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How Republicans Have Derailed the New South’s Emergence

North Carolina’s Research Triangle and the Charlotte/Cary area are hotspots for tech an other development. The US Government supplies over $1.5 billion a year in research grants to the state’s public universities, money that has helped drive the growth of the Universities in the state from decidedly mediocre to competitive powerhouses. This has spurred massive growth, as the combination of a realistic cost of living, easy access to recreational activities in the mountains and shore, as well a good school systems have individualized both corporations and employees to flock to the state.

Unfortunately, like Virginia, the back woods redneck religious bigots haven’t quite dissipated yet, and with the election of a Republican majority in the state house – pushing extremist social conservatism which is an anathema to the high-tech and banking industries.That growth roll may be in for a screeching halt.

You want to keep that growing Gov McCrory, you need to cut the “Culture War” bullshit fast.

The fact is, major corporations don’t give a shit about Republican tax breaks, they do about being able to attract the best and brightest as employees, and having a stable government  which isn’t going to do something stupid to hurt their business. They need good schools, which are producing students in the fields that relate to their businesses, who are willing to stay in-state after they graduate. (As an example, the collapse of what was once referred to as “Silicon Valley East” here in northern Virginia, was in good part due to the major University in the area being taken over by conservative donors. The school produces Economists and right wing Federalist Lawyers – but not STEM Graduates needed by the local industries to grow, or to establish the sort of incubators which create the next Google. Instead we have the Antonin Scalia Law School, which is fornicating useless, both as the symbol of higher education in the fields in demand, as well as in attracting students that want to be in a top program in the Sciences, Engineering, or technology.)

They want to be able to attract experienced workers and executives. To get those people, the potential employees need to feel comfortable moving their families into the State. The sort of “Culture Wars” and racism being promulgated by the right, destroys that.

This isn’t just an issue about Transgender people, it is an issue about the future viability of the State as a business center.

Back during the South Carolina confederate flag imbroglio, one of my clients was a foreign auto company looking to put a plant there. Took one of the Senior Staff folks down there behind the proverbial woodshed, and explained to him that foreign companies, unlike their US counterparts are not willing to go into an environment where discrimination and harassment lawsuits chew up 10-15% of their profits. And as such, were looking for a place which supported a harmonious workforce, over cheap rent. The differential between labor costs between Detroit and Charleston disappears really fast paying lawyers at $500/hr over racial bullshit. They got that message apparently from more than one prospective company. American companies have finally started to get a clue about this as well.

Too bad the white winger Tea Baggers haven’t.

This isn’t just an issue about Transgender people, it is an issue about the future viability of the State as a business center.

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS AND THE END OF THE NEW SOUTH

Monday, two North Carolinians squared off over the state’s controversial House Bill 2, which requires transgender people to use the bathroom matching their “biological sex” in public schools and government buildings and invalidates local laws protecting transgender people from discrimination. Both Pat McCrory, the governor of North Carolina, and Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General, grew up partly in Greensboro, a site of anti-segregation sit-ins in 1960, and Lynch recalled that history by comparing H.B. 2 to Jim Crow laws. “Let us reflect on the obvious but often neglected lesson that state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good in hindsight,” she said, as she announced that the Department of Justice is suing North Carolina, claiming that H.B. 2 violates federal laws forbidding sex discrimination.

Earlier that day, McCrory’s office had filed its own federal lawsuit, which attempted to protect the state from federal anti-discrimination action against H.B. 2. “North Carolina does not treat transgender employees differently,” according to the lawsuit. “All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of gender identity, or transgendered status.” Such bland assertions of neutrality have an infamous place in the law. Before the Supreme Court established a right to same-sex marriage, in 2015, North Carolina forbade gay and straight alike to wed members of the same sex. Before the Court invalidated laws against racial intermarriage, in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, the state forbade both black and white people to marry someone of the other race. All these laws were defended on the grounds that they treated everyone alike. So, for that matter, were the original Jim Crow segregation laws. In 1896, upholding separate-but-equal accommodations, the Supreme Court held that, if “the enforced separation of the races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority,” this was “solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction on it.”

McCrory’s suit looks more like political theatre than a serious attempt to preserve H.B. 2. On April 19th, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, adopted the Obama Administration’s interpretation of federal sex-discrimination law to invalidate a local school-board policy that assigned students to bathrooms by “biological genders.” The court accepted the federal government’s argument that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Titles VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and that “biological” bathroom assignments are just this sort of discrimination. (The Fourth Circuit reported that, in public hearings on school-bathroom assignments, the plaintiff in the case, a transgender boy, had been called a “freak” and “compared to a person who thinks he is a ‘dog’ and wants to urinate on fire hydrants.”)

That McCrory would seek out this wrong-side-of-history position reveals a lot about the fractured and desperate state of the Republican Party. The governor took office in 2013 as the consummate country-club Republican. He had spent fourteen years as the mayor of Charlotte, a banking capital, where he presided over robust growth and—unusual in the South—the construction of a light-rail system. He was a candidate in the “New South” tradition, a political manner that is also a development strategy. In the sixties, as other parts of the white South dug in against desegregation, North Carolina’s politicians found a different formula: accept the national consensus on civil rights and attract employers with low wages, weak unions, and business-friendly laws. The state’s population more than doubled between 1960 and 2010, as a formerly rural, agricultural state developed national centers of technology and finance. The previous New South governors were Democrats, but many saw McCrory as their natural successor in a state that narrowly supported Barack Obama in 2008 but in 2010 handed control of the legislature to Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction.

Since taking office, McCrory has mostly been back on his heels as a Tea Party legislature, installed with decisive support from the activist donor Art Pope (whom Jane Mayer wrote about in 2011), has set the state’s agenda. McCrory has signed laws restricting abortion access, cutting back on early voting and requiring voter identification, slashing unemployment benefits, and repealing the state’s Racial Justice Act, which commuted the death penalty for people sentenced in racially inequitable jurisdictions. North Carolina is one of nineteen states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (and the fourth-largest, after Texas, Florida, and Georgia). The advocacy group Families USA estimates that 593,000 North Carolina residents lack health insurance because of the state’s refusal.

The Tea Party has shared McCrory’s deregulatory, tax-cutting economic agenda, but it has led with culture-war issues. The year McCrory won the governorship, the legislature put forward a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which passed with sixty per cent of the vote. This blend of tactics defined most state-level Republican parties in the Obama years, when the Republicans took power in statehouses across the country, and McCrory seems to have made his peace with it. Polls showed him lagging in a tight reëlection race when he called North Carolina’s part-time legislature into emergency session in late March. Both houses passed H.B. 2 on March 23rd, and McCrory signed it that night. The only local anti-discrimination statute that it overrode was one passed a month before in Charlotte, where McCrory had served seven terms as mayor.

Now the New South elements of McCrory’s governing style are falling to pieces. H.B. 2 may have seemed an ordinary measure of culture-war politics when the governor signed it, but the consensus position on L.G.B.T.Q. rights has changed so fast that it may secure his place as the Orval Faubus of public bathrooms. McCrory’s Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general, who has announced that his office will not defend H.B. 2 against legal challenge, has led McCrory in every poll since the law was passed. Since H.B. 2 became law, PayPal and Deutsche Bank have scrapped expansion plans for North Carolina, the N.B.A. and N.C.A.A. have suggested that they may not hold future events in the state, and a caravan of entertainers have cancelled shows, including Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil. New South governors measure themselves by the investments they attract. When the cultural divisiveness of Tea Party politics drives out business and entertainment, it becomes New South kryptonite….More Here
 

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The New Jim Crow – “Culture Wars” In America – Really a Race War

This one from Truthout – Hat Tip!

This is a powerful analysis of the forces behind the “culture wars” and the desire to preserve Jim Crow as a functional entity by the right wing in America by Cary Fraser. Follow the link below to the original where support documentation is provided in the form of footnotes and links. As one example of this, work by Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness) has shown that during the height of Jim Crow, blacks went to prison at roughly four times the rate of whites; today the black imprisonment rate is seven times that of whites. (Another good reference in the prison industrial Jim Crow element of this is by Robert Perkinson – Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire.)

As I have reported here in The New Jim Crow series – the New Jim Crow impacts nearly every aspect of life for minorities in America, starting with access to education, credit, the ability to start business and conduct commerce, through access to jobs.

The New Jim Crow, Ubiquitous and Masked as "Culture Wars"

Coming to Terms With Equality and Diversity: America’s Ongoing Culture Wars

The recent decision by the Texas School Board of Education to revise the curriculum in the state to reflect a more “conservative” approach to social studies and history has highlighted the ongoing debate about the role of education in American society and culture. The explicit desire by the conservative majority on the Texas School Board to impose an ideological orientation in elementary and secondary education – including a shift of focus away from the civil rights movement and slavery, an emphasis upon ensuring that students be taught that the idea of the separation of church and state is not in the Constitution and promotion of the need to safeguard American sovereignty from threats posed by organizations such as the United Nations – is a barometer of the increasing uncertainty that has overtaken the conservative factions in American society. The election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president, on the basis of a well-executed campaign that demonstrated the increasing electoral influence of multi-ethnic coalitions in American politics, has served as a catalyst for reactionaries of all stripes to seek ways to reverse the movement of American society toward a greater openness and engagement with the wider world, including the diverse communities of color within the country. A recent article in the Wall Street reports that recent statistics suggest that population growth among minority groups in the United States will exceed growth rates among whites in the near future.(1) If that demographic shift takes place, the United States will become a country where there is no single ethnic group or race that will constitute a majority within the population. The promise of greater cultural and ethnic diversity in the American population is a guarantee of the erosion of the white-supremacist ethos that has defined American society over the course of its history. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in The New Jim Crow

 

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