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
Talk About a Tribute: this oceanographer is creating an underwater memorial for our veterans near Tampa Bay. Add it to the bucket list…
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Overdose Deaths Likely to Fall for First Time Since 1990
For the first time in decades, drug-overdose deaths in the U.S. are on the precipice of declining. Authorities are still counting fatalities around the U.S. from 2018, but provisional data are pointing lower: there were nearly 69,100 drug deaths in the 12-month period ending last November, down from almost 72,300 predicted deaths for 12 months ending November 2017. Big picture: while this is obviously a good thing, health officials say the death rate remains swollen by powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl. One takeaway: a big driver for the potential decrease has been broadened access to the overdose-reversal drug, Narcan. Let’s keep our fingers crossed this trend continues. – WSJ (subscription)
Round Two: the Democratic primary debate
The Democrats will hold the second installment of their first presidential primary debate in Miami tonight. Unlike yesterday’s warm-up, most of the leading contenders to take on President Donald Trump will be involved. All eyes will be on Joe Biden. His rivals – Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg – will try to paint him as too old and out of touch to justify his frontrunner status. As we mentioned Tuesday, Mr Buttigieg is on the back foot over a police killing in South Bend, Indiana, where he is the mayor. – The Economist / NPR
The Future Looks Terrible for U.S. Nursing Home Costs
A new study found that nursing home prices are rising faster than the overall cost of medical care and consumer prices. The primary driver behind the trend is the labor market. As demand for nursing home care goes up, so has the need for more workers. As a result, wages are rising. Nurses in some states are taking to the streets to voice their concerns and demand minimum staffing standards. Some believe unsafe staffing patient-to-nurse ratios are pushing them to stop working at the bedside. Separately, new research found that uncertainty around U.S. immigration policies may also worsen the labor shortage as immigrants made up one-quarter of the long-term care workforce. – Bloomberg
🤝 PRESENTED BY: KENNY FLOWERS
If you couldn’t tell, we’re big into stars and stripes. Not every piece of clothing has both, but sometimes you can get at least one. Kenny Flowers’ striped short sleeves are made for summer and even though they don’t have stars, as soon as you put on one of their shirts, you’ll certainly feel like one.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
Is it Dead? Iran and the bomb
Iran has said that as of today, it will have more than the 660 pounds of enriched uranium that it was allowed to have under the 2015 deal it signed with the P5+1 and the EU. Big picture: Iran is not about to become a nuclear power—its “breakout” time is over a year. But it is using its nuclear program to put pressure on America and its allies, adding an explosive element to an already volatile mix. Although the prospect for diplomacy looks dim optimists will note that similar name-calling preceded Mr. Trump’s rapprochement with Kim Jong Un, the homicidal leader of North Korea. Maybe the mullahs are next. – The Economist
Switzerland aims to legalize medical marijuana
The Swiss government is aiming to make it easier for patients to get medical marijuana, proposing on Wednesday to allow prescriptions for cannabis to treat people suffering from cancer or other serious conditions. While a formal comment period will now run until mid-October, it speaks to a larger trend: elsewhere, medical marijuana is also booming. Portugal’s parliament has approved a bill to legalize marijuana-based medicines, following in the footsteps of Italy, Germany, Canada, and parts of the United States. Britain made a similar move in July 2018. Swiss lawmakers are also toying around with the idea of legalizing the drug for recreational purposes. Chocolate, watches, and weed? Who knows. – Reuters
Hong Kong activists urge G20 leaders to help ‘liberate’ city
Thousands of people in Hong Kong joined an evening protest and marched to major foreign consulates on Wednesday, urging leaders gathering for this week’s summit of G20 nations to back their demand to scrap a controversial extradition bill. Why it matters: Raising Hong Kong’s extradition saga at the summit could embarrass China’s President, Xi, at a delicate time of rising trade tension with the United States. China will not allow discussion of Hong Kong at this week’s summit of G20 leaders in Japan’s western city of Osaka, assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun has said. In a crowdfunding campaign, Hong Kong activists have raised more than HK$5 million ($640,606) to take out newspaper ads in major foreign media during the summit. – New York Post
Bitcoin rallies 15% topping $13,000
Bitcoin rallied above the $13,000 level Wednesday, its highest level since January 2018. Why it matters: The spike brings bitcoin’s one-week gains to more than 40%, and its year-to-date increase to more than 240%. Potential Drivers: first of all, no one really knows what’s driving the rally. Secondly, some analysts think there is more interest in the space following Facebook’s announcement of a cryptocurrency project. Others are even considering it a safe haven amidst increasing global tensions and trade wars. Speaking of which, the Dow rallied slightly yesterday when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC the U.S. and China were close to a trade deal, but the index ended the day more or less flat. – CNBC
Trump calls out Rapinoe for comments about White House visit
President Donald Trump called out U.S. women’s national team co-captain Megan Rapinoe after a months-old video was posted on social media in which she used profanity when she said she wasn’t going to the White House if the team wins the Women’s World Cup. The Tweet: “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team.” What’s next: The U.S. team, the defending World Cup champion, plays host France in a quarterfinal match on Friday. The president tweeted that he will invite the U.S. team “win or lose.” – AP
Tweet This: White House to hold social media summit
The White House will hold a social media summit on July 11, aiming to have a “robust conversation” about online platforms at a time when they are under increasing attack in Washington, and after President Trump dialed up his criticism of tech companies on Wednesday morning. Why it matters: The president has accused Google, Facebook and Twitter of being biased against him and other conservatives — a charge the companies have repeatedly denied. Washington may also be mulling over antitrust investigations of some of these social media firms as well. – Politico
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1950: President Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea
On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag from Burton, Texas: What’s a three syllable word that rhymes with oil?
How many people think Americans are angrier today compared with a generation ago?