NC CEOS: NOW'S THE TIME TO EXPAND MEDICAID: As business leaders in the State of North Carolina, we know firsthand that a strong workforce is essential to North Carolina’s economy. We also know that employee health is a big contributor to the strength of our workforce. A big contributor to good health is having insurance. People with health insurance are more likely to see a doctor when they get sick and have better overall health. And healthier employees are more productive and absent less. Unfortunately, 13 percent of North Carolinians under 65 are uninsured. These are our neighbors - they are construction workers, retail employees, restaurant workers, veterans and farmers; they are the bedrock of our communities. Currently, a family of four with working parents cannot earn more than $9,000 to qualify for Medicaid. But they earn too little to qualify for federal subsidies to buy their own insurance. They fall into a coverage gap.
SHOULD NC GOVERNOR VETO A BUDGET WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION?: More states each year, including those with Republican-led legislatures, have adopted Medicaid expansion — some because voters told them to do so in ballot initiatives. To date, 37 states (including the District of Columbia) are giving millions more citizens access to critical health care that Medicaid expansion brings. Republican leaders are doing North Carolinians a disservice by stalling on a plan that citizens overwhelmingly want and that Jackson suggests most lawmakers may support. There’s one way to find out if he’s right: craft a bill and hold a vote. If Republicans don’t want to vote aye themselves to Medicaid expansion, they should put it on the ballot and let voters decide, as several states have. As for a Cooper ultimatum: We’re wary of officials holding one legislative item hostage for the sake of an unrelated item. Tempting as it might be for the governor to threaten a budget veto if Republicans don’t move toward Medicaid expansion, he should resist. North Carolina voters can have their say at the ballot box — if not specifically on Medicaid expansion, then on the party that’s holding it back.
MAUREEN DOWD: FAIR PLAY IS NO MATCH FOR FOUL: At many of the most consequential moments in American history, I have watched officials bend over backward to be equitable, only to end up faltering and doing enormous damage to the Republic. It is possible to be “fair” in a way that is not at all fair. It’s simply bad judgment, ceding the ground to malevolent actors who use any means to achieve their ends, including flattening and sliming the proponents of “fairness.” President Barack Obama got similarly wrapped around the axle when he stayed mum on his administration’s investigation into Russia’s sabotage. Obama choked after the diabolical Mitch McConnell warned the White House that, if it acted on a plan to publicly shame Moscow, he would regard it as a partisan act. And finally, we have the unfortunate Robert Mueller, who took a tortuous route to decide not to decide on obstruction of justice. Like Comey, Mueller believed in his own purity so much that he was blinded to his naïveté. Mueller’s trust in Barr led him to miss the moment when Trump gobbled up the attorney general’s soul like a midnight snack — in one bite.
ANGELA WRIGHT-SHANNON: JOE BIDEN DOESN'T OWE ME AN APOLOGY: He could have called me to speak to Thomas’ behavior, thus backing Hill’s testimony. Yet he chose not to. For Hill, Biden was about as useful as an umbrella to a skydiver. But let’s keep things in perspective. The Thomas hearings were extraordinary for any number of reasons. Hard as it might be to imagine now, there was no national conversation about sexual harassment before the hearings. Secondly, the all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 had not the first clue about how to handle the accusations of a clearly accomplished, reputable, African American female law professor against an equally accomplished, African American male appeals court judge. Sensing the senators’ unease, Thomas played his race card in his opening remarks, declaring that the hearings were nothing more than “a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.” And, with that, he managed to neutralize any white man on the committee who dared to oppose him, turning the debate from one of sexual harassment into one of racist politics. I understand why Biden turned into a prattling, ineffectual lump of nothingness. I don’t excuse it, but I do understand.
TRUMP'S "SCANDALOUS HARANGUES" ARE AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE: In 1868, the House impeached President Andrew Johnson because of his firing of Edwin Stanton as secretary of war and, at root, Johnson’s thwarting of Reconstruction. But Article X against Johnson (the Senate eventually acquitted him of all charges) seems written for the current moment: Johnson, “unmindful of the high duties of his high office and the dignity and proprieties thereof,” it said, sought “to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach, the Congress of the United States.” On several occasions, it added, Johnson declared “with a loud voice certain intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues, and did therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces” against Congress and U.S. laws “amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled.” The article concluded that “said utterances, declarations, threats, and harangues . . . are peculiarly indecent and unbecoming in the Chief Magistrate of the United States,” and have brought the presidency “into contempt, ridicule, and disgrace, to the great scandal of all good citizens.” Johnson was therefore guilty of a “high misdemeanor in office.” Loud threats and bitter menaces in front of jeering crowds? Intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues? This sort of “misdemeanor” — in the original meaning of misbehavior, not the modern sense of a minor crime — defines Trump’s presidency.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
SALLY ROBERTSON: SAY "NO" TO DUKE ENERGY: Sen. Dan Blue is right when he says NC WARN is desperate to stop Senate Bill 559. Duke Energy plans 8 percent renewable energy by 2033, while other utilities are already at 30 percent or more, and Duke is building a fleet of new fracked gas-burning power plants even as scientists say we have 12 years to cut our carbon emissions in half or risk climate catastrophe. If you’re not desperate, you’re not paying attention. The bill, sponsored by Blue and other recipients of Duke Energy campaign donations, would make it easier for the monopoly utility to raise customer rates and could force customers to pay billions for coal ash and other corporate mistakes. In seeking a multi-year rate plan, Duke has cherry-picked a single part of a larger set of rate-making tools. The other piece is performance incentives that reward utilities for achieving goals important to customers, such as reducing peak demand. But Duke uses high demand as an excuse for building more gas plants. No wonder the bill leaves that part out. If Duke had a good plan, it would not have been rolled out in such a rush. Let’s have a full discussion, with consumer advocates at the table.
GARY PARKER: THE ART OF LYING HAS REACHED NEW HEIGHTS: Attorney General William Barr lied to Congress, and to the American people, during congressional testimony in April when answering Sen. Van Hollen on whether or not Barr knew if special counsel Mueller agreed with Barr’s assessment of the Mueller report. Then, when on May 1 Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee’s Republican members fostered the lying in an effort to support Republican Barr’s lies and, of course, Republican Trump’s lies. I know you see where this is going. It’s obvious our Republican president lies constantly, and he is now joined by his Republican attorney general. The Republicans in Congress, too, have decided it’s OK to lie, because it supports their Republican president. They believe Republican voters will re-elect them because those Republican voters love their Republican president despite his constant lying, not to mention breaking the law. If that actually becomes the case, then Republican voters are lying to themselves, are failing to stand up for the truth, and are harming American democracy. This isn’t some esoteric theory. It’s an existential threat to your future and mine. Government officials don’t lie to us constantly, but President Donald Trump is leading them in that direction.
ALISSA ELLIS: DON'T WORK WITH ICE: In “Sheriffs opposed to ICE detention put politics ahead of safety” (April 30 Opinion) J. Peder Zane claims to believe in the rule of law, but the law does not require sheriffs to work with ICE, and Zane is far too comfortable dismissing serious constitutional concerns with HB 370. The anti-immigrant bill, which would force N.C. sheriffs to help federal immigration officers detain and deport community members or face fines of up to $25,000 a day, requires sheriffs to hold someone in jail for ICE even if they are legally eligible for release, in likely violation of the Fourth Amendment. So-called “detainer requests” have led to the prolonged detention of thousands of people without probable cause, judicial approval, or basic due process protections. The ACLU of Florida found that ICE has even wrongfully detained U.S. citizens, issuing more than 400 detainer requests for citizens in Miami-Dade County alone. Democratically elected N.C. sheriffs have stopped working with Trump’s deportation force because doing so harms public safety, spreading fear, diverting resources, and making people less likely to report crimes or trust law enforcement. That conclusion is supported by their own experiences and from studies by groups including the libertarian Cato Institute. North Carolina sheriffs have no business doing ICE’s bidding.