Tuesday, October 21, 2014



By Verne Strickland / October 21, 2014

 At this moment I can actually feel some degree of pity for Kay Hagan. Her failure to appear at tonight's "debate" with Thom Tillis is another defeat for her.

How can she maintain any semblance of dignity and pride?

Frankly I don't think she can bear going through the same pretense of believing the things she says. So she emulates George Jones. She's a "no-show". It won't hurt her with her tired groupies. They don't expect anything more of her anyway. How can one vote for such a candidate? She has vacated every value a candidate must have. What's left to support?

At this moment the presentation via Time Warner Cable is over. Already some journalists at the TWC studios in Charlotte are decrying the "advantage" Tillis had in being a solo guest. Thom Tillis worked hard to get Hagan involved, but she continued to play coy. I say too bad. It was her opportunity to squander.

She has been like the "Possum", singer George Jones, whose rendition of "They call me No-Show Jones" was wildly popular. Jones admits he often didn't show because he was drunk. Hagan didn't show -- at the October 21 "debate", or at many of the Washington hearings on U.S. security, and at other functions where her expertise was needed -- because either she didn't give a damn, or was busy with personal business like political fund-raisers, or both.

In short, she mocks the voters who have respected her. They shouldn't have. She is not deserving of it.

Kay Hagan says she won’t take part in Oct. 21 debate -- Charlotte newspaper says it's old news.

Verne Strickland Oct. 21, 2014

At this moment I can actually feel some degree of pity for Kay Hagan. Her failure to appear at tonight's "debate" with Thom Tillis is another defeat for her. How can she maintain any semblance of dignity and pride? Frankly I don't think she can bear going through the same pretense of believing the things she says. So she emulates George Jones. She's a "no-show". It won't hurt her with her tired groupies. They don't expect anything more of her anyway. How can one vote for such a candidate? She has vacated every value a candidate must have. What's left to support?

Kay Hagan says she won’t take part in Oct. 21 debate. No surprise.

  Tonight it won't be like old times. Kay yields the stage. 

A debate on U.S. Senate debates surfaced Tuesday after Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan said she wouldn’t participate in an Oct. 21 candidate forum hosted by three of the state’s largest news organizations, including the Observer.
Debate sponsors in addition to the Observer are Time Warner Cable News and The (Raleigh) News & Observer. To qualify for the debate, candidates will need to poll an average of 15 percent voter preference in three independent polls in late September and early October.
“Before Sen. Hagan even knows who’s qualified for the debate, she’s said she will not attend the debate,” said Bernie Han, vice president of TWC News in New York. “If she doesn’t appear and (Libertarian candidate) Sean Haugh doesn’t meet the threshold, it could just be (Republican challenger) Thom Tillis standing there.
“We’re still hopeful that the senator will have a change of heart.”
The debate will take place in front of a live audience and be aired on the cable network’s “Capital Tonight” program.
2 other debates planned
Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said Tuesday that the campaign told organizers in early July that the first-term senator wouldn’t take part in the Oct. 21 debate. In a July 9 letter to the Tillis campaign, the Hagan campaign said Hagan would participate in two debates hosted by the N.C. Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation and a third by the League of Women Voters and WECT-TV in Wilmington.
The first debate took place last week. Details on the league debate are still being worked out.
“We just weren’t able to do every debate,” Weiner said. “Back when we announced the series of debates, we had let them know that we wouldn’t be able to attend the Oct. 21 debate.”
Tillis, the N.C. House speaker, on Tuesday accused Hagan of “ducking another major debate.”
Tillis sent Hagan a letter encouraging her to reconsider the Oct. 21 debate and five others. “Participating in a debate hosted by a respected statewide television news channel in addition to the state’s two largest newspapers would help significantly increase the interest surrounding our race,” Tillis wrote.
Weiner called Tillis’ gesture “a disingenuous attack,” noting that Tillis was a no-show at several debates during the primary.
“The reason we challenged Speaker Tillis to three debates was so that North Carolinians would have a chance to see the contrast” between the two candidates, Weiner said.
In the July letter, the Hagan campaign said the three forums that Hagan agreed to are the ones that U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall debated in 2010.
Hagan said she understood the importance of comparing records because her opponent in 2008, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, declined to debate her.
Observer Editor Rick Thames said he and Time Warner News officials have had several discussions with Hagan’s campaign since November about the Oct. 21 event.
“We think we’ve planned a great event,” Thames said. “We hope that over time she will reconsider, but we think it will be a great event for the voters regardless.”
Perlmutt: 704-358-5061

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Voter Guides: North Carolina -- It's Tillis vs. Hagan. How do the Catholics see it?

via Verne Strickland usa dot com 10/19/2014 

Voter Guides: North Carolina



The New York Times takes down the Clinton Foundation. This could be devastating for Bill and Hillary

via Verne Strickland usadotcom  10/19/2014

The New York Times takes down the Clinton Foundation. This could be devastating for Bill and Hillary 
An internal review of the Clinton Foundations' workings has proved troubling.

Is the New York Times being guest edited by Rush Limbaugh? Today it runs with a fascinating takedown of the Clinton Foundation – that vast vanity project that conservatives are wary of criticising for being seen to attack a body that tries to do good. But the liberal NYT has no such scruples. The killer quote is this:
For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.
Over a year ago Bill Clinton met with some aides and lawyers to review the Foundation's progress and concluded that it was a mess. Well, many political start-ups can be, especially when their sole selling point is the big name of their founder (the queues are short at the Dan Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center). But what complicated this review – what made its findings more politically devastating – is that the Clinton Foundation has become about more than just Bill. Now both daughter Chelsea and wife, and likely presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton have taken on major roles and, in the words of the NYT "efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Mr Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Mrs Clinton’s political future." Oh, they're entangled alright.
The NYT runs the scoop in its usual balanced, inoffensive way – but the problem jumps right off the page. The Clintons have never been able to separate the impulses to help others and to help themselves, turning noble philanthropic ventures into glitzy, costly promos for some future campaign (can you remember a time in human history when a Clinton wasn't running for office?). And their "Ain't I Great?!" ethos attracts the rich and powerful with such naked abandon that it ends up compromising whatever moral crusade they happen to have endorsed that month. That the Clinton Global Initiative is alleged to have bought Natalie Portman a first-class ticket for her and her dog to attend an event in 2009 is the tip of the iceberg. More troubling is that businessmen have been able to expand the profile of their companies by working generously alongside the Clinton Foundation. From the NYT:
Last year, Coca-Cola’s chief executive, Muhtar Kent, won a coveted spot on the dais with Mr. Clinton, discussing the company’s partnership with another nonprofit to use its distributors to deliver medical goods to patients in Africa. (A Coca-Cola spokesman said that the company’s sponsorship of foundation initiatives long predated Teneo and that the firm plays no role in Coca-Cola’s foundation work.)
In March 2012, David Crane, the chief executive of NRG, an energy company, led a widely publicized trip with Mr. Clinton to Haiti, where they toured green energy and solar power projects that NRG finances through a $1 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative.
This is typical Clinton stuff. The second thing I ever wrote for this website was about how corporations invest in politicians as a way of building their brand and raising their stock price. It can lead to some funny partnerships. This, from 2011:
Just this month, bedding manufacturer Serta announced that it will be sponsoring Bill Clinton’s keynote address to an industry conference in August. "To us,"’ said the head of the company, "Clinton represents leadership. This appearance shows Serta is a leader and is taking a leadership position. This singles us out." Some might say that it is beneath a former president to basically endorse Serta’s new "Perfect Sleeper" line, even with its "revolutionary gel foam mattress".
The cynical might infer from the NYT piece that the Clintons are willing to sell themselves, their image, and even their Foundation's reputation in exchange for money to finance their personal projects. In Bill's case, saving the world. In Hillary's case, maybe, running for president.
It's nothing new to report that there's an unhealthy relationship in America between money and politics, but it's there all the same. While the little people are getting hit with Obamacare, high taxes and joblessness, a class of businessmen enjoys ready access to politicians of both Left and Right that poses troubling questions for how the republic can continue to call itself a democracy so long as it functions as an aristocracy of the monied. Part of the reason why America's elites get away with it is becuase they employ such fantastic salesmen. For too long now, Bill Clinton has pitched himself, almost without question, as a homespun populist: the Boy from Hope. The reality is that this is a man who – in May 1993 – prevented other planes from landing at LAX for 90 minues while he got a haircut from a Beverley Hills hairdresser aboard Air Force One. The Clintons are populists in the same way that Barack Obama is a Nobel prize winner. Oh, wait…
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Tim Stanley 

Dr Tim Stanley is a historian of the United States. His new book about Hollywood politics is out in May. His personal website is www.timothystanley.co.uk and you can follow him on Twitter @timothy_stanley.

Editorial: Tillis best for Senate -- The Daily Reflector, Greenville NC October 18, 2014

via Verne Strickland usa dot com
Editorial: Tillis best for Senate
The Daily Reflector, Greenville NC
Saturday, October 18, 2014

The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Kay Hagan and challenger, N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, is among the nation’s tightest as Republicans look to regain control of the Senate. The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act and the president’s unpopular handling of numerous scandals, military operations and public safety issues reflect poorly on Sen. Hagan’s close alliance with the president. Tillis’ lead role in the state’s refusal to accept Medicaid expansion dollars, and in reshaping funding for education and teachers’ pay in North Carolina, have worked against him among those who depend on health care and supporters of public schools.
Hagan and Tillis each discussed their goals and policy positions with The Daily Reflector’s editorial board — Hagan visiting in August, and Tillis on Friday.

Hagan has embraced her ranking by the National Journal this summer as “the most moderate senator,” to which Tillis responds by pointing out that she has voted with Obama 95 percent of the time.
This newspaper has commended Hagan’s efforts to reach across party lines, such as earlier this year when she worked with Republicans to introduce the Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, aimed at providing more access to federal lands. But Hagan has never emerged as a recognizable advocate for compromise. In fact, she has steadfastly supported what is arguably the most divisive piece of legislation this nation has endured — the Affordable Care Act.
Tillis can be criticized for his stance on rejecting Medicaid expansion dollars, which has allowed too many working North Carolinians to fall through the cracks in health care coverage. The move also has hurt this state’s network of health care providers, a sizable portion of which are built around government subsidies for indigent care. Tillis’ defense of that position has merit, however, especially noting that he believes the situation should change next year, now that the state has corrected budgeting problems with Medicaid.

Although Tillis favors diversifying the public school model in ways that will not benefit most North Carolina families whose children occupy schools, his extensive involvement in public schools, including serving as PTA president, is impressive. Given the chance to expound on his vision for public education and many other issues, Tillis comes across as thoughtful, compromising, well studied and sincere.
Tillis sees government’s primary function as helping to promote job growth. His economic ideas and views on regulation are favorable toward corporations and wealthy people, with the expectation that such policies would benefit everyone through job creation. That view has merit, but must be mindful of the burdens faced by middle- and lower-income citizens in making sure the balance does not swing too far.
For Republicans, this and other key Senate races seek to end the gridlock that has essentially shut down the U.S. Senate. Tillis is right in pointing out that the ACA was ill conceived, deceptively promoted and is hurting far more Americans than it is helping. He is right to point out that Hagan’s support for the ACA has disrupted the health care plans and raised the cost of coverage for most of her constituents.
The nation must move beyond the failed policies and partisan gridlock that have served to stagnate incomes and slow economic recovery by stopping the wheels of government, most notably in the Senate.
North Carolina can best contribute to facilitating that change by electing Thom Tillis on Nov. 4.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kay Hagan’s October Surprise: Her family’s businesses benefited from $400K in stimulus funds.

Kay Hagan’s October Surprise:
Her family’s businesses benefited from $400K in stimulus funds.

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)


Campaigning for the Senate in 2012, former Harvard law professor cum left-wing populist Elizabeth Warren touched down in North Carolina and told voters, “The game is rigged.”
She was more right than she knew. As it turns out, North Carolina’s Democratic senator was doing some of the rigging. Now, Kay Hagan’s political future may depend on how voters react to the story.

Hagan’s vote for the 2009 stimulus, coupled with revelations that the legislation resulted in taxpayer funding for her family’s businesses, has emerged as an October surprise in a race hitherto marked by her unexpected resilience in a difficult political environment.
The story has received limited attention in local press, but now a Koch-backed free-market group is launching a major TV ad campaign accusing the Hagans of self-dealing.
“Kay Hagan said that the stimulus would help North Carolina — instead it helped the Hagans,” James Davis of Freedom Partners Action Fund told National Review Online. “What voters despise most about Washington is that they aren’t playing by the same set of rules as everyone else. The fact that the Hagan family business received nearly $400,000 taxpayer dollars from the stimulus just reinforces what everyone already suspects. The Hagans got richer and North Carolina paid the price.”
The super PAC plans to spend at least $1 million to bring that message to TV screens across the Tar Heel state, starting next week.
In late September, Politco reported that JDC Manufacturing, a company owned by Hagan’s husband, received almost $400,000 in stimulus grants to help pay for energy-efficiency upgrades. Thereafter, the Carolina Journal reported that Hagan’s husband kept the stimulus money in the family by paying a company he founded with their son to make the upgrades. That decision “appears to be at odds with the conflict of interest policy the company submitted with the grant application,” wrote the Carolina Journal in mid October, noting that the elder Hagan assured the federal government that his company avoids even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Hagan’s campaign told Politico that she had nothing to do with her husband’s winning the grants. Presumably, she also had nothing to do with his decision to use the stimulus money to hire another family-owned company to make the upgrades.
JDC Manufacturing did Hagan’s campaign no favors when, as the project came in under budget, it “kept all of the savings, sending none back to taxpayers who had funded the stimulus grant,” according to the Carolina Journal. The Freedom Partners ad puts it this way:
Kay Hagan claimed Obama’s failed $800 billion stimulus would help North Carolina, but now we know it was Kay Hagan’s family who profited. . . . And what did the company do? It funneled the money to another company owned by the Hagans to do the work.
This kind of story can damage a candidate, as a liberal super PAC acknowledged in another context. “Voters are connecting the dots when candidates take positions that are not in the best interest of their state or good public policy, but instead financially benefit a candidate’s campaign benefactors,” Christopher Lehane wrote in a memo obtained by Politico for Next Gen Climate. The super PAC, which is backed by environmentalist Tom Steyer, is “on pace to spend $50 million on the 2014 midterm elections” against Hagan’s opponent, Thom Tillis, and other Republicans, according to Mother Jones.
Now Steyer’s counterparts on the right are helping voters connect the dots between Hagan’s position in government and her family’s bank account. The issue has already gained traction among Republican voters. “A lot of the volunteers are really upset about this story,” Donald Bryson, executive director of American for Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter, told NRO. “Whether it’s illegal or not, it doesn’t look good.” Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-supported advocacy group focused on get-out-the-vote efforts in North Carolina, might also have its army of volunteers raise this issue when going door-to-door.
The independent swing voters likely to decide a close election, according to a public pollster in the state, tend to be very concerned about these sorts of allegations.
“Their suspicion of the integrity of government is part of their identity,” says Martin Kifer, a former Democratic staffer who now conducts polls for High Point University. That might explain why, for instance, Peter Schweizer’s book on congressional exemptions on insider-trading laws generated such outrage and immediately prompted action. More than 150 lawmakers co-sponsored the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act in response to the book, which was spotlighted by CBS’s 60 Minutes. In short order, a bill that had previously received minimal support was signed into law.
Hagan’s access to stimulus funding is obviously different from insider trading, but the story on “how Senator Hagan’s husband won stimulus cash” taps into the same kind of voter suspicions.
With Hagan and Tillis separated by 1.4 points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls, anything that increases the passion of the GOP base while appealing to independents could be decisive.
On Election Day, “if we’re within a few thousand votes of each other, everything matters,” Kifer says.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review Online.

Friday, October 17, 2014

From CAROLINA JOURNAL -- All About the Hagan Grants. It's ugly, factual and incriminating!

CJ Special Series:                       

Carolina Journal News Reports
All About The Hagan Grants

                               October 18, 2014

Several businesses owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's husband, son, and other family members received federal energy grants. One grant, of $250,644, came from the Obama administration's stimulus program; the second, of $50,000, was from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program.

The money was used to make energy improvements and install solar panels on a building owned by a Hagan family company, while another Hagan family company handled the installation. Meantime, the senator or her husband consulted a powerful Washington-based Democratic attorney for ethics advice about the grants. Read all of CJ's coverage in this series.

(10.16.14) USDA Office Blocks Access To Hagan Grant Records
RALEIGH — After first agreeing to allow Carolina Journal to inspect the documents relating to a taxpayer-funded U.S. Department of Agriculture energy grant to a company owned by family members of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, the USDA Rural Development office in Raleigh later said the matter was being handled in Washington — implying the USDA’s headquarters in the nation’s capital.

(10.15.14) Hagan Firm Received Second Federal Solar Grant
RALEIGH — JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan, received a $50,000 renewable energy grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in July 2011, less than a year after it got a $250,444 stimulus grant for a related project. The two grants were used for the installation of rooftop solar panels on a 300,000-square-foot building in Reidsville owned by JDC and leased to another Hagan family business.

(10.15.14) Stimulus Story Reveals Much
The next time you have solar panels installed on your property at public expense, you may want to hire yourself to do the job. It worked out well for the Hagans.

(10.14.14) Hagan Firm Keeps Stimulus Project Savings, Sends None to Taxpayers
REIDSVILLE — JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan, lowered the total cost of a 2010 stimulus-funded energy project but kept all of the savings, sending none back to taxpayers who had funded the stimulus grant. Also, JDC’s decision to hire a separate company founded by Chip and son Tilden appears to violate a conflict-of-interest provision that was included in the application for the stimulus grant.

(10.13.14) Hagan Inconsistent About Stimulus Ethics
RALEIGH — Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s account in Thursday’s Senate debate regarding ethics questions surrounding the $250,644 stimulus grant awarded in 2010 to JDC Manufacturing, a Reidsville-based company owned by her husband Charles “Chip” Hagan and his brothers, John and David, differed from a statement made last month by her campaign.

(10.07.14) Hagan’s Husband Used Stimulus Money To Hire His Own Company
RALEIGH — Green State Power was formed seven weeks before JDC Manufacturing — a company owned in part by Greensboro attorney Charles “Chip” Hagan III, Sen. Hagan’s husband — received a $250,644 stimulus grant that was used for the solar project Green State Power installed at a 300,000-square-foot facility in Reidsville, N.C. that JDC owns. Chip Hagan, son Tilden, and son-in-law Will Stewart are listed on a 2013 annual report as managers of Green State Power.
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