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Reporter Mark Binker has a very thorough write-up of this morning’s N.C. Policy Watch/Common Cause Crucial Conversation breakfast on the subject of fighting big money in politics with Professor Lawrence Lessig. For those who couldn’t make the event, please check it out.

We hope to have a video of the entire speech (which was really a very entertaining, fast-paced, multi-media program) posted to the main NC Policy Watch website later today so stay tuned.

 

 

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Conservative Raleigh talk show host Bill LuMaye interviewed House Speaker Thom Tillis this morning on his show and, to his credit, gave Tillis a pretty hard time (in his own inimitable and wacky way) about providing severance pay-offs to his staffers (including his chief of staff and roommate) who resigned as a result of their romantic relationships with lobbyists.

If you listen to the spot – which runs about seven and half minutes, you’ll hear Tillis sound an awful lot like Ralph Kramden from the old “Honeymooners” TV show doing his best to come up with something to say other than “homina, homina, homina.”

According to Tillis, he paid off Charles Thomas and Amy Hobbs because if he had fired them, they would have then “qualified for 99 weeks of unemployment [insurance].”

Say what? No wonder Tillis wants to ruin the state unemployment insurance system; he doesn’t understand how it works. The basic standard of the law is that people fired for cause/malfeasance in the workplace are NOT eligible for unemployment benefits. Not to mention the fact that they can’t claim it if they’ve become re-employed. Thomas had already field the papers to start a new “consulting” business even before he left the Speaker’s office.

Add to this the fact that Tillis later refers to the unemployment insurance system as “workmen’s compensation” AND the fact that Tillis claims to talk to Pat McCrory “every day” (McCrory will love that) and it all totals up to another boffo public performance for the Speaker.

You can listen to the entire LuMaye interview by clicking here.

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Sometimes one just has to laugh at the bald-faced whoppers that some politicos will tell when they’ve been discovered with their hands in the cookie jar or in a place they ain’t supposed to be. Case in point: the school voucher group, Parents for Educational Freedom attempting to explain an all-expense paid trip to Miami for a gaggle of legislators (including the Speaker of the House), legislative staffers and at least three lobbyists for the group.

According to this article in the Fayetteville Observer:

“Stan Chambers, a spokesman for the Raleigh-based lobbying group, told me Monday that the trip was designed to educate the 11 state lawmakers who went about Florida’s education tax credit program.

Chambers said the overnight trip did not include any lobbying or formal presentations by Parents for Educational Freedom.” (Emphasis supplied.)

Say what??!!  Come on, Stan, give us a break. Read More

In case you had any doubt that it helps a lot in modern American politics to be rich — I mean really rich — consider the case of two former candidates for President who have or will stand before banks of TV cameras in Greensboro, North Carolina this week.

One is a rich, dishonest and narcissistic adulterer with expensive hair. The other is…a rich, dishonest and narcissistic adulterer with expensive hair.

Here’s the big difference between the two (other than their politics — a place where one of the two has actually expressed concern for the less fortunate at times during his life): One guy is pretty rich and the other guy is REALLY rich.

Now, guess which one just missed going to jail by the skin of his teeth and which one will be treated like royality while serving as the keynote speaker of the North Carolina Republican Party convention.

See what I mean about the importance of being REALLY rich?

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Hey folks — please come to this very special event on June 12 if you get the chance (details after the break…)

How money corrupts our politics and how to stop it

The following is from the introduction to a 2011 interview in Rolling Stone magazine with Harvard Law School professor, Lawrence Lessig.

“‘There is a feeling today among too many Americans that we might not make it,’ Lawrence Lessig writes in the introduction to his new book Republic, Lost. ‘Not that the end is near or that doom is around the corner, but that a distinctly American feeling of inevitability, of greatness – culturally, economically, politically — is gone.’ He goes on to note that Americans’ trust in government is at an all-time low, related to the (largely accurate) belief that moneyed special interests wield outsize influence over our political system. In his book, Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor and big noise in the field of law and technology, details how money came to corrupt our government, how our broken system hurts both the Left and the Right, and what it will take to return American democracy to its rightful owners – the people.”

Please join NC Policy Watch and Common Cause of North Carolina for a very special Crucial Conversation BREAKFAST with this important national figure.  

When: Tuesday June 12  at 8:00 a.m. Read More