Clinton PAC goes for third-party voters –> With her poll numbers down, one Clinton-aligned group, the super PAC Priorities USA Action, “has concluded from its polling and other research that the reluctance to embrace the Democratic nominee among those who intensely dislike Mr. Trump is not going away and must be confronted,” The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Amy Chozik report. A strategist for Priorities USA tells The Times, “We’ll be launching a multimillion-dollar digital campaign that talks about what’s at stake and how a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump, who is against everything these voters stand for.”
A precarious cease-fire –> Both the US and Russia are standing behind the cease-fire that seems to be holding in Syria, despite attacks on opposing forces by both rebel groups and the Syrian government. These skirmishes yesterday resulted in the first two civilian deaths in areas held by rebels or government — both children — since the cease-fire was declared. Troops of both factions are slowly withdrawing from the road to Aleppo, which, once cleared, will be used to deliver emergency aid supplies to the besieged city. Areas held by ISIS and the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front are still being bombed.
The New York Times is talking with Syrian civilians as they wait to see whether the cease-fire will hold. All are skeptical. This from a Damascus hospital worker: “There are fewer bombs, but still not that many people in the streets. Maybe the regime wants to give the impression that everything is doing well and Syrians are living normally as in the past, but this is not true. Syrians are tired of war, but they know that they will not get back to their old days.” And this man in the rebel-held town of Talbiseh: “I spend most of the day inside with my family. I’m missing the sound of the planes. But, you know, whenever I hear any sound, I freak out. I think the warplanes came. Even the sound of the motorbikes, of someone moving a chair — we think a mortar will land soon.”
Voting rights for ex-felons upheld in Virginia –> With one executive order, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe earlier this year attempted to restore the voting rights of 200,000 ex-felons. When Republicans in his state challenged that strategy, he began issuing individual orders for each of the 200,000. The Republicans sued, saying this strategy, too, overstepped his authority. But yesterday, the state Supreme Court said they don’t have a case. Alice Ollstein at ThinkProgress notes: “Had the state Supreme Court accepted their arguments, thousands of ex-offenders in the state could have seen their voting rights reappear and disappear twice in the span of just a few months.”
Trump and birtherism — again –> In an interview with The Washington Post yesterday, Trump refused to answer whether or not he thought Obama was born in the US: “I’ll answer that question at the right time,” Trump said. “I just don’t want to answer it yet.”
The campaign quickly tried to take Trump’s words back. A statement claimed that in fact, Trump has now accepted that Obama was born in Hawaii. But Buzzfeed reports, “In the issued statement, the campaign praises Trump at length, and states that he brought the so-called birther issue to its conclusion in 2011 when Obama released his long-form birth certificate. But that’s false. Trump didn’t stop being a birther in 2011 — he continued stoking conspiracy theories after that. In one 2014 exchange with Irish TV, for instance, he defended his birtherism at length.” The campaign also claimed that it was Hillary Clinton who started the birther conspiracy movement during the 2008 presidential campaign. PolitiFact rates that claim as “false.”
Obama designates new Atlantic Ocean monument –> The AP: “The new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument consists of nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off the New England coast. It’s the 27th time that Obama has created or enlarged a national monument… Monument designations come with restrictions on certain activities. The White House said the designation will lead to a ban on commercial fishing, mining and drilling, though a seven-year exception will occur for the lobster and red crab industries. Others, such as whiting and squid harvesters, have 60 days to transition out. Recreational fishing will be allowed within the monument.”
Ghost forests –> John Upton at Climate Central: “Bare trunks of dead coastal forests are being discovered up and down the mid-Atlantic coastline, killed by the advance of rising seas. The ‘ghost forests,’ as scientists call them, offer eerie evidence of some of the world’s fastest rates of sea level rise. Forests provide habitat and protect against global warming, but they’re declining worldwide because of land clearing, fires, disease and invasive species. The ghost forests show sea level rise can be yet another cause of deforestation.”
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