The great over-reach and how we can fight it

wrongRepublicans in North Carolina are convinced they will hold power forever, and that it means they should take us all back to Medieval times, where they seem to prefer to live as lords.

First the NC House voted to cut unemployment compensation and make it more difficult to qualify, ensuring more North Carolina families will lose everything when they get laid off. The top weekly compensation will be just $350 a week if this becomes law.

Then the NC Senate voted to reject the expansion of Medicaid, which would bring in nearly $15 billion from the federal government to insure more than a half-million people, including those unemployed people who are about to get royally screwed. Estimates of the number of people who will not gain access to care range as high as 650,000. The Senate also voted to reject partnering with the federal government on a health benefits marketplace, which will cost even more money.

This state ranks 38th in health outcomes (cancer deaths, heart disease, low-birthweight babies, infant mortality, etc.), and we’re about to drop even lower as federal money to reimburse hospitals and other providers gets cut (the expansion of Medicaid was designed to replace this money by covering low-income people with Medicaid).

So now, more than a half-million people in this state are at risk of dying from preventable causes. We will see more advanced cancers, more heart attacks and stroke, more serious complications from diabetes (blindness, kidney failure, limb amputations), more intractable mental illness, more life-threatening, antibiotic resistant infections … And more funerals for people who shouldn’t have died.

It will cost us dearly in both money and human lives.

Now the NC Senate has voted to fire every public servant on several critical boards and commissions to they can be replaced with like-minded ideologues who will rape the environment and offer big business everything it wants. We will see less safe workplaces, more food-borne illnesses, more corruption and much, much less protection of any kind for the people of this state.

The reason the terms on these boards are staggered is to prevent them being stacked with ideologues by corrupt politicians. But a few appointments wasn’t enough for the Teapublicans in  the Senate; they want it all. They want to run everything with no opposition from anyone.

Gov. Pat McCrory, who ran as a moderate, has a chance to veto all of this, but he hasn’t indicated whether he will. He likely will sign the raid on unemployment and he has said he doesn’t think now is the right time to expand Medicaid (When IS the right time, Governor?).

I hope he sees that this power grab is unconscionable.

We need to let our legislators know how important these issues are to us. To e-mail a legislator, it’s (example: You can go to for more contact information Their phone numbers are listed there. To contact Gov. McCrory, visit, tweet @PatMcCroryNC, call  919-733-5811 or snail-mail:

Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301

Do it now and then do it every day until the issues are resolved. If these things go through, e-mail every day to let them know they’re going to be unemployed in 2014 (or in the governor’s case, 2016).


Thank you Bev Perdue

For the first time in North Carolina history, a governor has vetoed a budget. That’s good news for the people of this state.

Republicans are screaming that this was her budget to begin with, but then she backed down.

The governor’s budget did have some deep cuts, but nothing as severe as what the Republican majority — along with five conservative Democrats — plan to put into place this week.

Those five Dems, all from the eastern part of the state, traded favors for deep cuts to education and a further shredding of the social safety net that civilized people recognize as humane and necessary.

The legislature has refused to maintain a one-cent sales tax that could prevent such deep cuts to education, and the majority of people in the state want the penny tax kept so children here can have a decent education. The legislature is refusing to listen, and I believe it’s at their own peril.

The fallacy they’re perpetuating is that we’re broke. We are not broke. Tax rates in this country are lower than they’ve been in decades; corporate tax loopholes are letting huge corporations like GE escape paying any taxes at all.

Republicans say if we tax corporations, they’ll move offshore.

I say, fine. Let them move and then tax the hell out of any business they do here. It’s time we stood up the the extortion of the corporations in America.  They’re not creating the jobs they could be creating — they’re sitting on nearly $2 trillion in revenues that they’re not re-investing in American jobs.

Meanwhile, our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, while people who could be working to fix it sit idle, their unemployment benefits dwindling. They’re accused by the wealthy of being lazy because they’re not looking hard enough for work. People who lost $20-an-hour jobs with benefits are being forced to take $8-an-hour jobs with no benefits. This has been happening for 30 years as the right has attacked working people.

The wealthy have done fine through this recession — in fact, they have prospered beyond their wildest dreams — and they want more at the expense of the rest of us.

Wealthy individuals aren’t creating jobs with their tax breaks either; they’re spending all of it on their own selfish desires.

We are not broke. We do not need to deny children, people in poverty, who are ill or who have disabilities their very right to life so that some wealthy jerk can have another yacht or diamond-studded dog collar.

There’s plenty to go around; we just have to make the selfish bastards share a little more.

Do they really believe their own spin?

I was in Raleigh this week to testify before the NC House Insurance Committee against the insurance exchange bill, but I figured while I was there I could visit my state representative, Tim Moffitt, a Republican. I had e-mailed him last week to tell him the 39,000 people who just lost their unemployment benefits aren’t going to blame Gov. Bev Perdue for their loss.

I know he reads my e-mails and he usually responds, and I appreciate that, and I appreciate that me makes time to see me when I’m in town. Naturally, we started the visit with a discussion of unemployment benefits.

He went into an explanation of how unemployment insurance is funded and how much it costs businesses. He mentioned that he hasn’t drawn a paycheck from his own business in awhile and is living off savings.

Well, most of the 39,000 who just lost their unemployment benefits don’t have much money to dip into. They’re screwed. But he thinks the agencies and people in the state need to know what the budget will look like so they can plan, and that the move to connect unemployment benefits to the Republic budget proposal was appropriate.

That’s the party line on this: What if the budget negotiations drag on and on? Don’t agencies and businesses that receive state money deserve to know what they’re getting so they can plan? Of course people aren’t going to blame the Republicans for the veto of a jobless benefits extension.

Well, Tim, you and your fellow Republican lawmakers need to listen. The NC Issues Poll, conducted by the NC Justice Center, shows that people in the state overwhelmingly blame the Republican majority, not the governor, for the cutoff of unemployment benefits. The poll showed that 65 percent of North Carolinians support the governor, and they want the Legislature to vote on a 20-week extension by itself.

Rather than cutting taxes and laying off hundreds of teachers’ aides, 66 percent of those polled want to see the aides kept on in our schools; 57 percent want to save the funding for the state’s university system; 61 percent want to make sure students in community colleges stay eligible for low-interest student loans and 84 percent do not want to allow interest rates on consumer loans to be raised.

Republicans ignore all this at their own peril. People across the country are seeing the truth about what the party is doing to the middle class, and they’re not happy. Four recall campaigns in Wisconsin have gathered the signatures they need to hold elections. People in other states will follow.

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