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Daily Reads: In Charlottesville, Right-Wing Extremists Shed Blood; Trump’s Killing Clean Water Rules

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In Charlottesville, the Latest Casualties of the Civil War

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The latest casualty of the Civil War –> Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old victim of a white supremacist’s terror attack on Saturday, “died standing up for what she believed in,” according to Christina Caron at The New York Times. Heyer, friends and colleagues say, was “a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised” who worked as a paralegal at a lawfirm specializing in fighting foreclosures.

At Rolling Stone, Sarah Posner writes that the alleged attacker, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., of Ohio, had marched with Vanguard America earlier in the day. According to the Anti-Defamation League, that’s a “white supremacist group that… is particularly focused on recruiting young men and has engaged in unprecedented outreach efforts to attract students on American college campuses.”

FiveThirtyEight‘s Perry Bacon reports that while this kind of extremism is not a new phenomenon in this country, “what is different about this iteration of white nationalism is how the movement is framing its ideas, and the place those ideas occupy in US politics.”

A.C. Thompson, Robert Faturechi and Karim Hajj report for ProPublica that while “the white supremacists who flooded into the city’s Emancipation Park… had spent months openly planning for war,” prior to the deadly attack, police largely stood by while neo-Nazis and other “alt-right” groups skirmished with counter protesters.

The University of Virginia also seemed wholly unprepared for the torch-wielding mob that beat several students on Friday night, according to Jack Stripling at The Chronicle of Higher Education. At one point, political scientist Larry Sabato sheltered a number of terrified students in the basement of a campus building.

Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn the white supremacists earned criticism from across the political spectrum, and sent White House aides scrambling to “clarify” his remarks, according to Glenn Thrush and Rebecca Ruiz at The New York Times.

But The Washington Post’s Amy Wang reports that “Trump’s choice of words — and the silence that preceded them — are being cheered by at least a few groups of people: neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”

Buckle-up, because more hard-right “free speech” rallies are planned — the first of them next weekend in Boston.

Conditions worsen –> A group of asylum-seekers from Latin America who are being detained in a privately operated prison in Texas despite committing no crimes launched a hunger strike, and Robin Urevich reports for The American Prospect that their demands have been met with “pepper spray and violence” by the facility’s guards.

Palace intrigue –> Jonathan Swan reports for Axios that “the bare-knuckle campaign to remove national security adviser H.R. McMaster from the White House is about to get much uglier,” as “outside forces opposed to McMaster are going to allege he has a drinking problem.”

The hard-right’s central grievance with McMaster is their belief that he’s purging the “alt-right” from the White House. But even as the Breitbart wing targets McMaster, Dan Merica, Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins report for CNN that “the knives are out for Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s controversial chief strategist,” as “White House chief of staff John Kelly has soured” on him.

Poison –> Peter Gleick writes at The Guardian that “poison once flowed in America’s waters” but “over the past four decades, a huge amount of effort has gone into cleaning” them up. Now Trump, and the Republican Congress, “have moved aggressively to roll back decades of water-quality protections put in place by previous Republican and Democratic administrations.”

Tensions ease slightly –> Christine Kim and Ben Blanchard report for Reuters that “tensions on the Korean peninsula eased slightly on Monday as South Korea’s president said resolving Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions must be done peacefully and key US officials played down the risk of an imminent war.”

But Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the US “is preparing military options if sanctions imposed on North Korea fail,” according to Chris Bane at The Independent.

A bear to get through Congress –> Politico’s Rachel Bade and Bernie Becker offer five reasons why the GOP’s effort to rewrite the tax code could make repealing Obamacare look like a walk in the park in comparison.

They’re not always for limited government –> In Montana, where anti-governmentalism is common, the biggest wildfire in three decades has devastated ranchers’ grazing lands. Tim Craig reports for The Washington Post that “the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) originally rejected Montana’s request for assistance,” and now “many in this deeply conservative region are weighing their wariness about bureaucrats against their need for help.” Meanwhile, “local officials across the United States worry that it is becoming more difficult to secure help from FEMA for all sorts of natural disasters.”

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.