Wednesday News: Tit for tat

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GOP BUDGET LEAVES OUT FUNDING FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN MONUMENT: “Really? That’s an insult,” Sen. Gladys Robinson, a Guilford County Democrat told The News & Observer on Tuesday. The Senate’s lead budget writer, Autryville Republican Sen. Brent Jackson, said the Senate decided not to put it in the budget this time, even though it had proposed funding the project in a previous year’s proposal and in a different bill last year. “That was discussed, and the decision was since the monuments were being taken down, or they got vandalized during all the protests and they were being taken down on the Capitol square, we just felt like this was not the time to put something back up there of any type,” Jackson told The N&O on Tuesday. It's exactly the time for it.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252000573.html

MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL IS STILL ALIVE, SET FOR DEBATE TODAY: State senators will discuss a bill Wednesday that would legalize marijuana in North Carolina to treat a number of ailments. No vote is expected, but this is a key first step for a measure that has a powerful sponsor in Senate Rules Chairman Bill Rabon. "It helps a lot of people," Rabon, R-Brunswick, said of marijuana Tuesday afternoon. "It certainly ameliorates some conditions." Senate Bill 711 lays out a new regulatory structure for medical cannabis that would let doctors prescribe it for a number of conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and other comparable debilitating conditions. The measure wouldn't legalize recreational use and says it would still be illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. As Senate Rules chairman, Rabon helps decide what bills live and die at the General Assembly, but he said Tuesday that he has no assurances from his colleagues that this bill will ultimately pass the Senate.
https://www.wral.com/medical-marijuana-to-get-hearing-in-nc-senate/19738291/

CHARTER SCHOOLS STILL CONTROVERSIAL AFTER 25 YEARS IN NC: “There’s a philosophical war underway right now,” said state Senate leader Phil Berger. “And that war is between bureaucrats and unions on one side, who’d like to force all children into one educational system controlled by those bureaucrats, and parents and children on the other side.” Charter schools were originally intended to improve the academic performance of at-risk and academically gifted students, though any student can apply, and to promote innovation in teaching methods. But critics argue that charter schools have not lived up to these goals. “Charter schools in North Carolina were supposed to serve the most challenged and challenging students,” said Natalie Beyer, a Durham school board member and a board member of Public Schools First NC. “But over more recent years, they have tended to be racially isolated and underperforming,” she continued. “So it’s not a time for celebration, but a time to pause and put more accountability in place for students and taxpayer dollars.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252288918.html

SENATE REPUBLICANS USE FILIBUSTER TO BLOCK VOTING RIGHTS BILL: Senate Republicans banded together Tuesday to block a sweeping Democratic bill that would revamp the architecture of American democracy, dealing a grave blow to efforts to federally override dozens of GOP-passed state voting laws. The test vote, which would have cleared the way to start debate on voting legislation, failed 50-50 on straight party lines — 10 votes short of the supermajority needed to advance legislation in the Senate. It came after a succession of Democrats delivered warnings about what they said was the dire state of American democracy, accusing former president Donald Trump of undermining the country’s democratic system by challenging the results of the 2020 election in a campaign that prompted his supporters in numerous state legislatures to pass laws rolling back ballot access. McConnell and other Republicans have taken aim at numerous provisions in the Democratic legislation, including a proposal to publicly finance congressional campaigns, potential new disclosure requirements for political donors and a realignment of the Federal Election Commission meant to break partisan gridlock in enforcing election laws. And they have maintained solid opposition to the ballot-access provisions in the Democratic bill — such as a guaranteed period of early voting, mandatory availability of no-excuse mail voting, and a broad new automatic voter registration system — by arguing that the federal government has no role in dictating state election laws.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-voting-rights-bill/2021/06/22/d63f6a46-d35a-11eb-ae54...

SAUDI AGENTS WHO MURDERED JAMAL KHASHOGGI WERE TRAINED IN ARKANSAS: Four Saudis who participated in the 2018 killing of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the United States the previous year under a contract approved by the State Department, according to documents and people familiar with the arrangement. The instruction occurred as the secret unit responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s killing was beginning an extensive campaign of kidnapping, detention and torture of Saudi citizens ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, to crush dissent inside the kingdom. The training was provided by the Arkansas-based security company Tier 1 Group, which is owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. The company says the training — including “safe marksmanship” and “countering an attack” — was defensive in nature and devised to better protect Saudi leaders. One person familiar with the training said it also included work in surveillance and close-quarters battle. Louis Bremer, a senior executive of Cerberus, Tier 1 Group’s parent company, confirmed his company’s role in the training last year in written answers to questions from lawmakers as part of his nomination for a top Pentagon job during the Trump administration. The administration does not appear to have sent the document to Congress before withdrawing Mr. Bremer’s nomination; lawmakers never received answers to their questions. Of course Trump covered up U.S. involvement with those assassins, that's how he rolls.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/22/us/politics/khashoggi-saudi-kill-team-us-training.html?action=cli...

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