Archive for Parties

The cattle barons are nervous and getting reckless.

The United States has come to resemble those iconic westerns with a Wild West economy in which cattle barons rule, politicians and lawmen are on their payrolls, and struggling settlers are either compliant or prey.

But after the 2008 crash and bailout on Wall Street, one after another Occupy, the Consumer Protection Bureau, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Moral Mondays and now Pope Francis have put the cattle barons on notice that their grip on power is weakening.

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Dec
06

U.S. of ALEC

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Boy howdy, aren’t these ALEC and State Policy Network characters Titanic-grade Cal Hockleys? Masters of the Universe. And you’re not. Which means that if you’re not from the better half, those of you in steerage had better be prepared for an American future in which your “betters” throw you overboard. If they get their way.

In the wake of the Guardian’s ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) document dump, Mountain Xpress is wondering if ALEC board member Rep. Tim Moffitt and NC House Speaker Thom Tillis have more loyalty to the business organization than to their state or constituents. ALEC floated a loyalty oath in recent draft documents:

A proposed loyalty oath “I am morally responsible for the health and well-being of this organization… I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

This loyalty oath to a secret corporate lobbying [group] runs contrary to the oath of office taken by all members of the North Carolina General Assembly, which says in part, “… I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina.”

It gets better. Read More→

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Dec
04

Your Republican Governor

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Richard (RJ) Eskow was on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto recently. Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is positioning himself to run for president as a moderate Republican and since Fox Republicans can’t have that, Cavuto invited Eskow on to bash Christie for him.

Christie criticized the president’s health care bill, Cavuto began, yet he is accepting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in his state. Cavuto asked the former insurance company executive, Doesn’t that make him look hypocritical? How Eskow responded was priceless.

Well, I guess the answer would be, I may think that my car insurance premiums are too high, but if I have an accident, I’m going to file a claim and take their money.

This caught Cavuto gaping. He interrupted Eskow and said, “You know, that’s a very good point. That’s putting me down brilliantly.” But Eskow raises a broader point.

You may be among the millions of paycheck workers who have paid into Medicaid your entire life without ever claiming benefits because you never qualified. Until Obamacare. Unlike New Jersey, because Republican governors don’t like the guy occupying the White House, most of their states have rejected the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, making the insurance on their exchanges more expensive for you, and leaving millions of people the law was designed to insure without access to health care. Because your Republican governor is just fine with you paying into Medicaid, so long as you never file a claim and get any of your own money back to pay your doctor bills. Your Republican governor believes this is for your own good.

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Pope Francis last week issued Evangelii Gaudium, or Joy of the Gospel, an “apostolic exhortation.” Less than an encyclical on church doctrine, Evangelii Gaudium nonetheless stamps papal authority across Francis’ recent speeches. The National Catholic Reporter likened it to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

For conservative pundits it’s more of a nightmare:

Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. [54]

Commenters looking for moral wiggle room at Free Republic debated the accuracy of the translation — not of the whole document, just the passage above. A National Review critic argued that nobody said markets were sufficient to bring down poverty. Still, people working sweat shop jobs in developing nations are less impoverished. Those who lost jobs in this hemisphere? Well, those are the breaks.

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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.

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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→

Nov
22

No ID Required To Buy An Election, Just To Vote In One

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The GOP insists you prove your identity to vote. But if you want to spend millions to sway U.S. elections, they’ll protect your anonymity, even if you are a non-citizen. Harold Meyerson writes:

Voter suppression has become the linchpin of Republican strategy. After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, the GOP was briefly abuzz with talk of expanding the party’s appeal to young and Latino voters. Instead, the party doubled down on its opposition to immigration reform and its support for cultural conservatism — positions tantamount to electoral suicide unless the youth and minority vote can be suppressed.

Meyerson discusses the “interstate shell games” wealthy right-wing donors play to prevent the public from knowing the their identities as the sources of so much negative campaign “speech.”

But you may need a court order to get the documentation they insist you must produce before you can exercise your right to vote. This passes for common sense in some sectors.

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Congressional opponents of Obamacare are taking their medicine show on the road this week — tomorrow. Titled “Obamacare Implementation: Sticker Shock of Increased Premiums for Health Care Coverage,” hearings are scheduled to begin in the congressional district that covers most of Asheville.

Charlotte Observer — U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a critic of the Obama administration, will bring the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to the Gaston County Courthouse, 325 North Marietta St., for the hearing starting at 10 a.m.

Likely: We’ll hear from small businessmen with a handful of employees how the Affordable Care Act is killing their businesses (even as it exempts businesses with fewer than 50 employees).

Less likely: Darrel Issa asks Americans how many want to go back to the good old days of lifetime caps, preexisting condition denials, non-portable coverage, being dumped by your insurer when you get sick, and rampant medical bankruptcy.

Hot ticket. People from Asheville will be going to support not replacing health care coverage for families who lack it with nothing.

Nov
16

ACA Hearing in Gastonia

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Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is headed to Gastonia, NC to create some ObamaCare sturm and drang for the 24-hour news people to report on. From the Charlotte Observer:

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a field hearing on the Affordable Healthcare Act next Friday in Gastonia.

The hearing, “ObamaCare Implementation: Sticker Shock of Increased Premiums for Healthcare Coverage” will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 22 at Gaston County Courthouse, 325 N. Marietta St., Gastonia, according to the committee’s website.

NC-11 Congressman Mark Meadows is also on Issa’s House Oversight Committee.

WCNC-Charlotte:

“Nobody in the country believes that Republicans want to fix the Web site. For the past three years, the number one priority of the Congressional Repbulicans has been to bring down the law,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D- Maryland) said.

Road trip, anyone?

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Over at dKos late last night, teacherken announced the final margin in the VA attorney general’s race after counting provisional votes: a 163-vote lead for state Sen. Mark Herring (D) over Republican state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain.

The Washington Post elaborates:

The Fairfax County Electoral Board finished reviewing provisional ballots – mostly cast by people who did not have ID or went to the wrong polling place – and added 160 votes to Herring’s (Loudoun) total and 103 votes to the Republican’s. Herring already led on the State Board of Elections Web site by 106 votes.

The additional 57-vote margin from Fairfax was expected to give Herring a statewide lead of 163 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast – barring any last-minute changes from other localities, which had until 11:59 pm Tuesday to submit their numbers to the state election board.

State Board of Elections will certify the election results on Nov. 25.

Brad Friedman observes:

If Herring can maintain his extraordinarily slim lead throughout the almost-certain “recount”, he will become Virginia’s first Democratic Attorney General in twenty years, and his party will have swept all three top-ticket races in the state this year — Governor, Lt. Governor and AG.

From the Miami Herald:

“Voters in Virginia have spoken, their voices have been heard and I am honored to have won their votes and their trust to become Virginia’s next attorney general,” Herring said in a statement. While the vote was close, he said, “Virginians have chosen me to serve as the next attorney general.”

But in such a close race, Obenshain is unlikely to concede.

According to tea party lore, if the Republican loses, somebody must have cheated. On to the recount.

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