Nationals news and siding with hog stench

by | Apr 7, 2017 | Editor's Blog, News | 5 comments

National news will dominate the news cycle today. Republicans are in another phase of changing the rules to solidify their power in the US Senate. Donald Trump launched a missile attack against Syria last night. And the US jobs report leaves questions about the strength of the economy.

In North Carolina news, the House yesterday stood proudly with Chinese-owned hog farms against the native North Carolinians who suffer fouled drinking water and unbearable stench that makes their properties virtually worthless–except as more hog farms. Speaker Tim Moore jammed through a bill with no discussion that limits the amount of money landowners can recover for damage to their properties from the pollution and odor caused by massive hog operations. The legislation affects pending 26 lawsuits filed mostly on behalf of African-American families.

Let’s get real here. If the odor and pollution were affecting people living in gated communities, Moore and the Republicans would be falling over themselves to enact a miles-wide buffer to protect those properties. I imagine a look at campaign finance reports next year will show healthy contributions to Republicans from Smithfield Farms and people making lots of money from hog farms. Next election, remember whose side the GOP is on.

Back to that national news front, the Senate Republicans’ willingness to change the rules of the Senate to approve Trump’s nominee completes Mitch McConnell’s ten-year transformation of the body. It began back in 2007 when he started abusing the filibuster to make obstruction the GOP’s guiding governing philosophy. It continued when he denied a hearing to Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, and culminated yesterday when the Republicans chose to end the filibuster as tool to slow deliberations. John McCain said of the move, “I fear that someday we will regret what we are about to do.” And then voted to end it anyway. What a profile in courage.

Trump’s strike on an airbase in Syria as a response to Assad’s gassing of civilians was probably the right thing to do. The process of getting there might have been a mess. We need to see if this is shift to a more aggressive foreign policy or just a one-off response to the chemical attack. It’s too early to know what Trump’s team is thinking, though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this does not represent a change in policy.

Finally, the jobs report was far below predictions. Fewer than 100,000 jobs were created in March but the unemployment rate dropped. Two Wall Street leaders warned that the economy is starting slow down based largely on fears that Trump can’t get his agenda passed. We’ve had the longest stretch of economic growth since 1970 so we’re probably due for a recession. If that happens in the next six months or so, Trump’s numbers could fall even more, further harming his ability to push his agenda through Congress.

That’s about all I’ve got today. Have a good weekend.



  1. Ebrun

    Seems like President Trump’s detractors are rooting for another recession before the next mid-terms. Whatever it takes to help the Dems back in power, right?

  2. arthur dent

    Yes, the use of chemical weapons in Syria by whatever party is deplorable and a crime against humanity. Bombing them is a tactic and may or may not have done anything to remind the parties that these actions are repugnant to the U.S. and to most of the world. What is our strategy? Where does this go from here?

    I would like to believe that President Obama and his advisors could not make a compelling case for a long-term military engagement in Syria or they would have done more than they did, which was taking Russia’s word, for whatever it is ever worth, to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, engage ISIS and al Qaeda elements through various means, attempt to stand up some form of anti-Assad force among the Syrians, engage with Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries to attempt marginalization of the Assad government, and whatever else seemed practical and helpful without being invasive (literally).

    Now that President Putin’s friend in the White House has made a tactical decision about an initial show of force against Syrian government forces, how does this play out? Has anyone in D.C. created any kind of strategy, or is the strategy to keep setting GPS coordinates on Cruise missiles, bombers, drones, etc. and bomb the crap out of Syria until Assad makes some more empty promises? How does that bring “stability to the Middle East,” which one would hope is the desired strategic outcome for all this madness?

    Not that anyone is asking or that I have “special expertise” in this department, but it seems to me it all went wrong with the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916), the Balfour Declaration (1917), and the San Remo Conference (1920). These all carved up the Middle East into chunks of territory resembling nations, governed by individuals who had assured the European and American governments and corporations (petroleum was coming into its own in that decade of conflict) that they would play nice, keep the locals suppressed and/or well-compensated, and had little to do with historical foci of power in the region. While the Ottoman Empire deteriorated due to their allegiance with Germany, the minor families and religious sects (i.e. the Alawites in “Syria”) had worked with the French and British during the war and became our new best friends. They have arrested, tortured, and killed their opponents for almost a century now and the people are furious enough to do anything, including die, to resist these Western puppets. What we need is a solution created by the regional powers that eliminates our superimposition of structures and creates a set of organizations, nations, whatevers, that work – or don’t – in a way that is determined there, not in Brussels or London or D.C. or anywhere else. It will be bloody, it will be bad, but it will be theirs.

    Anything we keep imposing upon them will be rejected like a bottle of ipecac.

    As to the hog farms and other environmental travesties our Republican legislators keep forcing on the people of this state, don’t they understand that the beauty of the state is a reason for its economic success? At least in the past? WTF Republicans! Getting too much money from your lobbyists to think of your rank and file?


      Don’t worry, when Dems take the Ledge again, they’ll grow just as corrupt as they were in 2009 when the voters had had enough of Easley and Basnight. And then the Reps will return and start the cycle all over again. It’s what the majority party does.

      As for Merrick Garland, McConnell was following the Biden precedent. If you don’t like the other side’s actions, stop setting the wrong example for them to emulate down the road! Same thing with Reid killing the filibuster. He should have known he was going down a slippery slope when he did so. “Getting things done” is a poor excuse for eliminating the best weapon the minority has. If the American people wanted “things done”, they were free to ensure that 60 members of the same Party occupied the Senate.

      • The Ghost of Elections Past

        You have presented a half-truth. The reason that the Democrats killed the filibuster and exercised the “nuclear option” for lower level federal court appointments was that Republicans were so driven by a lust for power without regard for the consequences for the federal court system. Republicans were systematically obstructing almost all appointments to U.S. District Courts all over the USA. Tremendous backlogs of cases were developing because of the shortage of federal judges. There were tremendous non-partisan concerns by judges and lawyers all over the country. Finally, the “nuclear option” was put into place so the federal courts could resume functioning at some reasonable level. This time, the “nuclear option” was used solely so the Republicans could get ONE judge on the bench.

  3. Norma Munn

    “Stench” — an apt description for the NC GOP legislative activity in the past few weeks. The legislation curbing potential claims against Smithfield does not pass the smell test. May I suggest a legislative retreat to one of the farms affected by this pollution? A two day conference? (Fantasy, yes, but enjoy the mental picture over the weekend.)

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