The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Three Killed in California Food Festival Shooting

    At least 15 others were also injured after a gunman opened fire Sunday night at the Gilroy Garlic Festival about 80 miles southeast of San Francisco, before being shot dead by police. Armed with an assault-style rifle, the shooter is believed to have cut his way through a fence to avoid security. Eyewitnesses reported a chaotic scene as attendees sheltered under tables or ran to safety. “I’m fortunate to be alive,” said one festival vendor.

    Is the tragedy over? Gilroy police say they’re continuing to search for a possible second suspect, and haven’t identified a motive.

    Read OZY’s True Story detailing a first-hand account of a shooting.

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    US Death Penalty Back Under Political Spotlight

    Shortly after Attorney General William Barr announced that the federal government would resume executing prisoners, capital punishment appeared to reemerge as a hot-button issue. Democratic presidential hopefuls criticized the decision, while Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley even introduced legislation banning the federal death penalty. The first execution, of a convicted child murderer, will take place in December, less than two months before the crucial Iowa caucus.

    What do ordinary Americans think? While only one of 24 Democratic White House contenders supports capital punishment, it’s backed by six in 10 Americans, although support has declined in the past two decades.

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    With Launch, Pyongyang Warns South Korean ‘Warmongers’

    North Korea’s state news agency announced that yesterday’s launch of two short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan was “personally organized” by leader Kim Jong Un as a “solemn warning” to South Korean “warmongers.” Pyongyang appears particularly concerned about Seoul’s procurement of American-made F-35A stealth fighters. U.S. and South Korean experts said the new missiles were smaller, more maneuverable and easier to hide.

    Is this another step toward the brink? Although the move was clearly aimed at South Korea, experts suggest it was also a message to Washington, where the State Department expressed hope for renewed North Korean denuclearization talks.

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    EU Rebuffs Boris Johnson’s Brexit Policy

    Just days after taking office, the new British prime minister is poised for a showdown with Brussels. In response to Johnson’s claim that Britain would ditch the so-called Irish backstop, a key aspect of the withdrawal deal, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier called the idea “unacceptable” and urged the bloc’s leaders to remain united. Outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker similarly stood behind the current divorce deal.

    Could Johnson convince the EU to relent? While some say his bravado might compel Brussels to budge a bit more, they also believe his gamble could backfire at home if he’s left without a deal.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Johnson’s big challenge.

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    Google Posts Impressive Profit as Amazon Falters

    Alphabet, the search giant’s parent company, reported a 19 percent year-on-year boost in revenue yesterday and collected $9.2 billion in profit last quarter. That beat analysts’ expectations, but the same can’t be said for Amazon — whose $5.22-per-share quarterly profit fell short of the projected $5.56, thanks to the $800 million cost associated with one-day delivery. Still, the online retailer’s revenue rose 20 percent, while CFO Brian Olsavsky pledged a “return to increased efficiency.” 

    What’s the bigger picture? While Google’s impressive performance signals the resilience of internet search, it’s hardly immune to ongoing federal inquiries that have also ensnared Amazon.

  6. Also Important…

    Four major carmakers have sidestepped the U.S. federal government to agree with California on higher fuel emissions standards. Meteorologists say Europe will likely experience the hottest July on record as at least a dozen countries suffer through record-shattering heat. And President Donald Trump has criticized Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven for his country’s prosecution of American rapper ASAP Rocky for assault.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for a creative, organized and ambitious social media manager to engage and expand our online audience. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


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    US Border Official Confirms HIV-Based Family Separations

    The chief law enforcement officer for Customs and Border Protection testified yesterday that migrant parents’ HIV-positive status is enough cause to separate them from their kids. That’s despite a 2010 policy that removed the illness from the list of communicable diseases barring entry to the United States. Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Brian Hastings said his agency was simply following “the guidance,” but couldn’t say who promulgated the policy. 

    What’s next? The American Civil Liberties Union has pledged to take up the issue as part of its wider legal fight against forced separations.

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    Turkey Bets on ‘Risky’ Lower Interest Rate

    Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s instructions and defying economic orthodoxy, Ankara’s central bank has slashed interest rates from 24 percent to 19.75 percent, the biggest cut in 17 years. The bank’s new governor aims to stabilize the lira and control inflation amid Turkey’s ailing economy — though experts warn monetary easing could have the opposite effect. 

    What could go wrong?  Although it’s been declining, inflation is still around 15.7 percent and could increase with lower interest rates. That could scare away investors, with one analyst saying officials are “rolling the dice” on a “very, very risky strategy.”

    Check out OZY’s dispatch from Istanbul’s hidden Polish village.

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    Tulsi Gabbard Sues Google for $50M Over Ad Suspension

    The Democratic 2020 hopeful from Hawaii filed a federal lawsuit in California yesterday accusing the tech giant of violating free speech by refusing to place ads for her campaign. The suit alleges that her Google Ads account was suspended for six critical hours following the June 26-27 primary debates, a move Gabbard claims reflects Google’s “complete dominance” over internet searches.

    Does she stand a chance? Google can’t technically violate the First Amendment, but the suit — which some called “campaign theater” — echoes Republican concerns that Google stifles their voices online.

    Read this OZY op-ed about how to stop Russian election interference.

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    This Aussie Philosopher Feels Your Climate Anxiety

    Are you feeling solastalgic? If the anxiety of climate change is getting you down, you might be. Coined by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, the term describes the burgeoning mental health crisis rooted in global warming, OZY reports. It’s among a host of specific labels he’s created — including eco-anxietyeco-paralysis and global dread — that are increasingly cropping up in psychological parlance around the world. But Albrecht’s not all doom and gloom: He envisages a society, called the Symbiocene, that’s in harmony with the natural world.

    Is that a realistic prospect? Pointing to Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, Albrecht says a social movement in that direction is already underway.

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    ESPN Host Keeps Job Despite Knocking Trump

    After meeting with network boss Jimmy Pitaro on Thursday, ESPN host Dan Le Batard will reportedly stay on without punishment after going political on air. He pointedly criticized what he called President Trump’s “abhorrent” encouragement of racial divisions. He also slammed ESPN’s “no pure politics” rule, claiming such topics could only be addressed behind a “meat shield” of sports figures’ statements on topics like race.

    Can politics and sports stay separate? Not according to Jemele Hill, the former SportsCenter anchor who prompted the policy in 2017 after calling Trump a white supremacist: “Sports don’t take place in some alternate universe where real problems can’t interfere,” she writes.