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Morning Reads: Florida Faces Hurricane Matthew, Presidential Campaigns Accused of Breaking Finance Laws

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

Morning Reads: Florida Faces Hurricane Matthew

People drive out of the Orlando area in Kissimmee, Florida, in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Matthew, on October 6, 2016. (GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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Good morning. We’ll be taking the Columbus Day weekend off. See you Tuesday.

“This storm will kill you.” –> After leaving more than 260 people dead in Haiti, Hurricane Matthew has been traveling parallel to Florida’s east coast, pummeling the state with high winds and heavy rain. The state’s governor, Rick Scott, is warning people to get out. “This is serious,” Scott said yesterday. “This storm will kill you. Time is running out.” One and a half million people are being evacuated from the state, and Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina have declared states of emergency.

“October hurricanes aren’t supposed to be this scary,” Scott Dodd, editor of the environmental news site Grist, wrote. “Tropical storm season technically runs through November, but August and September — when ocean temperatures peak — are typically the major months of concern. By October, sea surface temps usually decline, reducing storm intensity. (Warm water = jet fuel for hurricanes.) But CO2-heated oceans, combined with sea-level rise, could increase the danger of strong late-season storms. Recent studies suggest that tropical cyclones might become less frequent in a warmer world — but the ones we do get will be stronger and more damaging.”

October surprise –> Rick Hasen at Slate: “The storm also may have dire electoral implications, potentially affecting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and landing emergency election litigation from Florida once again before the (now-deadlocked) United States Supreme Court… Voter registration in Florida closes in just five days. According to Professor Dan Smith of the University of Florida, in the last five days of registration in 2012, 50,000 Florida voters signed up to vote. Many who might normally sign up to vote at the last minute are now following Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s order to flee the affected areas of the state, and they are not likely to register to vote on their way out or drop ballots in closed post offices or soon-to-be-flooded post office boxes. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has already called for voter registration deadlines to be extended, but the Republican governor has already turned down that request.”

Second presidential debate –> The event take place this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, in St. Louis. Donald Trump reportedly is ignoring his advisors’ advice to show up better prepared this time around.

Nobel Peace Prize –> The Washington Post: “Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to end a half-century of civil conflict in his nationdespite Colombian voters’ shock rejection of the peace deal just days ago… [T]he award was a surprise because of the uncertainty over whether peace will hold following a Sunday vote that rejected the deal. Many Colombians see it as too generous to the militias of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.”

No plan in Mosul –> Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon for The New York Times: “As Iraqi and American troops prepare to try to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State, the Obama administration is describing the battle as the last major hurdle before declaring victory against the extremist Sunni militancy — in Iraq, at least. But some former officials and humanitarian aid groups are worried that President Obama will run into the same problem that haunted his predecessor, George W. Bush: beginning a ground campaign without a comprehensive plan for what happens afterward.”

“Permanent crisis” –> Clea Benson for Politico: “Consumers want a sense of empathy and connection from their banks, and they don’t think they’re getting it, according to a global survey out Thursday from Brunswick Group timed for release with the IMF/World Bank meetings. The poll of residents in the US, the UK, France and Germany found the same populist fervor that drove Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump: Despite all the post-crisis financial regulation, the public still thinks banks are only out to help the 1 percent, and they’re willing to vote to rein in the financial system.”

More GOP defections –> Leigh Ann Caldwell for NBC News: “A group of 30 former Republican members of Congress has publicly come out against Donald Trump. It’s the largest group of former Republican elected officials to officially announce their opposition to the current leader of their party. ‘Sadly, our party’s nominee this year is a man who makes a mockery of the principles and values we have cherished and which we sought to represent in Congress,’ the letters states.”

Paul Ryan’s revolution –> The Speaker of the House is headed out to stump for Donald Trump, the president he says he needs to get his agenda passed. At Politico, Ben Weyl reports, “If Donald Trump is elected president and Republicans hold onto Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan is bluntly promising to ram a partisan agenda through Capitol Hill next year, with Obamacare repeal and trillion-dollar tax cuts likely at the top of the list. And Democrats would be utterly defenseless to stop them.”

Ryan laid out his plans yesterday, including legislative maneuvers to get around Democrats in Congress. At New York magazine, Ed Kilgore warns: “Combined with the illusion that the filibuster would give Senate Democrats a veto over anything egregious, the Republicans-in-disarray meme has lulled a lot of Democrats, and the media, into a drowsy inability to understand how close we are to a right-wing legislative revolution if Donald Trump becomes president and Republicans hang on to Congress.”

Illegal coordination –> The nonprofit watchdog organization Campaign Legal Center is alleging that both Clinton and Trump campaigns have violated campaign finance law by coordinating super PACs supporting their canddate’s election. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts and use that money to buy ads and do work that helps a candidate’s campaign, as long as they are not coordinating directly with that campaign.

In a press release announcing that the Campaign Legal Center had filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission, the group’s associate counsel Brendan Fischer says, “If either candidate is allowed to get away with these schemes, there is no doubt that the new loopholes they’ve created will be exploited by billionaires and corporations across the political spectrum… The two major candidates for the most powerful office in the world apparently feel that the rule of law does not apply to them, perhaps because they assume that the FEC is too dysfunctional to enforce the campaign finance laws that exist. The question for both Clinton and Trump is what, specifically, are they going to do to fix the broken system they are exploiting.”

“Conspiracy theorist in chief” –> Mother Jones reporter Tim Murphy tracks Trump’s growing affinity for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the talk-show host and proprietor of the website InfoWars. Jones is one of the main forces behind such conspiracy theories as the Sandy Hook shootings never having happened, that Hillary Clinton is gravely ill, the election will be rigged, and, of course, that Barack Obama was not born in America and is in fact a Kenyan-born imposter named “Barry Soweto,” or, alternatively, “Barry Soetoro.” In a broadcast, Jones recently said, “It is surreal to talk about issues here on air, and then word-for-word hear Trump say it.”

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.