| 8th of July – Lima Charlie’s U.S./Washington End-of-Week News Briefing:
On JUL7, just before 9 PM, Army Veteran, Micah Xavier Johnson, opened fire on police officers in #Dallas, Texas killing 5 officers and wounding several others in the deadliest incident for law enforcement in the US since 9/11. What began as an initially peaceful protest—in response to the deaths of #AltonSterling in Louisiana and #PhilandoCastile in Minnesota—turned violent as a total of 11 police officers were shot. Two civilians were also wounded in the shootings. Johnson, 25, was killed when a police robot detonated a bomb near him after a standoff that lasted several hours, according to Police Chief David Brown at a JUL8 Press Conference.
According to the US Military, Johnson was an army reservist who served in #Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014. The Texas resident served as an active reservist for six years from 2009 to 2015, holding the rank of Private First Class and specializing in carpentry and masonry. According to Dallas police, the suspect told negotiators that he was upset about the recent shootings of black men and wanted to kill specifically white people. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said, during the news conference, “the investigation has revealed to us this was a well planned, well thought out, evil tragedy by these suspects.” Brown said earlier,
“We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”
Johnson did not act alone—three suspects — two men and one woman — have been detained by police, according to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. Officials say at least two gunmen were involved. Among the five officers killed was a newlywed, married just two weeks ago to a fellow officer. Another victim was the father of a toddler daughter. A third had been a police officer in Michigan. One of the slain officers was Patrick Zamarripa, whose father posted on Facebook, “My son is a police officer in Dallas he was working there at the rally in downtown where my son was shot and killed by a sniper along with four other police officers … Need prayers to get through this.”
#PresidentObama called the Dallas shooting a “vicious, calculated, despicable attack.” In 2015, 41 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, according to the FBI. Yesterday’s shootings, which took place only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza—where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963—has prompted an outpouring of unity and love, especially amongst residents of Dallas. At 1:30 PM on JUL8, Governor Greg Abbott issued an open letter to the people of Texas, entitled, “A Time to Come Together.” In this letter, he asks for prayers and underlines that “every life matters.” He urged Texans to come together, saying, “Texans are the first to open their hearts, their homes, their wallets to offer charity and love.” He closed the letter by expressing his faith in the goodness of Texas and of America, “for in the end, evil always fails.”
The Lima Charlie News team will continue to monitor the situation and give our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims.
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On JUL8, after arriving in #Warsaw for the #NATO Summit, President Obama spoke on the recent shooting deaths of #AltonSterling, 37, and #PhilandoCastile, 32, offering:
“This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue. All fair-minded people should be concerned.”
Sterling was fatally shot during a police altercation outside Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana around 12:30 AM on JUL5, following reports that he had been pointing a gun at someone. The video footage of Sterling’s struggle with police went viral, sparking outrage from groups like #BlackLivesMatter and the #NAACP, who called for the police chief and mayor to resign. The two officers have since been placed on administrative leave. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Sterling in Baton Rouge Louisiana.
On JUL7, video surfaced of a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota fatally shooting Philando Divall Castile, during a traffic stop. In the graphic video, filmed from the passenger seat by his girlfriend, the officer asks Castile for identification and Castile responds letting him know he has a gun and a license to carry it. As he started reaching for his ID, the officer tells Castile not to move and, as he raises his hands back in the air, the officer shoots him four or five times in the arm.
The Lima Charlie News team will continue to follow the stories of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and give our thoughts and prayers to their families.
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On JUL7, The #USStateDepartment announced it is reopening its internal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information by former #SecretaryofState, Hillary Clinton. The State Department began its review in January, after declaring 22 emails from Clinton’s private server to be “top secret.” Spokesman for the Department, #JohnKirby, said the probe is set to restart after the Justice Department’s announcement on Wednesday that it won’t bring or recommend criminal charges. Although Clinton’s closest confidants have left the agency, they could still face punitive measures. The probe will likely examine confidants #CherylMills, #JakeSullivan, and #HumaAbedin. The State Department will direct its focus to whether current employees involved in handling or sending and receiving Clinton’s emails should receive disciplinary action, ranging from a reprimand to losing levels of security clearance
On JUL7, after nearly 5 hours of questioning, the #HouseOversightCommittee completed its session with #FBI Director James #Comey, at 2:40 PM. Throughout the meeting, Comey vigorously defended the FBI probe, explaining that he would sit before the committee for as long as it took to explain the reason for his decision not to recommend criminal charges against the Former Secretary of State. “I think she was extremely careless. I think she was negligent—that I could establish,” Comey told the House Oversight and Government Reform panel.
“What we can’t establish is that she acted with the necessary criminal intent.”
– FBI Director James Comey
Comey also explained the legal distinction that underpinned his decisions, citing, “My conclusion was and remains that no reasonable prosecutor would bring … the second case in 100 years for gross negligence.” Under pertinent statutes, he said, prosecutors would need to prove that Clinton clearly knew she was breaking the law, adding, “Should have known, must have known, had to know, does not get you there.” At a time when most Americans have little faith in federal government—fueled by what they believe to be partisan acrimony—the FBI is a rare exception. Almost 6 in 10 Americans say the FBI is doing its job well and only 8% say it is performing poorly. Following the meeting, House Speaker #PaulRyan formally requested that the Director of National Intelligence not provide Clinton with classified information in the briefings presidential nominees usually receive, adding “it would send the wrong signal.”
Attorney General #LorettaLynch on Wednesday announced that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee would not be charged with any crimes, closing a chapter on a contentious case that Republicans used as proof that Clinton was not to be trusted and which the Democrats denounced as a partisan attempt to diminish her chances of winning the presidency.
On JUL7, #DonaldTrump attended a private meeting with Senate #Republicans—designed to foster greater party unity in advance of the national convention in Cleveland. While there were some tense moments—notably between Trump and Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona—Paul Ryan came away from the meeting expressing sentiments of hope and optimism, saying, “What I thought was especially helpful today was our members just got access and got to ask their questions and talk about their issues. I thought he did a great job engaging with our members, and I think our members appreciated it. We clearly have a presumptive nominee who wants to work with us on moving this agenda forward.” Trump was greeted by applause from more than 200 House GOP members at the standing-room-only gathering, according to GOP aides and was introduced at the event by financial commentator and TV personality Larry Kudlow.
On JUL5, #PresidentObama and Presumptive Democratic Nominee, #HillaryClinton, united on the campaign trail for the first time in #NorthCarolina. As the two stepped off #AirForceOne, the event marked a historic moment in presidential history—no president has campaigned strongly for his chosen successor in at least 100 years. As President Obama took to the podium he said, “You have a clear choice to make between two fundamentally different visions of where America should go.” Obama won the Old North State narrowly in 2008 and, since then, the state has become more polarized between urban and rural areas, with divisive issues like voting laws, government spending, guns, education, and transgender rights splitting the constituency. After months on the sideline, President Obama said, “I’ve run my last campaign, and I couldn’t be prouder of the things we’ve done together, but I’m ready to pass the baton.” Clinton, who preceded the President at the Charlotte podium opened with, “We’re going to build on the vision for America that President Obama has always championed, a vision for a future where we do great things together.” The North Carolina trip came the same day that FBI Director James Comey said the agency would not be recommending criminal charges against Clinton over her use of a personal email system.
#GOP Presumptive Presidential Nominee #DonaldTrump met with #SenatorJoniErnst and #GovernorMikePence over the holiday weekend, leading to speculation that Trump is beginning to search for his running mate. After the meetings, Trump tweeted both, “It was great spending time with @joniernst yesterday. She has done a fantastic job for the people of Iowa and U.S. Will see her again!” and “Spent time with Indiana Governor Mike Pence and family yesterday. Very impressed, great people!” Ernst, unlike Pence, brings the advantage of rallying members of a swing state: Iowa. The Trump campaign has made no official comment about whether or not the two are being considered for Vice President, but Trump and his aides had previously said the pick would likely be announced at the convention, which starts July 18.
On JUL7, shortly after meeting privately with #DonaldTrump, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told reporters that he had accepted an invitation to speak at the Republican National Convention in #Cleveland this month. The former candidate for the GOP nomination remarked, “Donald asked me to speak at the Republican convention, and I told him I’d be happy to do so,” Cruz said. Cruz called the meeting, also attended by Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus and Cruz’s former campaign manager Jeff Roe, a “positive and productive” one.
On JUL12, Vermont Senator #BernieSanders is set to endorse #HillaryClinton at an event in New Hampshire. After Clinton became the party’s presumptive nominee, Sanders vowed to stay in the race until the convention. Sanders mentioned he is ready to bring amendments to the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia if the party doesn’t take a more progressive stance on its platform. “We are continuing to have conversations with Secretary Clinton’s campaign and look forward to reaching a result that everybody’s happy with,” said Michael Briggs, Sanders’ spokesman. “Our campaign is doing everything that we can to see that the #TPP — which I consider to be a disastrous trade agreement — does not get to the floor of the #House and the #Senate for the lame-duck session,” Sanders mentioned in an interview.
On JUL6, #PresidentObama announced plans to leave 8,400 American troops in #Afghanistan for the remainder of his term in office, lengthening the drawdown in a 14-year war and mentioning that the Taliban’s seizure of the territory has called for an adjustment to the plan. Obama’s successor will be left with a considerable military commitment in the country, although much less than the almost 40,000 troops deployed there when he first took office. The US has almost 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and more than 8,000 will remain. “The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious,” Mr. Obama said from the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “Even as they improve, Afghan security forces are still not as strong as they need to be.” Flanked on either side by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph E. Dunford Jr., President Obama said, “We have to deal with the realities of the world as it is.” He closed his speech with a nod to the concerns of many who are frustrated by the inability of the country to end the war, saying “When we first sent our forces into Afghanistan 14 years ago, few Americans imagined we’d be there—in any capacity—this long.”
On JUL5, the brand new #USArmyRapidCapabilitiesOffice announced it is continuing to review proposals from contractors for a possible 50 to 100 million-dollar contract to acquire electronic warfare gear. In 2017, Army Research, Development, Testing & Engineering funds also increased 118 million dollars. The motivation for the project stems from the increasingly popular EW technology in Russia and China. Russia, in particular, has demonstrated devastating EW capacities in Ukraine.
On JUL7, the #AirForce announced eight installations as candidate locations where it will possibly consolidate its Battlefield Airman training. Battlefield Airmen are the Special Operations members of the Air Force including combat Controllers, Pararescuemen, Tactical Air Control Party members and Special Operations Weather Technicians. Among these installations are Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; Hurlburt Field, Florida; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; Keesler AFB, Mississippi; Little Rock AFB, Arkansas; Patrick AFB, Florida; Shaw AFB, South Carolina; and Vandenberg AFB, California. Currently, Battlefield Airman training is conducted at eight primary training locations across seven states.
On JUL2, #EllieWiesel—Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor who authored the globally-acclaimed memoir Night—died at the age of 87. #Wiesel left an indelible imprint upon humanity, one which stretched far beyond his contributions as a survivor. He spoke on behalf of Rwandan genocide survivors, Cambodian refugees, imprisoned South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, Polish anti-Communist Leader Lech Walesa, the Kurds in Iraq, persecuted Jews in Soviet Russia, and victims of civil war in Darfur.
Even today, as we recall his memoir, Night, most can remember the page where Wiesel arrives at Auschwitz, heavy with a profound sense of loss—not just for himself but for the millions who didn’t survive. Following his death, prominent heads of state from around the world reflected on what Wiesel—a writer, speaker, activist, and thinker—signified to them and their countries. President Obama quoted Wiesel, saying:
“In the face of evil, we must summon our capacity for good.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered, “In the darkness of the Holocaust in which our brothers and sisters — 6 million—were murdered, Ellie Wiesel was a ray of light and greatness of humanity who believed in the good in man.” French President, Francois Hollande said, “This universal man had a special relationship with France, where he studied after the war, where he published the first edition of ‘The Night’ thanks to Jerome Lindon, where he created the Universal Academy of Cultures in 1992. France honors the memory of a grand humanist, tireless defender of peace.”
The spire of the #WorldTradeCenter was lit in the colors of the #Israeli flag on JUL3 to honor his memory.
As Lima Charlie honors the life of Ellie Wiesel, we would like to share his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, a body of work which captivates the unshakeable legacy he leaves behind:
“It is with a profound sense of humility that I accept the honor you have chosen to bestow upon me. I know: your choice transcends me. This both frightens and pleases me.
It frightens me because I wonder: do I have the right to represent the multitudes who have perished? Do I have the right to accept this great honor on their behalf? … I do not. That would be presumptuous. No one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions.
It pleases me because I may say that this honor belongs to all the survivors and their children, and through us, to the Jewish people with whose destiny I have always identified.
I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.
I remember: he asked his father: “Can this be true?” This is the 20th century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?
And now the boy is turning to me: “Tell me,” he asks. “What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?” And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.
And then I explain to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. You must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.
Of course, since I am a Jew profoundly rooted in my people’s memory and tradition, my first response is to Jewish fears, Jewish needs, Jewish crises. For I belong to a traumatized generation, one that experienced an abandonment and solitude of our people. It would be unnatural for me not to make Jewish priorities my own: Israel, Soviet Jewry, Jews in Arab lands … But there are others as important to me. Apartheid is, in my view, as abhorrent as anti-Semitism. To me, Andrei Sakharov’s isolation is as much of a disgrace, … As is the denial of Solidarity and its leader Lech Walesa’s right to dissent. And Nelson Mandela’s interminable imprisonment.
There is so much injustice and suffering crying out for our attention: victims of hunger, of racism, and political persecution, writers and poets, prisoners in so many lands governed by the Left and by the Right. Human rights are being violated on every continent.”
On JUL4—American Independence Day—#NASA Spacecraft #Juno successfully completed an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter. As “Welcome to Jupiter!” flashed on screens as mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, confirmation that the burn was completed was received on Earth at 11:53 EDT. “Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America’s birthday another reason to cheer—Juno is at Jupiter,” said NASA administrator Charlie Bolden. “And what is more American than a NASA mission going boldly where no spacecraft has gone before? With Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter’s massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet’s interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved.”
JUL9, this Saturday, will mark the final performance of the original #Broadway cast of “Hamilton,” including its composer, writer, and creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Javier Munoz will take over Miranda’s title role. Miranda, however, expressed to reporters that he isn’t done with the show. The 36-year-old star suggested he might make occasional appearances in the role, particularly as the “Hamilton” companies multiply starting in Chicago in September. Co-leads Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo will also be stepping away from the production. Brandon Victor Dixon, starring in Shuffle Along on Broadway, will now be assuming Odom’s role, while Lexi Lawson will be stepping into Soo’s shoes as the middle Schuyler sister.
#Stock Market #Jobs & National Numbers
On JUL8, employers added 287,000 jobs in June as the labor market bounced back resoundingly from a spring slump, easing concerns of longer-term slowdown in payroll growth. The unemployment rate rose to 4.9% from 4.7% as about 400,000 Americans streamed into the labor force. Businesses added 265,000 jobs, led by leisure and hospitality, health care, and finance. Federal, state, and local government added 22,000. Average hourly wages rose a modest 2 cents to $25.61 and are up 2.6% this past year. “This good number is saying that the economy is very resilient,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in an interview, “Last month was an aberration.”
On JUL8, gold prices are convincingly higher in early US trading. Meanwhile, the silver market bulls are on a toll, scoring another 21-month high overnight.
On JUL7, #WallStreet opened higher on Thursday as strong private sector employment data and a drop in jobless claims pointed to a steadying labor market before the June payroll report on Friday. The ADP national employment report showed that 172,000 jobs were added in the private sector in June, compared to the expected 159,000.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits also fell unexpectedly last week, confirming that the labor market remains on solid footing. After the turmoil following Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union, U.S. investors will look for signs of the health of the economy and look forward to the June payroll report on Friday.
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Lima Charlie provides global news, analysis and opinion by military veterans and service members Worldwide.
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