Randy Forbes won’t debate. Virginian-Pilot won’t endorse.

Sixteen of the eighteen paragraphs of the Virginian-Pilot’s editorial, “4th District needs better choices”, are a succinct description of why Randy Forbes has not been good for Virginia. It basically says that Randy Forbes does little other than sponsor divisive and unproductive legislation.

Forbes has instead wasted his time in Congress on inconsequential and unnecessarily divisive issues (does Congress need to inform Americans about the role of prayer?) that appeal to a narrow band of the electorate.

Which is all he needs to get re-elected.

But the editorial makes a strange turn as it seems to reach for a justification of its own title.

Elliott Fausz, a newspaperman from Chester, is almost certain to become the latest victim. The Democrat, running for the first time, is genial enough, but his inexperience shows. He has been unable to persuade Forbes to even join him for a debate.

Somehow, the fact that Randy Forbes refuses to debate is Elliott Fausz’s fault.

We do have better choices. I have participated in three campaigns for better choices than Randy Forbes, in which he refused to debate and the Virginian-Pilot failed to endorse his opponent. We had a better choice when Forbes was challenged by an Army doctor and successful entrepreneur. We had a better choice when Forbes was challenged by a teacher, school administrator, and experienced councilwoman. And we now have a better choice as Randy Forbes is being challenged by a smart, young newspaper and business man with fresh ideas. We don’t lack better choices. We lack better endorsements.

At least this time the Virginian Pilot has recognized the silliness of endorsing Randy Forbes, but it is still on the path to curing itself of whatever illness prevents it from endorsing whoever opposes him. The 4th district has about two weeks to show even more progress.

The Escalating Conflict between Israelis and Arabs

Since the latest round of violence in Gaza began, I have been studying the Israeli/Palestinian conflict more than I ever have before. By recommendation of a Facebook friend, I am reading My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit. As I read, I often stop and turn to Google and Wikipedia to get different perspectives on some of the people and events that Shavit mentions.

I am trying to keep an open mind, and if Zionism is wrong I should be willing to say so. But as I read Shavit’s book, I find reinforcement for much of what I’ve written before: The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is an escalating conflict. There is no clear right and wrong and instead there is a spiral of wrong met by greater wrong.

When the Zionists movement grew at the turn of the 20th century, many Arabs benefited greatly and many lost. In the beginning of the book, Shavit describes a Kibbutz forming at the spring of Harod, and its effect on a nearby Arab village.

First it is located by the spring, so that it will have absolute control over the valley’s water source. Weeks later, when the serfs of the Ein Jaloud hamlet give up and leave, the encampment is transplanted to the mountain slope, right next to the deserted stone houses.

Despite the ruin of Ein Jaloud, the overall effect of the new Kibbutzim was positive because the Kibbutzim drained the deadly, mosquito infested swamps and built irrigation ditches.

The villagers of Zarin are actually doing quite well as the valley booms. The friendly neighbors of Tel Fir and and those of Komay are multiplying now, as the anopheles mosquitoes are no longer here to take the lives of their young. The Bedouins, too, find the valley more attractive now.

The story of the Kibbutz in the valley of Harod is representative of the effects of Zionism on the Arab population. It was a mix of mutual benefit in some cases and Arab displacement in others.

Some Arabs responded to encroaching Zionism with murder. The riots of 1920 and again in the late 1930’s were horrible. Arabs not only burned and destroyed property, they raped, dismembered, and murdered innocent Jewish villagers. The Zionist response was more murder. Shavit:

Most Jewish murderers were members of fringe terrorist groups who defied the policy and instructions of the elected leadership of the Jewish community in Palestine. On the other hand, some of the Jewish actions were far more lethal than the Arab ones. The summer of 1938 was different from the summer of 1936 in that the number of murdered Arab victims exceeded by far the number of murdered Jews.

In the beginning, Zionists came in peace, mostly disregarding the needs of the Arab inhabitants but in many cases forging a mutually beneficial partnership. But there were also those who felt that Arabs had no place in a Jewish homeland. Arabs were also varied in their attitudes toward Zionism. But as violence escalated, more and more Jews felt they could not be safe with Arabs living among them. Arab violence helped foster support for the ethnic cleansing that they legitimately feared.

Zionism grew into a racist and nationalistic movement to expel Arabs from their lands, while extermination of Jews became the centerpiece of religious dogma throughout Arabia. Israel stands defiant against those who wish to murder all of its inhabitants, and Palestinians continue to rebel against the theft, oppression, and murder that they endure for the sake of Israel’s safety.

Meanwhile, observers on each side refuse to explore the other’s side of the story, hardening their belief that extermination of the other is the only solution to the conflict.

Book Cover for My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

The Palestinian Riots of 1920

I posted a version of “Israel’s Original Sin” on Daily Kos as well as this blog, and on Kos I got some criticism for the title, (which I have since changed. See update below.) such as “Really bad title for a pretty thoughtful diary”, “… an odd way to put a secular political thought and could be interpreted as incendiary speech”, and “I agree such a title might lead to people mistaking the intent of the author”.

Considering the criticism from the title and some of the dialog about the actual content of my post, I’m surprised that nobody mentioned the riots in the 1920’s, here described in a Wikipedia article: (I chopped the paragraph up for brevity)

With the outcome of the First World War, the relations between Zionism and the Arab national movement seemed to be potentially friendly, [...] However, with the defeat and dissolution of the Arab Kingdom of Syria in July 1920 [...] The return of several hard-line Palestinian Arab nationalists [...] marked the beginning of Palestinian Arab nationalist struggle towards establishment of a national home for Arabs of Palestine [...] Amin al-Husseini [...] immediately marked Jewish national movement and Jewish immigration to Palestine as the sole enemy to his cause, initiating large-scale riots against the Jews as early as 1920

By “potentially friendly”, the article’s author means there was open acceptance by Arab leadership. On signing the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement for Arab-Jewish Cooperation in 1919, Faisal (who later became Faisal I of Iraq) stated (Also from Wikipedia):

We Arabs… look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, insofar as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home… I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilised peoples of the world.

Unfortunately, the potential friendliness was marred by rioting instigated by an Arab nationalist who didn’t want Jews in Arabia. That nationalist, Haj Amin al-Husseini, later became one of Hitler’s allies.

Between two people, a dirty look might lead to a unfriendly shoulder bump which leads to a shove which leads to a punch. Perhaps instead of “Original Sin” I should have used “First Punch”. One could make a good case that the riots were the first punch. But the riots might have ended. When Israel was created, there was no easy way to undo what had been done. Still, in an escalating conflict it’s hard to define the first genuine act of aggression.

Update 2014 07/23: I wrote a post called “Israel’s First Sin and Continued Hope for Peace” and received so much criticism for that title that I have since changed it. This post was titled “Palestinian Sin”, and considering the criticism for other title, I have changed this title as well.

Contact Form Problem

Few people read this blog so I actually notice when someone hits my contact page. I saw the hit but I haven’t received any emails. I tested it and didn’t get my own test message either. If you want to contact me send an email. I’m Benjamin and I’m at bnmng.com.

Israel’s First Punch and Continued Hope for Peace

A while ago, I pointed out that a photo which a Facebook friend shared, showing a soldier with a boot on a little girl’s chest, was faked. But now there is so much genuine horror that it seems moot that some of the images are not real. I can’t seem to hold on to an opinion for more than a few minutes, and may instantly regret what I write after I post it, but what I see happening today is Israel claiming to minimize civilian casualties while its military members are so hateful that they don’t really care. I see Palestinians in an unacceptable and unfair situation, but who long ago chose the most horrific methods of expressing their frustrations. I see Israel’s right to invade Gaza and destroy the tunnels, and I see Palestinian’s right to protest the carnage. I see terrible wrong on both sides and partisans on both sides sharing half-true news stories, with Zionists ignoring the economic hardship caused by overbearing security measures and Palestinian supporters ignoring the fact that no matter what Israel gives them, they either destroy it or use it against Israel. There is wrong on both sides.

The first punch, though, is on Israel. Not because the Zionists expelled all of the Arabs to create their homeland; that story ignores all those who willingly left so they could join their Arab neighbors in a failed attempt to murder Israel. And not because Palestine was a sovereign nation that was invaded. It never was. And not because the region hadn’t already changed hands many times before. And not because the people who lived on the land that became Israel might not have prospered had they accepted the Zionists’s offer of citizenship. But despite all that, there were people living in the land that became Israel, and when those people were told that a bunch of new folks were going to move in and form a nation, their response was, “we don’t want it”, and that response should have been honored.

Finding out who threw the first punch isn’t enough to bring peace or justice in an escalating conflict. Today, we have an imperialist military power fighting against a movement that wants nothing short of the death of the sinner as reparations for its sins. Israel will not die to appease terrorists and Palestinians will not accept brutal conditions imposed on them by occupiers. It seems hopeless.

I do think it’s hopeless to stop the horror of the current operation. I am still supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself but cannot blame all of the carnage on Hamas’s “human shields” while praising Israel for not targeting civilians. Too bad my support is irrelevant. This operation will play out until the tunnels are destroyed and Hamas is devastated, along with dozens of innocent, non-targeted children.

But after this incursion, there will again be hope. Israeli supporters claim it is hopeless because they keep making concessions and getting nothing but aggression in return. That is, to a small degree, true. In support for their arguments they contrast relinquishing the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in exchange for peace against withdrawing from Gaza in 2005. That withdrawal resulted in Palestinian criminals looting and destroying greenhouses that Israeli settlers left for the Palestinian people, economic devastation in Palestine, and continued attacks on Israel. But there are many differences between giving the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and withdrawing from Gaza, including:

  • Israel’s continued control and harsh restrictions of Gaza’s borders (with Egypt’s help).
  • Egypt’s financial and political establishment which would not have allowed the Sinai Peninsula to descend into chaos
  • Palestinian longing for land within Israel’s borders

Another difference: if militants on Egypt’s border were to fire rockets at Israel, Israel’s response, even if it were disproportionate, would not be so devastating that all of Egypt would be bathed in the blood of Egyptian civilians.

The next withdrawal from Gaza must include a genuine economic investment for peace. It must include a police force capable of protecting resources from looters and the ability to move goods in and out of Gaza. It also must include a willingness on both sides to show enough restraint not to let enemies of peace scuttle the entire process. That last point means accepting the fact that there will be more murders, but not every murder should be answered with a military incursion.

Peace won’t happen without pressure. For Americans it means writing letters to politicians expressing support for Israel’s right to self-defense but also support for pressuring Israel to make genuine, costly, and risky efforts towards peace. It means financial contributions to organizations working for peace. For those who can, it means volunteering for such organizations.

A true effort towards peace is almost impossible to imagine, since Israelis will raise hell in protest and it will not eliminate the threat from anti-Zionists who only want the death of Israel. But considering Israel’s prosperity on land that once belonged to others, they should and hopefully can be pressured to take the only realistic path towards peace short of self-annihilation or criminal oppression and murder. As for the Palestinians who want Israel dead, I believe that pragmatism can beat extremism even when the extremism is fueled by a legitimate grievance.

Update: This post was originally titled “Israel’s Original Sin and Continued Hope for Peace”, and I had used the phrase “Original sin” in the text. I posted it on Daily Kos as well as this blog, and on Daily Kos I was strongly criticized from commenters who told me the phrase was inflammatory, and who felt I was literally cursing Israel, in a religious sense. That was not my intent. I was only trying to find a place to point to and say, “There, that was the definitive moment.” As I did on Kos, I apologize for the poorly chosen phrase, and I hope this is more clear now without it.

A Facebook Argument about Gaza Gets Nasty

I’m not sure if there is much value in re-posting this, other than a desire to vent and a vain desire to hear what others think. But sometimes it’s helpful to share.

This started when a FB friend of mine posted a video make by a FB user named Ali, who also calls himself “Neat Man”. Ali lives in Gaza and I don’t doubt the distress that he must be in right now. Ali placed the following caption on his video:

My rage just shows that this is bad and that its what it is its a genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians..
Ali
Gaza, Palestine

I responded to my friend’s repost of the video.

Me: Israel’s goal is not genocide. Israel’s goal is to stop the attacks. While I don’t approve of the way Israel prevents the people of Gaza to live a normal life, I can’t blame Israel for every casualty when Hamas fires rockets from populated areas then tells people to remain in those areas to await the missiles.

L: Stop listening to the mainstream media Ben. Zionist have even stated that genocide is their agenda. The Jewish people (not Zionist) have also told the world that they do not support the Zionist hijacking their religion to further their political agenda. Zionist Israel is a terrorist organization who have used the media to advance their political goals. ANY country that locks people into an area where they cannot escape and then bombs them is trying to ethnically cleanse the population. The Zionist goal is to get rid of all Palestinians and they have said this numerous times. Don’t let the media convince you that human right violations are justified. It is never ok to kill innocent people and then to use power, money, corruption to cover up the crime…. GENOCIDE.

Me: I try to listen to a verity of media. I recommend that you occasionally hold your nose and visit news agencies that you find offensive because sometimes your enemies are telling the truth. It’s hard to learn when you decide that anyone telling you what you don’t already believe is lying. I don’t believe Ali is lying, for instance. But I believe he is being used as a pawn. Hamas fires rockets from populated areas and awaits Israel’s wrath. Israel is too happy to comply. The rockets won’t stop because too many Muslims want Arabia to be clean of Jews. And every time a terrorist attacks Israel, Israel attacks Palestinians like Ali. I don’t support everything Israel does, but they don’t want Genocide. They want the rockets to stop.

L: It seems Zionist supporters in the US are all watching their TVs cause all of you keep repeating the same Zionist spun media reports. Collectively you are some of the most hate filled people I have ever known. How you can justify mass murder of people held captive is beyond me. Ben no one can force you to care about human rights. This massacre in Gaza is NOT about rockets. Please refrain from telling anyone what they should do or not do to conform to your value system and thought process. Ben, ALL of Gaza is a populated area. Israel is now firing on Hospitals. Do you actually believe that Hamas is using the Hospital to hide a stash of rockets? Israel destroys Hospitals because that is what angry, hateful Terrorist do for revenge. The world’s Jewry has made it very clear that they too oppose Zionist Israel and the hijacking of their religion to further the Zionist political agenda. Part of which is to secure the Gas reserves off the coast of Gaza…. A multi billion dollar find that the greedy corrupt Israel wants all to itself. As I keep saying…. This massacre is not about rockets. Zionist always think about two things…. Money and Power. What is that saying? Money and Power always lead to…..

Me: Instead of addressing anything I’ve written, you dismissed all with a baseless implication that I get all of my news from watching Zionist spun media reports on TV, which is extremely false. It’s as if you barely read my post beyond discovering that I don’t agree with you 100 percent, and decided that I must be brainwashed or hateful.

Yes, I actually believe that Hamas is using hospitals to stash weapons. You see, I can believe that the Israelis are evil enough to destroy a hospital out of hate but I can also believe that Hamas is evil enough to turn a hospital into a target. You seem to be only capable of believing the Zionists are evil.

Even if the Zionists could be evil enough to destroy a hospital for no reason other than pure hate, how could they be so stupid? Not only did they fire upon a hospital, they broadcast their intentions well enough in advance to allow a large group of Palestinians to gather around and watch. “Hey look everyone, we’re about to destroy a hospital. Grab your smartphones, you won’t want to miss this!”

Hamas is not stupid either. Hiding weaponry in a hospital is a win win situation for them. They either get to store their weapons in a place that Israel won’t dare destroy, or, more likely and more lucrative, they get the publicity of showing Israel’s wanton destruction. So the the next question is if Hamas is willing to sacrifice Palestinians to further their goal of destroying Israel. Considering they used to train people to blow themselves up on buses and in markets, and only stopped because suicide bombers were bringing bad publicity, I have to think the answer is Yes.

They are both capable of evil. I am not as pro-Zionist as you think. But the Israeli strike on the hospital would be completely against Israeli interests if there wasn’t a tactical reason for it, and creating a tactical reason is very advantageous to Hamas.

L: I know you personally Ben and I know what your other personal friends say about you…. It’s not something I would repeat on social media but I am well aware of your political agenda. Your lack of care and concern for the human rights of the Palestinian people and the internationals in Gaza suffering at the hands of Zionist Israel is deplorable.

Me: That is bizarre. We met twice. There is only one person who we know in common and I am sorry if I ever offended him. You know what my personal friends say about me? That’s hard to believe, since you have me characterized so incorrectly. You think I watch TV News. You think I’m repeating the same things as all the other Zionists. You think I have no compassion for the Palestinians.

I believe you are compassionate but I also think you are vengeful, stubborn, and sometimes out of control with your anger. And you don’t fight fair. But this is more important than how we feel about each other personally. I simply don’t believe that your characterization of Israel as genocidal is going to help ease the suffering in the Middle East. Your heart may be in the right place but your refusal to explore information that doesn’t comply with your beliefs is counter-productive. It may not be your intention but you are promoting hate. I believe that Hamas is at least as responsible for Palestinian suffering as Israel is, and I don’t think that anyone who refuses to explore that fact can help stop the carnage. I don’t expect you convince you here. But I ask that you explore points of view that differ from your preconceived notions.

I do not intend to reply to any more personal attacks.

L: You sure act just like a Zionist Benjamin Goldberg hateful, mean and nasty. You come to my house (my wall) and you attack me, my family and friends then just like a Zionist you want to spin it around as if I attacked you. You have a habit of doing this to people you disagree with and we have all seen you attack people and then pretend you are innocent. I didn’t ask for your comment on my wall posts so don’t think I am going to take your foul behavior and just shut up. You pull that on everyone. Attack Attack Attack and you never stop until you get the last word. Please go play your games elsewhere Benjamin.

Israel is now firing on Hospitals. Do you actually believe that Hamas is using the Hospital to hide a stash of rockets?

On facebook, a friend asked, “Israel is now firing on Hospitals. Do you actually believe that Hamas is using the Hospital to hide a stash of rockets?”

I wrote “Yes”.

Yes, I actually believe that Hamas is using hospitals to stash weapons. While I can believe that the Israelis are evil enough to destroy a hospital out of hate, I can also believe that Hamas is evil enough to turn a hospital into a target. My friend only seems capable of believing the Zionists are evil.

Even if Israel is evil enough to destroy a hospital for no reason other than pure hate, how could they be so stupid? Not only did they fire upon El-Wafa hospital, they broadcast their intentions in advance to allow a everyone to gather around and watch. “Hey look everyone, we’re about to destroy a hospital. Grab your smartphones, you won’t want to miss this!”

International solidarity activists are staying in a Gaza hospital, which the Israel Defense Forces has indicated it plans to bomb, as a human shield.

Hamas is not stupid either. Hiding weaponry in a hospital is a win win situation for them. They either get to store their weapons in a place that Israel won’t dare destroy, or, more likely and more lucrative, they get the publicity of showing Israel’s wanton destruction. So the the next question is if Hamas is willing to sacrifice Palestinians to further their goal of destroying Israel. Considering the suicide bombers and the belief in martyrdom, I have to think the answer is yes.

They are both capable of evil. I am not as pro-Zionist as my friend thinks. But the Israeli strike on the hospital would be completely against Israeli interests if there wasn’t a tactical reason for it, and creating a tactical reason is very advantageous to Hamas.

Today, July 15th Net Neutrality Comments Deadline

Although I’ve seen posts yesterday implying that the deadline was last midnight, I’m pretty sure that the deadline is midnight tonight. So if you’ve been procrastinating about sending in your comments about net neutrality, you have a few hours left.

I wrote, “The Constitution grants the government the right to establish post offices and postal roads, to ensure that the people of the United States of America have access to information. The internet is a new postal route. In fact, it is now the primary source of the kind of information that the framers hoped to protect. We should not allow information to be throttled by private interests. We have a duty to protect this new route of information.”

I can understand if you haven’t acted on this issue yet. It’s technical, and the other side seem to have a good point. Why shouldn’t content providers pay more for a higher level of service?

Well if you haven’t seen John Oliver’s segment do so now, and if you’re still skeptical read Slate’s evaluation.

John Oliver explains perfectly why you’ve been procrastinating and why you should stop immediately. My only point of contention with Oliver’s very good segment is he frames the debate in terms of entertainment, ie Netflix vs Comcast (well that and the fact that he ripped off “nutflix” from “Idiocracy”).

What he leaves out is that the debate isn’t just about watching movies. It’s about information. What if your cable company doesn’t like the reporting done by a news organization that isn’t supportive of big corporations? That is the bigger issue. If net neutrality is abolished, your cable company will have an easier time throttling information that they don’t want you to hear. To put it more bluntly, they will have an easier time limiting the news that your low-information neighbor sees because your low-information neighbor doesn’t work very hard to get informed. that news will only be news that his provider wants him to see, and that will be what he takes with him to the polls.

There are several ways to submit comments. You can go to the FCC’s comments page, or, for a friendlier interface submit through organizations such as Free Press or Battle for the Net. I used Battle for the Net’s interface but I asked them if the message goes to the same place.

Hey Ben,

Yes, our form submits directly to theirs, we just tried to make it a bit easier for people since their’s is a bit confusing.

Cheers,
-Evan at FFTF

Which it is.

If you miss tonight’s deadline, there is still a reply period, but it’s best to get your comments in now.

Much of What You Believe About the Middle East Conflicts Is Probably False

I don’t like posting about Israel and Palestine because it’s hard for me to compensate properly for my bias. But I’ve seen posts by Facebook friends of faked or falsely attributed photos about the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian violence and feel I must at least help dispel some of the lies.

My bias makes me react more strongly to the lies about Israel than to the lies about Palestine, but there are indeed lies 0n all sides. Because of all the lies, you cannot form an intelligent opinion about the Middle East by reacting to Facebook posts and tweets. If you have a few Zionist or anti-Zionist friends and you mindlessly forward their shocking pictures or heartbreaking stories without taking at least a couple of minutes to find out if they are real, then you are probably helping to disseminate false propaganda, which leads to more violence.

So here is a quick list of things to consider and hopefully compel you to do more research on more than one side of the issue. Some of my items are pro-Israel, some pro-Palestine. It’s not an “all you need to know” list, but it’s a start.

* Hamas uses human shields, and that is part of the reason the body count is so one-sided (another, of course, is Israel’s military superiority). And Israel warns the Palestinians about their targets. (see Video Shows Gaza Residents Acting as Human Shields, Newsweek, and Israel drops leaflets warning Gaza residents to evacuate ahead of airstrikes, CNN )

screen capture from IDF blog with photo of rocket launch labeled: Hamas Caught Firing Rocket from Civilian Area

Photo: Screenshot of page on idfblog.com

* Some of the horrible pictures that we’re seeing are not current and/or not from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many are from Syria (see Report: Gaza supporters using false images on Twitter, Haaretz. Also see More Fakestinian lies, old lies, and video tape, from Almost Midnight in the West. I don’t advocate the hate that this website promotes, but this page has good examples of falsely attributed images.)

* Many would be surprised how many Jews opposed the creation of Israel, and still oppose its existence. There is a rational for saying the Jewish Religion forbids a Jewish homeland. ( see Why Orthodox Jews are Opposed to the Zionist State, Neturei Karta )

* There are a significant number of Arabs and Muslims who will not accept any solution other than the destruction of Israel, and are lying when they come to the negotiating table. (see Benny Morris: “The 1948 War Was an Islamic Holy War”, Middle East Quarterly).

* Israel also lies at the negotiation table, and cannot in good faith work towards peace while it continues to build settlements. (see Obama and Israel: The pessimistic perspective The Hill)

Update: A counterpoint to my first point. Emily Hauser suggests we read Is Israel committing war crimes in Gaza?, Haaretz.

Update 2014 July 25: I had originally written “there is rational for saying the Torah forbids a Jewish homeland.” That was completely wrong. I changed “Torah” to “Jewish Religion”.

We are the Plan to get Elliott Fausz Elected.

Elliott Fausz, the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 4th District of U.S. Congress, was at the July meeting of the Suffolk Democratic Committee, and he said that he’d be a supporter of education initiatives, immigration reform, and the minimum wage. Then he took some questions.

 Elliott Fausz at Meeting

A good portion of the questions, including one from me, were about his campaign. Elliott and his campaign manager Chika Anyadike, emphasized the need for a grass roots effort on the part of Democrats to get the word out. Someone asked how he’s going to get enough money to combat Randy Forbes. Again, they answered “Grassroots effort.” Someone asked what he was going to do if he doesn’t get all that money. It reminded me of the scene from Armageddon where Stamper asks Truman, “What’s your contingency plan?”

TRUMAN: Contingency plan?
STAMPER: Your backup plan. You gotta have some sort of back up plan, right?
TRUMAN: No. We don’t have a backup plan. This is it.

Folks — We are the plan. I say this especially to Democrats who live in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District but also to Democrats anywhere. There is no pot of money that Elliott Fausz can tap into to make up for anything less than a surprisingly enthusiastic grassroots movement. There will be no financial match to the heavy corporate funding that Randy Forbes will receive. There will be no comparable spending of air time to counter Randy Forbes’s misleading attacks. Randy Forbes has the support of the wealthiest corporations in Virginia. Defense contractors have already given Forbes well over $100,000.00 for this election cycle alone. Fifteen thousand already from Huntington Ingalls ( And since corporations are people, how many people at Huntington Ingalls are happy to have the corporation they are a part of supporting Randy Forbes? A lot, I’m sure, but I bet not nearly all of them. Probably not most. ).

Virginia’s fourth is a gerrymandered district that connects the rural and once rural regions between Richmond and Norfolk, and includes much of South Hampton roads which is heavily dependent on military contracts. But even those not in Virginia’s 4th are effected by our politics. As the leader of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Randy Forbes has been one of the most outspoken critics of one of the most important principles of the U.S. Constitution, which is the separation of church and state. Forbes has been a proponent of military spending and he says jobs depend on it, but opposes government spending on green initiatives, education, and infrastructure because government needs to get out of the way in order to create jobs. Forbes supports Jesus in federal government, tax cuts for the wealthy, unchecked military spending, and not much else.

In Armageddon, Truman eventually says to Stamper, “We’re a little short on time. Will you help us?”

We’re a little short on time, folks. Will you help? Whatever you can contribute to his campaign (or to the Suffolk Democratic Committee) will be a huge benefit. But I don’t expect Fausz to raise even half as much as Forbes. Money will help, but canvassing and talking to your friends and neighbors will help more. Remind them that every year is an election year in Virginia and every election is important.

Elliott Grayson Fausz is a real leader and a true grassroots candidate who will support education, infrastructure, the minimum wage, and our military members without pandering to the huge military and financial firms that spend obscene amounts of money on Randy Forbes.

We are the plan. Elliott Fausz for U.S. Congress, Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. fausz4congress.com

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