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Morning Reads: Will Anything Change After Orlando? Peabody Coal’s Revealing Bankruptcy Docs

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Morning Reads: Will Anything Change After Orlando?

A woman walks with a sign to protest gun violence and call for sensible gun laws outside the White House, June 13, 2016 (MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Pols respond to Orlando –> Yesterday was dominated by politicians trying to address Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, or to avoid discussing it. Hillary Clinton called for a renewed ban on assault weapons. The last such ban expired 12 years ago, and at The Washington Post, Dave Weigel examines how attitudes on guns and gun laws have and haven’t changed since then.

In Congress, when House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) attempted to hold a moment of silence but refused to discuss legislation tightening gun control, he was shouted down by House Democrats, many of whom opted not to participate in the moment of silence — they saw it as an empty gesture by gun lobby-backed Republicans.

Related: Fusion has put together an interactive map showing all members of the House and Senate who have taken NRA money and then tweeted prayers for those killed in Orlando.

But: We look back at this Lee Drutman piece in Vox, published last December, that reminds us that the issue here is not simply NRA contributions to members of Congress. The voters who turn out to vote the NRA line also back the issue with more fervor than those who want restrictions on guns: “Liberals often fail to understand the passion that motivates these voters. But spend some time watching some of the NRA propaganda videos and related programming, and you might begin to understand… Nothing the other side has mustered historically has come close to the breadth and depth of this passion.”

Donald Trump doubled down on his proposed immigration bans (though Sunday’s gunman was born here in the United States) and pandered to conspiracy theorists with snarky dog-whistle insinuations that Obama intentionally may have been letting terrorist groups carry out attacks in the US. When Jenna Johnson at The Washington Post wrote about this, with the headline “Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting,” Trump revoked The Post’s press credentials. (This according to Politico, which also has been banned by the Trump campaign.) Meanwhile, his friend and sometimes advisor Roger Stone didn’t bother with insinuation and declared that Clinton aide and advisor Huma Abedin is in the pocket of Saudi Arabia and a “terrorist agent.”

But remember the victims –> The Orlando Sentinel offers profiles on almost all of the dead so far identified.

Peabody bankruptcy reveals climate denial network –> Nick Surgey of the Center for Media and Democracy, which tracks conservative influence, reports that Peabody Coal’s bankruptcy documents show the company funding a who’s who of climate deniers, including ALEC and public relations guru Rick “Dr. Evil” Berman. The company also is paying Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe $435,000 this year alone to lead its Supreme Court challenge to Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Mixed victory –> America has hit a milestone: We now produce more climate-change causing emissions from transportation than we do from generating electricity. Vox’s Brad Plumer writes, “The basic story is that the United States has made remarkable progress in cleaning up its electricity sector since 2005. Whenever you see exciting headlines about renewable energy growth or the fall in US emissions, those pieces are usually talking about electric power… But power plants are only about one-third of America’s CO2 emissions. Transportation, another third (and now the biggest source), remains much tougher to address. In fact, since 2013, transport emissions have been creeping upward again.”

Goodbye –> Climate change has claimed its first species of mammal — that we know of. Michael Slezak for The Guardian: “Human-caused climate change appears to have driven the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species into the history books, with the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that lives on a tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait, being completely wiped out from its only known location.”

Promise unfulfilled –> Nika Knight for Common Dreams: “An anonymous source close to President Barack Obama revealed that he does not plan to issue an executive order to shutter the notorious detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, more than eight years after he first campaigned on a promise to close the military prison, Reuters reported Monday. ‘It was just deemed too difficult to get through all of the hurdles that they would need to get through, and the level of support they were likely to receive on it was thought to be too low to generate such controversy, particularly at a sensitive [time] in an election cycle,’ the source said.”

The Onion –> “Concerned NRA Official Rushes Out To Purchase Congressman Following Mass Shooting.”

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!


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