Thunderpig’s Mirror

Archive for March 11th, 2007

More on Corruption in North Carolina Politics

Posted by Thunder Pig on March 11, 2007

EVER WONDER HOW IT‘S DONE?
Try the Good Ol’ Boy Network
By Ann Ryder

Last week I had a call telling me that the Wake senator, Janet Cowell, had a conflict of interest. She works for Fountainworks, a market research and policy consulting firm, whose clients include DHHS and other state agencies, and she serves on the Legislative Oversight Committee on MH/DD/SAS (mental health is under DHHS). Chairing the committee are Senator Martin Nesbitt and Representative Verla Insko. Serving as a consultant to the committee is Larry Thompson, head of Blue Ridge Area Authority for more than 20 years. One wonders if Fountainworks gets its name from disgraced former Senator Fountain Odum? This writer has found no evidence of such, but political circles are very small. Fountain’s wife, Carmen Hooker Odum is in charge of our state’s mental health operations.

It sounded interesting, especially since Thompson and his gang are currently under investigation by Auditor Les Merritt. And talk about conflicts of interest!…Nesbitt’s racing team is sponsored by Blue Cross-Blue Shield and he votes on matters concerning them. The mental health reform, which is an absolute disaster, was sponsored by Senator Steve Metcalf who resigned his senate seat under a cloud. Metcalf was a partner in the company that played a major part in the reform, MGT of America. It smelled already…and I was just getting started. (Aside #1…were you aware that while the state is shutting down our psychiatric hospitals, it is increasing the bed space in prison psycho wards?…half the cost would be my guesstimate.) (Aside #2…During the rally to honor John Rhodes at A-B Tech last Saturday evening, Chad Nesbitt, Martin Nesbitt’s stepson, told the audience that when his mother first heard of Jim Black’s plea of guilt, she said, “Ohmygod, is Martin next?”)



North Carolina Conservative

Indeed, it is my belief that former Democratic House Speaker Jim Black will serve as the key-log that will break the log jam.

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Reporters, records led path to Black

Posted by Thunder Pig on March 11, 2007

JACK BETTS

In late 2003, three Observer reporters started checking up on contributors to then-Speaker Jim Black after a political watchdog group noticed his campaign committees had gotten more money than any other candidate from video poker interests.

Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina found that Black’s committees had gotten more than $100,000 from video gaming interests in the previous two-year election cycle. It was especially interesting because legislation to outlaw video poker had twice passed the N.C. Senate, but not the House where Black presided.

Scott Dodd, Jim Morrill and Rich Rubin reported a few days before Christmas 2003 that while the video poker industry had pumped tons of money into Black’s most recent campaign coffers, some individual contributors listed on campaign finance disclosure reports didn’t even know they had given money,

“Five hundred?” asked Jean Jarvis of Wilkesboro, whose spouse was in the video game business. “And who is this guy?”

That’s the sort of suspicious thing that kept reporters and investigators on Black’s trail. That path led eventually to a seventh-floor courtroom of the federal building in Raleigh and a 10th-floor courtroom in the Wake County Courthouse. Black pleaded guilty to one federal charge and, in effect, guilty to two state felonies as well.

None of it might have come to light without North Carolina’s public records and campaign finance disclosure laws. They are an enormously valuable public asset, constituting a kind of baseline defense against public corruption. They hold clues pointing toward all kinds of problems.

…[snip]…

And in recent weeks the Observer’s David Ingram and Rick Rothacker have mined eye-opening data from disclosure reports filed by State Treasurer Richard Moore. They show his campaign has gotten at least $736,000 since 1999 from employees of 42 outside investment firms that do business with Moore’s office investing N.C. pension funds.

There is nothing illegal about that arrangement. Moore didn’t invent it and isn’t the first to use it. But it’s the kind pay-to-play transaction that infects N.C. politics with a potentially deadly virus.


Charlotte Observer

Methinks the reporters are just now cotton to the fact that the entire power structure of North Carolina politics are honeycombed with this sort of dealing, or so they would have us believe. I have a Hot Tip for them, why don’t they check Democratic voter rolls of those who voted, and ask the voters if they voted.

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Scenes From The Gingrich Campaign

Posted by Thunder Pig on March 11, 2007

Don’t rule out Newt in 2008


by Matthew Continetti

It’s February 28, 2007, in the poorly lit, dank, crowded basement, aka the “Great Hall,” of Cooper Union college in Manhattan, and Newt Gingrich is talking to a sophisticated, well-attired, seen-it-all New York audience. As he speaks, the tempo of his words increases, until he begins to sound as though he is rapping: “We spent hours last week on a left-wing billionaire”–David Geffen–“getting unhappy because his former friends”–the Clintons–“didn’t do what he thought they would do when he bribed them,” he says, “because he’s really unhappy about being lied to because he thought surely they would actually do what he wanted when he bribed them. . . .”

It’s the sort of rhetorical barrage one expects from Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity–or from the old Gingrich, the Gingrich of the 1980s and ’90s, the partisan gunslinger who brought down House Speaker Jim Wright and declared war against the liberal elites and made Democrats seethe in fury. But for the new Gingrich, the Gingrich who has been painstakingly refurbishing his image in the last few years, who has said nice words about Hillary Clinton and who plugs New York senator Charles Schumer’s new book at every opportunity, the aside seems out of character. It sparks cognitive dissonance. What would have once seemed routine now seems jarring. Even impolite.

Yet none of the New Yorkers assembled here seems to mind. All these men and women with serious looks on their faces, their winter coats splayed across their laps or hung from their chairs, clad in somber colors brightened by fine jewelry–when Gingrich finishes his rap they erupt in cheers and laughter. They’ve done this throughout his speech: after he said, “If we had Sarbanes-Oxley for the public sector, half the bureaucracies couldn’t sign any reports because they’d go to jail”–clap clap clap!–and after he said, “You don’t elect a president to memorize. You elect a president to have wisdom, to have serious thought, to reflect,” and after he said that presidential campaigns “are consultant full-employment processes.” Each of these lines receives raucous applause.



Weekly Standard

Newt.org

Commentary

In my opinion, Newt stands head, shoulders, and torso above the other candidates, most especially the Three Stooges the Legacy Media have foisted upon us as the front runners. Most conservatives I know don’t consider them eligible for serious consideration, with the caveat that “Rudy will do in a pinch” nod to the perceived power of conventional media outlets.

This election will be anything but conventional, and with the North Carolina Primary moved to Giga Tuesday, February 5th, 2008, we will start to see some action this fall.

I hope some of the candidates swing through Asheville so I could get a closer look like I did last August with John Edwards.

Hendersonville Rally

Internet Archive

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