What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Obama at the G20 Summit in China; Two More Months of Election Madness

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

Morning Reads: Obama at the G20 Summit in China

President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One for the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. (Photo by Etienne Oliveau/Getty Images)

The G20 Summit –> As summer holidays came to an end with the Labor Day weekend here in the United States, a lot of the news was coming from the G20 Economic Summit in Hangzhou, China. But most of the headlines were being made on the sidelines and not related to items on the main agenda.

While there, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin met privately to discuss a ceasefire in the Syrian firing, failing to reach a deal but agreeing to continue negotiating.

The two leaders also talked about cyber security and Obama told a press conference after their meeting, “We’ve had problems with cyber intrusions from Russia in the past… What we cannot do is have a situation where this becomes the wild, wild West, where countries that have significant cyber capacity start engaging in unhealthy competition or conflict through these means.” His remarks came as The Washington Post reported, “US intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in US political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.”

At the beginning of the summit, a diplomatic kerfuffle flared when President Obama arrived in Hangzhou and the customary stairway failed to roll up to the front door of Air Force One. We’re not making this up. The president left via a smaller exit in the aircraft. While viewed by many as an intentional snub by China’s government, Obama brushed it aside. “I wouldn’t over-crank the significance of it,” he said. “… It happens in a lot of places including, by the way, sometimes our allies.”

Donald Trump, however, in his usual understated way, declared, “… [I]f that were me, I would say, ‘You know what, folks, I respect you a lot but close the doors, let’s get out of here…’ It’s a sign of such disrespect.”

Jose A. DelReal at The Washington Post noted, “The Clinton campaign quickly seized on the comments and criticized Trump’s temperament.”

President Obama is now in Laos, the first sitting American president to visit that country, which was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War. “During an address to the Lao people in the country’s capital,” Elise Labott at CNN reports, “Obama pledged $90 million in a joint three-year project with the country’s government to clear tens of millions of unexploded US bombs.”

The best news from the G20 –> “President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China formally committed the world’s two largest economies to the Paris climate agreement here on Saturday,” Mark Landler and Jane Perlez of The New York Times reported, “cementing their partnership on climate change and offering a rare display of harmony in a relationship that has become increasingly discordant… Countries accounting for 55 percent of the world’s emissions must present formal ratification documents for that to happen, and together, China and the United States generate nearly 40 percent of the world’s emissions.”

And not a moment too soon –> Also in The New York Times, from Justin Gillis, “For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline. Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

“Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called ‘sunny-day flooding’ — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly. Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too.”

Another fracking quake? –> Jackie Wattles at CNN Money: “When an earthquake struck Oklahoma on Saturday, one of the first steps state officials took was to shut down 37 of the state’s 3,200 active disposal wells — a move that drew national attention to the link between oil and gas drilling and earthquakes.” According to Bloomberg News, “The tremor in central Oklahoma was felt from Texas to Illinois, measuring 5.6 in magnitude and tying a state record set in 2011, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.”

The USGS issued a statement: “Without studying the specifics of the wastewater injection and oil and gas production in this area, the USGS cannot currently conclude whether or not this particular earthquake was caused by industrial-related, human activities. However, we do know that many earthquakes in Oklahoma have been triggered by wastewater fluid injection.”

Two more months of madness –> Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence hit the bricks in battleground state Ohio on Labor Day, kicking off the last few weeks of the most bizarre presidential campaign in living memory. Meanwhile, Annie Karni at Politico reports, “Hillary Clinton’s long national standoff with the press is over.” The candidate spoke with reporters on her new campaign plane, Karni reports. “’I’m thrilled,’ she said, holding a rolled up sheaf of papers in her hand. ‘No, really! I wanted to welcome you onto the plane. I think it’s pretty cool, don’t you?’

“A hesitant press corps, out of practice with casual interactions with the Democratic nominee, paused before responding. ‘You’re supposed to say yes,’ she said.”

You say that like it’s a bad thing –> At ThinkProgress, Esther Yu Hsi Lee writes that during an MSNBC appearance on Thursday, Marco Gutierrez, founder of “Latinos for Trump,” warned that “Latino culture will overtake America if Trump does not become president, leading to ‘taco trucks on every corner.'”

Morning Reads was compiled 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!

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.