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.

Wise words –> Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone nails it once again as he goes after the priorities of corporate Democrats. “The Democrats could take this godsend of a Trump situation and use it as an opportunity to finally have a healthy primary season debate about what they want to stand for in the future,” he writes. “But nah to that. They’ll probably just hoover donor cash and use press surrogates to bash progressives the way they always have. Trump or no Trump, if politicians don’t have to work for your vote, they won’t.”

From Trump’s treasure trove of tweets –> He’s so rich he says he can’t be bought: “While I’m beating my opponents in the polls, I’m also beating lobbyists, special interests & donors that are supporting them with billions.”

And this just in from The Onion –> GOP Candidates Offered Cash Voucher To Give Up Spot And Participate In Later Election.”

Chunnel chaos –> Reuters on the refugee crisis in Europe: “Large numbers of migrants camped out in the Calais area have tried to board lorries and trains traveling from France to Britain… There were about 1,500 attempts by migrants to access the tunnel on Tuesday night, a Eurotunnel spokesman said, after 2,000 attempts the previous night.” One Sudanese man died.

“The spy with a fan club” –> That’s what a journalist once dubbed Jonathan Pollard, the US Navy civilian employee who in 1985 was convicted and imprisoned for selling intelligence secrets to Israel. For years, the Israeli government and various Jewish-American groups have clamored for his release. Yesterday, his parole was scheduled for November 21. The Chicago Tribune has a good summary of the case and notes, “… Expect accusations that the Obama administration is setting Pollard free without protest because the White House wants Israel to soften its opposition to the U.S.-brokered nuclear deal with Iran.” Jeff Stein at Newsweek asks the provocative question, “Does Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard Have $1 Million Waiting in a Swiss Bank Account?” And if so, how’s he going to get it?

Meanwhile, this from Al Jazeera: “The Obama administration has rejected a petition signed by almost 168,000 people calling on it to pardon former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden for leaking US government secrets.”

Guess who thinks that unions reduce income inequality? –> The International Monetary Fund, that’s who. A new IMF Staff Discussion Note, “Inequality and Labor Market Institutions,”  says, “The decline in unionization is related to the rise of top income shares and less redistribution, while the erosion of minimum wages is correlated with considerable increases in overall inequality.” But at the AFL-CIO Now blog, Tula Connell notes, “Long a bastion of pro-employer policies, the IMF is not willing to go so far as to recommend the obvious. Acknowledging its findings can ‘suggest that higher unionization and minimum wages can help reduce inequality,’ the IMF dodges the logical conclusion to pursue such policies, saying its data ‘do not constitute a blanket recommendation for more unionization or higher minimum wages.'”

What’s more, “Rich people, surrounded by other rich people, think America is richer than it really is.” That’s the headline in The Washington Post. Emily Badger reports that’s bad news for the poor because “wealthier people who overestimated the extent of wealth in the U.S. were also more likely to perceive the economy as fair and more likely to oppose redistribution policies.”

And as if we don’t have enough to be paranoid about –> Jenna McLaughlin at The Intercept: “Municipalities across the United States are implementing intrusive methods of monitoring the stuff people throw away as part of a push to increase efficiency and conformity to recycling rules. But the end result is that some garbage trucks now have the ability to record the contents of your trash cans on video to inspect each object.”

Finally, watch this –> July 18 was Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday; he would have been 78. In 1967, the gonzo journalist sat down with the legendary Studs Terkel for an interview. The people from “Blank on Blank” at the PBS Digital Studios have animated part of their conversation.

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