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Daily Reads: ‘Fervent’ Trump Supporters Target CA Pols With Threats, Racism; Arpaio Found Guilty

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

'Fervent' Trump Backers Target CA Pols With Threats, Racism

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Oh, the indignity –> Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci sold his company, his wife left him just before giving birth to their child, he was fired 15 days before the official start date of his new job as White House comms director, and now Emily Heil reports for The Washington Post that he’s been erroneously listed as dead in the latest edition of the Harvard Law alumni directory, which arrived just this week.

We can’t help but think about this New Yorker cartoon by Peter Kuper…

And we wonder if Trump’s brand-new chief of staff, John Kelly, will be the next to go after CNN reported that he “was so upset with how President Donald Trump handled the firing of FBI Director James Comey that Kelly called Comey afterward and said he was considering resigning.”

But no pink stripes –> “On Monday, US District Judge Susan Bolton found [former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe] Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court, finding that he willfully violated a federal judge’s order,” reports Megan Cassidy for The Arizona Republic. “The sentencing phase will begin Oct. 5. Arpaio faces up to six months in confinement, a sentence equivalent to that of a misdemeanor.” It’s a federal charge, so if Arpaio does end up serving time, he won’t be subject to the kind of humiliation that he imposed on prisoners in his prison camp.

Five percent –> That’s the likelihood of planet Earth holding global warming to the modest target established by the Paris agreement of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temps by the end of this century, according to a new study published this week. Most climatologists agree that this goal is too modest to stave off some catastrophic effects of climate change. Oliver Milman has the details at The Guardian.

Equal pay day –> Yesterday, seven months into 2017, African-American women caught up with what their white male counterparts earned last year. At EPI’s Working Economists’ Blog, Valerie Wilson, Janelle Jones, Kayla Blado, and Elise Gould write that it’s not for lack of effort: black women work more hours than white women, yet their wage-gap relative to white men is larger and has increased as their hours have.

Lots of people are angry –> “Congressional Democrats’ political fundraising arm is open to anti-choice candidates, according to the organization’s chair,” writes Christine Grimaldi at Rewire. “The absence of a litmus test on abortion rights would clear the party’s campaign coffers for candidates to the US House of Representatives who don’t support abortion rights.”

There’s no doubt that Trump has opened up this Pandora’s box” –> Taryn Luna reports for The Sacramento Bee that “a fervent group of Trump supporters, who disrupt Democratic town halls and other political forums in Southern California,” have set their sights on the Golden State’s minority legislators, targeting them with racist abuse and threats. “From town halls to Twitter,” writes Luna, “threats and inappropriate communication to legislators have increased since the start of the session in January, said Debbie Manning, chief sergeant-at-arms for the California Senate. Last year her team investigated about 200 total threats and inappropriate contacts with legislators. Manning said the Senate sergeants have already surpassed that number in the first seven months of 2017. Her office doesn’t tally whether the threats or contacts are racially motivated, although she said it’s clear that some legislators are targeted based on their ethnicity more than others.”

Blowback –> We discussed the Trump regime’s amped-up war on science last week. At Mother Jones, Tim Murphy points to a different kind of Trump effect: “More than a dozen Democratic candidates with scientific backgrounds are running for Congress.”

Kremlingate –> According to a Washington Post report bylined by four journalists, Donald Trump ignored aides’ advice and personally dictated the “misleading statement” that Trump, Jr. gave to The New York Times about that infamous meeting with Kremlin-linked officials promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. “As special counsel Robert S. Mueller III looks into potential obstruction of justice as part of his broader investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, [Trump’s] advisers worry that the president’s direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.”

And Henry Gomes reports for Buzzfeed that “Republican National Committee employees have been asked to preserve all documents related to last year’s presidential campaign — a step that RNC lawyers describe as precautionary, but necessary, as investigations continue into Russia’s meddling in the election.”

Everyone’s exhausted –> While the Trump regime continues to insist that Congress keep pushing to repeal Obamacare, Susan Cornwell reports for Reuters that “Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said on Monday that senators for now are too divided to keep working on health care overhaul legislation and that he and other senior Republicans will take that message to the White House.”

How Trump “broke the State Department” –> Robbie Gramer, Dan De Luce and Colum Lynch report for Foreign Policy that “morale has hit rock bottom at Foggy Bottom,” as foreign service officers have become increasingly sidelined while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has brought in “dozens of outsiders” in a move to create a “‘parallel department’ that could effectively shut off the secretary and his advisers from the career employees in the rest of the building.” This, they write, “is part of an unprecedented assault on the State Department: A hostile White House is slashing its budget, the rank and file are cut off from a detached leader, and… Trump and his administration dismiss, undermine or don’t bother to understand the work they perform and that the legacy of decades of American diplomacy is at risk.”

The piece doesn’t indicate who these “outsiders” are, but we wonder if he’s hiring anyone from his old company, ExxonMobil. We recall an interview NPR’s Terry Gross did with Steve Coll, author of Private Empire: ExxonMobil And American Power, last December. Coll told Gross:

[Exxon] is a player on the level of a nation state… I came to understand it’s not just an outsider who might think of it this way. That’s actually the way they see themselves. They see themselves as an independent sovereign in the world motivated by their devotion to their shareholders and their shareholders’ interests. And they have the scale of a sovereign nation. They operate in more than 100 countries… And they, I think, operate independently in a sense of foreign policy as well. That is they see their role in the diverse countries where they work as entirely independent, for example, of US foreign policy.

How do you read this? –> So Republican Sen. Jeff Flake from Arizona wrote a piece in Politico titled, “My Party Is in denial About Donald Trump.” In it, he laments congressional Republicans’ refusal to put country above party and check their president as aggressively as they should. “We created him, and now we’re rationalizing him,” he writes. “When will it stop?” On social media, some applauded Flake’s courage and saw the piece as a clarion call for the GOP to start conducting real oversight. Others noted that aside from criticizing Trump’s tweets, which is easy, Flake spoke in generalities and didn’t call out Trump for any specific transgressions himself — and also that Flake, who has voted with Trump more often than not, is one of two GOP senators who are considered highly vulnerable in 2018. Read the piece at the link and decide for yourself.

A pious regime –> At Raw Story, Sarah Burris writes that “Christian Broadcast News has suggested President Donald Trump’s Cabinet is the most evangelical Cabinet in history… even more than born-again Christian George W. Bush.” Capitol Ministries president and founder Ralph Drollinger said, “these are godly individuals that God has risen to a position of prominence in our culture.” Drollinger, writes Burris, “teaches weekly Bible study classes for the US House and Senate and now leads a group of nearly all of Trump’s Cabinet officials.”

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

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