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Wednesday News: Truth or consequences

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SESSIONS HAVING TROUBLE REMEMBERING ALL THE LIES HE'S TOLD TO CONGRESS: A defiant Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Congress on Tuesday he never lied under oath about Russian interference in the 2016 election and said sleep deprivation and the "chaos" of the Trump campaign clouded his recollections of campaign contacts with Russians. Sessions sought to explain away apparent contradictions in his public statements by portraying President Donald Trump's campaign as an exhausting operation and said he could not be expected to remember specific encounters from more than a year ago. "In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory," Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee. "But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article184480278.html

Tuesday News: Stopped clock version

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BOTH BURR AND TILLIS CALL FOR ROY MOORE TO EXIT SENATE RACE: North Carolina Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr joined a growing group of Republicans calling for Roy Moore to drop out of the Alabama Senate race after a fifth woman publicly accused the former judge of sexual misconduct Monday. “The allegations leveled at Roy Moore are disturbing. I have serious concerns about his prior conduct and fitness for office. He should immediately withdraw from the race,” Tillis wrote on Twitter on Monday evening. Burr also called on Moore to withdraw from the race. “With 5 women now coming forward, Moore should do the right thing and withdraw from the race,” he said in a statement released by his office. It was his first public comment since the scandal erupted last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed the women and called for Moore to get out of the race earlier Monday. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, also called for Moore to step down.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article18...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Bound to be the hot topic for at least a few days:

Since Persily's mandate only covered a handful of districts, the redraw does not represent sweeping changes to the whole state, just a few clusters:

Shadowy non-profit sets up TV studio for Dan Forest

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood for political propaganda:

A little-known group set up by the Lieutenant Governor's Office and headed by a major campaign donor has provided Lt. Gov. Dan Forest with enough television equipment to build an in-office studio. Forest's arrangement with the North Carolina Promotion and Development Fund appears to be unique in North Carolina state government. Gov. Roy Cooper doesn't have his own television studio, and neither does General Assembly leadership.

NCPDF is a 501(c)(4), also known by its IRS designation as a "social welfare organization." These groups are perhaps best known as political advertising vehicles for anonymous donors, and they're often called "dark money" groups. But attorneys who specialize in this section of the tax code said the category is much broader, and that the way Forest's office uses the NCPDF seems to be allowed under state and federal law, without disclosing donors, provided the group doesn't fund campaign activities. Neither "the studio nor any of the items purchased by the NCPDF have been or ever will be used for campaign purposes," Forest Chief of Staff Hal Weatherman said.

Aside from Dan Forest's inclusion in committees he's not really qualified for (like the Energy Policy Council), the man has no direct influence or responsibilities that would require him to "inform his constituents" about ongoing government matters. So this studio doesn't really serve or promote the office of Lt. Governor, it just promotes Dan Forest. And for at least one wealthy businessman, that promotion is worth a a big pile of money:

Monday News: Deplorable

WHITE NATIONALIST SEBASTIAN GORKA WILL SPEAK TODAY AT UNC CHAPEL HILL: The New York Times reported that Gorka was a divisive figure while in the White House, saying that “the alpha males are back” after Trump won the election. He has defended Trump’s travel bans and said violence is a fundamental part of Islam. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, welcomed Gorka’s resignation. Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director, on Monday expressed concern about Gorka’s scheduled appearance in Chapel Hill. “Sebastian Gorka’s extremist and Islamophobic views, along with his reported associations with racist and anti-Semitic groups, should disqualify him from receiving an invitation to speak at any institution of higher learning,” Hooper said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article18...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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TAX OVERHAUL MUST WORK FOR ALL, NOT JUST RIG IT FOR RICH AND BIG BUSINESS: “I think in their heart of hearts they believe that only the wealthy really help the economy, and they believe that the wealthy just carry the rest of us on their backs, that we're all worthless, and only the Charles Kochs and Robert Mercers of the world really add economic value to the economy, and, of course, this is just utterly ridiculous.” You don’t grow the economy by cutting taxes. The economy expands when consumers – mostly those at the middle income levels – have more disposable cash to go out and buy things. Look no further than our own state to see the proof. Over the last five years, the General Assembly has lavished tax cut upon tax cut to corporations and the wealthy while, in many ways, increasing tax burdens on those in the middle. What is there to show for it? A stagnant economy, underfunded critical state needs, declining tax revenues and the distinct possibility of a half-billion hole in the next state budget.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-tax-overhaul-must-work-for-all-not-just-rig-it-for-rich-and-big-busine...

Harry Brown's anti-wind energy "maps" are still alive

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This is why we can't have nice things:

Brown, whose district includes the largest Marine base on the East Coast, believes the turbines could interfere with military radar or flight routes, and cause Department of Defense officials to close, downsize, or relocate military installations to other states. The solution, he says, is a statewide map that will rule out wind energy in certain places.

“The map says it’s okay here, it’s not okay here,” Brown told Southeast Energy News this summer. “To me that’s the only way we’re ever going to be able to resolve this issue.”

There's nothing to resolve, you idiot. There are already multiple mechanisms in place to safeguard the airspace for both military and civilian aircraft, which means this move by Brown is really about something else. And that something else becomes clearer by his effort to draw in Solar and Biomass energy projects into his crusade:

Saturday News: From the pages of Pravda

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TRUMP SAYS "PEOPLE WILL DIE" BECAUSE OF RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN MEDDLING INVESTIGATION: "Having a good relationship with Russia's a great, great thing. And this artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way," Trump told reporters, once again casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia did try to interfere in the election. "People will die because of it." Trump's suggestion that he may believe Putin over his own nation's intelligence community is certain to re-ignite the firestorm over the election meddling. Meanwhile, a special counsel investigation of potential collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides so far has resulted in two indictments for financial and other crimes unrelated to the campaign, as well as a guilty plea. Trump said the probe into the election hacking was a "fake barrier" placed by Democrats that was hurting the United States' ability to have a relationship with Russia, a distraction that was putting lives at stake.
http://www.wral.com/trump-and-putin-chat-each-other-up-at-apec-summit/17107261/

Janet Zelman

There's a lot of talk out here on the Internets about who needs to do what when it comes to campaigns and elections. I'm as guilty as anyone of chattering without actually doing the hard work. So it's with humility and admiration that I acknowledge the amazing accomplishments of Janet Zelman and her voter registration team over the past five months. In partnership with the Orange County Democratic Party, Janet has done what really needs doing: registering people to vote.

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