AFP attack bus shifts into gear, N&O slams brakes. Your chance to take action.

The N&O's Steve Ford blasts Pope and the Koch Brothers:

There has to be a certain irony in a group bankrolled by some of the country's wealthiest business types - people with a vested financial interest in low taxes and limp-wristed regulation - using the working man and woman's annual holiday as a springboard for its anti-government agenda.

Americans for Prosperity has as a national director none other than the ubiquitous Art Pope of Raleigh, head of Variety Wholesalers (owners of Roses, Maxway, Super 10 and other bargain-oriented retail chains). Pope, one-time GOP legislator and candidate for lieutenant governor, hardly needs an introduction these days as the kingpin behind the libertarian/conservative John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute.

Oh, it's dripping with irony, but I'm afraid that escapes most people.

Something else I find ironic: the propaganda put forth by AFP, Real Jobs NC and other "arms" of the Pope machine is designed to sway public opinion. Then Civitas runs a poll to see how effectively its money is being spent, and then the media reports on the results of the poll, swaying public opinion even more.

You can despise their ideology and goals, and fret about the future implications of public opinion gone astray. But you have to admire the mechanics involved.

Americans for Prosperity (which has a foundation set up under tax laws that allow it to engage in partisan activity) was a heavy-duty opponent of health care reform, and everybody knows that one of the opposition's motives was to drag Obama down. Now the rhetoric one hears from AFP and its tea party soul mates rips Obama and the Democrats as tax-happy socialists, lusting for power and scornful of American freedoms. When this kind of bilge is being pumped, it's a good idea to consider the source.

Certainly Art Pope isn't shy about spending money to flay Democrats. Just ask nine Democratic legislators whose districts recently have been targeted with mailers from an anti-tax group called Real Jobs NC. It turns out that Variety Wholesalers has given the group $100,000 - a nice gesture indeed by the customers of Roses and other stores under the Pope umbrella who surely wouldn't want the state to have enough revenue to pay for, say, decent public schools. Or perhaps it's Pope who doesn't want that.

That last part is right in line with what I mentioned a few days ago: Proceeds from the commerce of the rank and file being used by a select few to shape the government. A government that is supposed to serve all of us, by the way. And when that select few publishes diatribes bemoaning the impact of "special interests" on our government, the irony grows so thick you can hardly breathe the air.


Please do this one little thing.

I'm so glad you posted this. This column is a very big deal.

It's not often that I ask people to go somewhere and write something, but today I'd like to ask you to go here and get Mr. Ford's back. He's under attack from the relentless right, and unfortunately, most on the left are disengaged at the N&O, for understandable reasons.

This editorial position represents a shift that demands our support. Steve Ford has decided to say what needs to be said, especially on Labor Day, and we should be thrilled to no end.

We have an obligation to support and defend this kind of boldness wherever we see it. It's a rare commodity in mainstream journalism today and it will be even rarer without out engagement.

Please go read Mr. Ford's article and then, please leave a comment. Even if you have to register, please, please, please do it. It will take you every bit of ten minutes ... and you will change the world.

We have less than 60 days before the November elections to reset our progressive movement. Taking the action of speaking out against the influence of corporate money in politics is a good and important step.

Also, start making plans to be in Washington on October 2. For those who can't make it to DC, should we consider a North Carolina counterpart?

Consider it done




Stan Bozarth

Stockholm Syndrome

I thought this comment from Mike Monteiro on Twitter was on target:

The Tea Party is the biggest case of Stockholm Syndrome ever. Poor people rallying to the cause of those keeping them in poverty.

Sure sounds right to me

I guess maybe they have PTSD from eight years of Bush, and they don't know how to quit him.

An amazingly true comment

and these people don't even realize they're being duped and screwed.

Stan Bozarth


Nearly 140 reads for this post, and only two new commenters on the N&O site. No wonder the paper doesn't respond to ideas and criticism from the left. We're effectively missing in action.

If a website like BlueNC can't stimulate a dozen people to take the simple action of writing a comment about such an important topic, those of us who keep this place running truly are wasting our time.


It is discouraging

But hopefully some of those readers will take action in other ways, even if it's just talking about it at family get-togethers or other non-public forums.

I am now a subscriber

Just signed up for 26 weeks of the N&O, based on this clear and compelling editorial.

I know I'll be disappointed in the future when political reporters do the Puppetshow dictation thing, but for now, I am as happy as I've ever been with any newspaper anywhere.

My deep thanks to Mr. Ford for saying what needs to be said.

James, BlueNC

I heard your call for having Steve Ford's back. And, in my thanks to BlueNC for doing what it does, I ran over and commented on the article, thanking Mr. Ford. I'd sign up or the paper but every time I want to deactivate our subscription, my wife says no... so at least tomorrow I won't curse that it's in my house.


I've canceled and resubscribed many times

But this column gives me hope. Steve couldn't have written this without a deep understanding of just how toxic Pope's Puppetshow is here in North Carolina, and he had to know he'd take a steady stream of hits from the radical right. I'm proud of him for doing something that needed to be done ... it's been a long time coming.

Like I said, this doesn't mean they won't disappoint, especially on the news pages ... but on the editorial pages, this is a big deal for me. Very big.

Thanks for jumping in.

I'm making a prediction, Greg

Don't be surprised if your comment over there gets deleted. The N&O has about as much tolerance for language as a Sunday school teacher in a fundie church, and any reference to human genitalia ("grew some balls") is bound to make them wave a hanky in front of their face and cover their ears. ;)