Quick Morning News

Morning Jumpstart

  • Obama strives for unity
  • Racism: Anguished black responses
  • Sanders <3 Clinton – at last
  • Trump: Sanders “totally sold out”
  • Trump: Black Lives Matter “divisive”
  • Trump: Ginsberg’s “mind is shot”
  • No gun vote in house: GOP leaders – go home
  • Lynch frustrates GOP-led House panel – 74 times
Obama Strives for Unity (AP, AP, AP, Politico, Politico, TMN, me)
• President Obama will host law enforcement, mayors, academics and activists at the WH this afternoon to consider how more of the recommendations from an earlier task force on “21st Century Policing” can be implemented. He will take part in a town hall on race featuring “candid discussions” that will be broadcast across Disney media properties this evening
• Obama in Dallas urged Americans rattled by a week of violence and protests to find “open hearts” and new empathy Tuesday in a speech that seesawed between honoring police officers for their bravery and decrying racial prejudice that can affect their work. He spoke near five empty chairs for the police officers killed last week by a black man (very poignant)
• Obama sought to reassure the nation that he understands the impact of the unsettling events of the past week – including the killing of two black men by police officers as well as the Dallas attacks. “It is as if the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly become exposed, perhaps even widened,” he said (they have – it’s time for real work to a just, peaceful society)
• Undaunted, the president urged Americans to cast aside such doubt and replace it with faith in the nation’s institutions and progress. “Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds,” he said

• Police arrested three suspects and were seeking a possible fourth suspect accused of stealing several handguns as part of what authorities Tuesday described as “substantial, credible threat” to harm police officers in the Baton Rouge area
• Speaking before Obama, former President George W. Bush said, “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.”
• Bush and other speakers paid tribute to the fallen officers – Brent Thompson, a 43-year-old newlywed; Patrick Zamarripa, 32, a Navy veteran who served in Iraq; Michael Krol, 40, an athlete and basketball lover; Michael Smith, 55, a former Army Ranger and father of two; and Lorne Ahrens, whose wife is a police detective
• If Americans “cannot talk honestly and openly” among themselves and those who look different or come from a different life experience, Obama said, “then we will never break this dangerous cycle.” “Can we do this? Can we find the character as Americans to open our hearts to each other?” (we can and we shall. it’s inevitable. force of unity is stronger than chaos)
• Funerals will be held today for Ahrens, Smith and Thompson. More funerals are scheduled for Friday and Saturday
Racism: Anguished Black Responses (Roll Call, Post and Courier, me)
• A young black man standing stoically in Union Station, DC, drew the attention of passersby. He was holding a sign where he had written in green marker: “Will I become the next endangered species?” A handful of people walking by stopped to shake his hand and take his picture. Ayinde Wilson, 28, stood silently. He said he didn’t want to be disruptive – but to make people think
• “I want people to notice the sign instead of my mouth,” Wilson said. “It’s just something that I felt inspired to do. And it’s a real question. It is a real question. Will the black man become the next endangered species?” “
[Police] are killing us. We’re killing us. And that’s the issue. And nobody is speaking about that.” (pic of him in Roll Call article – very powerful)
• Separately, Sen Tim Scott, the only black Republican in South Carolina’s congressional delegation, described his emotional state last week as “pain and agony.” He said he was “surprised” his GOP colleagues didn’t release statements or comment publicly on the deaths of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile, yet held moments of silence for the Dallas police officers

• Country musician and inspirational speaker Coffey Anderson decided to make a social media video: “Stop the Violence Safety Video For When You Get Pulled Over by the Police.” The video has gone viral, with 30 million Facebook views, but it’s provoked reax from fervent praise to furious criticism. Check it out – he might pull it due to attacks (WaPo, me)
• Monday, Scott delivered the first in a three-part series of speeches on the Senate floor in which he plans to draw on his personal experiences and offer perspectives on how to achieve unity in a moment of rampant anger and distrust – but he won’t introduce sweeping legislative proposals. Monday was an introduction and the story of the heroism of police officers
• For his second speech set for today, Scott will take a more critical view of law enforcement. Saying he was stopped by the police seven times in one year as an elected official, Scott said, “We’re not going to sugarcoat the fact that there is a problem.” (will be interesting to see what, if anything, is reax of fellow GOP senators – white – to this speech)
• The third speech, Thursday, “will be solution-focused, which will include policy solutions,” Scott said. “We don’t need a Republican conversation on this topic. We don’t need a Democratic conversation on this topic. We need an American conversation that encompasses the American family on this topic.” (maybe even move beyond seeing ourselves as Americans – humans?)
Sanders <3 Clinton – At Last (WaPo, Hill, Hill, Roll Call, TMN, me)
• Bernie Sanders threw his support behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally in Portsmouth, NH, Tuesday, more than a month after Clinton effectively clinched the nomination. “I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States,” Sanders said, standing beside Clinton 
• “We are joining forced to defeat Donald Trump and build a future we can all believe in,” Clinton told the crowd, borrowing Sanders’ campaign slogan. Though Clinton and Sanders stressed Democratic unity during the packed rally, much remains unknown about how – and whether – the political marriage will actually work (like whether he campaigns for her or against Trump)
• Supporters clashed and a police officer intervened to mediate a dispute in the high school bleachers. One Sanders supporter commented online: ” They got to him! They probably threatened him and his family. #DNC That guy that was just shot in DC was probably an EXAMPLE to him!!!” (vince foster’s skull on his pillow sort of thing??)

• “While Donald Trump is busy insulting Mexicans, Muslims, women, African-Americans and veterans, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths,” Sanders said. The Vermont senator declared that a Trump presidency would mean the minimum wage remains “a starvation wage.” (this was good stuff – he avoided trade – they totally disagree)

• President Obama will speak at the Democratic convention on Wednesday 27 July. Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) will speak prime-time on the first night, Monday 25 July. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is vetting James Stavridis, a retired four-star Navy admiral who served as the 16th supreme allied commander at NATO, as a possible running mate (NYT)

Trump: Sanders “Sold Out”
• Donald Trump unleashed a massive tweetstorm around Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton. “Bernie Sanders, who has lost most of his leverage, has totally sold out to Crooked Hillary Clinton. He will endorse her today – fans angry!” Sanders responded on Twitter: “Big talk from the same guy who was too afraid to debate Bernie in California.” (true – Trump wimped out after confirming)

• In the past week, Clinton has agreed to push policies on free college tuition and expanded access to health insurance that reflect Sanders’ positions. And he has claimed some major wins in the party’s platform, including support for a $15 federal minimum wage and on climate change (staying in the race has forced her to the left – it’s worked for him)
• A WaPo/ABC News poll out late last month showed that only 8% of Sanders supporters said they would back Trump over Clinton in November, down from 20% a month earlier. The greater fear for Democrats is that Sanders voters might simply stay home – or vote Green Party – Dr Jill Stein. She unleashed on Twitter: “Many Berning hearts are breaking right now
• Meanwhile, a “fart-in” planned by some Sanders supporters for the convention will go forward. Protest organizer Cheri Honkala – who has been stocking up on beans – said the number of people sending beans “will probably quadruple.” The plan is for delegates to munch the beans, then let Clinton smell what they think of her (oh thanks – we all have to smell the air there…)
• Talk Media News will provide special on-the-scene coverage from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week: 18 – 21 July. Check back here with Talk Media News throughout the day and throughout the week for the latest scoop
Trump: Black Lives Matter “Divisive” (WSJ, AP, AP, me)
• Donald Trump said to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Tuesday, “I think it’s certainly, it’s very divisive and I think they’re hurting themselves,” in reference to the phrase “black lives matter” and the movement leading national demonstrations for criminal justice reform (they’ve got to get over their fear of black people asserting themselves)
• “The first time I heard it I said ‘you have to be kidding,'” said Trump. “I think it’s a very, very, very divisive term. There’s no question about it.” Asked what he would say to African Americans who feel as though the system was biased against them, Trump drew an analogy with his own campaign (here we go – myopic inability to empathize coming up…)

• “Well, I’ve been saying, even against me the system is rigged,” Trump said. “When I ran for president I could see what is going on with the system, and the system is rigged. I can really relate it very much to myself.” (being a narcissist, naturally everything relates back to himself, but really? a privileged, white self-proclaimed billionaire claiming solidarity with black kids? sorry)

• Donald Trump is looking for a running mate who can be a “fighter skilled in hand-to-hand combat” to help him parry criticism on the campaign trail. His top picks include Gov Mike Pence (R-Ind), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga), Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ), Sen Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) and one or two unknowns. An announcement is expected Friday

• Trump criticized the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as a “terrible, disgusting performance” by police. He struck a similar note while taking the stump in Indiana on Tuesday evening. “We have to figure it out what’s going on. Was it training, was it something else? Could’ve been something else.” (bit ambiguous, that)
• Through most of his campaign Trump has vehemently defended law enforcement and even shared misleading and racially charged crime data on Twitter. He also suggested at a rally in November that a Black Lives Matter protester “should have been roughed up.”
• Trump has declined an invitation to address the NAACP’s annual convention next week. (i’ll bet) Hillary Clinton will speak on Monday. NAACP President Cornell William Brooks told CNN, “You can’t run for president and not talk about the nation’s civil rights agenda.” (er yes you can)

• Republicans moved on Tuesday towards adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, described coal as a “clean” energy source and expresses support for a “border wall” to cover “the entirety of the Southern Border” (NYT, me)

Trump: Ginsburg’s “Mind is Shot” (Hill, Hill, Politico, Politico, NYT, me)

• Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has doubled down on her criticism of Donald Trump, calling him “a faker.” “How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?” Ginsberg said. “The press seems to be very gentle with him on that. Every other presidential candidate has turned over tax returns.” (her comments were deliberate – and true – press has been “gentle”)
• In a Sunday NYT interview, Ginsberg said, “I can’t imagine what this place would be – I can’t imagine what the country would be – with Donald Trump as our president.” “For the country it could be four years. For the court, it could be – I don’t even want to contemplate that.” Ginsberg joked ruefully about moving to New Zealand (she’s pushing it – and knows she is)
• Trump tweeted late Tuesday: “Justice Ginsberg of the US Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot – resign.” (her statements might be over the line, but her mind is as sharper than his if you read her opinions. To accuse her of senility is the lowest form of ageist attack – and the prejudiced one I sadly expected)
• Democrats are divided over whether – or how – to defend Ginsberg’s criticism. “She may have got out over her skis a little bit and [been] more forthright and political than she should be have,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill). Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said the comments were “totally inappropriate.”
• Trump’s spox, Hope Hicks, said of his taxes: “As you know, Mr Trump is undergoing a routine audit and plans to release his returns when completed.” But the IRS has said an audit doesn’t prevent taxpayers from releasing their own info. (#secretive?) Meanwhile, activists on Tuesday were to deliver a petition signed by more than 400,000 people urging Trump to release his returns

• David Cameron will leave 10 Downing Street for the final time as PM later today, with Theresa May waiting to replace him. Cameron will face his last Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons. But Larry the Cat, the nation’s “chief mouser,” will be spared eviction from Number 10. “It’s a civil servant’s cat,” a govt spox said (pic in link – phew – worried for a bit) (BBC, me)
No Gun Vote in House: Go Home Early – GOP Leaders (Hill, Hill, Hill, Hill, me)
• After delaying a vote on a gun control bill this week, GOP leaders told rank-and-file members they plan to adjourn for the long summer recess Thursday, a day earlier than expected. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and his team punted on the terrorism/gun vote because they said it could incite more violence around the country
• He asked his colleagues to go back to their districts and start a dialogue about ways to close the divide between law enforcement and the communities they’ve vowed to protect. (largely doomed: everyone is up for reelection, there’s going to be grandstanding, not much in way of meaningful conversations – it’s inherently divisive because of adversarial two-party system)
• House GOP leaders didn’t allow votes this week on measures to restrict display of the Confederate flag in the aftermath of racially charged police shootings. “If House Republicans cannot support the movement to take down the Confederate battle flag on federal property, they should at least have the guts to cast their votes in public,” said sponsor Rep Jared Huffman (D-Calif)
• Senators blocked dueling proposals funding a response to the Zika virus for the second time this week with days left before a lengthy recess. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) ripped Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). “Republicans have no desire to work with us… now, or any time in the future. It’s all been a charade,” Reid said (but charades are at least fun)
• McConnell has pledged to bring up the House-passed bill for a second vote this week, though Democrats are showing no signs of caving in the fight. The WH has also pledged to veto the measure if it reaches President Obama’s desk. The bill blocks funding for Planned Parenthood to fight the Zika virus (which seems a bit silly as it’s sexually transmitted as well as by mosquitoes)
• Dozens of Democrats late Tuesday night held a vigil on the House steps to commemorate the one-month anniversary of the murders of 49 patrons of a gay nightclub in Orlando. They took turns addressing a small crowd with pleas for equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and for new gun laws (AP)
Lynch Frustrates GOP-Led House Panel: Emails (Hill, Roll Call, NYT, TMN, me)
• AG Loretta Lynch declined at least 74 times in five hours to answer any questions on Tuesday about her dept’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while SecState. Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Lynch said it would be “inappropriate for me to comment further on the underlying facts of the investigation.” (got a bit boring actually)
• FBI Director James Comey “has chosen to provide detailed statements” on the investigation, Lynch noted tersely, but she would not. Again and again, she deflected questions about crucial details that went into the decision not to bring charges in the case. “The buck stops with you,” Rep Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) said (rhymes with buck, anyway, some probably thought)
• Lynch also defended her decision not to recuse herself from the case – even after her meeting on a tarmac in Phoenix with former President Bill Clinton. She deferred to the FBI and experienced prosecutors, she said, and saw no need to step out of the case completely before accepting their recommendations
• “Today, apparently, Sec Hillary Clinton’s email takes precedence over gun violence and civil rights,” top Democrat John Conyers (Mich) said. “Let us be clear: the criminal investigation is closed. … If any of my colleagues are not yet convinced, it is because they do not want to be convinced.”
• Lynch’s meeting with Bill Clinton is “even more troubling if the FBI is also investigating improper donations to the Clinton Foundation, which was founded by former President Clinton,” Goodlatte said. The Justice Dept is reportedly investigating possible violations of public corruptions laws at the Clinton Foundation – overlap of Hillary Clinton’s State work and overseeing the foundation

• Sen Al Franken (D-Minn) on Tuesday asked the software developer behind Nintendo’s Pokemon GO to clarify the mobile game’s data privacy protections, amid concerns the runaway hit was unnecessarily collecting vast swaths of sensitive user data(uh oh)Meanwhile, the Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery want Pokemon GO to cut it out on their premises (Reuters, WaPo)

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Victoria Jones – Editor
News is news
Comments are my own