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

Cantor Looses on Immigration Reform as McCain Warns GOP not to Block Immigration Reform

My wife noticed this:

TMP Home Page.  Described in text below.

On TPM’s home page a juxtaposition of multiple headlines about Eric Cantor’s loss, which pretty much everyone agrees was due to his support of immigration reform, and one headline about John McCain: “McCain: GOP Can’t Win in 2016 If We Block Immigration Reform”.

Democrat Jack Trammell will be running against Dave Brat, the guy who beat Cantor apparently because Cantor was too compassionate and pragmatic for the 7th. It won’t be easy for Trammell so if you can show him love, please visit is website and do so.

Turning our Backs on a Traitor

On Bearing Drift, Brian Kirwin wrote about how Democrats turn their backs on independent decision makers like Phil Puckett:

corrupt
traitorous
Benedict Puckett
bribed to resign
an a$$hole complicit Democrat
send hate mail to Puckett
If you haven’t been following the news and the name “Puckett” doesn’t yet make you want to puke
fanatic..horrible…corporate shill

[…]

Democrats, THIS is what other Democrats do to you if you dare to think for yourself.

But, only last year, on the same blog, a different author lamented the ill treatment of Bill Bolling by his fellow Republicans:

He’s been called every name in the book, from traitor and backstabber to RINO moderate and everything in between. He’s been accused of not doing enough to support the ticket in November. He’s endured a level of vitriol we usually reserve for Democrats or people who have actually switched parties. He’s been accused (falsely) of even endorsing the Democratic candidate for Governor and cutting commercials for him. People have written his political epitaph and the eulogies have been gleeful.

So turning our backs on people who screw us isn’t just a Democratic principle.

Even more significant: It’s a hell of a stretch to suggest that Phil Puckett is some kind of free thinker because he ducked out of one of the most important battles in his career in return for favors.

Also, unlike what was suggested on Bearing Drift, Medicaid expansion is not about sitting on your couch “sipping Starbucks collecting unemployment and getting free healthcare from the government”. It’s about providing access to health care for people who are earning an income but still can’t afford healthcare on the market.

When my wife was working at the Free Clinic they turned away dozens of patients for various reasons including not having an address inside of the Clinic’s coverage area or having too much income. Many of those people have jobs but don’t have any healthcare options. The emergency room won’t always save someone who collapses on the job because he couldn’t afford his medication.

I don’t know much about Phil Puckett. He might be a great guy most of the time. But for now, I stand behind what I said: Puckett’s treachery makes me sick and people will die because of it.

Elliott Fausz for Congress

On Saturday I wrote, “It’s way past time for a change in Virginia’s 4th District.”

Let’s not blow it.

June 9, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Elliott Fausz challengers Forbes for 4th Congressional seat

Elliott G. Fausz (D) is announcing his candidacy to challenge Congressman Randy Forbes (R-4) for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District seat. According to his supporters, he will be an advocate for the district and a leader in the House of Representatives.

“For too long, the people of the 4th District have been under represented by Congressman Forbes, who focuses his attention on special interests,” says Mr. Fausz. “It’s time we put petty politics aside and move America forward with 21st century leadership.”

Mr. Fausz is a longtime resident of Chester, VA, where he manages day-to-day operations of his family’s local newspaper, the Village News. Fausz received a Bachelors degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University and continued his studies for a Master of Business Administration at VCU.

During his studies, Fausz traveled to over 25 countries where he studied various cultures and languages, including Chinese and Spanish. Recently, he spent time in both Finland and Greece consulting with startup companies on how to bring their products to market in America.

Fausz serves as President of the Chester Community Association, a civic organization that promotes smart growth and community events. Also, he is the chairman and a founding member of the Chesterfield County Twinning Association, which connects Gravesham, England, and Chesterfield for purpose of cultural exchange.

Fausz’s experience has given him a unique set of skills that will enable him to be a powerful voice and advocate for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. Fausz vows to fight for every citizen across the 4th district and the country by putting constituents first.

“I will find success by listening to the constituents of the 4th District and putting their interests ahead of K Street lobbyists,” says Fausz. “There is a lot to be done in Washington, and as long as we keep the residents of the 4th District in mind, we can overcome any obstacles that are standing in our way.”

Fausz continued by emphasizing the importance of cleaning up the Veterans Administration, reforming the student loan system, balancing the budget, developing clean energy and hi-tech jobs, and defending America’s boarders without encroaching on privacy.

For more information about Elliott Fausz and his plans for the future, go to www.fausz4congress.com.

###

Media: Contact Elliott Fausz at (804) 405-5443

Money, Speech, & Bullshit

Conservatives and Liberals can disagree, and genuinely believe that their own points of view are valid. But more and more I’m coming to believe that most conservative points of view are lies that conservatives tell themselves to justify doing what they know is wrong. It’s like telling yourself that ice cream is healthy because it is made out of milk. It’s like a bully complaining that a nerd’s face keeps hitting his fist.

The McCutcheon decision is bullshit. The idea that money is speech is bullshit. I have a right to express my opinions, but the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee every method available for doing so. The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee my right to shout my opinions louder than local noise ordinances permit, or to paint my opinions on the sides of public buildings. Megaphones are not speech. Neither is spray paint. Neither is money.

The Supreme Court has often ruled that speech can be restricted for valid reasons. When you consider all of the restrictions on speech that exist despite First Amendment protections, such as restrictions against libeling, threatening, talking about classified information, or amplifying your voice above certain volumes, it’s absurd that that something which can only be considered speech in a highly metaphoric application of the word has more protection than actual speech does.

In the National Law Journal, James Copeland compared limits on campaign spending to limits on legal defense, or to telling people that they can’t spend money on abortions (apparently referencing Eugene Volokh but I can’t find the original). Do Mr. Copeland or Mr. Volokh, both men much more knowledgeable than I am, even think such analogies make sense? I could spend all the money I have on legal defense and still not match the resources available for my prosecution. And I can’t even grasp enough of a correlation between campaign finance and abortion spending to criticize the analogy.

With patriotic language about how the government shouldn’t restrict access to the political process, the Supreme Court restricted access for millions of ordinary people. This was the same court that overturned the Voting Rights Act, telling us that our country no longer requires such protections, because it has “changed”. And it was just one large step in a march to eliminate the voice of the people completely. In the past several years, the Supreme Court has used bullshit logic to reverse over a century of progress toward making the First Amendment meaningful to ordinary citizens. And it will continue to do so until we replace at least one conservative justice with one who will start with the law and reason outward, rather than start with ideology and interpret the law accordingly.

Despite Negativity, Vote

I’ve been knocking on doors in support of McAuliffe, Northam and Herring. A few people who spoke with me told me they’re not voting because they’re fed up with all the negativity.

Well I’m sorry, but sometimes you have to go negative. Sometimes, remaining aloof doesn’t make you better and doesn’t make you right. It makes you lazy.

When one of the candidates for governor is a climate change denier who improperly used his office while he was attorney general to harass a university professor who’s views are more mainstream, it would be remiss not to mention that fact. It would stupid not mention E.W. Jackson’s crazy rants about homosexuality and equal rights, and it would be a failure not to point out that Mark Obenshain will likely follow in Ken Cuccinelli’s footsteps of pursuing a right-wing social agenda at the expense of properly fulfilling his duties.

In endorsing Mark Herring for Attorney General, the Lynchburg News and Advance necessarily goes negative on Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain:

Virginia’s current attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli (who’s now running for governor), is perhaps the greatest example of the twisting of the office’s constitutional mission. From his quixotic pursuits of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann and the federal Affordable Care Act to his politicization of the regulatory process, as in drafting regulations for the state’s abortion providers, he’s injected partisan politics into the office to a degree not seen in modern Virginia history.

Obenshain, a state senator from Harrisonburg, presents a much more moderate image as opposed to Cuccinelli, but his past political stands suggest he would pursue the same issues and policies as Cuccinelli, though in a less confrontational style. From his votes on a myriad of hot-button social issues such as a legally questionable “personhood” bill to his “law-and-order” agenda, we have no reason to expect a return to the office’s original mission.

If you are choosing not to get involved this year because you’re tired of the negativity, then you are choosing to remain ignorant, and your choosing to abdicate your rights. You will be handing your responsibility over to right wing extremists who will come out this election, driven mostly by their hatred for the president and their desire to prevent his policies from helping millions of Virginians.

Polls suggest that more people support the Democrats running for Richmond this year, and while McAuliffe and Northam are polling very well, if supporters stay home then we may lose the much closer race for attorney general. And Mr. Cuccinelli has shown us the kind of damage an attorney general can do.

So please, deal with the negativity and vote Tuesday.

Negative Articles against Cuccinelli Not a Smear Campaign

Lorraine Yuriar of the Hampton Roads Tea Party posted, on the Suffolk Democratic Committee’s Facebook page, a link to her HRTP article about a smear campaign against Ken Cuccinelli. Her article was prompted by a Virginian Pilot article concerning possibly misleading information that Cuccinelli provided about his service in the United States Marines.

But while she gives the journalist a pass for digging up dirt, she uses search results from the Pilot’s website, hamptonroads.com, to theorize that the Pilot is biased against Ken Cuccinelli.

… in total, of the 8 stories on the first page of search results for Terry McAuliffe, half of the articles are favorable to Terry, and only 2 of the articles were old.

On the other hand a quick search for Ken Cuccinelli turns up 8 articles, but all of them are old! The latest article on the first page of the search is dated November 2012.

I found that very strange considering Ken Cuccinelli’s involvement in the Star Scientific affair. I figured the Pilot must have written about Ken Cuccinelli more recently than November.

It has. Unfortunately, HamptonRoads.com has a lousy search engine.

Although the first page of search results for McAuliffe does have more recent articles then the first page of search results about Cuccinelli, if you add the second page you’ll see that Cuccinelli brings up more recent results. I found that the first two pages of results on “Cuccinelli” contain nine articles in July, while the first two pages of results for “McAuliffe” contain only three for July.

Ms. Yuriar is right about the overall count of negative articles about Cuccinelli vs the count of negative articles about McAulliffe, but that is due to Cuccinelli’s involvement in Star Scientific.

Cuccinelli has been investigated for owning stock in Star Scientific and accepting gifts from Star Scientific executive Jonnie Williams, while defending the State of Virginia against a lawsuit filed by that company. News about Ken Cuccinelli’s involvement in Star Scientific is part of a larger scandal surrounding the company’s relationship with Virginia’s governor, Bob McDonnell.

As it turns out, news broke yesterday that Ken Cuccinelli has been cleared of ethics violations in that scandal. Not because he’s squeaky clean though. It still holds true that he only recused himself from the case after Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific became public. And he still broke the law by not reporting those gifts and his stock in a timely manner. So even if at the end of an investigation into whether or not Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific violated Virginia’s weak ethics laws, Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific was, and still is, news.

The Pilot has no obligation to ignore Cuccinelli’s inappropriate (even if not illegal) behavior just to look fair and balanced.

Update (same day as posting) I changed the title from: Negative Articles against Cuccinelli Not Necessarily a Smear Campaign.

Suffolk News Herald Sort of Covers Mark Herring’s Visit.

The Suffolk News Herald covered Mark Herring’s visit to our city, but a large portion of the article was devoted to defending Mark Obenshain from one of Senator Herring’s campaign talking points. The article briefly mentions how Senator Herring described Senator Obenshain’s bill:

Herring said his fellow senator supported a bill that would require women to report miscarriages to police within 24 hours “like they were a potential criminal.”

, then continues to summarize Senator Obenshain’s explanation,

With filing deadlines approaching, Obenshain introduced the bill with the intention of fine-tuning the language during the session. However, he ultimately dropped the bill after concluding that any bill addressing situations similar to the Rockingham case “would have unintended consequences for women suffering a miscarriage,” Garst said in Logan’s statement.

You can read Senator Obenshain’s own words on Not Larry Sabato.

After receiving backlash, Senator Obenshain stated that he would rewrite or withdraw the bill. But the backlash was easily predictable by the reaction to John Cosgrove’s very similar bill in the House.

No amount of fine-tuning could have kept that bill from being exactly what Senator Herring described it to be. A major rewrite could have made the bill less extreme, but then it wouldn’t have been the bill that Senator Obenshain introduced.

Another unfortunate aspect of the article was it lacked any mention of Kerry Holmes, who spoke before Senator Herring. Kerry Holmes is running for the State Senate 14th District against Delegate John Cosgrove, in a special election to replace Harry Blevins on August 6th. It was John Cosgrove who introduced the miscarriage bill in the House.

Gathing at Campaign Office

McAuliffe has Already Agreed to Debates

Ken Cuccinelli has been trying very hard to generate the false rumor that Terry McAuliffe doesn’t want to debate. It is patently false, but Cuccinelli can’t be accused of patently lying because he can always say that by accusing McAuliffe of “Dodging Debates”, he’s only referring to unusual fifteen debate schedule that McAuliffe refuses to play along with, not the traditional five debate schedule that McAuliffe has already agreed to. Cuccinelli doesn’t mention those five debates when he accuses McAuliffe of dodging. Says Cuccinelli:

Since my opponent threatened to walk away from the only debate scheduled, and refuses to engage in other debates across the Commonwealth […]

.

As the Louden Times well summarizes:

[..] the Cuccinelli camp has persistently charged that the Democrat McAuliffe refuses to accept these debates.

But the Republican campaign has avoided mentioning that in early April, more than a month before Cuccinelli officially became the GOP nominee, McAuliffe’s campaign announced the debates its candidate will be participating in.

While debates are in important way to confront candidates with tough questions and to give voters a chance to compare the contenders side-by-side, debates are also a way to emphasize one-liners and jabs rather than substance, and a way to slip in false or misleading statements in highly televised settings which will reach more low-information voters than the analytic articles which follow. Ken Cuccinelli seems to feel that his strength is in one-liners, jabs, and misleading statements.

Debates also take time away from other campaign functions, such as connecting with supporters. That’s less of a problem for a campaign which hopes to be funded by energy companies and Koch Industries, rather than Firefighters and Teachers.

Challenging McAuliffe to an intensive debate schedule, reminiscent of the comedy tour the Republican presidential primary candidates treated us to in 2011 and 2012, is a win-win for Cuccinelli. Either he prevents his opponent from reaching out to supporters and running a substantive campaign, or he accuses his opponent of being afraid to debate. Thoughtful voters should see through this dishonest tactic.

My Favorite Candidates & Committees

I made an Act Blue page for some of my favorite candidates and committees, and it includes some of the intelligent, kind, and motivated people who I met last night at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner. What may seem like striking omissions are Terry McAliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring. Of course I support the those campaigns very strongly, but I wanted to use this post and the Act Blue page to highlight some of the committees and campaigns that won’t get as much attention as the statewide campaigns. On the Act Blue page, you can make a single contribution and have it split among each candidate and committee on the list, or you can select individual entities and customize your contributions.

At the top of the list is the Suffolk Democratic Committee. Your contribution to the SDC helps its members arrange fundraising events for Suffolk, regional, and statewide Democratic candidates, like the event this Tuesday, July 2nd, for Mark Herring. SDC members also work to register new voters, help those who have lost their voting rights regain them, and educate the public about important issues.

SDC Logo

Also on the list is the Isle of Wight County Democratic Committee. IOWCDC just won the Grassroots Committee of the Year (in medium sized committee category). IOWCDC members have been following the “Boots on the Ground” philosophy which the Democratic Party of Virginia has been endorsing and which will put Democrats in the offices of Governor, LT Governor, and Attorney General this year.

The first candidate on the list is Kerry Holmes, running for the 14th Virginia Senate district. We have a special chance to turn the Virginia Senate Blue this August, thanks to the retirement of State Senator Harry Blevins, a Republican. Kerry is the epitome of what Republicans want you to believe Democrats aren’t, a church-going, fiscally conservative veteran. There’s room in the Democratic party for conservative ideas and values but there no longer seems to be any room in the Republican party for reasonable ideas which conflict with the Tea Party agenda. Electing Kerry Holmes will restore some sanity to the Virginia Senate.

Susan Hippen is running for Virginia House of Delegates district 21. Master Chief (retired) Hippen wants to create better opportunities for families in Virginia. During her service in the Navy, Hippen served as Command Master Chief of CNATTU, Naval Air Station Oceana and the Division Leading Senior Chief Petty Officer of the Avionics and Armament Intermediate Maintenance Department (IM3) onboard the aircraft carrier USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71). She has the endorsement of Terry McAuliffe, Creigh Deeds, and host of other impressive personalities.

Traci Dippert is running for the seat in the 30th House of Delegates district. She is the chairperson of the Cullpepper Democratic Committee and an elementary school teacher. She entered the race because is concerned with her opponent’s record on education, and believes teachers should have all the necessary resources to prepare our children and grandchildren with a well-rounded education to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

William Quarles is running for the 65th. He has experience as a teacher, a supervisor, and a small business owner who believes in education and that his opponent is out of touch on issues such as education, womans’ rights, and healthcare.

Jennifer Boysco, who says “It’s hard to believe that Richmond is still debating things like birth control”, is running for House district 86. I can’t do better than to pull this quote from Blue Virginia:

Jennifer will breathe fresh air into the House of Delegates. She’s a wonderful person, as evidenced by near endless community service. If someone is hurting, Jennifer is there. After Katrina, Jennifer was there to help collect donations. I have lost count of all the philanthropic efforts and kindnesses Jennifer models for the rest of us. Whether it is in efforts for schools, seniors, or the poor, she’s an inspiration.

Finally, two candidates who aren’t on my ActBlue page because they aren’t using ActBlue for fundraising:

Linda Bryant is Army Veteran, an attorney, and a law school professor who’s husband is a Naval Special Operations Officer with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit stationed at Little Creek. She is a powerhouse with a long and impressive resume of applying her legal skills to public service including putting criminals behind bars, training on internet safety, and providing advisement on ethics compliance.

Elizabeth Jones, is a retired educator with 32 years experience and the chair of the Pittsylvania County Democratic Committee. She is running for the 16th House district and plans to conduct a clean, positive campaign that will listen to the residents and focus on solutions to move the 16th District’s economy forward.

These are just some of the important Democrats running this year. Every year is an election year in Virginia and this year is just as important as last year. Please visit my ActBlue page and/or (especially in Linda Bryant’s case) visit the websites and learn more about these individuals who will make an important difference in Virginia.

Update (2013 June 30) Added photos, & cleaned up some embarrassing grammatical errors.
Update (2013 July 1) Added Elizabeth Jones.