Commentary

Greensboro columnist looks at whether NC is a terrorist hotbed

Doug Clark of the Greensboro News & Record adds his name this morning to the growing list of observers who have detected a hard and unpleasant truth about terrorists and North Carolina — namely, we’re just as likely to produce them as import them from elsewhere. Here’s Clark:

“Our ugly secret is out.

‘Forget Syria. The most dangerous religious extremists are migrants from North and South Carolina,’ a headline in the online magazine Slate proclaimed Monday.

Author William Saletan noticed a pattern with the arrest of Robert Lewis Dear, the alleged gunman responsible for last week’s shootings at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. Dear lived in the North Carolina mountains before moving west.

‘For two decades, the Tar Heel State has been a hotbed of religious extremism, fueled by clerics who preach holy war,’ Saletan wrote. ‘The result is a stream of interstate terrorism.’”

Clark goes on to point out that Saletan’s list of North Carolina grown terrorists is actually incomplete, leaving out as it does, the 1979 Klan murderers in Greensboro. But Clark also pivots from this observation to raise a larger and more important point:

“Do these examples prove Saletan’s premise that North Carolina is a ‘hotbed of religious extremism’? No. I don’t think significantly more of these dangerous extremists have come from North Carolina than from other Southern states. I also don’t consider these people to be “religious,” no matter what they might claim. They certainly aren’t all Christian….

Yet Saletan is making a larger point. North Carolina political leaders almost universally reacted to last month’s Paris terrorist attacks by calling for the government to stop the Syrian refugee program until assurances are made that no terrorists will get into the country and our state by that route.

Yet these examples show there are very dangerous people already here — apart from the routine criminals, of whom there are far too many.

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Commentary

Rep. Speciale’s offensive attack on President Obama getting national attention

Michael SpecialeA remarkable story from the General Assembly lost in the ongoing budget blitz was the shocking slur against President Obama posted on Facebook by State Rep. Michael Speciale of Craven County. For a refresher on the kind of policy positions to which Speciale frequently gives voice, check out this post from a couple of years back.

As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported yesterday:

Outspoken Republican state Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern took to Facebook this month to share an obscenity-filled comment about President Barack Obama.

“Look you Islamic son of a bitch” begins the quote Speciale shared on his public Facebook page Sept. 5. “Unless you give all your land back to the native Indians, don’t pretend to lecture Israeli’s (sic) about our borders when you can’t control your own.”

The quote isn’t from Speciale himself. He posted an image of Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Facebook that featured the comment. The image appeared on a page called “1 MILLION People to DEFEAT Barack Obama.” It’s unclear where the quote originated.

“Are you going to do something about (Islamic State terrorists),” the comment concludes, “or should Israel show you how it’s done because you are too much of a coward and the most piss poor excuse for an American president in your Great Nation’s history.”

Not surprisingly, this is likely not the end of the story. Though WNCN reported this morning that Speciale will not be apologizing or even commenting on the matter, the issue is now percolating into the national news. This morning, the national journal Foreign Policy highlighted the matter and posted the image on its website. It seems certain that other national news outlets will follow up.

Let’s fervently hope that Rep Speciale comes to his senses and issues a sincere apology ASAP and/or that Speaker Moore and Gov. McCrory demand it.

Commentary

McCrory administration official tells Christian group that massive communist conspiracy threatens U.S.

Image: NC Dep't of Commerce

Image: NC Dep’t of Commerce

For those of you who’ve been missing former DOT Secretary Tony Tata, you’ll be happy to know that Pat McCrory once again has a publicity seeking, book plugging, liberal bashing fire breather in his administration.

It seems that Ilario Pantano, McCrory’s Assistant Secretary of the Division of Veterans Affairs, a one-time congressional candidate and a former marine who was was once charged with murder for killing two Iraqis in 2004 (the charges were ultimately dropped after investigators concluded that Pantano killed two men in self-defense rather than as an act of premeditated murder), has found the time to write a book. What’s more he’s been plugging “Grand Theft History: How Liberals Stole Southern Valor in the American Revolution” at venues like the Cape Fear Christian Men’s Fellowship.

Click below to check out the YouTube recording of Pantano’s rambling , scatter-shot lunch speech to the Fellowship last Tuesday September 1. If you can hang in there for the full 32 minutes, you’ll learn that there’s a massive commie-inspired conspiracy in the United States to, among other things:

  • “kill God,”
  • lie to Americans about the fact that the South won the Revolutionary War for the country,
  • promote the notion that the nation is chock full of right-wing extremists (which for some inexplicable reason Pantano repeatedly pronounces with a short “e” as in the word “lemon”) and
  • deny that the U.S. is a “Christian nation” founded upon “God, guns and guts.”

In record time, Pantano also explains the McCarthy era was in fact justified and that the American Civil Liberties Union is part of a communist conspiracy to destroy Christianity that goes back to the Scopes trial.

It is, in short, a certifiably loony tunes performance that would be downright hysterical if it weren’t coming from a public official taking in $91,000 in a taxpayer-funded salary each year. Watch, listen and weep for your state.

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Commentary

Expert: Dan Forest’s constitutional convention a “dangerous” idea

As reported on N.C. Policy Watch recently, some advocates on the far right — including North Carolina’s own Lt. Governor — have been pushing the radical idea of late that it’s time for a second American constitutional convention.

For those who haven’t given the idea much thought, the dangers that would accompany such a move may not be readily apparent. Thankfully, veteran national policy analyst Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained them in a recent column for the Washington Post.

As Greenstein noted, such an event could be a disastrous free-for-all:

The Constitution sets no rules for how a constitutional convention would work. What standards determine whether 34 states have called for a convention? Do all resolutions that state legislatures have ever passed count — even if they called for conventions on very different topics, or were passed 50 or 100 years ago, or were later rescinded, as some have been? Oklahoma, for instance, passed a resolution in 1976 calling for a convention but rescinded it in 2009, citing concerns about throwing the Constitution wide open to unknown changes; some proponents argue that Oklahoma should still count anyway. Can that be right? The Constitution is silent on all of these issues.

That’s just the start.  If a convention were called, how many delegates would each state get, and how would they be selected? How long could the convention last? The Constitution provides no guidance on those questions either.

He continued: Read more

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More on last Saturday’s nullification/secession event

As we noted in this space last week, Raleigh played host this past Saturday to a “Nullify Now!” event at which people closely tied to powerful groups and individuals within the modern conservative movment touted some pretty radical stuff –e.g. the notion that states have the right to nullify federal laws they don’t like and even secede from the union. Talk about going back to the 60″s…the 1860’s, that is!

 Today’s Weekly Briefing has some more information and thoughts on the event and makes the argument that, as absurdly wacky as the whole thing was, there is probably good reason for caring and thinking people to take these folks seriously and pay closer attention to what they are saying.

Click here to read more.