Monday News: Theocracy


DAN FOREST WANTS TO PREACH HIS WAY INTO GOVERNOR'S MANSION: In his speech, Forest encouraged the congregation to get involved in politics. He suggested that the Bible predicted the current political polarization and that God would “heal” the country if Christians prayed for forgiveness. He compared current culture to 2 Timothy Chapter 3 of the Bible which, in the New International Version translation, says “There will be terrible times in the last days.” He offered his assessment of multiculturalism shortly after mentioning Satan’s intentions to divide the country. And then he outlined his hope for the nation. If “Christians will humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways and get on our knees and ask a loving and forgiving God to forgive us, he promises to heal our land. And he promises that he’ll give us a better land,” Forest said.

AFTER SUPREME COURT PUNT, MANY LOOK TO LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS TO FIX GERRYMANDERING: The competing measures feature a range of tactics aimed at reducing the influence of politics in the construction of voting district maps. Introduced by Republican and Democrats in both chambers, all of them seek to limit the role of partisan data in map-making and remove – at least to some extent – legislators from the process. Some call for amendments to the North Carolina Constitution. Others seek those goals through changes in state law. Yet, none has seen much movement since they were introduced in the early months of the 2019 legislative session. But with the Supreme Court decision now in the books – and the uncertainty of 2020 looming – the reform bills' time in legislative purgatory may be coming to an end. "We are open to anything that is an improvement in the process," Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, the House's lead mapmaker, said during a press conference shortly after the Supreme Court decision.

"DEATH BY DISTRIBUTION" BILL PASSES OUT OF NC HOUSE: Currently, drug dealers who contribute to an overdose death can face second-degree murder charges, but prosecutors must prove malice - a high standard that makes conviction difficult. The bill would allow prosecutors to pursue high-level felony charges with penalties comparable to those given for second degree murder charges_without having to prove malice. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition has come out against the bill, but coalition board member Diannee Carden-Glenn said she supports punishing drug traffickers. Carden-Glenn lost her son to a drug overdose in 2012 and subsequently advocated for the Good Samaritan Law to protect drug users. However, she said the legislation passed Thursday is a “hard pill to swallow,” after all of her previous advocacy work and will hurt the same people that the Good Samaritan law was intended to protect. “There’s a higher likelihood that it’ll affect friends, neighbors, and people who really need help,” she said.

TRUMP CROSSES INTO NORTH KOREA, POSSIBLE NUCLEAR "FREEZE" IN THE MAKING: Donald Trump on Sunday became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea as he met Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader, at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone. The two agreed to restart negotiations on a nuclear agreement. The made-for-TV meeting came after Mr. Trump extended an invitation on Twitter barely 24 hours earlier. Afterward, the president said that he and Mr. Kim had agreed that negotiators would resume talks in the next few weeks — four months after their nuclear summit collapsed in Vietnam. The Trump administration has been debating what would amount to a nuclear freeze, essentially enshrining the status quo and tacitly accepting the North as a nuclear power, our national security correspondents write.

TRUMP IS DETERMINED TO GET HIS ARMY TANK SHOW ON THE STREETS OF THE CAPITAL: The ongoing negotiations over whether to use massive military hardware, such as Abrams tanks or Bradley fighting vehicles, as a prop for Trump’s “Salute to America” is just one of many unfinished details when it comes to the celebration planned for Thursday, according to several people briefed on the plan, who requested anonymity to speak frankly. Trump has been fixated since early in his term with putting on a military-heavy parade or other celebration modeled on France’s Bastille Day celebration, which he attended in Paris in 2017. Trump angrily backed off plans for a grand Veterans Day parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in 2018 amid concerns from District officials over costs and potential road damage from military vehicles. The type of armored tactical vehicles under consideration for this year’s July Fourth celebration can weigh 60 tons or more, and some, such as Abrams tanks, have tracks that can be particularly damaging.