Constitutional disregard: Trump's emoluments lawsuits move forward

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When you have absolutely no ethical boundaries:

Trump opened the Trump International Hotel, just blocks from the White House, shortly before he was elected in November 2016. Unlike past presidents, he has retained ownership of numerous business interests, including the hotel, while serving as president.

Since his election, the hotel has become a favored lodging and event space for some foreign and state officials visiting the U.S. capital. The lawsuit alleges that, in failing to disengage from the hotel, Trump has made himself vulnerable to inducements by foreign governments seeking to curry favor, violating the Constitution.

Even the lowliest bureaucrat in the Federal government ranks has to be wary of receiving gifts from individuals, lest they be raked over the coals for an ethical misstep. But Trump? He won't give you the time of day unless there's something in it for him. We all remember his declarations in 2016/2017 that he would sever himself from the family businesses, but he's done the exact opposite. Like doubling the annual membership fee at Mar-A-Lago to over $200,000 right after he was elected, then turning it into a shadow Camp David. But the particular case we're looking at today deals with Trump's DC hotel, and a look at the initial subpoenas is an eye-opener:

Wednesday News: Rape culture

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1 OUT OF 3 UNC FEMALE STUDENTS HAVE SUFFERED SEXUAL ASSAULT: A study released Tuesday says one in three undergraduate female students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill report having been sexually assaulted. UNC-CH Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Becci Menghini, interim vice chancellor, Division of Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement, said in a statement Tuesday "students participated in the Association of American Universities’ Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct. UNC-Chapel Hill was one of 32 (out of 62) public and private institutions in the association that elected to participate in spring 2019." The report states of those who were assaulted, more than half of the females said they didn't report it because they didn't think the assault was serious enough.
https://www.wral.com/study-1-in-3-undergraduate-female-students-on-unc-campus-has-been-sexually-assa...

Tuesday News: Sleazy as usual

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NC GOP WANTS TO MOVE GERRYMANDERING SUIT TO FEDERAL COURT: Republican legislative leaders are trying to move from state court to federal court a lawsuit challenging the North Carolina congressional map drawn in 2016. The GOP lawmakers filed a notice Monday in the partisan redistricting litigation that voters filed last month in Wake County court. The lawmakers' attorneys said the venue change is necessary because complying with the plaintiffs' demands for a new map would conflict state redistricting rules with the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act. A federal court granting the move could scuttle the plaintiffs' case, since the U.S. Supreme Court recently declared federal courts lack authority to rule on partisan gerrymandering claims.
https://www.wral.com/nc-republicans-seek-moving-congress-case-to-federal-court/18698137/

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Delays and lawsuits are Duke Energy's bread and butter:

And once again, if they had used liners on the bottom of their ash pits to begin with, we wouldn't be having this debate.

Officials refuse to name company that discharged 1,4 Dioxane

Greensboro has some questions that need answering:

State regulators and Greensboro officials refuse to identify an industry they say accidentally released a large amount of a likely carcinogen into the Cape Fear River basin, temporarily fouling drinking water for Pittsboro, Fayetteville and perhaps other cities downstream. Greensboro officials and the state Department of Environmental Quality also won’t say how the release of 1,4 dioxane happened and how much of the chemical was discharged.

Both entities called the release “a mistake,” one that caused the level of 1,4 dioxane in Pittsboro’s drinking water to temporarily spike in August to more than 300 times the lifetime cancer risk level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Mistake" or not, withholding the name of the company is simply not acceptable. It shields them from exposure to the media, which in many cases do a better job at holding polluters accountable than regulatory agencies do. It also raises many questions about potential conflicts of interest, from campaign donations to government incentives, and many of those questions would simply disappear with a little sunlight shining on the scene. And this timeline is nothing short of infuriating:

Monday News: Xenophobia

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DURHAM CITY COUNCIL MEMBER HAS CITIZENSHIP CHALLENGED BY LOSER: Caballero told The Herald-Sun in 2017 that her family moved to the United States when her father was in graduate school and that she became a U.S. citizen at age 14. Sunday’s joint statement repeated that Caballero is a citizen and also a registered voter who has lawfully voted in Durham since 2010. “Javiera has faced these sorts of baseless claims about her citizenship throughout this election, and it’s time for our community to speak with one voice to say that enough is enough,” Reece said in the statement. “Durham must be a city that works for everyone, and that must include our immigrant neighbors.” Johnson, the city’s mayor pro tempore, said Caballero and many other immigrants have had to endure suspicion throughout their lives.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article236093808.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE WEAK REPUBLICAN CASE AGAINST EXPANDING MEDICAID IN NC: Perry’s argument follows a series of hollow Republican warnings about Medicaid expansion. First there was the rationale offered by then-Gov. Pat McCrory. He deemed North Carolina’s Medicaid program “broken” and said it would be irresponsible to add a half-million more people to the program. It turned out that the program is actually quite efficient compared to other states and has even come in under budget in recent years. Next came the claim that the state couldn’t afford its 10 percent share of the cost of expansion. But under Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget proposal the state’s share would be covered by the hospitals and health care plans that would benefit from the surge in insured patients. Finally, there’s the semi-conspiracy theory that the federal government might renege on its commitment to pay a minimum of 90 percent. Given that 36 states are now getting that level of payment, it’s unlikely that their representatives in Congress would approve cutting it back.
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article236040708.html

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