Republican bullies

Unfit to lead: Trump NC campaign manager gun-wielding nut-job

And that is not a hyperbolic headline:

“All of a sudden, Vincent saw Phillip pull a gun out from his side of the Jeep,” the suit says. “It was a .45 caliber pistol. It was loaded… Phillip then moved the gun toward Vincent. He pointed it at, and then placed the barrel on, Vincent’s left knee cap…

The suit alleges that Bordini learned of “at least four other” people on whom Phillip pulled a gun. He said he alerted Trump campaign staffers, including Lewandowski and Stuart Jolly, Trump’s national field director.

And they did nothing. Until (presumably) Bordini filed a lawsuit. Crazy just doesn't cover it.

Art Pope's minions now going after bicyclists

Wherever there is a whiff of progress, JLF and Civitas will soon be there to oppose it:

I do not oppose bike lanes in principle. If significant numbers of people wish to travel by bike and need safe lanes, it is reasonable for the city to use part of its transportation budget to meet that need.

But I do oppose social engineering and paternalism. I absolutely object to Raleigh and Wake County using taxpayers’ money to push taxpayers away from one behavior (driving cars) that they prefer and toward a different behavior (riding bikes) that they have not embraced.

Oh! Bonus points for including the trigger words "social engineering" and "paternalism." Seriously, these free-market clones are so predictable I could write for them under a pseudonym and get away with it for months before they figured it out. All you need are a few key phrases and a dash of hyperbole (Raleigh trying to "push" citizens into biking), and you've got Puppet Gold ready to be published.

PBA shows some love for Josh Stein for NC AG

Choosing wisdom and experience over bluster and demagoguery:

North Carolina’s largest law enforcement association has endorsed former state senator Josh Stein for attorney general.

"Josh Stein has a strong record of making our communities safer and of standing up for law enforcement,” President Randy Byrd said in a statement released Friday. “The North Carolina PBA is proud to put our support behind Josh and to help elect him as our next attorney general. A vote for Josh is a vote for the men and women of law enforcement and the citizens they serve."

Josh has a deep understanding of issues people like Buck Newton either can't grasp or don't care to. Recidivism is not baked into the genes of criminal offenders, it is a product of environment and a lack of effort on the part of society to figure out what works and what doesn't:

NC House serves Apodaca a bi-partisan rejection of Asheville gerrymandering

A whiff of Democracy returns to the General Assembly:

Fisher: “It is beyond my ability to understand why Asheville has been the continual target for authoritarian and penalizing legislation for much of the 12 years I have spent here. I resent the idea that the current senior senator and rules chair feels he must take one last parting shot at the city of Asheville when he in fact only represents a fraction of the residents of that city, less than 10,000. Ladies and gentlemen of the House, I urge you to vote no. And especially if you live in cities and towns that are trying their best to govern your whole city or town. Because beware: Yours may be the next city to be gerrymandered.”

Whether it was Fisher’s words or something else, something shifted. The House would debate for another 40 minutes, with some of the loudest arguments against the bill coming not from Democrats, but from Republicans.

Something definitely shifted, and I have a hunch it was that little voice in the back of some GOP lawmakers' minds whispering: Just because you can do something, it doesn't automatically follow that you should. And then giving words to those thoughts:

Must read: Gene Nichols' comprehensive indictment of GOP governing

Ten charges that encompass hundreds of bad acts:

1. Tragically refused to expand Medicaid. Merely to show disdain for President Obama, they’ve denied health care to a half million poor Tar Heels though the federal government would pay almost all the fare. Hospitals have closed, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, over $30 billion in federal funds are surrendered and a thousand or more of us die each year as a result of one of the most cruel and indefensible decisions in N.C. history.

Please read the entire article. It is extensive, but these things must not be ignored or forgotten. While #1 above is easily the biggest life-and-death failure on the GOP's part, it's just the tip of the iceberg:

Homegrown NC terrorist gets house arrest

That oughta teach him...nothing:

In Portland, Oregon, on Thursday, 42-year-old Jason Blomgren pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge related to the occupation. Blomgren, of Murphy, North Carolina, traveled across the country to join the protesters. He told a judge he served as an armed guard.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed a charge of possessing a firearm in a federal facility. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 14. Prosecutors recommend six months of home detention.

Bolding mine. Really? The nation was faced with the aura of heavily-armed extremists, threatening violence while occupying a Federal facility, and you're dropping the weapon charge? And sending him back here, where he'll probably be able to legally purchase as many assault rifles as he cares to collect? Gee thanks.

New leadership "forum" to discuss how to discuss

Not sure what a "media cocoon" actually is, but I'm sure that will be discussed also:

The Leadership Forum was born after Hood wrote a column about North Carolinians living in “media cocoons” and the disappearance of civil debate. Democrat Leslie Winner, then head of the progressive Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, read it and met with Hood about changing that. They recruited a bipartisan steering committee, then the group of 35.

Hood emphasizes that the goal is not to find moderate solutions. “Our point is not we have these extremes and if everyone was more centrist we’d be better off,” Hood told me last week. “We like the fact that we have people way out on the right and left. The goal is not to marginalize them and aim for the common denominator. The point is to have a dialogue that is very robust with points of view strongly argued, but respectfully and with no name-calling. … If we can have people argue rather than bicker, make good-faith logical arguments, that’s a very valuable outcome.”

I suppose there could be some merit in pursuing such a dialogue, but it could also produce a false sense of security. The policy moves of current state leaders have produced horrific outcomes for many people living in North Carolina, and each year brings new and outrageous results. If this forum can't or won't smooth down those sharp edges, then it's (at best) a masturbatory exercise. At worst, it could blunt efforts (and money) dedicated to reversing those outcomes. Here's more:

Koch "army" being trained to defend McCrory in November

KochBrothers.jpg

Knocking on doors and leaving oily fingerprints:

The i360 Walk app for iOS and Android provides the AFP army with voter information on the go so they can identify houses strategically and make use of their time efficiently. The most GLA training sessions have been in scheduled in North Carolina where 12 classes of activists and mobilizers will have graduated by the end of June.

The Kochs are heavily invested in North Carolina having held (or scheduled) 12 GLA training sessions and with close to 200,000 AFP "in-state activists" as of January 2015. In the race for governor, incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is likely their man.

I post this as a cautionary tale for those who speculate political parties have lost their usefulness. When we give up the ability to leverage the resources of an organization, insanely wealthy individuals like Charles and David Koch can easily step in and take the lead. To them, the loss of influence and cohesion in the two major parties is a gift, and they will use it to control us. Live together, die alone.

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