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Morning Reads: Trump Fiddles as GOP Melts Down

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

Morning Reads: Trump Fiddles as GOP Melts Down

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GOP debate –> At yet another debate last night, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio took a spaghetti-at-the-wall approach in their attempts to bring down Donald Trump. The New York Times offers some fact checks, Mother Jones highlights some key moments, and some ridiculous ones. John Nichols writes at The Nation: “The 11th Republican presidential ‘debate’ was not a debate. It was ‘The Donald Trump Show,’ with also-ran candidates and Fox News personalities playing bit parts. It was a long, drab waste of time that did nothing to weaken Trump.”

He’s back –> Yesterday morning, Mitt Romney took center stage to denounce Donald Trump. But commentators were quick to note that Romney once sought the same voters whose anger, resentment and feelings of marginalization Trump now harnesses. The New York Times editorial board wrote that Trump’s “forced a Republican Party reckoning overdue for years, all in a few days. It took the Trump-dominated Super Tuesday contests to awaken Republican leaders to the fact that the darkest elements of the party’s base, which many of them have embraced or exploited, are now threatening their party.”

AND: There’s a way that Romney could actually become the nominee this year through a contested convention. Andrew Prokop explains for Vox.

Pretty boring –> Trump unveiled his healthcare plan yesterday. Despite his big talk, his plan is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with “pretty standard, if vague, Republican proposals,” reports Noam N. Levey for the LA Times. “Notably missing from Trump’s plan — titled ‘Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again’ — are promises that ‘everybody’s got to be covered,’ or that he would ‘not allow people to die on the sidewalks,’ as he claimed earlier.”

Obamacare announces 20 million insured –> Jonathan Chait at New York magazine: “In addition to surprisingly and historically low rates of health-care cost inflation, today the Department of Health & Human Services announces that a net 20 million people have now gained access to health insurance. The uninsured rate among non-elderly Americans has fallen nearly in half just two years into the Affordable Care Act.”

The book club where no one reads the books –> Robert Schmidt at Bloomberg reports on a unique DC “book club”: “The private event, which is run by the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, is a little-known fundraising vehicle where lobbyists for Wall Street banks, insurance companies and accounting firms gather monthly to discuss literature with a Republican panel member. The designated lawmaker picks the book and pulls in the day’s haul, which attendees estimate is often in the $60,000 to $80,000 range.”

Tragic murder –> Jonathan Watts at The Guardian. “Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner, has been murdered, barely a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project. Her death prompted international outrage at the murderous treatment of campaigners in Honduras, as well as a flood of tributes to a prominent and courageous defender of the natural world.” Cáceres was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize last year. Democracy Now! points out that Honduras “has become the deadliest country in the world for environmentalists. Between 2010 and 2014, 101 environmental campaigners were killed in the country.”

Taking a spin through the revolving door –> “As it moves ahead with its $130 billion merger with fellow chemical giant Dow, DuPont has made quite a hire. To lead the company’s ‘public policy and government affairs strategies,’ DuPont has tapped Krysta Harden, who just ended a six-plus-year stint at the US Department of Agriculture, where she served as chief of staff to Secretary Tom Vilsack and, most recently, as deputy secretary, the department’s No. 2 position.” Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones.

Raking it in –> “Fossil fuel millionaires collectively pumped more than $100m into Republican presidential contenders’ efforts last year – in an unprecedented investment by the oil and gas industry in the party’s future. About one in three dollars donated to Republican hopefuls from mega-rich individuals came from people who owe their fortunes to fossil fuels – and who stand to lose the most in the fight against climate change.” Ted Cruz is the largest beneficiary, report Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson for The Guardian.

Win some, lose some –> In contrast to the recent Supreme Court action putting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan on hold, “The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request Thursday to block the EPA’s mercury-emissions rule while legal challenges proceed, handing a temporary victory to the the Obama administration and environmental groups.” Matt Ford reports for The Atlantic.

Who will be in charge of all the people? –> Cartoonist Edward Steed designed some campaign posters to help you decide.

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Theresa Riley. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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