scharrison's blog

Richard Burr sticks head in the sand over Trump crime ring

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And the irresponsibility reaches an astounding level:

Though some GOP senators expressed discomfort with the the plea deal reached by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and the guilty verdict rendered on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, there has been no seismic shift in the GOP after a bombshell Tuesday. Some Republicans attacked Cohen as not credible, some said Manafort’s conviction has nothing to do with Trump and others still said the matter doesn’t fall in their purview as senators.

“I’m not sure why that would change my support for the president,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) of the past day’s events. “He was elected by the American people. Short of impeachment or death, he’s the president.”

Hoo boy, talk about being oblivious to irony. Impeachment would require a 2/3 vote from the U.S. Senate, and one of those Senators just admitted that Trump directing his attorney to violate campaign laws did not even diminish his support of the President one iota. Here's a translation of Burr-Speak: "Until he's impeached, I support him. But I support him, so he won't be impeached." Doesn't get much more Orwellian than that, folks.

Confederate monument watch: Guard posted in Alamance

It would be nice if they protected African-American citizens with such dedication:

The monument has been a hot spot several times in the past few years between those calling for the removal of Confederate monuments and statues of Confederate leaders from public property — especially after the 2015 mass murder of nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C. — and those rallying around what they call Southern heritage who want to preserve those statues and display the Confederate battle flag.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with Graham police to “provide manpower,” according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kirk Puckett. While he won’t give specifics, Puckett said someone will be there 24 hours a day “until further notice.” There have been no direct threats against the monument or the courthouse, according to Puckett.

While this Graham statue hasn't garnered nearly as much attention as Silent Sam, we've had a few clashes over it. We're also working to get some sort of monument erected in a corner of the square (not pictured) to a former slave who became a magistrate after the war, only to be lynched by the local version of the Klan. That project began shortly after I wrote this Op-Ed a year ago. Read it when you get a chance, it's a fascinating (and horrifying) story. But this current police presence is likely more about preventing pro-Confederate vigilantes from gathering than actually protecting the monument itself:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

"Face in the dirt" is very symbolic, I must say:

You know what? If they had moved that statue last year (or the year before that), it would not have come to this. The responsibility lies solely on the shoulders of those who can't stop fighting a war they lost 150 years ago, and those who were afraid to ruffle their feathers.

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Pollution "watchdog" was lawyer for polluters

This is starting to read like a really bad dystopian future novel:

As a corporate lawyer, William L. Wehrum worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants. Now, Mr. Wehrum is about to deliver one of the biggest victories yet for his industry clients — this time from inside the Trump administration as the government’s top air pollution official.

On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to propose a vast rollback of regulations on emissions from coal plants, including many owned by members of a coal-burning trade association that had retained Mr. Wehrum and his firm as recently as last year to push for the changes.

If Trump was merely "incompetent," his staffing decisions would be bad enough. But we've gone far beyond a lesser (or least) qualified appointee, and into the realm of a "fox in the hen house." And for those who saw a glimmer of hope in the possible rift between Trump and the Koch Brothers, put those hopes back in your pocket:

Piqued by the lack of attention, Dan Forest makes some noise

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Revealing the obvious, that he's running for Governor in 2020:

A big piece of North Carolina’s 2020 race for governor fell into place Thursday when Dan Forest gave his clearest signal yet that he’s running. This raises a number of questions, including: Who is Dan Forest? What has he accomplished that makes him qualified to serve as governor? And what’s next for Pat McCrory? Forest is North Carolina’s lieutenant governor and a Republican. On Thursday, he issued a statement reacting to the latest news on the I-77 tolls project.

“The I-77 toll road contract was a colossal mistake started by the Perdue administration, signed by the McCrory administration, punted by the Cooper administration and would be fixed by a Forest administration,” he said.

Bolding mine, because there aren't enough LOLs to cover how funny those questions are. The answers: Dan Forest is a marketable product with no actual utilitarian function. He's an artifact, created by political craftsmen to be the ideal (1950's) candidate. What has he accomplished? Less than nothing, but since it's hard to explain how his very presence has eroded the integrity of both his office and the voting public's discretionary skills, we'll just stick with "nothing." And I have to give a hat-tip to Taylor Batten, who is one of the few reporters acknowledging that lack of accomplishment:

McClatchy newspapers take Trump to task for "Fake News!" attacks

It probably won't nudge the Deplorables one bit, but it's good to see:

No American president, or any city council member, for that matter, has ever unreservedly delighted in the way he or she was presented in the press. “I so appreciate the accuracy of their reporting on my perceived flaws!” said no official ever. “And good for them for holding me accountable.”

But President Donald Trump has veered into unfamiliar and perilous territory with his unceasing all-out assault on the free press and the First Amendment. Of course, the irony of Trump’s attacks on the “SICK!” and “very dishonest people” in “the fake media” he accuses of purveying, yes, “fake news” is that he himself is a product of the New York tabloids. He’s as savvy about manipulating his coverage as he is adept in undermining it.

Bolding mine, because that explains literally everything about his Presidency. Consider: While Trump himself may have came from money, his main targets of opportunity in real estate scams were the Nouveau Riche. People who were trying desperately to break into the social circles of New York's genuine elite. And nobody showed up more frequently in the high-society pages than Donald Trump, not by accident, but by design. I guarantee you the only time he cracked open the pages of the New York Times was to either check the Dow or if somebody told him there was an article that mentioned his name. Trump not only approved of yellow journalism, he thrived under it, and now he can't even recognize legitimate journalism when it happens. He also doesn't understand the U.S. Constitution:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Standing up for environmental justice:

We need to see something like this happening every week (or day).

The GOP's national effort to stifle college voting

Using every trick in the book:

With fewer than 100 days until the highly anticipated midterm elections, and political activists and college administrators attempting to galvanize students across the country to go to the polls, the GOP-controlled government in New Hampshire did something unusual.

Governor Chris Sununu signed a law last month that required part-time residents to switch to permanent status if they want to vote, making it harder for students to participate. Democrats derided the move as a “poll tax” and a way to suppress the student vote, which is already the lowest among voters of any age in part because of barriers students face in registering.

This attack on Millennials and the earliest batch of GenZers can also be viewed as an attack on progress. Republicans know these potential voters bring to the table heightened critical thinking skills, a trait that is woefully absent in the traditional GOP base, meaning their shallow attempts to paint regressive policies as "good for the country" will fall on deaf ears. And the fact these efforts are underway in numerous states means it is orchestrated, and definitely not a coincidence:

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