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The fine line between a Christian "church" and a cult

Resorting to physical violence is one big indicator the line's been crossed:

A North Carolina man thought he was "going to die" when members of his evangelical church beat and choked him for two hours to expel his "homosexual demons," he testified Thursday.

Matthew Fenner was the first person to take the stand in the assault and kidnapping trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. Fenner, 23, said Covington was the leader in a 2013 beating involving numerous congregants. He said Covington pointed out his sexual orientation, saying, "God said there is something wrong in your life."

This is pretty horrific, but what's even more horrible is the fact the harshest punishment that might be brought in this court case is two years in prison. That's *if* she's convicted on the two counts (kidnapping and assault) she's charged with. And if it wasn't for the diligence of the Associated Press, nothing would have happened:

263,400 reasons Tillis signed onto letter to pull out of Paris Agreement

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A wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil & gas industry:

So if the U.S. walks away from the agreement, what sort of standard does that set for all of the other countries who signed on? Will they take Trump's lead and withdraw from the pact, as well?

North Carolina Republican senator Thom Tillis doesn't seem too concerned. He was among twenty-two Republican senators who last week signed a letter urging Trump to scrap the deal, according to the Guardian. He was also the beneficiary of $263,400 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies since 2012, according to the same report.

It sure didn't take long for Tillis to jump on the gravy train. And we can expect a lot more sellouts between now and 2020, so he can lock in all that "independent spending" from mystery men who have become reliant on the Senate Corporation, LLC. But I'd like to be a fly on the wall when he explains to his two children why he signed this letter. He won't really suffer much from climate change, but they will.

Monday News: One-Term Pat

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MCCRORY TAKES JABS AT COOPER, WHINES ABOUT VOTER ID ABSENCE: McCrory, a Republican who lost to Cooper last November, had strong words for his successor on Hurricane Matthew relief efforts and on the lawsuits between the governor and legislature. “Shame on Gov. Cooper for trying to blame President Trump” for the government’s slow response to Hurricane Matthew funding, McCrory said. “Don’t blame someone else for the lack of leadership.” The former governor also had advice for the legislature. Republican House and Senate leaders were in the crowd at the NCGOP convention. “I know for a fact that we had a lot of noncitizens that were voting,” McCrory said. “Ladies and gentlemen, voter ID would have stopped it. Keep it a clean bill, stay with a voter ID law and get that passed.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article154239819.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE'S BUDGET: MORE COMFORT FOR THE COMFORTABLE: Want to know what the priorities and motives are for the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly? The budgets produced by the state House and Senate provide a clear view. The themes are consistent in both documents -- those who already have the most, get even more. And those with the greatest need are considered freeloaders who refuse to work and want to bilk state government to finance their indolence. So what if we prevent 500,000 people from getting health insurance? They could get a job if they just tried – particularly the elderly and children. How responsible is it to continue to spend millions on private school vouchers when there is practically no accountability or transparency in where the money goes nor how the students perform academically? Not to mention that some of the schools discriminate on admissions.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-legislature-s-budget-more-comfort-for-the-comfortable/16735398/

The General Assembly's latest Jordan Lake boondoggle: Algaecide

Because what could possibly go wrong dumping dangerous chemicals into the drinking water?

A year after state environmental regulators called the SolarBees experiment a failure, state lawmakers are trying another unproven method to control pollution in Jordan Lake.

The $22.9 billion budget that the House approved early Friday includes a $1.3 million provision requiring the Department of Environmental Quality to use chemicals that either kill algae or bind with phosphorus, which algae feeds on. The technique is usually used in ponds and small lakes, not in a body of water as large as Jordan Lake.

This marks the ninth year since the Jordan Lake Rules were developed by state water quality specialists and approved by the EPA, and it also marks nine years of whining, plotting, and the embracing of pseudo-science in order to avoid implementation of those rules. And of course, since Crisis = Opportunity, revolving-door Republicans are also lining their pockets over this institutional aversion to responsible governing:

Saturday News: AHCA dead in the Senate?

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BURR SAYS NO HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL LIKELY THIS YEAR: U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said Thursday he doesn’t expect the Senate to agree on a comprehensive plan to repeal and replace Obamacare by the end of the year. Burr, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said the America Health Care Act the House passed is “dead on arrival” in the Senate and “it’s not a good plan.” In May, Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis told a conservative group in downtown Raleigh that he and his colleagues in the Senate would wait for a nonpartisan financial analysis of the health bill to be released, but that they would work to address needed changes to the House version of the bill. “I’m confident we’re going to get a bill to the president’s desk,” Tillis said at the time.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article15...

Coca-Cola, Duke Energy, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Sponsoring Violent Hate Speech

Facing South has the news that the Civitas Institute is holding the Art Pope backed Conservative Leadership Conference in mid-June in Raleigh.

North Carolina's right-wing propaganda problem

A plethora of bent "news" organizations are dotting the landscape:

Few are the issues where the differences between conservatives and leftists are more striking than those involving air and water. Under the Obama administration, policies were put in place in the name of environmental stewardship that highlight these issues. One such policy is the Clean Power Plan, and another is the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Unfortunately, the Cooper administration is clearly taking the side of these Obama-era regulations, despite their potential for harming North Carolina.

Mark Shiver and the "NC Capitol Connection" is an offshoot of the Civitas Institute, which has been seeking to expand its influence via the creation of "fresh new" media outlets with names not directly associated with Art Pope's traditional propaganda factories. Aside from churning out misleading observations and analyses about NC's political environment, Shiver is a frequent flyer of the ncpol Twitter feed, linking to his own drivel and (of course) anything crafted by JLF/Civitas. Another of these new propaganda outlets is the North State Journal:

Friday News: Mixed messages

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PENTAGON WORRIED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, EVEN IF TRUMP IS NOT: President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement puts him at odds with the Pentagon, which has been warning for years that climate change poses a critical national security threat. At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called climate change a “driver of instability” that “requires a broader, whole-of-government response.” For more than a decade, military leaders have said that extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels are aggravating social tensions, destabilizing regions and feeding the rise of extremist groups like al Qaida and the Islamic State.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article153908859.html

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