The Presidential Daily Brief


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    White House Touts Economy Amid Gloomy Predictions

    As fears mount that the U.S. is poised for a recession, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters yesterday “the fundamentals of our economy are very strong.” But that belied reported rumblings inside President Donald Trump’s administration that officials could cut payroll taxes to stave off potential turmoil. While sources say the idea’s still in its early stages, they also suggest insiders are increasingly talking about ways to thwart an economic slowdown.

    Is new policy really on the way? If history is any judge, OZY reports, a Republican-led administration will push tax cuts, less regulation and more constraints on spending.

  2. A protester throws a stone toward police during demonstrations in Hong Kong Monday. Source: Getty

    Twitter, Facebook Target Hong Kong Disinformation Campaign

    Twitter has removed 936 social media accounts and suspended thousands of others it believes are part of a “significant state-backed information operation” by the Chinese government to malign the 11-week-old protest movement. The company also announced that it’s banning ads by all state-owned media entities. For its part, Facebook said it removed 15 similar pages, accounts or groups. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam promised a dialogue with local residents but offered no concessions.

    Why does it matter? It’s the first time tech giants have accused China of secretly messaging on the demonstrations, suggesting they’ll take a tougher stand on such activity in the future.

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    NYPD Fires Cop Involved in Eric Garner’s Death

    Five years after the Black man died while being arrested in New York, the officer who applied the deadly choke hold was fired Monday. Daniel Pantaleo also lost his employer-provided pension benefits in a surprise decision which New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill acknowledged will likely anger other members of the force. Garner’s arrest was caught on video, and his final words — “I can’t breathe” — became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

    What’s next? Pantaleo is expected to appeal the decision, which was blasted by his union, while Garner’s daughter thanked O’Neil but has vowed to push for a congressional hearing into her father’s death.

    Read OZY’s story about police joining forces with data activists.

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    El Salvador Acquits Woman in ‘Murder’ of Stillborn Baby

    Rape victim Evelyn Hernández, who’d been imprisoned for allegedly inducing an abortion, was cleared of murder charges yesterday. Given El Salvador’s strict, no-exceptions abortion ban, her plight had attracted international attention. “Thank God, justice was done,” 21-year-old Hernández, who’d served three years of a 30-year sentence, told a crowd outside the courthouse near San Salvador. She also called for the release of other women locked up in similar circumstances.

    What’s the bigger picture? Local rights activists say 147 women have been hit with abortion-related jail terms of up to 40 years since 2000, and they’re pushing authorities to review at least 16 cases.

  5. Also Important… 

    A British diplomat based in Hong Kong has been reported detained while visiting mainland China. Syrian rebels have withdrawn from a strategic town as the government continues its offensive on Idlib. And disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein is believed to have written a new will just two days before he hung himself in a New York City jail.

    #OZYfact: In 1990, Peru elected its first Japanese-Peruvian president, Alberto Fujimori. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance through unique, analytical and globally minded write-ups. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


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    Planned Parenthood Snubs Funds Over Abortion ‘Gag Rule’

    The women’s health organization will forgo roughly $60 million in annual federal cash after formally withdrawing from the Title X family planning program over the strings attached to that funding. The Trump administration’s “gag rule” prevents federally funded groups from telling patients where they can get abortions. Monday’s decision represents a victory for conservatives, who have long tried to strip the organization of financial support.

    How will it survive? Planned Parenthood still receives $500 million in Medicaid funding while members of Congress have pledged to fight the rule, which is expected to leave many low-income women without access to birth control and reproductive health care.

  2. tech protest shutterstock 1084023017

    Will Technology Disrupt Capitalism Next?

    Technological innovation has upturned markets — and some suggest it could even end them for good. A number of leftist philosophers and academics argue that 21st-century tech revolutions could lead us to a classless political and economic model, vaulting society into a post-scarcity world, OZY reports. They say democratizing the development of technology through “accelerationism” could lead humanity toward greater equality, rather than the climate crises and hyper-consumerism for which some blame high tech.

    How could it work? Socialism hasn’t done well in the modern world, as witnessed by market-driven China or chaotic Venezuela, but these theorists believe technology’s power to equalize could be the glue that holds an egalitarian society together.

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    Facing Fiscal Crisis, Palestinian President Fires Aides

    Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly dismissed his advisers and asked his former prime minister and ex-cabinet members to return tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses. The move comes after Israel began withholding some $10 million in monthly customs duties, which it claims the Palestinian Authority uses to reward relatives of locals killed or jailed for attacking Israel. Abbas, in turn, says it helps families left without a breadwinner. 

    Will his decision help? While it could save money, news of officials’ lavish bonuses — like $10,000 housing allowances — could also spark outrage in the West Bank, where jobs are scarce.

    Read OZY’s profile of the woman reclaiming lost Palestinian dreams through role-play.

  4. climate change kid, protest

    Australian Cops to Take on Climate Protesters

    In an attempt to limit Queensland’s escalating civil disobedience movement, the regional government has approved laws allowing local police to crack down on what Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called “sinister” tactics by climate protesters. Those reportedly include using booby traps, such as cylinders containing glass fragments or flammable gas that could injure authorities trying to remove activists blocking roads, railways or other public facilities.

    How radical is the movement? Besides impeding traffic, the green activist group Extinction Rebellion is calling for a mass ingestion of psychedelic substances to protest the criminalization of recreational drug use.

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    Antonio Brown’s Helmet Saga Continues

    After losing a grievance against the NFL to get around the ban on helmets older than 10 years, the Oakland Raiders wide receiver has reportedly filed another. Demanding a one-year grace period to phase out his preferred headgear, Brown is apparently stoking impatience among those already dismayed by his recent break from training camp over frostbite. “It’s time for him to be all in or all out,” said Oakland general manager Mike Mayock this week.

    Is he within his rights? As OZY reports, the NFL preseason has been an opportunity for players to air their concerns — though Brown’s voice “has long been a quixotic one.”