Austin Rhodes’ Wag the Dog Strategy on Pam Tucker

Opinion by The Arrowflinger

When things got too hot for Bill and Hillary Clinton with the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, they trotted out a time-tested diversion – attack a defenseless made-up “Enemy” to divert public attention away from them! It was a classic Wag the Dog effort with one bombing made on a Sudanese aspirin factory.

As Election season 2018 neared, Augusta Radio Talk Show Host Austin Rhodes needed to Wag the Dog too. With a father in Law, later mother in law, who foisted a financially ruinous school bond in Lincoln County to fund a oversized new high school built under one of those nefarious Guaranteed Maximum Price Contracts by R.W. Allen approaching property tax revolt proportions, Rhodes must have fretted it would come up. Beyond that, with a daughter employed by Congressman Rick Allen and a Brother-in-Law county Engineering Director, with an amusing history of political gamesmanship himself, in the mix of an upcoming hot Columbia County Chairman’s race, Austin Rhodes picked an old opponent, former Columbia County Georgia House candidate Joe Mullins, to be his Wag the Dog victim of the hour, minute, week and month. Rhodes went out incessantly for weeks tearing into Mullin’s personal life, intruding into a Florida political race Mullins had entered, and basically acting crazy in doing it.

He had to do something to occupy dead air and too many issues could hit on Friends and Family, while he awaited in the grass to ambush Pam Tucker’s race for the Columbia County Chairmanship while heaping glory on the Establishment’s choice, first District Commissioner Doug Duncan.

The Columbia County Banking scandal is a NATIONAL STORY because the bank involved was the flagship bank of the American Banking Association (ABA). Another bank, the winning bank and an ABA member itself, got tricked out of getting the business. There was an obvious coverup and when it was challenged on the air by yours truly in 2014, the Bank ran a whole slew of ads braying “Doing the RIGHT THING!” Austin and his employer Beasley Broadcast Group must have made a fortune! Just Friday afternoon, Austin Rhodes started his attack on your old arrowflinger in an epic call in, that many wish he would replay.

Says here he doesn’t have the guts.

Remember this term out of the Arrowflinger School of Political Theory – DODI. If you are Friends and Family of Austin Rhodes, you get a do over. If you are not, you get DONE IN.

All of Austin’s politically active, public figure relatives mentioned above are public figures with accessible records. Austin draws financial benefit and security in ways that can, and will, be shown. Over here is an old construction auditor who has heard every insult invented with a thick hide and quiver full of ideas. Meanwhile, Rhodes attacks aimed this way can, and will redirect to impact his cronies tenfold.

And for the cronies feeding money and rhetorical “ammunition” for Austin to sling, be very, very careful. What you think is an “Gotcha Al!” might ricochet into a “Aiieee…that HURT!…..Somebody make it STOP!”

This ain’t an illusion. It is the key to many vaults and even more laughs. It is time to laugh and worry about money later.

Carry on.

Banking Hard Right into a Wrong Place

OPINION by the Arrowflinger

Well, Well, Well Scott Johnson, What an interesting set of developments since we last talked. Back then, y’all couldn’t identify the Commission Finance committee member who essentially redirected a huge 5 year Columbia County banking contract to Georgia Bank and Trust after First Citizens Bank won that bid, but lately you have gotten really good at finding and disclosing facts about Pam Tucker. Austin has insinuated that you were “looking for dirt” on Ms. Tucker during her vacation, her conversation got very efficiently recorded and replayed, and there was a further dust-up involving a banker. Heaven knows that wasn’t one of the GB&T bankers. No one dare do that back when the banking contract went down. A majority of the commissioners, including 2 out of three on the Finance Committee, were GB&T shareholders then, including one who was the Chief Operating Officer of the bank!

What are the new Developments?

Well, that bank wound up being the 2016 flagship of the whole American Banking Association, when its CEO Dan Blanton became chairman of ALL of the bankers. The ABA was regaled with a story we all heard, GB&T’s claimed focus of “Doing the Right Thing.” Based upon What I have seen there is absolutely no question the executives of that bank were doing the right thing – for themselves! Your doings are trickier, because your finance committee and finance department were “Doing Tha’ Thang Right!”

In the last 15 months the United States Attorney of the Southern District of Georgia very arguably an unwitting protector of the entire mess, left his post after 8 years and was replaced just 6 months ago.

In the last 15 months GB&T sold out at a premium of around $49 per share, up from the dark $9 per share days of 2009, just before your secret finance committee member swung over $100 million of Columbia County’s money into rescuing them.

Meanwhile, the employees of 83 percent of area banks who didn’t work for that bank, many who lost everything in 2009 and got no rescue from you all, and the 100 GB&T employees who lost their jobs after years of propaganda will read this with keen interest. What is worse, we read that you are quoted promising retaliation against one of them for questioning not only Tucker’s departure but that of another departed division director as well.

This was and is a national scandal and you are sitting in the middle of it.

Columbia County Finance got caught “Doin’ Tha’ Thang Right” but the taxpayers didn’t even get a peck on the cheek.

They ain’t gonna be happy with YOU!

Are Herbert or Tucker any Match for THE ARMADA?

OPINION by The Arrowflinger

Rarely, if ever, has there been such a display of raw, naked, affluent power as this fundraiser handbill for a candidate for the Chair of the Columbia County Commission.

This invitation to a (fundraising) “Event” for Doug Duncan, now the District 1 Commissioner, might have dissuaded Mark Herbert and Pam Tucker from even qualifying. It didn’t.

It is breathtaking. This is a crew perfectly capable of raising $400,000 or even more, if they want to maintain their ironclad control of Columbia County.

They do.

Over here one finds fellow Commissioners Trey Allen, Gary Richardson, and Bill Morris. Not an overt sponsor on this invite, current Chairman Ron Cross has been cited in the Augusta Chronicle as donating heavily to Duncan’s campaign. On it we find stalwart backers of Cross from earlier campaigns like Jean Garniewicz and the Ivey Brothers.

Over there one sees the names of three voting members of a board of directors of a bank, that kinda, sorta got a timely backdoor bailout from Columbia County, Robert Pollard, Ron Thigpen and Larry Prather.

A bunch of the rest are developers, realtors, and builders.

Of course, no campaign endorsement list for a Columbia County incumbent politician worth his, or her, salt is complete without Sheriff Clay Whittle. He has been at this for decades now, hasn’t he?

The most amazing aspect of this list are the power brokers from old Augusta throwing their weight into this contest. State Department of Transportation Board member (former Chairman) and former Augusta Commissioner Don Grantham, former Georgia Representative Barbara Sims, and former State Department of Transportation Board member and former Augusta Commissioner Bill Kuhlke are on this list. Throw in names like McKnight and Hull – both of those last names emblazoned on the new Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training in Augusta – and you get a stunning array of power.

This election might have been over before it started.

But then again…

The political seafloor is littered with invincible armadas that suddenly developed holes in their Hulls.

-Arrowflinger