Tag Archives: Election

The election – Virginia chose civility and reason

election-signs-2017-va - 1Hardly a person fails to follow the polls to consider the trend of opinion approaching the day of election.

In Virginia that appeared to favor Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Edward Gillespie closing in on his Democratic opponent.

There was a pol that had Mr. Gillespie’s opponent, Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam, with a 13-point lead in September, then a 6-point lead weeks ago, and a 2-point lead the weekend before the election.

There was much concerned talk among Dems and joyfully anxious conversation among Republicans.

As they went from polling place to polling place on the day of the election, many wondered if Northam might be the only member of the Democratic slate left standing by election night.

This seeming trend toward a narrow victory for Northam augured badly for down ticket Dems who rely on the tail of the statewide ticket to pull them over the electoral finish line.

Polls and pundits, however, were astonished at the results several hours after 7PM when the precincts across the state closed and began reporting their results. Continue reading

Humpty Dumpty

humpt_dumpty_starsSo can we put the nation back together again?

Truth be told, perhaps we cannot.

We will be reviewing in the years ahead, the price to our Republic of suffering through a national conversation conducted at the level of a badly cast reality show, when we seemingly lost sight of our shared humanity, endured false aspersions, half-truths, lies, pejorative nick names, in defiance of previously respected norms set by our constitution, statute, case law, tradition, protocol, ritual, and common sense, in other words, the elaborate social contract we’ve negotiated for generations by which our citizens agreed how we could function as a collaborative and peaceful society.

We had one candidate who believed that lies were the coin of the realm and that facts didn’t matter because he expected too few would bother to check or care to find out what was the truth.

Aristotle wrote politics is the highest calling as it has the most pervasive influence on any society.  That was hard to conclude from this year’s food fight.

For starters, if we can’t agree that facts matter, if everyone can choose their own truth, then how are we to inform our judgement about our representatives and the public policy we seek to have them enact or execute.

Aristotle’s second book of Rhetoric states that we are persuaded by emotions and the best way to make an argument is to manipulate the fact finder or voter by moving them to anger, sympathy, envy, love and adoration, as suits the cause one espouses.  Is that what we’ve been doing?  Well, we need more reason, logic and truth than we’ve had.

We call our phone an I-phone, our music I-tunes, our tablets I-pads, and there’s also the I-pod.

Is there any room for an “US” in I?

What we’ve lost this political season is a focus on really important matters that affect us all.

Are we going to continuing compromising our domestic agenda by our urge to rule the world?

When are we going to wrap our arms around the terror of nuclear annihilation?  Can’t we see that there are so many of us compromising the limited resources of our struggling planet, and that we’d better do better than we have?

What are we going doing about a crumbling infrastructure?  What are we going to do to share the wealth fairly?  When are we going to decide that, if we have shifting job opportunities, that we should train those hurt by shifting markets who can’t otherwise adjust themselves?

When and how are we going to remove the obstructions to education for our children and young adults, you know, the high cost of learning and the high interest on student loans?

When are we going to insist that the cost of prescriptions be reasonable, that health care be universal, and especially so for the underprivileged and fragile members of our society?

So many invoke our founding documents but recoil from immigrants and equal rights for all – isn’t it about time we got this right – or returned that maiden lady to France – if we can’t or won’t guarantee liberty for all?

Instead of scratching our collective heads about the new math, let’s embrace innovation and undertake a great challenge to bring the nation together in a positive way, instead of like some dysfunctioning domestic relations disaster.

What are we going to do about the fact that our saged are living longer, what should we do about their retirement, about the contributions they still have to make that society resists because of the oft-ignored bias against our older Americans?

The American brand of liberty, freedom and success has suffered around the world with this disastrous presidential season.

So the question is, can we put the nation back together again?

We can but we have to do this together.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A nation that expects to be ignorant and free, expects what never was and never will be.”

It’s time for us to smarten up – if we can.

The right to vote

voteflagThe greatest engine for political freedom is the freedom to have a say in your government, to choose who represents your interests, to vote.  Too many failed to exercise this hard won right in the recent election.

When the barons of England confronted King John in 1215 in London with force of arms, the King agreed that the Barons could overrule the King should he break the agreement he made with them.  King John broke his word the instant the Barons left London.  But the Magna Carta was an aspiration to defy the monarch and was found by Sir Edward Coke to encompass not only the nobles but all the subjects of the crown.

Our Virginia Charter of 1606 was drafted by Sir Coke and it said we would enjoy all the liberties of any Englishman.

But that’s not what happened.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the Governed,” it was because King George III governed without our consent.  Jefferson charged in the Declaration of Independence that the King “dissolved [our] Representative Houses” because they opposed “with manly Firmness [the King’s] Invasions on the Rights of the People,”  “impos[ed] taxes …without our consent,” and unilaterally decided the laws that bound us.

50,000 colonials killed or wounded was the price we paid in a revolution to represent ourselves.

In our Constitution in 1787, “we the people” pledged that we would “form a more perfect union,” and our institutions have since become “more perfect,” extending the vote to persons of color, and to women, and having Senators chosen by the people instead of by the several state legislatures.

There are nation-states where the people are forced to vote and taxed if they don’t.  Not here.

There are nation-states that intimidate and brutalize those who vote the wrong way.  Not here.

When I was a young New York federal prosecutor, we would draw duty on Election Day to respond to any allegation of voter fraud.  I never got a call.  Of the hundreds of millions of votes cast in the United States, there is only a handful of persons nationwide ever prosecuted for voter fraud.

In seeking that more perfect union, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to outlaw discrimination against voters.

In response to the 2000 election, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, reforming how we vote and setting standards for voting.

We have more work to do to “perfect” our system.

But we have the vote.

The shame of course is that many don’t vote.

Apathy, skepticism, ideological opposition compromise the right of the public to say how they are governed, enabling the cynical to game caucuses and primaries with fewer voters, making forced choices in general elections, again with fewer voters.

The history of individual liberty is the fight to vote.  When we don’t vote, we put at risk our liberty.  So let us vote if we would be free!

Dave “I’m-So-Busy” LaRock – Serial Debate No-Show

Where in the world is Dave LaRock?

Republican Delegate Candidate Dave LaRock is a serial debate no-show in this Fall’s General Election line-up for the House of Delegates in the 33rd District.

Dave’s just so busy doing “something else,” and we’re talking “scheduling conflicts” here, that he can’t show up in person in Loudoun to say why he should be our delegate.

Apparently he believes we, the Loudoun voters, should rely on his caustic witty one-liners in expensive glossy multi-colored oversized postcards that he’s stuffing into our mail boxes.

This man’s Franklin-Covey day-timer must be a blizzard of conflicting activities that would challenge the skills of an Amtrak scheduler.

For the record, before last week, Dave had ducked the Clarke County Debate Forum as well as the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Debate Forum. Now that’s news! What candidate of either party ever ducks the Chamber’s well-attended high class opportunity to chew on issues that are well-framed and widely covered in the media? Our Dave did. Dave also refuses to answer the Chamber’s written questions on the issues. Thus, we have Dave the politically obscure and obdurate.

Last Wednesday evening, at 7 PM, there was a Debate Forum convened by the Purcellville Gazette at the Carver Center, not that far from Dave’s home.

There was a good size crowd. We all just got so cozy in our folding chairs about 7 PM with free cups of high test java and fresh made cookies and settled back, waiting to hear Dave tell us why he should be our next rep in the Northern Hemisphere’s oldest deliberative body.

While sitting there, I thought of the Monty Python lyrics, “Brave Sir Robin,” and thought we should sing instead of our “Brave Sir Dave” while we were waiting:

Continue reading

Dave LaRock thinks the rules don’t apply to him. Again.

Unauthorized use of Catoctin Creek Distillery image in Dave LaRock campaign mailer

Unauthorized use of Catoctin Creek Distillery image in Dave LaRock campaign mailer

Another campaign mailer from Dave LaRock arrived at our house. It contained some photos from local businesses, with the tagline “Dave LaRock: Helping small businesses. Creating jobs.” The implication, of course, is that those pictured endorse his candidacy; that’s not unusual. But it turns out that Mr. LaRock did not seek authorization to use the photos.

Scott Harris, the owner of Catoctin Creek Distillery and pictured below in the green shirt, was forced to politely correct the record in a letter to the Purcellville Gazette:

Catoctin Creek Distillery on Political Endorsements

Recently, a campaign flier was distributed showing my image and speaking with one of the candidates for delegate of our district. I would like to clarify that Catoctin Creek is an independent organization, and does not support political candidates formally.

We have had the pleasure of meeting both candidates in this election, and we were happy to show each of them our facility and explain the nuances of our small business and its particular challenges.

We wish both candidates the best of luck in the election, noting that Catoctin Creek is not endorsing any particular candidate in this election.  It is our wish simply to encourage people to get out and vote, no matter their politics.

Scott Harris
Owner, Catoctin Creek Distillery
Purcellville

Continue reading

Frank Wolf’s “Science Trap”

You’ve got to have pity for Frank Wolf. He must appeal to the anti-science Christianist TEA-Party right and his overwhelmingly smart, diverse, real-world, evidence-oriented constituency. He’s between a rock (or shall we say LaRock) and a proverbial hard place. For example, Liza Gold* just took him to task for his anti-violent-video game ideology. Here are a few excerpts from her Fairfax Times op-ed.

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Dist. 10) has repeatedly stated his belief that violent video games are a major cause of gun violence and mass shootings. As per his website: “Common sense tells us that the level of violence on TV, in the movies and in many video games is a problem. While media violence is not the only factor of mass violence, it is one of the easiest factors to change and it needs to be addressed.” This position would not be objectionable, except for the fact that Rep. Wolf seems uninterested in any other subject relating to sensible firearm regulation reform. Continue reading

Enough Mephisto

Eugene's campaign workers. Hannah Champ (Scoggins) at the door, Werner Workman on the right.

Leesburg Today ran a very critical editorial of Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio’s latest LCRC antics, but the criticism, “Stop the Circus,” didn’t go far enough in exposing Supervisor Delgaudio operations.

He was putting on a political show—one, like so many during his 14-year board tenure, that was woefully short on substance, but with potential to help fuel his campaign fundraising machine. Continue reading

LaRock Wins! It’s a Landslide!

The votes are in. Dave LaRock defeats May 57% to 43%. The  Republican establishment loses. The Christianist fringe wins. The turnout was pathetic, 5158 Republican votes.

Twenty-two hundred people voted for May. He probably spent $100K in mailers. That’s $45 per voter, and he lost. It’s not the money. It’s something else.

What is it?

What are we going to do about it?

Unfit for office, unfit for endorsement

I could never, had I been asked to imagine the most ridiculous and easily verifiable lie that Eugene Delgaudio might invent, have imagined something as ridiculous and easily verifiable as this:

When contacted by the Loudoun Times-Mirror for comment about the exposure of his “Blood Door” email, Mr. Delgaudio told the reporter that the Photoshopped image he had sent to his mailing list was the original and that his image had actually been Photoshopped, by the very people who caught him in this behavior, to make it “look like blood.”

Side by side image comparison by the Loudoun Times-Mirror

When the reporter told me this, I said I thought that was interesting, and suggested that she search on Google images for “blood door.” She did.

Continue reading

An unfortunate omission

I was very impressed with the airy above-it-all tone Joe was able to summon about “the recent Halloween unpleasantness” until I saw his images, images that were apparently the point of the post.

The thing is, there’s nothing new there. We already know that there are people on the outer fringes of good judgment and civility, enough of whom might actually be dangerous that we need a Secret Service whether our president is a Democrat or a Republican. What I fear is that this post is a – I hate to say it – deliberate attempt to pretend that the images at issue in Loudoun did not come from an official Republican Party Committee and a Republican elected official, and hope that no one notices. I’m sorry, but someone did.

From the official Republican Party Committee

From the Republican elected official