From Paul C. Clark at The Rhino Times on the not quite so new city manager:
Westmoreland, in a Feb. 24 letter to new civil rights museum board Chairman and Guilford County Board of Education member Deena Hayes, asked the museum to provide answers to many questions about the museum’s finances and organization. Westmoreland asked Hayes to respond by March 11.
Hayes has been locked in a room without a phone or the internet, lest she say or do something else fundamentally damaging to the effort. The letter was slipped under the door and a response may be forthcoming.
Because of the odd way the civil rights museum is set up, through a structure of five LLCs, it’s hard to tell what the collateral is. Guesses by councilmembers and city officials include the building itself, its exhibits and its revenue. The museum doesn’t have much else, because it is in debt to two banks.
Westmoreland’s letter to Hayes shows how little the City of Greensboro actually knew about the museum when it decided to loan the $1.5 million. Councilmembers have said it would take an expensive forensic accountant to trace money through the museum’s legal structure.
Heh heh, dat der Bre’r Fox, he sho nuff is u sly one. Dat Bre’r Rabbit, he ain neva gone figa out dis one.
Westmoreland’s letter shows that the city doesn’t understand the corporate structure of the museum any better than the public does.
“Rationale, function, relationship of the five LLCs,” Westmoreland’s first question began. “The for profit LLC seems to own the building, does another LLC own the exhibits, etc.? Please provide a summary overview of the LLCs, how money is transferred between the LLCs, and a graphic that shows how these are connected (i.e., how this flows and what entities own what?).”
Dat Bre’r Fox, he dun run off Denise and Mujeeb. How many mo you tink he gonna git wit da der tar baby?
Westmoreland’s letter also asked for explanations of the tax credits, the ownership of the museum after the tax credits expire, what would happen if the museum defaulted on its debt and the minimum number of days a week the museum would have to stay open to qualify for the tax credits – perhaps a sign that one option the city is considering is putting the museum into hibernation until its finances are sorted out.
Oh dat’s rich. Det don take no holiday. Det keeps on needin. Bre’r Rabbit beta cum up wit dat mony or dey ain gone be no sit in museum at all.
Vaughan said some councilmembers are considering seeking a local act of the North Carolina General Assembly to go back to the city attorney reporting to Westmoreland.
“It seemed to work better when the city attorney reported to the city manager,” she said. “One of the reasons is that you can’t have both of them thinking they run the city.”
Now mayu Vaughan, you be midy keful and don let dat tar baby git on yo pretty white dress.
It too late fo po ol Bre’r Rabbit. He and dat tar baby, day gon in da briar patch.
From Orson Scott Card at The Rhino Times:
Here is the myth that Barack Obama, like so many Americans who have swallowed the dogmas of the Left, believes:
America is a bully, picking on smaller nations and throwing our weight around. We are the cause of all the wars and evils in the world, and if we just let other nations find their own way, there would be peace and harmony everywhere.
This is impossible to believe if you know history at all. So in order to get people to believe it, the Leftists who dominate the American universities and the American media make sure they keep you from learning history as much as possible.
They have been almost completely successful. Only the tiny minority of people who actually study history on their own understand that this myth is the opposite of true.
We know from our reading that in 2008, when Obama was elected, he chose to leave our foreign policy and military leaders in place. It is these neocon holdovers from the previous administration who have deposed Ukraine and caused Putin to mobilize forces to protect ethnic Russians.
Barack Obama is the Beloved Leader of the America-hating Left – and yes, they hate America and everything it stands for, until you say so, and then they get all tetchy and accuse you of impugning their patriotism. Well, of course we impugn their patriotism. They don’t have any. They think patriotism is embarrassing. They call it “American Exceptionalism” and think the idea is absurd.
Rather, those of us who aren’t pointy-headed Mormons or mouth-breathing Teatards recognize our country’s place in the world and our long legacy of destabilizing peaceful and often democratic regimes in the never ending corporate pursuit of low cost commodities, whether it be the Banana Republics in Central America or our most recent disasters in the Levant.
We are a nation founded on ideas, not ethnicity. We exist in a particular place, but we have permitted people to come to us from all over the world and become American. No other nation before us ever did that.
It is true that those emigrating to France did not become American.
But the American Left have rejected those ideas, every single one of them. They have carved out a new anti-American ethnicity within our borders and they have taken almost complete control of our universities and our media. Their revolution is arrogant, repressive, bullying, dishonest and mean.
Tell that to the neoliberal snake oil salesman, Nido Qubein, who is the poster child for the privatization of the universities.
Regarding the media, FOX News regularly racks up huge numbers while CNN and MSNBC languish in their fallacious shadow.
We are a nation that has aspired to behave morally in our foreign affairs.
I don’t have proof, but I’m pretty sure the neocons also deposed Mubharak in Egypt.
And we didn’t want to be barbaric. We aspired to be a nation that behaved in a New Testament manner toward other nations. You know: Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies. Do good to them that despitefully use you.
As opposed to “kill every man, woman and child, and slaughter even their cattle.”
Tell that to the two dozen Ukrainians our neo-Nazi snipers murdered.
Wherever America conquered, nations kept their independence, as long as they established free institutions. They could thumb their noses at America with charmless insouciance … and American troops did not come in to throw out the nose-thumbers.
I suppose he’s not referring to the several hundred thousand dead nose-thumbers in Iraq and Astan.
But compared to every other nation in history, we have been the most benign superpower, ever.
It is true Hitler and Stalin killed more innocent people than George W. Bush.
Only idiots and malicious anti-Americans would claim any kind of moral equivalence between us and our enemies. Wherever we conquered, nations remained or became independent, and people remained free or became freer than they had been before.
Uh, the Iraqi government offed a bunch of its own citizens last month. But Saddam Hussein is gone.
We could only be a force for good because we had the ability to project power – and by that I mean violent military force – wherever it was necessary.
States governed by evil, bullying, expansionist rulers only kept their misbehavior within bounds because America actively opposed them – using military force wherever that was the only way to stop them from conquering.
Without military power and the willingness to use it, America could not have maintained the peaceful world system that has made the West so rich.
Man, he’s really off the reservation. The US has simply never existed as OSC sees it. Even before we numbered fifty states, all manner of evil was perpetrated on the Indians and foreign nations seeking a foothold here. Andy Jackson was essentially a murderous despot. The civil war was certainly an inhumane exercise. Since then, it’s been one deposition after another, fashioning the world to ensure cheap groceries and gas. Hell, the US sponsored IMF has slaughtered nearly as many innocents as our misused military.
No, any influence we had in contributing to world peace came, not from military might, but from the deep desire to come here and be an American. Even as our foreign policy is in shreds, albeit repaired substantially by Obama, that desire to be an American has not changed.
Barack Obama took office in the firm belief that we were a force for evil, and he has systematically weakened us.
He began with his world apology tour. He bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia and chummed with the Islamist ruler of Turkey. He openly expressed his envy of dictators. He sided against Israel as far as was politically possible. He withdrew us prematurely from Iraq and now from Afghanistan.
Bush’s foreign policy made us worth having as friends, because Bush defended liberty and kept his word. But Obama keeps no promises, defends no friends – doesn’t even defend our own soldiers and officials under military attack.
Bush lied to the world and invaded Iraq without just cause. And despite the fact a bunch of cretinous Teatards were protesting Sunday at the corner of Pisgah Church and Battleground, I’m pretty much done talking about Benghazi. These people won’t be happy until we have drones drop daisy cutters on Libya in retaliation.
If he had shown half the firmness with America’s enemies that he has shown in slapping around the Republican Party and the few elements of the media that don’t lick his shoes, we would be in a much stronger position in the world.
Apparently, OSC believes we’ve forgotten about the House stonewalling Obama from day one and Ted Cruz.
Do you think the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with huge Russian minorities, don’t see the handwriting on the wall? They just lost their independence as surely as Ukraine did. Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania are also trembling. They know what Russian soldiers and tanks look like within their borders, and they can hear them coming.
They’re trembling alright, after watching the US State Dept. stage a successful coup.
Just as Eastern Europeans are preparing to be very, very obedient to Putin, so also the Middle East is preparing to be very obedient to nuclear Iran.
There has never been, isn’t now and never will be a nuclear Iran. Just because the hysterically paranoid war criminals in Israel need it to be, does not make it so.
Do you think China isn’t looking at what’s happening in Ukraine, and thinking: Taiwan is ours now whenever we want to take it.
Apples and oranges. The world is a complicated place, apparently unlike the mind of OSC.
The America that said, about Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, “This will not stand,” is now led by Barack Obama, the worst president in our entire history.
The Saddam who said I owe a billion dinar to my military. Won’t you please kill them so I don’t have to pay?
Let’s see: inherited a financial collapse and two wars, forced to deal with a stonewalling congress and yet managed to keep the ship of state under sail. Kept his promise to tackle runaway health care costs. Not bad for a black man in a nation chock full of racists.
In five years, he – and the American Left – have had their way, breaking down our strength and turning us into a former superpower.
Why do people continue to insist Obama is aligned with the left when his policies are obviously those of a center right moderate? Hell, if you closed your eyes, one might think W. was still in charge.
[W]hatever the final tipping point is, remember this: It began when Barack Obama and the American Left dismantled America’s power and withdrew us from our role as protector of the small nations of the world.
Wrong. It began when Robert Rubin left the tutelage of Milton Friedman and entered government, ushering in over a generation of globalism.
Our weakness will unleash savage repression that will eventually reach every corner of the world.
Jeepers, every despot is too busy looting the national treasury and planning his escape to repress anybody. It’s every man for himself out there.
[B]ecause he has always governed without Congress, without any kind of cooperation with the opposition party, he will not compromise even now.
Yes, he learned in the first debt ceiling crisis not to negotiate with himself.
From John Hammer at The Rhino Times:
The US under Obama has gone from being the world’s super power to being a world laughing stock. Now everyone knows that we have the most powerful military in the world, and everyone also knows that Obama – rather than use that military to protect and defend the US and freedom itself – plans to dismantle it.
Actually, the US became a world laughing stock because of George W. Bush. Fortunately, Obama has ended the wars in Iraq and Astan and kept us out of Syria and Iran. I just read an article in Time about the 2015 military budget of $500B which recommends downsizing our force to 440,000 and increasing the number of special forces.
The Chinese know that Obama won’t do anything to protect and defend America or her allies, and so it has expanded its territory in the South Pacific. Its ships have played chicken with our ships in international waters, and guess which ship turned away? Here’s a hint: It wasn’t a Chinese ship.
The Chinese have one aircraft carrier. The 2015 military budget also procures more subs for duty in Asia.
Putin is taking over Ukraine. Russia has support there, so it won’t be hard for Putin to establish a government in support of Russia. And the US will watch while the Russians set up a puppet government.
Uh, the Russians responded to a violent false flag coup supported by our State Dept. and implemented by neo-Nazi stormtroopers. We set up the puppet government, not Putin.
From John Hammer at The Rhino Times:
The council spent over two hours discussing whether or not the city would accept a gift of $35 million from some of its wealthiest citizens. In most circles, whether or not to accept a gift of $35 million is what is called a no-brainer. And while most people would expect some strings, one-third of the Greensboro City Council believes that it should not accept a gift of $35 million because there were strings and something could go wrong.
From Hammer in May 2012:
It turns out the downtown PAC that Perkins is doing everything he can to push through may be the Achilles’ heel of his term as mayor. The downtown PAC may be to Perkins what the White Street Landfill was to former Mayor Bill Knight, because right now it doesn’t look like it’s going well.
In one way it is incredible that Perkins could put together six votes to move forward with a downtown PAC when there is no site, the city would be about $20 million short of the money needed even if the $30 million bond were to pass, and the city doesn’t even know within 1,700 seats how big the place will be. In short, the six members of the council voted to move forward to put a $30 million bond on the ballot for November knowing little more about the project than they did back in January.
From Hammer in June 2012:
Vaughan made a motion to postpone any bond referendum until next spring and it passed by a 7-to-2 vote with Wade and Bellamy Small voting no.
The city so far has spent $50,000 plus staff time on the performing arts center, but Perkins said that the city needed to be prepared to write a check for $1 million to cover design fees, options on land and other expenses.
From Hammer in December 2012:
The plan calls for the city to borrow $10 million and pay it back with funds from the hotel-motel tax. But there is a small problem. Greensboro spends all of its hotel-motel tax revenue to fund projects at the Coliseum, so the only hotel-motel tax revenue that is available is the city’s share of Guilford County revenue. This money should be available, but the catch is the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has to approve the spending…
The final $10 million is, if anything, iffier. These bonds are going to be paid with revenue like parking revenue. I have bad news for the people doing the planning it is free to enter the Greensboro parking decks between 6 and 9 p.m., and after 9 p.m. it costs $2 to enter the decks.
The free parking decks are considered necessary to help downtown restaurants compete with those everywhere else in Greensboro where parking is free. The $2 fee was instituted to try and discourage the late night parties that were taking place in the parking decks before and after people went to nightclubs.
If the city decides to start charging $10 for parking in the parking decks at night, it will really hurt downtown restaurants. But paying off a $10 million bond with free parking is going to be tough, and judging from the other performing arts centers most shows start before 9 p.m.
From Hammer in January 2013:
Perkins and his followers are supposed to be this savvy group that knows how to get things done, but they proved to be complete incompetents when they tried to get a ticket tax implemented to help pay for the music hall. The council asked soon-to-be-former Democratic state Sen. Don Vaughan, the husband of Councilmember Nancy Vaughan, to introduce the bill.
In the past this might have been a smart move, but evidently unbeknownst to the leadership on the Greensboro City Council, the Republicans had won a majority of both the state House and state Senate. The bill didn’t even get introduced because Republican state Rep. John Blust, who wasn’t even informed about the bill, had some questions when he found out about it.
From Devin Smith at New Economic Perspectives:
It turns out the United States—which has the largest and most complex electric power network in the world, and which is completely and utterly dependent upon electricity for its daily survival—does not have the capability of manufacturing the single most crucial component of its electrical grid: the TRANSFORMER. To be exact, we can make little transformers, but the really big ones that are necessary to push electric current across long distances (which our electric grid is totally dependent on) are somehow beyond our ken. Or, to be more accurate, the 1% have no interest in building the plants and hiring and training the workers to manufacture the very large-size transformers.
They (the 1%) apparently reason that they don’t need to go to that trouble because in our globalized economy there’s somebody else who can build the really big transformers. It turns out that somebody is South Korea. So when, recently, Pennsylvania badly needed a new very-large transformer they placed an order with the Koreans, who promptly began building it. Two years later, the 400,000 pound item was put on a ship and transported for 26 days at sea to the port of Newark, New Jersey, where it was loaded by crane onto a railcar bound for Pennsylvania. (“Heart of U.S. Grid Difficult to Replace”, W.S.J. March 4, 2014.)
This little tale is made even more interesting by the fact that these very-large transformers—usually situated inside a compound protected by chain-link fencing—are easily destroyed with a few rounds of fire from a semi-automatic assault rifle. Thankfully, semi-automatic assault rifles are difficult to come by in the U.S., otherwise there might be cause for concern. The seventeen transformers recently shot to death in California (we can’t explain how this actually happened, since the NRA is only marginally active on the West Coast) are a cautionary tale: If this were repeated on just a little bit larger scale, the Department of Homeland Security has determined, our entire electric grid could be down for months—or even longer. (Come on South Korea, hurry it up…. We’re waiting!)
From Thomas Friedman at the NYT:
So spare me the Putin-body-slammed-Obama prattle. This isn’t All-Star Wrestling. The fact that Putin has seized Crimea, a Russian-speaking zone of Ukraine, once part of Russia, where many of the citizens prefer to be part of Russia and where Russia has a major naval base, is not like taking Poland.
As the treaty which created the artificial state of Ukraine allows, any time the Russian citizens feel threatened, like when the U.S. creates a coup by fascists who murder innocents and frame the opposition, the Russian military is welcome to offer protection.
And no, executing a false flag op is not like wrestling or taking Poland.
For a long time, Putin has exploited the humiliation and anti-Western attitudes NATO expansion triggered to gain popularity, but this seems to have become so fundamental to his domestic politics that it has locked him into a zero-sum relationship with the West that makes it hard to see how we collaborate with him in more serious trouble spots, like Syria or Iran.
And yet Obama and Putin have collaborated on Syria, Iran and Ukraine to effectively keep the neocon U.S. State Dept. and military from triggering WWIII. The enemy here is not Putin or Obama, but Kerry.
Just as the oil glut of the 1980s, partly engineered by the Saudis, brought down global oil prices to a level that helped collapse Soviet Communism, we could do the same today to Putinism by putting the right long-term policies in place. That is by investing in the facilities to liquefy and export our natural gas bounty (provided it is extracted at the highest environmental standards) and making Europe, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, more dependent on us instead. I’d also raise our gasoline tax, put in place a carbon tax and a national renewable energy portfolio standard — all of which would also help lower the global oil price (and make us stronger, with cleaner air, less oil dependence and more innovation).
The neocon Saudis brought down the USSR? I thought it was Ronald Reagan or even Mikhail Gorbachev.
Combating Putin, who has repeatedly come to our aid against imperialist petrokillers, is a lame excuse for putting regressive taxes on an already abused American public.
From Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept on Saturday:
This morning, I see that some people are quite abuzz about a new Pando article ”revealing” that the foundation of Pierre Omidyar, the publisher of First Look Media which publishes The Intercept, gave several hundred thousand dollars to a Ukraininan “pro-democracy” organization opposed to the ruling regime. This, apparently, is some sort of scandal that must be immediately addressed not only by Omidyar, but also by every journalist who works at First Look. That several whole hours elapsed since the article was published on late Friday afternoon without my commenting is, for some, indicative of disturbing stonewalling…
Despite its being publicly disclosed, I was not previously aware that the Omidyar Network donated to this Ukrainian group. That’s because, prior to creating The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, I did not research Omidyar’s political views or donations. That’s because his political views and donations are of no special interest to me – any more than I cared about the political views of the family that owns and funds Salon (about which I know literally nothing, despite having worked there for almost 6 years), or any more than I cared about the political views of those who control the Guardian Trust.
There’s a very simple reason for that: they have no effect whatsoever on my journalism or the journalism of The Intercept. That’s because we are guaranteed full editorial freedom and journalistic independence. The Omidyar Network’s political views or activities – or those of anyone else – have no effect whatsoever on what we report, how we report it, or what we say…
The real falsehood here is that Omidyar himself has any access, let alone “exclusive access”, to “the NSA secrets.” This is nothing short of a fabrication. The writer of this article just made that up.
From Erik Wimple at the WaPo:
[T]he claim of editorial independence is strange in light of a quote that Scahill, a First Look staffer, gave to the Daily Beast: Omidyar “strikes me as always sort of political, but I think that the NSA story and the expanding wars put politics for him into a much more prominent place in his existence. This is not a side project that he is doing. Pierre writes more on our internal messaging than anyone else.”
That Omidyar is engaged in the editorial products that he finances jibes with his experience with Civil Beat, the local-journalism site he founded and funded in Hawaii. There, Omidyar was known as a “very clever headline writer,” in the words of a former Civil Beat editor. As Carr tells the Erik Wemple Blog, “What makes First Look so unbelievably different is to have one person writing all the checks and personally hiring all the staffers. To try and claim that you still have independence after all of that is breathtaking. It’s as close to a lie without knowing what’s in Glenn Greenwald’s brain. How does he think he is independent?”