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.

Kunduz –> The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald dissects “The Radically Changing Story of the U.S. Airstrike on Afghan Hospital: From Mistake to Justification.” Amy Davidson at The New Yorker has “Five Questions About the Bombing of a Hospital in Kunduz.” AND, from Michael E. O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institution, “The hospital bombing was a bigger disaster than the United States has yet recognized. The United States cannot undo it, but it needs to face up to what has happened, and do so immediately.”

Here’s an idea –> From Michael O’Hare at Washington Monthly: “Congress should require everyone owning a handgun, or a long gun not suitable for hunting, to have a license, renewable every five years at no charge, and should authorize/deputize, and fund, the NRA as the sole issuer of that license. When a firearms outrage takes place, it will be a matter of public record which NRA functionary, supervised by which NRA executive implementing what protocol, thought it would be OK for that perp to be armed, on the basis of what evidence.”

More guns than people –> At The Washington Post’s “Wonkblog,” Christopher Ingraham notes a milestone: “A 2012 Congressional Research Service report published exactly one month before the Sandy Hook school shooting put the number of civilian firearms at 242 million in 1996, 259 million in 2000, and 310 million as of 2009. If that 310 million number is correct, it means that the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency was an inflection point: it marked the first time that the number of firearms in circulation surpassed the total U.S. population.”

And another, much better “first” –> David Mack at Buzzfeed News reported, “The World Bank on Sunday announced that for the first time it was forecasting the rate of extreme global poverty to drop below 10% in 2015 — evidence, it says, that the push to eliminate poverty is working. The World Bank predicts the number of people earning less than $1.90 a day will fall to 702 million people this year, or 9.6% of the global population — down from 902 million people, or 12.8%, in 2012.

“’This is the best story in the world today,’ said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. ‘These projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty.'”

Madhouse of Cards–> Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo outlines “a pretty embarrassing series of developments in the House GOP leadership transition.” ALSO, Mother Jones’ Russ Choma: “John Boehner’s Likely Successor Won’t Be Able to Tame the House GOP Either.”

Now he tells us –> Former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke tells USA Today’s Susan Page that after the 2008 financial meltdown, banking executives should have gone to jail: “It would have been my preference to have more investigation of individual action, since obviously everything what went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm.” Bernanke has a new book out today, The Courage to Act. ALSO, Sam Ro at Business Insider.

BUT, Michael Hiltzik writes at the Los Angeles Times, “There’s no evidence in the text that Bernanke ever urged this policy on federal prosecutors during or after the crisis. Rather, he seemed to regard threats against individuals as counterproductive or, at the very least, irrelevant to what he considered Job 1 in real time: Keeping the economy from falling into a depression.”

What stands in the way of sentencing reform –> Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals agree — our system of mass incarceration is expensive and untenable. Plus, writes University of Washington political scientist Rebecca U. Thorpe in The Washington Post, “Moral opposition is growing to a system that is seen as racially biased and overly punitive for drug-related and nonviolent crimes.” BUT, “Rural communities that host prisons support punitive criminal laws and policies and lobby against reform not simply because of concerns for public safety, but also because they profit politically and economically from prison growth.”

Must read –> Margaret Talbot in The New Yorker on Bernie Sanders, “The Populist Prophet.”

Must hear –> This report from public radio’s Lindsey Smith on elevated levels of lead in the blood of children drinking tap water in Flint, Michigan, and how state and local governments there are caught in a web of  misinformation, apparent ineptitude and outright lies.

RIP –> The extraordinary author, social activist and organizer Grace Lee Boggs of Detroit, 100 years old. In June 2007, she spoke with Bill Moyers on Bill Moyers Journal.

You can get our Morning Reads delivered to your inbox every weekday! Just enter your email address below…


  • submit to reddit