Of all the tea partiers running for Senate in 2014, Greg Brannon, a GOP primary candidate hoping to topple vulnerable North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan, is one of the most extreme. He opposes public education, claiming it “does nothing but dehumanize” students. He doesn’t believe that states have to follow Supreme Court decisions. He contends bipartisan compromises in Washington “enslave” Americans. He hails the the late Sen. Jesse Helms—who died in 2008 without ever renouncing his support for racial segregation—as a “modern hero.” He claims that “all ten of [Karl] Marx’s planks of Communism”—including the abolition of private property—“are law in our land today.” In October, Brannon cosponsored and spoke at a rally supporting nullification—the notion that states can invalidate federal laws at will—that was cosponsored by the League of the South, a secessionist group seeking “a free and independent Southern republic.” And Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has endorsed him.
Conservatives are eager to snatch up Hagan’s Senate seat, and they have pinned their hopes on Brannon, a tea party rabble-rouser and fiercely anti-abortion OB-GYN who has never run for elected office. In addition to Rand Paul, RedState editor Erick Erickson, who featured Brannon as a speaker at his annual RedState confab in November, and Ann Coulter have award Brannon their blessings. In a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, Brannon was the only Republican who beat Hagan in a head-to-head matchup. When PPP polled Republican primary voters on the four GOP candidates, North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis ran 9 points ahead of Brannon—but nearly half of those voters said they were undecided.
Brannon says he is eager to join Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz in the “wacko bird caucus.” And he has a role model in mind: Helms. He has promised, if elected, to emulate Helms, who represented the state in the Senate from 1973 to 2003. In November, Brannon told the RedState crowd that he even asked his wife to move to North Carolina because “Senator No”—Helms’s nickname—was his hero. Helms, by the way, earned that sobriquet for obstructing disability rights legislation, funding for HIV prevention, and a bill to establish a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., among many other things. He entered politics fighting interracial marriage, bullied black Senators, and considered gay people “morally sick wretches.”
North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Greg Brannon has an interesting argument for eliminating food stamps: “slavery.” In a videotaped interview with the North Carolina Tea Party in October, Brannon, a Rand Paul-endorsed doctor who is top contender for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, cited James Madison in making the case for abolishing the Department of Agriculture—and with it, the $76 billion-a-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. Brannon has a real chance of winning: A December poll from Public Policy Polling found the GOP primary field split but showed him leading Hagan, 45-43.
“We’re taking our plunder, that’s taken from us as individuals, [giving] it to the government, and the government is now keeping itself in power by giving these goodies away,” Brannon said in the interview. “The answer is the Department of Agriculture should go away at the federal level. And now 80 percent of the farm bill was food stamps. That enslaves people. What you want to do, it’s crazy but it’s true, teach people to fish instead of giving them fish. When you’re at the behest of somebody else, you are actually a slavery to them [sic]. That kind of charity does not make people freer.”
It’s something of a mixed metaphor, because Brannon is suggesting that people on food stamps are lazy, while also conflating them with a system of labor exploitation in which people were literally worked to death. (Also: Madison liked slavery.)
A Civil Rights pioneer has died. Franklin McCain was one of four teenagers who sat down at an all-white lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960.
“I certainly wasn’t afraid. And I wasn’t afraid because I was too angry to be afraid. If I were lucky I would be carted off to jail for a long, long time. And if I were not so lucky, then I would be going back to my campus, in a pine box.” - Franklin McCain, interview on NPR
The freshmen from North Carolina A&T ignited a sit-in movement in the Jim Crow south that led to other key chapters in the Civil Rights era.
Read the rest here: Franklin McCain Dies - Helped Start Sit-in Movement at Greensboro Lunch Counter
Franklin McCain must be looked upon as one of the founding fathers of the sit-in movement. http://t.co/8Hp6z2ytfz
More from Representative Lewis:
“Franklin McCain must be looked upon as one of the founding fathers of the sit-in movement. He was one of the four students who inspired an entire generation of young men and women, black and white, to stand-up by sitting down. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that the four young men who sat down in Greensboro taught us all how to use the power of passive resistance on a mass scale.
“Because Franklin McCain had the courage and the vision to take non-violent action, along with his three friends, the sit-in movement spread across the South like wildfire. Sit-ins commenced in Nashville, Atlanta, Memphis, Jackson, Montgomery and many other cities across America.
“Franklin McCain was one of the founders of a New America, a nation that was transformed because he lived. Every citizen of this country owes him a debt of gratitude because he insisted that we create a more fair, more just democracy. We are a better people and a better country because Franklin McCain lived.”
One minute of advice from Franklin McCain:
Last month a recently discovered trove of historical documents was deliberately destroyed by the North Carolina Department of Archives. They claimed it was for law enforcement purposes.
I read this an hour ago and I’m still gobsmacked. What the fuck were these evil morons thinking?
On Friday, November 22, the Fayetteville, North Carolina chapter of ACT! for America, an organization promoting the idea that Islam is a backward and seditious political ideology, hosted a screening of the anti-immigrant film, “They Come to America.” After the screening, organizers have scheduled a panel discussion about immigration with James Johnson, head of the North Carolina-based anti-immigrant group NC FIRE and Ron Woodard, the founder of another North Carolina-based anti-immigrant group, NC Listen.
The Fayetteville chapter of ACT! for America regularly posts extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric on its Facebook page, claiming Islam is in a war with the world and promoting a video titled “Islam and Nazism, the Unholy Alliance.” Both Johnson and Woodard are anti-immigrant activists with ties to extremism. Earlier this year, Woodard received the “We the People Leadership Award” from the extreme anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) a group founded by racist John Tanton. FAIR helped to found and buttress Woodard’s group, NC Listen.
I saw the photo on the Mother Jones article that Rightwing Watch linked to in this story. Its the first link. Chris McDaniel is just another “totally not racist” Republican.
Mississippi’s Chris McDaniel isn’t the only Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who has allied with neo-Confederate activists. Warren Throckmorton reports today that Bill Flynn, a radio talk show host seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democrat Kay Hagan in North Carolina, is a close partner of the Institute on the Constitution’s David Whitney and has taught courses through the Institute. Whitney wrote on the group’s website last week:
Our Institute On The Constituion [sic] Host Bill Flynn in Triad region of North Carolina announced his candidacy for the United States Senate race this past Sunday. Bill hosts a morning radio show on WEGO (980 AM). Bill has not only taught our U.S. Constitution course he was my co-host on the Constitutional Cruise, All Aboard America this past March. Bill is a good friend and patriot.
Whitney is the chaplain of the Maryland chapter of the League of the South, a neo-confederate hate group that promotes white nationalism.
Lawyers will be in federal court on Friday to argue for and against a 2011 North Carolina law that requires physicians to perform an ultrasound four hours before providing an abortion and to place the screen in the woman’s view while describing the images in detail.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles will hear arguments in a federal courtroom in Greensboro.
Key provisions of the law have not gone into effect while under challenge by women’s health-care providers and civil-liberties advocates. Eagles issued a preliminary injunction in October 2011.
The law, adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly despite a veto by the governor at the time, Bev Perdue, would allow a woman to “avert her eyes” from the ultrasound screen and to “refuse to hear” the health care provider’s description of the images.
But the law does not provide an option for the abortion provider to forgo offering such information if the woman objects.
The provider would also be required to offer the woman the opportunity to hear the “fetal heart tone.”
There are no exceptions provided for women who have been victims of rape; a woman whose doctor determines that the woman would suffer serious, long-lasting health problems if she carried the pregnancy to term; or a woman whose doctor determines that the fetus has severe abnormalities that would cause fetal death or extreme disability.
Today, however, it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact. Narrowly defined, “creationism” was a minor current in American thinking for much of the 20th century. But in the years since I was a student, a well-funded effort has skillfully rebranded that ideology as “creation science” and pushed it into classrooms across the country. Though transparently unscientific, denying evolution has become a litmus test for some conservative politicians, even at the highest levels.
Meanwhile, climate deniers, taking pages from the creationists’ PR playbook, have manufactured doubt about fundamental issues in climate science that were decided scientifically decades ago. And anti-vaccine campaigners brandish a few long-discredited studies to make unproven claims about links between autism and vaccination.
The list goes on. North Carolina has banned state planners from using climate data in their projections of future sea levels. So many Oregon parents have refused vaccination that the state is revising its school entry policies. And all of this is happening in a culture that is less engaged with science and technology as intellectual pursuits than at any point I can remember.
Thus, even as our day-to-day experiences have become dependent on technological progress, many of our leaders have abandoned the postwar bargain in favor of what the scientist Michael Mann calls the “scientization of politics.”
When Rosanell Eaton was 21 years old and living in segregated North Carolina, she became one of the first African Americans in her county registered to vote, after successfully completing a literacy test that required her to recite the preamble to the Constitution. But now, at 92 years old, she faces new obstacles under the voter suppression law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) Monday. For one thing, she may not qualify for the voter ID card required under the new law, because the name on her birth certificate is different from the name on her driver’s license and voter registration card. Reconciling this difference will be a costly and time-consuming administrative endeavor. For another, she has participated in early voting since it was instituted in the state. Now, it’s been cut back a week.
She is one of several individuals who, along with civil rights groups, are already suing the state for what may be the most restrictive voting law in the nation. Other restrictive new provisions in the law include the elimination of same-day registration and early registration for high schoolers in advance of their 18th birthday, and prohibiting certain kinds of voter registration drives that tend to register low-income and minority voters.