Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Flag Figures: The opioid epidemic isn’t just a US problem. Nearly 1,200 people died from drugs in Scotland in 2018 (see related story below), there are 2,667,000 foreigners living in Japan now, or just over 2 percent of the total population. That represents an increase of 170,000over the past year, and there are only 17 countries left in the world that maintain full diplomatic relations with Taiwan. That was your ten-second trip around the world. Now, on to your nonpartisan news briefing.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Full House: No to Impeachment Yes to Contempt
The House voted Wednesday to block an effort to impeach President Trump, but the tally made clear that many Democrats are eager to pursue removing him from office despite party leaders’ calls for caution. Earlier in the day, the House voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt over their refusal to produce documents about the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the census. Why it matters: Any sort of lawsuit that arises could set up a constitutional clash between the branches of government. The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether a congressional demand for information can overcome an executive-privilege claim, and a ruling could reshape the relationship between Congress and presidential administrations. – WSJ (subscription)
America on opioids: 76 Billion Pills
America’s largest drug companies saturated the country with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills from 2006 through 2012 as the nation’s deadliest drug epidemic spun out of control, according to previously undisclosed company data released as part of the largest civil action in U.S. history. Why it matters: During the same timeframe, prescription opioids contributed to more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. What Now: These companies, which include Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, are being sued in federal court by nearly 2,000 cities, towns and counties claiming they plotted to flood America with opioids. The companies say doctors and pharmacies overprescribed the drugs. – The Washington Post / AP
Enter The Matrix: Elon Musk’s startup eyes human testing for brain-computer interface
Elon Musk’s high-profile foray into connecting brains to computers, a 2-year-old company called Neuralink, detailed its ambitions and unveiled some initial results at a live-streamed event yesterday. Musk, the entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX, described the firm’s goal of using tiny electrodes implanted in the brain to “cure important diseases” and “achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” Musk revealed that the company has already used its device to allow a monkey to control a computer with its brain. The company aims to implant electrodes into a person paralyzed by spinal cord injury by the end of 2020. – Science Mag
🌎 WORLD NEWS
Ebola outbreak in Congo declared a global health emergency
The deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo is now an international health emergency, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday after a case was confirmed in a city of 2 million people. Background: More than 1,600 people have died since August in the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, which is unfolding in a region described as a war zone. Why it matters: A declaration of a global health emergency often brings greater international attention and aid, along with concerns that nervous governments might overreact with border closures. – Yahoo News
As drug lord Joaquin Guzman got life in prison, his daughter launched her El Chapo clothing line
As druglord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was learning Wednesday he won’t likely ever see freedom again, his daughter launched a clothing line in Mexico that hinges heavily on the legacy and lore surrounding her father. Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar is the daughter of the 62-year-old former Sinaloa Cartel chief, who a judge sentenced Wednesday to life plus 30 years in a Colorado supermax prison. Her fashion line — dubbed El Chapo 701, a reference to Forbes naming her father the 701st richest person in the world in 2009 — made its debut at IM Intermoda, a fashion expo held in Guadalajara, according to the brand’s social media posts. The expo began Tuesday and runs through Friday. – CNN
Puerto Rico’s governor in crisis amid online chat scandal
Hundreds gathered in Puerto Rico to protest Governor Ricard Rossello, demanding his resignation. Background: the protests come in the wake of multiple scandals in the Rossello administration including corruption and leaked chats. Why it matters: many Puerto Ricans are still recovering from Hurrican Maria and the scandal has resulted in greater distrust of leadership. Connect the dots: halfway across the world citizens in another semi-autonomous territory are protesting. In both Hong Kong and Puerto Rico, people are taking to the streets to hold their governments accountable. – NBC
Stranger Things: Netflix tanks after whiffing on global paid subscribers
Shares of Netflix were down 12% Wednesday after the company released its earnings report for the second quarter. The results showed a rare loss in U.S. subscribers – the first time this has happened since 2011 – and a large miss on international subscriber adds. CEO Reed Hastings blamed the stagnancy on the company’s price hikes, and a lack of original content to bring in new subscribers. Big picture: Disney and Apple are gearing up to launch their respective streaming platforms this year and Netflix will be losing two of its most-watched shows, “The Office” and “Friends.” Hastings, who once famously declared that Netflix’s biggest competitor is sleep, will need to gain some of that confidence back before next quarter’s call. – CNBC / The Verge
The Threat of Specialization: ‘These kids are ticking time bombs’
More and more young athletes are getting injured ESPN’s, Baxter Holmes writes. The Driver: Specialization. Players who are highly specialized in one sport (at the exclusion of other sports) and played it year-round were at a significantly higher risk for serious overuse injuries, such as bone and cartilage injuries and ligament injuries. How much higher of a risk? About 125%. Proof: Take Basketball, for example. Players picked in the 2014 first-round missed 838 games to injury during their first two seasons, the highest figure ever recorded. Why it matters: Elite players are physically broken down by the time they reach the NBA and sometimes even college. Worth a read. – ESPN
European Union opens antitrust probe of Amazon
The EU said Wednesday it would investigate how Amazon creates products, like AmazonBasics batteries or Solimo brand razors, that compete with offerings from outside merchants on its site. Why it matters: It’s a major new wave of scrutiny for the retail giant at a time when it is also under fire in the U.S. Background: Amazon’s critics have expressed concern that the company can use the data it gathers on merchants using its platform to develop its own house-brand products. Then, critics say, Amazon, can give those products prime placement on the site. – Axios
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1940: FDR nominated for an unprecedented third term
On this day in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who first took office in 1933 as America’s 32nd president, is nominated for an unprecedented third term. Roosevelt, a Democrat, would eventually be elected to a record four terms in office, the only U.S. president to serve more than two terms.
Did You Know: JFK’s father Joseph Kennedy made much of his fortune through insider trading. FDR later made him chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. When asked why he appointed a crook, FDR replied, “set a thief to catch a thief.” Kennedy proceeded to outlaw the practices that made him rich.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag was a beautiful morning shot of Old Glory from Tucson, Arizona…
What was left on the moon by Apollo 11? Also, is the American Flag from the mission still standing? Hit the button below to find out