☕️ Good Saturday morning: 16 days until Labor Day — enjoy 'em.
Quote that sums up the week ... Bill Maher, in his HBO monologue last night: "The reality-show people are now the reality."
Situational awareness: Tesla stock got walloped after Elon Musk's teary interview with the N.Y. Times.
President Trump attacked the social-media giants today for "totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices," fueling an issue that has been gaining traction among conservatives in the ramp-up to midterms.
In the conservative lexicon, "shadow banning" is the new "witch hunt."
Andy Surabian, a populist strategist and adviser to Don Jr., tells me that the issue of conservative censorship by social media "has been bubbling up on the right for years and in the last few months has exploded."
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged the issue during a massive interview blitz this week, telling the WashPost that Twitter is experimenting with ways to promote alternative viewpoints in the timeline to reduce "echo chambers."
Fox hosts have been swarming the issue:
Go deeper ... Axios Pro Rata podcast: Dan Primack talks to David McCabe, "Inside the Twitter shadow ban controversy."
Some of the older ones don't hang out on email, and many were off on summer jaunts.
Several wanted to fiddle with the punctuation. Some wanted to add nice things about John Brennan; others thought it would be wiser to pare them back.
They were objecting to President Trump's announcement that he was stripping the security clearance of Brennan, who was CIA director under President Obama.
And there may be more coming ... The WashPost's Karen DeYoung and Josh Dawsey report: "The White House has drafted documents revoking the security clearances of current and former officials whom President Trump has demanded be punished for criticizing him or playing a role in the [Russia] investigation."
The letter's startling roster includes former CIA directors Webster (Reagan, George H.W. Bush), Gates (George H.W. Bush), Tenet (Clinton and George W. Bush), Goss (George W. Bush), Hayden (George W. Bush), Panetta (Obama) and Petraeus (Obama).
Nick Shapiro — a former CIA deputy chief of staff in the Obama administration, who helped orchestrate the letters — tells me that a major concern of many of the signatories was President Trump's implicit threat to current intelligence officers:
The letter was endorsed by 15 former intelligence officials of the director or deputy director level.
But other CIA alumni wanted to join in. So late yesterday, a second letter was circulated, signed by 60 former CIA officers (analysts, station chiefs, operations officers, a former President's Daily Brief briefer):
Be smart: Some of the former officials feared they would just inflame Trump, who could point to them as the "Deep State" he rails against. They ultimately decided they couldn't stay silent. But neither letter includes the word "Trump."
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
"An unexpected intervention" ... President "Trump has asked the SEC "to consider scrapping the demand that public companies report their earnings every three months, weighing in on a practice many blame for corporate short-termism," the Financial Times report in the paper's lead story (subscription):
A rice field painting in Hangzhou, China, features a rocket and characters meaning "Chinese dream."
George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser, should spend 30 days to six months in prison for lying to the FBI during the Russia probe, Mueller prosecutors said in a court filing, per AP's Chad Day.
From the sentencing memo:
Kofi Annan, the only black African to become UN secretary-general, died today at 80 in Bern, Switzerland at age 80, BBC reports:
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whom Annan chose to head the U.N. refugee agency: “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination." (via Reuters)
No "Lone Ranger"-like summer movie bombs ... After "the cataclysmic, the-sky-is-falling summer of 2017, when overall grosses slid 14.6 percent from the year before, Hollywood has rebounded," AP Film Writer Jake Coyle reports:
Also strong: sequels like 'Incredibles 2," "Ant-Man and the Wasp" and "Deadpool 2."
Thanks for starting your weekend with us. Axios.com will have live updates all day.