AOC responds to Trump at Maryland event: “We will not go back”

In the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s frightening event in Greenville this week, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — one of the targets of the recent racist attacks by Trump and his supporters — responded last night at an event in Maryland. Reporter Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters, filed this story:

At rally in Silver Spring, Ocasio-Cortez stands her ground

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) takes the stage Thursday night at a Democracy Summer Maryland program at the Silver Spring Civic Center. “We will not give back our rights. We will not deny our own humanity at the border. We will not go back. … And we sure as hell will not stand still,” she tells the crowd. Photo by Bruce DePuyt

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hit back at President Trump on Thursday night, proclaiming in a speech in Silver Spring that she and other newly elected female lawmakers have no intention of stepping back from policy debates — or returning to the land of their ancestors.

Speaking to a large, jubilant crowd of left-leaning activists in Silver Spring, Ocasio-Cortez borrowed language from the president’s recent, racially charged tweet, a post that has kept the New York Democrat and several of her colleagues at the center of intense media coverage for several days.

After name-checking the other members of “the squad” — the four freshman lawmakers targeted by Trump — the New York Democrat pledged the quartet intends to stand their ground.

“It has taken us 240 years for us to have this unique composite of a Congress in this moment — and we will not go back,” she said to sustained cheers and applause.

“We will go not back to the days of injustice,” she continued. “We will not give back our rights. We will not deny our own humanity at the border. We will not go back. … And we sure as hell will not stand still.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) headlined an event with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) on Thursday night at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Photo by Bruce DePuyt

On Sunday, Trump on Twitter encouraged Ocasio-Cortez and three other freshman Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — to “go back,” a presumed reference to the homeland of their ancestors. (Three of the lawmakers were born in the United States; Omar is from Somalia.)

Thousands of people who attended a Trump rally in North Carolina on Wednesday adopted the message, chanting “send her back,” as the president adopted a look of approval.

Ocasio-Cortez made her remarks at a rally organized by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) to benefit Democracy Summer Maryland, a political organizing program for young people that the lawmaker began seven years ago when he served in the state legislature.

More than 700 people attended the event, which was held at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Some were turned away due to space constraints. Many of those who attended arrived early, despite intense heat, with the line stretching down the block and around the corner.

The big turnout and security presence were testimony to the strong following the former bartender from the Bronx has generated — and the element of curiosity that surrounds her. Read more


New report offers damning assessment of Trump judicial picks

Brett Kavanaugh

Thomas Farr

A new report from the national NAACP offers a damning assessment of numerous Donald Trump federal court nominees and the president’s strategy to alter the judiciary. Among the nominations featured is the ultimately failed one of North Carolina’s Thomas Farr — the controversial conservative lawyer who has spent this week defending the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps in the ongoing Common Cause v. Lewis trial. Interestingly, Farr is the only one of the nominees highlighted whose nomination was defeated.

As the group noted in a release accompanying the report:

In 2 ½ years, President Donald Trump has appointed an alarming number of nominees with appalling records of enabling or defending voter suppression,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO.” This is no accident, and the pattern is devastating. Undermining voting rights is now a qualification for nomination to the federal bench. This administration is weaponizing the federal judiciary to restrict the vote.

Our courts are essential to ensuring full political participation for everyone under the Constitution and civil rights laws. The American people deserve judges who are impartial, fair, and committed to equal justice under law. It is time to stand up to this extraordinary perversion of the judicial appointment process to undermine our democracy. Our rights to fully participate in the political process lie in the balance.”

This is from the introduction to “Trump’s Judicial Playbook: Weaponizing the Bench to suppress the vote”:

The NAACP seeks to shine a light on the Trump administration’s strategy to weaponize the judiciary to restrict the vote. Enabled by the Senate’s short-circuited confirmation process that minimizes scrutiny of nominees, Trump has appointed 126 individuals to the federal bench. Judges with demonstrated hostility to voting rights are now populating courts at every level, from Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, to the appellate courts which decide most of our law, to the district courts where voting rights cases are first filed. Several nominees were appointed to Southern jurisdictions, which serve large communities of color and hear an outsized share of voting rights cases. Many of the nominees are very young and will serve for decades.

This is no accident. Read more


Lawmaker unwittingly sums up the insanity of NC marijuana/hemp laws in a single quote

Rep. Jimmy Dixon

In case you missed it this morning, be sure to check out the WRAL news story about yesterday’s state House committee action on the issue of smokable hemp. As you’ve probably heard, the issue of hemp cultivation and sale has sparked controversy because the plant is essentially indistinguishable from marijuana, which unlike hemp, contains THC — the chemical that produces the marijuana “high.”

On Wednesday, a state House committee voted to continue to allow the cultivation and development of hemp products, except for smokable hemp. As WRAL reported in its Wednesday roundup:

Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, is adamant that smokable hemp, which looks and smells like marijuana but lacks the THC potency to get anyone high, needs to be banned in North Carolina, or else marijuana prosecutions will be next to impossible to pursue. So, he has inserted the ban into the annual Farm Act, and he also rewrote a Senate bill on controlled substances to define smokable hemp as marijuana. Both bills cleared committees Wednesday.

Here’s the truly amazing part of the first story though:

Law enforcement isn’t just worried about it being harder to enforce marijuana laws but about losing probable cause for searches based on the smell of marijuana smoke, or when a drug dog keys in on a vehicle.

“If this bill passes without the ban, we will put 800 of our law enforcement dogs and their handlers out of business,” Dixon said.

Did you get that? The reason Dixon and company want to keep smokable hemp and marijuana illegal is to protect law enforcement jobs and to continue to provide an excuse for police searches!

To which, all a body can say in response is: Hello! Those are not legitimate reasons for something to be illegal and for government to be imprisoning people. Marijuana is already effectively legal for the majority of Americans — a reality supported by nearly two-thirds of the population.

The bottom line: It’s absurd that North Carolina continues to criminalize this substance, doubly absurd that we would extend the prohibition to smokable hemp and triply absurd that the rationale behind the policy would be based on something as irrelevant as its impact on law enforcement or the ability of law enforcement officers to investigate other offenses. As one observer noted yesterday, if they’re really so concerned about law enforcement jobs, Dixon and his allies would do well to redirect their time and energy toward retraining the dogs and their trainers to sniff out white collar crime.

Commentary, Trump Administration

As Trump arrives in Greenville, analysts highlight administration’s “broken promises” in NC

As the controversy surrounding his recent racist statements continues to roil around him, President Trump will be speaking in Greenville this evening. In anticipation of Trump’s arrival, analysts at the Center for American Progress have produced a new and powerful North Carolina-specific update to the group’s “Trump’s Broken Promises” website.

Among the findings:


Promise: “I will [be] the greatest jobs President that God ever created … our poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” – Donald Trump, October 5, 2016


  • This week, the president threatened to veto the House’s effort to increase the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years.
    • Currently, a student working full time at a minimum wage job would have to devote their entire salary for two years to pay for a four-year degree at East Carolina University; in-state tuition for four years costs more than $28,000, not counting books and room and board.
  • Experts predict that close to 13,000 North Carolina jobs will be lost as a result of President Trump’s erratic steel and aluminum trade policies.









Promise: “I’m asking for your vote so we can repeal and replace Obamacare, and save health care for every family in North Carolina.” – Donald Trump in Raleigh, North Carolina, November 7, 2016

Reality: Trump is trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the courts with no replacement:

  • 3.9 million North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions will lose protections under ACA repeal.
  • 503,000 North Carolinians will lose their health coverage under ACA repeal.
  • $4,550: Annual premium increase for the average North Carolina family.
  • Trump launched an all-out attack on our health care by trying to repeal and sabotage the Affordable Care Act.









Promise: “[W]e will massively cut taxes for the middle class.” – Donald Trump in Wilmington, North Carolina, November 5, 2016

Reality: 83 percent of the benefits from President Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut go to corporations and the top 1 percent. Many North Carolina families are getting stuck with the bill.









Click here to see the full report.


Senator Tillis needs to stop spinning on immigration crisis and listen to this horrific story

Sen. Thom Tillis

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis went on Fox News over the weekend to put a warm and fuzzy spin on the crisis at the border. Click here to watch the Senator talk about all the happy, smiling faces he and Vice President Pence saw during a tour on Friday and how, while one of the facilities is “overcrowded,” it’s nothing that a little extra appropriation from Congress won’t take care of.

To which all a body can say in response is: Really Senator? Did you really think the people running these facilities were going to show a high-powered delegation from Washington anything else?

And, more to the point, is that going to be the extent of your ‘investigation’? If it is, you’re clearly missing the truth of what’s really going on in the name of American taxpayers.

Take, for instance, this horrific story by reporters Noel King and Bob Moore that was broadcast this morning on NPR in which a three-year old child with serious heart condition  — A THREE-YEAR OLD CHILD — was asked by a U.S. Border Patrol agent to determine which of her parents would be allowed to stay in the U.S. with her and who should be sent back to Mexico.

The child, in a piece of poignant and stomach-turning irony that reminds us of William Styron’s famous novel, is named Sophie. How Senator Tillis or any other functioning human being with a heart and mind could ever listen to this story and think that there isn’t something desperately, desperately wrong with U.S. immigration policy is simply unimaginable.