What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Did Trump Kill the Two-State Solution?; Cop Sentenced to 20 Years for Killing Walter Scott

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

Did Trump Kill the Two-State Solution?

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



Reverberations –> The BBC reports that tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are high in the wake of President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. “Clashes erupted in the occupied West Bank and over the Israeli-Gaza border, where one Palestinian was killed. Overall more than 200 were hurt, Palestinian medical sources said.”

Saree Makdisi writes for the Los Angeles Times that the move is a “death-blow” for the prospects of a two-state solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “What Trump and with him the United States are signing on to instead is a bleak vision of violent racial division, injustice and inequality.”

Ha’aretz reports (paid content) that some Palestinians are considering shifting their focus from seeking self-determination in an independent state to fighting for full citizenship in a single state, which would spell the end of either Israel’s status as a “Jewish state” or its democracy.

Meanwhile, “al-Qaida is urging its followers across the globe to attack the United States and its allies in response to President Donald Trump’s decision,” according to Benjamin Brown at Fox News.

Some rare accountability –> Former Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the shooting death of Walter Scott, an unarmed man whom Slager shot in the back as he ran from the officer because he feared arrest over delinquent child-support payments. A state trial for murder ended in a hung jury last December. Andrew Knapp and Brenda Rindge report for The (Charleston) Post and Courier.

Another exit –> Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), a member of the hard-right “Freedom Caucus” who stirred controversy in 2013 when he said that rape rarely leads to pregnancy and complained that Democrats “constantly want to inject” rape into the abortion debate, is stepping down under pressure from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) after it emerged that he asked two of his former staffers to become surrogate mothers for him and his wife. More on that at ABC News.

Trump’s listening to someone –> Damian Paletta and Josh Dawsey report for The Washington Post that “some of President Trump’s wealthiest New York friends have launched a last-minute campaign to pressure him for changes to the GOP tax bill, telling the president personally that the current plan would drive up their taxes and hurt his home state.”

California Republicans are hearing the same from their constituents, according to Sarah Wire at the Los Angeles Times. She writes that “vulnerable California Republicans say they are watching closely as House leaders work on a final tax bill with the Senate, hoping they’ll win back at least part of some popular deductions that would lower tax bills in their districts.”

Populism, Trump style –> Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) concluded that Wells Fargo had improperly charged tens of thousands of mortgage customers fees to lock in low interest rates, and determined a settlement with the bank. But Patrick Rucker and Pete Schroeder report for Reuters that the “matter and roughly a dozen others are in question now that Mick Mulvaney, the agency chief tapped by President Donald Trump, has said he is reviewing the CFPB’s prior work.” Earlier this week, the agency put two other enforcement actions on hold.

And David Sirota reports for International Business Times that before he left Congress to head up Trump’s budget office, and now the CFPB, “Mick Mulvaney repeatedly pressed the agency to back off lending regulations as financial industry donors were bankrolling his congressional bids.” Sirota writes that “some of the letters signed by Mulvaney that pressured the agency came within weeks of him raking in campaign contributions from payday lending industry donors who were urging the CFPB to stand down.”

So much for stopping gangsters and violent criminals –> Since Trump took office, the overall number of undocumented immigrants facing deportation has actually fallen by 6 percent, but according to a new report cited by Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn at Mother Jones, “the number of arrests of immigrants for civil violations increased by 30 percent, and the number of immigrants without criminal records arrested more than doubled.”

Media malpractice –> Vox’s Jen Kirby looks at a new study of The New York Times’ 2016 election coverage published in the Columbia Journalism Review. It found that, “in just six days, The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all the policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election.” Read the whole study at CJR.

The people’s work –> Multiple states have investigated claims that Planned Parenthood trafficked in fetal tissue after a selectively edited video was released by anti-abortion activists — one of whom is awaiting trial for criminal charges related to the case — and found them to be baseless. But Betsy Woodruff reports for The Daily Beast that the Justice Department, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appears to have opened an investigation into the faux scandal.

Pro-democracy work –> Miles Rapoport reports for The American Prospect that the outlook for redistricting reform is better now than it has been at any other time in recent years.

Brexit “breakthrough” –> Months of tough negotiations ended in a “divorce agreement” between the UK and the European Union. The deal doesn’t mark the end of the process, but it settled some difficult disputes and paved the way for trade talks to come in the next stage, according to the BBC.

Ripe for harassment –> Sarah Frier reports for Bloomberg that Silicon Valley tech firms are hiring increasing numbers of models to attend parties that would otherwise be dominated by pasty male geeks. Whereas in the past these “ambiance and atmosphere models” were mostly hired to check coats or serve as hostesses, and it was clear they were being paid to attend, companies are now asking them to pretend they’re just guests and mingle, which makes it more difficult to fend off unwanted advances.

Race to the red planet –> Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg set off a competition against Elon Musk when he told reporters that the first human being to set foot on Mars would get there on a Boeing rocket engineered for NASA, and not on SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket. Musk has long talked about setting up a colony on Mars. Tariq Malik has more at Space.com.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Theresa Riley.



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