North Carolina Is Still Open For Business
by Patrick Gleason April 27, 2016
North Carolina Is Still Open For Business
by Patrick Gleason April 27, 2016
Wealthy donors on left launch new plan to wrest back control in the states
Washington Post Matea Gold April 12 at 9:00 PM
SAN FRANCISCO — A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.
The plan embraced by the Democracy Alliance, an organization that advises some of the Democrats’ top contributors, puts an urgent new focus on financing groups that can help the party regain influence in time for the next congressional redistricting process, after the 2020 elections. The blueprint approved by the alliance board calls on donors to help expand state-level organizing and lobbying for measures addressing climate change, voting rights and economic inequality.
“People have gotten a wake-up call,” Gara LaMarche, the alliance’s president, said in an interview. “The right is focused on the state level, and even down-ballot, and has made enormous gains. We can’t have the kind of long-term progressive future we want if we don’t take power in the states.”
The five-year initiative, called 2020 Vision, will be discussed this week at a private conference being held at a San Francisco hotel for donors who participate in the Democracy Alliance. Leading California Democrats are scheduled to make appearances, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The alliance, which does not disclose its members, plans to make some of the events available to reporters via a webcast.
The gathering coincides with the long-awaited launch of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid, infusing the event with buzz about the 2016 race. Clinton, who was invited to attend, will instead be on her debut campaign swing. But her campaign chairman, John Podesta, who has worked closely with the alliance, is set to participate in events celebrating its decade-long history. (more…)
Mr. Skoning is a labor and employment lawyer in Chicago
Like millions of other Americans, I have spent cautiously, paid bills on time and maintained a strict budget. That doesn’t make us heroes. But it does mean we have exercised common sense, which has been sorely lacking among the politicians in my home state of Illinois.
The Land of Lincoln has accrued a $111 billion unfunded liability for government workers’ pensions—up 75% from five years ago. There is an additional $56 billion of unfunded debt to cover health benefits for the state’s retirees. Illinois today is already spending more of its general fund on pensions than on K-12 education. One in four tax dollars pays for its retired workers’ benefits. Last year the state had to defer paying $7 billion owed to contractors. All this after Democrats in 2011 raised income taxes and corporate taxes by 67% and 30%, respectively.
It’s getting embarrassing to admit that I’m a citizen of such a deadbeat state.
It is no wonder that 850,000 people have left Illinois for other states in the past 15 years, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. Or that Illinois has become one of the most business unfriendly states in the country (40th in a recent Forbes survey). (more…)
The Democrats who were caught standing on the beach last week when the GOP’s 40-foot wave washed over them are now explaining why it wasn’t their fault.
No. 1: It’s not us; it’s what’s his name, the unpopular president. (And that awful Valerie Jarrett. )
No. 2: It was a midterm election with a bad map; we’ll be back in 2016. Hillary to the rescue.
Official Obama Explanation : My ideas and policies are fine; I just have a messaging problem.
USS Democrat Captain Nancy Pelosi : “There was an ebbing, an ebb tide, for us.”
This all reminds me of the classic film satire, “I’m All Right, Jack,” about the dying days of the British trade-union movement. When an idealistic young factory worker shows the efficiency gains possible from actually using a forklift, the union steward calls a strike. Three guesses which Democrats in the U.S. version would play the roles of Peter Sellers, Terry-Thomas and Margaret Rutherford.
A few Democratic voices, mostly party professionals whose job is winning elections, have said the donkey herd that just ran off the cliff needs to rethink its sense of direction. No one is listening to them. Most Democrats, especially the left that took control of the party in 2008, deny any problem. And well they might. There is no Plan B.
The Democrats’ standard political model is generally attributed to FDR confidante Harry Hopkins : “We will spend and spend, and tax and tax, and elect and elect.” Hopkins denied ever using these words, but the formula lived on.
Tax, spend and elect just slammed into the mountain. (more…)
The first article of Bill Ayers ( Weather Underground) praising the New York Democratic mayoral candidate, Bill DeBlasio leads into the second article of how DeBlasio supported Nicaragua’s Sandinista military government in the 1980’s. The third article regards DeBlasio’s position on New York City’s charter schools. If you have friends who will be voting in this New York mayoral race, please share this information to them. Nancy
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Notable & Quotable
Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers praises New York Democratic mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio.
Oct. 17, 2013
Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers talks to New York magazine about New York Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, Oct. 15:
Q: What should NYC voters make of de Blasio’s time in Nicaragua [with the Sandanistas]?
A: They should say that he stood up for humanity. He stood up for human rights against the blind imperial monster. That was the right thing to do then and it’s the right thing to do now. . . .
Q: What about education reform? Are de Blasio’s ideas about universal pre-kindergarten viable?
A: In a decent and humane society, universal preschool education would be a given and so would family leave for all parents, not just mothers. The fact that he at least leans away from the billionaire agenda of privatizing the public space is a terrific thing.
THE WALL STREET JOURNALBill de Blasio, From Managua to ManhattanOctober 7, 2013Nicaragua’s Marxist regime was an inspiration to New York’s leading mayoral candidate
The recent revelation that New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio supported Nicaragua’s Sandinista military government in the 1980s is a reminder of the high cost Latin America pays for being the playground of the American left. It should also further enlighten New Yorkers as to the politics of the man who is the front runner in the race.The ideas of the hard left don’t sell very well in the U.S., so collectivists take them south of the Rio Grande where they believe the ground is more fertile. Their arrogant paternalism ignores the rights of the people they pretend to redeem.
By 1988, when Mr. de Blasio went to Nicaragua to do social work in support of the Marxist revolutionary cause, the Sandinistas had been running the country for almost a decade. Their brutality was well-documented. Mr. de Blasio, who also did fundraising for supporters of the military government, either didn’t know about Sandinista repression or he didn’t care. (more…)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is defying a directive from the National Park Service to close down several state parks that receive federal funding in the wake of the partial government shutdown.
The Republican governor has directed the state Natural Resources Department to keep open parks that receive a majority of their funding from the state, The Hill reported.
The department recently intervened after the Fish and Wildlife Service placed barricades near a Mississippi River boat launch because it was on federal land. The barricades were removed because of a decades-old agreement between Wisconsin and the federal government, state officials said.
“We respect the magnitude of the process the federal government has had to undertake to close its properties and certain activities on properties they own and manage,” Cathy Stepp, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told agency employees in an email obtained by The Hill.
“However, after close review and legal consult, [the Department of Natural Resources] has clarified areas where the federal procedures are over-reaching by ordering the closure of properties where the state has management authority through existing agreements.”
State officials also said Wisconsin will not not fully follow a Fish and Wildlife Service directive that hunting and fishing be prohibited on federal lands during the partial shutdown, according to the report. (more…)
The burning heart of liberal activism and indignation this summer can be found, of all places, in the charming capital city of the Tar Heel State. On Monday, for the 11th week in a row, thousands of protesters descended on the copper-domed Capitol denouncing the policies of a Republican Party that for the first time since Reconstruction controls North Carolina’s governorship and legislature. Some 800 agitators have been arrested for disrupting the legislature. By all accounts, these “Moral Monday” rallies, though peaceful, are growing in size and volume.
The rallies have caught the eye of the national media, with some referring to Raleigh as the “Madison of the South.” Madison, of course, is the famously liberal capital of Wisconsin that turned into a political frying pan in February 2011 when the state’s Republican lawmakers reformed union collective-bargaining rules.
Thom Goolsby, an outspoken GOP state senator, has jokingly dismissed the protests in Raleigh as “Moron Mondays” and predicted that they would fade in the weeks ahead. Perhaps, but the stated goal of the organizers is that these rallies evolve into the same kind of political tour de force on the left that the tea party has become on the right. Moral Mondays may be coming soon to a state capital near you.
So what are liberals of all stripes so angry about in North Carolina? I put that question to the organizer of the Moral Monday movement, Rev. William Barber II, a loquacious, likable and politically shrewd preacher and leader of the North Carolina NAACP. (Think Jesse Jackson, but with charm and genuine conviction.) He preaches “civil disobedience” and trains peaceful demonstrators on how to get arrested. He is also a master at political theater.
After a near-five minute sermon about how Republicans have made the state a “crucible of extremism and injustice,” it became clear the answer to my question is he and his followers are mad as hell about, well . . . everything. The list of grievances is long but includes unemployment-insurance cuts that took some 70,000 recipients in the state off the rolls, state lawmakers’ refusal to sign up for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, a proposed voter-ID law, and of course “tax cuts for the rich.”
This past Monday marchers were waving signs that read “Justice for Trayvon Martin,” “Stop Fracking in North Carolina,” and “Vouchers Destroy Public Schools.” In recent weeks, demonstrators were out in force demanding abortion rights. On July 2, the state Senate passed a bill requiring health regulations and certified doctors at abortion clinics, a requirement that has been denounced by pro-choice activists as an assault on women. Gov. Pat McCrory has said he would veto that bill, and the state’s House of Representatives has since passed a revised bill that will now head back to the Senate.
Mostly, however, these protests are about money. The Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank in North Carolina, recently published an analysis of the financial statements of the left-wing groups sponsoring these rallies, such as the Community Development Initiative and the Institute of Minority Economic Development. It found they have collected about $100 million in state grants, loans and contracts. No wonder they’re enraged over GOP lawmakers’ attempts to rein in spending. (more…)
The AGs, who often attack the administration in packs, have done more than Republicans in Congress, statehouses, or anywhere else to block, cripple, undermine, or weaken Obama’s initiatives. They failed to stop Obamacare in the Supreme Court, but won limits on Medicaid and neutralized the use of the commerce clause to expand the reach of the federal government. And there’s one case left. AG Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma has sued to prevent Obama-run health insurance exchanges from handing out subsidies. If he wins—and he has a credible case—the implementation of Obamacare will come to a halt, at least temporarily.
Can you name the attorney general of your state? I’m betting most folks can’t. There’s a reason. Campaigns for attorney general get scant media attention, causing voters to ignore down-ballot races. This is unfortunate, especially if you reside in a red state. Because in the past few years Republican attorneys general have become a growing force in national affairs. They’re not quite a conservative juggernaut, but they’re headed that way. (more…)
Thomas Del Beccaro, Contributor
I try to place politics in perspective.
Jerry Brown, soon to be California’s longest-serving Governor, is obsessed with his legacy. Legacies, however, are judged retrospectively. For now, Brown has been receiving much credit nationally for “balancing” the budget. In truth, the budget is not really balanced and Brown is setting California up to fall like a house of cards.
Jerry Brown certainly is having a good year in the media. This year, PBS told us: “Gov. Jerry Brown Makes Tough Choices to Balance State Budget.” The Atlantic recently heralded: “California’s New ‘Problem’: Jerry Brown on the Sudden Surplus.” Even BusinessWeek proclaimed that Jerry Brown had “Scared California Straight” and that “Jerry Brown Stays Stern on California’s Budget Surplus.”
Brown has received such praise in connection with the California budget process this year, and the ruling Democrats’ self-proclaimed budget balancing. The real score in California, however, demonstrates that the budget is not really balanced and there is nothing but trouble ahead.
First, to use Jerry Brown’s own words, California has a “wall of debt,” which doesn’t include unfunded pension and medical liability – and that wall of debt is NOT included in the budget. The total amount of that debt is somewhere in the $27 billion range and includes over $10 billion owed to the federal government. That money was used to fund California’s Unemployment Insurance Fund, and California seems to have no plan to pay it back – a sort of “reverse” unfunded mandate, if you will. (more…)