Working on Brent Jackson's plantation

The whip has been replaced by economic tyranny:

Seven former workers at Jackson Farming Company, the Sampson County farm owned by State Senator Brent Jackson, have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the farm, Jackson, and his son Rodney alleging gross violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, and are seeking unpaid wages and damages.

Former worker José Alberto Aguilera-Hernandez says that Rodney Jackson confronted him on October 27, 2015, demanding that he pay $2,400 to replace a gas pump piece broken during a workplace accident. Aguilera-Hernandez refused, was fired on the spot, and was forced to leave the farm. Jackson then withheld back wages from the previous week’s work.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The abuse of migrant workers may not be exclusive to North Carolina, but when a lawmaker engages in it, there is more than just a whiff of institutional wrongdoing.

Megyn Kelly hits Governor McPotty with a truth-bomb

Please excuse the link to Fox News:

“I’ve been in women’s bathrooms my whole life, and we don’t have the urinal situation; we’ve got like, the stalls,” Kelly said. “We get to go in and we do our business, and we don’t see each other. So why are you concerned about girls exposing themselves or seeing somebody else exposed in a woman’s bathroom?”

Bam. Or is it "Boom"? Whatever, I'm beginning to like her, which is probably a clever trap by Rupert Murdoch...

Faircloth attempts to bury police body cam footage

Giving police chiefs sole discretion on what gets released:

Meanwhile, a state House bill filed by a High Point Republican, John Faircloth, would make police footage less available, and would give power to decide whether to release the footage to a police chief or sheriff. This is so wrongheaded, it’s hard to know where to begin.

It presumes that an entity that supposedly is accountable to the public should be accountable only to itself. It presumes that a chief will place the public interest over the interests of the department — or of the chief. It presumes every chief — hence, now and forevermore — will be beyond reproach. And it presumes that the chief’s say is the final word on law enforcement. It isn’t. That belongs to the council and, by extension, to the people.

Not only is this just one more in a series of moves by the NC GOP to remove power from municipal governments, it's also a slap in the face to citizens. You don't need to know what happened. The bottom line: Police chiefs and Sheriffs are directly responsible for the behavior of their officers, and misbehavior on the part of the latter could end the careers of the former. In other words, glaring conflict of interest. But this bill does more than that, it (attempts to) radically alter NC's open records laws:

Legislature pushing "gag" bill for contaminated water advisories

What you don't know might just kill you:

The proposed legislation would prohibit any state agency, local health board or local health department from issuing a health advisory, unless certain conditions are met. Before a health advisory — such as a do not drink letter — may be issued, a contaminant would have to exceed certain federal or state standards.

At 0.07 parts per billion, the presence of hexavalent chromium in water would give a person a lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 1 million, according to the calculations made by the DHHS experts. At 100 parts per billion, the risk would be 1 in 700, health experts sat.

Just a little context, to give those numbers better meaning: At a rate of 1 in 700, that would be a statewide death toll of some 14,300 people (143 in each county). Mike Hager didn't get that many votes the last time he was elected. Republicans aren't just putting people in danger via "deregulation," they're making good government illegal.

GOP's November surge plan: HB2 Referendum

To make sure all the Thumpers and Teabillies turnout to vote:

Apodaca is the top lieutenant to Senate leader Phil Berger, and he told WLOS News 13 that staff attorneys are looking into a constitutional referendum that would make the controversial LGBT law permanent – or kill it.

“If it was up to me, I’d just put it out to a vote of the people – let them decide what they want to do,” Apodaca said. “Let’s put it on the ballot and get it over with once and for all. If the majority wants this, fine. If they don’t, fine.”

Bolding mine, which would no doubt make us the only state out of fifty in which "bathroom rules" are Constitutionally codified. Something tells me this may have been in the back of their twisted minds from the beginning, in order to save the job of a Governor who has continually stumbled through both ethical and intellectual mishaps from the time he was sworn in.

NC taxpayers footing the bill for trips to ALEC conference

A variation on, "Go out and break me off a switch from that tree so I can beat you with it."

Five Republican leaders plan to seek reimbursements for attending the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, conference last week.

The authorization allows them to receive $104 per day for travel expenses as well as reimbursement for registration fees, which cost up to $750 for legislators at the ALEC event. It is considered professional development.

If you consider abdicating your responsibility to write your own bills, and substituting industry-crafted nonsense in their place "professional development," just how low would they have to go to be considered unethical? Steal candy from a baby, rob a Salvation Army donation can, and then run over a nun in a crosswalk while making their getaway?

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The masters of hypocrisy:

There have been some 600+ Tweets on the ncpol hashtag in the last 24 hours, the vast majority referencing HB2. Here are just a handful of those:

Rob Schofield on the myth of the bathroom predator

It's a bulging briefcase with literally nothing inside:

When I pressed him to produce one credibly documented example in which a man had dressed as a woman in order to invade a women’s restroom and then used a law that allowed entry by people based on gender identity to successfully avoid arrest or prosecution, he told me I could “Google it” and find lots of instances. As Raleigh’s News & Observer and Politifact confirmed at some length in a recent story, however, this appears to be an urban myth.

You would expect a reaction like that from a Facebook troll, but a staffer from Art Pope's faux-Libertarian propaganda machine should be better prepared. Then again, when there actually is no evidence to race around, "Google it" is about all you can say. Hat-tip to Rob and the Salisbury Post for highlighting this vicious strawman attack.

Odds stacked heavily against overturning HB2

The politics of fear and hatred are very effective:

Could, as a Democratic legislator asked on Twitter, state Republicans push back against anti-LGBT measure H.B. 2 in the same way many have against Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy? The short answer is, “Not likely.”

“I am hard-pressed to see how rural social-conservative Republicans let this be overturned, or done away with. It’s just — I don’t see the numbers that are there,” said Michael Bitzer, Catawba College provost and professor of politics and history.

Setting aside for the moment the reality we're in an election year, and most of those GOP lawmakers don't have the spine to jeopardize their "safe seat" by doing the right thing, there's also an ego issue to deal with. After dutifully following their masters' lead and voting for something they couldn't possibly have taken the time to fully understand, to now reverse their position would prove that initial vote was reckless and irresponsible. Again, they don't have the spine. They would be admitting *two* mistakes, one of which calls their actual qualifications to serve into question.


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