Donald Trump is a liar

On Friday, Sept. 16, Republican presidential nominee Trump acknowledged for the first time that President Obama was born in the United States, ending his 5-year history, upon which he built his political career, that of stoking the false, racist lie that the nation’s first African-American president was not born in the United States. Would you like to see what he said at his so-called press conference? Check out Seth Myer’s video:

Trump has effectively used conspiracy theories throughout his entire campaign to keep the media’s attention. His instinct for expediency led him to revive long discredited theories that Clinton White House official Vince Foster had been murdered and to speculate “some people say” that the father of his GOP primary opponent Senator Ted Cruz had somehow been mixed up in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Trump is not a lawyer and has not lived a life where precise thinking and presentation have ever been important. He more often than not starts at “some people say,” “there was something on the internet,” or, “I heard that.” Such an approach allows him the freedom to never take responsibility for his lies.

One can only hope that at some point he recognizes the difference between right and wrong. The New York Times, like many in the main stream media, has finally had enough and has begun calling a lie a lie http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/insider/times-editor-dean-baquet-on-calling-out-donald-trumps-lies.html.

The Guardian newspaper, which has been observing our election season for quite some time now reports: “Let’s just take a moment to consider this. A candidate whose first campaign ad was judged by one site to contain one lie every four seconds and who, according to Huffington Post, told over 70 lies in just one televised town hall; a man who one philosopher argues has ‘perfected the outrageous untruth as a campaign tool,’ is considered “more honest than his opponent.” (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/22/hillary-clinton-women trust?CMP=fb_us#link_time=1474585207).

Trump relies on unexpected and unsubstantiated accusations to propel his campaign in order to receive untold hours of free publicity and to save millions in advertising costs. One of his real conservative crowd pleasers is the charge that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment. Maybe he wasn’t listening during his private school classes but everyone knows Article V of the Constitution establishes a detailed two-step process for amending it. A two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress is needed to approve an amendment and then it has to be ratified by 38 states before becoming operative. This is a long process and can be longer if there is organized opposition. The Equal Rights Amendment passed both houses of Congress and was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification in 1972 but it died in 1982, although several organizations are trying to keep it in play. No one sees the National Rifle Association as so weak-kneed that it will even allow a constitutional amendment process to start. But this is Trump making up a flash crisis.

But wait! There’s more from the man who would be president. During Trump’s speech on the Second Amendment, he skipped away from his staff’s talking points and tauntingly challenged Clinton’s Secret service detail to leave their guns behind so we can “see what happens to Hillary.” Trump is supposed to be running for president of the United States and leader of the free world. Junior high taunting and incitement to violence against his opponent in the world’s greatest democracy shouldn’t even be in the picture.

You have to give credit to Trump’s political handlers for trying to rein Trump in and make him sound presidential. Rarely has a candidate so regularly undercut the credibility of his staff. “Don’t believe the biased and phony media quoting people who work for my campaign. The only quote that matters is a quote from me,” he tweeted in May.

The Government sent Martha Stewart to jail for five months after she illegally sold stock based on an insider tip and lied to investigators. Consider the outrageous stories coming out of the Trump Foundation, where Trump paid off campaign expenses with charitable monies, and even bought two portraits of himself. If these allegations are true, he should be charged with the crimes and brought to trial. He doesn’t get a pass because he’s a presidential candidate. If Martha Stewart can go to jail, Donald Trump can go to jail.

One of Trump’s advisor children said, “He means what he says.” But he just completely flip-flopped on his birther conspiracy. He said, while his wife is receiving Secret Service protection, that his opponent should not. He’s insulted immigrants, women, the disabled. During the primary debates he did not rise above the crowd by having the best policy positions — he had the best insults and taunts. Former President George H. W. Bush just announced he’s voting for Hillary Clinton. None of the other living presidents are endorsing Trump either and most down-ballot Republican candidates are avoiding Trump like the plague, except isolated cases like our very own Dave Brat, who thinks Donald Trump is the greatest. More on Dave Brat in the next column, and on his opponent, the moderate and very capable Eileen Bedell.

Why do you think Trump is insisting on no fact-checking during the first debate tomorrow night? It’s because he’s going to lie for the entire 90 minutes. Birtherism remains his worst lie. Is this the kind of man you want to lead this country? It’s up to you, the voter. The bottom line is this: Trump built his career on a racist lie.

That’s because he’s a racist and a liar.

Mike McClary

Editors Note: reprinted with the author’s permission, and originally appearing here.   

It should also be noted that the CSE is going out of their way to identify Mike as a member of the Culpeper County Democratic Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let the title fool you

On Nov. 8, Virginians will be asked to vote for the “Right to Work Amendment.” This amendment will allow workers to take jobs at unionized companies without joining the union. Such a law is already in place in Virginia, but not to the extent it will be if the amendment passes. This amendment is heavily favored by the Republican Party because it benefits large corporations and reduces the unions’ negotiating power. The more accurate title should be the “Union Busting Amendment.”

As more people opt not to join their union, the less impact unions have on collective bargaining. Republicans love to say that employees are no longer paid as much as they used to be, insinuating that Democrats are to blame. The International Monetary Fund asserts that rising income inequality in the U.S. can be directly attributed to the decline of unions. Most of the right to work states are led by Republican politicians.

No matter where you work or what type of job you have, you can thank unions for any, if not all, benefits you receive. To name a few, unions are responsible for employees having weekends off, breaks during the day (including lunch), paid vacation, sick leave, minimum wage, child labor laws, occupational safety and health regulations, pensions, military leave, eight-hour work days, 40-hour work weeks, unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation, health insurance, etc.

I have a brother who is 61 years old. He has been working at the same place for close to 30 years. His job requires him to be on-call 24 hours per day. The company has reorganized several times. Each time, positions have been cut and his work load increased with no pay raise. Once, his pay went down. During the current reorganization, with only four years left until retirement, he is being required to reapply and compete for his job. None of this would have happened with a union.

Under current law, you do not have to join a union to work at a place that has a union. Even if you are not a member, the union will support you if you have a grievance with the company. You get union negotiated wages and benefits. If the Right to Work Amendment is passed, unions will become a thing of the past. Not only will union members not be protected, neither will you.

On Nov. 8, vote NO on the Right to Work Amendment. Vote for American workers’ rights.

Russ Nicosia

Editors Note: re-posted with author’s permission, and appearing in the 9-15-16 print edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to subscribers.

The Legacy of Dr. No.

Not long ago, the voters of the 7th Congressional District sent Eric Cantor packing.  After a long tenure advocating for big banks, big Pharma and other big donors, Cantor now receives his check directly from them as a lobbyist instead of a campaign donation.

The new Dr. No – Congressman Dave Brat – has carried on the Cantor’s do-nothing legacy, but he’s better at it.   Not ONE of the bills that Congressman Brat has sponsored has made it out of committee.  That’s like working on 20 cars in the garage but not getting one of them back on the road.

On Social Security and Medicare?  Brat supports “fixing” Social Security and Medicare. What Brat calls a “fix” is what SS and Medicare recipients call cutting benefits and raising of the age for eligibility.

On education?  Brat is a supporter of private charter schools. Give each family a small allowance for private school tuition.  The average cost of private school in Virginia is between $12,000 and $15,000 per year per student.  This bill would drastically defund the public schools, and leave parents holding the bag to fund the balance of tuition.  Our public schools aren’t perfect but, unlike private schools, they must meet educational standards and they educate ALL OF OUR CHILDREN, not just the academically blessed.  Our local public schools do a good job and they are a vibrant part of our community.

On Free Trade? Dave Brat has gone on about free trade and how it’s made this country great.  Yet he is 100% behind Donald Trump who wants slap all kinds of tariffs on foreign goods (certainly those countries will do the same to us).  Which is it Dave?  Free trade or protectionism?  Do you even have a clue what to do about the economy?

Let’s Close Down the Federal Government! One of Mr. Brat’s favorite strategies for fixing things is to shut down the government.  It turns out this is not an economically sound idea.  The last time we shut down the government, it cost the entire economy over $1.4  Billion (with a B) per day or about a $23 billion drop in the national Gross Domestic Product.  It turns out when the government shuts down, it puts a snafu in the rest of the economy as well.

During that shutdown, Virginia took a really big hit because the Federal Government is our largest employer. Federal employees, federal contractors, military bases and their personnel/contractors and all the local economies in which these people live, work and shop took a big, big economic hit.

We will take a hit again this year if the Freedom Caucus, of which Mr. Brat is a founding member, has its way.  The Caucus forced the government to shut down in 2013. It has the same plan this year. Is this good economics or good governance?

Plato and Aristotle are long dead, Mr. Brat.  You can’t call on them for outmoded educational ideas.  Your “trickle-down” economic theories have been debunked.  All those tax cuts that go to the rich never do “trickle down” to those who need it, at least not in America.  They do open factories in Vietnam and India and build vacation homes in Europe.  Keep those offshore bank accounts growing.

We have a choice this year. Eileen Bedell is running for the 7th District Congressional seat against Brat.  She is an attorney, a small businessperson and mother with kids in public schools.  She has skin in the game and can represent our interests.  As Donald Trump famously says “What the heck do you have to lose?”

Joanna Hickman

Editors Note: re-posted with author’s permission, and the abridged version appears in the 9-15-16 print edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to subscribers.

Making assertions on the basis of labels not facts

Today is the anniversary of the infamous and tragic attack on the Twin Towers in New York. That horrifying event energized and united a nation, knitted together a world of allies, but also entered American domestic politics as the fountain of a series of myths that certain domestic groups believe.

As we converse with political friend and foe alike, I’m always amazed at the loose use of certain vocabulary in our discussion of public issues. Words are turned into labels and assertions are made on the basis of labels not facts.

An example that is really baffling are the strange definitions of socialism being bruited about these days, especially as applied to our democratic republic. The Oxford Dictionary defines socialism as “a political and economic theory which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution, and exchange,” such as the nationalization of coal mines, banks, that sort of thing.

The socialist parties that have arisen in most European countries from the late 19th century have generally tended toward social democracy. It has never existed in America as a practical matter.

The contemporary Republican definition of socialism, however, is narrow and singularly different from that in the dictionary and our economic books. Republicans argue that if you receive a benefit from the government that is socialism.

So, if you paid your property taxes and sent your children to public school that is socialism. Does that mean if you pay property taxes and send your children to a private school that is capitalism? Republicans have always argued that if you paid into social security and are now receiving benefits, that is socialism. They continue, if you pay taxes and sign up for health care from private companies through a government insurance exchange, that is socialism.

Applying the Republican definition of socialism certainly makes life easy, any government-provided service from police, to clean water, to research on diseases is socialism.

The real underlying benefit of the socialism label for Republicans is its use in the talking points that government programs increase dependency. You notice that all Republican budget cutting suggestions focus on social programs, the sciences and many government agencies — but never defense. Big Bird may help your children to count, but Republican candidates make clear — to the extent Big Bird receives government money; he is a socialist and should be fired.

Need and effectiveness are not the criteria. The only criterion is that if a project provides a benefit to citizens then it can be labeled as socialism. If you really want to find out about socialism’s history in the United States, and how it fell into virtually complete disfavor, don’t just take it from me, do your own research.

Here are suggestions for places to start: http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1669.html, and  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_socialism#Social_democracy.

So-called “social programs” provided by the Federal, state and local governments for the last 80-some years have nothing to do with theories of socialist governments.

The basic Economic 101 text book that was written by Paul Samuelson years ago, describes socialism, again, as government ownership of the means of production. But our government does not own the means of any production, except perhaps that of weapons-usable highly enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons. Even then, it uses private contractors to operate government-owned facilities.

During the Bush recession and during the recovery that began under the Obama Administration, the government could have nationalized the banks and the auto industry, but it did not. It bailed out the auto industry in return for stock options. Once some stability returned, the government sold the stock and made lots of money. An unusual “socialist” twist, no doubt.

In contrast to the dictionary definition, our own economics professor David Brat in his recent book wrote about socialism this way — “using government to get your way and avoid competition is not free market. It is socialism.

What the heck does that mean? All those Washington lobbyists on K Street will be surprised to hear themselves labeled as agents of socialism, but then throughout his book Brat is critical of all business interests.

The myth of socialism that Brat and other conservatives want you to believe is not the academic definition, but their twisting of a populist label. Like his hero, Donald Trump, Brat is more comfortable with bluster and misrepresentation.

You can’t solve problems if you make up your own facts and misrepresent the issues. We should all be aware that myths are just that. On this anniversary of 9/11, we owe each other remembrance of the Founding Father’s motto “E Pluribus Unum.” Out of many, one.

Factionalism built from myths is not what made America great. During wartime, peacetime, or any time, standing solidly together and facing our challenges squarely is what makes America great.

From the Louisiana Purchase to the Erie Canal, to the Hoover Dam, to the walk on the moon, America has invested in America. And there have always been fearful, reactionary forces fighting progress. The bailout of the banks and the saving of the American auto industry were investments in America. If you think you want to help make American great, you can start by throwing out myths and misrepresentation, and instead, return to reality.

Dave Brat and Donald Trump don’t operate in reality.

Eileen Bedell, on the other hand — Brat’s opponent this November — wants to make Congress work again. She will support legislation that will build our economy through better jobs, higher wages, and improved employment opportunities. She will fight for legislation that maintains the strength of our national defense and global security and provide fair treatment for those veterans who faithfully served to protect and defend our nation. She will work to make affordable education and job training available and accessible at all levels to strengthen the nation’s productive workforce.

That’s not socialism, that’s common sense. That’s reality.

Mike McClary

Editor’s note: re-posted with the author’s permission and originally appearing on-line here, and will be appearing in the 9/11 print version of the Culpeper Star Exponent.

 

 

 

Benghazi is part of a new style of American authoritarianism

The investigation into the incident in Benghazi has gone on longer and cost more than the investigation of the assassination of JFK. It has gone on longer and cost more than the investigation into the attack of Sept. 11, 2001.

There have been eight Congressional investigations under Republican control and leadership and all have come to the same conclusion. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong. That is what the official congressional and Executive Branch reports say.

Let me repeat that, Hillary Clinton did nothing illegal, immoral or wrong during the incident at Benghazi. That is from all of the official Republican Congressional reports.

Ambassadors are the representatives of the president of the United States in nations around the world. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 embassies. The Secretary of State does not micro-manage the ambassadors.

The ambassador is the head of the “country team”—the senior American representative in a country and is in charge of everything. An ambassador’s staff and budget people submit requests for security and maintenance.

Professional State Department security officers submit budget requests that are included in the State Department budget request to Congress. The requested security upgrades for Libya were not approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, instead the budgets were cut for all diplomatic compounds world-wide.

If you were to listen to Fox News or the Republicans, you would think Ambassador Chris Stevens asked for more security but Hillary said “no.” You would think that Stevens called Hillary asking for rescue but Hillary called off the rescue and four Americans died. Not true. The timeline from both the State Department and all eight Republicans Congressional investigations agree.

» On 9/11/2012 there were demonstrations in over twenty Asian, Middle Eastern and European cities over an anti-Islamic video on the internet.

» 9:40 pm Libya / 3:40 pm Washington: An unidentified group of well-armed men assault the compound where Chris Stevens has been staying and meeting privately with Libyan tribal leaders. Stevens calls the Embassy in Tripoli but the first two calls are not answered by the duty officer because he doesn’t recognize the number. The third call is answered and Stevens is able to report the attack.

» 10:30 pm Libya /4:30 pm Washington: American and Libyan security forces are being overwhelmed. Stevens and computer expert Sean Smith retreat to a safe room as his security and Libyan security fought the attackers. The safe room keeps the attackers from getting in, but they set a fire in the building. Stevens and Smith were overcome by smoke inhalation.

» U.S. Security Agents from the CIA Annex join the fight and retook control of the compound. In their search they found Smith dead but failed to find Stevens. The compound was abandoned, and they retreated to the Annex.

» 11 p.m. Libya / 5 p.m. Washington: Drone arrives overhead and gives a picture of the situation. The rescue gets underway from Embassy Tripoli and the President is briefed by DOD and CIA.

» Midnight Libya / 6 p.m. Washington: The Annex comes under attack. The attacks continue off and on for the next five hours.

»1 a.m. Libya / 7 p.m. Washington: Libyan good Samaritans find Chris Stevens and rush him to the hospital where they try to revive him but he is dead of smoke inhalation.

»1:30 a.m. Libya / 7:30 p.m. Washington: American rescue team from Embassy Tripoli arrived in Benghazi. They are delayed at the Benghazi airport.

» 4 a.m. Libya / 10 p.m. Washington: A mortar attack on the Annex kills two security agents positioned on the roof.

» 5 a.m. Libya / 11 p.m. Washington: Libyan Army and Americans from Tripoli move to the Annex and evacuate 32 Americans to the airport. Stevens’ and Smith’s bodies arrive at the airport.

Some things are clear. Chris Stevens was doing his job when he made the decision to stay in a low-security facility. He did not have to ask for permission to do this. He was the boss. His party was attacked by a large, well-armed group while demonstrations were happening in more than 20 cities from Indonesia to London. They took shelter in a safe room but were overcome by smoke. Stevens and his computer expert Sean Smith were dead within the first hour, despite the efforts of their security team to rescue them.

Within an hour and a half, a surveillance drone arrives. An immediate response is ordered and President Obama is briefed. The relief force assigned to the Embassy came from Tripoli, 400 hundred miles away and arrived 3 hours and 40 minutes after the initial assault. Thirty-two Americans are evacuated. That is damn good response time.

We conduct secret operations in countries all over the world. You don’t know about them because they are secret. When an incident happens and it involves secret operations, we don’t always tell everyone what we are doing because it is secret. When an incident happens at a secret site like the CIA’s Annex Benghazi, we don’t have a super-secret line to the public to tell you the secret stuff. Maybe they should have said there is a major secret CIA operation with American and local agents at risk in the field but we want you to know what is really happening. Nuts. You delay the release of information until your people are safe.

I’ve read that the secret operation in Benghazi involved the very important job of interdicting arms sales and securing arms depots of the disbanded Libyan Army. I doubt the mission succeeded once Benghazi became a political football in Washington. So much for Congress keeping a real national security secret.

But going after Hillary Clinton is more important.

George DeSerres

Editor’s Note: This piece is re-posted in Blue Louisa with the author’s permission, and was originally printed  here .

It also addresses part of what Congressional scholars, Thomas Mann, and Norman Ornstein, sagely observed about the Republican Party in 2012. That “the GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

And it should be reinforced at every opportunity between now and the election that the core of Republican Party’s ideology is based on a theory of “trickle down” economics which has been entirely discredited and is no longer supported by many of its original proponents.  The GOP is the only major party in the advanced world to deny climate change.

Republicans and their supporters no longer accept standard government statistics, like the unemployment rate.  When arguing policy, Republicans are fond of using Orwellian statements like; a universal health insurance program takes away people’s insurance, unemployment insurance causes unemployment, and defaulting on the nation’s credit would reduce its borrowing levels.

And according to this blog post, the Republican Party has become a movement which in the words of Karl Rove, mocks “the reality-based community” and boasts that “we [Republicans] make our own reality.”

Long before Benghazi, or even the rise of Donald Trump, the Republican party declared war on the truth  — and as a result the rest of our body politic, like it or not, admit it or not, is in the midst of a dangerous fight against Republicans to uphold democratic norms, societal ideals and a shared, respectful and reality based community.

And that particularly with the rise of Drumpf the GOP, now displays elements of a new style of American authoritarianism which comes dangerously close to constituting a proto-fascist movement.

 

The hidden cost of energy

57th District Delegate Toscano recently wrote about a quiet revolution that is taking place in this country, and asked if the Commonwealth is doing all they can to promote renewable energy such as solar and wind.  Saying that while Virginia’s use of solar power is expanding, it is negligible compared to other states.

At the end of last year, Virginia was producing just 22 megawatts of solar power, with 1 MW being enough electricity to power approximately 150-180 houses, while our neighbor to the south, North Carolina was generating over 2,000 megawatts of solar power.

And with many independent studies showing that Virginia is near the bottom, Toscano said “there are a number of reasons for this.”

Reasons which start with Dominion Power, who is doing everything possible to delay the development of solar and wind power, even as they are building 3 new solar facilities this year that will generate  56 megawatts of power. And among those projects is the new solar facility here in Louisa.

Their actions in delaying any transition to renewable sources of energy are not based on an abundance of caution, such as waiting for the technology to improve, or for more favorable market conditions, or even attributable to a “lag” in transitioning from dirty energy sources like coal to so-called “bridge” energy sources like natural gas.

They are deeds which fly against an industry wide “death spiral.” With a 2013 Edison Electrical Institute  report saying that as new clean energy sources , such as solar and wind replace older dirty energy sources, they are exposing electric utilities business model as an economic dinosaur.

In his editorial, Delegate Toscano also talked about the work of Tony Seba, whose video shows that over the next two decades, most of the major utility companies in this country will probably be classified as an endangered species. Meanwhile, Dominion is moving in the opposite direction investing heavily in gas pipelines, and gas fired power plants all conveniently paid for by the taxpayers and their customers.

And like their nuclear plants, these gas fired power plants will not be providing their customers with affordable and environmentally safe energy. They are part of the entire energy industries bridge to nowhere — one that is all about preserving a broken free market ideology regardless of the cost.

What Delegate Toscano was far too polite to mention was that the Virginia General Assembly was long ago “regulatory captured” by Dominion,defined by Wikipedia as; a form of government failure which creates opportunities for firms to behave in ways that are injurious to the public.”

Or that Dominion’s long term tactical objective is less about generating electricity, than it is to control the distribution of energy . And it is an exploitative tactic straight out of the Enron playbook.

Over the past few years in particular, they have thrown their weight around like a 500 pound gorilla, using the  power of their donations to browbeat the  General Assembly into legislatively delaying any significant movement towards alternative energy sources in Virginia, while sending any potential competitors to the economic hinterlands.

Along with prolonged media blitzes in papers throughout the State to promote “feel good”  lies, like how they will be saving their customers money, when in reality they are free to charge whatever they like, knowing full well that the State Corporation Commission will be unable to review their rates for the next 6 years.

dominion-propaganda

Along with using intellectually incurious local papers like Louisa county’s paper of record, the Central Virginian who are more than willing to transcribe their every statement, helping  them in creating  the illusion that projects like Louisa solar facility are signs that they are actually moving towards renewables.

And with recent Department of Energy reports showing that C02 emissions from US gas fired plants will soon add more greenhouse gases than the coal burning plants they are replacing.

gas

It should be clear that the industries claims over the past decade that the expanded use of natural gas as a source of energy would help minimize the effects of C02, particularly the oceans ability to act as global heat sink was nothing more than a smokescreen to hide the fact that global warming across the planet  is increasing and this year may have already reached critical if not irreversible levels.

global-warming-2016

And in Dominion’s case, repeating the industries grandiose claims has allowed them to hide in plain sight the fact that they will soon be exporting even more natural gas around the world through their Cove Point natural gas center , exponentially expanding their profit margins, along with their ability to control the flow of energy.

All of this is made possible by a wake of massive ecological devastation in Southwest Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the country. The direct result of the hydrofracking process used to extract natural gas and oil in this country.

And it’s an inconvenient fact which makes energy industries ceaseless quest for unregulated profits and ecologically unsustainable energy consumption the greatest threat to modern civilization

 

Jon Taylor

Editors Note: this is an expanded version of a letter submitted to the Central Virginian, which has yet to be published.

Values matter when it comes to Education and Jobs

Eileen Bedell’s observation in a previous letter that the “…..issues facing our country are inextricably intertwined with each other,” are why values matter more than ideology.  And when it comes to the interrelated issues of:  Jobs, the Economy, and Education, her value based ideas are more realistic than the “do-nothingism” of our current Congressman.

Since the recession ended in 2009, our economy has consistently underperformed, and according to Nobel economist, Paul Krugman, there is a nearly Trillion dollar gap between what the United States can and actually produces, and it is why our recovery doesn’t feel like one.

If the nations GDP increases from hovering around 2% to a modest 3% rate this gap would close by the early 20’s. But if it will never close it continues at its current pace. And biggest deficit that really matters to most of us good paying jobs get swept under the table.

And it is why Eileen Bedell’s call for an immediate and much needed investment in our nation’s decaying infrastructure, along with an increase in the federal minimum wage is so important.  Whereas Brat’s co-sponsoring, HR 612, the National Right to Work Act  is ideological fluff that will not create any jobs.

Currently rate of labor force participation is the lowest his country has had since the Great Depression, with older workers and more critically younger workers becoming increasingly left behind. And the longer our younger workers go without that first job the fewer career opportunities and more depressed their lifetime earnings will be.

Which is why investing in education and job training necessary to produce a highly skilled workforce are so important. And in today’s economy, low wage McJobs just don’t cut it. And why Eileen’s promotion of job and technical training starting in high school is so important. And why the centerpiece of Brat’s educational agenda HR 4094, the Universal Savings Account Act is another solution in search of a problem.

Nor do her ideas stop there; more accountability for states’ plans to address education inequities before receiving funding, fewer competitive grants and more needs based grants, and uncoupling teacher evaluations from standardized tests.

Along with rebuilding our infrastructure, the best opportunity for creating jobs in the 21st century, is transitioning to clean energy. Where her emphasis on “clean sources of power being our future,” and the need to help our citizens prepare for this change.

We need a future where instead of families talking about how many generations of coal miners there used to be, they will be talking about how many generations of clean energy workers there are.

The choices are clear; continue with a petulant Brat, or elect someone who will make a difference. And it’s why I’m asking everyone to vote for Eileen Bedell as your next Congresswoman.

Suzanne Johnson

Editors Note: re-posted with author’s permission, and appearing in the 9-15-16 print edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to subscribers.

What are we getting from Brat’s representation?

Dave Brat has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 months now. His salary is $174,000 per year. He also has a $900,000 allowance for salaries for up to 19 staff members as well as a quarter of a million for office expenses, travel and mailing. That equates to more than $1.3 million of our taxpayer dollars per year.

What have we, his constituents, received in return for that money? He has sponsored 20 bills. One has been passed into law that dealt with renaming a room in a Veterans Affairs hospital! If you take a look at his voting record, the majority of his votes have been NAY, even on bills that have been passed by the majority of the Republican party members.

In other words, he has been a roadblock in Congress. Not only does he not try to work with others across the aisle, he doesn’t work well within his own party. The 2016 House schedule has more recesses than it does working days. They have/will meet a total of 111 days. That means they will not meet 254 days. Don’t we all wish we could have jobs like that?

Brat needs to be replaced. We need someone who will work for what all Americans need and we certainly don’t need our representative wasting time, effort and materials on renaming rooms and post offices.

Eileen Bedell is that someone. She is a staunch advocate of saving Social Security. She wants to improve affordable access to higher education and job training to produce a skilled workforce to meet future job demands. She wants to invest in our deteriorating infrastructure and to transition to clean energy, both of which will create thousands of jobs.

Eileen supports the Affordable Care Act but wants to work on amending it to make quality healthcare more affordable for all, not abolish it as Brat does. She supports the Second Amendment, but knows there needs to be better means to prevent violent convicted criminals, terrorists, domestic abusers and mentally ill people from gaining access. These are just a few of the things Eileen wants to tackle. Let’s give Eileen a chance to earn her money.

We’ve wasted enough on Brat.

Deanna Nicosia

Editors Note: this letter appeared in the 9/8/16 edition of the Central Virginia, and is only available online to subscribers.

Short-term profits vs. long-term survival

Recently the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council reported that Dominion Power has spent about $600 million (including $301 million approved by the Virginia General Assembly to be “recovered” by customer pockets) in preparation to build a third nuclear reactor at Lake Anna. Dominion spokesman Richard Zuercher says “Nuclear is a safe and reliable option that does not produce any green house gases, and if built, a new unit could operate beyond 60 years.”

So what’s the problem? The problem lies with the nuclear industry marketing of half truths concerning nuclear energy costs (both financial and environmental).

A recent Scientific American article shows that the financial cost of solar power has dropped significantly and that it now costs about the same as conventional fossil fueled power plants. Shifting to inexpensive renewable solar power for consumers will shrink Dominion Power company profits. Dominion’s North Anna 3 project is a perfect example of enhancing company shareholder profits by having customers pay higher energy costs to generate the same energy derived from nuclear power where the energy will cost twice as much as solar energy.

Nuclear power plants don’t produce green house gases… they produce radioactive waste which will remain deadly to all living creatures on earth for 100,000 years. The nuclear industry has already generated 250,000 tons of radioactive waste. It is stored above ground in water pools and canisters at reactor sites or stored in makeshift nuclear waste dumps …waiting for a permanent disposal plan that doesn’t exist.

Storage of nuclear waste from reactors is unstable and unsustainable for 100,000 years much less 100 years. Natural disasters caused by tsunamis and earthquakes, human operator mistakes, and/or wars that we’ve experienced within the past 100 years make the likelihood of building or maintaining a 100,000 year nuclear waste storage facility impossible. So why deny science and promote nuclear power as safe clean energy?

To preserve corporate profits, our Republican-led Congress wants to redefine the EPA’s Water and Air Protective Active Guidelines and increase the “acceptable” levels of hazardous radiation that Americans can drink and inhale. Our 7th Congressional District Representative Dave Brat and other Tea Party “conservatives” have an extensive history of voting against the health and safety of citizens by eviscerating the role of our Environmental Protection Agency.

Representatives in Congress should understand nuclear solutions must remain for 100,000 years. I’m supporting Eileen Bedell for 7th Congressional District because she believes in science; she supports the EPA and the advancement of renewable energy over nuclear and fossil fuel industries.

Mark S. Chapman

Editors Note: this letter appeared in the 9/8/16 edition of the Central Virginia, and is only available online to subscribers.

And this post is part of cooperative effort by several writers to point out how the energy industry, and Dominion in particular are doing everything possible to keep their dying business model alive at the taxpayers and their customers expense, and more importantly with disastrous environmental consequences and may be found here.

Trump hasn’t changed; he’s as bad as ever

Can American voters be so naïve that they actually believe Donald Trump is a changed man and he’s no longer a narcissist, a bigot, a male chauvinist, a liar, a hypocrite or the biggest egotist alive?

His attitudes toward African-Americans, Hispanics and Muslims have not changed. The “new Donald” is not the “real Donald.” When Donald gets on the podium these days, he is not expressing his views, he is reading what his newest staff thinks he needs to say in order to get more votes.

Donald has no platform of his own. His deportation plan is unrealistic. His wall is laughable. His tax cut plan will benefit the rich, and make our national debt skyrocket. His military stance is frightening.

And his lack of maturity is appalling. Grown men don’t call people names, make fun of handicapped people, disrespect veterans who have died or been wounded for us, spread lies about other people, threaten use of nuclear weapons or threaten to split with longtime U.S. allies.

The real Donald is the man who cheats people out of the money he owes them and has caused several small businesses to go under. He’s the one who “uses the system” to bankrupt his companies, passing the buck to others while he walks away with millions. He is the one that would not allow African-Americans to rent his property. He is the “jobs candidate” who took jobs from Americans by having the majority of his products made in foreign countries and by hiring foreigners instead of Americans to work at his hotels in the United States. He is the one who cheated people out of their money by offering a bogus university.

Donald is the epitome of the ugly American. Like the leopard’s spots, he cannot change.

Deanna Nicosia

Editor’s note: this is re-posted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared here