Saturday News: Caught in a lie

CONGRESS WANTS TO RECALL AG JEFF SESSIONS OVER FALSE TESTIMONY ON TRUMP/RUSSIA: Papadopoulos admitted he told Sessions at a March 2016 meeting he had made contacts with Russians who said they could set up a meeting between Trump and President Vladimir Putin. Sessions quickly dismissed the idea and said he'd prefer no one ever speak about it, according to one person who was there, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share the private conversation. Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are now asking Sessions to follow up. "This is another example in an alarming pattern in which you, the nation's top law enforcement officer, apparently failed to tell the truth, under oath, about the Trump team's contacts with agents of Russia — a hostile foreign power that interfered in the 2016 election," Sen. Al Franken wrote in a letter to Sessions.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article182748186.html

Primer on the NC GOP's war on the court system

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A systematic and sustained effort to subvert the judiciary:

Number of actions they've taken in recent years to change the makeup and independence of state, district and local courts: at least 12

Date on which the N.C. legislature sustained a bill eliminating judicial primary elections that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had vetoed: 10/16/2017

Days later that they introduced a bill to wipe out the terms of all state judges, from the N.C. Supreme Court to the district courts, at the close of 2018 and require them to run again: 1

Hat-tip to the Institute for Southern Studies for compiling this list. Every single one of those Legislative Republicans who are licensed attorneys should be disbarred for these attacks, or at least formally (and loudly) censured by the NC Bar Association. Follow the link to see the true depth of the GOP's meddling, but here's another taste:

Friday News: Opposite of the 1st Amendment

SO-CALLED "FREE SPEECH" POLICY TO STIFLE PROTEST MOVES FORWARD AT UNC: A proposed campus free speech policy, mandated by the legislature, could lead to warnings, suspensions or expulsions for protesters who disrupt others at the state’s public universities. The policy was approved unanimously Thursday by the governance committee of the UNC Board of Governors, and will go before the full board next month. It comes at a time when campus free speech has been a hot issue nationally, and locally, as protesters have waged battles about Confederate statues and other controversies. Such policies have been crafted elsewhere, pushed generally to protect conservative speakers who have been shouted down in recent events at American universities.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article182406601.html

Newest GenX lawsuit reveals DuPont downplayed animal studies

Knowingly releasing proven carcinogens into public drinking water resources:

Publicly reported results of DuPont and Chemours studies on Gen X toxicity “contain misrepresentations and factual misstatements that tend to understate Gen X’s potential for toxicity.” DuPont data show toxic effects in animals from short-term, subchronic and long-term exposure.

Gen X exposure to rats and mice prompted incidence of cancers at levels exceeding those detected in controls in the brain, liver, adrenal glands, pancreas and testicles. Gen X posed reproductive and developmental risks to lab animals, as well as toxicity in the liver, kidneys, the hematological system, adrenal glands and stomach. DuPont animal studies demonstrated an association between GenX and effects found from other PFASs, including changes in the liver, kidney, pancreas, testicles, and the immune system.

As is very often the case when "No potentially adverse effects to humans are known at this time" cases emerge, they knew damn well what those effects could be. Researchers have a fundamental responsibility to follow-up on their laboratory findings, to make sure management doesn't try to sweep stuff like this under the rug. I realize that's easy to say, and it's not my job on the line. But we've seen this happen way too often to just accept "I did my job properly, somebody else misused my findings." Here's more evading and equivocating from DuPont:

Thursday News: You had your chance

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JUDGES REJECT REPUBLICANS' REQUEST THEY BE ALLOWED TO REDRAW DISTRICTS: The federal judges reviewing election maps for N.C. General Assembly candidates have questions about districts in Guilford, Hoke, Cumberland, Wake and Mecklenburg counties and have asked a Stanford University professor to draw new lines for the court by Dec. 1. The judges — Catherine Eagles and Thomas Schroeder of the U.S. Middle District of North Carolina and James Wynn of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — rejected a request by state lawmakers to give them another chance to draw the lines. “The State is not entitled to multiple opportunities to remedy its unconstitutional districts,” the judges said in their order released Wednesday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article18...

Exploring the mind of the Special Master

Nathan Persily has been a staunch advocate for democracy for years:

Republicans don’t necessarily have a problem with Persily’s credentials, which are many, or his map-drawing chops, which are considerable. They worry about what GOP lawyer Phil Strach called “possible bias.” They’re right about that, but maybe not for the reason they think.

He has characterized gerrymandering as “partisan greed” – which happens to be true, regardless of which party is engaging in it. He has frowned at the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision in Citizens United because of the power it gave to the few – Democrat or Republican – who have a lot of money. He has argued against a Texas effort to draw districts based on eligible voters instead of total population, because it would dilute the voting power of a growing Latino population.

In summary, Persily has been laser-focused on defending the rights and Constitutionally-granted powers of individual voters, matters the NC GOP has worked against relentlessly since they were granted a majority by those same voters. Why would you do that? Why would you punish those who had entrusted you? The logical answer is: Because you knew from the start you were going to exceed your mandate, take steps that are clearly in violation of (at least) the spirit of the NC Constitution and your previously stated principles, and you wanted to make sure those voters would not be able to correct their mistake. Here's more on Persily:

Wednesday News: Can't win 'em all

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COURT REAFFIRMS DECISION TO DISMISS COOPER LAWSUIT OVER ELECTION BOARDS: "The merger of the Board of Elections and Ethics Commission ... is a political question and therefore a nonjusticable issue, and that this court lacks authority to review." Because of that, the judges said they were reluctant to address the merits of Cooper's case but did so because the Supreme Court asked them to do so. They determined that Cooper has the authority to appoint all members of the new eight-member board and to remove any of them for cause, but speculation that the board's Democratic and Republican members would repeatedly deadlock on issues doesn't meet the standard for finding the combination unconstitutional. "Were the Governor given the degree of control he seeks over either the Board of Elections or the Bipartisan Board in this case, neither board could continue to function as an independent regulatory and quasi-judicial agency," the judges wrote.
http://www.wral.com/judges-elaborate-on-decision-to-dismiss-lawsuit-over-nc-elections-board/17076112/

Tuesday News: It's Mueller time

TRUMP'S CHICKENS ARE COMING HOME TO ROOST IN RUSSIAN COLLUSION PROBE: With a double-barreled blast, Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed Monday that he has won the cooperation of a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign who says he served as a go-between with the Kremlin in the spring of 2016. And Mueller heaped a 31-page indictment on former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates that contains the weight of conspiracy, money laundering and tax related charges in connection with an alleged scheme to launder millions of dollars through scores of offshore accounts. The charges seem designed to pressure them to cooperate, as well. It was a powerful public salvo after months of silence since Mueller took over the investigation of Russia’s election-meddling, a subject that has consumed the nation’s capital and haunted Trump’s presidency.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article181794041.html

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