Poor Puppetmaster

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I admit it. I'm starting to feel sorry for Puppetmaster Pope. Things have gotten so bad that he's had to write a whole durn column in the News and Observer to explain why the mean old faculty at NCSU should want this "dirty money" and stop saying he's profoundly anti-democratic. His self defense is robust:

There is no factual basis for this. The hard-earned funds the Pope Foundation has received from my family and our company represent earnings from decades of general merchandise retailing in North Carolina and beyond that have provided thousands of jobs and served millions of satisfied customers. Rather than being "anti-democratic," I have served the state as an elected public official. As a legislator I have voted for billions of dollars in education funding, including for scarce public dollars for repairing or replacing outdated and often-hazardous engineering facilities at N.C. State. I have voted against state budgets that did not fund the state's priorities and in fact led to shortfalls and forced reversions of university funds in the middle of the academic year.

I don't doubt any of what Mr. Pope says in his eloquent Defense of Rich White Guys. His record of support includes all of what he mentions and more. But there are a few things he doesn't mention that objective observers might want to consider.

First, the earnings from decades of general merchandise retailing are based in a business model that looks like this:

Store Site Criteria

We look primarily for locations in second and third generation shopping centers. In addition, we will consider free-standing sites, and store front locations in large urban cities. Site criteria include:

* Grocery anchored shopping center preferred.
* Minimum population of 2,500 within 1 mile of the site.
* Minimum 25% African-American population within 5 miles.
* Median household income of $40,000 or less.

BlueNC contributor George Pence called this Robin Hood in Reverse (please read if you haven't already) and that strikes me as a fair analysis. is exactly as It must be tough to be a really rich white guy these days. gotta do to get some respect these days?

The other big problem I have with Mr. Pope is his belief that it's okay to spend hundreds of thousands of his corporate earnings to influence local elections here in North Carolina. He and the free-market fundamentalists he controls think that if something can be bought and sold, it should be . . . including our democracy.

Despite whatever good he has done, Art Pope is single-handedly funding a full-frontal assault on the common ground that unites us. What's more, his Puppets at the John Locke Foundation display a level of intellectual dishonesty that few serious academic professionals would want to be associated with. Given JLF's record on the wisdom of planning and science, and their cavalier attitudes around mercury poisoning, emissions, poverty and more, it's no wonder faculty members at NSCU don't want to anything to do with the Puppetmaster.


Yes, Comrade Anglico!

You are absolutely right, comrade. Those capitalist pig-dogs think it is okay to sell low-priced goods to low-income families. This is the problem with a capitalist system. In an enlightened society, all citizens have the same income and so there is no need for price differentiation. These pig-dogs not only have the audacity to create wealth through a market system, but then annoint themselves with the freedom to spend their wealth in whatever way that they see fit. Enlightened citizens know that they do not have a right to use their resources except in the way that they are directed to do so by the state. Remain vigilant in your efforts, comrade. We will show the people the wisdom of planning.

Enlightened citizens of America...I call on you to cast off archaic notions of private property and cede your belongings to the omnipotent state. Follow me, comrades, into the enlightened century of benevolent central planning! Vive la revolution!

We are one in solidarity.

We have even heard tales from the netherworld of capitalist corruption where wealthy robber-barons use their unlimited corporate earnings to influence the elections their leaders. They say "if it can be bought and sold, it shall be bought and sold!" Can you imagine such decadence? It is no wonder our strength grows with every passing day!

Dealing with subversive behavior

In an enlightened society, such deviations from the path of greatest social benefit, as mapped out by the planners, is corrected swiftly and humanely. Individuals of this mindset are victims to an obviously misguided socialization process. As enlightened citizens, it is our obligation to correct these deficiencies of personality so that our fellow citizens can experience the peace that comes through unity of thought. This is why enlightened societies have always retained the use of re-education camps where this misguided socialization process can be corrected. Regrettably, the condition has proven irreversible in its advanced stages and the people have been forced to alleviate their suffering permanently, as the only remaining option of humane treatment. Nonetheless, prior records of success in these activities have been commendable. Who will vote to support education camps and alleviate the suffering of your deluded fellow comrades?

Enlightened citizens of America...I call on you to cast off archaic notions of private property and cede your belongings to the omnipotent state. Follow me, comrades, into the enlightened century of benevolent central planning! Vive la revolution!