Wednesday News: Rebel without a clue


UNC BOG MEMBER THOM GOOLSBY CALLS TRUSTEES "COWARDS" OVER SILENT SAM DECISION: The proposal to return the Silent Sam Confederate monument to a new $5.3 million building at UNC-Chapel Hill is “sheer cowardice,” a member of the UNC system’s governing board said. Thom Goolsby, a lawyer from Wilmington and former Republican legislator, released a video on YouTube on Tuesday, sharply critical of the Chapel Hill campus Board of Trustees’ proposal to construct a university history and education center to house the controversial statue. “Neither the right nor the left is happy,” Goolsby said in the video. “If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to anyone.” The 2015 state law on the protection of historic monuments requires that the statue should have been put back in its original position, Goolsby said, within 90 days of “the outside radicals tearing it down.” He asked viewers of the video to call their state legislators to demand that they contact the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees to insist that the law be followed.

MORE DETAILS EMERGE IN NC09 AFTER SECOND BALLOT COLLECTOR COMES FORWARD: The two women said they were paid $75 to $100 to pick up 50 ballots a week. Voters filled them out, and the women witnessed them, but the envelopes they were put in weren't sealed. "We did not know it was illegal to pick them up," Kinlaw said, adding that she has no idea what happened to the ballots after they were dropped off. "Once I dropped them off at his office, we assumed he was putting them in the mail." According to documents posted online Tuesday by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, Dowless signed for turning in 580 applications for absentee ballots between Aug. 22 and Oct. 29. About 3,400 requested absentee ballots were never returned across the 9th District, which stretches along the North Carolina-South Carolina border from Charlotte to Robeson County before turning north into Bladen and Cumberland counties, according to elections board documents.

WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE EMULATES NC GOP IN STRIPPING POWERS FROM INCOMING DEM GOVERNOR: The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate has passed a sweeping measure taking power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, and reducing how long early voting can take place. The measure was approved on a 17-16 vote with all Democrats and one Republican voting against it. The Assembly was expected to give final approval later Wednesday morning and send the measure to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled his support. The bill would limit the governor's ability to put in place administrative rules that enact laws and give the Legislature the power to control appointees to the board that runs the state economic development agency until Sept. 1. The bill is part of a package of Republican lame-duck legislation designed to weaken Evers and incoming Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Debate on the rest of the proposals was expected to stretch into early Wednesday in both houses.

INDICTMENTS FINALLY EMERGE FROM PUBLICATION OF PANAMA PAPERS BY JOURNALISTS: Prosecutors in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York late Tuesday accused Ramses Owens, a longtime lawyer for Mossack Fonseca, of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit tax evasion and money laundering. Owens’ name appears 96,696 times in the massive database of leaked files maintained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which pulled together reporters across the globe for the undertaking. He left the firm after the April 2016 publication of the Panama Papers. Also charged in the alleged conspiracy, which the indictment said dates back to 2000, are German citizen Dirk Brauer, an investment adviser for Mossfon Asset Management, which worked closely with the parent law firm to invest and manage client money; Richard Gaffey, an American accountant based outside Boston; and Harald Joachim von der Goltz, a German citizen who formerly lived in the United States and paid taxes there. The three financial professionals are alleged to have helped von der Goltz and other Mossack Fonseca clients evade U.S. taxes.

BACK TO THE 90'S: SERBIA THREATENS TO INVADE KOSOVO AGAIN: Serbia's prime minister warned on Wednesday that the formation of a Kosovo army could trigger Serbia's armed intervention in the former province — the bluntest warning so far amid escalating tensions in the Balkans. Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo soared after the Kosovo government last month introduced a 100-percent tax on Serb imports — an apparent retaliation for a failed Kosovo bid for membership in the international police organization, Interpol, after intense Serbian lobbying. Brnabic said that Serbia is losing 42 million euros ($48 million) a month because of the Kosovo tariffs hike. Serbia has been strengthening its armed forces, devastated after the 1999 NATO intervention, mostly with Russian help. An armed intervention by Serbia in Kosovo would trigger a direct clash with NATO-led peacekeepers stationed there. Serbia recently increased its saber-rattling, including raising the combat readiness of its troops over a series of small incidents.