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03
I’ve been reading about the recent Supreme Court decision that says corporations can spend as much as they want to elect politicians.
 
Now, pragmatically, there’s not much to doubt this ruling is going to be a financial windfall to anyone in the political consulting business. And, theoretically, I’ve got to say more freedom of speech is almost always a good idea.
 
But I’ve begun to suspect there’s a missing piece here. It seems the court approached this case as a choice between two views: First that corporations are amalgamations of individuals and so it naturally follows restricting their freedom of speech restricts individuals’ freedom of speech – versus – Second that the public harm of allowing Wall Street corporations to spend millions to elect politicians beholden to them is just too horrible to contemplate.
 
But it seems to me this choice – between logic on one hand and common sense on the other – sidesteps a fundamental question:  What is a ‘Right’?
 
Looked at that way the case changes completely. For two reasons: Because the Declaration of Independence says ‘Rights’ flow from God, and because it’s clear in Genesis God created man but nowhere in the six days of creation did He say, Let there be corporations.
 
So it seems like automobiles and flying machines and the Pyramids corporations were created by man (not God) and have no more rights than say a Chevrolet – which means the Supreme Court in its wisdom has just given an Impala freedom of speech.
 

 

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02
I have a real problem with the way President Obama blamed George Bush for the budget deficit in his State of the Union speech.
 
But my objection is directly opposite Republicans’. I don’t think Obama blamed Bush enough.
 
As I recall, Ronald Reagan was still blaming Jimmy Carter and the Democrats for everything that was wrong as late as 1984. Obama has another three years to match that.
 
Politically, Obama would be a lot better off if he kept hammering that he inherited an economy that was about to go under – and a budget that already had. Bush, by contrast, inherited a booming economy and a budget surplus.
 
Blame away, Democrats.

 

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28
I don’t recall hardly ever seeing eye to eye with State Representative Mickey Michaux but the other day he hit the nail on the head.
 
Governor Perdue’s favorite Cabinet Secretary Lanier ‘The Artful Dodger’ Cansler traipsed over to the legislature for a meeting and after a fair amount of hemming and hawing admitted he had miscalculated his department’s budget by $250 million.
 
Representative Michaux shot back, ‘So, now, you’re telling us that money we put in the budget for you, your figures, are not going to happen?’
 
That’s exactly what Cansler’s telling legislators and they might as well get ready – because the bottom line may turn out to be a lot worse than Cansler’s ready to admit.
 
Last summer Secretary Cansler promised legislators if they’d let him pass out $250 million in no bid contracts he’d be able to cut his department’s budget. Well, he’s passed out the contracts but there’re no cuts. Instead, by coincidence, Cansler’s budget is in the red $250 million.
 
What went wrong? Cansler gave legislators two explanations at the meeting.
 
First, he said, He just never figured in a recession unemployment would go up and more people would need Medicaid.
 
Second, he blamed the Obama Administration.
 
Washington, he said, has been painfully slow in signing off on the Medicaid cuts he wants. (Of course, what he didn’t tell to legislators is the Obama Administration told him last summer it wouldn’t go along with his plan to cut thousands of elderly and disabled patients’ health care by expediently declaring they were no longer – ‘legally’ – sick.)
 
So, now, the horse is out of the barn.
 
The $250 million’s spent, the Obama Administration’s done just what it told Cansler it’d do and legislators might as well get ready for more bad news: The $250 million Cansler admits his department is over budget – is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
 

 

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25
President Obama made exactly the opposite mistake from Bill and Hillary Clinton on health-care reform.
 
The Clintons drew up a sweeping reform plan in secret, then sent it to Congress, where it died.
 
Obama let congressional Democrats come up with a reform plan. The first time it went to the voters, they voted to kill it. In Massachusetts, no less.
 
History repeats itself. The worst thing that can happen to a President – Democrat or Republican – is to have his own party control Congress. His fate is in the hands of the most extreme element of the party.
 
Now Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have done for Obama what Tom DeLay did for George Bush.

 

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22
Here’s a sure sign we’re in deeper trouble in Afghanistan than anybody’s letting on: The Afghan government (no doubt with U.S. taxpayers’ money) is offering the Taliban soldiers cold hard cash to surrender or, better yet, switch sides; of course being blossoming Afghanistan politicians are wrapping all this up in Washington style rhetoric calling their plan to bribe terrorists a ‘jobs program’ and saying what they’re really offering Taliban soldiers is ‘vocational training and economic incentives’ – if they’ll switch sides in the war.
 
I guess, in some ways, buying off an enemy makes more sense than fighting him. But any way you cut it paying Taliban soldiers to give up is a pretty clear admission of weakness. It’s like saying to the hard-bitten mujahedeen holding a gun on you, Okay, you win – now, would you be interested in a bribe and do you mind if we call it a jobs program?
 

 

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21
The other day over in Charlotte Governor Perdue called herself the ‘Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs Governor’ then chirruped she’s the education Governor but it doesn’t look like she’ll be calling herself the ‘Tough Crime Governor’ any time soon.
 
At least not according to the newspaper and – inadvertently – her Secretary-and-Former- Lobbyist of Health and Human Services Lanier Cansler.
 
Now what on earth does the Secretary of Health have to do with crime? More than you’d expect.
 
Because Secretary Cansler’s made such a mess of his department he’s landed a huge problem right in North Carolina’s Sheriffs’ laps – in the form of mental patients. It turns out sheriff’s deputies are having to drive sick mental patients all over North Carolina (say, from Raleigh to Asheville or wherever there’s an empty bed in a mental health ward) due to Cansler’s foibles.
 
Exactly how big a problem?
 
According to News & Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan deputies have spent 28,500 days driving Cansler’s patients – instead of investigating crimes.
 
Secretary Cansler’s turned North Carolina’s sheriffs into chauffeurs and the Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Governor’s up the creek when it comes to crime.
 

 

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20
One of the more dangerous varmints walking around on two legs is the good old-fashioned morally outraged Southern Demagogue and right now Reverend William Barber (head of the NAACP) fills the bill and he’s as mad as hell; the Reverend’s razor-tongued and ’fraid of nothing and he’s chomped down on school board Chairman Ron Margiotta with a bulldog grip and shows no sign of turning loose.
 
Barber’s telling every newspaper reporter who’ll listen Margiotta (who’s from New Jersey) is a throwback to 50’s red-necks, who wants to restore segregation – and what’s more the Reverend’s put the Chairman over a barrel by demanding forty-five minutes to rip into him in front of the TV cameras at the next school board meeting.

What on earth can Margiotta do to avoid a pending disaster? He’s got a buzz saw by the tail and being a Yankee he’s got no idea how to outsmart a southern politician. The minute he tells Barber no he gets pummeled for being un-American and anti-free speech and comes out looking like a thug; but if he’s open-minded and tells Barber yes the Reverend’s going to stand in front of the TV cameras and make it sound like Margiotta’s first cousin to a Grand Knight of the KKK.

Margiotta’s only got one hope but it’s risky: To give the Reverend more than he’s asking for which means (in poker parlance) calling the Reverend then raising him. How? By inviting every local elected Democratic politician in sight to speak at the school board meeting.

At first glance that sounds crazy but what matters is the local Democrats – the ones who have to get re-elected this fall – don’t want to get within a mile of that school board meeting.

And they’ve got good reason:  Because last election voters sent a troop of Democratic candidates packing for supporting the Reverend’s position when it comes to busing suburban nine year-olds to achieve racial ‘diversity.’ That’s why just about the only Democrat hollerin’ right now is the Reverend, who’s not running for anything.

So Chairman Margiotta ought to write the Reverend and Mayor Charles Meeker and Commissioner Betty Lou Ward and every other Democrat running in Wake County and say, I’m inviting you all to come on over to the meeting and explain to voters how you figure their voting to return to neighborhood schools – last election – makes them segregationists.
 

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20

 

Governor Perdue either has a new public relations guru or, suddenly, she’s started thinking in slogans because she’s firing them off rapid fire.
 
The other day down in Charlotte she let fly announcing her new education slogan: Ready. Set. Go. 
 
Then she let loose on jobs chirruping our number one priority has to be “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and more Jobs … I am, and will continue to be, known as the ‘Jobs Governor.’
 
(Her record: Under our ‘Jobs Governor’ 487,000 North Carolinians don’t have jobs).
 
Then Governor Perdue fired both barrels on corruption saying, “We’re fed up with dishonesty. We’re fed up with backroom dealing. We’re tired of business as usual.”
 
(Her record:  Through the Mike Easley scandal, the Tony Rand scandal, the Lanier Cansler no bid contract scandal and the DMV no bid contract scandal Governor Perdue has done nothing – except appoint Rand Chairman of the Paroles Commission).
 
Finally, the Governor announced her new economic slogan – “Biz Boost” – and declared, “We know tax incentives work, and it’s time to do something for small business.”
 
(Her record: The Governor’s already done something for small business – she gave a $9 million tax break to one of her son’s clients).

 

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20

 

Up in Washington, DC the Democrats on the City Council have put the Democrats in Congress on the hot seat by passing a law to make gay marriage legal in our nation’s Capital.
 
Now how on earth does that affect, say, Congressman Bob Etheridge who’s running for reelection here in North Carolina?
 
Because Congress either has to approve or disapprove the new law. Except, of course, this being Congress it’s not quite that simple. There’s a third choice: Congress can sit on its hands and do nothing in which case the law automatically takes effect after 30 days.
 
Which is exactly what the Democrats in Congress have in mind. Doing nothing. The question is:  Will the Republican powers-that-be call for a vote?
 
Now you’d think since same sex marriage has lost in every single state where it’s been put to a vote – including Massachusetts – the Republicans would be chomping at the bit for a roll call. But there’s a new theory rolling around Republican circles in Washington that says dodging ‘social issues’ is why Republicans won the Governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey.
 
So Republican leaders at first blush appear no more anxious to hold a vote than, say, Nancy Pelosi.
 
It’s an odd set of circumstances: About the last thing David Price, Brad Miller, Bob Etheridge and Larry Kissell (the Democratic Congressmen running here in North Carolina) want is to take a stand on gay marriage at the start of the election – and they may not have to because the Republican leaders up in Washington may tell them, Look, you don’t want a vote? Fine. Neither do we. Let’s forget about the whole thing.


 

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20

 

Over at DHHS High Lama and former lobbyist Lanier Cansler has promulgated a whole new set of rules governing folks who care for Medicaid patients.
 
For instance before a doctor can provide care to a Medicaid patient Lanier is going to check out his character, conduct, competence, criminal history, mental and physical health and malpractice claims.
 
It’s hard to argue with that. But consider this:  Lanier just gave a thirty million dollar no bid contract to two fellows who were convicted of stealing another company’s patents, threatened with jail for contempt of court, accused by a bankruptcy trustee of transferring money out of one company into another to hide millions of dollars from creditors, and cited by the FDA for not meeting safety requirements.
 
When WRAL-TV asked Cansler if he checked out those two fellows’ backgrounds he shrugged and said, That is not something we would normally do.
 
So follow the logic:  If you’re a doctor giving a Medicaid patient a checkup you have to pass a mental health check; but if you get a $30 million no bid contract Lanier’s not even going to ask if you’ve ever been sued.


 

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