Republican bullies

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:

Fascism Watch: Throwing journalists in prison

Systematically demolishing the Fourth Estate:

Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.

Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series Story of America, said he was charged and detained for about 36 hours after being kettled by police at 12th and L streets on Friday morning and arrested despite telling officers that he was covering the demonstrations as a journalist. “The way we were treated was an absolute travesty,” said Keller, whose cellphone has been kept by the authorities.

If fascist actions were stocks being traded on Wall Street, this one would be a Bellwether. To wit, one that is a leading indicator of a developing trend, and possibly a driver of that trend. The effort to silence journalists through intimidation has (usually) one goal in mind, the blocking or serious reduction in future scrutiny of government actions, of which the public would likely disapprove. This isn't just an assault on one group of people; it's an assault on everybody, on our right to know what is happening in our country. And the following mindset should alarm each one of you reading this:

Governor Cooper expands lawsuit against GOP-dominated Legislature

Chipping away at the massive power-grab:

This expanded lawsuit also challenges what it calls the “unprecedented” provision requiring the governor’s Cabinet appointments are subject to Senate confirmation. The lawsuit also challenges a provision that drastically reduced the number of state employees who are political appointees and exempt from state personnel protections, as well as a provision that allowed hundreds of those exempt employees to become non-exempt.

Further, Cooper’s suit challenges a provision that allowed the appointment of the spouse of Gov. Pat McCrory’s chief of staff, Yolanda Stith, to the state Industrial Commission for an unprecedented nine-year term. The provision “confers an exclusive privilege upon a single person with no benefit to the general welfare,” the lawsuit reads.

Understand, the widening scope of this lawsuit is merely reflective of the GOP's appetite for power. What Roy is engaging in is not "radical" or "all-encompassing," it is the classic definition of a "measured response." And don't let any pundit or editorial staff get away with making it seem like an overreach on the Governor's part. They have a really bad habit of forgetting or editing out context, to get a little more "pop" out of news developments, and that very often serves to mislead more than inform. Friendly reminders in the comment section, or even LTEs, can be more than just a way to vent frustration.

NC's status as a democracy in question

And as they say, sometimes the truth hurts:

Here, the dominant party — at present, the Republicans — holds all the power while winning just a slight majority of the overall vote. Everyone who votes for Democratic representatives or senators is given no voice in Raleigh because Democrats have no power. Just two weeks ago, the Republican legislature even went so far as to diminish the powers of the incoming Democratic governor, despite his statewide election victory. Republicans can do this with impunity because most of them don’t face real elections.

Reynolds makes a good argument that North Carolina operates like a sham democracy in critical respects. The question is what people can do to reclaim the right of real representation.

This is one of those issues that many of us would be tempted to say, "Of course it's a sham!" and then walk off without further discussion. But Republicans are determined to push the envelope on what is actually unconstitutional, and what is merely bad policy. As candidates square up in the soon-to-be-held 2017 Special Election, their messaging needs to be tight and verifiable, and we need to make it abundantly clear to voters that their democracy is being slowly and surely taken away from them. Here's more from Andrew Reynolds:

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