NC REPUBLICANS' SHAMELESS THEFT OF DEMOCRACY: The verdict is now plain. North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders — not actually leaders, but connivers — are beyond shame. In a stunning display of contempt for democracy, House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, called a surprise vote to overturn Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget just after a session opened at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Democratic lawmakers and the media had been told by Republican leaders that there would be no vote in the morning. Most Democrats were absent. Enough Republicans, aware of the secret plan, were there. When Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, made the motion to reconsider the state budget, the handful of Democrats on hand objected strenuously. “This is a travesty of the process and you know it,” said Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover.
STOP PANDERING TO FEAR. LET SHERIFFS PROTECT EVERYONE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES: Whether someone is a citizen or not; whether a person is in the United States legally or illegally is not in and of itself a presumption as to their danger to the public or guilt of a crime they’ve been charged with. Unless our judicial process mandates it, no one should be confined – not even for a couple of days -- because someone outside that system “asked” it be done. If anyone is going to be kept in jail – agencies like ICE can go to the courts to get a warrant for an arrest. That is how justice works in a free society. Gov. Roy Cooper was right when, in his veto message, he said: “This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina. … Current law allows the state to jail and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status. This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs do the job of federal agents.
RALEIGH WOMEN'S PRISON UNSAFE FOR DOGS IN THE SUMMER: The idea behind the state’s “New Leash on Life” program is to let North Carolina prison inmates learn the skill of training dogs. But when a local animal rescue group brought six dogs to the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh to live and learn with the inmates, there was a problem. The prison’s living quarters have no air conditioning and the overheated dogs paced and panted as temperatures rose. The group pulled the dogs out from May until September. The humans were left to swelter. Meredith Pope, a member of the dog rescue group, said the program ended three years ago, but during its two years of operation the dogs were removed as summer approached. “The dogs couldn’t withstand the heat and it broke our hearts because the women had to,” she said. John M.R. Bull, a spokesman of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, said the Raleigh women’s prison was built in 1938 before air conditioning became common, and the cost of adding it is beyond the budget of the division of prisons He said a lack of air conditioning is fairly common in North Carolina prisons, where nearly 40 percent of the inmates are housed in buildings without it. “Installing air conditioning in all the state prisons has been discussed periodically over the years,” Bull said. “Each year, the Division of Prisons has a limited amount of money available for repairs and renovations.”
WE ARE TRUMP'S REPUBLICAN CHALLENGERS. CANCELING GOP PRIMARIES IS A CRITICAL MISTAKE: A president always defines his or her party, and today the Republican Party has taken a wrong turn, led by a serial self-promoter who has abandoned the bedrock principles of the GOP. In the Trump era, personal responsibility, fiscal sanity and rule of law have been overtaken by a preference for alienating our allies while embracing terrorists and dictators, attacking the free press and pitting everyday Americans against one another. No surprise, then, that the latest disgrace, courtesy of Team Trump, is an effort to eliminate any threats to the president’s political power in 2020. Republicans have long held primaries and caucuses to bring out the best our party has to offer. Our political system assumes an incumbent president will make his case in front of voters to prove that he or she deserves to be nominated for a second term. But now, the Republican parties of four states — Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina — have canceled their nominating contests. By this design, the incumbent will be crowned winner of these states’ primary delegates. There is little confusion about who has been pushing for this outcome. Across the aisle, the Democratic primary challengers are still engaged in a heated competition of debates, caucuses and primaries to give their voters in every corner of our country a chance to select the best nominee. Do Republicans really want to be the party with a nominating process that more resembles Russia or China than our American tradition?
THE ONLY WAY TO END "ENDLESS WAR": American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. Dominance, assumed to ensure peace, in fact guarantees war. In theory, armed supremacy could foster peace. Facing overwhelming force, who would dare to defy American wishes? That was the hope of Pentagon planners in 1992; they reacted to the collapse of America’s Cold War adversary not by pulling back but by pursuing even greater military pre-eminence. But the quarter-century that followed showed the opposite to prevail in practice. Freed from one big enemy, the United States found many smaller enemies: It has launched far more military interventions since the Cold War than during the “twilight struggle” itself. Of all its interventions since 1946, roughly 80 percent have taken place after 1991. An even deadlier phase may be dawning. Because the United States pursues armed dominance as a self-evident good, the establishment feels threatened by a rising China and an assertive Russia. “Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific,” Mr. Pence told the cadets, noting that “an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region.” But China’s rise invalidates primacy’s rationale of deterrence, and shows that other powers have ambitions of their own. Addressing the rise of China responsibly will require abandoning nostalgia for the pre-eminence that America enjoyed during the 1990s.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
LAURIE MCDOWELL: DEMOCRACY WAS THWARTED ON 9/11: Wednesday was the 18th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 people died on that day; many more have died since due to the attacks. Countless civilians in foreign countries have been killed in wars since 9/11. And this is the day the Republican legislators in North Carolina chose to override the governor’s veto, mostly because Gov. Roy Cooper insisted on expanding Medicaid in our state. Is this what those 3,000 people died for? Shame.
CRYSTAL CAVALIER KECK: MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE WOULD DESECRATE NATIVE AMERICAN GROUNDS: I am a member of the state-recognized tribe in Alamance County, the Occaneechi band of the Saponi nation. I am speaking for myself and am not representing the tribe. However, I am one of many Native voices. The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension and construction through the northern part of Alamance County would destroy any remaining Native artifacts, burial mounds and ancestors left there. The Sissipihaw, Saponi, Shakori, Occaneechi and many more used to live here. The 1986 Alamance County Archaeological Survey Project mentions only a few of the Native American burial sites in Alamance County. In 1701, settler John Lawson traveled through the Piedmont area. Lawson described the land as “extraordinarily rich” and said that no man could have any reason to dislike it. He recorded 27 species of mammals, including buffalo, elk, wolf and panther. (Those species have died out in this area.) He said that the Haw River was named for the “Sissipahau Indians who dwell upon this Stream.” Their path became known as the Great Trading 21 Path, and it ran from Fort Henry in Virginia to cross Haw River near the present town of Swepsonvile. As we have seen all colonizers do time and time again, the proposed MVP would largely follow the Native American trading path down the Haw River. Everyone who lives in Alamance County has a duty to protect the path. Alamance County should be known for its rich Native American history; however, it will not be. It will be known as the county that let the MVP through, all to benefit the corporations. I am standing up for the people who choose to look the other way and for my future generations to come. I encourage you all to stand up for the Earth, stand up for the environment, stand up for your family and act. You can visit NoMVPSouthgate.org to file comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or you can reach out to the Sierra Club, to the Haw River Assembly or to me. We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight!
FRAN DENNIS: IT'S TIME TO REPLACE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: George Will supports the Electoral College in his Sept. 9 Opinion piece. If it had elevated wise and admirable people to the presidency in recent years, when the popular vote did not, there would be no attempt to change it. However, in 2000, with help from the Supreme Court, George W. Bush was elected. He promptly reduced taxes and reinstated a federal budget deficit that had been eliminated. He also stopped an FBI investigation of Saudi nationals in flight schools. On Sept. 11, 2001 these people hijacked airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Bush responded with a poorly executed war in Afghanistan, followed by an unjustified war in Iran. In 2016, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. He has increased the deficit, started trade wars, abrogated international agreements, and is generally unfit for the job. Hillary Clinton would be competent, even if unpopular. No wonder many voters want to replace the Electoral College!