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.

NSA told hands off on phone records –> The Associated Press reports, “The Obama administration has decided that the National Security Agency will soon stop examining — and will ultimately destroy — millions of American calling records it collected under a controversial program leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.” The agency claimed that it checked the records about 300 times a year “against phone numbers suspected of being linked to terrorism. But the program was not considered instrumental in detecting terror plots.”

Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation urges participation in a “week of action” against US Senate passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Act (CISA). According to EFF’s Nadia Kayyali, among other provisions, “Not only does CISA grant companies more power to obtain ‘cyber threat indicators’ and to disclose that data to the government without a warrant—it requires real time sharing of that information to military and intelligence agencies, including the NSA.”

Not so fast, TPP –> Negotiators are gathering in Maui for what’s being described as the “final round” of Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, the trade agreement that last month was given fast track clearance by Congress. But Jonathan Weisman at the NY Times says there remain “high hurdles to clear,” with various countries objecting to various provisions of the proposed pact. On Sunday, The Hill reported, “Opponents of President Obama’s trade agenda believe they can marshall their forces to defeat [TPP], even as the finish line for the controversial agreement comes into view.”

What to do about ISIS –> NATO is holding an unusual emergency meeting today to discuss the ISIS/ISIL/Daesh threat to Turkey. Juan Cole has “Top Six Signs ISIL/Daesh is Doomed.”

Scary hack attack –> Planned Parenthood yesterday announced that they are being attacked by anti-choice computer hackers threatening to reveal confidential data. Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens: “Planned Parenthood has notified the Department of Justice and separately the FBI that extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services have launched an attack on our information systems, and have called on the world’s most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members.”

The Boy Scouts did a good deed –> And yesterday ratified an executive committee’s recommendation to end a ban on gay scout troop leaders and staff members.

That Hillary “criminal investigation” story in the NY Times –> Here’s the Times’ public editor’s explanation of what went wrong. And Media MattersAnd SalonAnd Newsweek.

YesterdayThe Guardian reports: “In the first big reveal of her climate change policy, Clinton said she would install half a billion new solar panels by the end of her first term in the White House, and generate enough renewable energy to power every home in the country 10 years after her inauguration.” But she’s still avoiding a position on Keystone XL. Climate activist Bill McKibben: “We need Clinton to show she understands the other half of the climate-change equation — and prove she has the courage to stand up against fossil fuel projects like offshore and Arctic drilling, coal leasing in the Powder River basin, and the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Take the quiz –> Eric Liu at The Atlantic asks, “How Much Political Power Do You Have?” Answer 20 questions “designed to reveal how few people actually make things happen in civic life in America — but also how easy it would be for them to have a greater say.”

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