Saturday News: Failing upwards


TRUMP NAMES CONGRESSIONAL BULLY MARK MEADOWS CHIEF OF STAFF: Meadows, who has represented far western North Carolina since 2013, is one of Trump’s fiercest defenders in Congress and had been considered for the chief of staff job at other points during Trump’s tenure. Meadows announced late last year that he would not seek another term in Congress, saying he might work in the Trump administration in some capacity. That stoked rumors that he was finally poised to ascend to the position when the time was right. In a sign of Trump’s continued favoritism of Meadows, the president named the congressman to a group of House Republicans to act as a rapid response team during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year. During those two and half weeks, Meadows boasted to reporters that no member of Congress communicated directly with Trump more than he did.

VAN DUYN WILL DECIDE NEXT WEEK IF SHE WILL GO TO RUNOFF AGAINST HOLLEY: Democratic voters will have to wait a few more days to find out if there will be a special runoff election for lieutenant governor. State Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley of Wake County received 26% of votes on the March 3 primary election, with state Sen. Terry Van Duyn of Asheville coming in second with 20%. Holley would have needed more than 30% of votes to win outright. But a runoff isn’t automatic — the second place vote-getter has to request it. Van Duyn told The News & Observer on Friday that she would make her decision on Tuesday. “I want that seat to be blue, and I’ve got to figure out what’s the best course. And I’m just not there yet,” Van Duyn said in a phone interview from Asheville. If she requests a runoff, the second primary election is likely to be May 12. Regardless of whether there is a runoff, a woman will be the Democrat on ballots this fall for lieutenant governor.

THE ASPHALT KING IS BACK, COMPLAINT FILED OVER UNREGISTERED PAC: The flier recommended 13 candidates in the Republican primary, from President Donald Trump down to a couple of county commissioner candidates. At the bottom, it said "Paid for by Citizens for the Betterment of Johnston County." That's not a political action committee registered with the state, and it's unclear who paid for the guide. The guide backed winners and losers in Tuesday's primary. The protest focuses on District 1 on the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. Fred Smith, a former commissioner and state senator recommended by the flier, finished 47 votes ahead of Michelle Pace Davis in the race. Lee Jackson, whom the flier recommended in the county's other commissioner's race, placed a distant third. Since the PAC was unregistered, Johnny Hill argues a new election is needed in a county commissioner race decided by 47 votes.

FACEBOOK PULLS DECEPTIVE TRUMP AD THAT FRAUDULENTLY USES CENSUS: Civil rights leaders are concerned that it took the company almost a day to come to its final conclusion. They first alerted Facebook on Wednesday to the Trump ads, which called Facebook users to “take the official 2020 Congressional District Census today.” The ads were not related at all to the national count and instead linked to a Trump campaign survey that collected information and solicited a donation. “It demonstrates a real failure in their enforcement and internal infrastructure to identify and remove these kinds of posts that can have a very detrimental impact on users,” Vanita Gupta, the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told me in an interview. While transparency advocates saw Facebook's announcement in December it would adopt a census misinformation as a key victory after an 18-month fight, they're now gearing up for another battle: Getting the company to follow through on them. “It’s going to take 24-hour vigilance on the part of organizations that have far fewer resources than Facebook has to ensure the enforcement of these policies,” Gupta told me.

GREEKS ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY VIOLENT TOWARD REFUGEES: The farmers and pensioners wore black clothes and heavy boots, imitating Greece’s special forces, and trod along a rural road on a night patrol looking for migrants trying to cross the northern land border with Turkey. “We’ll get you next time!” they shouted at a small group of men who had made it over and fled. Two hundred miles to the south, on the border island of Lesbos, locals angrily blocked a dinghy full of migrants from Turkey, including a pregnant woman and children, from getting off on a pier. “No more!” they yelled, cursing. On land and at sea, one thing is clear along Greece’s meandering border with Turkey: This is not 2015 anymore. Then, while much of Europe was convulsed with anger and fear as more than a million asylum seekers poured in from distant wars, Greeks helped rescue refugees at sea, or greeted them with empathy as they traversed the country en route to northern Europe. The citizens of the island of Lesbos were even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Now, the reaction is overt hostility. A new center-right Greek government has temporarily suspended accepting asylum applications and pledged to summarily expel those who come in order to discourage migrants. Villagers from border towns are forming civilian patrols to round up migrants. Islanders have set up road blocks to stop migrants from reaching refugee camps. Others have physically attacked aid workers and journalists, accusing them of helping migrants come to the island.



Was going to call Meadows "snake in the grass,"

but that's an insult to snakes. Get ready for a whole new round of firings or "resignations," because Meadows is one of those types who thrive on power over others, and he will expect people to kiss his ass even more than he kisses Trump's. Which is of course impossible, so...

The bright side ...

... of this is that Meadows won't be able to please Trump any more than anyone else has and he'll probably be replaced within a few weeks or months.

Even if he does survive, he'll be sucked into the spinning vortex that consumes and devours anyone in Trump's orbit. He deserves every subpoena and public shaming coming his way for the rest of his life.