Voters fight back: Guilford GOP accuser sued for defamation

This isn't Salem in the 17th Century, and false accusations have consequences:

William Clark Porter IV, who is named as the defendant in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment. Porter is committee chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party. He accused nine voters of casting ballots in another state, eight of voting with felony convictions and said one deceased person voted.

Karen Niehans, 74, and her husband Sam Niehans, plaintiffs in the lawsuit, were both accused of voting in two states. They moved to Jamestown in 2016 to be closer to family and both of the claims against them were found to be without merit. “This was personal,” Karen Niehans said. “My democratic right to vote was challenged. It’s as if someone was saying that I was less than others, that my voice shouldn’t count. That’s just plain wrong to do to someone and I am not going to take it. I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

I hope this dude gets raked over the legal coals, and I also hope there is some evidence uncovered of monetary compensation from state GOP officials for leveling these false allegations. So tired of their unethical behavior, and having to watch them get away with it, over and over again.

Digging deeper into wind farm opposition

Lisa Sorg skewers John Droz for his disingenuous deceptions:

However, the tone of the letter — histrionic and at times, sycophantic —and even the punctuation are similar to that in Droz’s blogs and articles. Reached by email, Droz did not answer a direct question about any involvement in drafting the letter. Instead, he wrote: “I have no problem with communicating with journalists who are making an honest effort to objectively describe a situation. However, years ago I made it clear to you that I was never a real estate developer — yet you continue to include that falsehood in your correspondences.”

(Droz’s online “real-estate focused resume” says he owns and has renovated numerous properties in New York State. He also claims to have co-founded one of the largest real estate companies in central New York. He also writes that in the 1980s he taught a widely acclaimed course on “How to Succeed in Real Estate Investing.”

Yeah, not sure how much of that resume is fact vs fiction. It does say he's a member of Mensa, which is difficult to swallow, after engaging in a few online debates with him. Pretty sure there's less there than meets the eye, if you catch my drift. But back to the notorious letter and its dubious claims:

Wednesday News: BergerMoore loses in court, again

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COURT APPEARS TO PUT TEMPORARY BLOCK ON CABINET CONFIRMATIONS (WRAL-TV) -- A three-judge Superior Court panel appears to have delayed state Senate confirmation hearings on Gov. Roy Cooper's cabinet pending further hearings on whether a new law giving the General Assembly a say in those appointments is constitutional. Judges Jesse Caldwell of Gaston County, Todd Burke of Forsyth County and Jeff Foster of Pitt County held a hearing in the case via telephone late Tuesday afternoon. The dispute between Cooper and the state Senate stems from a law the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed in December. It grants the Senate the power to accept or reject cabinet appointments by the governor. That law passed shortly after Cooper, a Democrat, ousted Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory signed off on the bill shortly before his term expired.
http://www.wral.com/court-appears-to-put-temporary-block-on-cabinet-confirmations/16512351/

Republicans hate eminent domain, except when they love it

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has more rights than citizens:

(1) Corporations, bodies politic or persons have the power of eminent domain for the construction of railroads, power generating facilities, substations, switching stations, microwave towers, roads, alleys, access railroads, turnpikes, street railroads, plank roads, tramroads, canals, telegraphs, telephones,communication facilities, electric power lines, electric lights, public water supplies, public sewerage systems, flumes, bridges, facilities related to the distribution of natural gas, and pipelines or mains originating in North Carolina for the transportation of petroleum products, coal, natural gas, limestone or minerals.

Underlined text is new, and text that has been struck through is being removed. Republicans are pretty much letting the pipeline company steal people's property, and (once again) the faux Libertarian "property rights" crowd at Civitas and JLF are exercising selective silence on one of their biggest issue platforms.

Josh Stein joins lawsuit opposing Trump's Muslim ban

Because fighting injustice is part of the job:

“President Trump’s executive order undermines the core American value of religious tolerance, and it makes us less safe,” Stein said in a statement released Monday. “It signals to the world that America sees all Muslims as terrorists, strengthening ISIS’s propaganda and efforts to recruit terrorists.

“Not only is Trump doing immeasurable damage to our country’s standing, he’s doing it in a way that is unconstitutional. That is why I will join my colleagues in taking action.”

What he said.

Tuesday News: The Trudy Effect

GREENSBORO OFFICIALS BLAME WADE IN FIRST DAY OF REDISTRICTING TRIAL (Greensboro News & Record) -- Testimony pointed to the election of Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) as the event that marked a change in the way state laws affecting local lawmakers were formulated. Before she took office, proposals were discussed among Guilford county lawmakers before the changes took effect. Local politicians testified that Wade proposed the new districts without consulting the mayor or council and said that unnamed Greensboro business owners asked for the districts that would give better representation to the black community. Opponents, and everyone who testified Monday, said that simply wasn't the case.
http://www.greensboro.com/news/government/greensboro-officials-blame-wade-in-first-day-of-redistrict...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

It's never too late to do the right thing:

HB2 was flawed from the start, trying to fix a problem that didn't exist. And it became (much) more flawed when Republicans took away other existing worker protections in their zeal to punish Charlotte. It's long past time to kill this particular bill.

On the chopping block: NC retiree health care benefits

Austerity for some, tax cuts for others:

The Joint Legislative Committee on the Unfunded Liability of the Retiree Health Benefit Fund shall examine the following options for reducing the unfunded liability of the Fund:

(1) Increasing the assets in the Retiree Health Benefit Fund through appropriation by the General Assembly.
(2) Increasing the costs of retiree benefits borne by the federal government, by means such as the automatic enrollment of Medicare‑eligible retirees in Medicare Advantage or the offering of financial incentives to early retirees to obtain insurance through the health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.
(3) Reducing the State's future liability by transitioning the State's retiree health benefit from a defined benefit approach to a defined contribution model.
(4) Reducing the number of persons eligible for retiree benefits by increasing the service time requirements for the benefit or by eliminating the benefit for certain groups.
(5) Requiring employees to contribute to the Retiree Health Benefit Fund, as they do to the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.
(6) Increasing the amount that retirees pay for their health benefits by means such as increasing premiums or out‑of‑pocket costs.
(7) Any other proposals for reducing the unfunded liability of the Fund identified by the Committee.

The reason 3-6 are italicized is because 1&2 were merely put there to make people think everything's on the table. Again, classic bait-and-switch. Like when you get that "You are a winner!" glossy bullshit notice in the mail, where you've either won a fancy new automobile, $25,000 cash, an all-expense-paid vacation to Cabo San Lucas, or a free photographic portrait sitting, where you end up either stalking out with a frowny-face or ordering $75 worth of pictures. This is a frowny-face bill, and SEANC needs to start lighting torches and sharpening pitchforks.

Republican Superintendent pushing trades instead of college

And misleading students in the process:

He said business leaders want schools to start letting kids know their options at a younger age, including vocational professions. Johnson said that any student who wants to go to college can, but they need to know there are other options.

For instance, he said that a student should know that he or she could become a lineman for a power company after high school, and within a few years he or she could be making more than $100,000. Or a student could graduate and work as a welder at a steel fabrication company and potentially be making $70,000.

Bolding mine, because the dude at the top of the education pyramid in NC should at least understand that a "few" years is 2-3, not the 10-15 years it would take to achieve journeyman status. And the top journeyman lineworkers make around $39 per hour, which is $83,120 before overtime. Entry level pay is about $16 per hour ($33,280 per year), and telling kids they can make $100,000 within a few years is astoundingly irresponsible. And considering that Duke Energy Carolinas is about 250 linemen short, the negatives likely outweigh the positives by a metric ton:

Monday News: Counting the costs of voter negligence

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WHAT WILL OBAMACARE REPEAL MEAN FOR WNC HOSPITALS? (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- With Congress and the president pledging to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaders of Western North Carolina hospitals are closely following the discussions to find out what might replace the existing health care law. The stakes are high. By one estimate, repealing the legislation without an effective replacement plan and keeping in place payment reductions to hospitals that came with the law would cost North Carolina hospitals $7.1 billion over eight years. That scenario would be especially hard on rural hospitals with a high percentage of uninsured patients, according to health care experts.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2017/02/05/what-obamacare-repeal-mean-wnc-hospitals/97...

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