Morning Reads

Good morning! It was on this date in 1776 that the Liberty Bell rang and the Continental Congress officially announced that on July 4 it had adopted the Declaration of Independence. For people like us with instant access to information it may be difficult to fathom the cause of the delay: It took four days for the document to come back from the printers.

Escalating –> Peter Beaumont reports for The Guardian that Israeli fighters and naval vessels pounded 50 targets in the Gaza Strip in an “open-ended and escalating offensive” that may lead to a ground invasion. The Israeli military is calling up reservists.

Related –> At the same time, Barack Obama has an op-ed in Ha’aretz arguing that only a peace deal will bring security to Israelis and Palestinians.

Drug money –> Lee Fang reports for The Nation that several of the groups leading the fight to keep marijuana illegal “derive a significant portion of their budget from opioid manufacturers” and other interests with “a financial stake in the status quo.”

Plot –> At The Washington Post, Carol Leonnig and Manuel Roig-Franzia report that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), an anti-Cuba hardliner, is calling for an investigation into “evidence obtained by US investigators that the Cuban government concocted an elaborate plot to smear him with allegations that he cavorted with underage prostitutes.” At least one reputable news organization passed on reporting the story, but it was published by the conservative Daily Caller.

Fracked –> A study that was recently published in the journal Science concluded that almost all of the 2,500 small earthquakes that have shaken Oklahoma over the past five years “can be linked to the process of drilling for oil and gas.” Emily Atkin reports for ThinkProgress.

A movement to suppress people’s right to vote” –> Richard Fausset reports for The New York Times that a proposal to consolidate five predominantly African-American North Carolina election precincts into two is being viewed by many as an attempt to disenfranchise the black community.

On strike –> Truck drivers for three of California’s largest shipping companies are on strike, “demanding an end to purported labor law violations such as misclassification and intimidation,” according to MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff.

If a tree falls in the forest… –> At The Daily Beast, Mike Tomasky argues that Americans aren’t aware of Obama’s track record on job creation because “liberals don’t speak as one big fat propagandistic voice on this subject in remotely the same way conservatives do when a Republican president is in power.”

Your tax dollars at work –> The House Select Committee to investigate BENGHAZI!! may cost $3 million this year, according to USA Today’s Paul Singer.

The craziest in America” –> Esquire’s Charles Pierce writes that the Texas GOP has veered so far outside the mainstream as to become “a national problem.”

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