Saturday, December 17, 2016

Shenanigans in North Carolina

In Friday's 5 PM post, I lamented about how I can't seem to let go of the topic of politics. Yes, the presidential election of 2016 is over but the results of that election have left so many people wondering and wandering, lost in the wrath and ruin of an America we're not sure we recognize any more. It's not just that we elected Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States; it's the tacit acceptance of a naked grab for political power no matter the costs and consequences. And a glaring example of that kind of thinking and that kind of action is on display right now in my home state of North Carolina.  

Democrat Roy Cooper won the race for Governor of North Carolina in the 2016 election. On their way out the door, the Republican controlled legislature has served up a bunch of new bills to strip the governor of power. The outgoing governor Pat McCory, the Republican who was defeated for reelection by Cooper, has signed or is expected to sign his approval for these new rules.  

Here's what these measures will do:  

  • Reduce the number of state government employees Cooper can hire and fire at will from 1,500 to 300
  • Strip the governor of the power to appoint trustees to the University of North Carolina and give it to the General Assembly
  • Require Senate confirmation for Cabinet appointments. 
  • Shift control of one state office from the governor to the lieutenant governor — who will still be a Republican next year.

No, Mr. Cooper, we are not fucking with you. This is stuff that is really happening.

It bears noting that the North Carolina legislature had been called into special session to vote on funding relating to post disaster clean up and recovery following the events of Hurricane Matthew. A quick in & out to actually help the people of the state for once. Well, that's mighty nice of them. 

Then the Republicans essentially said, "You know, while we're here..."   

If this seems a bit familiar, this is the same kind of shenanigans employed by the state house earlier this year when the Republicans made a special trip into town to pass House Bill 2. Also known as the "bathroom bill", HB2 was quickly pushed through the House along strictly party lines which Governor McCrory just as quickly signed into law. Widely criticized as blatantly discriminatory, HB2 has been a blemish on NC's reputation, costing the state millions if not billions of dollars in lost revenue as businesses and events have refused to do business in the state.  

Governor-elect Roy Cooper certainly draws the comparison.  Cooper had this to say: "We don’t want another disaster like House Bill 2. This is exactly why we had problems with House Bill 2, because they wanted to do it in secret.They’re major changes in North Carolina law. They deserve debate. They deserve deliberation."

During an interview with Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press,” Cooper asserted his claims that the Legislature is venturing into unconstitutional territory. The fact that the Legislature called a second special session, Cooper added, could leave it vulnerable to a legal challenge, noting, "The whole process of how they called themselves into this second special session is questionable. So potentially everything that they do at this point is unconstitutional.”

Other Democrats are calling the proposed changes a "coup."

Republicans have defended the measures as necessary to restore the balance of power between different branches of state government, but there's no indication any of the proposals were under consideration when McCrory was still governor. In other words, this roll back of the Governor's powers only became an issue when it was clear Democrat Cooper would be taking over from Republican McCrory.  

Another defense offered by North Carolina Republicans is the Democrats did it first, that Democrats would change the rules and restrict the authority of Republican governors. 

What, are these guys in the 4th grade or something? Someone being a dick in the past is not carte blanche for someone else to be a dick today. 

But it's shit like this that has completely undermined the trust the American people have in any level of government, from city to state to country. Our so called leaders are more interested in playing games, fucking over their enemies and gathering more power. Regardless of party affiliation,  partisan gamesmanship serves no purpose to benefit the American people. 

What's going in Raleigh NC right now is an egregious repudiation of America's highest ideals and I don't give a damn who did it to who or who is doing to who. Our leaders need to remember they are there to serve us, not serve themselves for their petty desires for power and revenge. 


Yuck! Politics! Let's get back to something fun. So what's happening on the blog on Sunday?  

At 5 AM Eastern Time US, it's Disney Daze - Part Six. Then going up live a mere 12 hours after that at 5 PM Eastern Time US, it's 7 days away from the Doctor Who Christmas special and I'll have some thoughts about that. 

That's two, two, TWO posts in ONE day! 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

Doctor Who: The Dalek Planet - Part Two

DISCLAIMER: I'm doing this for fun, not profit. This is not officially sanctioned by the BBC and the producers of Doctor Who .   I...