Washington Post headline says it all

North Carolina Republicans put ideology above lives

Letting people die to prove a point.

A week after Portia Gibbs’s death, Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal began a 15-day, 273-mile walk to Washington to draw attention to the outrage in Belhaven, which he blames on the combination of an “immoral” hospital operator and the failure of Republican leaders in his state to accept the new Medicaid funding the hospital needed to stay afloat.

NC GOP to require bicycle registration and liability insurance

This week the Republican-led General Assembly put the kibosh on freedom-loving moped owners with new requirements for registration and liability insurance. Consistent with their intent to control whatever they can, including women's bodies, drugs, license plates, sea level rise, etc., GOP leaders now have bicycles, tricycles, and maybe even pedestrians in their sights.

GOP tax changes mean you pay more

GOP tax laws took effect this week that will mean a net increase for many North Carolina tax payers. For some it may not be a huge increase, but the fact is we are paying more. Republicans will nickel and dime us to death.

Eliminated was the tax-free shopping days scheduled for back-to-school shopping. Many of us saved on clothes, calculators, computers, and basic school supplies. The savings on a laptop for high school and college students was a huge benefit to many of us. You can see the full list of potential savings here.

Also eliminated was the tax-free shopping weekend for those buying certified energy-efficient household appliances. This tax break may not have been as widely enjoyed as the back-to-school tax break, but it was a much-needed incentive to encourage people to buy appliances that are more environmentally friendly.

Right wing idiocy reaches tipping point, becomes the entire Republican party

Anyone observing politics these days will have noticed the razor sharp edge of debate around the release of Bowe Bergdahl. I believe this debate is leading to a tipping point about the insanity of the radical right in general, and the Republican party in particular. With madness going mainstream, average people are shaking their heads and wondering, WTF is going on here?

Only two months ago, Republican leaders were singing the praises of Bergdahl, rightly calling for action to get him released. But now, in the throes of a smear campaign that rivals the swiftboating of John Kerry, these same leaders are accusing Bergdahl of desertion, treason, and worse. Some are even calling for Obama's impeachment because of his handling of Bergdahl's release.

About that tax "reform" plan

Thom Tillis and Phil Berger have just sucker-punched North Carolina, again.

North Carolina’s new tax code results in taxpayers at the lowest end of the income spectrum, with income of $17,000 or less, paying around 9.5 percent of their annual income in total state and local taxes while taxpayers at the upper end, with income of $345,000 or more, pay about 5.5 percent of their annual income in total state and local taxes.

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Republican Tracker caught videotaping Lillian's List fundraiser attendees and their license plates

A Republican tracker was caught videotaping attendees at a Lillian's List fundraiser. He also taped the license plates of cars parked outside the event.

Trackers are fairly commonplace. Democrats hire them too, so we won't pretend to be shocked. I just think it is fun to turn the tables on him.

Thanks to Greg Flynn, we know a little bit about our new friend. According to his license plate cover - if you can trust these things - he is or was a brother at Sigma Tau Gamma. While there are plenty of chapters in the U.S., there are three chapters in North Carolina - at UNCG, UNCC and ECU. His car was purchased in Raleigh from one of the Crabtree dealerships. He drives a gray Pontiac Grand Prix.

I'm sure he's a nice enough guy...once you get over that whole voyeur thing he has going on.


Don't try to rein them in

Most years, there are a ton of dedicated people working their asses off to try to influence the legislature to pass responsible, effective policies for the good of the state. I've been there and done that myself.

But today things are different. Looking to upstage their performance last year, Republican members of the General Assembly have launched an all out assault on reason, decency and fairness.

So instead of trying to moderate their insanity, let's give them free rein to push the limits beyond the breaking point. That's what it will take for the people of North Carolina to wake up and vote these sociopaths out of office. And if the voters won't rise up, then the federal government will. Virtually every policy being passed will be challenged in a never-ending spate of lawsuits, and in the end, the people will prevail.

So let 'em run, guys. Give them all the rope they want, and then some. We'll have the pleasure of seeing them hang before too long. Mark my words.

General Assembly: business, as usual

They want to make government so small they can drown it in a bathtub. And they're doing it.

The proposed repeal of the local privilege tax means businesses would get a tax cut that will be paid for largely by middle- and low-income North Carolinians who pay more of their income in sales tax than higher income taxpayers.

Problem is, they're also drowning poor and middle class families. And towns and cities. And counties. And just about anyone else who dares to cross them.


Why can't we be like Kansas?

The Great North Carolina GOP "Tax Cut" of 2013 was an amazing thing to behold. Slashing income taxes on millionaires while raising sales taxes on everyone else, the move was heralded as unprecedented. Except that it wasn't unprecedented. It was a move drawn from the ALEC playbook being used by Republicans in Kansas.

How is that working out? Not so well.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, one of the Democrats on the joint budget committee, said the Legislature created the crisis when it passed what she considered to be radical tax cuts. Kelly showed an analysis by the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department that projects the state would have to cut $143 million from its budget in 2016 to come to a zero balance. And additional cuts would be needed each year thereafter through 2019.

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