Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


COMMON SENSE DACA RENEWAL DESERVES NC DELEGATION'S SUPPORT: There no rational reason not to both extend and provide a path to citizenship for those who came to this nation as children, not of their own doing. Most consider this nation as their own – they’ve never known anything else. They attend U.S. schools and colleges and many hold jobs and are embarking on careers in their communities. Cold-hearted sentiments, reflected recently by North Carolina U.S. Rep. George Holding, are unrealistic and amount to holding these kids hostage to prevailing partisan winds and political pandering to a hyper-ideological fringe. Making a child responsible for the actions of their parents is, frankly, dumbfounding. “Breaking the law has consequences and that will flow down to your children,” Holding said. Really? This is no small issue. North Carolina ranks seventh in the number of immigrants in the DACA program. There are more than 42,000 North Carolina residents eligible for DACA deferrals according to the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.

THE ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE POINTS THE WRONG WAY TO ENERGY'S FUTURE: The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline will originate in West Virginia, travel through Virginia and then continue south into eastern North Carolina, ending in Robeson County. That pipeline advocates focus on a short-term issue – a spike in natural gas prices – is part of a broader failure to respond to long-term patterns. And the failure is especially true of Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility, and Dominion Energy of Virginia, a partner in proposing the pipeline. The pipeline would help Duke Energy to build new natural gas-powered plants and perhaps create more industrial customers for the utility. That will help Duke Energy’s stockholders now, but it’s not a sound approach to tomorrow. The future is in alternative energy, much of it generated on site. Building pipelines and natural gas plants that transport fuels and electricity over long distances is a path back to the 20th century.

FORMER NC SENATOR MARGARET DICKSON ON GERRYMANDERING: State Rep. David Lewis, a Republican from Harnett County, had justified the partisan gerrymandering to House colleagues saying: “I propose we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it is possible to draw maps with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.” The judges did not buy that position, however, marking the first time partisan gerrymandering has been struck down in North Carolina. While racial gerrymandering has long been deemed unconstitutional — though legislators still try it from time to time -- courts have rarely dealt with partisan gerrymandering. That legal void has left room for the practice and allowed legislators like Lewis to feel comfortable announcing such plans out loud and in public. As Bob Dylan famously sang: “The times they are a’ changing.” The US Supreme Court heard arguments in a partisan redistricting case from Wisconsin last fall and has agreed to take up another case from Maryland. The North Carolina ruling will also make its way to Washington. The highest court in the land is signaling that partisan gerrymandering is an issue of national significance.

TRUMP'S BLUSTER ON NORTH KOREA IS A DEADLY SERIOUS AFFAIR: The notion of such a war, spurred on by Trump’s penchant for angry, chest-puffing attacks and Kim’s ineptitude – and of course, his nation’s foolish development of nuclear weapons – is frightening and so unnecessary. It’s almost as if playground bully Trump thinks he’s moving toy soldiers around in a sandbox. And he loves to vent his anger with no bounds. But the difference now is that Trump isn’t negotiating with another developer over a piece of Manhattan real estate or sitting on a television show set making pronouncements about whether a contestant on “The Apprentice” made money on a pizza shop. This is real, and the lives of millions of Americans and other citizens of the world are literally at stake, and in a war involving North Korea in whatever phase of nuclear weapons development that country is in, the outcome would be uncertain.

WORDS OF WARNING FROM BRAVE SENATORS: Flake’s speech was preceded by McCain’s op-ed column in The Washington Post. McCain asserted that Trump’s “unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets ... has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit.” Flake cited reports that authoritarian leaders in Syria, the Philippines and Venezuela now use the term “fake news” to justify crackdowns on critics. The government in Myanmar employed the label to deny the existence of a persecuted ethnic group. In Singapore, the government promises “fake news legislation” this year, Flake said. As Trump calls for tighter libel laws here. Flake and McCain aren’t only defending the news media. They are trying to rescue the truth from a White House that regularly twists or denies facts. Flake described “perhaps the most vexing untruth of all — the supposed ‘hoax’ at the heart of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. To be very clear, to call the Russia matter a ‘hoax’ — as the president has many times — is a falsehood.”


JENNY KOTORA-LYNCH: TO TRIGGER A "BLUE TSUNAMI," TAKE ACTION: I could easily despair of having any effect on the horror show that is Washington. The only reliable way to stop Trump is to change the Congress. And that’s where I can have an impact, right here in North Carolina. I can help make sure every eligible voter is registered. I can canvass and make phone calls for local candidates. I can get voters to the polls. I can give my time and even some money to make a change here and now. That Democratic wave in November isn’t a given. If we really want change, we have to get up and move. With enough of us in motion, we can shake the earth and trigger that blue tsunami.

GARY PARKER: REPUBLICANS SHOULD STAND UP TO BIGOTRY: White nationalists last year marched in the streets of some cities chanting, “Blood and soil!,” a revived rendition of an old Nazi chant, “Jews will not replace us!” and “Hail Trump!” The Southern Poverty Law Center has found that over the last several years there has been an alarming increase in hate groups in the U.S. Many rose because those people hated our nation’s growing diversity and now believe they have found a champion in Trump. It is time to take a stand against such beliefs. It is time for Republican leaders to stand up for the Republic rather than for the Republican Party. So far, Republicans in Congress are cowards who don’t speak out against Mr. Trump’s disgusting language and harmful actions and instead enable him. That cowardice and the silence of the rest of us will surely lead us down a path that we will one day regret.

CHARLIE BOARD: "DO UNTO OTHERS": With all the furor over President Trump’s disgusting use of language to express his ideas last week, unfortunately the context is being overlooked. Let’s recall that he used that word in a meeting where he was torpedoing a bipartisan compromise solution to the DACA crisis that he himself created. And pretty clearly signaling his intent to shut down the government in order to deport children who grew up American. So, since the deadline is upon us let’s take just a moment to remember that the GOP bears blame for a shutdown for three reasons: 1) They control the entire government 2) They are the ones blowing up a compromise and 3) On the three key areas of disagreement – DACA, CHIP and spending levels – Democrats are not demanding any new concessions, only the status quo. The GOP on the other hand is holding the budget hostage to get new concessions. Remember, in the end DACA isn’t about borders or immigration at all – it is about showing basic humanity, decency and common sense toward people who grew up here, amongst us and with our children. People with no other home. Do unto others ...



From the dark side

John Hood is once again in the negative spotlight for advocating work requirements for those on Medicaid:

If government gives you a cash handout or a “free” service and you are capable of working, studying, or providing service to the community in exchange, should you be obligated to do so?

Most conservatives say yes. Most progressives say no. Most Americans agree with the conservatives on this.

Well, what the hell do you expect? The private sector health care industry has placed such a huge financial burden on people and families they are naturally going to be a little biased against those who don't have to pay for it. Doesn't mean squat. And this just defies logic:

If work-or-service requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients are too hard to define or costly to administer, then that becomes a strong argument not to allow such recipients on Medicaid in the first place — at least not in a free society where government is supposed to be minimized and personal responsibility is supposed to be the default.

What? Seriously, what? The capability or efficiency of monitoring such a draconian enforcement policy has absolutely nothing to do with a Medicaid recipient's ability to pay for his or her treatment. And frankly, this sounds (a lot) more like a cop-out than a reason anyway. An integral part of that regime you envision would be to identify and quantify actual jobs that are available, and if government fails to do that, that is strong evidence those people should be on Medicaid.

Thus ends today's lesson on how to arrive at a logical conclusion. I hold out little hope John Hood would actually learn anything from that, but maybe we can whittle away at the 2/3 of Americans who think this Medicaid work requirement is a good and fair idea.

What Hood conveniently forgets in all his rhetoric ...

... is who is actually eligible for Medicaid. You not only have to be low income, you also have to fall into one of the following categories: people with disabilities, low-income children below a certain age, pregnant women, parents of Medicaid-eligible children who meet certain income requirements, and low-income seniors.

Really, there's probably a very small percentage of eligible recipients that would be capable of working and not have a job.

It's just poor-shaming, nothing else.