What We're Reading

Daily Reads: After Charlottesville, Pro-Russia Network Promotes White Supremacy; Watchdog Says US-Led Strikes Killed 42 Civilians in Syria

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

Watchdog Says US-Led Strikes Killed 42 Civilians in Syria

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Still discriminatory, still unconstitutional –> In “the latest twist in a six-year battle over Texas’ laws restricting what forms of identification are accepted at the polls,” a federal judge “tossed out a new law softening Texas’ strict” voter-ID requirements. Jim Malewitz has the details at The Texas Tribune.

Secret surge –> “The average number of US troops serving in Afghanistan at any given time is thousands more than the Pentagon officially acknowledges,” reports Courtney Kube for NBC News. “The Pentagon officially acknowledges 8,400 troops on the ground there, but that number actually hovers between 11,000 and 12,000.”

Spy stuff –> The Senate Intelligence Committee published its annual intelligence authorization late last week. Spencer Ackerman reports for The Daily Beast that the document calls for the intelligence community to release more reports about the threat Russia poses to our elections and for WikiLeaks to be designated a hostile intelligence service.

And Trump “chewed out” several Republican senators over the Russian sanctions bill that Congress passed last month, and for the ongoing investigations into his campaign. According to Josh Dawsey and Elana Schor at Politico, “the conversations are evidence of rising tensions between the president and congressional Republicans heading into a critical legislative span.”

The Bundys walk free again –> For the second time, a jury was unable to convict the heavily armed cohort who faced off against federal authorities at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada three years ago. Ken Ritter has the details at The Associated Press.

Russian Bots –> Isaac Arnsdorf reports for ProPublica that “the same social media networks that spread Russian propaganda during the 2016 election have been busily amplifying right-wing extremism surrounding the recent violence in Charlottesville.”

Collateral damage –> According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “US-led coalition airstrikes killed at least 42 civilians after targeting densely populated neighborhoods of the ISIS-controlled Syrian city of Raqqa.” The Independent’s Samuel Osborne reports that 19 children were among the dead, according to the UK-based group.

Stealth repeal –> Red states are rushing to submit federal waivers for both Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act that would “roll back coverage for hundreds of thousands of people,” according to Alice Ollstein at Talking Points Memo. The Trump regime has signaled that, in a sharp break from the Obama administration, it would approve such waivers.

Rule of law –> “The White House has prepared the paperwork for President Trump to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio when he makes the final decision to do so,” reports Kaitlan Collins for CNN. Trump hinted that he’d do so during his Tuesday night rally in Phoenix, but did not.

Speaking of which, Philip Bump reports for The Washington Post that Ben Carson’s appearance at the event, where he was introduced as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, violated the Hatch Act, a 1939 law “prohibiting Cabinet secretaries from leveraging their positions for a political cause.”

A bridge too far? –> Police in the Philippines have killed over 3,500 accused “drug offenders” since the beginning of strongman Rodrigo Duterte’s “crackdown,” but the shooting death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos last week may prove to be a turning point in public opinion about the killings, according to Felipe Villamor at The New York Times. Surveillance video and witness accounts suggest that police, who claimed delos Santos was killed as he engaged in a shootout with officers, murdered the unarmed youth.

Help, help, I’m being repressed! –> The latest Public Policy Polling survey finds Trump’s base sticking with him in the wake of Charlottesville, “probably because his supporters think that whites and Christians are the most oppressed groups of people in the country.”

Meanwhile, referencing the events at Charlottesville, “a UN committee charged with tackling racism has issued an ‘early warning’ over conditions in the US and urged the Trump administration to ‘unequivocally and unconditionally’ reject discrimination,” according to Haroon Siddique and Oliver Laughland at The Guardian.

Speaking of real-world discrimination –> The Trump regime finally came up with an official policy following through on the president’s tweets banning transgender servicemen and women from the military. The guidelines, writes Margaret Hartmann at New York magazine, give Defense Secretary James Mattis “a great deal of leeway on how the ban will work, and six months to prepare to implement the new policy,” and “what that means in practice is unclear.”

Wall Street ? Trump –> At Splinter, Hamilton Nolan asks why “the intelligent, worldly, data-driven, risk-sensitive leaders of Wall Street” continue to back an erratic president. His answer: “The biggest banks in America see a golden opportunity to get out from under some of the (small amount of) pesky regulation imposed after the financial crisis.”

Oh, Canada –> Finally, “a Toronto police officer who purchased a shirt and tie for a shoplifter who needed an outfit for a job interview said he wanted to give the young man a second chance to get his life on track.” Codi Wilson has that story for CP24, a local TV news outlet.

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

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