Archives

Commentary

Here are a few more details on the latest outrageous and inaccurate broadside launched by the North Carolina chapter of the Koch brothers-funded group known as Americans for Prosperity. As was explained in this space yesterday, AFP made the absurd claim that North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard —  a modest law designed to help North Carolina begin to kick its heroin-like addiction to fossil fuels — “strangles” the “entire NC economy.” As pointed out here yesterday, this is simply untrue:

“Even if one conceded that the REPS somehow raises consumer electric bills in any significant way — something that is simply not true — North Carolina’s electric rates are currently below the national average.  This is true in all categories — residential, commercial industrial, transportation and overall.  Heck, North Carolina residential consumers pay less for electricity than Texans! North Carolina commercial and industrial consumers pay less than West Virginia businesses! Click here to review the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. How could such rates be ‘strangling’ the economy?”

Later in the day yesterday, AFP attempted to defend its outrageous claim by pointing in two tweets to a statement in a March 2015 report written by McCrory administration officials. Here’s the supposedly damning language:

“North Carolina remains the only state in the Southeast to have enacted a REPS. As a result of this geographic isolation, long-term energy prices may adversely impact economic growth and challenge recent improvements in employment in North Carolina.”

To which, all a sane person can say in response is: How in the world can that be interpreted as confirmation of the assertion that REPS “strangles” the economy? Earth to AFP: Check your Merriam-Webster. “May adversely impact” does not mean “strangles.”

Add to this the fact that the “may adversely effect” language represents one sentence in a sometimes misleading 36 page report with myriad observations and conclusions about REPS and energy generally AND that it was written by employees of the McCrory administration’s decimated and thoroughly cowed Department of Environment and Natural Resources AND that the actual facts on the ground show the price of electricity in North Carolina to be well below the national average AND that other analysis shows that REPS is actually saving consumers millions and it becomes evident that the AFP folks are just making stuff up.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is that renewable energy represents North Carolina’s future — both for its economy and its environment. And no amount of fossil fuel industry funded propaganda is going to change this reality.

Commentary
Image: NRDC,.org

Image: NRDC.org

To the Koch-funded apologists for unfettered fossil fuel exploitation and consumption at Americans for Prosperity, there’s simply no end to the wonders that an ever-expanding carbon footprint can yield. Today, the group is promoting a TED talk-like video by another Koch ally in which he purports to make “the moral case for fossil fuels.” According to Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress, life is much better in places like China and India because of the wonders of fossil fuel consumption.

To which, all a sane person can say is: Maybe in some ways — but for how long?

As Yahoo News and several other sites have reported in recent days, Chinese top-one-percenters are leaving the country in droves. One of their chief motivations: to escape the horrendous pollution that afflicts the country.

“But realistically, economic opportunities do not top the list for many émigrés. China’s not an easy place to live. Wealthy Chinese parents are becoming increasingly concerned about raising kids in an environment with filthy air, not to mention a critical lack of clean water and constant food and beverage safety scandals.”

This makes obvious sense as the devastating reality of China’s horrendous air and water pollution is now common knowledge. If you doubt it, just ask a friend who’s been to Beijing.

All of which raises at the obvious question of how much more the planet can take of the kind of “economic miracles” envisioned by the Koch Brothers and their lackeys.

Commentary

As reported here and on several other news sites in recent days (click here and here), the conservative, win-at-all-costs ideologues over at the Koch-Pope group, Americans for Prosperity, have been distributing misleading voter registration materials in recent days. A Charlotte Observer editorial over the weekend charitably described the situation this way:

With all the confusion around controversial new N.C. voting laws – laws being challenged in court that could be stayed before the November election – voters didn’t need a partisan group mucking up things even more. But that’s what has happened.

According to the N.C. Board of Elections, Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group, has created quite a headache by sending out incorrect voter registration information, including what was dubbed an “official” voter registration form. But the form was fraught with errors and conflicting information, including the deadline to register, whom to send voter registration information to, and who answers queries about voter information.

The State Board of Elections says it has received hundreds of complaints from people receiving the forms. “It’s caused a lot of confusion,” said Joshua Lawson, a public information officer for the board. He noted that the board of elections works with political groups to prevent just this kind of misinformation, but Americans for Prosperity didn’t contact the board about the mailings.

The paper went on to say that the least the Koch-Popers could do is apologize, but true to form, the conservative crusaders are unrepentant. On Friday, the group issued a statement saying it “stands behind” the misleading and deceptive effort.

Of course, if you think about it, such a stance makes sense. If Americans for Prosperity started apologizing for every deceptive or misleading thing it produced, the group wouldn’t have much time to do anything else.

News

vote-stickerAfter all the hubbub about the state’s need to snuff out and tamp down voter fraud as a reason for recent extensive changes to voting laws, it appears that fraud of another type is percolating out there, according to reports in today’s News & Observer and Daily Tarheel.

As relayed by the N&O, state residents may be being duped into completing inaccurate voter registration forms, courtesy of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group that recently mailed out an untold number of such forms:

Hundreds of North Carolinians – and one cat – have received incorrect voter registration information, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections.

The information – an “official application form” – was sent by Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group with a state chapter based in Raleigh.

Since then, hundreds of people who received the forms have called and complained to the State Board of Elections, said Joshua Lawson, a public information officer for the board.

“It’s unclear where (Americans for Prosperity) got their list, but it’s caused a lot of confusion for people in the state,” Lawson said.

One resident even received a voter registration form addressed to her cat, he said.

“The phone calls have consistently been all day, every day,” Lawson said.

The Daily Tarheel has a similar report:

Lawson said state officials are looking into hundreds of potentially fraudulent registration forms flagged since August.

“When you have a stack of these forms delivered at once with no return address or with very similar handwriting and signatures, the county is required to check into these forms,” Lawson said. “We would interview the person listed on the form and they would say they did not submit the form.”

Lawson also told the Daily Tarheel that residents have been calling the Board about people going door-to-door and saying residents need to re-register because the state’s voter database went down.

“We don’t send out people to go door-to-door,” he said. “You do not need to re-register unless you have moved to a different county.” Read More

Uncategorized

Given that this is Election Day in many places around the state and nation,  it’s fitting that Raleigh’s News & Observer editorializes this morning against one of the great threats to fair elections in our country — namely, the vast sums of “dark money” being dumped into buying elections at all levels by fat cat special interests like the infamous Koch Brothers.

Athough the latest news stems from developments in California, this is not just a far-off problem for North Carolinians. As the editorial notes:

“The Kochs’ reach extends to North Carolina, where Americans for Prosperity, a group they started, has been orchestrating ads against Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who’s up for re-election in 2014. The campaign is gratuitous and hooked to an obscure issue, the carbon emissions tax, something few people are familiar with. It presents, however, an opportunity to attack a Democrat. Read More