Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD'S PROFILE IN COURAGE: About this there can be no debate: Christine Blasey Ford emerged from her ordeal before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday as a REAL American hero. Her measured but firm and detailed recollection of an assault at a gathering of high schoolers captured the focus of the nation. She displayed the kind of courage and selflessness that are the stuff of REAL role models. It is a unique and indelible occasion that regardless of Brett Kavanaugh’s fate will have an impact – from the halls of Congress halls to parent-child conversations at the dinner table. Blasey Ford didn’t spend a morning literally in the national spotlight because there was something in it for her. She came to Washington to tell her story, to tell her truth. She said it was her duty to bring information she felt the committee – and the nation – needed to know.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-christine-blasey-ford-s-profile-in-courage-/17882924/

Trump's attack dog Mark Meadows gunning for Rosenstein

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The very definition of a traitor:

House Republicans plan to privately question the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, about discussions last year where he suggested secretly taping President Trump to expose a chaotic White House and removing him from office under the 25th Amendment.

Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump’s, said that if Mr. Rosenstein does not comply with their latest request, he will be subpoenaed to appear before lawmakers.

It's important to understand the gravity of what Meadows and others are attempting to do. They're not just defending Trump against an adversary (Mueller), they are putting our national security at risk by trying to undermine an investigation into a foreign (super)power's efforts to manipulate not only our elections, but also our foreign policy. We have been compromised, repeatedly, and because of Trump's many (many) intellectual shortfalls, and Congress' inability and/or unwillingness to balance that, the only defense we have against these attacks is the Mueller probe. We need to stop calling Meadows' little cabal the "Freedom Caucus," and start calling them what they are, the "Happy To Be Ruled By Russia Caucus":

Saturday News: The Kavanaugh Effect

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IN WAKE OF SUPREME COURT HEARING, MORE WOMEN ARE TELLING THEIR OWN STORIES: The hearings about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for Supreme Court are prompting more sexual assault survivors to step forward. One group rallied on the Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh on Friday, not only to speak out against sexual abuse and assault but also to share personal stories. Jennifer Condrey said it's her first time sharing her story publicly. “In my 46 years of life, I have been sexually harassed, touched or threatened more times than I care to count,” she told the crowd. She said she was raped in college. Her attacker was an acquaintance, she said, and her experience is one reason she decided to join the group Friday. The rally was organized by the Carolina Peace Center. Condrey and other attendees said they’ve been following Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing.
https://www.wral.com/after-kavanaugh-testimony-sexual-assault-survivors-share-stories-in-raleigh/178...

Charter school foxes in the public school henhouse

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Mark Johnson has just proven he's nothing but a shill:

Johnson touted Maimone’s background with the charter school in his announcement Friday, pointing out that he led the school as it grew from 110 students in grades 7-9 in 1999 to about 1,300 students in grades K-12 today. The superintendent’s announcement said students “thrived” at Maimone’s school.

The charter earned a “B” performance grade and did not meet growth expectations on its 2016-2017 assessments, according to the most recent state report available. The school serves a decidedly different population than many typical public schools, however, with just 7.5 percent of its students considered “economically disadvantaged.” Traditional school supporters have often pointed out that the state’s growing charter sector serves a more affluent population.

Aside from being completely in the thrall of the school choice crowd, Johnson may have just hired somebody who's keeping a dark secret:

Kavenough

My wife Jane wants to talk about the Kavanaugh clusterfuck, and I feel obliged to hear her out. She's trying to make sense of something that is hideously unfair and grotesque. I know I can't help, but I listen. It's heart-breaking in every way.

Robeson County Commissioners face lawsuit over pipeline permitting

Holding a sham hearing when you've already made up your mind:

During a quasi-judicial hearing in August 2017, the eight-member commission voted unanimously to grant a Conditional Use Permit to ACP, LLC to construct the facility on land previously zoned as agricultural. But the rules governing quasi-judicial hearings, which much like a trial include sworn testimony and evidence, are strict and clearly laid out in state statute.

And in deciding on special permits, the governing board, in this case the Robeson County Commission, can’t have a “fixed opinion” on the issue before hearing all of the evidence. To do otherwise would be akin to a judge or jury issuing a verdict before a trial even began. But as court documents show, the commissioners strongly supported the ACP long before they were confronted with the decision to issue a special permit for the station and tower.

I've had to "preside" over a few of these quasi-judicial hearings myself, and you have to watch every step you take. In this particular case, what they said in the weeks or months before the hearing will (likely) not be nearly as important as the procedural process itself. If they crossed their t's and dotted their i's, and if the applicant's testimony was not obviously incorrect or deceptive, the Commissioners will probably skate on this lawsuit. And even this "ex parte" allegation may not have the teeth the complainants think it does:

Friday News: The company you keep

NC REPUBLICANS WHO SUPPORT KAVANAUGH ENTER HALL OF SHAME: North Carolina Democrats and activists went on the offensive against Republicans for not opposing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The state Democratic party launched online ads Thursday targeting GOP state legislators who signed an open letter last month supporting Kavanaugh. The ads target suburban districts seen as vulnerable in November's legislative elections. During a U.S. Senate hearing, Kavanaugh again denied he sexually assaulted a woman while they were high school students. The North Carolina chapter of the National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice NC and other advocacy groups led demonstrations against the state's two Republican U.S. senators through rallies in three different cities.
https://www.wral.com/democrats-activists-hit-n-carolina-gop-on-kavanaugh/17878082/

First in Torture? NC's deep involvement in extraordinary renditions

Flying the not-so-friendly skies:

According to testimony provided to the Commission, “research shows conclusively that aircraft operated by Aero Contractors played a central role in the CIA torture program. 200 From 2001 until 2004, Aero Contractors operated two aircraft owned by a series of CIA shell companies — a 737 Boeing Business Jet originally numbered N313P and a Gulfstream V originally numbered N379P — on behalf of the CIA. 201 Aero Contractors utilized two airports in North Carolina for these purposes: Johnston County Airport (JNX) in Smithfield, N.C. for N379P 202 and Kinston Regional Jetport at the state-run Global TransPark for N313P. 203.

Aero Contractors was formed on September 28, 1979. 206 It is incorporated in Delaware as a “[c]ontract aviation services” business, 207 and its filings with the North Carolina Department of State list four corporate addresses in Smithfield, North Carolina. 208 Its founder was Jim Rhyne, “a legendary C.I.A. officer and chief pilot for Air America, the agency’s Vietnam-era air company.” 209 Aero Contractors’ involvement in clandestine transfer of individuals pre-dated 9/11, as the company operated rendition flights in the 1990s for the U.S. government. 210.

I left those footnote numbers in there for a reason. This is an insanely well-researched report, and should not be dismissed out-of-hand. I would also be remiss if I didn't remind readers that Air America engaged in numerous criminal activities during the Vietnam War, including drug-running in order to help finance their operations. Back to the report:

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