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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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TOP STATE JUDGES MAKE RARE PLEA IN MOMENTOUS SUPREME COURT ELECTION CASE: If the Supreme Court adopts the theory, it will radically reshape how federal elections are conducted by giving state lawmakers independent authority, not subject to review by state courts, to set election rules in conflict with state constitutions. The conference’s brief, which was nominally filed in support of neither party, urged the Supreme Court to reject that approach, sometimes called the independent state legislature theory. The Constitution, the brief said, “does not oust state courts from their traditional role in reviewing election laws under state constitutions.” The case, Moore v. Harper, No. 21-1271, will be argued in the coming months. It concerns a congressional voting map drawn by the North Carolina Legislature favoring Republicans that was rejected as a partisan gerrymander by the state’s Supreme Court. Republican lawmakers seeking to restore the legislative map argued that the state court had been powerless to act. Four conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court have issued opinions indicating that they may be ready to endorse the independent state legislature theory. It's one of the most naked power grabs BergerMoore has cooked up recently, and that is saying a mouthful. I only wish the voters of NC could see how dangerous keeping them in power has become, but said voters are asleep at the wheel.
https://legacy.wral.com/adam-liptak-top-state-judges-make-rare-plea-in-momentous-supreme-court-elect...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VOTERS SHOULDN'T BACK CANDIDATES WHO ARE ELECTION DENIERS: When it comes to upholding the results of elections in North Carolina and the United States – the most recent of which in 2020 for president have been shown to have been fair and free of manipulation – there is no room for equivocation. Incumbents who want to continue to represent this state in Washington -- but who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 elections and still stand with former President Donald Trump’s outlandish and false notion he defeated Joe Biden – do not deserve to return. On Jan. 6, 2021 Budd voted (along with every other North Carolina Republican member of the U.S. House except Patrick McHenry) to overturn the results of the 2020 election that Democrat Joe Biden clearly won. Budd said on Twitter at the time there were “irregularities (and) constitutional violations in the presidential election.” When it comes to pledging loyalty to our nation, Americans don’t swear to monarchs, dictators or deities. The pledge is to uphold protect and defend the Constitution. Loyalty to a political party or to a politician should NEVER override honesty, Integrity and the rule of law. I don't care if Budd swears on a stack of bibles he will honor the results of the upcoming election, his actions speak much louder than his words. And those actions have been undemocratic and downright treasonous.
https://legacy.wral.com/editorial-voters-shouldn-t-back-candidates-who-are-election-deniers/20486679/

Hump-Day Handouts

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Trump is on the hook for a quarter-billion in fraud restitution:

The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, is the result of a more than two-year investigation by James and names 23 properties in the Trump Organization portfolio, including his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, his Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y., and the D.C. hotel he leased from the federal government until he sold it in May.

“The inflated asset valuations in the Statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration or good faith estimation about which reasonable real estate professionals may differ,” it says.

Damn right it can't be brushed aside. In just four years, Trump inflated the value of his triplex apartment in Trump Tower from $80 million to $327 million, in order to leverage loans and impress idiots. Here's the complaint if you have the stamina. Speaking of disgusting fraudsters, these crooks stole (another) quarter-billion earmarked for feeding hungry children:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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INCREASE VOTING ACCESS AND MAKE POLLING PLACES SAFE FOR VOTERS AND WORKERS: When it comes to keeping voting in North Carolina accessible and secure the state’s Republicans seem to be saying one thing and then doing another. They say they want voting accessible, the rules and procedures open and transparent and polling places to be secure. But then they block regulations and file lawsuits that limit voters’ opportunities to cast ballots and would actually make polling places less secure. Rather than acting to give voters more faith in the electoral process, these actions breed confusion and mistrust. These contradictions vividly came into focus recently – first at a non-partisan session of the N.C. Trusted Elections tour in Smithfield and a few days later in a lawsuit filed in Wake County Superior Court by the state and national Republican parties. What is achieved by a baseless legal action that actually seeks to breed distrust and plant doubts about the conduct of the election? What is achieved is a continuation of the dangerous false narrative that Trump created to explain his defeat, in an effort to inspire harassment and belligerence targeting poll workers and minority voters. They should be ashamed, but they don't have the capacity.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-act-to-increase-voting-access-and-make-polling-places-safe-for-voters...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IF A TAX BREAK IS GOOD FOR NC CORPORATIONS, DON'T TREAT STUDENT LOANS DIFFERENTLY: Astonishingly, unless the legislature acts, North Carolina is going to force these same folks to pay from $500 to $1,000 in personal state income tax. While the federal government isn’t going to charge income tax for the loan forgiveness, state legislators failed to adopt the same exemption for state taxes. This is a state legislature that’s never seen a corporate tax cut it didn’t embrace. It wasted little time to link to federal tax codes to exempt those businesses from state taxes on millions they got in federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) dollars. It should act with the same dispatch to extend the same break to those with student loans. No one should buy the political spin of the likes of North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who took to Twitter to say: "This is a slap in the face to middle and working-class Americans already struggling with high inflation who will now have to pay off the debt of higher earners." Tillis didn’t offer the same critique for his big-business friends who got their big federal aid and tax exemptions. It was middle and working-class Americans who were forced to take out these loans in the first place, not "higher earners." Tillis is so out of touch with his constituents it's not even funny anymore. And if BergerMoore thinks this won't be a problem come November because that tax won't be due until next Spring, they are sorely mistaken. Voters will know, we will make sure of that.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-if-a-tax-break-is-good-for-n-c-corporations-don-t-treat-student-loans...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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RURAL COMMUNITIES NEED MEDICAID EXPANSION NOW: Despite careful planning and the tireless efforts of our team members, ECU Health is facing the same unprecedented challenges as other health systems. Some of our current challenges stem from unexpected and extremely high labor costs in addition to the rising cost of supplies like medicine and equipment, which are significantly higher than they were just one year ago. In rural regions like ours, navigating these realities is even more difficult. We already face a high burden of disease, a large geographical area where local providers and teams provide a literal lifeline to quality care and a large number of community members who don’t have access to adequate health insurance. That is why it is vital that the General Assembly pass Medicaid expansion and move forward with HASP funding. Together, these efforts will help close the insurance gap, provide care for our most vulnerable community members, lower medical bills, bring much-needed dollars to the state and allow health systems and hospitals to continue to provide high-quality care to those who depend on it. 9 out of 10 of the rural hospitals that have been forced to close their doors nationwide have been in states that have *not* expanded Medicaid. NC has lost 7 of those hospitals so far, and several more are teetering on the edge. The difference between traveling 20 miles for care or 120 miles is a deadly one, and those are deaths that don't need to happen.
https://www.wral.com/michael-waldrum-rural-communities-need-medicaid-expansion-now/20443241/

Hump-Day Handouts

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Once again Greg Lindberg is in hot water:

The regulator alleged that Lindberg, once North Carolina’s largest political donor, and an associate looted more than $75 million from Lindberg’s insurance companies, compromising the companies’ liquidity and leading to a state takeover of the insurers that has kept policy holders from receiving payments.

The money flowed through a Malta-based advisory firm through complicated schemes designed to mask the fact that Lindberg treated insurance company money as his own, SEC investigators said in their complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

I'm sorely tempted to label him the "Maltese Vulture," but those carrion fowl actually serve a purpose. Speaking of disgusting and contemptible people, the South Carolina House just passed a near-total abortion ban yesterday:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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ILLEGAL LEGISLATORS CAN'T ENACT LEGAL LAWS: Should legislators, improperly elected from judicially ruled illegal racially gerrymandered districts, be able to enact laws that perpetuate racial discrimination? To most common-sense people -- even attorneys (such as state Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore) who learned the “fruit from the poisonous tree” concept in law school – the answer is an obvious “no.” And that is why Friday’s 4-3 State Supreme Court ruling says legislators likely lacked legal authority in 2018 to claim to be representing anyone and thus couldn’t enact legislation to amend the State Constitution. In the case at hand – it is Constitutional Amendments requiring presentation of a photo ID to vote and barring any increase in the state’s income tax rate above 7%. It is the job of the courts to review and determine if the legislature’s actions accord with the State Constitution. When those actions fall short, it is the courts’ job to negate those actions and apply appropriate remedies with which legislators must comply. That isn’t any infringement on anything. It is called the rule of law. That is what democracy is about in North Carolina and the United States. And their response is to attack that very authority that protects our Constitution, the state Supreme Court's oversight of the Legislature. That's what 3rd World dictators do, not responsible elected officials.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-illegal-legislators-can-t-enact-legal-laws/20427102/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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HEALTH AND LIFE TAKING A BACKSEAT TO POLITICS IN NC ABORTION POLICY: What did North Carolinians learn late on Wednesday when federal judge William Osteen Jr. allowed enforcement of the state’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy? They learned that health and life are not the most important matters to House Speaker Tim Moore and state Senate Leader Phil Berger. To Republicans Berger and Moore it is all about politics, the fall elections and their machinations to gain a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly. In reacting to Osteen’s unsurprising ruling, Moore mainly attacked Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, who appropriately recused himself from personal involvement in the matter after stating he opposed the previously unconstitutional state law. Berger, similarly took up a partisan cudgel. “Democrats’ position on abortion can only be characterized as extreme,” he said. Yet, if Berger and Moore are looking for extreme positions on abortion, they need look no further than legislation their fellow Republicans have introduced, which is still pending in the General Assembly and that they’ve not renounced. Republicans want the State Constitution (House Bill -158) to declare life starts “at the moment” of fertilization. Anyone who willfully tries or destroys a life is accountable for attempted murder. Is that what Moore and Berger want? Do they back legislation (House Bill 31) banning abortions after a “detectable” fetal heartbeat? Are these the “protection for the unborn” that Moore and Berger are promoting? We won't get any solid answers to such questions until after the November Election, because Republicans fear "informed" voters more than anything else.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-health-and-life-taking-backseat-to-politics-in-n-c-abortion-policy/20...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC CHAMBER PROTECTS BUSINESS TAX CUTS OVER QUALITY EDUCATION FOR KIDS: When dozens of the state’s most prominent business leaders signed onto a brief supporting full-funding of a consensus plan to assure every child has access to a quality education – a right guaranteed in the State Constitution – the state Chamber issued an over-the-top attack on the court order under the guise that the group’s current chair had not given her permission to have her name listed. Three former state Chamber chairs are among the signers and the current chair, according to Tom Bradshaw (one of those former chairs) Sepi Saidi, told him she agreed to be listed and offered to provide financial support for the effort. After release of the names last week, the state Chamber issued an over-heated statement saying she’d not given her permission while also denying – not that it had even been suggested – that the state Chamber supported the order. Quickly after she made it known that she did not want her name included among the signers, it was removed from the list. The N.C. Chamber knows the public education needs of the state but has chosen to ignore them and placed their financial gain above doing the best for our school children. This goes deeper than just a he said, she said issue; it reveals the corrupting influence of the NC GOP and the post-truth phenomena of Trumpism. But every time they rewrite history, their shaky facade of morality weakens.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-nc-chamber-protects-business-tax-cuts-over-quality-education-for-kids...

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