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Daily Reads: Kremlingate Creeps Closer to Collusion; The Coming Climate Disaster Will Be Worse Than You Think

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Kremlingate Creeps Closer to Collusion

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Keep digging –> The tale, first reported on Saturday, of yet another previously undisclosed meeting between a Russian operative with ties to the Kremlin and Donald Trump Jr. — along with several other senior Trump campaign officials — got more damaging as the weekend progressed. On Sunday, Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman reported for The New York Times that the purpose of the meeting was to see if the Russians could help defeat Hillary Clinton by giving the campaign compromising information on her campaign. Some might call that collusion.

At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall thinks “the most important detail in this story is the sources.” After The Times’ initial report, five White House advisers offered additional details about the meeting, and Marshall writes that “the only reason a president’s allies ever do something like that is either to get ahead of something much more damaging or get a first crack at shaping the public understanding of something much more damaging. There’s really no other explanation.”

YUGE foreign trip II –> Russia expert Molly McKew writes at Politico that Vladimir Putin played Trump like a fiddle before, during and after their two-hour tete-a-tete on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Hamburg. “In very concrete terms,” she writes, “through speech and action, the president signaled a willingness to align the United States with Vladimir Putin’s worldview, and took steps to advance this realignment. He endorsed, nearly in its totality, the narrative the Russian leader has worked so meticulously to construct.” She called the meeting a “stunning victory” for the Russian kleptocrat.

That victory included Trump reportedly accepting Putin’s denial that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.

Trump’s announcement that he plans to set up a joint task force with the Russians to combat cyber-threats was also a rich target for ridicule over the weekend. At Business InsiderSonam Sheth rounds up some expert reactions to the move, which vary from shocked to incredulous.

On the same day that was happening, Ellen Nakashima reported for The Washington Post that “Russian government hackers were behind recent cyber-intrusions into the business systems of US nuclear power and other energy companies in what appears to be an effort to assess [vulnerabilities in] their networks.”

At The New Yorker, Joshua Yaffa talked to a bunch of Russian journalists about what they think the US media tends to get wrong in their reporting on Putin and the Russian government.

And Nina Golgowski reports for HuffPost that “Pope Francis has expressed concern about a ‘very dangerous’ alliance between the US and Russia, saying its leaders are among those that have a ‘distorted vision of the world’ when it comes to immigration.” The Pope compared this emerging alliance with that of China and North Korea and the Russians and Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

But at least one person thought the trip was a resounding success. (Trigger alert for creepy propaganda and awful music…)

Still on life support –> According to several reports this morning, the Senate GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is still facing significant resistance from within their own caucus. Andy Slavitt writes for USA Today that while the conventional wisdom holds that failing to fulfill their campaign promise would represent a huge loss for the GOP, their bill is so politically toxic that letting it die is probably their best move.

Laboratories of democracy –> Charles Ornstein reports for ProPublica that while Republicans in the capital contemplate massive cuts to Medicaid, a less visible struggle is going on in several red states as lawmakers seek to make it more difficult to enroll in the program or stay enrolled in it. “Health policy researchers say there’s ample evidence that adding paperwork and administrative burdens on beneficiaries in Medicaid increases turnover, called churn,” writes Ornstein. “For the most part, it’s not because people are no longer eligible for the program, they say; it’s that poor people move frequently and often face a host of challenges that make them less likely to turn in required paperwork.”

“Peering beyond scientific reticence” –> Studies have shown that climate scientists tend to understate the threat of global warming. Their discipline has been politicized and they don’t want to be seen as doomsayers. But New York magazine’s David Wallace-Wells pulls no such punches, writing that “no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.” He discusses the massive reservoir of greenhouse gasses that are locked in melting permafrost and concludes that, “absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.”

But on his Facebook page, climatologist Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, writes that while it’s “important to be up front about the risks of unmitigated climate change,” there “is also a danger in overstating the science in a way that presents the problem as unsolvable, and feeds a sense of doom, inevitability and hopelessness.” He goes on to criticize Wallace-Wells for “paint[ing] an overly bleak picture by overstating some of the science.”

Life in the shadows –> Magally Miranda Alcazar reports for Truthout that a new report by a non-profit advocacy group “confirms what many undocumented immigrant women have likely suspected since Inauguration Day — it’s now even more dangerous to report domestic violence and sexual assault” to law enforcement.

And in 2002, the US signed an agreement with Cambodia that would allow the government to “repatriate Cambodian [refugees] who had committed a crime and had not already applied for US citizenship. People could be forcibly repatriated, even for misdemeanors and even if they were married to a US citizen. After deportation, they were forbidden from ever returning to the United States.” Cristina Maza writes for Slate about the hardships those who came over to the US as children face when they’re sent back to a land they don’t know.

Emoluments –> Through Sunday, Donald Trump had spent 51 of his 171 days as president at Trump properties, which has raised concerns that he’s using his office to promote his business empire. On Friday, Anita Kumar reported for Bloomberg that, “even as he serves as president, Donald Trump earns a tidy sum — tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars — every time a new member joins one of his tony clubs.” Kumar adds that “Trump has benefited greatly from these initiation fees for years. Even back when it was typical for membership fees to take the form of refundable deposits, he broke with the norm for such clubs by taking the money for himself, according to documents and interviews.” Soon after his election, The Trump Organization doubled the membership fees at Mar-a-Lago.

Leadership –> Politico’s Sarah Wheaton reports that “Muslim leaders launched a European bus tour in Paris on Saturday to express opposition to terrorism in the name of Islam. Under the banner ‘Muslims’ march against terrorism,’ imams from around Europe and North Africa planned to visit sites of recent terrorist attacks, starting at the Champs Elysees and passing through Germany, Belgium and other parts of France over the next week.”

The hard work of organizing in red states –> Jesse Myerson was a young progressive New Yorker until he pulled up roots and headed to the midwest after the 2016 election. He told Sarah Jaffe at In These Times that, “moved by the cataclysmic election results, [I] felt very strongly that my efforts would be more efficiently deployed in the middle of the country, in places where there wasn’t as significant a progressive infrastructure as there is in my hometown of New York City.” So he moved to Indiana where he now works as an organizer with a group called Hoosier Action.

So this is a thing –> At The Denver Post, Graham Ambrose looks at the small but growing Flat Earth Movement. Ambrose writes that “they’re thousands strong — perhaps one in every 500 — and have proponents at the highest levels of science, sports, journalism and arts… and they believe Earth — the blue, majestic, spinning orb of life — is as flat as a table.”

Finally, here’s what happens when you put a Gopro camera on one of the most majestic creatures on this big old round Earth…

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

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