Despite what you heard, we didn’t defund the police, we increased their funding

At a recent meeting of the Suffolk Democratic Committee, Delegate Clinton Jenkins announced some accomplishments made by the General Assembly. One of those accomplishments was an increase in funding for law enforcement. As I remember, he said, “Despite what you heard, we didn’t defund the police, we increased their funding,” and in response to that, the Suffolk Democrats applauded.

Terry McAuliffe is now fighting accusations of defunding the police when during his time, he, too worked to increase funding for law enforcement.

The phrase “Defund the Police” means different things to different people, except maybe for Republicans who seem unified in thinking the phrase means abolishing rule of law and creating a consequence-free environment for criminals. That’s not what it means to any Democrat.

Whatever the phrase might mean to various proponents and opponents across the nation, it’s a moot point in Virginia where the Democratic chair of the Judiciary Committee said, “No, we don’t need to take money from law enforcement […] We need the police.”

Don’t let Republicans gaslight you into thinking that a vote for Democrats is a vote for crime. The opposite is true, especially in Virginia.

Under Democratic leadership, including during the McAuliffe years of 2014 to 2018, Virginia has had the lowest crime rate in the region (see CDC data and Virginia Ranks Among States with Lowest Crime Rates). That, along with Virginia’s excellent economy, mean things are, and have been, pretty good in Virginia.

But Republicans think it’s time for a change.

Vote

I had the pleasure of drafting Ella Ward’s final campaign email message (not counting a note about an election night party which we sent later). After a few changes, it went out as follows:

This has been a contentious campaign season for politicians at all levels, but President Barack Obama has endured the most outrageous accusations, dishonest attacks, and distorted rumors directed towards him than any other candidate that I can remember.

If the president is defeated next week, the United States will return to the economic policies that started the recession from which we’re recovering, social policies which would codify bigotry and discrimination into national law, environmental policies which would destroy our beautiful and bountiful natural resources, and national security policies which kept America engaged in seemingly endless wars while our number one enemy escaped retribution.

But even when we re-elect President Obama, he will need the support in Congress to prevent the kind of gridlock, distraction, and damage that his opposition has given us over the past four years. Randy Forbes has been one of the most obstructionist Republicans in Congress during his tenure. Randy Forbes is committed to defeating legislation that would allow the president to succeed, even if doing so brings discrimination and economic hardship to his constituency.

I will support the President as he works to keep America safe, beautiful, equitable, and moving forward. I will fairly represent the people of the 4th Congressional District in Virginia, not just the wealthiest and the most influential residents.

Opponents to the President and supporters such as Tim Kaine and me have been feverishly motivating their base to get to the polls this November. They have used fear-mongering about socialism, gun grabbing, terrorism, and economic collapse to scare their supporters to the polls.

We need you to counter the effects of the distortions and lies and vote for Barack Obama, Tim Kaine and me, Ella Ward, on November 6th – and get your friends and neighbors to do so as well. A win for Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, and me will be a win for truth, a win for fairness, a win for Virginia, and a win for America.

And, if you can help out at the polls handing out sample ballots, please call our office and volunteer.

Thank you, sincerely, for all you’ve done and will do to keep America moving forward.

Ella Ward

Mitt Romney, who once said

“The people of America recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of the Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm. And an effort by one candidate to somehow say ‘Oh, this recession and the slowdown in jobs was the result of somehow this president magically being elected,’ people in America just dismiss that as being poppycock. And they recognize it as that.”

is now saying just that, despite Obama’s expert navigation through a perfect storm including the incredibly steep and sudden loss of jobs that he had to deal with when he took office, the financial disaster in Europe which continues today as the European Economic Union fails to solve its problems with right-wing austerity measures, and the most obstructionist Congress in recent history. This obstructionist Congress even blames the president for their own actions, including the sequestration which Paul Ryan encouraged and the downgrade of the U.S. bond rating which resulted from a Republican-led near government shutdown.

It’s time now to vote. There are more people in America who want Obama in office than who want Romney in office, but Republicans are considered to be more reliable voters. They are more likely than Democrats to be financially secure, to own homes and to have lived at the same address for decades. It’s easier for them to take a few hours off of work, to find a baby sitter, and to drive to the polls. They are more familiar with their polling locations and are more likely to know people who will be working at those locations. And they are fired up with mean, dishonest rhetoric about socialism, gun control, accusations that Obama is a Muslim (and it shouldn’t matter even if he was a Muslim because Constitution makes it clear that it shouldn’t matter, but it matters to the bigots who won’t vote for him because they think he is), lies about the economy, and about health care. And now they are fired up because of an eerily timed vicious attack on our embassy, one of very few during this administration compared to previous administrations, but one about which mean and crazy speculations are popping up faster than can be put down before Tuesday. They’re even blaming Obama for the results of Hurricane Sandy, a storm likely caused by climate change which Republicans want to ignore, which FEMA, an agency Romney wants to defund is handling as quickly as possible.

It might rain on Tuesday. You might be tired after a long day at work. You might have to drag the kids with you. You might have to walk. But if you do, you will be part of the most important election in decades. In this election we will see if slanderous attacks and crazy accusations are more important to voter turnout than the will of the majority of Americans. I’m betting on the majority but it’s no sure thing as the polls show a dead heat in the final days of this race. Don’t let this race pass you by. Be part of it. Vote.

Romney’s lies are more important than his bungles

Romney’s week of gaffs has steered attention away from the lie he told to the VFW recently, and the dishonest sound-biting of President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” quote. Gaffs can be forgiven more easily than blatant lies, and Romney’s untruthful jabs at the President will continue to reverberate through the right wing blogosphere while fact-checking of his statements gets lost among jokes about his diplomatic errors. And those errors will be excused by apologists who actually see it as a sign of strength for an American to go around the world insulting our allies and carelessly violating protocol, as long as the violator is a Republican.

But let’s not forget the lies. Mitt Romney blamed Barack Obama for a bi-partisan congressional budget agreement that will result in defense cuts. Remember, last year congressional Republicans threatened to shut down the government if they didn’t get tax cuts for the rich and cuts to vital services for the rest of us. Their willingness to cripple the nation’s economy in order to get their way prompted a downgrade in Standard and Poor’s U.S. bond rating, and despite S&P specifically citing Republican “brinksmanship” as the cause, Romney was one of the first Republicans to blame Obama for the downgrade. Still, Democrats and Republicans worked out a short-term budget deal with a rider that if they couldn’t work out a follow-on deal, across-the-board budget cuts would automatically kick in, including cuts to the military.

Those automatic, pre-negotiated, bi-partisan budget cuts are the ones Romney refers to as “the president’s”. I wrote earlier that across-the-board budget cuts was a bad deal for Democrats. The idea that cuts in the military balance out cuts for programs that help the poor and middle class is ridiculous. Democrats don’t actually want to defund the military, but Republicans don’t care about defunding the poor and middle class. The pressure that Romney is putting on the president and Democrats indicates that when Republicans agreed to the budget cuts, they were lying, and always felt they could scuttle the agreement by accusing Democrats of not supporting the troops if they adhere to it.

The other big lie was the sound-bite, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”. “That” was referring to an example of a bridge, a road, or some other improvement provided by the people as a whole, which is clear from the full quote. Romney can claim “soundbiting” for “I like being able to fire people”, but while the statement is less harsh in context, ( he likes being able to fire people because the ability to do so encourages performance ) at least nobody is being mislead about what the words, themselves, actually mean. Even though context softens his words, Romney does, in fact, like being able to fire people. Obama does not, in fact, believe that entrepreneurs don’t build their own businesses. Romney’s sound-biting of Obama’s speech isn’t just putting a negative slant on something Obama said, it’s making people think Obama said something that he didn’t say, and it demonstrates severe level of dishonesty. Romney is more honest than that when he just plain lies.

So by all means, let’s talk about Romney’s diplomatic blunders. They’re more than just funny, they’re an indication of Romney’s ability to represent the United States of America to our allies. But let’s not forget the more important fact: Mitt Romney isn’t just a bungler, he is a liar.

Liemail

A while ago, in July, my Sister forwarded an email to me, that had been forwarded by several before her, which said that Oliver North had warned us about Osama Bin Laden in 1987, at a senate hearing, and in turn he was grilled and ridiculed by Democratic senators, with Al Gore leading the pack. In truth, it never happened.

My sister is no dummy, but it’s easy to get caught up in the outrage. She had sent several false, right leaning propaganda emails in the past, but this was the first I replied to. Addressing the Gore/North interview and several others lies contained in that email, I hit Reply All (which included about 20 recipients) and wrote:

> Hello everyone.
>
> Oliver North did not testify about Osama Bin Laden.
> Oliver North did not spend $60000 on a security system
>
> Al Gore did not question Oliver North.
> Bill Clinton did not pressure Israel to release Mohammad Atta.
>

Since that reply, my sister has not sent any more of these propaganda emails and I don’t know if she’s not forwarding them anymore or if she just took me off the list.

I do know that the bullshit propaganda hasn’t stopped. Sasha alerted me to this post in The Mudflats. It’s a long read but a good one.

For those who don’t read it, I offer this quote:

“Don’t believe chain emails, no matter where they come from. Just as you wouldn’t look at graffiti on a bathroom stall and think to yourself “Hey, look! I bet if I call that number, I’ll have a good time!” don’t believe email. Completely false and misleading content could have been added by Uncle Joe’s boss’ cousin’s neighbor to emails that might have actually had some legitimacy at the beginning. If the email gives you a source, CHECK IT. ”