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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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Donald Trump is visiting Mexico today, where he’ll meet privately with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Among those believed to be going are former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. This comes as Trump is slated to give a major speech on immigration in Arizona tonight. Trump has made the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants one of the cornerstone proposals of his campaign, although under his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, he appears to be backing away from the plan. Trump has also vowed to build a wall across the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border and force Mexico to pay for it. He’s also called Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals.” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has fiercely criticized Trump in the past, once comparing him to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Meanwhile, a new Mother Jones investigation reveals Trump’s modeling agency, Trump Model Management, may have broken immigration laws by profiting off foreign models who did not have U.S. work visas. The article is based on interviews with three models who worked with Trump’s agency. Two of the models say Trump’s agency never attempted to secure them valid U.S. work visas, even while the women performed modeling jobs for Trump. Canadian model Rachel Blais, who appeared on Trump’s TV show “The Apprentice” while she did not have a valid U.S. work visa, said, “It is like modern-day slavery.” There have also been questions about whether Trump’s wife, Slovenian model Melania Trump, may have violated U.S. immigration laws during her modeling gigs in New York in the mid-1990s.
Donald Trump’s campaign CEO Stephen Bannon is again under fire after a recording surfaced from a 2011 interview in which Bannon called progressive women “a bunch of dykes.”
Stephen Bannon: “In fact, the women that would lead this country would be feminine, they would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. You know, they wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England.”
In recent days, Stephen Bannon has also faced questions about domestic abuse, alleged anti-Semitic comments and apparent voter fraud.
In election news, Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida won closely watched primaries after being challenged by a pair of Republicans who had embraced Donald Trump. Florida Democratic Congressmember Debbie Wasserman Schultz defeated progressive challenger Tim Canova, who was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders.
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey was also defeated. Corey had faced widespread criticism for her handling of several prominent cases, including the killing of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin by white neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman and the case of Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what she maintains was a warning shot at her abusive husband. We’ll have more on the primaries later in the broadcast with Jim Dean of Democracy for America.
U.S. military members and veterans have taken to Twitter in support of NFL 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to rise for the national anthem before a preseason NFL game Friday in a protest against police brutality and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Some have criticized Kaepernick’s protest, saying it disrespected veterans. But on Tuesday, the hashtag “#VeteransForKaepernick” began trending as vets and military members said they supported the protest. Air Force veteran Sunny Anderson tweeted, “I took an oath & served, so players on a team I don’t even like could have freedom of speech #VeteransforKaepernick.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has declared White Lives Matter a hate group. Southern Poverty Law Center said, “The White Lives Matter website says their movement is dedicated to the preservation of the white race. That tells you all you need to know.” At one recent White Lives Matter protest outside the NAACP office in Houston, members carried military-grade assault rifles and Confederate flags.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State says one of its leaders was killed in a U.S. drone strike in northern Syria. Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was reportedly ISIS’s top spokesperson and media strategist. The Pentagon has confirmed the U.S. strike, but not whether al-Adnani was killed.
Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse is reporting Yemeni security officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed three people in southern Yemen. The victims of Tuesday’s strike were suspected to be members of al-Qaeda, according to the U.S. government.
A new Associated Press investigation has documented 72 mass graves across ISIS territory in Iraq and Syria. Most of the graves have not yet been excavated. The AP reports the number of victims could be anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 people. One of the graves is expected to contain the bodies of as many as 600 prisoners killed during a massacre in June 2014. According to satellite imagery, their bodies may be lined up side to side in a grave stretching the length of two football fields.
In Somalia, at least 15 people have died in a truck bomb explosion in the capital Mogadishu. Forty-five more people were wounded in Tuesday’s attack near the presidential palace. The militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility.
In Brazil, massive protests against the impeachment of suspended President Dilma Rousseff have rocked São Paulo for a second day. Thousands took to the streets, blockaded major thoroughfares and lit fires. The police responded by firing flashbang grenades and tear gas at the crowds. This is one of the protesters.
Juliana de Oliveira: “It is not our intention to change the senators’ votes, because we believe that the cards have already been dealt. Our intention is to show that we are going to fight until the end, that we will fight for each and every right they try to take away, so we are going to stay in the street as long as it is necessary.”
The Brazilian Senate is expected to vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff as early as later today.
In Colombia, three environmental activists who were organizing against illegal mining have been assassinated. Local organizers say activists Joel Meneses, Nereo Meneses Guzmán and Ariel Sotelo were kidnapped by armed gunmen dressed as military officers on Monday. Their bodies were found hours later. Joel Meneses was the founder of the campesino organization CIMA. The murders came the same day the historic ceasefire between the Colombian government and FARC rebels took effect. As many as 300 environmental activists were assassinated in Colombia in 2015.
President Obama is slated to meet with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte next week amid growing concerns about the rising death toll from Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. At least 2,000 people have already been killed by police or vigilantes in so-called drug operations since Duterte took office two months ago. Human Rights Watch says among the victims are a 5-year-old girl. Police in the Philippines have encouraged vigilantism. This is National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa urging people to kill drug dealers.
Chief Ronald dela Rosa: “Do you want to kill them? Kill them. You can kill them, because you are the victims. Go to them, pour gasoline on their houses and burn it down. Show them your anger. These people have long been getting rich. What about you? Your brains are getting small and melting.”
European Union officials have ordered Apple to pay $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes to Ireland—the biggest single tax ruling in EU history. The European Commission says Apple received an illegal tax break from Irish officials under which Apple paid a tax rate of 0.005 percent. Apple is one of the largest technology companies in the world.
Officials have released the 911 calls from the June 12 massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. Forty-nine people died during the attack. Most of the victims were young Latino members of the LGBTQ community. The release comes after months of delay during which the FBI asked law enforcement agencies to withhold public records about the shooting. Here is an excerpt of one of the 911 calls.
Caller: “I called you guys, I don’t know, 10 minutes ago. My girlfriend is in hiding in the club Pulse.”
911 Dispatcher: “Did she tell you she was in the front or the back bathroom?”
Caller: “She doesn’t know which bathroom she’s at. All she knows is that she’s in the club Pulse, in the bathroom.”
In Arkansas, a mother has been released after spending 35 days in a county jail after she accidentally bounced a $29 check five years ago. Nikki Petree was sentenced to jail last month by a judge accused of running a debtors’ prison. Petree had already been arrested at least seven times over the bounced check, and paid at least $600 in court fines—more than 20 times more than the original debt. Petree said, “Every time I go to jail, they’d let me out immediately for $100. They’d turn around and add $600 or $700 more to my bond. I couldn’t afford to pay. They cornered me, and there was no way out from underneath it. I felt overwhelmed and hopeless.”
President Obama has commuted the sentences of 111 prisoners serving time for low-level drug offenses. Among those whose sentences will be shortened is Tim Tyler, who was serving a life sentence for possessing LSD while following around the Grateful Dead in his early twenties. In total, Obama has commuted the sentences of 673 prisoners—more than any recent president. There are more than 190,000 federal prisoners currently imprisoned across the United States.
And here in New York City, the New York Public Library has established the first permanent library at Rikers Island. The jail’s new library has 1,200 books, which can be checked out two at a time.