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Morning Reads: Police Killed in Baton Rouge; Aftermath of Turkish Coup Attempt; GOP in Cleveland

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Police Killed in Baton Rouge

Police officers stand in front of an East Baton Rouge police car with bullet holes as it's towed away from the scene where three police officers were killed on July 17, 2016. The suspect, identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, is dead after killing three police officers and injuring three more. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

More police officers targeted –> Wilborn P. Nobles III for the New Orleans Times-Picayune “Sunday morning (July 17) erupted into mayhem when a gunman fired at several police officers in Baton Rouge, killing three officers and injuring three others before police killed him at the scene, authorities said. The killings, which occurred as officers investigated a report of a man with an assault rifle, came less than two weeks after Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, prompting protests. And it came 10 days after the killing of five police officers in Dallas during a protest prompted in part by Sterling’s death.”

The shooter was identified as Gavin Eugene Long from Kansas City, reports The Kansas City Star: “He was a military veteran without a criminal record. He had a robust online presence, where in ‘Convos with Cosmo’ he doled out everything from health tips to advice to help men reach ‘complete and full masculinity.’

“He took up anti-government views, and while he said he didn’t want to be affiliated with any organized groups, he was a member of a bizarre offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement and had been associated with the Nation of Islam. He saw police as part of the government and was outraged by the recent spate of police shootings of black men.”

President Obama’s response focused on the murders of the policemen, Sarah Wheaton writes for Politico: “President Barack Obama expressed the unequivocal support that police have been waiting to hear on Sunday — while telling Republicans to watch their rhetoric if they want to help cops, too. In a set of public statements amid news about the deaths of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Obama did not talk about guns. He did not talk about racial disparities or any other reason that people might be angry at police. He simply condemned the attack…”

“‘I know we’re about to enter a couple of weeks of conventions where our political rhetoric tends to be more overheated than usual,’ Obama said during his in-person remarks. ‘And that is why it is so important that everyone — regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you are a part of — everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further. We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda.'”

A violent weekend in Turkey –> Friday’s coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has left nearly 300 people dead. The BBC: “Some 6,000 members of the judiciary and military, including generals, have been detained. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to purge state bodies of the ‘virus’ that had caused the revolt.

“The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has stressed the importance of democratic rule.
Speaking in Brussels where he has been meeting European foreign ministers, Mr Kerry said the US stood squarely on the side of the elected leadership in Turkey: ‘We will certainly support bringing perpetrators of the coup to justice — but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that.'”

The Republican convention begins today in Cleveland –> Apparently, Donald Trump wanted an even more, reality TV-like ceremony, but cooler Republican Party heads prevailed. In one incident, as reported by Jeremy Peters and Jonathan Martin at The New York Times: “Officials including Reince Priebus, the Republican national chairman, firmly explained to Mr. Trump why [boxing promoter Don] King should not be invited: He once stomped a man to death and was convicted of manslaughter. The party could not associate itself with someone convicted of a felony.”

The party heads into the convention short on cash. Convention officials begged billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to close their $6 million gap in a letter reported by Politico: “‘Over the past couple months, negative publicity around our potential nominee resulted in a considerable number of pledges backing out from their commitments,’ the letter says. It goes on to list the companies and wealthy individuals who have withdrawn their financial commitments. Among those who have canceled their donations, according to the letter, are David Koch ($1 million), FedEx ($500,000), Visa ($100,000), Pepsi ($500,000) and Coca-Cola ($1 million).” (The convention leadership later apologized, saying not everyone whose name was on the letter had signed off on it.)

And, following the recent shootings, police are unsettled by the promise of open carry in areas near the convention, Reuters reports: “The head of the Cleveland police union on Sunday urged Ohio’s governor to declare a state of emergency and to suspend laws allowing the open carrying of firearms during the Republican National Convention, after the shooting of six police officers in Louisiana.”

Kasich spokeswoman Emmalee Kalmbach told The Daily Beast, “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”

Thin skin –> FOX News rejected an ad made by the environmental group Friends of the Earth that shows a fake FOX newscaster reporting on extreme weather disasters as she’s gradually submerged by water. The narrator asks, “What will it take for Fox News to accept that humans are changing the climate?” Not this ad, apparently…

Morning Reads is compiled by John Light and Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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