The 2014 Congressional races are starting to get under way, and my extremely gerrymandered district is no exception. This morning a link came across my dashboard announcing a Democratic hoping to challenge Congresswoman Renee Ellmers next year. I”d like to say that anyone would be a step up from the embarrassment that is Ms. Ellmers, but the truth is I’m sick of all of them. If there is any justice left in the universe, please give us another option. Continue reading
You know the heat is rising in the GOP kitchen when local papers like the Lexington Dispatch, which serves one of the reddest counties in the state, begin pointing fingers at the governor they helped elect.
…the promotions and raises given in this instance puts McCrory on the kind of path traveled by predecessors like Democrat Mike Easley. It also puts McCrory seemingly in conflict with the austere spending principles that were the cornerstones of his campaign for governor. Continue reading
When a law is enacted, representatives who opposed it have some choices (which are not mutually exclusive). They can try to repeal it, which is perfectly acceptable—unless it becomes an effort at grandstanding so overdone that it detracts from other basic responsibilities of governing. They can try to amend it to make it work better—not just perfectly acceptable but desirable, if the goal is to improve a cumbersome law to work better for the betterment of the society and its people. They can strive to make sure that the law does the most for Americans it is intended to serve, including their own constituents, while doing the least damage to the society and the economy. Or they can step aside and leave the burden of implementation to those who supported the law and got it enacted in the first place.
But to do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation—which in this case means finding ways to deny coverage to many who lack any health insurance; to keep millions who might be able to get better and cheaper coverage in the dark about their new options; to create disruption for the health providers who are trying to implement the law Continue reading
When I was born, in the mid-1960′s, the southern United States was solidly in the hands of the Democratic Party, and North Carolina was no exception. Republican leaders today are quick to point this out this fact, but simplistic facts hide a more nuanced reality.
The solid southern GOP majorities of today are the direct ideological offspring of segregationist Democrats a generation ago who stood so staunchly against civil rights. If we’re going to be honest about this, it’s really been only a few decades at most since the ideas the embraced by today’s GOP held power in our state.
As a recent commenter at BlueNC pointed out:
People need to understand that NC was a “one party” state since the fusionists lost power in 1898-1900. While a one party state the “one party”, in this case the Democratic Party is the home for all that want to participate politically. The primary was (with a few exceptions) the election. The general election was a formality. Thus there were always traditionalist and modernist factions that fought for control. I wouldn’t call any of them “liberals” as many mistakenly do. The modernists promoted things like education, and infrastructure and are what set us apart from most of the rest of the South. NC has never fit into those neat little simplistic boxes.
I believe it was Richard Nixon or one of his advisers who came up with the “Southern Strategy” to win over the segregationist “Dixiecrats”. So next time one of your friends or co-workers starts going on about how the Democratic Party ruled this state for over one-hundred years, remind them just how much more like their own ideology the Democrats of yesteryear really were.
That sucking sound you heard Tuesday afternoon wasn’t the wind, it was the sound of our state being yanked backward about 50 years. It was the sound of legislators in the pay of one Art Pope, slum lord retail magnate extraordinaire, attempting to steal not just one more election, but every election from the foreseeable futureVoter fraud is not an issue in North Carolina, but this isn’t really about voter fraud, this is about controlling who can and cannot vote. This is about limiting those demographics most likely to lean toward progress, equality, and fairness; qualities sorely lacking at the Republican dominated NCGA of late. They stole, through some of the most egregious and blatant racial and partisan gerrymandering ever seen on this continent, the 2012 election, and now they want them all.
Here are some controversial features included in the rewritten bill, in addition to the Senate changes in the photo ID provisions (e.g., eliminating all college IDs, local government IDs):
- cuts a full week off the Early Voting period
- eliminates flexibility in opening Early Voting sites at different hours within a county
- eliminates same-day voter registration during Early Voting
- eliminates straight party ticket voting
- repeals pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds and repeals mandate for election officials to conduct high-school registration drives
- authorizes vigilante poll observers, lots of them, with expanded range of interference
- expands the scope of who may examine registration records and challenge voters
- repeals out-of-precinct voting
- makes it more difficult to add satellite polling sites for the elderly or voters with disabilities
- changes what is the official ballot, particularly for DRE machines
- limits who can assist a voter adjudicated to be incompetent by court
- repeals three public financing programs
- raises contribution limits to $5,000; and the limit increases every two years with inflation
- repeals disclosure requirements of outside money under Candidate Specific Communications
- reduces disclosure of electioneering communications in legislative, state and federal elections and increase influence of “dark money”
- studies rather than requires electronic filing
- moves the presidential primary to first Tuesday after South Carolina, if SC holds its primary before March 15
This is not about voter fraud, this is about election fraud. The fraud is being perpetrated by “duly elected” super-majorities of ideologically driven GOP legislators in both houses of the general assembly.
When they come calling for your support and your vote in 2014, remember your neighbors who lost first their jobs, then their unemployment, and finally their homes. Remember you children and grandchildren who struggle to survive in this world of low wages and scarce jobs, who could have obtained decent medical care or contraception if the NCGOP hadn’t shut down most women’s clinics in the state and refused a federal Medicaid expansion that would have cost our state NOTHING. When your college age family member is gunned down at a bar or a fraternity party because background checks are for pussies and guns belong in bars and on college campuses, remember, these GOP idiots stole an election in order to pass these and other insane laws, and that they hope to steal ever election for the next twenty years or more by passing an unnecessary voter fraud bill at the end of the 2013 long session.
On Sunday, July 21, 2013, Thom Tillis and Phil Berger, Republican leaders of the NC House and Senate respectively, reached a compromise on our state budget. The grizzly details of our march back toward a neo-feudal, libertarian paradise is documented here and here (you really should read these reports).
Both chambers still need to sign off on the deal, but it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that it will pass and be signed by Governor
Art Pope Pat McCrory.
Among the most egregious work in the document are the insults to teachers across our state. This budget is so bad, even the most hardcore Republican teachers on my wife’s Facebook network are up in arms over it (sorry ladies, but you voted for this, despite our warnings).
The comment below is perhaps the best summation of the damage this legislature of Republican super-majorities is about to do to education and educators across our state.
“It is a tragic day in NC for our public schools, their teachers and students. The cuts to education reflect a very aggressive attack on public education. Eliminating $110 million for teacher assistants, eliminating teacher tenure, eliminating class size limits for K-3, no raise again this year, all of these unnecessary cuts wipe out three decades of steady progress. The most damaging is allowing for our hard earned tax dollars to be transferred to private schools. The privatization of public schools threatens the very cornerstone of our democracy and violates our state constitution. This is beyond comprehension and represents the worst public policy I have ever witnessed in NC History. These cuts to public education will have a direct impact at the classroom level, impacting every single one of our 1.5 million public school children. The General Assembly has abandoned the heart and soul of what makes our schools work and has set us on a course that will end public education as a common good in NC. We hope the business community will realize today that this attack on public education is an attack on our economic viability.”
Yevonne Brannan of Public Schools First NC, July 21, 2013
The following was published today at The Sampson Independent, Clinton, NC, and is simply too brilliant not to share. Bear in mind, this is not another whining liberal like me saying this, but a self-described, life-long NC Republican. Thanks to my friends at BlueNC for the tip.
As a native North Carolinian, retired, caucasian and Republican (1964-2002), and a former NC Republican county commissioner, I am ashamed of the new-fangled Republican Party and what they are doing in the NC General Assembly. The recent editorial in The New York Times, and the CBS News Corporation (albeit brushed aside as a “commie” media by the low informational voter), speaks my values to what is going on in Raleigh.
These new Republican legislators, (at least portrayed as Republicans but more akin to racists ideologue’s dressed in 3-piece suits), are systematically dismantling the farsightedness and progress ideas that both Republicans and Democrats made in NC beginning @1960. They have an intolerant attitude.
Consider some of the following actions of this General Assembly. (a) The stingy nature they possess toward the poor and disenfranchised. (b) Their warped sense in Bible thumping religious-philosophy about abortion, and (c) a citizen’s constitutional right to vote. But in addition, consider their shameless slap toward women, and educators, and minorities. Their actions, jointly and together, are a stench in the nostrils of decent humanity.
Moreover, after making a mockery of human decency in their legislative action, they are hell-bent to nullify federal law toward the unemployed, and by extension to the rest of us via the economy. Thanks to the G no P, our state has become, again, the poster-child for bigotry. Thanks to the G no P and their mantra to “take the country back” our great state is slipping back into the 1940’s and 50’s where certain populations of our citizenry were treated as 3/5 of a human being.
If you remain silent in these current matters of NC legislation, and if you stifle your conscience with respect to their treatment of your fellow-man, or worse, tell yourself that you cannot do anything about it until the next election, you deceive yourself. Should you remain silent, your children will doubtless inherit a backward-looking and non-progressive state. I urge you, in the language of the ancient prophet, “Cry aloud and spare not.”
Janet Conner-Knox of The Wilson Times had an interview with the Governor recently and reports,
McCrory said he has come out to hear what protesters are not happy about on the Moral Monday protests.
“I go out in the crowd all of the time,” McCrory said. “Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves moral by cussing me out. But that’s the way things go some times.”
I have been present at three of the last four Moral Monday protests and as others have already pointed out, with so many cameras running at every event, if McCrory had been “in the crowd” not only would it have been recorded, it would have been widely reported.
I can also attest to the fact that Rev. Barber has stopped in mid sentence on more than one occasion to reprimand fellow protesters who made ugly or profane remarks toward or about those who oppose our cause, reminding them that we are there to show them the error of their ways in peace and with love in our hearts.
At this week’s protest our group ended up leaving early due to health issues one of us had with the high temps and humidity. As we were leaving, walking south along N. Wilmington Street, we saw the Governor and what appeared to be an aide and a body guard walking east on the north side of Jones Street, away from the legislative building, at what might be called a brisk pace. In fact, I’d venture to say they were just short of jogging.
I can’t speak to what may or may not have transpired as he left the Capitol grounds, but I did witness an bicyclist, unaffiliated with the protest, look back over his shoulder as he passed the governor, flip him off and call him a few choice names. I distinctly heard the phrase “piece of shit”.
If Pat McCrory is referring to this and associating that cyclist’s actions with Moral Monday protesters, then Pat has a either a major problem with understanding reality or an inability to tell the truth.
Now is the time for all North Carolinians to come together and speak out against the grave injustices being perpetrated against our people by a General Assembly and a governor beholden to special interests. Now is the time to get active where you live, to register voters and make certain their papers are in order, because they will most certainly be requested at the ballot box.
Join us again at Halifax Mall, just outside the General Assembly building at 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC, every Monday at 5pm. See you there.
Forward together; not one step back!
A New Toast for a New Carolina
By D.F. Hubbard (With apologies to Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr)
Here’s to the land of the capitalist swine.
To the hopelessness of the unemployment line
Where the rich grow richer, and the poor garner hate.
Here’s to “Good Ol’ Boys”, in The Old North State.
Here’s to the Assembly, old, male and white,
Where government does business under cover of night.
Where McCrory and Pope and Berger can’t wait
To roll back the calendar, in The Old North State.
Here’s to the land where hateful rhetoric grows,
Where contempt for your women blatantly shows.
Where soar the egos of Congressmen of late,
Where Tarheel meets Taliban, The Old North State.
Away went my Carolina, I was privileged to share,
Where justice was equitable and cold hearts were rare,
Where neighbors were friendly, not blinded by hate,
The blessed land’s been shit-canned, my poor Old North State!