Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

Top Story Weekly Briefing

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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The conservative assault on freedom and liberty

The Right’s dishonest effort to appropriate and pervert some core American values

Here’s one thing you’ve got to hand to the modern American Right: these people can sell. Maybe it’s the presence of so many shameless TV preachers and corporate bosses within their movement. Maybe it’s the “message discipline” that comes more easily with being a mostly top-down movement. But whatever the root cause, there’s no denying that conservatives are often much better at packaging their ideas for public consumption than progressives. ...
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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The right-wing house of cards shudders

Court setbacks, public opinion, progressive activism and Trump bode ill for NC conservatives

Professor Rick Hasen of the University of California, Irvine School of Law is a nationally recognized Supreme Court watcher and elections law expert. Yesterday on his highly-trafficked Election Law Blog, Hasen posted a fascinating 13-point take of Monday morning’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down North Carolina’s hyper-gerrymandered 2011 congressional district map. After sifting through Justice Elena Kagan’s lengthy opinion and even some important footnotes, Hasen said this:

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Trump, NC conservative leaders to eastern NC: “Drop dead”

Hurricane Matthew non-response sets a new low when it comes to basics of governing

With the increasingly precarious situation in which he finds his presidency vis a vis the inquiries of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one would think that Donald Trump might well be taking any and all steps available to cozy up to the Committee’s chairman, North Carolina’s Richard Burr. Weirdly, however, no such actions were in evidence last week when it came to one of the most basic components of running the federal government – meting out disaster relief funds.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The last line of defense against Trumpism is under fire

The Right lays siege to the federal and state courts

“What can we do?” For six months now, caring and thinking Americans have been asking that question a lot as they have anticipated and then stared into the dark abyss that is the presidency of Donald Trump.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Wake up people! The Right is just getting started

Conservatives are working to radically overhaul the American social contract

At the conclusion of the whirlwind 2011 session of the North Carolina General Assembly — a session in which new conservative majorities pushed through a raft of dramatic policy changes —many progressive North Carolinians surveyed the aftermath and found themselves actually breathing a sigh of relief. There was a widespread feeling that the fury of the storm had passed, that the Right had vented its collective spleen and that, having pushed through so much of its long-stymied policy agenda, conservative leaders would settle down to focus on governing the state.

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Weekly Briefing

A flood of bad ideas

How the General Assembly is spending “crossover week” and what it ought to be doing

The last week of April arrived soggy and gray yesterday in North Carolina. It’s as if the weather gods had taken a sneak peek at the agenda for one of the busiest weeks of the year at the General Assembly and were shedding a steady stream of preemptory tears.

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Weekly Briefing

An important bright spot emerges at the General Assembly

Progress on “second chance” agenda marks a rare positive development in state policy wars

There are a lot of reasons for caring and thinking North Carolinians to be discouraged these days about what’s happening in the world of public policy. In the nation’s capital, the corrupt and illegitimate Trump administration is a perpetual, slow motion train wreck. Meanwhile, Congress is a frequently dysfunctional war zone in which some of the most conservative political leaders in modern American history are engaged in a pitched battle with far right extremists who want to repeal fundamental components of the national social contract.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The return of the “Know Nothings”

Anti-immigrant fervor spawns destructive (and utterly illogical) proposals on Jones Street

There are a lot of labels that have been applied to the ideology that has held sway in North Carolina policy and politics over the past six years. Some have been embraced by the politicians and pundits who have been running the show (“conservative,” “libertarian,” “fundamentalist” stand out) while others (“reactionary,” “backward-looking,” “right-wing”) have not.

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Weekly Briefing

Trump hypocrisy threatens again with massive proposed cuts to legal aid

The most litigious president in U.S. history says “no” to lawyers for poor people

No one ever accused Donald Trump of being consistent. If ever there was a politician for whom a gravitation toward blatant self-contradiction and 180 degree flip flops was embedded in the very fiber of his being, it would have to be the 45th president. Name an important issue of public policy and it seems a virtual lock that Trump will have staked out a position on all sides of it (and then probably contradicted each of them at one time or another with his own personal behavior).

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