Friday News: Speaking of fracking...


JIM WOMACK LEADS LIST OF CONTENDERS TO REPLACE ROBIN HAYES: North Carolina Republicans are gathering for their annual convention and regrouping after some electoral setbacks, an absentee ballot probe and legal troubles for the outgoing state chairman. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the GOP convention beginning Friday in Concord. Delegates on Saturday will choose a successor to Robin Hayes as chairman. Hayes said he wouldn't seek re-election the day before being indicted on charges related to attempts to bribe the state's insurance commissioner on behalf of a wealthy donor. Announced candidates to succeed Hayes include Michael Whatley, Jim Womack and John Lewis. Republican majorities at the legislature are no longer veto-proof after November's elections. A new election also was ordered in the 9th Congressional District after investigations of a political operative working for then-GOP nominee Mark Harris.

10 NEW CHARTER SCHOOLS APPROVED TO BEGIN OPERATIONS: Ten new North Carolina charter schools got state approval Thursday, but two applications were put on hold because of concerns raised by the Wake County school system and some PTA groups who say the area has too many charters. The State Board of Education approved the new charter schools to open in 2020, including three in Wake County. But the state board voted to have an advisory board take a second look at North Raleigh Charter Academy and Wake Preparatory Academy because of the concerns raised by district leaders and parent groups. The number of charter schools has shot up statewide since the Republican-led state legislature voted in 2011 to lift a previous cap of 100 charters. Between the new charters opening this fall and those scheduled to open in 2020, the state will have more than 200 charter schools by next year.

REVEREND BARBER FOUND GUILTY IN 2 YEAR-OLD TRESPASSING CHARGE: Former state NAACP leader Rev. William Barber was convicted Thursday of trespassing at the state Legislative Building during a protest two years ago. A Wake County jury deliberated for about 15 minutes before finding Barber guilty of second-degree trespassing. Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell then sentenced him to 12 months on unsupervised probation, 24 hours of community service and a $200 fine. Barber said outside of court that he is appealing the verdict, noting that most civil rights victories come through appellate courts and not trial courts. "We believe the real trespassers are those that are in those offices at the legislature," he said, noting courts have repeatedly declared voting maps drawn by state lawmakers to be unconstitutional. "What is really criminal is the way in which people have held on to power and then used that power to undermine living wages, health care, immigrant rights, women's rights and fundamental voting rights."

IMMIGRANT HELD FOR 6 MONTHS IN ALAMANCE COUNTY JAIL DEMANDS HEARING: An Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee in the county jail is asking a federal court to give him a bond hearing or simply release him after six months of incarceration. Ibrahima Kaba filed a writ of habeas corpus in April, naming Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen, Attorney General William Barr, ICE officials, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson and one of his officers. It asks for a court appearance in which ICE would have to justify Kaba’s detention as a flight risk or a danger to the community, or give him a chance to get out on bond. Court records show no felony charges against anyone named Ibrahima Kaba, at least in North Carolina. The courts have not settled the issue of the right to bond hearings for immigration detainees, but the most recent Supreme Court decision was not favorable. Kaba’s petition seems to rely on Fifth Amendment right-of-due-process arguments upheld in a 2015 Appeals Court decision, and favored in a 2018 Supreme Court dissent casting doubt on the constitutionality of detention for more than six months without a bond hearing.

TRUMP'S DC HOTEL ATTRACTS WEALTHY FOREIGNERS LOOKING FOR EXPOSURE: A gallery of would-be foreign leaders — including exiles and upstarts who cannot always rely on a state-to-state channel to reach Trump’s government — have been gliding through the polished lobby of the Trump hotel since it opened in 2016. A few weeks before Kasnazan checked in, a pair of exiled Thai prime ministers spent the night. A few weeks after, a Post reporter saw a Ni­ger­ian presidential candidate holding court in the lobby. None stayed as long as Kasnazan, the leader of an order of Sufi Muslims who said he served as a paid CIA informant in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. These visits offer proximity to Trump’s political orbit — as family members, advisers and fans regularly pass through the hotel and snap selfies in the lobby — while putting money into a hotel the president still owns. “We saw all the Trumpers,” said Entifadh Qanbar, a Kasnazan spokesman and aide who was frequently with him at the hotel. “Many ambassadors, many important people. We didn’t talk to them, but we saw them in the hallways.”



Should be renamed "Emoluments Hotel"

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

In Federalist #22, Alexander Hamilton spelled out the reasons for such a clause:

In republics, persons elevated from the mass of the community, by the suffrages of their fellow-citizens, to stations of great pre-eminence and power, may find compensations for betraying their trust, which, to any but minds animated and guided by superior virtue, may appear to exceed the proportion of interest they have in the common stock, and to overbalance the obligations of duty. Hence it is that history furnishes us with so many mortifying examples of the prevalency of foreign corruption in republican governments. How much this contributed to the ruin of the ancient commonwealths has been already delineated.

We're not just talking about some prince giving Trump a prize horse; the amount of money flowing into his pockets from foreign dignitaries is incalculable.