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Daily Reads: As Harvey’s Death Toll Rises, Trump Touts Plan to Slash His Own Taxes

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

As Harvey Death Toll Rises, Trump Touts Plan to Slash Taxes

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Not over yet –> As Houston began to recover from Hurricane Harvey, the storm made landfall again on Wednesday, dumping as much as two feet of rain on smaller towns near the Texas-Louisiana border, including Orange, Port Arthur and Beaumont. Todd Frankel, Avi Selk and David A. Fahrenthold report for The Washington Post that the biggest storm ever recorded in the US has left at least 37 people dead and 35,000 in shelters.

Their colleague, Steven Mufson, reports that Harvey damaged two Exxon refineries, “causing the release of hazardous pollutants.” This morning, two explosions were reported at the Arkema Group’s flooded chemical plant just outside Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Keri Blakinger, Matt Dempsey, Margaret Kadifa and Andrew Kragie. Officials warn of “additional explosions because the product is stored in multiple locations within the plant.”

And while going back to school after the summer is always stressful, Michelle Chen reports for The Nation that Harvey “has brought fears of homelessness and deportation to the mix” for students in the affected areas, many of whom were traumatized by the storm itself.

Great timing, guys –> When Congress comes back from the recess, “one of the first items in the House is a massive spending bill that would slash almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance Trump’s US-Mexico border wall,” according to Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor at the Chicago Tribune.

More empathy –> Around the time the mayor of Port Arthur, Texas, announced that his entire city was under water, Donald Trump took the time to tout a “reform” plan that would slash his own taxes. While the scheme, which was light on details, was caged in “populist” rhetoric, The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ Chye-Ching Huang explains that it’s heavily skewed toward the wealthy.

Sarah Anderson from Institute for Policy Studies writes in The New York Times about her new study that demolishes the myth that corporate tax cuts create new jobs.

And Brian Beutler writes at The New Republic that it’s entirely possible that as much as they love the idea, at the end of the day Republicans may be “too incompetent” to cut taxes on the wealthy.

Pardon insurance –> Josh Dawsey reports for Politico that Robert Mueller’s team “is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions,” a move that “could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.”

A day after Trump Jr. agreed to testify before Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Judiciary Committee, Trump called Grassley and pledged his support for ethanol, which is one of the Iowa Republican’s most important issues. Stephanie Kirchgaessner has more at The Guardian.

And Mother Jones’ Dan Friedman looks at “the curious link between Trump’s Moscow Tower deal and a Ukrainian ‘peace plan.'”

Thank you for your service –> Joe Watson and Paul Ingram report for the Tucson Sentinel that “a decorated veteran of the US Marine Corps who served in the Persian Gulf War… faces deportation to Mexico despite evidence that he is a United States citizen.”

John Stoehr writes at US News & World Report that if reports that Trump is planning to end DACA, which gave quasi-legal status to undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, prove accurate, it will be a disgrace not only for the regime but also for the entire Republican Party.

Mike Allen reports for Axios that Trump is facing a serious backlash from both business leaders and members of his own staff if he goes through with the plan. “There’s no issue that’s more gut-wrenching for us,” one CEO told Allen. “We see this as betraying fellow Americans.”

And a federal judge “halted the main provisions of Texas’ ban on ‘sanctuary cities'” on Wednesday. Jason Buch and Guillermo Contreras have the details at the San Antonio Express-News.

A “mortal blow” against workers –> Ed Pilkington reports for The Guardian that “a network of conservative think tanks with outposts in all 50 states has embarked on a ‘breakthrough’ campaign designed to strike a ‘mortal blow’ against” public sector unions, as a “first step toward ensuring the permanent collapse of progressive politics.” (In 2013, BillMoyers.com interviewed Lisa Graves, director of the Center for Media and Democracy, about this shadowy network.)

Emoluments –> The Trump Organization, from which the president still earns revenues, leases its Washington hotel from the government, and the lease bars government officials from participating in any profits from the property. Sam Skolnik reports for Bloomberg BNA that “both the Government Accountability Office and [General Services Administration’s] Office of Inspector General have opened probes into the lease.”

Mann’s work –> Two young, entrepreneurial women were having a hard time being taken seriously by investors and others as they put together an internet startup — until they invented a third partner, the aptly named Keith Mann, whose ideas were suddenly deemed worthy by their peers and whose emails always got prompt responses. John Paul Titlow has that story for Fast Company.

Trump voters –> According to a new Fox News poll, 75 percent of them say the news media “poses (sic) a greater threat” to the US than white supremacists.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller. Daily reads will be taking a break on Friday, Sept. 1 and Monday, Sept. 4.

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