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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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The Democratic National Convention is opening today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, amid massive party turmoil. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she is stepping down following the release of nearly 20,000 emails revealing how the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton and worked behind the scenes to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders. The emails were released Friday by WikiLeaks. In one email, DNC Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall suggested someone ask Sanders about his religion, writing, “For KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. … He has skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. … My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” Another email shows DNC staffers suggesting planting a news story that Sanders’ campaign was a “mess.” Bernie Sanders reacted to the emails during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “I told you a long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting Secretary Clinton. So what I suggested to be true six months ago turns out, in fact, to be true. I’m not shocked, but I am disappointed.”
Party Vice Chair Donna Brazile will act as the DNC’s interim head through the election in November. Following the leak, Clinton announced Wasserman Schultz will serve as the honorary chair of the Clinton campaign’s 50-state program. Clinton called Wasserman Schultz a “longtime friend” and said she will support her congressional re-election race in Florida. Sanders has backed Wasserman Schultz’s primary opponent in the race, Tim Canova. We’ll have more on the emails after headlines with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Hillary Clinton has named Virginia Senator Tim Kaine to be her running mate. Kaine was elected to the Senate in 2012. Before that, he was the chair of the DNC. Clinton and Kaine spoke at an event in Miami Saturday, where Kaine spoke in both English and Spanish.
Sen. Tim Kaine: “Hey, guys. Thank you. Hello, Miami. Hello, FIU. Bienvenidos a todos! Bienvenidos a todos. En nuestro país, ¿verdad? Porque somos americanos todos!”
That’s Tim Kaine speaking in Miami. “Welcome everyone. In our country, right? Because we are all Americans.” Kaine learned Spanish when he spent a year in Honduras with Jesuit missionaries during the U.S.-backed dirty war in the 1980s. Many believe Kaine’s fluency will help him with the Latino vote, although a 2015 Univision poll found nearly seven in 10 Latinos say a candidate’s ability to speak Spanish would not affect their vote. Meanwhile, many progressives are concerned about Kaine’s track record of supporting so-called free trade agreements, including voting to fast-track the TPP. We’ll have more on Tim Kaine later in the broadcast.
On Sunday in Philadelphia, hundreds of Bernie Sanders supporters rallied ahead of the opening of the DNC—many outraged by the Democratic Party’s bias against Sanders.
Ian O’Malley: “I’m here mostly because of the DNC WikiLeaks. They showed us that Hillary was given an unfair advantage from the get-go, and Bernie was given a disadvantage. What disturbed me was that we knew this all along for the last year, and we’ve been trying to say it. And we all feel a little crazy in the backs of our heads, thinking, yeah, well, we know it’s all corrupt to begin with, but now to have it spelled out for you in 20,000 emails, I don’t think it gets any clearer. And I don’t think it gets any more disturbing than that.”
Meanwhile, thousands more protesters marched through the streets of Philadelphia Sunday to demand a ban on fracking and a transition to clean energy. This is one of the protesters.
Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh: “My name is Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh. I’m 16 years old. I’m a representative of the Earth Guardian Crew, representing Latino indigenous and youth voices, and I’m part of the global climate movement. Hillary Clinton, get your money and get your support off of the fossil fuel industry. We cannot support an industry that threatens lives like my own and all the other young people in our community, communities here in Pennsylvania, across New York, across the country, that are already being affected by the effects of fracking and other forms of fossil fuel extraction. We need 100 percent renewable energy by 2026. We need action now.”
This comes as Donald Trump has defended Roger Ailes, who has resigned from Fox News amid multiple accusations of sexual harassment. This is Trump speaking with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.
Donald Trump: “Well, I don’t want to comment, but he’s been a friend of mine for a long time. And I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he’s helped them, and even recently. And when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him, and now all of a sudden they’re saying these horrible things about him, it’s very sad, because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person and, by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he’s done. So I feel very badly. But a lot of people are thinking he’s going to run my campaign. My campaign’s doing pretty well.”
About a dozen women have spoken anonymously to The New York Times about experiencing sexual harassment at Fox News; one reporter said Roger Ailes began and ended every meeting by hugging and kissing her.
Meanwhile, Trump also told Chuck Todd that he expanded his call for a ban on immigration during his speech at the RNC Thursday.
Chuck Todd: “This feels like a slight rollback.”
Donald Trump: “I don’t think I’d pull back.”
Chuck Todd: “Should we interpret that as that?”
Donald Trump: “I don’t think so.”
Chuck Todd: “OK.”
Donald Trump: “I actually don’t think it’s a pullback. In fact, you could say it’s an expansion. I’m looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word 'Muslim.' Oh, you can’t use the word 'Muslim.' Remember this. And I’m OK with that, because I’m talking territory instead of Muslim. But just remember this: Our Constitution is great. But it doesn’t necessarily give us the right to commit suicide, OK? Now, we have a religious—you know, everybody wants to be protected. And that’s great, and that’s the wonderful part of our Constitution. I view it differently. Why are we committing suicide?”
Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke is running for U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Duke said he’s “overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years.” Earlier this year, Donald Trump refused to disavow David Duke’s support, although Trump has since repeatedly disavowed him.
Meanwhile, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn—who was on Donald Trump’s vice-presidential short list and who spoke at the convention—has sparked controversy by re-tweeting an anti-Semitic message. On Sunday, he shared a tweet reading, “Cnn implicated. 'The USSR is to blame!' … Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.” The tweet was a reference to Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager claiming on CNN that Russia was behind the DNC email hack. Flynn deleted the tweet and apologized a few hours later.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says he will sign individual clemency grants for tens of thousands of former felons. The promise comes after the Virginia state Supreme Court ruled against an executive order McAuliffe signed in April that would have restored voting rights to about 200,000 people former felons in Virginia who have completed their sentences.
Two people were killed and at least 16 wounded in a shooting early this morning at a nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida. Police said they were investigating the shooting and did not offer a potential motive or suspects for the attack. The attack at the Club Blu nightclub comes a little more than a month after a gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people in one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Afghanistan observed a national day of mourning Sunday, a day after a suicide bomber killed at least 80 people demonstrating peacefully in Kabul. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The demonstrators were asking the Afghan government to build a high-power electrical transmission line in the impoverished northern province of Bamyan. This is Jawad Rezayee, a relative of one of the bombing victims.
Jawad Rezayee: “Yesterday’s incident was a tragic incident against the movement of justice. This is the first attack against a justice movement. We have lost many of our family and friends here. We have come here to bury our martyred and name the hill 'the martyrs' hill.’”
Memorials were held this weekend in Germany for victims of a mass shooting on Friday near a shopping center in Munich. German police say 18-year-old Ali Sonboly killed nine people with a handgun in an apparently random attack before killing himself. An investigator said Sonboly appeared to have been obsessed with mass shootings and began planning his attack after visiting the site of a school shooting that left 15 dead in the German town of Winnenden. The shooting took place on the fifth anniversary of a mass shooting in Norway that left 77 people dead. Police said Sonboly had pictures of that shooter, Anders Breivik, on his computer. Police also said Sonboly had been hospitalized for two months last year for psychiatric care.
Syrian government air raids over the weekend struck five medical facilities in and around the city of Aleppo. Five people were killed in the strikes. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said all five clinics remained closed after the bombings. Physicians for Human Rights says 750 medical personnel have been killed in Syria since 2011—698 in attacks carried out by government forces and their allies.
The family of a North Miami autistic man who police say was the target of a shooting last week says he has been traumatized by the incident. Arnaldo Rios Soto was being treated by a behavioral therapist, Charles Kinsey, after wandering away from a group home. When police arrived, Kinsey lay down on the ground with his hands in the air. He told police no one was armed and that Rios Soto was playing with a toy truck. An officer opened fire, shooting Kinsey in the leg. The police later said the officer meant to shoot Rios Soto. Since the shooting, Rios-Soto’s family said he is not sleeping or eating. His sister Miriam Soto spoke to local news.
Miriam Rios: “Own up to your mistakes and let people know that you’re trying to change. Because this is not the first time that it has happened. When I got home, I noticed my mom was crying, nervous. She had no answers, and she explains to me what she saw. Later on that they realized that it was a toy, he didn’t have a gun. Come on, now. It’s just too many lies.”
Black Lives Matter activists held demonstrations in at least half a dozen cities in the U.S. over the weekend, including in Houston, Texas; Springfield, Missouri; Apopka, Florida; and Asheville, North Carolina, where seven people were arrested after a sit-in at police headquarters on Friday. The demonstrators staged the 30-hour sit-in to demand answers in the case of the fatal police shooting earlier this month of a 35-year-old African-American man. Police say the man was carrying an assault rifle. His family has hired a lawyer and questioned whether the shooting was justified.
Meanwhile, the WNBA has reversed its decision to fine players for wearing black T-shirts to honor recent victims of police violence in the U.S. The players wore the shirts earlier this month after the killings by police of two African-American men, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The WNBA announced fines of $5,000 for three teams last week, saying players had violated the league’s “uniform regulations.”
And the father of one of the 43 Mexican students who disappeared in September 2014 is asking for a meeting with President Obama.
Antonio Tizapa: “Mr. President Barack Obama, my name is Antonio Tizapa. I’m the father of Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño, one of the students disappeared by the Mexican government. Mr. President, how is possible that you’re going to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tomorrow, when this person is repressing, killing and disappearing my Mexican brothers? Mr. President, I would like to receive an invitation to meet you and explain to you what is really happening in my country. Thank you very much.”
President Obama met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Washington on Friday.
And today would have been the 75th birthday of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who was murdered on August 28, 1955, while visiting his aunt, uncle and cousins in Money, Mississippi. Till was abducted, beaten and shot after he allegedly wolf-whistled at a white female store clerk named Carolyn Bryant. His corpse was found three days later in the Tallahatchie River with a bullet hole in his head, barbed wire wrapped around his neck and a cotton-gin fan weighing down his body. Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, held an open-casket funeral for her son in Chicago, and the published images of his brutalized body galvanized the civil rights movement. This is Mamie Till Mobley speaking after the death of her son.
Mamie Till Mobley: “I believe that the whole United States is mourning with me. And if the death of my son can mean something to the other unfortunate people all over the world, then for him to have died a hero would mean more to me than for him just to have died.”