Homework! Tues June 30, 2016

Canada’s Pols <3 Obama: “4 More Years!” (Politico, Fox News, me)
• Canadian lawmakers directed chants of “Four more years!” towards President Obama Wednesday as he wrapped up the first speech to Parliament by an American leader in 21 years. Obama was also greeted with a lengthy standing ovation, which prompted the president to joke that he should just “shut up and leave.” (moving to Canada if Trump wins, eh?)
• Obama appeared to criticize Donald Trump, without naming him. “Discussing opposition to globalization, Obama said that “politicians, some sincere and some entirely cynical, will tap
[into] anger and fear, hearkening back to days of order [and] national glory, arguing we must build walls, disengage, rid ourselves of immigrants to regain control of our lives.”
• Earlier, at a joint presser with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Ottawa, Obama went off on what he called a “rant.” (6-minute one, too – that’s about the length of a monologue for an opening for a TV comedy late night show. Just saying…)     11771443
• “Somebody else who has never shown any regard for workers” and “who has worked against” them,” Obama said, ” they don’t suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes. That’s not the measure of populism. That’s nativism or xenophobia. Or worse. Or it’s just cynicism. Where have they been, have they been on the front lines?”

• Obama said that he’s the real populist, pointing to his advocacy for giving all American children “the same opportunities that I had,” as well as a more progressive tax system and “workers being able to have a collective voice.” “There are people like Bernie Sanders who I think genuinely deserve the title since he has been in the vineyards fighting.” (bit of a Hillary swipe, that)

• President Obama will join Hillary Clinton for their first joint campaign appearance on 5 July in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were to campaign together earlier this month in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but that event was scuttled after the Orlando shooting massacre (TMN)

Obama Slams Trump Over Trade (Hill, me)
• President Obama on Wednesday slammed Donald Trump for calling for a renegotiation or pullout of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Speaking at a summit with the two other nations’ leaders, Obama said that people struggling to make a living have a “legitimate gripe about globalization.”
• “The question is, what do you do about it?” Obama said in Ottawa. “And the prescription of withdrawing from trade deals and focusing solely on your local market, that is the wrong medicine. We can’t disengage, we’ve got to engage more.” (point is, the same people wouldn’t focus on their local markets only within their states – it’s only when they talk international – it’s fear)
• Trump said Tuesday he would withdraw the U.S. from the trade pact if Canada and Mexico refuse to retool the deal to make it more favorable for American workers. But Obama said if the U.S. pulls out, it would deal a blow to the economy by making goods more expensive and lead to the loss of manufacturing jobs by driving up the cost of exports
• Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto urged support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the final “Three Amigos” summit. But Canadian PM Justin Trudeau came up short of endorsing the 12-nation TPP while stressing the importance of trade between the three nations
• Pena Nieto said, “Isolationism is not the answer. We have decided to be closer, to work as a team and to complement each one and make progress together as the most competitive region in the world.” (they may have decided to work closer, but they clearly don’t know how to shake hands – watch the most awkward handshake ever – or was it a secret NAFTA code?)
Istanbul Attack: Obama, Brennan Suggest ISIS (BBC, Yahoo News, NYT, Hill, TMN, TMN, me)
• President Obama on Wednesday indicated that ISIS was behind the deadly terrorist attack at Istanbul’s international airport. Speaking at a summit in Canada, Obama called Tuesday’s bombings “an indication of how little these vicious organizations have to offer beyond killing innocents.” “They’re continually losing ground, unable to govern those areas they have taken over.”
• CIA Director John Brennan said Tuesday, “It was a suicide bombing [which] is usually more a Daesh [ISIS] technique,” rather than Kurdish nationalists. He also said, “I’d be surprised if Daesh is not trying to carry out that kind of attack in the U.S.” (Daesh is an Arabic acronym for ISIS – they’ve threatened to cut out the tongue of anyone using it – let’s all say it right now)
• Turkey observed a national day of mourning on Tuesday after a gun and suicide bomb attack on Istanbul’s airport killed 42 people, including 13 foreign nationals. Three attackers arrived in a taxi and began firing at the terminal entrance late Tuesday. They blew themselves up after police fired back (graphic video)
• Officials said 239 people were injured, with 41 in intensive care. PM Binali Yildirim said early signs pointed to ISIS. However, nobody has so far admitted carrying out the attack. Turkish investigators are examining surveillance footage, witness statements and cellphone video recorded by terrified passengers to try to determine the identity of the attackers

• For years, Turkey served as a rear base and transit hub for ISIS fighters, possibly protecting it from violence. Now, analysts say, the country may be paying the price for tightening its borders and allowing the U.S. to use a Turkish air base to fly sorties over Syria and Iraq

Senate Passes Puerto Rico Debt Bill – Finally (Roll Call, Reuters, Hill, me)
• The Senate late Wednesday passed 68-30 legislation to address Puerto Rico’s growing debt crisis, stepping in to help the ailing territory just ahead of a daunting deadline Friday. The bill would let the island restructure its massive debt load, while establishing an outside control board to police its troubled finances
• The bill now heads to President Obama – he will sign. Puerto Rico faces a default of $2 billion in debt payments Friday. The default would be the largest yet for the troubled island and was expected to unleash a torrent of messy litigation without congressional action
• Gov Alejandro Garcia Padilla said that with passage of the bill, “we are starting to take the island back from creditors and giving it to Puerto Ricans.” He has warned the U.S. territory would face multiple lawsuits if the bill wasn’t approved, especially if there was a default on $1 billion in general obligation bonds
• “The legislation before us is far from perfect. Oh, it is far from perfect,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said ahead of the vote. “I share my colleagues’ really deep concerns about this compromise legislation.” Sen Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who had railed against the bill on the floor, said it treated the people of Puerto Rico “like subjects, not citizens.”

• Sen Ron Wyden (R-Ore) said that he had only made up his mind Tuesday. He emerged from a meeting with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew saying that while the bill was flawed, he saw no time to improve it. “I’m not going to let the adequate be the enemy of the barely sufficient,” Wyden said (that’s really very well put)

• VP Joe Biden gathered 6,000 people across 270 events around the U.S. and territories on Wednesday for his Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The WH announced new collaboration among agencies as well as between the federal govt and private industry, and the FDA said it would move forward with creation of an oncology center aimed at streamlining review of new treatments (TMN)
GOP Cleveland Convention: Looming Chaos?… (WaPo, McClatchy, AP, me)
• Dozens of well-known Republicans aren’t showing up. There’s no word yet on who will speak. Past corporate sponsors such as Ford, GE and JPMorgan Chase are taking a pass. Groups of white supremacists and other agitators are on the way. And then there’s the fight to dethrone the big star (it’s a Trumpathon all right, and TMN will be on the spot for you)
• The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off 18 July at a downtown basketball arena in Cleveland with Donald Trump expected to formally accept the nomination on 21 July. Convention organizers denied reports that several sports figures would be speaking at the convention. Singer (and racist) Ted Nugent is skipping despite numerous invites to appear – touring
• Trump has called for a glitzier affair, telling WaPo in April that “it’s very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep.” A stage design unveiled on Tuesday was reviewed personally by Trump, who requested a few changes, according to convention officials (surrounded by mirrors so he can see himself?)

• Trump has to quell a potential insurrection at his own convention. He’s preparing a team of 150 staffers and volunteers designed to corral votes, push potential changes to the party’s platform and, most importantly, block any attempt to unseat him (it’s the heavy mob and they’re serious enforcers. they’ve got background info on delegates and are going to use it)

• A plan to allow convention delegates to vote however they want, rather than follow the results of their state’s primary, has earned the support of hundreds of delegates upset by Trump’s impending nomination, according to Free the Delegates, the group pushing for the change

• Fox News poll out Wednesday evening has Hillary Clinton up 6 points over Donald Trump. In a head-to-head matchup, Clinton is 44% to Trump’s 38%, with 7% voting for someone else, 5% not voting and 5% don’t knows. A Quinnipiac poll earlier Wednesday showed Trump behind by only 2 points (Fox News, TMN)
Trump Moves to Quash Rebellious Delegates
• A five-member Trump “study committee’ is focused on quashing any effort to unbind delegates. Separately, delegates in Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio and elsewhere report being contacted by an unknown entity conducting a pro-Trump phone push poll with questions about their support for Trump (creepy). Now Free the Delegates is struggling to win votes on the rules committee
• Members of the Bush family, including the former presidents, are planning to skip the convention even though they essentially helped build the modern GOP. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, also won’t be there. Many current GOP leaders remain committed to going. But several incumbent senators up for reelection are steering clear (Kelly Ayotte (NH, John McCain Ariz+++)
• There are concerns about violence and particularly extremists (can’t imagine why). A group of white nationalists who held a rally in California last weekend where five people were stabbed has said it plans to show up in Cleveland “to make sure Donald Trump supporters are elected,” Matt Parrott, a spox for the Traditionalist Workers Party said
• “You’re going to have a relatively civil event where you’re going to have the leftists protesting Trump and you’re going to have us arguing up against the leftists,” Parrott said. “And you’re going to have the police there ensuring that you’re going to have a first world situation and not some sort of ‘Gangs of New York’ knife fight.” (at the least – Cleveland is allowing guns…)
• A city of Cleveland panel on Wednesday authorized spending $9.5 million to purchase $50 million in insurance to protect the city against claims during the convention after a consultant concluded the city faces a higher risk than previously thought because of terrorism and volatility during the primaries. Cleveland police will have body cameras attached to their riot gear

• FiveThirtyEight’s first 2016 election forecast is out : Who will win the presidency? – Right now, they have Hillary Clinton at 80.6% – Donald Trump 19.3%. Nate Silver got it completely right in 2012 – utterly failed in the primary to predict the rise of Trump, he’s analyzed why he got it wrong and factored that it in – he thinks. They’ll update every day

Obama Raises Concerns About Brexit Vote (BBC, me)
• President Obama said Thursday the UK vote to leave the EU raises “longer-term concerns about global growth, if in fact Brexit goes through.” (whoa whaaat?) He said Brexit would “freeze the possibilities of investment in Great Britain or in Europe as a whole.” He appealed for an orderly process for the British exit (as Conservatives and Labour both melt down)
• Earlier, EU leaders warned that the UK must honor the principle of free movement of people if it wants to retain access to the single market. The leaders of the other 27 EU countries were meeting in Brussels without the UK for the first time in more than 40 years
• Obama was speaking at a summit in Ottawa with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, aimed at strengthening ties between North American countries. He said the preparations by central banks and finance ministers indicated the “global economy in the short run will hold steady” (what about the long run?)
• Obama strongly defended free trade and promised to press on with plans for a Trans-Pacific Partnership. Without mentioning Donald Trump – who ripped the plan on Tuesday – he said, “We’ve had times throughout our history where anti-immigration sentiment is exploited by demagogues. But guess what? They kept coming.” (including Trump’s grandmother from Scotland, thanks)
• Obama said he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and that her interest was making sure Britain’s exit worked, not retribution. After their meeting, EU leaders said in a statement: “Access to the single market requires acceptance of all four freedoms.” That’s freedom of movement of goods, workers, services and capital (Leave voters don’t like the workers much)

Houston Woman Killed Daughters to Punish Husband (Houston Chronicle, Reuters, me)

• The Houston-area woman who fatally gunned down her two daughters wanted to punish her husband for their impending divorce, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said Wednesday. Christy Sheats, 42, had called a family meeting ostensibly to tell the family that she and Jason Sheats, 45, were going to divorce

• Instead, she “quickly” pulled out a gun and chaos ensued. “He felt Christy wanted him to suffer,” Nehls told reporters. “Ms Sheats stated Christy knew how much he loved Taylor, 22, and Madison, 17, and how much they loved him… Mr Sheats will have to live the rest of his life with this horrible memory.” “We look at him as a victim in all this.”

• Christy Sheats had a history of mental health problems and had been hospitalized following suicide attempts. There had been 14 calls for help in the past four years, the sheriff said, but none of the calls offered any insight that Christy Sheats would be at risk of harming anyone but herself (but she had guns and she was super major mentally unstable = big clue, even in Texas?)

• “Please. Forgive me. Don’t shoot,” one of the daughters said, and then a scream is heard followed by crying, in the tape released Tuesday by the sheriff’s office. “Please! I’m sorry,” said one of the daughters in the 911 call. Christy Sheats was shot and killed by a police officer who arrived as she was firing the final shot into Taylor (omg beyond imagining)

• “It would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away,” Christy Sheats wrote in March on her Facebook page, “but that’s exactly what Democrats are determined to do by banning semi-automatic handguns.” (yeah and you sound too unstable even to be around teaspoons)

• Fancy a diamond? To go in a ring – or – maybe something a bit bigger? You’re in luck. A whopping 1,109-carat uncut diamond – world’s largest – didn’t sell at auction at Sotheby’s on Wednesday (I couldn’t make the gig). It didn’t meet the unnamed minimum reserve. Bidding stopped at a mere $61 million. Fellas, I’ll accept proxy bids if you feel like it