Thursday, September 9, 2010

McIntyre's problem: 'When he gets up there in Washington, he votes for the far left'


By Verne Strickland

For years, Doug and Peggy Murray, who are Republicans, voted for Mike McIntyre, a Democrat.

The ties between the two families were more personal than political in the early going.

The Robeson County community of Lumberton was where McIntyre was born and raised, and where he returned to practice law after winning his degree from Wake Forest University. He was a Morehead Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Lumberton was where Doug and Peggy became acquainted with Mike and his family after Doug’s move to Lumberton in 1972. Doug, also an attorney, had established his own practice there as a sole practitioner.

The Murrays and McIntyres attended the same Presbyterian Church in Lumberton. Both Doug and Mike were officers in the church.

When Mike decided to run for Congress, Doug recalls being contacted by Mike, who told Doug he was going to make his announcement.

“He asked if I would join him for that occasion, and I was pleased to do that, by virtue of our long and close relationship. Both Peggy and I supported him from that day with contributions, and attending various of his political gatherings. We supported him through all seven of his races," Doug observed.

The Murrays, a bright, vibrant couple, now make their home in the Magnolia Greens community in Leland, where they moved in 2005.

Doug is retired. Peggy is a spirited wife and soul mate. They have uncompromising beliefs, and this has compelled them to make decisions they knew would come at considerable personal cost.

“About two years ago,” Doug recounted, “it was obvious that liberal and progressive politicians, most of whom were Democrats, were taking over the leadership of the country. Peggy and I were quite dismayed about that. Even though we were quietly participating in the political process, we decided we needed to get more active, not only for our own benefit, but as well for the benefit of generations to come. The country was heading toward what we saw as socialism, if not something more sinister, and neither of us could support that.”

While Doug and Peggy were mulling this over, their attention became riveted by the overblown media coverage of murder charges lodged against a young Marine officer at Camp Lejeune in nearby Jacksonville, NC.

The Murrays were impressed by the sincerity of the young Marine, and they followed the military proceedings on television and in the newspapers.

“We were overjoyed when there was a failure to issue charges arising out of the Article 32 hearing,” said Doug. “They had their day to prove that he should be tried, and failed to do so. One young man who was the only one attempting to substantiate a bogus story about what happened in the deaths of these Iraqis was not believed. Ilario was exonerated.”

A couple of years passed, and the Murrays didn’t hear anything more about Ilario Pantano until he announced a run for Congress in 2009.

“Because we knew about him,” Doug continued, “we started to listen to what he was saying. He was very personable, articulate, and obviously a true patriot. Because of my own military background, I was doubly impressed with Ilario."

Doug served four years of active duty in the Navy as a line officer, followed by attendance at Wake Forest Law School, after which his Reserve designation was changed to JAG. He remained in the Reserves for another 16 years, retiring after 20 years with the rank of Commander.

Other events were moving simultaneously. In 2008, Doug and Peggy had attended a local GOP executive committee precinct meeting in Belville.

“Frank Iler, then chairman of the Brunswick County Republican Party, was presiding. I think Peggy volunteered me to be chairman of the Belville precinct. That’s how I went onto the executive committee of the Brunswick GOP. The more meetings I attended, the more I saw that there were others who felt as deeply and sincerely as we about the direction our country was going. Our enthusiasm was going into full gear,” Doug said.

The Murrays met Pantano for the first time at a meeting of the Brunswick County Republican executive committee. The charismatic young candidate made a deep and lasting impression.

“When you have the opportunity to talk with him, regardless of how many people are around him, he is attentive to you alone, no matter what is going on around you. He is a very engaging individual,” Doug recalls.

In the hearts and minds of Doug and Peggy Murray, an idea – a calling – was emerging, and they both knew it.

Here was Doug’s description of the phenomenon: “Ilario’s military background was attractive to me, and his service as an enlisted man, then as an officer --nobody can doubt his allegiance to his country, his sincerity and his belief that we all have a duty to preserve our independence.”

Peggy, similarly impressed, talked about how her own long-held loyalties in favor of Congressman McIntyre were beginning to falter.

“Mike never had any real competition until he was challenged by Ilario Pantano. For a long time we had never really thought to check on McIntyre’s record. But when we did, we were pretty surprised. He says he’s a conservative but that’s not what his record shows. Someone in Brunswick County said when Mike is talking to us here, he acts like a good old boy. Just one of us. But when he gets up there in Washington he votes for the far left. That offends me,” she asserted.

They talked – Doug and Peggy – long bouts of soul-searching, attempting to resolve the tug between uncertainty and a leap into unknown political waters, with treasured personal relationships surely hanging in the balance.

“We had a decision to make,” Doug commented. “How much support do we feel comfortable giving to Ilario insofar as the upcoming election is concerned? In the primary, there was no problem. We are Republicans, and we knew Ilario by far to be the better choice there. But in the general election, where do we come down? We had to look at our good Lumberton friends, and say this is the man we are for, and we are supporting Ilario all the way. Could we do that?”

The words of Doug’s late father came to him, and it was like a key had turned in a lock.

“He used to say to me, ‘Doug, if you’re in for a penny, get in for a pound.’ So we gave it even more consideration, and finally agreed we would do all we could to get Ilario elected.”

One of the first occasions which would signal the Murrays’ change in loyalties would be a “meet and greet” for candidate Pantano at their attractive and inviting home across from the Magnolia Greens golfing links.

Did Mike McIntyre get wind of the upcoming event in late June when he called Doug to ask a favor? Doug wonders.

The congressman contacted Doug approximately two weeks before the meet and greet to discuss strategy issues in North Brunswick.

Doug told Mike at that time that he and Peggy would be supporting Ilario Pantano, although somewhat reluctantly.

“Mike, though gracious, reiterated that he was a moderate and at times conservative, as his record would indicate, and that he looked after his folks at home,” Doug continued.

“He said he needed advice and counsel about how to proceed with gaining some support from people in the Leland area, whom we know well since we live there.

“That’s the way we left it, and there has been no further contact between us since then.”


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

DNC chairman drubs McIntyre for denying who he really is.

Wilmington, NC: On Fox News Sunday, this past Sunday morning, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine called out Congressman Mike McIntyre for running away from who he is, and called McIntyre “foolish” for not admitting that he is a “proud Democrat.” Kaine called out Congressman McIntyre, after Fox News Sunday Host Chris Wallace played a clip from one of McIntyre’s television ads alleging that he doesn’t work for Nancy Pelosi.

Upon learning of Kaine’s statement on Fox News Sunday, Ilario Pantano, Republican Nominee for North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District, released the following statement:

“For once, I have to agree with Tim Kaine. Congressman McIntyre is just trying to pull one over on the voters of the 7th District by running away from who he is. Everyone in Washington knows the Congressman is a proud Democratic foot soldier. Congressman McIntyre tries to talk like Jesse Helms when he’s in the District, but when he’s in Washington he votes like Nancy Pelosi.

“Congressman McIntyre, throughout this campaign, has tried to declare that he doesn’t work for Pelosi and that he is an ‘independent voice.’ However, as DNC Chairman Tim Kaine noted, that is just McIntyre trying to run away from who he is. The record is clear. Congressman McIntyre votes in lockstep with the Pelosi Agenda in Washington and when he’s not running for reelection Congressman McIntyre is “honored” to be part of the Pelosi Leadership team. (see note below)

“The people of the 7th District deserve a Congressman who is proud of the way he votes in Washington and who won’t run away from who he really he is. They won’t have to worry about me running away from my record in Washington because I’ll never vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker and unlike my opponent, I won’t be voting for the liberal Pelosi, Reid, and Obama agenda.”

Note: According to the Washington Post’s Congressional Votes Database (, Congressman McIntyre votes the Democrat Party line 90.5% and when Congressman McIntyre appointed to serve as one of Pelosi’s Senior Whips and as a member of the Majority Leader’s Advisory Council the Congressman said he was “honored” (

Sarah Dankanich
Schedule and Logistics Manager

Campaign mailing address:
PO Box 11280
Wilmington, NC

Friday, September 3, 2010

So money can't buy you love? Tell it to incumbent Congressman Mike McIntyre!


By Verne Strickland

Mike McIntyre, now in his fourteenth year in the U.S. Congress, has become excessively incumbent.

This was made abundantly clear in Debate #2, August 27, at Kenansville, where Ilario Pantano dismantled the congressman’s sketchy claims of bona fide conservative credentials.

The GOP contender didn’t have it all his way, though, as McIntyre pounded away with his now-familiar laundry list of Washington largesse he has brought back to the Seventh District.

But if this is what McIntyre’s handlers view as his greatest strengths, the appearance of being a “money mule” for liberal Democratic insiders has also turned into a campaign liability.

In fact, while one might concede that McIntyre really knows how to get the big bucks, this dubious achievement has been ballyhooed in the debates in a way that subordinated weightier issues, such as the alarming federal deficit, high unemployment, the failed stimulus, term limits, illegal immigration, and a gaggle of other thorny problems.

Money, as the Beatles assured us, can’t buy you love. While Mike has tried valiantly to disprove this, he hasn’t succeeded.

Even in Robeson County, where McIntyre was raised, defections of some of his most ardent supporters are surely proving to be embarrassing and unsettling.

We reported earlier the decision by McIntyre’s long-time friend and ally, Burt Benson III of Lumberton, to withdraw his backing “for the sake of my children and grandchildren” – and throw his considerable influence to the congressman’s Republican foe, Ilario Pantano, who brings solid conservative credentials to Seventh District voters.

Pantano can win the day, says Benson, if enough voters in the Seventh District get to know him, and perceive his character, moral values, commitment to transparency in government and mission to turn America around.

“We know Pantano is the man to carry the banner,” Benson asserted. “He’s a man who has the courage to stand up against the ultra-liberals in Washington. The Democrats are just interested in funding vote-buying programs and trying to get everybody dependent on the government. That way they can count on those votes. But there are more people riding on the wagon now than out there pulling it. This has to change. Ilario Pantano will work to change it.”

Other personal friends – and generous contributors — will announce their decision to leave the McIntyre fold in coming days, and this reporter will have those exclusive stories.

Something big is happening. These defections involve respected community leaders who have found it very painful to quit the McIntyre campaign and announce publicly that they just can’t take it anymore.

None of these departures seem based on lack of appreciation for Mike’s drumbeat of announcements that he’s home with more pork. It’s just that, in this race, at this time, there are simply bigger pork chops to fry.

If Mike is on the money with the money, he is almost out to lunch when it comes to a demonstrated ability to influence America’s future in a positive manner. And this is what most puzzles and concerns the key opinion leaders who are beginning to jump ship.

Toward the end of the evening in the Kenansville gabfest, Ilario Pantano framed the discussion in a way that goes to the heart of McIntyre’s image problem.

Addressing the audience, Pantano posed this question: “Aren’t you getting tired of a congressman who comes home and talks like Jesse Helms in the district, then goes to Washington and votes for Nancy Pelosi?”

There is growing evidence that this is a fair question, and one that deserves a straight answer from Congressman Mike McIntyre.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

'Mute Mike' is a money mule driven by power-mad Democrats who want to socialize America.


By Verne Strickland

If they never held another debate, the message would still be crystal clear – Mike McIntyre is not right for North Carolina or the Seventh Congressional District.

If political ads were banished from the air, we would still swear by this belief – Mike McIntyre is not right for the people of Southeastern North Carolina.

If the entire campaign were called off immediately, we would still know this – Mike McIntyre is not right for us today nor will he be tomorrow. Or ever again.

But let’s use the most recent debate, as sort of a launching pad for this discussion. It was version #2, staged August 27 in Kenansville.

While the first Pantano/McIntyre talkathon was more of a slugfest, this one featured more finesse, more cerebral content, more fancy footwork.

For example, a front-row observer at the impressive James Sprunt Community College amphitheater noted that, during some of the diciest infighting, a nervous Mike McIntyre did a tap dance under the table that could have put him in a tie for ninth place on ‘Dancing With the Stars’.

It was that kind of a night.

Mike talks the talk. He dances the dance. But he does not walk the walk.

He is not right for America. I think he was at one time. He was a paragon of virtue, devoted to hard work, answering only to his conscience.

Times have changed. Washington does not thrive these days on selfless service, but on manipulating the power structure, where cunning politicians use the federal hog trough to further personal aims.

Mike McIntyre plays the game with aplomb — sidestepping the tough decisions, casting votes of questionable merit, but rarely showing the grit to publicly defend them.

In fact, even in public debate, he denies that he cast those votes, claiming to his constituents that he is a tenacious conservative fighting for solid American values.

Mr. Mike has become a sheep in wolf’s clothing. At his core he is a decent guy. This has to be tearing him apart.

The record tells the true story. Our homegrown congressman is quietly going along with the liberals who own the national Democratic Party, accepting their favors and protection.

Mike has become a money mule, lugging millions in federal (taxpayer) dollars back to the district from whence those dollars came, buying the votes of grateful recipients who obediently keep him in office, where he votes for Nancy Pelosi’s agenda over 90% of the time. But conveniently, unabashedly, he denies it.

Around and around it goes. It’s a lavish pork buffet. And we are picking up the tab.

It has been a sad transformation. The idealistic young Lumberton native first went to the U.S. Congress in 1996 to represent North Carolina’s conservative Seventh Congressional District – then an impregnable Democratic stronghold.

While he pledged to vacate his seat after his sixth term, he is now serving his seventh, and scrambling feverishly to notch an eighth term.

It must be conceded that his longevity and seniority have bought him clout on a number of important Congressional committees, where he has served with dogged determination.

But, if he ever approached the job with passion, the passion is gone. He seems to be constantly in a defensive posture. I don’t feel he really believes in the work he is doing in his job as our congressman. And I somehow surmise that he secretly loathes the people who are leading him around by the nose.

How can Mike claim to be the voice of the Seventh? He never speaks. Many cannot recall the last time – if ever – that he rose to champion his own votes on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This is Mute Mike.

We should add that many of the crispy dollars which have gushed into the coffers of the U.S. Treasury have originated in the Peoples Republic of China, increasing the possibility of manipulation of U.S. policies by a scheming foreign power which wants to wreck America.

It’s a dangerous game by any measure.

The McIntyre penchant for deficit spending plays into the hands of Barack Obama and his socialization of our nation, and gives aid and comfort to the arrogant liberal Nancy Pelosi, whose disastrous agenda touts big government – and the bigger and more monolithic the better!

Mike McIntyre conservative? Hardly. You ain’t always what you say you are, especially when you act like you say you ain’t.

America can’t afford Mike McIntyre and his kind anymore.

After the Kenansvile debate ended, I wandered through the crowd, and picked up some interesting interviews, including this little exchange with Melvin Williams, chairman of the Democratic Party in District Seven, who once predicted Mike McIntyre will win this election by a “huge margin.”

Strickland: “Mr. Williams, how do you feel your candidate fared in the debate tonight?”

Williams: “I think Mike did a terrific job. He always is able to explain his ideas.”

Strickland: And what about Ilario Pantano?”

Williams: “I think Mr. Pantano is a very good speaker.”

Strickland: “You left a lot unsaid.”

Williams: “That’s right. I did.”

And so does Mike McIntyre. That’s becoming a relevant issue in this campaign. The incumbent leaves much unsaid.

Maybe he doesn’t need to explain who he is. His constituents are finding out for themselves.

Our Seventh District congressman has become a relic and a Pelosi clone. The man says he’s not a quitter. But he should be.

And if he won’t vacate on his own, it’s time to enforce term limits via the ballot box.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pantano can help fill need in U.S. Congress for lawmakers with military combat experience.

By Verne Strickland

Most members of the U.S. Congress don’t have a clue how battles and wars are fought. They haven’t been there.

The disconnect shows in muddled decision-making, callous calls on Rules of Engagement, dangerous and naive micromanagment, and — perhaps most vital of all — failure to offer up a prescription on how to win, decisively and honorably.

As a result, America — still the most powerful nation on earth, and the most magnanimous – limps through combat situations with its fighting forces hobbled by naive directives from U.S. Congressmen who project a sanitized mentality of life — and death — in the savagery of desperate combat.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the enemy wears no uniform, squanders its own “soldiers” behind the cowardice of suicide missions, human shields, and wantonly kills innocents at every opportunity to weaken the resolve of the “government” to resist.

Who could understand this war? Who could deal with it? Lawyers? I don’t think so. But these are the ladies and gentlemen who send our fighting forces into combat, then waste their potential, and safety, by imposing military impotence.

According to the Congressional Research Service 170 members of the House and 58 Senators have law degrees.

Is that enough? Or way too many? The troops who fight for our freedom are having their say now about this issue.

The choice is crystal clear in the Seventh Congressional District of North Carolina, where seven-term incumbent Mike McIntyre, an attorney who has never been in uniform, is being challenged by former combat-seasoned Marine officer Ilario Pantano.

The crying need in Washington for American patriots who have fought our wars, and who are doing so now, is powerfully expressed in a statement by Kieran Michael Lalor, founder of Iraq Veterans for Congress. These are excerpts of his comments:

White Plains, NY – August 17, 2010: The number of veterans in Congress has been dwindling since the end of the Cold War. In 1980 more than sixty percent of Congress had served but now barely twenty percent of our leaders in Washington DC spent time in uniform.

The number of combat veterans is even smaller. According to a report by the House Armed Services Committee only five percent of House members served in combat zones and even fewer saw actual combat.

Also quite rare is the member of Congress who served as an enlisted man. Only about forty percent of the veterans in Congress were enlisted despite the fact that eighty-five percent of our military are enlisted rather than commissioned officers.

In short, those who actually fight our wars are severely underrepresented in Congress. For a variety of reasons, it is in the national interest to have in Congress a critical mass of enlisted men with trigger time.

While colonels and generals craft the overall strategy of any conflict, the execution is done primarily by privates, corporals and sergeants of the infantry, artillery and cavalry. Because they operate where the metal hits the meat, enlisted men of the combat arms have valuable insights into equipment, tactics and policies.

The debate over the Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan highlights the desperate need for enlisted combat veterans of the War on Terror in Congress. Someone with a worm’s-eye view of the impact restrictive rules have on morale and a small unit’s ability to accomplish the mission would be invaluable when questioning the Pentagon brass about the wisdom of current and future rules.

Voters in North Carolina need look no further than Wilmington, NC, for a shining example of a patriotic young American who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at 17, fought in the First Gulf War as an anti-tank gunner, re-enlisted after 9/11, won his commission at OCS, was deployed to Iraq where he took command of a Infantry Platoon and led them in combat in the “Triangle of Death” Region of Iraq, engaging the enemy in Latayifah, Yusufiyah and Falluja.

That former Marine, Ilario Pantano, was praised today (August 19) by retired Major General James E. Livingston, recipient of the highest military decoration bestowed by the United States – the Medal of Honor — for heroic actions in 1968 during the Vietnam War.

Livingston served on active duty in the Marine Corps over 33 years before retiring on September 1, 1995. He visited Wilmington, NC, Pantano’s hometown, to support the GOP nominee at a campaign news conference.

“Ilario is a true leader, a man of honor and integrity,” said General Livingston. “As a Marine who led men into battle in Vietnam, I understand the challenge of combat leadership, forged in the toughest crucible known to man.

“Ilario has once again decided to heed the call to service, this time to serve as a Congressman to stand up for us in Washington, to return fiscal responsibility to our government, to protect our national security, and preserve our values,” said General Livingston.

He particularly praised Pantano for pledging to limit his service in the U.S. House of Representatives to six terms, or a total of 12 years.

Pantano secured his pledge with a $250,000 personal bond, which will be forfeited to “Step Up for Soldiers”, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, should he fail to honor his commitment.

Meanwhile, Mike McIntyre, seven-term Seventh Congressional District incumbent, a Democrat, is ignoring his own pledge to cap his service at 12 years — a promise he made when first elected in 1996.

“He wasn’t supposed to run for re-election again in 2008. He did it anyway. And, worse than breaking his word, he’s reversed himself and voted sgainst term limits for committee chairmen, thus ensuring a cycle of corruption amongst his peers. Now he’s running again in 2010,” observed GOP candidate Pantano.

Perhaps voters in the conservative Seventh NC District, turned off by McIntyre’s claim of conservatism while voting repeatedly with liberal House Speaker Pelosi, will make the decision for the congressman, to spare him the anguish of retiring voluntarily.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

McIntyre losing loyal followers in home county to GOP's Ilario Pantano

By Verne Strickland

A serious erosion of support for Mike McIntyre is showing up among opinion leaders in the congressman’s home base – Robeson County.

A notable loss for the Democratic incumbent is Burt E. Benson Jr., 70, of Lumberton.

It is telling that Benson, for years an ardent McIntyre supporter and admirer, is not only jumping ship, but talking publicly about it, and urging others to do the same.

He says his switch to the candidacy of Ilario Pantano, GOP nominee for U.S. Congress in the Seventh Congressional District, is for the sake of his children and grandchildren, and his country.

Benson is a prominent businessman in the area – co-founder and CEO of Benson Construction, Inc., a family owned and operated business launched in 1968. His wife, Jan, also a co-founder, is president of the successful and highly-respected grading, paving and site utility operation serving Southeastern North Carolina. Sons Bucky Benson III and Stephen Benson are on the firm’s executive team as vice presidents.

Benson was asked what effects on his family’s future he sees in the country’s lurch to the political left.

“The erosion of our American values and our business climate are foremost on my mind. I have three children and four grandchildren, and I’m very concerned as a business owner that, when it comes time for me to hand over the reins of our family corporation, the high taxes and federal regulations won’t give them a fair chance to continue on with what we’ve built.”

He emphasized that he is not alone in this predicament. “Every business owner in America, large or small, is facing the same dim future,” he said.

The elder Benson is not one to offer his loyalty and his word lightly. He has a rock-solid sense of responsibility and honor, and it permeates his relationship with his family, his business, his country, and his God.

So he realizes that when he has a public break with a man he has trusted and called his friend, it is a matter which he has given serious consideration.

But even this personal belief system could not deter him from splitting politically with Mike McIntyre.

“I had to do it, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t take a stand,” he explained, almost ruefully.

For years, Mr. Benson has seen Mike McIntyre as a kindred soul. And to this day, Benson says he has a high degree of personal affection for this man who has gone so far in Washington. But it is fair to say that he is deeply disappointed in McIntyre’s actions in the U.S. Congress.

“Early on I served with him on a city committee, and I knew him as a very good Christian, good family-oriented gentleman, industrious and a very good representative when he first went to Congress,” said Benson.

“I didn’t pay too much attention to how he was voting up there. I assumed he was voting conservative, in a way that would be helpful for businesses here, and for the most part he did in the early years.”

But Burt Benson III began to realize that things were not what they seemed, and that U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre, who put on a conservative veneer for the home folks, was betraying them with his loyalties in Washington.

“Recently, we found out, when we got the ratings, Mike is voting with the unions 80 percent of the time, and with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, over 70 percent of the time. That is not Robeson County. That doesn’t reflect our values at all. They are tilting this country toward socialism.

“If you look deep enough, you’ll see what’s happening to the freedoms and opportunities we’ve had. We’ve seen more burdens on the small businesses than ever. We can’t get people to work, although we offer jobs. We have one of the highest unemployment rates (11.6% May 2010), and are one of the poorest counties in the State. There’s no way we can be proud of that, or tolerant of it,” he observed.

There’s another important reason why Benson has stuck with Mike McIntyre. He has had no other choice. Although he could see that the 14-year incumbent was running off the philosophical rails more frequently, McIntyre did have some seniority, and key positions on committees and subcommittees important to Robeson and the Seventh District. But until a viable candidate came along, turning away from his friend Mike McIntyre was a solution of questionable value.

Until now.

“This is the first time in years we have had a good alternative. Ilario Pantano has his priorities set, he is a patriot, has fought for his country, and he’s a man we can trust and support. When the time comes to say ‘No’ to this outrageous, reckless spending, and all these earmarks, we know that Ilario will get the job done.”

Benson has gotten to know GOP candidate Pantano, and feels this candidate deserves his trust and support. Pantano can win the day, says Benson, if enough voters in the Seventh District get to know him, and perceive his character, moral values, commitment to transparency in government and mission to return America around.

“We know Pantano is the man to carry the banner. He’s a man who has the courage to stand up against the ultra-liberals in Washington. The Democrats are just interested in funding vote-buying programs and trying to get everybody dependent on the government. That way they can count on those votes. But there are more people riding on the wagon now than out there pulling it.

“This has to change. Ilario Pantano will work to change it.”


**Phillip Stephens is chairman of the Robeson County GOP. He writes a hard-hitting blog of his own concentrating on Robeson County politics -- from the inside. See his posts at this Web address:

Saturday, July 24, 2010



Our recent posts on the action by NC House Speaker Joe Hackney, banning mention of the name of Jesus in prayer on the House floor, attracted some interesting mail from readers.

Some of it opposed Speaker Hackney's action (examples):

• Mr. Hackney, I don't know who it offends but I will tell you that I will never have to stand before the Lord and say I denied Him. Anyone who doesn't like the word Jesus doesn't need to be in our pressence. You have made me ashamed to be a tarheel but I will get over it and keep fighting you socialist progressive communists till death do I depart this world.

• Mr. Hackney: You should be ashamed of yourself. This country was founded on God. Many people still and will have God in their hearts. You cannot force Christians to leave what they believe, just because you don't think it is right.

• EXCELLENT article, Verne. Keep hammering the truth home!

Some of it supported Speaker Joe Hackney (examples):

• A religion over any other has no place in our government. As a Jew, I certainly don't need anyone to pray for me in Jesus' name. My wife and children are Christians. I encourage them in their choice of religion, but religion belongs in church, the home, and the heart; not government.

• Speaker Joe Hackney has demonstrated his courage and his compassion both. He honors, with the sensativity of Solomon, all the pastors (and rabbis, and imams) who deliver a daily invocation. At the same time, Rep. Hackney is welcoming and including those who can appreciate a prayer without a specific "deity" named. All who cry "blasphemy," ask yourselves: Would you also be so supportive should a prayer be given in Hebrew by a rabbi, or in Arabic by an imam? WWJD? I think speak to the entire gathering, offering fishes and loaves rather than thorns and bile. A thought: Worship in your own homes as you wish, but in the homes of others, pray with peace of heart rather than a chip on the shoulder.

• Isn't this just an official following the US Constitution, 1st Amendment - written by the founding fathers."Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .". So government cannot, or be seen to, promote one religion over another. Also the Constitution itself says in Article VI, Section 3: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States". Religious belief is not a pre-requisite for officials, so there will always be someone who does not want to pray to Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, or whoever. Hackney was just doing his job. There is no need to vilify this man - even if we don't like it.


All the comments were thoughtful, welcomed, and sincere, I’m certain. These writers spoke from the heart, and expressed what they believe.

But what do constitutional scholars say? For an answer, I went to Mr. Andy Yates, campaign manager for 7th Congressional District GOP nominee Ilario Pantano, who found Speaker Hackney’s actions shocking and unwarranted.

Here is what Mr. Yates found in his research –


I think this might be helpful. It is from the Pastor who was fired's attorney. It is a violation of the first amendment right of free exercise of religion and also a violation of the first amendment right to freedom of expression ot restrict how the pastor may pray. Hackney was violating the pastor's constitutional rights.
Pastor Ron Baity’s legal representative, David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association, argues that Baity has a right to pray in Jesus name as long as he does not proselytize or speak negatively about another faith.

“The First Amendment promises all Americans the free exercise of their religion, which includes the right to pray as their faith requires, even when they are invited to open state legislative sessions with prayer,” remarked Gibbs.

“There is no authority in American history, tradition or Supreme Court precedent that requires a legislature to censor a private citizen’s prayers in order to participate in a benefit or privilege that is offered to other citizens of the state,” he added.

Gibbs contends that government agencies must have policies that allow representatives of all faiths to pray freely, but he adds that voters can also have an impact.

"Encourage your legislators at your city, your county meetings, your school board or others that prayer does matter [and] that asking for divine blessing and guidance, asking for God's help is something that's been done since the founding of our nation, and it shouldn't be just disbanded with," the CLA attorney requests.

Also you have this ruling from the US 4th Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals:

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals specifically authorized legislatures to allow Jesus-prayers in Turner v. Fredericksburg, when Justice O'Connor wrote: "the Establishment Clause does not absolutely dictate the form of legislative prayer. In Marsh, the legislature employed a single chaplain…the legislature in Simpson allowed a diverse group of church leaders from around the community to give prayers at open meetings. Both varieties of legislative prayer were found constitutional."

Hope this helps!

Andy Yates
Campaign Manager
Pantano for Congress
(704) 467-0795 cell

"Prosperity through Freedom. Peace through Strength"

Visit us on the web at!
Join our facebook page at
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Watch us on youtube at


So, dear readers, I know what I believe, and I benefit from Mr. Yates’ thorough research on the realities and the legalities focusing on this thorny issue.

Perhaps no minds or hearts have been changed.

I know mine haven’t.

But I do pray that the cynical and the unbelievers will be moved to learn who Jesus Christ is, and experience His Saving Grace.

And it is in His Precious Name, our Savior Jesus Christ, that I offer this prayer. Amen.

Respectfully, Verne Strickland.


Friday, July 23, 2010



“We have some of the most excitement in Robeson County since the Civil War,” said Phillip Stephens, chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party.

Tall order. But, judging by how lonely Republicans have been in this Democratic bastion, Stephens could be right. Correct that. He is very right.

“We are the most Democratic County in North Carolina,” he advised. “In size, we are the largest county in the state. And the Republicans are actually excited along with their conservative brethren over in the Democratic Party about the election in November.”

Robeson has a proud history, and a promising future. Formed in 1787, the county took its name from Colonel Thomas Robeson, one of the leaders in the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Elizabethtown. During this battle the Tories in the southeastern part of North Carolina were crushed by the patriots.

Home to 14 municipalities, Robeson is one of the most diverse counties in North Carolina, with a true tri-racial population – Native American Indian, African American, and Caucasian.

Stephens, 48, is a resident of Fairmont. He has presided over a resurgence of Republican Party growth and political strength, and is convinced 2010 will be a banner year for the GOP in Robeson County.

“As recent as twenty years ago, over 90 percent of the county was registered Democrat. We have watched them lose a percentage point every year in the past two decades, while the Republicans have been gaining a percentage point, and sometimes two, annually. Independents or unaffiliated voters have been doing even better, registering at a rate of up to two percent a year more than our Republicans.”

The result is that, in Robeson County, Democratic registration has skidded from over 90 percent a couple of decades ago to just over 80 percent this year.

For the first time since the Civil War, Republicans in some precincts are flexing their muscles, confident now that they can rally their base to win elections in the county.

“Pantano has created a unique dynamic in our county,” said Stephens. “What he has brought to the campaign is that – rather than attacking Mike personally – Pantano has said that he understands McIntyre works to maintain what we’ll call a conservative image, and the Congressman is anxious to preserve that image.”

But while Ilario Pantano avoids personal attacks aimed at McIntyre, he considers the Congessman’s voting record and cozy relationship with ultra-liberal Democrats to be fair game. This is where the gloves come off.

“Our candidate wants to show how Mike’s friends in Washington, such as Nancy Pelosi, capitalize on McIntyre’s Democratic credentials in order to facilitate their Socialist agenda. It’s a strategy that resonates with Republican voters in Robeson County,” said Stephens. “Pantano gets traction with that strategy, and it’s working.”

Stephens asserted that the tactic is not negative campaigning, but merely exposing facts about the incumbent congressman and the people with whom he chooses to associate.

“We don’t have any polls,” he said, “but I said months ago that, the very second McIntyre agreed to debate Ilario Pantano, it was an admission that McIntyre’s internal polling was not favorable. In fourteen years we could not get McIntyre to debate because he had no reason to. Our political operatives and our benchmarks tell us that means the Democratic polling numbers aren’t as good as the public thinks.”

He said that Robeson County has not been in a position where conservative Democrats and Republicans would abandon McIntyre, but with a sufficiently credible candidate, the tide has changed.

“Our opposition research shows that McIntyre in the past few weeks has been trying to reach out to Republicans, however I think he realizes now that he will need to concentrate on his own base because Republicans have decided that they are supporting Pantano,” Stephens explained.

Now the GOP in Robeson County knows it can effectively raid McIntyre’s camp to pick up support for Ilario Pantano.

“It’s a whole new ballgame”, he said. “We’re shifting and trying to cross over and get those conservative Democratic voters over to Pantano’s side,” he said.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



Rev. Brian Lowman, Pastor
South Hills Baptist Church
6400 Holly Springs Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27606

I read the following story on Christian NewsWire and because it pertains to our great state of NC I wanted to share it with you. This story has been on Fox News as well as various other news media outlets. It is a shame that our leaders have become so “politically correct” that we can no longer call upon the name above all names. I would encourage you to contact your NC Congressman and let them know how you feel.

RALEIGH, N.C., July 13 /Christian Newswire/ — The Pray In Jesus Name Project is faxing more than 140,000 petitions to the North Carolina State-House, demanding legislators reverse Speaker Joe Hackney’s ban against the forbidden word “Jesus” during public prayers spoken by volunteer pastors giving the invocation.

Nearly 1,000 citizens from all 50 states signed the free petition on the first day, which was then faxed to each of 120 North Carolina State Representatives and all 50 Senators.

On May 31, Speaker Hackney verbally banned Jesus’ name as “illegal speech” by disinviting Pastor Ron Baity from praying before the legislature after pre-screening the prayer content and objecting to his closing words, “in Jesus name.” No written policy exists banning prayer content, but the Speaker is now writing one.

“I got fired,” said Ron Baity, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. He had been invited to lead prayer for an entire week but his tenure was cut short when he refused to remove the name Jesus from his invocation.

“Our petition campaigns have helped reverse Jesus-bans in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, California and Virginia, and now we fight for free religious speech in North Carolina,” said former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, leader of The Pray in Jesus Name Project. Klingenschmitt himself was punished for praying “in Jesus name” in uniform in 2006, but was later vindicated by the U.S. Congress. “Pastor Baity is a hero for refusing to water-down his prayers,” he said.

Despite deceptive claims by the ACLU’s easily-offended atheist complainers, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals specifically authorized legislatures to allow Jesus-prayers in Turner v. Fredericksburg, when Justice O’Connor wrote: “the Establishment Clause does not absolutely dictate the form of legislative prayer. In Marsh, the legislature employed a single chaplain…the legislature in Simpson allowed a diverse group of church leaders from around the community to give prayers at open meetings. Both varieties of legislative prayer were found constitutional.”

Contact: Chaplain Klingenschmitt,, 719-360-5132,; Stephanie Lewis, TC Public Relations, 312-422-1333,



Joe Hackney (born September 23, 1945, in Chatham County, NC) is a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state's fifty-fourth House district, including constituents in Chatham, Orange, and Moore counties. A farmer and attorney from Chapel Hill, Hackney is currently (2009-2010 session) serving in his fifteenth term in the state House of Representatives and is the Speaker of the House.


Representative Joe Hackney, Democrat

District: 54

Counties Represented: Chatham, Moore, Orange

Office: 2304 Legislative Building

Phone: 919-733-3451


Legislative Mailing Address:

NC House of Representatives

16 W. Jones Street, Room 2304

Raleigh, NC 27601-1096

Home Address: 410 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Phone: 919-929-0323


Friday, July 16, 2010


Representative Sue Myrick (NC-9) came to Congress in 1995 after building a successful advertising and public relations business, and serving two terms as mayor of Charlotte, NC, the state’s largest city and commercial hub. She is currently in her eighth term representing North Carolina's 9th district, which covers portions of Union, Mecklenburg, and Gaston Counties.

Myrick serves on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, which is the oldest legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. It enjoys the broadest legislative responsibility of any House committee, including public health, telecommunications, energy, consumer protection, food and drug safety, air quality, environmental health, and interstate and foreign commerce.

The feisty Republican conservative, 68, has sparkled in her Washington experience, and is on the radar of national media – the subject most recently of a very positive feature on

Myrick tells Newsmax it is “very frightening” that the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has been sending agents to Mexico — and some have already entered the United States across the porous border.

The North Carolina lawmaker has asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to set up a special task force to investigate the reports that Hezbollah is cooperating with drug cartels along the Mexican border.

In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Myrick — a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the GOP’s Deputy Whip — was asked what is known about Hezbollah’s threat to America.

“Our intelligence sources have really clarified that they are in Mexico, that there is an operation that is quite large in place there, and it’s very frightening to me because this is national security,” says Myrick, who was first elected in 1994.

“Yes, immigration’s a problem too, but this particular situation [involves] people who don’t like us for various reasons.

“We know some of them have gotten across the border in the past, and now we know that there are people from Iran who are going to Venezuela. They are actually learning Spanish, and then they come up through Mexico to cross our border. So they’re working in cahoots with Venezuela as well.”

About Hezbollah’s intentions in the U.S., Myrick says: “We don’t know. It used to be that most of those groups did not really target the United States. They were targeting other countries or they were staying inside their own area of influence. Now they are starting to target the United States and that’s my concern.

“I do want a task force of both U.S. and Mexican officials. Let’s get to the bottom of this and find out what is going on.

“The response I have received was a call that they would like to give me a private intelligence briefing because I’m on the Intelligence Committee. I said that would be fine, but I would like an answer about the task force first because once I get a briefing, I can’t talk about it.”

Sen. John Kyl, an Arizona Republican, has said he met privately with President Barack Obama and implored him to secure the border. Kyl claims Obama told him that if he did secure the border it would remove the incentive for comprehensive immigration reform or amnesty for illegals. Myrick says that “makes no sense whatsoever.”

Myrick tells Newsmax: “It’s obvious that’s what he wants, amnesty. He’s said it over and over again. I don’t see it that way.

“Our responsibility at the federal government is to make sure that our borders are secure. Once the border is secure, like it is in some other places where we don’t have the problems that we do in the areas where it’s porous, then we’ll know who is in the country. We can control who comes into the country.

“It makes no sense to me whatsoever that you can’t secure the border because you can’t get amnesty.”

Myrick takes issue with Attorney General Eric Holder, who has filed suit against Arizona’s tough new law to battle illegal immigration.

“The federal government has not done its job,” she declares.
“Arizona is only trying to do what a state as the right to do, and that is to protect themselves.”

Turning to Iran, Myrick charges that the Obama administration is dragging its feet on dealing with the nuclear threat posed by the Islamic Republic.

“I think we should take a tougher stance and work harder with our partners in the world to make sure they do too,” she says.

The United Nations in its attempts to deal with Iran is “just a joke,” she adds. “They aren’t doing their job.”

Asked about the possibility that Israel may attack Iran’s nuclear facilities on its own, Myrick responds:

“I think Israel has the right to defend themselves. That option is there.

“I hope it does not come to that, but there needs to be something done to have a tougher stand with Iran.

“They aren’t going to be our friends. You can’t convince them they’re going to be our friends. They don’t operate that way. They don’t want to be friends. They want to conquer the world.”

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Isn't it sad the media choose to tell us all about the trivia and inane drivel that goes on -- a self-important professional athlete who cuts himself shaving, an entertainer who reveals half of her bustline to millions at a Superbowl halftime show, a politician who drinks beer with a goofy Harvard proessor at the White House, and has burgers with Dmitry Medvedev at a greasy spoon in Virginia? (Why that sounds like our president!)

But the obituary of a truly outstanding American lady merits nothing in any paper or online source that I have seen since the death of Pamela Murphy many weeks ago.

Maybe I just missed it. She deserved more.

Verne Strickland

By Dennis McCarthy, Los Angeles Times on April 15, 2010

Pamela Murphy, widow of WWII hero and actor, Audie Murphy, died peacefully at her home on April 8, 2010. She was the widow of the most decorated WWII hero and actor, Audie Murphy, and established her own distinctive 35 year career working as a patient liaison at the Sepulveda Veterans Administration hospital, treating every veteran who visited the facility as if they were a VIP.

Any soldier or Marine who came into the hospital got the same special treatment from her. She would walk the hallways with her clipboard in hand making sure her boys got to see the specialist they needed.

If they didn't, watch out. Her boys weren't Medal of Honor recipients or movie stars like Audie, but that didn't matter to Pam. They had served their country. That was good enough for her. She never called a veteran by his first name. It was always "Mister." Respect came with the job.

"Nobody could cut through VA red tape faster than Mrs. Murphy," said veteran Stephen Sherman, speaking for thousands of veterans she befriended over the years. "Many times I watched her march a veteran who had been waiting more than an hour right into the doctor's office. She was even reprimanded a few times, but it didn't matter to Mrs. Murphy. "Only her boys mattered. She was our angel."

Audie Murphy died broke in a plane crash in 1971, squandering millions of dollars on gambling, bad investments, and yes, other women. "Even with the adultery and desertion at the end, he always remained my hero," Pam told me.

She went from a comfortable ranch-style home in Van Nuys where she raised two sons to a small apartment - taking a clerk's job at the nearby VA to support herself and start paying off her faded movie star husband's debts.

At first, no one knew who she was. Soon, though, word spread throughthe VA that the nice woman with the clipboard was Audie Murphy's widow. It was like saying General Patton had just walked in the front door. Men with tears in their eyes walked up to her and gave her a hug.

"Thank you," they said, over and over.

The first couple of years, I think the hugs were more for Audie's memory as a war hero. The last 30 years, they were for Pam.

One year I asked her to be the focus of a Veteran's Day column for all the work she had done. Pam just shook her head no.

"Honor them, not me," she said, pointing to a group of veterans down the hallway. "They're the ones who deserve it."

The vets disagreed. Mrs. Murphy deserved the accolades, they said. Incredibly, in 2002, Pam's job was going to be eliminated in budget cuts. She was considered excess staff.

"I don't think helping cut down on veterans' complaints and showing them the respect they deserve, should be considered excess staff," she told me. Neither did the veterans. They went ballistic, holding a rally for her outside the VA gates. Pretty soon, word came down from the top of the VA. Pam Murphy was no longer considered "excess staff."

She remained working full time at the VA until 2007 when she was 87.

"The last time she was here was a couple of years ago for the conference we had for homeless veterans," said Becky James, coordinator of the VA's Veterans History Project.

Pam wanted to see if there was anything she could do to help some more of her boys. She was 90 when she died last week. What a lady.

List of Decorations for Audie Murphy:

Congressional Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star (with oak leaf cluster)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (with oak leaf cluster and Valor device)
Purple Heart (with two oak leaf clusters)
U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (with First Oak Leaf Cluster)
American Campaign Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with One Silver Star, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze Arrowhead (representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France)),

World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal (with Germany Clasp)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
French Fourragère in Colors of the Croix de guerre
French Legion of Honor - Grade of Chevalier
French Croix de guerre (with Silver Star),
French Croix de guerre (with Palm)
Medal of Liberated France
Belgian Croix de guerre (with 1940 Palm)

Additionally, Murphy was awarded:

Combat Infantry Badge ,
Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar,
Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Should Government Jobs Sector Growth Outpace Private Sector?

Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina voters agree that it is wrong for the number of government employees to grow as private employers in the state lay off workers according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, 60 percent of voters said they agree that it is wrong for the number of government employees to grow at a time when private employers are laying off workers. Thirty-one percent disagree that it is wrong, and nine percent said they are not sure.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that North Carolina lost 133,400private sector jobs over the last decade, while North Carolina government added more than 34,000 new positions. These figures appear to be resonating with citizens as there is bipartisan agreement concerning growth of the government jobs sector.

Sixty-five percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Democrats agree that government employment should not increase as private sector growth decreases. Sixty-five percent of unaffiliated voters also agree.

“As private employers have shed jobs over the past few months and years, government jobs have continued to grow. Just last month, government added 16,000 new workers in North Carolina while private sector jobs fell by 3,000,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “North Carolina’s voters see the fallacy in growing government while the private sector contracts.”

When asked if they agree or disagree that no state employee should be permitted to be paid more than the $135,000 yearly amount that the Governor of North Carolina receives, 61 percent of voters said they agree. Thirty-one percent said they disagree, and 8 percent said they are not sure.

Furthermore, half of the voters who work for the government said they agree with the pay cap for state employees. Forty-four percent of government workers said they disagree, and 8 percent said they were not sure.

“Voters clearly understand that adding government workers has a cost to taxpayers,” added Hayes.

As the state struggles with the lowest number of private sector jobs for any May since 2003 (total of 3.18 million), 64 percent of voters agree that the rate of growth of government jobs should not exceed the rate of growth of private sector jobs. Twenty-three percent said they disagree, and 13 percent said they are not sure.

Additionally, over half of voters who work for the government said they agree that government job growth shouldn’t exceed that of private. Thirty-two percent said they disagree, and 10 percent said they are not sure.

The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more information on Civitas polling see


Reported by correspondent Darwin Dowdy

New Hanover County (Wilmington) 9.2%
Robeson County (Lumberton ) 11.5%
Baden County ( Elizabethtown ) 11.4%
Cumberland County (Fayetteville) 8.6%
Duplin County (Wallace/Warsaw) 8.5%
Columbus County (Chadbourn/Whiteville)11.7%

Friday, July 2, 2010

With Barack Obama, things are more like they are than they've ever been before.

7/2/10   this is a damn good bit I wrote back in 2010. I look at it today in June 2014 and Obama is still making the same mistakes, denying he did, and trying to weasel his way out of it.

The man doesn't change, can't change and won't change. You might enjoy this. I did, and I wrote it. Proves to me that things are more like they are now than they've even been before.

Soon after our clueless president has a cozy USA burger in a fast food joint in Virginia with Mr. Slick – Russian president Medvedev – FBI agents round up a scattered den of seemingly innocent, earnest young Russians on charges of spying.

Look out, America, where are your friends? Who are your enemies? So much duplicity to uncover, so little time to do it.

We need to stop being schmucks. But I think we’ll have to stop being schmucks under the next president. This one is a disaster. Some kind of hybrid American, world citizen, and closet revolutionary who seems inclined to sell out his own country everytime he goes overseas.

And when he gets back.

He glibly cooled his way into American hearts (or spleens, livers, kidneys or some other vital organ) without giving up anything useful about himself.

When he botched his inauguration oath with the help of John Roberts, he committed the first of a succession of ghastly miscues – he curtsies to Arab and Asian “dignitaries”, disses one of our most loyal allies (inexplicably sending a wonderful gift (a bust of Winston Churchill) back to England, allows his non-white AG to climb in bed with the roughneck racist Black Panthers, uses a teleprompter when he speaks to school kids, and can’t seem to get his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is playing. And that can’t begin to cover the problems.

Say what?

This puzzling individual, my friends, used to be a mystery, ascending to the world’s most powerful office with only a casual vetting process.

Those were the good times, before we knew what was coming.

Now that he’s not a mystery anymore, smart American are looking anxiously to 2012, and praying our Maximum Leader doesn’t totally flush our country down the toilet.

Not “his” America, mind you – “our” America. It’s not his. He has never truly identified with it, can’t understand what it’s all about, will never respect it, and may maim or cripple the U.S. before he is finally impeached and sent packing back to Chicago, Hawaii, Kenya,, or some other place where he might have been born.

Look, I have just about had it, okay?

But this sincere harangue started with the Russians, the KGB, and happy hamburgers with Barack and his Russian buddy Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev -- extremely lifelike clone of Vladimir Putin. Another commie wolf in wolf’s clothing.

This is a pretty fair story of the Barack Burger Summit, as described by the Associated Press:

"The Obama administration welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to the White House recently, and played up warmer relations with the former Cold War adversary, though foreign policy disputes linger.

"Out of media view, Medvedev arrived at the White House on a sweltering summer morning for an Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama and talks with U.S. and Russian officials in the Cabinet Room. The leaders, holding their seventh meeting since Obama took office 17 month ago, then planned to address reporters.

"The leaders snuck away for a bite to eat at a popular hamburger joint across the Potomac River—Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Va., where Obama took Vice President Joe Biden last year. Customers cheered when the two walked in.

"U.S. officials are pointing to signs that efforts to start fresh with Moscow have delivered results, from Russian support for new penalties against Iran to the signing of a major nuclear treaty.

"Conservative critics see Obama as too conciliatory to Russia and say he hasn't resolved disputes over issues such as Moscow's human rights record, missile defense and Moscow's tensions with neighboring Georgia. They charge that by speaking softly on those issues, the United States is compromising its influence among Russia's neighboring countries.
"We are paying a huge price for the reset policy," says Ariel Cohen of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Administration officials say they have stood their ground on disagreements with Russia but have shifted the tone away from conflict, which they say is a sign of a maturing relationship.

"The true significance of Medvedev's visit is that it brings us closer to a relationship that doesn't require Cold War-style summits to sustain itself," says Sam Charap, a Russia analyst at the Center for American Progress. "The lack of headlines is actually a sign of progress."


Well, there’ve been some headlines now, and they belie the claim that we are winning over the Russians, even when we get chummy with them and try to buy them off with cheap food.

It's all here in this sad, unsettling and embarrassing discovery was reported by CBS News:

"The FBI has arrested 10 people who allegedly spied for Russia for up to a decade - posing as innocent civilians while trying to infiltrate U.S. policymaking circles and learn about U.S. weapons, diplomatic strategy and political developments. An 11th defendant - a man accused of delivering money to the agents - remains at large.

"The story feels like a throw-back to the cold war, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. Cryptic codes and money drops involving secret agents the U.S. government charges are spies for Russia.

Each of the 10 was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Two criminal complaints outlining the charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York.

"Nine of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison.

"There was no clue in the court papers unsealed Monday about how successful the agents had been, but they were alleged to have been long-term, deep cover spies.
Intelligence on Obama's foreign policy, particularly toward Russia, appears to have been a top priority. The timing of the arrests was notable given the efforts by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev to 'reset' U.S.-Russia relations."

How naïve can our leaders be? Is O’Bama just practicing, or still campaigning? When will he step up and do the job he has convinced us he is so unqualified and uncommitted to do? I couldn’t venture a guess.

One of the latest wrinkles? There's some disagreement over whether these professional Russian thugs are really a flight risk. Any comments?

But maybe things are turning around for the president. House Minority Leader John Boehner, not typically known for complimenting Obama, recently paid him the ultimate compliment this week, calling him “whining” and “childish”.

Works for me.

I think maybe Pogo said it best: “We have met the enemy and they are us.” Or something like that.

When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?

Monday, June 28, 2010

'Conservative' reporter refused entry to lawyers' event

They didn’t refuse me entry because the hall was full. Or claim I was too old to come in. Or too ugly. Or too white, too Southern, or too Christian.

No, they said I couldn’t sit at their lunch counter because I was conservative. They would admit only “unbiased” journalists. The News and Observer, the Star-News, the Associated Press.This was the word sent down to me by whoever was charged with keeping out the undesirables and the unwashed at the N.C. Bar Association’s Senatorial Forum this past week-end in Wilmington.

The debate brought together the three NC candidates for the U.S. Senate, a contest that will be decided in the general election, November 2, 2010.

I presume that the event drew a large crowd because starkly differing viewpoints would be offered. That’s what debates are all about. There’s the drama – thrust and parry, attack and defend. Freedom of expression. The American ideal, and all that, you know.

But they refused entry to a journalist who didn’t pass their litmus test. Conservative – therefore “biased”.
Their response to my request to cover the posh, clubby event was delivered by a press official for Senator Burr’s campaign organization.

She was only the messenger. She delivered the word. No offense there. She was not complicit in any way. But the “word” was plenty offensive.

A conservative journalist for, which is a leading online news and political presence, I had earlier talked with David Ward, press secretary in Senator Burr’s Washington office.

I indicated that I was interested in covering the Senatorial Forum for, where I have often scorched Washington liberals for their hypocrisy, duplicity, and downright old-timey in-your-face arrogance. David was, of course, cordial, helpful, as he always is, and agreed that he might try work out a personal interview with the Senator if time allowed.

I came with some pretty fair credentials. Brought no malice. Ready to work.

So never would I have suspected that the haughty barristers of North Carolina – defenders of the weak, the defenseless, the downtrodden, the falsely accused (and now, in 2010, defenders of liberal news organizations to the exclusion of all others) would pull a bone-headed stunt like this – out in the open, in their proudest moment – at their 2010 annual meeting, which featured an address by David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst, plus a televised debate amongst three feisty combatants.

And, lest I forget -- and possibly offend Ms. Elaine Marshall, who won her spurs fighting gangs, “big business”, druggies, scam artists, and other scoundrels as the State’s star crimebuster – all attorneys are not public defenders. And that’s more than a good thing. So much to prosecute these days, so little time to do it.

Of course, this is the age of do it onstage, whether it's Washington politics or a strip show. Look at one-term President Obama, former U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, and many others who more than deserve their own Democratic Party. After all, they made it what it is. And may now live to regret it.

They plunder and pillage America, struggle mightily to dismantle the Constitution, pull back-room deals, lie and cheat, then emerge into the spotlight to announce that they have done what everyone knows they shouldn’t have. They actually seem proud of it

But I profess that I digress. The little incident of political media selectivity I experienced could have easily gone under the radar. Except for the fact that I’m not going to let it. Not because I am somebody important. Far from it. But I am a pretty fair reporter, with 50 years of experience in the media trenches, and I care deeply about the singularly American principle of a free press. It’s worth defending. And it should be defended, even shouted from the rooftops – that the North Carolina Bar Association turned away a conservative journalist at the door because he was “biased”.

The News & Observer, though, and the Star-News, and the Associated Press? They are not biased? Au contraire, me hearties. The old reliable N&O, and the NYT’s beach darling, the Star-News, are notorious for letting their liberal philosophy bleed off the editorial pages and infect their “news” sections. The Associated Press? Less so, for sure.

And by the way, let’s also nominate WRAL-TV to the hall of shame. That’s where conservative hero Jesse Helms held forth with courageous conservative editorials during his years there. That fact is probably not proudly recalled by the current occupants of the studio, nor by the top brass. The news purveyors there seem to have deserted their early roots and gone cynical, citified and liberal

WRAL-TV was cordially admitted to the NCBA ego feeding frenzy. Their representative had a reserved seat on the front row, as a member of the official “media panel”, selected to ask totally unbiased questions. I'm certain that was accomplished handily.

It’s fine that we have liberal news organizations, as long as they don’t deny their bias, then strike from ambush in their news coverage.

But censorship at the door by a professional organization with a State charter is way out of bounds. From a moral standpoint, and probably from a legal standpoint as well.

Should I sue?

NOTE: The North Carolina Bar Association is registered through the office of the Secretary of State (Elaine Marshall) with status listed as “active”. The organization was founded and chartered in 1899, and enjoys special tax privileges as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation with “perpetual duration”.

Does the N.C. Secretary of State know where her 501(c)3 chilren are? And what they’re doing?


Thursday, June 24, 2010

BULLETIN: Obama fumbles ball again. NC Coast may suffer.

Wilmington, NC: Ilario Pantano, the Republican nominee for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, calls on the Obama Administration to immediately reinstate the charter for the Minerals Management Services’ (now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Policy Committee and to immediately appoint a representative from North Carolina to the committee.

“It is frightening to me that in the midst of the worst oil spill on record in U.S. history, and during the middle of a review and potential revision of offshore energy regulations and policies, that the OCS Policy committee, the group of experts whose job it is to advise the Secretary of the Interior on such issues, no longer exists because President Obama let their charter expire,” Pantano said.

The Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee’s charter expired on June 5th effectively disbanding the committee. The Committee had been in existence since 1975, and its expired charter stated that the purpose of the committee was to advise the Secretary of the Interior by reviewing and commenting on all aspects of the leasing, exploration, development, and protection of OCS resources. North Carolina has not had representation on the committee, despite the fact that North Carolina has the largest OCS acreage on the east coast (64 million acres) and the fourth largest in the nation.

"This is another example that President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar are asleep at the wheel,” Pantano said. "They are not focused on solving the problem. Instead, they are busy trying to politicize this crisis in order to pass their potentially disastrous cap-and-tax energy policy. This is one of the worst disasters in the history of our nation. It deserves our full focus. We must bring every asset to bear from the US Navy on down to plug this leak now.”

Pantano also noted that while other North Carolina leaders including Senator Burr, Senator Hagan, Congresswoman Myrick, and Congressman Butterfield have advocated for North Carolina representation on the OCS, Congressman McIntyre appears to have remained silent.

“While the odds are slim that oil from this disaster will reach the North Carolina coast, we must be proactive and we must be prepared. As a former Marine, I know that the best defense is to take charge and attack the problem before it gets to us. We must do what is necessary to mitigate the damage that would be done to both our environment and our economy if the oil does reach our shores,” Pantano concluded. “It is imperative that the OCS be re-chartered with North Carolina representation.”


UNC Wilmington's Steve Ross is among researchers who have studied a deep-sea coral reef, called the Viosca Knoll, that is near the Gulf oil slick. Pristine, deep-water coral reefs also lie off the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida.

A thick blanket of oil could smother the living coral, Ross said. Oil droplets that attach to debris sinking to the bottom could also rain onto sensitive bottom-dwelling creatures. Researchers aren't sure what to expect.

"We have serious concerns that are difficult to answer because the appropriate studies have not been funded," Ross said. "Both we and (government) agencies have been remiss" in not assessing such risks sooner.

The ocean currents that could sweep Gulf of Mexico oil up the Atlantic coast might also become a contaminated highway for billions of young sea creatures, some of which will grow to maturity off the Carolinas.

Commercially valuable seafood species such as snappers and groupers sometimes spawn in the Gulf, their larvae riding currents to settle onto N.C. reefs. Coveted Atlantic bluefin tuna, which brought N.C. fishermen $1.4 million last year, are spawning now within miles of the oil leak.

Rare turtles are also swimming onto beaches in the Gulf and Carolinas to lay their eggs.
Scientists say oil could stunt the animals' growth, cause breathing problems or kill them outright. Fish larvae and eggs are especially sensitive to toxic substances.

The odds remain low that the spill will reach N.C. beaches. But oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon well has reached the Gulf's Loop Current, which flows south around the tip of Florida and then northward up the Atlantic coast on the Gulf Stream.

"The Gulf Stream stitches us all together," said Duke University marine biologist Larry Crowder.
The key questions, he added, are how much oil the Gulf Stream will deliver, for how long and in what form?


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tim D'Annunzio shines bright, stands tall while losing in NC-8 GOP runoff.

You will hate yourself in the morning. Oh, yeah? Not us – not those of us who supported and cheered on our hero Tim D’Annunzio!

No, we arise with a clear conscience. We fought the good fight. Gained appreciation for an admirable man who, despite being the target of lies and abuse from the new Country Club Republicans of North Carolina, stood tall and did not sink to their level.

Did we lose? Did Tim lose? I don’t think so. There were many positive things that came out of this.

For one thing, the foes of truth in politics and government introduced themselves to us. They showed us not only what they are, but who they are – name, rank and serial number! Now we can zero our mortars. Let’s fire when the time is right.

Also, we will now see, the Lord willing, that losing the battle does not equate to losing the war. All is not lost. Heck no. We have to know that. Loss and tribulation build character. Now, we don’t want to build too much character in this particular way, but we will see that we are stronger and wiser.

Tim? Well, getting to know this guy is a wonderful gift. Through friends like Jonathan Alligood, Scott Manning, and others, who clued me in to the fact that a conservative Christian candidate was being bloodied by smear tactics, then encouraged me to keep on writing about Tim’s candidacy, I got involved, got really charged up, and maybe gave some useful perspectives to the mayhem.

What really hurt was actually not seeing an honorable conservative candidate lose to the new NC Republican machine, but knowing how much it hurt Tim’s family. That is collateral damage that we don’t often think about.

In my last column on election day, I reported what Tim confided to me – that he often found his wife in tears, and that his fourteen-year-old-son was distressed to see his father characterized as a villain – while this young man new of his father’s decency, love for God, country and family, and determination to lead an honorable, and set a good example.

That’s the Tim D’Annunzio I have come to know, and I am certain that there are many out there in the Eighth District and across the Cap Fear Region who agree. Unfortunately, I am disappointed that all who agree did not translate their beliefs into action at the polls.

And that’s something else we need to do better on. That’s where the engine for change is located. That’s where battles are won and lost.

I want to put together a collection of supportive comments addressed to Tim D’Annunzio and his family. I think we owe him this. Please send your comments in response to this column. I’ll use all of them I can. I will not use, and will delete, any comments which are contrary to this request.

That’s it for now. God bless America, and God bless our friend and political mentor, Tim D’Annunzio. Let’s go to work.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

The D'Annunzio Perspective: A letter to Harold Johnson from the Eighth District Tea Party of North Carolina.

To Mr. Harold Johnson: June 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Since the North Carolina 8th district Republican congressional race entered a runoff it has become one of the most contentious races in the nation. One candidate claims support from the Republican Party establishment and the Tea Party and the other candidate is being attacked by the Republican Party and attacking back while also claiming support from the Tea Party. Along with the runoff candidates espousing very different ideas of how to fix our country there abounds concerned conversations with Republican Party interference and Tea Party endorsements.

Not to be lost in all this is the real reasons we are faced with this unlikely and volatile mix to start with. It boils down to this; we have been ruled by two political parties that have financially bankrupt or nation. Their mismanagement provoked a reaction in the people who assembled en-mass to protest and form Tea Party Groups who have set out to do something about it. The result of all this is a very nasty political runoff in the 8th district.

All of this has come about because of the failure of both parties to govern with sound fiscal and moral principles and then, after seeing the response of the people they continued to turn a deaf ear. Setting the Democrats aside it is clear that the Republican establishment has failed miserably to recognize why the Tea Party exists. Early on they began damage control and sought to capitalize on the Tea Revolution by pulling the Tea Partiers under the big tent. They wooed many by saying we share the same values while laughing at us behind closed doors. This is not just the spirit of our time; it is the result of many years of poor management of our nation’s resources and the Party that is supposed to represent conservatism bears the larger part of the blame. I ask you, has the party that gave us McCain shown they have changed? What Next?

First, everyone should already know but just in case, the “Tea Party” is not a political party and doesn’t intend to be. (This should put you political operatives at ease….at least on this one issue). Anyway this is why I call it the Tea Revolution. Additionally it will be necessary to give some history of the groups in the 8th district in order to clarify which candidate has the support of the Tea Revolution in the 8th district runoff and why.

For now it is necessary to digress so that we may set the stage before the runoff.
Last year when the Tea Revolution started it appeared to be a sudden reaction to the new Obama administrations massive bailouts and spending. I would like to point out that this was only a spark that ignited the Revolution. It is what lies beneath and what came before that provided the fuel for the revolution. The Tea Revolution is a visible, public display of something that has been fomenting for years.

Here are two examples.

1. For all of my adult life I have heard, “The Republicans are taking us over the same cliff, only slower”. We would laugh as if it were a joke but the truth is this statement came out of an underlying knowledge that we were headed for a disaster and both parties were complicit in creating it. We have felt this way for more than 30 years.

2. In 2007 congress decided they wanted to push amnesty which was in effect a pool of cheap labor for industry (Republicans), and more voters (Democrats). Citizens barraged congress to voice their opinion and “burning up the phones” became a household term used to describe how conservatives of all stripes stopped Amnesty. Being a year before Barak Obama was on the radar and two years before the bailouts, what caused this sudden move to stop congress?

Revolutions are never a sudden change in the attitude of the populace. They are a public manifestation of an attitude that was in the making for some time before. It is an underlying social discontent. Some historians refer to “massive social discontent” as the term used to describe what precedes a revolution.
In this nation, unlike any other in history we are we are faced with a rare opportunity to change our government peacefully because our Forefathers – and the churches - were wise enough to pen the Bill of Rights that secures our freedom to respond to this problem. I might add that this is no small entry into the annals of mankind. Consider this transcending quote by William Cobbett, "Tyranny has no enemy so formidable as the pen”. Our First amendment guarantees that we will never have to use the Second as a defense against tyranny.

Seeing that a peaceful revolution was occurring it was my intent to build a member organization capable of channeling that discontent into productive and meaningful actions that would challenge our politicians and/or replace them. After all, is there anybody that would disagree that this would be the ultimate aim of the Tea Revolution? Yes, all of us who identify with the principles will act accordingly on their own but it is just as true that without organization you will accomplish little. Imagine if no one had taken the time to organize the Obama/Celgard protest in Charlotte. So more than anything it is how much organization is needed and in this case I am asking you; how much organization is needed to save our nation from despotic dysfunctional Parties and tyranny?

Now who are those who we call Tea Revolutionaries and who are those groups in the 8th district that both candidates are referring to when they claim they are the Tea Party candidate?

The Tea Revolution is primarily made up of fiscal conservatives and those who recognize that expansion of government is directly tied to shrinking individual freedom. With this said the core values of most “Tea” groups in our nation are fiscal sanity (which includes principles of free market economy), less government, and individual liberty. In addition there are many people who identify with the principles the Tea Revolution but have never attended a meeting of any sort. Although these people believe the same, they are not a “member” as the term implies.

Throughout the 8th district there are four tea groups. One is ours, We The People NC (WTPNC) and from ours came one, We the People Stanly (WTPS). Separately a group was born in Cumberland County called We The People of the Sandhills (SWTP) and another called Tea Party Patriots (TPP) which resides in Richmond County. The Richmond county group has a philosophy that is a mix between conservatism and socialism. It is a small group of about a dozen and because their core philosophy does not concur with that of other Tea groups they have alienated themselves from the mainstream of the Tea Revolution in the 8th. The Sandhills We The People started as a tea party in the spring of ’09 with around 350 patriots. Since, they have become more formally organized and have joined forces on several occasions with WTPNC. We The People Stanly, as mentioned earlier, began when a group of Stanly residence who were attending the events held by WTPNC decided to start their own organization in Stanly County. They comprise of around 250 and are currently somewhat inactive. WTPNC is comprised of a list of around 700 and holds meetings in the range of 300 – 500 which makes us the largest and most active in the 8th district.

Because we are at the center of the controversy it is necessary to elaborate some on who we are. The mission of WTPNC is “To Unite and Equip People to Preserve, Protect and Defend the U. S. Constitution”. (You can find our statement of beliefs at ( Dedicated to the principles of free market economy, less government and individual liberty we have worked hard to grow an organization capable of managing the activities that we see are necessary to fulfill our mission.

We were started as an organization; not as a “Tea Party” but we fully espouse the spirit of the Tea Revolution. Our meetings in 2009 were designed to reach others who were concerned about where our country was headed. Our monthly meetings grew in size very rapidly until we were meeting at 500+.

We are governed by a CEO, President and a board of directors that preside over the many activities we are engaged in. Most all activity is governed by parliamentary procedure. In addition our weekly board meetings are attended by many members who are invited to be part of the “round table”. These members are able to have as much input with their ideas as any board member. The only qualification for this participation is that they adhere to our mission, values and beliefs. This we believe has formed a successful model where there is solid management coupled with grass roots participation of the many different types of people who make up the Tea Revolution.

Our organizational structure is based on the goal to educate, organize and engage. It is made up of two legs; education and activism. Our education ranges from economic literacy and constitutional studies to training candidates and volunteers for future races. Our activism ranges from open protests to letter writing and organizing events for mass meetings.

Following our mission, vision and values it is necessary that in order to affect change we also needed a committee that can legally speak with a political voice and raise money for the candidates that we feel will advance our mission. Therefore we established a Political Action Committee (PAC). (More on this later.)

Now, which candidate and why:

Several weeks ago a controversy started when an article came out in the Independent Tribune with a title that originally said, “Local Tea Party Members Endorse Johnson”. The article tried to paint a picture that these people mentioned were all in the 8th district when in fact most were in the 9th and 12th. Since it is now proven that only one of those mentioned is a leader in the 8th district the Independent Tribune changed the title to “Regional Tea Party leaders support Johnson”. This article was a blatant attempt of the Johnson campaign to paint Harold as the tea party candidate. We didn’t even look at ourselves that way until Johnson chose to attack us and now the attacks continue with Harold saying he is the “real tea party candidate”.

It was through WTP-PAC that we researched and had face to face Q and A meetings with many candidates with whom we asked questions that reflected our core values of free market economy, limited government (shrinking government) and individual liberty. The conclusions of that committee culminated in the endorsement of eleven politicians which were publicly recognized on April 19, 2010 at an event held at the Cabarrus County Government Center. Additionally we published the endorsements in the Independent Tribune and on a voter card which was handed to voters on Election Day. One of those endorsements went to Tim D’Annunzio.

I would like to confirm that Harold Johnson is the tea party candidate…. of some…. in the 9th and 12th districts. Trouble is that you are not running in the 9th or 12th.

Harold, we had nothing against you and said nothing derogatory about you. You simply failed our qualifications when you sat across the table for 2 and ½ hours and answered questions. It was absolutely clear that you were just as uninformed on the issues in early April as you were in December and woefully empty on solutions. In addition, with the state of our nation as it is there was no sense that you were on a mission to go to Washington with a passion to save our nation from collapse.
Further it was very disturbing to find that you were asked to come to the eighth district so that the Republican Party would have someone to run against Tim D’Annunzio.

You also failed to meet with and otherwise fill out a questionnaire that We The People Sandhills asked you to fill out. You have not earned the right to call yourself the tea party candidate in the 8th district and in fact have shown by your actions that you are more prone to do exactly as the Party have done and that is to show distain for any Tea Revolutionaries that disagree with you.

Your own rule is that when the other guy attacks you have the right to attack back but I have more integrity than that so here is my answer to your penchant to drive a wedge in the Tea Revolution. We continue to grow stronger and there are other elections coming up. Who knows, maybe by then if there are still elections you will understand these are perilous times or maybe you will still be just another empty suit given to us by a power hungry Republican Establishment who still hasn’t got it.

If there are others that think that you are capable of doing the job I hold nothing against them. If their desire is to have someone who “can beat Kissell” and it is not important that we stand up to the Party that has proven themselves so inept, so be it. If others believe as you do that we need to “slow the growth of government” instead of stopping it and reversing it, so be it. And if as you said “government must do for the people what the people can’t do for themselves” is what others agree with, then so be it. After all this is only about whether or not we will even exist as a free and prosperous nation in 2 – 4 years.

Let the record be known as it is written here that Tim D’Annunzio is the candidate that was endorsed by WTP-PAC and represents most who call themselves members of We The People NC and We The People of the Sandhills, the two largest and most active tea party groups in the eighth district.
Michael Kelly
Founder WTPNC

Categories: NC District 8 | URL:

This excellent and informative presentation was provided to this Web site by my friend and D’Annunzio supporter Scott Manning. Verne Strickland 6/20/10.

Scott Manning
Adjutant, VFW Post 9925
Member of American Legion Post 32
Senior Vice-President, Cumberland County Veterans Council
National Rifle Association Member
District Director, FairTax NC-07