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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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Twenty-two million Americans would lose their health insurance under the Senate Republicans’ healthcare bill over the next decade. That’s according to the Congressional Budget Office, which released its assessment on Monday. Following the report, Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky joined Senator Dean Heller of Nevada in pledging to vote against even debating their party’s healthcare bill this week. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has suggested he, too, would oppose voting on the bill. Republican leaders had been pushing for a vote as early as today, ahead of the July 4 recess. The Republican bill also faces major opposition from all Senate Democrats, a slew of governors from both parties, the majority of the healthcare industry, hospitals, doctors, nurses, patient advocacy groups, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and even members of the far-right Koch brothers’ political network, who claim the legislation is not sufficiently conservative. This is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders speaking Monday on the Senate floor.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Mr. President, today’s Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Trump-McConnell healthcare bill gives us 22 million reasons why this legislation should not see the light of day. What CBO tells us, in truth, is that this bill really has nothing to do with healthcare. Rather, it is an enormous transfer of wealth from the sick, the elderly, the children, the disabled and the poor into the pockets of the wealthiest people in this country.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and others have been advocating instead for a single-payer healthcare system, also known as “Medicare for All,” although Sanders has not yet formally introduced a bill. We’ll have more on the Congressional Budget Office’s report, the Republican healthcare plan and mounting calls for a single-payer system after headlines.
The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will allow for the partial implementation of President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries while the court examines the constitutionality of the order. Trump’s executive order called for a 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees. The court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case in October. Three justices—Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch—issued a separate ruling supporting the full implementation of the travel ban. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer praised the court’s decision.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer: “With respect to the Supreme Court decision on the president’s executive order, the president was honored by the 9-0 decision that allows him to use an important tool to protect our nation’s homeland. His number one responsibility as commander-in-chief is to keep the American people safe, and that’s exactly what this executive order does.”
We’ll have more on the Supreme Court ruling later in the broadcast.
The Supreme Court also agreed Monday to hear the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his religious opposition. The appeal of the baker, Jack Phillips, opens up the door for the court to set precedent on whether businesses can deny people services because of their sexual orientation. David Mullins, who along with his partner Charlie Craig have sued the cake maker, said, “This has always been about more than a cake. Businesses should not be allowed to violate the law and discriminate against us because of who we are and who we love.”
And on Monday, the Supreme Court also ruled that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds could not be denied to a church-run school in Missouri. In an oral dissent issued from the bench, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, “This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government—that is, between church and state. The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church.”
The White House claimed Monday, without offering any evidence, that the Syrian government appears to be preparing for a chemical weapons attack. Unnamed U.S. military officials told The New York Times that they were surprised by the White House statement. Military experts say this type of public warning from the White House is highly unusual. The statement appears to be aimed at preparing American public opinion for an upcoming U.S. military strike against the Syrian government, warning that if Assad does conduct a chemical weapons attack, “he and his military will pay a heavy price.” Critics are warning that the United States is quietly expanding its military role in Syria, threatening the possibility of a direct conflict between the U.S. and Russia.
The U.S.-backed Iraqi military says the battle to seize control of Mosul from ISIS could be over in a matter of days. The 8-month-long offensive has forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians to flee the city. The campaign has been heavily backed by a U.S.-led coalition bombing campaign that’s been accused of killing hundreds of civilians. The journalistic monitoring group Airwars says at least 25 civilians were reportedly killed when U.S.-led airstrikes destroyed four homes in Mosul’s Old City on Saturday.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has unanimously passed three resolutions denouncing President Trump’s budget and calling on him to reallocate the proposed military spending increases to instead help U.S. cities. Trump’s proposed 2018 budget calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending. The resolutions call on some of this money to be reallocated to fund environmental, health, housing and antipoverty programs, as well as international diplomacy aimed at reducing the threat of nuclear war.
In Brazil, federal prosecutors have charged President Michel Temer with corruption, accusing the president of taking millions of dollars in bribes. Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot said Temer has “fooled Brazilian citizens.” Temer is facing escalating nationwide protests demanding his ouster over the alleged corruption. In late May, Temer briefly deployed the army to the capital Brasília to quash the growing protests. Two-thirds of Brazil’s lower house of Congress must now approve Temer’s trial for the prosecution to move forward.
In Burma, the military has arrested three journalists while they were reporting in northern Shan State. Two reporters, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Naing, are with the Democratic Voice of Burma. The third journalist, Lawi Weng, is with the outlet Irrawaddy. Amnesty International, which is calling for the journalists to be freed, has accused the military of carrying out a campaign of torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the region.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, the body of journalist Salvador Adame has been discovered in the state of Michoacán, more than a month after he was kidnapped. This is the Michoacán state prosecutor José Godoy.
José Godoy: “The remains were transported to the city of Morelia to hand over to investigative services and which carried out the corresponding genetic analysis. After looking over the parts of the law concerning this process, the DNA samples identified the remains as Salvador Adame’s.”
Adame had worked as a journalist for more than two decades and was the director of the television station 6TV at the time of his disappearance. His friends say he often covered local politics critically. He is at least the seventh journalist to be killed in Mexico this year.
A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows world opinion of the United States has tumbled since President Trump took office. The poll is based on surveys conducted in 37 countries. It shows that only 49 percent of those surveyed held a positive view of the United States. That’s down from 64 percent at the end of the Obama presidency. The poll also shows world opinion overwhelmingly disapproves of a number of Trump’s key policies, including withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, imposing a Muslim travel ban and building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. intelligence contractor Reality Leigh Winner is scheduled to appear in court today in Georgia. Winner has pleaded not guilty on charges of allegedly leaking a top-secret document claiming Russian military intelligence conducted a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software company just days before last November’s election. She’s been denied bail and is being held in jail in Lincoln County, Georgia. Her lawyers say today’s hearing is a status update on her charges.
In an update to one of last week’s stories on Democracy Now!, immigration advocates in New York City say Shahid Ali Khan and his family will not face deportation next week when the family reports to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency office for a mandatory check-in. The Khans came to the United States in 1997 from Pakistan because their 2-year-old son needed an open-heart surgery. They now live in the Brooklyn neighborhood Little Pakistan. “Click here to see our full interview on the Khan family with Mohammad Razvi of the Council of Peoples Organization and Jennifer Gonnerman of The New Yorker magazine”:https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/21/can_brooklyns_little_pakistan_survive_trump.
And in Money, Mississippi, the historical marker for Emmett Till has been vandalized in order to erase information about the brutal 1955 kidnapping and murder of the 14-year-old African-American boy. Within the last week, the vinyl panels containing words and images about Till’s life and death have been peeled off the historical site, which is part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail. In 1955, 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.