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We are so blessed here in North Carolina because we have TWO governors: the one who calls himself "Governor", Pat "Rat" McCrory, and the one who really is the governor, Art "Fart" Pope. Two Republican turds-in-the-punchbowl for the price of one! Good times!

Well, it seems that poor Gov. Pope has a sad because some poor people - those big meanies - have the nerve to picket a few stores in his junk-retail empire.

Pope accused group leaders of picketing his stores because he donates to Republican candidates. He says people in a democratic society should be allowed to support candidates and advocate for policies without retaliation.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the NC Chapter of the NAACP and a giant among civil rights workers, has organized a few protests outside a few of Pope's junk stores. The protests involve, oh, just little things...like Assistant Gov. McCrory's refusal of Medicaid benefits, or McCrory's signing of a bill to all but eliminate unemployment payments to North Carolinians. Of course, McCrory recently signed a tax "reform" bill which, among other things, cuts the tax rate for millionaires and billionaires in North Carolina from 7.75% to 5.8%, while cutting the tax rate for working-class people from 6% to 5.8%. However, the bill also increases sales tax on many essential services used disproportionally by the poor and middle class, thereby resulting in a net tax increase for working people while the fat cats enjoy a massive tax cut. According to the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center (pdf), the top 1% in North Carolina will see an average tax cut of $10,574, while the bottom 80% will see small (double-digit) tax increases.

Oh, and then there's the little matter of North Carolina's Voting Reform Suppression Act, which has so carefully targeted Democratic voters - particularly college students and African-Americans - that one might almost think it was on purpose. Perish the thought!

Pulling McCrory's marionette strings through all of this is "Fart Dope", the real governor of North Carolina.

First of all, it's important to realize what Pope's junk store empire really is: it's a place for the desperate to shop, for the poorest of the poor to buy the cheapest, lowest-quality products available anywhere. These stores target people too poor to shop at (or, probably, even work at) Wal-Mart. Low prices might seem at first blush to be a good thing, except that the overall quality of Pope's "merchandise" is so bad that people are probably better off not buying it at all.

So, now poor, poor Gov. Pope has a sad. Because poor people are actually "support[ing] candidates and advocat[ing] for policies" that might help their very survival. No, no, no, you nasty poor people: you are Not. Allowed. to do that! Only I, the Great and Powerful Pope, am allowed to do that.

And do that he has.

In 2010, Pope's empire "contributed" millions of dollars to far-rightwing puppets - most of them simply cronies of Pope or his friends - to run against ultra-conservative Blew Dawg Democratic incumbents in conservative rural districts. The "contributions" were used to run, literally, the most disgusting, slanderous attack ads against the incumbents. Jane Mayer's excellent - and exhaustive - 2011 article in the New Yorker detailed the shocking and sickening process.

...Pope’s triumph in 2010 was sweeping. According to an analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies, of the twenty-two legislative races targeted by him, his family, and their organizations, the Republicans won eighteen, placing both chambers of the General Assembly firmly under Republican majorities for the first time since 1870...

The institute also found that three-quarters of the spending by independent groups in North Carolina’s 2010 state races came from accounts linked to Pope. The total amount that Pope, his family, and groups backed by him spent on the twenty-two races was $2.2 million—not that much, by national standards, but enough to exert crucial influence within the confines of one state.

In addition, Pope controls additional massive foundation money and "think" tanks. The Pope Foundation has assets of $140 million, used to promote far rightwing causes, and he owns or has close ties to such organizations as Americans for Prosperity, NC Civitas, and the John Locke Foundation, which engage in ongoing large-scale propaganda dissemination. They are big soapboxes, and Pope owns 'em.

So what does Pope call his crass, corrupt political activities if not "retaliation"? Retaliation against the poor, retaliation against the African-American, retaliation against the Democrats who seek nothing more than a fair share for working-class folks and nondiscrimination at the ballot box.

No, Pope is "allowed" to do that sort of "retaliation" all the time. Pope is "allowed" to control the legislative majority in North Carolina, and completely control the governor. That's OK, you see.

But the poor are just asking for a fair shake.

And that's bad "retaliation".

And Fart Dope has a sad.

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