From Joe Killian at the N&R:
Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes says he won’t be intimidated by anti-gun control groups who want him to back changes to pistol permit laws.
Barnes said the group Grassroots NC mounted an e-mail campaign to get sheriffs to back N.C. House Bill 937, which would remove the authority of county sheriffs to decide who gets a pistol permit.
The removal of approval by elected officials like our white trash sheriff would place such decisions with trained professionals lacking a political agenda. Sheriff departments operate with minimal professional standards and are staffed with political appointees. Thus, sheriff departments are easily the most corrupt branch of law enforcement and regularly act on behalf of whatever political party happens to be in power.
From Killian at The Inside Scoop:
Branson and Phillips both said they have concealed-carry permits. They’ve been through the local process to get them, which now goes through Barnes’ office.
“I had to wait I think 120 days,” said Phillips. “Would I have liked it to be faster? Sure. But the system we have in place through the sheriff makes sure we have all the information and it’s done the right way.”
I find it interesting that white Republican men feel the need to carry concealed weapons. Between blacks, Latinos and Muslims, they must be very frightened.
From Rob Christensen at the N&O:
The outline of the plan was to replace the personal and corporate income taxes by expanding the sales tax to more than 130 goods and services not currently taxed at the state level, including food and prescription medicine. But the proposal was a political minefield. Reinstating the state sales tax on food – one of the most unpopular taxes in North Carolina history – was playing with political matches.
The plan also offended powerful groups – seniors, who would have the exemption on their Social Security payments removed, and the real estate industry, which would have its home mortgage exemption eliminated. Hospitals and nonprofits want to continue their exemption from paying sales taxes.
The opposition is getting traction.
From Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism:
[N]ot even the most dedicated apologists claim that ObamaCare will be anywhere near universal; only 7 million will be signed up in the first year (double that for expectations management, and it’s still pathetically low). When ObamaCare is fully implemented, it will have expanded coverage to 30 million, leaving 26 million uncovered…
So if it’s “just wrong” when 45 million aren’t covered, why isn’t it “just wrong” when 26 million aren’t covered? And what do you call those 26 million but second class citizens?…
[T]he “Passive & Unengaged” are much less likely to use the Internet, which knocks out the “Facebook,” “Twitter,” “YouTube,” and “online chat room” channels. That leaves — at least as this story describes Enroll America’s marketing strategy — the “churches” as the sole remaining channel to reach the “Passive & Unengaged.” I don’t see how that can possibly be enough.
According to the study, the “Passive & Unengaged” are about 20% of the uninsured population. If there are 56 million uninsured, that would mean that Enroll America is, in essence, sending some large fraction of 11,200,000 citizens to Pain City, rather than making an attempt to engage them. Does that make them second class citizens? I think it does.
From the footnotes:
One might give consideration to the idea that Enroll America — which is full of political operatives — is not like a political campaign, but is a political campaign; the opening shots of Campaigns 2014 and 2016. Of course, it could be a coincidence that voters in CA, FL, and TX are being targeted, and those voters in Obama’s youthful, black, and Hispanic demographic. After all, an alternative approach would have been to target those who actually need care. Given how adept the tech dude[tte]s of Team Obama are at slicing and dicing data, one must believe that approach was considered, and rejected.
From James Bamford at Wired:
Alexander runs the nation’s cyberwar efforts, an empire he has built over the past eight years by insisting that the US’s inherent vulnerability to digital attacks requires him to amass more and more authority over the data zipping around the globe. In his telling, the threat is so mind-bogglingly huge that the nation has little option but to eventually put the entire civilian Internet under his protection, requiring tweets and emails to pass through his filters, and putting the kill switch under the government’s forefinger. “What we see is an increasing level of activity on the networks,” he said at a recent security conference in Canada. “I am concerned that this is going to break a threshold where the private sector can no longer handle it and the government is going to have to step in.”…
The military has for years been developing offensive capabilities, giving it the power not just to defend the US but to assail its foes. Using so-called cyber-kinetic attacks, Alexander and his forces now have the capability to physically destroy an adversary’s equipment and infrastructure, and potentially even to kill. Alexander—who declined to be interviewed for this article—has concluded that such cyberweapons are as crucial to 21st-century warfare as nuclear arms were in the 20th…
The NSA was able to extract data about the Iranian networks, listen to and record conversations through computer microphones, even reach into the mobile phones of anyone within Bluetooth range of a compromised machine…
[I]n August 2012 a devastating virus was unleashed on Saudi Aramco, the giant Saudi state-owned energy company. The malware infected 30,000 computers, erasing three-quarters of the company’s stored data, destroying everything from documents to email to spreadsheets and leaving in their place an image of a burning American flag, according to The New York Times. Just days later, another large cyberattack hit RasGas, the giant Qatari natural gas company. Then a series of denial-of-service attacks took America’s largest financial institutions offline. Experts blamed all of this activity on Iran, which had created its own cyber command in the wake of the US-led attacks…
In May, work began on a $3.2 billion facility housed at Fort Meade in Maryland. Known as Site M, the 227-acre complex includes its own 150-megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings, 10 parking garages, and chiller and boiler plants. The server building will have 90,000 square feet of raised floor—handy for supercomputers—yet hold only 50 people. Meanwhile, the 531,000-square-foot operations center will house more than 1,300 people. In all, the buildings will have a footprint of 1.8 million square feet. Even more ambitious plans, known as Phase II and III, are on the drawing board. Stretching over the next 16 years, they would quadruple the footprint to 5.8 million square feet, enough for nearly 60 buildings and 40 parking garages, costing $5.2 billion and accommodating 11,000 more cyberwarriors.
From John Newsom at the N&R:
Alston’s clients said they will open their own businesses in the remaining space. That might include a restaurant, medical clinic, laundromat and beauty supply store. Family Dollar, which signed a 25-year-lease in 2009, will remain.
The city still must formally approve the sale and the other terms. Alston said after the meeting that renovation could start as soon as July.
The council turned down a proposal from New Bessemer Associates, three local developers who proposed to renovate the shopping plaza for $2.2 million but let the city keep it.
“The city of Greensboro — we’re terrible landlords,” Councilman Zack Matheny said. “We’ve had the center since (2008) and what have we done? Nothing.”
Until Alston has had an opp to perform, accusations of corruption are not warranted. This is the kind of thing a former chairman of the county commissioners is likely to do. Perhaps only a person of his power and influence could pull it off, given the economic and political climate.
From Cedric Johnson at The Progressive Pulse:
The plan does not address the state’s upside-down tax system, in which low- and moderate-income families spend a larger share of their incomes on state and local taxes compared to wealthy North Carolinians. Thus, the Senate plan will continue to ask more from those with the least amount of income and the wealthiest taxpayers will receive the lion share of the benefits of these tax cuts.
At what point are the perps of these crimes branded as traitors?
From an editorial at the N&O:
Pope’s scary side was captured vividly in Friday’s Under The Dome column. It reported that Melissa Price Kromm, director of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, witnessed Pope lobbying state Rep. Jonathan Jordan outside the House chambers Tuesday afternoon. The conversation came after Jordan offered a compromise amendment that would have preserved public financing for appellate judicial races by keeping a $50 surcharge paid by lawyers but dropping a voluntary $3 taxpayer checkoff contribution.
Shortly after speaking with Pope, Jordan withdrew the amendment, and the House voted to kill North Carolina’s program of public financing of appellate court elections. Pope said he spoke with Jordan, a former employee of the John Locke Foundation – a group started by Pope and his family – but would not disclose the content of his conversation. He did say he is opposed to giving public dollars to political campaigns.
Jordan, a Republican attorney from Jefferson, is heavily indebted to Pope. According to the Institute for Southern Studies, he received $16,000 from Pope and his family when he was first elected to the House in 2010. Three groups associated with Pope – Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action and Real Jobs NC – gave $91,500 to Jordan’s campaign.