Conservative Delusions

How does one begin to respond to the rubbish of conservatives like Jim Hogan’s 9-29 letter to the editor? The hypocrisy and absurdity of his talking points are intended to fuel fear, hatred and to discourage people from voting.

In rebutting his flawed understanding of economics, affordable healthcare, and a government based upon the Constitution, let’s start with the GOP branding themselves the “conservative” party which they claim is their moral rudder. Conservatives are not particularly moral, nor are they interested in conserving much of anything except perhaps the inefficiency of a “do-nothing” government.

Their tortuous interpretations of economic principles are why they continue to work tirelessly to preserve corporate profits with unending tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy even as those actions eliminate the middle class and increase our national debt. It’s why they are against “burdensome regulations” which would prevent banks and corporate monopolies from enslaving Americans with debt.

Why rather than ensure that American workers are paid a living wage or negotiate with trade unions; they would prefer to see those jobs shipped overseas, because that’s how the invisible hand works. Nor are they interested in managing out-of-control defense spending, preferring to invent new fears to fuel even more spending on defense industry welfare projects.

Mr. Hogan’s remarks are a deliberate diversion away from the fact that his own Party’s policies are responsible for the economic pain Americans are feeling. And it’s a hypocrisy which is particularly noticeable when it comes to affordable healthcare, voting over 60 times to repeal the ACA, without bothering to offer a single alternative, because they don’t want to offend the industries paying for their re-elections.

And it’s a hypocrisy which extends to their attacks on women’s health services, where the New England Journal of Medicine says “The contraception services that Planned Parenthood delivers may be the single greatest effort to PREVENT the unwanted pregnancies that result in abortions…” Where passing laws against a medical procedure which has been diminishing steadily over the past four decades is more important than citizen needs for Food Stamps, school lunch programs, and affordable housing.

By far, their greatest hypocrisy has been their many attacks on our form of representative Democracy. Attacks that started in 2010 with partisan gerrymandering in Republican controlled states, followed by voter suppression laws in 41 states all based on absurd claims of non-existent voter fraud. Attacks fueled by the Citizen v. United decision, which today allows just 10 donors to spent over $1.1 Billion on Republican super PACs.

Allowing the wealthy elite to buy our Congress and promote further deregulation of banks and corporations for their benefit, today’s conservatives don’t support our economy, affordable healthcare, or even our Constitution. And their claims to be champions of these causes are the rankest hypocrisy.

brain-eaters

If conservative voters are truly looking to rebuild our infrastructure, implement sensible job creation policies, and replace absurd corporate tax laws, then Republican controlled “do-nothing” Congressmen need to be replaced.

Only YOU can remove them from office, so VOTE accordingly.

Mark Chapman

Editor’s Note: this is an advance preview of a “rebuttal” letter submitted to the Central Virginian for their November 3rd edition.

Voting for Trump is Not a Vote for America

This is in response to Linda Goode’s editorial “Voting for Trump is a Vote for America.” According to Linda, Clinton wants to take everyone’s bank accounts, checks, homes and everything else. Linda also says that the buzz about references to women and sex about Trump are all made up by the Clintons.

Where is Linda getting her information? I read two newspapers daily and I listen to no less than three news stations, including FOX. The only time I have heard any of Linda’s cited comments, they were made by Trump himself.

Linda believes that because (to her knowledge), Trump’s children do not smoke or drink says a lot for his views. He may have raised them not to drink or smoke, but by own actions, which we have all viewed numerous times during his campaign, he has set the example of lying, cheating people out of money owed, racism, male chauvinism, adultery, hot temper, inciting violence, war mongering, financial failing, never accepting responsibility for his own actions, shipping American jobs overseas, egomania, disrespect for veterans and handicapped people, etc., etc. As a mother and grandmother, I would much prefer my children drink and smoke than to behave like Trump does.

If Clinton is elected, tax breaks will be given to the middle and lower income people, not the rich as Trump proposes. Extremely ill and people with preexisting conditions will continue to have health care with a revised Affordable Care Act (ACA), instead of no insurance as Trump has said he will abolish the ACA on his first day in office. Unlike Trump, Clinton will insure that we will remain in good standing with our allies and honor our treaties. Clinton will find ways to curtail climate change issues and save our planet for future generations instead of saying, as Trump does, that there is no such thing as climate change. Clinton will obtain advice from some of the most intelligent people in America when making decisions about combat and the use of nuclear weapons. When Trump talked about nuclear weapons he said, “if we’ve got them, why can’t we use them?” Clinton will work across the aisle with both Democrats and Republicans. It’s doubtful that Trump will work with his own staff since he considers himself to be the smartest person in the world who knows everything, about everything. He often says “I am the only one” who can do such and such.

So I say, No Linda, voting for Trump is not a vote for America. It is a vote against everything America stands for.

Deanna Nicosia

Editor’s Note: this is an advance preview of a “rebuttal” letter submitted to the Central Virginian for their November 3rd edition.

 

Generic rebuttals for generic letters

Since most of the conservative letters to this paper, including Mr. Hogan’s three disjointed rants in September follow a predictable pattern; pointing out what they have in common works better than trying to keep up with their vapid streams of consciousness.

First, muddy the waters with strawman talking points, like candidate X will bring socialism to this country, perhaps huffing and puffing on that straw figure before moving on to the next talking point. Or better yet simply make up stuff, like violent “hordes crossing our sovereign borders.

Second, fail to offer a single compelling reason to vote for their candidate. Seriously, other than some vague ideas about how candidate X will reduce the debt, or promote economic growth, or how candidate X is “a very entertaining speaker,” they have nothing.

And for a Party that claims to prize values and bedrock principles so much it’s strange to see that the top of their ticket features someone who has horrified decent society, along with offering up host of lesser extremists, like our smiling Cheshire cat Congressman who refuses to engage in any public debate.

And it’s what’s when you let incompetents loose at the aristocrats’ ball; the aristocrats deserve whatever comes next. Meanwhile we’re stuck with an aging tribe that is convinced their Party’s dog-whistles aren’t loud enough.

Jon Taylor

Editor’s Note: this is an advance preview of a “rebuttal” letter submitted to the Central Virginian for their November 3rd edition.

 

Have I seen the Promised Land?

I have seen Trump claim that the year’s election is rigged. While this may be an excuse for his own poor performance, it also says that any Republican who wins election this November did so in a rigged election.

How better to undermine the integrity of the electoral system in the world’s greatest democracy?

I have seen the rigged election chant topped by Mr. Trump’s claim that he cannot say whether he will not accept the results of an election in the greatest democracy in the world.

I have seen state officials from all over the country step up and deny Trump’s accusation about rigged elections. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, said, “Our institutions like our election system is one of the bedrocks of American democracy. We should not question it, or the legitimacy of it …[Saying the election is rigged is] irresponsible.”

Even Paul Ryan’s office has had to weigh in, saying, “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.

I have seen reports that the Russians are interfering with the integrity of American elections. A voter list in Arizona has been hacked. But states remind us that the voting machines are not connected to the internet and can’t be tampered with. But the Russian effort casts a pall over American elections and no Republican has complained; in fact, Trump has invited Russian hacking of American targets. His attitude toward Russia is certainly different than Republican attitudes in the decades after World War II and diametrically opposed to those taken by the Reagan administration.

I have seen the November 2000 presidential election and its legal conclusion drawn out; however, both parties accepted the results with grace and dignity. We are being told that won’t happen again.

I have seen the Republicans relentlessly undermine the integrity of the American electoral system in state after state. They created the bogeyman of “voter fraud” which they gallantly fought with shorter registration periods, fewer polling places, shorter early voting days, and finally stricter voter ID regulations.

The courts have begun to knock down this Republican overreach in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin. The court concluded that North Carolina voter ID laws discriminated against African-American voters “with surgical precision.”

I have seen a Loyola University study that counts 31 cases of voter impersonation out of 1 billion votes cast in a 10-year period. I have seen manipulation of voter restrictions continue even as we approach this Election Day. The courts in Florida reversed the Republican governor’s refusal to extend the voter registration deadline in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, so voter registration continues into this week. This Sunday, a federal judge ruled that the state must allow absentee voters to verify their signatures and have their votes count.

I have seen that not one living president of the United States, including Republicans, recommends Donald Trump to the voters. Presidents you supported in the past don’t want Trump.

I have seen constant turnover in the Trump campaign at the top. Why can’t he find the consistency he needs? Or, is it Trump’s ego that gets in the way, as when he says he knows military tactics better than the generals? Can we expect mass firings of high ranking officers when they contradict him, which they will because of his lack of expertise?

I have seen Trump claim that he can bomb ISIS out of existence. This is what Assad is doing to Aleppo, Syria. He drops bomb after bomb into hospitals and populated areas. Do the pictures coming out of Aleppo make you feel that Assad is great again? I have seen the Republican candidate praise foreign leaders. Not the leaders of democracies, but the leaders of authoritarian regimes.

I have seen candidate Trump threaten his opponent with jail, then egg his supporters to take up the chant. What happened to the rule of law? Has the United States become some banana republic? Is this the conduct of someone running for the highest office in the greatest democracy in the world?

What I have seen is not mature, deliberate, studious or sophisticated conduct on the part of the Republican nominee. He is not a man of calm deliberation. He takes pride in not preparing for the three debates, and it shows. There isn’t a coach, a teacher or a parent who doesn’t believe practice and training improves performance, except the man who presents himself as a candidate for the presidency of the United States.

Dave Reuther

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

This Election is a Mess

Many people like neither candidate and don’t want to vote.  But voting is an act of faith in the future.  We pursue faith in our personal lives at our churches, and we must do the same in our public lives.  We must act to keep our communities safe, healthy, vibrant and moving forward.

That is the role of government.  Many people disagree with this statement, but it is tie that binds us as a democratic nation.   You will never like everything about a candidate but look at who has solutions that really work for us.

Who has done the most for the American people – really delivered goods and services?  Who has worked to protect Social Security and Medicare; to support education; to keep the nation secure at home and abroad; to lower taxes on the middle class; to help people during natural disasters and crisis; and to find a solution for health care for all of us, even those who are uninsured and uninsurable.  I think you will find it is Democrats who work for the working people.

The last Republican presidency brought us two wars and the Great Recession, from which we are now just recovering.  When President Obama won, that same Republican party vowed to deny him (and the American people) any legislative successes.  In other words, they stopped the Congress from working to solve the problems of the people.  They left President Obama to try and solve problems alone by executive order.

Then Donald Trump arrived – an outsider who will “get things done.”  According to Trump he, and only he, can fix everything wrong with America today.  I think we all know that is just not true and not possible.  In fact, I think most of us know that Donald Trump is a con man who has cheated working people out of their hard-earned money, who has gone bankrupt, who sues everybody and who is a failure who would never have made a dime without his successful father giving him a start and then bailing him out over and over again.  Most of us wouldn’t buy a used car from Trump.

Now, let’s take a look down ticket – at Dave Brat.  He has no legislative accomplishments except to help the Town of Louisa (one time) with a water problem.  Other than that, he has voted to shut down the government (Virginia’s largest employer).  He has voted against funding veteran benefits and against tax cuts for the middle class.  He supports the Republican plan to cut Social Security and privatize Medicare.  In other words, he has become part of the obstructionist Congress that has brought us NOTHING over the last 8 years. Unlike Cantor, Brat visits often, but he comes empty-handed, having done nothing for the people of the 7th District.

Vote for those who work for you. Vote for Clinton/Kaine. Then send Dave Brat back to college by voting for Eileen Bedell for VA-7th Congress.  Vote Democratic this November 8th.

JoAnna Hickman

Editors Note: this post was printed in the Central Virginian on 10-27-16, and is only available on line to paid subscribers.

No More Status Quo

During the past several years we have had a Democratic President and a Republican Congress.  This has resulted in an absolute stalemate and the title of, “The Do-Nothingest Congress in History.”  Things that needed to be taken care of usually did not make it to the floor, let alone come up for vote. The only time anything was accomplished was when Obama was able to use his Executive Powers.

When Obama first took over we were in a recession on our way to a depression.  Fortunately, at the time, Democrats controlled Congress.  With congressional approval, he was able to save the automobile industry, which resulted in savings 100’s of thousands of jobs, not only in the auto industry but also in other business that are supported by and support the auto industry. Many, other people did lose their jobs.

Despite Republican resistance, Obama extended unemployment funds far beyond the normal allowed period to assist people who couldn’t find jobs.  Through his efforts, unemployment is down, the housing market has revived and the Stock Market is at all-time highs. Reduction in wages is directly responsible for the “Right to Work Law” which leaves workers no bargaining power. (A platform highly favored by rich Republicans and on VA’s ballot this year. (Vote NO)

After the second Presidential Debate, all major polls have Hillary well ahead.  Republican leaders are also conceding to the inevitable.

I know a lot of Republicans are anti-Clinton.  Unfortunately, a lot of that bias is based on lies and misinformation.  One commercial said Hillary approved abortions up to the day of delivery– a total lie.  The NRA swears Hillary wants to abolish the Second Amendment–another total lie.  Four separate Republican panels have exonerated Hillary from any fault involving Benghazi.  Yes, she used a private server for her e-mail.  Collin Powell had told her that’s what he did because it was easier.  When he left office, Powell did no turn over one e-mail because they had ALL been destroyed.

We in the 7th District have the opportunity to do our part to change the status quo and give our new President a Congress that will work with her instead of against her.  Dave Brat is up for re-election.  The Republican party and the Tea Party are providing lots of funding to keep Brat’s name out in the public.  They need to do that given that he has only passed one insignificant bill and wrote a book since being elected.

Brat’s opponent, Eileen Bedell, is not receiving scads of money for advertising.  You will not see many 4 x 6 signs with her name on them.  She may not have the money, but she does have the qualifications. She is a lawyer and already has the knowledge needed on laws. Her platform supports the middle/lower class of both parties.  Check her out on Facebook.  If we want America to continue to grow, we must stop the status quo.  Vote for Eileen Bedell on November 8th.

Deanna Nicosia

Editors Note:  this post was printed in the Central Virginian on 10-27-16, and is only available on line to paid subscribers.

Really, Evangelicals?

I was amazed to see an article entitled, “Evangelicals hold key to Trump’s chance in VA.” Trump is no more of a Christian than Satan.  He probably has and continues to break every commandment.  He bears false witness almost every time he opens his mouth.  He is an adulterer.  He steals every time he refuses to pay people what he owes them for products or labor.  His condemnation of Muslims and Mexicans does not follow the Bible’s teachings of “love thy neighbor as thyself”. He worships himself and his riches more than anything else. He is his own God.

He not only condones violence, he encourages it.  He told his followers to beat someone up and he’d pay the fine. He has inferred that “Second Amendment People” could take care of Hillary. Some of those followers are now talking about assignation!

He has flipped on his abortion stance several times.  It just depends on who his audience is. How can a person claim to be pro-life and Christian while threatening to use nuclear weapons?  How many innocent people do you think would be destroyed?  What makes an unborn, deformed fetus, with no expected quality of life, more important than a child like the 4-year old in Syria covered in dust, blood and tears or the 3-year old floating in the water on the beach?  Someone justify that for me.

I also don’t understand how someone professes to be pro-life can be anti-gun control.  Despite what the NRA says, Democrats are not going to get rid of the Second Amendment.  We want stricter laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

I’m sure anyone can repent and be saved. Trump has not done that.  The longer he campaigns, the viler he becomes. If he’s a Christian, Christianity no longer exists.

What would Jesus do? He surely wouldn’t support Trump!

Deanna Nicosia

Editors Note: this post is an advance preview of letter submitted to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Get Congress to Work

For the past six years, Congress has done little or nothing except bicker.  This began with the Republican party’s “young guns” who vowed that President Obama would be a one -term President. When Obama was reelected, a Republican Controlled Congress quit doing the job they were sent to Washington to do and instead spent time on ways to deter the President, giving them the dubious title of “The Most Do Nothing Congress in History.” If Obama had not used his Executive Powers, nothing would have been accomplished.

Instead of working with Democrats on ways to correct problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republicans wasted time and effort on voting no less than 59 times to abolish it.  Not once under this Congress has a budget been passed on time.  Our national credit rating was reduced, and once the Government shut down, costing tax payers $21 Billion because the Republican Congress refused to work with a Democrat President.

All major polls have Hillary Clinton winning the Presidency.  Unless we elect a Congress that will work with her instead of against her, nothing will change.  It is totally up to voters to elect a cohesive Congress.

In the 7th District, Dave Brat is running for a second term.   Dave has earned the title of Obstructionist, even within his own party, and has produced one bill and one book in 21 months. We have a well-qualified candidate to replace him:  Eileen Bedell.  If you want Congress to continue doing nothing, reelect Brat.  If you want Congress to work for the people instead of the party, vote for Eileen.

Despite what Trump and his supporters say, we are much better off today than we were when Obama took office. America is already great.  Let’s elect a Congress that will get to work to make it greater! Vote for Eileen.

Deanna Nicosia

Editors Note: this post appeared here in the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star.

Bedell for Congress

What Mark Itzkoff did not know when spoke with Goochland Supervisor Ken Peterson at the recent Celebrating Democracy day at Louisa High school was that he “was not invited as a candidate” by the organizers, and he apparently “came with party members.”

Whether that’s an indication that the local conservative bench is so thin that the only way to keep up appearances was to bring in outside help is unclear.

Since Brat is someone Louisa County voters can actually vote for, his reasons for attending this event were legitimate. And his sermonizing and contemptuous dismissal of legitimate questions continues to indicate the magnitude of his disconnect from his constitutients, as is this photo of this event from his own Facebook page.

birds(Past and present chairs of Louisa Republican’s and Brat, with students)

Not content with misinforming the youth of Louisa, he has taken his dog and pony show on the road, preaching to an even more impressionable audience at the Goochland Middle School.

goochland

(Indoctrinating Goochland Middle School students)

And as support for Trump continues to diminish, Brat who in month’s past was openly endorsing him, while disingenuously claiming that “he’s unique in the way he’s communicating, so we don’t know what it all means yet.” Or that the absence of any specific policy proposals weren’t a great concern.

drumpf-brat(Who is this Drumpf you’re speaking of?)

Is now doing everything he can to publicly distance himself from any association with Trump. Expecting the voters to believe that his recent participation in his running mates Governor Pence rally does not reflect his ongoing support, or that he’s not a member of Donald Trump’s state leadership committee.

pence_brat

(Brat at Henrico rally)

Or that like our local Tea Party’s recent “Pray for America” event so prominently publicized by the Central Virginian, that his participation in the Reverend Graham’s rally in Richmond was anything but an expression of tribal loyalty.

tribal-gathering(An astroturfed “religious” … ahem tribal gathering)

Thinking that wrapping himself up in the faith and values of a religious extremist like Reverend Graham will make people forget the Republican Party’s long history of misogynistic, racist, and xenophobic dog-whistles. Now thanks to the Party’s cynical embrace of Trump’s macho blustering, these coded references are no longer in the shadows, and his brand of bombastic behavior has become increasingly normalized.

Some may even recall that during the 2014 primary, how he whined about Eric Cantor refusing to debate him. What they might not know is that he wouldn’t have debated Jack Trammell in 2014, if one of the conditions of his leave of absence from Randolph-Macon was that the debate be held there. Now freed of those external constraints his refusal to debate Eileen Bedell, comes straight out of Cantor’s run out the clock playbook.

Meanwhile, every Republican who continues to accept this kind of behavior bears part of the blame, and its why long after this Drumfpster fire is a distant memory, they will continue to be a tribe which believes in misogyny, racism, intolerance and prejudice.

drumpfster-fire

And they will continue to willfully and defiantly paint themselves into a corner, just like these folks.

corner(Silent majority literally putting themselves in a corner)

Nor should the cynicism and cowardice of local papers like the Central Virginian in failing to report these developments along doing everything they can to surreptitiously promote conservatives like Brat go unnoticed.

brat-bias

(from 10-27-16 edition of CV )

So if you’re not happy with this dysfunctional status quo, voting for Eileen Bedell on the 8th is the best chance that the people of Louisa have for some honest and responsive representation in Congress.

Lewalta Haney

Editors Note: this post is an expanded version of a letter printed in the Central Virginian on 10-27-16, and is only available on line to paid subscribers.

White rage and imaginary Friends

Much of Trump’s mystique lies in a conflation of fact and fiction, where 14 years of “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” helped transform him from a reality TV figure to America’s favorite imaginary friend.

Television watchers, who relate strongly to characters, feel their heroes know them, and respond to them experience something called “parasocial involvement,” essentially an imaginary friendship. A recent study found that people most alienated from their real lives are prone to parasocial relationships.

And for those who feel that they’ve been robbed culturally and economically, experiencing a profound sense of loss for a place in society they never had, but felt they deserved, he is a dream come true. More than anything his supporters want a voice, the louder the better, and they are more than willing to forgive his bombast and boorish behavior because he has spent more time in their homes than any real friend.

Nor are his supporters as racist, sexist or xenophobic as commonly believed, their fear of new ideas, change and other people — are all trumped by the anxiety of impotence. Where instead of feeling weak and powerless; they are now strong with anger. Nor did their pain morph into anger all by itself; it started with stoking imaginary fears, then twisting them into a fury.

Where “pain combined with anger-triggering thoughts motivates you to take action, and defend yourself by striking out against the target you think is causing you pain.” And he offers up plenty of targets, with his list of “losers” getting longer every week. Like how Hitler used fear to bond his Germanic tribe into scapegoating—Jews, gays, artists, intellectuals, and liberals, he urges action against them, words which have already provoked violence on the campaign

His supporters are convinced that he knows them, and he speaks for them. His blatant lies are their truths. In that regard, FOX and Trump reflect a world in which waning middle-class frustrations, privations, and fears finally make sense. One where the erosion of privilege his supporters have endured is not their fault.

And by continuing to tell it “like it is,” he is giving them permission to forget how decades of Republican trickle down economics, free market policies, and a more recently a gridlocked Congress (not Obama) have worked to fray the middle class.

While his supporters might feel a part of that awesome and implied fellowship, they also have to see themselves as he sees them: losers. In his world, people who pay taxes, give money to charity or honorably serve their country are all pathetic losers. Paradoxically, such self-loathing helps them to share in his heights of glory.

In their minds, they are already in the reality TV White House. They don’t care about any indication that he’s capable of doing the job, they like him. That’s all the evidence they need.

Jon Taylor

Editors Note: this post appeared in The Central Virginian on 10-20-16 and is only available on line to paid subscribers.