What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Rudy’s Many Conflicts of Interest; Democrats Denounce Bannon

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

Morning Reads: Rudy's Many Conflicts of Interest

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani signs autographs during a November campaign rally for Donald Trump in Reno, Nevada. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Giuliani for Secretary of State? –> It looks like a possibility. But, “Rudy Giuliani’s paid consulting for foreign governments would present conflicts of interest as the nation’s top diplomat that would make the Clinton Foundation look trifling,” Isaac Arnsdorf reports for Politico. It includes lobbying for MEK, the exiled Iranian political party; advising Qatar’s state-run oil company; lobbying for Citgo, the US branch of the Venezuelan state oil company, and Saudi Arabia’s oil ministry as well as a slew of other, domestic dirty fuel companies; helping the manufacturer of OxyContin settle a DEA fine and advising TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone Pipeline. One of his firms “provided security advice to a Singapore gambling project on behalf of a partnership that included a tycoon close to the North Korean regime who is considered an organized crime figure by the US, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.”

“I have friends all over the world,” Giuliani told The New York Times in an interview defending himself. “This is not a new thing for me. When you become the mayor, you become interested in foreign policy. When I left, my major work was legal and security around the world.”

Outcry on Bannon –> Given his past ginning up of racial and sexist resentment as the publisher of Breitbart, Democrats are calling their legislators and demanding that Donald Trump’s campaign CEO Steve Bannon not be appointed chief White House strategist. Christina Flom reports for Roll Call: “Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon was among one of the first lawmakers to condemn the appointment in a statement Monday. ‘There should be no sugarcoating the truth here: Donald Trump just invited a white nationalist into the highest reaches of the government,’ Merkley said.”

Meanwhile: Lee Drutman, a policy writer and fellow with the New America Foundation who sometimes contributes to our site, received an envelope full of anti-Semitic propaganda at his home. At Vox, he writes, “This is the first time I have been personally targeted. I am Jewish, though this has never been part of my public identity. I don’t write about Jewish issues. I don’t pick fights. I am far from a television personality. I also know I’m not alone in being targeted by elements of hate in this country.” Drutman notes that the man who sent him the propaganda, who is not hiding and who put a return address on the package, “will probably welcome this attention. In Trump and Bannon’s America, this is a man who now feels emboldened. This is a man who feels the law and authorities will now be on his side.”

A new threat –> Charlie Pierce writes at Esquire that Republicans now control 33 state legislatures. One more would be enough to call a convention to rewrite parts of the United States Constitution, a long-time goal for many on the right: “To constitutional experts, a new convention is like talking about the neutron bomb. Advocates of the Article V movement insist that they can limit a convention to certain topics… The problem with that is that there absolutely no precedent in law or in history to back up that contention.”

Taking a stand –> Kate Mather and Cindy Chang for the Los Angeles Times: “Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday that he has no plans to change the LAPD’s stance on immigration enforcement, despite President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to toughen federal immigration laws and deport millions of people upon taking office. For decades, the LAPD has distanced itself from federal immigration policies… On Monday, Beck said he planned to maintain the long-standing separation. ‘I don’t intend on doing anything different,’ he said. ‘We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status. We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.'”

Some help with all that fake news –> Melissa Zimdars, a communication and media professor at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, has put together a list of “news” sites that you should be cautious about trusting — or might not want to trust at all. Madison Malone Kircher writes for New York magazine’s Select All blog: “Zimdars’s list is expansive in scope, and stretches beyond the bootleg sites (many of them headquartered in Macedonia) that write fake news for the sole reason of selling advertisements. Right-wing sources and conspiracy theorists like Breitbart and Infowars appear alongside pure (but often misinterpreted) satire like The Onion and The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report. ‘Not all of these sources are always or inherently problematic, but I’m including them because they should be considered in conjunction with other news/info sources due to their tendency to rely on clickbait headlines,’ Zimdars notes.” Here’s the list.


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.