Crime/Corruption

Art Pope and Pat McCrory leading North Carolina into the 19th century

Back in 2008 North Carolina – the state in which I was born, raised, and lived 32 years of my life – absolutely shocked me by voting for Barack Obama over John “The Maverick” McCain. Obama is hardly any kind of messiah figure, of course. But in symbolic terms, this was huge – North Carolina cast its electoral strength behind a black man. For a second there I had a flicker of hope.

So much for that. Ever since, the Old North State has apparently felt some kind of divine calling to make up for that momentary lapse of reason and has thus dedicated itself to becoming the nation’s leading jackal-infested social Darwinist nightmare. The Koch Brothers are pikers compared to Art Motherfucking Pope and his quisling neo-Fascist bootlick, Gov. Pat McCrory, who seem bent on a return to full-fledged feudalism (and one suspects he’d be okay with bringing back slavery, too).

This latest news probably made Pope so giddy he piddled his Depends.

Later this week, North Carolina is expected to drastically reduce unemployment benefits for its residents, who face the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country. The state joins seven others that have trimmed back benefits for the jobless since the recession.

Beginning in July, North Carolina would slash the maximum number of weeks a jobless worker can collect unemployment insurance from 26 to as few as 12. The new law would also reduce the maximum weekly benefit from $530 to $350 per person.

You’d think a gazillionaire like Pope would be dealing with the “budget crisis” by investing all that money he’s saved in tax cuts into job creating enterprises that render unemployment benefits less important all around. Because, you know, that’s what “job creators” do when you eliminate the stifling impact of taxes. Right?

I don’t advocate violence and I’m not inciting anybody to anything here except perhaps some aggressive political activism aimed at removing these evil sonsabitches from power. That said, there are bad people in the world, people who make life worse for everyone they touch. In that spirit, when Pope dies there’s a party at my place and I’ll supply the liquid refreshment.

Meantime, a quick word to my friends back in Cackalacky: I got out. You can, too.

23 replies »

  1. Sam

    The unemployment changes in NC went into effect yesterday. http://www.ncesc1.com/individual/2013LawChangeQA.asp

    Of special note, at least from my viewpoint, is the notes regarding ramping up assistance for those affected.

    “N.C. Department of Commerce is actively working with state, local, and business partners to coordinate services and create opportunities for job seekers needing assistance. State partner agencies such as the N.C. Community College System, Division of Social Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and other state workforce programs have been provided information about the end of the federal emergency benefit program and are prepared to provide services to affected individuals.”

    Note the focus on Community Colleges and Vocational Rehabilitation……no mention of institutions of higher learning….and in earlier news…

    http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/columnists/article_8c7e5c9e-cc6c-11e2-870b-001a4bcf6878.html

    North Carolina is a scary and sad place right now and I am ashamed of it for the first time in my life. I know you find it distasteful, but it is my home. It is where my roots have grounded me and whatever its faults it is where my history and my life story resides. I have ancestors that settled here as early as the 1600’s. I was raised in the red clay of the piedmont with a mother from the small town of Trap Hill in the mountains of Wilkes County.

    Until my recent move to the mountains of Ashe County I had never lived more than 30 miles from Baptist Hospital where I was born and where my mother died from that birth. I have family buried all over the mountains and piedmont. Jim and I located an ancestor’s grave and DAR monument (originally in Ashe County) in Wilkes County a couple of years ago.

    I don’t want to leave my home. You left by choice. If I leave it will be because I have no choice. And, sadly, leaving seems to have a greater probability of occurring than staying.these days.

    • My story isn’t all that different at the core. I know that once upon a time my ancestors lived somewhere else, but I can’t tell you for sure how long it’s been. Probably not in the last two centuries. You say I left by choice. Well, maybe. I guess we can talk about what that word “choice” means. In one sense, yes I did, of course. In another sense, I left because it seemed like the alternative was to stay there and waste into nothingness. I didn’t leave because I didn’t love the place, I left because there was no place for me there. Sometimes we make choices, and sometimes it seems like they make us.

      I know so many incredibly good people in NC. Family, best friends, talented artists and musicians, people I went to school with, people who once populated every corner of my life. I hate what NC is becoming, and I hate that I can really no longer call it home. More than anything, I hate that it is crumbling beneath the feet of so many people who deserve better.

      There is evil in the world, and every day the innocent pay the price for their existence. I hope it works out for you and Jim, but things aren’t trending in that direction right now…..

  2. According to what I’ve read McCrory’s cutting unemployment benefits automatically triggered the end of federal unemployment extensions for those out of work. You cant solve this economic crisis by attacking the vulnerable.
    But McCory and Pope knew what they were doing and that’s why the cut the maximium benefits from $530.00 per week down to $350.00
    The value debt repayment over the citizens of NC.

  3. Two things:

    Pope’s money comes from his ownership (inherited from his dad who was a Sam Walton type) of Roses, Maxway, and other “low end” dept. stores. His dad’s goal was to take care of mill and factory workers and give them opportunities to purchase decent consumer goods on salaries in a “right to work state.” Old man Pope was, like Sam Walton, basically a decent fellow who saw a market and tried to offer it options. And became wealthy as a result.

    Art, the scion of privilege built from his dad’s goodness, treats his employees like shit and sells trash to poor shoppers who can’t afford better. His motivations are self-enrichment by any means necessary, no matter how badly employees and customers are treated – and making sure that the “chosen” (by his Randian lights) can run rough shod over any and every obstacle keeping them from their “greatness.” That’s why he’s writing pretty much all NC law at present.

    Make no mistake: this determination, as Jack above notes, to repay any Federal debt even if it means depriving NC citizens of help they desperately need, is also part of the insane planning for “secession” – or whatever the splitting up of the US will be. No fed monies accepted means no fed obligations in these sagacious imbeciles’ minds. That is a driver here, too.

    North Carolina is – and always will be – my home. But, as I will detail in a piece later this week, I am now faced with being, to quote Heinlein, having become a “stranger in a strange land.” And so my beloved Lea and I look at real estate in Washing, Oregon, et. al….

    • I hate that you have to be thinking in these terms. But I completely understand. If I hadn’t left already, I’d be conducting a furious national job search and calling around looking for deals on moving vans.

    • I ran against Pat McCrory in 97 in Charlotte. My platform was a banking reorganization by the government to write off all the fake off balance sheet derivative obligations that finally blew sky high in 2007/2008 period. I said Charlotte’s economy would collapse along with the big derivative banks, BofA, Wachovia, etc. . McCrory wanted no part of the debate.
      Today I am appealing for the re instatement of FDR’s Glass Steagall banking act of 1933. This would reverse the bail out (and the Dodd Frank Bail in, where the bank steals your deposits) and would be the first step in the new credit system which could be used to launch a recovery not only in North Carolina but the entire nation.
      There is a bill in Congress HR 129 and a companion bill in the Senate S-985 calling for the reinstatement of the original Glass Steagall banking standard. This would wipe out Wall Street and free the nation to continue it’s mission of developing the country for it’s citizens and their posterity.
      I suggest you urge your congressman and senator to pass these GS bills. It’s the only way to prevent this wicked austerity being pushed by Pope and his puppet Pat McCrory.
      There is absolutely no reason to pander to this depression. The US was founded on a “credit system” and with a credit system we can finance major projects that will rebuild the tax base and increase our productive powers of labor.

  4. You guys are entertaining, to say the least. The Old North State is my home too, not by birth but–for the past 28 years–by choice. After a quarter century of watching crooked politicians attempt to run NC into the ground, I’m finally proud of this state’s leadership for steering us onto a conservative path more inline with that intended by the founders. Do I agree with the General Assembly or Gov McCrory on everything? Not at all. But the current state governmental leadership stands hand and fist above anything we’ve had in the recent past.

    I run a small business [without any assistance from the state or Federal governments] and interact with customers every day. The buyer’s remorse associated with NC voting for BO is very apparent. Liberal enclaves like Asheville and Chapel Hill notwithstanding, NC is moving in a decidedly state’s rights direction. Sen Hagan is definitely going to have the fight of her life when she comes back to the ballot. Its ironic that you guys are all sitting here, cussing about the Republicans in charge of the state now. You’re a bunch of crybabies. For the first time in over a century the shoe is on the other foot. I suppose you can’t wait to get back to life under the party that fought so hard to maintain the slave trade and that has repeatedly sought to keep the downtrodden dependent on anyone other than themselves. Yes, I’m speaking of the Democrats. Get your heads out of your Saul Alinsky lesson plans and learn your history–not the revisionist junk being taught in schools today either.

    Mr Smith, I hope you can convince many of your contemporaries to join you. We’ll all be better for it.

    • I’m always curious about what someone means when he or she invokes the founders of the United States. Why do you think the men who founded the USA intended us to be on a conservative path, Stan? More importantly, what path, precisely, do you think they intended?

      States’ rights is all well and good, but there are a lot of implications and unintended consequences that result if you take that phrase too seriously.

    • Thank You Stan. So sick of these special snow flakes thinking my hard earned dollar belongs to them, not to mention the fact that debts have to be paid. Gov Perdue and the previous one screwed this state, both are corrupt. President Obama is running this country in the ground and not a word from these people who voted for this disaster. Blame the GOP or the Koch brothers. Have you clowns ever heard of Gas Chamber George Soros the thief who bought the Dim party with money he stole from others? Ever bothered to do a little research on his plans for the USA for his New World Order? He wants nothing manufactured here, it should all be made in China, wants little electricity produced. EPA is about to take care of that, he wants us living in the dark without the dollar. Look around at what is happening. McCrory is your hope, not Obama.
      Leave this state, we will be just fine without you.

      • Mr. Harrison and getoffmycloud – Pointing fingers and laying blame is what is wrong with our state and our country today. We have a lack of cooperation, compromise, or conciliatory attitude between representatives in federal government or state governments that spills all too often into the citizens. I don’t think anything was said about taking your money from you and corruption exists in so many areas of government and public life that singling out three individuals is pretty simplistic thinking.
        Have you heard anything about the North Carolina Senator Tommy Tucker’s comments in a public forum? In case you have not he said, “I am the Senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet,” I’m pretty certain that’s not what the constitution intended. But that’s pretty much what we’re being told from our state government – if you are poor, unemployed through no fault of your own (in case you didn’t know unemployment doesn’t and never has covered those who were justly fired from or quit a job), the elderly (see news on Medicaid changes that move toward privatization of that system), the young (making it more and more difficult to go to school past high school because of rate hikes in student loans), taking teacher’s aides out of classrooms leaving already over-taxed (energy and resource-wise) teachers to deal with every-increasing class size.
        What happens to your parents when they lose Medicaid supplements – lose their home? their savings? Your children (if you have any) to receive substandard education if they can’t afford to go to a private school? What happens to children and elderly reliant on parent/children for financial and physical assistance when the unemployment level goes up and there is lack of support government, social services, etc. Is the religious community going to take up the slack?
        As a lifelong Republican and a Christian I am saddened how those groups rarely reach out to help anyone outside their social and economic classes or of a different race or sexual preference. As a lifetime – lifetime not 28 years worth – but 51 resident of nowhere else but North Carolina I have seen the state go through tough times before. The financial crisis is bad everywhere but trying to eliminate support to the elderly, the poor, the young is tantamount to genocide (whose legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” Did you see the part of the definition that states “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.”? I would submit that none of the changes being made in our state government are just based on fiscal responsibility.
        Just a few disclosures lest you think I’m a ‘bleeding heart’ liberal, a lazy drain on society, or an uneducated, brainwashed female (I did grow up in the South and as much as I love it – females haven’t always been allowed to show any brains):
        I voted republican for every presidential race until the last one and that was based on the lesser of two evils. I would rather have a man in the Whitehouse who is seen as weak than a man who is seen as a lunatic.
        I have paid taxes to support public school since I began paying property taxes at age 25 even though I was unable to have children (my losses of my children by miscarriage and ectoptic pregnancy would today, if some people have their way, require me be interrogated by police around the circumstances of those extremely emotional and painful losses) .
        Up until 2011 I had worked since I was 13. The first 4 years as a summer farm field hand (mainly in tobacco but also corn, potatoes, beans, strawberries, etc,). After that I worked at least two jobs from 17 to 23 part of that while trying to put myself through college without loans, grants or financial aid. I would have finished college, too had President Reagan not decided that SS Survivor benefits could only be paid to adult-aged children if they were enrolled in college – even through the summer.
        Let me further explain, I received $350/month due to my mother dying when I was born and from payments she made into the system working in a hosiery mill). My father (and later my step-mother) started receiving those when I was born and was never prevented from getting them year-round but as hard-working, college student with a 3.88 GPA I was left to scramble to try to make my fall tuition for my junior year – which I was unable to do, despite working two jobs all summer, and had to quit college. I finally received my degree in Accounting, at age 30) by going to night school while working full-time.
        I spent a 22-year career diligently working 40 – 80 (usually on the higher side the last 20 of those years because I was a salaried employee) only to lose my job because of a greedy CEO that was bent on the company having a west-coast presence so he could call the company a national bank. Life savings were lost in that fiasco and when a merger occurred I lost my job because of structural changes. I received unemployment until this week after my severance ran out in August of 2012. I’ve been working more than ever at my new career, a self-employed artist, than I did at my corporate job. But any week that I did not make money I had to say that I didn’t work that week because the system would not allow you to work without entering a dollar amount earned.
        Yes, debts need to be paid and I have always paid my bills even when it meant I lived on $10 every other week of groceries after leaving college (part of which was cat food for a cat given to me to keep mice out of my rented mobile home). I know what is it to be poor, unemployed, hungry through no fault of my own.

        Perhaps as the state changes you will get the personal opportunity to understand those states of being as well.

        • Lea: this is perhaps the single most gratifying comment I can recall here at S&R in the last two or three years. There are a lot of Americans who are innately humane and empathetic people who have let forces that do not represent who they truly are or, what they believe, who do not share their vision for a better society, and who simply don’t care about anyone but themselves pursue a society that is directly counter to their interests and those of their families. I think the latter stages of the post I just put up make clear that I count myself in this number.

          If the US has any chance at all, it depends on these people standing up and saying enough.

    • Stan,
      Throwing 170,000 North Carolinians to the wolves with no source of income is straight from the British Empire playbook . You’re big on mouthing that the Founding Fathers were all about conservatism. Well what they were really all about was destroying the Empire in favor of a establishing republic for the first time anywhere on this planet.

      You tell us you run a small business without any assistance from the Federal Government. Oh really, your business requires no electricity, water; your customers do not come to your business on federally funded transportation grids, like highways, roads, etc.
      No business could run without the assistance of the Federal Government, a Federal government that provided the infrastructure that makes a modern economy possible. So you’re not totally an independent self made man.

      If the current policies are not reversed NC will return to the days when the British Empire had control of the colonies–depopulation, starvation, and slavery. Yes that old peculiar Southern aristocratic institution of slavery will return. I believe slavery was called “states rights”, the right of the state to own slaves.

      You claim you’ve been watching politicians destroy NC all these past 28 years but you show no knowledge of Congressman Walter Jones bill HR 107 calling for the impeachment of President Obama. Jones is a patriot, you are just another guy spoiuting jibberish. In fact I doubt you even know what you’re saying.

    • Since you “run a small business [without any assistance from the state or Federal governments] and interact with customers every day,” I have to admit that I’m having a hard time trying to guess what kind of company this is. I mean, it obviously has to be home based, because you don’t use the state or federally maintained system of transportation. This means you don’t make a product that has to be moved via roads and highways, or rail, or air. It can’t make use of the maritime system, which relies on government ports and management. You have to be working from home because you can’t be driving to work on those government maintained roads. You certainly don’t fly to visit clients in other cities because without the government you say you get no help from airplanes would be crashing in midair every day.

      Not sure how you’re interacting with customers, either. Pretty much every corner of our communication system requires government regulation of some sort because if it didn’t you’ve have such a morass of unstandardized channels that nobody could tale to each other.

      And wait a damned minute. You’re using the Internet right now. Am I being asked to believe that you turn it off as soon as you start work? If not, I’m going to need you to explain how the Internet was erected by private entrepreneurs with no government help at all.

      I also assume that your home office is pretty spartan. Getting no help from the government and all, there’s no electricity or running water. Your cave must be in a gated community because you’re telling me that you receive no protection whatsoever from law enforcement. Not sure what you’re going to do if you’re ever ripped off, though, because your only recourse (short of going vigilante) is the government court system.

      I’m guessing that you don’t have any employees, because in that part of the world doing so would almost certainly mean that you’d have to hire people who at some point attended public schools – and given the cost of higher ed these days, doing so would in many, if not nearly all cases, either mean that they’d been the recipients of federal grants or scholarships and/or federal student loans. (Wait – you didn’t go to a public school, did you?)

      Let’s see. You had to have been born rich. Taking a bank loan means federal and/or state influence on the system to assure that you weren’t scalped. And I’m especially wondering about how you’re incorporated. Pretty much every business of any magnitude makes use of some form of limited liability structure. If it weren’t for that, you’d be bankrupt and homeless the first time you screwed something up. And let’s be honest, we all make mistakes. In this same vein, if you have customers, that probably means you have contracts of some sort. How do you enforce them?

      Also – do you keep your money in a bank or under your mattress? If in a bank, are they insured by the FDIC?

      Since you aren’t in jail (you aren’t writing from jail, are you?) I’m guessing that you pay taxes (or at the least you have an accountant who helps you avoid paying them). From your tone, I’m guessing you’re the sort of person who takes advantage of EVERY single deduction legally available to you. That’s a government thing – you could get a new car “for business use” and write it off, whereas I can’t unless I’m also pimping that government system.

      What else, what else? Oh, right. Duh. How do your customers pay you and how do you pay your bills? Since you eschew any sort of federal support, that means you aren’t using the dollar. The currency system is 100% federal, last I checked. I guess you could take payment in chickens or something.

      As a side note, you never died as a result of rubella, smallpox, measles, or any of the other diseases that government immunization programs have mostly eradicated (and you probably don’t have polio, either, right?). What other life-threatening medical conditions did you never contract and die from as a result of federally driven research into prevention and treatment? Because when it comes to running a successful business, such as yours, there’s really no substitute for being alive.

      Also, does your business market a product or service that emerged in some way from federally funded research? There’s a LOT of things that we sell that we wouldn’t have without those programs (and I’m including in this research conducted at private universities which nonetheless received substantial government support, like my alma mater, Wake Forest (which as I’m sure you know is one of the nation’s premier non-public institutions).

      I could go on, but it wouldn’t serve much point. The bottom line is that I cannot imagine what sort of business you run. I can’t think of single company that doesn’t get “any assistance from the state or Federal governments.” Not. One. I can’t even imagine how such a thing is possible. So I hope you’ll fill me in. This seems like a great opportunity for me to learn something valuable that I might be able to use in my own career. Like every smart business guy, I’m always looking for an edge.

    • I’m an NC native, Stan – and I have lived 57 of my 60 years in this state.You, who clearly know nothing of the history of “my” state, are a jackass braying the talking points of your puppet master Pope and his puppet masters the Kochs. You do not believe in democracy – you believe in corporatocracy – a strange choice since you self identify as a small business person.

      One tip – these people whose ideas you embrace so heartily care nothing for you – and if your business starts to cut into their profits at all, they will squash you like a bug.

      Your code language “founders” (meaning rule of the rich without consideration of the poor all the while quoting -the Constitution – selectively – and scripture – selectively – as justification for and obfuscation to the fools who listen to them of the teachings of their true gurus, Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman) and “state’s rights” (like every conservative below the Mason-Dixon line, what’s meant by state’s rights is voter disenfranchisement, the return of Jim Crow – extended, I suspect to all those people who talk something besides “Amurrican”) who are taking YOUR money (because, after all, you never received anything – roads for transporting product, education from a public school system, silly stuff like that.

      And all that’s asked of you and those like you is that you give some consideration to those who may have worked loyally for you by providing them with some small stipend for silly stuff like food, shelter, etc. as they find another job when you no longer have use for them. But if they work for you they must be too weak and so what happens to them if you can’t pay them is their tough luck, right? See my warning above.

      And you have no children, am I right? If you did, you’d realize that NCLB, charter schools, et. al., are nothing more than the taking of public money intended for the public good and putting it into the pockets of profiteers – as my grandfather called them, “damned carpetbaggers.” While we’re on that topic, let me speak to you in the language of the Old North State my childhood was spent in: Why don’t you take your carpetbagging ass back where you came from and leave NC to people who are from here?

      Finally, do you have a wife/daughter/sister/mother/female relative of any kind? I guess you don’t, since you think treating women as if they are sub-human beings who must be controlled like brood stock is acceptable.

      I grew up in NC seeing the “way things are is how they ought to be” mentality (“right to work,” for example, means “right to use/abuse human beings just like Grandpa did on his plantation” and is an extension of slavery and feudalism) changed slowly, through the efforts of great men like Terry Sanford, Sam Ervin, Bill Friday, and others who believed that NC could be something besides an enclave of demagoguery and ignorance.

      And I watched as that racist/hate-filled monster Jesse Helms kept the flame of that old NC alive so that fools like you could be taught – in just as biased a way as your “Saul Alinsky” slur suggests you think we have been – to help the plantation owners re-establish the plantation.

      You, sir, as I said at the beginning, are a jackass. You are a tool of powers and plans that you do not comprehend or have willfully blinded yourself to. You have bought into the ideas of a writer who lionized a serial killer as a model of social behavior – and of an economic system that will eventually crush you as you wish to crush “your” state’s workers, “your” state’s children, “your” state’s mothers and daughters and sisters and wives.

      Like any tool, once your usefulness is perceived as complete you will be discarded.

      And good riddance, carpetbagger…

      • yep, Saul Alinsky’s followers hope to keep everyone on the government plantation and so far they are winning…time to reverse that substantially. NOW.

  5. What is happening in NC is happening in all the red states. Time to vote them all out of office before they destroy the America the Founding Fathers dreamed of.

  6. Jim, I admire your passion. You have no idea how much energy it’s taking for me to keep mine in check.

    The Art Popes of the world and their minions have a vision for the future. It’s sort of a technologically advanced hybrid of the antebellum South and feudal Europe. There are haves and have-nots, and the have-nots are the functional equivalent of farm animals. It’s the Ayn Rand social Darwinist paradise and like all abstract fantasies, it works perfectly on paper.

    The thing is, the folks pursuing it have this tendency to discard anomalous data. And by anomalous, I mean evidence that doesn’t conform to their predicting ideologies. Art Pope won the sperm lottery – born on third and thinks he hit a triple, goes the saying – and people like Paul Ryan have never had a real job in their lives. These contexts allow you to be very successful without understanding a whole lot about the realities of the world, and when our friend here starts spouting off about how he did it without gummit help of any sort, you can see the glaring gaps in understanding on proud display.

    As I say, there’s a vision. Those calling the tune in the predominately red taker states, which I think includes NC, are moving in the direction of secession. And while I hate thinking about the human cost these policies will exact, there’s this part of me that hopes I live long enough to see it come to full fruition. At some point, realization is going to dawn. Slowly, perhaps, and not without a great deal of resistance, but at some point the fine folks of Confederate States of Somalia are going to have no choice but to acknowledge that, wait a minute, maybe we didn’t think this all the way through.

    As a rule, the innocent tend to pay for the sins of the powerful. No Bushes were harmed in the making of the Iraq War, you know. But sometimes history provides for a brief moment of popular consciousness, those rare moments when the collective becomes self-aware. Those moments rarely go well for the elites.

    If I were counseling Art Pope, I’d advise him to Google “Ceaucescu,” paying particular attention to that final parade through the streets. But since I’m not, I guess I’ll just sit out here and watch helplessly as my home state and the people there that I love are destroyed by those who did it all without any form of govnment assistance.

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