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.

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Time To Get To It

Primaries are here, and Rock The Vote has provided a handy reference graf:

VOTE - while you still can!

VOTE – while you still can!

If the NeoConfederates are to be taken down, it has to start NOW.

The Vagina Demagogues

Zandar catches Art Pope and the gang in yet another lie, this time regarding the anti-choice law they just rammed through:

So remember how critics of North Carolina’s new anti-choice law said the legislation could be used to close all but one of the state’s abortion clinics under “ambulatory surgical center standards” nonsense? Guess which clinic just got hit with a raft of safety violations that will put it out of business?

The state Department of Health and Human Services suspended the license of a city abortion clinic, citing nearly two dozen safety violations discovered in a recent inspection.

FemCare of Asheville, Western North Carolina’s only provider of surgical abortions, is the only clinic in the state that meets the standards of an ambulatory surgical center.

The clinic gained attention recently following the passage of a controversial abortion bill, which critics say could effectively close all clinics in the state except the Asheville site if DHHS imposes standards similar to those of an outpatient surgical center.

State officials said the clinic’s license suspension was not related to the new abortion legislation.

Of course, throwing women under the bus wasn’t enough – McCrory offered up some baked goods in lieu of first aid.

I wish my state would wake up.

A Letter To The NeoConfederates

Dear NeoConfederates,

2014 is coming – and SO ARE WE.  Not in the way you claim to fear.

No marauding gangs, no riots, no Birth Of A Nation-induced fantasies.

Those two New Black Panthers (the SAME two, at that!) you guys drag out every time you want to make each other wet yourselves?  Non-factor.

No, we’re coming brandishing the one thing that actually scares you – our VOTES.

You and ALEC can try all your tricks – we’re coming.

You can end early voting – we’re coming.

You can close polling places – we’re coming.

You can “accidentally” delete names from voting rolls – we’re coming.

You can gin up as much outrage as you wish – a Brooks Brothers riot won’t help you this time.

The FerengiMedia™ may be your allies, but they won’t be enough.

Are you willing to use fire hoses?  Dogs?  Guns?

Because that’s what you are going to have to do.  And even that won’t be enough.

You see, we’ve had more than enough of your crap.

You’ve been on the longest temper tantrum in recent history. Running at full speed since November 4, 2008.

We are now fully aware that there is no common cause with you.

There can be no compromise because you do not wish it.  You want us dead, gone, marginalized, or in servitude to you.

NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

It didn’t have to be this way. YOU forced this.

Remember that when your electoral gains are dust, and you have gone the way of the Whigs.

Your hatred of us will be your undoing.

And you will only have yourselves to blame.

Bitter Harvest

It would appear that the GOP’s Hispanic outreach offensive (and boy was it!) has borne some fruit, albeit not the kind they intended:

Presumably few Republican operatives have a better handle on the national Republican party’s efforts to court Hispanic voters than Pablo Pantoja, a native of Puerto Rico, and Florida State University alum appointed by the Republican National Committee to oversee Hispanic outreach in Florida last year. He also worked as a field director in the 2010 midterm elections.

Now – amid another debate over immigration reform and a widely touted Heritage foundation study on immigrants touted by a fellow who used to argue that Hispanics have a lower IQ than non-Hispanic immigrants – Pantojo has decided he’s more comfortable joining the Democratic party.

So Marco Rubio isn’t the be-all and end-all for the NeoConfederate party’s brown folks woes?  Who could have imagined such a thing?

“Friend,

Yes, I have changed my political affiliation to the Democratic Party.

It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them.

Studies geared towards making – human beings – viewed as less because of their immigrant status to outright unacceptable claims, are at the center of the immigration debate. Without going too deep on everything surrounding immigration today, the more resounding example this past week was reported by several media outlets.

A researcher included as part of a past dissertation his theory that “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ.” The researcher reinforces these views by saying “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”

Although the organization distanced themselves from those assertions, other immigration-related research is still padded with the same racist and eugenics-based innuendo. Some Republican leaders have blandly (if at all) denied and distanced themselves from this but it doesn’t take away from the culture within the ranks of intolerance. The pseudo-apologies appear to be a quick fix to deep-rooted issues in the Republican Party in hopes that it will soon pass and be forgotten.

The complete disregard of those who are in disadvantage is also palpable. We are not looking at an isolated incident of rhetoric or research. Others subscribe to motivating people to action by stating, “In California, a majority of all Hispanic births are illegitimate. That’s a lot of Democratic voters coming.” The discourse that moves the Republican Party is filled with this anti-immigrant movement and overall radicalization that is far removed from reality.  Another quick example beyond the immigration debate happened during CPAC this year when a supporter shouted ““For giving him shelter and food for all those years?” while a moderator explained how Frederick Douglass had written a letter to his slave master saying that he forgave him for “all the things you did to me”. I think you get the idea.

When the political discourse resorts to intolerance and hate, we all lose in what makes America great and the progress made in society.

Although I was born an American citizen, I feel that my experience, and that of many from Puerto Rico, is intertwined with those who are referred to as illegal. My grandfather served in an all-Puerto Rican segregated Army unit, the 65th Infantry Regiment. He then helped, along my grandmother, shatter glass ceilings for Puerto Rican women raising my aunt to become the first Puerto Rican woman astronomer with a PhD in astrophysics (an IQ of a genius as far as I’m concerned). Puerto Ricans, as many other Americans still today have to face issues of discrimination in voting and civil rights.

Regardless of what political affiliation people choose, my respect for some remains. I don’t expect all Hispanics to do the same (although I would hope so) but I’m taking a stand against this culture of intolerance.

I am also making a modest contribution (here: http://bit.ly/12uF3g8) to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for the efforts in helping protect the rights of immigrants and civil liberties in general.

With warm regards,

-pablo”

Estas personas están mal de la cabeza!