to retain their union-backed health insurance plans. More than 4,000 nurses are currently participating in the strike, which began on September 5, exactly one month ago.