Republican attack on the poor

Trump's tariffs will make Florence rebuilding up to 30% more costly

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Steering the ship of state right onto the reefs:

Homebuilders and contractors say the administration’s trade policy will add to the price increases that usually follow natural disasters. In addition to materials like lumber, steel and aluminum, the United States will impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports next week, including countertops, furniture and gypsum, a key ingredient in drywall. All told, some builders estimate that construction costs could be 20 to 30 percent higher than they would have been without these tariffs.

“We’re all going to pay the price for it in terms of higher construction costs,” said Alan Banks, president of the North Carolina Home Builders Association.

Of course Trump doesn't understand this, and neither do many of his supporters. Our town is going through a growth spurt, and I've had several NIMBY citizens ask me why we are in "such a rush" to approve new housing projects. When I tell them about the cost of building going up because of these tariffs, which will (probably) slow things down quite a bit in the near future, I usually get blank stares. One obviously Trump-supporting dude tried to make lemonade out of it by saying, "Good! My home will increase in value." When I asked him if he was thinking about selling, he said, "No! I love my house!" When I broke the news the only thing he would get out of the deal was higher property taxes, he wandered off with a vacant look on his face. Bless his little MAGA heart. And the tariff punishments just keep on coming:

Under GOP leadership, NC's income gap is the widest in decades

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The inequality is now staggering:

In North Carolina, the average income for someone in the top one percent is 20.6 times larger than everyone else, a figure that has increased substantially during the Great Recession and is much higher than it was in the 1960s through early 1980s. The top one percent took home over 17 percent of all income in North Carolina in 2015, and the top 0.1 percent commanded 7.4 of all income. In 1974, when the level of income inequality in North Carolina was the lowest in modern history, the top one percent only consumed 7.8 percent of all North Carolina income.

Not an accident, it's by design. And the vast majority of the Republican base has unknowingly contributed to its own decline.

Larken Egleston taking heat over his support of RNC2020

It comes with the territory, dude:

Egleston has been bombarded on social media with expletives and threats after he voted in favor of approving tentative contracts with the Republican National Committee and the local host committee. The council’s 6-5 vote paves the way for the RNC to award Charlotte the convention. City leaders expect the RNC site selection committee to back Charlotte Wednesday morning.

“I would be doing a lot better without the internet,” Egleston said Tuesday morning in an interview, a reference to the deluge of criticism he has received by email, Twitter and Facebook.

I find that Internet comment somewhere between fascinating and hilarious, since avoiding social media and other forms of 21st Century communications is exactly what he (falsely) accused his Democratic opponent of in the Primary Election:

Struggling in the Gap: NC GOP's refusal to expand Medicaid is a health crisis

The march of the walking wounded:

In the spring of 2017, a tractor trailer side-swiped the car Hendell Curtis was driving not far from his North Raleigh home. His longtime lack of health insurance made getting needed medical care afterwards a physcial and financial minefield.

The crash left Curtis requiring surgery to install a metal plate to stabilize weakened vertebrate in his lower back. A settlement from the truck driver’s auto insurance will cover the surgery, but only AFTER it is complete.

Get that? The accident was not his fault, but he is the one living with a broken back because of it. Let down by the system, let down by the ideologues running the General Assembly. And (of course) if he'd had enough money to hire a fancy lawyer, the settlement from the insurance company would have paid for everything upfront, with enough left over to live on for the rest of his life. But that's another world, one that he and many others can only read about. Here's more about the Gap:

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:

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