What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Will Hurricane Harvey Be Trump’s Katrina?; White House Moving Goalposts on Tax Reform

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

Will Hurricane Harvey Be Trump's Katrina?

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



Trump’s Katrina? –> The New Republic’s Emily Atkin writes that Hurricane Harvey isn’t just shaping up to be a devastating storm, but it may also hit Texas and other Gulf states with an underfunded FEMA. In addition, agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, NOAA and NASA are still without leaders more than seven months into the presidency.

And much of the infrastructure that’s supposed to protect low-lying New Orleans is not working properly. Phil McCausland reports for NBC News that it’s “not clear if the city is ready for Hurricane Harvey, and the city is studying emergency evacuation plans.”

Picking fights, moving goalposts –> At The New York Times, Carl Hulse writes that “Trump handed Democrats a gift this week with his vow to shut down the government if he doesn’t soon get money for his border wall.” They may just give him enough rope, knowing that funding the wall polls poorly, he promised Mexico would cover it and a shutdown will likely cause the GOP some serious political damage.

And New York magazine’s Margaret Hartmann writes that the administration first promised that tax reform would be done before lawmakers recessed this month, then by the end of September, and now they’re moving that deadline to the end of the year. Meanwhile, in “a predictable but still insane development,” the White House looks like it will follow the same strategy it pursued with health care and leave all the details up to Congress.

Philip Rucker, Sean Sullivan and Mike DeBonis report for The Washington Post that they’re doing so in order “to deflect blame if the GOP agenda continues to flounder.”

And now that a Republican is in the White House, Wall Street leaders who had long “warned that the federal debt… could eventually get high enough to drag down the economy, burden future generations, and even threaten national security” are suddenly celebrating the idea of financing big tax cuts by increasing the deficit, according to Max Abelson at Bloomberg.

Dangerous job –> Sudanese officials say Russian ambassador Mirgayas Shirinsky, found dead in his swimming pool on Wednesday, died of natural causes. He is nonetheless the eighth Russian diplomatic official to die in the past ten months, some more suspiciously than others. Alec Luhn has more at The Telegraph.

Profiting from injustice –> The husband of a federal judge who put hundreds of undocumented immigrants behind bars had investments in two private prison companies and bought more stock in the industry just days before one of the biggest workplace raids in recent history. Samantha Michaels reports for Mother Jones that, “at the time, undocumented immigrants caught in raids like this were usually charged with civil violations and then deported,” but in this case, Judge Linda Reade sentenced almost 300 of them to federal detention.

Big Oil’s no tree-hugger –> “Donald Trump’s aggressive drive to roll back environmental regulations is moving too fast even for some in the oil and gas industry,” reports Ben Lefebvre for Politico. “Quietly, people in the industry are growing worried that deregulation could backfire on them” by setting “the stage for an environmental disaster like 2010’s BP oil spill in the Gulf.”

Sweet deal –> Iowa will give Apple $208 million in tax breaks for building a data storage facility that will provide the state with 50 new jobs. Note: We would also hire some Iowans if the Hawkeye State gave us $4 million per to do so. David Pitt reports for The Associated Press.

Doin’ alright –> The final numbers are in for Obamacare’s marketplaces next year, and despite a lot of overheated rhetoric from the law’s ideological opponents, Hannah Recht reports for Bloomberg that the exchanges are not collapsing and that every single county in the US has at least one insurer.

The darlings of Russian propaganda –> According to a Marshall Fund project that “tracks a Russian disinformation and propaganda campaign focused on US voters,” there’s a pro-Russian Twitter network that “consistently spreads links to Breitbart and other right-wing or conspiracy theory websites that boost President Trump and bash Democrats.” Oren Dorell has more at USA Today.

Somewhat related –> White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has ordered that all documents that fall on Trump’s desk be vetted by a trusted aide, in part to keep him from tweeting about “articles from far-right and anti-establishment sources” like Infowars and Gateway Pundit, according to Buzzfeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo and Charlie Warzel. Some “pro-Trump media personalities and websites are worried they may be losing a dear reader,” but most think the effort is futile, as Trump “‘has a direct line’ to far-right media.”

His own miniature Justice Department –> At The Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff looks at the prosecutorial dream team special counsel Robert Mueller has assembled.

Socialism’s making a comeback –> So argues John Judis at The New Republic. The question is: “Will this revival last, and the ranks expand, until socialists can rival conservatives and liberals as a third force in American politics?”

Creative resistance –> A major German supermarket chain removed all foreign-produced goods from its shelves for a day to illustrate that life “is pretty boring without diversity.” Lee Moran has that story for HuffPost.

And Julia Carrie Wong reports for The Guardian that Bay Area residents are deploying a number of creative strategies in opposition to an upcoming march through San Francisco by far-right activists, including plans to bombard them with flowers, fill up all the nearby parking places and… not clean up after their dogs along the parade route for some time before the event.

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.