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Daily Reads: Violent White Supremacist Group Doesn’t Fear Law Enforcement; “Trump’s Benghazi?”

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

Violent White Supremacist Group Doesn't Fear Law Enforcement

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The whole base is destroyed” –> An Afghan Army unit “was almost completely wiped out” in southern Afghanistan on Thursday “in a Taliban attack that used what is becoming one of the group’s deadliest tactics: packing vehicles captured from security forces with explosives and driving them into military and police compounds.” Taimoor Shah and Mujib Mashal report for The New York Times that at least 43 of the base’s 60 soldiers were killed in the attack.

Onward, for now –> The Senate passed a budget resolution yesterday that smooths out differences with the House’s version and will allow Republicans to pass tax cuts that run-up deficits by up to $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. But New York magazine’s Margaret Hartmann notes that this is just the first stage of a four-part process, and “there are many reasons Republicans should still be extremely concerned about their effort to deliver a bill to President Trump by Christmas.”

Prior to the vote, retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has become Trump’s nemesis in the GOP caucus, “lambasted the budgetary process… calling the Senate budget a hoax and saying that he would dismantle the Senate Budget Committee” if he were its chair. Niv Elis has more at The Hill.

It’s Trump’s party now –> “In a rare public speech” on Thursday, George W. Bush blasted Trump without specifically naming him, according to ABC’s Arlette Saenz. “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” the former president said.

But Bush is out of politics, unlike his former adviser Ed Gillespie who’s running for governor of Virginia. The Economist points out that Gillespie and New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno are two formerly traditional, business-friendly, establishment-type Republicans who “have turned Trumpian,” running campaigns that are “nativist, race-baiting and unconcerned with accuracy.”

This angle of Bush’s speech didn’t go unnoticed.

Allegations keep coming –> “Los Angeles police are investigating Harvey Weinstein for rape after an Italian actor filed a report alleging he sexually assaulted her in her hotel room in 2013,” reports Claudia Rosenbaum for Buzzfeed. In an op-ed for The New York Times, “Lupita Nyong’o: Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein,” the actress says: “I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount…was not a unique incident with me, but rather part of a sinister pattern of behavior.”

Racist, violent, unpunished” –> A.C. Thompson, Ali Winston and Darwin BondGraham report for ProPublica on a Southern California group called Rise Above Movement, which trains white supremacists to fight, and posts videos of its members attacking leftist protesters online. Despite the fact that many within the “alt-right fight-club” have serious criminal histories, “law enforcement officials… either would not comment about RAM or said they had too little evidence or too few resources to seriously investigate the group’s members.”

Their identities have been largely a mystery” –> “Financial firms are still fighting to get billions out of [bankrupt Puerto Rico] as it tries to rebuild,” yet the identities of those holding the island’s bonds are often obscured. But an investigation by In These Times finds that “some of the most aggressive players demanding debt repayment in Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy court are so-called ‘vulture firms’ [which] specialize in high-risk ‘troubled assets’ near default or bankruptcy and cater to millionaire and billionaire investors.” Sarah Jaffe recently interviewed Jonathan Westin about the unmasking of one of the biggest debt holders.

Ripoff –> At Pacific Standard magazine, Rick Paulas explains why cities that shower companies with tax breaks and other perks in order to “create jobs” often get the shaft when all is said and done.

Trump’s Benghazi?” –> As Donald Trump faces increasing criticism over his condolence calls to the families of soldiers who have fallen under his watch, the military has opened up an investigation into the ambush that killed four US Special Forces Operators in Niger. According to TIME’s Eli Meixler, the probe “will examine the military’s preparation for the operation as questions swirl about the quality of the US Africa Command’s intelligence reports, including why the Oct. 4 ambush wasn’t anticipated.”

White House chief of staff John Kelly defended his boss on Thursday, attacking Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), the lawmaker who relayed Trump’s seemingly insensitive remarks to the pregnant widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson to the press. But Alex Daugherty, Anita Kumar and Douglas Hanks report for The Miami Herald that Kelly “gets the facts wrong” while offering an ostensibly unflattering anecdote about the lawmaker.

And Jacqueline Thomsen report for The Hill that Wilson’s office “has received several threatening phone calls” since the story broke, and they were deemed serious enough that she’s currently under protection.

Armageddon by accident” –> Dan De Luce, Jenna Mclaughlin and Elias Groll report for Foreign Policy that “rising tensions between North Korea and the United States,” which have been “exacerbated by two impulsive nuclear-armed leaders,” have “sparked fresh concerns inside and outside the Pentagon that a potential miscalculation — driven by heated rhetoric or technical mistakes — could lead to an accidental conflict on the Korean Peninsula.”

Not old news –> “The number of networks of Russian-sponsored trolls spreading propaganda to the United States and Europe may number in the hundreds,” write McClatchy’s Peter Stone and Greg Gordon, and a former top defense official says that they’re still active today, in both the US and Europe.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is joining with two of his Democratic colleagues to sponsor legislation that would force greater disclosure of the sponsors of online ads on Facebook and other social media sites. Axios has the details.

And Ev Ehrlich writes at USA Today that “our society has always protected itself from monopolists, be they utilities, railroads, oil companies, or financiers, acting against abuses while preserving innovation and economic growth,” and calls for lawmakers to “break up the Google-Facebook-Amazon web monopoly” once and for all.

Ratcheting up –> Sam Jones reports for The Guardian that “the Spanish government is to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule after the region’s president refused to abandon the push for independence that has triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis for 40 years.”

A hard lesson in “democracy” –> An 11-year-old Cub Scout has been kicked out of his “den” for asking a Colorado state senator some tough but respectful questions about gun control and some controversial comments the lawmaker had made about African-Americans. Kieran Nicholson has that story for The Denver Post.



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

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