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Friday News: Astroturfing the Triad

BELTWAY GROUP ORGANIZES OPPOSITION TO "WELCOMING CITY" RESOLUTION: An online petition to prevent Winston-Salem City Council from passing a “welcoming city” resolution is generating a Washington beltway publicity push through a privately held conservative influence outfit with a murky funding structure. Although Councilman Dan Besse withdrew a “welcoming city” resolution from consideration on Monday, Stand United is working to promote opposition to the resolution in the event that it is resurrected. Triad City Beat received an email from a strategic communications fellow at the Pinkston Group, an East Coast public relations firm that specializes in “earned-media exposure,” on Thursday morning with an offer to facilitate an interview with Stand United about the effort to kill the “welcoming city” resolution.
https://triad-city-beat.com/2017/04/beltway-influence-machine-lends-aid-welcoming-city-fight/

Thursday News: The people's court

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COMMON CAUSE AND CITIZENS FILE LAWSUIT ON SPECIAL SESSION SHENANIGANS: The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court contends that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, president of the state Senate, Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the state Senate, and Tim Moore, speaker of the state House of Representatives, violated North Carolinians’ rights when they took up the bills in a three-day session in December without laying out to the public what was on the agenda. “Legislative leaders used the tragedy of a hurricane to conceal a sneak attack on the authority of a properly elected governor,” Morrison said. “There was not even a pretense of proper procedure and public input.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article145578589.html

Wednesday News: Conspiracy

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DEMOCRACY NC SEEKS CRIMINAL PROBE OF MCCRORY CAMPAIGN OVER VOTER CHALLENGES: A voter-rights organization hopes to persuade state and federal prosecutors to investigate whether former Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign and the state Republican Party conspired in late 2016 to falsely accuse hundreds of voters of fraud. Nearly all protests were prepared by attorneys with the firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, based in Warrenton, Virginia, whose clients have reportedly included Republican strategist Karl Rove's American Crossroads organization and other GOP groups. Disclosure reports on the state Board of Elections website show that the Pat McCrory Committee and Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund paid the firm $98,000 in late November and December.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article145328789.html

Tuesday News: Come on, Georgia

DEMOCRAT JON OSSOFF LOOKING STRONG IN SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION: Voters in a suburban Atlanta congressional district will decide Tuesday whether Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff will win outright a special election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a district the Republican Party has held since 1979. The closely watched contest has drawn national attention as the first political bellwether of the Trump era, after the district nearly split its vote between the Republican leader and Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election. It even drew the president’s personal attention Monday, when the White House occupant criticized Ossoff in a tweet. “The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressioal (sic) race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!” Trump said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article145072879.html

Monday News: Corporatocracy

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MANY OF DONALD TRUMP'S APPOINTMENTS ARE RECENT LOBBYISTS: President Donald Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck. The potential conflicts are arising across the executive branch, according to an analysis of recently released financial disclosures, lobbying records and interviews with current and former ethics officials by The New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica. In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article144961129.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILL: The North Carolina General Assembly is where terrible ideas go to live forever. These horrible ideas, seemingly banished by court decisions, public revulsion or sheer stupidity, manage to spontaneously regenerate in the most unlikely places. Take the no-good idea of combining the state Board of Elections and state Ethics Commission. It was about a month ago when a three-judge panel said the legislature’s December extra-session attempt to merge the two boards was a very bad idea and amounted to an unconstitutional grab of the governor’s power. It is unfortunate that legislative leaders seem more concerned about tinkering with the administration of elections rather than working on ways to increase turnout and making it easier for those who are eligible to register and cast ballots.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-a-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-bill/16639437/

Saturday News: Cuddling with the Bear

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FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR CARTER PAGE HERO TO RUSSIAN NATIONALISTS: Page also received largely unreported attention from nationalist organizations within Russia that could have invited scrutiny. The Moscow television station Tsargrad covered him before, during and after his speech to the New Economic School in Moscow. Tsargrad is owned by right-wing nationalist Konstantin Malofeev, who was sanctioned by the Obama administration and European allies for allegedly bankrolling Russian nationalists in the Crimean peninsula, which was seized by Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s forces in February 2014. Tsargrad is affiliated with a nationalist think tank called Katehon, also funded by Malofeev. Tsargrad’s editor in chief is Aleksander Dugin, a conservative sage who wrote confidently on Katehon’s website in February 2016 that Trump’s nationalist message would carry him to the U.S. presidency.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article144722809.html

Friday News: Tweeting for war

TRUMP'S THREATS TO NORTH KOREA ON TWITTER COULD LEAD TO MILITARY CLASH: President Donald Trump's tweets are adding fuel to a "vicious cycle" of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea's vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Friday. The official added that if the U.S. shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own. Trump posted a tweet Tuesday in which he said the North is "looking for trouble" and reiterated his call for more pressure from Beijing, North Korea's economic lifeline, to clamp down on trade and strengthen its enforcement of U.N. sanctions to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearize. Trump has threatened that if Beijing isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the U.S. might take the matter into its own hands.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article144564214.html

Thursday News: Abe Lincoln was a tyrant?

LARRY PITTMAN PULLS ANOTHER LARRY PITTMAN: A commenter reminded Pittman that the Supreme Court ruling settled the law on gay marriage and that the lawmaker should “get over it.” Pittman’s response: “And if Hitler had won, should the world just get over it? Lincoln was the same sort (of) tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional.” Another commenter asked Pittman to explain why he believes the Civil War, which resulted in the end of slavery, was “unnecessary.” He did not respond to the question on the Facebook page.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article144216324.html

Wednesday News: Kneeling towards theocracy

GOP LAWMAKERS QUOTE SCRIPTURE IN BILL BANNING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A bill filed Tuesday by four N.C. House Republicans would direct state government to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and restore the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage. The bill quotes the Christian Bible and says the ruling “exceeds the authority of the court relative to the decree of Almighty God that ‘a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24, ESV) and abrogates the clear meaning and understanding of marriage in all societies throughout prior history.” The bill would order state government to return to the constitutional amendment known as Amendment One, which was approved in a 2012 voter referendum. It also says that same-sex marriages performed in other states wouldn’t be recognized in North Carolina.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article144006904.html

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