civitas

Never underestimate the ability of political fodder

Political advertising in print, on television, or by way of the internets, is usually filled with half lies, a few lies, and full blown propaganda. And almost one hundred percent of the time (with the exception of the often cursory introduction) with a margin of error equal to this space, ----- those same ads are generated towards the opposition. Clever and like minded people rarely, if ever, attempt to eat one of their own. Occasionally it happens and then, the ulterior motive theory exists; especially in regard to absence of information, or excuses for absence of information; or maybe the dog ate it.

Tillis, Interstate Crosscheck, Big Data, and you

You've no doubt heard and read about the heart palpitations among our Republican state leaders today when Thom Tillis announced evidence massive voter fraud, which seems to have turned out to be about 700 people *alleged to be* voting here in NC and another state in the last election, about .00075% of the total voter turnout in the state 101 million voter records that were claimed to be checked by Interstate Crosscheck, the service being used by the state.

Of course, it was an opportunity for Tillis and Company to defend and promote NC's voter restriction laws, called the "worst" in the nation and being challenged in court by the NAACP and the ACLU. Tillis and McCrory didn't use it as an opportunity to announce any investigations or sharing of what was found with the FBI since what might be going on here besides felony voter fraud is identity theft or other activity.

Who cares about investigating possible felonies when there's a press release to push out, really?

What's more disturbing to me is how this suspected voter fraud was found.

At the heart of Tillis's evidence are some disturbing questions about data the state of North Carolina has about you, how secure that data is, and what might be happening or could happen with it.

Koch's big plans for NC and 12 other states

Alternet has a piece this morning that looks at the Koch brothers battle plans for 2014. North Carolina is on a list of 13 states where they'll be focusing during the next election cycle - at least that's what can be determined from the offices the Koch's are opening up and the hiring they're doing.

The Koch's are also going to be focusing more on social media and the Internet and less on traditional broadcast media, following a larger trend in campaigning.

There's some new PACs to look out for that will be spreading the Koch's toxic ooze over the state:

*The 60 Plus Association. Founded in 1992, it tries to be the right-wing version of the American Association of Retired persons, or AARP. The Post found that it spent $4.6 million on ads against Obama, Obamacare and House Democrats in 2012.

Art Pope's Civitas Institute behind campaign to discredit and defund Medicaid

Sue Sturgis at Facing South delivers a thorough and damning investigation of Art Pope's campaign to destroy Medicaid in North Carolina. What's worse is that North Carolina's mainstream media allowed Pope's deceptive campaign to take hold and become the accepted narrative during the fevered political season. It's a sad story in every way you can think of.

The Puppetshow has so infiltrated state government, with Art Pope as budget director, that it's impossible to separate fact from fiction on matters of great importance ... like Medicaid. We have truly become a banana republic.

Civitas behind campaign to defund Medicaid

As you may know, the UK newspaper the Guardian is running a series on leaked documents from the American Legislative Exchange Council, the industry lobbying group that has pushed "model" extremist conservative legislation, including "stand your ground" gun laws, through many state houses.

In this installment, they discover that Art Pope's foundation Civitas developed a campaign to discredit Medicaid and sought monies through ALEC to implement it.

What's not quite right about this is that Civitas is officially an "educational" non-profit, not a lobbying organization, under IRS and campaign finance regulations. The Guardian is publishing the series, questioning whether this direct lobbying and advertising is illegal (lobbying organizations have to report on their activities and funding).

Also interesting - their language and talking points seem to have been coordinated with the McCrory administration.

Senator Cook loves him some Art Pope

Well, I have to admit that I missed a real doozy of a blog post/op-ed penned by one of our esteemed state Senators, Bill Cook back in August. Cook serves in the First District, which includes Beaufort. The Beaufort Observer has the op-ed online and a link to the full original on Cook's blog.

North Carolina's Monster Voting Bill: A tale of voter suppression

by Amy Tiemann

A white Republican challenging black students' right to vote has a 97% success rate at removing these young minority voters from the rolls. Is that what we want for North Carolina?

It is starting to sink in that North Carolina's new voting laws go way beyond voter I. D.--which is problematic in itself--and lead straight into voter suppression. Now the U.S. Justice Department is suing the state for alleged racial discrimination in the laws. We thought era of poll taxes and bogus literacy tests was over in North Carolina, but now it looks like Justice Department intervention is necessary to keep our moderate Southern state from tumbling into new era of voter suppression.

Art Pope's Civitas criticizes McCrory ... then doesn't

NC Policy Watch is reporting that Art Pope's Civitas posted two pieces strongly critical of Gov. Pat McCrory, but has pulled them.

One criticized McCrory on his veto of the drug testing for those receiving public assistance.

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.

Policy Watch asks:

Civitas turns up the heat again on Moral Mondays

The Institute for Southern Studies is reporting that Civitas has added salary information from publicly employed individuals to their "database" of Moral Monday protestors.

Civitas announced the expansion to include public worker salaries in the newsletter it sent out this week.

"As more people have gotten arrested at the protests," Civitas said, "we've continued our analysis of what they are up to -- including the salaries of those protesters on the public payroll."

In a promotion for the database on the front page of its website, the group refers to "Tax Payer Funded Protesters."

They also make the connection to similar intimidation tactics that were recently used in Koch controlled Wisconsin that might give you a clue on how the state legislature and the McCrory administration might want to use this data in the future:

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