Link-of-the-Day Category

Democracy North Carolina’s Executive Director Bob Hall periodically posts commentary and links of interest about one of our core issue areas. Review his posts below or click here to automatically subscribe to our Link-of-The-Day feed via email and other options.


You are welcome to submit comments to this moderated blog. Please treat others with respect, avoid partisan rhetoric, and help us provide a fact-based discussion of issues related to North Carolina’s political landscape. Thank you.

LOD: Pope v. PopeExposed On the Air

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Art Pope is going on the radio this Sunday for a two-hour faceoff with Chris Kromm, director of the Institute for Southern Studies and creator of ArtPopeExposed.com. Pope wants to answer his critics and respond to questions from the listening audience. The call-in show is on Raleigh’s Rush Radio 106.1 FM from 3 to 5 PM, but the hosts (publishers of Spectacular Magazine) are civil-rights advocates who don’t fit the usual talk-radio profile. Tune in and ask a question or listen on the web by following the link at this site.


LOD: Green Votes in Raleigh, 2011

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

How did your state legislator perform in 2011? What effect did Art Pope’s money machine have on state policy? Here’s an answer to both questions: A scorecard of key votes to protect NC’s environmental resources reveals that the current crop of lawmakers in Raleigh achieved the worst grades in decades. The new majority killed bills they perceived as elevating any value above greed. Just say you’re doing it for Jobs or Private Property Rights and slash away. The legislators backed by Art Pope’s money showed even more hostility to environmental issues than their colleagues. As a group, they got less than half the score of the average legislator, pulling down the entire General Assembly (and the state) with their kneejerk hatred of business regulation and investment in public resources.



LOD: Big Apple Shines

Friday, January 6th, 2012

New York is stepping up to challenge corporate control of elections. New York City already has a pioneering public financing program for its municipal elections. On Wednesday, it joined a growing list of cities by adopting a resolution calling on Congress to start the process for amending the U.S. Constitution to say corporations don’t have the rights of natural persons. Meanwhile, in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a robust call for public campaign financing in his State of the State speech. His backing, fulfilling a 2010 campaign pledge, and the pro-reform NY House make the Empire State the likely epicenter for expanding Voter-Owned Elections programs in 2012. A host of nonprofit groups have been working in the state for years; their efforts are paying off.



LOD: MT Judges Slam US Supremes

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

As the second anniversary of Citizens United approaches (Jan. 21), the corruption flowing from that decision is becoming more apparent. The Supreme Court declared that independent groups can not corrupt the political process, but the dominant role of Super PACs in the Republican primary is just the latest evidence that their decision was based on bias, not fact. Now another court has stepped up to tell the Supremes exactly that. The Montana Supreme Court rejected the Citizens United ruling, saying the evidence shows that independent spenders can and do wield enough influence to corrupt politics. “Organizations like WTP [a corporate political group] that act as a conduit for anonymously spending by others represent a threat to the political marketplace,” wrote Mike McGrath, Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, for the majority. “Clearly the impact of unlimited corporate donations creates a dominating impact on the political process and inevitably minimizes the impact of individual citizens.” Even the dissenting judges in the 5-2 decision upholding Montana law denounced the US Supreme Court. “While, as a member of this Court, I am bound to follow Citizens United, I do not have to agree with the [U.S.] Supreme Court’s decision,” wrote Justice James C. Nelson, in his dissent. “And, to be absolutely clear, I do not agree with it. For starters, the notion that corporations are disadvantaged in the political realm is unbelievable. Indeed, it has astounded most Americans. The truth is that corporations wield enormous power in Congress and in state legislatures. It is hard to tell where government ends and corporate America begins: the transition is seamless and overlapping.” If the Montana case gets a fair hearing on appeal at the Supreme Court, it will completely expose that majority’s hypocrisy and corruption of judicial duty.


LOD: Dominatrix of the Year

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Two commentaries close out the year, each describing a way big money shapes our lives. Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, reviews the year with a focus on why Congressional decisions are so out of touch with real needs. Jesse Jackson looks at what’s getting covered over by big money in the presidential campaign.


LOD: MoJo on Dirty Money

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

The first issue of 2012 from Mother Jones has a series of articles dissecting the secretive, seductive direct money that is crippling our entire society. It includes a roadmap for “How to Buy An Elections” and one story (“Occupied Washington”) you can readily access, but the other juicy material requires you to sign in. Worth the connection.



LOD: Mr. Jones v. Citizens United

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., Republican member of Congress from eastern North Carolina, is again stepping up to sponsor legislation to reign in the power of big money in politics. In 2010, he co-sponsored the Fair Elections Now Act, which would provide a much-needed alternative path for candidates to finance their campaigns. Yesterday, he’s joined Kentucky Democrat US Rep. John Yarmuth in introducing a Constitutional amendment to overcome the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The amendment would say that political spending is not protected by the First Amendment and may be regulated to protect the common good. “Corporate money equals influence, not free speech,” says Yarmuth. The amendment would also establish a system for public financing and make Election Day a federal holiday. If you’re having trouble keeping track of all the proposed amendments to elevate your voting rights over a corporation’s right to buy an election, here’s a handy guide from United Republic: “Idiot’s Guide to the Amendments.”


LOD: Attack of the Super PACs

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Aren’t you glad you don’t live in Iowa? Get ready: attack ads and over-the-top hype will soon be coming into your home in unbelievable quantities. In the past week, new creatures known as Super PACs have spent nearly $2.7 million, mostly on TV ads for and against various Republican presidential candidates. Because Super PACs are supposedly independent of the candidates, they can accept unlimited donations – but who believes they are really independent? Fred Wertheimer, president of the watchdog group Democracy 21 and always good with a sound bite, says, “These are the most dangerous vehicles for corruption in American politics today.”


LOD: Gender Bender

Friday, December 16th, 2011

If the men on the US Supreme Court say that corporations are people, are you surprised that the biggest corporations look just like them? The Citizens United ruling makes perfect sense from the perspective of the good ole boy club. A new study says women hold less than one sixth of the seats on the boards of directors of Fortune 500 corporations and they hold less than one in 12 of the firms’ top-paying jobs. Noting the Obama administration’s snub of women, most recently with the decision to limit access to the morning-after pill, the commentator says, “If the corporate campaign contributing person were at least half female, we surely would be able to expect better from the party that supposedly has women’s back.” Gender and racial privilege continues to distort the debate about voter ID as well. If you’re a white man who owns property, you think nothing about the burden of holding a photo ID. If you’re poor, female and black, it’s another story, as this new video from the NAACP highlights.




LOD: Art Pope Teach-In

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Have you heard about tomorrow’s teach-in about Art Pope - North Carolina’s 40 million dollar man? He told the newspaper he might show up himself and express himself, not just be the subject or object; Art Pope is a verb! There’s still time for you to say you’re coming to “Art Pope Exposed.” The teach-in happens at 7 PM at the NC Association for Educators building, 700 S. Salisbury Street, Raleigh. RSVP if you can - or just come. Can’t make it to Raleigh? Don’t fret: the Institute for Southern Studies will be webstreaming the event at http://www.ustream.tv/user/facingsouth.


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