Virginians: You mad yet?

After decades of grousing about service, family values, the rule of law, executive restraint, and the dignity of the Office of the President, Republicans elected a draft-dodging, sexually abusive philanderer who has no understanding of the Constitution, boasts about all his executive orders, and embarrasses the nation with his childish tweets and his reality show cabinet of hired and fired loudmouths.

Are you mad enough to do something about it yet?

I ask because the goon who now soils the world’s most dignified office has a minion poised to do the same to the highest office in Virginia.

You can stop it by voting. And when you vote, don’t stop at Governor. Because every Republican victory only encourages Republican hatred, lies, and embarrassing behavior.

Sure, a lot of Republicans are decent human beings. But what good is a decent Republican who doesn’t denounce the hatred and lies of their party’s leadership? What good is a decent Republican who supports the lie that smart immigration policy is the same as supporting vicious gangs? What good is a decent Republican who doesn’t stand up to the NRA as they distort the meaning of our Constitution to make money from the blood and fear of American citizens? What good is a decent Republican who will throw away federal funds for Medicaid expansion just to spite hard working Virginians who might benefit from it?

This is the year for real Virginians to show the wold that we’re smart enough to see the truth behind the lies and bring back some dignity to hour highest offices. This is the year we get to the polls and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.

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Colaw Will Dig In and Find Answers

The forum that I wrote about earlier is over and done with so it should be time for me to leave it alone and move on. But Ryan Kushner’s article about the event in the October 18th edition of the Smithfield Times is slanted to make Rebecca Colaw seem weaker when she is by far the stronger candidate, and I want to set the record straight.

For example, Emily Brewer did not answer the question about background checks. But like Brewer, the article is unclear about her response, saying,

only Colaw suggested the need for an end to purchasing firearms at gun shows without a background check, Brewer stating that there was already a provision in place that allowed sellers to refuse a sale at the shows.

Mr. Kushner quoted part of her reply and left open the possibility that somewhere in the rest of her response was an answer to the question.

Ms. Brewer also avoided answering the question about women’s reproductive health.

The only editorializing in the article is where Mr. Kushner describes Ms. Colaw’s stance about Confederate monuments as “less firm” than Brewer’s. But Ms. Colaw’s response was amazing. She spoke to African American groups and The Sons of the Confederacy and found common ground. She said that neither side wants to pay for removing the monuments. She also said that each monument has its own circumstances that would have to be addressed because, for example, some are on public grounds and some on private. So indeed, Ms. Colaw’s response might be “less firm” than taking a side on an issue without doing any research, but her response is far more balanced and truthful, and shows the kind of effort Rebecca Colaw will put into addressing the issues that affect Virginians

Rebecca Colaw’s response to free community college was also intelligent and revealing of the amount of effort Ms. Colaw will put into addressing our issues. She said she was against public funding of community college until she looked at how Tennessee implemented it. She said it would add to the tax base by creating more and better paid taxpayers. She also said she would research the details before pushing for it. But her answer was glossed over, and she was made to sound as if she supported free college without any thought of the costs and benefits.

Rebecca Colaw is what our community needs. Emily Brewer stuck to talking points. Rebecca Colaw spoke truth to opposition and provided data to back it up. She proved her willingness to hear different sides of controversial issues and to dig in and find answers to complex problems.

It’s Not Hypocritical To Review the Election

A commenter on an article in the Independent about how the election might have been rigged wrote this

Liberals lost, they should accept the result. They slated Trump when he said he may or may not accept the result. Severely damaging to democracy to challenge the result they said…except when liberals do it eh.
Turn the result around now, legitimately or not, and all hell would break lose.
This is the most hateful election I’ve ever experienced.

Bullshit. The problem with Trump’s accusations of rigging are that he had no evidence. Even before the election, as he was dropping in polls, he was said the only way he could lose was due to rigging.

We’re not even making accusations yet. Looking at evidence before making accusations while condemning someone for making accusations without evidence is not hypocrisy. It’s the opposite of hypocrisy.

Defining Patriots and Tyrants

If it comes down to the blood of patriots and tyrants, remember that the patriots will be the ones defending the civil transfer of power to the democratically elected candidate, and the tyrant would be the one trying to gain power with the help of a foreign dictator and a rogue army of bloodthirsty nationalists.

 

 

 

A normal campaign would disavow an army of twitter nazis

Matthew Yglesias tweeted:

An example of what Mr. Yglesias is talking about:

@ThaRightStuff @Mattyglesias Hopefully we can gas him before too long
—Oliver Who? (@UltraOliver) October 29, 2016

An argument with a Trump Supporter about the Clinton Foundation

I argued with a Trump supporter at Peanut Fest last night. She said that Trump’s foundation got a higher rating that Clinton’s. I told her that it wasn’t true; that Charity Navigator gave the Clinton Foundation the highest rating. There were two kids, about twelve years old, watching. She asked them who they thought was winning. One said she was. The other abstained. We ended up with me saying that she’s wrong, but I promised to go home and check it out.

It wasn’t difficult. The Clinton foundation has a four star rating from Charity Navigator. Their rating was recent, which some right wing sites claim is suspicious, but the reason for the late rating is explained.

In 2013, the Clinton Foundation merged with one of its affiliates, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). This merger made it difficult to compare financial information of the combined entities with financial information from the Clinton Foundation before the merger. In situations like this with any charity, we will reevaluate if the charity provides consolidated financial data that will allow us to perform an accurate year-over-year comparison.

Meanwhile, the Trump foundation is not rated because it is a private foundation, not a charity.

So, in the eyes of a 12 year old, my opponent may have won, but like Pence during the VP debate, she did so by lying. Thankfully, among those of us who were old enough to vote, most of us seem to be more impressed with the truth. I hope that holds for another month.

Comparing Clinton’s and Trump’s Plans for Veterans, Military Members and their Families

At the top of Hilary Clinton’s page for “Veterans, the armed forces, and their families”
is a paragraph about Clinton’s father who was a Chief Petty Officer during World
War II. Trump’s “Veterans affairs Reform” page, of course, describes no connections to the military, since his entire family has avoided service.

Both pages include three or four paragraphs of general vision statements. Even in these general statements, Clinton’s page provides more detail than Trump’s, but Clinton’s also links to a fact-sheet that details how she plans to meet her goals.

Clinton’s page says she will narrow the focus of the VA so that it concentrates on providing health care for service-related conditions and treatments that Veterans need but have difficulty getting outside the VA. For issues that can be dealt with outside the VA, she’ll have the VA coordinate with other existing programs, and “Strategically purchase private-sector care when it makes sense to do so.” She promises to hold regular meetings with the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense. She will look for ways to streamline the VA by removing redundancies and co-locating operations. She will push to implement the electronic health record system, which has been delayed for years. Her fact sheet is filled with such details.

Trump’s page as no such details. It’s pretty much a short list which he calls a “10 point plan to reform the VA”. There is no link to any fact sheet.

The first of Trump’s ten points is “Appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans.” We already have a VA Secretary whose sole purpose is to serve veterans. Recently the VA Secretary failed to fulfill that purpose, but the position and the purpose both exist, so Trump’s first point is meaningless.

Points 2,3,4, and 5 are all about punishing poor performers at the VA. They’re one point divided into four because a “10 point plan” sounds better than a “7 point list”. So far, it’s really just a 6 point list because point 1 is nonsense.

Half of Point 6 is a good idea. Yay Trump. He will create a 24 hour, live manned, “private White House hotline”. I like the 24 hour part. We already have a VA hotline but it only runs during East Coast business hours. It can be trouble finding time during the workday to deal with government agencies. So that’s great, but I don’t know what Trump means by “private White House hotline”. It would be stupid to put the hotline in the White House, and what does he mean by “Private”? The hotline would be better off in a VA facility were someone might be able to turn the call over to a health care professional.

Point 7 is about punishing non-performers, so it should get rolled in with points 2,3,4, and 5. Now it’s a 5 point plan.

Point 8 is about visas. Even if a crackdown on visas would help veterans (and I’m not saying it wouldn’t), it’s not a point in a plan to reform the VA. Trump really has a four point plan to reform the VA.

Points 9 and 10 sound good to me. He’ll increase the number of mental health care professionals and allow veteran’s to choose between care at the VA or at a private service provider. But since it’s mainly the cost that keeps vets from getting care outside of the VA (there’s no rule that says we can’t), if Trump wants to make sure that vets can get care outside of the VA, he should provide some clue about how he plans to cover the cost.

That’s it. Four ideas: Set up a 24 hour “private hotline”, increase the number of health care professionals, improve access to private health care,and make the VA a scary place to work where great resources are devoted to punishment and employees are rewarded for turning in their coworkers. There is nothing about the economic challenges faced by active duty military members. There is no mention of their families. There is nothing about education.

Most of all, there is no framework for how Trump plans to meet the four goals he spells out in his so-called “ten point plan”. There is almost no accountability.

640px-secretary_of_state_delivers_message_of_praise_to_andersen_servicemembers_dvids3345061

Photo by: Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/334506) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Clinton’s plan has several specific objectives that later we can review to hold her to her promises.

Trump’s plan reads like a book report done on the morning bus by a student who didn’t read the book. It is an insult that shows no regard for veterans, military members, or their families.