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Morning Reads: Bernie Sanders Goads Trump with His Own Tweet; Climate Change Deniers Are Wrong, Again

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

Morning Reads: Bernie Sanders Goads [...]

Bernie Sanders displays a poster of one of Donald Trump's tweets from May 2015, reading “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.” (Still from C-Span)

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Obamacare’s future –> No surprise — the president’s signature health care law is the first item the new GOP Congress is going after. In a two-hour meeting yesterday with congressional Democrats, Obama urged his party to fight to keep the law in place. That will be an uphill climb, however, with Republicans controlling all three branches of the federal government.

But Republicans are struggling, too. How do they “repeal and replace” the law? Lauren Fox reports for Talking Points Memo. Killing the Affordable Care Act is complicated by the fact that many Trump voters are on Obamacare themselves and, as Sarah Kliff reported for Vox last month, they do not expect that Trump will allow their health care to be taken away.

To remind Republicans of this, Bernie Sanders printed out and presented on the Senate floor a giant picture of a Trump tweet from May 2015 in which the future president-elect bragged, “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”

No pause –> Climate change deniers often claim that global warming “paused” in the mid-2000s, and that this fundamentally undermines the idea of human-caused climate change. Texas congressman and House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith was so committed to this viewpoint that in 2015, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that there had been no such pause, he sent subpoenas to the agency demanding its emails, and also sent a subpoena to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science education group. Now, Robinson Meyer writes for The Atlantic, a new study provides further validation for NOAA’s findings and further repudiation of the denialist claim. There was no pause in the mid 2000s. (What’s more, 2014, 2015 and 2016 have each successively become the warmest year on record.)

Challenging the Electoral College vote –> The group Americans Take Action is alleging that more than 50 Electoral College members were “ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they did not live in the congressional districts they represented or held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders,” Steven Rosenfeld reports for AlterNet. One interesting case in point: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who allegedly took money from Trump and in return chose not to investigate Trump University: “Pam Bondi is the attorney general of the state of Florida and the Florida Constitution says that you cannot hold two offices. And she holds the office of Attorney General and she holds the office of federal elector in the Electoral College,” Ryan Clayton of Americans Take Action told Rosenfeld. “That is a violation of the law.”

The group is urging Congress to question the Electoral College results before officially certifying them tomorrow.

Trump picks yet another insider as SEC head –> Jay Clayton, a former lawyer who advised Wall Street firms on dealing with government regulations, will lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulatory agency that oversees Wall Street. Those in Congress who already think Wall Street has too much power were unimpressed by this appointment. “It’s hard to see how an attorney who spent his career helping Wall Street beat the rap will keep President-elect Trump’s promise to stop big banks and hedge funds from ‘getting away with murder,’” said Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. “I look forward to hearing how Mr. Clayton will protect retirees and savers from being exploited, demand real accountability from financial institutions the SEC oversees and work to prevent another financial crisis.”

Meanwhile, in other appointment news: Chris Christie’s former campaign manager Bill Stepien will become Trump’s White House political director. This, writes WNYC reporter Matt Katz, an expert on Christie, is “remarkable given Stepien’s role in the scandal that overtook the Christie Administration.” Stepien was fired for his role in Bridgegate.

And: Rex Tillerson, secretary of state-designate and just-departed Exxon CEO, is leaving the energy behemoth with a $180 million retirement package, The Guardian reports.

Gerrymandering gets a fierce opponent –> “It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the fate of the American Republic rests on how Justice Anthony Kennedy votes in Gill v. Whitford, a gerrymandering case that is all but certain to be heard by the Supreme Court,” Ian Millhiser writes for ThinkProgress. “And now, that case is set to be argued by the single most qualified lawyer in the country to present such a case to the justices.” That’s attorney Paul S. Smith, who has argued 19 cases before the Supreme Court. He has signed up to work on the gerrymander suit with the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center.

Retiree takes on Trump –> The Washington Post looks at the genesis of the Women’s March on Washington, the largest of many demonstrations taking place in Washington, DC, around the inauguration. The massive protest, however, began with a small idea when a retired lawyer in Hawaii posted on Facebook. “She asked her online friends how to create an event page, and then started one for the march she was hoping would happen,” Perry Stein and Sandhya Somashekhar write. “By the time she went to bed, 40 women responded that they were in. When she woke up, that number had exploded to 10,000. Now, more than 100,000 people have registered their plans to attend the Women’s March on Washington in what is expected to be the largest demonstration linked to Donald Trump’s inauguration and a focal point for activists on the left who have been energized in opposing his agenda.”

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

 


 

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.