What We're Reading

Daily Reads: DHS Will Collect Data on 10 Percent of the Population; Roy Moore’s Alabama Win Shakes Up GOP

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

DHS Will Collect Data on 10 Percent of the Population

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Big Brother is watching –> Adolfo Flores reports for The Daily Beast that officials at the Department of Homeland Security “are planning to collect social media information on all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens, a move that has alarmed lawyers and privacy groups worried about how the information will be used.” Yes, including foreign-born US citizens.

Rising theocrat –> Former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore crushed his establishment-backed opponent, Luther Strange, in the Republican primary for the Alabama Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general. Robert Costa reports for The Washington Post that Moore’s victory “amounted to a political lightning strike — setting the stage for a worsening Republican civil war that could have profound effects on next year’s midterm elections and undermine Trump’s clout with his core voters.”

It was also, according to Washington Monthly’s Nancy Tourneau, the “first battle” between warring factions of deep-pocketed GOP donors.

The Daily Beast is reporting that Team Trump is “gearing up to lay blame for a series of likely failures this week squarely at the feet of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” Their logic: “A White House official joked that it has proven a winning ‘formula’ for Trump to go after the unpopularity of top GOP brass, including McConnell, ever since the campaign.”

At Vox, Matt Yglesias writes that while Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, is a long-shot to win in the general election, the Republican nominee’s extremism gives “the Democratic Party, and its informal leaders… an obligation to vigorously contest the race.” Jones is a “very solid nominee,” and represents their best chance in deep red Alabama in a generation.

And last night as the results came in, Donald Trump, who always wins, deleted his tweets endorsing Strange, according to Jacqueline Thomsen at The Hill.

The scenarios are sobering –> In a “corrective to the notion that North Korea’s nuclear capacity could be taken out in a single strike,” military strategists gaming out what might occur if tensions continue to grow say that “simulations of a war on the Korean peninsula usually start with a relatively minor incident at the demilitarized zone between South Korea and its hostile northern neighbor, or a provocation that develops into a conventional war and then escalates.” Barbara Demick has more at the Los Angeles Times.

And Anna Fifield reports for The Washington Post that “North Korean government officials have been quietly trying to arrange talks with Republican-linked analysts in Washington, in an apparent attempt to make sense of President Trump and his confusing messages to Kim Jong Un’s regime.”

The devastation in Puerto Rico has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years –> Slate’s Daniel Politi writes that the full extent of the damage wrought by Hurricane Maria “is only starting to come into focus,” and “some are warning of an imminent humanitarian crisis due to a lack of basic services in certain parts of the island.”

Chandrika Narayan reports that “none of the three hospitals CNN visited had running water and all said they had just days of supplies left” as “help has been slow to come to communities where the devastation is described as ‘apocalyptic.'”

And while Trump took to Twitter this week to bash Puerto Rico for its debt, Noor Al-Sibai reports for Raw Story that he helped build that: When Trump’s Puerto Rico golf course went belly-up in 2015, he stuck Puerto Ricans with more than $32 million in debt.

A democracy, if you can keep it –> Over at The American Prospect, Princeton’s Sam Wang and Brian Remlinger write that the Supreme Court will consider “whether neutral statistical tools can reliably detect partisan gerrymanders.” The data nerds say they can indeed, “and it is time for the courts to apply them.”

Kremlingate –> “Three Americans with significant Russian business connections contributed almost $2 million to political funds controlled by Donald Trump,” and “the timing of contributions… is now being questioned by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller,” according to Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk at ABC News.

The real threat to free speech  –> At The Atlantic, Adam Serwer writes that “the greatest contemporary threat to free speech comes not from antifa radicals or campus leftists, but from a president prepared to use the power and authority of government to chill or suppress controversial speech, and the political movement that put him in office, and now applauds and extends his efforts.”

Wanted: Jurors living in a cave –> Ahmed Abu Khattala is going on trial for his alleged role in the 2012 attack on a US compound in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. But Stephanie Mencimer reports for Mother Jones that five years in the public consciousness the court is struggling to find prospective jurors who don’t already have established opinions about the case.

Constitutional crisis –> Spain’s central government has reacted to a planned independence referendum for its Catalonia region with “a series of draconian measures that have left many Catalans and Spaniards reeling, pushing the country to the edge of its most serious constitutional crisis since the end of the Franco dictatorship,” according to Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín writing for The Nation.

Your tax dollars at work –> The Environmental Protection Agency is spending nearly $25,000 to construct a secure, soundproof communications booth in the office of Administrator Scott Pruitt, according to Brady Dennis at The Washington Post.

Cone of Silence from “Get Smart”

The fear on Maple Street –> Caitlin Dickerson offers a gripping long-form report in The New York Times Magazine about how a small rural town simmering in hostility toward Muslims was turned on its head by a mass panic that broke out as a result of a fake news story promoted by the conservative media.

Flying cars –> The UAE is trying to become the high-tech leader of the Arab world, and on Monday Dubai tested a prototype of a drone that may soon become the world’s first automated flying taxi. Noah Browning has that story for Reuters. And here’s some video from Tech Insider

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



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