What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Philippines’ Duterte Serenades Trump; 60,000 Far-right Supporters March in Poland

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

Philippines' Duterte Serenades Trump

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



Fire the screenwriter –> If this were movie, that’s what you’d say when you read the scene in which Filipino strongman Rodrigo Duterte stood up at a state dinner and crooned “You are the light in my world” to Donald Trump, and then claimed Trump had ordered him to do it. As this is real life — The Guardian has the details.

That story may be funny, but HuffPost’s Willa Frej writes that it was no joke when “Trump used a series of public appearances in the Philippines on Monday to heap praise upon… Duterte, and shut down reporters who tried to press the leaders on the country’s human rights abuses.”

And Reuters’ Steve Holland reports that “Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had insulted him by calling him ‘old’ and said he would never call Kim ‘short and fat.'” He also tweeted, “I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!”

Hate on the march –> An estimated 60,000 protestors including “ultra-nationalists and Nazis” marched through Warsaw on Saturday “to mark the 99th anniversary of Polish independence.” They carried signs with slogans like “Clean Blood” and “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust,” according to media reports. At The Washington Post, Rick Noack looks at how Poland “became a breeding ground for Europe’s far right.”

Not-so-friendly fire –> Two Navy Seals are suspected of murdering a member of the Green Berets in the West African country of Mali, after the soldier discovered that they had been pocketing funds that were earmarked to pay informants for tips about Islamic extremists. Kevin Maurer and Spencer Ackerman write for The Daily Beast that the investigation is “sending shockwaves throughout the special-operations community.”

Where’s Hariri? –> Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a Saudi-Lebanese dual national with close ties to the Saudi Royal family, announced from Riyadh that he was resigning last weekend, and had been “unavailable” since then. His allies in the Lebanese government say he’s being held captive, but Hariri denied it in his first public statements during a televised interview on Sunday and promised to return to Lebanon in the coming days. But the AP reports that the interview with Hariri “was filled with bizarre moments” that left some viewers wondering whether he was giving it under duress.

Packing up –> “Key people responsible for emergency relief in Puerto Rico are leaving their posts as the island still struggles to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” reports Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani for ThinkProgress. “Emergency management director Abner Gomez resigned on Friday, and Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who leads the military relief effort, will also be reassigned outside the island next week.”

And Frances Robles reports for The New York Times that Whitefish Energy, the tiny but well connected Montana company that landed a mega-contract to help rebuild the island’s power grid, charged Puerto Rico $319 per hour for linemen whom the company paid just $63 per hour. Robles writes that “the markup is among the reasons that federal officials are scrutinizing all other contracts involving Puerto Rico.”

Circle the wagons –> At Axios, Jonathan Swan reports that “Steve Bannon has sent two of Breitbart News’ top reporters, Matt Boyle and Aaron Klein, to Alabama. Their mission: to discredit The Washington Post’s reporting on Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct with teenagers.” Swan writes that as the right moves to attack Moore’s accusers, “this story is about to get even uglier.”

Meanwhile, Vaughn Hillyard and Tim Stelloh report for NBC News that “Moore said Sunday that he planned to sue The Washington Post over a report that he pursued teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, when he was an assistant prosecutor in his 30s.”

After Sean Hannity urged Fox News viewers to give Moore the benefit of the doubt, six companies dropped their advertising on the show, according to Greg Evans at Deadspin.

And Mary Papenfuss reports for HuffPost that “a former prosecutor who worked in Alabama with GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore in the early 1980s told CNN on Saturday that it was ‘common knowledge’ that Moore dated teenagers — and people thought it was ‘weird.’”

A culture of violence flourished” –> Buzzfeed’s Rosalind Adams offers a harrowing report about abuses at “a refuge for troubled adolescents and foster kids who had run out of other options.” She writes that “internal videos” from Hill Crest Behavioral Health — part of UHS, America’s largest psychiatric hospital chain — “show staff members beating and dragging their young patients. And many say the worst abuses happened beyond any camera’s view.”

Aftermath –> Stan “The Budget Guy” Collender writes at Forbes that while Republican leaders in Congress say their members will face elector doom if they fail “to vote for any tax bill no matter how much it might hurt their districts or states,” after last Tuesday’s drubbing at the polls it’s “no longer clear how many individual GOP senators and representatives will be willing to blindly” go along with them.

Bill Scher reports for Politico that the tax bill is exposing multiple rifts within the Republican coalition, which may derail the effort. He adds that it’s happened before — after Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax cuts.

And Emma Dumain runs down the five key lawmakers to keep an eye on as the effort moves forward for The Sacramento Bee.

Wonder Woman –> Gal Gadot, the Israeli actor who played Wonder Woman in the hit movie, is refusing to sign up for a sequel unless the studio terminates its agreement with accused sexual harasser Brett Ratner. A source told The New York Post’s Emily Smith, “She’s tough and stands by her principles. She also knows the best way to hit people like Brett Ratner is in the wallet. She also knows that Warner Bros. has to side with her on this issue as it develops. They can’t have a movie rooted in women’s empowerment being part-financed by a man accused of sexual misconduct against women.”

At The Cut, Rebecca Traister writes that this post-Weinstein moment of reckoning is “harrowing because it’s confusing; because the wrath may be fierce, but it is not uncomplicated. In the shock of the house lights having been suddenly brought up — of being forced to stare at the ugly scaffolding on which so much of our professional lives has been built — we’ve had scant chance to parse what exactly is inflaming us and who. It’s our tormentors, obviously, but sometimes also our friends, our mentors, ourselves.”

Shaken –> More than 400 people were left dead and thousands more were injured when a 7.3-magnitude quake struck an area of northern Iran close to the border with Iraq last night. Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdut have more on that for the AP.

Plutocracy –> A new report by the Institute for Policy Studies finds that “the three richest [Americans] own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means 1 in 5 households have zero or negative net worth.” Jake Johnson has more details at Common Dreams.

Amplifying divisions –> Spanish officials allege that Russian and Venezuelan hackers “have been interfering in the ongoing crisis in Catalonia, and announced that they would be dealing with the issue at the next European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting,” report Anabel Diez and Juan Jose Mateo for El País.

What’s new, pussycat? –> San Francisco police were prepared to kill an 82-pound mountain lion that somehow found its way to the Diamond Heights neighborhood on Saturday if they had to, but fortunately for everyone involved the lion didn’t menace any humans. The cat was ultimately subdued with two tranquilizer darts and released into the wilds of the northern Santa Cruz Mountains. More on that story at SF Gate.

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



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