It’s McCrory vs. USA today in latest voter suppression round, former Marine, #NCGOP candidate accused of murder in ’04 gets 90k appointment by McCrory, #NCGA lawmakers back for veto override, #NCDP, neighboring Southern states band together, President asks for Congressional approval for Syria strike, pre-registration for 16 & 17 year olds ends in NC, Dems eye GA Senate pick-up, Obama Super PAC looks to defend Hillary ahead of 2016
In the op-ed, McCrory compares voter fraud to insider trading — something that needs to be guarded against, even if it’s hard to prove or see that it exists.“The need for photo ID has been questioned by those who say voter fraud isn’t a problem in North Carolina,” McCrory writes. “However, assuming fraud isn’t a threat when multimillion dollar campaigns are trying to win in a state where millions of votes are cast is like believing oversight isn’t needed against Wall Street insider trading.”McCrory also attacks the media, which has often labeled the measure as “restrictive.” The law, among other changes, institutes a new Voter ID requirement, eliminates same-day voter registration and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds and shortens the number of days for early voting.
Political Wire: Too Complex for McCrory Too?
Brad Phillips notes that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) gave a speech earlier this week during which he accused local journalists of not understanding his fiscal plans because, "This is too complex for the journalists. They don’t have economics degrees."
Gov. Pat McCrory has taken to the pages of national newspaper USA Today to defend himself against a critical editorial by the paper. "As part of a package of plainly discriminatory voting restrictions, North Carolina cut its early voting from 17 days to 10, ostensibly to save money. Considering that 70 percent of blacks in the state voted early last year, according to the ACLU, the real motive isn’t hard to deduce," the paper’s editorial board wrote in a column criticizing voting rights restrictions in several states.
Well, not exactly. McKillip and Diaz may be perfectly nice fellows (neither they nor the governor are talking much to The N&O these days), but their salaries justifiably raise some eyebrows elsewhere in state government, not to mention in public education, which has been starved by the Republican-led General Assembly. And then there were Gov. Pat McCrory’s admonitions about tightening up in state government, making it easier to fire people so there weren’t a lot of – the governor’s words – "seat warmers" left around.
That’s about all Gov. Pat McCrory really needed to say this month about Ricky Diaz, a McCrory campaign press secretary who is now communications director for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Same goes for campaign aide Matthew McKillip, who got a job as chief policy advisor to DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos. Both Diaz and McKillip will make at least $85,000 in their new gigs. Both are 24 years old. Nothing wrong with that, so long as the governor believes they’re skilled enough to handle important jobs for one of the state’s largest agencies. And that’s what McCrory said this month in an interview with a Raleigh TV station. But here’s what the governor also said about Diaz and McKillip: “They were actually moved over to areas that, frankly, a lot of older people applied for, too.” That’s apparently not true. As the Associated Press reported this week, DHHS has been unable to provide evidence that the jobs Diaz and McKillip got were ever advertised to potential applicants, or that other candidates were considered.
The TAPster looked at McCrory’s campaign reports for 3rd and 4th quarters of 2012 on the State Board of Elections website. Ricky Diaz was paid $3,410 per month. Matt McKillip, $2,786 per month. Now Diaz makes $85,500 a year. McKillip, $87,500. That’s something north of $7,000 a month. You do the math.
WWAY3: EX-GOP congressional candidate Pantano gets NC vets job
Pantano was charged with two counts of premeditated murder in 2004 after he shot two unarmed Iraqis and then hung a taunting sign near their bullet-riddled bodies. A Marine general later dropped the charges, ruling there was insufficient evidence to proceed to court martial. Pantano resigned in 2005. Pantano campaigned unsuccessfully for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District seat in 2010 and 2012. He was also vice chairman of Veterans for McCrory, a group affiliated with the campaign of now Gov. Pat McCrory.
Former GOP congressional candidate Ilario Pantano has been hired as director/assistant secretary for the state Division of Veterans Affairs, the office confirmed Thursday. Pantano will make $90,000. He starts Sept. 5, according to a spokesman for the agency.The former Marine was vice chairman of Veterans for McCrory, a group of veterans who supported on Gov. Pat McCrory’s successful campaign last year.
A number of GOP Gov. Pat McCrory’s supporters are calling legislators urging them not to override his two vetoes when they return to Raleigh next Tuesday. Among them is Bill Graham, a Salisbury attorney, who McCrory defeated in the Republican primary for governor in 2008.Graham, who remains active in Republican politics and is a major GOP donor, said he had talked with McCrory about his reasons for vetoing a bill requiring a people applying for the state’s Wo’s Work First program to be tested if a social worker suspects them of drug abuse. It would also require felony background checks for people applying for food stamps.
The legislature appears poised to override both of Gov. Pat McCrory’s first two vetoes when its members convene Tuesday. It has been uncertain what the General Assembly would do in response to the vetoes earlier this month of bills on immigration and drug testing for welfare recipients. Lawmakers could have declined to return to Raleigh and let the vetoes stand, or they could have delayed voting on the issues until they return for their short session in May.
When lawmakers head back to Raleigh this week for a special veto session, the N.C. General Assembly won’t see any surprises from local legislators. N.C. Reps. Carl Ford (R-China Grove) and Harry Warren (R-Salisbury) as well as Sens. Andrew Brock (R-Mocksville) and Gene McLaurin (D-Rockingham) said they are expecting to vote the same on two bills Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed earlier this month — and most of those votes will be to override. Lawmakers are being called back to Raleigh on Tuesday for the special session and will vote to either sustain McCrory’s vetoes or override the denials.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest on Friday announced he supports Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of H.B. 786, the immigration bill. Forest sent out a news release acknowledging the General Assembly can muster enough votes to override the veto when it convenes for a veto session on Tuesday. "But I respectfully ask that they do not do so," Forest said.
Leaders of the so-called "Moral Monday" movement planned to bring their grievances about state legislation they call "extreme and immoral" back to the state capital this week as lawmakers convene for a veto-override session. Officials with the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, the North Carolina AFL-CIO and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee used the Labor Day holiday to point out how lawmakers’ actions have hurt both workers and those out of work across the state."No injustice is greater than this legislature’s treatment of the unemployed," Mary McMillan, state director of the AFL-CIO, said during a news conference. "What our legislators did was not just wrong, it was deliberately cruel."
Law enforcement officials say they are somewhat concerned with a new law that will allow concealed weapons, including guns, in restaurants and bars that serve alcohol in October.The provision, included in a set of widespread firearms changes approved by the GOP-led General Assembly and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this summer, allows concealed carry weapon permit holders to take firearms and other weapons into businesses that don’t prohibit carrying, including those that serve alcohol. While the bill, which is set to go into effect Oct. 1, does not permit concealed carry weapon permit holders to drink alcohol while possessing a weapon, Davidson County Sheriff David Grice and other law enforcement officials say the change is questionable at best.
News and Observer: Legislators question $1.65 million Jordan Lake spending item
Gov. Pat McCrory signed a controversial delay of the Jordan Lake clean-up effort last month, but the legislative debate’s not over yet. Two members of the N.C. House of Representatives say a $1.65 million plan to buy anti-algae technology may be designed to benefit a single company, circumventing the public bidding process.The budget provision lays out planned spending for the water-circulating devices that some lawmakers claim will curb algae pollution in the lake. It calls for specifics — such as “adjustable float arms with a one-inch diameter shaft and turnbuckle,” “Type 316” stainless steel, and polystyrene foam beads to absorb water – that line up in many respects with the features of the SolarBee, a water circulator made by Medora Co., headquartered in North Dakota.
Reflecting the tensions that marked North Carolina’s legislative session, seven Mecklenburg lawmakers sparred with each other and their audience Wednesday night over the new voting law, education spending and Charlotte’s airport. In a lively exchange at the forum sponsored by the Observer and PNC Bank, lawmakers answered questions about what guest host Mike Collins called a “tumultuous” session. The panel’s four Republicans often found themselves on the defensive before a sometimes raucous audience at Central Piedmont Community College.
The Democratic parties of the 10 Southern states are banding together on a new collaborative project — just as national Democratic leaders debate the long-term future and viability of the party in the mostly red states. Dubbed the Committee of the South, the effort is aimed at better helping the 10 state parties coordinate regionwide projects like data analytics, training and polling. It will be funded by the state parties and do some independent fundraising. The goal: make the Democratic Party competitive in the South once again. “We have to work a little bit harder than the other regions,” Amanda Loveday, executive director the South Carolina Democratic Party, said in an interview. “We understand that.”
The Democratic parties of 10 Southern states including North Carolina are joining forces for a new project to help their parties grow, Politico reports. The Committee of the South is meant to help the states coordinate regional projects like training, polling and analyzing data. The effort will be funded by the state parties and will also do some independent fund raising. The data component will be patterned after President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Ezra Klein, along with Ben White and MJ Lee, have separately expressed increasing apprehension about the next battle in the debt limit wars. They both worry that there is no discernible common ground between the president’s position (he won’t negotiate over the debt limit, period) and the Republicans’ insistence on some major policy concession in exchange for an increase in the limit (spending cuts equal to or greater than any increase in the limit, or a delay in the implementation of Obamacare, depending on which Republican you ask).
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) came face-to-face Friday with how his support for a bipartisan immigration deal has hurt his standing with the GOP’s tea party wing, facing loud hecklers during a speech to a group of influential conservative activists. Rubio’s address at the opening session of the “Defending the American Dream Summit,” sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, was punctuated repeatedly by calls of “No amnesty!” from attendees scattered throughout the audience of about 1,000 people.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s office clarified on Friday her apparent disinterest in returning to her old job as House speaker. Her spokesman suggested she would be open to resuming the speakership if elected to the position, and said they asked for a correction to the edited version of the interview published in The National Journal on Thursday."Do you want to be speaker again?" the edited question read. "No, that’s not my thing. I did that," she replied.
The Obama administration began a full-press campaign on Sunday for Congressional approval of its plan to carry out a punitive strike against the Syrian government. The lobbying blitz stretched from Capitol Hill, where the administration held its first classified briefing on Syria open to all lawmakers, to Cairo, where Secretary of State John Kerry reached Arab diplomats by phone in an attempt to rally international support for a firm response to the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
Slate: Pain in the Assad
Two days ago, President Obama made a case for attacking Syria. Today, Secretary of State John Kerry repeated it. Most of my colleagues think it’s a bad idea. They say an attack won’t fix the mess in Syria and won’t even make things better for the people there. They may be right. But healing the world isn’t the only reason to use force. In many ways, it’s a dangerous reason. It’s what led to our nation-building quagmire in Iraq. The better reason to hit Syria is colder and simpler: If Bashar al-Assad doesn’t pay for gassing his people, he and others are more likely to use weapons of mass destruction again. To discourage that, we have to make him suffer.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be witnesses at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the authorization of the use of military force in Syria, the committee said.
Senate leaders are working on a revised resolution authorizing U.S. strikes in Syria that puts President Barack Obama on a short leash in responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad’s forces, sources said Monday. But whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can find the 60 votes he will need to overcome an expected filibuster of the new Syria proposal is still far from clear.
After meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he supports the need to intervene against Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons. He said if Congress votes down the resolution, it would be "catastrophic because it would undermine the credibility of the United States and the president of the United States."
The office of North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan released a statement on Saturday on President Obama’s decision to seek Congressional approval for military intervention. Sen. Hagen says without putting U.S. troops on the ground, the "atrocities in Syria require a strong response." Full statement follows:
Russia is sending a reconnaissance ship to the eastern Mediterranean as the US prepares for a possible military strike in Syria, it was reported on Monday. The Priazovye left Russia’s naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol late on Sunday on a mission "to gather current information in the area of the escalating conflict", said an unidentified military source quoted by the Interfax news agency. The defense ministry declined to comment. Barack Obama said on Saturday he would seek congressional authorization for punitive military action against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after what the US says was a sarin gas attack that killed more than 1,400 people.
In a recent article, I argued that the Republican Party has been captured by a faction whose political psychology makes it highly intransigent and uninterested in compromise. That article focused on the roots of this psychology and how it shapes the Tea Party’s view of its place in American politics. It did not pursue the question of exactly how this capture took place — of how a major political party, once a broad coalition of diverse elements, came to be so dependent on a narrow range of strident voices. This is the question I propose to explore below.
As college students across the country settle into new routines that the start of a semester typically bring, many in North Carolina are complaining of feeling unsettled about their voting rights. Since mid-August, when Gov. Pat McCrory signed broad revisions to North Carolina’s elections law, local elections boards in several counties – including Pasquotank and Watauga – have initiated changes that college students are fighting as attempts to suppress their votes
North Carolina is the last day that 16 and 17 year olds can pre-register to vote.Earlier this month, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law ending the pre registration program as part of a larger voter bill. North Carolina is the first state in the country to end the program.
More North Carolina teenagers will have to wait longer to get qualified to vote now that a 2009 law allowing them to pre-register has been repealed. The elections overhaul law approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory this summer eliminated allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to fill out registration paperwork before they turned 18. Those youths would be automatically registered when they reached the age of eligibility. The new law demanded completed pre-registration forms be received by the State Board of Elections before Sunday.
With the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we are reminded that there were just two Southern governors mentioned in the original speeches made in 1963.One was North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford, Gary Pearce reminds us in his blog. Just before Martin Luther King Jr. spoke, civil rights leader Roy Wilkins addressed the crowd."My friends, we are here today because we want the Congress of the United States to hear from us in person what many of us have been telling our public officials back home,” Wilkins said. "That is, we want freedom now. We came here to petition our law makers to be as brave as our citizens and our marchers. To be as daring as James Meredith. To be as unafraid as the nine children of Little Rock. To be as forthright as the governor of North Carolina.
North Carolina’s new voter law is drawing national attention, but what are the local implications? North Carolina’s governor on Monday quietly signed a measure into law that overhauls the state’s election laws to require government-issued photo IDs at the polls and to shorten early voting, moves that drew stinging criticism and threats of legal action from the NAACP and other groups. According to the bill, voters will see the elimination of the straight-party voting option and same-day registration. Absentee ballots will gain some flexibility, but some say this could increase the chances of fraud.
The Republicans say they’re fixing our education system. However, there’s very little evidence it was broken. Since the Hunt reforms, our test scores have gone up, our drop out rate has gone down and every year we’re setting records for graduation rates. A large part of those reforms was moving teacher salaries to the national average.
The flock of Republican candidates vying to succeed retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss gathered last weekend in this small-town birthplace of Georgia’s legendary statesman, Senator Richard Russell, to appeal to the restive electorate. Representative Phil Gingrey of Georgia is competing for the Senate seat that Senator Saxby Chambliss will vacate. Reverence for Washington — where the name of Mr. Russell, who died in 1971, adorns the oldest Senate office building — was not high on the agenda. “Government is out of control,” said Representative Paul Broun, pledging to rid the capital of the Education Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, and, of course, President Obama’s health program. “And both parties are guilty.”
Senator Mark Pryor’s political destiny — and potentially that of the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate — may come down to which president Arkansas voters most closely associate with him. Republicans are trying to paint Pryor as a Barack Obama Democrat who backed the health-care legislation and 2009 economic stimulus. Pryor is more comfortable being associated with a different president, fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton. The race between Pryor and Republican Tom Cotton, a freshman U.S. House member, will test whether Democrats in Clinton’s mold can survive in the politically changing South. It also presents a challenge for Republicans who need to win such contests in 2014 if they’re to gain control of the Senate.
Wendy Davis burst into the national political consciousness this summer as a feminist folk hero. She was a titan in pink tennis shoes, a single mother who became a lawyer, stood up to the Republican boys club and, against all odds, temporarily halted enactment of a restrictive abortion bill.
Greg Brannon, a Republican candidate for Democrat Kay Hagan’s Senate seat in 2014, will visit Boone this Saturday, Aug. 31, to share his positions on various issues and to answer questions about his candidacy. The reception takes place at the Harvest House from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free to the public. Rick Woods and Fred Oliver are listed as the event organizers on Brannon’s campaign website.
No apologies. The crowd in power always deserves the hardest shots, and is this crowd ever in power! But the question is, what about the Democrats? Other than protesting what the Republicans are doing, what are their ideas and proposals? How would they put North Carolina on the right track? And, who are the Democrats who can lead their party back to power?
Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC that led attacks against Republican Mitt Romney, is quietly positioning itself to ¬become the main independent group funding a media campaign for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, according to Democrats familiar with the plans. Strategists and donors to Priorities are in discussions about how best to help Clinton should she decide to run again for president, three Democrats familiar with the talks said.
Before scurrying back to their gerrymandered districts, members of the GOP-led state Legislature succeeded in accomplishing one of the most successful legislative sessions in recent memory. Successful, that is, in the eyes of the GOP lawmakers and their wealthy benefactors such as multi-millionaire and mega-donor (and now Budget Director) Art Pope, and corporate-funded ALEC.The recent six-month bull in the china shop tour de force by the GOP-controlled Legislature and GOP-occupied governor’s mansion is a good example of what can happen in a state, even a moderate state like North Carolina, when one party, in this case Republican, runs the government without any constraints from an opposing party. The state’s Republican Party hasn’t had this much control since the Reconstruction era. In the future, we may come to think of this current reign as the Deconstruction era.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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