In these times of elections, climate chaos and COVID-19, independent news is more important than ever. You turn to Democracy Now! because you trust that when we're reporting on the pandemic or the uprisings against police brutality—or the climate crisis—our coverage is not brought to you by the fossil fuel, insurance or weapons industries or Big Pharma. We count on YOU to make our work possible. Today, a generous supporter will DOUBLE your new monthly donation to Democracy Now!, meaning your gift will go twice as far. This is a challenging time for us all, but if you're able to make a monthly donation and provide us with support we can rely on all year, please do so today. Stay safe, and thank you so much.
We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.
Please do your part today.
In an explosive interview with The Washington Post, California professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape while the two were in high school. She told the Post Kavanaugh and his friend pushed her into a bedroom during a party and that Kavanaugh then forcibly pinned her down on a bed and tried to pull off her clothes. She says she tried to scream, but that Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth to silence her. She told the Post, “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a professor at Palo Alto University in California and teaches in consortium with Stanford University. She began speaking anonymously about the alleged assault in July, after Kavanaugh was shortlisted to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. She contacted her congressmember and The Washington Post through a tip line. She took, and passed, a polygraph. After her story began to leak, she changed her mind and decided to go public. Her lawyer says Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is willing to publicly testify before Congress. The attempted rape accusation comes only days before the Senate Judiciary Committee was slated to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. In the wake of the explosive accusation, three Senate Republicans—senators Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and Lisa Murkowski —and a slew of Democrats have said the Senate Judiciary Committee should delay the vote. It was Senator Dianne Feinstein of California who had the letter that Dr. Blasey wrote but asked her to keep confidential.
At least 17 people in North and South Carolina have been reported killed by Tropical Depression Florence, which has broken all of North Carolina’s rainfall records. Officials are warning that the worst of the storm may still be yet to come, as catastrophic flooding inundates the Carolinas coast. Up to 20,000 people are in emergency shelters in North Carolina alone. This is North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
Gov. Roy Cooper: “Floodwaters are still raging across parts of our state, and the risk to life is rising with the angry waters. As this storm continues to churn through North Carolina, it has dumped nearly two feet or more of rain in many places. The strongest storm bands are dumping two to three inches of rain per hour. That’s enough to cause flooding in areas that have never flooded before, until now.”
Experts have warned Florence could also cause widespread environmental damage and toxic spills from coal ash dumps, hog manure lagoons, chicken farms and nuclear facilities in North and South Carolina. Torrential rains have already caused a collapse at a coal ash landfill at an inactive Duke Energy power plant. Duke Energy says 2,000 cubic yards of ash were released and could run off into the nearby Cape Fear River.
In Asia, Typhoon Mangkhut continued to wreak destruction in its path, reaching mainland China after ripping though the Philippines and Hong Kong. Authorities say the storm has killed at least 69 people so far, with the death toll expected to rise. Over the weekend, authorities found 43 bodies buried in a landslide near a gold mine in the Philippines; officials say as many as 100 people may have died in this landslide alone. Meanwhile, in China, more than 3 million people have been evacuated from the path of the storm. So far, at least four people have reportedly died in China from the storm, which has now been downgraded to a tropical depression.
The head of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is trying to defend President Trump, who sparked outrage last week by falsely claiming that thousands of people did not die in Puerto Rico last year in the wake of Hurricane Maria. This is FEMA Administrator Brock Long, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Brock Long: “These studies are all over the place. The Harvard study was done differently, studies a different period of time versus the George Washington study. There’s a big discrepancy, whether it’s direct deaths or indirect deaths.”
FEMA Administrator Brock Long also spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which he suggested that some of the post-Maria deaths may be attributed to spousal abuse, saying, “You can’t blame spousal abuse after a disaster on anybody.”
Brock Long: “You know, the other thing that goes on, there’s all kinds of studies on this that we take a look at. Spousal abuse goes through the roof. You can’t blame spousal abuse, you know, after a disaster on anybody.”
The official death toll from Hurricane Maria stands at 2,975. One Harvard study has estimated that the death toll might be as high as 4,645 people.
In Gaza, hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of 12-year-old Shadi Abdel-Al, a Palestinian boy who died during Friday’s weekly nonviolent protests at the separation fence between Gaza and Israel. Gaza’s Health Ministry says the boy was killed by a blunt object that cracked open his skull, though it’s unclear whether he was killed by Israeli soldiers firing live ammunition, grenades or another object. Israeli soldiers shot and killed two other Palestinians during Friday’s protest. Palestinian health officials say Israeli soldiers have killed at least 186 Palestinians and wounded tens of thousands more since the Palestinians’ nonviolent Great March of Return began on March 30.
Meanwhile, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, authorities say a Palestinian teenager fatally stabbed an Israeli at a shopping mall on Sunday. The victim, 40-year-old Ari Fuld, was a father of four and lived in the Israeli-only West Bank settlement of Efrat. The alleged attacker was shot after the stabbing and is currently hospitalized.
Pope Francis has expelled a Chilean priest over allegations of child sexual abuse. Reverend Cristián Precht had previously been under investigation and was suspended for five years in 2012. The announcement of Precht’s expulsion comes as the Chilean church has been rocked by allegations of widespread sexual abuse and cover-up. In May, every bishop in Chile offered their resignation in response to the growing scandal.
In Washington, D.C., a Blackwater contractor will stand trial for first-degree murder for the third time over his role in the 2007 Nisoor Square massacre in central Baghdad, where Blackwater contractors killed 17 civilians after opening fire with machine guns and grenades on a crowded public space. The attack has been called the “My Lai massacre of Iraq.” In 2014, Nicholas Slatten was convicted on murder charges over the massacre and sentenced to life in prison, but an appeals court later voided that conviction. In addition to throwing out Slatten’s murder conviction, the panel also overturned the 30-year terms given to the other defendants, saying the sentences violated the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Slatten’s second trial ended in a hung jury two weeks ago.
President Trump has threatened to impose a new round of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products, ranging from refrigerators to Apple watches. The threat of the 10 percent tariffs have alarmed Wall Street executives, including the heads of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, the Blackstone Group and others, who flew to Beijing for hastily arranged meetings, including one with China’s vice president today, to discuss strengthening business ties between the U.S. and China. Trump’s latest tariff threat may also jeopardize the planned trade talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and top Chinese officials later this month.
In Texas, a supervisory Border Patrol agent has been arrested for murder after authorities say he confessed to killing four women. Agent Juan David Ortiz was arrested after a fifth woman narrowly escaped murder and alerted authorities. Officials say Agent Ortiz was targeting women sex workers. He has worked as a Border Patrol agent for 10 years and is a U.S. Navy veteran. This is Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz.
Isidro Alaniz: “The evidence collected by the law enforcement investigators indicates that there’s probable cause to believe that this individual is responsible for this series of murders, which I would qualify as a serial murder that we have. So, we will be looking at what charges to put on him, potentially four charges of murder and aggravated kidnapping.”
Guatemala’s highest court has ordered President Jimmy Morales to allow the United Nations-backed anti-corruption commission to return to Guatemala and carry out its investigation into graft and illegal campaign financing. This is the second time in two years that Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of the commission over the president. Mass protests erupted after Morales tried to shut down the investigation, which is investigating the president for over $1 million in illicit campaign financing. Similar investigations by the commission have brought down other high-ranking leaders, including the previous Guatemalan president, Otto Pérez Molina.
In Germany, thousands protested on Sunday against the planned expansion of a coal mine in the ancient Hambach Forest. The expansion would require clearing the forest, which has been occupied by environmental activists since 2012 in an effort to prevent the project from moving forward. Forced evictions of activists’ treehouses started last week after German authorities ordered the immediate clearing of the area. The mine is the largest open-pit coal mine in Europe, producing a highly polluting fossil fuel called lignite. Click here for more on the resistance in Hambach Forest.
And over the weekend, activists in Europe protested outside banks in France and Germany to mark the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, whose bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, is seen as the start of the global financial crisis. Millions of people in the United States and around the world lost their jobs, homes and life savings, even as the U.S. government bailed out some of Wall Street’s biggest failing banks. The financial crisis also sparked massive global anti-capitalist movements, including the Occupy movement, the M-15 movement in Spain and the massive anti-austerity movements in Greece. This is activist Aurélie Trouvé, speaking at the protest in France this weekend.
Aurélie Trouvé: “The government should make it so that we can take the money from the wealthiest, from financial institutions, for this ecological and social transition. Today they make us believe that the money isn’t there, but I assure you that with an efficient tax on financial transactions, with a real fight against fiscal evasion, we will have the means and the needed money for this ecological and social transaction.”