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Daily Reads: Do Dozens of CEOs, Lobbyists Pay for Trump Access? US Military in Afghanistan Apologizes for Insulting Islam

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

Investigation: CEOs, Lobbyists Pay for Trump Access

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Pay to play –> “Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs,” giving them a “chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally,” according to an investigation by USA Today. “At least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials” pay annual dues of at least $100,000 plus other fees, which are then “held in a trust for his benefit.”

A surprise blow to GOP leaders –> Donald Trump outraged congressional Republicans on Wednesday by striking a deal with Democratic leaders to tie Harvey relief funds to a three-month reprieve on the debt limit, which needs to be raised in the coming weeks. The move would undercut conservatives who wanted to tie Harvey funding to their own priorities, and give Democrats leverage for another round of negotiations at the end of the year. Republicans leaders still control the calendar, and could, in theory, bring their own bills up for a vote. Russell Berman has more details at The Atlantic.

Ninety percent –> Hurricane Irma “destroyed” 90 percent of Barbuda’s structures and vehicles on Wednesday morning, according to Blair Schiff at ABC News. The storm, which has killed nine people so far, is expected to hit the Bahamas this evening and arrive in Florida sometime on Sunday or Monday.

Must-read –> The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates has an eloquent essay on Donald Trump’s core ideology: “White supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power.”

Drama –> The corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) “had barely started Wednesday before US District Court Judge William H. Walls was telling a Menendez defense lawyer to ‘shut up’ as they sparred over whether Walls had ‘disparaged’ the defense,” report Matt Friedman and Ryan Hutchins for Politico.

Very, very dangerous –> Around 100,000 people working for defense contractors hold interim government security clearances. Tim Johnson reports for McClatchy that, “under a crushing backlog,” authorities “have given interim clearances to people they later discovered were murderers and pedophiles.”

Highly offensive –> Yesterday, US military officials in Afghanistan apologized for a leaflet that superimposed a passage from the Qu’ran onto the image of a dog, which is considered a grave insult to Muslims. Reuters has more on that story.

According to Agence France Presse, Taliban leaders later claimed that a suicide attack outside a US military base yesterday was in retaliation for the offense.

Bipartisanship –> On Tuesday, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked the Supreme Court “to uphold a lower court’s ruling that Wisconsin’s electoral maps for the state legislature were unconstitutional.” In what could be a watershed case, the lower court ruled that Wisconsin’s redistricting scheme was unconstitutional despite not having a racially discriminatory intent.

A bad bet  –> Urged on by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and other education deformers, Michigan undertook a “radical expansion” of charter schools in the state, and Mark Binelli reports for The New York Times Magazine that despite some mixed data, it’s pretty clear that schoolkids in The Great Lakes State may have lost out.

Where’s the money? –> “A groundswell of anti-Trump activism has helped inspire an expanded field of Democratic legislative candidates in Virginia this fall,” reports David Jordan at The Center for Public Integrity, but in a possible harbinger of challenges facing the anti-Trump resistance, “those office-seekers are lagging badly in fundraising as they prepare to face well-funded GOP incumbents.”

A secession movement with dire consequences for black children –> The Nation and The Hechinger Report teamed up to investigate a growing movement to re-segregate American schools. Emmanuel Felton reports that the movement’s successes in districts under federal supervisions have left some African-Americans “wondering how the courts and the Justice Department could have so completely turned their backs on the vision of integrated schools first charted out by civil-rights lawyers and the courts in the 1950s and ’60s.”

Is Pence implicated? –> According to several recent reports, Vice President Mike Pence played a role in developing Trump’s cover story for firing former FBI Director James Comey, and Vox’s Sean Illing asked several legal experts whether Pence might have caught himself up in a potential case of obstruction of justice.

Speaking of Kremlingate,”representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads during the US presidential election to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters,” according to Carol Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind Helderman at The Washington Post.

Self-recognition –> While dogs “have been found to be skillful at social cognitive tasks,” write the authors of a new study published in Behavioral Processes, “they have not passed the test of mirror self-recognition,” and it was believed that they had no concept of “self.” But the study found that dogs do in fact have a self-image of sorts — they use smell rather than sight to “visualize” themselves. More details at Science Daily.

 
Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.

 


 

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