NC GOP

Blatant sexism in Tim Moore's staff salary levels

Welcome back to the 1960's:

A list obtained by North State Journal indicates that Moore's Chief of Staff Bart Goodson, is the highest paid in the office at just more than $172,000 in annual salary, followed by senior adviser Mitch Gillespie at $104,545. In total for 2017, the 14 staff members supporting the N.C. Speaker of the House earn $1,046,135. In 2016, the 13 member staff made $1,108,154.

On the staff list for 2017, is a key promotion; Leah Burns is now deputy chief of staff, earning $69,000. In 2016, Burns served as a policy adviser to the speaker.

In typical Republican fashion, Moore is trying to show off how he's "reduced spending" and "tightened his belt," or whatever is the conservative Pavlovian bell phrase of the day. But it doesn't take Hercule Poirot to figure out where he saved most of that $62,000, by seriously stiffing one of his female employees. I tried to find Bart Goodson's salary (who held the deputy chief of staff position last year) before this promotion, but I had to go back to 2015 to get pertinent numbers:

Voters fight back: Guilford GOP accuser sued for defamation

This isn't Salem in the 17th Century, and false accusations have consequences:

William Clark Porter IV, who is named as the defendant in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment. Porter is committee chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party. He accused nine voters of casting ballots in another state, eight of voting with felony convictions and said one deceased person voted.

Karen Niehans, 74, and her husband Sam Niehans, plaintiffs in the lawsuit, were both accused of voting in two states. They moved to Jamestown in 2016 to be closer to family and both of the claims against them were found to be without merit. “This was personal,” Karen Niehans said. “My democratic right to vote was challenged. It’s as if someone was saying that I was less than others, that my voice shouldn’t count. That’s just plain wrong to do to someone and I am not going to take it. I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

I hope this dude gets raked over the legal coals, and I also hope there is some evidence uncovered of monetary compensation from state GOP officials for leveling these false allegations. So tired of their unethical behavior, and having to watch them get away with it, over and over again.

Digging deeper into wind farm opposition

Lisa Sorg skewers John Droz for his disingenuous deceptions:

However, the tone of the letter — histrionic and at times, sycophantic —and even the punctuation are similar to that in Droz’s blogs and articles. Reached by email, Droz did not answer a direct question about any involvement in drafting the letter. Instead, he wrote: “I have no problem with communicating with journalists who are making an honest effort to objectively describe a situation. However, years ago I made it clear to you that I was never a real estate developer — yet you continue to include that falsehood in your correspondences.”

(Droz’s online “real-estate focused resume” says he owns and has renovated numerous properties in New York State. He also claims to have co-founded one of the largest real estate companies in central New York. He also writes that in the 1980s he taught a widely acclaimed course on “How to Succeed in Real Estate Investing.”

Yeah, not sure how much of that resume is fact vs fiction. It does say he's a member of Mensa, which is difficult to swallow, after engaging in a few online debates with him. Pretty sure there's less there than meets the eye, if you catch my drift. But back to the notorious letter and its dubious claims:

Republicans hate eminent domain, except when they love it

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has more rights than citizens:

(1) Corporations, bodies politic or persons have the power of eminent domain for the construction of railroads, power generating facilities, substations, switching stations, microwave towers, roads, alleys, access railroads, turnpikes, street railroads, plank roads, tramroads, canals, telegraphs, telephones,communication facilities, electric power lines, electric lights, public water supplies, public sewerage systems, flumes, bridges, facilities related to the distribution of natural gas, and pipelines or mains originating in North Carolina for the transportation of petroleum products, coal, natural gas, limestone or minerals.

Underlined text is new, and text that has been struck through is being removed. Republicans are pretty much letting the pipeline company steal people's property, and (once again) the faux Libertarian "property rights" crowd at Civitas and JLF are exercising selective silence on one of their biggest issue platforms.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

It's never too late to do the right thing:

HB2 was flawed from the start, trying to fix a problem that didn't exist. And it became (much) more flawed when Republicans took away other existing worker protections in their zeal to punish Charlotte. It's long past time to kill this particular bill.

On the chopping block: NC retiree health care benefits

Austerity for some, tax cuts for others:

The Joint Legislative Committee on the Unfunded Liability of the Retiree Health Benefit Fund shall examine the following options for reducing the unfunded liability of the Fund:

(1) Increasing the assets in the Retiree Health Benefit Fund through appropriation by the General Assembly.
(2) Increasing the costs of retiree benefits borne by the federal government, by means such as the automatic enrollment of Medicare‑eligible retirees in Medicare Advantage or the offering of financial incentives to early retirees to obtain insurance through the health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.
(3) Reducing the State's future liability by transitioning the State's retiree health benefit from a defined benefit approach to a defined contribution model.
(4) Reducing the number of persons eligible for retiree benefits by increasing the service time requirements for the benefit or by eliminating the benefit for certain groups.
(5) Requiring employees to contribute to the Retiree Health Benefit Fund, as they do to the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.
(6) Increasing the amount that retirees pay for their health benefits by means such as increasing premiums or out‑of‑pocket costs.
(7) Any other proposals for reducing the unfunded liability of the Fund identified by the Committee.

The reason 3-6 are italicized is because 1&2 were merely put there to make people think everything's on the table. Again, classic bait-and-switch. Like when you get that "You are a winner!" glossy bullshit notice in the mail, where you've either won a fancy new automobile, $25,000 cash, an all-expense-paid vacation to Cabo San Lucas, or a free photographic portrait sitting, where you end up either stalking out with a frowny-face or ordering $75 worth of pictures. This is a frowny-face bill, and SEANC needs to start lighting torches and sharpening pitchforks.

Republican Superintendent pushing trades instead of college

And misleading students in the process:

He said business leaders want schools to start letting kids know their options at a younger age, including vocational professions. Johnson said that any student who wants to go to college can, but they need to know there are other options.

For instance, he said that a student should know that he or she could become a lineman for a power company after high school, and within a few years he or she could be making more than $100,000. Or a student could graduate and work as a welder at a steel fabrication company and potentially be making $70,000.

Bolding mine, because the dude at the top of the education pyramid in NC should at least understand that a "few" years is 2-3, not the 10-15 years it would take to achieve journeyman status. And the top journeyman lineworkers make around $39 per hour, which is $83,120 before overtime. Entry level pay is about $16 per hour ($33,280 per year), and telling kids they can make $100,000 within a few years is astoundingly irresponsible. And considering that Duke Energy Carolinas is about 250 linemen short, the negatives likely outweigh the positives by a metric ton:

NC's Hall of Shame: Wealthy Trump donors

An oligarchy of hypocrisy:

President Donald Trump may have had a tumultuous first two weeks, but that doesn’t bother Louis DeJoy. “He’s doing great,” said the Greensboro investor. “So far he’s doing what he said he was going to do.” DeJoy was one of Trump’s biggest N.C. donors and fundraisers. Records show he gave $111,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, a joint committee that split money between the campaign and party groups. He gave the Republican National Committee another $273,000 to help elect Trump.

DeJoy wasn’t the president’s only top N.C. contributor. Fred Eshelman, a former pharmaceutical executive from Wilmington, gave Trump Victory $200,000. Doug Lebda, CEO of Charlotte-based Lending Tree, gave $102,615 to the Great America PAC, which spent millions on Trump’s behalf. David Schamens of Davie County, CEO of TradeStream Analytics, gave Trump Victory $42,000 and, according to an FEC report, a net $157,000 to America Comes First PAC.

I hardly need to say it, but I'm going to say it: If you do business with any of these idiotas, please stop. Disassociate, divest, deprive them of your commerce, deny them access to your inner circle, and direct your investments and support to their rivals. Promoting Fascism should never (again) be a profitable enterprise, so exercise your option as an enlightened Capitalist and make these social parasites regret dashing off those checks. As for the smaller donors:

USDA under Trump scrubs animal welfare information from website

If you want to know, you'll have to file a FOIA:

It just became nearly impossible to know what's happening to animals in zoos, puppy mills and research laboratories.

Information about the roughly 9,000 facilities related to animals protected under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — including SeaWorld, dog breeders and puppy mills, zoos, circuses (including Ringling Bros.) and taxpayer-funded animal testing labs, among others — was removed from the USDA website on Friday.

I've been blogging here for going on ten years, and very often my search for reliable and up-to-date information leads me to one or more of the Federal agencies. More than just informative, their websites serve as a repository for related research, much of it done by institutions outside of government. But it appears that goldmine of information may be about to play out, as Trump's tiny hands dig deeper into the soil of these departments. This need to control information flow is frightening, and (again) closely resembles actions taken by tyrants in the not-free world. Pay attention, or there may be nothing left to pay attention to.

Moore has second thoughts about Amazon Wind Farm

Score one more for common sense:

Asked about his reaction to a tour he attended last week of Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East, Moore’s office shared a statement that contrasted sharply with the January letter’s demands to either shut down or drastically modify the 104-turbine farm near Elizabeth City.

“The Amazon Wind Farm is new to North Carolina and takes advantage of a valuable natural resource our state has to offer,” Moore said in the statement. “Based on the information I have gathered today and over the past several weeks, it appears the initial concerns raised by the military are being addressed.”

Just to be clear, the "initial concerns" raised by the military were addressed long before this letter was dreamed up by Harry Brown and his fellow fossil-fuel-loving dinosaurs. Which Moore should have known before adding his signature. But some others seem to be too stubborn to let go of their fictional narrative:

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