Morning must reads for Thursday, September 28, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 271st day of the year. There are 94 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 19 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 40 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 116 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 161 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 404 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,132 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Count My Vote is back! The group filed their proposed ballot initiative on Wednesday to dump the caucus/convention system for nominating candidates in favor of direct primaries [Utah Policy].
  • Some provisions in the GOP tax proposal would be a big windfall for wealthy Americans like President Trump [USA Today].
  • Here’s everything you need to know about the changes proposed in the new Count My Vote ballot initiative [Utah Policy].
  • Despite protests and counter-protests, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro‘s speech at the University of Utah was a mostly peaceful affair [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch gets behind the GOP tax reform plan, saying it provides relief for the middle class [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Uh oh! A controversial Utah County bus rapid transit program is facing an $11 million cost overrun. What’s worse? Utah Transit Authority officials found out about it on Facebook [Tribune].
  • Salt Lake City Councilman James Rogers will win another term in office after David Atkin, his opponent in November’s election, withdrew from the race [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Utah High School Activities Association filed suit against the state of Utah and the State School Board over changes to policies governing how and when student-athletes can change schools [Deseret News, Tribune].

National headlines:

  • The GOP unveiled their tax reform proposal on Wednesday. One big question still remains, though. How they plan to pay for the $5.8 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade [Associated Press].
  • Deficit hawks in Congress, who previously have been committed to reducing America’s debt, are showing very little opposition to the GOP’s $5.8 trillion tax cut plan [New York Times].
  • The GOP tax plan would be a big financial windfall for the wealthy and big corporations [USA Today].
  • Russian intelligence is still very active on American social media. When President Trump attacked NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem over the weekend, hundreds of Twitter accounts suspected to be controlled by Russians lit up trying to sow discord on both sides of the issue [New York Times].
  • Even though Russian intelligence used Facebook to boost his presidential campaign last year, President Donald Trump claims that the social media platform is “anti-Trump,” and is part of a group colluding to push negative coverage of his presidency [Recode].
  • A Russian-backed group purchased an ad on Facebook in 2016 that referenced Black Lives Matter. The ad was targeted at an audience in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore [CNN].
  • Russians impersonated American Muslims on Facebook during the 2016 election and pushed memes that claimed Hillary Clinton admitted the U.S. “created, funded and armed” al-Qaeda and ISIS [Daily Beast].
  • Here’s how Russian intelligence groups use social media to stir the pot on social media in America to gin up outrage online [Axios].
  • EPA administrator Scott Pruitt took at least four private and military flights for travel since he took office at a cost of more than $58,000 [Washington Post].
  • A new Quinnipiac University poll finds 57% of Americans say President Trump is “not fit” for the presidency [The Hill].
  • Things are getting so bad in Puerto Rico that now money is becoming scarce. The island’s economy is almost completely shut down in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria [Associated Press].

On this day in history:

  • 1066 – William the Conqueror invades England beginning the Norman conquest of England.
  • 1779 – Samuel Huntington is elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.
  • 1781 – American forces backed by a French fleet begin the siege of Yorktown during the Revolutionary War.
  • 1920 – A grand jury indicted eight Chicago White Sox players for throwing the 1919 World Series with the Cincinnati Reds.
  • 1928 – Sir Alexander Fleming notices a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.
  • 1982 – The first reports appeared of deaths in the Chicago area from Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide.