Morton Blackwell Goes on the Record – 2012 RNC, Rule Changes, Virginia Delegation Bus, and more

Morton Blackwell, President of the Leadership Institute and senior member of RNC rules committee, author of the minority report (a counter-measure to the controversial rule changes), goes on the record in a conversation with Carolina Liberty PAC about the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Topics of discussion:
-Controversial rule changes,
-RNC bus issues (Virginia delegation bus ordeal),
-John Boehner reading a scripted rules vote,
-Ben Ginsberg,
-Mitt Romney,
-the impact of RNC actions on Mitt Romney’s campaign, alienation of voters,
-the NC delegation meeting, NC chairman Robin Hayes, and more.

 

More content on a couple of items mentioned in the conversation:

RNC bus situation- North Carolina’s situation with the bus ordeal was mentioned. I did take some livestream at the RNC when we began to realize something was amiss with the buses. Unfortunately the video froze, but there is pretty good audio of conversation about NC’s bus situation:
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/25021258

North Carolina delegation meeting, which Mr. Blackwell was a guest to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoSGajwV7y8

Follow-up video from a Moore County TEA Party meeting in which a member asks Chairman Hayes to explain his actions at the RNC, specifically referencing Mr. Blackwell:
https://vimeo.com/49274200

This entry was posted on November 8, 2012. 2 Comments

“Fire Janet Cowell” – Treasurer’s Record Too Sensitive for Facebook?

Transparency Campaign Suffers Censorship Right Before Election

In an attempt to counter an onslaught of advertising by the Janet Cowell Campaign touting a job well done, a few grassroots activists created a facebook community page titled “Fire Janet Cowell – NC Treasurer.”

The page creators described the situation:

“The Cowell campaign has immense funds from special interests outside of North Carolina, which enables her to purchase a ton of media. We didn’t want the treasurer’s actual performance record and the voice of the grassroots to be drowned out by big-money ads, so we created our own page in order to document the legislative and investment record of our current treasurer.”

Within hours of its creation, the page was flagged and banned from facebook. The creators sent notes to facebook asking the reason for the removal of the page. Meanwhile, they created another page with the same intent that mirrored the content. By the following morning, someone had also removed the second page from facebook, causing one frustrated page creator to make the following post:

“ALRIGHT, that is IT! I have had TWO pages now BLOCKED from facebook in the last 24 hours. What were the pages? [They were] calling upon the voters of NC to FIRE our current state treasurer. This is a violation, and I am curious as to whether this is coming directly from the Janet Cowell campaign. … There was absolutely no personal or abusive content on the site. Apparently someone doesn’t want us to know information like this (and much more):

A national financial rating report was recently released by the Institute for Truth in Accounting in which it was revealed that North Carolina’s financial rating DROPPED 4 PLACES from 31st to 35th in the nation. One thing that impacted NC’s rating drop was our state’s level of unfunded liabilities, such as the state employees’ pensions, that have been negatively affected by the inappropriate investments of our current treasurer. North Carolina is now on the path to receive a drop in our credit score. $26 million was recently invested from the state employees’ pension fund into the FACEBOOK IPO: an inappropriate investment that cost North Carolinians millions! Tell Janet Cowell she is FIRED!”

In response to the expression of frustration, a sitting North Carolina House Representative, Glen Bradley, made the following statement:

“[W]e know from history that Janet Cowell has some ‘pay-to-play’ friends in high places, including a member of the Facebook board of directors who probably directed Cowell to invest the NC State employee pension fund into the Facebook IPO in the first place. This stinks to high heaven!

So explaining why a publicly elected official on the NC Council of State is incompetent and severely damaging North Carolina, a couple weeks ahead of the election to replace her, is ‘inappropriate or abusive content?’ …

It’s time to take a deeper examination of Mrs. Cowell’s friend on the Facebook board of directors to find out if there has been any undue influence in removing material critical of Mrs Cowell’s performance in the last two years.”

Carolina Liberty PAC inquired with another page creator, David Williams, about whether facebook had provided an explanation for the removal of the two pages.

“Sadly, [Facebook] has provided no explanation whatsoever. I wrote a couple of emails, one to their marketing department. I also called them but it is well nigh impossible to get an actual human being,” Mr. Williams replied.

Gaston County activist, Charles Held, attempted to address the matter on Ms. Cowell’s campaign facebook page. He was blocked from posting to the page any further after he made an assertion to the effect of the following:

“Cowell’s buddy Erskine Bowles is a board member of Facebook, a board member of Morgan Stanley (underwriter for Facebook’s IPO), a fundraising “bundler” for Cowell, and the owner of an investment advisory firm that Cowell hired to run the North Carolina pension fund. Anyone can see that the entire Facebook IPO fiasco that cost North Carolina millions was a sweetheart deal designed to funnel money to crony Erskine and his Facebook and Morgan Stanley buddies. This is corruption of the highest order.”

So what was the “abusive” content that caused two separate facebook pages to be taken down so quickly? We will mirror the posts below so that you can look for yourself and determine whether you think this content is inappropriate or abusive:


Cowell even admitted that during her 2008 campaign “mostly, I just sat in a room and dialed for dollars for a year and a half of my life.” http://lockerroom.johnlocke.org/2012/10/29/more-stumbling-and-cronyism-from-north-carolinas-treasurer/

More lousy investment performance from your NC Treasurer…
http://www.pionline.com/article/20120824/DAILYREG/120829918

Janet Cowell has raised more than 50% of her campaign funds this election cycle from out-of-state, and more from New York City than from Charlotte. Is Janet the Treasurer of Wall Street or North Carolina? http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=141471

Janet Cowell touts education policy in her latest ad- an issue which has NO RELEVANCE to the position of state treasurer! Trying to distract from her treasurer’s investment record & NC’s four-place financial rating drop? Or just unfamiliar with the primary duties of state treasurer? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC36pJe1rl4

Janet Cowell gave big raises to pension fund officials http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/janet_cowell_gave_big_raises_to_pension_fund_officials

A national financial rating report was recently released by the Institute for Truth in Accounting in which it was revealed that North Carolina’s financial rating DROPPED 4 PLACES from 31st to 35th in the nation. One thing that impacted NC’s rating drop was our state’s level of unfunded liabilities, such as the state employees’ pensions, that have been negatively affected by the inappropriate investments of our current treasurer. North Carolina is now on the path to receive a drop in our credit score. $26 million was recently invested from the state employees’ pension fund into the FACEBOOK IPO: an inappropriate investment that cost North Carolinians millions! Tell Janet Cowell she is FIRED!

“Other big players in the pay to play scheme with public pensions include New York firms Wolf Popper, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer and Pennsylvania-based Shiffrin, Barraway, Topaz & Kessler. Collectively, these three firms donated nearly $46,000
to Cowell since 2008.

Records from the National Institute on Money in State Politics show that Cowell’s 2012 campaign has received more money from out of state sources than from North Carolina backers, and in 2008 she received $225,000 in New York-based contributions alone. Why so much financial support from far-away places?

When a politician is empowered with control over such a large pot of money, this is the inevitable result: interest groups will donate money in hopes of getting a slice of the pie. In this case, it seems that Cowell is all too happy to accept donations from out of state law firms, and in turn the law firms hope to be selected in the event North Carolina’s pension fund engages in class action law suits. The result: Cowell’s campaign coffers swell and the law firms profit handsomely.” http://www.nccivitas.org/2012/donations-to-state-treasurer-raise-red-flags/

“Why would our state treasurer take special effort to ensure that NC hires a law firm out of New York to represent North Carolina in a lawsuit? A review of Cowell’s campaign reports indicate that her campaign has received over $72,000 in campaign funds from employees of the NY law firm since 2008!” http://carolinalibertypac.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/state-treasurers-race/

Janet Cowell, responsible for introducing a bill to require that all vehicles in NC are fitted with front license plates. NC does not need a treasurer who demonstrates such a lack of concern with FISCAL IMPACT, such as proposing bills that would impose costly mandates on the people of NC with no real benefit. Once again, out of touch with the people of NC.

“The first major obstacle of the new bill is the outright cost of supplying and additional 8.4 million addition plates for the vehicles already in use. That money will have to be pulled from the budget, or will have to be paid for directly to the DMV. This means less money for constructing I-540 and other road improvement projects.

Many car owners will be opposed to the bill because of the cosmetic damage caused to their car. Many cars are not fitted with brackets for forward plates, meaning one would have to be retrofitted to the car, or holes will have to be drilled directly into the bumper. This may not be a big deal for your average car owner, but imagine drilling two holes in the carbon fiber bumper of your 300,000 dollar Lamborghini. Not only does it cause damage to the car, but most people will agree the front plates are unsightly at best.

The benefits to law enforcement are extremely low. The plates can not be seen at night due to the fact that no cars have forward mounted plate illumination lights. A police officer looking in his rear view mirror during the day at the car behind him will see the letters backwards, making the plate useless. Driving past the officer, the front plate can easily be obscured by other motorist.

The evident lack of value to law enforcement, combined with the high cost of updating current cars with a second license plate, and continuing to produce dual license plates for new cars, makes the new bill pointless.” http://voices.yahoo.com/north-carolina-proposes-dual-license-plate-bill-317558.html?cat=15

OUT OF TOUCH! Restroom Equity??? As a state senator, Janet Cowell introduced a bill to require that all public restrooms be suited with double the facilities in the women’s room than the amount in the men’s room. The bill demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the issues most concerning to the residents of North Carolina, not to mention the fact that it would have been regulatory ridiculousness and a burden on business owners. From the bill: “A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO PROVIDE EQUITY IN THE NUMBER OF WOMEN’S AND MEN’S BATHROOMS. The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1. Declaration of legislative findings and intent. Almost every woman can recall waiting in a long line to use the bathroom, while there was no comparable line for a neighboring men’s bathroom. According to studies on patterns of behavior in the use of bathrooms, it frequently takes women twice as long to use the bathroom as it does men. … The lack of equality between men and women results in the continuation of inconveniences seemingly directed at women.” http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2007&BillID=S972

*note: article was edited in order to correctly attribute a quote.

UPDATE: The content creators of the censored facebook page have since created a page titled “HIRE Steve Royal – NC Treasurer”

Carolina Liberty PAC on Dr. Mike Beitler’s “Free Markets” Radio Show:

http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/65220/nicole-revels-founder-of-carolina-liberty-pac

Cronyism, Losses Revealed in State Treasurer’s Record

NC State Treasurer’s Race: Janet Cowell, the Democratic candidate, invested $26 million from the state employees’ pension fund into the facebook ipo, immediately losing over 4 million, with many millions more projected as an eventual loss from the investment. Note that the only reason this information on the investment is publicly known is that it was detailed in court documents. You see, Cowell later signed North Carolina up to participate in a class action lawsuit against facebook for the loss.

Janet Cowell appears to have later engaged in “pay-to-play” cronyism by suggesting a law firm out of NY (Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman) represent NC in the class action lawsuit, rejecting the use of five other “firms specializing in securities litigation to bring class-action suits against firms that engage in securities fraud,” (http://www.ncinsider.com/2011/10/05/116970/pension-litigation.html). Why would our state treasurer take special effort to ensure that NC hires a law firm out of New York to represent North Carolina in a lawsuit? A review of Cowell’s campaign reports indicate that her campaign has received over $72,000 in campaign funds from employees of the NY law firm since 2008!

This from a piece on the Civitas Institute website: “An examination of political contributions to Janet Cowell’s campaign since 2008 courtesy of the NC State Board of Elections shows that employees of Bernstein have donated nearly $75,000 to Cowell in the last two elections cycles (you can see a spreadsheet of the donations here).” http://www.civitasreview.com/budget-taxes/cowell-facebook-fiasco-more-questions-that-demand-answers/

One should also note that when asked to comment on the loss of millions from the state employees’ pension fund, a spokeswoman for Cowell gave a very dismissive response, which insinuates that several millions lost from the pension fund is just peanuts (less than .1 percent of the stock portfolio), and that they do this sort of thing all the time, almost as though it is ridiculous to express concern over the matter. From an Associated Press article: “This was an ordinary investment by the outside investment manager, made within the manager’s ordinary discretion under its contract with the department,” Julia Vail wrote in a statement. “The Facebook IPO investment was less than a tenth of 1 percent of the pension fund’s global (stock) portfolio.”

Fergus Hodgson, director of fiscal policy studies with the John Locke Foundation, counters that “state employees expect their pensions with 100 percent certainty—and there is legal precedent to support that—so the security of investments should reflect that expectation. The initial Facebook stock offering could hardly be considered secure, so Cowell appears to be attempting, but failing, to keep up with unrealistic projected returns. With each failure, the unfunded liabilities within the state’s pension plans continue to worsen.”

This entry was posted on October 23, 2012. 3 Comments

Lars Christensen on Socialism in Denmark – Chapel Hill, NC

Monday, October 15, 2012: Carolina Liberty PAC was guest to a standing-room only discussion on socialism in Denmark, presented by the founder/CEO of a Danish investment bank, Lars Christensen. The presentation had the overall feel of a dire warning to Americans not to follow in the path of Denmark.

Some interesting facts that were made known regarding taxation in Denmark:

High taxation bracket on income tax kicks in at around 50,000 income (American dollars)
Capital Gains tax: approx. 42%
Sales tax: 25% on any item purchased
House tax: 3% of the value of your house annually
Vehicle purchase tax: over 200%

One of the most entertaining anecdotes to illustrate the point of how unfair a socialistic society is to the working class was that of the “no poor people in Denmark” debacle.

Last year, the far left party of Denmark was making an argument for increasing entitlements, which essentially entailed: give more entitlements to the poor and it will help them to get educated, get into the workforce, and eventually be on their feet and independent of the excess entitlements. Joachim Olsen, member of the right-wing party of Denmark, claimed (via a public facebook post) that there are no poor people in Denmark. This argument was countered by Ozlem Cekic of the leftist party. Mr. Olsen asked Ms. Cekic to find a poor person in Denmark, and a very public challenge was initiated.

The poor person that Ms. Cekic found – “Carina” – claimed that she has had to borrow money from friends/family in order to simply provide shoes for her child, an experience that she said was humiliating for her. The two party members visited with Carina to evaluate her poor “status.”

Carina, a 31 year old single mother of two children, one of whom lives at home with her, has qualified for government welfare since she was 16, and was still collecting entitlements at the time of the interview because of a psychological condition of anxiety, which she claims prevents her from working. She hoped to soon qualify for permanent disability, though she had no actual physical ailment.

Upon review of Carina’s budget, it was discovered that she receives over 15,728 kroner per month. In American dollars, it is currently equivalent to over $2,700 per month. After her monthly bills which include rent, utilities, internet, pet food & vet bills, private soccer lessons for her child, healthcare, cigarettes, and personal debts, she had only 5,000 kroner left for food, clothing, and housekeeping (or $880 American)! Sounds like a terrible life for the unemployed, right? Mr. Olsen concluded that if Carina had no money for shoes, it was due to poor budget management rather than lack of funds. This publicized debate was a real wake-up call for many Danish viewers, who realized that an unemployed woman, considered to be among the poorest of the poor in Denmark, has more take-home pay than many of the blue-collar employees upon whose tax dollars she relies.

Videos from Mr. Christensen’s presentation can be found on the Carolina Liberty PAC livestream channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/clpac

Also present were NC Liberty State House Rep. Glen Bradley, ConstitutionalWar.org’s Chuck Suter, and Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell, who had friends among the NC liberty folks, as we previously got to know him during a North Carolina delegation meeting at the RNC in Tampa, in which he was present to give his opinion on RNC rule changes (as a senior member of the RNC rules committee).

Thanks to Terry McIntyre and Craig Holland Dixon for the photography, and to the Leadership Institute for having us!

Author: Nicole Revels

This entry was posted on October 17, 2012. 4 Comments

Caldwell County School Board Candidates Forum

A forum was held in a joint effort between the Caldwell Patriots and Carolina Liberty PAC to learn more about the candidates running for the Caldwell County Board of Education. Carolina Liberty PAC thanks the candidates Rob Bratcher, Charles Woodie, Bob Henson, and Annette Caldwell-Swanson for attending and engaging in straight-forward discussion about the issues that the school board will be facing.

Eddie Jolly of the Caldwell Patriots acted as moderator to the forum. Candidates were asked various questions that were submitted from parents, teachers, students, and voters of Caldwell County, including:

1) According to the Hickory Daily Record, Caldwell county schools pay its employees on average, a few thousand dollars less than the school systems in surrounding areas. The exception is the top position of superintendent which earns $159,960 annually, that’s ten thousand dollars more than the highest paid superintendent in Catawba county. Should Caldwell county consider restructuring the school pay scale to be more in line with the surrounding areas? (approx. 6:00 in on video)

2) Caldwell county schools currently practice policies of locker searches and random parking lot K9 sweeps. Civil liberty advocates are concerned that such practices can lead to a compliant populous. What is your stance on where the line is drawn between rule enforcement and civil liberties for children in the Caldwell county school system? (approx. 13:00 in)

3) There are times when the local legislatures, such as the school board, may go into sessions that are closed to the public. Proponents for transparency in government believe that “closed sessions” can undermine representation of the parents and voters. Are there times when “closed sessions” are necessary and if so, what should be the criteria for calling a “closed session”? (approx. 17:30 in)

4) Earlier this year, the topic of social matters within the school curriculum was raised pertaining to the North Carolina constitutional amendment on marriage.
Proponents of the amendment said that the amendment was necessary in order to keep the topic of same-sex marriage out of NC school curriculum. What is your stance on social matters taught within the curriculum? Are there some social issues that shouldn’t be taught and if so, which ones? (approx. 22:00 in)

5) Some of the council of state candidates are advocating a new plan for North Carolina high schools, which entails splitting the high schools into two different curriculum paths. High school freshmen will then choose between a higher education curriculum, or a vocational education curriculum for the rest of their high school career.

Proponents of the plan have stated that it will foster a well trained work-force to fill industry-related jobs for North Carolina. Opponents of the plan have compared it to soviet practices, stated that it will create clear division of classes of students, and that high school freshmen should not be forced to make binding decisions that will impact their path in life. If North Carolina schools begin to adopt the split-curriculum plan, should Caldwell County schools accept the changes to the school curriculum? (approx. 26:00 in)

Thank-you to Homegrown TV for the following video of the forum:

Caldwell county school board candidates forum from Homegrown Television on Vimeo.

Around 33:00 into the video, the forum is turned over to the audience for questions. Highlights:

A parent asked the candidates about a practice implemented during the former school board term, which entailed sending political information home with children, for the purpose of pushing the political agenda of a 1 cent sales tax increase on North Carolina residents. The candidates explained where the decision to send the information home to parents stemmed from, and their own stance on mixing political agendas with school resources. The parent expressed disappointment that there were no incumbent school board members present to address the question.

A question was asked about the candidates’ stances on teachers unions and collective bargaining. A question was asked pertaining to the reason for a decision to eliminate contests for valedictorian/salutatorian. An audience member asked a question pertaining to the idea of revolutionizing curriculum on a local level, tailored specifically to our county rather than stemming from DC/Raleigh curriculum. Discussion broke out over the level of sovereignty that a local school board has, and strings attached to receiving funds from state/federal levels. A student brought up a point about the teaching styles having a bigger impact on the students’ education than does the curriculum itself. The forum closed out with candidates giving a short summary of what they will bring to the school board of Caldwell County.