NCGA

Republicans lose their minds over Reverend Barber's comment about praying for Trump

Better break out the smelling salts:

Religious leaders gathered in the Oval Office laid hands on President Donald Trump to pray that God gives him guidance, wisdom and protection. On MSNBC’s “AM Joy” on Saturday morning, Barber called the prayer “theological malpractice bordering on heresy.” “It is a form of theological malpractice that borders on heresy when you can p-r-a-y for a president and others when they are p-r-e-y, preying on the most vulnerable,” Barber said. “You’re violating the most sacred principles of religion.”

Barber’s comments set the North Carolina Republican Party ablaze. In a news release on Sunday, the party said it was “shocked and outraged” over Barber’s “claim that it’s a sin to pray for President Trump.”

Barber's right. I've never seen such a level of religious hypocrisy than that which surrounds Trump. He not only violates the Ten Commandments on a daily (if not hourly) basis, he doesn't even remotely resemble what the New Testament outlines as a good Christian, let alone a leader of such. And where is the GOP's outrage when televangelists describe Trump as some sort of Prophet, divinely inspired by God? Crickets. Make no mistake, Trump's embrace of religious dogma has a lot more to do about coldly calculating the number of Christians out there than it does any sort of heart-felt beliefs:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The Resistance has a new weapon:

It's beginning to look like this may be the only way Governor Cooper will be able to do the job he was elected to do:

Monday numbers: How to put state government on life support

The sheer magnitude of irresponsibility is breathtaking:

528 million—amount in dollars of the cost of the tax cuts enacted in the two-year budget passed by the General Assembly this year (Ibid)

900 million—amount in dollars of the full cost of the tax cuts passed by the General Assembly this year when fully in place (Ibid)

3.5 billion—amount in dollars of lost revenue thanks to the combined tax changes made by the General Assembly since 2013 (Ibid)

It's rare for me to be able to summon analogies on Mondays, I usually just hunker down and wait for the coffee to do its magic. But today, I have two analogies warring for my attention, derived from recent news stories, which I believe accurately reflect Republicans' actions. The first has to do with termites eating away at the foundations of a house, year after year, until the house actually collapses from weakened timbers. If that doesn't trick your trigger, there's also the sinkhole phenomenon: Groundwater erosion which slowly washes away soil and mineral deposits, creating unseen gaping voids of missing support, which inevitably eventually collapse, dragging the house down in the process. Okay, I might need more coffee, but you get the picture. For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction, and the displacement of mass or energy in a formula alters that formula in its entirety. These tax cuts are not "rhetorical," and neither will be the results. And we will have to live with those results for years to come.

Harry Brown's blatant hypocrisy over "concern" for the military

He'll use them as an excuse to ban wind farms, but when they actually need something, Brown is out to lunch:

Legislative leaders talked often this session about the importance of protecting the state's military bases. But their final budget appears to have omitted matching funds for a $9.2 million federal grant for that purpose. Under the DOD's new "Sentinel Landscapes" initiative, the federal grant money would be used in 33 counties in eastern North Carolina to preserve farmland and wilderness around military bases and the Dare County bombing range, as well as along low-level flight training paths.

Wasn't the core of Brown's arguments about Wind Energy projects about potentially blocking flight paths? And here he has an opportunity to leverage Federal funds to do just that, reserve land along those paths so nothing would impair them, and Harry Brown couldn't care less. You won't find a better example of hypocrisy than that, and when confronted with it, Brown reverts to the tried-and-true Republican default position: Bald-faced lies:

Next NC GOP voter suppression tactic: Referendum on Voter ID

Harking back to the Amendment One debacle:

“We believe the public support for voter ID is sufficient, that clarifying it in the North Carolina Constitution as a requirement is something the people would support,” Lewis said. “So I think that to mute future court challenges, you could certainly see that.” Some experts believe a voter ID requirement passed by the people could have a firmer footing in court.

“The primary objective to try to avoid a finding of discriminatory intent by saying ‘Hey we put the thing before voters and they approved it.’ Which would put on anyone challenging the law the formidable burden of showing the people of North Carolina acted with discriminatory intent, at least if they want to act on a constitutional claim,” explained Tokaji, who said other types of legal challenges would be possible.

In reality, the "discriminatory intent" could be nothing more than a majority of voters realizing they had a valid ID right there in their wallet or purse, and casting their vote to pat themselves on the back for being prepared. Voter ID has never been about suppressing the majority, it's about suppressing that 10% or so (and roughly 25% of African Americans) that would likely vote against Republicans. Minority rights should never be put before a popular vote, especially when you're deciding voting rights. Sheesh, it ain't rocket science, it's a basic American principle.

Builders and Puppets: GOP environmental appointees lack qualifications and have conflicts of interest

We'll start with one of Art Pope's golden boys:

Clean Water Management Trust Fund: Former Henderson County commissioner Renee Kumor was appointed by Moore to a term expiring on July 1, 2020; and Wilmington builder Robin Hackney of New Hanover County was appointed by Berger to a term expiring June 30, 2020.

Berger also named writer and commentator Troy Kickler of Wake County to fill the unexpired term of Johnny Martin. Kickler’s term runs until June 30, 2018. The Clean Water Management Trust Fund provides grants to conservation nonprofits, local governments and state agencies for the protection of surface waters.

You may remember Troy Kickler from such notable history lessons such as "What would your great-great-great-grandfather think?" and "No drinking tea at this Tea Party!" You're right, I made those up. But he is a historian and not a hydrologist or water quality specialist, although it's rumored he has a Brita water filter. This is not Troy's first hitch on the board, the GOP actually made him Chairman back in 2013, to oversee their scrambling of its mission:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Importing 150,000 tons of ash from India?

coalash.jpg

Try to wrap your mind around this one:

As Duke Energy continues a state-ordered cleanup of millions of tons of potentially toxic coal ash, an Ohio company won approval Tuesday to store even more ash imported from India in North Carolina.

The Council of State on Tuesday approved a two-year warehouse lease with Spartan to store 150,000 tons of fly ash imported from India at the state port in Morehead City. Spartan officials couldn’t be reached Tuesday, but a North Carolina Ports official said the ash will go to concrete plants.

That's right, coal-fired power plants in our state, mostly owned by Duke Energy, have been creating over 5 million tons of ash for decades, yet we (apparently) still need to import more of that crap to satisfy the needs of concrete manufacturers. Why? Because it's probably slightly cheaper for Duke Energy to dump it in the ground, or leave it in the ground, so it can pollute our water. And instead of selling more of that surplus(?) ash to concrete people, they are poised to make a shitload of money off ratepayers for moving it or capping it in place. For cleaning up their own mess. This is what we get for placing Duke Energy's profit margin at the top of our regulatory oversight:

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