Republican bullies

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.

Working on Brent Jackson's plantation

The whip has been replaced by economic tyranny:

Seven former workers at Jackson Farming Company, the Sampson County farm owned by State Senator Brent Jackson, have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the farm, Jackson, and his son Rodney alleging gross violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, and are seeking unpaid wages and damages.

Republican state legislatures: Guns, gays, and forced child-bearing

Forget DC, we need to clean these houses:

Ms. Baker said that a new frontier in gun rights involves laws that let people over 21 carry concealed weapons without permits. In West Virginia, Republican lawmakers passed such a law this month after overriding a veto from the Democratic governor, Earl Ray Tomblin. In Georgia, Republican legislators passed a bill allowing people over 21 to carry concealed weapons onto public college and university campuses. Mr. Deal has indicated that he has concerns about the bill but has not said definitively if he will veto it.

That's a new "frontier" all right, one where walking out your front door exposes you to dangers not evident in most civilized societies. I wonder what twisted logic NC's concealed-carry advocates will cook up to explain this away? You know, the ones who are always harping about how "well-trained" these people must be to obtain said permit. Put your gun away for the moment, so we can see how these intrepid Republican legislators are protecting you from Teh Gays:

NC GOP's Legislative overreach part of a national trend

And it's a good bet ALEC is behind it:

If St. Louis feels ill-treated by state officials, it’s got lots of company around the country. North Carolina's legislature drew national headlines when it met in special session March 23 to block cities from passing anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The legislature acted in response to Charlotte's adoption of LGBT protections earlier in the year.

What was sometimes lost in the media coverage was the fact that the new North Carolina law also blocks cities from setting their own minimum wage rates. Similarly, Birmingham, Ala., passed a minimum-wage increase last year, only to see the state block it and other cities from setting their own rates this year.

The most frustrating part of this situation is how Republicans take advantage of "otherism" to retain their abusive power base. People in rural areas hold both contempt and fear of big cities, and are not likely to share any sympathy with them when state government engages in bullying. Freedom for some, tyranny for others. The GOP's "divide and conquer" approach does work, and it works well. And this quote from Larry Shaheen tells you all you need to know about their motives:

'Twas the night before Christmas

Chris Fitzsimon should have been NC's Poet Laureate:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Raleigh town
Politicians filed for the next election round.
There was Richard and Deborah; don’t forget Chris Rey.
For GOP governor, Bob Brawley had a say.

Brawley’s filing annoyed the Guv’s re-election hunt
So they leaked scary emails to “news” team Jones & Blount.
The list of GA candidates is worth a gander,
So many unopposed, the winner’s Gerry Mander.

Take the time to read the whole thing, it's worth it. The sad thing is, even though it's a long poem, it still doesn't cover half of the idiotic and inhumane actions of the current "leaders" of our state. Here's another taste:

15 vs 4: Moore's lopsided new Transportation Committee

Not even a semblance of being fair and balanced:

“The appointment of this committee is a crucial next step in addressing the growing transportation and infrastructure needs in North Carolina,” Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) remarked. Torbett will serve as the Committee Chair. “This committee will allow the House to continue to build on the successes we achieved in last year’s budget. I am humbled by the opportunity to chair the committee and look forward to leading North Carolina into a more competitive future by addressing the needs of our transportation network.”

Every year that goes by under Republican rule, the number of Democrats appointed to committees drops. Yes, under Democratic leadership, these committees had a majority of Dems filling seats, but most committees were about 60/40, and some were even closer to parity. Those four seats (out of twenty) Moore gave to Democrats on this new committee are virtually pointless. But that won't stop him from trumpeting "Bi-partisan!" from the rafters. A big part of the word "Shame" is "Sham." And they're equally interchangeable when describing GOP leadership.

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