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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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In San Jose, California, clashes broke out between supporters of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and hundreds of protesters who gathered outside the Trump rally to condemn Trump’s rhetoric against Mexicans and Muslims. The San Jose Mercury News called it the “biggest and most violent political protest San Jose has seen in decades.” Dozens of scuffles broke out, with reports multiple people were punched. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, a Democrat, criticized Trump for sparking problems that fall upon local police departments. “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan has endorsed Donald Trump. Ryan, the top elected Republican in the country, had previously criticized Trump, saying his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States was “not what this country stands for.” Last month, Ryan told CNN he was “just not ready” to endorse Trump. But on Thursday Ryan said he had changed his mind. In a column submitted to his hometown paper, the Janesville Gazette, Ryan wrote: “It’s no secret that [Trump] and I have our differences. I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”
In an another potential sign of support from the Republican establishment, Trump has held a private meeting with Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns. Rove, who has launched a vast network of political fundraising organizations, has publicly criticized Trump, calling him a “complete idiot.” But The New York Times reports Rove and Trump met two weeks ago at the home of a mutual friend, casino magnate Steve Wynn.
Meanwhile, Trump has continued to attack the judge overseeing a fraud lawsuit against the for-profit Trump University, which is now defunct. Trump told The Wall Street Journal Thursday U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation because he is “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association. Trump cited his pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying, “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took aim at Donald Trump Thursday with some of her harshest criticism to date. Speaking in San Diego ahead of Tuesday’s California primary, Clinton said electing Trump would be a “historic mistake.”
Hillary Clinton: “This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes, because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.”
Trump responded by blasting Clinton’s decision to “stupidly raise her hand” for the Iraq War.
Meanwhile, speaking in Modesto, California, Clinton’s Democratic rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, said he was the best candidate to defeat Trump. Sanders also took aim at Clinton’s policies on climate change.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Of course she recognizes the reality of climate change. But I want her to join me in supporting a tax on carbon. I want her to change her views on the very important issue of fracking. She supports fracking. She wants to regulate fracking, but there are people who think you really, by definition, cannot effectively regulate fracking. And when she was secretary of state, she pushed the fracking technology on countries all over the world.”
Bernie Sanders says the Democratic National Committee vetoed his nomination of a labor union leader to the committee that will write the party platform. Sanders was allowed to choose five of the 15 platform members. One of the people he tapped was RoseAnn DeMoro, head of National Nurses United, but Sanders said the DNC rejected her. DNC platform committee spokesperson Dana Vickers Shelley told The Washington Post, “Because union leadership was represented on the full platform committee, a decision was made no union leadership would be represented on the platform drafting committee.” The DNC did approve a labor union pick by Hillary Clinton: Paul Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The German Parliament has voted to call the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I a “genocide.” The Turkish government continues to deny the genocide, which saw an estimated 1.5 million Armenians exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture and forced death marches. In response to the German vote, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany and said it would consider further actions.
Massive flooding has also struck Europe, where Paris’ Louvre Museum closed today as artwork was moved to higher areas. In southern Germany, flooding has killed at least six people in recent days. Scientists say such heavy rains and flooding are linked to climate change.
In Brazil, suspended President Dilma Rousseff joined protesters in Rio de Janeiro denouncing what they consider a coup against her. Congress suspended Rousseff purportedly for manipulating budget accounts, but leaked transcripts showed at least one official plotted to oust Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation that was targeting him. Brazil’s political crisis has coincided with protests over the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl by more than 30 men. On Thursday, Rousseff addressed the Women’s March for Democracy.
Dilma Rousseff: “We know that what happened here was a gang rape. And at the same time, one of the elite country clubs has clearly shown its prejudice against a nanny, prohibiting her from sitting or from using the bathroom. This culture of rape against women, and at the same time this culture of social exclusion, is something that we know needs to be defeated.”
Rousseff was Brazil’s first woman president. Her replacement, Michel Temer, appointed an all-male Cabinet.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Alabama over anti-choice restrictions, including a law that treats abortion clinics like sex offenders. The measure banning abortion clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of a K-through-8 public school would shutter the only abortion clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, which together provide more than half of all abortions in the state. The Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville is located across from a school; it was forced to move there to comply with other anti-choice restrictions. The ACLU also challenged restrictions that ban a safe abortion method and force abortion providers to give every patient a copy of her medical records, even if she doesn’t want them.
The man accused of killing a professor at UCLA in what authorities called a murder-suicide appears to have killed his ex-wife first. Authorities said they found a “kill list” in the home of accused gunman Mainak Sarkar, which included three names: William Klug, the UCLA professor who was shot to death on Wednesday; another UCLA professor; and a woman identified as Sarkar’s ex-wife, Ashley Hasti. Hasti was found shot to death in her home in Minnesota.
Here in New York City, hundreds of Macy’s workers rallied outside the retailer’s flagship store in Herald Square to call for a living wage, reliable schedules and affordable healthcare. Thousands of Macy’s workers have authorized their union to call a strike if Macy’s doesn’t meet their demands for a fair contract by June 15. Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said Macy’s is seeking unreasonable cuts.
Stuart Appelbaum: “Macy’s is looking to take away pensions from senior employees, reduce commissions for commission workers, refuses to provide affordable healthcare coverage. The workers are angry, the workers are upset. The workers have taken a strike vote, and it was unanimous. People are prepared to strike if Macy’s refuses to give them the respect they’ve earned and deserve.”
And an elderly New York prisoner who won wide support for his freedom has died just two months after he was released to a nursing home in Staten Island. Mohaman Koti was 89 years old. In 1978, Koti was convicted of attempted murder after he shot a New York City police officer during a traffic stop in which he says the officer drew his gun first. The officer later recovered, and Koti was offered a plea deal of seven-and-a-half years. When he demanded a trial, he was sentenced to 25 years to life. He spent the next several decades mentoring young male prisoners. A corrections officer at Sing Sing said he had never met anyone so well respected on both sides of the bars. Ten years after Koti was eligible for parole, he was profiled in a 2013 New York Times column about prisoners over the age of 60 who are denied release based on their original crime, instead of an accurate assessment of the threat they pose. It described a parole board hearing where commissioners had to repeat questions to Koti because he was hard of hearing. He suffered from several medical problems and used a wheelchair, but he was still found to be at risk of committing another crime. Koti was ultimately granted parole in September 2014, when a judge ruled the previous denials were irrational and called for a new hearing. Then, because of a pending bank robbery charge from the time of his arrest, he was ordered to serve an additional year in prison at a federal medical center in Butner, North Carolina. Koti was finally freed in March. His longtime lawyer and friend Susan Tipograph told Democracy Now!, “The kind of life Koti lived when he got out—confined to a nursing home because he was not able to care for himself—shows that it was ludicrous to think he would have posed a threat to society all these years.”