Commentary

Here’s your ridiculous claim of Thanksgiving week from a story by the Center for Public Integrity.  Dallas Woodhouse of the right-wing advocacy group Carolina Rising says the 4,000 ads the group ran praising Republican Thom Tillis during the recent U.S. Senate race were not political at all.

They were just about issues and happened to mention the Republican candidate running against Senator Kay Hagan in the most closely watched Senate race in the country. Gee, what a coincidence.

In August, Carolina Rising ran more TV ads than either Tillis or Hagan, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data provided by Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad tracking firm.

Interesting thing though, the ads weren’t really political — at least not according to the group that paid for them

“You’re the one who said we participated in the election,” Dallas Woodhouse, the group’s president and founder, told the Center for Public Integrity. “Those are issue ads. Those are not political ads.”

Woodhouse, a former North Carolina state leader of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit affiliated with billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, maintains Carolina Rising  jumped in to defend Tillis after it became clear Hagan and the Democrats were going to attack him based on the policies passed by the state legislature.

The group, he added, was just carrying out its mission by boosting policies passed by the sitting speaker of the state House.

To the average viewer, Carolina Rising’s TV spots sure looked like political advertising. But under the law, they are really known as “electioneering communications.” That means they name a candidate and run inside a certain timeframe but don’t tell voters to vote for or against anyone.

And also under the law, Carolina Rising is not required to disclose who paid for the ads that influenced the election under the guise of “issue advertising.” And Woodhouse chooses not to. Read More

Commentary

Sen. Dan Soucek seems to think that allowing same-sex couples to get married is not about equality, but is giving them special rights—whatever that means. Here’s what Soucek told the Avery Journal over the weekend.

“I think the most disturbing thing about this is how it’s being stretched to not give some people fair privileges, but special rights. And how those rights are infringing on other peoples’ constitutional religious freedoms,” Soucek said.

According to Soucek, legally re-defining marriage to include same-sex unions falls under the definition of a special right.

“Marriage has always been defined throughout history one way and re-defining marriage is a special right. It’s not an equal right,” Soucek said. “Interracial marriage was an equal right because it was excluding a group. This is a redefinition. It’s a fundamentally different thing.”

So, allowing gay couples to have the same rights as other people is a “special right” because it infringes on other peoples’ freedoms?  Huh?

Commentary

The election may be over but the misleading claims are still coming from the politicians. Senator-elect Thom Tillis apparently couldn’t help himself in an interview recently, parroting a false talking point about the Affordable Care Act.  And the Washington Post called him out on it.

Thom Tillis is a newly-minted senator from North Carolina, having narrowly defeated the incumbent, Sen. Kay Hagan (D). But in one of his first interviews since the campaign ended, he hauled out a stale talking point that has long been debunked.

This kind of start doesn’t bode well for his time in office in Washington.

Commentary

Pat McCrory press eventGovernor Pat McCrory is reportedly considering calling the General Assembly into special session to put more money into one of the state’s primary business incentive schemes, the Job Development Incentive Grant program, or JDIG.

Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker says the state is pursuing several big economic development projects and is bumping up against the $22.5 million cap on JDIG grants.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. Decker was openly calling for special session two months ago. Here’s what she told the N.C. Economic Development Board in August.

Decker told board members that money in the popular JDIG incentives fund would run out by late October without legislative action to increase the cap. The state, she said, is pursuing a large project that would take 80 percent of the fund’s balance, leaving little cash for about 30 other projects – and roughly 10,000 jobs – that are “in the pipeline.”

“We won’t get all of those jobs even with the Job Development Investment Grant, but I can assure you we will get fewer of them if we don’t have it,” Decker said.

….Decker wants a special session to be called soon. “Several folks have said to me, ‘Can you wait until the (2015) long session?’ We can’t, in my opinion,” she said.

Read More