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Vox Sentences: Donald Trump got the entire political press to cover a hotel

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Donald Trump sure has a funny way of renouncing birtherism; the US wants Deutsche Bank to pay $14 billion for its role in the financial crisis; the world's newest country has already joined the 1-million-refugee club.

Donald Trump finally discovers the gift of brevity

trump at a press conference Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
  • Let's review. Donald Trump, the current Republican nominee for president of the United States, is the highest-profile figure associated with the "birther" movement: people who believe that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Trump's embrace of birtherism is the reason he is the GOP's nominee today. Not only did it make him a national political figure, but the mockery it incurred from DC elites motivated him to launch his 2016 bid. [NYT / Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns]
  • Birtherism is racist. Racity-race-racist. It is part of a long American tradition of changing the rules of the game once black people show up to it. [The Blanks Slate]
  • Nor was this the only racially inflected conspiracy theory Trump engaged in (even after Obama presented his birth certificate to the public): He's also fed speculation that Obama was a poor student and an affirmative-action beneficiary. [NBC News / Benjy Sarlin]
  • Apparently, in the last couple of weeks, someone in the Trump campaign has finally realized that this is a real sticking point with African-American voters. [Joshua Green via Twitter]
  • So on Friday, after hours of hype, Donald Trump made a statement saying that he believes Obama was born in the US. Only that statement was about three sentences. And the event was more of a commercial for Trump's new hotel. And, oh yeah, he was introduced by a birther. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • (Trump has also taken to blaming Hillary Clinton for starting the birther conspiracy theory, which is, you will be shocked to learn, a lie.) [Washington Post / David Weigel]
  • Trump played the media like a fiddle. And a lot of journalists are pissed about it. This New York Times "news analysis" is as blunt a take as you can imagine from a staid newspaper. [NYT / Michael Barbaro]
  • The question is whether, going forward, the media will get more skeptical of Trump when he tries to sucker them into covering his every move, or whether they'll keep letting him let them down. [YouTube]

A very expensive lesson

deutsche bank Schöning/ullstein bild via Getty Images
  • The US Department of Justice is asking Deutsche Bank to pay $14 billion to settle a federal civil case against the bank for its role in the 2008 financial crisis. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • The government filed the civil suit against Deutsche Bank, arguing that it sold mortgage-backed loan packages without warning investors how risky they were. [Reuters / Arno Schuetze]
  • Banks (including Deutsche Bank, in an earlier case) have already paid some $110 billion in settlements of this sort (some of which has ended up funding projects like state fairs). [WSJ / Christina Rexrode and Emily Glazer]
  • Deutsche Bank is planning to negotiate a smaller settlement with the government. And they hope they'll succeed, because they don't have anywhere near $14 billion on hand. [WSJ / Jenny Strasburg]
  • In fact, Deutsche Bank has less available cash than any other major global bank — financial journalist Simon Jack called it "the most dangerous bank in the world" this summer, because of its lack of ability to absorb a serious hit. [BBC / Simon Jack]
  • Unsurprisingly, the idea of Deutsche Bank being forced to pay anywhere near $14 billion freaked out the rest of the European banking industry, and the continent's stock market with it. [Bloomberg / Roxana Zega]
  • That sort of effect would be totally worth it if the settlement accomplished its intended goal: deterring banks from doing risky things like this in the future. But there isn't evidence that it actually will. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]

That happened fast

south sudan Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

The UN estimates that 1 million South Sudanese are now living as refugees outside the country — putting the world's newest country in the less-than-august company of Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. [Al Jazeera]

Most of the refugees from South Sudan left during the bitter civil war that started in 2013, which theoretically ended in a peace deal earlier this year. But 185,000 have fled since fighting erupted in July in the capital of Juba. [BBC]

The renewed refugee crisis is causing a crunch in already-strained African refugee camps — especially because Kenya, which is trying to close the 300,000-person refugee camp of Dadaab, may be forcing refugees there to return to their war-torn homes. (Kenya and the UN deny that anyone's being forced out; Human Rights Watch disagrees.) [The Guardian / Patrick Kingsley]

(The millions of dollars that South Sudan's president and former vice president have invested in foreign real estate as the war raged, however, don't appear to be coming back to the country anytime soon.) [WSJ / Matina Stevis]

The South Sudanese and central African crisis is just one of the things that countries will get to discuss next week during the UN's first refugee summit — and a parallel "leaders' summit" at which Barack Obama (whose moral standing on this point is dubious) will try to shame countries into accepting more refugees. [IRIN News / Kristy Siegfried]


  • That time when "that time when" became a headline cliché. [Washington Post / Britt Peterson]
  • There's never really a bad time to remember the moment that George H.W. Bush puked on the Japanese prime minister's lap. [Slate / Osita Nwanevu]
  • Boise, Idaho, has one of the proportionally largest refugee populations in the United States, and despite coming from a wide variety of countries — Somalia, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Iraq, and more — refugee high schoolers had come to stick together and form their own community. [NYT / Sara Mosle]
  • It's easy to be cynical about cease-fires like the recent one in Syria — but political scientists have found that even failed cease-fires can improve prospects for peace. [NYT / Max Fisher]
  • If you pose moral trolley problems ("would you throw someone on train tracks to save five others?") in a foreign language, people are likelier to arrive at the utilitarian conclusion. [The Economist]


  • "Emma Livry (right), before her corset melted into her ribs." [Ozy / Fiona Zublin]
  • "There was something very disturbingly wrong with the kindle version of the book I received. Intermittently, there were individual sentences of really disturbing pornography." [Anonymous Amazon reviewer via Slate / Marissa Martinelli]
  • "Some oppose charter schools on principle, because they prefer the governance and structure of traditional public schools. That’s their prerogative. What we find distressing, and intellectually dishonest, is when these preferences are confounded with evidence about the effectiveness of charter schools. The evidence is that, for disadvantaged students in urban areas of Massachusetts, charter schools do better than traditional public schools." [Brookings / Sarah Cohodes and Susan Dynarski]
  • "As the cameras snapped their way through a meadow called Coe Fen, a cow crossed the road. Google apparently decided it would behoove them to add an identity-protecting blur. That is to say — the cow beside the Cam in Coe Fen was caught on camera, incognito." [NPR / Camila Domonoske]
  • "Heathrow airport draws its staff from the nearby Asian suburbs of Hounslow and Southall. My 'random selection' flying to LA was so reliable that as I started travelling more, I went through a six-month stretch of being searched by the same middle-aged Sikh guy. I instinctively started calling him Uncle, as is the custom for Asian elders. He started calling me 'beta', or son, as he went through my luggage apologetically." [The Guardian / Riz Ahmed]

Watch this: Homer Simpson: An economic analysis

Mall santa, carny, and CEO: How Homer Simpson’s jobs represent America. [YouTube / Estelle Caswell, Zachary Crockett, Christophe Haubursin]

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