Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THANKS TO GERRYMANDERING, POLICY STAKES IN NC ARE BIGGER THAN THEY OUGHT TO BE: Because of partisan gerrymandering, the question this fall is not whether the ebbs and flows of politics, voter turnout, and the news cycle will cause the state legislature to swing slightly Republican or slightly Democratic; it is whether those factors will lead to massive Republican supermajorities or merely ones akin to those they currently enjoy. If the GOP somehow manages to acquire three-fifths supermajorities in both houses by adding just two seats in the Senate and three in the House, its members will be able to override any vetoes issued by Gov. Roy Cooper and thereby completely control state lawmaking. This means that North Carolina could quickly shift from being a state in which abortion care remains safe, legal, and pretty widely available – both to pregnant North Carolinians and those from nearby states like Georgia and Tennessee where such care is completely banned – to one in which it is punishable as a crime. It means that modest remaining state controls over firearms will likely be repealed. It means that efforts to further micromanage public school teachers over issues like race and U.S. history, and to further expand school privatization, will likely become law. It means that local sheriffs will likely be required – even where they object – to become more actively involved in the immigration enforcement business. It means that new efforts to limit the rights of transgender people will likely find their way into state law. It means that efforts to limit carbon pollution likely be stymied. And if the state Supreme Court shifts from the current narrow 4-3 Democratic majority to GOP control, it means that all manner of new and dramatic changes subject to constitutional review will soon be wending their way through the judiciary in search of approval from a new and conservative high court majority. And this will almost certainly include a new round of even more gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps. This is not hyperbole, and it's not the entire list of dangerous policies that would be put in place. These are just the ones we can reasonably predict, and that should scare the hell out of you.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/opinion/109338/rob-schofield-thanks-to-gerrymandering-policy-stakes...

Trump faces subpoena from Jan 6 Committee

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It's time to put up or shut up, dude:

While the subpoena was anticipated, it is a remarkable escalation in the investigation into whether the deadly violence on Jan. 6 was the direct result of Trump’s actions in the weeks after he lost his bid for reelection.

“As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multipart effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power,” Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and vice chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a statement, part of a 10-page letter to Trump.

It's no coincidence that Steve Bannon was just sentenced to 4 months in prison for Contempt of Congress at roughly the same time this subpoena was issued:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

And there are considerably more early voting sites this year than the last mid-term election. But you should go early (early), because there will likely be long lines. Gerry has a link to all the locations right here:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DEBATE EXCHANGE ON DRUGS SHOWS BUDD IS MORE ABOUT RHETORIC THAN SOLUTIONS: If there’s one thing that came clear in the televised debate last week between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd – the two main candidates for U.S. Senate – is that Budd is utterly lacking in the perception and comprehension necessary. To those watching and listening, nothing demonstrated his aloofness, detachment and lack of empathy than his response to questions about potential legalization of marijuana. North Carolinians overwhelmingly back legalization – 72% favor it for medical use while 57% support it for recreational use. “I'm not a supporter of legalization, especially for recreational marijuana,” Budd declared. He then detoured off into a from-the-Trump-script rant about illegal immigration and securing the borders and veered off into drug trafficking of fentanyl. Never, in the course of his discussion of marijuana or illegal drugs did he mention the HUGE toll that drug addiction is taking on the state, any concern for those who struggle with addiction or who are its victims. Nor did he make any mention of efforts to address this. It was about law enforcement and no concern, support or help for those struggling to overcome addiction – too often at the hands of profit-hungry corporations, careless medical professionals and aloof pharmacists. Two things: Legalizing marijuana for recreational use would seriously hurt the cartels, because they rely upon the illegality to generate their profits. Second, legalizing marijuana for medical use would give patients an option other than opioids (like fentanyl) to manage their pain. Even a cursory examination of the issue reveals those two things, but apparently Budd can't spare the time or brain power for such an exercise.
https://legacy.wral.com/editorial-debate-exchange-on-drugs-shows-budd-s-more-about-rhetoric-than-sol...

Pence aide required to testify before Jan 6 Grand Jury

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Executive privilege does not apply:

In a sealed decision that could clear the way for other top Trump White House officials to answer questions before a grand jury, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled that former Pence chief of staff Marc Short probably possessed information important to the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol that was not available from other sources, one of those people said.

Trump appealed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to postpone Short’s appearance while the litigation continues, the people said, signaling that attempts by Trump to invoke executive privilege to preserve the confidentiality of presidential decision-making were not likely to prevail.

I've noticed several friends asking, "What is Merrick Garland waiting for?" He's not waiting. Hasn't been waiting. A true bill of indictment handed down by a Grand Jury is the proper approach in any controversial prosecution, and this one is without a doubt the most controversial one. No former/current President has ever been prosecuted for a crime, so we're in unexplored territory here. Of course this is taking a long time, because Trump is fighting every move the DOJ makes:

Hump-Day Handouts

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Thomas Mills is taking Republicans to task:

This past weekend, Senator Tommy Tuberville said African Americans are responsible for crime in the United States. A few weeks ago in Wilmington, Donald Trump goaded his audience into shouting the N-word. While a few Republicans might quietly say they disagree, neither Tuberville nor Trump will get much of a rebuke from the Republican Party because everyone, whether they like it or not, knows that race will drive White voters to the polls in November.

Williamson and company are also mistaken in believing all this behavior is just performative. As the AP wrote yesterday, Q-anon conspiracist Marjorie Taylor Greene is becoming a power player in the Republican Caucus. Liz Cheney lost her primary. At CPAC, participants openly supported Putin and Russia. The party has an armed wing made up of militias and violent right-wing organizations. The leadership of the GOP is quickly becoming reactionary and authoritarian, not conservative.

There are also 299 Republican candidates for Congress who at least pay lip service to Donald Trump's claims the election was stolen from him. Think about that for a minute. Numerous Republican election officials have adamantly denied the claim, and provided reams of evidence to back up that denial. And have been ostracized for it. In other words, if you deny the conspiracy, then you must be part of it. I don't know if it's the tail wagging the dog, or what, but our democracy is at a crossroads. Confidence in elections is at an all-time low amongst NC's Republican voters:

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