CASH IN THE APPLE FOR 1-12-17
By Cash Michaels
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE – No, no, I’m not just citing an age-old chant from the social justice movement that I grew up in. With Donald J. Trump slated to be sworn-in as our 45th president of the United States on January 20th, I just don’t see how we, as a nation, intend to, as many conservatives have suggested, “unite” and “come together” behind our new president.
I mean, c’mon, “President” Donald Trump (he’s not president until the clock strikes twelve on January 20th) is not someone who inspires unity, or is well practiced in speaking to our better angels. Lord knows you can nary find a kind word in any of his millions of tweets, unless, of course, Trump is referring to himself.
Compare DJT to our outgoing Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama (miss him already, don’t you). Every other word out of Obama’s mouth was one that sought to unify, to bring about a collective vision of hope.
One of the reasons why he literally ran away from the subject of race during his first term as president is because, as the first African-American ever to hold the job, Obama realized how important he was to any sense of bringing the races closer together. It should have not been his job alone, but because he was such a prominent figure elected by whites and blacks alike, Pres. Obama had little choice when he first took office.
It was a perilous task, and many on both sides of the racial track gave Obama failing grades for, get this now, not being perfect. You’ve heard the well-worn story of the road to ruin is paved by trying to please everybody? Well that was Barack Obama’s big challenge – be black enough to satisfy us, but so black that he didn’t scare and intimidate white people who desperately needed to believe that he was a “nice negro” that they could work with – even if it meant against his own people at times.
That was impossible. Even former Secretary of State Colin Powell, beloved by many, couldn’t pull that off as president if he ever took the job. But Obama tried. You have to give him that.
Not so with soon-to-be Divider-in-chief Donald J. Trump. He is the center of the universe, and serves no one but himself. He believes that folks have elected him king, and in point of fact, the ignorant among us did, feeling that democracy has failed them. But ask any of them, especially the so-called “evangelicals.” They could care less how this clown made his millions, how many women he’s sexually assaulted or how many foreign governments (including Russia) Trump is in bed with.
They don’t care. All they do care about is themselves, and how they believe this country was promised to them because of their color, culture and heritage, and no one else. They came out in droves last November to “take their country back,” and were willing to turn it over to someone most likely to destroy it, and them with it.
THAT is why if there is no justice, there cannot be any peace. How can anyone in their right mind “unite” with the madness that’s about to destroy our country? No, decent, fair-minded people absolute refuse to lower their standards to join with, or “unite” behind a demigod who is bent on making us all slaves again.
If GOD gives me the strength to live on, I vow to fight against the darkness that is about to beseech us! You should too!
U.S. HIGH COURT PUTS HOLD ON STATE SPECIAL ELECTIONS
By Cash Michaels
As Republican lawmakers had hoped, the US Supreme Court has ordered a hold on the redrawing of legislative maps, and special elections this year, until it reviews an appeal from the GOP of the original federal court order.
A three-judge federal panel ruled several months ago that 28 of 170 voting districts drawn as part of the 2011 legislative redistricting map were racially gerrymandered, and determined they were unconstitutional. Shortly after the November 2016 general election, the judicial panel ordered the North Carolina legislature to redraw the maps by this March, and then hold special primaries this August or early September, followed by a special legislative general election in November.
Democrats were pleased with the ruling, but Republican lawmakers balked, asking the federal appellate court to keep the current voting districts in place since they were used for the recent general election. That request was turned down, but before he left office, former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory asked the US Supreme Court to stay the appellate order, and it did Tuesday afternoon.
The application for stay of the order of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina...entered on November 29, 2016, presented to The Chief Justice [John Roberts] and by him referred to the Court is granted,” the High Court decision read, “… ending the timely filing of a statement as to jurisdiction. Should such statement be timely filed, this order shall remain in effect pending this Court’s action on the appeal. If the judgment should be affirmed, or the appeal dismissed, this stay shall expire automatically. In the event jurisdiction is noted or postponed, this order will remain in effect pending the sending down of the judgment of this Court.”
In effect, the US Supreme Court has to decide whether to actually hear arguments in the case for the hold to remain. The eight-member High Court is scheduled to convene in conference on Jan. 19th (next Thursday) to decide which cases it will hear going forward. If it decides not to hear the redistricting and special elections case, the hold placed on it Tuesday automatically expires, and the judicial order is maintained for state lawmakers to follow.
While state Republican legislative leaders like Rep. David Lewis [R-Harnett] applauded the Supreme Court hold, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represented plaintiffs in the case, made clear this was perfunctory.
“Today’s action just puts everything on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court considers the appeal of whether the district court was correct to order special elections in 2017,” Anita Earls, SCSJ executive director wrote. “On behalf of our clients, we continue to trust that the district court’s ruling will be upheld and new districts ultimately will be drawn that are not based on race.”
“"We are grateful the U.S. Supreme Court has quashed judicial activism and rejected an attempt to nullify the votes of North Carolinians in the 2016 legislative elections," House Speaker Tim Moore, [R-Rockingham], and Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger, [R-Rockingham] said in a joint statement.
CAN GOV. COOPER BEAT THE
GOP IN A POWER STRUGGLE?
By Cash Michaels
Considering the war of words over the pre-Christmas aborted effort to repeal the HB2 “bathroom bill” just the opening salvo. With the Republican-led NC General Assembly officially back Jan. 11th for the long session, Gov. Roy Cooper’s vision of what North Carolina should be, is about to run head-first into what GOP lawmakers have steadfastly determined the state will be – a bastion of conservative values buttressed by Republican legislative muscle, designed to give the new Democrat governor all he can handle.
A showdown, observers say, is brewing.
In his inaugural speech from the Executive Mansion delivered on statewide television January 7th, Gov. Cooper offered both a conciliatory tone to work together with Republican leaders on many of the state’s most pressing issues like more money for public education and building stronger economies in the state’s weakest regions, but also cautioned that his wiliness to compromise did not mean he would budge on fundamental principles, maintaining his demand that HB2 be repealed, and commitment to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act for at least 500,000 poor North Carolinians – many of them black.
In fact, GOP leaders blasted Cooper for apparently ignoring a 2013 law that prohibited the governor from expanding the federal health insurance program without legislative approval. Outgoing US Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell confirmed Cooper’s request January 9th and pledged to turn it around as soon as possible before leaving office on January 20th.
Democrat leaders, like state Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue [D-Wake], applauded Gov. Cooper for doing something his Republican predecessor Pat McCrory refused to do.
“This is a vital step in protecting North Carolinians who have been shut out of the process over the past three years. We need to put political ideologies aside and act in the best interest of the people we represent. The expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina does just that,” Sen. Blue said in a statement.
“Not only would this aid nearly half a million people in this state that are currently uninsured, this is a sound economic move that has the potential to expand quality job opportunities in the healthcare industry and will provide a much needed boost to our rural communities.”
Republicans, however, weren’t as charitable.
"Just days into his term as governor, Roy Cooper already intends to violate his oath of office with a brazenly illegal attempt to force a massive, budget-busting 'Obamacare' expansion on North Carolina taxpayers," said state Senate Pro-tem President Sen. Phil Berger [R-Rockingham] in a statement.
Thus far, Gov. Cooper seems to be on track towards blazing a different path from what McCrory and the GOP-led legislature had established per the last four years. Cooper is indeed appointing a diverse Cabinet and administration, as promised. He is in court fighting attempts to further erode his power of appointment by state lawmakers, and he has begun to use the bully pulpit to garner public support for his vision.
“Gov. Cooper still can utilize some distinct powers that only chief executives have, such as commanding the bully pulpit when it comes to public opinion, as well as perhaps serving as "recruiter in chief" when it comes to economic development,” says Dr. J. Michael Bitzer, professor of Politics and History at Catawba College.
“When it comes to [his] appointment power, there will be an interesting game between Cooper and the [state] Senate… much like at the federal level when there is divided government,” Dr. Bitzer continued.
“If Cooper seeks to bring in qualified individuals and not go fully partisan in his appointments, it would be a challenge for the Senate to reject his appointments, especially in the guise that most legislatures seek to defer to the executive in staffing the Cabinet.”
“However, as we have never seen this constitutional prerogative exercised before [in North Carolina],” Bitzer continued, “… it will be interesting to watch in the early session and perhaps see how the relationship develops, or devolves, between the governor and the legislature.”
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 01-12-17
FLU DEATHS RISING IN STATE, SAY HEALTH OFFICIALS
[CHARLOTTE] At the peak of the influenza season, state health officials say flu deaths have reached seven thus far. Doctors say even though flu season is well underway, it is never too late for those over 65, children five years old and younger, pregnant women and those suffering from diabetes, asthma or heart disease to get their vaccinations to protect against what can be a deadly viral infection. People are urged to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, cover coughs and sneezes while in public, and try to stay home in order to stop the spread. For more information go to www.flu.nc.gov
GOV. COOPER TAPS HOOKS AS SEC. OF PUBLIC SAFETY
[RALEIGH] Since he took the oath of office on January 1st, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has wasted little time to make good on his promise to appoint a diverse Cabinet, and administration. Last week, North Carolina’s 75th governor announced his appointment of SBI veteran Erik Hooks as the new head of the NC Dept. of Public Safety, and environmentalist Michael Regan as secretary-nominee of the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality. Both are African-Americans, and both will be subject to state Senate confirmation before they take office.
Secretary-nominee Hooks, 50, will oversee the State Bureau of Investigation, the state Highway Patrol and Alcohol Law Enforcement, in addition to the state prison system. Hooks, who began his law enforcement career with the SBI as a resident agent in 1989, is a former assistant SBI director, and is currently a special agent in-charge of the inspections and compliance division. He has been with the SBI since 1989.
NC COUNCIL OF STATE OFFICEHOLDERS WILL MAKE $127,561 ANNUALLY
[RALEIGH] With the exception of Gov. Roy Cooper, who will earn $144,399 a year, the nine remaining elected officials in the NC Council of State will earn $127,561 annually. The state legislature ramped up their salaries by 1.5 percent as of last July 1st. The Council of State includes the state attorney general, lt. governor, insurance commissioner, labor commissioner, agriculture commissioner, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and superintendent of public instruction.
NEW HANOVER COMMISSIONER BLASTS WHOPPI GOLDBERG
[WILMINGTON] It’s clear from his Facebook rant that NHC Commission Chairman Woody White is no fan of comedienne/talk show hostess Whoopi Goldberg. On his Facebook page recently, White went after Goldberg for disparaging remarks she allegedly made about Pres.-elect Donald Trump. White also criticized Cape Fear Community College for booking Goldberg for a June 23rd appearance there. White blasted the school for “providing a venue for someone who just a few weeks ago was moving to Canada in protest to Trumps election? Terrible." Goldberg shot back on Twitter, countering that she never said she would leave the country if Trump won. White was concerned that taxpayers money was being used to bring the famous liberal entertainer in. The college said ticket sales are covering the costs.