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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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Protests are continuing in Milwaukee two days after police shot dead a 23-year-old African-American man named Sylville Smith. On Sunday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard after local residents set fire to police cars and several local businesses, including a gas station, on Saturday night. Seventeen people were arrested. Four police officers were reportedly injured. Last night, two police officers were reportedly injured, and one person was hospitalized after being shot by an unknown assailant. This is a man who said he’s the brother of Sylville Smith, speaking about the uprising.
Sedan Smith: “Right now, you got a city riot going on, because, once again, the police has failed to protect us like they said they was going to do. They failed to be here for the people like they say they—like they’re sworn in to do. You know? And us as a community, we’re not going to protect ourselves, but if we don’t have anyone to protect us, then this is what you get. You know, you get riots. You got people out here going crazy. We’re losing loved ones every day to the people that’s sworn in to protect us.”
The Milwaukee Police Department is defending its use of force in the case of Sylville Smith. Police say he was shot while trying to flee from an officer who had stopped his car. Police Chief Edward Flynn said he had viewed video from the officer’s body camera, and it showed Smith had turned toward him with a gun in his hand after the traffic stop. Many local residents said the tension between their community and the police has been rising for years. Milwaukee is considered to be one of the most segregated cities in the country.
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, 12 people were arrested in a protest at the opening of Maryland’s Fraternal Order of Police conference Sunday afternoon. Members of the group Baltimore Bloc locked themselves together using PVC pipes and chained themselves to a railing to block the escalator leading to the conference at the Hyatt. It’s the latest in a series of protests in recent weeks against police unions, which activists say defend officers accused of brutality.
In news from the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton released her latest tax returns on Friday, showing she and her husband Bill Clinton earned $10.6 million in 2015. More than half the income came from speeches. They paid an effective tax rate of 35 percent. Between 2007 to 2015, the Clintons have made $150 million. Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, also released his returns Friday. He and his wife made $313,000 in 2015.
This comes as Donald Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, citing an audit. A series of tax experts quoted in a recent New York Times piece headlined “Zero Dollars” say it’s possible Trump pays no income taxes at all, given the vast array of tax loopholes available to real estate developers. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, suggested in an interview Saturday he may soon release his own returns—in what would be the latest point of disagreement between the two men.
Meanwhile, divisions are widening between the Republican Party and Donald Trump. Politico is reporting that Republican Party leaders are privately talking about cutting off financial support to Trump by October, if not earlier. In an editorial published Sunday, The Wall Street Journal calls on the Republican Party to “write off the nominee” if he doesn’t change his behavior by Labor Day, which is less than three weeks away.
A number of his associates who spoke to The New York Times have painted Trump as being exhausted, bewildered, sullen and erratic. Trump has blasted the article, calling the Times a “failing newspaper of fiction”—although Trump has reportedly not asked for any retractions. A recent Reuters poll shows nearly one-fifth of registered Republicans want Trump to drop out of the race. In public, however, the Republican Party is continuing attempts to project unity. On Friday, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus made a surprise appearance at a Trump rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he introduced and hugged Trump. At this rally, Trump attempted to walk back his recent comments calling President Obama the founder of ISIS. Instead, Trump said his comments had been sarcastic—”but not that sarcastic.” This comes as Trump is slated to release his proposals for fighting ISIS during a speech in Ohio today. He’s also expected to further explain his plans to significantly limit immigration, which at times have included calls for a complete ban on all Muslims. His campaign is now also suggesting a test intended to vet immigrants’ views on issues, such as women’s and gay rights.
Meanwhile, The New York Times has revealed new details about Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort’s political consulting work in Ukraine. The Times reports that handwritten ledgers unearthed by Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau show $12.7 million of cash payments that were slated to go to Manafort. It is not known whether Manafort actually received the money. Manafort spent years consulting for former President Viktor Yanukovych. In the 1980s, Manafort also did political consulting work for former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Olympics are continuing in Rio de Janeiro, where Stanford swimmer Simone Manuel has made history, becoming the first African-American female swimmer to win an Olympic medal in an individual event. Manuel tied Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak in the 100-meter freestyle. Both women won gold medals and set a new Olympic record. After winning, Manuel said, “It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality. This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.” Manuel’s win was only one of a number of historic Olympic events over the last week. Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the 100-meter dash in 9.81 seconds, making him the only person to ever win the 100-meter race three times. American swimmer Michael Phelps scored his 23rd gold medal when the U.S. won the men’s four-by-100-meter medley relay. Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian in all of history. African-American gymnast Simone Biles scored her third gold medal when she became the first American woman to win the Olympic vault individual. And tennis player Monica Puig won Puerto Rico’s first gold medal in Olympic history. She’s the first woman representing Puerto Rico to ever win an Olympic medal.
Monica Puig: “It is a huge achievement for my career. It was the biggest goal I had for my life. And it is something historic for Puerto Rico that had never happened in Puerto Rico’s history.”
We’ll have more on the Olympics later in the broadcast.
Meanwhile, the United States declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico Friday, after the island reported nearly 2,000 new cases of Zika over the last week. More than 10,000 cases of Zika infection have been reported in Puerto Rico since December.
In New York City, police say they’ve arrested a suspect in the killing of a revered imam and his friend in Queens on Saturday. Mosque leader Maulama Akonjee and friend Thara Uddin were walking home from prayers at the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque just before 2 p.m., when a man approached them from behind and shot them each in the back of the head at point-blank range. Akonjee was a father of three from Bangladesh. On Saturday, hundreds of people protested the killings. This is Zead Ramadan, the president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of New York.
Zead Ramadan: ”CAIR New York views this as an assassination. Someone attacked—someone came from behind two imams of a masjid and shot them in the head, both of them. They both passed away this afternoon—one DOA, and one fought for his life, unsuccessfully, unfortunately. And our heart goes out to their families, and our heart goes out to the community.”
Meanwhile, in Chicago, a Muslim mother and daughter report being spit on and yelled at as they were walking to their car on Thursday wearing hijabs. They say their harasser yelled repeatedly, “You’re ISIS!” Siham Zahdan blamed the attack on Donald Trump, saying her message to Trump was “to leave the Muslim people in America alone, leave us alone.”
In international news, U.S.-backed, Saudi-led airstrikes killed at least 19 people in Yemen on Saturday after the bombs struck a residential area and a school. Witnesses say the majority of the victims were children. This is the father of one of the children killed.
Father: “This is a crime. My son is dead. He is now with God. We will now head to the front lines and take revenge for our sons.”
This comes less than a week after the U.S. approved a possible $1 billion weapons deal to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, in Syria, activists say hundreds of civilians have been killed in fighting across the country in recent days. The Local Coordination Committees say nearly 200 civilians have been killed since Friday alone. The majority of the deaths have occurred in and around the city of Aleppo.
In Louisiana, at least five people have died and 20,000 people have been rescued amid unprecedented flooding. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency over the weekend, calling the flooding “historic.” Water levels are expected to continue rising.
Meanwhile, in Northern California, more than 1,000 people were forced to flee a fast-moving wildfire in the town of Lower Lake over the weekend. Authorities say California’s fire season has been worsened by the historic, climate-fueled drought.
And in Columbus, Ohio, police are investigating the death of 28-year-old Rae’Lynn Thomas, a black transgender woman who was fatally shot by her mother’s ex-boyfriend. Family members say the shooter, James Allen Byrd, frequently made transphobic comments to Rae’Lynn and sometimes called her “the devil.” Human Rights Watch says at least 17 transgender people have been killed so far this year in the United States.