What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Is There a Serious Case for Impeachment?; Barbaric Youth Detention System Exposed

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

Is There a Serious Case for Impeachment?

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A backdoor way of undermining the Affordable Care Act –> Vox’s Dylan Scott explains how Donald Trump is poised to issue an order that would blow a massive hole in Obamacare, with little attention and no input from Congress.

And anger at the White House’s continuing efforts to sabotage the law isn’t strictly partisan. Andrew Desiderio reports for The Daily Beast that “Republican lawmakers and state officials have grown increasingly frustrated with the Trump administration as it holds some states’ health insurance exchanges hostage over the future of the Affordable Care Act.”

A disturbing exposé –> An eye-opening investigation into Florida’s juvenile detention system by The Miami Herald has unearthed a barbaric institution where abuse by guards, many of whom have criminal records themselves, is rampant and young inmates are compelled by staffers to brutally beat each other, sometimes for sport. At least one of those beatings proved fatal.

Reality-check –> Even as most experts agree that there’s no viable military option for North Korea, Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that there’s no point in talking to Pyongyang. Slate’s Fred Kaplan writes that negotiations have worked in the past, and warns that Trump “completely misunderstands the history of US-North Korean relations… in a manner that moves him away from diplomacy toward war.”

The Atlantic’s David Graham points out that while Trump’s recent feuds with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Sen. Bob Corker may have some “slapstick” elements — Trump challenged Tillerson to a duel of IQ tests on Tuesday — “both center around the same material question of whether the United States will start a shooting war, most likely with North Korea.”

And the BBC reports that “hackers from North Korea are reported to have stolen a large cache of military documents from South Korea, including a plan to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.”

Too few people were willing to speak –> On Tuesday, The New Yorker published the results of a 10-month investigation by Ronan Farrow that found 13 women who say that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, including three who accuse him of rape. It’s a remarkable and troubling piece of reporting in which Farrow offers his own unique insight into this dark side of the film industry.

And last week, we highlighted a report by ProPublica about how Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. were on the brink of being indicted for fraud when Donald Trump’s attorney made a large contribution to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who then ordered his prosecutors to drop the case. Now Inae Oh reports for Mother Jones that in the wake of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, a similarly large contribution from the Miramax mogul’s lawyer made to Cy Vance shortly after the DA declined to charge Weinstein for sexual assault is coming under scrutiny.

The lines have been drawn –> Amid reports that the NFL may consider enacting a rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem, Dave Zirin writes at The Nation that “Donald Trump’s efforts to distract from his flailing agenda by demonizing anti-racist NFL players is finally bearing some fruit.”

Deadly negligence –> A number of court cases have been filed against weapons manufacturers in the wake of past mass shootings, but as Polly Mosendz notes for Bloomberg, past efforts to hold the industry accountable have failed due to a law that “protects the industry from liability for the criminal actions of some of their customers.” But after the Las Vegas massacre, in which Stephen Paddock used “bump stocks” to make his legal semi-automatic weapons fire like machine guns, the negligence suit filed late last week against the device’s manufacturer, Slide Fire Solutions, may be different.

Tensions continue to rise –>  More acrimony between the US and Turkey, where a court sentenced a Wall Street Journal reporter to two years in prison on Tuesday for writing an article about the Kurds, and in the wake of the second detention of a Turkish national working for the US embassy. Carlotta Gall has that story for The New York Times.

Can we escape identity politics? –> At The New Republic, political scientist Lee Drutman argues that as the country becomes more diverse, and with Trumpism the dominant force in Republican politics, “issues of race and culture will continue to dominate the political discourse. The good news is that Democrats, for perhaps the first time in modern history, can actually turn that reality to their advantage. The bad news is that, even if they succeed, the discord and hatred that the GOP is using to mobilize its base will continue to divide the country for decades to come.”

Retaliation? –> “A black man brutally beaten at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is now facing a felony charge related to the August attack,” report Derek Hawkins and Ian Shapira for The Washington Post. The attorney for DeAndre Harris, victim of a brutal attack that was captured on video and which led to charges against several white supremacists, says the charge against Harris “was orchestrated by the League of the South, a neo-Confederate white nationalist group, to ‘further victimize'” his client, and the Post story details several irregularities surrounding the charge.

And Bob Brigham reports for Raw Story that a video released by Harris’ attorneys may disprove the charges against him.

That’s a big sample –> “A comprehensive survey of more than 470,000 Americans” by Morning Consult “finds Trump’s approval has fallen in every state since taking office.” Cameron Easley reports that “the negative swings in net approval ranged from as high as 30 percentage points in solidly blue Illinois and New York to as low as 11 points in red Louisiana,” but there’s a clear trend of voters “in many of the states Trump easily carried last year” growing disenchanted with the president.

And yesterday, three Washington heavy hitters at the venerable Brookings Institution made a detailed case for Trump’s impeachment on charges of obstructing justice.

Buttoning up –> Ali Watkins reports for Politico that former Trump adviser Carter Page “was eager for the [Senate Intelligence] Committee’s attention earlier this year, when he showed up of his own volition to… drop off a document he created alleging that he was the target of a smear campaign by Hillary Clinton’s aides,” but he’s now refusing to cooperate with the probe. The committee chairs now have the option of subpoenaing him.

Say what? –> Per Eric Levitz at New York magazine, “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that the Trump administration will not remove Confederate monuments from federal lands out of consideration for the feelings of ‘native Indians.’”

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



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