Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THE WEAK REPUBLICAN CASE AGAINST EXPANDING MEDICAID IN NC: Perry’s argument follows a series of hollow Republican warnings about Medicaid expansion. First there was the rationale offered by then-Gov. Pat McCrory. He deemed North Carolina’s Medicaid program “broken” and said it would be irresponsible to add a half-million more people to the program. It turned out that the program is actually quite efficient compared to other states and has even come in under budget in recent years. Next came the claim that the state couldn’t afford its 10 percent share of the cost of expansion. But under Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget proposal the state’s share would be covered by the hospitals and health care plans that would benefit from the surge in insured patients. Finally, there’s the semi-conspiracy theory that the federal government might renege on its commitment to pay a minimum of 90 percent. Given that 36 states are now getting that level of payment, it’s unlikely that their representatives in Congress would approve cutting it back.

RUSH TO JUDGMENT WILL SIDETRACK GERLACH'S PROGRESS AT ECU: There is more we don’t know about what really was happening than what we do know. It is appropriate that the University of North Carolina system has launched an investigation to determine the facts. We do know that Gerlach inherited a dysfunctional administration at ECU that had mismanaged finances; lacked the confidence of staff and faculty and was distant and disengaged from students. Gerlach, in just the five months on the job, has made serious inroads in repairing the damage. He is smart and not only has an engaging personality, but the savvy and integrity to gain the trust of those across a broad political spectrum. He has been broadly praised for his hands-on approach and accessibility by faculty and students alike.

INVEST MORE IN THE EARLY YEARS OF NC CHILDREN: First, we call on our General Assembly to expand Medicaid – at no cost to individual taxpayers - to provide regular access to healthcare for 500,000 North Carolinians, many of them parents or educators of young children. Over 300 studies show that expanding Medicaid leads to better outcomes for children and their families. Medicaid expansion states have lower rates of infant mortality and an even greater decline in rates for African American births, more preventive health care visits for children, and even reduced rates of child maltreatment. Second, we call on our General Assembly to use the budget-making process to increase funding for early childhood education subsidies for working families, invest more in our Smart Start network, and provide a meaningful increase in rates and slots for our NC Pre-K program. Each of these investments are proven strategies to improve young children’s health, well-being, and early learning. Third, we call on our General Assembly to pass SB212, which would raise basic standards and provide scholarships and financial supports for early childhood teachers and programs – in turn, better preparing young children for success in school and beyond. This language passed unanimously in the House twice but is currently held up in Conference Committee waiting for action.

WE ARE ALL AT THE MERCY OF THE NARCISSIST IN CHIEF: If, by some grievous misfortune, you should happen to have a pathological narcissist in your life — a drain on your soul, a bottomless chute of need, a roaring outboard motor of jealousies and delusions and self-regard — there’s no shortage of literature offering advice, and most of it preaches the same thing: Never take the bait. If you can disengage, by all means do; if you cannot, keep clear boundaries. Even if it means building an alligator-filled moat. This advice works fine if the pathological narcissist is a neighbor, a childhood friend, even a cousin or a colleague. But what do you do if that pathological narcissist is the president of the United States? A number of Donald Trump’s critics have reached a consensus: We are being governed by a man with a narcissistic personality disorder, almost certainly of the malignant variety, and it’s time to call it by name. Has an exaggerated sense of his talents? Check. (See “in my great and unmatched wisdom,” “I alone can fix it,” etc.) Requires excessive admiration? Check. (See the infamous cabinet meeting in which members came not to brief Trump but to praise him.) Has a stupefying incapacity for empathy, is interpersonally exploitative, suffers excessively from envy and envies excessively? Check, check, check.

I AM A KURD IN SYRIA. THE U.S. SHOULD NOT ABANDON US: I am a Kurd. At age 30, I have seen violent death too often in my brief life. In 2013, Jabhat al-Nusra set off a bomb in Kobane that killed my 67-year-old father. In 2014, my sister Shirin Hesen was martyred while fighting the Islamic State. An international coalition soon intervened, and U.S. weapons supported our military forces. We thought, “The great state of America is supporting us!” The U.S. attacks and our fighters defeated the Islamic State in January 2015 and saved my hometown. Kobane was in rubble, but we had a home. On June 25, 2015, death visited my family again. An Islamic State gang covertly entered Kobane and slaughtered many Kurds, including 11 members of my family. I went out of my mind. Eventually, in honor of my slaughtered brother and his wife, I opened an all-Kurdish library in their names. Now, Turkey wants to invade Kobane, to deport or slaughter its people. My library is the only meaningful thing in my life. If I have to leave my hometown and my library, I will go mad. We have built our life expectations on the promises of the U.S. government. In the name of humanity, do not allow the Turks to attack Kobane. I call on the American people to take action, to go to the White House and tell President Trump not to abandon the Kurds. It is your human duty to prevent your loyal Kurdish allies from being massacred. We Kurds want only to live in dignity on our land.


KENDRA JOHNSON: NC NEEDS TO PASS EMPLOYMENT PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ WORKERS: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear opening arguments today for a set of cases that hold more weight for LGBTQ people than the marriage equality fight of several years ago. These cases center around LGBTQ employment discrimination. The harsh reality is that millions of LGBTQ Americans report having experienced discrimination in their everyday lives and on the job, including right here in North Carolina. All people deserve the right to work hard and support themselves and their families without fear of harassment or discrimination at work. The Supreme Court should affirm that reality. But regardless of how the court rules, it’s also critical that we pass a bill here in North Carolina and that Congress pass a federal law that backs up those protections across the nation. Please pay attention to these cases. This is scary and monumental decision that will literally govern many LGBTQ folks’ ability to hold down a job and put food on the table.

JIM WITECK: LET CONGRESS DO ITS JOB ON IMPEACHMENT: I am an unaffiliated voter who knows the difference between right and wrong. So I am amazed at too many of my fellow Americans who seem not to grasp the severity of the present allegations against the president. I would have thought every American would disapprove of a U.S. president actually soliciting foreign participation in our elections. Many more stones remain to be turned, but we now know enough that we can all agree further investigation is needed. So let us stand in support of the U.S. Congress as it fulfills its proper Constitutional oversight responsibilities — and speak out against the actions of this administration to impede Congress in this work. The rule of law is at stake.

PHYLLIS L. TEAGUE: BIBLE-TOTING TRUMPSTER, DON'T JUDGE ME: This is in response to a recent letter you published from James Mitchell, the pastor of Church of Living Water in Siler City. As one of those liberal Democrats you choose to judge, I am offended by your statements. Jesus Christ is my Savior, not Donald Trump. I am not anti-God, anti-American or anti-law enforcement. I think you need to reread your Bible as we are not supposed to judge other people. Especially when you have never even met me. Just because you are a Bible-toting Trumpster, that does not give you the right to judge me. Oh, and like Trump, you were spouting about the fake news. If it is fake news, tell me how do they get Trump’s voice in his mouth while his mouth is moving? That’s really a good trick. And one more thing. I agree the criminals will always have guns. However, most normal law-abiding citizens don’t tote around AK47 assault rifles. Democrats are not wanting to take away everyone’s guns. Just the assault rifles. That is fake news made up by the Republicans. Donald Trump has no compassion; if he did he wouldn’t have those poor children locked in dog kennels at the border. And it was appalling how he made fun of that disabled reporter, and also John McCain when he was dying from brain cancer. So maybe you could explain how you see him as so great? I’m 70 years old now and he is the only president I have ever been afraid of. And yet you Trumpsters act like he is God. I just do not get it. P.S. Judge not lest ye be judged ...



From the dark side

This week's featured artists are right-wing letter writers like Alvin Bolick:

With candidates like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, I don’t think the Republicans will need the Oct. 8 Forum writer’s vote for a win again in 2020. So will the Democrats get over the 2016 loss and do what you were sent to Congress to do and stop all the crying.

I once was a Democrat but switched parties before the last election. Now I am ashamed to admit I was ever a Democrat.

No, you didn't "switch" parties, you're now registered as Unaffiliated. That's not a party, it's actually a rejection of the two-party system. Which is fine, but if you're too leery of the Republican Party to associate with it, be a man and admit it.

And here's a little repetitive nonsense from Paul Valone:

Regarding “The gun lobby and the North Carolina legislature: How much money, how much influence?” (Oct. 10):

Grass Roots North Carolina is a grassroots movement.

This article says GRNC “has donated much smaller amounts to state lawmakers” than the NRA, without saying why: With rare exceptions, we don’t throw money at politicians who often “re-gift” to anti-gun candidates. Instead, we conduct “independent expenditures” wherein volunteers generate millions of emails, voter guides, postcards, robocalls, social media ads, even radio advertising, all to empower gun-owning voters.

These volunteers have prevailed in dozens of state and federal races. Ironically, media which malign the NRA for funding candidates simultaneously disdain volunteers who win by doing exactly the opposite.

Make no mistake, your "independent" expenditures are made for the same reason the NRA throws money at candidates, so you can lean on those Republicans to get laws you want passed. And your reputation for being a bully is well-established; those lawmakers know if they don't do what you want them to, GRNC will get vicious. With friends like that...

And here's some predictable nonsense from Mark Johnson:

I travel the state often to avoid becoming yet another Raleigh insider who never meets face-to-face with constituents. I frequently hear about the delay in response time caused by bureaucracy. I also get to see firsthand how N.C. teachers make use of iPads to help provide better, personalized opportunities for students.

In 2019, my team and I made operations at DPI more efficient and, consequently, had money in the budget at the end of the fiscal year. We decided to use those funds to directly support classrooms.

I ran for office to be an agent of change. I knew that meant establishment insiders and media elites would never like me. But I work for the people of North Carolina.

That's not just word salad, there's some deeply-rooted self-love in there that makes me cringe...

We'll finish with this little nugget from Neil Gustafson:

Want to know why Donald Trump got elected?

Trump asks that Hunter Biden be investigated for possible corruption for his role on the board of a Ukrainian company while his father was vice president. Biden, who received hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, had no apparent qualifications for this “job.”

But no one questions Biden (it may well have been legal) and the establishment wants to impeach Trump.

So...Trump got elected because of something he had not done yet? Oh, I know what you're talking about, it's about Draining the Swamp, isn't it? Like Giuliani's henchmen getting arrested, with Rudy soon to follow. Or Paul Manafort. Or Micheal Flynn. Or Rick Gates. Or Roger Stone. Or George Papadopoulos. I could go on, but we're still draining the swamp, so...