scharrison's blog

Amidst the Trump/Russia scandal, Republicans are gutting Dodd-Frank

And of course, misleading the American people while doing it:

The House on Thursday passed the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation to overhaul and replace the failed Dodd-Frank Act that has contributed to the worst economic recovery of the last 70 years.

“Every promise of Dodd-Frank has been broken,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), as he read letters from Americans about how they were declined home, automobile and small business loans due to Dodd-Frank’s burdensome regulations. “Fortunately there is a better, smarter way. It’s called the Financial CHOICE Act. It stands for economic growth for all, but bank bailouts for none. We will end bank bailouts once and for all. We will replace bailouts with bankruptcy. We will replace economic stagnation with a growing, healthy economy,” he said.

Okay, first of all: The reason many of those folks are having trouble securing loans is because Dodd-Frank didn't go far enough. Banks are still allowed to do many of the things that brought about the Recession in the first place, like investing capital in money management schemes instead of point-of-use/point-of-sale businesses and product manufacturing and such. What the GOP is doing with this bill will put that on steroids, just like the early 2000's. And it will also expose you and I to major financial risks by sidelining the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau:

Carrying the Millennial banner a little too far

You'd have better luck getting oil & vinegar to mix than some of these folks:

A nonprofit, the Millennial Action Project, has organized the caucus along with similar groups in other states and in Congress. The North Carolina caucus is co-led by Rep. Chaz Beasley, a Charlotte Democrat, Rep. Kyle Hall, a King Republican, Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Wake Forest Republican, and Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, a Raleigh Democrat. Beasley, Hall and Chaudhuri kicked off their outreach effort Wednesday with a news conference at the Legislative Building.

“It is important to confront the issues that are important to our youngest citizens,” Chaudhuri said, suggesting that lawmakers may hold public forums on college campuses.

It's also important not to waste time and effort trying to build bridges to nowhere. Or to have your message diluted by a fellow caucus member whose views are diametrically opposed to your own. Chad Barefoot was a Primary Sponsor of the bill (now law) wresting control of our Boards of Election from Governor Cooper, and he's also trying to strip a lot more funding from our traditional public schools and give it to charters:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Time to pay the Polluting Piper

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Duke Energy seeks hundreds of millions in increased rates to clean up their own mess:

The Company is requesting recovery of ash basin closure compliance costs incurred since January 1, 2015, in the approximate amount of $66 million per year for five years; as well as recovery of ongoing ash basin closure compliance spending in the amount of $129 million per year, with any difference from future spending being deferred until a future base rate case. Recovery of ongoing costs will mitigate the need for future rate increases for compliance costs associated with coal ash basin closure.

This rate increase is further necessary to enable DE Progress to maintain its current financial position in light of those significant capital expenditures undertaken to meet its customers' needs.

Bolding mine, because it takes a special kind of hubris to demand your "financial position" not be jeopardized, regardless of how irresponsible your business practices have been. If this was anybody but Duke Energy or some other fossil fuel giant, the Free Marketers at JLF and Civitas would be having a whole mess of kittens over the idea of such a monopoly, much less the government helping them stay profitable.

The fine line between a Christian "church" and a cult

Resorting to physical violence is one big indicator the line's been crossed:

A North Carolina man thought he was "going to die" when members of his evangelical church beat and choked him for two hours to expel his "homosexual demons," he testified Thursday.

Matthew Fenner was the first person to take the stand in the assault and kidnapping trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. Fenner, 23, said Covington was the leader in a 2013 beating involving numerous congregants. He said Covington pointed out his sexual orientation, saying, "God said there is something wrong in your life."

This is pretty horrific, but what's even more horrible is the fact the harshest punishment that might be brought in this court case is two years in prison. That's *if* she's convicted on the two counts (kidnapping and assault) she's charged with. And if it wasn't for the diligence of the Associated Press, nothing would have happened:

263,400 reasons Tillis signed onto letter to pull out of Paris Agreement

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A wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil & gas industry:

So if the U.S. walks away from the agreement, what sort of standard does that set for all of the other countries who signed on? Will they take Trump's lead and withdraw from the pact, as well?

North Carolina Republican senator Thom Tillis doesn't seem too concerned. He was among twenty-two Republican senators who last week signed a letter urging Trump to scrap the deal, according to the Guardian. He was also the beneficiary of $263,400 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies since 2012, according to the same report.

It sure didn't take long for Tillis to jump on the gravy train. And we can expect a lot more sellouts between now and 2020, so he can lock in all that "independent spending" from mystery men who have become reliant on the Senate Corporation, LLC. But I'd like to be a fly on the wall when he explains to his two children why he signed this letter. He won't really suffer much from climate change, but they will.

The General Assembly's latest Jordan Lake boondoggle: Algaecide

Because what could possibly go wrong dumping dangerous chemicals into the drinking water?

A year after state environmental regulators called the SolarBees experiment a failure, state lawmakers are trying another unproven method to control pollution in Jordan Lake.

The $22.9 billion budget that the House approved early Friday includes a $1.3 million provision requiring the Department of Environmental Quality to use chemicals that either kill algae or bind with phosphorus, which algae feeds on. The technique is usually used in ponds and small lakes, not in a body of water as large as Jordan Lake.

This marks the ninth year since the Jordan Lake Rules were developed by state water quality specialists and approved by the EPA, and it also marks nine years of whining, plotting, and the embracing of pseudo-science in order to avoid implementation of those rules. And of course, since Crisis = Opportunity, revolving-door Republicans are also lining their pockets over this institutional aversion to responsible governing:

North Carolina's right-wing propaganda problem

A plethora of bent "news" organizations are dotting the landscape:

Few are the issues where the differences between conservatives and leftists are more striking than those involving air and water. Under the Obama administration, policies were put in place in the name of environmental stewardship that highlight these issues. One such policy is the Clean Power Plan, and another is the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Unfortunately, the Cooper administration is clearly taking the side of these Obama-era regulations, despite their potential for harming North Carolina.

Mark Shiver and the "NC Capitol Connection" is an offshoot of the Civitas Institute, which has been seeking to expand its influence via the creation of "fresh new" media outlets with names not directly associated with Art Pope's traditional propaganda factories. Aside from churning out misleading observations and analyses about NC's political environment, Shiver is a frequent flyer of the ncpol Twitter feed, linking to his own drivel and (of course) anything crafted by JLF/Civitas. Another of these new propaganda outlets is the North State Journal:

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