republican corruption

David Lewis can't seem to get his story straight

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Lying is such a complicated business, isn't it?

Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, and Minority leader, said he had been informed by Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, that there would be no votes taken in Wednesday’s morning session. Following Tuesday’s House floor session, Lewis texted a WRAL reporter “no votes 8:30” when asked about Wednesday’s session agenda.

“I know that (Rep Jackson’s) trust in me has been shaken, but I did not have the authority to conduct no votes,” Lewis said during Wednesday afternoon’s floor session when all members at the legislature were present.

If you'll recall, Lewis started out claiming that he never told Jackson "no votes at 8:30," and then he changed it to "no mini-budget votes will be taken." But now it's "I did not have the authority." The truth is, he was a critical element in a plot to deceive Democratic lawmakers, whether he was a "knowing" element or not. And if you're wondering why Lewis would allow himself to take so much flak over this issue: He is not an attorney. But Tim Moore is, and subject to potential actions by the NC Bar Association. And the ethical implications of this stunt are wide-ranging:

"Trump 2024" is not a joke, it's a warning

Because violating the Constitution (22nd Amendment) is just another day in crazyville:

President Trump’s tweeting of a “Trump 2024” meme should concentrate the minds of his opponents. So should the results of North Carolina’s special congressional election Tuesday.

Perhaps it’s a mistake to take the first too seriously. But it does underscore the utterly abnormal, chaotic, norm-breaking and corrupt nature of this administration. We have a leader who, like some of his dictator friends abroad, would love to be president for life.

I'm actually much more worried about what he and his rabid followers will try to do when he loses the 2020 Election. He may have to be (physically) removed from the White House in January 2021, but even if he rides off into the sunset on his golf cart, there will be some violent confrontations as a result. Here's more from EJ Dionne:

Another surprise attack by terrorists on 9/11

Beware of the false remedy of "Opportunity Zones"

A better name might be, "Gentrification On Steroids":

President Trump has portrayed America’s cities as wastelands, ravaged by crime and homelessness, infested by rats. But the Trump administration’s signature plan to lift them — a multibillion-dollar tax break that is supposed to help low-income areas — has fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.

Among the early beneficiaries of the tax incentive are billionaire financiers like Leon Cooperman and business magnates like Sidney Kohl — and Mr. Trump’s family members and advisers.

Personal anecdote time: Last year my town's merchant's association held a "business social," bringing in bankers and other Very Important Persons to discuss economic growth possibilities. One of the topics I was very keen to hear about was Opportunity Zones, because we have some areas that really need a lift. But the investment advisor (woman) who presented did not even mention economic improvement, or helping marginalized citizens. It was all about how to leverage the program to reap the most financial benefits. And another quick take: The more the merrier. The more expensive the project, the more tax savings reaped. Which means, the finished product (luxury apartments, high-end retail) would be inaccessible for people on the low end of the totem pole:

Separation of Powers: Appeals court rules against Trump diverting funds for border wall

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Congress does not give the President a blank check:

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that prevented the government from tapping Defense Department counterdrug money to build high-priority sections of wall in Arizona, California and New Mexico.

"As for the public interest, we conclude that it is best served by respecting the Constitution's assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress's understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction," wrote Judges Michelle Friedland, a Barack Obama appointee, and Richard Clifton, a George W. Bush appointee.

Keep in mind, every time the President pulls one of these stunts, he's actually slapping Congress in the face twice. He's spending money on something they didn't want him to, and he's not spending money on something they wanted and authorized. As far as this dissenting opinion:

Judge sets September date for Robin Hayes' bribery trial

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The Karma Wheel rolls slowly but surely:

The criminal trial against North Carolina mega-donor Greg Lindberg and state Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes is tentatively slated for September.

Lindberg, who is far and away North Carolina's largest political donor, Hayes and two Lindberg associates were indicted in March and accused of trying to bribe state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey by funneling campaign donations through the state GOP. All four men have pleaded not guilty.

For now they've all pleaded not guilty. But see, that's the thing about conspiracies; the weakest link always snaps under pressure. I just had the weirdest mental image, of Robin Hayes lifting weights in the exercise yard and getting prison tats...

Trump's tax giveaway for the wealthy is squeezing poor college students

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Whether it's a flaw or a feature, it needs to be fixed asap:

A little-noticed provision in President Trump’s sprawling new tax law is treating middle- and low-income college students as if they are trust-fund babies, taxing sizable financial aid packages at a rate first established 33 years ago to prevent wealthy parents from funneling money to their children to lower their tax burdens.

Students with large financial aid packages are finding their nontuition assistance for items such as room and board taxed by as much as 37 percent, even if their family income tax rates are much lower.

Do the math. A poor kid receiving $11,000 a year for room and board is coughing up $4,000 of that in taxes. If that's "winning" I'd hate to see what happens when we start losing. This should not have come as such a surprise to lawmakers, because they've already been raked over the coals for over-taxing survivor benefits for Gold Star families:

Burr vs. Trump Jr: Subpoena ignites a firestorm in the GOP

Russiagate may be far from over:

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. has ignited an internal Republican firefight over the fate of the committee’s Russia probe, as the panel’s GOP chairman showed no signs of backing down despite fierce criticism from many of his colleagues that it was time to move on.

Much of the backlash against the decision by Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.) to subpoena President Trump’s eldest son came from GOP senators who are up for reelection next year and from those closely aligned with the president. The outrage was partially fueled by Trump Jr. and his own allies.

Much like his father, Trump Jr is simply not clever enough to understand the pros and cons. He could put this issue to bed pretty quickly by showing up and giving a few hours of testimony, but (just like dad) he's too arrogant to do that. And the end result is more focus on the Russia meeting, not less. Say what you will about Richard Burr, he's wholly invested in the reputation of the Intel Committee, and he's not going to leave any questions unanswered. Here's some whining from the peanut gallery:

NC GOP in hot water with FEC over Mark Meadows spending

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Being a money launderer can be complicated:

This letter is prompted by the Commission's preliminary review of the report referenced above. This notice requests information essential to full public disclosure of your federal election campaign finances. Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in enforcement action. Additional information is needed for the following 1 item(s):-

The limitation on making coordinated party expenditures on behalf of a House candidate in the State of North Carolina for the 2018 general election is $49,700. Your reports, however, disclose apparent coordinated party expenditures made on behalf of "Meadows, Mark" totaling $85,512.30, which appear to exceed the limitations under 52 U.S.C. §30116 (d) ( formerly 2 U.S.C. §441a(d))

Those expenditures were made in several lumps over a two day period, and it looks like they were for television ads. Which of course he didn't need, because his District (11) had been gerrymandered into an R+14 nightmare. Meaning, this money was likely given to the NC GOP specifically for Meadows, by somebody trying to dodge campaign contribution limitations, giving us one more good reason to totally revamp that system.

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