Republican attack on the poor

Frustrated Brent Jackson plays the Bible card during hog nuisance debate

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When you have no legitimate argument, it's time for, "What about Adam?"

Near the end of an hour-long debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Brent Jackson sounded exasperated. “I shouldn’t have to defend this dang bill,” he said, his voice cracking as if he were leading a tent revival. “There’s not a dang one of you all that has not eaten today or this week … Read the book of Genesis. Adam was a farmer.”

As the story goes, Adam did have a garden, and later a few livestock. But nowhere does Genesis say Adam raised 7,000 hogs in confinement barns a quarter-mile from his neighbors, built smelly, open-air waste lagoons the size of a football field and sprayed manure on that field, allowing the fecal bacteria to drift to and land on adjacent houses.

Pretty sure Adam didn't have *any* neighbors, much less ones who lived close enough to be bothered by his farming techniques. And of course we can't forget Cain slew Abel with what was very likely a farm tool, so if Adam's farming techniques were anything like his parenting skills, you know. Might have been some problems there. But blasphemy aside, this piece of hog manure legislation is what Brent Jackson is so self-righteously defending:

Homeless in NC: Gastonia to tear down "nuisance" hotel

Some residents have lived there for decades:

The city of Gastonia takes the keys Friday of a motel it declared a nuisance and bought for $1.2 million in December 2016. Owner Jay Patel, who paid $825,000 for the motel in April 2014, started telling guests three months ago that on Monday morning they would all have to find a new place to live.

After 60 years, the Budget Inn will give way to the city’s multi-million dollar plans for a Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District and stadium that city leaders hope will bring new life to west Gastonia. City leaders hope the district, which will be called “FUSE,” connects a reinvigorated downtown with the redevelopment that transformed the Loray Mill from the site of the deadly 1929 textile strike into luxury loft apartments and retail space.

As many reading this already know, I've become deeply involved in downtown revitalization efforts in my small town. I'm all for new development and re-development of existing and sometimes historical structures, but I'm also very keen on watching out for that 18%-20% who live at or below poverty level. In this particular case, it doesn't appear the City of Gastonia is lifting a finger to help relocate these folks, something that any responsible government body should at least attempt to do:

Misleading and disingenuous: Smithfield's lawyers push the boundaries in hog nuisance lawsuit

And NC State (knowingly or not) is complicit in the deception:

Anderson, representing Smithfield, had attempted to liken Kinlaw’s waste management system — flushing the barns with wastewater and emptying the manure and urine into open lagoons to be sprayed hundreds of feet in the air onto fields — to that at a research farm operated by NC State University off Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. Just three miles from the courthouse, Anderson argued, and yet people in downtown smelled nothing.

However, Rogers had visited that research farm as well, and conducted studies there. The only similarity is that both facilities are farms. The NC State faciliy has 1,000 hogs; Kinlaw has nearly 15,000. The NCSU farm uses clean water to flush the barns, sharply reducing the odors. The university farm, unlike Kinlaw, also removes solid particles that go into the lagoon, also reducing the odor, and has a different treatment system. “It’s not a fair comparison,” Rogers said.

Of course it's not a fair comparison. It's like apples and orange Crayons, only eating the Crayons probably wouldn't ruin your life or tank your property values. And while I realize this is civil court, where there's more leeway for rhetorical ad-hominem attacks, this particular dog-whistle should have been snatched out of their hands by the judge:

UPDATED: Dem candidates in EVERY House and Senate district

At this point there appears to be 33 28 11 "Zero" House Districts unchallenged. Republican (incumbents or open seat challengers) candidates for each seat are listed:

HD4 **Da'Quan Marcell Love** & **William Terrill Vann III** vs. (Jimmy Dixon)
HD9 **Kristoffer Charles Douglass Rixon** vs. (Greg Murphy)
HD10 **Tracy Blackmon** vs. (John Bell)
HD13 **Charles Dawson Deaton** vs. (Pat McElraft)
HD14 **Isaiah Johnson** vs. (George Cleveland)
HD28 **Jimmie Maurice Massengill** vs. (Larry Strickland)
HD36 **Julie von Haefen** vs. (Nelson Dollar)
HD46 **Barbara Singletary Yates-Lockamy** vs. (Brendan Jones)

The long list continues below...

DC follows in North Carolina's corrupted footsteps

Thomas Mills drops several truth bombs on our current political climate:

As I’ve said before, North Carolina Republicans were Trumpists before Trump. They were willing to trash the state’s reputation as a forward thinking, welcoming state in order to pass tax cuts that disproportionally benefited the wealthy while dramatically cutting the services that helped people climb out of poverty and stay in the middle class. And they were willing to pander to the ugliest strains of reactionary populism to do it.

It’s pandering to populism in exchange for a huge kickback for the wealthiest Americans. The country club Republicans who want to enrich themselves and their friends and the movement conservatives who believe that tax cuts are a panacea for every ill don’t have the numbers to get much done. So, they’ve cut deals with social conservatives, many of whom harbor nasty resentments, to get elected and to get their tax cuts.

It truly is a sad state of affairs. The GOP has learned to give the worst elements of our society what they want, the racists, the sexists, the Islamophobes, the holier-than-thou gay-haters, etc., all in an effort to line the pockets of the wealthy even more. Here's more:

The Republican two-step: Same dance, different music

Dale Folwell jumps on the anti-Obamacare bandwagon

Because of course he did:

The HIT is an Obamacare tax on health insurance premiums designed to help offset the cost of the tax credits for ACA exchange enrollees. Recognizing the negative impact the tax was having across the nation, Congress worked across the aisle in late 2015 to pass a bipartisan one-year moratorium on the tax for 2017, saving the health care system $21.4 billion.

Republicans were expected to tackle the HIT through the repeal of the ACA. The House-approved measure to repeal and replace the failing law and the two main Senate bills all included provisions to end this irresponsible tax. But, unfortunately, congressional lawmakers weren’t able to pass the legislation.

At its core this is a GOP "divide and conquer" tactic. Without the HIT, the funding for subsidies will disappear, immediately followed by the subsidies themselves. And millions of Americans will no longer be able to afford plans offered through the ACA Marketplace. As far as Folwell's grossly inaccurate claim about the ACA being a "failing law," it's actually he and other Republicans who are making it fail. And they will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of North Carolinians in the long run, so before any of you braniacs at SEANC decide to pat him on the back for this, step back and look at the bigger picture.

Never again: Lessons need to be learned from Hurricane Matthew

Residents in Lumberton are still suffering from this disaster:

The southern part of Lumberton was one of the hardest hit areas by the Oct. 8 storm, primarily due to widespread flooding from an engorged Lumber River. Dozens of people were stranded and needed to be rescued, while hundreds were forced from their homes. Five shelters were opened for more than 1,800 people. In the days following the hurricane, many residents were trapped because water had flooded major roads in the city cutting them off.

With no electricity, there was virtually no gasoline, water or food for sale. Bottled water and military MREs were distributed to residents from 10 of the county’s 28 fire stations. The city’s water treatment plant flooded, shutting down public water for about two weeks. About a week after the hurricane, officials attributed three deaths in Robeson County to Hurricane Matthew.

Although McCrory started making noises in late October about a Special Session to allocate funds for the disaster, it didn't happen until mid-December. And Republicans promptly added two more sessions to take away power from Governor-elect Roy Cooper after they had dealt with those pesky relief funds. And just to give you an idea how venal and opportunistic they are, here's Tim Moore's announcement on the bill:

The NC GOP's war on the poor continues with more cuts to legal aid

And the yoyo (you're on your own) keeps spinning:

For years, the three leading legal aid groups have received state funds to represent people in civil matters in part through budget earmarks and a small portion of the fees from court filings and criminal cases. Legal aid funds already had been cut by more than half since 2008 to $2.7 million during the last fiscal year. This year the reduction looks deeper and permanent, and the reasons for the cuts remain unclear.

Although the legal aid groups also get funds from other sources, their leaders said in interviews the new state cuts could mean nearly 35 attorneys and staff ultimately will be laid off, resulting in several thousand potential clients unable to get help each year.

Beginning to see a trend here, which may go a long way in answering that "reasons for the cuts" question. With a backdrop of Republican court losses over the last few years, we suddenly see Josh Stein losing dozens of lawyers, the UNC Center for Civil Rights being hamstrung with "no litigation" rules, and now three dozen legal aid lawyers losing their jobs. Not a coincidence, and not just an effort to clear the way for the GOP's business pals. This is pure spite, plain and simple, directed at the legal profession in general. I shouldn't have to do this, but here are some excerpts from the Preamble to the NC Bar's Rules of Professional Conduct:

Mark Meadows: Making government less accountable

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If you don't like the data, get rid of the analysts:

On Monday—the same day the president attacked political rivals in a speech to Boy Scouts and the U.S. Senate prepared to vote on a health care bill that no one had actually seen—Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus and representative of North Carolina's Eleventh Congressional District, proposed his own means of undermining democratic norms.

His big idea: gut the Congressional Budget Office, the agency that has consistently projected that GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave more than twenty million Americans without coverage. In an amendment introduced Monday, Meadows proposed slashing eighty-nine positions from the agency's Budget Analysis Division, a $15 million cut that would effectively abolish the division.

While it may be doubtful this amendment will have any legs, his real motive for it may be even more ominous than the amendment itself: It sends a chilling message to those analysts that their future data and reports need to be more supportive of the majority's policies, or else. These bullying tactics are rooted in the Tea Party movement itself, which relies on fear of retribution to get its way, instead of scholarly debate, which it simply isn't qualified to engage in. And probably more than anyone else, Mark Meadows has capitalized on that formula, vaulting himself into a position of leadership of a caucus he created for that sole purpose. North Carolina in general, and the 11th District in particular, owes an apology to the rest of the nation for sending this petty tyrant to DC.

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