Republican calls for deregulation should be ignored

Corporations are already out of control:

“You have regulations on top of regulations, and new companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. And you (Hillary Clinton) want to increase the regulations and make them even worse. I’m going to cut regulations.” Even as Donald Trump’s words were echoing in the Hofstra University auditorium Monday night, outraged members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans -- had been grilling pharmaceutical and banking executives over bilking American consumers.

Mylan inflated profits for lifesaving drugs with sky-high pricing and Wells Fargo Bank set up phony consumer banking accounts, without customers’ knowledge or permission. On the state level, the failure of Duke Energy – the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility -- to adequately monitor and handle coal ash waste at power generation sites has been the subject of hearings, lawsuits and paltry fines.

It never ceases to amaze me how so many in the GOP's base buy into this crap. In the total absence of government regulation, those blue-collar workers and retirees would be struggling a hell of a lot harder than they are now, and dying in much larger numbers. But they've been sold on the idea that government is the source for all their woes, and the people selling them that lie are raking in campaign contributions from the very companies that are ripping these people off. And it's not a secret. A quick search of the FEC's campaign database is all they need to do to connect the dots, but they (apparently) don't care to learn. If they did, they would understand the need for this:

Friday News: Untrustworthy leadership

BAIT & SWITCH CONFESSION: MOORE SAYS HB2 ‘DEAL’ WASN’T FULL REPEAL (AP) -- The North Carolina House leader says a state law restricting LGBT anti-discrimination rules may not have been fully repealed even if Charlotte leaders had agreed this month to pull back their city ordinance that led to House Bill 2. Moore's comments raise questions about how realistic a proposed compromise was to end the months-long fallout over the law.

Will NC Republicans have to pay the piper in November?

Thomas Mills reads the tea leaves:

The business wing of the GOP keeps touting the modest economic gains North Carolina has seen while desperately trying to turn the conversation away from the damage the GOP has done to our national reputation. It’s not working so far. People aren’t feeling that much better about their economic circumstances, but they are aware that the rest of the country thinks something is wrong with our state—and that perception has been caused by Pat McCrory and the Republicans.

Yep, and no matter how vehemently Republican leaders try to blame Democrats (or the Liberal media, or activist corporations, or sports franchises), the responsibility inevitably is placed on those in charge. That's how politics works: When bad shit happens, incumbents better update their resumes.

Emerald Isle conflict and the Public Trust Doctrine

One man's freedom is another man's loss of freedom:

State Superior Court denied the claim in 2014 and granted a summary judgment for Emerald Isle. The Nieses also lost their appeal in November 2015. The state Court of Appeals, in unanimously affirming the judgment of the lower court, delivered a robust defense of the public trust doctrine.

“[W]e take notice that public right of access to dry sand beaches in North Carolina is so firmly rooted in the custom and history of North Carolina that it has become a part of the public consciousness,” the ruling states. “Native-born North Carolinians do not generally question whether the public has the right to move freely between the wet sand and dry sand portions of our ocean beaches. Though some states, such as plaintiffs’ home state of New Jersey, recognize different rights of access to their ocean beaches, no such restrictions have traditionally been practiced in North Carolina.”

Bolding mine. Although I'm not native-born, I have spent my fair share of time on NC's beaches. I've always viewed the dunes as sort of the border between public and private lands, with the dunes being a sort of "neutral territory." In other words, you can climb up on the dunes to look around and get your bearings, without being in violation of trespass. Depending on how the State Supreme Court rules, that could all change:

Thursday News: Burr gets a lump of coal money

NC SENATOR WHO CHAMPIONS FOSSIL FUELS GOT THEIR MONEY (McClatchy Newspapers) -- With checkbooks in hand, executives from the embattled coal mining industry converged last year on the remote Olde Farm Golf Club near southwest Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Unlike in 2010, when golf legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player played the elite course in Bristol, Virginia, to raise money for homeless kids, the beneficiaries of the gathering on June 10, 2015, were two political allies of the coal industry: Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

More research on habitat loss from wood pellet industry

Stronger regulation is desperately needed:

The region was recently designated a global biodiversity hot spot, and according to one of the papers, the use of biomass for energy hinges on its sustainability. Minimizing overall loss of forests and biodiversity and maximizing the area of habitat have been suggested as criteria for sustainable bio-energy production.

“Results from the scenarios we examined suggest that simultaneously achieving the best outcomes for these sustainability criteria under a single biomass production future may not be possible,” according to the report. However, there may be a middle ground. To avoid the negative effects on critical habitats, restrictions on biomass harvesting in longleaf pine and bottomland hardwoods will be necessary.

Bolding mine. As is very often the case with studies emerging from NCSU, the agriculture industry is given the benefit of the doubt on sustainability initiatives. In this case, researchers assume they're going to re-plant new forests wherever they harvest, so there won't be a "net loss" of forestland. I disagree, vehemently. There is little evidence of that, on a large-scale, anyway. With that understanding, those words "will be necessary" above carry even more weight. Enviva needs to leave those longleaf pines and bottomland hardwoods alone. But since they've already developed a taste for those precious trees, the only way to stop them is to make it illegal. And as for their claims of sustainable operations:

Wednesday News: Fletcher's fall from grace


STATE SEN. HARTSELL INDICTED ON CAMPAIGN-RELATED COUNTS (AP) -- A longtime North Carolina state senator was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges stemming from allegations he spent more than $200,000 in campaign funds over nine years for his personal benefit.

HARTSELL ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING, MAIL FRAUD AND WIRE FRAUD (Charlotte Observer) - The Concord Republican faces federal and state charges related to his campaign expenditures and reports.

GSO's International Civil Rights Museum receiving threats

A friend who had donated to the Museum got the following email.

The Museum has been receiving racist threats of violence - and had two people show up with loaded weapons - after MSNBC aired a segment on Trump's campaign bullied the staff in an attempt attempt to use the Museum as a backdrop for a photo-op. The campaign demanded that the Museum close for five hours to accommodate arrangements and security for Trump to be briefly be photographed looking at the exhibits.

The photo-op would have taken place on the same day as the police killing of Keith Scott and the beginning of the unrest in Charlotte. Rachel Maddow's video report is well worth watching if you haven't seen it already, putting the incident in the context of Trump's visit and his remarks about African-Americans that day in NC appearances.


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