Tuesday News: Scam artists


MADISON CAWTHORN JOINS GOP COLLEAGUES IN "RECURRING DONATIONS" TRICK: Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, an Asheville Republican in the 11th district, is using two pages for his campaign with the boxes automatically checked for monthly recurring donations. One follows his push two weeks ago for turning Trump’s border wall into a national monument, which Cawthorn has dubbed the “Donument.” Cawthorn’s communications director, Micah Bock, referred questions to campaign staff. He only provided an email address for contact. No one responded. He then suggested contacting WinRed, a for-profit company that processes donations for many Republicans. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Concord Republican in the 8th district, has a fundraising page with the opt-in box pre-checked for a monthly contribution. Rep. Dan Bishop, a Charlotte Republican, is raising money off of a webpage set up by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s campaign that has the box checked for monthly contributions, and a second pre-checked box that would draw another donation at the end of this month.

SHACKLING PREGNANT INMATES MAY BE COMING TO AN END: There's a bipartisan effort to better care for pregnant North Carolina prisoners and jail inmates before and after they deliver their babies. State legislators scheduled a Tuesday news conference to unveil a proposal that has support from the American Civil Liberties Union, the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association and OB-GYNs. The bill would severely limit the handcuffing and shackling of pregnant women who are incarcerated and seek to ensure newborns and mothers are cared for well. Shackling pregnant women — whereby chains are linked between a prisoner's ankles and wrists — is already barred by federal law and by state prison policy. Bill supporters say the state rules aren't always followed. And county jails lack a streamlined policy. About 100 babies were born to women in state prison custody in 2018, according to a criminal justice reform group backing the policy. Over 30 states have passed legislation limiting the shackling of pregnant women behind bars.

DURHAM'S POLICE CHIEF IS HEADED TO MEMPHIS TENNESSEE: Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis is leaving the position to take a similar job in Memphis, Tennessee, officials have announced. The City of Memphis announced the move on Monday, news outlets reported. Durham City Manager Wanda Page said Davis, who had been chief of police in Durham for five years, informed her on Sunday that her last day in Durham would be June 11. Page said an interim chief would be named in the coming days. Davis has been Durham's police chief since June 2016, when she took over for Jose Lopez. Davis leaves as the City of Durham is coming off a record year for gun violence. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports statistics show 318 people were shot in Durham in 2020, a nearly 70% increase over the 189 people shot in 2019, and the most since at least 2016, when the department began tracking the data. With Davis' departure, both Durham and Raleigh will be searching for a new police chief. Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown is retiring June 30.

TRUMP ADMIN BLOCKED PROBES OF SECRET SERVICE ACTIVITIES: The chief federal watchdog for the Secret Service blocked investigations proposed by career staff last year to scrutinize the agency’s handling of the George Floyd protests in Lafayette Square and the spread of the coronavirus in its ranks, according to documents and people with knowledge of his decisions. Both matters involved decisions by then-President Donald Trump that may have affected actions by the agency. Joseph Cuffari, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, rejected his staff’s recommendation to investigate what role the Secret Service played in the forcible clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square on June 1, according to internal documents and two people familiar with his decision, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the discussions. After the sudden charge by police on the largely peaceful protesters, the Secret Service was able to move Trump to a church at the edge of the park, where the White House staged a photo opportunity for the president. Cuffari also sought to limit — and then the office ultimately shelved — a probe into whether the Secret Service flouted federal protocols put in place to detect and reduce the spread of the coronavirus within its workforce, according to the records. Hundreds of Secret Service officers were either infected with the coronavirus or had to quarantine after potential exposure last year as Trump continued to travel and hold campaign events during the pandemic. Staffers inside the inspector general’s office privately complained that Cuffari — a Trump nominee confirmed in 2019 who previously worked for two GOP governors in Arizona, Jan Brewer and Doug Ducey — at times appeared skittish about investigations that could potentially criticize the president’s policies or actions, according to the people with knowledge of discussions.

RUSSIAN TROOP BUILDUP HAS UKRAINE WORRIED ABOUT AN INVASION: There are the fresh trenches the Ukrainians can see their enemy digging, the increase in sniper fire pinning them inside their own. But perhaps the starkest evidence that the seven-year-old war in Ukraine may be entering a new phase is what Capt. Mykola Levytskyi’s coast guard unit saw cruising in the Azov Sea just outside the port city of Mariupol last week: a flotilla of Russian amphibious assault ships. Few Western analysts believe the Kremlin is planning an invasion of eastern Ukraine, given the likely backlash at home and abroad. But with a large-scale Russian troop buildup on land and sea on Ukraine’s doorstep, the view is spreading among officials and wide swathes of the Ukrainian public that Moscow is signaling more bluntly than ever before that it is prepared to openly enter the conflict. “These ships are, concretely, a threat from the Russian state,” Captain Levytskyi said over the whir of his speedboat’s engines as it plied the Azov Sea, after pointing out a Russian patrol boat stationed six miles offshore. “It is a much more serious threat.” Many Ukrainian military officials and volunteer fighters say that they still find it unlikely that Russia will openly invade Ukraine, and that they do not see evidence of an imminent offensive among the gathered Russian forces. But they speculate over other possibilities, including Russia’s possible recognition or annexation of the separatist-held territories in eastern Ukraine. Interviews with frontline units across a 150-mile swath of eastern Ukraine in recent days underscored the fast-rising tensions in Europe’s only active armed conflict. Officials and volunteers acknowledge apprehension over Russia’s troop movements, and civilians feel numb and hopeless after seven years of war. At least 28 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in fighting this year, the military says. “We live in sadness,” said Anna Dikareva, a 48-year-old postal service worker in the frontline industrial town of Avdiivka, where people scarcely flinch when shells explode in the distance. “I don’t want war, but we won’t solve this in a peaceful way, either.”



Intent to defraud

This "opt-out" crap is just the tip of the iceberg for these hucksters, but we really need to hear from some of the folks who have been ripped off by this. The ones who initially gave more than they could afford to, not realizing it was going to be $100 a month and not just a one-shot deal. I know, it's hard to muster any sympathy for them, but it needs to be heard anyway.