Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

Top Story Weekly Briefing

Civitas Institute still linking to anti-Semitic website

Conservative group “reviewing” bigoted attacks; funding from major NC corporations implicated Nearly a week after this column reported that the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute has been promoting a bigoted and frequently anti-Semitic website, the conservative group has issued only a brief and incomplete comment on the matter and is still linking visitors to the controversial site from its Carolina Plott Hound web platform.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

North Carolina conservatives must disavow allies’ bigoted hate speech

Website with ties to Civitas Institute promotes anti-Semitic attack on Attorney General Stein

There are a lot of deeply troubling and even shocking aspects to the ongoing rise in “white nationalism” and religious bigotry that plagues the American political landscape these days. First and foremost, of course, is the active participation of the president of the United States in the process. That the highest office in our land is being used in such a perverted way to aid and abet such a noxious cause remains a stunning and unacceptable reality that should sicken all people of good will on a daily basis.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The middle class is not an accident (or inevitable)

A few years back, there was a witty and briefly popular bumper sticker that conveyed several important and frequently neglected and forgotten truths about the lot of working Americans. It read: “The Labor Movement: The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend.” Though it seems hard to imagine for many of us today, the pithy and plucky message on those stickers was, in a very literal sense, true. At the turn of the 20th Century, life in America – especially for working people – was wildly different than it is for most of us today.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Process at the General Assembly sinks to a new and remarkable low

House overrides Governor’s veto of consumer lending bill based on lawmaker’s incorrect description of what it would do

The notion that elected officials often debate and even enact new laws based on a faulty understanding of what they are discussing and/or voting on is, of course, nothing particularly new.

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One of the most important state Supreme Court cases in years

Justices will hear Cooper v. Berger and Moore next week and the stakes couldn’t be much higher

One of the most important matters to come before the North Carolina Supreme Court in a long time will be argued next Monday in Raleigh.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The thing that wouldn’t leave

Lawmakers to return to Raleigh yet again; agenda may include dangerous “de-reg” proposal

The North Carolina General Assembly will return to Raleigh yet again this week. Despite abysmal poll numbers, the toxic national political environment and their close association with a president of the United States who continues to set new standards for mendacity and outrageous behavior, legislative leaders will commence yet another special session on Friday to take up any number of matters that could include gubernatorial vetoes, new legislative maps, pending legislation from the “long session” that adjourned in June and maybe even constitutional amendments. Despite the Friday-at-noon start time, actual legislative action is not expected to get underway in earnest until next week – emphasis on the word expected.

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The fight for democracy gains momentum

Despite lawmakers’ latest big stall, redistricting reformers are on the offensive

“The dog ate my homework.” If you thought this old cliché of an excuse lost all currency in the world after about the fourth grade and/or when students start turning in their assignments online, think again.

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What the fight over fair elections is really all about

As NC looks at election rules and redistricting, a powerful new book reminds us why these issues are even on the table

This is an especially busy week in the fight for fair elections in North Carolina. Late yesterday, a panel of three federal judges issued an order in the case of North Carolina v. Covington – a challenge to North Carolina’s unconstitutionally gerrymandered legislative districts. The ruling came just hours after the North Carolina State Board of Elections conducted a hearing on a set of new proposed rules that could rein in some of the worst voter suppression tactics employed by conservatives during the 2016 election.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

“Public” is not and should not be a dirty word

The destructive delusions in the Right’s opposition to public transit

The modern day conservative opposition to public transit has always been a bit of a puzzle.

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Trump nominates hyper-partisan conservative activist to NC federal court vacancy

Why this is not “business as usual” and should not be condoned

Sometimes all one can do is stand and marvel in slack-jawed wonder at the breathtaking brazenness, hypocrisy and double standards that Donald Trump and his allies in the modern conservative movement are willing to employ and embrace.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Another bill for Governor Cooper’s veto list

Last minute, behind-the-scenes maneuver would give windfall to predatory lenders

There were a lot of low moments during the closing days of the state legislative session that concluded on June 30.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Is North Carolina stuck in an abusive relationship?

Behavior of state leaders, state policy community raise warning flags

The last seven years in North Carolina politics and policy have been extraordinary. In a very short period of time, a once moderate state has been transformed into a kind of laboratory for far right policies and a testing ground for what we are coming to know now as Trumpism. On issue after issue, state legislative leaders have aggressively pursued an ultra-conservative agenda that seeks to radically remake the state’s social contract.

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NC GOP leaders are now mimicking Trump

State budget bill is the latest and best example

It’s long been a matter of public record that North Carolina conservatives and their allies in the right-wing “libertarian” think tanks and “pro-family” advocacy groups long ago sold their souls to the devil when it comes to Donald Trump. The lure of power and/or access to it was so overpowering that it quickly obliterated any pangs of conscience that might have afflicted groups and individuals for whom Trump’s values, immorality and serial dishonesty were directly contrary to their professed core beliefs.

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The General Assembly’s war on the poor hits another new low

Unexplained, backroom maneuver would rob already underfunded anti-poverty program

There’s no denying that conservative ideology plays a big and important role in driving the North Carolina public policy debate these days. In battle after battle, Republican lawmakers have justified their positions and decisions – from cutting taxes on the wealthy and profitable corporations to reducing environmental protection efforts to privatizing public education to an array of other actions – with the claim that they were vindicating the overarching philosophical cause of downsizing government and “unleashing the private sector.”

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A plea to responsible North Carolina gun defenders

Please, please, please ask your hardcore allies to calm down

As anyone paying attention to policy debates in North Carolina in recent days is well aware, the age-old battle over guns and gun violence is front and center right now. Thanks to a proposal narrowly approved by the state House of Representatives last week, North Carolina is a step closer to deregulating the carrying of concealed weapons.

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The Right’s dream gun proposal

Our best guess as to what North Carolina conservatives might have in store

Editor’s note: Although the following “news” story may strike many readers as entirely plausible, it is – at least we’re pretty sure, anyway – only a parody.

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