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Turkey: Erdogan Declares State of Emergency Amid Mass Arrests

Jul 21, 2016
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency after last week’s failed military coup. Over the past three days, tens of thousands of public employees, including soldiers, police officers and teachers, have been fired. Some have been arrested. In the Turkish capital of Ankara, Erdogan’s supporters said they welcomed the decision.

Ismael Canocak: “If Tayyip Erdogan deemed the state of emergency necessary, it should be the best option. Hopefully, we will overcome this under his leadership. We do not have any fear or reservations about the state of emergency. Life continues in Turkey. So does our demonstrations for democracy at night. God willing, this period will continue under the leadership of our commander-in-chief.”

Since the coup, Erdogan has promised to reinstate the death penalty in Turkey. The Turkish government has also made a formal extradition request for Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan accuses of masterminding the coup attempt. Gülen lives in in the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania. The U.S. government has not yet reached a decision on whether they would extradite Gülen.

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U.S. Strike Kills 73 Civilians in Syria, Deadliest So Far in ISIS War

Jul 21, 2016
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Activists say U.S. airstrikes on a town in northern Syria killed at least 73 civilians on Tuesday. The monitoring group Air Wars says it is the deadliest U.S. airstrike for civilians to date since the U.S. began strikes in Syria in 2014. A U.S.-supported militia called the Syrian Democratic Forces began an assault on the town of Manbij at the end of May. Since then, groups that monitor the war say at least 190 civilians have been killed in U.S. airstrikes in the town. The U.S. military has said it is investigating the incident. Until earlier this year, the Pentagon claimed no civilians had been killed in its air campaign against ISIS, while at the same time claiming more than 20,000 ISIS fighters had been killed.

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NYT: Trump Offered John Kasich VP Job Before Picking Mike Pence

Jul 21, 2016
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Here in Cleveland, Wednesday marked the third day of the Republican National Convention. Indiana Governor Mike Pence formally accepted the nomination to be Trump’s running mate.

Gov. Mike Pence: “I am deeply humbled by your confidence. And on behalf of my family, here and gone, I accept your nomination to run and serve as vice president of the United States of America.”

But The New York Times is reporting Donald Trump actually wanted Ohio Governor John Kasich to be his running mate—and that Kasich declined. According to The New York Times, Donald Trump’s son called Kasich’s adviser asking if the governor wanted to be “the most powerful vice president in history,” and promising Kasich would be in charge of both domestic and foreign policy. Donald Trump’s son reportedly said that his father’s role, as president, would be simply “making America great again.” Trump’s campaign disputes this account and denies it wanted Kasich over Pence. Ohio Governor Kasich has not come to the convention, even though it’s being held in his own state and he’s been in Cleveland this week. Ultimately, the Trump campaign ended up picking Pence. Last night, during his speech, Governor Pence spoke about U.S. foreign policy, saying Donald Trump would “stand with our allies.”

Gov. Mike Pence: “We cannot have four more years apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends. America needs to be strong for the world to be safe. And on the world stage, Donald Trump will lead from strength. Donald Trump will rebuild our military and stand with our allies.”

But Donald Trump directly contradicted Pence during an interview with The New York Times Wednesday. Trump said he would break with long-standing U.S. foreign policy by not automatically defending NATO allies from attacks. Instead, Trump says, he’d only help NATO allies if they “have fulfilled their obligations to us.” We’ll have more on Indiana Governor Mike Pence—the man who may become the most powerful vice president in history—after headlines.

RNC: Ted Cruz Booed After Refusing to Endorse Donald Trump

Jul 21, 2016
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Meanwhile, last night at the RNC, Mike Pence was overshadowed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who refused to officially endorse Donald Trump.

Sen. Ted Cruz: “If you love our country and love your children as much as I know that you do, stand and speak and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

That’s the crowd booing last night at the RNC, as Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump. Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, had to be escorted out by security as she was heckled by the pro-Trump delegates, who shouted “Goldman Sachs!” Heidi Cruz is a managing director at the private equity firm. After Cruz’s speech, delegates expressed outrage.

Shaun Ireland: “Those one, two sentences is all we needed. And instead, he did this 'vote your conscience,' did a mic drop and walked out. And what it really was is a big middle finger to this entire convention. … And Ted Cruz, tonight, just set the United States up to be ruled by that corrupt woman, Hillary—crooked Hillary Clinton, just so he could set himself up to be president in four years. There probably won’t even be a Republican Party in four years.”

Fewer Than 1% of RNC Delegates are African-American

Jul 21, 2016
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Delegates at the Republican National Convention are overwhelmingly white. That’s according to the Republican Party’s own data, which says out of nearly 2,500 delegates, only 18 are African-American. Statistics compiled by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies show that’s the fewest black delegates at the RNC in at least a century. One of the few African-American delegates at the RNC this year spoke.

Angela Underwood-Jacobs: “A delegate is a delegate is a delegate. And that’s truly all that matters. Hopefully, for the next time around, we’ll have more African-American delegates and people of color; however, right now it’s really about Americans.”

This comes as Donald Trump has an approval rating among African Americans in Ohio of zero percent. This according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, which also found he has a zero percent approval rating among African Americans in Pennsylvania, as well.

Trump Adviser: “Clinton Should Be Put in the Firing Line and Shot”

Jul 21, 2016
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While the RNC has been marked by intense anger against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with many chanting “Lock her up! Lock her up!” during speeches, one Trump adviser has called for her to be executed. New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldasaro made the comments while speaking on the conservative Boston radio show “The Kuhner Report.”

Rep. Al Baldasaro: “This whole thing disgusts me. Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.”

Al Baldasaro advises Trump on veterans’ issues. The Secret Service is investigating him for his comments.

Reuters: Christie Says Trump Would Purge Obama Officials from Fed. Govt.

Jul 21, 2016
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Reuters is reporting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says Donald Trump would purge the federal government of all Obama-appointed officials if he wins the presidency. Christie is the head of Trump’s White House transition team. He reportedly said in a closed-door meeting, “As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people.”

Reuters: Trump Would Consider Fracking Mogul for Energy Secretary

Jul 21, 2016
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Meanwhile, Reuters is also reporting Donald Trump is considering nominating a fracking tycoon to be energy secretary if he is elected president. Harold Hamm is the CEO of the billion-dollar oil and gas company Continental Energy. In response, co-founder of 350.org Bill McKibben told Democracy Now!: “America’s fracker in chief to work for a guy who thinks global warming is a hoax manufactured by the Chinese. What could go wrong?”

Trump Staffer Takes Responsibility for Plagiarizing Michelle Obama

Jul 21, 2016
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Meredith McIver, an in-house staff writer for the Trump Organization, has taken responsibility for the plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech at the RNC. In the speech Monday night, Melania Trump read multiple sections of Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech. Meredith McIver says Ms. Trump talked about liking Michelle Obama’s speech and had read parts of the text to her on the phone. McIver says she then left some lines of Michelle Obama’s speech in the final draft. But ThinkProgress is now reporting McIver’s apology is sparking additional questions about whether Trump’s campaign has broken any laws by receiving illegal contributions from his company. McIver works for the Trump Organization, and the apology was printed on the company’s letterhead. Former Federal Election Commission general counsel Lawrence Noble told ThinkProgress, “His company is not supposed to be supporting his campaign. The lines are becoming very blurred.”

RNC: Protesters Erect “Wall Against Trump”

Jul 21, 2016
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Protests continue outside the RNC. On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered to erect a “Wall Against Trump,” blocking the entrance to the arena with a massive cloth banner painted like a wall.

Eva Cardenas: “We are going to be walling off hate, xenophobia, and we’re going to continue our pledge to protect our communities from people in positions of power who do not look out for the benefit of all of us as a community. Today we are drawing a line in the sand to demand respect for our communities and to ask for folks that are stepping on the sidelines, not knowing what they should do, to come and join us and to start walling up hate in their communities, to start protecting their people, because we, as a community, know the solutions. No one else is going to do it for us. So this is a call to action, but also a message to Trump and anyone that feels like using xenophobia and hate as a means of power. That’s not the solution, and we’re going to be here and continue to fight.”

RNC: 17 Arrested After Protester Attempted to Burn an American Flag

Jul 21, 2016
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Meanwhile, at least 17 people were arrested during another demonstration outside the RNC, after a protester attempted to burn an American flag. Burning American flags is legal under most circumstances. Police used horses to try to break up the protest.

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Florida Police Shoot Unarmed Black Therapist Helping Autistic Man

Jul 21, 2016
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Another shocking video of police shooting an African-American man has emerged. It happened Monday in North Miami, Florida. Police shot the unarmed man in the leg as he was attempting to help an autistic man who had wandered away from a group home. Social worker Charles Kinsey is seen lying on the ground with his hands in the air when police shot him. Police have said they were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun. But in a cellphone video released yesterday, Kinsey can be heard telling police “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavioral therapist at a group home.”

Charles Kinsey: “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavioral therapist at a group home.”

Kinsey can also be heard on the video trying to calm down the autistic man, and said he was more worried about his patient’s safety than his own. The video does not show the moment the shots are fired, and Kinsey said officers offered no explanation.

Charles Kinsey: “When he hit me, I’m like—I still got my hands in the air. I said, 'You know, I just got shot.' And I’m standing there. I’m like, 'Sir, why did you shoot me?' And his words to me, he said, 'I don't know.’ … And I’m face down on the ground with cuffs on, waiting on the rescue squad to come. I’d say about 20—about 20 minutes for the rescue squad to get there. And I was bleeding. Yes, bleeding.”

Reuters reported that the North Miami Police Department has placed an officer on leave after the incident and that the Miami-Dade County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the shooting.

Activists Shut Down Police Unions & Precincts in Multiple Cities

Jul 21, 2016
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Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter activists launched protests in multiple cities Wednesday, including in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Detroit. In New York City, 10 people were arrested after activists locked themselves to each other using PVC pipes at the entrance of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. In Detroit, six people were arrested at a protest outside a police precinct. The protest was remembering Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a seven-year-old girl who was killed in her own home in 2010 during a night raid by police that was being filmed by a reality TV show. In Washington, D.C., activists with Black Youth Project 100 and Black Lives Matter locked themselves to the steps of the national legislative office of the Fraternal Order of Police. The activists were demanding police officers stop paying dues to the private union, which they say defends officers accused of brutality.

Federal Court Rules Against Discriminatory Voting Law in Texas

Jul 21, 2016
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A federal appeals court has ruled Texas’ strict voter ID law illegally discriminates against blacks and Hispanics and violates the Voting Rights Act. More than 600,000 Texans don’t have any of the types of IDs required under the law in order to vote. The appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that found the law disproportionately affects minorities. Among the issues with the law were the types of IDs that were acceptable. Concealed weapons permits were on the list, for instance, while student IDs were not.

People’s Tribunal: Indonesian Government Guilty of Genocide in 1960s

Jul 21, 2016
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In news on Indonesia, an international people’s tribunal has found that the Indonesian government was responsible for “genocide” against members and supporters of the country’s Communist Party in 1965 and '66. The government of General Suharto killed up to a million people after the general deposed his predecessor, President Sukarno. General Suharto was backed by the United States. Speaking to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, the head of the international people's tribunal at The Hague called on the Indonesian government to apologize and provide compensation for survivors.

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Author of “Guantánamo Diary,” Held for 14 Years, Cleared for Release

Jul 21, 2016
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The author of a best-selling book about his imprisonment at Guantánamo may be freed. Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a Mauritanian citizen and the author of “Guantánamo Diary.” Slahi has been imprisoned at Guantánamo for nearly 14 years without being charged with a crime. The prison’s review board has now declared he is no longer a “continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.” Ould’s review took place last week, but the decision was announced yesterday. Seventy-seven prisoners remain at Guantánamo Bay, nearly eight years after President Obama first moved to close the prison.

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And a Correction…

Jul 21, 2016

And a correction: On Monday and Tuesday we reported Florida Congressmember Dennis Ross is planning to skip the RNC, saying, “It’s a good time to be fishing in Montana.” In fact, Ross is not attending the convention, but the quote was actually the words of Montana Senator Steve Daines, who said that in an interview with Politico, but then ended up coming to the RNC on Tuesday.

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