The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. migrants climbing border wall shutterstock 1229072248

    Trump Declares an Emergency

    Saying it'll stem an "invasion" of illegal drugs and immigrants, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to fund his southern border wall on Friday, sparking a constitutional battle with Congressional Democrats. He also signed a spending bill --- devoid of wall funds --- to avert another government shutdown. Presidents have declared 58 emergencies, often to impose international embargoes, since a 1976 law enabled them.

    Will it stand? The Democrat-controlled House is investigating its propriety, states are suing and so are Texas land owners. Trump said he anticipated lower federal courts would side with challengers, but "we'll win in the Supreme Court."

  2. Main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari speaks after casting his vote at a polling station

    Nigerian Election Delayed for a Week

    As voters, poll workers and security services braced for a tense day of voting, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission pulled the plug on election eve. Holding presidential and parliamentary elections Saturday was “no longer feasible,” its chairman said, announcing next Saturday as the contest’s new date. Africa’s most populous nation is once again choosing between an incumbent who’s disappointed on both corruption and economic issues, President Muhammadu Buhari, and a questionable top challenger, Atiku Abubakar.

    What’s expected? Past election disputes have sparked deadly clashes, but 2015’s transition went peacefully and both top 2019 candidates have pledged to promote a peaceful outcome.

  3. hitler and mussolini 1941 wikimedia commons

    Why Europeans Vote for Fascists

    Marian Kotleba was once dismissed a fringe candidate in Slovakia for his extreme views, including cosplaying his country’s Nazi-collaborating wartime authorities. But in 2013, he took a regional governorship. How? Disillusionment with the status quo and a low voter turnout helped, and he was defeated four years later. Next month, he’s running for president.

    Can he win? Polls don’t give Kotleba much of a chance, but he’s shown that voters will choose any candidate — no matter how extreme — if they’re perceived as different from corrupt incumbents.

    Read OZY’s feature on how a Nazi past ended a romance.

  4. china protest shutterstock 533594779

    Student Marxists Want China to Return to Its Roots

    This year marks two anniversaries for student protests in China: 1989’s Tiananmen Square and the 1919 protests nearby against foreign occupation credited with inspiring the county’s communist revolution. Those anniversaries are cues for disaffected students, spurred by income inequalities, who say their country has gone capitalist and urge a return to Marxist values.

    How’s the government reacting? Mass arrests of students, activists and workers are quietly taking place across the country, which experts say is more about stopping organized dissent than about ideology. But the tactic’s becoming popular, with labor protesters and others continuing to rally behind red banners.

  5. Also Important…

    After his dismissal, a man fatally shot five employees at a factory in Aurora, Illinois, and wounded five police officers before being killed in a shootout Friday. Pope Francis has defrocked Theodore McCarrick, former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, D.C., after the Catholic Church found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and others for decades. President Trump is urging European nations to repatriate and prosecute some 800 Islamic State fighters the U.S. has captured in Syria.

    In the week ahead: NASCAR’s season begins today with the running of the Daytona 500 stock car race. The U.S. Federal Reserve has a chance to ease recession fears Wednesday when it clarifies its interest rate hike intentions in minutes from its January meeting. And Wednesday is also World Social Justice Day.

    #OZYfact: Gunshot and stabbing victims are 62 percent less likely to die when transported to the hospital by private vehicles. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY’s hiring a podcast producer! If you’re an ambitious and creative audio storyteller, get in touch — at Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


  1. jeff bezos amazon press photo

    Bezos ex Machina: Americans Trust Amazon More Than God

    Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce conglomerate ranked as the second most trusted of 20 institutions in a recent survey of Americans. It’s the Democrats’ favorite, while Republicans trusted only the military and local police more (Amazon ranked higher than religious entities). Why? Probably because Amazon quickly ships what people want, and unlike the widely disliked Facebook, it doesn’t deliver opinions or election meddling.

    But what about New York? Bezos canceling Amazon’s Big Apple office project, plus his ongoing feud with President Trump, is giving the company a political dimension and that could taint its public trust.

  2. jain temple shutterstock 379658137

    Is Jainism Right About Animal Consciousness?

    Animal rights are new to the West, at least compared with India’s minority Jainism religion. For centuries, Jain monks have taken pains to not harm animals, from microbes to pigeons, believing that they’re conscious beings. Now even Western scientists are starting to catch up, agreeing that primates and some birds perceive and process experiences. 

    Are we getting closer to “lesser” beings? A growing body of research suggests that even some insects can synthesize information well beyond what’s attributable to instinct, raising the possibility that Jains could someday be celebrated for divining this truth before the rest of humanity.

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    Why Your Dream Vacation Is a Local Nightmare

    When American John Allen Chau died last year trying to proselytize to a remote Bay of Bengal island tribe, some lauded his adventurous spirit — if not his judgment. But writer Kate Harris argues against such fetishism. Such “untouched” places — whether listed in Fodor’s or in databases of communities that don’t know Jesus — rarely ask to be touched. Harris suggests respectful pilgrimages rather than “divine imperialism,” and to leave some revered peaks unclimbed.

    Is it getting worse? The world’s getting smaller, with tribal rights workers seeing more “human safaris,” often at the expense of local inhabitants’ humanity.

  4. augmented reality ar shutterstock 557603848

    Get Ready for Planet Earth Go

    Welcome to the photonic era. Wired founder Kevin Kelly predicts that in 10 years, we’ll see a far more sophisticated version of what Pokémon Go gave us a taste of: a “mirror world” where everything we see through augmented reality eyewear will be mapped out and labeled. We — and robots — will interact with that world in ways we haven’t imagined, and ways we have, like leaving digital notes for friends when they visit a place we’ve been to.

    What’s wrong with this 3-D picture? It’ll require total surveillance, with cameras everywhere, and battles over data and centralization.

  5. le bronshutterstock 388256962

    When Will LeBron Actually Own a Team?

    Competing for GOAT honors isn’t enough. When he travels to the All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina, LeBron James will doubtless be coveting NBA legend Michael Jordan’s 2010 purchase of the city’s Hornets franchise, which has quadrupled in value. When King James retires, he’s expected to make his own ownership play.

    How hard will it be? Jordan’s acquisition was a bargain during an economic slump, and prices are above a billion these days, but it’s expected that James can lead an investment group and increase ownership over time.