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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Republicans Push-Polling NC General Assembly Races 

You know what push-polling is, right? It's when veiled operatives for one political party or the other calls you on the phone, posing as a legitimate polling org., and lies about the guy they want to beat. Got this e-mail just now from a Watauga County voter:
Just got an automated push-poll slamming Jimmy Love. It came from 404-225-5556. After asking a bunch of questions about party affiliation and likelihood of voting, it followed with questions like "Would you be more or less likely to vote for Jimmy Love if you knew he voted to raise taxes by $1 billion?" Then there was another one about his support for rapists...and at that point I hung up.

Jimmy Love? He's a member of the NC House representing Lee and Harnett counties. Don't know Mr. Love -- in fact, can't remember ever hearing of him -- but I'm certainly glad to know that he wanted to raise my taxes by $1 billion and helps facilitate rapists.

The number the call was coming from is a land-line based in Atlanta ... hired guns, no doubt, of the Republican House Caucus or the NC GOP or who-knows-who? But whoever IS paying the bill for this slime ought to look into the effectiveness of what their money is buying ... that a voter in House Dist. 93 is getting a call about House Dist. 51.

This attack on Jimmy Love by fake pollsters is undoubtedly only the tip of the oil-slick. If they're trashing Mr. Love, they're probably also trashing Cullie Tarleton and Steve Goss. You betcha.

P.S. and incidentally: If Steve Goss's Watauga Republican opponent Dan Soucek is in fact "a small businessman," the NC Secretary of State's office has no record of his registering to do business. At least, so far as I could find.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why the Vagueness? 

Dan Soucek, who ran unsuccessfully for the NC House seat in 2008, is now running for Steve Goss's NC Senate seat.

He wants us to know he went to WEST POINT!

And that he's connected to Franklin Graham and Samaritan's Purse.

But buried in his filing statement is this: "...he is the owner-operator of a local small business."

What business?

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wilkes County Republican Announces Against Goss 

Jeffrey Elmore, a North Wilkesboro town commissioner, has announced that he'll enter the Republican primary in May to take on incumbent Democratic state Senator Steve Goss.

Elmore comes in to the race a couple of months behind Dan Soucek. That primary will bear watching.

Soucek has been groomed for this race by Virginia Foxx, but apparently Mr. Elmore didn't get that memo.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dan Soucek Says He'll Run 

...for N.C. Senate, Dist. 45 ... against incumbent Steve Goss.

He ran unsuccessfully for the N.C. House in 2008, against Cullie Tarleton.

This is sometimes called "failing upward."

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Ray Warren Stepping Down 

Former Alexander County Sheriff and two-term member of the N.C. House Ray Warren says he will not be running for reelection in 2010.

He won his Dist. 88 seat in 2006, the same year that local Democrats Cullie Tarleton and Steve Goss won their House and Senate seats, in the Great Mountain Democratic Resurgence.

Unless the Dems in Alexander and Catawba counties have a spanking strong candidate to put up in 2010, this will quickly look like a Republican slam-dunk.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Thank You, Senator Goss 

"Senate votes to ban mountain wind turbines"

That's the headline posted today at the Winston-Salem Journal.

Senator Steve Goss was the lone vote in the N.C. Senate against this wrong-headed attempt to hobble alternative energy.

This very bad bill has yet to be calendared in the N.C. House and probably won't be considered until next year.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Local Champion 

Justin Grimes's two-part series on the health-insurance crisis in Watauga County concludes in this week's High Country Press. (Part I, which focused on the Community Care Clinic, launched here in 2006 as a wholly volunteer free service, was published July 9.)

While Madam Foxx turns a blind eye and a hardened countenance on the need for real health-care delivery reform, our own state Senator Steve Goss emerges in Grimes's second article as a knowledgeable local champion.

The big villain? Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, which holds a virtual insurance monopoly in the state. Fined $1.8 million in 2003 for knowingly underpaying some 146,000 emergency room claims, Blue Cross/Blue Shield has most recently been violating the spirit if not the letter of its "non-profit" status by running TV ads opposing the president's health-care reform ideas.

It's outfits like Blue Cross, along with politicians like Madam Foxx, who'll try to frighten citizens into passive acquiescence to the broken system we have, a system that benefits Blue Cross and Madam Foxx immensely, though not the rest of us.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taking the Wind Out of Alternative Energy 

The attempt to cripple wind power in the North Carolina mountains continues apace in the N.C. General Assembly, led principally by two mountain Democrats, Martin Nesbitt of Buncombe and Joe Sam Queen of Haywood counties.

What's worse (we won't quite say "nefarious" yet) is that the attempt to ban the wind generators that might actually produce some serious alternative energy is being wrapped up in a seemingly high-minded environmentalist doctrine ("the mountain views, O my brethren!") while in reality it serves the interests of the worst polluters on the planet, Big Oil and Big Coal, industries which are openly hostile to wind power.

The big "tell" in this proposed legislation is that the bill, as introduced by Steve Goss in March, was originally designed specifically to exempt wind turbines from provisions of the "ridge law." But other senators got their hands on it and completely reversed its thrust, first to ban effectively wind power in the mountains ... now merely to cripple it decisively. For example, the bill currently would severely limit how much wind-generated power the Big Boys like Duke Energy would have to buy for their monopolized grids. That's a sweet deal for Duke.

If there is a justifiable concern about huge wind farms invading our mountain ridges, give counties the (ahem) zoning power to control their location (as Watauga has already done).

It's transparent what political ideology is leading the fight against wind energy. Just take a look at any of the jillion John Locke Foundation websites and blogs in the state (like this and this). Their "free market" fundamentalism includes an impulse to squeeze the life out of anything that might free us from fossil fuels.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Goss Kills Internet Libel Bill 

State Senator Steve Goss today announced he has pulled SB 46, the so-called "Internet Libel Bill," from consideration by the North Carolina Senate.

"There is a need to bring our state's slander and libel laws into the 21st Century, but this bill as written does not in any way express my intent," Goss said. "In this day where misinformation can be sent around the world, literally in minutes, both on internet web sites and by e-mail, the laws need to be updated to cover it."

Goss says that such actions may be covered by current laws against libel and slander under Common Law, "but our laws also offer protections to journalists in more traditional print and electronic media that probably do not extend to bloggers and other reporters on the Internet. These protections cover those who make factual errors but who are acting in good faith, and they should cover the newer media as well."

Goss had intended that a section of the proposed legislation would remove liability from those bloggers who post items on the Internet they later find to be false and for which they then post apologies and retractions, "but that section does not appear to be strong enough to solve the problem," he said. In addition, the legislation had included criminal penalties that appear nowhere else in current libel laws, a section that "should never have been written," according to Goss.

"I do not ever want to weaken the First Amendment in any way!"

"This area needs to be addressed in the future," Goss said, "but for now the Legislature is focusing on the state's economy and budget shortfall. When I address this issue again, I'll bring it back with a focus on protecting the First Amendment as the first order of business."

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

N.C. -- Enabler of Mountaintop Coal Mining 

Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro has filed a bill in the N.C. House to ban N.C. power companies from buying coal obtained via mountaintop removal mining, by far the worst and most destructive form of strip mining. Sen. Steve Goss of Watauga has filed the same bill in the N.C. Senate.

Duke Power and other power suppliers in the state are yelping like scalded dogs, since strip-mined coal from West Virginia and Kentucky is generally cheaper than coal from deep mines. Yelping like scalded dogs and simultaneously threatening members of the General Assembly with unspeakable retribution.

But here's the point: though North Carolina has no coal mined from mountaintop removal operations, it's the second largest consumer in the country (behind Georgia) of strip-mined coal. And that's shameful.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rumor Has It... 

From the NC 5th Dist. Republican site:
Rumor has it - that Jerry Butler attended a republican party meeting in Alexander County yesterday. The Boone dentist announced that he was planning on returning to the political fray to run against state Senator Steve Goss again in 2010. According to our sources Butler made an anthem of a speech to the local republicans asking them to expel "fringe" conservatives from the party and move in a more progressive direction.

Since this is a rumor and we don't know if its true, someone please tell us it isn't so! This mindset is exactly what lost Republicans the election. Moderate Congressman in the Midwest lost overwhelmingly to their democrat rivals, and where Conservatism was truly on the ballot it was victory! If Dr. Butler wants to be a progressive, maybe he should run against Goss in the primary. Either way we think this helps Goss raise money.

As with so many other things, the "fringe" is on top.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Reelection Victory: Cullie Tarleton 

Tarleton carried both his counties (Watauga & Ashe) in his first reelection victory, even despite the fact that this presidential thing drew 200 more straight-ticket Republican voters in Ashe than Democratic straight-ticket voters. But Tarleton edged Soucek even in Ashe (6,376 to 6,046) and whupped him badly in Watauga (14,333 to 11,718), where Democratic straight-ticket voters far outnumbered Republicans punching a straight-ticket:

Straight-Ticket Voting, Watauga
Dem 7,157
Rep 6,043

Straight-Ticket Voting, Ashe
Dem 2,436
Rep 2,620

Tarleton's win is all the more notable because the 1,597 votes that Libertarian candidate Jeff Cannon drew, even if every last one of them had gone to Soucek, it wouldn't have changed the outcome.

Both Tarleton and Sen. Steve Goss have given their northwestern NC districts the best representation in Raleigh that they've had maybe in decades. And the voters showed their deep appreciation for that yesterday.

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Reelection Victory: Steve Goss 

The "miracle" state senator of the 2006 election, Steve Goss kept the miracle alive last night. He was marked for extinction by the state GOP, since -- after all -- he represents a heavily Republican senate district in the 45th. But if Goss can survive in a presidential year, which brings straight-ticket Republicans out in droves (witness the color red in every county surrounding the little island of blueness that has become Watauga), Goss can survive pretty much anything.

Here's how he did it: he took 61% of the vote in Watauga and 66% of the vote in Ashe, which meant he just needed to break 40% in both Wilkes and Alexander, where he actually out-performed that expectation by taking just over 46% of the vote in both those deep-red Republican counties.

Plus he was gifted with a flawed opponent.

There's already a movement forming to draft Goss to run against Virginia Foxx in 2010.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Dan Soucek Is Push-Polling 

Now Republican candidate Dan Soucek is jumping on the push-poll "solution": When your campaign is going nowhere, pick up the telephone and start lying.

Many Democrats have gotten a call from an outfit that claims to be non-partisan but is obviously pushing Dan Soucek against incumbent state Rep. Cullie Tarleton. The main points:

1. Dan is some kind of war hero. Since when did graduating from West Point make you a war hero, when you were never in any war zone?

2. The big lie: Soucek’s push-poll claims that Cullie Tarleton voted for a land transfer tax. Cullie Tarleton never voted for a land transfer tax. He voted for the budget in 2007 that contained a provision that county commissions could put the land transfer tax on the ballot and let the people decide if they wanted it. Jerry Butler used this same lie against Steve Goss in his own push-polling.

3. Another big lie: Soucek’s push-poll claims that Cullie Tarleton was investigated by the Feds for a failed Savings & Loan. The truth: Tarleton was long ago on the board of a Savings & Loan but was never investigated for anything.

Dan Soucek is following the same sleazy path taken by dentist Jerry Butler with this underhanded, fundamentally dishonest means of campaigning. Both Soucek and Butler are following the lead of their presidential candidate, who now doesn’t seem to know the truth from increasingly desperate fictions.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Straightening the Teeth 

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx hosted a fundraiser last Saturday for State Senate candidate Jerry Butler at the Hound Ears clubhouse, and why wouldn't she raise money for the man who wants the seat she once warmed in the state legislature? No word in the article about how much they raised for Butler, who's been forced to loan his own campaign $36,000, according to campaign finance filings at the State Board of Elections. Third Quarter campaign finance reports are not due in Raleigh until Oct. 27th, so we'll have to wait until then to see how much Madam Foxx and the other pooh-bahs forked over to the Boone dentist.

We've been looking a little more closely into the disciplinary consent order handed down against Butler in 1990 by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, the document that suspended Butler's license to practice dentistry for 30 days and imposed a two-year probationary licensing period following that (Butler's primary opponent used this license suspension against him last spring). The order required Butler to publish an ad once a month for six months, "in a newspaper of general circulation in Watauga County," stating "I am NOT an orthodontist."

The requirement of the ad stating the negative about Butler's qualifications to straighten teeth followed on three separate illegal advertisements by Butler that he WAS an orthodontist and could fit little Susie or Johnnie with braces. According to the "Findings of Fact" in the consent order of 1990, Butler first advertised himself as an orthodontist in 1982, in the Boone telephone directory. Since Butler "has never been qualified under the Board's rules to advertise as a specialist in orthodontics," he was ordered to print a retraction of the telephone directory listing in the local newspaper and to "discontinue the advertisements in future editions of the directory."

Well, Butler did discontinue advertising himself illegally in the telephone directory for a while. Instead, in 1987 he advertised as an orthodontist in the "Big Wednesday" edition of the Watauga Democrat. He was told to "stop it" by the Dental Board. So in 1990 he went back to the classified section of the local telephone book and advertised again as an orthodontist. At which point the Dental Board had had enough and lowered the boom, such as it was.

Butler now wants to be our state senator, kicking out Steve Goss, one of the hardest working members of the state legislature in this or in any other state. Butler wants to achieve this goal (and Madam Foxx is helping him) by running against Goss in somewhat the same way he practiced orthodontics.

That is to say, dishonestly.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Fellow Republicans Say Jerry Butler Lied 

Back before the May 6th Republican primary between Jerry Butler and Dwight Shook (which Butler won), Shook sent out a postcard attacking Butler as a documented liar.

The message side of the card (pictured here) contained this text (reproduced below if you can't quite make it out):
Dr. Jerry Butler had his dental license SUSPENDED for Phony Advertising. THAT'S RIGHT. The NC Board of Dental Examiners ruled that Butler violated State Law when he admitted that he falsely advertised himself as an orthodontist on three separate occasions over an eight year period.*

*NC State Board of Dental Examiners Consent Order, 9/21/90


Paid for by Dwight Shook for NC Senate

The campaign finance disclosure reports filed by the Dwight Shook campaign reveal that the heavy-lifters among NC Senate Republicans were backing the Shook campaign against Jerry Butler. In the first quarter filing, Republican Senate top-dog Phil Berger gave Shook $2,000, as did the deputy Republican leader in the Senate Tom Apodaca. Republican senators Peter S. Brunstetter, a Winston-Salem lawyer, and Dr. James Forrester, representing Gaston, Iredell, and Lincoln counties, gave Shook $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. The second quarter filing shows that both Tom Apodaca and Peter Brunstetter each gave Shook another $1,500.

Apparently, the Senate Republican leadership was just that desperate to save themselves the embarrassment of a Jerry Butler candidacy.

Not that Dwight Shook was any great shakes either. While Butler was losing his home county of Watauga to Shook on May 6, Shook was losing his home county of Alexander to Butler. Apparently, neither candidate got much respect from his home turf.

Butler is now turning the dishonesty that Shook warned primary voters about against Sen. Steve Goss, an ordained Baptist minister who has earned great respect in his first term in Raleigh for his hard work and responsiveness to his constituents.

Sorry, Shook did win Alexander County. I looked at the wrong line.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Local Candidate Conducting 'Push Polling' 

A "push poll" is a manipulation of voters via telephone, masquerading as a legitimate opinion poll. It' AIN'T an opinion poll and it AIN'T legitimate. The most famous instance of nasty push-polling was used by Karl Rove in 2000 in South Carolina against John McCain (remember him?) ... "Would it change your mind if you knew that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child? Answer 'yes' or 'no,' and try not to drool."

Local Boone dentist Jerry Butler is running against state Sen. Steve Goss in Dist. 45. Butler is conducting a push poll against Goss. We already have two sources on this and expect more.

The distortion we focus on this morning has to do with the land transfer tax option that the state legislature granted to counties. We stress the word option. Goss voted to give counties the option of passing a land-transfer tax. The Butler push-poll, however, is asking this question (wording is obviously approximate): "Would your opinion of Goss change if you knew he voted for a new tax of up to $1,000 when a homeowner sold their home?"

Goss never voted for a new tax. He voted to give local governments the right to ask their citizens if they thought the buying and selling of expensive second-home real estate in their counties might be a source of revenue for those counties, which are frequently expected to provide various services to those developments, from new schools to water/sewer hookups to sheriff protection.

A push poll is inherently a LIE ... masked as an innocent question. So what does that make Jerry Butler?

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