Archive for NC Governor

Feb
09

Moral March: Mainstream, Not The Fringe

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The News & Observer opines that the broad coalition of protesters that assembled in Raleigh on Saturday represents mainstream North Carolina, not that the Republican-led legislature acknowledges it, or cares:

To see the long ranks of protesters was to wonder how much longer North Carolina’s Republican leaders can dismiss them as a rabble, as outsiders, as “takers,” as agitators, and not see them for who they are: The People. Their issues include labor conditions, pay for public employees, environmental protections, voting rights, fair taxation, help for the unemployed, gay rights, abortion rights and civil rights.

But another of their issues is one they hold in common: They feel they are not being heard. And the deafness of the state’s political powers is deliberate. Legislative leaders and the governor can’t hear above the sound of the corporate money that steers their agenda. And even if they could, they wouldn’t listen. The people in the streets holding signs and chanting are not people they consider “the mainstream” or “real Americans.”

Led by NC NAACP president Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the Forward Together movement may be indigenous to North Carolina, but Saturday’s mass rally showed that its influence is expanding. Moral Monday protests are starting in Georgia and South Carolina. Over two dozen states sent marchers to Raleigh on Saturday — from neighboring southern states to New York, Florida and Missouri.

Not just a coalition of single-issue groups, this fusion movement recognizes that their varied interests are connected in their struggle against the “extremism” of North Carolina’s General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory. Forward Together set five demands for 2014:

• Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability;

• Provide well-funded, quality public education for all;

• Stand up for the health of every North Carolinian by promoting health care access and environmental justice;

• Address inequalities in the criminal justice system;

• Protect and expand voting rights for people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly and students to safeguard fair democratic representation.

(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)

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Jan
18

“How Is That Allowed?”

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Unencumbered by Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act courtesy of the Roberts Supreme Court, Gov. Pat McCrory decides he can leave almost one million North Carolinians without a representative for nearly a year.

Jan
09

This Will Be A Big Deal in 2014

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And Chris Christie probably will not be in 2016: August 13: “Time For Some Traffic Problems In Fort Lee”

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North Carolina educators angry at recent legislation that phases out tenure, cuts extra pay for advanced teaching degrees, cuts teacher assistant jobs, and cuts money for instructional supplies and more planned to send Gov. Pat McCrory a sack of coal for Christmas. In August, when women’s health advocates angry over new abortion restriction protested in front of the governor’s mansion, McCrory tried to placate them with a plate of cookies.

Despite recent attempts by the state of North Carolina to marginalize them, Moral Monday protests will continue into 2014. Over 930 people volunteered to be arrested in civil disobedience against extreme legislation passed by the GOP-led legislature in 2013. New voting restrictions have been described as the most restrictive in the nation.

The Nation‘s John Nichols declared the 10,000-strong Mountain Moral Monday protest in Asheville, NC on August 5 the Most Valuable Protest of 2013.

On Christmas, the Associated Press reported that Moral Monday protests will spread across the South in 2014: Read More→

Dec
19

Crushing NC’s Unemployed

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As states cut back on unemployment for the long-term unemployed, North Carolina leads the way. From Bloomberg’s opinion section:

Across the country, the unemployed will lose from 14 to 47 weeks of insurance when the extension ends. Five other states will join North Carolina in providing fewer than 26 weeks of payments — the standard in the U.S until this year. What’s happened in North Carolina since July is an indication of what will happen nationwide. The picture is troubling.

The federal extension expires on January 1, 2014. North Carolina got a head start last summer when it cut the maximum benefit length and reduced the payments.

As intended, presumably, the number of North Carolinians receiving unemployment benefits has collapsed. It’s down by 45,000, or 40 percent, since last year. Expiring benefits aren’t the only reason for this. Far fewer are filing a claim in the first place. Initial claims are running at about half last year’s rate. Unemployment insurance is a thinner safety net than it has been in decades.

In addition, North Carolina’s labor force began to shrink. The state is experiencing the largest labor-force contraction it’s ever seen –77,000 fewer people were working or searching for work this October than a year ago. This should, but won’t, settle a partisan debate. Cutting unemployment insurance apparently hasn’t encouraged the unemployed to look harder for work: It has caused them to drop out of the labor force altogether. [Emphasis mine.]

That’s understandable, in part because nationwide there were still three job seekers per job as of May.

Food pantries are stretched, becoming, as Alan Briggs, executive director of the North Carolina Association of Food Bank suggested, “the safety net of the safety net.”

Please help out your local food banks this season. Decision after decision by the legislature in Raleigh seems aimed at worsening the situation for struggling North Carolinians.

Merry Christmas.

Wisconsin and Minnesota provide a nice side-by-side comparison of Republican and Democratic economic policies in action. They’re next door to each other and share similar demographics.

Three years into [GOP Gov. Scott] Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. Mr. Walker’s defenders blame the higher spending and taxes of his Democratic predecessor for these disappointments, but according to Forbes’s annual list of best states for business, Wisconsin continues to rank in the bottom half.

Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business. Republicans deserve some of the credit, particularly for their commitment to education reform. They also argue that Minnesota’s new growth stems from the low taxes and reduced spending under Mr. Dayton’s Republican predecessor, [GOP Gov. Tim] Pawlenty. But Minnesota’s job growth was subpar during Mr. Pawlenty’s eight-year tenure and recovered only under [Democratic Gov. Mark] Dayton.

It is a little early to assess NC Gov. Pat McCrory. In spite of McCrory’s and the NCGOP’s refrain that the state is “broken” owing to one hundred years of Democratic dominance, North Caroilna consistently ranks as one of the top ten best states to do business. But it has lost ground since last year on one survery, falling from first place to second behind Georgia. This, of course, leaves McCrory with not much of anywhere to go except down.

Read More→

Nov
24

Not From Around Here, Are Ya?

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Downtown Raleigh from Western Boulevard Overpass
Photo credit: Mark Turner, Wikimedia Commons

When Heath Shuler was Asheville’s congressman, I used to joke that I’d been living within 100 miles of Asheville longer than our congressman had been alive. Yet he was a native son and I remain “not from around here.”

Rob Christensen observes how the rapid influx of newcomers to North Carolina is a reflection of what North Carolina is doing right, contrary to the “broken” narrative that Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led legislature repeat ad nauseam to denigrate the last 100 years of Democratic dominance in Raleigh.

A net 2 million people have immigrated to the state since 1990. Where once North Carolina had one of the largest native-born populations in the country, now 42 percent of the state’s residents were born elsewhere, including many of the state’s current crop of GOP political leaders. Read More→

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“I really don’t get involved in social issues.” — Representative Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe)

More video today from that August 5 realtors’ luncheon where Tim Moffitt admitted to engaging in legislative retaliation against the City of Asheville, a litigant in a pending lawsuit against the state.

In this exchange, attendee Cindy Ward asks Moffitt his thoughts on the abortion restrictions enacted by the legislature and signed by Governor McCrory.

“I really don’t get involved in social issues. At all,” Rep. Moffitt replies.

“But you vote on it [unintelligible] so you must be involved,” insists a second woman.

“I’m not involved,” Moffitt insists right back.

“Who are you representing?” Ward asks, not buying the not-so-smart-ALEC response. “If you’re not involved, who are you representing? You’re a representative.”

“Right,” says Moffitt.

“In Raleigh,” Ward adds, driving home her point.

Moffitt explains that the abortion debate in the Republican caucus is driven by the women in the caucus. He just goes along in support, because he supports the women.

Just so you know, social conservatives — and women in general — if you think you’re paying Tim Moffitt to represent you on social issues, he doesn’t consider it part of his job description.

Cindy Ward’s interview on The Jeff Messer Show (880 AM) is here. Segment starts at 25:20.

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Under The Dome:

Moments after Gov. Pat McCrory left the stage, former Secretary of State Colin Powell took aim at North Carolina’s new voting law Thursday, saying it hurts the Republican Party, punishes minority voters and makes it more difficult for everyone to vote.

“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote,” said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh.

“It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” Powell continued. “These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.”
[...]
In one comment, he seemed to rebuke McCrory for suggesting that voter fraud likely exists but is hard to detect. The governor had compared it to insider trading.

“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”

Powell, who served under President George W. Bush, also said the new sends the wrong message to minority voters. “What it really says to the minority voters is … ‘We really are sort-of punishing you,’” he said.

If Republicans in the state legislature were any more transparent, they’d be invisible. The arguments for all the radical changes to voting laws in North Carolina are that obvious nonsense. Maybe they are just skilled liars. Maybe they are just seriously deluded. Or maybe they have been consuming a steady diet of their own BS for so long — fed to them by think tanks, Fox News, talk radio and social media — that they actually believe their own BS.

The push to require identity cards before one can vote in North Carolina should reach a head today in the legislature. The bill itself (House Bill 589, aka VIVA) is a sight to behold. And it will likely soon end up on the desk of the man BlueNC refers to as Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory.

But they want to erect obstacles to voting, hands over their hearts, they do. Badly. So badly they’re prepared to sacrifice their own voters to hurt Democrats, as you can read here. The NCGOP is playing a calculating game of percentages that treats their own supporters as expendables, and any harm to their own foot soldiers’ ability to vote acceptable losses. Because they figure Democrats will get it worse.

The GOP will sacrifice their own to hold onto power. Figuratively, Republican leaders are willing to shoot their own troops to hit Democrats standing behind them. All good, if you’re the leader. But what if you’re not?