What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Health Bill Stalled — For Now; Abuses Catalogued in Chinese Factory that Makes Ivanka Trump’s Shoes

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

Daily Reads: Health Bill Vote Delayed Amid Growing Opposition

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during a news conference after a GOP luncheon meeting at the US Capitol on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Senate leaders put off a vote on Republicans health care bill until after the July 4 recess amid growing opposition from GOP members to the plan drafted in secret by McConnell. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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People pressure versus the oligarchs  –> The Senate tax cut package, which would decimate Medicaid and strip health insurance coverage from millions, is still our top story. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed an anticipated vote on the bill until after Congress returns from the July 4 recess. In the meantime, Politico’s Diamond Naga Siu reports that “Republican senators’ offices say they’re getting a flood of calls from voters worried about the GOP Obamacare repeal bill.”

But at Talking Points Memo, Alice Ollstein writes, “as doubts about the bill’s passage linger, GOP leaders and their allies are pulling out all the stops: inviting some dissenters to dine at the White House, running attack ads against others, and issuing dire warnings that if the bill fails, the party will lose leverage on every other issue it hopes to make progress on in the years to come.”

Whatever your view, consider giving your senators a call and sharing it with them.

At New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait looks at the latest Republican defense of their bill: People don’t like health insurance, and will be liberated by losing it. And Taylor Link writes at Salon that “Sen. Elizabeth Warren is barnstorming her state of Massachusetts, advocating for a single-payer system that should, in her mind, be wholly adopted by the Democratic Party.”

And in a story about Trump’s inability to close the deal with Republican senators, The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin write that “a senator who supports the bill left [a] meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy… Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications.”

You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners” –> On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that “Alabama is putting prisoners’ lives at risk with ‘horrendously inadequate’ care and a lack of services for inmates with psychiatric problems.” Debbie Elliott reports for NPR that the ruling “outline[d] ‘serious systemic deficiencies’ in the delivery of mental health services. [The judge said] inmates are subject to serious harm and increased suicide risk in the way the state identifies, treats, houses, and disciplines mentally ill prisoners.”

And Manuel Villa reports for The Marshall Project that according to a recent study, “more than two-thirds of incarcerated women in America reported having a history of mental health problems — a far higher percentage than their male counterparts.” Nobody knows what accounts for the disparity, but researchers speculate that it may be related to incarcerated women’s high rates of past sexual abuse. And yet, despite those eye-opening numbers, “advocates for the incarcerated argue that for all people in prisons and jails — more than 2 million people nationwide — mental health services are lacking at best.”

Long hours, low pay and abuse” –> That’s what workers at the Ganzhou Huajian International Shoe City Co., which makes Ivanka Trump’s line of shoes, experience, according to an exposé by Erika Kinetz at the Associated Press. Kinetz writes: “Li Qiang, founder of China Labor Watch, describes Huajian’s Ganzhou factory as among the worst he has seen in nearly two decades investigating labor abuses.”

$400 million –> Pam Fessler reports for NPR that cyber-security experts say that figure “would go a long way” toward protecting our election infrastructure from attacks, but “getting funds for election systems is always a struggle.” Fessler notes that the Pentagon spent more than that for military bands in the past year alone.

Christian-flavored civic religion” –> For the first time in two decades, the White House did not celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. John Inazu, a professor of law and religion at Washington University in St. Louis, told CNN that one can’t draw too much from this one omission, but “the more troubling observation is how the decision fits within the president’s broader messaging: a privileging of a vaguely defined but Christian-flavored civil religion, and a tone-deafness to the concerns of other faiths, especially Islam.”

@Ironstache –> Here at BillMoyers.com, John Light talked to Randy Bryce, aka @IronStache, the progressive ironworker challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Asked by Light what differentiates his views from Ryan, Bryce said, “I’ve always been committed to standing with working people to get us as much as I can — to get better wages, to get safe working conditions, to have access to health care. I’ve been an ironworker for 20 years and Paul Ryan has been in Congress about the same amount of time. …And now, especially with this health care thing, he’s trying to make rich people richer, and strip us of our health care. It’s a very cruel thing that he’s doing to us.” We think that’s a pretty good answer.

Golf courses are less vulnerable than babies –> Oliver Milman reports for The Guardian that the Environmental Protection Agency “is poised to dismantle the federal clean water rule, which protects waterways that provide drinking water for about a third of the US population.” Milman adds that “while the rule was applauded by environmentalists for improving drinking water protections and aiding wildlife that relies on wetlands, it was attacked by some farmers and golf course operators who claimed it hindered their ability to manage their land.” Hmmm, who do we know that operates golf courses?

Must-see TV –> The conservative media are ecstatic that CNN retracted a story, which cited a single source, claiming that a member of Trump’s transition team met with a Wall Street honcho and a Russian banker. Three journalists resigned over the piece, but Donald Trump, spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders and outlets like Breitbart are claiming that it proves that CNN peddles fake news and discredits the network’s other reporting. Meanwhile, James O’Keefe, famous for producing misleadingly edited gotcha videos, released a recording of a CNN producer saying there’s no solid evidence that Trump officials colluded with Russia and the network covers the story for the ratings. All of this blew up during a White House briefing on Tuesday, when Sanders cited the O’Keefe video and called Kremlingate a “hoax.” That led to this remarkable — and now viral — exchange with Brian Karem, a reporter for the DC Sentinel…

At Mediaite, Aidan McLaughlin contrasts CNN’s response to their erroneous report with Fox News’ track-record of dealing with stories that proved to be inaccurate.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is suing The New York Times for an editorial falsely linking the Gabby Giffords shooting to inflammatory ads run by a PAC tied to the former vice presidential candidate. Paul Fletcher has the details at Forbes.

And Judd Legum reports for Think Progress that TMZ, the Hollywood gossip outlet, has “quietly emerged as, arguably, the most important pro-Trump outlet in America.” While “Fox News is the largest and best known,” its audience “is older and already inclined to support Trump,” whereas “TMZ attracts a large and diverse audience — precisely the folks Trump needed to reach to stitch together a winning coalition.”

That’s just pathetic –> Trump has a glorious, framed TIME magazine cover with his image on it hanging “in at least four of [his] golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland,” but according to The Washington Post’s David Farenthold, it’s fake. “There was no March 1, 2009, issue of TIME magazine. And there was no issue at all in 2009 that had Trump on the cover.” Farenthold adds that “the cover seems to fit a broader pattern for Trump, who has…adorned his Trump Tower office with images of himself from magazines and newspapers. Trump has made claims about himself — about his charitable giving, his business success, even the size of the crowd at his inauguration — that are not supported by the facts.”

And while TIME wants it removed, others, like one House Democrat from Virginia, decided to have some fun with it…

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Theresa Riley.

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