NCDP Chair Patsy Keever Dismantles The State Democratic Party in Nixonian Fashion—Some Are Calling For Her Removal

Patsy Keever, Chair of the North Carolina Democratic PartyChairwoman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Patsy Keever, terminated John Brooks—the Chair of the Council of Review (the adjudicating body within the NCDP) who’s term doesn’t end until May, 2016.  

In a nutshell:

Keever terminates the Chair of the Council of Review and appoints her crony Ryan Butler (President of the LGBT Caucus) to take Mr. Brooks’ place—without the authority to do it. 

At least one Officer within the North Carolina Democratic Party has threatened to resign—others are furious that Keever is makingJohn Brooks, Chair of NCDP Council of Review decisions beyond her authority and leaving them out of the loop.

The past few days have been a mess at Goodwin House—the official headquarters of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Patsy Keever was elected Chair of the NCDP back in February beating out second place Marshall Adame—a former Marine and United States diplomatic appointee.

Keever’s problems stem from her lack of understanding of the Plan of Organization (POO)—the official bylaws of the Party as voted on by state Democrats during their conventions. 

But, some high level North Carolina Democrats don’t think it’s a matter of understanding—some think Patsy Keever knows full well what the Democratic bylaws say—she just refuses to acknowledge them and does things the way she wants.

What has Keever done to cause such ire?

She hired Doug Wilson and Tiffany Reynolds and  dismissed the skeleton staff left by the former Chair Randy Voller.  The former Executive Director gave her 30 day resignation on the Saturday Keever was elected.  But, Keever didn’t wait that long—she called Casey Mann into her office the following Thursday and told her she could pack her bags.

She fired the former Communications Director in a letter the following day saying her services were no longer needed and her contract was terminated.

Progressives and rural Democrats who didn’t support Keever were appalled saying that there should have been a transition periodMann is a well respected Democrat in the African American Caucuses around the State.  But, they at least understood Tiffany Reynolds hiring considering her closeness with Elaine Marshall (NC Secretary of State).

The problem is that the Chair of the Party can’t hire anyone.  According to Democrats who know the POO—the Chair can only recommend an Executive Director, who then has to be voted on by the Executive Council of the NCDP.

That withstanding—Keever has done other things recently to go beyond her bounds of authority.

She terminated the Chair of the Council of Review—John Brooks over what some say is a vendetta against him over rulings he made concerning evidence in a matter of vacating the seat of the third congressional district chair—Chris Hardee.

Chairwoman Keever and Chris Hardee, as it turns out, have a long political association.  Last year, while Keever was 1st Vice Chair—she kept the petition to remove him from going forward. 

When she ran for Chair of the Party—she distanced herself from the controversy over Mr. Hardee’s residency issues and then the petition went forward to the Council of Review—the committee in which Mr. John Brooks is Chair.

Chris Hardee was represented by council in that internal Democratic fight—Wake County Commissioner John Burns.  Burns, who I’ve written about before, not only intimidated me (as I was an original petitioner to remove Mr. Hardee) but, he also intimidated Mr. Brooks after the members of the Council of Review removed Mr. Hardee.  Burns has repeatedly said that he would “not sleep until John Brooks was removed as Chair.” 

. . .

I was forwarded an email yesterday.  The email was a copy of a letter sent from former Chairman Randy Voller to the current Chair, Patsy Keever giving his opinion on her removing Mr. John Brooks as Chair of the Council of Review.

In that email, Voller cites Section 10 of the P.O.O. saying that for a CoR Chair to be removed it must go before the Executive Council and secondly, the Chair (if he/she is removed) has to be appointed from someone already a member of the CoR.

. . .

Randy Voller, former Chair of NCDP But, Voller’s opinion on this matter is only one of several.  Some Democrats are calling for a petition to remove Patsy Keever as Chair of the NCDP.

It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of Keever in the past.  Currently, I’m not part of the vultures circling her wagon.  But, I don’t see any alternative than to remove her as Chair because of her Nixonian like approach in how she administers her duties at Goodwin House.   [I emailed Keever about the John Brooks issue and asked her why she removed Mr. Brooks and “appointed” Mr. Ryan Butler.  She has not responded to my email.]

I admonished Keever last year over the Shamegate letters that were sent to North Carolina Democratic voters.  I asked her to resign then as 1st Vice Chair. 

Democrats have a lot at stake in this election cycle.  Eastern North Carolina needs a congressional chair who actually lives in the district.  Mr. Hardee does not.

Keever, as Chair of the State’s Democrats, should not be allowed to change the rules to suit her Young Democrats (and former Young Democrat) friends.

Unfortunately, yes—there is a “Young Democrat” connection to all of this.  Mr. Hardee, John Burns, Ryan Butler et. al. are all molded from that “club.”  And, Keever is using that “club” and those connections to wield unlimited power, trying to create a fiefdom at Goodwin House.

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The Case For Hillary Clinton | My Thoughts

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Although I always try to stay open-minded—a  few words with Sec. Albright left me thinking Hillary Clinton is the best choice for President: not because she’s a woman, not because she’s a Democrat—but because she’s simply the best person for the job.  

A couple of months ago (before the NCDP Chair election) I was able to have a brief conversation with former UN Ambassador and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright relating to a project that will air tentatively in June on BBC 4.

At one time Sec. Albright was the highest ranking woman in the history of United States government.  She was the first female to ever hold the post of United States Secretary of State.

Albright, who is now in her late 70s, still has a vast amount of energy-– carrying the sword for the topics that she’s passionate about through out the world: hunger, education, democracy and women’s rights just to name a few.

Albright is a diplomat— attesting to a career that goes back further than her appointment as ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton administration.

After speaking with Sec. Albright, my perspective is that the next president of the United States will have to hit the ground running when it comes to foreign policy and diplomatic negotiations with other countries– especially the countries controlled by radicals who obviously don’t have respect for the United States or our interests.

1We don’t live in the same world anymore– we live in a global economy and an open society.  What happens around the world, even covertly, can potentially be a hash tag on twitter in less than 30 seconds—and trending almost as fast.

Presidents are not chosen any more from a random population of citizens—they’re groomed from years of political acumen and campaigning— some successful some not so successful.

For what it’s worth– diplomacy is more art than science.  That art is cultivated from having years of personal experience with multiple leaders around the world-– leaders that for years– whether they’re in power are not– have developed personal relationships of trust with certain United States politicians.

For lack of a better way of putting it– the United States is served best when a diplomat has the ability to give her word and keep it.

Whether you are Republican or Democrat– independent or unaffiliated– we would honestly have to agree we all want what’s best for our Nation.

Hillary Clinton has that experience and has best developed international relationships more than anyone else in the small circle of potential candidates considered in the 2016 cycle.

Why does it really matter?  After all, Reagan never had international experience before he became president of the United States– and Republicans hold him as the Godfather of conservative politics.  But, the fact is Reagan had filters—everything he said didn’t get out on the internet—literally at the speed of light.  Old political dogs like me can attest that Reagan never completely stuck to his script.

It matters because, as I said earlier, we don’t live in the same world with the same technology.  It used to be that when a president or a Secretary of State made a statement relevant to a foreign country or leader– there was a lag time of a few days to be able to gauge opinion– and possibly backtrack on some of the rhetoric.  No country has that luxury anymoreEverything that is done and every statement that is made is in real time– and has immediate consequences. 

Take for example when Vladimir Putin fell off the grid a few weeks ago.  The speculation was that we were headed for World War III.

Another example is when  United States special ops went into Pakistan to take out Osama bin Laden— less than 3 miles away literally someone was on a mountaintop posting tweets about it in real time.

And it’s not just the Internet– Intel is gathered much differently than it was 30 years ago.  So much differently, that we need someone like Hillary Clinton– who not only has the necessary experience– but who also knows how to sidestep landmines both political and otherwise—that a novice would not see.

At the end of the presidential decision-making process– voters need to understand that the next four years will be international– in ways we are not even aware of. 

Even if we wanted to be isolationist, America doesn’t have that luxury anymore.  And because of that,  it is in every voter’s best interest to elect someone with the most diplomatic experience possible.

Although it’s nice to talk about being the first at something (and as important as that may be)– the end result was that even though Madeline Albright was the first female Secretary of State– she was the best person for the job and she came along at the right time. She had the skills.  And, she developed even more skills along the way.

The same holds true for Hillary Clinton. It’s not so much that she would be the first female president of the United States– what it comes down to is the fact that she has the skills— over anyone else who could possibly run for office– to take America forward both domestically and internationally in this so-called new age.

Let’s hope she runs—but more importantly, let’s hope for our sake she wins.  And, she can if we put the time in to give an accurate account of her accomplishments without all the political spin that comes from both Parties.

Accuracy is important—so much so that I’ve come to rely on the insight of such people as David Moore.  Moore is a national politico in the group Organizing for Hillary  and comes from my home state of North Carolina.  More importantly, he’s spent the last year going all over the country setting the stage for a Hillary announcement and he and others are building a grassroots foundation. 

But, what sets Moore apart, at least in my opinion, is that he’s talking to people.  From the Dakota’s to the mid-west and from Florida up the east coast—David Moore is actually a key person who doesn’t feel like it’s a waste of time to actually sit with local voters and ask them what’s on their mind.

Sadly, that old school way of stumping has become a lost art.  I’m glad to see, not only him, but others within Hillary Clinton groups take the same approach.  

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Butterfield Statement on Republican-Passed FY’16 Budget

9WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) issued the following statement after voting against the Republican Fiscal Year 2106 Budget, which passed in the House today:

“I’m dismayed that we find ourselves here yet again.  The Republican majority, moments ago, passed their FY’16 budget which does little to address the concerns and needs of everyday Americans.  Not only does their budget make drastic reductions in funding to important economic drivers such as education, research, and infrastructure, but it also makes the American dream even more unattainable.  Year after year the Republican majority passes budgets that give significant tax breaks to the super wealthy at the expense of stifling the progress of children, women, seniors, and hard-working families.

“What’s even more egregious are the steep $125 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the $913 billion cut to Medicaid.  If implemented, these proposals would have devastating effects on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, including many in my home state of North Carolina. 

“I cannot and will not support a measure that does so little for poor, low-income, and middle-class Americans.  We need an alternative budget plan that eases the paths to homeownership, the middle-class, higher wages, college, and retirement—not a plan that reverses it.”

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Fracking in North Carolina may be more problematic than first thought

1Forget about forced pooling and landowner protections, at least for the moment.  Forget about water contamination and the plight of the  Deep River and Dan River basin.  And forget about the many contaminants contained in the chemicals used to frack shale and break it apart or that disclosing what those chemicals contain is a felony in North Carolina thanks to the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly.

Over the last month, I talked with a geophysicist who says that one of the biggest problematic issues that could face fracking in North Carolina—and  one of the least talked about—is the seismic activity produced from the wells as water, sand and chemicals are pumped deep into the earth to break apart the shale allowing the gas to release more easily.

The geophysicist who asked me not to use his name by saying “you can quote me but don’t use my name– I have enough aggravation as it is” points to two specific pieces of information: 1) that North Carolina has deep underground fault lines, mostly dormant for hundreds of years, and 2) a recent study in Ohio that points to 77 specific earthquakes that have been attributed to the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing of shale.

Make no mistake about it, there are fault lines that run up and down North Carolina.  You hear more about it in the mountains because of the media attention and the fact that people actually feel those quakes– but fault lines do exist along the I-95 corridor and in areas close enough to Lee, Chatham and Orange counties to make it potentially problematic to frack for natural gas even though I wouldn’t necessarily call those areas ‘hotspots’,” said the geophysicist in a telephone conversation.

A recent study that was made public points to 77 earthquakes that occurred along a fault line in Ohio. Many of those quakes were between 1.0 – 2.5 on the Richter scale and those were not necessarily felt by the general population in the area.  But at least one quake measuring 3.0 was felt along a fault line in where fracking was being performed less than a half-mile away.

Why do earthquakes matter in fracking

  1. Aside from the ecological impact of drilling in central North Carolina, the wastewater disposal process is a complicated and incomplete process overall. Ohio has some of the toughest regulations on the oil and natural gas companies who drill those areas.  And still 77 earthquakes occurred along impact lines.
  2. Ohio mandates that companies to set up earthquake monitors before drilling within 3 miles of a known fault line – however North Carolina does not have such regulation.

According to the geophysicist, the problem is that North Carolina has fault lines that typically don’t move within a person’s natural lifespan.  So there really is very little documentation as to what could happen when those underlying areas are disturbed.

I asked the geophysicist what would happen if North Carolina experienced an earthquake 3.0 or greater like the one in Ohio. “Well, potentially it could be a non-event with absolutely no damage. But on the other hand it could lead to a catastrophic event if it triggered an older more pronounced fault line to move.  Especially if that quake moved up the line into Northern Virginia and Washington DC.”

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Janice Covington Makes #NCDP History—Elected Precinct Chair of CLT #29

janice photoCharlotte, NC—Saturday, March 21, 2015—This afternoon, Janice Covington was elected Chair of Precinct #29 of the North Carolina Democratic Party in Charlotte. The election marks the first time in North Carolina Democratic Party history that a transgendered person has been elected to that post.
Janice was a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention and was named by the North Carolina Democratic Party to the 2016 Delegate Selection Committee recently.
But, Covington is  also not a stranger to controversy. On March 2nd, during the Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance debate – Janice was singled out by many leaders of right-wing Christian organizations calling her “a man in a dress…using the women’s bathroom.”
Janice was escorted out of the women’s restroom by a female Mek/CLT police officer surrounded by applause from members of the “Don’t Do It CLT’ protesters.  One protester videoed Covington in the restroom and posted it to the Charlotte Observer – taking it down only hours later.

The North Carolina Democratic Party denounced the Charlotte City Council for voting down the nondiscrimination ordinance. Some Democrats within the Party leadership have voiced their concern publicly—calling for those Democrats who voted against the ordinance and the amendment striking down the transgender bathroom clause to face Primary opponents in the next election.
Janice was featured in the Charlotte Observer recently where she recounted her life history and her years as an activist and advocate.
Janice Covington will have an opportunity to continue her role as activist and advocate—recently Janice released a statement indicating she will be doing a series of radio pilots hoping to take Transgender issues nationally over the airwaves.

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Butterfield to Join Dept. of Health & Human Services for Panel

butterfieldWASHINGTON, DC — On Monday, March 23rd, Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) will join Dr. Pamela Roshell, Department of Health and Human Services Director for Region IV, for a roundtable discussion and celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Patients’ Protections and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Joining in the celebration, which also marks Women’s History Month, will be key government and healthcare leaders who will discuss the Affordable Care Act’s success in North Carolina, and underscore what its passage means to women’s health.

Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act five years ago, about 560,357 North Carolinians selected plans or were automatically re-enrolled through the health insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

In addition to Rep. Butterfield and Dr. Roshell, the panelists for the roundtable on Women’s Health and the ACA will include:

• Kellan Moore, Executive Director, Care Share Health Alliance
• Nicole Dozier, NC Justice Center
• Penny Washington, Wake & Franklin Health Services
• Sorien Schmidt, Enroll America, North Carolina
• Dr. Sharon Elliott Bynum, Healing with CAARE
• Krystal Holman, Project Access
• Sally Wilson, Director, Project Access
• Durham County Commissioner Brenda Howerton
• Dr. Elaine Hart Brothers, Director of the Community Health Coalition

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FRUITS FROM A POISONOUS TREE—DEFENSE ATTY ARBOUR CONTINUES HIS CROSS EXAMINATION

Me George Fisher002The defense attorney for Jonathan Broyhill continues to cross examine the lead detective in the Broyhill murder trial.
Mr. Arbour—one of two public defenders assigned to Broyhill—again motioned the Judge for a mistrial saying that “…this man deserves a fair trial—and he’s not getting one now…”  He also asked for the Judge to step aside or to at least appoint another judge to decide if he should step aside.   The judge denied both.
The point of contention:
Only one of three taped interrogations have been admitted into evidence. Arbour calls into question prosecutorial misconduct and on two other occasions (before Friday’s drama).  Arbour has asked for a mistrial because of this.
Arbour contends that on those other two tapes have exculpatory lines of questioning that could shed light on why his client murdered Jamie Hahn.
By not allowing the jury to hear the other taps—the prosecution is possiblly able to pick fruit from the poisonous tree.
That poisonous tree is relevant to the hearsay rule in where Broyhill was given his Miranda rights but may have been under too much medication to understand those rights.  Information gathered from those interviews would normally be deemed inadmissible and any questions asked at a later date (from the answers to those questions) could be deemed as the fruit from the poisonous tree. 

Arbour says “either use them all – or throw them all out.”

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