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.

BREAKING –> House Speaker John Boehner resigning from Congress at the end of October.

The Pope on the Hill –> Pope Francis made his much awaited speech before a joint session of Congress Thursday morning. “The pope reiterated several key themes of his papacy in front of US lawmakers,” Michael O’Loughlin at Crux reports, “including calls for more humane policies toward immigrants, the abolition of the death penalty, taking steps to curb environmental abuse, condemning the weapons industry, decrying a lack of opportunity for the young, and calling on a commitment to fight global poverty. At the same time, he also lamented what he called threats to the family, including a lack of opportunity for young people.” Here’s the complete text from the Vatican.

Many were struck by his  focus on four Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Catholic radical activist and organizer Dorothy Day, and Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton. With these references, John Nichols writes in The Nation, “the pope has invited an understanding that the discussion of morality in our economic arrangements and global interventions must be broadened to recognize a plurality of voices — including the radical and prophetic voices of those who argue that ‘something else is necessary’ to alleviate poverty.

“…  These voices may not define the discourse. But if they inform it, as they did the pope’s speech to Congress, then it is possible that Americans might yet explore the prospect, as Dorothy Day did, that poverty amid plenty is [a] choice that nations make—rather than an economic or social destiny that must be accepted. ‘I am sure that God did not intend that there be so many poor,’ observed Dorothy Day. ‘The class structure is our making and our consent, not His.'”

ALSO, in advance of the pontiff’s speech at the United Nations this morning, novelist, historian and former priest James Carroll has a great piece at Talking Points Memo remembering Pope Paul VI’s antiwar speech before the UN in 1965, during the Vietnam conflict, and the angry reaction of Carroll’s Air Force general — and Catholic — father. “For people of a certain age,” Carroll recalls, “Paul VI at the UN remains the unlikely measure of the difference a pope can make, of the pain that can come when a pope speaks the truth, and of the tragedy that can follow when that truth is ignored.”

Big environmental news –> Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Coral Davenport at The New York Times report, “President Xi Jinping of China will make a landmark commitment on Friday to start a national program in 2017 that will limit and put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, Obama administration officials said on Thursday. The move to create a so-called cap-and-trade system would be a substantial step by the world’s largest polluter to reduce emissions from major industries, including steel, cement, paper and electric power.

“The announcement, to come during a White House summit meeting with President Obama, is part of an ambitious effort by China and the United States to use their leverage internationally to tackle climate change and to pressure other nations to do the same.”

Five days and counting –> To a possible government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding. Honest. Various scenarios from Martin Longman at Washington Monthly, Jim Newell at Slate, and Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan at Politico. ALSO, Edwin Rios at Mother Jones: “The Shutdown Could Cause 46 Million Americans to Go Hungry.”

Congressional Republicans resist negotiating on the world stage, too –> At The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian writes, “… Among Democrats — 42 of whom voted to block the resolution of disapproval bolstering the Iran pact — multilateralism is riding a wave of enthusiasm. They think negotiations could be applied to other thorny global issues such as future arms control ventures, resolutions of long-running conflicts and efforts to mitigate terrorism… ‘But I don’t know how to convince Republican colleagues,’ [Delaware Democratic Senator Chris] Coons said in an interview. ‘They expect to be the indispensable nation that protects the world’s security.'”

The refugee crisis in 6 minutes –> Take a look at this terrific video explainer from Munich-based design studio Kurzgesagt (German for “in a nutshell”).

Quote of the week –> “I don’t think it’s about religion. I don’t think it’s that suddenly people are converting to Catholicism. I think basically he’s kind of like Bernie Sanders in a white dress, and people are psyched about it.” Activist and writer Naomi Klein on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

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