Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


SPEAKER MOORE'S OPPOSITION TO MEDICAID EXPANSION IS PREJUDICED FANTASY: To take Moore’s word for it, people who can’t afford health care are dodging work and looking for a free ride. First, the poor who earn below the poverty level and cannot or do not work ALREADY qualify for Medicaid. Second, Nearly all of the North Carolinians who would qualify for Medicaid under expansion DO HAVE JOBS. Many work hard at more than one. It is just that the jobs are so low paying, these families barely earn above the poverty level. Still, they earn too much to qualify for the current program. These are people live day-to-day at the edge of a financial cliff. These families are just one missed paycheck, or serious health event, away from economic calamity. They are Moore’s neighbors – more than 6,000 in Cleveland County. They are Senate leader Phil Berger’s neighbors too. There are 16,300 in the four counties he represents.

A SUPREME COURT COP-OUT ON PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING: Justice Elena Kagan, in a blistering dissent, responded: “For the first time ever, this Court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities.” We agree. If there ever was a time for the Supreme Court to give voting back to the voters, it was now. The Justices had before them two cases of egregious district drawing — one from Republicans in North Carolina and one from Democrats in Maryland. Together, they were a reminder that gerrymandering is a bi-partisan scourge on voters, an affliction perpetrated by the powerful wanting to keep power, regardless of political party. In North Carolina, Republicans were especially unabashed about it. When the General Assembly met in 2016 to pass a congressional map involved in Wednesday’s case, Republican Rep. David Lewis, co-chair of the elections committee responsible for the maps, said he believed “electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats.” Voters needed the Court to do what lawmakers won’t — to correct an unconstitutional practice, to declare the law as it so often does, to provide Americans with free and fair elections. Instead, it shrugged.

MEGAN RAPINOE IS THE LEADER FOR HER TEAM AND HER TIME: Many sports teams tend to retreat into a bubble when it comes to difficult topics and moments, to offer bland and insipid “one game at a time” pablum. Not Rapinoe and this U.S. women’s team. It sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination before the tournament. And once it arrived in France, Rapinoe (on camera) and her teammate Ali Krieger (on Twitter) jousted with President Donald Trump. Krieger had already made news here by suggesting that the Americans’ depth left the United States not only with the best team in the World Cup, but also with the second-best. Some may consider their remarks audacious or disrespectful, but a journalist always wants to know what an athlete is truly thinking. Rapinoe and her teammates, then, are refreshingly, wonderfully candid. And coach Jill Ellis seems uninterested in trying to tamp down any verbal brush fires or worried they will escalate into distracting conflagration. She appears to feel that self-assurance, on the field and off, is a necessary vaccine against wallflower reticence, which could hurt her team — any team — in the most demanding moments.

RATHER THAN DEFEND DEMOCRACY, TRUMP JOKES WITH PUTIN: At the outset of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Trump was asked about the election meddling. He lifted a finger, pointed it at Mr. Putin and joked, “Don’t meddle in the election.” He was dismissive and halfhearted when the moment called for a serious and firm statement. Mr. Putin surely grasped the import of Mr. Trump’s lame gesture. He got away with it and can again. To make matters worse, Mr. Trump then launched into another screed against the media in front of Mr. Putin. “Get rid of them,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the pool reporters covering the meeting. “ ‘Fake news’ is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.” Mr. Putin, in a rare public remark in English, replied, “We also have. It’s the same.” Mr. Trump’s remark was an unctuous display of his personal strongman impulses in front of a Russian president who leads a system that imprisons, persecutes and kills journalists and dissidents who become too curious or critical.

THE WOMEN WHO WON THE DEBATES ARE THE DEMOCRATS' BEST HOPE: We’ve now had two Democratic debates in which women dominated. On Wednesday, Warren was one of the first debate’s clear winners, along with Cory Booker. And across the political spectrum, there was a near-universal consensus that Kamala Harris triumphed on Thursday, scoring a devastating blow against Biden in an exchange about busing. The question now is whether these victories can convince battle-scarred Democratic women to believe once again that a woman can beat Donald Trump. There’s a bleak paradox here. Feminists, myself included, are probably more likely than others to believe that sexism played a profound role in Clinton’s loss. Looking back, the 2016 campaign seems to me like a slow-motion symbolic femicide — the “Lock her up!” chants, the “Trump that Bitch” T-shirts, the proliferation of medusa imagery. But the more you think that misogyny undermined Clinton, the less inclined you might be to support another female challenger, given the hellish prospect of four more years of an authoritarian goon — who has now been credibly accused of rape — defiling the White House.


ELAINE WHITFORD: YOU CAN BE THE SOLUTION ELDERLY NEED: The Wake County sheriff’s decision to discontinue the Citizens Well-Check program has drawn attention to the fact that many adults are aging with little to no family or friends nearby. For 27 years, The Center for Volunteer Caregiving has trained volunteers to provide unskilled caregiving services to older adults in Wake County who do not have the financial means to purchase caregiving services needed to maintain their independence. Center volunteers provide friendly visits, telecare, home chore services, and transportation services for older adults who are isolated or lack support systems. While The Center cannot replicate the Well-Check program, the services its volunteers provide are a crucial link to the community for many older adults. Be a part of the solution by becoming a volunteer:

DENISE BAKER: URGE CONGRESS TO TAKE BACK ITS WAR POWERS: On June 21, President Trump tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night” in Iran, but he canceled the strike 10 minutes before it was scheduled to begin. I’m grateful that the president had second thoughts, but next time we probably won’t be so lucky. At the beginning of his term, Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by President Obama and the European Union. Now, willy-nilly, he seems to be getting ready for war with Iran. This situation is frighteningly reminiscent of the buildup to the Iraq War under George W. Bush. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but we started hearing warnings about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and the mushroom cloud that threatened the U.S. We know now that those reports were false but both Iraq and the U.S. suffered horribly from this unwarranted war. Unfortunately, Congress’ authorization for war in the Middle East is still in force. The House of Representatives recently revoked the act which allowed the deployment of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Reps. Budd and Walker both voted against the bill. We can’t let the Republican Senate enable another unnecessary war. Call Sens. Burr (202-224-3154) and Tillis (202-224-6342) to urge them to nullify the Authorization for Use of Military Force so that the Trump administration doesn’t stumble into another disastrous war in the Middle East.

AMANDA E. FINN: CRISIS AT THE BORDER REFLECTS DETERIORATED AMERICAN VALUES: As is increasingly clear through reputable news sources, the immigrant crisis at the the U.S.-Mexico border does not defend the dignity of immigrants or the reputation of the justice in this country. Children are suffering psychologically from being separated from their parents without any support system and are physically suffering from health issues caused by close confinement without access to basic hygiene necessities. This treatment is deplorable and unacceptable. I urge Sen. Burr, Rep. Price and Sen. Tillis to advocate for the release of these children and return them to their families immediately. In the interim, demand sanitary living conditions while the process of returning children to their families is underway. Congress is neglecting its duty to reform and fund our immigration system in a compassionate and reasonable way in accordance with the precedent set by our legislative and justice systems. Turning a blind eye to this tragedy belittles the actions of our founders, the soldiers who perished alleviating similar systems of oppression in Europe in the 20th century, and those currently serving to uphold democratic values across the globe. I urge my elected officials to show that xenophobia is not allowed in America and end this crisis.



From the dark side

This week's loser is that dinosaur Uncle Tom Walter Williams for bashing the idea of reparations:

Slavery was a gross violation of human rights. Justice demands that all participants in the trans-Atlantic slave trade make compensatory reparation payments to slaves. However, there is no way that Europeans could have captured millions of Africans. That means compensation would have to be paid by Africans and Arabs who captured and sold slaves to Europeans in addition to the people who bought and used slaves. Since slaves and slave traders and owners are no longer with us, compensation is beyond our reach and it’s a matter that will have to be settled in hell or heaven.

Yes, many of the slaves were actually captured by warring tribes and Arabs raiding sub-Sahara areas. But that was due to your favored free-market Capitalism exploiting the situation. Without the Triangle, the trade itself would have been minimal and sporadic.

Let’s pretend for a moment that the reparations issue makes a modicum of sense. There’s the question of responsibility. More explicitly, should we compensate a black person of today by punishing a white person of today, by taking his money, for what a white person of yesteryear did to a black person of yesteryear? If we believe in individual accountability, we should find that doing so is unjust. In other words, are the tens millions of Europeans, Asian and Latin Americans who immigrated to the U.S. in the late 19th and 20th centuries responsible for slavery, and should they be forced to cough up reparations? What about descendants of Northern whites who fought and died in the name of freeing slaves? Should they pay reparations to black Americans? What about non-slave-owning Southern whites — who were a majority of Southern whites — should their descendants be made to pay reparations?

For much of the 17th and 18th Centuries, Northern colonies were deeply enriched by the fruits of slave labor, most of which took place in the South. But just the act of trying to separate people into individual groups by race and geography overlooks (intentionally, I might add) that our nation as a whole grew into an economic powerhouse in a large part due to slavery. Something you clearly don't understand:

Reparations advocates make the unchallenged pronouncement that the United States became rich on the backs of free black labor. That’s utter nonsense. While some slave owners became rich, slavery doesn’t have a good record of producing wealth. Slavery existed in the southern states and was outlawed in most of the northern states. Buying into the reparations argument suggests that the antebellum South was rich and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our country were places where slavery flourished: Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. And the richest states and regions were those where slavery was absent: Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.

Okay, aside from the fact that banks in New York financed much of the slave trade and plantation growth, before the beginning of the Civil War the Southern slave states would have been the 4th wealthiest nation in the world, if it was classified as a nation. The decision to create their own currency and back war bonds with gold gutted that wealth, and losing the war did the rest of the damage.

Walter Williams is a dinosaur, but he's not stupid. I'm sure he's aware of the above, he just chooses to create a false narrative. And after decades of nobody calling out his bullshit, that's no surprise.

There’s another possible reparations issue completely ignored: Blacks as well as whites live on land taken, sometimes brutally, from American Indians. Do blacks and whites owe American Indians anything?

Actually, the question is: Does Walter Williams really care about Native Americans? No. No, he does not. They're just a handy rhetorical tool.