NC GOP

Coal Ash Wednesday: Erin Brockovich targets cancer clusters near Lake Norman

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And coal ash is emerging as the #1 suspect:

Brockovich says she's also concerned about records included in our Defenders investigation that for decades, Duke Energy sold coal ash to be used as construction fill for development projects. DEQ records show between 1995 and 2001, about 1 million cubic yards of coal ash was sold off and buried across the area – more than anywhere else in the state. And that total doesn’t even include smaller projects that state leaders admit were not documented at all.

“Really? You built a community on coal ash?" Brockovich said. "Why aren’t you doing testing? Is there some soil vapor plume, are we being exposed to it is it is blowing around in the wind and we’re inhaling it?”

Get that? Even if Duke Energy digs up all the ash at the Marshall Steam Station and secures it in lined pits, there's a million cubic yards of it in the ground, under neighborhoods, that nobody even knew existed. We're not just talking Hexavalent Chromium, you got Mercury, Arsenic, Selenium, and even radioactive elements in that mess. Testing needs to begin, like yesterday:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This should be in everybody's top five issues that need to be addressed:

We don't need to "bring back" Debtor's Prisons, they already exist.

Trump brings his idiotic observations to Charlotte

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At least a babbling brook is actually going somewhere:

"You saw what happened," Trump told the crowd at CPCC's Halton Theater. "It was the 'impeachment hoax,' and now that’s a thing of the past. They have the 'failed impeachment hoax.' They can put that on their resume. It’s a failed hoax. Every one of them have to put that right on their resume. It was a fix. Until it got up to Congress."

It didn't "get up" to Congress, it started in Congress. I was going to mention the "bicameral" nature of Congress, but that's too complicated to fit on one of Trump's pre-k flash cards. It doesn't take a mental health professional to detect some serious cognitive issues in his stream of unconsciousness, constantly repeating words like "hoax" until it's replaced with another that tastes right (resume). I watched a video of that speech (I won't subject you to it), and it's plainly obvious that Trump is taking some form of medication, prescribed or not. It's not helping.

Thanks to Trump, election meddling is now acceptable behavior

Republican voters are being encouraged to skew SC's Democratic Primary:

South Carolina has open primaries where voters can choose which party’s primary, if there is more than one to choose from, to vote in. But the Republicans pushing their members to vote for Sanders want to change that, saying on Facebook they want to ”point out the consequences of not closing the primaries in SC to just those voters who participate in each party” — a goal they can accomplish if enough Republicans turn out at the polls on Feb. 29.

They also see another benefit in helping Sanders win. “We want to be able to have a say in giving Donald Trump that opportunity in November to face Bernie in the debate, give a clear look to American voters, here’s your capitalist success story and here’s your socialist,” said Karen Martin, who is the organizer of the Spartanburg Tea Party.

They're not the sharpest tools in the shed, to say the least. Supposedly worried about SC's open Primary, and how (imaginary) Democrats abuse it, so they're going to abuse the hell out of it just to make a point. Isn't that like shooting up a school full of children just to expose how vulnerable they are? Yes, it is. It's also a common development with people who have held a paranoid delusion too long without uncovering evidence to back it up; they create their own evidence. Operation Chaos was originally dreamed up by Rush Limbaugh back in 2008, to sew discord in the Clinton Obama Primary. And it's very likely this new effort isn't just SC Tea Party nonsense, it's part of a broader effort by Republicans to meddle in Democratic affairs. Like flooding the Iowa Caucus Hotline with prank calls to clog the line:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Meadows oozing into Chief of Staff position

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Yes, the Trump administration can get more incompetent:

When it comes to filling the chief of staff role after the impeachment dust settles, Trump has suggested his first choice remains retiring Rep. Mark Meadows, sources familiar with the talks said. During Thursday's post-acquittal speech, Trump thanked Meadows at length for his support during the impeachment proceedings and called him "an extraordinary guy" and "very special."

Meadows, in turn, was the only other person who spoke during the President's address -- rising from his seat in the audience to praise Trump. "I just wanted to say that this reflection today is a small reflection of the kind of support you have all across the country," Meadows said. "We've got your back."

And there goes my gag reflex. With the prospect of Meadows being in charge of pretty much everybody who works in the White House, now is as good a time as any to remind people of his lack of concern and leadership when his own office was a stalking ground for a serial sexual harasser:

Shadowy Republican group behind massive ad buy for Erica Smith

Pay close attention folks, campaign meddling has already begun:

Faith and Power, a new political action committee with ties to Republicans, formally launched on January 29 and quickly placed a $1.56 million broadcast ad in the Democratic primary, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission and the Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group. The ad aims to boost Smith over Cal Cunningham, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and has raised significantly more money.

"Who's the Democrat for US Senate endorsed by progressives and unions? Erica Smith," says the ad's narrator. "Who's got the courage to vote for 'Medicare for All'? Erica Smith. The number one supporter of the Green New Deal? Erica Smith again."

You don't even need Occam's Razor to figure this one out, Occam's Butterknife will do. Why would Republicans boost one Dem over another in a Primary? Because they believe she would be easier to beat come November. While this ad appears to be targeted directly at left-leaning Dems, it also includes triggers (Unions, Green New Deal) to stoke fear and revulsion in conservative and even some moderate voters. Here's a little more on the group running the ads:

Mark Johnson's staff engaged in illegal wiretapping of former employee

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And there needs to be a formal investigation of this by NC DOJ:

Allegations surfaced during a recent Department of Information Technology hearing that when retiring K-3 Literacy Director Carolyn Guthrie turned in her DPI-issued MacBook laptop in 2017, she neglected to log the device out of her iCloud account. As with any such organization, the Department of Public Instruction has a policy that devices of departing employees must be wiped clean. DPI reportedly did not follow that protocol with Guthrie’s laptop, and her personal iPhone text messages continued to sync to the MacBook’s iMessage app for more than a year after her departure. According to deposition testimony referenced at the hearing, Guthrie noticed her phone pairing with another device but did not realize it was her old laptop until she learned that DPI was in possession of her personal communications.

If the allegations are true, that would mean someone at Johnson’s department actively monitored Guthrie’s personal iPhone text message communications using her old laptop. It would mean someone working under Johnson’s supervision made a decision to read through private communications between Ms. Guthrie and her family and friends until finding something that was useful.

Unwritten rule #14: If you stumble across information you weren't supposed to have access to, you cannot use it until you find another source for said information that isn't so radioactive. It ain't rocket surgery, but apparently Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch are not very clever...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Please don't forget about this, folks:

I think we can all agree that young voters are a reliably progressive voice, and we need them now.

Trump tariffs are forcing NC farmers into bankruptcy

This is not fake news, but he will try to spin it that way I'm sure:

The number of family farms filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy last year spiked 20 percent nationally, according to a study by the American Farm Bureau Federation. That’s the highest increase since 2010, the year after the Great Recession ended. In the Southeast, it swelled 48 percent from 2018.

The $87 billion agriculture industry plays a crucial rule in North Carolina’s economy, according to N.C. State University. It employs 17 percent of the state’s workforce. According to the Farm Bureau, there were 16 filings in North Carolina in 2019 — a 33 percent jump from 2018 — and 10 in South Carolina, more than three times higher than the 2018 total.

Funny thing, you hardly ever see one of these bankrupted farmers on the news, except maybe in some deep-dive documentary where the producers spend weeks tracking people down. It's actually not funny, because when they are finally forced to give up, the last thing they want to do is admit their failure to a large audience. It's a hard life, making one or two paydays a year cover all your costs and feed your family until the next harvest. The last thing they need is a toddler knocking over that fragile formula by disrupting their market. But by and large, farmers still support Trump, even though he has thrown them under the bus in favor of Big Ag numerous times:

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