What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Dems Ramp Up Campaign Against Secret Health Bill; UK’s Far-Right Celebrates Anti-Muslim Terror Attack

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

Daily Reads: Dems Ramp Up Campaign Against Secret Health Bill

Sens. Chris Murphy, D-CT., right, and Ron Wyden, D-OR., conduct a news conference in the Capitol saying that the Republican heath care plan cuts "hundreds of billions from Medicaid and middle-class tax credits to pay for massive tax breaks for the wealthy and special interests" on June 6, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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Weren’t they supposed to be more moderate? –> Peter Sullivan reports for The Hill that “a leading option in the Senate’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace debate is to make even deeper cuts to Medicaid spending than the bill passed by the House.” The House bill would cut $880 billion from Medicaid over the next ten years.

Senate Democrats are ramping up their campaign to kill the bill, according to Paul Waldman at The Washington Post, but their path to victory is narrow, and they’ll only succeed if a handful of key GOP senators feel the heat of public outrage over the legislation.

Dylan Scott writes at Vox that although the health care industry had a seat at the table when Obamacare was being drafted, “as Republicans push a sweeping and widely reviled health bill through Congress, the industry has often appeared declawed in the biggest health care fight of the decade.” Why the tepid defense of a law that covers millions of patients? According to Scott, “health industry groups generally don’t love Obamacare enough to jeopardize their ability to shape the rest of the Republican agenda — including big corporate tax cuts. They also fear incurring White House retaliation.”

And at The Week, Scott Lemieux predicts that, moving forward, “universal public insurance will be the consensus Democratic goal whether the AHCA passes or not.” But he warns of some pitfalls ahead that progressives must navigate if we’re ever going to rationalize our health care system.

So we invaded Syria? –> The Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe and Thomas Gibbons-Neff report that “Marines from an amphibious task force have left their ships in the Middle East and deployed to Syria, establishing an outpost from which they can fire artillery in support of the fight to oust the Islamic State from the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.” They add that “the deployment marks a new escalation in the US war in Syria, and puts more conventional US troops in the battle. Several hundred Special Operations troops have advised local forces there for months, but the Pentagon has mostly shied away from using conventional forces in Syria.” And those Marines aren’t the only regular boots on the ground — “members of the Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment appeared in the Syrian city of Manbij over the weekend in Strykers — heavily armed, eight-wheel armored vehicles.”

UK’s far-right groups… were in celebratory mood” –> More details have emerged about the right-wing extremist who committed the terror attack against Muslim worshippers leaving a London Mosque on Sunday. Far-right groups have distanced themselves from the alleged attacker, 47-year-old Darren Osborne of Cardiff in Wales — who reportedly shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims” after the impact — but their Facebook pages are filled with celebratory messages. Stephen Piggott offers the latest at SPLC’s Hatewatch.

The big day –>  It has arrived for the special election in Georgia’s 6th District, where Democrat John Ossoff is vying with Republican Karen Handel for the congressional seat vacated by Tom Price when he became Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy looks at “what matters and what doesn’t in the most expensive congressional race in history.”

At The Nation, Joan Walsh writes about the women leading the charge for Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th. Our favorite bit is about how they’ve dealt with Ossoff signs being stolen or destroyed. Walsh writes that local members of Indivisible “make Ossoff signs that ‘glitter bomb’ (the signs are bordered in Vaseline with clear glitter, so people who attempt to remove them find themselves coated in Vaseline and glitter)… And when their Ossoff signs began being set on fire, they started attaching American flags to them, since conservatives believe flag-burning should be illegal.”

And Shawn Musgrave reports for Politico that “a Trump-supporting social media guru is flooding Twitter with grass roots-appearing messages against Democrat Jon Ossoff.” Sound familiar?

No sunlight –> Last week, the White House press team briefed reporters off-camera, but CNN’s Tom Kludt reports that, “in response to networks like CNN that decided to broadcast audio of the briefing, even without a visual to accompany, the White House barred attendees from doing that, too.” Kludt says that “Monday’s briefing… was likewise off-camera, with audio broadcasting forbidden.” To make matters worse, “press secretary Sean Spicer and his occasional fill-in, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have done their part to further marginalize the briefing, routinely responding to reporters’ questions by professing ignorance.”

Jim Acosta wonders what the point of it all is…

And at The American Prospect, David Greenberg looks at Trump’s war on the media, writing, “Trump appears to believe that he doesn’t need the mainstream media the way his predecessors did — and that when it comes to raw, open warfare with the journalists who cover him, he has nothing to lose. Whether he is right or wrong will depend on the performance of the press in the next four years.”

Roadblocks –> At Pacific Standard, Kate Wheeling looks at a new report authored by congressional Dems detailing the obstacles — some having to do with public policy, and others with the market — standing in the way of a clean energy revolution in the US.

Oops –> A GOP data firm left the personal information of roughly 61 percent of the US population exposed on the internet and ready for anyone to grab for 12 days, according to Dell Cameron and Kate Conger at Gizmodo.

See you in court –> “The fight over former President Barack Obama’s methane agenda has moved to the courts,” writes Devin Henry at The Hill. “Environmental groups have sued to stop President Trump from nixing the [methane emissions] rules, though the oil and gas industry has stepped up to defend the administration’s actions. Taken together, observers expect a raucous, lengthy legal fight over the standards, which were a key part of Obama’s climate change agenda.”

First Family LLC” –> Adele Stan writes at The New Republic that she had hoped a Clinton presidency would turn the traditional image of the first family on its head. Instead, we got Trump, who “has scrapped any normal notion of the family unit, organizing his personal life around those who advance the same principles that drive the companies that bear his name — taking what you want, doing as you please and living off other people’s money.”

Kremlingate –> Michelle Goldberg reports for Slate that Adam Jentleson, who served as Harry Reid’s chief of staff, “now works full time to understand and publicize the Trump-Russia story. In February, he helped found the Moscow Project at the CAP Action Fund, an arm of the Center for American Progress. With a staff of five that will soon double to 10, the project is part clearinghouse, part think tank, and part private investigation agency; it recently hired a Russian-speaking forensic accountant from a high-profile firm. Its website keeps track of the ever-expanding story of the scandal and its key players, while its staffers brief members of Congress and compile reports on matters related to the Trump-Russia nexus.”

Everything is awful –> Otto Warmbier, the young man who had been held in North Korea for 17 months for attempting to remove a propaganda poster, died on Monday at age 22. Warmbier’s family says he was tortured extensively and suffered severe brain damage. Tara Fowler has more details for ABC News.

This too is awful –> Charleena Lyles, a pregnant African-American woman who struggled with mental illness, according to her family, called the Seattle police to report a burglary and ended up being shot and killed by two white officers who said she brandished a knife when they arrived. Lyles’ family says that she had been known to police, and see no reason why the diminutive woman couldn’t have been managed with less lethal force. Lynn Thompson reports for The Seattle Times.

Scorcher –> American Airlines’ regional commuter flights out of Phoenix, Arizona use the Bombardier CRJ aircraft, which has a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures are expected to break 120 today, causing the cancellation of 50 flights, according to Zachary Hansen at The Arizona Republic.

A happy ending –> A Canadian woman who lost her cat 12 years ago was shocked when she got a call from her sister and learned that the cat had been found on the street and was being held at a local shelter. The shelter’s staff discovered a faded tattoo on the feline with the woman’s name and old contact information, and they set out to find her and reunite her with her kitty after all this time. Nice story!

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