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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. This week Democracy Now! is celebrating our 23rd birthday. For over two decades, we've produced our daily news hour without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, in honor of Democracy Now!'s birthday, every donation we receive will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $30 today, Democracy Now! will get $60 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. Thank you! -Amy Goodman
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The powerful head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, warned Sunday that President Trump is treating the presidency like “a reality show” and setting the U.S. “on the path to World War III.” Sen. Corker made the comments to The New York Times after Trump spent much of the weekend threatening war with North Korea, and after Trump attacked Corker on Twitter Sunday morning, saying the senator “didn’t have the guts” to run for re-election and claiming Corker dropped out after begging unsuccessfully for Trump’s endorsement. That prompted Corker to respond on Twitter, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
The president’s spat with Sen. Corker came as Trump repeated threats of war against North Korea throughout the weekend, tweeting, “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!” In brief comments to reporters Saturday, Trump was asked to clarify that remark—as well as a cryptic comment he made last week during a meeting with top generals in which he warned about about the “calm before the storm.”
Reporter: “Can you clarify your 'calm before the storm' comment?”
President Donald Trump: “Nothing—nothing to clarify.”
Reporter: “What is the 'one thing' that will work regarding North Korea?”
President Donald Trump: “Well, you’ll figure that out pretty soon.”
Again, in that clip, a reporter asks, “What is the 'one thing' that will work regarding North Korea?” Trump responds, “Well, you’ll figure that out pretty soon.” Trump’s threats came as North Korea’s central news agency accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of plotting unsuccessfully to assassinate leader Kim Jong-un last May.
In immigration news, President Trump said Sunday he won’t restore the DACA program protecting hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation—unless lawmakers agree to expand the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and move to keep out thousands of children fleeing gang violence in Central America. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the proposal a nonstarter, tweeting, “@NancyPelosi & I told @POTUS we were open to reasonable border security alongside #DreamAct -his list goes so far beyond whats reasonable.” In September, President Trump said the U.S. would stop renewing applications for DACA—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—which gives nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants permission to live and work in the United States.
On the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Nate made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana Saturday night as a Category 1 storm, making a second landfall later that night near Biloxi, Mississippi. The storm brought power outages and flooding to parts of the region but did not result in the sorts of damage seen by this year’s far more powerful hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Canada’s government has agreed to pay out 750 million Canadian dollars to indigenous people who were separated from their families as children and put up for adoption with non-Native families. The program, known as the “Sixties Scoop,” ran from the 1960s into the 1980s and affected as many as 30,000 children. Among them was Chief Marcia Brown Martel, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Chief Marcia Brown Martel: “I have great hope that because we’ve reached this plateau, that this again will never, ever happen in Canada again.”
In Spain, hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Barcelona Sunday in a massive unity rally opposing independence for the country’s Catalonia region. Organizers said nearly a million people attended the rally, while Catalan police put the number at 350,000. The rally came as Catalan leaders claimed about 90 percent of those who voted in a banned referendum a week ago supported independence. Spain’s government called the independence drive unconstitutional and ordered a police crackdown on the vote which left about 900 people injured.
In Russia, police arrested more than 260 people in cities across the country Sunday, as protesters defied a ban on rallies to call for an end to corruption and open elections on President Vladimir Putin’s 65th birthday. The rallies came after a court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to his third jail term this year, saying he’s ineligible to run for the presidency during an election next year. This is Alexei Pasternak, who joined a protest in the eastern city of Vladivostok.
Alexei Pasternak: “We must understand how important it is when those in power are replaced in an orderly way and how important it is to live without political persecution. We think it is wrong when a politician is regularly jailed for several days for some little things which police specially search for. So we came here to support Alexei Navalny. I cannot say that I support everything he does, but I think he is a real alternative for our country.”
In the occupied West Bank, thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women marched to the shores of the Jordan River Sunday calling for an end to Jewish-only settlements and for a negotiated peace agreement. This is Israeli citizen Vivian Silver of the group Women Wage Peace.
Vivian Silver: “We are organizing women from all over the country, from every side of the political spectrum, who are saying, 'Enough! Maspik [Hebrew for enough]'—in Arabic, it’s ’makkafi’—’Enough. We’re no longer willing to do this.’ We must reach a political agreement. We must change the paradigm that we have been taught for seven decades now, where we’ve been told that only war will bring peace. We don’t believe that anymore. It’s been proven that it’s not true.”
In Mexico, the body of journalist Edgar Daniel Esqueda was found Friday in the central Mexican city of San Luis Potosí, riddled with bullet wounds and showing signs of torture. Esqueda’s death came after the 23-year-old reporter repeatedly complained to a government-run human rights group that state police had threatened him over his journalism. In one incident, police ordered Esqueda to delete pictures from his camera after he photographed the aftermath of a police shootout. Esqueda is at least the 11th media worker killed in Mexico this year, matching last year’s record death toll.
In Ghana’s capital city of Accra, at least seven people were killed and 132 others injured Saturday, when an explosion ripped through a state-owned liquefied natural gas station, sending a huge fireball into the night sky and setting off a secondary explosion at a nearby filling station. The blast was at least the eighth such explosion in Ghana over the last four years. In 2015, a similar blast in Accra killed over 100 people.
Back in the United States, in Hollywood, the Weinstein Company fired co-founder Harvey Weinstein Sunday, just four days after The New York Times reported the movie mogul was the subject of harassment and assault accusations for decades—and that he paid off at least eight women who confronted him over the alleged humiliating and degrading harassment. Weinstein’s firing came after three members of the company’s board of directors resigned, along with two of Weinstein’s attorneys, following the report in the Times.
In Washington, D.C., a women’s advocacy group set up a giant TV screen on the National Mall Friday and looped a 2005 video showing Donald Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women. The 12-hour protest was organized by the group UltraViolet on the first anniversary of the release of the “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump boasts, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. … Grab ’em by the pussy.” This is UltraViolet campaign director Emma Boorboor.
Emma Boorboor: “We want to remind the American people who the president really is and who he said he was on that tape: a proud, self-professed sexual predator. … This is a prime example of how, when you elect a man who is very hostile towards women, that he’s now in office actively pursuing an anti-woman agenda.”
Friday’s protest came on the same day that President Trump ended a federal requirement that employer-based health insurance cover the cost of women’s birth control.
In Charlottesville, Virginia, a few dozen white nationalists carrying torches gathered near a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee Saturday night, eight weeks after far-right protesters at a larger rally attacked anti-fascist protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Saturday’s rally was the third in Charlottesville organized by white nationalist Richard Spencer. It came after city officials covered the statue of Robert E. Lee in a black tarp last month in the wake of August’s violence, and after President Trump blamed “both sides” for the attacks, claiming there were “very fine people” among far-right protesters.
An FBI counterterrorism unit secretly identified so-called black identity extremists as a violent threat, according to a leaked document obtained by Foreign Policy magazine. In the report, dated August 2017, the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit writes, “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups warn the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups, and have compared it to the FBI’s COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement.
In Utah, hundreds of protesters gathered outside Salt Lake City police headquarters Sunday, demanding murder charges be brought against a white police officer caught on film shooting 50-year-old African American Patrick Harmon as he ran from police. Salt Lake County’s district attorney has cleared officer Clinton Fox of any wrongdoing in the case, even though newly released police bodycam video clearly shows the officer shooting Harmon three times in the back. A warning to viewers: This video is graphic.
Officer: “Put your hands behind your back for me. [bleep] 244 priority. Shots fired. Start medical.”
Patrick Harmon had been pulled over by officers for not having a light on his bicycle. After the shooting, the District Attorney’s Office claimed that Harmon said, “I’ll cut you,” and turned to threaten officers with a knife. The claim is directly contradicted by the bodycam video.
And on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence flew to Indianapolis, where he staged a walkout of an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts, after players on both teams held a protest against racial injustice during the national anthem. Pence’s decision to leave appeared pre-planned, after President Trump said he asked his Vice President to leave during any protest. More than 20 members of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the anthem, while Colts players stood with locked arms, wearing shirts reading, “We will stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity.” This is San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, who joined quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests last year, speaking Sunday.
Eric Reid: “This is about systemic oppression, that has been rampant in this country for decades on top of decades. And I will continue to say and encourage people to educate themselves of how we got to where we are today, because it didn’t happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen overnight to fix these issues. It’s really disheartening when everything that you were raised on, everything that I was raised on, was to be the best person I can be, to help people that need help, and the vice president of the United States is trying to confuse the message that we’re trying to put out there.”
Pence’s brief visit to Indianapolis cost taxpayers an estimated quarter-million dollars, after he traveled from Las Vegas to Indianapolis for the brief appearance at Lucas Oil Stadium before flying back to a fundraising event in California.