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Morning Reads: Obama Announces Limited Action on Guns

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Obama Announces Limited [...]

President Barack Obama speaks about gun control during a meeting with top law enforcement officials, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey (R) in the Oval Office at the White House January 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama talked about his options using executive actions on stricter gun control laws. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Executive action on gun control –> President Obama is pushing forward with a series of executive actions expanding background checks for gun purchasers and toughening existing gun laws. But, “faced with clear legal limitations on his authority,” his steps will “stop well short of the kind of large-scale changes to the gun trade that he unsuccessfully sought from Congress three years ago,” Michael Shear and Eric Lichtblau report for The New York Times. Nonetheless, Republicans are outraged.

Big push –> As Washington worriedly watches escalating tensions among Saudi Arabia, Iran and their respective Sunni and Shia allies, the Saudi PR machine in Washington has clicked into a higher gear. Following Saturday’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, “The Saudi side of the story is getting a particularly effective boost in the American media through pundits who are quoted justifying the execution, in many cases without a mention of their funding or close affiliation with the Saudi Arabian government,” write Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani at The Intercept.

Oregon “standoff”continues, Feds wait and see –> The militants occupying buildings on an Oregon wildlife refuge have pledged to “kill and be killed,” forcibly resisting any attempt by law enforcement to remove them. So for now, law enforcement is letting them hang out. Dana Liebelson, Ryan J. Reilly and Nick Baumann report for The Huffington Post that “due to a number of factors — the crisis is unfolding in a remote part of Oregon; it doesn’t appear to be a life-or-death situation; and there are no hostages involved — law enforcement officials want to avoid unnecessarily escalating the standoff, the source said. The FBI instead hopes to get a better handle on the situation over the next few days.”

ALSO: Wajahat Ali at The Guardian on the double standard in Oregon: “If, in a vacuum, I told you that a bearded man with his head covered had posted a video on social media calling on his followers to leave their homes with weapons, migrate to a new area, take over government property ‘as long as necessary’ and use violence if confronted by law enforcement, you’d probably assume that I was talking about the latest propaganda video released by Isis, filmed in Iraq or Syria and intended to recruit violent Muslim extremists.”

AND: The gunmen didn’t think ahead and shop before their occupation so they want our help… in the form of snacks and shampoo. Shane Dixon Kavanaugh and Adi Cohen report for Vocativ.

Today’s Trump untruth –> Donald Trump earned his seventeenth “pants on fire” ruling from the Pulitzer Prize-winning, fact-checking organization PolitiFact yesterday. His first TV campaign ad purports to show dozens of migrants charging across the America’s “southern border” — but used footage of people crossing a fence in North Africa.

Driving toward justice –> The Justice Department sued Volkswagen on Monday, taking legal action on Environmental Protection Agency charges that in more than half a million of their cars sold in the US, VW placed illegal software that cheated on emissions tests. Tim McDonnell writes for Mother Jones, “The suit today represents the Obama administration’s first steps to follow up on the EPA’s allegations. The suit says that VW could be liable for up to $6,500 in fines per vehicle—totaling to more than $3 billion — and adds that recalls or other possible remedies are still being considered.”

Californians to vote on Citizens United –> The California Supreme Court has cleared the way for a November ballot measure on Citizens United. Maura Dolan reports for the Los Angeles Times that the proposition will ask voters to advise lawmakers on whether the state should push for a federal constitutional amendment to overturn the US Supreme Court decision from 2010 that unleashed torrents of campaign cash.

Delete Tweet –> Twitter is changing the rules for what can get you kicked off the social media platform, barring users from hate speech or encouraging violence. That’s especially bad news both for terrorist groups in the Middle East, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, and white supremacists here at home, all of which have used Twitter to attract support. Jessica Contrera explains the new rules at The Washington Post.

Move over, Rutherfordium –> Four new, man-made elements have edged their way onto the periodic table. “Classified as ‘superheavy’ — the designation given to elements with more than 104 protons — the new elements were created by using particle accelerators to shoot beams of nuclei at other, heavier, target nuclei,” reports Bill Chappell for NPR.

Morning Reads is compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship.


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