Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


SPEAKER MOORE'S HALF-FILLED CHAMBER WIN IS EMPTY VICTORY: As state House Speaker Time Moore speaks more and more about his successful veto overrides, we become increasingly convinced he has abandoned all perspective. So determined to win is he, that he has lost sight of his chief leadership responsibility -- to operate an open and honest House that respects the value of all citizens’ votes. Everybody likes a real winner. But it is how you play and win that becomes the legacy. Moore’s fairness-be-damned approach will haunt him. There is no morality to a victory when the other side believed that there would be no game. House minority leader Darren Jackson believed that he had been told by House Rules Committee Chairman Rep David Lewis that there would be no votes in the morning session. Jackson then informed his caucus. So, did Lewis unintentionally mislead Jackson or was it a deliberate act to give out fake information and fool Democrats? It doesn’t matter.

THE DISPOSABLE THINGS WE VALUE--AND THE PEOPLE WE DON'T: Affordable housing is wonderful in concept, as long as it’s not too close to us. If gentrification pushes people out of their neighborhoods, the problem is theirs not the people who displaced them. We may find it inconvenient when they live on the streets but we are most outraged when it affects the value or aesthetics of our home, when they occupy “our best entrances to buildings.” The anxiety provoked by immigrants unearths all sorts of places where fears flourish — of brown people, non-English speaking people, and people living in poverty. We really do not want their jobs, but we’d rather the work go undone than let someone have it if we consider them undeserving. We don’t judge them worthwhile, so we cast them away. Our most precious possessions often link us to people who matter, and there is no shame in valuing them. Perhaps if we can refocus on those things that are truly irreplaceable, we can fully recognize that people are inherently irreplaceable, as well.

RICHARD BURR HAS A DUTY TO SPEAK OUT ON TRUMP AND THE UKRAINE: Burr, as of late Monday afternoon, had made no comment on the Trump administration’s subverting a law meant to protect intelligence officials who report wrongdoing. It’s possible that Burr, who relishes the secrecy of his committee’s work, is addressing the matter behind the scenes, but that is hardly enough. Trump has repeatedly acted above the law, but the Ukraine incident has brought opposition to his actions to a boil. Many Democrats say impeachment is the only proper and adequate response. Burr says this is his last term. He doesn’t need to worry about a Trump-inspired primary against him. As the leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he should assert the authority of a co-equal branch of government. This isn’t simply a matter of Burr carrying out his role as chairman. It is about protecting the democratic system. Many Americans now wonder whether America’s institutions can protect the nation against a rogue leader. What is Burr’s answer?

THE OTHER UKRAINE SCANDAL: TRUMP'S THREATS TO OUR AMBASSADOR WHO WOULDN'T BEND: The recent revelations about President Trump’s treatment of Ukraine catalogue a number of potentially serious misdeeds, including abuse of power, extortion of a foreign leader, violation of campaign finance laws and a conspiracy to cover up all of the above by storing records of phone conversations on a top-secret server in the White House. But as investigations proceed and Americans consider these revelations, they should hold in mind another transgression: the president’s egregious mistreatment of one of the country’s most distinguished ambassadors. Even before the rough transcript of the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released, we knew that the administration had prematurely curtailed the appointment of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch following public attacks on her by the president’s eldest son and by his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Administration officials then falsely claimed that she was leaving her post “as planned.” Now, we also know that Trump went on to denigrate the ambassador in a phone call to a foreign leader, telling Zelensky that “the woman” was “bad news” and vaguely but ominously noting that “she’s going to go through some things.”

TRUMP CAN'T TAKE A PUNCH: The idea that Trump thrives in chaos — that controversy is an asset to his presidency — just isn’t true. Despite his constant bluster, the president can’t take a punch. As soon as it was clear that the House would go after Trump for his actions regarding Ukraine, he panicked — even trying to implicate his vice president in the scandal. “I think you should ask for Vice President Pence’s conversation, because he had a couple of conversations also,” Trump said at a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on Wednesday. Since then, he (along with personal lawyer and co-conspirator, Rudy Giuliani) has done little more than lash out, using Twitter to send angry messages about his political opponents. “IT WAS A PERFECT CONVERSATION WITH UKRAINE PRESIDENT!” Trump shouted in a Friday morning tweet. “The Democrats,” he added a few minutes later, “are now to be known as the DO NOTHING PARTY!” Noted. Trump is at his weakest when he’s in this mood — erratic and angry, consumed by striking back at his political opponents. You can see this in the polling. His job approval is at its worst when he’s mired in controversy. If you are a Democrat, and if you are thinking strategically, you should see impeachment as a valuable advantage for the upcoming election, since it pushes Trump into the kind of behavior that has kept him from reaping the benefits of relative prosperity. It keeps him off balance at exactly the moment — a re-election campaign — that he needs to be steady. Democrats should also heed the shift in public sentiment: not as a warning, but as encouragement. Given evidence of wrongdoing, voters can be moved.


KAREN WOOLLEY: IMPEACHMENT IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE: Why am I called a “Democratic liberal” simply for believing the president of the United States is not above the law? Shouldn’t it be taken for granted that anyone elected to the highest office in the land put the interest of the country above self-interest? That this person should have read the Constitution and understand how the three branches of government work? That would seem to be a fairly low bar and have nothing to do with political affiliation. Sadly it is too high for the current president and his supporters, who resort to name-calling whenever someone points out the myriad of ways he demeans the office and the country. And please move on from pointing out that that he was “legitimately elected.” So what? It’s his egregious actions since then that count — and speak volumes.

JOE LYONS: GOP IS AIDING AND ABETTING TRUMP: Donald Trump has brought personal and political corruption to a new level — a level that would ensure significant jail time were he not president of the United States. His Republican supporters are abetting this behavior by either blindly following his orders or keeping silent so that their re-election won’t be jeopardized. I am speaking of the unqualified Cabinet appointees who are for the most part ex-lobbyists and sycophants who will do anything to stay in power, and of the Republican congressmen and women who care more for re-election than their mandate to serve the people. Unfortunately, I include among them N.C. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. It is time we realize that Trump poses a major threat to constitutional democracy and has become a growing cancer on our country’s international relations. He must be expelled from office either through impeachment or by constitutional election.

KAREN SCHELLHORN: LISTEN TO OUR YOUTH: Serious, intelligent and schooled in their use of the media, people under age 18 are raising awareness about gun violence and threats to our planet. They are not waiting to influence a nation about their own safety and quality of life; they are pushing forward using news and social media, leading demonstrations, and even appearing in Congress. It’s eye-opening to watch the fearlessness and engagement of people not yet old enough to vote move a nation on some of the most critical issues of our time. Before long these will be our leaders, taking us in a new direction that will improve how we live. For those concerned about the state of our union today, we may have less to fear for the future than we think. It is in their hands.



From the dark side

This week's loser is Donald van der Vaart once again, for whining about those meddlesome kids:

Once again, a group of influential green groups and corporations are promoting a global climate strike. The recent strike pushes young students to walk out of school and workers to leave work to protest the energy sources that keep us alive and thriving. Stunts like these may serve to raise awareness about the global climate, but it’s questionable whether abandoning your job or school for a day or two, or seven, will actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Right off the bat, you can tell Don doesn't have a clue what caused this massive phenomenon to take place. Last year, 15 year-old Greta Thunberg walked out of her school, by herself, and began the crusade to raise awareness to the growing threat of Climate Change. As a result, millions of people around the world have marched in solidarity, on every continent (including Antarctica) and on scattered islands here and there. Green groups and corporations didn't push Greta, she pushed them.

The campaign website — — tells people they must “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.” But, in the United States, we rely on these fuels for over 80% of the energy we use every day to provide our food, clean water, heating and air conditioning, medicines, transportation, and so much more. In less affluent countries, fossil fuels are lifting many out of poverty. That doesn’t seem to matter to the strikers.

You're right, it doesn't matter. Because that kind of rationalization is destroying our planet.

Even worse, the energy sources held up as replacements for fossil fuels — typically wind and solar — couldn’t exist without fossil fuels. Natural gas, oil and coal are needed to mine, refine, process, and ship the metals, rare earth minerals, silicon, plastics, and other materials that go into renewables. Without steel, there are no towers to hold up wind turbines. Without rare earths, there are no solar panels. Adding to this conundrum is the fact that wind and solar cannot provide reliable power. They are intermittent, meaning they must be backed up by more reliable energy sources, such as natural gas.

Well of course the construction of renewable energy sources requires power and raw materials. Nobody said you could wave your magic wand and they would appear. As far as their "intermittent" nature, wind and solar tap two radically different naturally-occurring resources. Wind blows at night, too. But even more important, energy storage technology has come a long way in a short time. GE is now deploying a solar battery system in Australia that holds 200 Megawatts. Van der Vaart might go to sleep when the sun goes down, but solar power doesn't have to.

Recognizing the difficult questions surrounding global warming, is simply going on strike the best answer? Not really. Strikes can lead to undesirable outcomes. Just as making changes in our energy mix will cost money, strikes from work will cost money. Parents will need to provide care for their out-of-school kids, and a day out of the classroom is a detriment to student achievement.

Bolding mine, because that is literally all that Donald van der Vaart cares about. And this is laughable:

I’m a scientist and an environmentalist.

Wrong, on both counts. You might have the degree, but your grasp of not only science, but also the implications of it, is tentative at best. Your preoccupation with the economics of each situation has dulled whatever scientific edge you once had, and it also makes you a terrible environmentalist. Industry always follows the cheapest route to production, and the cheapest route is almost always the most devastating to our environment.

So please, keep your advice to yourself. We can no longer afford to entertain fools at this particular table.