Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


WHO WILL TED BUDD REALLY BE WORKING FOR IN THE U.S. SENATE? When Republican Ted Budd takes his seat in the United States Senate next month who will he be representing? If you say North Carolina, don’t bet on it. The people who will really get his attention will be the handful of billionaires who, through dark money campaign operations and super political action committees (super PACs) , accounted for 85% of the $83.2 million raised and spent to get him elected. The folks behind these organizations have little connection to North Carolina or the needs of the state. Top donors to Club for Growth, that spent $11.7 million to get Budd elected, are billionaires Richard Uihlein, an Illinois packaging magnate and billionaire investment trading executive Jeff Yass of Pennsylvania. Other PACs are financed by Las Vegas hotel fortune heiresses and investment tycoons from New York and Miami. In politics, it’s a truism that: “You got to dance with them what brung you.” That means, as the great commentator Molly Ivins says: “When you get to public office, you vote with the folks who put you there. And that used to mean your constituents, the people who voted for you. But more and more what it means is you vote with the special interests who put up the money to get you to public office.” In the Senate, don’t look for Budd to be tripping the light fantastic with many partners who have tar on their heels -- $70 million is a very exclusive dance ticket. Bought and paid for. And the sad part is, NC voters were told who was buying these ads. At the end of every radio and TV ad, and at the bottom of every mailer. Maybe not the people, but the organizations. And a quick Google search would have answered the people question. But that is apparently expecting too much.

Edward Snowden granted Russian citizenship

After hiding out there for nine years:

“Edward received a Russian passport yesterday and took the oath in accordance with the law,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency. “He is, of course, happy, thanking the Russian Federation for the fact that he received citizenship,” he continued. “And most importantly, under the Constitution of Russia, he can no longer be extradited to a foreign state.”

Snowden, 39, is wanted by Washington on espionage charges. He argues that his actions were in the interests of the United States. In any case, his revelations exposed the breadth of U.S. digital spying programs and altered the public’s understanding of technology, privacy and digital security.

Whether you consider him a hero or a traitor, the fact he's being treated so well by Putin while Brittney Griner is struggling to survive in a gulag in Mordovia should at least raise one eyebrow. But maybe not. Americans love to compartmentalize. This is as good a time as any to review what Snowden did to earn his notoriety:

Loyal to a Fault

There's an old saying we don't think about too much these days: 'He's loyal to a fault.'
Most of us value loyalty. We are loyal to our country, to our family, to our friends, and to our faith.

In Jonathan Haidt's book, The Righteous Mind, he lists Loyalty amongst the 6 most important values held by humans. Haidt's research further breaks down the importance that individual Americans place on each of his 6 virtues by political party. And it turns out that Republicans place more importance on Loyalty than Democrats do. Much more importance.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


GOP BRAGGING RINGS HOLLOW WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION: “Republicans will continue to champion policies that strengthen our economy, support quality education, and provide for public safety and order,” Berger pledged. Nowhere in his 600-word litany of partisan Democratic Party bashing and Republican Party chest thumping is the word "health" mentioned. Berger and his allies have repeatedly found ways to block, delay and politically entangle Medicaid expansion. About 600,000 North Carolinians – equal to nearly a third of all the votes Republican state Senate candidates received – have since 2013 been denied by state law from access to affordable health care. Yes, not only has Berger and his allies failed to vote FOR expanding Medicaid, they actually passed a law (Senate Bill 4) in 2013 prohibiting it – with only Republican votes in the Senate and a single Democrat (who later switched affiliation to the Republican Party) in the House. The costs have been staggering – as many as 14,700 lives -- of those unable to get the care they needed -- have been lost; 230,000 diabetics have not been able to get the life-sustaining medications they require; 107,500 mammograms missed. And, particularly for politicians who brag of frugality and job growth, the state has missed out on $17.44 billion in federal funds. That is money North Carolina taxpayers already send to Washington that’s paying more than 90% of the Medicaid expansion costs in 39 other states and Washington, DC. Berger is a one-trick pony (tax cuts), who won his race because he was the only horse on the racetrack. But it's not just his fault, there are (going to be) 29 other GOP Senators, and the pressure needs to be on them to force his hand on Medicaid expansion.

Happy Thanksgiving open thread


Jive Turkey would like to take a few moments to explain where his name comes from. He says it means somebody who is cool, stylish, and popular. But that's because he is a Jive Turkey and doesn't understand the true meaning, which is: a person who is vile, deceitful, pompous, and engages in deceptive, exaggerated, and meaningless talk. Some prime examples are Donald Trump and Herschel Walker, and the latter has been lying about his (nonexistent) college degree for several years now:

Retirement Planning in the Age of GOP Terrorism

I’m approaching retirement after living all my sixty years as a North Carolina resident.

Recently, I had a talk with a representative from the company that handles my workplace 401K account. “You’re looking great,” he said, running through the different scenarios in their online tool and giving me his opinions about possible retirement dates.

I’ve been lucky. Having steady employment for the past thirty years, putting a little aside where I can, and recent modest inheritance has put me in a place where I can look forward to a retirement on an adequate income.

Or will it?


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