10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2016

GASTON DE CARDENAS/AFP/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. DNC chair announces resignation after email leak shows anti-Sanders bias
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced on Sunday that she would resign after this week’s party convention, following the leak of internal emails in which several party officials discussed boosting Hillary Clinton in her primary race against Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Florida congresswoman came under intense criticism after WikiLeaks released more than 19,000 leaked emails. Sanders, who had complained for months that the DNC was biased against him, said Wasserman Schultz made the “right decision” for the party by stepping down.

Source: The Washington Post, Reuters

2. Democrats launch their national convention today
Democrats kick off their national convention in Philadelphia on Monday, aiming to project the image of a party united behind Hillary Clinton as its presidential nominee. The task was made tougher and more urgent as Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she was resigning as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee after leaked emails showed some party officials were biased against Clinton’s opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders said he still planned to do everything he could to defeat Donald Trump, elect Clinton, and “keep focusing on the real issues facing the American people.”

Source: The Associated Press

3. Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up outside music festival in Germany
A Syrian man who was denied asylum last year blew himself up on Sunday outside a music festival in the Bavarian town of Anspach after he was blocked from entering, German authorities said. The blast killed the 27-year-old Syrian, and injured 12 other people. The man had been in therapy twice and had tried to kill himself before, but Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the blast was more than “a pure suicide attempt.” The attack — the fourth in Germany in a week — fueled fresh scrutiny of Germany’s refugee policy, which has let more than a million migrants into Germany in a year.

Source: BBC News, Reuters

4. Gunman kills two at Florida nightclub
A gunman opened fire at a nightclub called Club Blu near Fort Myers, Florida, overnight, killing at least two people and wounding at least 15 others. Police responding to an emergency call found several people with gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the club, which had hosted a “swimsuit glow party” on Sunday night, according to a publicity poster. Investigators could not immediately determine a motive for the shooting. It occurred 43 days after a gunman who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Source: USA Today, The New York Times

5. Ex-NYC mayor Bloomberg reportedly to endorse Clinton
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention this week, an adviser, Howard Wolfson, said Sunday. Bloomberg, a Democrat until 2000, was elected as a Republican, and has since become an independent. He considered running for president as an independent but decided against it to avoid helping Republican Donald Trump to win. Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, has chided Democrats for attacking Wall Street, but agrees with them on many issues, such as climate change.

Source: The New York Times, CNN

6. Verizon to buy Yahoo for $4.8 billion
Verizon agreed on Sunday to buy Yahoo’s core internet business and some real estate in a $4.8 billion deal. The companies formally announced the deal on Monday, ending an extended bidding process as Yahoo executives struggled to revive the struggling web pioneer. The deal marks an end to Yahoo’s 22-year run as an independent internet company, and caps a spectacular decline for the company, which once had a market capitalization of $125 billion.

Source: CNN, MarketWatch

7. Froome wins his third Tour de France
Chris Froome won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Briton to win the race three times. The 31-year-old Team Sky rider crossed the finish line in Paris almost three minutes before his closest rival, after riding for 89 hours, six minutes, and one second in the 21-stage race. Froome’s previous victories came in 2013 and 2015, and he is now the eighth rider of any nationality to win the storied event three or more times. “It’s like the first time, it’s amazing. Every time it’s special,” he said.

Source: BBC News, The Guardian

8. Suicide blast kills 21 in Baghdad
A suicide bomber killed at least 21 people in Baghdad on Sunday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing, which occurred in a predominantly Shiite Muslim neighborhood. The attack came weeks after a suicide truck bombing killed nearly 300 people in a busy shopping district in the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital in years. The attacks come as the Sunni extremist terrorist group loses turf, with Iraqi forces next aiming to retake the northern city of Mosul, the largest city remaining under ISIS control.

Source: CNN

9. Russia dodges blanket Olympic ban over doping
The International Olympic Committee said Sunday that it would not issue a blanket ban against Russia from competing at the Rio Olympics. Instead, the IOC is leaving it up to the governing bodies of individual sports to determine whether Russians can compete in the Summer Games, which start in less than two weeks. The announcement came after an independent report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping among Russian Olympic athletes. Last week, Russian track and field athletes lost an appeal of a ban preventing them from competing in Rio.

Source: Reuters, CNN

10. Griffey and Piazza inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame
Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Griffey played 22 seasons, his first 11 with the Seattle Mariners. He was a 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winning center fielder. Griffey hit 630 career home runs, sixth on the all-time list. Piazza played for the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, and Athletics over 16 years, hitting 427 home runs. Griffey, the top draft pick of 1987, was the highest pick ever inducted. Piazza, a 62nd-round pick in 1988, was the lowest pick to get in.

Source: ESPN

Warren to go on attack for Clinton

Getty Images

THE HILL

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is relishing her role as one of Hillary Clinton’s most effective attack dogs against Donald Trump.

Warren’s criticism of Trump in tweets and speeches has gotten under the Republican presidential nominee’s skin, provoking angry outbursts from the billionaire businessman.

She’s has shown a talent for irking Trump — mainly on Twitter — and moving him off message, which is something Trump’s GOP primary foes struggled to do.

Scott Ferson, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who voted for Clinton in the primary, said Warren’s attacks were effective because she knows where to aim and has the credibility to back it up.

“She knows how to hit Trump where he lives,” said Ferson. “I would have hated to be Elizabeth Warren’s younger brother.”

The liberal stalwart homed in on Trump’s business background and derogatory comments about women, labeling him a con artist who’s bilked his way into striking distance of the White House.

Soon after Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Warren tweeted that the duo was a perfect match: “Two small, insecure, weak men who use hate & fear to divide our country & our people.”

Trump changed the subject and countered that Warren was a “fraud” who lied about having Native American ancestry. Warren shot back with comments about the lawsuits he faces over Trump University while defending her own credentials.

“It might blow your mind that a woman worked hard & earned a good job on her own,” she tweeted, “but it’s not the 1800s. It happens.”

Warren also joined a chorus of Democrats calling for Trump to publicly release his tax returns, implying that the real estate mogul is hiding a bombshell.

“Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out he’s worth a whole lot less than he claims. We really can’t know for sure,” Warren said in a video for progressive nonprofit MoveOn.org.

And when Warren campaigned with Clinton for the first time, on June 27, she used the stage to knock Trump’s ethics.

“What kind of a man roots for people to lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their life savings? I’ll tell you what kind of a man: a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one other than himself,” she said. “What kind of a man? A nasty man who will never become president of the United States.”

Democratic strategist Craig Varoga said Warren “expresses well thought-out plans in pithy sound bites.”

Trump has trouble with people attacking him, “especially a well-educated, forceful woman,” Varoga added.

Warren, a former law professor, has spent her career advocating for and proposing economic policies aimed at reining in Wall Street and big corporations and helping the middle class and the poor.

Her authenticity and credibility on economic issues could help energize people who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic primary and persuade undecided voters to vote for Clinton.

“She’s uniquely suited to talk about economic solutions to the problems that both Trump and Sanders have identified and talked about so far,” such as bad trade deals and the struggles of the middle class, Varoga said.

Warren targeted Trump even before endorsing Clinton, and she continued as the presumptive nominee deliberated about choosing a running mate.

But Warren is unlikely to stop attacking Trump and pushing her economic message just because she won’t be the vice presidential nominee, say allies on the left.

“She’s motivated by a policy agenda she believes in,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “She’s not motivated by a desire to audition for a title.”

Ferson agreed, noting Warren’s past tension with Clinton gives her no reason to stick her neck out.

“She is really, really afraid of what Donald Trump will do if he becomes president,” said Ferson. “Elizabeth Warren has no reason from a personal standpoint to help Hillary Clinton.”

Warren energizes progressives and Democrats as a whole because “she is fearlessly willing to speak truth to power,” said Neil Sroka, communications director at Democracy for America. His group and MoveOn had partnered on the “Run Warren Run” campaign from December 2014 to June 2015 to encourage the senator to run for president.

Warren’s comments resonate with progressives and people across the political spectrum because she has a plain, easy-to-understand way of speaking and “her integrity is self-evident,” said MoveOn Communications Director Nick Berning.

She can also appeal to undecided voters who may be attracted to Trump’s economic message because she provides more substance, experts said.

Warren’s progressive credentials give Clinton a much-needed bridge to the left wing of her party.

Though Warren criticized Clinton’s economic stances long before she joined the Senate in 2013 and held out on an endorsement in 2016 until the former first lady had clinched the nomination, she’s insisted Clinton is the best person to fight for middle- and working-class families.

“For 25 years … the right wing has been throwing everything they possibly can at her. What she’s done is she gets back up, and she gets back in the fight,” Warren told MSNBC upon endorsing Clinton on June 9.

“You also have to be willing to throw a punch, and there are a lot of things people say about Hillary Clinton, but nobody says she doesn’t know how to throw a punch,” she said.

Warren is the “best person to raise money, excite the base and maximize turnout for the base,” said Ferson. “There’s no one who provides that excitement in the way that Elizabeth Warren does.”

By Naomi Jagoda and Sylvan Lane

Obama: dark Trump vision ‘doesn’t really jibe’ with facts

Obama: dark Trump vision ‘doesn’t really jibe’ with facts

POLITICUS USA

By Ayesha Rascoe and Roberta Rampton

The dark vision of America under siege described by Donald Trump in his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination does not mesh with reality, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The dark vision of America under siege described by Donald Trump in his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination does not mesh with reality, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday.

Obama noted that the “birds were chirping and the sun was out” for most Americans after Trump’s Thursday night speech, which expounded on the threats to America from illegal immigrants, Islamic State militants, and race-related violence.

“This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people,” Obama said at a White House news conference after meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Obama said the violent crime rate in America has been lower during his 7-1/2 years in office than any time during the last three or four decades, despite an “uptick” in murders in some cities this year, and the recent high-profile killings of black men and police officers.

The timing of Obama’s quickly arranged short meeting with Pena Nieto presented both leaders with a convenient platform from which to criticize Trump.

Just three weeks ago, Obama – who has six months left in the White House – invited the Mexican president to visit one last time before the U.S. president leaves on Jan. 20.

Trump has pledged to build a wall at the Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to force Mexico to pay for it.

The New York businessman has also promised to slap tariffs on some U.S. products made in Mexico, and seek radical changes or even discard the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Pena Nieto was first to mention Trump, but said he respected both Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and would work with constructively and in good faith with whoever wins the Nov. 8 election.

In March, Pena Nieto likened Trump’s “strident tone” to the ascent of dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. But he said on Friday that he had never pointed the finger at any of the candidates, saying that anything he had said had been taken out of context.

And he stressed that the two nations’ futures were closely bound.

“The closeness between the United States and Mexico is more than a relationship between governments. It’s a solid and unbreakable relationship between millions of people who live in both nations,” Pena Nieto said.

Obama said the rate of illegal immigration is down from past decades, and praised Mexico for helping to address a flood of migrants fleeing Central America and for work on drug trafficking.

“A Mexico that has a healthy economy, a Mexico that can help us build stability and security in Central America, that’s going to do a lot more to solve any migration crisis or drug trafficking problem than a wall,” Obama said.

Obama and Pena Nieto praised the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal as addressing some of the criticisms of NAFTA. Both Trump and Clinton have said they oppose the TPP, which has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Congress.

“There are going to be different visions about where we should go as a country,” Obama said, running down a list of economic issues facing the nation.

“But we’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, David Alexander and Eric Walsh in Washington, and Dave Graham, Ana Isabel Martinez, Adriana Barrera and Michael O’Boyle in Mexico City; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

After a ‘disturbing incident’ on the T, questions about ‘riding while black’

In a Facebook post that had garnered more than 49,000 shares at the time of this story’s publication, Davenport described an event when her train was stalled at South Station. A conductor, who had asked a group of black teenagers to quiet down, called on MBTA police after the teens “mouthed off,” according to Davenport.

When the MBTA police arrived, they asked the teens to de-board. The teens obliged. The officers then ordered a 16-year-old boy to leave, as well.

The 16-year-old wasn’t part of the group—he told the police this, Davenport wrote, but they still ordered him off.

As I begin to put my headphones back on the police reenter the car. They look at the boy and say,

“We said everyone in the group has to get off.”

The boy says,

“I don’t know them.”

The police say,

“It’s an order. Everyone in the group has to get off.”

I collect my bags. The police looks at me and says,

“Not you. You’re not in the group.”

The police places his hand on the boys shoulder and guides him off the train. In a moment of temporary rage blindness I stand up and scream,

“He doesn’t fucking know those kids.”

The police looks at me and says,

“Is that true?”

To which I say,

“Yes, and it was true when he said it too.”

The police release the boy and he sits down across from me again. We share a moment of blankness and then tears well in both of our eyes. He waves me over to the seat next to him. He says,

“That was because I am black. Wasn’t it?”

I nod. He looks down sheepishly at his shirt and says quietly,

“I’m just happy they didn’t hurt me. That would kill my mom. And she is not someone you want to mess with.”

I say the only thing I can think,

“I’m so sorry.”

He says,

“With all that’s going on in the world I am so scared all the time.”

In a statement, MBTA Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said that he took immediate steps to understand what transpired on the stalled train at South Station. He said he reviewed public safety cameras and audio tapes and also spoke with MBTA employees and the “MBTA passenger who raised the matter.”

“My preliminary findings suggest our officers conducted themselves with a calm and professional demeanor,” Sullivan said in the statement. Those preliminary findings “suggest TPD officers requested a disorderly group of young people exit from the train with the understanding and explicit directions they would be allowed to board the next southbound train.”

He continued: “There was another young male, who was seated in close proximity to the group, who was also asked to exit the train. Once off of the train, this male explained he was not with and/or associated with the group. This was confirmed by the larger group as well as an independent passenger. At this point the young male was allowed back on the train and continued about his business.”

On Wednesday night around 9 p.m., Mercedes Farguarson said her son, Jelani, called her from the train saying that there was “some confusion,” but he didn’t want to talk about it right then. When he got home later than his curfew, he told her what happened.

Farguarson said her son was calm after sharing, but that she became angry.

“The kids were telling [the police] that they didn’t know him, and it took a white woman to get up and yell and scream and say this kid is innocent for them to leave him alone,” she said.

After finding Davenport’s Facebook post, Farguarson said she showed Davenport’s Facebook picture to Jelani, who confirmed that she was the woman who stood up for him.

Davenport said that the response to her post has been overwhelming, but she wants to reiterate that her point was to share Jelani’s story.

“I’ve been getting a lot of attention for it, but the post doesn’t have much to do with me,” she said in a phone call. “I was just reporting. … I want to make sure the focus remains on what the post is about, and Black Lives Matter, and not me.”

The Transit Police have reached out to Jelani and his mother, according to Sullivan’s statement.

“We are continuing to look into this matter and are committed to serving our riding public with the utmost dignity and respect.”

Americans are as skeptical of Black Lives Matter as they were of the Civil Rights Movement

Protesters march in Baltimore following the death of Freddy Gray in police custody (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

VOX Identities

Three years after the Black Lives Matter movement began, not everyone understands the movement’s mission. And as evidenced during the Republican National Convention, some people like Donald Trump are invested in exploiting those misunderstandings for political points.

But the fire Trump’s igniting is fueled by a country that has historically resisted black social justice movements.

According to American National Election Studies, 57 percent of Americans in 1964 said most of black people’s actions during the Civil Rights Movement in the most recent year were violent. Sixty-three percent of Americans believed that the Civil Rights Movement was moving “too fast.” And a majority of Americans (58 percent) believed that black people’s actions for the movement hurt their own cause.

Sound familiar?

And just a reminder: Two of the key actions by civil rights activists in 1963 were the March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech; and “Bloody Sunday,” where Alabama state troopers brutally beat peaceful protestors attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery for their right to vote.

But Americans today share similar attitudes toward the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to the Pew Research Center, 43 percent of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black Americans are most likely to strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement.Pew Research CenterBlack Americans are most likely to strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thirty-six percent of Americans of who have heard about Black Lives Matter don’t really understand its goals.

And Americans are split on the effectiveness of the movement in achieving racial equality in the long run: while 8 percent say Black Lives Matter will be very effective, 30 percent say Black Lives Matter will be somewhat effective, compared to 33 percent who doubt the movement’s effectiveness. The remaining 29 percent either weren’t familiar with the movement or did not provide an opinion.

 Pew Research Center

There are racial and political differences in attitudes. Forty-one percent of African Americans strongly support the movement, while white American’s attitudes seem to be split: 26 percent somewhat support the movement and 28 percent expressed opposition to it. Only 14 percent of white Americans strongly support it. But among white Americans, most white Democrats support the movement (64 percent) compared to white Republicans, most of whom oppose the movement (52 percent).

Without a doubt, Trump is propelling himself to victory as 2016’s “law and order” candidate and pledging to “Make America Safe Again” by mischaracterizing the Black Lives Matter movement, the most pressing racial justice movement of our time. But it would also be inaccurate to say that Americans haven’t done the same with similarly necessary black-led social justice movements of the past. (Emphasis are mine – ks)

As Courts Strike Down Discriminatory Voter ID Laws, RNC Delegates Cry ‘Voter Fraud’

CREDIT: KIRA LERNER | Milwaukee election commissioner Bob Spindell said he has seen no issues with his state’s voter ID law.

THINK PROGRESS

The cleaner the election, the better chance the Republicans have.

CLEVELAND, OHIO — As the Republican National Convention unfolded in Cleveland this week with the Republican Party officially calling for measures to make it harder for people to vote, two different courts across the country issued rulings easing those restrictions.

Federal judges this week ruled against voter identification laws in Wisconsin and then Texas, finding that they disproportionately impact minority voters and violate the Voting Rights Act. Those photo ID laws, which have become more prevalent across the country in the years since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the VRA in 2013, are formally included in the GOP platform.

“We support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting,” the document reads. “We strongly oppose litigation against states exercising their sovereign authority to enact such laws.”

Despite evidence that voter fraud is virtually non-existent and that photo ID laws keep younger, low-income, minority voters from participating in elections, Republican delegates told ThinkProgress the two recent court decisions will hurt democracy and compromise elections.

“Why do we even have any sort of laws? Why do we have speed limits? Why do we have any keys on any doors?” Milwaukee election commissioner and delegate Bob Spindell asked. “We need laws in place because if the election is such, there’s no way really to go back afterwards and see what had happened, if somebody was legit or somebody was not.”

In the ruling this week, the Wisconsin judge found that the fears of voter fraud are not legitimate enough to warrant the suppressive laws. A Wisconsin study examining the 2004 election found just seven cases of fraud among the 3 million votes cast in the state’s 2004 election, and none were the kind of fraud that would be prevented by a voter ID law.

Nonetheless, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) called the recent court ruling unfortunate and said it will allow Democrats to commit voter fraud.

“I find it interesting that the Democrats don’t care that you’ve got to present a photo ID to get medication, they don’t care about that, but they do care about photo ID for voting, which makes me wonder if they’re doing something wrong about the voting,” he told ThinkProgress from the floor of the RNC.

Also standing among Wisconsin’s delegation near the RNC arena stage, Spindell said Tuesday that he has been involved in the past several elections in Milwaukee and has seen “no problem whatsoever” with the state’s voter ID law.

“I don’t know of even one instance in the city of Milwaukee during the last couple of elections where there was a problem where somebody couldn’t have an ID or didn’t have an ID and couldn’t vote,” he said.

As ThinkProgress reported during the Wisconsin primary in April, Milwaukee students were forced to wait in long lines to register and cast ballots on election day, in large part because the state’s voter ID law does not accept student IDs. Across the state, non-white voters were more likely to request a free ID card and were more likely to be denied from the polls.

Noting that impact, the Wisconsin federal judge this week shot down the law because it would be “impossible or nearly impossible” for thousands of qualified voters to obtain a free ID card in order to cast a ballot. The ruling will allow Wisconsin citizens to vote without ID this November if they sign an affidavit attesting to their identity.

Spindell said that the acceptance of affidavits, coupled with Wisconsin’s allowance of same-day voter registration, will lead to people committing voter fraud. “You can just walk in with all sorts of IDs, whether it be a payroll check or any kind of ID,” he said. “What can happen is they can register and go vote, and there’s no way of checking on them into well after the election.”

Texas' delegation watches the RNC speakers.

Texas’ delegation watches the RNC speakers  CREDIT: KIRA LERNER

In perhaps an even more important decision for civil rights, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down a decision Wednesday finding that Texas’ voter ID law violates the VRA. But instead of striking down the law, the appeals court left it up to the district court to decide how to move forward and whether or not the law should be in place during the general election.

If the court strikes the law down before November, Jim Lowder, a Texas delegate who serves as the GOP chairman in Amarillo, Texas, said that we can expect to see Democrats committing voter fraud.

“How many cases of Republican voter fraud have we had in the past several years? Virtually none,” he told ThinkProgress. “How many of Democrat voter fraud? There have been some. We’re not trying to go after anybody, but we need to do the right thing by everybody.”

As the Fifth Circuit noted this week, studies have found that Texas’ voter ID disproportionately hurts minorities — mainly Hispanic and black voters. Yet Republican lawmakers and delegates in Texas insist that the laws have no negative effects.

“I’ve worked in the polls,” Lowder said. “We have a real fair system. Anybody that tries to discourage someone else is not allowed to do so. I’m concerned about voter fraud, but I’m concerned that everybody that can legally vote can do so.”

A total of 33 states will have laws in place this year requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. As many advocates and reporters have noted, those laws have the ability to swing elections in favor of Republicans.

Some lawmakers, like Grothman, have even admitted that their purpose is to help Republicans win elections. From Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday, Grothman attempted to explain his admission that photo ID will help Republicans win in Wisconsin.

“I think the cleaner the election, the better chance the Republicans have,” he said.

Alice Ollstein contributed reporting.

Vladimir Putin Just Made A MASSIVE Donald Trump Announcement!

Putin

Putin will do everything he can to see Trump elected as president because with a naive, narcissistic no-nothing patsy American President that he can manipulate he will be able to destroy NATO which has been his goal since his first days as a KGB agent and then restore the old Soviet Empire. ~Comment from this article (Comments section) of this article.~

THE POLITICAL INSIDER

From a recent press conference…

Russian President Vladimir Putin had kind words for his “stablemate” Donald Trump during an annual end-of-the-year Q&A session in Moscow.

“[Donald Trump is] a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt,” [Vladimir] Putin told reporters, according to a translation by Interfax. “It’s not our job to judge his qualities, that’s a job for American voters, but he’s the absolute leader in the presidential race.”
The GOP frontrunner has been blunt about his plans for defrosting U.S. relations with Russia should he be elected president.

[…]

“He says he wants to move on to a new, more substantial relationship, a deeper relationship with Russia, how can we not welcome that?” he said. “Of course we welcome that.”

Putin
Clearly, Putin is ready for a bold leader in the White House that he can team up with to kill the terrorists and keep citizens of both of our nations safe.

By Kosar

Fmr. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Is Troubled By Trump, Plans To Endorse Clinton At DNC

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06:  Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg the 2016 Public Theater Gala at Delacorte Theater on June 6, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

ADDICTING INFO

There are plenty of politicians of many stripes who are very afraid of the idea of a Donald Trump presidency, and with good reason. One of them seems to be former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was once a Democrat, but switched his party affiliation to Independent circa the year 2000, and ran and won the city’s mayorship as a Republican before formally becoming a member of the GOP. However, Bloomberg is definitely not a fall into line party guy.

In 2012, he endorsed President Barack Obama’s second bid for the White House, and now, here in 2016, he is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Bloomberg is not only endorsing Clinton, but he will speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia during prime time. That means he will be going on during the same time as Democratic stars such as President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. One of Bloomberg’s top advisers, Howard Wolfson, says of the decision:

“As the nation’s leading independent and a pragmatic business leader Mike (Bloomberg) has supported candidates from both sides of the aisle. This week in Philadelphia he will make a strong case that the clear choice in this election is Hillary Clinton.”

This isn’t necessarily a huge surprise, as Bloomberg has definitely gone after Trump on some of his more alarming policy proposals. This is especially true of Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from traveling across the U.S. border, and his ideas regarding building a wall along the southern border and forcing Mexico to pay for it, and the mass deportation plans. Despite the lack of surprise, though, this is an important endorsement. Bloomberg is a billionaire, just like Trump, and he is a high profile GOP politician. This is definitely a signal to the sane Republicans that are left that they need to do the right thing and endorse and vote for Hillary Clinton.

It’s not about betraying one’s party or one’s principles. It’s about what is right for the nation and the world.

By Shannon Barber

10 things you need to know today: July 24, 2016

Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Hillary Clinton formally introduces VP pick Tim Kaine at rally
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her new running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), held a rally at Florida International University in Miami Saturday, marking their official debut as a complete 2016 ticket. “Sen. Tim Kaine is everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not,” Clinton said in her introduction. “He is qualified to step into this job and lead on Day 1. And he is a progressive who likes to get things done.” Kaine is seen as a safe bet for Clinton, and is reported to have been chosen to attract white male voters, a group that largely supports Trump. During the rally, Kaine spoke in fluent Spanish to the largely Hispanic crowd.

Source: The New York Times, Politico

2. Munich gunman was ‘obsessed’ with mass murder
A mass shooting at a Munich shopping center Friday evening left 10 people dead, including the gunman, who has since been identified as an 18-year-old German-Iranian named David Sonboly. Authorities say Sonboly had no apparent ties to an outside terrorist organization, but did have a history of psychiatric care and an obsession with mass murder. They also say Sonboly had spent a year planning the attack. Another 35 people were wounded before Sonboly killed himself, and 10 remain in a life-threatening condition.

Source: Reuters, The Associated Press

3. ISIS claims responsibility for Kabul bombing that killed at least 80
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing at a protest in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Saturday. The demonstration was primarily composed of the Shia Hazara minority; ISIS represents an extreme variant of Afghanistan’s Sunni majority. At least 80 people were killed in the attack and about 230 more were wounded, officials said. The Taliban condemned the incident, calling it an “act of making enmity among Afghan ethnicities.” IF ISIS involvement is confirmed, it will be the first time the group has made a major strike in Afghanistan outside Nangarhar province. U.S. State Department Spokesman John Kirby called the attack “vicious.”

Source: USA Today, Politico

4. DNC staffer apologizes for emails targeting Bernie Sanders’ religion
The chief financial officer of the Democratic National Committee, Brad Marshall, apologized on Saturday after emails leaked by WikiLeaks showed the DNC had planned to attack Bernie Sanders on his religion. The emails did not mention Sanders, who is Jewish, by name, but said, “Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” In a Facebook post, Marshall apologized, saying the content was insensitive.

Source: Politico

5. Democratic Party shows divide leading into convention
At the Democratic National Convention rules committee on Saturday, Bernie Sanders supporters and Hillary Clinton supporters agreed to create a “unity commission” to examine and revise how presidential candidates are nominated within the party. The decision disappointed some Sanders supporters, who had hoped to see superdelegates removed from the nominating process altogether, or at least have their nominating power reduced. The decision follows a tense primary season between Sanders, largely seen as a political outsider, and Clinton, an established political juggernaut. The meeting came just two days before the Monday launch of the Democratic National Convention, where Clinton is expected to officially become the Democratic presidential nominee.

Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press

6. Mother of Benghazi attack victim asks Donald Trump to stop talking about her son
Mary Commanday, the mother of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has asked that the Donald Trump presidential campaign stop referencing her son in attacks on Hillary Clinton. In a letter to The New York Times, Commanday wrote, “I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign.” Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the attacks, which featured prominently at the Republican National Convention last week in speeches criticizing Clinton’s leadership skills.

Source: The New York Times

7. Donald Trump ‘loves’ Hillary Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine
In an interview on NBC’s Meet The Press that aired Sunday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told host Chuck Todd that he is pleased by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). “Well, first of all, he took over $160,000 of gifts. And they said, ‘Well, they weren’t really gifts, they were suits and trips and lots of different things,'” Trump said. He also painted Kaine as a “slap in the face” to Bernie Sanders supporters. “I love it from my standpoint,” he said. On Saturday, Clinton said Kaine “is everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not.”

Source: Politico

8. Turkey closes more than 2,200 institutions in crackdown after failed coup
Turkey announced on Saturday that it had seized control over more than 2,200 institutions following a failed military coup earlier this month that left about 290 people dead. The move is an attempt to hunt down and root out those suspected of plotting the coup. Targeted facilities include hospitals and educational institutions. More than 10,000 people have been jailed in the crackdown. The country is also disbanding its elite presidential guard, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told Anadolu state news agency.

Source: Time, CNN

9. First year of Apple Watch sales disappoint
Apple Watch sales fell by a whopping 55 percent year-over-year, according to a recent report from market research firm IDC. Apple is the only top vendor in the smartwatch market that experienced a sales drop during the same time period. The Apple Watch launched just a year ago, with Apple touting it as a must-have accessory for the tech-savvy. But its steep price and glitchy functionality made it a tough sell. Apple Watch 2 is expected this fall.

Source: IDC, Bloomberg

10. Solar plane launches last leg of trip around the world
After nearly 16 months of travel, Solar Impulse 2 is headed back to the place from where it originally launched: Abu Dhabi. The solar-powered plane left Cairo on Sunday morning and is expected to land at 11 p.m. UTC on Monday to become the first aircraft in history to complete a round-the-world flight without the use of fuel. The plane has already set records by becoming the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean without fuel.

Source: Wired