UPDATE 6PM ET 15 JUNE
And in this country of ours, the most improbable things can happen. Take that from a guy who met his first president on the day he was born, and his second on the day he was brought home from the hospital.
Jeb Bush, son of one President and brother of another, officially launched his 2016 campaign for the Presidency on Monday afternoon, for some inexplicable reason choosing to portray himself as anti-elitist and running against the political establishment.
The candidate delivered part of his speech in Spanish, indicating what is likely to be one of the recurring optical signals of the campaign:
Bush’s formal campaign launch was held at Miami Dade College. Located in a Cuban American neighborhood, the school boasts the largest Hispanic student body in the nation — a venue that speaks to Bush’s desire to aggressively seek the support of Latinos and other communities less prone to vote for Republicans.
Yet the speech itself contained no specific reference to immigration reform, a point magnified when Bush was interrupted by a group of protesters bearing the message “Legal Status Is Not Enough.”
The hashtag #NoMoreBushes was quickly trending, while some high-profile Conservative pundits weren’t impressed.
The candidate headed to New Hampshire on Monday evening, where he is concentrating his early campaign attention as he bids to compete for a front-runner status some earlier thought might have been his to lose. The New York Times writes that Bush
… still faces fundamental challenges in appealing to a Republican primary electorate that is much different from the one his father or even his brother faced — a party no longer willing to automatically anoint the pragmatic, well-financed, establishment-aligned candidate that the Bush name personifies.
MIDNIGHT, JUNE 15
After running without running for the past year, Jeb Bush is expected to launch his bid for the GOP Presidential nomination on Monday in Miami.
The campaign’s pre-launch video is here:
Karen Tumulty has a nice piece at the Washington Post on “how a devastating loss in Florida taught Jeb Bush what it takes to win.”
The question for Bush now is how much of his party wants him to take the horns off. Bush’s notion of getting to 50 percent of the vote indicates a focus on the general election, not the heated primary battle he’s engaged in. He has been received coolly by much of his party, in part because of a desire for a fresh face, but also because his moderate stances on issues such as immigration and education are out of stride with the views of many conservatives. It’s not soft tones they want but hard edges.
While he’ll have some work to do to seize the front-runner spot he was widely expected to occupy, his presence sets up the possibility of next year’s contest being a clash of political dynasties. Whether the voters have a taste for it remains to be seen.
Following up a “kickoff” rally on Saturday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign team swarmed the Sunday TV shows. The candidate herself was in Iowa, where she appeared to take a position on the controversial trade legislation currently stuck in the House. She said on Sunday:
“In order to get a deal that meets these high standards, the President should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers, to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible. And if we don’t get it, there should be no deal.”
* WORLD * The status of Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir remained unclear late on Sunday as the South African government has not commented on whether he might be handed over to officials from the International Criminal Court. A South African judge had ordered al-Bashir – who is in Johannesburg to attend an African Union summit – to be prevented from leaving, pending a decision on the ICC’s claim.
Al-Bashir is wanted on genocide charges, and, as the New York Times reports: “His fate over the next few days could determine the court’s own long-term relevance and influence the behavior of his fellow African leaders, many of whom have rallied around him against the court.”
But Bloomberg reported that Sudan’s information minister had said Al-Bashir was “coming back home.”
UPDATE: The BBC reported that al-Bashir had flown out of South Africa “with the blessing of the African Union” pre-empting a court ruling over his possible arrest.
There was widespread criticism and pushback from journalists and activists to a story in London’s Sunday Times alleging that Russia and China had “cracked the top-secret cache of files” stolen by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, which the paper said had forced British spies to be “pulled out of live operations in hostile countries.”
But Glenn Greenwald, who initially helped Snowden break his story of widespread US government surveillance, attacked the Times’ story as “journalism at its worst” and “filled with falsehoods.”
[The Sunday Times story] “offers zero evidence or confirmation for any of its claims. The “journalists” who wrote it neither questioned any of the official assertions nor even quoted anyone who denies them. It’s pure stenography of the worst kind: some government officials whispered these inflammatory claims in our ears and told us to print them, but not reveal who they are, and we’re obeying. Breaking!”
Ewen MacAskill at The Guardian poses five questions that the UK government “has an obligation to answer” over the article. He writes:
Anonymous sources are an unavoidable part of reporting, but neither Downing Street nor the Home Office should be allowed to hide behind anonymity in this case.
Monday sees events in England marking the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta, often cited as a symbol for restraining the power of the monarchy, and the basis for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
UN peace talks on the situation in Yemen are set to begin in Geneva on Monday. Al Jazeera reports that the UN Security Council and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have both called for a renewed humanitarian halt in the fighting following May’s truce. The talks are aimed at securing a ceasefire, agreeing on a withdrawal plan for the Houthi rebels and stepping up deliveries of humanitarian aid.
The European Space Agency said it had received the first signals in seven months from Philae, a space probe which landed successfully on a comet last November. Scientific American reports:
Philae’s batteries ran out on November 15, just three days after it bounced on to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, following a perilous descent. Stuck in the shade, it was unable to charge its solar-powered battery and entered hibernation.
Ever since, scientists have consoled themselves with the hope that the craft is not dead, just sleeping, and that it would regain power as comet 67P neared the sun.
Scientists are waiting for a follow-up contact from the spacecraft.
* SPORTS * Just when you thought Fifa couldn’t become any more of a pantomime, the villain is still behind you…
The Chicago Blackhawks could clinch NHL’s Stanley Cup in Game Six on Monday – but the Tampa Bay Lightning are 3-0 in elimination games this season.
Meanwhile the New York Yankees’ tarnished hero Alex Rodriguez heads to Florida in search of his 3,000th hit, which could come against Miami on Monday or Tuesday. A-Rod is five shy after going 0-for-4 on Sunday.
* MEDIA * Fusion’s Felix Salmon thinks the New York Times should buy Blooomberg.
Once the acquisition closed, Mike Bloomberg would find it much easier to give away his wealth. His billions of Class A shares of the New York Times Company could be sold on the open market at any time he liked. He could even simply gift those shares to the Bloomberg Philanthropies, since they carry very limited voting rights: in no way would the Philanthropies own or control the company. Meanwhile, Mike Bloomberg’s Class B shares would end up being controlled, upon his death, by the people he trusted most to safeguard his legacy and his company.
Alibaba is preparing to launch a “Chinese Netflix”. The service will be known as TBO.
Former Los Angeles Times editor John Carroll died aged 73.
* CULTURE * Finally, amid an ongoing debate about the place of Shakespeare in the curriculum, there’s this…