NC GOP

The company you keep: Thomas Farr's roots in White Supremacy

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His now-deceased business partner was a champion for segregation:

The recent death of Raleigh lawyer and political strategist Tom Ellis at 97 marked the passing of perhaps the last prominent North Carolinian who once advocated for the white supremacist views of Wesley Critz George of Chapel Hill. George believe blacks were biologically inferior to whites and that “the protoplasmic mixing of the races” would diminish the white race, hurting its ability to survive.

“As good citizens, we should do all we can to insure that ten generations and more from now we shall have a breed of people in this country capable of maintaining American civilization,” George wrote in 1956. “Integration and amalgamation of the two races is not the way to insure having such a breed of people.”

While this story is mostly about Tom Ellis and the racists he admired and supported, it's also about how mainstream Republicans have absolutely no problem ignoring white supremacist backgrounds. At best, that's what we're supposed to assume about Thomas Farr: That he was simply a business partner of Ellis and did not automatically share his opinions. But these guys worked together for over thirty years, so spare me that painfully thin legal argument. Here's more if you can stomach it:

Alamance 12 face jail terms for casting votes

And a former Democrat turned rabid Republican is determined to put them there:

Mr. Sellars, 44, is one of a dozen people in Alamance County in North Carolina who have been charged with voting illegally in the 2016 presidential election. All were on probation or parole for felony convictions, which in North Carolina and many other states disqualifies a person from voting. If convicted, they face up to two years in prison.

“That’s the law,” said Pat Nadolski, the Republican district attorney in Alamance County. “You can’t do it. If we have clear cases, we’re going to prosecute.”

Just a side-note, which is definitely relevant to this discussion: Pat Nadolski lost his Republican Primary for District Attorney a few months ago, which had many hoping he would relent and drop the charges against these folks. But true to form with this crazy election cycle, a local judge retired from the bench, and rumor has it Nadolski will be chosen by local R's to run. We (Alamance Dem executives) just chose our candidate Andy Hanford, who lost to Nadolski in the 2014 Democratic Primary. The year after that Nadolski switched parties to Republican, and has since allied himself with our local Latino-hating tyrant Sheriff Terry Johnson. The reason I (tried to) explain that convoluted mess was to underscore Nadolski's determination to prosecute these folks, who merely made a mistake about their qualifications. He's still got right-wing voters to impress, and maybe a little national attention to garner for himself:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Just a friendly reminder:

Less than a hundred days until the Blue Wave crashes...

Confessions of a progressive religiophobe

Some of you may have read Leonard Pitts' column over the weekend, and there are a few good points to keep in mind: "With oozing condescension, they lament that someone otherwise so smart and perceptive – i.e., someone who agrees with them on the issues – can’t let go of faith. For them, faith and progressive politics are incompatible."

Let me state upfront that I don't want to live in a state/country/world dominated by any specific religion, or even a generic hybrid. But at the same time, I also don't want to live in a world where people are afraid to admit they hold religious beliefs. And that's not any sort of "internal conflict," that is what America is supposed to be about. You don't have to be a historical scholar or a time traveler to figure out what the Founding Fathers had in mind on this subject, because it too is self-evident. But when it comes to political discussions, whether it's campaign rhetoric or policy decisions, religious views are simply out of place. Irrelevant, patently undemocratic, and more often than not, a vehicle for abusing the trust of those who are counting on leaders to make the right choices. More on church vs state below:

From the archives: George Holding cast vote to protect family fortune

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Clearing the tracks for the gravy train:

Republican 2nd District Congressman George Holding voted for a handful of amendments two years ago to block federal funding for fair housing investigations similar to one targeting his family bank.

Congressional rules didn't forbid the votes, but ethics watchdogs said last week that Holding should have recused himself. Not doing so, "reflects poor judgment," said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney with Common Cause in Washington, D.C.

This article is almost a year old, making that particular vote three years ago. I had actually forgotten about this until I saw a Tweet referencing it, which highlights one of the more frustrating aspects of political watch-dogging. Elected officials like Holding thrive in a short attention span, fading memory environment, and usually their most egregious behaviors occur in non-election years. We can't count on mainstream media to resurrect these stories, unless some current issue calls for it. So it's up to the peanut gallery to poke those embers. Especially when they expose discriminatory practices:

Pay-to-play on NC's beaches

Just another day in the NC GOP's casino royale:

A North Carolina nonprofit with deep political connections received $5 million in the state budget for a beach nourishment study and design project, even though it has never done that type of work and is headquartered more than 250 miles from the coast. Lawmakers appropriated the funding to the Resource Institute, based in Winston-Salem, through a one-time “grant-in-aid” – pass-through money – from the state Division of Water Resources.

Since 2016, board members and principals of the Institute, as well as several of its contractors, have contributed $84,000 to House and Senate leadership and Republican lawmakers key to their interests, including Rep. Kyle Hall and Sen. Bill Rabon, according to campaign finance records.

Okay, aside from the stench of corruption and patronage associated with this, it also exposes another Legislative vs. Executive Branch power struggle. That $5 million might have been earmarked, but it also shows up on the bottom line of funding to DEQ. In other words, when GOP lawmakers are (rightfully) criticized for not properly funding the environmental department, and they grab a base number to dispute that, this will be included in that self-righteous rebuttal. The ugly truth is, Republicans in the Legislature *have* to co-opt Executive agencies to enrich their friends, because their branch really doesn't do much of anything in the form of actual "work" for the people of North Carolina. Call it "Purse Strings vs. Apron Strings," if you want a handy provincial illustration, but that manipulation of funding is a prime example of the GOP's irresponsible approach to doing the people's business. And of course, like many of these other sweet deals, there's a former lawmaker having a great time with the revolving door:

Note to Andrew Dunn: You're done, pack it up

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The last thing we need is another spokesbot for GOP tyrants:

The session certainly looks bad from the outside. But let’s calm down for a second and actually look at the two bills the Republican-majority legislature sent to the governor on Tuesday. The first bill is House Bill 3, which has to do with how constitutional amendments are presented to voters for approval.

In a quirk of state law, the current policy is to let a panel of three elected officials write a short “caption” to appear in front of the language of the amendment on the ballot. These captions are not necessary. Why have a politicized process to write them in the first place? The bill simply wipes these captions off the ballot. Makes sense.

It is not a "quirk" of state law, it was enacted as statute in 1983, and reinforced just two years ago, by the same people who now choose to ignore it:

Tim Moore is the poster child for campaign finance reform

Here are just a few of his generous donors:

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