What We're Reading

Daily Reads: What to Look for in the CBO Numbers on Trumpcare; The Real People Behind the “Alt” Government Accounts

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

What to Look for in the CBO Numbers on Trumpcare

Dr. Esteban Lovato performs a routine check-up on a patient at the La Loma Medical Center in Oakland, California, in 2014. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Five big numbers –> The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its assessment of the projected costs of the replacement GOP health care plan later today or tomorrow. The New York Times’ Upshot details the key data you should look for in the report, including its estimated long-term costs, the price of premiums and the number of people who will lose their insurance.

The Trump administration and Republican members of Congress spent the weekend pre-emptively casting doubt on the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers, reports Esme Cribb at Talking Points Memo. “We don’t think the CBO is counting correctly,” Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney told ABC.

Also over the weekend, Common Dreams’ Deirdre Fulton reports that congressmen in California, New York and Texas were forced to defend the GOP plan to large crowds at town hall meetings.

Win for democracy in Texas –> A federal court has ruled that Texas drew its district lines to give Republicans in the state an advantage. “The three-judge panel that ruled on the case determined that the district lines violate both the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution,” John Nichols writes for The Nation.

Bharara’s legacy –> A dramatic story unfolded over the weekend, starting on Friday night, when the Trump administration asked 46 federal prosecutors who were holdovers from the Obama administration to resign. New York’s Preet Bharara refused to step down and, on Saturday morning, was fired. At ProPublica, Jesse Eisinger writes that although Bharara was “justly acclaimed for his pursuit of political corruption,” like many in the Obama administration, he wasn’t as dogged in his treatment of Wall Street execs.

Eisinger writes: “Bharara missed an opportunity by not bringing any significant criminal charges against individuals in the wake of the collapses of Lehman, investment bank Merrill Lynch, the insurer AIG, the mortgage securities and collateralized debt obligation businesses, or the myriad public misrepresentations from bank CEOs about their finances.”

Hiring the bad hombres? –> Trump wants to hire 5,000 new border patrol agents and 10,000 ICE agents. To do that, he’ll have to lower hiring standards, getting rid of the standard background checks and polygraph tests. Mother Jones’ Bryan Schatz looks at what that’s likely to mean for how the agencies enforce the law.

The real fake news –> Last spring, as the heated Democratic primary was heading toward its conclusion, the administrators of Bernie Sanders-promoting Facebook pages noticed a weird trend — an influx of spammers, posting conspiracy stories and dividing Sanders supporters with false information. One Sanders activist traced the pages to other countries — about 40 percent were from Eastern Europe. Ryan Grim and Jason Cherkis dig in to the fake news deluge at The Huffington Post.

Too much Russia? –> At The New York Review of Books, Masha Gessen notes that Democrats are spending a lot of energy on Trump’s links to Russia, pushing a case that she feels is still relatively weak. “Imagine if the same kind of attention could be trained and sustained on other issues — like it has been on the Muslim travel ban,” she writes. “It would not get rid of Trump, but it might mitigate the damage he is causing.”

The last days of Standing Rock –> At The Baffler, Alexander Zaitchik has a beautiful an elegiac dispatch from the Standing Rock encampment, where he reflects on what the resistance there portends for the Trump days ahead.

Meanwhile, thousands of marchers descended on the White House Friday to draw attention to the needs of Native American communities and protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. “Indian country needs a huge infrastructure building program. What we want are sustainable green jobs,” Judith LeBlanc of the Native Organizers Alliance told NPR. “What’s good for Indians, and tribal sovereignty and our right to say ‘no,’ is good for our neighbors, our relatives and our entire planet.”

Real people behind rogue accounts –> The Intercept’s Alleen Brown chats with some of the government employees behind the “alt” agency twitter accounts, such as “Alt_BLM,” “Rogue EPA Staff ” and “Alt_Dept. of Labor.” While many of these accounts are not run by officials at the agencies they purport to represent, a few are. They explain to Brown why they’re taking the risk.

Painting plutocrats behind bars –> The Captured Project asked “people in prison to paint or draw people we felt should be in prison — the CEOs of companies destroying our environment, economy and society.” Here’s a gallery of the results. The Lloyd Blankfein is particularly good.

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Theresa Riley.



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