What We're Reading

Daily Reads: “Major Turning Point” in Russia Probe; Turkish Security Guards Charged in Assault

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

Daily Reads: "Major Turning Point" in Russia Probe

US Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) is taken away from Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, where a shooting took place on June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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The aftermath –> On Wednesday, the 165th day of 2017, the US experienced its 154th and 155th mass shooting events of the year. In San Francisco, a workplace shooting at UPS left five dead, including the gunman. But that tragedy got much less attention than an incident in Virginia, where Rep. Steven Scalise (R-LA) and four others were wounded while practicing for a baseball game before the gunman was shot and killed by police. At New York magazine, Ed Kilgore writes that this was “an act that violates the most basic norms of a constitutional democracy governed by the rule of law,” and “what the moment really calls for” is “a mutual denunciation of political violence and the potential incitement of political violence by Democrats and Republicans, the right and the left.”

The emerging picture of the suspected gunman, James Hodgkinson, is one of an angry man of the left who frequently wrote letters to his local newspaper ripping into Republicans. The Washington Post’s Ann E. Marimow, Patricia Sullivan, Tom Jackman and Shawn Boburg report that in a recent Facebook post, Hodgkinson wrote, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Christina Cauterucci writes at Slate’s XXFactor that “like so many men who attempt mass murder, he has a history of violence against women.” And Jeet Heer writes at The New Republic that while lawmakers are hopelessly divided on gun safety laws, this common thread of mass shooters having histories of violence could lend itself to some “reasonably bipartisan policy options available to elected officials in Congress — allocating funds for anger management programs, for instance, and restricting gun ownership to those with a history of domestic violence.”

And The MonkeyCage reran a post by Nathan Kalmoe, a political scientist at Monmouth College, about his research which found that a disturbingly large number of Americans find political violence acceptable. He notes that “Republicans and Democrats were indistinguishable in their support for political violence, and liberals and conservatives were too.”

Game on –> Devlin Barrett, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Sari Horwitz report for The Washington Post that Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, “is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice.” This, they write, “marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation.

Meanwhile, “by a 97-2 vote, the US Senate approved stronger sanctions on Russia Wednesday and took the first step toward limiting President Trump’s ability to ease those sanctions,” reports Adam Raymond at New York magazine.

And Dan De Luce and Elias Groll report for Foreign Policy that “Russia is stepping up trade with North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, jeopardizing a US effort to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.” But so far, the White House “has yet to call out Russia publicly” for its apparent sanction-busting.

Manslaughter –> Five Michigan officials were charged with manslaughter in the death of a Flint man who contracted Legionnaires’ disease “after local water was contaminated and health officials failed to notify the public,” according to Vox’s Michelle Garcia, Libby Nelson, and Sarah Frostenson. The contamination issue was the result of a cost-cutting effort. This brings the total number of people charged in connection to the scandal to 15. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder defended his officials, saying they were “instrumental in Flint’s recovery. They have my full faith and confidence, and will remain on duty.”

Thugs –> Law enforcement officials were set to announce charges against a dozen members of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail on Thursday for brutally beating protesters on Embassy Row following Erdogan’s White House visit in March. Four men — two American and two Canadian had already been charged. The two Americans are in custody, but Nicholas Fandos reports for The New York Times that “it is highly unlikely that Turkey would extradite the [remaining] men to the United States to face the charges, but they do face the possibility of arrest should they ever try to re-enter the country.”

Staggering loss of life” –> UN war crimes investigators say that the US-led bombing campaign against ISIS forces in the Syrian city of Raqqa have led to “hundreds” of civilian deaths since March, as well as “160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced.” More details from the BBC at the link.

“Ignorance is strength” is available –> According to Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine, Fox News has ditched its iconic tagline, “Fair & Balanced,” in part because it was so widely ridiculed. Sherman writes that “the slogan was Ailes’ cynical genius at its most successful. While liberals mocked the tagline, it allowed Ailes to give viewers the appearance of both sides being heard, when in fact he made sure producers staged segments so that the conservative viewpoint always won.”

A denomination that was explicitly founded to support slavery” –> That historical tidbit is just an aside in Emma Green’s Atlantic article about how a resolution condemning white supremacy roiled the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Arizona this week.

They say that personnel is policy –> The headline on Ian Millhiser’s ThinkProgress piece on John Bush, Trump’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the powerful 6th Court of Appeals, really gives you a taste of what’s to come: “Trump picks right-wing blogger for a judgeship, his confirmation hearing was a complete train wreck.”

Maryland progressives are furious, and organizing –> Bruce Vail reports for In These Times that “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ignited the anger of labor unions, workers’ rights advocates and religious groups when he vetoed high-profile legislation last month that was meant to guarantee the right of private sector employees to paid sick leave.” According to Vail, “that anger is now coalescing behind plans to override his veto and remove Hogan from office in 2018.”

Glum –> Some interesting data on Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the country. Sixty-four percent of Democrats were satisfied with how things were going before last year’s election. That’s down to 1 in-10. Republicans, meanwhile, jumped from about one-in-ten being satisfied before the to 58 percent in May, but that number has dropped 17 points in the last month.

Believe me –> Donald Trump is very popular on Tangier Island, which is located in the Chesapeake Bay. And he was moved by a report he saw on CNN, which he never watches because it’s fake news, about how erosion and rising sea levels are shrinking the island by about 15 feet each year. So he called Tangiers’ mayor, James Eskridge, a big fan, who recounted the conversation that followed: “He said we shouldn’t worry about rising sea levels,”Eskridge told reporters. “He said that ‘your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.’” Eskridge was thrilled, telling CNN, “I love Trump as much as any family member I got.”

And that’s the story of how Donald Trump solved climate change. [via: Salon]

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

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