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One of the more interesting developments on Right-Wing Avenue in recent weeks has been the emergence of some relatively gentle criticisms of Gov. McCrory. The Pope-Civitas Institute (which was, of course, founded by the Governor’s budget director), for example, has been featuring an article entitled “Tell Gov. McCrory to Enforce the Law” in which readers are encouraged to sign a petition urging the Guv to implement the new law to drug test public assistance applicants that he had made noises about not implementing.

Then last Tuesday, Pope-Civitas director Francis DeLuca authored a lengthy article in which he attacked McCrory for speaking at an event that also featured speakers from the Institute for Minority Economic Development (a group DeLuca derided for having worked with Rev. William Barber’s Historic Thousands of Jones Street Coalition). The article even highlighted the fact that Yolanda Stith, wife of McCrory chief of staff Thomas Stith, is a lobbyist on behalf of one of the conveners of the event.

Today, both articles appear to have all but vanished from the Pope-Civitas websites. Read More

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In case you missed it, Politico has a remarkable, if not terribly surprising story about Art Pope’s buddies, the Koch brothers. Here’s the opening:

“An Arlington, Va.-based conservative group, whose existence until now was unknown to almost everyone in politics, raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape political and policy debate nationwide. Read More

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Dallas Woodhouse2You may have trouble enduring all 50 minutes and 40 seconds, but today’s weird valedictory farewell by departing Americans for Prosperity director Dallas Woodhouse at the Locke Foundation’s “Shaftsbury Society” luncheon provides an interesting and, at times, surprisingly unfiltered window into just how closely coordinated the right-wing world of charitable 501 (c)(3)’s, (c)(4)’s and various explicitly partisan political and candidate-specific organizations really is. (Woodhouse is leaving AFP to become a campaign/political consultant).

Woodhouse addresses the matter (explicitly and implicitly) several times during the talk — most notably about a quarter of the way in when he explains that  conservative “accomplishments” of late in North Carolina are the result of “the efforts of our candidates, with the effort of our network here through the Locke Foundation, Civitas, the Pope Center for Higher Education, the Center for Constitutional Law, and Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Prosperity Foundation…” and then goes on to thank Art Pope for making it all possible.

To help complete the big, warm and fuzzy picture, the first question at the conclusion of the talk is posed by Woodhouse’s former colleague Jeff Mixon, now of the Governor’s office.

In short, those who watch this video will get a quick, powerful and sobering lesson about who it is that’s driving the policy and political agendas in North Carolina right now (and how, in their troubled worldview, they’re just getting started).

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Today’s news story by NC Policy Watch Courts and Law reporter Sharon McCloskey (“Taking student voter suppression on the road“) contains several amazing facts, but one truly fits into the “you can’t make this stuff up” category.

After discussion the ongoing and likely legally incorrect efforts of Pasquotank Republican Party Chaiperson Pete Gilbert to suppress student voting all over the state, McCloskey reports the following:

“(Interestingly, students at the conservative 6,000-student Campbell University returned to school last week to learn that for them voting had become easier, as a polling place had been moved onto campus. They’ll now vote at the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center there.)”

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Myron Pitts of the Fayetteville Observer has a worth-reading column in this morning’s paper in which he says the conservatives running the state may come to regret the extreme path they’ve followed this session.

“For sure, the wealthiest folks in the state will do quite well in the new scenario. With their top tax rate of 7.75 percent replaced with a regressive, flat tax, they stand to make thousands more per year in personal income. The corporate tax rate has been reduced, too, from 6.9 to 6 percent.

But should we be surprised by this shift of money up the ladder? The state’s budget director, Art Pope, is very rich with money he made off the very poor, through his discount retail chains, such as Roses and Maxway. Read More