This week at progressive state blogs: Greitens was prosecutable; the godfather of right-wing zealots

Brian Leubitz at Calitics writes—A Quick June Elections Results Post:

Election results from across the state were generally favorable, with the huge exception of Josh Newman’s recall. Most importantly, while there are still a few races left, it appears that Democrats avoided the Top2 stumbling block and have a shot at flipping the seven targeted House seats.

For better or worse, it appears that Gavin Newsom is now very well positioned to be our next Governor, with only John Cox in his way. No big surprises in the other statewide constitutional races. But one to watch will be the state superintendent race, where Marshall Tuck leads Tony Thurmond. This nonpartisan race will likely be an expensive race as the charter schools and teachers unions fight over the future of our public schools. In both his previous run and his current one, Tuck has been reliant on the charter school movement for his electoral prospects. While the position is somewhat limited, a strong charter advocate would not be a good omen for our schools.

Back to the subject of Sen. Newman, Kerry Cavanaugh in the LA Times states the truth behind the election: the Republicans wanted a do-over in a lower turnout election. Their stated pretext of the gas tax was a mere fig leaf for their reliance on the flawed recall process. […]

A staffer at Colorado Pols writes—Trump on North Korea: “It’s About Attitude!”

CBS4 reported yesterday in a genuflection-heavy story titled “Sen. Gardner Has Clear Vision Of Summit With North Korea” on a very serious meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia subcommittee, in which a very serious Sen. Cory Gardner outlined his list of very serious priorities he wants to see addressed at the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un:

Colorado Pols state blog

“So far, although it has suspended missile tests, North Korea has not taken concrete or verifiable steps towards denuclearization, so it is my hope that during the summit it will be made clear to the regime that the only goal of our negotiations is denuclearization,” said Gardner.

Gardner says he believes the Trump Administration’s policy of isolating North Korea is working. [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Gardner was highly critical of President Barack Obama’s overtures to North Korea during his administration, calling it “extremely disappointing” that Obama “would talk with North Korea without tough preconditions.” That demand for specific concessions from North Korea before Obama held talks was a natural segue into the right’s boilerplate bluster about Obama’s supposed “weakness” on foreign policy, since after all, “he’s just not an American…”

Oh sorry, that was Mike Coffman. But you get the idea.

Back in the present, Gardner admits that North Korea “has not taken concrete or verifiable steps towards denuclearization,” but supports the upcoming summit–despite the complete absence of the “tough preconditions” he demanded from President Obama.

At Louisiana Voice, Tom Aswell writes—What do John Guandolo and the late Billy James Hargis have in common? Propensity for fear-mongering and loose zippers

Long before anyone ever heard of such right-wing zealots as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, David Duke, Pat Robertson, or Ted Nugent, there was a bona-fide mouth-frothing, fire-breathing purveyor of conspiratorial fascist-speak who could put them all to shame.

(Well, maybe not ALEX JONES. He probably has no peer for sheer detestable stupidity but you get the idea.)

Louisiana Voices state blog

[I] say all this as a preface to the story of a current-day fear-monger named John Guandolo, a former FBI agent once assigned to New Orleans and who figured prominently in the investigation and prosecution of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson when he became romantically involved with a witness in the case. But I’ll get to Guandolo in a bit.

It was back in the very early 1960s that a Tulsa radio evangelist named Billy James Hargis exploded onto the nation’s airways with his daily 30-minute Christian Crusade broadcasts which were introduced by the full-throated strains of a choir singing, “Glory, glory Hallelujah.”

What invariably followed was anything but any Scripture-based sermon but a ranting, screaming diatribe directed at the Democratic administration of John F. Kennedy and all those “godless communists” running our country. Hargis, if you can imagine it was even possible, advanced his communist conspiracies even further than had Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

For those too young to remember, the communists were the target of the hate groups after the Native Americans and blacks and before the invasion of those hordes of Mexicans and Islamics took their place as threats to the white man’s rule. […]

Tom Van Allen at fortboise of Idaho writes—The coming disaster:

H/t to Frank Rich for tweeting a link to Andrew Cohen’s Monday take for the Rolling Stone: A Memo to Manafort and Trump: Mueller Already Knows the Truth. We’ve been at a bit of a remove from the news for a couple of days, so there may be new chapters written already? A few things struck a chord for me, in light of my recent work as a witness in a legal case with nothing whatsover to do with politics. That has involved lots of documents, lots of history, lots of legal verbiage, and lots of hours in practice sessions for two depositions (done) and trial (later this month). Much, much less interesting than the Big Show, which goes like this (with my emphasis):

state blogs. fortboise

When we last got a glimpse of this secret interview preparation, from earlier this spring, it was not a pretty picture. The Wall Street Journal reported in May: “In an informal, four-hour practice session, Mr. Trump’s lawyers were only able to walk him through two questions, given the frequent interruptions on national-security matters along with Mr. Trump’s loquaciousness, one person familiar with the matter said.” Loquaciousness is one word for it. Bullshit is another. The Journal’s report continued: “‘Anyone can see he has great difficulty staying on a subject,'” one person familiar with the legal team’s deliberations said.”

Next up is former Governor, and former federal prosecutor Chris Christie, supposedly going to be asked “to turn Donald Trump into a cautious, measured, honest deponent,” as Cohen put it.

If you’ve ever given a deposition, you might recognize that as exceptionally dry wit worthy of a laugh-out-loud. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as we say.

Cat McCue at Appalachian Voices writes—History, health at stake in Buckingham County:

Retiree John Laury has recently been researching cemeteries near his home in Union Hill, a small community in rural Buckingham County, Va., where slaves and their descendants were buried. It’s been difficult — some of the deceased are likely his forebears and most graves are unmarked, long ago forgotten.

state blogs

His project has taken on a new urgency. Several years back, Dominion Energy applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the 600-mile fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline, running south from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina, including a massive compressor station in Union Hill. Both Dominion and FERC, which has approved the project, have essentially ignored the deep history of the community, founded by freedmen and still predominantly African-American. This cultural “erasure,” as anthropologist Lakshmi Fjord describes it, is nothing short of racist.

Laury and Fjord were among those who spoke in late May to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice, whose members traveled to Buckingham County to hear from concerned citizens and tour the area. The council was formed in 2017 to examine how certain segments of the population may be disproportionately impacted by pollution, and to make policy and legislative recommendations to address these environmental injustices. (A similar council has just been announced in North Carolina; and on May 15, a coalition of organizations filed a complaint with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Civil Rights Compliance Office that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline unjustly targets minority communities in that state.

Virginia Delegates Sam Rasoul and Mark Keam, who have staunchly opposed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and the similar Mountain Valley Pipeline proposed by EQT, were in attendance at the gathering in Buckingham County and encouraged the citizens to keep fighting. […]

“It’s important that the entire commonwealth knows what is happening here,” Rasoul said. “To me, it’s just one injustice and lacks fairness on so many levels.”

At The Prairie Blog of North Dakota, Jim Fuglie writes—Wayne Stenehjem: Public Lands Enemy #1:

We’ve got a million acres of public land, most of it excellent wildlife habitat, in western North Dakota, owned and managed by the United States government, which means you and me. I know, you’ve read those words before in my writings. Sorry, but I’m going to keep talking about this UNTIL SOMEBODY LISTENS!

The Prairie Blog

There’s a huge overlap between those public lands and North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. In fact, about 96 per cent of those public lands are open to oil development. And there will likely come a day, probably in the next ten years, when there are oil wells on almost every single square mile of those public lands. I say “almost” every single square mile, because there are about 40,000 acres out of that million acres—about four per cent—that are protected from development. So far.  A few words about that—a lot of you already know this story.

In the depths of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, the federal government came to the rescue of Great Plains farmers and ranchers facing foreclosure, many of them North Dakotans. The government bought parts of their operations, giving them much needed cash to make payments on their mortgages, and then leased it back to them for pennies on the dollar so they could continue farming it or grazing cattle on it. Much of it was grazing land, and in North Dakota it became what is today the million-acre Little Missouri National Grassland. And many third and fourth generation ranchers in western North Dakota still run cows on that same land their grandparents did.

Along with the land, the government bought the minerals under that land, and no one anticipated there would be billions of barrels of black gold under that vast expanse of prairie. But the black gold was there, and today, the government receives billions of dollars in royalties from oil companies who lease the right to drill for oil under that land. […]

Management plans for North Dakota were written in 1974, in 1986, and in 2002. The one in 2002 set aside some 40,000 acres which had not yet been developed for anything but cattle grazing, as “suitable for wilderness.” That meant that if the President and Congress decided they would like to permanently keep four little undeveloped islands in a great sea of oil, gas, coal and gravel development, they could designate that land as Wilderness with a capital W under the federal Wilderness Act of 1964.[…]

At The Lost Ogle of Oklahoma, Hayley writes—California is Picking on Poor Oklahoma… Again.

Via USA Today

Add Oklahoma to the list of states to which California is banning state-funded and state-sponsored travel. […] 

Here’s why…

In May, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that allows private adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples from their adoption services on the basis of “religious or moral convictions or policies.” The bill sparked backlash from LGBTQ advocates

state blogs

Michael McNutt, a spokesperson for Fallin, also defended the bill after California announced its ban.

“There appears to be more and more Californians sharing our values as we are seeing more Californians move to Oklahoma,” he said in a statement to USA TODAY. “With our state’s economy being as strong as it is, we won’t miss a few Californians traveling on state business showing up in our state.”

Well, maybe it’s not all California’s fault that Oklahoma is being left out. Like mom always said, you have to be a friend to have a friend. She also always said Jesus drank wine daily so she could too, but that’s another article. The point is, Oklahoma is being a jerk and probably needs to prove it can be friendly before it will be accepted and respected. Because right now Oklahoma is kind of acting like the lonely kid in school who decides to up his weirdness by wearing a trench coat and Slipknot wristbands to 10th grade American History so he can blame his isolation on his “individuality” instead of his tendency to try to sound smart by quoting Jordan Peterson and his uncle’s rightwing blog posts. […]

Oklahoma still has a couple of weeks to get its act together before it is officially added to California’s burn book. But until it starts treating people fairly, Oklahoma better get used to being left out.

Cory Allen Heidelberger at the Dakota Free Press writes—Incumbents Advance in Every Legislative Primary; Only 33% of Outsiders Survive: .

Tuesday was no great day for outsiders running for Legislature. […]

23 incumbents were on Legislative primary ballots, twenty running for their current seats and three Representatives (Wismer, Steinhauer, and DiSanto) running to switch chambers. All 23 won enough votes to advance to the general election.

Dakota Free Press

40 non-incumbents were on Legislative primary ballots. Only thirteen earned spots on the November ballot, and seven of those winners faced no incumbents in their primaries.

In only two instances did a non-incumbent get more votes than an incumbent. […]

The only Legislative incumbent who suffered a thorough defeat on Tuesday wasn’t running for Legislature. Senator Neal Tapio sought a promotion to U.S. House, and 76% of South Dakota Republicans who showed up to vote said No flippin’ way!

But in Legislative races, incumbents enjoyed 100% success in making it to November. Non-incumbents of every category—totally new, past candidates, and past legislator—advanced in only one out of three cases.

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At BlueNC, scharrison writes—Trump tariff on solar panels choking NC’s growth

We really (really) can’t afford this blundering idiot much longer:

The 30 percent tariff is scheduled to last four years, decreasing by 5 percent per year during that time. Solar developers say the levy will initially raise the cost of major installations by 10 percent. Leading utility-scale developer Cypress Creek Renewables LLC said it had been forced to cancel or freeze $1.5 billion in projects – mostly in the Carolinas, Texas and Colorado – because the tariff raised costs beyond the level where it could compete, spokesman Jeff McKay said.

That amounted to about 150 projects at various stages of development that would have employed three thousand or more workers during installation, he said. The projects accounted for a fifth of the company’s overall pipeline. Developer Southern Current has made similar decisions on about $1 billion of projects, mainly in South Carolina, said Bret Sowers, the company’s vice president of development and strategy.

Probably don’t need to say it again, but I’m going to say it again: The main (overriding) goal of NC’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) was to radically lower the costs of Solar panels so they could compete with dirty fossil fuels. These tariffs, for whatever strained logic brought them about, are doing the exact opposite of that. Speaking of that logic, Trump’s aggressive push to keep coal plants operating undermines his rhetoric about helping US Solar panel manufacturers […]

Chandra Kring Villanueva at the BetterTexasBlog writes—New Report Shows Urgent Need for More Paid Sick Days in Texas:

All Texans should be able to care for themselves or a loved one if they get sick, regardless of what kind of job they do or how much they earn. Approximately 4.3 million Texas workers – or 40 percent of the total workforce – lack access to paid sick days, and it’s estimated that between 39 and 44 percent of private sector workers in the U.S. are not able to earn paid sick days.

state blogs, stateblog, stateblogs,

Paid sick days are also a public health issue. When people are forced to go to work sick, everyone—employers, coworkers, and customers—is worse off. Children also face the consequences when their classmates come to school sick because their parents can’t afford to take the day off to care for them. Texas public employers, cities, and our state should work to implement paid sick days policies, which will improve the financial stability and health of all Texans.

Our new policy brief examines the inadequate access to paid sick days in Texas and highlights how businesses and families can thrive when workers are able to earn paid sick days. Across the country, there is growing momentum and support for city, county, and statewide paid sick days policies, which require employers to provide a certain number of paid sick days to workers each year based on the number of hours worked. To date, 44 cities, counties, states, and Washington, D.C. have passed paid sick days policies.

Everyone gets sick, and everyone should have the ability to earn paid sick days. A multi-city or statewide policy would ensure a high-quality standard so that all workers are able to care for themselves or a family member. Learn more here.

Ed Heinzelman of Blogging Blue of Wisconsin writes—Citizen Action Wisconsin Has No F*cking Excuse!

In this morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Molly Beck reports that Citizen Action Wisconsin depicted Governor Scott Walker (who is running for re-election) and State Senator Leah Vukmir (who is running for the US Senate) behind a target graphic. What the fuck was Citizen Action Wisconsin thinking?

There is absolutely no way to defend this. Just because it’s an arrow instead of a bullet hole doesn’t make it right. Even if it was just a plain target it is just completely stupid and rude. Actually the arrow makes it worse. I am livid over this.

As any reader knows this blog is solidly in favor of limits on gun ownership and the types of guns available in the market. I just can’t believe someone from the left did this…shit!

And I don’t have time to look this up but it seems just an election cycle or two ago, the left was all worked up over a similar ad by a GOP candidate with a target on it…maybe it was Colorado or Arizona. I don’t remember. But the left got pretty indignant at the time and rightly so. So I have to call out the hypocrisy of Citizen Action Wisconsin.

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