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"A rousing digest of the day's biggest news, set to a soundtrack worth waking up for."


6/30/17 - "Name Tags!"

Before you get to enjoying the extra-long, extra-patriotic weekend, allow me to share a great idea from our friends across the Atlantic: "In an interesting and politically symbolic break from tradition, far-left members of the French parliament have decided to stop wearing ties. The sartorial scandal comes as members of the small coalition seek to brand themselves as members of the working-class."

And, since I won't see you again until Wednesday, here's a bonus one, only slightly inspired by Elaine from Seinfeld: police should wear giant name tags, with their first names in big letters. Not only would it help with community policing, but if I'm getting a gun pointed at me by some trigger-happy 20-year-old police officer, I feel like "Sean, don't shoot me. Don't shoot me, Sean." might help de-escalate the situation by reminding him of our shared humanity via a personal familiarity.

On that note, have a splendid Fourth of July weekend drinking beer and quoting Independence Day.

Good morning and good luck,
Bryce T. Rudow
(@brycetrudow)

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* And check out the June Morning Commute Playlist on Spotify!


 

THE DAILY DONALD: Bloody tweets, independent campaigns, and "a lot more than tweaking"

FILED IN: PRESIDENT TRUMP, POSED THREATS, MENTAL EQUIPMENT

Yesterday morning, just before 9am, the leader of the free world tweeted the following: "I heard poorly rated @Morning-Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

In the hours since, both sides of the aisle have condemned the tweet as "beneath the dignity of [the] office," while the MSNBC cohosts cowrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in response: "We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show."

Meanwhile, in other news...

The Future of Health Care:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rewritten (again) his tortured attempt at a health care bill in an attempt to assuage the dozen or so holdouts in his party, but even the promise of "billions more for opioid treatment and assistance to low- and moderate-income Americans, in part by potentially preserving a 3.8 percent tax on investment income" reportedly isn't enough to get him the 50 votes he needs to bring the bill forward.

"From my perspective, the bill needs a lot more than tweaking or tinkering around the edges," Sen. Susan Collins, one of the moderate holdouts, told MSNBC yesterday. "It needs a major overhaul."


The Russia Investigation:
The same day President Trump agreed to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, and with his own advisers "struggling to convince him that Russia still poses a threat, according to multiple senior administration officials," the biggest Russia-related news actually comes courtesy of Shane Harris at the Wall Street Journal, who released a bombshell story last night detailing how a longtime Republican opposition researcher named Peter Smith "mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton's private server, likely by Russian hackers" while, crucially, implying "he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump."

According to Harris, "The operation Mr. Smith described is consistent with information that has been examined by U.S. investigators probing Russian interference in the elections. Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary."


The North Korea Quandary:
While President Trump met with newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the White House, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that the U.S. had imposed sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a Chinese shipping company for helping North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, further escalating tensions between the two superpowers tasked with keeping the hostile rogue nation in line. "We will follow the money and cut off the money," Mnuchin told a news conference yesterday afternoon.

 * "The United States plans to sell Taiwan $1.42 billion in arms, the first such sale under the administration of Donald Trump and a move sure to anger China, whose help the president has been seeking to rein in North Korea."



Oh, and:

 


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"Iraq declares ISIS's caliphate 'has fallen' after huge symbolic victory in Mosul"

FILED IN: ISIS, SYMBOLIC VICTORIES, "THE FAKE DAESH STATE"

After eight months battling their way through "some of the country's fiercest urban fighting since the American-British invasion that ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003" and exactly three years to the day after ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi delivered his high-profile sermon from Mosul's historic Nouri mosque, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces recaptured the symbolic, since-destroyed mosque ("Likened in significance to Paris' Eiffel Tower or London's Big Ben, the minaret was an icon of both Mosul and of Iraq as a whole, and appears on some of the country's banknotes.") and declared the end of the (physical) Islamic State to be within sight.

"We are seeing the end of the fake Daesh state, the liberation of Mosul proves that. We will not relent, our brave forces will bring victory," said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, as the final 300 ISIS soldiers get rooted out from the less than two square kilometers they still control. "We will continue to fight Daesh until every last one of them is killed or brought to justice."

 * The terrorist group still controls "a shrinking yet vast stretch of land in both Iraq and Syria," with the aid group International Rescue Committee estimating that "at least 150,000 people still live under ISIS rule."

 

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"Rick and Morty season 3 gets a new trailer and release date"

FILED IN: TELEVISION, CALLS-TO-ACTION, "WELCOME TO THE DARKEST YEAR"

Last night, during a livestream hosted by Brandon Johnson (the voice of Mr. Goldenford), Rick and Morty co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland announced that Season 3 of the best god damn show on television will premiere Sunday July 30th at 11:30pm (on Adult Swim). The news comes just days after Harmon went on an 'epic hourlong Twitter rant' discussing the upcoming season ("where I address Rick and Morty devotees because I feel bad for any fan worrying about any show-threatening issue") — and with a brand new trailer attached.

Teasing appearances of Pickle Rick, a Mad Max episode, and other various, literal calls-to-adventure, it issues a stern yet alluring warning: "Welcome to the darkest year of their adventures."

 * Here's a shameless plug for Random Nerds' multi-author manifesto on Rick and Morty, one of the crown jewels of the site IMHO.
 

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