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Morning Reads: GOP Platform Would Push Us Back Decades on Climate; Trump Preparing Purge of Government Employees?

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

Morning Reads: GOP Platform Would Push Us Back Decades on Climate

Convention-goers celebrate after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won the nomination on the second day of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

No longer “presumptive” –> Donald Trump is now the actual Republican presidential nominee although his formal acceptance speech isn’t until tomorrow night. The delegate roll call Tuesday evening was choreographed so that Trump’s home state of New York would be the one to make it official. The New York Times: “The hall echoed with the strains of ‘New York, New York.’ Giant screens hanging over the arena glittered with an animation of gold fireworks and a three-word proclamation: ‘Over the Top.’” Appropriately, Trump wasn’t in Cleveland to celebrate his nomination in person but teleconferenced in from — where else? — New York. Manhattan’s Trump Tower, to be exact.

How Trump chose his veep –> A fascinating story by Robert Draper in The New York Times Magazine begins with a close adviser to Ohio Gov. John Kasich purportedly meeting with Trump’s son, Donald Jr. Despite Kasich’s candidacy against Trump and continued criticism, “Donald Jr. wanted to make [Kasich] an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?

“When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

“Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“‘Making America great again’ was the casual reply.”

Undoing decades of hard work –> America’s progress on climate change has been slow and halting, and we have not come far enough. But under Barack Obama, measures to reduce demand for fossil fuels, like his Clean Power Plan and vehicle fuel efficiency standards, have made for some of America’s biggest steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet, Steven Mufson writes for The Washington Post, “The Republican Party platform adopted Monday night would bring a total about-face on US energy and climate policy, declaring the priority placed on combating climate change under President Obama ‘the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it.’ The GOP platform calls coal ‘clean,’ pledges to reverse a Supreme Court ruling on the scope of the Clean Air Act, seeks to open vast amounts of federally protected public lands and waters to oil, gas and coal exploitation, rejects the Paris climate accord and Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and opposes a carbon tax. It takes aim at ‘environmental extremists’ and calls the environmental movement ‘a self-serving elite.’”

Coup fallout continues –> Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is considering asking his country’s parliament to reinstate the death penalty as he seeks to dig out opposition in his own government — in Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s words — “by the roots.” But doing so could block his country from entering the European Union. The BBC: “The interior ministry has dismissed almost 9,000 police officers as part of a purge of officials suspected of involvement in the coup attempt. That followed the arrest of 6,000 military personnel and suspension of almost 3,000 judges over the weekend. Many of those accused of involvement are closely linked to the ruling apparatus.”

And: The Turkish government is claiming the coup was the work of Fethullah Gülen, a politician and Muslim religious leader who left Turkey in 1999 and lives in Pennsylvania, from which he runs schools and cultural centers across the United States.

In fact, as George Joseph writes for The Nation: “Since 2002, Gülen-affiliated foundations have quietly built up the largest charter-school network in America, with over 130 schools in 26 different states nationwide. This rapid buildup is troubling, however, since financial records suggest the cleric’s charter-school network has routinely funneled public-education dollars to its own members, often with unclear benefit to students… ‘This movement became what it became not because of the genius or otherworldly truths pontificated by Fetullah Gülen, but because of their ability to rationalize a particular brand of Islam in such a way that produced material reward,’ says Joshua Hendrick, a sociology professor at Loyola University, who notes that the network’s pervasive self-dealing is called ‘friendship marketing.'”

A “purge” in America? –> Reuters’ Emily Flitter: “If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally Chris Christie, said on Tuesday. Christie, who is governor of New Jersey and leads Trump’s White House transition team, said the campaign was drawing up a list of federal government employees to fire if Trump defeats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.”

Blow against voter ID –> Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: “On Tuesday, a federal judge in Wisconsin handed down a decision that will drastically weaken that state’s voter-ID law, an increasingly common method of voter suppression that is often favored by conservatives because it effectively shifts the electorate rightward. Although the decision leaves the law in place, it permits voters who are unable to obtain an ID to sign an affidavit at the polls testifying to that inability and to receive a ballot.”

Ailes on his way out –> The head of Fox News reportedly is in negotiations for his exit, after the network’s leading anchor Megyn Kelly told investigators that Roger Ailes had sexually harassed her, too. Ailes is getting advice in his negotiations from high places — including our possible future president, reports Gabriel Sherman for New York magazine: “According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of Aug. 1 to resign or face being fired for cause. Ailes’s legal team — which now includes Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis — has yet to respond to the offer. Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say.”

Morning Reads is compiled by John Light and Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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