Each election is the most important in our lifetime. The next election is the most important in 286 years.

At a theoretical level, every election matters the most. But in reality, some matter more than others. Our very first national election, for example, revealed the US to be a country that understood the need for balance. Today, 286 years later, that understanding has been shredded by the imperial GOP and their sinister playbook. Suppress opposition voters. Stack the electoral deck through gerrymandering. Take control of the executive and judicial branches of government. Rinse and repeat.

Why are they doing this? Because we're letting them. That has to change, and it has to change this year.

The census cycle and the electoral calendar are conspiring to make 2018 THE most pivotal election since our country was created. At the federal level, the US Supreme Court hangs in the balance. In North Carolina, the ability of legislators to choose their voters and judges could be enshrined in government for generations. Nothing less than freedom and democracy are at stake.

Saturday News: It's Mueller time...


13 RUSSIANS INDICTED FOR MEDDLING IN 2016 ELECTION: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of 13 Russians as a brazen scheme “with the stated goal of spreading distrust” toward the U.S. political system, but the charges lay out a litany of cyber skullduggery aimed at a narrower mission: boosting Donald Trump and bashing Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The grand jury charges, secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, are replete with examples of how an 80-member team, allegedly bankrolled by a crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin, managed to flood American cyberspace with social media messages backing Trump or echoing some of his campaign’s harshest anti-Clinton themes. The Russians’ tilt toward Trump began in early and mid-2016, it charges – not late in the campaign as previously believed.

Missouri episode exposes motives and methods of Russian propagandists

Throwing a gas can onto a tiny campfire:

Russian Twitter trolls pounced on the University of Missouri’s woes in 2015 using the same techniques they applied to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, a U.S. Air Force officer wrote in an article published recently in Strategic Studies Quarterly. In the aftermath of the Nov. 9, 2015, resignation of University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe during protests over racial issues, some feared a violent white backlash.

It was fueled in part by a real post on the anonymous social app Yik-Yak from Hunter Park, then a student at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, that he would “shoot every black person I see.” The fear was enlarged and spread by a now-suspended Twitter account that warned, “The cops are marching with the KKK! They beat up my little brother! Watch out!” that included a photo of a black child with a severely bruised face and the hashtag #PrayForMizzou.

This might seem like an inappropriate or way off-topic post for BlueNC, but (imo) it is actually critical moving into the 2018 election season. While social media has completely changed the game on organizing and activism, turning out crowds that number in the thousands in just a short period of time, it has also become a minefield of click-bait and disinformation. We (each) have to be our own gatekeepers on Facebook and Twitter, taking that extra ten minutes to vet and verify stories before we aid and abet that disinformation by sharing or re-Tweeting. It's not a conspiracy theory that people are pushing conspiracy theories, there is a concerted effort to undermine and/or redirect the energies of well-meaning activists:

Friday News: Unfair and Imbalanced

FOX NEWS' CONSERVATIVE PARROT TUCKER CARLSON TO LECTURE UNC JOURNALISM STUDENTS: Fox News TV commentator Tucker Carlson will be the featured speaker in a distinguished lecture series at the UNC School of Media and Journalism in April – a choice that has drawn scorn on social media. “This makes me want to turn my diploma around to face the wall,” Leslie Cohig Gura chimed in. The criticism comes at a time when ideological balance and free speech are hotly debated topics on U.S. campuses, including the passage of a campus free speech law by the state legislature and a new policy by the UNC Board of Governors. The policy calls for public universities to punish those who substantially disrupt campus speakers.

Arming Teachers to Protect our Kids.

I have some serious, and sincere, questions for those proposing that teachers be armed in order to protect children in school.

Would the arming of teachers be a suggestion or a requirement?
Is the state going to issue firearms to school teachers? Or should each teacher buy their own?
How will that be accomplished? Will someone arrange a gun show just for teachers? Will there be any additional background checks?

Bumpy road ahead for Robert Pittenger in NC9

Might be time to sell some of that property, dude:

In a much more expensive race in North Carolina’s 9th District, Republican incumbent Robert Pittenger is facing well-financed challengers in both the primary and the general. Pittenger is seen as vulnerable in the general election and has raised $780,000 compared to his Democratic challenger Dan McCready’s $1.2 million.

First, he needs to fend off his primary challenger — pastor and activist Mark Harris — who has raised more than twice as much money from individual donors as Pittenger. Harris also has nearly as much cash on hand as does Pittenger ($221,911 compared to Pittenger’s $286,607). Harris was narrowly defeated by Pittenger in 2016, so this race looks like a tight one for Pittenger both in May and November, if it makes it that far.

Just like last time around, I am torn on who to favor (or who to disfavor the most) in the GOP Primary. Pittenger has always been a greedy, opportunistic douchenozzle, but Mark Harris is a born-again, bigoted nut-job. He's guaranteed to be a champion of anti-choice legislation, and would likely take up the new approach of whittling down the number of weeks women have to legally terminate unwanted pregnancies. And of course he will oppose LGBT rights at every turn, just like he championed the ugliness of Amendment One here in NC. This article was found on his campaign page, and the recurring theme is obvious:

Thursday News: How about "Laws & Regulations" instead of "Thoughts & Prayers"?


THE 18TH SCHOOL SHOOTING IN 2018 CLAIMS 17 LIVES IN PARKLAND FLORIDA: The suspect in a deadly rampage at a Florida high school is a troubled teenager who posted disturbing material on social media before the shooting spree that killed 17 people and wounded more than a dozen others, according to a law enforcement official and former schoolmates. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the 19-year-old suspect, Nikolas Cruz, had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for "disciplinary reasons." "I don't know the specifics," the sheriff said. However, Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior, said Cruz was expelled last school year after a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. She said Cruz had been abusive to his girlfriend. Nikolas Cruz asked to move in with a friend's family in northwest Broward. The family agreed and Cruz moved in around Thanksgiving. According to the family's lawyer, who did not identify them, they knew that Cruz owned the AR-15 but made him keep it locked up in a cabinet. He did have the key, however.


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