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
Housekeeping Item #1: Survey winners have been notified, thank you all again for your input. Housekeeping Item #2: If you signed up for Tag The Flag and never read our About page, then you may not know that our goal is to be America’s number one nonpartisan newsletter branded under the one thing that unites us all: The American Flag. In light of what you’ll read below, and during what feels like an extremely divided time in our country, we always like to remind our audience that there’s a lot of good stuff happening “behind the scenes”, if you will. Our coverage yesterday of the 102-year-old WII veteran got a lot of love so we wanted to end the week with one more uplifting story that you probably haven’t heard about. The point is, small actions make big differences. Reach across the aisle this weekend and buy someone you disagree with a coffee. Remember, it’s easy to cast the blame on others, but at the end of the day, America is an experiment that is still relatively new in the grand scheme of history and the first-ever of its kind from the standpoint that we are a self-governed republic. Bottom line, it’s up to us as individuals. Be the vector of change you wish to see in your community, city, and state. Hopefully, if enough of us try that for a while, we’ll notice more and more good things happening around the country.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Key Witnesses Cap Intense Week in Impeachment Inquiry
Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, and David Holmes, an aide at the United States Embassy in Kyiv, testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday. Outlets on both sides led with the fact that Fiona Hill “clashed” (as Fox News put it) or “sharply denounced” (the New York Times writes) the “fictional narrative” that only Ukraine — and not Russia — interfered in the 2016 elections. Hill didn’t deny that Ukrainian officials “bet on the wrong horse” in 2016 and said disrespectful things about President Trump (citing this Politico article which is worth a read), but she did focus more on Russia. In fact, Hill, the British-born daughter of a coal miner who became a United States citizen and co-wrote a lengthy book analyzing the psyche of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said this:
- Russians “deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each another, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.”
Impeachment takeaway: What’s Next
Right now it looks as though none of this week’s witnesses have shaken House Republicans support for President Trump. What’s next: if the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach Trump next month as appears increasingly likely, keep an eye out for rapid proceedings in the Senate that could be limited to about two weeks the Washington Post notes. Senate Republicans view this as a way to give the proceedings credence without risking greater damage to Trump by dragging on too long. Why it matters: Fox News notes that reports have surfaced that “Republicans were considering holding a long trial to disrupt the 2020 presidential primaries. Several Democrats seeking to unseat Trump — including Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders — are senators who would need to divert at least some of their campaigning time toward a potential trial.” The Charges: Abuse of power, Bribery, Contempt of Congress, and Obstruction of justice are the four potential articles of impeachment that House Judiciary Committee Democrats could draw up against President Trump according to the same article.
Ending the Week in Washington
The impeachment inquiry grabbed most of the oxygen around the country, but there were other important headlines emanating from D.C. The Wall Street Journal wrote that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cast doubt Thursday on whether Congress has enough time to pass President Trump’s renegotiated North American trade agreement before year’s end. Elsewhere, The Hill noted that President Trump on Thursday denied that the Navy would strip a service member of his SEAL status following an acquittal of murder charges against the officer earlier this year. And lastly, if this has all been too much and you wished the government would just shut down for a while, well then we’re sorry to disappoint. The President signed a short-term spending bill into law Thursday with little time to spare before the lights went off in our nation’s capitol. The measure funds the government at current levels through Dec. 20 so we’ll be right back here in about a month.
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Partnership Details: For every person that signs up to this newsletter, we’ll be donating $1 to Kyle’s foundation that gives back to the patriots who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedoms as Americans.
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted Thursday on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a set of long-running corruption cases. Why it matters: just this past July Netanyahu, 70, became the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history. He now also has the distinction of being the first to be indicted while in office. Trading barbs and jabs, Netanyahu’s opponents claim that no one, not even the Prime Minister is above the law, while his supporters insist that the case against him was built on lies and political animus. Sound familiar? – From the left with NBC / From the Right with National Review
Latin American Protests Spread to Colombia
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Colombia on Thursday for a 12-hour nationwide strike. Initially led by unions, the strike grew as other sectors joined in, furious over labor, pension & tax reforms, and general dissatisfaction with the government’s failure to fully implement the historic 2016 peace accord with the FARC. President Iván Duque and his supporters believe Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is helping to foment trouble in Colombia, but demonstrators insist their anger is homegrown. Why it matters: the strikes make the Andean nation the latest in South America to break out in large-scale civil unrest. – Washington Post
Iran Makes History & The Value of the Internet
Internet connectivity is trickling back in Iran after the government shut down access to the rest of the world for more than four days in response to unrest apparently triggered by a gasoline price hike. Why it matters: the shutdown across a nation of 80 million people was the first to effectively isolate a modern, highly developed domestic network, experts say. That makes it a milestone in efforts by authoritarian governments to censor online communications. Here’s who else has tried. Big picture: the economic impact of this week’s outage for Iran was $300 million. To put that into perspective, internet giant Google makes $100 million a day through AdWords alone. – AP / Search Engine Land
WeWork lays off 2,400 employees
WeWork is laying off 2,400 employees as it works to cut costs and right-size the business, according to CNBC. Why it matters: the job reductions that represent 19% of WeWork’s total workforce aren’t necessarily a surprise. It’s just that when 2400 people walk away empty-handed and WeWork’s co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann gets a multimillion-dollar golden parachute the situation really starts to bring (even more) negative light onto the beleaguered coworking company. Going forward WeWork will be divesting noncore businesses and focusing on enterprise customers, instead of small and mid-sized clients. We’ve argued in The Street Sheet that if they can do this the business model may actually benefit from this looming recession we all keep hearing about, but they better act fast. The company continues to bleed cash, reporting $1.25 billion in losses for the third quarter. Clock’s ticking. – CNBC / CNN
Steelers QB Rudolph denies report he used racial slur
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph is denying an anonymous report alleging he used a racial slur shortly before his confrontation with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. Remember: Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and then hit the quarterback in the head with it, prompting the NFL to suspend him indefinitely. Elsewhere in the NFL, as we touched on earlier this week it was an eventful, social-media-driven weekend for Colin Kaepernick. One company used social media activity to determine which states support and oppose Kaepernick the most. Check it out. – AP / Tag The Flag
Russia bans the sale of gadgets without Russian-made software
Russia has passed a law banning the sale of certain devices that are not pre-installed with Russian software. The law will come into force in July 2020 and cover smartphones, computers and smart televisions. Proponents of the legislation say it is aimed at promoting Russian technology and making it easier for people in the country to use the gadgets they buy. Opponents have concerns about surveillance and fears that firms could pull out of the Russian market. Speaking of mobile surveillance, in Virginia, police used Google location data to find an accused bank robber. He says that’s illegal. – BBC / NBC News
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1963: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible.
Trivia Flashback: How many times has JFK’s Eternal Flame Been Extinguished?
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag was a photo of the world’s most expensive train station, the Oculus in New York City, which cost $4 billion. Get this: On October 13, 2016, a woman was walking through the station with her husband when she went into labor, eventually giving birth on the floor. This was the first birth that had occurred in the Oculus. Believe it or not, another woman had previously given birth inside the old PATH station in August 2015.
How did JFK create the template for the modern presidency?