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Daily Reads: Trump-Appointed Judge Gives Trump a Win in His Takeover of the CFPB

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

Trump-Appointed Judge Lets Stand Trump's CFPB Takeover

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Now Lauer –> NBC didn’t release many details about Today Show co-host Matt Lauer’s alleged “misconduct,” but given that they fired him outright — no suspension pending an investigation — it must be serious. In a memo to staff, NBC News President Andy Lack wrote, “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” We hear that The New York Times was working on a big story about Lauer, and the network got out ahead of it.

David Ng reports for the Los Angeles Times that “National Public Radio has lost another senior editor after female journalists accused him of sexual harassment.” Chief News Editor David Sweeney’s firing comes “less than a month after [NPR’s] top news executive, Mike Oreskes, resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct.”

The Washington Post reports that pressure is building on Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to resign after a fourth woman came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.

Unrelated to the stories above, Masha Gessen writes at The New Yorker about the potential perils of turning this “moment of reckoning” with sexual harassment and abuse into a broader moral panic that isn’t limited to abuses of power in the workplace.

Who’s responsible? –> In late 2016, US foreign services officers in Cuba were reportedly the victims of some sort of novel acoustic weapon that resulted in “hearing loss, brain injuries, cognitive issues and other conditions.” Now Steve Dorsey reports for CBS News that “a newly revealed incident reported by a USAID officer who is based at the American embassy in Uzbekistan is raising suspicions Russia may have been involved” in the mysterious incident in Cuba.

A win for Wall Street, for now –> A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the Trump “administration had the right to install White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Judge Timothy Kelly denied a request by CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English, who also claims to hold the top job, to block Mulvaney from taking the post. Her lawyer said the case isn’t over.” Lorraine Woellert, writing for Politico, doesn’t mention that Kelly is a Trump pick who’s only been on the bench for two months.

Unnerving –> North Korea test-fired a new long-range missile early this morning that Defense Secretary James Mattis says could potentially hit “everywhere in the world,” according to CNN.

Points for honesty –> While Republicans claim that their tax bill will lead to a bonanza of new investment and jobs, Toluse Olorunnipa reports for Bloomberg that “major companies including Cisco Systems Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. say they’ll turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Donald Trump’s promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class.”

Meanwhile, the unpopular bill cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday when it was passed by the Senate Finance Committee. According to another Bloomberg report, an emerging sticking point is Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s demand for tax hikes that would be automatically “triggered” in the future if deficits rise by a certain amount — an idea that his fellow Republicans are not happy about.

At The New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz offers an illustrated guide to the bill’s automatic spending cuts, which would hit Medicare the hardest.

And a government shutdown became a little more likely on Tuesday when Democratic leaders cancelled a planned meeting with Donald Trump after he tweeted a bunch of dismissive comments about them. Elana Schor and Seung Min Kim have more on that at Politico.

Several stories about Nazis, White Supremacists… and Trump –> Nico Hines reports for The Daily Beast that “Donald Trump retweeted an apparent snuff video to his 40 million followers Wednesday morning, with footage depicting what looked like a brutal murder carried out by an ISIS mob that had been posted by a far-right British political activist.” The original tweet came from a leader of a white supremacist group who “is due to appear in court next month after being charged with ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior’ during one of her ‘anti-terrorism’ rallies in Britain this past summer.”

Andreas Hollstein, the conservative mayor of Altena, Germany, was stabbed in the neck by a man authorities believe to be motivated by Hollstein’s pro-immigrant views. Hollstein credits the immigrant proprietors of a kebab shop with saving his life by overpowering the attacker and administering first aid. The BBC has more details.

“Lucian Wintrich, White House correspondent for the far-right website Gateway Pundit, was arrested by UConn police after an altercation at the event he was speaking at Tuesday night,” reports Rebecca Lurye for The Hartford Courant. The speech, which was frequently interrupted by protesters, was titled “It Is OK To Be White,” and was billed as featuring Wintrich’s insights on both “anti-conservative bias” and “liberal victimhood,” which is kind of impressive when you think about it.

A buried lede, perhaps, in a New York Times piece about Trump claiming that the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which he bragged about assaulting women may not be genuine is that in recent months, “Mr. Trump has used closed-door conversations to question the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.”

And the Seinfeld-loving, Panera Bread-eating Neo-nazi profiled by The New York Times last week was fired, along with his wife, and they’re now raising cash at an “alt-right” online fundraising site called “Goy Fundme,” according to Bob Brigham at Raw Story.

No storm tarps –> Tami Abdollah and Michael Biesecker report for the Associated Press that “after Hurricane Maria damaged tens of thousands of homes in Puerto Rico, a newly created Florida company with an unproven record won more than $30 million in contracts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs.” But “Bronze Star LLC never delivered those urgently needed supplies, which even months later remain in demand by hurricane victims on the island.” According to the report, “it is not clear how thoroughly FEMA investigated Bronze Star or its ability to fulfill the contracts. Formed by two brothers in August, Bronze Star had never before won a government contract or delivered tarps or plastic sheeting. The address listed for the business is a single-family home in a residential subdivision in St. Cloud, Florida.”

Turning outrage into action –> Alexi McCammond reports for Axios that “the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC), which makes a free online candidate training program, plans to spend $4 million in 2018 in the hopes of getting 50,000 Dems to use their services to run for office.” The effort hopes to encourage younger candidates to get involved in local races.

A follow-up –> Yesterday we mentioned Lawfare EIC Benjamin Wittes’ proposal for a short-term ideological truce between Trump opponents on the left and the right. Two perspectives on that: At the link, Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post’s #NeverTrump conservative, writes that she’s on board with the idea, and lays out eight principles around which such a united front might rally.

But at The New Republic, Jeet Heer argues that “an anti-Trump Popular Front… can’t supersede partisan politics even on a temporary basis because success for the two major parties depends on energizing their respective bases, and nationwide elections are never more than two years away.” Heer thinks that Dems joining in “a depoliticized program of centrist anti-Trumpism would demoralize and demobilize Democratic voters, a lethal move for the left since Trump has been successful at mobilizing hardcore Republicans.”

Messy divorce –> Following days of “non-stop behind-the-scenes negotiations, the British government” has bowed to EU demands on the Brexit divorce bill in a move that could see the “UK paying £50bn to Brussels, in an attempt to get France and Germany to agree to move negotiations to trade.” The two sides are set to finalize an agreement next month, according to The Guardian’s Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin.

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



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