Monday, April 7, 2014 - 12:02pm

Renewed attacks on voting rights in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other states are as much about power as about policy and race. The hand wringing over elusive "fraud" is because America's majority ethnic group sees its traditional grip on power eroding with shifting demographics.

In North Carolina last week, Republican lawmakers again raised the alarm over the possibility that hundreds -- maybe thousands -- had criminally cast ballots in two states in the 2012 election. GOP leaders were quick to insist that the numbers justified the draconian voting law they passed in the last legislative session. The U.S. Department of Justice has challenged the law in court.

Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies just as quickly debunked the study by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach whose office, after checking 5 million voter records in 2013, "couldn't provide any evidence of a single instance in which the Interstate Crosscheck's data had led to an actual legal charge of voter fraud." Because the data, Kromm writes, "offers no proof such fraud is occurring." Requiring citizens to present identity cards to vote would have no effect on voting in multiple states.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 1:21pm

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.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 6:09am

The Republican Party is acting out one of those dreary murder ballads with America. You know the ones, where the rejected suitor declares, “If I can’t have you, then no one can!” Then he murders the woman to put her out of his misery.

America, how we loved ye!

The Republican-led U.S. House voted last week to throw 4 million Americans off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), largely on party lines. Then it voted 230-to-189 to shut down the government if Obamcare isn't defunded. Then Republicans threw a party.

At the National Review, Henry Olsen threw up his hands:

The conservative war on food stamps is the most baffling political move of the year. Conservatives have suffered for years from the stereotype that they are heartless Scrooge McDucks more concerned with our money than other people’s lives. Yet in this case, conservatives make the taking of food from the mouths of the genuinely hungry a top priority. What gives? And why are conservatives overlooking a far more egregious abuse of taxpayer dollars in the farm bill? [Emphasis by Jonathan Chait]

"It’s not baffling," writes Chait, nor a stereotype. "Indeed, it’s the only analysis that persuasively explains the facts."

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Friday, July 5, 2013 - 8:31am

Recently I spoke with someone who suggested that Democrats should boycott working at polling places in 2014. That is, let the GOP screw up the election so royally that people will throw them out in 2016. This was the same sort of liberal who thought the left should express its displeasure with Obama and the Democrats by staying home in November 2010. That worked out well in North Carolina. For Art Pope.

Once again, that sort of liberal was recommending that we express our displeasure with the North Carolina Republicans by staying home in 2014.

Right.

So when will you actually show up?, I thought. When will you stand up and fight for the constitutional rights and interests of the people you think you represent? When do we show them that liberals are leaders worthy of their support, and good for doing something besides doing nothing?

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Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 6:36am

Last fall, voters across North Carolina made their choices at the ballot box. In the next general election we will see whether they still like those they chose.

I recently read a post from state Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover. He explains why he and Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, introduced a bill taking away our choice to vote a straight ticket. Republicans like more choice in theory. Because freedom. But they insist on taking away this choice. Plus a few others.

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Friday, April 5, 2013 - 5:43pm

It's time to go to the phones. Again.

Obama budget would cut entitlements in exchange for tax increases

Dave Johnson laid it out in an email:

The Obama budget is going to offer “Grand Bargain” cuts in Social Security and Medicare, hoping to get Republicans to offer tax increases. We are heading into a retirement crisis. The 401K experiment didn’t work. Companies have pulled back on pensions. And the squeeze that has been on regular people for decades means that people also do not have the savings they need to get them through old age. And all the money went to the top. The last thing the country needs is cuts in essential services for the elderly.

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Monday, April 1, 2013 - 7:56pm

NC Legislators & Governor: We Oppose the Forced Taking of Municipal Water Systems! Sign up for the fight here.

Cross-posted from Scrutiny Hooligans:

It began well over a year ago when the representative from NC’s 116th district filed a bill that would forcibly merge the City of Asheville’s public water utility with the Metropolitan Sewerage District. He didn’t bother to tell Asheville’s elected officials about it, even though they were in his office the day before. Quickly backpedaling, the representative reformatted the seizure into a “Study Committee” process. The “Study Committee” went through the motions, ignored the opposition, and came up with a recommendation that mirrored the original seizure bill. The bill itself was filed this past Thursday, HB488. It is an outright taking, offering no compensation for loss of the asset.

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Sunday, March 31, 2013 - 10:57am

Sen. Martin Nesbitt (Dem) spoke at the end of the League of Women Voters forum in Asheville about the fate of Asheville's water system on March 13, 2012.

The “Dr. Mumpower” Nesbitt refers to is former Asheville city councilman and former NC-11 congressional candidate, Carl Mumpower, a Republican. The “Chuck” that Nesbitt addresses is Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), representing a House committee Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe) set up to study whether or not the state should transfer control of the $177 million water system from the city of Asheville to a new regional commission controlled by the state. That would be the one in House Bill 488 introduced this week by Moffitt, McGrady and freshman Rep. Nathan Ramsey (R-Buncombe). Everyone opposing the deal knew the "study" was kabuki theater.

Robert Brawley
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Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 9:06am

During the post-September 11 panic, the radical right-wing pundits like Mark Steyn peddled fears that Muslims with their high birthrate might overrun western civilization and forcibly convert America to Islam. Now that they've gained the upper hand in the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA), radical right legislators (and their oligarch backers) are determined to forcibly convert state property and services purchased with public money into private profit. (Remember Russia?) For a quick buck, carpetbagging worshipers of the Golden Calf are flexing their muscles in Raleigh to demolish what North Carolinians built over the last half century.

For all their contempt for “the 47 percent” and “makers and takers” framing, Michael Lind explains that rent-seeking monopolists in the private sector are the real parasites:

In today’s rentier-friendly conservative ideology, somebody who makes payday loans at usurious interest rates, gouges businesses with high insurance rates, or gets paid tolls from a privatized toll road is as much a “maker” and an “entrepreneur” and a “capitalist” as someone who puts together a team of inventors, engineers, workers and investors to apply 3-D printing to printing replacement body parts. All money-making enterprises are supposed to be equally productive and socially useful, for no other reason than they make somebody rich.

Robert Brawley
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