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Daily Reads: Trump’s Sabotaging Himself on Obamacare; Bergdahl Faces Life in Prison

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

Trump's Sabotaging Himself on Obamacare

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It’s certainly a mess –> On Monday, Donald Trump declared that Obamacare is “dead,” “gone” and added: you “shouldn’t even mention” it. Moments later, he said Obamacare was a “mess” and blamed it for the spike in premiums that his decision to halt cost-sharing payments for low income families is expected to cause. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh writes for US News & World Report about why his state will join 17 others in a lawsuit against the White House that seeks to force the president to re-establish the payments.

At Vox, Ezra Klein argues that Trump does not grasp that the public tends to blame the party that controls the White House and Congress for disastrous policy outcomes, and is relying on the kind of “hostage taking” strategies that Republicans used successfully when Democrats were in power. It’s a major miscalculation, says Klein.

#MeToo –> That hashtag has taken off on social media as women from all sorts of industries shared their own stories of sexual harassment and workplace abuses. The Nation’s Joan Walsh wonders “what if we women had been able to devote all of the time and energy that we spend fending off all of this s–t to…our writing, our organizing, our art, our health, our children, partners, families, friends and communities”?

One of the most important whistleblowers ever interviewed by 60 Minutes –> That, according to CBS correspondent Bill Whitaker, is Joe Rannazzisi, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Agency unit that investigates the pharmaceutical industry. On Sunday, he detailed how “the opioid crisis was allowed to spread… aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics.”

Yesterday, Trump declined to express his support for Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), his own pick to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, after it was revealed that Marino “championed the industry-friendly legislation” featured in the report. Newsday’s Dan Janison has more on that story.

Meanwhile, Blair Miller reports for Denver’s local ABC affiliate that “opioid-related deaths fell by more than 6 percent in Colorado in the two years after the state started selling recreational marijuana, according to new research published in November’s edition of the American Journal of Public Health.”

Inflammatory –> “A directive to immigration officials across the country to try to portray undocumented immigrants swept up in mass raids as criminals came directly from then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly,” reports Alice Speri at The Intercept.

Trench warfare on environmental groups –> At Talking Points Memo, Cameron Joseph reports that EPA head Scott Pruitt “in effect declared trench warfare on environmental groups on Monday, ending a practice he dubbed ‘Sue & Settle’ by which the EPA would often settle lawsuits brought by outside groups in an attempt to get the agency to enforce its own rules.”

How to Wipe Out Puerto Rico’s Debt –> Ellen Brown writes at The American Prospect that the 2008 Wall Street bailout could serve as a model for deeply indebted Puerto Rico.

Rage –> Kevin Drum at Mother Jones looks at “the rage of rural voters,” and sees no way forward as long as they’re inflamed by conservative claims that their economic insecurity is the product of “elites” and “Hollywood liberals.”

Danger warning –> Florida Gov. Rick Scott “declared a state of emergency in advance of a speech white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to give at the University of Florida” this Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Heart-wrenching –> As fires continue to rage in northern California, Frances Dinkelspiel writes for The Daily Beast about frantically searching for her 62-year-old brother who “has some developmental issues” and who went missing after the home he lived in burned down.

Desertion –> Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared from his base in Afghanistan and was later captured by the Taliban, “could spend the rest of his life behind bars after he pleaded guilty Monday to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy,” report CNN’s Devon Sayers and Holly Yan.

This is not normal –> In his Monday evening acceptance speech for being awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, Sen. John McCain lashed out at the “half-baked, spurious nationalism” that helped Trump to power, and warned that “people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems” are “unpatriotic.”

Meanwhile, Trump held a Rose Garden press conference “designed to convince supporters and detractors alike that everything’s terrific, moving ahead of schedule and getting even better,” reports Joshua Dawsey for Politico

And The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker and Greg Jaffe look “inside the ‘adult day-care center,'” detailing “how aides try to control and coerce Trump.”



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.