10 things you need to know today: August 28, 2016

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Trump blames media for his immigration policy confusion
The media “has missed the whole point on immigration” and distorts his remarks to create confusion about immigration policy, Republican Donald Trump said Saturday afternoon while speaking in Iowa. Trump’s comments moved away from the softer tone he adopted in recent days, proposing a tracking system for visa recipients as well as the swift removal of “criminal, illegal immigrants” — phrasing which leaves unclear whether he is again proposing mass deportation of 11 million people. In an interview published Saturday, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, said the candidate’s variation on this issue is “a classic CEO process” and the final product will be “completely consistent” with Trump’s previous statements.

Source: Reuters, The Hill

2. Turkish-backed Syrian rebels seize villages from Kurdish-led forces
Supported by Turkish airstrikes, Syrian rebels seized territory from Kurdish-led fighters in northern Syria on Sunday. The attacks killed at least 35 people, most of them civilians in the villages that changed hands. This offensive is part of a new escalation of Turkish involvement in neighboring Syria’s conflict, intervention which includes fighting both the Islamic State and the Kurds. This dual opposition complicates matters for the United States, as Turkey is a NATO ally helping in the war on ISIS, and some anti-ISIS Syrian rebels are backed by the CIA — but the Kurdish forces Turkey is killing also oppose ISIS and are funded, armed, and trained by the Pentagon.

Source: Associated Press, Reuters

3. Trump uses murder of Dwyane Wade’s cousin to claim black voters’ support
Donald Trump cited the fatal shooting of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade, as one reason black Americans will give him their votes. The mother of four was killed by stray gunfire Friday, and Trump tweeted, “Dwayne [sic] Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” The candidate was roundly criticized for his comment Saturday, with actor Don Cheadle tweeting, “You are truly a POS.”

Source: Politico, ABC News

4. ObamaCare exchange enrollment at less than half of projected levels
Congressional Budget Office projections said 24 million people would purchase coverage through the ObamaCare insurance exchanges in 2016, but so far, only 11.1 million — 46 percent of the projected total — have done so. This low demand has contributed to several major insurers’ decision to exit the ObamaCare marketplace, as participation cannot be profitable without a much bigger customer base. With fewer insurers involved, Americans who do use the exchanges will find their choices shrinking. In 2016, 7 percent of counties offered just one insurer through the ObamaCare market; in 2017, that figure may top 25 percent.

Source: The Washington Post

5. Clinton receives first national security briefing as nominee
Democrat Hillary Clinton spent Saturday morning at an FBI office near her home in New York receiving her first classified briefing as a nominee for president. The two-hour meeting came about a week and a half after Republican Donald Trump received a similar intelligence update, attended by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Though such meetings have been used to prepare nominees for a smooth transition into office for more than half a century, opponents of both candidates this election cycle have questioned their respective fitness to receive such valuable information.

Source: Associated Press, ABC News

6. Colombian government and FARC rebels to announce ceasefire Sunday
After more than half a century of conflict, the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will announce a ceasefire Sunday to take effect at midnight local time. The two sides signed a historic peace agreement after negotiations in Havana, Cuba, on Wednesday, an accord Colombian voters will be able to approve or reject in an October referendum. The 52 years of fighting between FARC and the government in Bogotá have claimed an estimated 260,000 lives and caused millions more to leave their homes.

Source: BBC News, CNN

7. 17 migrant workers dead in Moscow warehouse fire
At least 17 Kyrgyz migrant workers were killed and four more injuredSaturday when a printing warehouse in Moscow, Russia, caught fire. The victims are all believed to be young women who were trapped while putting on their work uniforms. “Most of them were in Moscow to earn money,” said Abdygani Shakirov, who works at a local Kyrgyz community organization. “They were in the dressing room and were unable to get out. The smoke had blocked the exit.”

Source: CNN, Associated Press

8. Pope Francis to visit Italy earthquake site as rescue efforts continue
Pope Francis said in his weekly address Sunday he intends to go to Amatrice, Italy, the town most affected by a devastating earthquake earlier this week. “Dear brothers and sisters, as soon as it is possible, I hope to come and visit you,” he said, telling “those dear populations that the church shares their suffering.” Rescue and clean-up efforts continue as local residents say 10 people are still missing. Emergency workers believe they may have found more bodies in a collapsed hotel, but for now the official death toll remains 290 people.

Source: Reuters, U.S. News & World Report

9. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick raises controversy by refusing to stand for the national anthem
NFL star Colin Kaepernick sat while the national anthem played at a pre-season San Francisco 49ers game Friday evening, a protest of police shootings of African Americans which quickly raised controversy. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said of his decision. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” The quarterback’s team released a statement supporting his right to free expression, while the NFL said, “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”

Source: ESPN, CNN

10. Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Rihanna to perform at Sunday’s VMAs
MTV’s annual Video Music Awards ceremony begins Sunday night at 9 p.m. Eastern time and is expected to feature headline performances from Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Rihanna. Other artists on the docket include Nicki Minaj with Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas with Ty Dolla $ign, and Kanye West. Several members of the U.S. Olympic team, including swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Simone Biles, will be on hand to present awards. MTV will begin showing red carpet arrivals at 6:15 Eastern and start streaming online at 7 p.m.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone

WATCH: NBC Exclusive Reports That Trump’s Medical History Was Written By Doctor In Five Minutes

You Tube

MEDIA MATTERS

Hallie Jackson: “The Only Documentation Of Donald Trump’s Medical History Was Written In Five Minutes, His Doctor Says”

LESTER HOLT (HOST): Good evening, we begin tonight with an NBC exclusive, the doctor who attested unequivocally that “Donald Trump will be the healthiest person ever elected president” is telling us how that letter came to be. It was written last December by Trump’s personal physician, and while painting Trump’s health in glowing terms, it fell well short of the full medical history Trump had promised. The medical paper trail of both candidates has been of growing interest lately, mostly fueled by rumors and theories about Hillary Clinton’s health. NBC’s Hallie Jackson has details.

HALLIE JACKSON: Tonight a remarkable revelation, the only documentation of Donald Trump’s medical history was written in five minutes, his doctor says.

DR. HAROLD BORNSTEIN: Well I thought about it all day and at the end, I get rushed and I get anxious when I get rushed. So, I tried to get four or five lines done as fast as possible, so they would be happy.

JACKSON: Dr. Harold Bornstein, who says he examines Trump every May, remembering that December day when a black car from the Trump team waited outside his Park Avenue office.

BORNSTEIN: “In five minutes,” they said “we’re going to get this desk and write that letter while the driver waited.”

JACKSON: Five minutes, four paragraphs, filled with adjectives that Trump himself might use. “Astonishingly excellent.” “Extraordinary.” Bornestein describing his patient as “the healthiest individual ever elected.” No time, he says, to proofread, the letter beginning “to whom my concern.”

BORNSTEIN: In the rush, I think some of those words didn’t come out exactly the way they were meant.

JACKSON: Trump would be the oldest president ever elected. He enjoys fast food.

TRUMP: I had the other night, I had Kentucky Fried Chicken, not the worst thing in the world.

JACKSON: But beyond the letter, Trump hasn’t shared anymore details about his medical status. Bornstein’s not concerned.

BORNSTEIN: His health is excellent, particularly his mental health — he thinks he is the best, which works out just fine. … I think he would be fit because I think that his brain is turne don 24 hours a day.

JACKSON: The doctor, board certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, a graduate of Tufts Medical School, now affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital. Trump’s doctor for three decades, the candidate’s picture, hanging in his office.

[…]

Bornstein says he’s never treated Trump for any illness, much less any serious illness. The candidate’s campaign tells us late tonight the doctor has been Trump’s physician for decades and is already familiar with his, quote, “excellent health records.”

MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Alt Right? Just Another Word For Mainstream Republicans

CROOKS AND LIARS

In the last few weeks, the phrase “Alt Right” has been thrown around constantly. But there is nothing “alternative” about this group – they represent the mainstream views of the Republican Party. The Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

Transcription of the above video:

If you’ve noticed in the last couple weeks, the phrase alt-right seems to be popping up everywhere in analyses about Donald Trump and his supporters. Essentially what this alt-right group is is bloggers, pundits, other kinds of really radicalized hate-filled, potentially white nationalist Republicans who’ve come out of the closet in support of Donald Trump. They no longer feel like they have to hide their beliefs. They can be open about it because somebody like Donald Trump is leading the way with all of his hate.

They phrase alt-right is something I’m really not that big a fan of because there is no alt-right. Hillary Clinton mentioned it in her speech the other day, and it’s great that she tackled this issue, but I still do not like the phrase alt-right because there’s nothing alternative about these people. These are mainstream Republicans, and this has been the mainstream Republican view, using hatred to divide the country since Ronald Reagan in the 1980s when he used his welfare queen image to get people, Republicans, white southern Republicans specifically, to hate black people.

This has been the tactic for 40 years. This is nothing new, there’s nothing alternative about it, this is the natural progression of the Republican Party down this road of hate that Ronald Reagan and Lee Atwater put them on about 40 years ago. When we talk about this issue, let’s not give them a separate name, let’s not claim that there’s something different. Let’s call them what they are, Republicans, because that’s what the Republican Party stands for, hate and division. Donald Trump is not new. He is not the one that brought this into the party. He is just the symptom of what this has done to the Republican base.

Fox News has been spreading hate and division for years. Ann Coulter, same thing. Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh. What do you think these people are? They’re peddlers of hate and they are mainstream Republican cheerleaders, basically. When you see a headline that talks about the alt-right, it’s a great story, it’s an important issue, but just know, they’re really talking about mainstream Republican voters.

The Ring of Fire Network

Tony Prettyman
Posted with permission from The Ring of Fire Network

President Obama Slams Republicans For Toying With American Lives By Blocking Zika Funding (VIDEO)

President Obama Slams Republicans For Toying With American Lives By Blocking Zika Funding (VIDEO)

Featured image via video screen capture

ADDICTING INFO

President Obama used this week’s “Weekly Address” to discuss the Zika virus and slam the Republicans who have chosen to block the funding necessary to fight the spread of this mosquito-borne disease.

The president began by talking about a call he had gotten from a pregnant woman named Ashley who said she was “extremely concerned” about Zika and “what it might mean for other pregnant women like her.” He added that, as a father, he shared this mother’s worry. Conservatives in Congress on the other hand, not so much.

“Republicans in Congress did not share Ashley’s ‘extreme concern,’ nor that of other Americans expecting children. They said no. Instead, we were forced to use resources we need to keep fighting Ebola, cancer, and other diseases. We took that step because we have a responsibility to protect the American people” said Obama. “But that’s not a sustainable solution. And Congress has been on a seven-week recess without doing anything to protect Americans from the Zika virus.”

Obama said that his “Administration has done what we can on our own,” but that is not nearly enough to stop the spread of this disease. He explained the steps that citizens can take to try to protect themselves from the mosquitos who carry and spread the virus: use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, get rid of standing water where mosquitos breed, etc.

And then, President Obama tore into the Republican lawmakers who have been dragging their feet when it comes to funding the measures that will stop the threat of this disease, which is known to cause serious birth defects when a pregnant woman is infected, including microcephaly.

“But every day that Republican leaders in Congress wait to do their job, every day our experts have to wait to get the resources they need – that has real-life consequences. Weaker mosquito-control efforts. Longer wait times to get accurate diagnostic results. Delayed vaccines. It puts more Americans at risk.”

“One Republican Senator has said that ‘There is no such thing as a Republican position on Zika or Democrat position on Zika because these mosquitoes bite everyone.’”

“I agree. We need more Republicans to act that way because this is more important than politics. It’s about young mothers like Ashley. Today, her new baby Savannah is healthy and happy. That’s priority number one. And that’s why Republicans in Congress should treat Zika like the threat that it is and make this their first order of business when they come back to Washington after Labor Day. That means working in a bipartisan way to fully fund our Zika response. A fraction of the funding won’t get the job done. You can’t solve a fraction of a disease. Our experts know what they’re doing. They just need the resources to do it.”

Watch President Obama’s Weekly Address:

 

By April Hamlin

Trump Would Deport ‘Criminal Illegal Immigrants’ In First Hour Of Presidency

Jae C. Hong

TPM LIVEWIRE

At an event in Iowa Saturday, Donald Trump continued to be vague about his comprehensive immigration plan, but promised he would deport “criminal illegal immigrants” within an hour of being sworn in as president.

“We are going to get rid of the criminals and it’s going to happen within one hour after I take office, we start, okay?” Trump said according to a report from the Washington Post. “In this task, we will always err on the side of protecting the American people. We will use immigration law to prevent crimes.”

Trump’s statement came after several flip flops this week. Last weekend it was reported that Trump told hispanic leaders at a private meeting that he would consider giving immigrants in the country illegally a path to legalization. That position was contrary to the mass deportation plan he had run on in the Republican primary. Then later in the week, Trump said that individuals would have to return to their home countries before being allowed back in adding to confusion.

On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that Trump did say he would strengthen the country’s E-verify system as well as put forth other plans to track immigrants coming in and out of the country. His plan for what to do with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country remains unclear.

By LAUREN FOX

Sunday Talk: Extreme Pivoting

trump_pepe.jpg

attribution: Alt Right meme retweeted by @realDonaldTrump

DAILY KOS

This week, Clinton Foundation donor Donald Trump found himself in a bit of a pickle.

Recognizing that he has a yuge white male problem (read: there aren’t enough of themto win), Trump attempted to soften his rhetoric in appealing to “otherconstituencies.

But, given his well-documented history of racism/birtherism, sexism and nativism, that proved to be a hard sell, even for a confidence man as skilled as Trump.

Also, too … the Trump campaign’s formal merger with the so-calledaltright“—by way of bringing on (alleged) domestic abuser/fraudulent voter/anti-Semite Steve Bannon—certainly didn’t help.

Or did it?

Some recent polls (of Sean Hannity’s audience) found that Trump’s shifting position(s)are actually quite popular.

Which polls?!,” you asked him knowingly.

All of them.

 ___________

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: RNC Chair Reince Priebus; Obama ’08 Campaign Manager David Plouffe; Roundtable: Conservative CommentatorHugh Hewitt, Joy Ann Reid (MSNBC), Andrea Mitchell (NBC News) &Robert Costa (Washington Post).

Face The Nation: Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile; “Brain Surgeon” Dr. Ben Carson (R); Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT); Roundtable: Republican Strategist Leslie Sanchez, Mark Leibovich (NY Times Magazine), Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic) & Ed O’Keefe (Washington Post).

This Week: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R); Interim DNC ChairDonna Brazile; Roundtable: Republican Straregist Alex Castellanos, Democratic Strategist Stephanie Cutter, Republican Strategist Ana Navarro & Former Sanders Campaign Press Secretary Symone Sanders.

Fox News Sunday: Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson; Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Roundtable: George Will (Washington Post), Susan Page (USA Today), Republican StrategistKarl Rove & Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence; Roundtable: Trump Surrogate Corey Lewandowski, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), Matt Bai (Yahoo News) &Abby Phillip (Washington Post).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a hidden camera investigation into America lawyers hiding foreigners’ dirty money (preview); and, an interview with Schuyler Bailar, the first openly transgender male athlete to compete in a NCAA Division I men’s sport (preview).

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday: Actor Riz Ahmed; Actor Pedro Pascal; Singer Angel Olsen.

Tuesday: Actor John Krasinski; Actor Adam Brody; Band St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

Wednesday: Actor Christian Slater; Rep. John Lewis (D-GA); ActorChris Geere.

Thursday: TV Host Larry Wilmore; Actor Chris Noth; Singer Sampha.

Friday: Guests TBD.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Monday-Thursday: Pre-empted.

 

Elsewhere…

Racist Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) revealed that he has binders full of black & Hipanic drug dealers.

Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday fiercely defended comments he made about race and drug dealers at a town hall meeting Wednesday in North Berwick, where he said he keeps a binder of photographs of drug dealers arrested in Maine and that more than 90 percent of them are black or Hispanic.

In a tense exchange with two reporters outside his State House office, LePage said: “Let me tell you something: Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that!”

The governor then stormed off, saying over his shoulder, “You make me so sick!”

Meanwhile…

Ann Coulter published her latest masterpiece, which is both a celebration and defense of Donald Trump.

In her new book In Trump We Trust, Ann Coulter attempts to talk America into supporting the Republican presidential nominee—in her own words, “the great orange hope.”

She also attempts to answer for his past mistakes, including when he mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a musculoskeletal disorder.

Coulter, in a chapter entitled “Disabled Reporter Joins Media Effort to Create More Disabled Americans,” writes that Trump wasn’t making fun of Kovaleski’s disorder; he was just doing an impression of a “standard retard.”

Duly noted.

– Trix

10 things you need to know today: August 27, 2016

Andreas Solaro/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Italy buries 35 earthquake victims as death toll hits 290
A state funeral was held Saturday for 35 of the victims of this week’s devastating earthquake in Amatrice, Italy. So far, 290 bodies have been found in Amatrice and nearby towns as rescuers continue to sift through rubble — though after three days there is little hope of locating additional survivors. “Don’t be afraid to bewail your suffering, we have seen so much suffering. But I ask you not to lose your courage,” said Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole at the funeral mass. “Only together can we rebuild our houses and churches. Above all, together we can give life back to our communities.”

Source: NBC News, Reuters

2. Trump fires back on Clinton’s accusations of racism
Donald Trump hit back at Hillary Clinton’s accusations of racism Fridayby releasing a video rehashing the Democratic nominee’s questionable remarks during the 2008 presidential primary, when she faced then-Sen. Barack Obama. The video shows Clinton crediting President Lyndon B. Johnson with bringing Martin Luther King’s civil-rights dream to fruition by passing the Civil Rights Act, rather than crediting King himself for launching the movement. Trump followed the video up with a tweet calling the Clintons the “real predators,” revisiting Clinton’s use of the term “superpredators” when discussing her husband’s 1994 crime bill. Trump’s response is the latest move in an escalating battle between the candidates as they volley accusations of bigotry back and forth; on Thursday, Clinton attacked Trump for his ties to the “radical fringe” of the right.

Source: Politico, Instagram

3. Maine governor says the ‘enemy’ is usually ‘people of color or people of Hispanic origin’
Speaking at a press conference Friday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage said the “enemy” his state faces is typically racial minorities. “Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is,” he said, responding to a question about whether Maine police engage in racial profiling in drug arrests. “When you go to war … You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that.” Earlier on Friday, LePage found himself in hot water when he followed up an expletive-filled voicemail to a state lawmaker by saying he’d like to shoot the representative in the head.

Source: The Hill, The Week

4. Federal judge limits enforcement of transgender bathroom law at UNC
A federal judge on Friday placed a temporary injunction on enforcement of North Carolina’s controversial bathroom law, H.B. 2, which requires people to use restrooms matching the sex listed on their birth certificate. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder’s ruling only applies to three transgender people at the University of North Carolina, one employee and two UNC students, who will now be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice on campus. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory stood by the law on Friday, saying it is a “very, very complex issue,” and asking for respectful disagreement. H.B. 2 will face constitutional challenge in court this fall.

Source: NPR, ABC 11 Eyewitness News

5. United States and Russia fail to reach Syria ceasefire deal
The United States and Russia are close to reaching agreement on national ceasefire in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, but have yet to sign a deal. Following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry said there are still “a few narrow issues to be resolved” before a lasting accord can be reached. “We don’t want to have a deal for the sake of the deal,” he explained. “We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria.”

Source: NBC News, Reuters

6. French court rules against burkini ban
On Friday, France’s Council of State ruled against the controversial burkini ban, which outlawed a full-coverage swimsuit worn mostly by Muslim women. While the court’s decision only suspends the ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, it has the potential to reverse the estimated 30 bans already installed in other cities and once again allow women to wear the body-covering swimsuits on the beaches. French mayors banned the swimsuit because of “growing terror concerns,” CNN reported, but the court sided with the ban’s detractors, ruling that it “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms.” The ruling is temporary, however, and a more definitive decision on the ban is still to come.

Source: The Guardian, CNN

7. Donald Trump’s doctor took 5 minutes to declare Trump the healthiest candidate ever
Donald Trump’s personal physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, wrote a letter in December declaring Trump the “healthiest individual ever” to have a shot at the presidency, with “astonishingly excellent” test results. Speaking publicly about the letter for the first time on Friday evening, Bornstein revealed he wrote it in “five minutes” while his limo driver waited outside. As for the remarkably Trumpian style of the note, Bornstein insisted he wrote it himself, but admitted he “might have picked up [Trump’s] kind of language and then interpreted it as my own.” Bornstein also justified his claim about Trump’s unparalleled health by saying all past presidents “are either sick or dead.”

Source: The Washington Post, The Hill

8. U.S. economy grew slower last quarter than initially estimated
Initial estimates of the economy’s growth last quarter turned out to be overconfident, new data released Friday shows. The latest gross domestic product figures released by the Commerce Department found the value of goods and services produced last quarter increased at a 1.1 percent rate, down from the 1.2 percent rate initially reported. The report did, however, reveal a higher rate of household consumption and an increase in worker wages, and economists remain optimistic the third quarter will show greater growth.

Source: Bloomberg

9. Obama is creating the world’s largest marine sanctuary off Hawaii’s coast
In 2006, President George W. Bush created a national marine sanctuary off the coast of Hawaii, and now, President Obama is more than quadrupling its size — from 139,800 square miles to 582,578 — making the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument more than 50 times larger than the Hawaiian Islands themselves. The expanded designation will put the biologically rich waters under protection of the Endangered Species Act, prohibiting commercial fishing and drilling, but allowing recreational fishing and traditional Hawaiian activity with a permit. Only Congress can create a national park, but presidents can unilaterally declare national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act, and Obama has designated more than 548 million acres of federal lands and water, more than double the amount protected by any of his predecessors.

Source: USA Today, The Washington Post

10. Britney Spears releases ninth studio record
Pop legend Britney Spears released her ninth studio album Friday, the songstress’ first album in three years. Titled Glory, the record is Spears’ first offering since 2013’s much-panned Britney Jean, andEntertainment Weekly describes it as “her most adventurous album in a decade.” The album’s lyrics are sex-heavy and rebellious, perhaps unsurprising given Spears’ most recent project is a multi-year residency in Las Vegas. Glory has been met with mostly positive reviews, if not glowing: As theLos Angeles Times puts it, “For the first time in a decade in a half, feeling Spears’ energy doesn’t register as an act of vampirism.”

Source: Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times

10 things you need to know today: August 26, 2016

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Clinton and Trump escalate harsh attacks
Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the “radical fringe” has taken over the Republican Party under its 2016 presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Clinton said Trump’s recent hiring of Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of hardline online news and opinion outlet Breitbart News, cemented his campaign’s ties with the website and its fans in the white nationalist and anti-immigrant “alt-right.” “The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for the alt-right,” Clinton said. Trump called Clinton’s remarks “smears and lies about decent people,” and repeated his branding of Clinton as a “bigot.”

Source: Time, The Washington Post

2. U.S. patrol boat fires warning shots at Iranian vessel
A U.S. Navy patrol boat, the USS Squall, fired three warning shots into the water near an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessel that had harassed it. The harassment was the latest in a series of provocations by Iran that threaten to escalate, U.S. defense officials said Thursday. The Iranian craft also came dangerously close to another U.S. patrol boat, and a Kuwaiti naval ship. The incident came a day after an Iranian military vessel made a high-speed approach toward a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz in what a U.S. official called an “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuver.

Source: The Washington Post, CNN

3. 11 killed in car-bombing of Turkish police checkpoint
An apparent car bombing killed 11 people and injured at least 70 others at a police checkpoint and headquarters building in Cizre, Turkey, on Friday. Four of the wounded were hospitalized in critical condition. The attack came two days after Turkey sent tanks and special operations into Syria in a bid to drive Islamic State fighters out of a Syrian border town, one of the Islamist group’s last strongholds on the border. State-run media blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers Party, but no group immediately claimed responsibility.

Source: CNN, Reuters

4. Striking miners kill Bolivian deputy interior minister
The Bolivian government said striking miners kidnapped and killed the country’s deputy interior minister, Rodolfo Illanes, on Thursday. The government was unable to immediately retrieve Illanes’ body, but Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira said it appeared that Illanes had been “savagely beaten” to death after he and his body guard were kidnapped on a highway miners have blocked since Tuesday. The miners are demanding better union representation and the right to work for private companies. Illanes was on his way to talk to the protesters. Two miners were fatally shot in clashes with police, and 100 have been arrested.

Source: The Associated Press, BBC News

5. Orlando hospitals decline to bill nightclub shooting survivors
Orlando hospitals that treated survivors of the Pulse nightclub massacre, which left 49 victims dead, are not charging the patients for out-of-pocket expenses, according to Thursday news reports. Orlando Regional Medical Center, one of the two hospitals that treated most of the 53 people injured, said it plans to turn to a victims’ fund and patients’ insurance plans to cover the costs. The other facility, Florida Hospital, said it would not even bill victims’ insurance companies. The bills they will absorb total more than $5.5 million.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, The Associated Press

6. Aftershocks hit in Italy as rescuers search for earthquake survivors
Strong aftershocks rattled central Italy’s Apennine Mountains earlyFriday as rescuers continued trying to reach possible survivors from rubble left by this week’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake. The biggest aftershock, measured at 4.7 or 4.8 magnitude, opened new cracks in some crumbling buildings in the devastated town of Amatrice. The first funerals for the 267 people killed in the quake were scheduled for later in the day.

Source: The Associated Press

7. Homeland Security investigates hack against comedian Leslie Jones
The Department of Homeland Security has launched an investigation into the hacking of comedian Leslie Jones’ iCloud account, department officials said in a statement released Thursday. The hackers on Wednesday posted nude photos of the Ghostbusters star, along with personal information and a racist video tribute to the dead gorilla Harambe on Jones’ website. A month ago, Jones faced a barrage of online abuse that led her to briefly leave Twitter. She returned after the site banned Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, whose fans heaped insults on Jones after he wrote a scathing review of the newGhostbusters film.

Source: Fortune

8. Georgia man gets 40 years for attack on sleeping gay couple
A judge this week sentenced a Georgia man, Martin Blackwell, to 40 years in prison for throwing scalding water on two gay men sleeping on a mattress. The attack, which the judge called “soulless,” burned the men so badly that both needed skin grafts. One had to be put into a medically induced coma. Blackwell saw his girlfriend’s son, Anthony Gooden, and his boyfriend, Marquez Tolbert, in Gooden’s mother’s apartment. He then boiled water, and returned to the room to throw it on the couple. “You had so many outs where the voice of reason could have taken over,” Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk told him.

Source: The New York Times

9. National Park Service celebrates 100th anniversary
The National Park Service celebrated its centennial on Thursday, offering free admission to all 412 parks in the system through Aug. 28. The first National Park was actually designated in 1871, with President Ulysses S. Grant signing the legislation in 1872 to preserve Yellowstone National Park. Then, President Woodrow Wilson signed the law creating the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and… wildlife therein.” Last year, more than 300 million people visited national parks.

Source: Voice of America, USA Today

10. Brazil charges Lochte with filing false report
Brazilian police on Thursday charged American swimmer Ryan Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, with filing a false crime report. The charge stems from a drunken incident in which Lochte and three teammates were detained by armed security guards at a gas station and made to pay for damaging an advertising poster outside a restroom. Lochte later claimed he had been robbed at gunpoint by men claiming to be police. Lochte, who returned to the U.S. last week before the Rio Olympics closed, got some good news when cough drop maker Pine Bros. signed him to an endorsement deal after he was dropped by Speedo, Ralph Lauren, and two other sponsors.

Source: CNN, NBC News

Are Networks Being Fully Forthcoming About Their Campaign-Paid Contributors?

Are Networks Being Fully Forthcoming About Their Campaign-Paid Contributors?

 Corey Lewandowski appears on CNN’s “OutFront” to comment on the Republican nominee’s potential VP choices.

THE NATIONAL MEMO

Last night, Anderson Cooper had an awkward exchange with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, during which the host asked him about CNN’s relationship with former Trump campaign head Corey Lewandowski. Colbert was interested in the impartiality, or lack thereof, that Lewandowski might display because of his continued ties to Trump.

“You all are paying him and Trump is paying him… and he’s on your show doing analysis for a man he still gets cash from?” Colbert asked Cooper.

“Pretty much,” Cooper replied, with a bit of a stutter.

After being asked if Cooper still respects Lewandowski’s opinion, he hedged, saying, “We have people from all the campaigns… I mean, we have campaign surrogates for Hillary Clinton on.”

Cooper was attempting to make the point that campaign representatives were invited onto the networks all the time, to discuss the candidates they work for. This was a side-step, however, away from what Colbert was underscoring: that Lewandowski was not supposed to be a representative of Trump invited to make a one-time appearance on the network; he was instead a contributor being paid by CNN while simultaneously collecting money from the man he was hired to critique — or simply observe, as it happens.

Last month, nearly three weeks after Lewandowski was hired, CNN began to disclose that he was still receiving “severance” from the Trump campaign. Lewandowski later admitted that was still advising the Trump campaign, and continues to work at CNN.

Although Lewandowski’s hiring at CNN seems to run directly contrary to the idea of impartial coverage (especially considering Lewandowski signed a non-disclosure agreement and, knowing Trump, that may include language about disparaging Trump), there are several political “commentators” who regularly appear on networks that have significant ties to major political campaigns.

In fact, a report earlier this year by The Intercept found that networks frequently failed to disclose pundits’ ties to campaigns. The report cited several specific examples, including Stephanie Cutter, who is a political pundit often referred to as a “former campaign official for President Barack Obama,” but who has done work to the tune of over $100,000 for the Clinton campaign through her consulting firm.

Sara Fagen, who generally appears with the tagline “Republican strategist,” regularly appeared on CBNC during the primaries, and neither Fagen nor the network disclosed that the consulting firm she co-founded was paid over half a million dollars by the Bush campaign.

So it’s not just CNN: multiple networks seem to be deliberately keeping viewers in the dark about the true ties between their contributors and major campaigns.

When viewers do find out, however, there is often outrage, as has been the case with the Lewanowski disclosures. TheWaPo report discussed CNN’s attempted reboot of Crossfire, and the heat the network took after having Rand Paul on the show, to whom host Newt Gingrich had given money. At no time was that fact disclosed on the show, of course.

Here’s the network’s response to the Crossfire SNAFU:

Crossfire hosts have never been required to disclose their contributions regarding guests on the show because their political support and activism are there for all to see. It’s obvious they support liberals or conservatives.

A non-response response like that indicates the network believes their viewership is dumb enough to accept it. Although it may be obvious which way a network host or contributor leans, the nitty gritty of funds being directly paid by major political candidates is often purposely obscured.

The responsibility is on the networks first to disclose to viewers that their coverage may be impacted by the presence of paid campaign surrogates, in all instances. The continuing employment of Lewandowski by CNN, however, indicates that networks aren’t concerned with transparency.

Alums accuse Florida Christian school of ignoring student racism after post about ‘N-word’

A Confederate flag display allegedly used for an art show at The First Academy school in Florida. (Facebook)

A Confederate flag display allegedly used for an art show at The First Academy school in Florida. (Facebook)

RAW STORY

Instagram post has led to accusations that a Christian school in Orlando, Florida has turned a blind eye to racism and homophobia on the part of students, WKMG-TV reported.

The allegations against The First Academy (TFA) began when New York Daily News columnist Shaun King shared a picture on Facebook attributed to a current white student asking all her “fans” about how to use the “N-word.”

“Is it n**ga or n**ger” the student asked. “I think n**ga is more respectful and [another student] thinks it isn’t supposed to be used as a respectful term. So. Like for n**ger comment for n**ga.”

King then began publishing what he described as emails he received from both First Academy alumni and current students.

“The student body is very racist,” a TFA student said in one post. “They, for example, hang confederate flags from their cars, and place them as their iPhone backgrounds. They even, believe it or not, sculpt them and submit them into TFA art shows.”

The post included a picture of what appeared to be a flag matching that description, as seen below:

tfaflag2

King also posted a letter from someone describing themselves as a student at First Academy from pre-K through their sophomore year of high school, who said officials “covered up sexual assault, children bringing alcohol to school and drinking in mid day, severe bullying, inappropriate teachers, failing students, cheating students, harrassment, forced religious beliefs.”

The same person said another student was forced to submit to counseling for being gay under the threat of expulsion.

Another post, from an alumnus identifying himself as a gay man read in part:

… In my last period class this one upperclassman girl exclaimed “oh my god he’s gay!” and the whole class fell silent and the teacher didn’t even do a thing.

This began my spiral into 4 years of hell and me relapsing into depression. I constantly had to keep my sexuality under wraps, the school’s hate filled atmosphere changing my perception on not only my own parents or how the world felt towards me but driving me away from God.

On Thursday morning, King wrote that the school “is going to need serious legal representation” based on the letters he had received.

“I’m sure as they read this, they know full well what I’m talking about,” he said. “They have to.”

Officials with the school, which is affiliated with the First Baptist Church or Orlando, have not responded to King’s allegations aside from the issue involving the post with the anti-black slur. According to WKMG, officials took “disciplinary action” against the students involved but did not specify how they were punished.

“Have we been doing enough? The answer is no,” school president Steve Whitaker said in a statement. “However, we will continue to learn from this experience and are committed to the necessary and important work to grow as a school community in this area of racial reconciliation.”