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Daily Reads: Trump’s New Travel Ban Is Still Incoherent; Washington Ignores Puerto Rico’s Humanitarian Disaster

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

Trump's New Travel Ban Is Still Incoherent

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This time, it’s indefinite –> Donald Trump signed a new executive order yesterday banning almost all travel from seven countries and restricting travel from Venezuela. According to Slate’s Joshua Keating, the new order also includes North Korea and Chad. The administration hopes that the addition of non-Muslim-majority countries will blunt criticism of the measure as grounded in religious discrimination, but Keating says “it’s not a very effective counterargument.” He also wonders how Chad got on the list, given that “the most recent State Department Country Reports on Terrorism was mostly positive about Chad’s counterterrorism efforts.”

American citizens in dire straits –> A week after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the entire island has no power, and may remain without power for four to six months. Cell service is out, and officials are struggling to get aid to people through flooded roads. Meanwhile, the government “issued a dire warning about the Guajataca Dam in the northwestern corner of Puerto Rico, which is reported to be near the point of breaking, threatening downstream areas with deadly floods.” Vox’s Brian Resnick has more details on this continuing humanitarian disaster.

Unlike the wall-to-wall coverage that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma received, Bobby Lewis reports for Media Matters that “the five major Sunday political talk shows dedicated less than one minute in total to covering the growing humanitarian emergency.” Joy-Ann Reid argues at The Daily Beast that Puerto Rico is “Trump’s Katrina,” referring to the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and helped tank George W. Bush’s popularity in 2005. That may be, but HuffPost’s Ariel Edwards notes that fewer than half of mainlanders who responded to a recent poll knew that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.

Was it a distraction? –> David Remnick writes at The New Yorker that Trump’s attacks on black athletes and their protests against racially discriminatory policing “is part of his larger culture war. Divide. Inflame. Confuse. Divert. And rule.”

Others think that this is just who he is.

In any event, Trump’s comments appear to have sparked quite a backlash, with three NFL teams refusing to take the field altogether during the singing of the national anthem on Sunday.

A day before, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, a rookie, became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the anthem, which was well received by fans and players, according to Martin Gallegos of The San Jose Mercury News.

John Pavlovitz writes that it’s time that white America “take a knee.” “If you’re more incensed by a black reporter’s assertion that the president is a supremacist, than the fact that he is endorsed by supremacists, I’d look at that very carefully.”

From the other side of the ideological spectrum, Matt Wilstein writes for The Daily Beast that the talking-heads on Fox and Friends were completely flummoxed by the protests because “this is the least sexist, least racist, most free, most equal, most prosperous country in the history of humankind.”

Upheaval –> As most observers predicted, the AfD, Germany’s hard-right anti-immigrant party, came in third in Sunday’s election with more than 13 percent of the vote. Angela Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU alliance (the rough equivalent of our Republicans) won a plurality, but the second-place Social Democrats (like our Democrats) say they won’t enter into another coalition government with Merkel. Arthur Goldhammer helps untangle it all at The American Prospect.

It ain’t over til it’s over –> Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey report for Politico that Republicans continue to tweak their latest repeal bill in an effort to win over wavering members of their caucus. “The GOP is considering pushing back the implementation date and tweaking funding formulas in a bid to win over Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME),” they write.

And at CNBC, Jennifer Fitzgerald argues that they may still get this disastrous bill into the endzone. “While [Sen. John] McCain’s [opposition] makes the bill’s chances of passing slimmer, we’ve learned time and again during this process that it’s not over until it’s over.”

Lock him up? –> According to Politico’s Josh Dawsey, “Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business.”

A set-up from the start? –> The so-called “alt-right’s” provocative “free speech week” at Berkeley was cancelled this weekend, and Emily Deruy reports for The San Jose Mercury News that in an email she obtained, “one of the supposed speakers told UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof Saturday morning that the event had been merely an attention grab from the start.” Several speakers, and perhaps some right-wing leaders, insist that they’re still going to show up, leaving campus officials and police in a quandary.

Police riot –> Last week, we mentioned that the ACLU is suing the St. Louis police over its hyper-aggressive tactics during recent protests of the acquittal of a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man after a pursuit. The Associated Press reports that “an undercover St. Louis police officer and an Air Force lieutenant who lives in the neighborhood were among several people who say they were forcibly arrested last weekend in the city even though they were not participating in protests.” The undercover officer “was knocked down and hit several times, with his hands tied behind his back and his mouth bloodied.”

Summit at a Texas Dairy Queen –> Robert Samuels reports for The Washington Post about a pair of Muslim Americans sitting down at a Texas Dairy Queen with a couple the Texans who had harassed members of their mosque — all of them came armed.

Newly hatched Americans –> Finally, in Politico Magazine, Arthur Allen tells the story of the 2,000 German Jews who fled their country of birth during Hitler’s rise to power and were then recruited by the US military, trained in interrogation and sent back to use their language skills and familiarity with the terrain to play a key role in defeating the Nazis.

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



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