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Pope and Morgan, Pots and Kettles

Rob Christensen gives all the gory details in today's News and Observer. Zowie, folks! It looks like the Puppetmaster may be losing some of his strings!

Former House Speaker Richard Morgan on Wednesday took legal steps to shut down the independent political campaign being waged against him and like-minded Republicans by his GOP rivals. Morgan, a state House member from Moore County, formally asked for an investigation by the State Board of Elections into whether several groups with strong ties to former state Rep. Art Pope, a Raleigh retail executive, were using illegal corporate contributions to help defeat Morgan and his allies.

870 Words

That's how many words are in today's Carolina Journal story about the troubles of Charles Taylor. And not a single one of those words acknowledges the disastrous consequences of Republican control of Congress. Not a single one of those words calls for the restoration of accountability in government. Not a single one of those words seeks to restore integrity to public policy. And not a single one of those words makes a point that makes a difference.

I know the John Locke Foundation can't endorse candidates for fear of losing the tax-exempt status that makes them a magnet for big corporate contributions, but that status does not preclude pointing to the truth about Taylor's complicity in the Bush Crime Family.

There's more . . .

Killing them softly

Nowhere does the lunacy of public policy shine brighter today than in the area of capital punishment. Here in North Carolina, the latest sad chapter is enough to make a grown man cry. Or maybe even fry.

At issue is the nature of cruel and unusual punishment -- and whether those on death row should have to endure the pain and knowledge of their executions as they happen. There are too many facets of the capital punishment debate for me to take on tonight, so let's just focus on the one in the news.

Martinez Goes Indy

I try not to give too much attention to libertarian types like Rick Martinez at the News and Observer. They're always full of advice about how government should operate, but the truth is, they HATE government and they suck at it as well. But today Martinez puts himself in the spotlight to declare that he's renouncing his membership in the Republican party.

Before the day is done, I'll make my way down to the Orange County Board of Elections and become an unaffiliated voter. That will bring to a close my 34 years as a Republican. Like Ronald Reagan when he left the Democratic Party, I'm not abandoning the Republican ideals of self-reliance, fiscal responsibility and limited government. It's the party has abandoned those principles and waved goodbye to me.

More Art Pope Hypocrisy

There's a story below that shows how one of Art Pope's Puppets protests the practice of economic development while he votes for hundreds of thousands in incentives as a Lee County Commissioner. While doing that research, I also came across this small notice on the John Locke Foundation website.

The John Locke Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, nonpartisan think tank supported entirely from voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. Since opening in 1990, JLF has worked hard to become the broadest-supported think tank in North Carolina.

Public Financing of Elections

Nothing gets white old rich men like Art Pope more activated than the possibility that they can't continue to buy elections. And no group in North Carolina is working harder to put him out of business than Democracy North Carolina. Their director of development, Molly Beacham, visited our political salon this weekend and made a compelling case for change. And the good news is this: you can help make the change happen. It's as easy as checking a box on your tax return.

Now you have a chance to support fair elections and fair courts -- and it won't cost you anything. Please mark "Yes" on the new check-off box on the N.C. income-tax form, called the Public Campaign Financing Fund. The Fund supports a public financing option for candidates for N.C. Court of Appeals and N.C. Supreme Court, and it pays for a Voter Guide for those elections.

Now you can do something besides bitch about the destructive influence of guys like the Puppetmaster on North Carolina elections. So go ahead. Take the first step for Voter-Owned Elections.

Guess who's buying lottery tickets?

While North Carolina’s biggest counties raked in the most money during the lottery’s first week, residents of the state’s poorest counties bought a disproportionate share of the tickets, according to a Fayetteville Observer analysis.

Counties with the highest ticket sales per capita include 12 of the poorest in the state. Only three of the richest counties were among the biggest spenders.

The lottery’s whirlwind debut on March 30 had generated about $36 million by Thursday, according to N.C. Education Lottery officials. The Observer’s findings reflect what some critics of the games have long argued: A significant chunk of a lottery’s proceeds come from communities where residents can least afford to play the odds.

Military Turning On Bush

I was very glad to see this story about a retired general officer finally coming out about the disatrous tenure of Donald Rumsfeld. Read the whole article, which is a call for active duty military officers to go public in their disgust for AWOL George and his criminal war in Iraq.

"I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy," General Newbold wrote.

It's about time.

Chad Adams Betrays Puppetmaster

If you're not familiar with a minor league Puppet named Chad Adams, who directs the John Locke Foundation Center for Local Innovation, you're in for a treat. Adams also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Lee County Commission. He was first elected in 1998 and is now serving in his second term.

Now being a good Puppet, you'd expect Mr. Adams to be firmly opposed to any intrusions by government into the smooth functioning of the Holy Free Market, especially when such intrusions involve (gasp) economic development incentives. Indeed, railing against economic development is one of John Hood's favorite past times. Which makes it all the more surprising to discover that Chad Adams is a closet tax-and-spend librul prone to giving out public money for big, bad corporations. For example, consider this entry in the Lee County Commissioners minutes (attached) for June 6, 2005.

Puppetmaster to Puppets: Kill the Minimum Wage

Judging from the frenzy of stories condemning an increase in minimum wage as the death knell of democracy, Art Pope must be in a swivet these days. The John Locke Foundation's Carolina Journal is simply bristling with studies and ruminations about the horrors of government interference in the free markets. No need to go read any of it . . . the stories are all the same. Decent wages for the working poor are bad. More money for Art "the Puppetmaster" Pope is good. Think about that the next time you're tempted to shop at Roses, which is owned by the Puppetmaster. He's not willing to pay his workers a living wage, even though he spends a couple hundred thousand each month pushing his radical rightwing agenda. The guy is become a caricature of himself. Kind of sad in a way.

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