Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, as well as other news of the day, we’re pleased to publish this daily digest compiled by’s Michael Winship.

You’ve got to be kidding me –> Sarah Lazare at Common Dreams: “In a rare move, journalists from a handful of major media outlets were granted access this weekend to a private and well-heeled gathering of Republican benefactors, sponsored by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, on one condition: that they do not name any of the 450 donors attending without their permission.” More from The Huffington Post.

Five of the GOP presidential hopefuls were in California for the festivities, leading Donald Trump to tweet, “I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?” (By the way, check out the Real Clear Politics article by veteran political reporter Lou Cannon comparing Trump’s rise to Joe McCarthy’s.)

We’re not making this up –> Matea Gold and James Hohmann at The Washington Post report that in his remarks to the assembled at his and brother David’s California confab, Charles Koch compared their Freedom Partners political network to abolitionists, the fight for women’s equality and the civil rights movement: “They all sought to overcome an injustice. And we, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back.” Of course, none of them had the $889 million the Kochs intend to spend by the end of 2016. More from Politico and Bloomberg Politics.

Which leads us to –>A New York Times analysis found that fewer than 400 families had contributed nearly half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign so far, with roughly 130 families and their businesses providing more than half the money that Republican candidates and their super PACs had raised through June.”

Meanwhile, the Sanders campaign says, no mas: “Decrying the influence of big money in American politics, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said he will introduce legislation to provide public funding of elections. ‘We’re going to introduce legislation which will allow people to run for office without having to beg money from the wealthy and the powerful,’  Sanders said.”

Mourning in Israel –> Ha’aretz reports, “Hundreds of people gathered at Jerusalem’s Zion Square on Sunday night to remember Shira Banki, a 16-year-old who died after being stabbed during the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on Thursday.” In The Forward, J.J. Goldberg discusses the attack (five others were hurt as well) and the firebombing in a West Bank village that took the life of an 18-month-old Palestinian child and concludes, “Israel’s leadership often complains that loose, hateful talk by Palestinian leaders, beginning at the top with Mahmoud Abbas, bears responsibility for inciting terrorist violence on the ground. It might be time to look in the mirror.”

Senate votes on defunding Planned Parenthood today –> Bob Cesca at Salon: “If you’ve been keeping score at home, you’ll have noticed that not one but two states, including a red state with a paleoconservative governor, have in the past several days exonerated Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.”

Carrot and stick climate change –> This weekend, Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly‘s “Political Animal” blog described how, with congressional inertia preventing any legislative action on global warming, President Obama continues to deploy an executive action strategy, including last week’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge and today’s announcement of new, stronger than expected environmental regulations cutting greenhouse emissions from power plants. “Yes, coal companies will scream bloody murder, some red states will refuse to comply, and court challenges will be initiated,” LeTourneau wrote. “But the battle will be joined, culminating with the increasing likelihood of a global climate accord in Paris this December.” More from Ben Adler at Grist.

Here comes the sun, Athens –> Greenpeace International Director and Moyers & Company guest Kumi Naidoo points to an innovative way to ease the Greek financial crisis: “With energy poverty emerging as one of the most dramatic symptoms of the recession – six out of every 10 households are struggling to pay their energy bills – it is high time that Greece seized upon its greatest and still largely unexploited asset: the Sun.”

RIP –> Jerry Berrigan, Catholic peace activist and brother of Dan and Phil Berrigan. Asked by a newspaper if he would have done anything differently with his life, Berrigan replied, “I would have resisted more often and been arrested more often.”

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