Republican bullies

Cooper Veto imminent on GOP's court-packing scheme

Trying to defend the Separation of Powers:

The General Assembly passed House Bill 239 this week, which would reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12 and add more than 100 cases per year to the state Supreme Court’s workload. Gov. Roy Cooper plans to veto the legislation.

“The Republican effort to reduce the number of judges on the Court of Appeals should be called out for exactly what it is – their latest power-grab, aimed at exerting partisan influence over the judicial branch and laying the groundwork for future court-packing,” states a press memo from his office.

This is more than just a political ploy; Republicans are, in essence, eroding the rights of citizens to receive justice, by intentionally overburdening the system to justify changing the makeup of the Supreme Court. It's not unlike a fireman engaging in arson so he can get a pay raise. The GOP wants to dominate the Supreme Court however they can accomplish it, and if that means your case doesn't get heard for another year or two, oh well. If you were wrongfully imprisoned, just eat your three square meals a day and shut the hell up.

GOP's "campus free speech" legislation actually violates 1st Amendment

Also known as the Authoritarian Libertarian conundrum:

State legislators have filed two “campus free speech” bills that on their face would eventually force UNC-Chapel Hill and perhaps other campuses in the UNC system to revise some of their campus-conduct rules and procedures.

As introduced, the N.C. House bill would require the system Board of Governors to prescribe “a range of disciplinary sanctions” for anyone affiliated with a UNC campus “who interferes with the free expression of others.” A board committee would monitor the campuses’ handling of that.

That's right, if you argue with somebody because you don't agree with what they are proselytizing about, you will be disciplined for speaking out. It would be bad enough if the publicly-funded university came up with this, but to have state government enshrine that into statute is *exactly* why the 1st Amendment was added to the Constitution. To keep government from deciding who gets to speak and who doesn't. Yes, it gets messy sometimes, like when Tom Tancredo couldn't get a word in edgewise over protesters on the UNC campus. But stifling those voices of dissent is not the way to cure that messiness, it's how you end up with a place where the word "democracy" becomes nothing more than a label. Let's take a trip to the Goldwater Institute to see where this craziness originated:

Trump's foreign "policy" is both clumsy and dangerous

The Tweeter-In-Chief needs a time-out in the corner:

Trump’s public appearances with Merkel betrayed an awkwardness between the two leaders, including during two widely remarked upon appearances in the White House. In one, the leaders failed to stage a handshake for cameras in the Oval Office, and in another Merkel looked baffled by comments made by Trump during a joint press conference. Before the visit Trump had repeatedly called Merkel’s policies “insane” and a “disaster” for Germany.

Trump’s second tweet accused Germany directly of not paying enough to the security alliance. In a joint press conference on Friday, Trump expressed “strong support” for Nato but reiterated his belief that member nations do not contribute a “fair share”. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States,” he said. “These nations must pay what they owe.”

Welp, this is apparently what a whole lot of Americans wanted, a "leader" who speaks his mind, even if what he says has little roots in the truth and will very likely drag us into multiple military conflicts before his next State of the Union address. What Trump doesn't understand could fill a supertanker, but one of those things is this: The effectiveness of NATO as a deterrent has always been the unflinching support of the United States for its treaty partners. If that support is called into question, especially by the US President, the deterrent itself evaporates:

NC GOP drives its Legislative fiat into downtown Asheville

And Big Brother is barely out of his campaign diapers:

Edwards made it clear that he doesn’t care what the people of Asheville think of this. Of course that isn’t terribly surprising, given that Edwards only represents a sliver of the city he wants to save from itself.

“As a courtesy I am informing you of this intent with the hope that your discussion may revolve more around ‘how’ to district, and forego the discussion of ‘should’ we district,” he told the City Council.

It's a testimony to the arrogance of the GOP that a freshman Senator feels free to dictate terms to a City Council that collectively has a few decades of service under its belt. But that's the difference between most Republicans and Democrats: When an "R" wins a race, no matter what the margin of victory, they consider it a "mandate" to do whatever crosses their mind. When a "D" wins, however, that's when the soul-searching really begins, the desire to make sure they are acting in the best interests of the whole, as opposed to disparate parts. But as far as Edwards is concerned, what the citizens of Asheville want doesn't matter:

Diagnosing Trump: Mental health professionals are speaking out

And it's not looking good for the Liar in Chief:

These behaviors include but are not limited to: condescension, gross exaggeration (lying), bullying, jealousy, fragile self-esteem, lack of compassion, and viewing the world as Us versus Them. Having observed the school-yard bully tactics Trump employed during a series of public debates as well as his boasting presentation during interviews, we felt it would be important to raise awareness about some of his behaviors.

So in January 2016, we published Bullies: An Exploration Into Different Types of Bullies. Note: Our intention was to use a picture of Trump to make our point but were dissuaded due to the possibility of offending some of our Psychology Today readers, who are also his supporters, and so opted for a generic-looking meanie as our bully poster boy.

If you could have offended enough of those readers back in early 2016 with the truth of his personality disorder, we might not be in the situation we're in. But better late than never:

Asheville City Council next target of GOP meddling

If you can't be popular, be a bully:

Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents a small part of South Asheville, sent an email to Mayor Esther Manheimer Tuesday afternoon saying he was "confident that this measure" to require districts in council elections would pass the General Assembly in Raleigh, unlike one attempted by his powerful predecessor.

Apodaca, who was chairman of the powerful rules committee, said he wanted to change the fact that no council member had been elected for more than a decade from South Asheville, which has the highest number of Republicans in the city. Tuesday, Edwards said his "actions are the result of trends taking place in municipalities as well as a great deal of feedback from citizens of Buncombe County."

Asheville needs to fight this the way Greensboro did, if it comes down to it. And I wouldn't trust Republicans in the General Assembly to respect any District maps developed by the City, because they are constitutionally incapable of keeping their grubby fingers from redrawing maps, and double-bunking is bound to occur. Which, in case you're not paying attention, is one way the Legislature undermines the will of the people, by making them choose which one of their 2-3 favorites gets to remain in office.

Alternate US agency Twitter accounts being "handed off" to non-government entities

So much for whistleblowing:

As somebody who has been following Twitter for years, I have had a little voice in the back of my head telling me these might be truly faux accounts, not just "renegade" government workers resisting. The jury (mine, anyway) is still out on that issue, but going forward, it's important for folks to remember this change of the guard:

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