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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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The Associated Press and NBC News have announced Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, defeating Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The announcement came ahead of today’s primary in California and contests in five other states: New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. Both news organizations named Clinton the victor based on unofficial polls of unelected superdelegates. If the projections stand, Clinton would become the first woman to ever be the presidential candidate of a major political party in U.S. history. Speaking in Los Angeles Monday, Clinton attacked presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton: “So, whether it’s immigrants that he’s insulted, Muslims, people with disabilities, POWs, women, federal judges, the list keeps growing longer. And it is wrong of someone running for president of the United States to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric and demagoguery.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders accused the AP and NBC of defying the DNC’s own rules by lumping together pledged delegates with unelected superdelegates, who can change their vote at any point.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The point is that tomorrow in California we have the most important primary. The people of California have the right to determine who is going to be president of the United States, not necessarily having to listen to AP or NBC. And I hope that they will come out in large numbers and make it clear that they want real change in this country, that they’re tired of establishment politics and establishment economics, and that they want a government that represents all of us and not just the 1 percent.”
We’ll have more on the Democratic race after headlines.
Leading Republicans have continued to criticize presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for attacking a Mexican-American judge. Trump has said the judge should recuse himself from a lawsuit against the defunct for-profit Trump University, because his Mexican heritage represents a conflict of interest, since Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. On Monday, Florida senator and former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio criticized Trump’s comments in an interview with Florida news station WFTV.
Sen. Marco Rubio: “I think it’s wrong. He needs to stop saying it. That man is an American and born in the United States. Beyond it, even if he hadn’t been, I mean, he’s a judge, who has earned that position and in the end should be treated with the same level of respect as any other officer of the court. I don’t think it reflects well on the Republican Party. I don’t think it reflects well on us as a nation. There shouldn’t be any sort of ethnicity, religious or racial test for what kind of judges should hear what kind of cases. If you take that argument and you expand it, you can make that argument, I mean, about anybody in some circumstance or another. It’s wrong, and I hope he stops.”
Despite the criticism from within his own party, Trump has ordered his surrogates to double down on criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel. On Monday, Trump held a conference call with leading supporters, including former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. According to an account of the call published by Bloomberg, Trump urged his supporters to question the judge’s credibility and impugn reporters as racists. When Brewer noted Trump’s own campaign had sent an email asking surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit, Trump overruled his staff, saying, “Take that order and throw it the hell out.”
BuzzFeed has nixed a $1.3 million advertising agreement with the Republican National Committee. In an email to BuzzFeed staff, CEO Jonah Peretti wrote: “The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs.” Writing about the announcement for The Guardian, Megan Carpentier notes the deal would have been for native advertising, or sponsored content, often made to look like journalistic posts or videos. She notes: “While media companies accepting money from political campaigns (and organizations such as Super Pacs and advocacy groups supporting candidates) is a fairly standard practice, accepting money to run pieces of sponsored content that many readers will mistake for journalism in support of those candidacies is not—and that’s the deal that BuzzFeed nixed on Monday.”
In Brazil, the chief prosecutor has asked the Supreme Court to authorize the arrest of the presidents of the Senate and the ruling PMDB party and former President José Sarney for allegedly trying to obstruct police investigations. The officials are among the most powerful in Brazil. If they’re arrested, it could rock the newly installed administration of interim President Michel Temer. Temer took over after lawmakers voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff in what many consider a coup by her right-wing opponents. Leaked transcripts show at least one official plotted to oust Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation that was targeting him.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has removed the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen from a blacklist of forces responsible for killing children. The removal came after intense pressure from Saudi Arabia. An annual U.N. report found nearly 2,000 children were killed or injured in Yemen last year, a sixfold increase over the previous year. Sixty percent of those casualties were blamed on the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition.
In Istanbul, Turkey, a car bombing has killed at least 11 people and wounded dozens more. The bombing targeted a police shuttle bus near a central tourist area of the city during rush hour. Seven of those killed were police. No group has claimed responsibility so far.
A watchdog group has recommended the blue semi-precious stone lapis lazuli be classified as a conflict mineral because of its role in fueling armed groups in Afghanistan. Global Witness says the Taliban and other armed groups earn up to $20 million a year from illegal lapis mining. Researcher Stephen Carter said the mines have destabilized Badakhshan province in northern Afghanistan.
Stephen Carter: “The situation at the moment is you have a real illustration that there is competition among armed groups for this resource. And what that does is it creates the ideal conditions for an insurgency to flourish. Everyone’s got an interest in there being a little bit of conflict. Everyone’s got an interest in the government being essentially a hollow shell.”
The Department of Energy is conducting an eight-city national tour aimed at gathering public feedback on the issue of where to store nuclear waste. The agency has launched a so-called consent-based siting model to determine where to store spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. At a hearing in Boston Thursday, Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear raised objections to the process.
Paul Gunter: “How does the public in the affected community build trust when the Department of Energy itself is a promotional agency doing the bidding of the nuclear industry by direct promotion, and that the whole process going forward to date has lacked consent? There’s never been consent with regard to generation of nuclear waste.”
Here in New York City, a Muslim man has been attacked and severely beaten by three men outside a mosque in Queens. Mohamed Rasheed Khan suffered broken ribs and facial bones, internal bleeding and a concussion. Advocates have called for authorities to investigate the beating as a possible hate crime.
In another case being described as a possible hate crime, an African-American boy has died after running from a group of mostly white teenagers who were reportedly shouting racial slurs in Staten Island. The New York Daily News reports a dispute between two groups of teenagers escalated when the mostly white group chased after 16-year-old Dayshen McKenzie and his friends with a gun, shouting the N-word. McKenzie collapsed and died of an asthma attack.
In California, a Stanford law professor has launched a recall campaign against the judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Judge Aaron Persky said he was concerned a prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on Brock Allen Turner, who was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault after being caught by two witnesses while on top of the woman. Turner’s victim wrote a powerful letter to her attacker which has been viewed more than 5 million times. Turner’s father fueled the outrage by complaining his son’s life had been ruined for what he called “20 minutes of action.” The survivor, who has not been named publicly, told The Guardian Monday she was “overwhelmed and speechless” at the support she had received. Meanwhile, Stanford University has finally released Turner’s original booking photo from the night of his arrest last year. Up until now, most media outlets had been using a smiling yearbook photo of Turner rather than the mugshots that typically accompany stories of sexual assault and other crimes.
In California, Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Richards faces up to four years in prison at her sentencing today after she was convicted of a rarely used statute in California law known up until recently as “felony lynching.” Police accused her of trying to de-arrest someone during a peace march in Pasadena last August. The arrest and jailing of a young black woman activist on charges of felony lynching has sparked a firestorm of protest, with supporters vowing to pack the court today. Click here to see our interview with her attorney, Nana Gyamfi, and Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah.