Rob Wittman Pushes for Rural Broadband Internet Access – Except When He Doesn’t

Rob Wittman never had much to say about broadband internet access in the Congressional District he represents until the issue came up in the Democratic Primary this spring.  Much of the district is rural and without connection to the web services that stimulate economic development, support businesses and allow remote access to medical care.  They are without this connection because private markets do not provide what amounts to a public utility in remote areas, and no amount of deregulation will make them want to.  The return on investment simply isn’t there.

Back in the day, much of Tennessee had a similar problem with electricity.  The Federal Government, not private enterprise, solved the problem through the Tennessee Valley Authority, a New Deal Democrat effort to modernize rural areas of the state.  Could we learn something from this very successful effort? Continue reading

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Miss Daisy

The Vangie Williams campaign likes to tell the story of Miss Daisy and the funeral.  If you haven’t heard it, ask Joel Leonard.  He tells it best.

Anyway, Miss Daisy, a Westmoreland County matriarch of sorts, turns 79 this month and wants to celebrate with a cookout and pickle-jar fundraiser for Vangie.

You can get the details at Vangie’s campaign Facebook page, but it’s a week from tomorrow, 18 August, from 1300 to 1700 at 447 Wilson Drive, Sandy Point, Virginia.  I plan to attend and write a check.  Please join in, and knock a few doors for Vangie on your way over.

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Chris Collins and the Republican Project

Federal prosecutors indicted GOP Representative Chris Collins for insider trading yesterday.  Collins represents the 27thDistrict in northwestern New York and was an early Donald Trump supporter.  Right now his website touts three Federal grants to improve sewer, airport, and firefighting infrastructure in his district, which is how I suppose he expects to achieve his “Vision: The United States of America will reclaim its past glory as the Land of Opportunity, restoring the promise of the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.”

I guess it’s good to know that at least one GOP rep thinks Government works and should intervene without waiting for markets to allocate resources to regional airports and municipal sewer systems.  But since Collins voted for the tax “reform” act last year, he must also think borrowing money that his grandchildren will have to pay back will restore to them the “promise of the American Dream.”  Low taxes for corporations now and higher taxes for everyone else later sounds like the “Land of Opportunity,” all right – if you’re a corporate CEO or shareholder. Continue reading

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Speaking Event: The Electoral College

The Williamsburg-James City County Indivisible group has invited me to speak about the Electoral College at their meeting on 29 August.  This talk will take place at the James City County Library at 7770 Croaker Road in Williamsburg from 6:30 to 9:00 PM.

Here’s a link to the Facebook Event page.

I’ll discuss how and why the men who wrote the Constitution settled on this method for selecting a President, including how slavery created the conditions that made direct election of the President all but politically impossible.  I’ll also discuss efforts to eliminate the EC or render it moot.

Please join me and the WJCC Indivisibles for an informative evening and a chance to meet new Democratic activist friends.

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What to Watch For: Corey Stewart and Virginia Republicans

Photo from Monthly Review Online

Last week, Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination to run against Senator Tim Kaine for US Senate this November.  This means that the de facto leader of the Virginia Republican Party is a white supremacist from Minnesota. We know he’s a white supremacist because he thinks monuments to men who committed treason against the United States in defense of slavery belong in the public square.  The guy made his bones harassing people of color and trying to cleanse Prince William County of immigrants.

Corey Stewart likes to pal around with people like Paul Nehlen and Jason Kessler.  Nehlen is an anti-Semite who jokes on Twitter about killing political opponents.  Kessler organized the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville last August.  A rally attendee and Kessler supporter killed Heather Heyerwith his car.  Two Virginia State Troopers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, Virginia, died when their observation helicopter crashed on their way to assist authorities on the ground.  Kessler plans a sequel, by the way.  Wonder if Stewart will attend. Continue reading

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It Was a Good Day, Until it Wasn’t

I spent Primary Day roaming the First District putting out signs and helping volunteers where we had them at the polls talking to voters.  Took some photos of John Suddarthvoting.  Started off at a polling place in Caroline County where I greeted a handful of voters and spent 30 minutes talking to Steven Brodie Tuckerabout the state of the Republican Party, whether Nick Freitasor Corey Stewartcan win Tim Kaine’sSenate seat this fall, and single payer health care.  Interestingly, he seemed open to the idea once I explained that John’s proposal would actually free up markets in health care by removing for-profit health insurance companies from the mix. Continue reading

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Mea Culpa

I’ve never been very prolific with respect to posting on this blog, and certainly not consistent.  Even an election campaign featuring one of the most obviously unfit candidates for President in American history didn’t change this pattern much.  Still, I wrote two posts arguing that Donald Trump could not possibly win the election.

Well, I damn sure got that one wrong. I simply could not bring myself to believe that American voters would elect a incompetent buffoon* President simply because he promised things no one actually believed he would or could do and said the quiet racist and xenophobic parts out loud.

Like many liberals I checked out of politics for a while after the election.  I simply could not stomach watching Trump’s Keystone Cops transition.  And of course I went into yet another blogging hiatus.

Until, a week or so ago I took a look at Foggy Bottom Line to make sure everything still worked and noticed a rare comment – this one from a Trump supporter:

HaHa! Don’t you feel stupid.

He won and you haven’t had much to say since.

Liberalism is cancer. Hell, you guys can’t even determine how many genders there are. Yet, you’re so scientific and stuff.

It’s time we move on. Nationalism today. Nationalism tomorrow. Nationalism forever.

You’re losing progressives. Your powers are receding. Your spell casts upon humanity is vanishing. Your grip on Western Civilization is weakening and the forces of the Right are prying it from your pale bony hands. Your protest and lamentations are convulsions, the last final death throes of a rotten and corrosive ideology soon to be erased, replaced, and forgotten.

We president now.

Not much here but name-calling and unfounded assertions about where American voters are politically.  Yes, Donald Trump is President now, thanks to an anti-democratic election system designed to protect the political power of slave states.  But it’s important to remember that no liberal Presidential candidate has lost the popular vote since 1988.  And if winning the Presidency demonstrates primacy of a particular ideology, I would have been right about Trump – Barack Obama, after all, won the Presidency – twice – in the name of liberalism (albeit not the most progressive kind).  So it’s not clear how this very close election – won more or less on a technicality – demonstrates an ideological wave moving right.  And it begs the question: how long before Trump’s “spell casts (sic) on humanity” vanishes?  How long before (white?) “Nationalism” loses its new “grip on Western Civilization?”

Nevertheless, I do indeed feel stupid.  Stupid because I seriously never saw President Donald Trump coming.  Stupid because I never dreamed that “nationalism,” (white nationalism?) had gripped so many Americans as a governing philosophy.  But mostly stupid because I didn’t raise my voice loudly or often enough to help prevent it.

If progressive liberal ideology is in fact “soon to be erased, replaced, and forgotten,” I don’t intend to remain silent as it does.  No, I have not had much to say since Donald Trump won the Electoral College.  I aim to fix that.

*I mean…the man lost a billion dollars running a casino.  You have to work hard at stupid to make that happen.  The only case in known gambling history of the house losing – and bigly.

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Bob Owens is no “cool and clear-thinking moderate.”

Last week Rick Perlstein published a nice little rundown of the “far-right’s counter-resistance” in the Washington Spectator.  He opens:

Afriend writes, “For basically the past six months or so I’ve been trying to tell my lefty friends in so many words, ‘Hey, there are a bunch of people on the Internet who are waiting for someone to tell them it’s okay to start shooting at you.’”

Perlstein wrote Nixonland, a well-researched and argued case that Richard Nixon’s manipulation of fear and racism in his pursuit of the Presidency helped set the conditions for today’s partisan political climate.  His new book, The Invisible Bridge looks good as well.  “Guns, Extremism, and Threats of Escalation” is a great article and you should go and read the whole thing.  Perlstein by all accounts understands the right wing of American politics and writes well about it.

But I have to challenge him on this:

The march turned into a “small riot,” as gun-rights blogger Bob Owens, one of the most widely read on the web, and a cool and clear-thinking moderate, described it after reviewing the available documentation. (emphasis mine).

Bob Owens, an editor at Bearing Arms, aka “Confederate Yankee,” is no “cool and clear-thinking moderate.” I’ve read his work since I got into a bit of dialogue with him after the Virginia Tech tragedy. in 2007. He’s a racist gun nut who writes barely coherent screeds against Black Lives Matter and suggests that “propagandists for elitists” (Media Matters for America) need a “serious review of our capacity for violence.” He has advocated for the formation of private militias and advised them on proper armament.

In 2010 he argued that since “Our would-be ruling class has abandoned the principles that founded this nation” it’s time to “revolt and destroy the ruling class and reform our government based upon first principles.

He more recently expressed concern that the “radical left” has become “much more insistent in their desire to use force to get their way and impose their ideas on the American people.”  After opening with a suggestion that the “survivors of the Democrat rebellion will meet their end” on a gallows, he uses a quote from one professor to suggest that Democrats want to “forcibly disarm” gun owners and then straight-up lies about Obama’s proposed gun control policies.  Not finished ranting, he then seems to advocate the resistance by police officers and soldiers to lawfully-passed gun control legislation – presumably because no regulation of his ability to arm himself can be legitimate.

This is a man who believes black people are solely responsible for the social problems afflicting their communities – slavery, Jim Crow, and housing and job discrimination have left no lasting legacy.  He thinks every liberal agrees with the most radical leftist he can find but believes right-wing extremists are just normal Americans worried about losing their liberty to an oppressive government.  And he advocates violent overthrow of the US Government whenever it embraces liberal principles that do not match his view of Constitutional legal legitimacy.

Don’t let his opinion that use of deadly force is more restricted in California than it is in Texas fool you. Bob Owens is an extremist, and he offered that advice not to discourage violence but to help his fellow travelers avoid crossing a line..  He is no “cool, clear-thinking moderate,,” and I bet he hides his old Confederate Yankee archives for a reason..

 

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