Wednesday News: Shameless campaigning


MARK JOHNSON SENT MASS TEXT ATTACKING COMMON CORE: Johnson has periodically sent mass emails about education issues. But in addition to the 800,000 emails he sent Tuesday about the Common Core survey, he also sent 540,000 texts to parents and educators. It marked the first time Johnson sent a mass text. But the texts have drawn complaints from some parents and teachers. “Most people I have spoken to were shocked about getting a text from DPI without opting in or consenting to receiving those,” Andy Fisher, a Union County teacher, told the News & Observer on Tuesday. Abee Boyles, a parent of two Durham students, called the text messages “an example of (Johnson’s) continued shameless self-promotion." “I work in the public sector and feel Mr. Johnson has abused his ability to access my email and phone contact information to promote his own agenda and political aspirations,” Boyles said in an email to the N&O.

POLITICS ARE TAKING A TOLL ON US, PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY: A recent study published in PLOS ONE looked at the costs of politics on friends, relatives, sanity and physical health. Joseph Rock, a psychologist from The Cleveland Clinic, commented on the results. "It puts a strain on relationships and it puts a strain on the individual," he said. Of 800 participants, more than half said politics was a source of significant stress. "A lot of them are saying it's affecting their sleep, it's affecting their relationships and it's affecting their family life," Rock said. In the study, 20% blamed politics for a loss of sleep, fatigue, depression and problems with family, and 30% felt politics triggered angry feelings like hate, guilt and frustration, causing them to make comments they later regretted. Rock said part of the problem is that many people feel like they can't get away from political news. He recommends regaining control by taking breaks from the news cycle.

REPUBLICAN GROUP INCREASES SPENDING ON ERICA SMITH TO $2.4 MILLION: A Republican-linked political committee that’s behind a TV ad praising Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Erica Smith is spending at least $2.4 million to push her candidacy in a primary race, a document says. In a weekend filing, the Faith and Power PAC revealed to the Federal Election Commission the value of the expenses it's incurred for the TV commercial, along with mailers and phone calls. North Carolina Democrats say it's a GOP effort to disrupt the the Democratic primary. The PAC bought TV ads that began running last week in at least four North Carolina markets, touting Smith's support for liberal initiatives such as "Medicare for All" and the “Green New Deal.” Smith's campaign criticized the PAC's involvement in the race. Cunningham's campaign said Monday the PAC's expenditures show Tillis and Washington Republicans are “panicked by the prospect of facing” Cunningham in the fall.

BERNIE SANDERS EDGES PAST MAYOR PETE FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE VICTORY: Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s presidential primary election Tuesday night, narrowly edging moderate rival Pete Buttigieg and scoring the first clear victory in the Democratic Party’s chaotic 2020 nomination fight. In his win, the 78-year-old Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, beat back a strong challenger from the 38-year-old former Midwestern mayor -- two men representing different generations and wings of their party. “This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” Sanders declared. As Sanders and Buttigieg celebrated, an unexpectedly strong performance from Amy Klobuchar gave her a path out of New Hampshire as the contest moves on to the string of state-by-state primary contests that lie ahead. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren posted disappointing results and were on track to finish with zero delegates from the state.

4 DOJ PROSECUTORS QUIT ROGER STONE CASE AFTER SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION IS REDUCED: All four career prosecutors handling the case against Roger Stone withdrew from the legal proceedings Tuesday — and one quit his job entirely — after the Justice Department signaled it planned to undercut their sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and confidant. The sudden and dramatic moves came after prosecutors and their superiors had argued for days over the appropriate penalty for Stone, and exposed what some career Justice Department employees say is a continuing pattern of the historically independent law enforcement institution being bent to Trump’s political will. Almost simultaneously, Trump decided to revoke the nomination to a top Treasury Department post of his former U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, who had supervised the Stone case when it went to trial. The cascade of controversy began Monday, when career prosecutors handling the case recommended that a judge sentence Stone — convicted in November of obstructing Congress and witness tampering — to between seven and nine years in federal prison. Stone has been a friend and adviser to Trump since the 1980s and was a key figure in his 2016 campaign, working to discover damaging information on Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.



Who would have thought

that Bernie & Pete would be duking it out for the lead? It almost makes me not want to early vote, for fear the person I choose might drop out before March 3. Like Yang just did.

I received one of those texts...

since I'm a teacher. I don't even know how the DPI got my cell number and I'd really like to find out. It was creepy and stalker-ish at the very least. The constant emails on my school account were bad enough, but at least I knew how they could do that, since it's an official part of my school presence. My cell phone is private. I am signed up for phone alerts from my district, but that is not a permission I extended to DPI. It may very well have been illegal. It is also, of course, par for the course from a little sleazy con-man like Johnson.

For the "Faith and Power PAC"...

the point may not be to boost Smith, but to tear her down. The emphasis on M4A and the Green New Deal is designed to portray her as a radical, which is bad enough on it's own to possibly hurt her chances against Cunningham. But then there's the fact that this PAC didn't exactly do anything to try to conceal their allegiance. That could also be an attempt to undercut Smith rather than Cunningham by trying to "briar patch" Democrats into thinking that they'd rather face Smith, when the opposite is true. The whole episode is pretty murky and just goes to show why independent expenditure groups like Faith and Power PAC should be reigned in or eliminated from our political discourse.