Monday, March 27, 2017




            HANKERCHIEF, REPUBLICANS? – No, I don’t read the Bible as often as I should, but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember some of its basic tenets.
            One of the most relevant beyond “Love thy neighbor” and “Thou shalt not steal,” is “You reap what you sow.”
            While you’re at it, tack on a companion tenet – “do unto others as you would have things done unto you.”
            Having said all of that, then given the past two months since Pres. Donald J. Trump has taken office, one has to wonder if the Republicans read their Bibles less than I do, cause Lord knows those clowns don’t remember any of it.
            Lessons in human compassion and decency seem to be completely lost on The Donald and his boys. You could also add some common sense and basic intelligence to the mix as well.
            What is not in any short supply, it seems, is arrogance, dishonesty, and a false sense of superiority. These people believe actually think they can drink the water they think they walk on.
            However, given what we’ve all seen, again within the first two months of the Trump presidency, it is quite clear that these hypocrites can’t even run their noses, let alone run the country. Their ineptitude  is only surpassed by their arrogance, and eclipsed by their dishonesty.
            After all, just how many lies have Trump and the Republicans told the American people since the November elections? Everything from millions committing voter fraud to Pres. Obama personally tying two tin cans together in order to illegally “wiretap” Trump’s telephone calls, it’s all been shoved down our throats with reckless abandon. And of course, if anyone, like the “left-wing” news media, dare to uncover any of it, then they are called “the enemy of the American people.”
            So, is it any wonder why when Trump and the House Republicans last week failed to repeal and replace Obamacare , and FAILED, I might add, in SPECTACULAR fashion, folks overwhelmingly jumped for joy? That have seven long years, and over 60 worthless House votes to repeal Pres. Obama’s signature law, Republicans fell flat on their collective faces last week when they just couldn’t agree with each on how to do it?
            And to add insult to injury, White House aides to Pres. Trump, allegedly acted like thugs in trying to strong arm conservative Republicans to pass the repeal and replace bill the president liked, or else?
            And to add even more insult to injury, leaks from conservatives who met Trump telling the press that he didn’t have the foggiest idea about what was really in their repeal and replace health care bill, and didn’t seem to care either.
            These are the people who did everything they could to win (and some allege colluded with the Russians to steal) the election in 2016, just so that they could have total control of running the country. Well, just like the panting dog who finally catches the truck, now what are you going to do with it?
            Thus far, I’m not impressed. And I’m even less impressed when I see Republicans wailing on TV about how they failed, and now look weak and foolish. Makes you want to find a hankerchief to hand to these clowns so that they can dry their crocodile tears. But I can’t find one right now.
            Here, with toilet paper do?

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The state Senate minority leader says he is “confident” that the US Supreme Court will affirm a federal three-judge panel’s ruling last August that North Carolina’s 2011 redistricting maps were unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering, and that there will be a new map drawn, and special elections held this year.
            State Sen. Daniel T. Blue, Jr. {D-Wake] made that observation during a town hall meeting he conducted in Raleigh March 23rd. What made the Democrat Senate leader’s remarks pertinent was that that three-judge panel ruled last year prior to the 2016 elections, further ordering that the NC General Assembly redrawn the 2011 maps by March 15th, and special elections be held by this November, with primaries in late August, early September.
            But US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked that order in January after Republican state lawmakers petitioned for an emergency stay. Subsequently, nothing has been heard from the High Court since then, leaving both state Democrats and Republicans anxious.
            Republican legislative leaders say the 2011 redistricting maps are legal and constitutional, therefore there should be no redo, and special elections are not needed before the regularly scheduled 2018 NC legislative elections.
            “[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,” said Senate President Pro tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R – Cleveland) in a joint statement then.
         Democrats, however, disagree. They say the three-judge federal panel found that 28 of North Carolina’s House and Senate districts around Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Raleigh and Fayetteville, along with rural areas in eastern North Carolina, were drawn in violation of the US Constitution, which prohibits the use of race as a primary factor in redistricting. Democrats further claim that the Republican legislative majority deliberately “stacked-and-packed” black Democrats into as few majority-minority districts as possible, thus illegally diluting black voting strength in predominantly white voting districts, so that Republicans could dominate in surrounding districts and easily win those elections.
            “I’m confident, and most of the lawyers who practice in this area [of law] …are confident that the [US] Supreme Court, when they look at the case, because it has been appealed up there, will uphold the findings of the federal court that this is unconstitutional,” Sen. Blue said last Thursday in Raleigh, adding, “The case law says they have no choice.”
            One of the reasons for Sen. Blue’s confidence, he said, was when the US High Court sent a case back to Alabama, which was the case which opened the floodgates on this and gave us the legal authority to bring these lawsuits, it was a 5-4 majority. The comforting fact was that [Justice Antonin] Scalia, who died, was in the minority, so there still is a five-vote majority, 5-3 now. Even if  [Pres. Trump nominee Judge Neil] Gorsach is confirmed, there still is a 5-4 majority.
            “I really think that the ultimate decision that comes from the United States Supreme Court, very well could be a 7-2 decision, or maybe even an 8-0 decision, because redistricting was so bad and so egregious in North Carolina, that anybody who studies these maps and looks at their background…[sees] clearly that they are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment - equal protection under the law.”
            Time is getting tight, however, for new maps to be drawn, and special primaries, and November elections, to be scheduled. Still, Blue holds out hope the High Court won’t wait much longer to decide, and the 2011 “unconstitutional” redistricting maps will be mothballed.
“We think that that’s going to be changed, and that will then change the veto-proof majority. [in the NC General Assembly],” Sen. Blue said. “It will make the governor more relevant because his statewide impressions and opinions on things will then make a difference.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            In words that echoed across the Democratic Party, newly appointed Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), told the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Democratic Party Saturday that the party should continue to challenge Republicans not only in Washington, D.C., but especially in the state legislatures and governorships.
            We can't just say it's all about Trump,” Rep. Ellison told the gathering, later adding that the fight to “literally save the nation” was just beginning. “We've got to have a higher vision than just winning an election. When we set our sights as, really, agents and champions for the American people, people start feeling the flow."
            The DNC deputy chairman will be pleased to know that here in North Carolina, among those agreeing with him is his brother, Eric, chairman of the Forsyth County Democratic Party.
            “In the past nine years, we have lost over 950 seats, and we’re talking about state Houses, governors, in addition to the congressional seats,” Chairman Ellison, who is also a Winston-Salem attorney, said.  “North Carolina is the best example of where state governments are in a position to do just as much harm, if not more, than our federal government,” an obvious reference to the GOP-led North Carolina General Assembly, and its controversial laws like HB2, and court-cases seeking to take power away from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
            “We do need to call out the Republican Party when they put out false news, when they put out statements which are lies, when they put out policies that they say are helping the American people, when they are not,” Ellison said. ”I wholeheartedly believe that we need to bring that fight, and need to bring that hard.”
            No question that Chairman Ellison sees Republican policies as a major hurdle towards adequately addressing the needs of the grassroots, but he cautions that fighting those policies should not be confused with fighting Republicans. Ellison says the Democratic Party exists to serve all people, and it must do a better job of getting that message out.
            “When we ignore whole sections of Democrats, we aren’t competing,” Ellison continued.
            “We work on behalf of all citizens, of all workers, so we don’t want to pick fights with people just because they’re Republicans. We do want to pick a fight, and wage a war for the best ideas for the citizens of Forsyth County, North Carolina [and the nation],” he said. “We’re fighting the fight of ideas and policies, and what’s best for working class people and the working poor.”
            Ellison said Democrats need to “stick to our high ideals, stick to our high value in democracy…but we do need to compete smarter, and better.”
Acknowledging that there are “right-wing zealots who just want to destroy government,” he also noted that there are “moderate, reasonable Republicans” who could join with Democrats to bring about constructive change.
            Ellison pointed to the schism that occurred last week when ultra-conservative GOP House Freedom Caucus members refused to go along with President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan on the repeal-and-replace for Obamacare, forcing Ryan to pull the bill because of insufficient Republican support.
            Now some moderate Republicans say maybe they can work with moderate Democrats to accomplish mutual agendas, like improving roads and bridges in the nation’s infrastructure.
            Chairman Ellison agrees that such a partnership could work, though he’s not clear on whether North Carolina moderate Republicans are ready and willing.
            “There is an opportunity for us to have reasoned, debatable, government and democracy with reasonable Republicans,” he said.
            “Once we take the Democratic Party back to the communities which we represent, back to grassroots organizing, we will win. There are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Forsyth County, in the state and the nation. We have to engage those people in democracy, [because] when citizens sit on the sideline and don’t participate, we get people like #45 (Trump) elected president.”
            “If we do what we’re supposed to do,” Chairman Ellison concluded, “…we win – period!”


            [WINSTON-SALEM] Two African-American members of the Winston-Salem City Council – Derwin Montgomery and James Taylor – have announced that their company, Chronicle Media Group LLC, has purchased the Winston-Salem Chronicle, the city’s oldest community newspaper serving the black community for over 40 years.  The purchase is scheduled for completion in May, 2017. Mr. Taylor has been named publisher, commencing when the sale is completed. The Chronicle was founded by Ernie Pitt in 1974. The new owners promise to continue the legacy of the Chronicle started by the Pitt family 42 years ago.

            [PRINCEVILLE] Residents of the small predominately black Edgecombe county town first founded by slaves were told Monday night to raise their homes two feet above flood plain in order to prevent future flooding. The town leaders of Princeville say doing so will help spare the kind of mas destruction experienced during Hurricane Matthew last year, and Hurricane Floyd in 1999. While residents aren’t required to raise their homes according to state standards, not doing so could raise their home insurance rates. Residents, however, are frustrated that more isn’t being done to safeguard the Tar River from overflowing its banks, causing the flooding.

            [RALEIGH] According to the latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, with more than 1.3 million people. Based on figures from 2016 ending last June 30th, that’s 2.5 percent more than the previous year. That made the Raleigh metro area the 14th fasting growing in the nation, and the fastest growing in North Carolina, outpacing Charlotte, which came in second.

            [RALEIGH] At press time Tuesday, the NCAA gave the NC legislature until 12 noon today to repeal the controversial HB2 “bathroom law,” that prevents transgender people from using public bathrooms contrary to their birth gender, or various NCAA sporting events in the state until 2022. An Associated Press report earlier this week projected that the state could lose $3.7 billion in business for the next 12 years if HB2 is not taken off the books. The law marked its first anniversary last week with hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue from cancelled concerts, sporting events, and employment. Republican state lawmakers have steadfastly refused to repeal HB2, blaming Gov. Cooper for the delay. Cooper has indicated, however, that he is willing to compromise.


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