Thursday News: Doubling down

BILL WOULD LEGALIZE SPORTS GAMBLING VIA NC EDUCATION LOTTERY: On Wednesday morning, Sens. Jim Perry, a Kinston Republican, and Paul Lowe, a Winston-Salem Democrat, filed Senate Bill 688. If passed, it would authorize sports gambling on professional, college, electronic and amateur sports or any other events approved by the NC Education Lottery Commission. Perry said instead of ignoring illegal gambling legislators should open up conversations about how the state can benefit from legal gambling. He said this bill allows adults to freely choose to gamble, and collects money for schools without forcing taxes on other people. Gambling on youth sports would continue to be illegal, as would gambling on injuries, penalties, the outcome of sports disciplinary proceedings or the outcome of replay reviews.

BILL RABON SIGNS ONTO MEDICAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION: This year's North Carolina bill has a powerful sponsor: Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick. As chairman of the Senate Rules committee, Rabon has a lot of say over what bills move forward in the North Carolina Senate and which ones don't. An attempt to reach him Wednesday evening for comment was not successful. The measure has bipartisan sponsorship, with two Republicans and two Democrats signed on, including Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth. "We've got to use something other than opiates to deal with the pain issue," Lowe said in a brief telephone interview. "That’s the bottom line.” The bill says it's not intended to change other civil or criminal laws on marijuana, just rules on medical use. It would set up a licensing structure for growers, suppliers and ultimately stores that would sell to patients with registration cards issued by the state. "A registry identification cardholder shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner for the possession or purchase of cannabis for medical use by the qualified patient if the quantity of usable cannabis possessed or purchased does not exceed an adequate supply, as determined by the qualified patient's physician," the bill states.

NC GOP ATTACK ON PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULUM CONTINUES WITH "BALANCED POLITICAL DISCUSSION" BILL: Some North Carolina Republican lawmakers want to require school districts — but not charter schools — to provide “balanced political discussions in classrooms” and to list their instructional materials online. Proposed legislation filed Wednesday in the General Assembly requires that if the viewpoint of one of the two major political parties is presented, then equal time must be given to the other party’s viewpoint. The legislation comes amid complaints from conservatives that public schools are promoting a liberal social justice agenda. The primary sponsors of Senate Bill 700 are all Republicans: Sens. Chuck Edwards of Henderson County, Joyce Krawiec of Forsyth County and Ralph Hise of Mitchell County. The News & Observer couldn’t reach them for comment Wednesday. “If they can’t feel like they can trust us to do our jobs, then let’s trade jobs,” Rodney D. Pierce, an 8th-grade social studies teachers in Nash County Public Schools, said in an interview Wednesday. “Let us be the legislators and you come to teach.”

JOE MANCHIN DIGS IN HIS HEELS ON DEFENDING THE FILIBUSTER: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III said Wednesday that under no circumstances would he vote to eliminate or weaken the legislative filibuster in his most definitive statement yet on the topic, dealing a blow to Democrats’ hopes of pushing major aspects of President Biden’s agenda through Congress. The West Virginia senator also suggested in an op-ed published in The Washington Post that he would be opposed to using the budget reconciliation process, under which certain legislation requires only a majority vote, again to circumvent the filibuster, an avenue Senate Democrats have considered for passing Biden’s ambitious infrastructure package. There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin wrote. “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.” Democrats used the budget reconciliation process to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid relief bill, which Manchin supported, and are viewing it as a vehicle for additional spending and tax proposals on a range of issues. But Manchin threw cold water on this idea in his op-ed although the was not definitive about whether he would support its use again this year. “We should all be alarmed at how the budget reconciliation process is being used by both parties to stifle debate around the major issues facing our country today. Legislating was never supposed to be easy,” he wrote, adding: “I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate.”

BIDEN'S TAX PLAN WOULD GO AFTER CORPORATIONS WHO DODGE TAXES WITH OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS: Large companies like Apple and Bristol Myers Squibb have long employed complicated maneuvers to reduce or eliminate their tax bills by shifting income on paper between countries. The strategy has enriched accountants and shareholders, while driving down corporate tax receipts for the federal government. President Biden sees ending that practice as central to his $2 trillion infrastructure package, pushing changes to the tax code that his administration says will ensure American companies are contributing tax dollars to help invest in the country’s roads, bridges, water pipes and in other parts of his economic agenda. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department released the details of Mr. Biden’s tax plan, which aims to raise as much as $2.5 trillion over 15 years to help finance the infrastructure proposal. That includes bumping the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, imposing a strict new minimum tax on global profits and cracking down on companies that try to move profits offshore. The plan also aims to stop big companies that are profitable but have no federal income tax liability from paying no taxes to the Treasury Department by imposing a 15 percent tax on the profits they report to investors. Such a change would affect about 45 corporations, according to the Biden administration’s estimates, because it would be limited to companies earning $2 billion or more per year. Mr. Biden’s proposals are a repudiation of Washington’s last big tax overhaul — President Donald J. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. Biden administration officials say that law increased the incentives for companies to shift profits to lower-tax countries, while reducing corporate tax receipts in the United States to match their lowest levels as a share of the economy since World War II. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, in rolling out the plan, said it would end a global “race to the bottom” of corporate taxation that has been destructive for the American economy and its workers. “Our tax revenues are already at their lowest level in generations,” Ms. Yellen said. “If they continue to drop lower, we will have less money to invest in roads, bridges, broadband and R&D.”



Maybe related to Mark Robinson's "political discussions" bill

You might not realize it, but PragerU, the fake "university" that's been flooding YouTube and social media with conservative propaganda for a few years, has its sights set on K-12. From the Prospect:

"Last week, the Prospect reported that students across the country have been shown right-wing content from nonprofit educational video maker PragerU for years, even though it was supposedly intended for adults. Since last fall, however, the conservative organization has aggressively fundraised for PragerU Resources for Educators and Parents (PREP), a new education program targeted directly at school-age children. In the initiative’s first batch of education-specific content, released Monday, PragerU now has videos aimed at children as young as kindergarten age.

The content includes online videos and other materials designed for ages 5 to 18. This material is meant to be shown in school or at home, and although the videos aren’t as overtly political as PragerU’s typical five-minute videos for adults, they are still suffused with right-wing propaganda."

Already, individual teachers in economics and history, have been sneaking PragerU junk videos into classrooms.

"Former high school students have complained online about being shown adult-oriented PragerU videos, which are popular among some history and economics teachers. None of the students interviewed for last week’s Prospect story were comfortable confronting their teachers or school administrators, even though they recognized the conservative agenda behind the videos."

Much of the funding for PragerU comes from Texas billionares Dan and Farris Wilks, who have made a fortune off of fracking. Some of the main topics that are frequently tackled by PragerU videos include debunking climate change and clean energy, supporting "trickle-down" economics, and a range of other ultra-right talking points on gays, women, immigration, and racial minorities. The videos are frequently fact-checked and debunked by Snopes and on reedit forums.

Most of their political donations have been concentrated on Texas - they're one of the main backers of Ted Cruz. PragerU is also funded by several prominent right-wing PACs, political groups, and billionaires.

I'm sure some of the PragerU dark money is probably flowing to Mark Robinson and the astroturf education groups he's fronting.

By the way - one of the big problems I have with Google and YouTube is that PragerU videos aren't labeled as paid political content and often turn up as suggestions if you watch videos from actual educational institutions on some of the topics PragerU tackles.

Nothing that Fidel Cruz or

Nothing that Fidel Cruz or Baby Doc Robinson promote surprises me. They are nothing more than proponents of fascism. Cruz is a sellout to his constituents and his family by bowing down to little Donnie while Robinson is a sellout that lives in his own little world.