Wednesday News: Selling the drama


RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL STILL AT WAR WITH DISBANDED CACS: At a March 2021 meeting, Johnson denounced the “slimy way (the council) plotted” against the CACs. “You’re all complicit in this denial of basic democracy to the people of Raleigh,” he said. “No wonder so many big money builders and developers and their gray-money PACs supported you. They’re certainly getting their money’s worth from you while the people of Raleigh are short-changed by your entitled arrogance.” While personal, Baldwin said the public comments are not interfering with city business. “We know what we need to do, and we are moving forward,” she said. “We know what we were elected to do.” Still, the COVID-19 pandemic has put people especially on edge, Baldwin said. “When we are hearing from some CACs you realize you are getting the perspective of white adult homeowners and not necessarily the perspective of others in the community,” Fearn said.

NC REPUBLICAN CRAFTS BILL TO ALLOW CONSERVATIVES TO SUE FACEBOOK OVER CENSORSHIP: The "Stop Social Media Censorship Act," sponsored by Sen. Ted Alexander, R-Gaston, would allow users to sue social media sites in state court for censoring or hiding political or religious speech. Users could sue for up to $75,000 in statutory damages, plus any punitive or compensatory damages awarded. It would also forbid social media sites from censoring or banning users for "hate speech." Alexander didn't respond to requests for comment, but his legislative assistant sent an email to WRAL News noting that the bill hasn't been filed yet. That federal law protects “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material. It establishes a shield against civil liability for any provider or user for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected." The First Amendment bans the government from censoring political or religious speech. It does not, however, disallow private individuals or corporations from banning anything they want. This law would actually violate the 1st Amendment, by forcing private companies to publish materials they find offensive.

NC DEMOCRATS FILE (4) BILLS TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF LGBTQ+ PEOPLE: Democratic lawmakers gathered Monday to say that North Carolina officials have not done enough to repeal the entirety of HB2 or protect the LGBTQ community. Three of the bills they are pushing have been filed before but failed to get any traction. Those bills would repeal HB2 in its entirety, prohibit many forms of discrimination and ban conversion therapy. A fourth bill, the latest effort to stop LGBTQ discrimination, prevents defense attorneys from using a strategy in front of juries in which they blame the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity for causing the defendant to panic and assault or murder the victim. Jenna Franks, a 34-year-old transgender woman in Jacksonville, was killed in Februrary, ABC 11 reported. “Knowing that there are some sort of repercussions for people’s actions, I think that will make a huge impact on trans people feeling just a little bit safer in a state that doesn’t always consider transgender individuals like everyone else,” Hennessey said. Allison Scott, the director of impact and innovation for the Campaign for Southern Equality, said the bills being filed so close to the anniversary of HB2 becoming law was a symbolic means to show the importance of erasing the law and its successor, House Bill 142, from the books.

BIDEN BEGINS PUSH FOR $2 TRILLION JOBS & INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM: The White House on Wednesday unveiled an approximately $2 trillion jobs plan focused on infrastructure and the climate, a blueprint that represents President Biden’s vision for how to reshape the U.S. economy. Under what the administration calls the American Jobs Plan, Biden aims to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing problems — from climate change to decaying water systems to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The plan, set to be introduced by Biden in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, says it will enable drivers across the country to find electric charging stations for their vehicles on the road. Every lead pipe in the country would be replaced. All Americans would have access to high-speed Internet broadband by the end of the decade. As many as 2 million homes and housing units would be built, retrofitted or renovated. On the tax side, Biden’s plan includes raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent; increasing the global minimum tax paid from about 13 percent to 21 percent; ending federal tax breaks for fossil fuel companies; and ramping up tax enforcement against corporations, among other measures. The tax measures help Biden address concerns that his spending package would add to an already large federal deficit, but they are likely to provoke a torrent of opposition from lobbyists and business groups who celebrated President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. Congressional Republicans have also panned the tax increases as damaging to U.S. investment and competitiveness and have pledged to oppose them. While opening the door for negotiations over the details with Congress, the White House is adamant about the need for a sweeping economic program that goes beyond immediate coronavirus relief. It cites the threat posed by climate change, the deterioration of America’s infrastructure and the long decline of U.S. manufacturing.

TWO CAPITOL POLICE OFFICERS SUE DONALD TRUMP FOR INCITING INSURRECTION THAT INJURED THEM: The complaint said the “insurrectionist mob” that stormed the Capitol was “spurred on by Trump’s conduct over many months in getting his followers to believe” his false assertions of widespread electoral fraud in November. The complaint also said that Mr. Trump’s supporters believed swarming the Capitol was their last chance to stop Mr. Trump from being unfairly forced out of the White House. Mr. Trump “inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted” the mob that overran the building and attacked police personnel inside, the complaint said. It cited Mr. Trump’s Jan. 6 speech and other conduct, including what it said was his failure that day to “take timely action to stop his followers from continued violence.” During the attack, Officer Hemby, an 11-year veteran of the Capitol Police, was outside the building, crushed against the side and sprayed with chemicals that burned his eyes, skin and throat, the complaint said. One member of the mob screamed that he was “disrespecting the badge.” Officer Blassingame, a 17-year veteran of the force, suffered head and back injuries during the riot, the complaint said, and experienced back pain, depression and insomnia afterward. “He is haunted by the memory of being attacked, and of the sensory impacts — the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the attack remain close to the surface,” the complaint said. “He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not.” The Capitol and Metropolitan Police departments have said that a total of at least 138 of their officers were injured during the riot. The injuries ranged from minor bruises to concussions, rib fractures, burns and even a mild heart attack.



Working both ways

"The "Stop Social Media Censorship Act," sponsored by Sen. Ted Alexander, R-Gaston, would allow users to sue social media sites in state court for censoring or hiding political or religious speech. Users could sue for up to $75,000 in statutory damages, plus any punitive or compensatory damages awarded."

Don't tell him, but this proposed law can cut both ways.

I had a friend who was a noted gay artist. He had a constant problem with Facebook taking down his artwork if it showed two (clothed) men embracing or showing any kind of affection. I think it was a right-wing nutcase that was constantly reporting his posts, but it caused him no end of frustration. And I still see this censorship going on - there's the production of one gay-themed historical documentary I'm following that keeps having its posts taken down, probably due to the same harrassment-reporting by right-wing nutcases with nothing better to do.

So, yeah, bring it on, Bub. Let's just see how that works out.