Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


LT. GOV. FOREST--EMBRACE THE TRUTH. STOP SPREADING DIVISIVE FALSEHOODS: Forest has a passion for divisiveness. He was a leader and most vocal advocate of the mean-spirited and ill-conceived discriminatory House Bill 2 – bathroom regulations. The legislation became a national model for discrimination to a point where businesses and hosts of major athletic events didn’t want to associate themselves with North Carolina. Forest doesn’t stop there. He’s decried “diversity and multiculturalism” with the notion that everyone needs to assimilate to what he demands our state and nation adhere to. But, most disturbing about Forest’s King Day remarks on Planned Parenthood and abortion is that he was wrong. He DID NOT tell the truth. He spread fake news.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM'S DECEPTIVE DEFENSE OF BIGOTRY: Our Bibles say that Graham is right about all of us being sinners. But there’s a Sinai-sized hole in his suggestion that he’s an equal-opportunity sin-hater. Graham might say he’s “coming to speak for everybody” in the UK, but he has history of spending an awful lot of time talking about one community in particular. We know this because we counted. In the last six months alone, Graham has singled out the LGBTQ community in at least 19 Facebook posts. He’s railed against the “LGBT agenda,” mocked gender identity, and frequently reminded folks that marriage should be between a man and a woman only. That’s far more time than he spent on sins like pride and lust — or the bigger ones like stealing or bearing false witness or coveting thy neighbor’s wife. The only transgression that gave the LGBTQ community a run for its money in being singled out as a sin was abortion, which fell a few posts short. Contrast all those LGBTQ mentions with the number of times Jesus talks about homosexuality in the Bible. That would be zero.

ROB SCHOFIELD: SO-CALLED "GUN SANCTUARY" MOVEMENT HIDES FROM THE CONSTITUTION AND COMMON SENSE: Delusional as the proponents of the gun sanctuary movement may be about basic constitutional principles, what’s most troubling about this new development is its clear and reckless message of violence and lawlessness. Refusing to abide by or enforce duly enacted criminal laws — especially anti-violence laws — is the kind of behavior one associates with failed states ruled by armed militias and gangs. It’s the grim reality of Afghanistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, not the world’s greatest democracy. Sadly, it’s also the action of extremists devoted to cockamamie ideas like secession and “nullification.” The whole thing is made even more surreal by the fact that it is being driven by the political right. This is, after all, the same movement — from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush — that has repeatedly made “law and order” a top campaign refrain. Today, if there was ever any real doubt about it, that mantra has been shown to be a fraud — a convenient curtain behind which to hide the obvious belief that, as Orwell might have put it, some groups and some laws are more equal than others.

DETERMINED NPR REPORTER WON'T LET TRUMP OFFICIALS BURY THE TRUTH: Both in words and tone, reporter Mary Louise Kelly was respectful, assertive, probing, prepared and professional. She was NOT loud, discourteous, demeaning or dishonest. Don’t take our word for it. Believe your own ears. The Secretary of State was evasive, condescending and eventually belligerent. Just listen. In the after-interview session Pompeo “shouted at me,” Kelly said. She said Pompeo repeatedly used “the F-word” (which he hasn’t denied) and had her identify the Ukraine on an unmarked world map (which she did). He dismissively asked: “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” He was bullying and sexist. (Would he ask a man to point out Ukraine on a map) Does he think Americans shouldn’t be concerned about a nation that’s been invaded by Vladimir Putin’s Russia and continues to be at war? Clearly, Pompeo lost his cool and we learned a lot about him because of it. He remains unrepentant, keeping an NPR reporter off the list of journalists traveling with him this week to Europe and Central Asia.

THE CRINGING ABDICATION OF SENATE REPUBLICANS: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the case against Mr. Trump had already been proved, so no further testimony was needed. But he also said, without explanation, that Mr. Trump’s “inappropriate” conduct did not merit removal from office; voters, he said, should render a verdict in the coming presidential election. How could he measure the seriousness of Mr. Trump’s wrongdoing without hearing Mr. Bolton’s firsthand testimony of the president’s motives and intentions, including about whether the president is likely to seek additional improper foreign intervention in that same election? Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) echoed Mr. Alexander’s illogic, only he lacked the courage even to take a position on whether Mr. Trump had, as charged, tried to force Ukraine’s new president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, or whether that was wrong. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) managed to be even more timorous, telling reporters that “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us” and refusing to elaborate. So cowed are most of those “lots and lots” of Republicans that few of them dared to go as far as Mr. Sasse. Some have echoed the president’s indefensible claims that there was nothing wrong with the pressure campaign. Their votes against witnesses have rendered the trial a farce and made conviction the only choice for senators who honor the Constitution. Americans who object to Mr. Trump’s relentless stonewalling and Republicans’ complicity can take some comfort in the prospect that most or all of the evidence the White House is hiding will eventually come out. A reminder of that came Friday in a New York Times report about Mr. Bolton’s unpublished book, which describes how Mr. Trump ordered him last May to tell Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to meet with his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani said publicly at the time he wanted to induce Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden because it would be “helpful to my client,” Mr. Trump.


KRISTA EARLY: NC'S WATER RESOURCES ARE AT GRAVE RISK: Regarding “Drinking water in this NC county has the most ‘forever chemicals’ in the US, study says,” (Jan. 24): While we now know that Brunswick County has the highest PFAS contamination in the country, it’s also clear North Carolina is on the front lines of this national epidemic. The EPA has failed to set enforceable standards for PFAS and the N.C. General Assembly has cut funding for the N.C. DEQ by 34 percent over the past decade. Citizens are being exposed to toxic pollution daily and there is still no plan for remediation from the agencies that are supposed to protect us. The Trump administration has been gutting bedrock environmental policies like the Clean Water Act, that have protected our water for decades. Advocates and scientists have called for PFAS regulations but officials ignore the evidence. Turning a blind eye won’t make the problem disappear. Elected N.C. officials need to step up and do the hard work to ensure that we have healthy waters throughout our state.

REED ELLIOT: TILLIS AND BURR NEED TO DO THEIR JOBS PROPERLY: Regarding “Impeachment: Tillis on Bolton as witness, Burr on quid pro quo,” (Jan. 29): In effect, Sen Richard Burr is saying: There’s no way we Republicans will vote to remove President Trump from office, so why bother to hear evidence? We don’t want to put the country through a difficult and potentially unpleasant trial if the verdict is already decided. Wow. Can you imagine a murder trial in which the defense attorney says, “My client is innocent. There’s no way you’ll get a conviction, so let’s not bother to hear any evidence.” Republicans stood firmly behind Richard Nixon until the evidence got too compelling to ignore. If Trump is innocent, let’s hear the evidence. If he’s guilty, let’s hear the evidence and then remove him from office. Bottom line: In a trial you hear all the evidence. Always. That’s your job, Sens. Burr and Thom Tillis. Your constituents expect you to do it and do it impartially, as you swore you would.

PAUL STEWART: THE CASE AGAINST TRUMP IS ANYTHING BUT WEAK: Dear Sen. Tillis: I recently wrote you an email that encouraged you to vote for witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. If you truly believe what you stated in your response, then, sadly, you have become part of the cover-up. You stated that the case against President Trump is weak. What part of bribing a foreign country to interfere in our election do you support? Your rationale for voting against new witnesses and additional documents was that the House should have already gathered this evidence. The problem with this tortured, illogical defense is that our corrupt president has refused to allow any witnesses and documents. He has obstructed the congressional inquiry and attempted to totally cover up his crimes. The problem with voting to exonerate and absolve President Trump of any wrongdoing is that he will keep breaking the law. It is inevitable that more evidence of wrongdoing will be revealed continuously after the impeachment trial has concluded. Does the Republican Party condone sacrificing and ignoring the truth in exchange for the temporary acquisition of power? Not in my father’s Republican Party. What are your core values? What legacy do you want?



From the dark side

This week's losers are the letter writers, bless their dark, uninformed hearts. Like Hylton Lawrence:

How can people applaud efforts by the Democrats to impeach our president? Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler have the audacity to tell the GOP that we need due process — not that they offered the same in the House. How can lucid people support this disgrace?

Trump had access to all the due process he could eat, but for once he pushed away from the table. He ordered his entire staff to refuse to testify, testimony that (theoretically) could have formed a solid defense. Or at least "a" defense. Instead, he allowed House Republicans to run his defense, which amounted to deflection and vicious ad-hominem attacks of the witnesses that did testify. He quite literally obstructed justice, which is obvious to anybody who actually followed the process, as opposed to being spoon-fed propaganda by Fox News.

Here's more of the same from Clinton Laird:

Exactly where is the evidence that President Trump leveraged “military aid in an attempt to trigger a foreign investigation of a political rival”? The facts are that Trump sought to confirm the anti-corruption moves of a new Ukrainian president.

I’d like the Editorial Board to editorialize on Joe Biden’s withholding money until Ukraine fired the prosecutor investigating Burisma, on the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign’s financing of the discredited Steele dossier, and on FBI’s complicity in advancing multiple FISA warrant approvals that are now being investigated.

If you want somebody to write an editorial based on conspiracy theories, you should shoot an e-mail to J. Peder Zane.

Here's some alternate history from confederate Frank Powell:

After protesters tore down Silent Sam, NC Sons of Confederate Veterans tried to restore the statue to its original place. But UNC leaders fearing — and wishing to avoid — the threat of future violent protests on campus did not agree. We reached an impasse. At that point, to preserve an important memorial to soldiers who sacrificed for the South, the SCV agreed it would take the monument and relocate it in a new place.

In poll after poll, the vast majority of NC citizens (more than two-thirds) support keeping our veterans’ monuments in place. Only a small group of radicals and their ideological supporters in the media favor removal or destruction of these symbols of our past. This is only the first step in a campaign to erase all memory of our history that they view as politically incorrect. Who’s next? George Washington? Thomas Jefferson?

We strongly favor keeping monuments, symbols and markers of our history in place. Not everyone will agree with everything our ancestors did, but destroying their memorials and monuments, erasing their memory, is a step backwards, not forward.

Actually, you worked out a deal that gave your wife $74,999 of public money, so you could fleece the University out of $2.5 million. Which I must say reminds me of Antebellum South business dealings, in which women weren't allowed to own or sell property, unless a man was involved somehow to sign the papers for her. How quaint.

I'll finish with this nonsense from Ben Owens:

Mark Jewell and the North Carolina Association of Educators should remember the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan: ”Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Fact is, Gov. Roy Cooper is the one who vetoed the budget bill, not the legislature. The bill passed by the legislature and vetoed by the governor had money in it for teacher raises. Maybe Jewell should be planning a march on the governor’s mansion instead.

I doubt very seriously if the letter writer could refine that "money in it" comment. Let's see just how much teachers would get under that budget:

Teachers with 15 years experience or less will receive a $1,000 raise each year from the state pay scale already in place. The base pay for beginning teachers stays at $35,000. Teachers with 16 to 20 years of experience would get a $500 raise both years, or 1% each year. Teachers with 21 to 24 years of experience would get a $1,500 raise this year followed by a $500 raise next year. Teachers with 25 years or more experience would get a raise of $600 this year and $500 next year.

Bolding mine, because that means there was no additional funding for teachers with 15 years experience or less. They will get their already scheduled raise, veto or not. And the rest are missing out on an additional 1% to (maybe) 2% because of the veto.

Numbers matter, but people like this letter writer don't want to dig too deep lest it break their partisan bubble.