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Jane Bilello guest column: September 2014
Thursday, 04 September 2014 15:44

Roy Cooper ripped for refusal to pursue lawsuits against Marriage Amendment

Special to the Daily Planet

Asheville Tea Party Inc., does not get involved in social issues, per se. However, we do staunchly defend adherence to constitutional authority.

We are a nation of laws and we demand that our representatives uphold the law. Therefore, we have concluded that (North Carolina) Attorney General Roy Cooper is in violation of his duties and the oath he took to uphold the laws of North Carolina by not defending the law – specifically, the Marriage Amendment overwhelming passed in May 2012. 

Cooper said he “will not oppose” the cases challenging the constitutionality of Amendment One, and that the state will “acknowledge the Fourth Circuit Court opinion.”

“The Attorney General is elected by the people of North Carolina every four years as the state’s top law enforcement officer and top lawyer. Powers and duties of the Attorney General are set forth in the Constitution and Statutes of North Carolina.” (

The duties and responsibilities of the Attorney General’s office are dictated by the state constitution and state statutes.

Roy Cooper doesn’t get to pick which laws to uphold and which not. The attorney general takes an oath to carry out the duties of his office by upholding the law – all laws – regardless of whether he personally  supports or agrees with them or not. What law will he choose to disregard next?

To make matters worse, Cooper appears to be hypocritical. In the Asheville Citizen-Times article on July 29, 2014, “Cooper: NC Same Sex Marriage Ban Will Be Overturned,” Cooper said the state “will not oppose” the cases challenging the constitutionality of Amendment One, and that the state will “acknowledge the Fourth Circuit Court opinion.”

In the same article, “Cooper has said he personally supports marriage equality but his personal views would not prevent him from vigorously defending North Carolina’s constitutional amendment against such marriages in state lawsuits.”  Humm?

Unless this was a misprint, he not only can’t have it both ways, but he is in violation of his oath of office!

Is it time to replace our activist attorney general or perhaps the North Carolina legislature needs to get involved for his “willful neglect of duty.” (North Carolina Constitution Chapter 123, Article I  § 123-5.)

Jane Bilello is chair of the Asheville Tea Party.

Ben Yoke: September 2014
Thursday, 04 September 2014 15:41

Capitalism versus socialism (cont.)

Special to the Daily Planet

"So, my girl, you are saying that the whole capitalist socialist debate comes down to one of creativity over synergy?”

The venerable John D. Rockefeller was humoring Zelda Fitzgerald, or was he?

“After 175 years of watching this interminable and intractable debate, it would be most invigorating to see real resolution. Though after all the brilliant minds that have wrestled with this issue, I dare say a girl like you seems rather full of hubris to think that you can solve it. But I must confess I am intrigued; what is this synergy? I am not very familiar with the term.”

“First Mr. Rockefeller, I take umbrage at being called ‘my girl.’ After all, I was born in 1900, and you were born in 1839, I believe, but if you include the afterlife, that makes me 114 and you, let’s see, are 175. So still we are both surely fairly mature by now.”

 “Don’t by flippant with me, Mrs. Fitzgerald, or I may be inclined to show my mettle. I have been underestimated my whole life by the foolish.”

“Well, anyway, I guess I should be thankful you are interested. I know it is abstract and subtle,” said Zelda, “but if someone among the living is concerned about politics, there should be nothing more important that understanding this hidden root of the capitalist versus socialist leaning debate: 

“Synergy is where the sum of the parts as a whole is greater than the sum of the parts taken separately, and it’s the intrinsic root justification for socialist leaning policies. Synergy as defined seems kind of impossible, but life forms figured out its importance eons ago. It’s why single cells formed into multi-celled organisms, why wolves hunt in a pack instead of separately, why fish swim in schools. And its why humans make corporations, governments, and specialized trades.”

“But capitalism and the free market do all of those things,” said Rockefeller.

“I think I understand what Mrs. Fitzgerald is on about,” said Jennings Bryon. “Collective cooperation on some level is the essential thing necessary for synergy to occur, and socialist ideologies explicitly facilitate collective cooperation.”

“That’s right!” said Zelda. “But although any human social system has to utilize both synergy and creativity, the root justification of capitalist ideologies is facilitating individual creativity.”

“And yet creativity is often accomplished as a cooperative effort,” said Haley. 

“Yes,” said Zelda, “but at its root real creativity must occur in individual brains, and creativity, unlike synergy, is also often facilitated by competition. Creativity only occurs within individual brains, but synergy only occurs between people, as a collective.

“The thing is, to facilitate human creativity and synergy, although they are both crucial for human survival, can often result in conflicted or conflicting strategies. That’s the root of the debate! And you can tell what I’m saying is true because people’s economic ideologies tend to track their careers. And this is because differing careers rely more on creativity or more on synergy at their core.

“Consider that teachers, professors, bureaucrats, caregivers, laborers, and (ironically) artists, are all human synergy facilitators. And all of the people in these trades and professions tend towards socialist ideologies.

“Whereas entrepreneurs, bankers, and engineers all are responsible for creating new forms of productivity, and they lean to capitalism. But we need all of these professions.  At root, as a method of enhancing ‘productive work’ individual competitive creativity is intrinsically no better, or worse, than collective cooperative synergy.

“So the debate resolving solution is to understand that neither ideology is better. We need to be pragmatic, issue by issue as we build a mixed economy. Which because of what I’ve been saying is the only system that can or ever has worked anyway.”

Looking out over the lights of Asheville, Zelda said, “When partisans (whatever they label themselves) see the tension between collective synergy and individual creativity as an emotional dual between good and evil for freedom, or equality, instead of as a dialogue between two equally valid productive work enhancement strategies, when it is seen as a dual, instead of a dialogue, people and their economic cultures become cynical, hypocritical, greedy, and corrupt, and that dualism is the real problem.”

She looked at her fellow spirits for a thoughtful response, but it seemed they had faded to mist. Were they bored by her complex soliloquy? Zelda sighed and faded as well....

Ben Yoke, a philosopher and writer, lives with his wife and two sons in Weaverville.



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