North Carolina Separation of Powers vs. Election Laws

In the waning days of North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s term, the Republican legislature went out of it’s way to reduce gubernatorial power before his Democratic successor could take office. And all of us on the left were wailing and gnashing our teeth…and rightfully so…since the power grab happened in special session at the very last minute…and violated the separation of powers in NC.

But then a judge stalled one of the laws…blocking the new law that changed the nature and membership in the state’s election commissions…and the left huzzahed and hurrahed. But on reflection that change may not be what it appears. Really.

The changes to the law at the center of Cooper’s Friday lawsuit convert the five-member state elections board from one with a partisan majority matching the governor’s into a bipartisan body with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. County election boards would have two members from each party, rather than the current three members with a majority from the governor’s party

Now, I understand that a bipartisan election commission with equal number of Democrats and Republicans isn’t optimal. We tried that once in Wisconsin and got nothing but trouble but not learning our lesson, are doing it again. And I can’t imagine it’s gonna work a whole lot better in North Carolina considering the history of the law.

But even that would be better than the extant law it was intended to replace…which essentially gives control to the governor’s party…and I don’t care what party is in power…that ain’t supposed to be how it works.

Between gerrymandering and stacked election commissions and photo id laws, the right to vote is under attack across the nation. As voters and citizens we need to defend ourselves…and demand fair elections. And maybe something akin to the late lamented Wisconsin General Accountability Board.

No single party should ever control the election process!

Trump NY State Co-chair Almost Apologizes

Taking after his idol, Trump’s New York State Co-chair, Carl Paladino issued an almost apology for his earlier racist remarks about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

So what got him into hot water in the first place? Well he answered a questionnaire about what he hoped to see in 2017 provided by Artvoice, a weekly publication from western New York. His responses included:

Paladino said his main desire for the New Year was that President Obama would die after contracting “mad cow disease after being caught having relations” with a “Herford” [sic]. He also wrote that he wanted Michelle Obama to go away and “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

Now we’ll get back to the apology in a moment but he also stated:

In a previous interview with the Buffalo News, Paladino did not claim his answers were a mistake. He stood by the comments and said they had “nothing to do with race.” Paladino also told the News that he made the remarks “just for” Rod Watson, one of the paper’s black editors.

“Tough luck if you don’t like my answer,” Paladino said to the paper.

Yeah well, that’s very nice. But now on to the apology:

In a press release, Paladino apologized to the “minority community” for his remarks, which appeared in a feature that was published in the Western New York weekly Artvoice on Dec. 23. Paladino blamed the comments on an “emotional” reaction to President Obama’s handling of the situation in Syria and accidentally hitting the wrong button in his email.

“I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities. To them I apologize,” began Paladino, who has been a member of the school board in Buffalo, N.Y., since 2013.

“Those survey questions provided me with the spark to vent and write deprecating humor about a bad president for whom the mainstream media continues to seek an undeserved legacy,” Paladino said. “I wanted to say something as sarcastic and hurtful as possible about the people who are totally responsible for the hurt and suffering of so many others. I was wired up, primed to be human and I made a mistake. I could not have made a worse choice in the words I used to express my feelings.”

So let’s get back to that apology. Did you notice anything unusual about the target audience? He aimed it at the “minority community”. Why not all of us? Do you think I wasn’t a little bit pissed off? Don’t you owe an apology to the “majority community” who were also offended? Or don’t you think that we were offended? Just about how President-elect Donald Trump would handle the situation, aina?

You may have also noticed that his is on the Buffalo School Board. By a 6-2 vote he has been asked to resign or risk being kicked off of the board.

Paladino didn’t attend the meeting. He says he won’t resign.

This guy should never be elected or appointed to another public office…ever.

Donald Trump’s New Year’s Message (Tweet):

Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly,
they just don’t know what to do, Love!

[copied from news account not actual twitter feed]

Does that actually sound like a uniter who will be president of all of the people or still an overbearing egotist who will continue to gloat (for how long)?

You won, get over it!

Donald Trump: Still Not Convinced?

This morning’s headline: Code associated with Russia hacking found on Vermont utility computer.

Russian (and any others) hacking is a national security risk that shouldn’t be taken lightly. As I have posted previously the incoming Congress should work towards strengthening American cyber-defenses across the board.

A code associated with a broad Russian hacking campaign dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected on a laptop associated with a Vermont electric utility but not connected to the grid, the utility said on Friday.

“We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding,” the Burlington Electric Department said in a statement.

“Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.”

The Department of Homeland Security alerted utilities on Thursday night about a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the Burlington Electric Department said.

The article goes on to mention that his might not be a direct attempt to access the Vermont grid. That the laptop may have been infected by visiting a rogue site of some sort. But considering Ukraine has accused Russia of accessing their electrical grid and shutting parts of it down, this isn’t a laughing matter.

btw: Now I have to wonder if I may be hacked…when researching yesterday’s posts: Trump Shrugs Over Russian Hacking Accusations and Oh Cripes: Twitter Diplomacy!, I at two points ended up on a website of the Russian embassy UK and after that my laptop crashed…hmmm.

Oh Cripes: Twitter Diplomacy!

And no, this time I am not talking about President-elect Donald Trump. It’s the Russian Embassy!

President Obama expels 35 diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, incl people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm.

I guess we don’t need diplomats anymore or ambassadors for that matter. We can essentially shut down the state department and hire a bunch of people with Twitter accounts and off we go…negotiating trade deals and cease fires or declaring war in 140 characters or less! How charming!

It will get really scary if Twitter starts to allow edits post publication, aina?

Late add (12/30/16 14:17): Mr. Trump’s reply:

Trump Shrugs Over Russian Hacking Accusations

President-elect Donald Trump continues to pooh pooh the accusations against Russia for hacking the Democratic National Committee and prominent American politicians and elected officials:

“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump said in a statement. “Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”

This isn’t a casual issue Mr. Trump. Just because it primarily targeted Democrats doesn’t make it any less serious. It is a security threat pure and simple and the government in both the executive and legislative branches need to take is seriously.

If this is the cavalier attitude about national security that Mr. Trump is taking into the White House, this nation is at serious risk in the future.

The Election Season of Magical Thinking: STOP IT!

I don’t think I can remember and delineate all of the wild suppositions and conspiracy theories and miracle side steps that were tossed around in the past year as favored candidates fell by the way side. And I don’t have the energy to go back and search them all out…it sucks the life out of my soul. But from the Bernie Bros to the super delegates to the emails to the rigging to the ‘devious’ DNC to the Russians to the FBI to goodness gracious what next!

But tomorrow, Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States. Some faithless electors may cast a ballot for someone else other than Mr. Trump, but it won’t be for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump will win the electoral college vote tomorrow. Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th 2017.

Stop thinking otherwise. Now is the time to get involved and oppose his agenda. Now is the time to support those electeds who will provide leadership in government. Now is the time to work with potential candidates for 2018 and 2020 who can step into the breach when the Trump regime fails.

But stop thinking the electoral college will do anything of historical significance tomorrow. (and I mean you too DFA who just sent out a stupid email suggesting we can sway the EC…sheesh…this shit is why we lost)

Ceding Federal Lands to the States

Over the last decade or so…as a part of the Bundy federal lands grazing incidents and their takeover of federal lands in Oregon…the subplot was state’s rights and federal lands should be ceded to the states. Well those conversations seem to be coming up again since the Donald Trump win on November 8th.

First, ceding federal lands to the states under these conditions is giving into terrorists…something that the US have vowed never to do.

But on what I perceive to be legal and historical grounds, the state’s have no rights to the federal lands within their borders. Because they are federal lands. They belong to me and you and every other citizen of the United States and not just to the residents of Oregon or Wyoming or South Dakota. They are held to benefit all of us as a nation not to the individual states.

And then there is the fact that most of those federal lands have been owned by the United States before any of those states even came into existence. What right do the states have to pre-existing domain?

But I fear that this will come to the forefront sometime during a Trump regime…and it must not be permitted to happen. Federal lands should be held in perpetuity for the common good.

Added 12/21/16: From the NY Times: It’s Our Land. Let’s Keep It That Way.

Immigrants Need To Assimilate!

During the campaign and since the election of President-elect Donald Trump…as part of the undercurrent of the anti-immigrant rhetoric there has been the continued story that immigrants need to assimilate. That they don’t do that. But they do…they do it very effectively…even if it isn’t on the schedule that the right thinks is normal.

My paternal grandfather spoke German when he came to this country…but none of his children or grandchildren did (in retrospect I wish he had allowed a bilingual family). My maternal great-grandparents spoke German and Irish but none of their children or grandchildren did.

In the early 20th Century there were dozens of foreign language newspapers across the nation and I believe at one time Milwaukee had more German language papers than English. Those are all gone now.

So what is the fuss? Our memory is short. Many of the new immigrants will take on American culture as they add unique new aspects to it. It just might not happen as quickly as someone thinks it should.

But immigrants haven’t always been so good at assimilation. If they had you’d be reading this in Ojibwe right now!