republican corruption

Mark Meadows wants to strangle Trump's very own Deep Throat informer

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File this one under "Collusion between Congress and the President":

The Post first reported earlier this month that an FBI informant and top-secret, longtime intelligence source had provided information early in the FBI investigation of connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. A New York Times story published Wednesday about the beginnings of the Russia probe reported that at least one government informant met several times with two former Trump campaign advisers, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has been conferring with Trump — in three or more calls a week — communicating concerns that the Justice Department is hiding worrisome information about the elements of the probe, according to people familiar with their discussions.

Aside from undermining law enforcement in their efforts to detect, solve, and punish crimes, it appears we now know where Trump gets some of his information for his zany Tweets. But back to the undermining law enforcement thing: If you've ever been curious how some 3rd World dictators are able to remain in power so long, when they are obviously unfit and even dangerous to their populations, it's almost always due to the harsh stifling of critics and the "disappearing" of people who know too much. What Mark Meadows is trying to do, in his efforts to shield Trump from the authorities, is tantamount to loading a gun and handing it to a hit-man:

Senate Judiciary approves Mueller protection bill

And yes, I chose this particular Tweet because it's evidence Fran De Luca is against investigating public corruption. Hypocrites-R-Us...

NC GOP subsidizes Unaffiliated candidate's ballot access and campaign

Not sure if this is even legal, but it's definitely unethical:

Independent N.C. House candidate Ken Fontenot should have enough signatures to see his name on the ballot in November, but supporters aren’t counting electoral chickens before they hatch. “Because they’re not verified, I’m not claiming victory,” said Christy Fyle, chairwoman of the Wilson County Republican Party.

The N.C. Republican Party is also backing Fontenot. State party officials paid for mailers that include a detachable petition signature form with a postage-paid return label to be distributed to 6,000 Wilson County homes. Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, recorded a robocall urging Wilson voters to sign the petition.

Bolding mine, because it takes a special kind of idiot reporter to crank out such nonsense. You're either independent or you're not, and this candidate is not even close:

DNC files broad lawsuit over Russian meddling in 2016 election

They even threw in Julian Assange for good measure:

The Democratic National Committee has sued Russia, President Donald Trump’s campaign, WikiLeaks and others on Friday, alleging a broad conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan, said “the Trump campaign and its agents gleefully welcomed Russia’s help,” which involved releasing hacked emails and spreading misinformation on social media.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. “This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery.” Trump is not one of the people being sued by the Democrats, but the lawsuit does name Donald J. Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Roger Stone, among others.

Before we start "feeling the Bern" over this lawsuit (I.E. whatever the DNC does is wrong and somehow connected to corporate oligarchs), this is "exactly" what needs to be done. Why? Because civil actions generate literally hours of depositions, questions asked and answered, and even one tiny tid-bit of (currently missing) information may be what brings down this house of marked cards. So please, if you see somebody ranting and/or raving about the DNC wasting time or resources pursuing this, try not to spread the disease.

NC GOP funding effort to collect signatures for unaffiliated House candidate

Alternate title for this diary: Desperately Seeking Dallas:

The North Carolina Republican Party distributed a mailer to 6,000 Wilson County homes this week and state Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, has recorded a robocall urging voters to sign Fontenot’s ballot access petition. “A lot of people are aware of what’s going on, but the mailers are very good because it brings the opportunity directly to their door,” Fontenot said.

As an unaffiliated candidate, Fontenot must gather about 2,200 signatures — representing 4 percent of registered Wilson County voters — in order to be listed as a challenger to eight-term state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat. There is no Republican candidate in the race.

Before we talk about the ethics of this, I just wanted to point out how this story exposes another Dallas Woodhouse lie, when he bragged the GOP had achieved the same thing the NCDP had by having a candidate in all 170 NCGA races. But these lies are so ubiquitous now, as they are with his role model Donald Trump, it's doubtful any mainstream media will even ask him about it. Back to the ethics, and one glaring, gaping hole in the integrity of this gambit:

Art Pope is worried about Dems taking over Congress

Your tears of frustration brighten my day:

According to over a half dozen top GOP donors who spoke with The Hill, conservative funders are getting nervous about the momentum Democratic candidates have been experiencing in congressional races and suggested that they might have to give up on trying to win the House to focus on keeping the Senate.

“Myself and many others are very concerned that this could be a wave year for the Democratic Party and for their candidates,” said Art Pope, a top Republican donor from North Carolina.

Okay, first of all, your grammar sucks. The use of the reflexive pronoun "myself" is out of place, which simply temporarily removing "and many others" would reveal to a 3rd grader. You wouldn't say "myself am very concerned," you would say "I am very concerned." Now that the really important stuff is out of the way: Art Pope isn't even close to being a top GOP donor, bless his cold, dark heart. He might be able to scrape up a couple hundred thousand, but compared to the Koch Brothers who are gearing up to spend some $400 million this year, that's not even peanuts. It's like...peanut shells. I don't know, I don't even have a good analogy of what it is. But I really like what this guy from Texas had to say:

Tillis campaign had several foreign advisors, including former Soviet bloc

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is more pervasive than we thought:

"We weren't just working on messaging. We were instructing campaigns on which messages go where and to who." Wylie said that his largely foreign team instructed the Tillis campaign "on the messaging. We crafted his messaging, we targeted his messaging."

He said he couldn't recall any American Cambridge employees working on the Tillis campaign. "There were three or four full-time CA staffers embedded in Tillis's campaign on the ground in Raleigh. All of them were foreign nationals." A second former senior Cambridge staffer also said that most of the messaging team in 2014 was composed of foreign nationals. The staffer confirmed that there were foreign embeds in Raleigh on the Tillis campaign.

This story gets uglier by the minute. A foreign firm unethically (if not illegally) harvests Facebook user information, in order to form "psychographic" profiles, and then deploys foreign nationals to use that data to swing U.S. elections. And they knew it was not only wrong but legally questionable before they even did it:

Craft breweries file lawsuit over forced distribution regulations

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There really is no sound justification for this:

Two growing craft breweries are suing after failing to get North Carolina legislators to overturn a decades-old law on beer sales. Lawyers for Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Noda Brewing Co. were in court Tuesday to challenge the law, which forces them to hand over to private companies the distribution of their own beer once they sell 25,000 barrels or about the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool in a year.

The Charlotte breweries say the state’s beer distribution law is unconstitutional. They argue they’re forced to give up control to politically influential middlemen where their products are sold for virtually as long as they stay in business. A state attorney says a three-judge panel should examine the beer distribution law overall, not just how it applies to those two breweries.

NC's beer & wine wholesalers may never hit the #1 spot for lobbying and campaign donations, but they perpetually funnel tens of thousands into the system each year. Which answers the question many had when attempts to rewrite that law failed last year, when the issue seemed to have much support. It will be interesting to see how those lobbyists react to a court case, where their little backroom deals no longer work.

NC Legislature fails the Sunshine test

Kirk Ross drops a whole salvo of truth bombs:

Communications between legislators and also between legislators and staff in the crafting of laws are among the few documents exempt from the state’s public records laws. The legislature’s requirements for county and municipal government agendas, meeting materials to be available well ahead of time does not apply to its own meetings.

The argument for legislative confidentiality, derived from English common law, is that the legislative process requires this privilege in order for agreements to be worked out. It’s a perfectly valid sounding rationale, but so unlimited and unchecked that it has long been intensely abused. It’s used to hide favors, fund pet projects and anonymously insert language into legislation.

I'm not even sure it sounds valid. Think about it: If lawmakers must have secrecy to agree to something, it naturally follows they're concerned about negative consequences if those communications came to light. Whether it's a strategic thing, where they don't want to give potential opponents to the measure a fair warning, or a personal concern, where they don't want to be associated with a controversial and maybe even unconstitutional act, it almost doesn't matter. They know they're on the wrong side of something, and they're trying to conceal it. Not just from other lawmakers, but from the general public. Which brings us back (once again) to the area of ethics, which should be just as important in holding lawmakers accountable as punishable crimes are. Back to the article, and what Kirk describes as the "black box":

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