Editorial: How the "family values Legislature" is destroying families

Extremist demagoguery is always counterproductive:

The simplest and best way to reduce abortions is to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The best way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is through sound family planning, access to contraceptives and good affordable health care for women. It is not complicated and shouldn’t be controversial.

But it is, largely because one of the best providers of these services and information to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies happens to be an organization that also offers legal abortion services to women – Planned Parenthood.

If this was merely an anti-abortion debate, Republicans would be tripping over themselves creating clinics that offered affordable health care for women, supplied various contraceptive methods, and rendered first-class prenatal and neonatal treatment to ensure healthy babies. The fact they don't speaks volumes about their true motivations, which is to perpetuate an outdated patriarchy in which women are merely vessels for procreation, and should be totally reliant on a husband to provide the things she needs. If a third party (the government) were to provide these things, the importance of that husband fades, and with him the entire social construct fades. And that construct is so important to these men that putting lives at risk is a small price to pay to strengthen their primacy:

Tuesday News: Come on, Georgia

DEMOCRAT JON OSSOFF LOOKING STRONG IN SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION: Voters in a suburban Atlanta congressional district will decide Tuesday whether Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff will win outright a special election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a district the Republican Party has held since 1979. The closely watched contest has drawn national attention as the first political bellwether of the Trump era, after the district nearly split its vote between the Republican leader and Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election. It even drew the president’s personal attention Monday, when the White House occupant criticized Ossoff in a tweet. “The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressioal (sic) race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!” Trump said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article145072879.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The curse of the unfunded mandate:

Pretty sure one requirement of whether something is a "good idea" or not is that it won't cripple the system you're trying to enhance:

Coal ash documentary featuring Dukeville residents showing in New York

"From The Ashes" will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month:

The documentary, “From the Ashes,” examines the history of coal in the United States, the long-term effects of the coal industry on communities and the future of coal. The Dukeville community and several familiar faces for observers of North Carolina’s coal ash controversy are featured in the documentary. They include Dukeville resident Deborah Graham, Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Frank Holleman and Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.

Part of the documentary was filmed in Dukeville, which has dealt with questions about well-water quality for roughly two years. State law requires that Duke Energy provide a source of safe, permanent water to neighbors of its coal ash ponds by 2018. “From the Ashes” is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 26. Graham said she has been invited to attend the world premiere.

Once this documentary makes its rounds of film venues, it will be aired on the National Geographic Channel. Here's the trailer:

Monday News: Corporatocracy

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MANY OF DONALD TRUMP'S APPOINTMENTS ARE RECENT LOBBYISTS: President Donald Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck. The potential conflicts are arising across the executive branch, according to an analysis of recently released financial disclosures, lobbying records and interviews with current and former ethics officials by The New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica. In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article144961129.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILL: The North Carolina General Assembly is where terrible ideas go to live forever. These horrible ideas, seemingly banished by court decisions, public revulsion or sheer stupidity, manage to spontaneously regenerate in the most unlikely places. Take the no-good idea of combining the state Board of Elections and state Ethics Commission. It was about a month ago when a three-judge panel said the legislature’s December extra-session attempt to merge the two boards was a very bad idea and amounted to an unconstitutional grab of the governor’s power. It is unfortunate that legislative leaders seem more concerned about tinkering with the administration of elections rather than working on ways to increase turnout and making it easier for those who are eligible to register and cast ballots.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-a-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-bill/16639437/

Cooper Veto imminent on GOP's court-packing scheme

Trying to defend the Separation of Powers:

The General Assembly passed House Bill 239 this week, which would reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12 and add more than 100 cases per year to the state Supreme Court’s workload. Gov. Roy Cooper plans to veto the legislation.

“The Republican effort to reduce the number of judges on the Court of Appeals should be called out for exactly what it is – their latest power-grab, aimed at exerting partisan influence over the judicial branch and laying the groundwork for future court-packing,” states a press memo from his office.

This is more than just a political ploy; Republicans are, in essence, eroding the rights of citizens to receive justice, by intentionally overburdening the system to justify changing the makeup of the Supreme Court. It's not unlike a fireman engaging in arson so he can get a pay raise. The GOP wants to dominate the Supreme Court however they can accomplish it, and if that means your case doesn't get heard for another year or two, oh well. If you were wrongfully imprisoned, just eat your three square meals a day and shut the hell up.

Saturday News: Cuddling with the Bear

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FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR CARTER PAGE HERO TO RUSSIAN NATIONALISTS: Page also received largely unreported attention from nationalist organizations within Russia that could have invited scrutiny. The Moscow television station Tsargrad covered him before, during and after his speech to the New Economic School in Moscow. Tsargrad is owned by right-wing nationalist Konstantin Malofeev, who was sanctioned by the Obama administration and European allies for allegedly bankrolling Russian nationalists in the Crimean peninsula, which was seized by Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s forces in February 2014. Tsargrad is affiliated with a nationalist think tank called Katehon, also funded by Malofeev. Tsargrad’s editor in chief is Aleksander Dugin, a conservative sage who wrote confidently on Katehon’s website in February 2016 that Trump’s nationalist message would carry him to the U.S. presidency.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article144722809.html

Ugly as sin: Blackwater's Erik Prince conspired to murder witnesses to his crimes

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It's long past time this psychopath was put behind bars:

The former employee, identified in the court documents as “John Doe #2,” is a former member of Blackwater’s management team, according to a source close to the case. Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues, “it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct.”

John Doe #2 says he worked at Blackwater for four years; his identity is concealed in the sworn declaration because he “fear[s] violence against me in retaliation for submitting this Declaration.” He also alleges, “On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince’s employ, Mr. Prince’s management has personally threatened me with death and violence.”

Aside from the invasion of Iraq itself, hiring mercenaries to work there is one of the biggest sins I will never forgive George W. Bush for committing.

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