Pragmatism with a conscience: An operating guide for the Democratic Party

The 2016 Presidential Election cycle produced many "disruptive" changes across the political spectrum, resulting in a categorically unqualified President and a fractured and bitter Democratic Party. These issues are not in dispute, and trying to minimize the importance of the latter will do nothing to heal those wounds. For a very brief period of time, it seemed like the blame game was over, that Democrats were beginning to come together and move forward in unity. But that may have simply been the eye of the storm. There is still a huge amount of animus directed towards "Establishment" Democrats, and the list of people who fall into that category is growing, instead of shrinking. And the more we scrabble around trying to find a magic issue or policy position that will please a super-majority of the voting population, the more damage we can do, if we're not careful. So I thought it would be constructive to develop a good "rule of thumb" for people to follow while searching for the Holy Grail of electoral success. Stealing from Hippocrates, that rule is "Do No Harm." Follow me below if you're intrigued:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC CHAMBER IS AWOL IN THE FIGHT FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS: At the height of the debate last week North Carolina’s foremost business organization, the state Chamber of Commerce was asked how it stood on House Bill 13 (which only partially deals with the problem, was passed and signed by Gov. Roy Cooper this week). “The North Carolina Chamber does not currently have a position on House Bill 13 and remains focused on policies that return accountability to the talent pipeline while raising student and school achievement,” was the reply. This non-answer, answer represents the unfortunate lack of leadership the state Chamber has shown in those issues most critical to supporting North Carolina’s public school system.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-n-c-chamber-is-awol-in-fight-for-public-schools/16669220/

An abortion debate Democrats shouldn't even be having

Yes, it is also an economic issue, but that's almost irrelevant:

It's not just a misstatement from Mr. Perez or a slight from Mr. Sanders. Democrats, in their post-election soul-searching, are trying to learn the lessons from Donald Trump's jolting victory and how they might win back the Presidency. And some--all men so far it should be noted---argue that the party should move away from so-called social issues like abortion and reproductive freedom.

Instead, these men contend, the party's focus should be on economics. The glaring mistake they make, however, is thinking that there is any way to disentangle economic rights from reproductive issues.

Gonna stop you right there, pal. Understand, I don't disagree with this assessment. Reproductive rights are critical in a woman's ability to receive a higher education, relocate geographically in pursuit of opportunities, secure a position and succeed at an occupation in our relatively unforgiving labor market, and accumulate at least a modicum of wealth from that work. But I disagree that we have to convince other Democrats those factors "elevate" the issue to something about which they should be concerned. Having control of their own bodies is both a human and civil right, and that is *all* we need to know to make this one of the Democratic Party's top issues, if not #1 itself. And if giving up advocacy for women's choice is our hot ticket to the White House again, we will be just as undeserving as the current occupant.

Saturday News: Hog wild

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CURRENT LAWSUITS MOVE FORWARD IN HOG FARM NUISANCE CLAIMS: Last October, over the objections of Murphy-Brown, the court allowed investigators to visit the hog farms, take air-quality samples, record video evidence, send in drones and catch as many pathogen transmission vectors – flies – as they could. The lawsuits also allege that the smells, pig transport trucks, open-air lagoons and spraying of waste onto fields are so offensive that people living in the vicinity can’t have visitors to their homes or have outdoor activities. The company says it complies with all existing laws and regulations, rendering the lawsuits groundless. The federal trials cleared their most recent hurdle Thursday. The state legislature passed proposed legislation protecting hog farms against lawsuits, after lawmakers agreed to remove a provision that would have made the protections retroactive to the Murphy-Brown lawsuits.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article147425529.html

Fascism Watch: Campus protest goes out with a whimper

When a handful of written words becomes a vocal gag:

The constituent institution shall implement a range of disciplinary sanctions for anyone under the jurisdiction of a constituent institution who substantially disrupts the functioning of the constituent institution or substantially interferes with the protected free expression rights of others, including protests and demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to engage in and listen to expressive activity when the expressive activity has been scheduled pursuant to this policy or is located in a nonpublic forum.

The 1st Amendment has always been a confusing and controversial concept, because for every opinion, there is an opposing one. It was true in 1789 when the Bill of Rights was demanded by the separate states before they would ratify the Constitution, and it's true today. But for all the lofty arguments and debate about who infringes on whom, or yelling "Fire!" in a theater, the overriding message of the 1st Amendment is that government should not be in the business of dictating who gets to speak and who doesn't. And delegating that decision-making to some Orwellian committee doesn't negate the General Assembly's huge Constitutional blunder with this bill:

'Recent Events in Charlotte'

It has long been said it takes only one step to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. This past week, the NC General Assembly jumped into the ridiculous with both feet. Any intimation that a driver can use his car to strike protesters blocking a road is prime for misuse and abuse. Nevertheless, HB 330 passed in the House and was sent to the Senate.

Friday News: Trolling Trump

NEW TRUMP INITIATIVE FOR CITIZENS TO REPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS BACKFIRES: A newly unveiled federal hotline intended to collect reports of crimes committed by immigrants has instead been inundated by accounts of UFOs, killer robots and Superman. The Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement, or VOICE, office opened Wednesday to track crimes committed by immigrants – legal or undocumented – to the United States. The office, part of the Department of Homeland Security, also rolled out a hotline for tips from the public. It didn’t take long for non-fans of President Donald Trump to come up with ways to register their disapproval of the whole idea. And the internet rose to the, well, call.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article147295794.html

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