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 John Light.

The Democrats debate –> The first debate between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee will be tonight at 8:30 on CNN. The network’s also streaming it online for free. Professional talkers are framing this debate as a chance for O’Malley to get his voice heard: Like Sanders, O’Malley positioned himself to the left on Clinton on most issues, but unlike Sanders, he hasn’t seen a payoff in the polls. At The Nation, Joan Walsh writes of frontrunners Sanders and Clinton: “A liberal will square off against a socialist atop the most progressive Democratic field in most of our lifetimes.”

Where’s Lessig? –> The Harvard law scholar, who entered the race as a single-issue anti-money-and-politics candidate, did not get an invite. Writes WaPo’s Dave Weigel: “To be allowed onstage, a candidate needs to score at or above 1 percent in polls co-sponsored by TV networks. But most network polls simply don’t ask voters about Lessig.” Says Lessig: “If the party won’t allow me to run as a Democrat, that creates a lot of pressure to think about a different way of running that would allow me to make this case to the American people.”

California gets out the vote –> Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown made California the second state, after Oregon, “to automatically register citizens who request a driver’s license or state ID from the DMV unless they opt out.” The Nation’s Ari Berman notes “the law could add 6 million unregistered voters to the rolls, which would be the largest voter-registration drive in state history” and contrasts that with Alabama’s recent passage of a strict voter-ID law followed by the closure of 31 DMV locations in majority black counties across the state.

Reminder: It is still the New Gilded Age –> The New York Times: “Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.” Of these families, 20 contribute mostly to Democrats; the other 138 support Republicans. Almost all are white men largely clustered in a handful of neighborhoods across nine cities.

Great longread –> At The New York Review of Books Barack Obama interviews author Marilynne Robinson. And Slate’s Katy Waldman offers some key excerpts.

The final leaked TPP text is all that we feared –> EFF’s Jeremy Malcolm writes that “last week’s release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t survive to the end of the negotiations.” Read his analysis at Truthout.

Escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians –> The latest attack occurred this morning in Jerusalem. The BBC: “Near-daily stabbings by Palestinians have left dozens of Israelis dead and wounded over the past fortnight. Several attackers and at least 17 other Palestinians have been killed in the upsurge of violence.”

Iran convicts journalist –> Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was convicted by the Iranian government of “espionage, collaborating with hostile governments, collecting and distributing information about foreign policies ‘with malicious intent’ and ‘conducting propaganda against the establishment'” — all charges leveled against the reporter for doing his job, writes Joby Warrick at The Washington Post. “Iran appeared to be moving on Monday to position Mr. Rezaian’s case as part of a broader effort to get the release of Iranians detained in the United States,” writes Thomas Erdbrink at the NYT. WaPo executive editor Martin Barron: “The guilty verdict announced by Iran in the trial of The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian represents an outrageous injustice.”

Search for a new speaker –> “Paul Ryan is reportedly considering a run for House speaker,” writes Julie Kleigman at The Week. And, of course: “Far-right media figures, relatively small in number but potent in their influence, have embarked on a furious Internet expedition to cover Representative Paul D. Ryan in political silt,” writes Jennifer Steinhauer at the NYT.

Oops –> AFP, via The Guardian: “Bearded hipster group says police mistook them for Islamic State terrorists.

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