Richard Burr

Burr & Tillis vote in support of journalist-killing Saudi Crown Prince

And for continuing the genocide in Yemen:

Furious over being denied a C.I.A. briefing on the killing of a Saudi journalist, senators from both parties spurned the Trump administration on Wednesday with a stinging vote to consider ending American military support for the Saudi-backed war in Yemen.

The Senate voted 63 to 37 to bring to the floor a measure to limit presidential war powers in Yemen. It was the strongest signal yet that Republican and Democratic senators alike remain vehemently skeptical of the administration’s insistence that the Saudi crown prince cannot, with certainty, be blamed for the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This was merely a procedural vote, indicating an interest in intervening in Trump's War Powers Act authority, but it will likely be followed next week by genuine action. The ironic (and extremely hypocritical) move by Richard Burr to vote against this centers on his role as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In any other instance, the refusal of the CIA to cooperate would have Burr turning red in the face. But since the CIA (apparently) has overwhelming evidence of the Crown Prince's involvement in Khashoggi's brutal assassination and dismemberment, Burr simply "doesn't want to know." But luckily for us (and maybe those Yemeni children), other Senate Republicans refuse to play possum:

Too big to regulate: Facebook's manipulation of Congressional review

Using opposition research to undermine government:

“At the same time that Facebook was publicly professing their desire to work with the committee to address these issues, they were paying a political opposition research firm to privately attempt to undermine that same committee’s credibility,” Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the panel, said in a statement. “It’s very concerning.”

The documents obtained by The New York Times provide a deeper look at Definers’ tactics to discredit Facebook’s critics. The Times reported on Wednesday that Definers also distributed research documents to reporters that cast the liberal donor George Soros as an unacknowledged force behind activists protesting Facebook, and helped publish articles criticizing Facebook’s rivals on what was designed to look like a typical conservative news site.

You almost have to be a professional conspiracy theorist to even understand the machinations involved. But that complexity might just be an integral part of the program, and not just a by-product. Because it introduces an element of uncertainty for lawmakers, especially those who have a few skeletons in their closet. They might be on the verge of a career-ending sudden release of damning information, if they push too hard on his royal majesty Mark Zuckerberg, who has mastered the art of strategic denialism:

Burr already on the campaign trail

And using the Paris victims shamelessly:

“The president talked the other morning about ISIL was contained. America learned within 24 hours it’s not contained,” Mr. Burr said on “Face the Nation.” “It’s rampant everywhere in the world that they intend to carry out these horrific acts. It just so happens the United States is a target. But Paris was easier.”

“Look, we’ve had boots on the ground there for over a year,” said Mr. Nunes. “The problem is, as Chairman Burr said, trying to use pinpricks with our airstrikes.” He added, “The first rule of war for the Obama administration is not to take collateral damage. Well, that’s not war. And if you’re going to strap down the United States Air Force and our allies with these types of rules of engagement, we are never going to win and you’re going to see more and more refugees flood into Europe.”

Burr is taking the President's quote out of context, and he's doing it deliberately. Obama was referring to the fact ISIL is no longer gaining real estate in Iraq/Syria (for the time being), and is in fact losing ground on a couple of fronts. He wasn't saying the bad guys can't escape in small numbers and do bad things elsewhere, he was updating us on the strategic situation of their military capability. And if anybody would/should know that, it's the frickin' Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Burr needs to go in 2016, before he ends up getting a bunch of US soldiers and innocent ME civilians killed.

Early Childhood meets Capitol Hill

Last week, I traveled to Washington, DC, along with 16 other advocates for early childhood education from North Carolina. We attended a public policy forum, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). “NAEYC's mission is to serve and act on the behalf of the needs, rights, and well-being of all young children with primary focus on the provision of educational and developmental services and resources.”

We spent a day in intensive sessions, learning all we could about specific issues and concerns affecting early childhood at a federal level. What are what are those issues? Find out below the fold.

Richard Burr's Rosy Specs See GOP Victories this Fall

The Charlotte Observer is running a piece this morning about the GOP Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner where Senator Richard Burr spoke about the GOP's chances in November. He doesn't think there's a chance for Democrats to take control of the House.

With most congressional districts favoring one party or the other, he said, only 32 House seats are actually competitive. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to take control.

"I find it hard to believe Democrats are going to take over the House," said Burr, of Winston-Salem.

Mixed Reports on Triangle Rail: Repubs Giving Up on Project While Dems and Agency Fight On

I was sad all today. First, I was finishing up a 24-hour take home exam for lawschool (imagine actually trying to sleep during an exam), and then I woke to news from Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr that the proposed Triangle Rail Line is dead. The Triangle Rail Line is a proposed rail track between downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham, running through the Research Triangle Park. The track is desperately needed in one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas without a light rail or subway, and relatedly an area with large congestion problems. In fact property prices in South Glenwood, where one of the stops will be, are going much faster than the rest of the city. The plan for funding the line was for the federal government to pick up a substantial portion of the tab (as they do with most rail projects). Dole had supported the project and federal funding of it in the past, but now appears to be saying that the project is dead since it has not qualified for Federal funds. From News 14 Carolina yesterday:

Meanwhile, Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr have issued a joint statement about the issue. Part of that statement reads, “We recognize that any transit project built with federal tax dollars must be thoroughly examined and rigorously reviewed to ensure established federal standards and goals are met. The rail project is likely not an option for the region. We therefore believe it is time for TTA to explore other possibilities."

I was bummed all day, and just because I forgot to not trust Dole or Burr. I had to wait until the end of the day to find out the truth.

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