Republican bullies

Slouching towards Fascism: Shaun King harassed by border agent

Trumpism is fast becoming a virulent disease:

As an activist and journalist, he’s been prominent in the Black Lives Matter movement, defended the Palestinians, and attacked the Republican Party, On Monday, apparently as a result of his politics, King was briefly detained at JFK Airport by an agent of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol while returning home from Egypt.

In a series of tweets and a telephone interview, King described a “frustrating” and “weird” episode like something out of the “Twilight Zone.” He said he was approached by a customs official who pulled him out of line and took him down a white hall to a nondescript office. His wife, unwilling to be separated, came along, as did their children.

This is the only reference to this incident by a major media outlet (Miami Herald), and the only reason they had the story is because it was in a syndicated Leonard Pitts opinion piece. And it wasn't simply a random event, King was targeted due to his activism:

Obsessed with Roy: Francis de Luca files complaint about ACP permits

The revelation came to him as he was throwing darts at a Cooper poster:

A challenge filed Tuesday against Governor Roy Cooper’s Department of Environmental Quality alleges that the four permits issued by the state for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline “did not meet proper procedure resulting in harm to water quality.”

The petition was filed by Francis DeLuca, former head of the conservative Civitas Institute, and contests permits and approvals recently issued by DEQ to the ACP project, including the federal Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification which is the primary approval required for the project to move forward. The petition also challenges the sedimentation control permit and storm water permits in Nash and Cumberland counties.

You know, when the GOP took over the General Assembly back in 2011, one of the first things they did was go on a "listening tour" to determine just how dissatisfied developers and industry people were over DENR's permitting process. And of course, they were able to find numerous complainers, who told "horror" stories about having to wait 12-18 months to get their permits approved. Ironically, the GOP's "solution" was to cut funding for DENR (later DEQ) by 40%, and bury the remaining regulators in paperwork like economic impact assessments. But setting that aside for the moment, my point is that Civitas and JLF have been moaning about over-regulation by environmental officials for years, complaining about how those delays stifle growth and prosperity and such. But now Fran de Luca is upset because the permits were granted too quickly? There's a word for that, it's called "Hypocrisy." Here are excerpts of a letter JLF signed off on just a few years ago:

GOP complaints about Progressive groups prove their effectiveness

If you're making them mad, you're doing it right:

The number of grassroots groups popping up and supporting progressive causes and candidates is staggering. They’ve got a slew of names and they probably overlap in activities. The common goal, though, is to elect Democrats in November—or at least ending Republican control of Congress and the state legislature.

Now, the groups are coming under scrutiny because of our complex series of campaign laws, most of which have been supported by progressives to try to regulate money in politics.

FWIW, the sheer irony of Republicans whining, "Who paid for those t-shirts?" while they're perpetually getting a blood (money) transfusion from shadowy corporate donors is not lost on anybody, except maybe those who've had their televisions programmed to only show Fox News. Unfortunately, that blatant hypocrisy won't help those Progressives file their paperwork properly or shield them when the BoE comes knocking, so if you're involved with one of these groups, help 'em square that stuff away. And while this is true:

Birds of a feather: Rob Porter's domestic abuse was no secret in Trump's White House

By all rights he should be rotting in jail:

Colbie Holderness, Porter’s first wife, and Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s second wife, both told the FBI their marriages had ended because of a pattern of physical and emotional abuse. According to their accounts, supported by photos, contemporaneous reporting to others, and a blog post written by Willoughby last April, Porter kicked these women, he punched and choked one of these women, he blackened one of these women’s eyes. He berated and insulted these women. Police were called.

But Rob Porter is also white, and the son of a prominent academic and thinker. He went to Harvard and Oxford, and he had a high-ranking job in the Oval Office, and was reportedly pressing for a higher one. He was dating Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest confidantes. So nobody did a thing about the allegations.

This literally makes me furious. The Trump connection is an important aspect, but the failures by law enforcement from the local to the national level are indicative of a sickness in the very heart of our society. They like to talk about how much terrorism they've prevented, but terrorist attacks happen every few minutes in America. Not by strangers from some exotic country, but by "loved ones," which makes it even more heinous. And we as progressives need to stop paying so much attention and lip-service to the "preponderance of evidence" approach when these things happen:

Another GOP power grab under scrutiny by the court today

When your arrogance far outweighs your common sense:

A three-judge panel will take up motions to dispose of two issues in the separation of powers case, Cooper v. Berger. The first issue involves House Bill 239, a measure that reduced the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12, and the second involves a voucher mandate in the budget bill, Senate Bill 257. Cooper argues that Section 1 of HB239 purports to shorten three appellate judicial terms to fewer than eight years. He asks the court to declare it unconstitutional and therefore “void and of no effect.”

As for the voucher mandate, Cooper argues that it’s unconstitutional because the General Assembly mandated what he could include in his base budget. “By mandating what the Governor must include in his proposed budget, the General Assembly is exercising core executive power in violation of separation of powers,” the complaint states.

The key word there is "proposed." The Governor's budget proposal is non-binding. The General Assembly is free to write a completely different Budget, which incorporates little or nothing from what the Governor asks for. By dictating what the Governor must ask for, this bill amounts to a contradictory and oxymoronic "forced bi-partisanship." Allowing Republicans to disingenuously claim "Both we and the Governor support this funding." This is the kind of crap military juntas in third-world countries pull to control their civilian figurehead leaders. And the fact that it has become second nature to NC's GOP cabal should scare the living hell out of everybody.

Dallas Woodhouse files complaint against Indivisible Flip NC

Alternate headline: Pot Calls Kettle Black:

A complaint filed with the state Board of Elections on Tuesday alleges that Indivisible - Flip NC has been raising money and improperly coordinating efforts with the state Democratic Party without filing paperwork with the elections board and disclosing its donors. The complaint was filed by Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Republicans in suburban areas tend to be the most vulnerable. And Flip NC appears to specifically target at least one suburban Republican: Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary. “If we are going to have rules they have to apply equally to all,” Woodhouse said in an email.

Oh, that's just rich as hell. Over the last 6-8 years, Woodhouse has controlled so much dark money he could have easily launched his own fucking rocket, with that Americans For the Prosperous bus perched on its nose. If (and it's a big "if") the organizers of Indivisible Flip NC have failed to file the proper paperwork, it's due to inexperience, not an effort to conceal the identity (and thus motives) of billionaires and other uber-wealthy anti-democratic potentates. More whining:

Republican attacks on NC's judiciary most extreme in the nation

Not just pruning back the branch, they're trying to break it off:

Republicans haven’t hidden their displeasure with what they call judicial activism. Last February, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore lashed out at three state judges who sided with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper in a dispute over his appointment powers. “If these three men want to make laws, they should hang up their robes and run for a legislative seat,” the duo said in a statement.

“They have firebombed the courthouses across the state, creating chaos, and I think it’s all to gain partisan advantage,” says State Representative Marcia Morey, a Democrat who spent almost two decades as a judge. “They have not liked case decisions, and they need to get friendly judges in there.”

And once again, I can't help but see parallels between what the NC GOP is doing, and what authoritarian regimes in other countries do. They purge hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of experienced judges and replace them with unqualified political hacks, so there's nobody left to question their undemocratic behavior. Republicans have been whittling away at NC's judiciary since they took over in 2011, but it looks like 2018 may be when they try to deliver their merciless version of a coup de grâce:

Charlotte Council member Lawana Mayfield boycotts restaurant

Reclaiming her time in the face of bigotry:

While she has not patronized any of Noble’s restaurants since 2015, she said she spoke out now because of Noble’s plans to open a business in the district she represents. “Any business that is within my district where I know that they signed on to the letter to support discrimination through legislation, I will not patronize knowingly,” she said. She said she knows of no other business in her district whose owner signed it.

Noble, who is also an ordained minister, was one of 94 signers of the letter, including prominent Christian conservatives such as Dr. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. Others included business owners, realtors, educators, medical professionals and two captains for USAirways/American Airlines. The only restaurant owners were Noble and Joseph Acovski of Joey’s Fine Food and Pizza in Denver, N.C.

I know many of my friends in political circles are exhausted after the bitter fighting over HB2, but the truth is, bigots like Noble pretty much won that war. HB142 wasn't even really a compromise, it was a victory of form over substance. Lawana was right to vocalize her opposition to patronizing this establishment, because there are over 90,000 LGBTQ folks living in the Charlotte Metropolitan area, and they deserve to know which businesses hold them in contempt, and actively work to deny them rights. And there's something else this story exposes, the dangers of government relying on religious institutions to provide services to the poor:

Jerry Tillman admits judicial redistricting is partisan power grab

The word you're trying to recall is "Brazen."

One of the legislative proposals is a bill that changes the configuration of superior court, district court and prosecutorial districts across the state. At last week’s meeting, Asheboro attorney Jon Megerian said the changes were designed to get more Republican judges elected. In a weekend interview, Tillman did not argue with that notion.

“All redistricting, whether it be Republicans or Democrats, they are partisan activities,” he said. “The Constitution says the winning party will do that. It’s a partisan activity that goes to the winning party in the election."

“If it’s partisan, you’re going to draw them to your advantage if you can. It’s our job and our time and our responsibility to do exactly that.”

There is a deep logical fallacy in the "I've been given power by gerrymandering which gives me the right to gerrymander" position, but I can't pin the damn thing down. Something something in Latin, how's that?

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