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Morning Reads: Fidel Castro Dead at 90; Trump Touts Fake Voter Fraud News

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

Morning Reads: Fidel Castro Dead at 90

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Muerte de Castro –> Glenn Garvin at The Miami Herald reports, “Fidel Castro, who towered over his Caribbean island for nearly five decades, a shaggy-bearded figure in combat fatigues whose long shadow spread across Latin America and the world, is dead at age 90. His brother Raul announced the death late Friday night.

“… He held a unique place among the world’s leaders of the past century. Others had greater impact or won more respect. But none combined his dynamic personality, his decades in power, his profound effect on his own country and his provocative role in international affairs.”

At The Nation, Peter Kornbluh writes, “Fidel Castro’s death on Nov. 25 comes at a particularly delicate stage in the ongoing effort of normalization. President Obama has done his utmost to consolidate the process of reconciliation by using his presidential authorities to open the portals of diplomatic ties, commerce and travel. But Cuba, like much of the rest of the world, remains anxious and uncertain as to what President-elect Trump portends for the future — and whether Trump will fulfill his campaign promise to ‘reverse’ Obama’s executive orders to improve relations unless Cuba ‘meets our demands.'”

Standing Rock –> The Army Corps or Engineers has ordered demonstrators at Standing Rock to vacate the area surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site by Dec. 5. Demonstrators say they will stand their ground, and the encampment, which is now estimated to be tens of thousands strong, is growing by the day, Vice reports. “The Army Corps of Engineers — they aren’t our landlords,” Isaac Weston of the Sioux Nation said at a press conference in the main camp. “This is our land. They can’t remove us. They need to respect our treaties and respect our rights.”

Meanwhile, Alleen Brown reports for The Intercept that media outlets covering the demonstrations with a sympathetic perspective toward the pipeline’s opponents are, like the demonstrators, being arrested and fired at with rubber bullets by police. At least seven journalists have been arrested while covering the pipeline clash.

Recount –> Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has raised millions of dollars over the last few days to fund a recount in key swing states where analysts suggest something might be amiss. Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton’s campaign joined the recount effort. Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said that the campaign had “not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology,” but that it had “quietly taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule in or out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.”

Trump is furious about this, and, also, perhaps, that Hillary Clinton’s popular vote tally continues to grow, topping Trump by 2.2 million votes with more than a million to be counted. Yesterday he tweeted that in addition to winning the Electoral College, he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” This, of course, is not something that happened. Millions did not vote illegally. It seems that the petulant president-elect got this idea from a fairy tale published by InfoWars, the conspiracy theory website run by Alex Jones.

Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, said in a statement Sunday night, ‘It appears that Mr. Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him. His unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect.”

Trump’s global conflicts of interest –> Reporting from six countries, a team of New York Times reporters outline Trump’s many potential conflicts of interest. The president-elect’s vast business empire has objectives in many countries that have little to do with — and, at times, run counter to — US foreign policy in a way unlike any previous president. The many countries spanned by his interests include the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has denounced the US, the UK, India and Turkey.

Here’s one of the many conflicts detailed in the Times story: “In Turkey, officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a religiously conservative Muslim, demanded that Mr. Trump’s name be removed from Trump Towers in Istanbul after he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. More recently, after Mr. Trump came to the defense of Mr. Erdogan — suggesting that he had the right to crack down harshly on dissidents after a failed coup — the calls for action against Trump Towers have stopped, fueling worries that Mr. Trump’s policies toward Turkey might be shaped by his commercial interests.”

Lobbyists at the ready –> Rebecca Ballhaus for The Wall Street Journal: “Corporations are scrambling to retool their lobbying efforts as Republicans, preparing for control of the House, Senate and White House come January, hope to break the partisan logjam that has blocked the passage of legislation for six years. Among policy areas back on the table — in some cases for the first time since Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 along with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate — are immigration, health care, the tax code, infrastructure and Wall Street regulations. These are all top issues on which corporations lobby Congress and the White House.”

And, at the Economic Policy Institute’s “Working Economics” blog, Josh Bivens writes, “During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised that he would take the side of American workers against economic elites when evaluating policy. Yet, the policy proposals he put forth during the campaign had nothing in them that would actually help working- and middle-class Americans. Now that more plans and potential cabinet appointments are coming into focus, it looks worse than many of us thought even before the election. Across a broad range of crucial issues, the incoming Trump administration appears likely to betray the promises he made to the American middle class.” Bivens shows how.

Whistleblower stikes again –> J. Gerald Hebert is an attorney who heads the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center’s work on voting rights and redistricting issues, but three decades ago he put his job at the Department of Justice on the line to testify against Jeff Sessions, now a US senator but who then was a federal attorney up for a judgeship. Sessions had once told Hebert that a civil rights attorney might be a “traitor to his race” and that the NAACP was “un-American” for “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people who were trying to put problems behind them.” Sessions didn’t get that judgeship, likely as a result of Hebert’s testimony, but is now Trump’s pick to be our next attorney general, a position in which he would have the authority to further roll back voting rights — increasing the damage done when the Supreme Court struck down key parts of the Voting Rights Act. Hebert’s story, which he tells at The Washington Post, is worth a read.

Morning Reads was compiled 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!



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