NC GOP

Nothing to brag about

On business ethics and other oxymorons

From an LTE in the Char-O:

Separation of government and business is important to prevent abuse of influence and power by the parties to these alliances. Without protections, we are at risk of our nation’s local, state, and federal governments of being controlled by the increasing influence of government-business relationships. Those relationships subject citizens to ever-increasing and unnecessary government excesses.

The author (a doctor) makes some pretty good points, but he appears to be placing the blame more on the advent of income taxes than on the politicians and businessmen who engage in this "abuse of influence and power." He also (like many other critics of incentives) ignores the private-sector elephant in NC's living room, the creation of the Economic Development Partnership, a group of influential businessmen that will be playing around with taxpayer dollars. Which is leaps and bounds more screwed up than traditional government incentive approaches, and opens up several huge Pandora's Boxes of ethical concerns. But instead of talking about a real-world ethical monster, we get this ideological jibber-jabber:

Unintended consequences of gerrymandering

Most people have now heard about the NC GOP mutiny against Thom Tillis in the failure of House bill 1224.

Why couldn't Tillis corral his Republican caucus? He rules through fear and intimidation, and it's rare that his party colleagues cross him.

Well, perhaps the very gerrymandering that put him in his position of power also cost him the ability to get what he wants when the stakes are high.

“[Tillis] is one of the most criticized speakers in modern times and, because of redistricting, does not hold the same degree of power over caucus members through controlling huge amounts of campaign money that people need for reelection,” [Meredith College political science expert David] McLennan said.

Coal Ash Wednesday: "cap and leak" plan moves forward

Stick a Band-Aid on it and do a victory dance:

The legislation mandates that ash be excavated at only four of Duke’s 14 North Carolina coal-fired power plants. “Low-risk” ponds can be capped in place without removing ash. A moratorium on Duke seeking rate hikes to pay for coal ash cleanup would expire in January 2015, as the Senate bill had stated. The House had pushed for the moratorium to end in December 2016.

Contaminated groundwater has been found near ash ponds at all of Duke’s coal plants. The Southern Environmental Law Center said the committee changes seek “to weaken existing law and protect Duke Energy from taking responsibility for its coal ash waste.”

“Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina,” the center said.

This isn't a compromise bill, it's the bastard child of a horrible plan and an already compromised plan. And the only reason it's moving forward is political in nature, so Republicans won't get punished in November for doing nothing.

So much for McCrory orchestrating deliberations at the NC General Assembly

Hat-tip to Chris Fitzsimon for finding this:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The sacrificial lamb bleats:

I hope you haven't eaten yet, because this is seriously nauseating:

Instead of cracking down on polluters, Skvarla battles EPA

Protecting the business environment:

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources asked for the extension because additional time is needed to understand the potential impacts of the rule on the environment and the economy, John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a letter sent this week to the EPA.

“Our review to date has revealed that the rule will have a significant impact on electric power providers and rate payers,” Skvarla’s letter states. “We believe the proposal creates a regulatory scheme that affects all aspects of how electricity is generated, dispatched, and used by businesses and consumers while creating a new EPA oversight of every state and local authority involved in these complex issues. EPA’s current comment period deadline of October 16, 2014, simply does not provide sufficient time to understand this far-reaching and complex proposal.”

For a climate-change denier who believes fossil fuels are a renewable resource, I'm not sure there is a sufficient amount of time to understand this, or any other "complex" issue.

Alamance County's racial profiling Sheriff makes national news

Throw 'em in jail first, ask questions later:

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a sheriff, Terry Johnson of Alamance County, is on trial this month, accused by the Justice Department of rampant racial-profiling abuses against Latinos. Two retired supervising deputies testified at the trial that Sheriff Johnson had told officers not to give Latino drivers traffic citations, but to take them directly to jail.

Starting in 2007, Sheriff Johnson was a partner in the federal 287(g) program, which trains local officials as immigration agents. The government revoked that agreement in 2012. As with Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., an inveterate immigrant victimizer whose 287(g) authority was belatedly curtailed, Sheriff Johnson seems to be a prime exhibit of the dangers of outsourcing immigration authority to peace officers who don’t get the memo, or heed the Constitution.

No doubt many of my fellow Alamance County-ites consider Terry Johnson some kind of hero, but I'm sure that would change if a burned-out tail-light landed them in jail until somebody checked and double-checked their papers. Which (of course) will never happen to these navel-gazers, since they are sporting the preferred skin color.

Killing good, productive programs

While McDecker attempts to get her hands on a wad of taxpayer money to use to bribe corporations to come to NC, so that her boss Guvnor Pat can brag about bringing 11 new jobs to Charfayleighashington, existing programs that have proven to be effective economic engines and job creators have been killed by the Tillisberger.

First, they replaced NC's highly successful film industry tax credits with a lame grant program that has been panned by the film industry.

As of late July, the state film office reported, North Carolina has experienced $268 million in estimated direct spending by the industry and nearly 19,000 jobs.

Then they outright killed the historic preservation tax credit program.

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