Phil Berger

When telling the truth is a felony

If you can't shut them up, put them in jail.

One thing that the legislation would do is make it a Class I felony to disclose the poisonous chemicals that petrochemical companies want to pump into North Carolina’s soil. The new rules also seek to force first responders to sigh confidentially agreements in order to receive information about the poisons used following any accident. Both medical providers and fire chiefs would be bound to also not disclose what is being pumped into our ground and ground water. Following the change in rules for the State Legislative Building this is simply another attempt to criminalize behavior that cramps the style of the Republican Supermajority.

Court halts yet another Tillisberger law

A Superior Court judge has issued an injunction against the teacher bonus blackmail law that required teachers to give up their tenure status to qualify for tepid bonus pay (that only one-fourth of teachers could get anyway).

A Guilford County judge on Wednesday halted a requirement that North Carolina school districts offer a quarter of their teachers multi-year contracts as an enticement for them to give up their so-called "career status" protections.

It's unlikely that this will end up being limited just to Guilford County.

Durham Public Schools last month joined a lawsuit filed by the Guilford County school district, and more than a quarter of the 115 school districts statewide have expressed opposition to contract requirement.

Tillisberger to exercise ownership rights

It goes like this:

  1. Tillisberger & NC GOP pass unconstitutional voucher program.
  2. They get sued.
  3. An NC Superior Court ruling freezes implementation of the voucher program until the various court cases proceed.
  4. Tillisberger goes to NC Supreme Court to get the freeze on vouchers lifted. They promised those taxpayer $ to their private school profiteer buddies and dammit, they intend to deliver!

After all, the NC GOP paid good money to assume ownership of the NC Supreme Court. It's about time for a little bit of profit-taking, right?

There's no such thing as a "good government Republican" anymore

Given past transgressions by some Democrats, the appeal of Republican reformers was understandable. "Send us to Raleigh and we'll work for democracy and freedom, and we'll be accountable every step of the way." It was a seductive promise, except it turned out to be bullshit.

We've seen more backroom dealing, more legislative shenanigans, more attempts to block public oversight, more schemes to divert tax dollars to private profit, and more unvarnished subversion of voting rights than at any time in recent history.

Putting an end to this Republican reign of terror is Job One, and it's going to be tough. We'll claw back seats this year, hopefully enough to put a dent in the GOP's super-majority. We'll win back the governor's mansion in 2016, bringing to a close the hapless career of Duke McCrory. And we'll implement non-partisan redistricting in 2020, which will forever level the playing field for state elections.

But in the meantime, there are a couple of races that matter enormously in 2014, and one of them is the race for North Carolina Supreme Court. I'm supporting and voting for Robin Hudson, and I hope you will too. With Art Pope continuing his multi-million dollar shopping spree, we simply must come together to blunt the effect of his spending.

Open thread

Alarming voter fraud

The NC GOP lie machine is being spun up to full speed, based on the Tillisberger's report of "Alarming Evidence of Voter Error and Fraud".

We could comment on many things, such as:

  • Wow! Those are some really big numbers! Oh, wait, they reflect only a very tiny fraction of votes cast;
  • This is some VERY carefully spun data intentionally designed to be very misleading and alarm low-information consumers of the information;
  • This data probably represents what's been happening for a long time, and nearly all of it is likely to be easily explainable and innocuous; and
  • They offer no evidence that any of this would have been prevented by their voter suppression law.

The (other) committee to elect Thom Tillis

The stupid and unnecessary witch hunt that Tillisberger call the "Affordable Care Act Committee" is moving along.

Phil named two Republican co-chairs to go with the mostly Republican (and highly extremist) members of the committee, who are supposedly going to investigate the effects of the ACA on North Carolina, but actually are going to exaggerate, cherry pick facts, showboat and smear President Obama and Senator Hagan.

And we thought that using public money on campaign purposes -- in this case, to elect Thom Tillis US senator -- was illegal.

Punxsutawney Phil

Amidst all the hoopla and heartache resulting from the Great NCGOP Tax Increase of 2014, one item may have escaped your attention. Specifically, the imposition of a relentless testing regime for 3rd graders. Dave Ribar at Applied Rationality explores the disconnect between the likely numbers of students who will fail and the shortfall in funding for remediation.

The policy itself is hideous.

A while back, Punxsutawney Phil (Berger) and his tea-party colleagues muscled through an education "reform" plan that requires third-graders to pass new reading proficiency tests. To give students the best chance of passing, most school districts are adopting a "portfolio" approach that subjects the students to 36 assessments.

It's all about transparency

That's what the GOP told us the voter suppression law was about -- greater transparency.

But there's no transparency for the back-room dealings that led to the voter suppression law. Oh, no, all that is completely opaque.

Thirteen legislators, all Republicans, have tried to quash subpoenas requiring them to produce any documents they created or received concerning the “rationale, purpose and implementation” of House Bill 589.

Sen. Phil Berger, leader of the state Senate, was among the group, as was Thom Tillis, the speaker of the House. Others include Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County, Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg, Rep. Larry Pittman of Concord and Rep. David Lewis, the Harnett County Republican who helped lead the 2011 redrawing of legislative and congressional districts being challenged in court.

A walking talking point

Thomas Mills nails Junior Berger today with brilliant essay and a killer title.

But Phil Berger, Jr., is nothing more than a manufactured politician. He’s used his father’s name and reputation to build a political career in Rockingham County but has no real accomplishments that he can claim as his own. Now, he’s using money his father is raising to create a phony persona that will take him to Washington. He’s become a walking talking point.

I share the author's disdain for this privileged creep, who is pathetically following in his daddy's bloody footsteps. If Junior Berger finds his way into Congress, the joke will be on all of us.

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