Monday News: Because Freedom


ORANGE COUNTY CHURCH SETS UP BAIL FUND FOR THE POOR: People have been incarcerated before trial after being accused of littering, trespassing and stealing a a rotisserie chicken from a grocery store. Some have pleaded guilty without due process so they could go home and go about their lives, according to a new group Orange County Bail/Bond Justice. The group is the latest organization in the Triangle area trying to change that by establishing a rotating $50,000 bail fund. Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill launched the project in January 2019. The bail fund will post a maximum bail of $3,000 for those who cannot afford to pay it. When these people show up for their court dates, the money will be returned to the fund for other people to use. The fund will only cover Orange County residents charged with crimes in Orange County, and the nonprofit will consider previous failures to appear in court when deciding whether or not to fund a person’s bail.

JUDGES WILL BEGIN ASSESSING NEWLY REDRAWN CONGRESSIONAL MAP TODAY: North Carolina judges are deciding whether a U.S. House district map that Republican state legislators approved last month should be used in the 2020 elections or be redrawn yet again. A three-judge panel scheduled a court hearing for Monday to review what’s happened since October when it blocked the use of the 13 district boundaries approved in 2016 because they were likely unlawful partisan gerrymanders. The GOP-controlled General Assembly created a new map, which appears to threaten election prospects for two Republican incumbents. But Democratic and unaffiliated voters who challenged the 2016 map say it doesn’t fix problems of extreme partisan bias. North Carolina candidate filing begins Monday, but the judges ordered the state board not to accept congressional paperwork while maps are being examined.

MAYOR PETE TALKS ABOUT POVERTY IN VISIT TO REV. BARBER'S CHURCH: Poverty is a complicated issue, Buttigieg said, but paying people a living wage is the first place to start. He also voiced support for doubling the number of union members nationwide and for federal action to counter anti-union policies in North Carolina and other “Right to Work” states. “Sometimes it’s talked about like there’s some positive force, that the law of physics has pushed us to the (point where) we are now,” Buttigieg said. “Actually, it’s a consequence of specific policy choices ... and one of those policy choices is the minimum federal wage has been allowed to lapse.” Healthcare also should be provided to all people, he said. Barber noted the North Carolina legislature’s decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. The failure to expand Medicaid “should not have happened,” Buttigieg said, “and for anybody to talk of morality when we are called to heal the sick ... is unconscionable.”

TRUMP LEGAL TEAM WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS THIS WEEK: On Sunday evening, White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone told the House Judiciary Committee in a five-page letter that Trump would not participate in its first impeachment hearing, scheduled for Wednesday. The invitation from Chairman Jerrold Nadler “does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process,” Cipollone wrote. Four constitutional scholars — three chosen by Democrats, one by Republicans — are expected to testify on the standards for impeachment. Nadler (D-N.Y.) told Trump he had until 6 p.m. Sunday to notify the committee that he or his attorneys would attend; he has given Trump until Friday to decide whether to participate more broadly in the impeachment process. The Trump administration’s response suggests it will continue taking a defiant approach to the impeachment proceedings, betting that Republicans will stick together behind a noncooperation strategy meant to cast the inquiry as a partisan witch hunt. The move comes as Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee prepare to meet Tuesday to approve the release of their report detailing the panel’s findings on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

IRANIAN PROTESTS RESULT IN BRUTAL CRACKDOWN, AT LEAST 180 DEAD: Iran is experiencing its deadliest political unrest since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, with at least 180 people killed — and possibly hundreds more — as angry protests have been smothered in a government crackdown of unbridled force. It began two weeks ago with an abrupt increase of at least 50 percent in gasoline prices. Within 72 hours, outraged demonstrators in cities large and small were calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s government and the downfall of its leaders. In many places, security forces responded by opening fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men between the ages of 19 and 26, according to witness accounts and videos. In the southwest city of Mahshahr alone, witnesses and medical personnel said, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members surrounded, shot and killed 40 to 100 demonstrators — mostly unarmed young men — in a marsh where they had sought refuge. Altogether, from 180 to 450 people, and possibly more, were killed in four days of intense violence after the gasoline price increase was announced on Nov. 15, with at least 2,000 wounded and 7,000 detained, according to international rights organizations, opposition groups and local journalists.