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

7/13/17 - "Casual Business"

Before the July 4th weekend, I mentioned that "in an interesting and politically symbolic break from tradition, far-left members of the French parliament have decided to stop wearing ties." Now, none other than Goldman Sachs is apparently recognizing the benefits of casual wear, as they too have reportedly relaxed the dress code "in a bid to attract tech talent with a more casual environment."

Henleys for everyone!

Good morning and good luck,
Bryce T. Rudow

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* Make sure to follow the July Morning Commute Playlist on Spotify!


THE DAILY DONALD: Re-examined conversations, latest drafts, and "a very suspicious person"


Before heading on a relatively last-minute trip to Paris ("where he will participate in the country’s Bastille Day celebrations, which will include a military parade celebrating the centennial of America’s entry into World War I"), President Trump gave a sit-down interview to Reuters' Steve Holland.

While a majority of their conversation understandably revolved around the topics of Russia and his eldest son's emails ("most of the phony politicians who are Democrats who I watched over the last couple of days – most of those phonies that act holier-than-thou, if the same thing happened to them, they would have taken that meeting in a heartbeat"), there were nevertheless a few other highlights worth sharing:

  • "The mood in the White House is fantastic."
  • "We have done more in five months than practically any president in history."
  • "The White House is functioning beautifully, despite the hoax made up by the Democrats."
  • "The stock market has hit a new high. Job numbers are the best they’ve been in 16 years. We have a Supreme Court judge already confirmed. Energy is doing levels that we’ve never done before. Our military is doing well. We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS, which Obama wasn’t. There’s not a thing that we’re not doing well in."
  • "Do I feel I can trust anybody, OK? I’m a very suspicious person. I am not a person that goes around trusting lots of people."

In related news...

The Russia Investigation:
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal's Shane Harris reported that "investigators are re-examining conversations detected by U.S. intelligence agencies in spring 2015 that captured Russian government officials discussing associates of Donald Trump" after learning of the recently-revealed meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Russian government lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. This reportedly includes conversations "about meetings held outside the U.S. involving Russian government officials and Trump business associates or advisers," which were apparently "viewed as vague and inconclusive" when they were first detected back in 2015 "several months before Mr. Trump declared his candidacy for the White House."

Additionally, McClatchy is reporting that "the Justice Department, as well as both the House and Senate Intelligence committees, are investigating the Trump campaign’s digital operation, which was led by Jared Kushner, to determine whether it helped Moscow’s sophisticated voter targeting and 'fake news' attacks on Clinton," specifically focusing on whether campaign officials worked with Russian cyber operatives to target certain voting districts in key states, as they "doubt Russian operatives controlling the so-called robotic cyber commands that fetched and distributed fake news stories could have independently 'known where to specifically target.'" The story also cites Mike Carpenter ("who in January left a senior Pentagon post where he worked on Russia matters") with the damning proclamation that "there appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia’s online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation."

 * "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt." — Christopher Wray, during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday morning.

The Future of Health Care:
Any minute now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be previewing the latest draft of his embattled health care bill (which will reportedly include Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee's Consumer Freedom Option that allows insurers to sell plans that don't comply with ACA regulations as long as they sell at least one plan that does). However, though Sen. Rob Johnson (one of the 5 GOP senators who "so opposed the original draft that they planned to block the bill from moving to the Senate floor for debate") has said he no longer has plans to oppose the bill, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and John Hoeven were said to have "ripped GOP leaders' attempt to scale back Medicaid spending" in a closed-door meeting yesterday.

 * Sen. Rand Paul has already "made clear he [is] against the bill and would not even vote to advance it procedurally."

Oh, and:




"Ex-Brazil President Lula sentenced to nearly 10 years for corruption"


Yesterday, in an "historic judgment underscoring that no one is out of reach of this Latin American country’s sprawling graft investigation," Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison, making him the highest profile victim (so far) of "Operation Car Wash" (the ongoing investigation into the Petrobras scandal, which has already "brought charges against dozens of political and business elite and recovered more than $3 billion in ill-gotten gains").

Former U.S. President Barack Obama once labeled President Lula as the most popular politician on earth, and he was even seen as a top contender to win Brazil's upcoming presidential election, which is now completely up for grabs. "Lula's absence opens a gaping hole in the political scene, it creates an enormous power vacuum on the left," said Claudio Couto, a political scientist at the Getulio Vargas Foundation. "We have now entered a situation of extreme political tension, even beyond the chaos we have been living for the last year."

 * Operation Car Wash is "so named, reportedly, because some of the money had been laundered through an actual car wash."




Mind of The Wandering Monk: #0006 – "Equinox"


Alex Raeburn, Random Nerds' resident poet warrior, is back with another episode of his soul-quenching podcast Mind of the Wandering Monk. In this audio adventure, a German hiker named Nicola simply looking for a place to stay for her last night in Vermont ends up sharing with Alex "an essay she simply referred to as 'The Document.'"

"Not knowing what I was in for, I requested that she allow me to record it. She kindly obliged, so I set up the microphones on the living room table..."




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