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Daily Reads: Will Trump Burn the GOP on Taxes Next?; Facebook Let Advertisers Target Anti-Semites

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

Will Trump Burn the GOP on Taxes Next?

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Terror –> A “crude” homemade bomb injured 22 people on a London subway this morning. It was the city’s fifth terror attack of 2017. The BBC has the latest details.

Apostasy? –> On Wednesday, Donald Trump told reporters that “the rich will not be gaining at all with [the GOP’s tax] plan…If they have to go higher, they’ll go higher, frankly.” At New York magazine, Jonathan Chait writes that before Trump cut a deal with Dems to spare the Dreamers from deportation, it would have been easy to dismiss this as a dishonest claim, but having gotten some positive coverage from crossing the aisle he might now actually eschew high-end tax cuts, a reversal that would “court unimaginable blowback” from the right.

Axios’ Jonathan Swan speculates that White House chief of staff John Kelly’s staffing changes and new rules limiting access to the Oval Office may be an underappreciated cause of Trump’s newfound desire to work across the aisle. “Instead of being able to march into the Oval Office and hand Trump the latest Breitbart headline or printouts of tweets showing how badly his amnesty drive is playing with his fiercest nationalist supporters, aides opposing the decision would now have to go through the Kelly process,” he writes. Now, “Trump gets mostly positive feedback for his turn toward bipartisanship.”

Humiliated –> Speaking of that Dreamers deal, Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report for The New York Times that shortly after firing James Comey, Donald Trump berated and insulted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then refused to accept his resignation. Sessions, they write, said it “was the most humiliating experience in decades of public life,” but hung in there “to toughen the country’s immigration policies.” Now Trump’s reversal on the Dreamers has undercut Sessions once again.

Antisocial media –> Facebook “enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of ‘Jew hater,’ ‘How to burn jews,’ or, ‘History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’’” The social media giant says it removed the categories after this report by Julia Angwin, Madeleine Varner and Ariana Tobin for ProPublica.

And according to CNN’s Dylan Byers, a week after Facebook reported that it had sold $100,000 worth of ads to a “Russian troll farm” during the 2016 election, the company “is still not sure whether pro-Kremlin groups may have made other ad buys intended to influence American politics that it simply hasn’t discovered yet.”

Dems becoming ambitious –> A day after Sen. Bernie Sanders released his proposal for enacting a single-payer system, 27 Senate Dems backed a proposal by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) “that would make child care an entitlement, meaning that the federal government would guarantee it much like it guarantees Social Security or Medicare.” Jeff Stein has the details at Vox.

A little sign of their appreciation  –> After winning “a string of policy victories and carve-outs from the Trump administration and its Republican allies in Congress,” the National Mining Association, an industry lobbying group, is holding a conference at Trump’s Washington hotel next month, where they’ll “spend big” on $800-per-night rooms and swanky cocktail receptions, according to The Intercept’s Lee Fang and Nick Surgey.

For the next time –> Yesterday, the California legislature passed a bill requiring any presidential candidate to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the Golden State’s ballot. It’s unclear whether the measure would withstand a judicial challenge. Brandon Carter reports for The Hill.

Something cheaper, and more insidious –> Dara Lind writes at Vox that Trump’s approach to immigration is “not mass deportation. It’s not self-deportation.” Rather, “getting immigrants to worry that they might be deported is the cornerstone of this administration’s immigration enforcement policy — and its foremost policy accomplishment.”

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a new Pew study finds that “more Mexicans view the United States unfavorably than at any time in the past decade and a half. Nearly two-thirds of Mexicans (65 percent) express a negative opinion of the US, more than double the share two years ago (29 percent).”

And Anh Do reports for the Los Angeles Times that Anaheim, facing a “growing homeless crisis,” declared “a state of emergency… clearing the way for the removal of hundreds of people living in a landscape dotted with trash and used hypodermic needles and lacking toilet facilities.”

More on Berniecare –> At The American Prospect, Harold Meyerson lauds Sanders “gradualism,” arguing that achieving Medicare for all in four stages might “make it easier for progressive and centrist legislators in more conservative states or districts to support it in piecemeal fashion.”

But Dean Baker, being wonkish at Democracy, writes that while single-payer systems are more efficient, “there almost certainly is no direct path that gets us to such a system from where we are today” because it involves “a massive rechanneling of resources, which is difficult to envision going smoothly.”

And Mike Konczal gets even wonkier at Medium, looking at how various plans to expand public health care could be passed under the Senate’s obscure “reconciliation” rules to avoid a filibuster.

A good run –> Twenty years ago, the Cassini space probe was launched for what was supposed to be a four-year mission to investigate Saturn and its moons. Early this morning, according to plan, the NASA spacecraft burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere. The New York Times tells the story of Cassini in 100 amazing images that the probe captured over the years.

CSI Stalin –> Seventy-seven years after Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City on Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s order, the blood-stained ice axe that Ramón Mercader used for the murder has re-emerged and will be displayed at Washington’s International Spy Museum. The Guardian’s Julian Borger and Jo Tuckman write that the mystery surrounding Mercader’s use of the ice axe when he was carrying a gun and a dagger may have been solved in the process of verifying the “world’s most infamous murder weapon.”
Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.



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