NC GOP

Observations from a Congressional staffer on phone calls

At least somebody is paying attention:

It’s not even noon, and I’ve already answered dozens of phone calls from angry constituents. A single mother demanded answers as to where her family could turn for health-care services if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act. An older gentleman had to take a breath as he used some choice words to describe House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s proposals to cut Medicare benefits. The resentment and anger are palpable. Seconds after I hang up, the phone rings again. And again. And again.

Democratic and Republican congressional offices have been inundated with calls, letters, tweets, posts and visits from impassioned people upset and outraged by the president’s actions, Cabinet nominations and executive orders. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s office reported an average of 1.5 million daily calls to the Senate in the first week of February alone. Phone lines are so gridlocked that lawmakers are nervously taking to social media to apologize that constituents can’t get through and reassure them that we hear them on Capitol Hill.

Before you start punching in numbers to say your piece, keep in mind the author works for a House Democrat. It's a good bet many Republicans have been seriously filtering their incoming correspondence, and then just making shit up to show evidence of support. But here are some examples of the effectiveness of issue-based advocacy:

Nunes cancels Monday open hearing on Trump/Russia

The cover-up is not going very well:

Nunes explained that the hearing would be postponed, so as to allow FBI director James Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers to address the committee in closed session. Schiff believes Nunes’s true motive is to spare the president a bad news cycle. And he isn’t afraid to say so.

“I think that there must have been a very strong pushback from the White House about the nature of Monday’s hearing,” Schiff said. “It’s hard for me to come to any other conclusion about why an agreed-upon hearing would be suddenly canceled.”

This is turning into a big, hot mess for the Trump administration. I've seen a few reports from dubious news sites that Nunes has a great deal (if not all) of his personal finances tied up in Russian ventures, but I'll wait for that to pan out in the mainstream news media before linking. There are also rumors that Michael Flynn has decided to snitch in order to save his skin, but Congressional interest in his previous behavior is not a rumor:

Tillis stages a love-in for Goldman Sachs

Yeah, sure, just a bunch of little guys helping out:

"I feel like sometimes I'm living a reality TV version of Atlas Shrugged," Tillis quipped during the confirmation hearing for Jay Clayton, Trump’s nominee for chairing the Securities and Exchange Commission. "There are a lot of people in this Congress that want to beat down job creators and employers. People want to demonize Goldman Sachs. That’s an easy thing to do, right? Just beat up on a financial services institution. An institution that’s committed to, let me look at the general numbers here ― they have 36,500 employees. There’s probably a lot of little guys in there. They’ve contributed billions of dollars to nonprofits.”

In order to understand why Tillis would put on such a show, you need to understand the man himself. He didn't dream of becoming a powerful elected official, that's just one of the steps in his Plan B. He really wanted (and still wants) to become a high-roller in the investment, banking, and finance realm. When he tried it before he realized he just didn't have the money or fame to pull it off. You need one or the other to sucker people into giving you their accumulated wealth to play with, and Tillis is almost there right now. And I doubt he has the patience to wait another six years to cash in, so 2020 is the launch date. Take a look at the dude he's cheering on for SEC Chairman:

GOP leaders floating "religious freedom to discriminate" legislation

Alternate title: "Let the zealots take care of teh gay problem":

N.C. House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson says Republicans want to include “religious freedom” language – similar to a controversial Indiana law – in legislation repealing House Bill 2. Jackson posted several images of the proposed legislation on Twitter Wednesday. “Since the speaker wouldn’t share with his caucus, I figured I would share the bill they are discussing,” Jackson wrote.

The proposed legislation Jackson posted is labeled “Religious Liberty,” and says that anyone whose “Constitutional exercise of religious liberty and rights of conscience has been burdened ... by an action of the state” can sue the state or any state or local government agency involved.

"Rights of conscience has been burdened"? And they call us snowflakes? And for those reading this who don't think such lawsuits would ever materialize, that nobody would sue a municipality for passing a non-discrimination ordinance or other protections for LGBT folks, think again. And remember the conspiracy that had Republicans in half of NC's counties filing unsubstantiated complaints of voter fraud in an effort to de-legitimize the Gubernatorial Election. These idiots are just waiting for an opportunity like this, and such challenges would allow Republican leaders to dodge any consequences for their stances.

Vinroot uses faulty data when promoting diversity of charter schools

Masking the reality of state-sponsored segregation:

“I am very much concerned,” says state Rep. Rosa Gill, a Wake County Democrat and former high school math teacher who sits on the N.C. House of Representatives’ education committee. “I think when our legislators have false information, we come up with legislation that is not in the best interest of kids.”

To make his points, Vinroot relies on free or reduced lunch data in charters. By most estimations, that’s not a fair assessment, experts say, pointing out less than a third of the state’s charters participate in that program.

But I'm sure the public school haters in the General Assembly will eat it up with gusto.

About that whole "Let's reach out to Trump voters" thing...

The North Carolina Democratic Party is in the midst of a building season; organizing precincts, preparing for county conventions, settling in with a diverse new batch of state party leaders, etc. There are also several formal and informal groups putting their collective heads together to try to fashion new messages, reassess priorities, and check boxes we've previously ignored or only paid lip service to. There's a lot of brainstorming going on, and that's a good thing. But I think it's important we keep some things in perspective, and not allow ourselves to chase after people we really don't want to catch, because, as they say, you are what you eat. Follow me below the fold if you want to hear more, but leave the small children behind, because I'm taking the filter (what little there is) off for a few minutes:

Duke Energy to add more carcinogens to already impaired waters

I guess they're not worried about the EPA anymore:

As part of its 2015 criminal plea agreement, Duke Energy admitted that bromide discharged into rivers and lakes from its coal ash operations have caused carcinogens to form in downstream drinking water systems. Some of these carcinogens are so dangerous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set their health protection goal at zero, meaning that people should not be exposed to any level of these pollutants.

Yet instead of taking responsible action to halt these bromide discharges, Duke Energy is proposing to add even more bromides to its coal ash basins, through changes to its coal plant operations. Duke Energy claims that the additional bromides will reduce emissions of mercury from its smokestacks. The utility is choosing this bromide production despite the fact that other modern, widely-used technologies—such as baghouses—are available to control mercury emissions without causing carcinogens downstream.

It's actually no comfort in realizing this is probably happening all over the United States, in the wake of the Trump admin's systematic destruction of the EPA. Hopefully our new DEQ will be able to bring some relief from the inevitable deterioration of our environment, but they've been cut to the bone also.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - NC GOP