Republican bullies

Art Pope needs to be removed from UNC BOG

Orchestrating a character assassination of a new journalism professor:

“This is the story of a leader returning to a place that transformed her life and career trajectory,” said Susan King, dean of the Hussman School, in announcing the hire. “Giving back is part of Nikole’s DNA, and now one of the most respected investigative journalists in America will be working with our students on projects that will move their careers forward and ignite critically important conversations.”

On the state’s political right, however, Hanna-Jones has been met with a very different reception. Pulitzer Prize? MacArthur Fellowship? “Questionable credentials,” said the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal (formerly known as the Pope Center for Higher Education). One of America’s most respected investigative journalists? The same group termed that a “charade” concocted by “a powerful coalition with Democratic socialists, the media, and ‘woke’ crony capitalists.”

Make no mistake, one of Art Pope's lifelong crusades has been to force major changes to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Stymied in his effort to install a School of Western Civilization (White European Supremacy) several years ago, he has nevertheless continued efforts to bend the University to his will. His minions were instrumental in the closure of UNC's Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, proving that if he's not allowed to "add" to the University, he will settle with subtracting. Hanna-Jones is actually ideal for this teaching slot:

H 333 would revoke scholarships for student protesters

George Orwell would be impressed:

Any student enrolled at the constituent institution who, while present on the property of the constituent institution during a protest or demonstration, is found to have engaged in activity in violation of G.S.14-127or G.S.14-132(a)(2) shall have revoked and withdrawn from his or her benefit all State-supported scholarships or any State funds granted to him or her for educational assistance as required by G.S.116-300(7).

The Committee on Free Expression shall report to the public, the Board of Governors, the Governor, and the General Assembly by September 1 of every year.

Bolding mine, because I somehow forgot about this patently absurd Orwellian concoction from four years ago. Under the guise of "protecting" the free speech of conservatives on campus, this was created to keep other students from freely speaking against them. Republicans wouldn't know genuine freedom if it crawled into their lap and gave them a big wet kiss.

Protect the NC Constitution: Anti-union amendment needs to be blocked

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It's like déjà vu all over again:

Sens. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, and Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, have introduced a bill — Senate Bill 624 — that would guarantee N.C. workers would not be forced to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

North Carolina has had such a “right-to-work” law in place since 1947, but it could be repealed by a future General Assembly. Putting this language in the state constitution would all but guarantee that North Carolina would remain a right-to-work state for the foreseeable future.

I was afraid this would become a regular thing, slapping 4-6 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot every two years. For those inclined to allow the voters to make these decisions, just remember Amendment One from nine years ago. 61% of the voters chose to block gay marriage. Back then, a lot of people I know weren't worried about it. It wouldn't pass, because we had "outgrown" such bigoted concepts. Aside from the potential hazards of each Amendment voted upon, the more they show up on ballots, the less "important" they become in the eyes of voters. Pretty soon it's like changing socks.

This is how the 1st Amendment dies a slow death

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Gaston County protest ordinance is riddled with problems:

Under the new ordinance, groups of 25 or more people who wish to protest on county property must submit an application to the county at least 24 hours in advance.

The applications would be reviewed by the county sheriff and sheriff's deputies, who would have the power to approve or deny them, and could revoke a protest permit "at any time."

That last part is a doozie. All it would take is one rookie deputy who doesn't like the looks of somebody, and the permit is revoked. At that time, any delays in "dispersing" could be met with violence and arrests, all in the name of "keeping the peace." How do I know this? Because it's happened several times in my County. It's also not a coincidence that both Alamance and Gaston Counties have all-Republican Boards of Commission. More from the Gaston District Attorney:

Opposition grows over Darrell Allison's appointment at FSU

The UNC BOG has stepped in it again:

“The majority consensus is we need to fight this,” he said. Frink said that he had heard that Allison might be a candidate for the FSU position shortly after Allison resigned from the Board of Governors. Frink said he saw that Allison had little experience that would qualify him to be chancellor. “I never thought he’d have a serious look,” Frink said. “It just caught a lot of people by surprise.”

Allison was a member of the Board of Governors until September when he stepped down to pursue the position at FSU. The Board of Governors, which oversees 17 institutions in the UNC system, approved Allison’s appointment as chancellor of FSU on Feb. 18. The job comes with a $285,000-a-year salary and the use of a car and residence.

Allison has been a major proponent of the privatization of NC schools, so it's more than a little ironic the state is now giving him a car, a house, and over a quarter of a million yearly salary. It appears this battle has just begun:

The battle against Gerrymandering in NC continues

And once again the courts are our only refuge:

The Republicans' majorities give them the power next year to redraw state and congressional district maps for the next decade based on 2020 census figures. Republicans also controlled the last round of redistricting, in the 2010s. The maps they drew landed them in court multiple times after Democrats challenged them, and judicial rulings declaring illegal gerrymanders forced redraws in 2017 and 2019. The governor's veto power doesn't extend to the maps.

There is literally nothing to stop Republicans from pulling the same crap they did back in 2011. Meaning, they could (and probably will) draw the maps to give themselves Veto-proof majorities in the General Assembly once again, subverting the 2022 Election. It's like almost climbing out of a deep pit, but sliding back down to the bottom again. We must use the courts to force transparency of every single aspect of the redistricting process; every piece of data they plan to use and every jagged line on a map. No "trust the process," no "benefit of the doubt." They can't be trusted, and they must be doubted.

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Barr wants to use "Seditious Conspiracy" law on protesters

This authoritarian nightmare can't end soon enough:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

Bolding mine. What's the first thing that crossed your mind when you read that? It should be the Bundy family taking over a Federal facility in Oregon, which fits that statute to the T. But they were not charged with Seditious Conspiracy. As a matter of fact, all of the charges against them were dropped when a judge declared a mistrial. Nevermind the fact the whole world saw them commit the crime, and nevermind the fact right-wing snipers were photographed targeting Federal and state law enforcement officers. Their rights must not be infringed upon. Back to the Kakistocracy:

NC will likely wash its hands of Thom Tillis in November

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WaPo rates NC the "swingiest" of swing states:

Former state senator and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Cal Cunningham is the Democrats’ nominee (despite Republican interference to boost another candidate). In the first three months of this year, he doubled Tillis’s fundraising hauls. Tillis has tried at points to display some independence from Trump, pushing a bill to prevent the firing of Robert S. Mueller III and opposing Trump’s method of paying for the border wall. But he embraced the wall and during impeachment, he was all-in for the president.

We don't call him Two-Faced Tillis for nothing. He has never been exceptionally popular among Republicans, but that OpEd he wrote had them sharpening the long knives. Let's see what Thommy said back then:

Litigants want NC Supreme Court to rule on GOP power grab session

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Arguably the most blatant abuse of power the NC GOP has engaged in:

Plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of a legislative session Republicans quickly called in 2016 to limit the power of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper before he could take office now want the state's highest court to hear their case.

Lawyers for Common Cause and ten citizens filed an appeal petition with the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, about a month after the Court of Appeals upheld the legality of the three-day session in December 2016. Republicans in charge of the House and Senate approved a pair of measures during the session that weakened Cooper's power as governor.

Understand, then-Governor Pat McCrory had just lost a bitterly-contested election, and NCGA Republicans knew that lame duck would gladly sucker-punch the man who defeated him. And the GOP used human suffering (hurricane relief) to launch a completely inappropriate and ethically void additional "special" session to wrest authority from the Executive and grant it to themselves. And instead of hanging their heads in shame, BergerMoore actually joked about it when questioned by reporters. Forget about political party designations for a moment; this kind of corrupt behavior needs to be checked by the Supreme Court, or the separation of powers framework could very easily collapse, taking the Court with it.

Ban on assault rifles fails in Virginia Legislature

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We've apparently gone too far in the wrong direction to fix this:

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates.

Four moderate Democrats joined Republicans in Monday's committee vote, rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.

Look, I believe in open government, and not doing the public's business behind closed doors. But these 2nd Amendment folks push their intimidation tactics right up to the edge (and beyond) when dealing with elected officials, and when committee members are outnumbered 4-1 in a relatively small chamber that intimidation becomes more than just an academic exercise. If you doubt that just ask Lee Carter:

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