Art Pope Puppetshow

Builders and Puppets: GOP environmental appointees lack qualifications and have conflicts of interest

We'll start with one of Art Pope's golden boys:

Clean Water Management Trust Fund: Former Henderson County commissioner Renee Kumor was appointed by Moore to a term expiring on July 1, 2020; and Wilmington builder Robin Hackney of New Hanover County was appointed by Berger to a term expiring June 30, 2020.

Berger also named writer and commentator Troy Kickler of Wake County to fill the unexpired term of Johnny Martin. Kickler’s term runs until June 30, 2018. The Clean Water Management Trust Fund provides grants to conservation nonprofits, local governments and state agencies for the protection of surface waters.

You may remember Troy Kickler from such notable history lessons such as "What would your great-great-great-grandfather think?" and "No drinking tea at this Tea Party!" You're right, I made those up. But he is a historian and not a hydrologist or water quality specialist, although it's rumored he has a Brita water filter. This is not Troy's first hitch on the board, the GOP actually made him Chairman back in 2013, to oversee their scrambling of its mission:

Pope Center slaps new coat of paint on crumbling structure

Different name, same tired old rhetoric:

Martin will be joined by Jenna Robinson, president of the former Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a conservative think tank that has been newly renamed for Martin. The change took effect Jan. 1, when the center officially became the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

On the center’s website, Robinson wrote that confusion between the Pope Center and the Pope Foundation prompted the name change. Both organizations were named for John William Pope but had different missions, she wrote: “The new name will allow us to create our own identity – focused on our mission of academic renewal.”

Yeah, I mean, no. There hasn't been any confusion. They may have (slightly) different missions, but the guiding principles are still the same. And they won't change with a new name, or a new logo, or a new Mission Statement, or whatever other facile tweaks to its appearance you try to make. A thorn by any other name. And just to give you an idea where Jenna Robinson stands on government helping families cope with higher education costs, check this out:

In pursuit of fairness and transparency, let the Carolina Journal in

Because it's not about them, it's about us:

The conservative Carolina Journal, which is published by the John Locke Foundation, says that its reporters have been banned from covering the new governor’s news conferences. The publication was not able to cover the governor’s Dec. 15 news conference, and the report says email requests for notice and access to other events went unanswered.

Cooper spokesman Ford Porter told the (Raleigh) News & Observer on Thursday that no one is being frozen out of news conferences or events, and if any reporter has been denied access, it was an “oversight.”

No doubt the truth is somewhere in-between, because the controversy of exclusion is a juicier story than witnessing department heads being introduced. That being said, favoring or disfavoring individual media outlets or their reporters is already a huge problem in this country, and we have a chance in this administration to show how it should be done. If Art Pope's people choose to write a skewed story, let's make sure it wasn't due to a lack of information or exposure.

JLF uses Hurricane Matthew to attack NC's REPS

Because natural disasters are a great opportunity for propaganda:

And then there are the inhabitants of the so-called “free market think tanks” funded by those fun-loving fossil fuel barons, the Koch Brothers, and their not so silent junior partner from North Carolina, Art Pope. Take a gander at a column released yesterday by the Director of Regulatory Studies at the John Locke Foundation. In it, the author argues – we are not making this up – that the mass, storm-related electricity outages of recent days lead to one overriding conclusion: North Carolina must reduce its commitment to renewable energy and the law (the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard” or “REPS”) that requires public utilities to derive a proportion of their electric load from renewables.

Everybody needs to understand why Koch and Pope's Puppets are so dedicated to overturning REPS in NC (and other states): Because it's working. The REPS was designed to create a demand for renewable energy, thus driving up production of Solar panels and wind turbine parts, which (in turn) would bring the costs down to a competitive range.
What you won't hear from people like JLF's Jon Sanders is how much those costs have already dropped:

Rob Schofield deconstructs GOP's fictional narrative on NC median income

The picture is not nearly as pretty as it's been painted:

It’s understandable (and perhaps even a little poignant) that some on the right have been trying so hard of late to put a positive spin on the state of the North Carolina economy. If there’s even the tiniest snippet of encouraging economic news out there these days – anywhere – you can rest assured that conservative politicians and “think tankers” will seize upon it, gather round it and hold it aloft like ancient cavepeople celebrating the discovery of a shiny ingot.

The Puppetmaster's enduring legacy

After all my years of reporting about Art Pope, it's comforting to discover the old man is still a creep. Despite trying to rehabilitate his image as a moderate voice of reason, his bigotry and greed appear unbounded by human decency. No one has done more to damage the freedom and fairness in North Carolina than the slum-retailer from Raleigh.

Art Pope's minions now going after bicyclists

Wherever there is a whiff of progress, JLF and Civitas will soon be there to oppose it:

I do not oppose bike lanes in principle. If significant numbers of people wish to travel by bike and need safe lanes, it is reasonable for the city to use part of its transportation budget to meet that need.

But I do oppose social engineering and paternalism. I absolutely object to Raleigh and Wake County using taxpayers’ money to push taxpayers away from one behavior (driving cars) that they prefer and toward a different behavior (riding bikes) that they have not embraced.

Oh! Bonus points for including the trigger words "social engineering" and "paternalism." Seriously, these free-market clones are so predictable I could write for them under a pseudonym and get away with it for months before they figured it out. All you need are a few key phrases and a dash of hyperbole (Raleigh trying to "push" citizens into biking), and you've got Puppet Gold ready to be published.

Pope and Hood put stranglehold on conservative commentary

He who has the money makes the rules:

My sources are telling me that Hood — clearly acting on orders from The Boss — has issued edicts to both institutions about what can and can’t be written about, who can or cannot be cited or quoted, and that sort of thing. Hood has used the regular payments from the Pope Foundation as leverage — delaying the checks to Locke and Civitas significantly to hammer home his point.

Locke and Civitas were both HUGE critics of that 2000 bond issue. This year’s ConnectNC boondoggle? We got everything from total silence to a weak-sister, wet-noodle critique. What’s different? What changed? THIS YEAR the boss is invested heavily in Pat McCrory and his “success.”

This is far from the first time JLF/Civitas has flip-flopped on supposedly core issues, but the social media explosion of the last few years has forced Pope and his minions to resort to more overt and heavy-handed tactics to "shape" the information being presented:

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