scharrison's blog

Shadowy Republican group behind massive ad buy for Erica Smith

Pay close attention folks, campaign meddling has already begun:

Faith and Power, a new political action committee with ties to Republicans, formally launched on January 29 and quickly placed a $1.56 million broadcast ad in the Democratic primary, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission and the Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group. The ad aims to boost Smith over Cal Cunningham, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and has raised significantly more money.

"Who's the Democrat for US Senate endorsed by progressives and unions? Erica Smith," says the ad's narrator. "Who's got the courage to vote for 'Medicare for All'? Erica Smith. The number one supporter of the Green New Deal? Erica Smith again."

You don't even need Occam's Razor to figure this one out, Occam's Butterknife will do. Why would Republicans boost one Dem over another in a Primary? Because they believe she would be easier to beat come November. While this ad appears to be targeted directly at left-leaning Dems, it also includes triggers (Unions, Green New Deal) to stoke fear and revulsion in conservative and even some moderate voters. Here's a little more on the group running the ads:

Mark Johnson's staff engaged in illegal wiretapping of former employee

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And there needs to be a formal investigation of this by NC DOJ:

Allegations surfaced during a recent Department of Information Technology hearing that when retiring K-3 Literacy Director Carolyn Guthrie turned in her DPI-issued MacBook laptop in 2017, she neglected to log the device out of her iCloud account. As with any such organization, the Department of Public Instruction has a policy that devices of departing employees must be wiped clean. DPI reportedly did not follow that protocol with Guthrie’s laptop, and her personal iPhone text messages continued to sync to the MacBook’s iMessage app for more than a year after her departure. According to deposition testimony referenced at the hearing, Guthrie noticed her phone pairing with another device but did not realize it was her old laptop until she learned that DPI was in possession of her personal communications.

If the allegations are true, that would mean someone at Johnson’s department actively monitored Guthrie’s personal iPhone text message communications using her old laptop. It would mean someone working under Johnson’s supervision made a decision to read through private communications between Ms. Guthrie and her family and friends until finding something that was useful.

Unwritten rule #14: If you stumble across information you weren't supposed to have access to, you cannot use it until you find another source for said information that isn't so radioactive. It ain't rocket surgery, but apparently Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch are not very clever...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Please don't forget about this, folks:

I think we can all agree that young voters are a reliably progressive voice, and we need them now.

Trump tariffs are forcing NC farmers into bankruptcy

This is not fake news, but he will try to spin it that way I'm sure:

The number of family farms filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy last year spiked 20 percent nationally, according to a study by the American Farm Bureau Federation. That’s the highest increase since 2010, the year after the Great Recession ended. In the Southeast, it swelled 48 percent from 2018.

The $87 billion agriculture industry plays a crucial rule in North Carolina’s economy, according to N.C. State University. It employs 17 percent of the state’s workforce. According to the Farm Bureau, there were 16 filings in North Carolina in 2019 — a 33 percent jump from 2018 — and 10 in South Carolina, more than three times higher than the 2018 total.

Funny thing, you hardly ever see one of these bankrupted farmers on the news, except maybe in some deep-dive documentary where the producers spend weeks tracking people down. It's actually not funny, because when they are finally forced to give up, the last thing they want to do is admit their failure to a large audience. It's a hard life, making one or two paydays a year cover all your costs and feed your family until the next harvest. The last thing they need is a toddler knocking over that fragile formula by disrupting their market. But by and large, farmers still support Trump, even though he has thrown them under the bus in favor of Big Ag numerous times:

Silent Sham update: $74,999 went to the Daughters, not the Sons

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And it actually paved the way for the sham lawsuit itself:

Through the SCV, the UNC System directed its $74,999 payment into the hands of Sara Powell, president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division Inc.

Those funds incentivized Powell to cut her own deal on behalf of the UDC, allowing the SCV to “turn around and sue the (UNC System Board of Governors), so we could settle it and give them $2.5 million,” one person close to the UNC System's board said.

It's like when you detect a suspicious odor in your fridge, and then you discover a container of ancient leftovers hidden behind other stuff. You think it smells bad before you open the lid, but then you're gagging and racing it outside to the trash can. There are so many aspects of this case that stink, but quite possibly the worst one is the effort to avoid/evade scrutiny by the Attorney General's office. The UNC Board of Governors gave away a pile of cash so they would be forced to give away a much bigger pile of cash. Forget the damn statue for a moment; that activity alone is enough to have that Board completely replaced, or at least all the Board members who were involved. But don't expect BergerMoore to lift a finger. And don't expect the Board of Governors to police itself, either:

Science vs. Fiction: New social studies curriculum erases cave men

Darwin would not be pleased by this development:

Human evolution and prehistoric times would vanish from North Carolina’s social studies curriculum under new proposed standards. But some teachers are fighting to keep the Paleolithic Era alive in classrooms.

Kenneth Dailey teaches sixth-grade social studies at Quail Hollow Middle School in south Charlotte. That means he’s responsible for introducing students to a time more than 10,000 years ago, when Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens shared the planet. "The Paleolithic Era would be where people were more tribal," Dailey said. "They’re hunting and gathering, they’re nomadic, they’re moving around; you know, looking for food, looking for game."

If anything, the schools need to spend more time studying this era. The migration of humanity alone, most notably the early Americans crossing from Asia into the Northwest, is critical in understanding the later culture clash (which we are still dealing with, by the way) of Europeans crossing the Atlantic in the latter 15th Century. But that doesn't fit with the narrow biblical narrative of a young Earth:

Richard Burr: Witnesses won't change our minds, so why have them?

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Whatever credibility he once had is long gone:

“I personally feel that even if they invited witnesses and witnesses confirmed, yes, the president had a quid-pro-quo or something like this, if it doesn’t rise to the level of removal from office than why would we put the American people, the institution, through this process, when we know what the outcome is going to be at the end of the day,” Burr said.

It would take 67 votes to remove Trump from office. Republicans control 53 seats, so 20 of them would have to vote to remove Trump along with all 47 Democrats and independents.

In other words, even if he is guilty, we don't care. Understand, Richard Burr is Chairman of the Committee that has been investigating foreign interference in American elections for about two and a half years now. The President not only invited foreign interference, he demanded it, holding up military assistance that likely cost Ukrainian soldiers their lives in the process. It's no wonder Tillis has been such an embarrassment. Burr is senior, and arguably should be a mentor for the first-term (hopefully single-term) Senator. But apparently Do Nothing Burr has nothing to offer along those lines.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

You know you're living in a Fascist country when:

I guess it's time to re-write that Statue of Liberty phrase...

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