Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted "You lie!" at President Obama -- Joe wasn't lying!

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / August 17, 2011

By Justin Sink - 08/17/11 03:19 PM ET

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on Wednesday said his infamous cry of “You lie!” at President Obama has been vindicated.

Wilson said an Obama administration decision on healthcare centers proves the president wasn’t telling the truth during a 2009 address to a joint session of Congress.

In that address, the president pledged that the healthcare reform law would not cover illegal immigrants, prompting Wilson to shout, “You lie!”

Wilson said Wednesday that a recent award of $28.8 million to 67 community healthcare centers around the country would inevitably end up benefiting illegal immigrants, contrary to Obama’s pledge.

Of that $28.8 million, $8.5 million is earmarked to target migrant and seasonal farm workers — a group that Wilson claims is comprised of illegal immigrants.

"It is clearly providing money -- that should be going to American citizens -- to illegal immigrants," Wilson said on Fox News's "America Live." "It's even worse than I thought, they won't even ask for status."

The clinics will provide discounted health services to all residents of their target areas, and are aimed at providing services to those who cannot afford other primary care.

The Department of Health and Human Services said the healthcare centers are operating as they always have.

“The Program’s authorizing statute does not affirmatively address immigration status, rather, it simply states that health centers are required to provide primary health care to all residents of the health center’s service area without regard for ability to pay," Health Resources and Services Administration spokeswoman Judy Andrews told "Health centers do not, as a matter of routine practice, ask about or collect data on citizenship or other matters not related to the treatment needs of the patients seeking health services at the center.”

Nor will the more substantive aspects of the law — including the “affordability credits” designed to allow the purchase of healthcare plans by those who cannot afford them — be open to illegal immigrants, according to HHS.

Still, Wilson believes that healthcare dollars will inevitably help people who are in the country illegally.

“This is just more doublespeak from Washington," he asserted.

'Unaccountable Congress' author Joe DioGuardi signs copies of his book at Pantano office event.

By Verne Strickland / August 17, 2011

At the grand opening of the Pantano for Congress office at Wilmington this past week-end, Pantano faithful were treated to a full bill of fare, including patriotic speeches and singing, a pig-picking, a celebration of Ilario's fortieth birthday, and a book signing by Joseph J. DioGuardi, author of "Unaccountable Congress: It Doesn't Add Up".

DioGuardi, a former New York Congressman and Certified Public Accountant, served two terms on the House Government Operations Committee and one term on the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Audit Committee of several corporation.

I interviewed him during a few spare moments as he signed copies of his new release at the Pantano for Congress event:

One of my claims to fame is that I am the first practicing CPA ever elected to the U.S. Congress. I donated my books to Ilario's campaign for interested people in attendance here, and I was very pleased with the demand for the signed copies.
It’s time people understood that there is a phony way we do the books in Washington, so that we don’t really know about the true size of the national debt, and that’s what I came here to speak about. 

I know that Ilario is a conservative, and I wanted to be here with him in order to make the point that we have to stand up to this group in Washington that’s lying about the real size of the national debt. It’s much more than $15 trillion. That’s just the bonded debt. If we used the generally accepted accounting principles as I have, it’s in the neighborhood of $60 trillion.

That’s what’s killing America. Andrew Tyler Frazier in 1790, and here’s what he said about democracy: “A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy may be in jeopardy of collapsing due to loose fiscal policy.” 

Does that sound familiar? Well, we have to be careful, because we have a lot of loose fiscal in policy, and I don’t want to see America continue down the road to ruin. 

VS: What are you doing now?

I’m a human rights activist. I made 30 trips to the Balkans to help the Albanian people avoid the same fate of the Bosnians. I testified against Melosovich in The Hague, and we got him indicted as a war criminal. I’m at this time a practicing certified public accountant, so I’m a consultant, have been on the boards of corporations, but I’m not a paid lobbyist, nor do I want to become one. 

And I write, and I speak, and when I see the opportunity to get my message out, I accept that opportunity. 

The bottom line on my message is to stop spending money we don’t have, borrowed from countries we don’t trust, like China, and we could be giving up the American dream that brought my father here as a poor farm boy from Italy in 1929 at the age of fifteen. 

So when I see people like Ilario, whom I met in New York, and he asked me to come down here to this rally, this grand opening of his office, I gladly came. 

I said, “You have values, you have energy, and you have the firm conservative beliefs and core values that the country needs. I’m disappointed you did not win in 2010, but I’m here for you, like so many who believe in you, and you’ll be the last man standing in the 2012 race for Congress from North Carolina’s Seventh District.”

DioGuardi's attack on Congress' clumsy and embarrassing handling of the federal government's books is attracting praise from the likes of William E. Simon, former of the Treasury: "Joe DioGuardi has written a courageous and practical book about the phony budgeting process Congress uses to sustain its financial profligacy. He has both a keen understanding of its accounting gimmickry, and some excellent suggestions about how to straighten out our budgetary tangle."

Unaccountable Congress was originally published in the United States by Regnery Gateway, 1130 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036.


At the Pantano for Congress grand opening of its new office, I talked with Jude Eden of Leland, who wore a Pantano campaign tee shirt emblazoned with the words: “I am a cancer surviving, Jewish female, Marine combat veteran for Pantano.” You'll want to get to know this interesting lady. 

Also interviews with Diane Ellis, Pantano for Congress operations manager, and other highlights from this event.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Black Caucus: Tired of making excuses for Obama. (Ahem -- Would you please repeat that?)

August 17, 2011 1:39pm 
By Byron York

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During a sometimes-raucous session of what's being called the "For the People" Jobs Initiative tour, a key member of the Congressional Black Caucus told an audience in Detroit Tuesday that the CBC doesn't put pressure on President Obama because he is loved by black voters.

But at the same time, Rep. Maxine Waters said, members of the CBC are becoming increasingly tired and frustrated by Obama's performance on the issue of jobs. Even as she expressed support for the president, Waters virtually invited the crowd to "unleash us" to pressure Obama for action.

"We don't put pressure on the president," Waters told the audience at Wayne County Community College.  "Let me tell you why. We don't put pressure on the president because ya'll love the president. You love the president. You're very proud to have a black man -- first time in the history of the United States of America. If we go after the president too hard, you're going after us."

The problem, Waters said, is that Obama is not paying enough attention to the problems of some black Americans.  The unemployment rate for African-Americans nationally is a little over 16 percent, and almost twice that in Detroit.  And yet, Waters said, the president is on a jobs-promotion trip through the Midwest that does not include any stops in black communities.

"The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president too," Waters said.  "We're supportive of the president, but we're getting tired, ya'll.  We're getting tired. And so, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he's prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is. We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he's not in any black community.  We don't know that."

As she discussed her dilemma -- frustrated with the president but hesitant to criticize him lest black supporters turn on her -- Waters asked the crowd for its permission to have a "conversation" with the president.

"When you tell us it's alright and you unleash us and you tell us you're ready for us to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation," she said.  Some members of the crowd immediately voiced their approval.

"All I'm saying to you is, we're politicians," Waters continued.  "We're elected officials.  We are trying to do the right thing and the best thing. When you let us know it is time to let go, we'll let go."

"Let go!" some in the audience yelled.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

UN: Aid will still go to Somalia despite fraud. Business as usual?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster 

 By JOHN HEILPRIN Associated Press /  Aug 16, 2011

The U.N. World Food Program insisted Tuesday it won't reduce emergency aid shipments to Somalia despite allegations of fraud, saying that though such complaints are frequent it doesn't believe there have been big losses.

WFP said it is bringing 5,000 tons a month of food into the Somali capital of Mogadishu to help the famine-hit nation. Tens of thousands of people each week are fleeing famine in Somalia to neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya.

An investigation on the ground by The Associated Press found that sacks of grain, peanut butter snacks and other food staples meant for starving Somalis are being stolen and sold in Somali markets, raising concerns that the unscrupulous are stealing from international famine relief efforts. One official in Mogadishu estimated to the AP that up to half of the recent food shipments may have been stolen.

WFP officials disputed that figure Tuesday. Lauren Landis, the new director of WFP's Geneva office, said it seems "implausible" that a large amount of food is being diverted because it would pose a huge logistical challenge.

"Large losses of food is abnormal, because we know how to do this," Landis told AP, without elaborating further.

She said theft worries are common with WFP operations in Somalia and around the world.

However, WFP officials rely on third-party monitors on the ground to make sure that aid agencies and the Somali government fight corruption and don't allow diverted aid to help fuel Somalia's 20-year civil war. AP journalists went into the markets to see for themselves.

Families at a large, government-run camp where aid groups distribute food told the AP they were often forced to hand back the aid after journalists had taken photos of them with it.

In Mogadishu markets, vast piles of food are for sale with stamps on them from the WFP, the U.S. government USAID agency, the Japanese government and the Kuwaiti government. The AP found eight sites where thousands of sacks of food aid were being sold in bulk. Other food aid was also for sale in numerous smaller stores.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said the mortality rate among young children at a camp for Somali refugees in Ethiopia has reached alarming levels, with an average of 10 children under five dying every day since the Kobe camp in southeast Ethiopia opened in June.

The camp holds 25,000 refugees. A suspected measles outbreak combined with acute malnutrition is thought to be the cause of deaths, said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lobbying heats up in NC to sway votes on same-sex marriage

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / August 14, 2011

Festival-goer Ed Crabtree, left, talks with Equality N.C. volunteer Theresa Rosenburg, center, and staff member Matt Phillippi as they ask people to fill out postcards.

- Staff writer

DURHAM -- Matt Phillippi organized stacks of postcards in the Carolina Theatre lobby Sunday, ready for ticketholders at the N.C. Gay and Lesbian Film Festival to sign requests that legislators withhold their support for a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Phillippi, who works for Equality North Carolina, figured more than 500 postcards were signed in the festival's first three days. The Raleigh-based gay-rights group hopes to have 50,000 to deliver to legislators in September, when lawmakers return for a session to consider constitutional amendments, including a ban on gay marriage.

Full-fledged campaigns over the proposed constitutional ban are washing over the state. They include petitions, messages from pulpits, rallies, billboards and phone banks. 

Unlike traditional election campaigns, during which a relative handful aim their messages at the public, these campaigns are messages from the public aimed at 170 legislators.

Legislators for years have filed bills proposing to write the definition of marriage as a union between a man and woman into the state Constitution. Those bills never made it to votes of the full House or Senate when Democrats controlled the legislature.

With Republicans now in charge of the legislature, the amendment's backers see their greatest opportunity, and opponents face their biggest test.

Proposed constitutional amendments must be decided by voters. To get on a ballot, a proposed amendment needs three-fifths majorities of the House and Senate. About 30 other states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. Constitutional changes were eventually approved in every state where they made it on to ballots.
North Carolina is one of 37 states with active laws defining marriage between a man and woman.

Ron Baity, president of the conservative Christian organization Return America, was a speaker at a pro-ban rally that drew thousands to Raleigh in May.Baity, a pastor frequently invited to speak at Baptist churches, says he preaches about supporting the constitutional ban. "It's a biblical issue," Baity said. "Our organization is pushing to say to our legislature, 'We want you to vote on it.' "

It was easy to find opposing views at the film festival, where many theatergoers were eager to sign Equality North Carolina's postcards.

The government should not put the rights of a minority up for a majority vote or use the state Constitution to discriminate, they said.

Ed Crabtree, 50, said the government should be about protecting rights, not limiting them.

"You can't have the tyranny of the majority impose their will on the people who need to be protected," the Durham resident said.

Joseph Sawyers of Raleigh said legislators have no good reason to debate the issue.

"Just because two guys want to be together or two girls want to be together, what effect does that have on me?" asked Sawyers, 31. "It doesn't bother me at all. It has nothing to do with me."

The proposal has triggered plenty of frenzied face-to-face professional lobbying and vote counting. The Rev. Mark Creech, the executive director of the Christian Action League, has spent days keeping tabs on potential amendment votes in the legislature.
Although Creech has asked supporters to send email to legislators on various issues over the years, he said a low-key approach - talking to individual legislators - is most productive at this phase of the effort to get the amendment passed.

Creech is taking a long view with a strategy aimed not only at making sure the amendment makes it on the ballot, but also making sure voters approve it.

"There's a lot of groundwork to be laid," he said. "Not only do you have to have all the votes that are needed, in the long run, you need to be in the best position so you can win North Carolina. Even though we have been working on this for many years, this is the first time we've had a real opportunity in front of us."


Frank Williams interviewed at Pantano for Congress event: 'Voters want a new congressman'.

By Verne Strickland / August 15, 2011

Frank Williams, retiring chairman of the NCGOP Seventh District, was on hand at the Pantano for Congress office grand opening this past week-end, joining over 300 energized conservatives on hand for the event. 

We interviewed him at the gathering for USA DOT COM:

"I think there was a great crowd, and it shows that people are interested in making a change next year by putting a new congressman in. There were people from as far away as Fayetteville here today, which I think is impressive. 

You know, our conservatives didn’t give up when we didn’t prevail in 2010, and we put the district on the map in that campaign in a race no one thought was winnable at the beginning of the year. We started the job, but it’s not done yet. 

VS: With reconfigured congressional districts, what is Ilario going to face?

He does have a primary, and certainly David Rouzer is a formidable candidate. I’ve known David since college, and I think we have two candidates from different ends of the district with different backgrounds. I think either one of them would make a better congressman than the Democrat.

VS: You have announced that you will not run again for District Seven GOP Chair, and will be spending more time with your Pioneer Strategies business. How is that going?

That’s going well, thanks, and I’ll also be spending plenty of time running for Brunswick County commissioner. 

The Pantano for Congress Volunteer Office is situated at 8207 Market Street in the Porters Neck Shopping Center. Office hours are weekdays from 12-6 pm.


McIntyre against Brunswick County deep water port. 

Proponents see profit in big storage facility in Robeson. 

Editorial in  8 days ago.

Robeson County and Lumberton are among more than a dozen local governments in Southeastern North Carolina that are pushing for a state study to determine the pluses and minuses of a deep-water port in Brunswick County.

But this cash-strapped state has not provided the funding for such as study, which has given opponents, including our U.S. representative, an excuse to withhold support.

Economic development officials in this part of the state, including Robeson County’s top guy, Greg Cummings, see a deep-water port delivering thousands of jobs where they are needed, and as far inland as this county, which has land and highway that could do more than hold the Earth together.

Cummings says Robeson County is ideal for large storage facilities where imported goods could be held in preparation for distribution.

But U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, whose District 7 includes Robeson and Brunswick counties, is not a fan of the port. He says the General Assembly’s decision last year to withhold funding for the study amounts to a death knell for the project by making it impossible to secure the required billions of dollars in federal funds. But McIntrye’s own comments betray his true position."

The congressman said: “Several concerns have been raised which have not been fully answered about the location and cost of the proposed terminal, the harm it could pose to our national security interests near our country’s major munitions terminal at Sunny Point and beside a nuclear plant, the lack of necessary infrastructure with roads and rails, and the potential for irreparable harm to the local communities and environment — all of this at a cost to taxpayers of several billion dollars."

All those points are potentially valid, but they only point to a need for the study, and not a scrapping of the project. This nation’s future is increasingly at the mercy of the growing global economy, and economically distressed Southeastern North Carolina needs to scratch for every crumb on the plate. A deep-water port in Brunswick County potentially could lead a renaissance of this region’s economy.

We understand the difficulties of this state’s economy, which led to some hard and unpopular cuts, particularly to education, when the General Assembly crafted the current budget. But we also know that those who don’t carefully plot an economic future will soon enough be living in the past.

There are plenty of questions about the potential of a deep-water port in Brunswick County. Not answering them only ensures they will keep getting asked.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pantano for Congress has rousing grand opening event for 2012 campaign office.

By Verne Strickland / August 14, 2011

It was a celebration.

Over 300 patriots assembling for a common cause – to take back America.

The key to that, these conservatives believe, is the election of Wilmington’s Ilario Pantano to the U.S. Congress in 2012.

Ilario Pantano is already in the big game – an impressive candidate gunning for a Republican primary win in 2012 for the Seventh District.

On Saturday, Pantano for Congress opened its official Volunteer Office at 8207 Market Street in the Porters Neck Shopping Center. Office hours beginning August 15 weekdays from 12-6 pm have been announced.

Now he has a war room where he and his energized troops can plan, organize and fight the good fight.
The Saturday event included speeches, prayers, pledges to Pantano’s campaign war chest, singing, a pig-picking, raffles for cakes brought by Pantano faithful to celebrate the candidate’s fortieth birthday, and serious networking.

A special highlight was a book-signing by former New York Congressman Joseph J. Dioguardi, CPA -- author of "Unaccountable Congress" (2010 Regnery Gateway Publishers.)

I sat down with Ilario Pantano after the crowd dispersed, and talked with him about his thoughts:

The turnout was about twice what we had with a grand opening in the last campaign. There are folks we’ve never met before. They wanted to come meet us. The fact that they came, the fact that they were excited and offered enthusiastic support, was very gratifying and humbling. We were blessed with great weather.
My birthday is in a couple of days. The staff decided to celebrate it today and couple with the office grand opening. I’ll be forty. That’s a milestone. I’m very blessed in many ways. 

VS: Your mother, who is here today, is very proud of you.

God has used my mother too. She has been a force in my life and an inspiration, and I get a lot of wonderful things from both of my parents. But I get my courage from my mother. She is a tough cookie. When the going gets tough, she gets going. She has really been my inspiration, and I’m in awe of her. My wonderful wife Jill is also here, and our two boys. It’s a great family day for us, and also for our campaign volunteers.

VS: Capsule your campaign focus at this time.
Our platform is a pro-growth platform. It focuses on job creation by reducing taxes and spending, less regularion, getting the government out of the way. We believe a free market and the private sector with bring us prosperity. We’ve seen how government over-reach and over-regulation and over-spending have really crippled our economy in the last couple of years. The lesson couldn’t be more defined and stark. But where the liberal media are concerned, they somehow can’t get the message. 

I’m reminded of the Star-News just two weeks ago had a front page article, and it said, “The economy is in trouble.” Then the next article, also on the front page, said  “Stores brace for tax holiday.” It was so shocking to me that the liberal editors of the newspaper couldn’t see with their own eyes, in their own newspaper, that if you lower taxes, you stimulate economic activity by letting consumers make decisions on how to handle and use their own money.

When government gains control, it all turns into a big vote-buying Ponzi scheme, and that’s been going on here in the Seventh District for 140 years, and the men and women here aren’t going to take it anymore.


One of Pantano’s most ardent fans is his mother, Merry Pantano. She talked about her son, his quest, and their endearing personal relationship:

Ilario believes so much and so fervently in his message and his country. He is very concerned about where we are headed. 

VS: You instilled a lot of positive values in Ilario. Tell me about what you taught him.

I tried to teach him to listen to his gut. That was God’s way of talking to him. And also stressed that he should never lose his sense of humor. Not matter how tough a situation may be, his sense of humor would help him maintain his perspective.

VS: It’s easy see that he has followed his mom’s advice. He has a strong Christian faith, and strong family values. 

After he came back from Iraq, he really needed to have a close relationship with God. And that developed in such a miraculous way. It’s so incredulous the way God works, and how the Lord found his way again into Ilario’s life. I think that saved him. So many men come back from combat deployment with that big hole in their heart. He experienced that too. 

During that time he would come out and work on our farm, and this helped get him centered again. But it was by God’s grace that he found his way back.

There was fervor in abundance at this event. But it will take buckets of sweat equity to win this race. In addition to a carefully-crafted game plan, put in play through a lean and mean organizational strategy, successful fund-raising, and taking Ilario Pantano’s message to the voters.
But fervor is a good place to start.