What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Bernie Backs DNC Chair’s Opponent; Surprise from Oklahoma’s Anti-Abortion Governor

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Bernie Backs DNC Chair's Opponent

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally at Waterfront Park on May 18, 2016 in Vallejo, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Bernie endorses Democratic chair’s primary foe –>  As infighting continues within the Democratic Party, Nika Knight at Common Dreams writes, “Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced in an interview released late Saturday that he would be backing Tim Canova, the progressive challenger running to unseat incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) in the congressional race for Florida’s 23rd district. ‘Well, clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders told Jake Tapper of CNN’s State of the Union. ‘His views are much closer to mine than to Wasserman Shultz’s.'”

Criticism of Wasserman Schultz’s leadership of the Democratic National Committee has mounted during the primary and caucus season. Here’s what Bill Moyers and Michael Winship had to say on Friday.

ICYMI –> Also on Friday, Oklahoma’s Republican, anti-abortion governor Mary Fallin surprised many and vetoed a bill that would have made it a felony for doctors in the state to perform abortions. Tierney Sneed at Talking Points Memo reports that Fallin did not think the legislation “would have survived a constitutional legal challenge. ‘While I consistently have and continue to support a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, this legislation cannot accomplish that re-examination,’ Fallin wrote in her veto message. ‘In fact, the most direct path to a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade is the appointment of a conservative, pro-life justice to the United States Supreme Court.'”

President in Hanoi –> Foster Klug at the Associated Press reports on President Obama’s arrival in Vietnam, where he announced the lifting of a 50-year ban on arms sales: “Obama announced the full removal of the embargo at a news conference where he vowed to leave behind the troubled history between the former war enemies and embrace a new era with a young, increasingly prosperous nation. Obama steered clear of harsh condemnation of what critics see as Vietnam’s abysmal treatment of dissidents, describing instead modest progress on rights in the one-party state.”

Also: This morning, President Obama confirmed reports that a drone strike in Pakistan had killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. The New York Times reports: “‘Calling the death ‘an important milestone,'” the president said in a statement that “the United States had ‘removed the leader of an organization that has continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and coalition forces.'”

“Vigil after vigil after vigil” –> As the NRA ended its annual meeting in Louisville, Ky.,  The New York Times finds that there were “at least 358 armed encounters nationwide last year — nearly one a day, on average — in which four or more people were killed or wounded, including attackers. The toll: 462 dead and 1,330 injured, sometimes for life, typically in bursts of gunfire lasting but seconds… Only a small handful were high-profile mass shootings like those in South Carolina and Oregon. The rest are a pencil sketch of everyday America at its most violent. They chronicle how easily lives are shattered when a firearm is readily available — in a waistband, a glove compartment, a mailbox or garbage can that serves as a gang’s gun locker.”

AND, in the wake of Trump’s rhapsodic reception at the NRA meeting on Friday, Hillary Clinton said, “Unlike Donald Trump, I will not pander to the gun lobby, and we will not be silenced and we will not be intimidated. As long as children anywhere are being killed by gun violence, we will keep fighting for our kids, because they deserve a president who stands up for them and stands with the mothers here. Their lives are valuable.” (via CNN)

Not one cent for Trump –> Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns at The New York Times: “Interviews and emails with more than 50 of the Republican Party’s largest donors, or their representatives, revealed a measure of contempt and distrust toward their own party’s nominee that is unheard of in modern presidential politics. More than a dozen of the party’s most reliable individual contributors and wealthy families indicated that they would not give to or raise money for Mr. Trump. This group has contributed a combined $90 million to conservative candidates and causes in the last three federal elections, mainly to ‘super PACs’ dedicated to electing Republican candidates.”

The Times also offered a cross-section of what some of the wealthy donors think of Trump. Our favorite, that of Florida health care mogul Mike Fernandez: “He said he would donate to Mr. Trump ‘when hell freezes over,’ adding, ‘Oh no, but is that not where he resides?'”

Dead heat in Austria –> In a election many have been watching as evidence of the growth of right-wing xenophobia in Europe, Anthony Faiola of The Washington Post reports that the race for Austrian president between populist, far-right candidate Norbert Hofer and Green Party politician Alexander Van der Bellen is too close to call: “Hofer, a 45-year old who campaigned on an anti-migrant, anti-Muslim and anti-establishment platform, held a lead in the direct vote, winning 51.9 percent, according to the Interior Ministry… But hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots, set to be counted Monday, could yet swing the result.”

Hoarders –> Jill Treanor at The Guardian writes that a report from the ratings agency Moody’s calculates, “Some of the biggest US companies have accumulated cash piles worth almost $1.7tn (£1.1tn) – more than two thirds of it overseas… The five companies hoarding the most cash – Apple, Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Oracle – between them held $504bn by the end of last year. The tech sector held 46% of the total…

“The figures will add to the controversy about companies sitting on cash as the data shows they are parking it offshore to avoid the tax bill that would be due on returning ito the US.”

College debt “even worse than you think” –> From one of the metropolitan centers of higher education in the country comes this disturbing in-depth report from the Boston Globe. Low-income students are being encouraged to fill the ranks of smaller private colleges, but “students are often being loaded up with staggering debt that is completely out of whack with the earnings boost they’ll likely get from a degree at a nonselective or less selective college… But more troubling, many of these low-income students — and, at some colleges, most of them — are not graduating. That means these non-completers are leaving campus saddled with lots of debt but none of the salary gains that traditionally come with a bachelor’s degree.”

Morning Reads has been written by Michael Winship and edited by Theresa Riley. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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