Officials with the digital fundraising service say that even with less than three months before Election Day, ActBlue contributions to Democratic state legislative candidates have already set a record, totalling more than $76 million.
That’s a greater than 20% increase from the $63 million in ActBlue donations to the party’s state legislative candidates in the entire 2018 election cycle — and more than three times state House and Senate candidates raised during the 2016 election.
My initial take on this was that people are frustrated with quarantine life and are anxious to do something before the election clock runs out. But there's also a lot of economic uncertainty, and people will generally hold onto their money when that happens. So in my mind, that crosses off "pandemic" as a reason, leaving only the fervent desire for political change. And NC needs that badly:
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to hold a multimillion-dollar stake in his former company XPO Logistics, a United States Postal Service contractor, likely creating a major conflict of interest, according to newly obtained financial disclosures and ethics experts. Outside experts who spoke to CNN were shocked that ethics officials at the postal service approved this arrangement, which allows DeJoy to keep at least $30 million in XPO holdings.
Raising further alarms, on the same day in June that DeJoy divested large amounts of Amazon shares, he purchased stock options giving him the right to buy new shares of Amazon at a price much lower than their current market price, according to the disclosures.
I wouldn't even dream of trying to speculate what DeJoy's investment goals are, but XPO and Amazon had a painful divorce last year:
Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, but 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable, too, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health. “The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”
Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA’s commissioner, said last month that the vaccine or vaccines that end up getting authorized will prove to be more than 50% effective, but it’s possible the U.S. could end up with a vaccine that, on average, reduces a person’s risk of a Covid-19 infection by just 50%. “We really felt strongly that that had to be the floor,” Hahn said on July 30, adding that it’s “been batted around among medical groups.”
I know it's depressing as hell to see this on a Monday, but the sooner we get this through our heads the better. That 50% is about the same as influenza vaccines:
The Manhattan district attorney’s office suggested on Monday that it has been investigating President Trump and his company for possible bank and insurance fraud, a significantly broader inquiry than the prosecutors have acknowledged in the past.
The reports, including investigations into the president’s wealth and an article on the congressional testimony of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, said that the president may have illegally inflated his net worth and the value of his properties to lenders and insurers. Lawyers for Mr. Trump have said he did nothing wrong.
"May" have? Dude lies in his sleep, of course he misled investors. With all the evil he's done, these charges might not seem very sexy. But remember how they finally brought down Al Capone. No doubt he will try to delay this investigation until after the Election (if not forever), but he can't stop us from talking about it.
The scientist leading the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine program will be allowed to remain a government contractor, a decision that permits him to avoid ethics disclosures required of federal employees and maintain his investments in pharmaceutical companies.
Two prominent watchdog groups as well as some Democrats in Congress had called for the Department of Health and Human Services to require that the scientist, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a venture capitalist and a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, fall under the same ethics rules as federal employees.
And why are only Democrats in Congress worried about this? Rhetorical question, we all know why. The GOP has hitched its horse to a corrupt President, and it will go wherever he tells it to. This situation is ripe for conflicts of interest, but aside from the corrupt aspects, the end goal of securing and producing a vaccine is put in jeopardy by those conflicts:
The Justice Department has closed investigations into stock trading by Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, according to people familiar with notifications sent to the senators. The senators came under scrutiny for transactions made in the weeks before the coronavirus sent markets downhill.
The developments indicate that federal law enforcement officials are narrowing their focus in the stock investigation to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C, the former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman. Agents showed up at his Washington-area home about two weeks ago with a warrant to search his cellphone.
I have a theory about what is going on, backed up more by intuition than hard facts, so it's grain of salt time: Burr's last act as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee was to turn over the report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to the intel community itself, so they could decide which parts need to be classified for national security purposes. The fact the DOJ is still holding onto Burr over the insider trading tells me they don't know what's in the report he turned over. Barr's move to exonerate Michael Flynn proves he doesn't give a rodent's posterior about actual crimes, and that he believes the DOJ's major function is to protect Trump. When the de-classified version of Burr's report comes out, he will either remain under investigation or that investigation will be dropped, depending on how bad the report makes Trump (or his pal Putin) look. Film at eleven.
The Postal Service’s board of governors confirmed late Wednesday that Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman who is currently in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, will serve as the new postmaster general.
The action will install a stalwart Trump ally to lead the Postal Service, which he has railed against for years, and probably move him closer than ever before to forcing the service to renegotiate its terms with companies and its own union workforce.
If DeJoy was genuinely interested in supporting and improving the Postal Service, the very first thing he would do is lobby the Senate to amend the stupid law that requires them to fully fund decades-worth of retirement benefits. The main reason that was enacted is so Republicans could wail and gnash their teeth about the post office's financial woes (which they caused). It's the classic GOP "Break it and then complain about it being broken" approach to governing, which we see all the time here in NC. We will see if he is prepared to do the job right, or help Trump attack Jeff Bezos:
Fetzer, a member of the UNC Board of Governors, inserted himself into yet another leadership decision about the school last week, during a university governance committee meeting. This time it was the question of Van Isley’s appointment to the ECU Board of Trustees. Fetzer sought to delay a vote, arguing the board should vet Isley more thoroughly than the average trustee candidate.
In interviews with Policy Watch this week, three members of the UNC Board of Governors and two members of the ECU Board of Trustees said they no longer believe Fetzer can be objective about leadership decisions at ECU, and he should recuse himself from issues related to the school.
Fetzer is like the proverbial bad penny: he just keeps turning up. He was an empty suit as Raleigh Mayor (forgot about that, did you?), a shit-stirrer as NC GOP Chairman, and a back-room deal-maker as a lobbyist. Of course he believes he has "earned" the position as Chancellor for East Carolina, and that belief will drive him to continue to meddle in the school's affairs until he gets it. He already thinks he's the Decider of the Board of Governors:
Burr sold the small townhouse, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, for what, by some estimates, was an above market price — $900,000 — to a team led by lobbyist John Green. That is tens of thousands of dollars above some estimates of the property’s value by tax assessors, a real estate website and a local real estate agent. The sale was done off-market, without the home being listed for sale publicly.
Green is a longtime donor to Burr’s political campaigns and has co-hosted at least one fundraiser for him. In 2017, the year of the sale, Green lobbied on behalf of a stream of clients with business before Burr’s committees.
If there was ever a poster-child for term limits, Burr is it. He's been in Washington for a quarter of a century. Went from a former lawn-mower salesman to a multi-millionaire, all while supposedly being a public servant. How does one do that, you might ask? By doing favors for lobbyists: