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.

Marry the men — and women — today –> The Washington Post’s Sandhya Somashekhar and Robert Barnes report that, without comment, “The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a Kentucky county clerk’s request to be excused from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the court’s first involvement in a series of legal battles that have erupted since gay couples won the right to marry.”  If she refuses to comply on Tuesday, Kim Davis “could be held in contempt, leading to daily fines or jail time.” (Earlier on Monday, Tierney Sneed at Talking Points Memo revealed that Davis “inadvertently granted a marriage license to a transgender man and his wife last February, the couple said… [Camryn Colen and his wife Alexis Colen said] Davis had advised her staff to process the paperwork without requesting to look at Camryn’s birth certificate, which still lists him as female.”)

Barack of the Arctic –> At Common Dreams, Jon Queally sums up the significance of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s trip to Alaska — including the return of Mt. McKinley to its original name, Denali — and the conflict between White House climate change warnings and support of Shell Oil’s offshore drilling in the Arctic.

Speaking about global warming at an Arctic climate summit yesterday, Obama said, “On this issue – of all issues — there is such a thing as being too late. And that moment is almost upon us.” But climate activist and founder of Bill McKibben writes at Medium that, “… Presidents can’t do everything physics demands on climate change. For one thing, Republicans get in the way. And for another we obviously can’t shut down all use of fossil fuels overnight, though in terms of climate change that would be smart. All we can do is move as quickly as possible towards a renewable future. Which is precisely why we shouldn’t even consider opening up a vast new pool of oil, one that we won’t even be able to tap for 10 or 20 years. When you’re in a hole the first rule is stop digging — and yet we’ve just given Shell a giant shovel.”

In other presidential news –> In a first-time, sit-down interview with the Jewish-American newspaper The Forward, President Obama defended the nuclear deal with Iran and thanked the Jewish community for its “incredible support” throughout his career. Asked by Forward editor Jane Eisner if he was personally hurt by charges of anti-Semitism that have been hurled by some opposed to the Iran agreement, the president replied, “Oh, of course. And there’s not a smidgen of evidence for it, other than the fact that there have been times when I’ve disagreed with a particular Israeli government’s position on a particular issue.”

ALSO, The New York Times’ Noam Scheiber notes that as the president’s term nears its end, “With little fanfare, the Obama administration has been pursuing an aggressive campaign to restore protections for workers that have been eroded by business activism, conservative governance and the evolution of the economy in recent decades.”

Refugee disaster –> As thousands jam highways and train stations trying to get from Hungary into Germany and Austria, Thalif Deen at Inter Press Service reports, “While Western European countries are complaining about the hundreds and thousands of refugees flooding their shores, the numbers are relatively insignificant compared to the 3.5 million Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon… Meanwhile, international organisations, including the United Nations, have been calling for ‘humanitarian corridors’ in war zones – primarily to provide food, shelter and medicine unhindered by conflicts.” AND Alison Smale and Melissa Eddy at The New York Times write that the crisis “may be starting to fray Europe’s commitment to erase old borders.”

#BlackLivesMatter says no to Dems –> On Friday, the Democratic National Committee passed a statement  of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But according to Amanda Terkel at The Huffington Post, the Black Lives Matter Network rejected it, saying, “We do not now, nor have we ever, endorsed or affiliated with the Democratic Party, or with any party. The Democratic Party, like the Republican and all political parties, have historically attempted to control or contain Black people’s efforts to liberate ourselves. True change requires real struggle, and that struggle will be in the streets and led by the people, not by a political party.”

Travesty –> Before and after pictures from the UN showing ISIS destruction of the Temple of Bel in the ancient city of Palmyra.

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