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.

Billionaires give bundlers the blues –> When it comes to buying candidates, the mega-rich are crowding out the mere millionaires, according to Fredreka Schouten at USA Today: “The concentration of huge campaign sums in a handful of super PACs is fast remaking the White House race, as campaigns grow increasingly dependent on donations from a wealthy few to fuel their political ambitions. Super PACs and other outside groups that can raise unlimited sums from corporations, individuals and unions, have swiftly amassed nearly $300 million for the 2016 White House battle, outpacing the amounts collected by candidates themselves. A USA Today analysis shows donations of $1 million or more account for nearly half of the money channeled into candidate-aligned super PACs and other outside groups during the first six months of the election cycle.”

ALSO: “Influence of wealthy donors becoming an issue in GOP primaries,” by Benjy Sarlin at MSNBC: “… The unprecedented scale of cash flowing into outside groups this cycle as a result of the 2010 Citizens United decision – much of it anonymous – is becoming impossible to ignore, even within a Republican field that typically favors a far laxer set of contribution limits than their Democratic counterparts.” AND, ICYMI, from Lee Fang at The Intercept, “Citizens United Means Wealthy, White Donors Dominate 2016 Presidential Fundraising.”

Bernie to meet #BlackLivesMatter –> Politico’s Nick Gass reports, “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted on Monday that he would meet with civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson and others to discuss his racial justice platform.” AND: Video of Hillary’s recent meeting with #BlackLivesMatter shows her speaking candidly with the young activists.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s position paper on immigration came under heavy fire. Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress compares it to the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision.

Arctic drilling –> Yesterday, President Obama gave Shell the final go-ahead to start drilling in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune: “There’s a 75-percent chance of a major oil spill if Shell drills in the Arctic, and a 100-percent chance of further climate disruption… Granting Shell the permit to drill in the Arctic was the wrong decision, and this fight is far from over.”

On the other hand –> Reuters reports that the EPA today will propose rules “aimed at cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by up to 45 percent over the next decade from 2012 levels… The rules are intended to put the United States on course to meet its pledge to the United Nations climate change talks to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.” However, Phil McKenna of InsideClimateNews says “leading environmental organizations” do not think the rules go far enough: “The problem with the EPA’s proposal, the groups say, is making the reduction measures voluntary for existing oil and gas infrastructure and mandatory only for new or modified facilities.”

Katrina, a decade later –> You’re going to be seeing a lot of Katrina coverage over the next few days as we approach the anniversary of both the deadly hurricane and the Bush administration’s woefully inadequate response. The new issue of The Nation has several articles devoted to the storm’s aftermath. And there’s this from Malcolm Gladwell at The New Yorker: “In the past ten years, much has been said, rightly, about the resilience and the spirit of those who chose to rebuild the neighborhoods they had lost. It is time to appreciate as well the courage of those who, faced with the same disaster, decided to make a fresh start.”

Where not to go to school –> Last week, we linked to a story from the Tampa Bay Times: “Why Pinellas County is the worst place in Florida to be black and go to public school.” Now the paper has published this full-length investigative report and it’s shocking: “In just eight years, Pinellas County School Board members turned five schools in the county’s black neighborhoods into some of the worst in Florida. First they abandoned integration, leaving the schools overwhelmingly poor and black. Then they broke promises of more money and resources. Then — as black children started failing at outrageous rates, as overstressed teachers walked off the job, as middle class families fled en masse — the board stood by and did nothing.”

Tributes to Julian Bond continue –> Read Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s remembrance of her friend and fellow civil rights champion.

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