Trump Ditches Convention | Fauci Throws First Pitch


1. Trump Cancels Convention, Citing Pandemic

Last month President Donald Trump balked at North Carolina’s coronavirus restrictions and moved the Republican National Convention to Florida, but yesterday he was forced to call off plans for an in-person event. Rather than hosting a gathering of 10,000 people in a nation where 4 million are now infected, he said, “We have to be careful, and we have to set an example.” Meanwhile the CDC issued new school opening guidelines downplaying the risk of illness and transmission. But 40 percent of American adults, the agency reported, have at least one underlying health issue increasing their risk of severe COVID-19 complications.


2. Iranian Airliner Swerves to Avoid US Warplane

That was close. Several passengers were injured when an Iranian jetliner made an emergency maneuver to avoid an American fighter jet over Syria Thursday. The F-15 came within 3,300 feet of the Mahan Air plane, a U.S. military spokesperson said, calling it “a safe distance.” The incident, reminiscent of a U.S. warship’s accidental 1988 downing of an Iranian airliner, which killed 290 people, drew a threatening tweet from an Iranian presidential aide: “Those who love the lives of their leaders don’t play with the lives of our passengers.” Tehran officials promised a political and legal response.

Sources: NYTDW

3. US Watchdog Probes Paramilitary Deployments

Is this even legal? That’s the question the Justice Department’s inspector general said he’ll try to answer, investigating the use of heavily armed federal officers against Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, D.C., and Portland. Meanwhile, a federal judge ordered that those agents can’t threaten or otherwise intimidate journalists and legal observers. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who was tear-gassed by federal agents Wednesday night, described their response as an “egregious overreaction” and “urban warfare.” That mirrors concerns from other cities’ leaders who say President Trump is using federal muscle to lift his flagging reelection campaign.

Sources: PoliticoFox NewsThe Hill

4. Airbus Subsidy Curbs Could End Trade Tiff

It’s a good time to make nice in the flying business. While the pandemic has crippled airlines and planemakers, Europe’s Airbus has agreed to wean itself from French and Spanish subsidies. Low-interest loans to the main rival of Seattle-based Boeing have irked the U.S., which convinced the World Trade Organization to approve sanctions on European goods like wine and whiskey. It’s hoped that the concession — having Airbus pay higher interest on government loans — will help end the trans-Atlantic trade war, as Washington officials consider hikes to already punitive duties on products from across Europe.

Sources: ReutersMarketWatchBarron’s

5. Also Important …

Retaliating for its Houston consulate’s closure, China has ordered the U.S. State Department to shutter its consulate in Chengdu. After abandoning its racist name, the NFL franchise in the U.S. capital will be called “Washington’s Football Team” until a new name is chosen. And Hurricane Douglas, with 130 mph winds, is bearing down on Hawaii, leaving authorities struggling to find enough shelter space to allow social distancing.

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1. MLB Opening Day: Players Kneel, Fauci Pitches

Reflecting America, the Major League Baseball that opened its season four months late wasn’t the same. There were no fans, and instead of the president throwing out the first pitch in Washington, D.C., pandemic expert and Nationals fan Dr. Anthony Fauci threw it wild and short. Before the national anthem, both the New York Yankees (who won 4-1) and the Nats kneeled in a nod to Black Lives Matter. On the other coast, the L.A. Dodgers (who won 8-1) hosted the San Francisco Giants, starting a 60-game season where half the teams will make the expanded playoffs.

Sources: Yahoo SportsUSA TodayLA TimesCBS

2. Justice Department Denies Jailing Cohen Over Book

President Trump’s estranged personal lawyer is “free to work on his book while incarcerated.” So the Justice Department insisted yesterday, responding to a judge’s conclusion that Michael Cohen was returned to prison as retaliation for writing about his ex-boss. Today Cohen will return to home confinement to clack out embarrassing accounts such as Trump making “virulently racist remarks” about Black leaders. Cohen had been writing while imprisoned for fraud and perjury, but when he was furloughed home due to coronavirus concerns, prison officials tried to block him from any media exposure. He now hopes for a preelection book release.

Sources: DeadlineBloombergNBCAP

3. The US Is Losing the TikTok Arms Race

During the original Cold War, the intellectual battle raged behind the scenes over stealth technology and innovations that could deliver deadly munitions to the enemy. Now skateboarding dogs and off-key crooners are the payload, as TikTok powers Chinese influence around the world, OZY’s Butterfly Effect observes. Just as Beijing has stopped outsiders’ tech, now it’s India, likely followed by the U.S., shutting out TikTok and other apps lest their superior algorithms prove irresistible to local consumers. But that exclusionary tactic can only work for so long, as the capitalists once taught the communists: Market forces always prevail.

Sources: OZY

4. The Spring the Earth Stood Still

You may want to sit still for this. More than 600 seismometers around the world recorded half as many human-generated vibrations from March to May, suggesting lockdowns have given Earth a historic break from its raucous occupants, according to an international team of 76 scientists. Normally, things like stomping music fans, freight trains and drilling miners cause measurable ground movement, but the pandemic has created “the longest and most coherent global seismic noise reduction in recorded history,” according to Thursday’s article in Science. While cities quieted the most, vibrations also dropped in areas as remote as Namibia’s wilderness.

Sources: NYTDaily Mail

5. Pentagon Says Russians Have Tested a Space Weapon

“Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station.” OK, it’s not the Death Star — yet. But American and British military officials claim Moscow has tested an orbiting anti-satellite weapon. U.S. Space Command said Russia “injected a new object into orbit” July 15 when it fired a weapon-like projectile from the Cosmos 2543 satellite — the same spacecraft that shadowed a U.S. spy satellite several months ago. Orbital weapons, banned under an international space treaty, could disable military communications or civilian networks, but so far, they have not been used in attacks.

Sources: SpaceTechCrunchBBC

Olympic Dreamin’: Today was SUPPOSED to be the date of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, until, well, you know …. If you’re missing your dose of Olympic action this year, check out Defining Moments With OZY, now streaming on Hulu. Episode two takes you behind the awe-inspiring story of Paralympic bronze- and silver-medallist Amy Purdy. Watch now.