Thom Not-So-Terrific

From TPM, would-be US senator Thom Tillis, waxing philosophic (and sophomoric) on North Carolina’s “traditional” population:

His campaign was quick to clarify:

“”Traditional” North Carolinians refers to North Carolinians who have been here for a few generations,” Tillis campaign Communications Director Daniel Keylin told TPM. “A lot of the state’s recent population growth is from people who move from other states to live, work, and settle down in North Carolina. Thom Tillis for example.”

He’s giving you fair warning, folks…

Orwell On The Half Shell

Via @Billmon1, this:

Actually, when you add it to all that has gone down over the last six years, perhaps this better explains it:

Putting The Right On Report

Nothing I could say on the matter of SGT Bergdahl’s return (and the lunacy of the howls of outrage from a right wing that just weeks earlier was praying for his return) would be better than what Chief Wright had to say, so I’ll point you to him:

“Nevertheless, Bergdahl has been condemned by the popular media, by social networks, by pundits and politicians, not because they know more about the situation than you or I do, but solely because they hate the president. If Obama was behind Bergdahl’s release, then Bergdahl is a traitor, Q.E.D. because the president must never, ever, be allowed even the slightest acknowledgement of patriotism. 

This condemnation isn’t about Bergdahl, it’s about Obama.

Please go read the whole thing – it’s as complete a dissection of the dishonest right wing as you’ll ever see.

Snipe Hunt

Sen. Richard Burr decided to use the Friday news dump to snipe at veterans groups for not automatically siding with the GOP in their jihad against VA Secretary Eric Shinsheki.  You remember him, don’t you – the guy that tried to tell the Bush administration that they were woefully unprepared for Iraq and got canned for it?  The GOP does, and once he was named VA Secretary, it was only a matter of time before the long knives came out.  Burr figured that the vets groups would join in the GOPTea dogpile, and when they didn’t, decided to spoil their weekend by spewing a squid cloud of hurt feelings and castigation:

“It became clear at the hearing that most of the other VSOs attending appear to be more interested in defending the status quo within VA, protecting their relationships within the agency, and securing their access to the Secretary and his inner circle. But to what end? What use is their access to senior VA staff, up to and including the Secretary, if they do not use their unprecedented access to a Cabinet Secretary to secure timely access to care for their membership? What hope is there for change within the VA if those closest to the agency don’t use that proximity for the good of veterans across our country?

I believe the national and local commanders of every VSO have the interests of their members at heart, and take seriously their commitment to their members and their organization. Unfortunately, I no longer believe that to be the case within the Washington executive staff of the VSOs that testified. Last week’s hearing made it clear to me that the staff has ignored the constant VA problems expressed by their members and is more interested in their own livelihoods and Washington connections than they are to the needs of their own members.

I fear that change within the VA will not be possible unless and until these organizations also reconsider their role as well as the nature of their relationship with VA.”

Bear in mind that the leadership that Burr is throwing rocks at is in DC and is well aware that the GOP loves some veterans, until they need something that costs taxpayer dollars, or until helping them gives doesn’t make President Obama look like the worst person in the universe.  The organizations singled out wasted no time in telling Burr to know his role:

The VFW:

“…will afford you the same amount of respect you showed for the Veterans of Foreign Wars by the monumental cheap-shot and posturing you’ve engaged in by enlisting in an absolutely disgusting ambush style of politics.

***

Senator, this is clearly one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we’ve witnessed in more than forty years of involvement with the veteran community and breaches the standards of the United States Senate.

***

I suggest you compare the more than exorbitant number of days off you receive, including virtually the entire month of August…and certainly not a single five-day work week to the often time long, arduous hours they put forth every week of the year…We don’t act in grabbing a headline or securing an interview on cable news; our only agenda is to ensure that the veterans of this nation receive timely and adequate healthcare.  If you have issues I suggest you contact one of us directly.”

BOOM.

A Time To Stand

North Carolina’s legislative session starts today, and with it comes the near-certainty of even more destruction at the hands of the NeoConfederates in Raleigh.  Moral Mondays will also return:

As in 2013, the Moral Mondays will have a uniquely Southern tone, evoking the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. While the Rev. William Barber II, president of the state NAACP, has stressed the ecumenism of the protests—embracing Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and non-believers—they will nonetheless be steeped in the language and cadences of African-American Protestantism. This reflects a deliberate calculation to wrest the religious high ground away from conservatives.

We’re taking the Bible back from the extremists,” says the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, a state NAACP community organizer, who quotes from the Old Testament, Isaiah 1:10:

Woe to those who make unjust laws… to deprive the poor of their rights.”

With Thom Tillis beating back a TeaPublican challenge for the right to face Sen. Kay Hagan in November, the siren song of “moderate” will be floated to see if anyone other than the Nice Polite Republican crowd is stupid enough to bite.  There’s been a lot of damage done here since McCrory’s statehouse win, but in a state that counts the likes of Virgina Foxx, Patrick McHenry, and Renee Ellmers among its footsoldiers and the thoroughly detestable Art Pope as the moneyman, the phrase “stop hitting yourself” isn’t metaphorical.  There is evidence, however, that the true nature of the GOP is reaching a wider audience:

Likewise, the NAACP has pushed into traditionally conservative regions of North Carolina—including Mitchell County in the Appalachian Mountains, where an overwhelmingly white crowd packed an Episcopal church last fall to listen to Barber’s message and interrupt with the occasional “amen.”

It is unbelievable,” Gatewood says of these allies in places like Mitchell County. “They’re exemplifying enthusiasm that’s moving faster than some of our traditional NAACP leaders. When you’re coming against teachers, [people in conservative strongholds] have got relatives who are teachers. When you’re coming against people who are unemployed, some of them lost jobs at no fault of their own.”

In employing a scorched-earth policy against their enemies, the GOP has created even more adversaries – people who can see the harm GOP policies cause because they are being directly affected by (and better informed about) them.  If that pattern continues and expands, we stand a chance of setting the state back on its rightful path.

UPDATE: This from Bendal at Balloon Juice:

...they passed a 2 year budget last year so this year is supposed to only be about ‘tweaking’ the budget to adjust things. Not this time.

As a result of their disastrous cutting of corporate income taxes and the tax rate on the very rich last year, NC is now $450 million short of projected revenue. We have a mandated balance budget; they have to do one of two things; raise taxes or cut spending to balance the budget. They could dip into ‘unspent revenue’ or the rainy day fund to fill the hole, but since they just replenished the RDF last year I wonder if they’ll deplete it so soon. In addition, there’s a $150 million Medicaid hole that has to be filled, and the governor wants to give teachers and state employees a pittance of a pay raise (it’s an election year after all). A 1% pay raise for state employees equals $300 million more that they don’t have, so we’re now up to around $900 million if the legislature agrees to the pay raises (they won’t though).

What’s left to cut? Not a whole lot; education and social programs will be slashed further, and some legislators are talking about cutting the corporate tax rate even MORE, which won’t change anything this year but will make things much worse next year, when we’re expected to have a $200+ million deficit again. This is exactly what our conservative legislators want, though; they talked last year about “starving state government” and no doubt are sharpening their knives already.

If you want to have a state left at all, you need to vote.