Good morning! Here’s your daily digest of money-and-politics news and the headlines of the day, compiled by BillMoyers.com’s John Light. (You can sign up to receive Morning Reads daily in your inbox!)
Keep calm –> Vladimir Putin is irate after Turkey — a NATO member — shot down a Russian fighter jet that, like many before, seems to have crossed from Syria into Turkish air space despite repeated warnings not to. The media is using scary phrases like “World War III” to describe the possibilities here, but Vox’s Max Fisher explains why they should take a deep breath: “The stakes are just too low… Neither cares enough about enforcing Syria-Turkey border zone air rights to escalate much over this.”
Video sparks protests –> More than a year after it happened, Chicago police released a dash-cam video showing white officer Jason Van Dyke continuing to shoot at 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, even after McDonald is down and on the ground. Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder. Jason Meisner, Jeremy Gorner and Steve Schmadeke report for the Chicago Tribune. Last night, demonstrators flooded Chicago’s streets in protest.
Hate crime suspects in custody –> Five Black Lives Matter protesters were shot in Minneapolis Monday, allegedly by three white males. As of yesterday afternoon, police have the suspects in custody, report Laura Wagner and Eyder Peralta at NPR. Nearly a thousand demonstrators marched on City Hall in Minneapolis yesterday.
America’s gun violence problem at its worst –> At ProPublica, Lois Beckett tracks how the search for solutions to the wildly disproportionate number of African Americans killed by gun violence repeatedly slips out of national conversations on gun control: “America’s high rate of gun murders isn’t caused by events like Sandy Hook or the shootings this fall at a community college in Oregon. It’s fueled by a relentless drumbeat of deaths of black men.”
Funding a fake debate –> How much did corporate power have to do with stalling action on climate change? Quite a bit, according to a new Yale University Study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. “The analysis suggests that corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists,” writes Joby Warrick at The Washington Post. “The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” said Justin Farrell, the study’s author.
Win for democracy –> Two weeks before leaving office, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is restoring voting rights for 170,000 ex-felons. Ari Berman reports at The Nation that this is one area where Democrat Beshear and his state’s Republican politicians, including his successor Matt Bevin and Sen. Rand Paul, agree.
Unprecedented –> The second largest advertiser in the 2016 presidential race is a nonprofit group that is barred by law from promoting a single candidate’s campaign — and yet has spent at least $8.4 million in dark money to back Marco Rubio. Much of the group’s leadership has also worked with Rubio in the past, writes Andrew Prokop at Vox. This marks a shift from previous years when dark money nonprofits didn’t get involved in primaries in a serious way. This year is different: “Despite the potential legal risk, the allure of extra anonymous cash has proved too tempting for the many candidates’ operations to turn down.”
How DC works –> In a recording of a conference call leaked to Lee Fang at The Intercept, lobbyists from polluting industries said they hoped the refugee controversy would give their congressional allies the cover they need to block water pollution regulations pushed by the Obama administration: “‘We’re suddenly not the big issue,’ said one call participant. ‘I mean, this is all going to turn on refugees.’
“‘I think that helps us,’ said another call participant. ‘I think it helps us with the White House being on defense,’ another legislative strategist on the call said.”
How creative –> Donald Trump’s lies aren’t just politically motivated. In Virginia, he invented an historic Civil War encounter on a golf course he owns, “It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!” declares a riverside plaque, below a Trump family crest. “Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot,” the inscription explains. “The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’” Local historians told the NYT’s Nicholas Fandos that nothing of the sort happened. “How would they know that?” replied Trump. “Were they there?”
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