republican corruption

Bank Run Burr is back, warning private donor group about COVID 19

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Three weeks ago Burr was speaking to a private (elite) group of NC donors called The Circle (more on them later), and his warning to this group was dire indeed. He told them this wasn't just another virus, it was more akin to the 1918 Flu pandemic, which killed some 50 million worldwide. A few days after that private meeting, he issued a press release which included this message to his not-elite constituents: "The U.S. is in a better position than any other nation to handle a public health emergency like the Coronavirus." There are Two Americas, and no doubt about which one Burr really cares for. Circling back to the Circle:

Grifter-In-Chief: Trump's efforts to gain control of COVID 19 vaccine

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Because blackmailing the rest of the world is apparently good business:

According to the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, which first reported the story on Sunday, Mr. Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine. The newspaper quoted an unnamed German government source who said Mr. Trump wanted the resulting vaccine “only for the United States.”

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But two senior American officials said that some of the German news accounts first reporting the story were overblown, particularly with regard to any effort by the United States to secure exclusive access to a vaccine.

In this day and age, when verifiable facts are described as "fake news" by the Trump administration, calling something "overblown" is a tacit admission of guilt. Trump simply has no ethical boundaries, and I don't doubt for one minute that he would use that exclusive control of a vaccine as a lever to get other things he wants. To put it bluntly, Germany is pissed off:

Mark Johnson is the subject of ethics probe over campaign texts

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When your moral compass hasn't worked for years:

Multiple complaints were filed earlier this month after Johnson sent hundreds of thousands of emails and text messages to public school families and employees trumpeting his opposition to Common Core.

The timing of the campaign raised eyebrows since Johnson had been almost silent on Common Core throughout his tenure as superintendent, choosing to launch his vocal opposition just as voting began in the primary for Lieutenant Governor–an office he is seeking.

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the Ethics Commission to actually do anything substantial over this. Made that mistake in the past, won't do it again. But if anybody has any doubt about the connection between this text barrage and Johnson's campaign, he made that clear a few weeks ago:

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...

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.

Mainstream media fails miserably in covering Impeachment

Most likely a reflection of our society as a whole:

ABC, CBS and NBC all stuck with regularly scheduled programs like “Chicago Med,” “Criminal Minds” and “Modern Family” Wednesday evening instead of showing the House managers' evening session at the impeachment trial. That lasted about two hours, 15 minutes. CNN and MSNBC carried the trial in full. Fox News Channel, after showing Rep. Adam Schiff speak for about a half hour, interrupted for a story about a child support case involving former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter, and never returned.

Even two PBS stations in the New York area showed science programming and “Antiques Roadshow” instead of the trial Wednesday evening. PBS said it gave its local stations the option to show the trial or not.

I fully realize most reading this do not tune in to the old broadcast networks to get their news anymore, cable has flipped the formula on that irrevocably. But this isn't just news, it's history in the making. It's a crisis of our democracy, literally a Civil War in Congress, and the majors are throwing fictional shows at people instead of covering this. And of course Fox News was the worst:

Meadows uses sleight-of-hand to choose his successor

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But it's par for the course for this dude:

Later that day came a campaign launch by Lynda Bennett, a local GOP activist and real estate agent who is friendly with Debbie Meadows, the congressman's wife, according to sources who know both women. Wary Republicans in the state quickly speculated that she had advance notice of Meadows' retirement.

Online records revealed her campaign website domain had been registered on Oct. 28 by a Scott Meadows, who appears to be the brother of the congressman. The campaign's Facebook page was created on Dec. 18, a day before the retirement. And shortly after midnight on Dec. 19 — about five hours before Meadows announced — Bennett posted photos of herself with the congressman and his wife at local GOP events in the state.

You know what? All those Republicans who feel shafted by Mark Meadows' little stunt can go suck on a lemon. He's been pulling backhanded crap like this since he was first elected, bullying other Representatives and golden-parachuting a sexual harasser. The NC GOP should have already had a viable candidate ready and willing to oppose that bad behavior in a Primary, but now you've got his choice to fill that seat. I was going to say something about "learning from your mistakes," but that doesn't seem to happen very often within the GOP ranks.

Tillis dodges a bullet in the GOP Primary

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Apparently kissing Trump's ass religiously eventually works:

Raleigh businessman Garland Tucker won't face U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in next year's GOP primary after all, sources with knowledge of his plans said Monday.

Tucker was calling supporters Monday with the news, and a formal announcement is expected soon. Tucker announced a challenge against Tillis earlier this year, and the two were already been advertising against each other in what was expected to be an expensive GOP primary.

I wouldn't be surprised if Trump or somebody in his unstable orbit leaned on (or worse) Garland Tucker to get him to drop out. So much for him losing in the Primary...

The Trump Effect: When you're in trouble, make a deal!

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It's just another form of bribery:

“We are going to be doing a major middle income tax cut if we take back the House, and we will be talking about that sometime later,” he said earlier this month. Democrats now run the House, while Republicans control the Senate.

The new cut, the president said, would be “mostly devoted to middle income who have really been big beneficiaries of the (last tax cut) that we did which was the largest in the history of our country.”

Of course that second thing is a lie, which should be obvious to his target audience. Unfortunately, their capacity for detecting the truth is strained, to say the least. But it's the first sentence that is just one more example of Trump's complete lack of ethics: He's trying to bribe voters to rid him of the Democrats who are now Impeaching him. I'm not "reading between the lines" there, it's obvious. So now your question is, "Steve, the Impeachment process will be long over by November 2020, how can the two be connected?" Public opinion polls are being done every other day about Impeachment, and public opinion will alter the behavior of Congress, if it's strong enough.

Party over Country: The NC GOP's views on Impeachment

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Looking into the face of corruption and blinking:

"Honestly I'm trying to figure out what we've learned from these hearings," offered Brent Woodcox, a Raleigh attorney and special counsel to Republicans in the North Carolina Senate.

"I mean we already saw the transcript of the phone call. Rudy Giuliani's already been out there in the New York Times saying that he's been trying to investigate the Bidens. Trump essentially admitted to what he did," Woodcox added.

As an attorney Brent surely knows how critical it is to get evidence on the record, and direct testimony from witnesses. He's right that Trump has already condemned himself, but in the absence of him resigning as President, the process must be followed. What Brent is actually trying to do is "normalize" Trump's behavior, to imply that bribery and coercion are not really Impeachable offenses:

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