Commentary

Editorial blasts Lt. Gov. Forest for “spreading falsehoods” and “passion for divisiveness”

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

Plenty of people have already stood up to condemn North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s latest bizarre and outrageous comments about Planned Parenthood, but this morning’s lead Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com does a particularly good job.

Forest, as you will recall, brought his special knack for uttering absurd claims (years ago, he claimed that Raleigh’s News & Observer planted plants hidden messages in its news headlines that are designed to advance its “agenda”) to bear once again last week when he said that the reproductive health organization “was created…to destroy the entire Black race.”

Today’s editorial exposes that outrageous claim for what it is:

Just how wrong was this? Fully and completely.

In 2011, presidential candidate Herman Cain said Planned Parenthood’s early objective was to “help kill black babies before they came into the world.” PolitiFact, the much-honored fact-checking organization, researched and found “Cain’s claim is a ridiculous, cynical play of the race card.” It was rated “Pants on Fire.”

Factcheck.org, another independent fact-checking organization, investigated the same allegation and came to the same conclusion. “Herman Cain has offered an alternate version of history,” they concluded. “We find no support for that old claim.”

In September 2015, presidential candidate Ben Carson said Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger “believed that people like me should be eliminated.” Substantial evidence shows, PolitiFact reported, “that she was not racist and in fact worked closely with black leaders and health care professionals. Carson’s statement bears no relation to historical reality.” It was rated “False.”

After summarizing a Forest campaign spokesperson’s bogus response to questions about the statement, the editorial concludes this way:

Spreading falsehoods and fostering divisiveness may help the lieutenant governor win a primary in a few weeks. But no reputable candidate will allow truth and unity to be campaign battlefield casualties.

North Carolina deserves honest candidates who will work to unite the state in pursuit of excellence. The primary voters should insist upon it when they go to the polling place.

Forest must apologize for spreading lies and commit himself to a campaign that elevates truth and the common good.

Exactly.

Commentary

Editorial: Burr should summon the integrity to do the right thing on impeachment evidence

Richard Burr conferring with Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia at a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In case you missed it over the weekend, a fine Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com did a solid job of summing up the decision that confronts North Carolina’s senior senator, Richard Burr (and for that matter, his mostly hopeless junior associate, Thom Tillis) as the Trump impeachment trial plows ahead: will he (they) act with honor and a commitment to truth or as a craven accomplice(s) to the administration’s lies?

This is from “Will Burr make his legacy one of shining light onto truth?”:

While the impeachment trial unfolding in the U.S. Senate is officially about the House’s articles of impeachment against President Trump: “Abuse of Power” and “Obstruction of Congress.”

What really is on trial is the truth. What is unfortunate is that the leadership of the Senate is making sure that there will be no discussion of the truth, no witnesses will testify who know the truth and no documents will be produced to verify the truth.

Ultimately, the defense being made in the Senate by Trump’s lawyers and backers is that truth and decency don’t matter. As long as Donald Trump is president – and cuts taxes, regulations, opposes abortion and appoints the right judges — he can do whatever he wants.

When history judges, the verdict may be that the Senate traded partisan expediency for the permanent subservience of the legislative branch of government to the presidency. It will mark the end of our Constitution’s mandate for three co-equal branches of the federal government.

After noting that Tillis has already made clear that he has no intention of listening to the facts, the editorial offers up this hopeful take on Burr:

Sen. Richard Burr has certainly been true to his Republican roots and loyal to the president. But in his role as chairman of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee he has — far more than many of his Republican colleagues – found ways to work to elevate truth and uncover facts rather than reflexively submit to deception and disinterest to protect Trump.

Through the impeachment hearings, Burr who isn’t encumbered by concerns for re-election, must put the truth, the integrity of the Senate as stressed in the Constitution’s separation of powers, as his priority over loyalty to party or to Donald Trump.

It would be naive, particularly at this juncture, to expect that the Senate might convict Trump – regardless of the facts.

But for the sake of the truth, ALL the facts, all the witnesses, all the documents should be disclosed, presented, discussed.

Burr is uniquely positioned to be pivotal to make that happen. His legacy should be casting the vote to shed sunlight on the truth.

Commentary

Another scathing editorial blasts UNC system’s leadership

William Roper

Randall Ramsey

The leaders of the UNC system got a few headlines last week by publicly lamenting the state’s ongoing budget stalemate and then, predictably if nonsensically, calling on the General Assembly to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of the inadequate budget bill the General Assembly passed last spring.

Happily, this morning’s lead Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com exposes the illogic of the action. This is from “A predictable partisan potshot from subservient UNC board,” which rightfully described the publicity seeking move as being born of [President William] Roper, [Board chair Randall] Ramsey and the entire board’s literal fealty to their legislative overlords”:

More than support for an inadequate budget it was a blatant partisan potshot at Gov. Roy Cooper and the Democrats in the legislature — by the Republican UNC Board — who have been pressing for GREATER resources for education – including UNC.

It was Cooper after all, who vetoed the budget as vastly inadequate to meet the pressing needs of the state — particularly education and UNC as well as failing to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of working citizens. Democrats in the legislature have backed Cooper and demanded the legislative leadership do more.

And then there is this:

If the schools are suffering from neglect, it has been because of the decade-long assault on public education by the legislative leadership.

It is a record of mismanagement and neglect. Need proof? The system is on its third president since 2011 for starters.

The colossally bad decision to negotiate, settle and pay the Sons of Confederate Veterans millions is another.

The problem here isn’t the people who are fighting against all odds to do better by our universities.

The crisis is the current management – from the legislative leadership to the UNC Board it appoints that demands passage of a budget that doesn’t do the job.

Exactly. Click here to read the entire editorial.

Commentary, News

Conservative NC lawmakers boost controversial King Day gun rally

Concerns continue to grow about a gun rights rally that has been planned for Richmond, Virginia on the upcoming January 20 King holiday.

Click here to read a Virginia Mercury story about how a state court judge recently upheld a temporary ban on bringing firearms onto the site of the rally and here to read about how the FBI has arrested three suspected members of a white supremacist group who planned on attending.

The state’s governor has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the event, which has been endorsed by some of the same actors that participated in the infamous 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, despite these many troubling aspects to the event and its obvious overtones of racism and violence, it appears numerous North Carolina lawmakers have signed on to a letter in support of the rally’s goal of promoting so-called “Second Amendment sanctuary” cities and counties.

The following Facebook post by North Carolina State Rep. Steve Jarvis of Davidson County indicates that at least three North Carolina lawmakers will attend the rally and deliver a letter signed by 50 House members (see page one above — Raleigh’s News & Observer has the full letter here), including House Speaker Tim Moore. The

Today as your State House Representative I signed a letter in Support of the 2nd Amendment counties and cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
This letter states that the North Carolina House Republican Caucus supports the counties and cities that have self-declared themselves as “2nd Amendment Sanctuaries”.
The signers of the letter include Speaker Tim Moore and Majority Leader John Bell Freshman Majority Leader Steve Jarvis as well as 47 other members. Representative Kidwell will attend a rally on January 20th where he and several other members of the North Carolina House of Representatives including Rep Michael Speciale (Craven) and Rep Bobby Hanig (Currituck) will present the letter to the members of the Virginia legislature. “It is our hope that we can impress upon the Virginia legislature the importance of protecting the rights of the people they represent”. Said Rep. Kidwell. As stated in the letter, North Carolina and Virginia have stood together beginning with the revolution, and it is the hope of the signers of this letter of support that we will continue to stand with the citizens as their rights are being attacked in much the same way they were under colonial rule.
All in all, this is pretty scary stuff. It’s one thing to hold strong views on gun rights, but it’s quite another to play footsy with avowed white supremacists and some of the other characters involved in this event. The North Carolina lawmakers should take a step back and rethink their implicit endorsement of the event.
News

Virginia lawmakers vote to become pivotal 38th state to ratify ERA

In case you missed it, the newly Democratic Virginia legislature has voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The measure passed, however, with the support of 11 Republicans. Reporter Ned Oliver of the Virginia Mercury reports:

Advocates erupted in cheers as the Virginia House of Delegates adopted the Equal Rights Amendment on Wednesday. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Cheers erupted at the Capitol as the Equal Rights Amendment cleared both chambers of the General Assembly on Wednesday, making Virginia the 38th and final state needed to ratify the amendment enshrining gender equality in the Constitution.

Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, who sponsored the ERA resolution as one of the first women to attend the previously all-male Virginia Military Institute, spoke about the uneven history of equality in Virginia, a state that fought against women’s suffrage, desegregation and interracial marriage. The ERA vote, she said, was “the vote of a lifetime.”

“It’s Virginia again on the battleground of equality,” Carroll Foy said. “I don’t know about you, but I think it’s right on time for Virginians to finally be on the right side of history.”

For now, the vote remains largely symbolic. The National Archives and Records Administration, which is responsible for certifying the ratification of constitutional amendments, said it will abide by a legal opinion issued by the Justice Department last week that said the ERA is no longer a valid amendment because a deadline imposed by Congress has expired, according to the Associated Press.

Advocates plan to challenge the deadline in court. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are pursuing legislation to remove the deadline

The uncertainty did not dampen celebration at the Capitol.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

ERA proponents in North Carolina welcomed the news. This is from the League of Women Voters of Wake County:

League of Women Voters Applauds Virginia for Ratification of ERA

RALEIGH, NC, January 15, 2020 – The League of Women Voters of Wake County (LWV-Wake) applauds the state of Virginia upon its ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Virginia is now the 38th state to have ratified the ERA, which meets the threshold for adoption of an amendment under Article V of the US Constitution. Read more