WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO "KEEP THE LIGHTS ON" THRU 11/3/2020! Don't need the details? Contribute here. Need the details? Find them here. THANKS for giving what you can and sharing!

Neighbors on Call is one of the canvassing groups in the Triangle and Triad that gets a personal plug from me (Flip NC is another, they target different districts). You can meet NoC folks in  your area and learn about their 2020 plans at "Now What?" events across  the Triangle, Feb 3 & 4. Details and RSVP link.

The 2020 primary is around the corner: absentee ballot by mail voting has already started (request deadline is Feb 25), early voting is Feb 13-29,  and election day is March 3. Voter ID is NOT NEEDED for the March 3  primary as long as you're already registered to vote. We're here to help  you get ready!

Will we see you this Saturday at HkonJ? I hope so! This year is the 14th year of the march, and the 14th year the people of North Carolina have come together in support and defense of a truly progressive political agenda that is the only way to achieve a truly sustainable way forward. “To secure real and lasting change, voting is absolutely essential, but so too are sustained activism and engagement – both to shape the electoral debate and the policy making that takes place afterwards.”

You know what your priorities are when it comes to 2020 and beyond, and now you can learn how the rest of your fellow North Carolinians feel. Journey Across the 100, a project of the News & Observer, Durham Herald-Sun, and McClatchy, showcases each of the 100 counties in North Carolina and what the citizens of that county care about most. The video tour of the state is searchable by county or by issue-- you might be surprised about what the people in your county are saying.

The 2020 election is big: we're voting on a president and congressfolks, but we're also choosing a governor, a lieutenant governor, and dozens of other statewide and local officials. We're also choosing three justices for the NC Supreme Court. We all have seen how consequential the judiciary has been in the course of national events in the last three and a half years, and since the balance of partisan power in North Carolina's state government resembles that of the national scene, the NCSC could be our strongest ally in the fight for a progressive government. We must not ignore these races, especially with what's at stake.

The new Blexit movement in North Carolina is gaining steam ahead of 2020. Blexit-- Black exit-- is one part an effort on the Republicans' part to pull black voters away from the Democratic party and one part a bloc of black voters expressing disillusionment and disappointment with the Democratic party.

There is evidence of increasing tensions between some more socially conservative black Democrats in N.C. and white progressives within the party. In April 2019, when the Republicans in the legislature passed a bill designed to protect infants who survived late-term abortions, two Democratic senators and four Democratic House members broke with their party leadership and voted for the GOP-backed bill. All of those who broke with the party were minority men. Joel Ford, an African American former state senator representing Charlotte, told NSJ last spring that he had been 'a hardcore Democrat' but says after voting his convictions, he was pushed out of the party.”

Blexit might not amount to much when you look at it on a statewide scale, but it could be significant when it comes to creating a possible swing vote for a budget veto override vote. Sen. Don Davis was one of the black Senators to vote for the late-term abortion bill. He also crossed party lines to vote for the original Republican budget last June. Davis is a crucial swing vote that the Republicans, if they offer him enough of what he wants, could sway.

The coming weeks may be critical for the future of the landmark court case Roe v. Wade and the fight it represents-- the fight for bodily autonomy for American women. Next month SCOTUS will hear a case on “the constitutionality of Louisiana’s recent anti-abortion restrictions”, and advocates fear the court, now packed with a majority of conservative justices, will severely weaken the precedent set by Roe v. Wade.

Over 100 people turned up at last week's public hearing on the Duke Energy rate hike, and the majority of them spoke out against it. Well done! Keep up the pressure; there are more hearings!

This week's edition of the Eyeroll Express: we're not be done with the redistricting cases!

“Attorneys for Republican lawmakers went before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today and argued to have the Common Cause v. Lewis case moved from state court to federal court — even though it’s already been decided in state court, and the State Board of Elections has prepared for the elections under the newly-drawn maps.”
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As always, we'll keep you posted as this rolls on.

Family farms in North Carolina aren't faring too well, and the likely blame is Trump's trade war with China. Several weeks ago we learned that Rep. David Lewis was being sued for unpaid debts by two agricultural supply companies. Even one of the most powerful lawmakers in the state can't get his own colleagues to help him out. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The owners of factory hog farms, on the other hand, seem to be doing a little better. Good enough to spend over 6 years in court and to appeal all of the verdicts ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, which amount to “$97.9 million in compensatory and punitive damages for nuisance claims over 2 years.” Good enough, also, to sue their own insurance companies “because they are refusing to cover the legal damages incurred by the nuisance litigation. The insurers claim that the company’s waste management practices caused the damage.” I might be off base, but that sounds like one of the more expensive tantrums in North Carolina history.

Brace y'allselves: new and sordid revelations have come to light over the last couple weeks in the ongoing Silent Sam fiasco. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, who now own the Silent Sam statue, may have used their tax-exempt status illegally: to conceal donations to political campaigns. Bob Hall, a long-time campaign finance watchdog, filed a complaint against the SCV:

“according to The Daily Tar Heel report and allegation(s) from people I interviewed ... some leaders asked NC SCV members to put their names on phony PAC donations, as though the money was their own."

We also learn that the $74,999 given to SCV by the UNC Board of Governors-- ostensibly to forfeit the SCV's right to post flyers and flags on campus-- was actually meant for a much more sinister purpose.

The North Carolina chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy technically owned Silent Sam after it was removed from UNC's campus. The SCV used the $74,999 to pay the UDC for the statue, therefore allowing them to sue UNC and obtain the $2.5 million settlement.

“'I think it’s fairly common knowledge amongst the board that the payment to the SCV was not for the stated purpose of keeping them off our campuses, but to provide them the funds by which they could procure the statue from the UDC so that they then had a right to sue us,' the source told the DTH.”
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If that weren't bad enough, we also learn that the judge who approved the settlement was in contact with lawyers for both the SCV and UNC BoG before the case was even filed. While it's not illegal for judges and lawyers to converse outside of the courtroom about a case, it doesn't usually happen before the case is even filed. This is not how any of this is supposed to work.

The UNC Board of Governors has been nobody's darling in this whole fiasco, and is catching its due amount of hell. They're due more, as far as I'm concerned, since they voted to bar renaming all historical buildings and landmarks until 2031, thus preventing UNC from renaming any of its buildings named after racists.

The UNC Board of Governors isn't the only higher education leadership body in hot water this week. Two members of the ECU Board of Trustees are “accused of trying to fund an ECU student’s campaign for student body president in order to push their own political agenda.” (paywall after 5 free articles/month).

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Can we stop the Horrible Train? I want to get off.

Sens. Burr and Tilllis have done nothing more than what we all expected them to during the impeachment trial: defend Trump at all costs. This isn't news, butthe way Billy Ball writes about it in his latest piece for NC Policy Watch is worth your time.

“That Tillis and Burr would choose their party over country is hardly revelatory anymore; but that some 88 percent of Republicans, those opposing conviction according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, would choose factual and moral illiteracy over credible United States leadership is.”

If you remind yourself that the Republican party is, by now, made up of nothing but right-wing authoritarians who have bonded themselves body, soul, and bank account to the Trumpian brand of Republicanism, it's not revelatory at all. They have chosen a grossly selfish, ignorant and hypocritical parody of their own party as figurehead and are now not just unwilling, but unable to uncouple themselves from this contract. Doing so in today's polarized climate is a guarantee of political suicide--they will lose their office and their power-- and that is unacceptable. So they do what they must to maintain their power and their station, and unfortunately, they must do whatever Trump tells them to do.

This is why we go to the polls in 2020. This is why we vote every single one of them out.

Tags: (ICYMI, NCGA, 2020 election, redistricting, abortion, duke energy, voter issue: environment, nc farms, silent sam, thom tillis, richard burr, impeachment)

Disclaimer: Stamp NC Blue is a subsidiary of SNCB PAC. SNCB PAC  is not authorized by, financed by, or affiliated with any candidate or  campaign. Questions? Contact info@stampncblue.org.

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