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How to stress out half the country –> Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Wednesday that he’ll bring Graham-Cassidy — the latest iteration of Republicans’ months-long quest to strip health insurance from millions of people — to a vote next week. Politico’s Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim write that “the outcome is anything but certain.”
Vox’s Sarah Kliff, who has been covering this issue since Republicans gained unified control in January, writes that Graham-Cassidy is “the most radical” of the bills considered so far. “Other Republican plans create a poorly funded version of Obamacare,” she writes. “This one blows up the law entirely.”
At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum points out that “Graham-Cassidy is very carefully formulated to punish blue states especially harshly. And if even that’s not enough, after 2020 it gives the president the power to arbitrarily punish them even more if he feels like it.” Drum says the “cynicism” of the bill is “breathtaking.”
In The Washington Post Philip Rocco explains why, “either by design or as a side-effect,” the bill’s core provisions make it exceedingly difficult for the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to evaluate its impacts. The Senate will vote on it without knowing how many people are expected to lose coverage, how it will impact premiums, etc.
Despite those challenges, Sara Collins of the Commonwealth Fund explains how estimates of some earlier proposals offer clues to the likely impact of Graham-Cassidy: About half of the population live in states that would likely repeal Obamacare’s consumer protections, including guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and tens of millions would lose coverage — 15-18 million in the first full year after passage alone.
Mueller drills down –> Special Counsel Robert Mueller “has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office,” reports Michael Schmidt for The New York Times, indicating “that several aspects of his inquiry are focused squarely on Mr. Trump’s behavior in the White House.”
And “suspected Russia propagandists on Facebook tried to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during last year’s election,” in some cases succeeding in “mobilizing Americans… in direct support of Donald Trump,” according to The Daily Beast’s Ben Collins, Gideon Resnick, Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman.
“Threatening lives and the environment” –> Several groups are suing Duke Energy, ranked by environmentalists as the dirtiest power company in the US, alleging that the behemoth “has been keeping the public in the dark about the flooding threats from massive coal-ash ponds at its power plants, including those in Indiana and Kentucky.” James Bruggers has that story for The Louisville Courier-Journal.
When ICE is an accomplice to murder –> “Juan Coronilla-Guerrero’s wife warned a federal judge this spring that her husband would be killed if the US government followed through with his deportation,” report Ryan Autullo and Taylor Goldenstein report for the Austin American-Statesman. Last week, his wife’s prediction came true when four masked men kidnapped Coronilla-Guerrero and later dumped the body of the former Austin resident on the side of a road in Mexico. Autullo and Goldenstein write that “Coronilla-Guerrero’s death comes six months after federal immigration agents took the rare step of entering the Travis County criminal courthouse to detain him on charges of illegal re-entry.”
German election –> “An alliance of mostly anonymous online trolls and extremist agitators are meddling in Germany’s election,” reports Kim Hjelmgaard for USA Today. Is it the work of the Russians? Nope! According to Hjelmgaard, “right-wing groups in the United States are behind materials popping up on YouTube, messaging board sites like 4chan and reddit and texting service Gab.ai.”
The sober, center-right Angela Merkel is expected to win Sunday’s contest handily, but Lukas Hermsmeier reports for The New York Times that the biggest winner will be Germany’s xenophobic nationalist-right, which has successfully pushed all of the other parties, including parties of the left, toward its anti-immigrant positions.
“America may once again plunge into a violent disaster in the Middle East” –> On Wednesday, US officials said the Trump regime was considering pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. At The Guardian, Michael Fuchs warns that it’s becoming increasingly “clear that Trump wants to take America down a similar path [as George Bush took in Iraq] by diverting much-needed attention from North Korea to starting an unnecessary conflict with Iran.”
Nice and moderate –> Jeff Mateer, Trump’s nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas, “described transgender children as evidence of ‘Satan’s plan,’ lamented that states were banning conversion therapy and argued that sanctioning same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality,” according to Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski at CNN.
Drone attack –> The British Royal Air Force says that a drone strike disrupted a public execution of two men by the so-called Islamic State in Syria, according to The Telegraph’s
A unique piece of history –> A largely intact World War I-era U-Boat was discovered off the coast of Belgium with what officials believe to be the bodies of 23 German sailors inside. It’s the 11th sub found in the area, but it has been far better preserved than any of the others. The BBC has that story at the link.
Your Commander-in-Chief –> “President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised the health system of an African country that does not exist while speaking at a United Nations working lunch with African leaders,” according to Esme Cribb at Talking Points Memo. “Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient,” he said, and while Zambia and Namibia are real countries, Nambia is not. He also said that he has “many friends going to your countries trying to get rich.”
Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.
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