What We're Reading

Morning Reads: CIA Head Says He’d Refuse Order to Torture; Wisconsin’s Anti-Union Law Struck Down

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

Morning Reads: CIA Head Says He'd Refuse an Order to Torture

CIA Director John Brennan testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee at the Hart Building on February 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)

Wyoming caucus –> Bernie Sanders won the Wyoming Democratic caucuses Saturday with 55 percent of the vote, though Sanders and Hillary Clinton each collected 7 of the state’s 14 delegates.

And, in a bizarre strategy seemingly aimed at minimizing voter input, this year Colorado Republicans substituted a mini-convention for a primary or caucus. At the convention, Cruz won the support of all of the state’s 34 delegates, the AP reports.

No to waterboarding –> “CIA Director John Brennan told NBC News in an exclusive interview that his agency will not engage in harsh ‘enhanced interrogation’ practices, including waterboarding, which critics call torture — even if ordered to by a future president. ‘I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,’ Brennan said.”

Union busters busted –> Scott Bauer and Tom Richmond for the AP: “Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he was mounting his run for president, was struck down Friday as violating the state constitution. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, also a Republican, promised to appeal the decision and said he was confident it would not stand… The unions argued that Wisconsin’s law was an unconstitutional seizure of union property since unions now must extend benefits to workers who don’t pay dues.”

Book tour –> The FEC has deadlocked again, because that’s what it does, on whether or not Newt Gingrich should be investigated on allegations that he used his 2012 campaign for president to sell books. The Democrats on the commission wanted to investigate; the Republicans did not. Matea Gold reports for The Washington Post.

Resting on their moneybags –> “Dispirited over a Republican Party primary that has devolved into an ugly, damaging fight, some of the GOP’s biggest financiers are reevaluating whether to invest in the 2016 presidential contest at all,” report Alex Isenstadt and Katie Glueck for Politico. Among the bewildered megadonors is casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who Isenstadt and Glueck write is having “grave doubts about the viability of the few remaining Republican contenders.”

Copycats –> Lee Fang reports for The Intercept that op-eds authored by politicians in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement have been cropping up across the country with talking points — and sometimes whole sentences — identical to those in a memo distributed by a consulting firm paid by the Japanese government to lobby for the agreement.

Young environmentalists go to court –> 21 kids and famed climate scientist James Hansen are suing the federal government to force the Obama administration to adopt stricter climate policies, warning that our current tepid efforts endanger future generations’ constitutional rights. Last November, the fossil fuel lobby joined with the Obama administration to ask for the case to be thrown out. (It’s a story we’ve covered quite a bit; Bill Moyers spoke with one legal scholar behind the case and one of the young plaintiffs for Moyers & Company, and, more recently, we’ve partnered with the green news site Grist to cover new developments.) The latest news came Friday, when, in a major victory for the kids, a federal judge ruled that they had legal standing; the case will now go to trial.

One way to break the log jam –> In a Washington Post op-ed, lawyer and Common Cause board member Gregory Diskant argues that if Congress refuses to hold a hearing on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, President Obama should — and likely has the power to — appoint him anyway. “It is in full accord with traditional notions of waiver to say that the Senate, having been given a reasonable opportunity to provide advice and consent to the president with respect to the nomination of Garland, and having failed to do so, can fairly be deemed to have waived its right.” Whether or not this is a correct interpretation of the law could then be decided by the Supreme Court, presumably with Garland recusing himself.

Oy vey –> Trump stuck his name on a line of vodka that debuted in 2006 and was discontinued in the United States in 2011. But apparently the brand continues to sell in Israel, where it is popular as a vodka made without the chametz ingredients that observant Jews avoid on Passover — a label on the bottles announces that it is kosher for Passover. Problem is, Niv Elis writes for The Jerusalem Post, some batches do include those banned ingredients — but still bear the kosher for Passover labels.

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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