Blue Louisa: A blog Covering Central Virginia & national politics from a progressive perspective
It came as little surprise to learn that several candidates for local office; Toni Williams (Jackson District), Jessie Shupe (Louisa District), Tony Brasswell (Commissioner of Revenue) are running as Republican’s. According to the CV, all three of these candidates were “endorsed” by the Louisa County Republican Committee at their May 22 mass meeting, in addition to Donnie Lowe (Sheriff) who had previously announced that he would be running as a Republican.
Unlike the other candidates for local office who have to collect signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot, candidates nominated through this process are guaranteed a spot on the ballot for the November election once the Party submits their nomination forms to the county registrar.
Like their 2015 mass meeting where they nominated Rusty McGuire for Commonwealth Attorney, roughly 50 people attended this year’s meeting. And like the 2015 meeting, the CV overlooked several crucial details about what took place at this meeting and the nomination process.
Starting with the fact that a small group of people, many of who do not likely reside in either the Jackson or Louisa district nominated Supervisor candidates from outside their own districts. They also failed to report that this meeting was not publicized, in the CV or on the Louisa Republican’s own FB and web pages.
Details, which help to obscure the reality that notifications about this meeting were limited to the Party faithful, with announcements about this meeting buried deep in the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV’s) webpage. While it’s long been said that the unofficial motto of the Virginia Republic party is “Keep it small, keep it all,” the real purpose of these mass calls is to allow local Party officials to control voters and their votes.
Speaking of controlling, when Donnie Lowe who is running unopposed for Sheriff was asked several months ago why he is running as a Republican, he reportedly replied “If I don’t they will run someone as a Republican against me.”
Nor is it likely that many locals will remember that is was Major Donnie Lowe who brought a large contingent from the Sheriff's office to the 2015 Louisa Republican’s mass call in an effort to keep Mike Silberman, who was running against Sheriff Ashland Fortune off the Republican ballot.
So it's debatable if he was being honest, or simply trying to conceal that he's always been an authoritarian ... I mean a Replican't. Nonetheless, these are comments, which indicate the lengths that local candidates and the Republican Party will go in order to solidify their grip on power.
Contrary to the Republican Party chair, Graven Craig’s disingenuous remarks in the CV, what took place the mass meeting was not the “natural progression of things,” it was a brazen attempt to press their thumbs on the electoral scales and turn Louisa County staunchly conservative, like Goochland County, which has “had Republican supervisors for at least eight years.”
Meanwhile, the Chair of the Louisa Democratic Committee, Gary Schatz’s observations about “all local races should be non-partisan,” and the recognition that “Not everybody can make it to a convention,” and [holding a mass meeting] “It’s not the fairest way to do it,” will likely be ignored by most of Louisa’s citizens.
While the CV may prefer to dismiss the fact that Duane Adams (Mineral District) 2017 Supervisors campaign received over $20 thousand worth of fliers paid for by the RPV, and that such actions were unprecedented in Louisa County as “conspiracy theories.” It should be interesting to see what they have to say when these local nominees start receiving support from the state Party and other groups.
Editor's Note: Weeks after the Louisa Republican Committee's mass call and nomination of candidate, three of the ®‘s prominent nominees, Donnie Lowe, Dan Brasswell or R.T. Williams don't have a Facebook or web page. From all indications they will be copying the tactics of their ® mentors; Senator Bryce Reeeves, and Supervisor Duane Adams, limiting their public exposure to select gatherings of the faithful, hoping to ride their Party's coattails to victory. While the other ® candidate, Jessie Shupe’s campaign FB page is so bare bones that it’s meaningless.
The Chair of the Culpeper Republicans, Jon Russell, has recently offered his personal opinion on the Republican Creed. An article of faith that professes adherence to a statement of values, the creed touts support for the free enterprise system, equal rights and individual responsibility, fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint, and a strong national defense. All sound noble on the surface. But narrow-minded dogma, without reasoned perspective and balance, doesn’t always effectively serve individual citizens or this nation.
Instead of allegiance to a rigid creed, why not approach major issues as thoughtful, reasoning, informed adults, working collaboratively in the best interest of the American people?
Waving the “free enterprise” banner sounds principled, but does it always provide equality for all? Free enterprise suggests business drives all the decisions. Jobs may not be sent overseas according to government policy. These are business decisions often based only on profitability to shareholders. Many businesses are not necessarily concerned about social impact. If we want to “promote the general welfare,” capitalism requires guidance and modest regulation to ensure that the American Dream is an opportunity for all, rather than for only the already privileged. That’s what Democrats bring to the table: We take into consideration what will work in the best interest of “We the People.”
When it comes to environmental protections, companies have long proven that they will not prioritize safeguards against potential environmental catastrophes unless reasonable regulations are in place. Particularly Dominion Power, who has gone out of their way to greeenwash their depredations, and who's deception are being reinforced in local papers by shills like Mr. Russell and McCarthy seeding doubts about alternative energy sources.
Regarding healthcare, the pharmaceutical market has consistently demonstrated its widespread disregard for the well-being of consumers, charging exorbitant prices for prescriptions while causing consumers to ration their use of life-saving medications.
Most important is the disastrous problem of income inequality in this country, thanks again to that unchecked free enterprise ideal. Some major companies pay their workers so little that they qualify for welfare while at the same time paying their executives and shareholders outrageous sums. Some of the richest corporations in the nation pay little or no taxes. Why is this allowed? Looking at the Republican tax bill—which increased national public debt and benefited the top one percent—what does this say about Republican commitment to fiscal responsibility?
Of course, the government must provide for the national defense, but does that mean untold billions must be spent for unwanted hardware when the 21st-century battleground is in cyberspace? Yes, we need reasonable immigration reform, including secure borders, but does that mean American values include cruelly separating families, jailing infants and toddlers, where many have died in captivity, and denying access to those seeking lawful asylum?
Does our commitment to the constitution really mean we can’t acknowledge gun violence? We must take reasonable steps that are likely to save thousands of lives every year—such as universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, stalkers, and children.
Perhaps there is no issue where ideology is more dangerous than reproductive rights. This week we have seen Republican legislatures ban abortion with little exception. Along with Tyler Adams screed about the “sanctity of life” in this weeks Central Virginian.
But most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in most cases, knowing that a ban will not end abortions—it will only end safe abortions. It is actually Democratic policies through the years that have worked to lower the number of abortions in this country—through increased access to healthcare, birth control, and sex education.
The Republican Creed which Mr. Russell touts is an ideology that rarely uplifts. He does not mention hope, nor compassion. His perspective is not future-focused. The Culpeper Republicans have censured their own state senators for the sins of bipartisanship. The requirement to toe an ideological straight-and-narrow and see the world in stereotypes doesn’t solve problems. Democrats, on the other hand, seek to study what really works, mull the possibilities, and advance policies that provide opportunities for all. Those who care about affordable education and healthcare, protecting our environment, and equal rights and justice for all will have the opportunity to vote for many exceptional Democratic candidates this fall.
Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared in the May 25th edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent and has been posted here with the author’s permission. And the editor of this site has added additional links to relevant pieces in local papers
Editor’s note: This letter first appeared in the May 23rd print edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to paying subscribers. It has been re-posted here in Blue Louisa as a complement Dave Ruether’s May 25th op-ed, also in Blue Louisa.
The notion that the value of human life is subjective – that it fluctuates based on the worth assigned to it by another – is the most destructive philosophy in human history.
It is the philosophy that drives racism, genocide, and all other factional conflict. There are biological and evolutionary theories that propose tribalism, the belief in the superiority and the prioritization of people who are similar to you, is hardwired into our psyche. However, there are many biologically driven urges towards violence which we suppress because of their immorality. In order to respect the dignity and rights of our fellow man, we are called to overcome our nature.
We have failed miserably many times. In all cases of violence driven by perceived inherent differences, whether it be race, religion, or ideology, almost always the belligerents are so confident in the superiority of their position that they are convinced the offending characteristics of their opposition is incompatible with true humanity.
The pseudo-science justifying racial oppression of African slaves is one example. It was claimed that the psychology of Africans made them more servile and that their biology made them better adapted to physical labor. In this way they were portrayed as less than-human. Why? Because if the status of African humanity was compatible with that of their slaveholders, then enslavement of the slaveholders would be equally as justified.
Today, the most fatal application of sub-human status is on the unborn. They’ve been labeled as less-than-human because of the stage of their physical development and, like all groups who’ve been given that label, suffered greatly. Since 1973 over 63 million unborn children have been aborted, greater than the population of California and New York combined. The morality of ending life on this massive scale has been tacitly accepted by society primarily based on the arguments that a person can choose that those lives possess less inherent value – the life of an unwanted child is worth less, or nothing.
This philosophy is wrong. The value of human life is not subjective, life has an objective, inalterable, and universal value. Abortion is immoral because the right to life is the most fundamental quality of humanity. All people, wanted or unwanted, have the same, immeasurable value. Left undisturbed, nearly every baby in the womb would develop into a person whose right to life would be undeniable to even the most ardent supporters of abortion. The moral crisis of abortion is much more severe when we recognize that the humanity and the inherent value of the unborn is equal to our own.
We cannot live in a harmonious society that respects the rights and dignity of each person if we believe a person’s worth is so malleable. Understanding the truth that the circumstances of a person’s birth, their physical qualities, or status in society do not determine the value of their life, that by virtue of being human they possess natural rights, is the only way to live peacefully.
Editor's Note: Mr. Adam's has worked for some of Virginia's most extreme politicians, such as State Senator Bryce Reeves, former state delegate and now 6th district Congressman, Ben Cline, and his father, Mineral District Supervisor, Duane Adams.
Nor is it any coincidence that misleading screeds like this one have become a regular fixture on the Central Virginian's op-ed page ever since his father ran for Mineral District Supervisor in 2017.
While trying to predict the outcome of the upcoming state and local elections is frequently a fool's game, based on what’s happened in several recent Republican primaries, they are leaving no stone unturned in rigging the outcome, starting with the recent Prince Williams County BOS “firehouse primary.”
According to VPAP, the Republican incumbent Marty Nohe raised a whopping $131 K in the first quarter of 2019, while the challenger, and “winner” John Gray raised self funded himself to the tune of $12,500, deeds which leave the voters of the Coles District with a hard-core Trumpster who is not likely to represent them.
If the comments on Nohe’s FB page are any indication, his Republican supporters are passively accepting this rigged process, while his Democratic supporters are calling this primary “voter suppression.”
With one commentator noting; “I many others were turned away because we voted in a Democratic primary in the past and they had the records of it right there. We were told the only way we could vote was to sign a 'denunciation' letter which in effect was denouncing being a Democrat. “
”There is no ‘party registration’ in Virginia and I was livid over this as were others who raised very strong objections. The lady told us that since this primary was ‘run’ by the Republicans and not a State or Federal primary that we could not vote.”
During the recent Culpeper BOS primary, local Replican’ts tried to block several people from voting, claiming this was a “Republican primary, for Republicans.” After forcing one sitting one voter to sit through an interrogation then asking them to sign a waiver stating I "promise to vote for the GOP in November," before they would allow her to vote, an offer which she and others refused.
From all appearances, the only reason they “allowed” Democrats to vote in this primary was because they knew their rights, stood up for them and wouldn’t be intimidated. If people don’t know and exercise their rights, Replican’t around the state will continue to try and suppress the vote by any means necessary.
Apparently, the Replican’ts motto is “If you can’t beat them, cheat them.”
At the state level, the 97th House District Republican Convention was another exercise in fixed outcomes. One that from all reports featured a bitter fight between the 97th HOD Committee and the State Party, where the Committee Chair walked out of a meeting after being questioned by a fellow Committee member about the validity of this convention.
It's a game we have seen before, with the 2017 State Republican convention selecting the extreme Cory Steward and E.W. Jackson at their standard bearers.
Meanwhile over in the 11th Senate race, featuring “Church Lady” Amanda Chase, where despite a self induced meltdown with the Capital Police, she refuses to back down or apologize even though there is an audiotape and video of what happened. Going so far as to publicly demand an “apology” while playing the “victim” on her FB page with multiple posts of how unfairly she’s being treated.
Even after publicly lashing out at the Senate GOP Caucus and majority leader Tommy Norment, the biggest financial “rainmaker” in the Party, it doesn’t appear to have appreciably shifted her chances of being re-elected.
Nor was it any surprise to see her emulating her mentor Dave Brat deeds whose 2014 campaign she managed, actively block users and deleting unfavorable comments on her FB page.
Perhaps the biggest reason the Church Lady “doth protest too much,” is this observation posted on another Republican's FB page … “As a former Chesterfield Republican (I served on the Executive Committee of the Chesterfield GOP for 4 years), I have seen Amanda from a slightly different angle than you.
Let me say this unequivocally: Amanda has more to fear from the political enemies she's made over the years than she does from any Average Joe, and she knows this.”
Along with this now deleted comment, from her public Facebook page.
“First off you're a liar. I’m a Republican. I've seen you personally throw your weight around with the police officers and dispatchers. There are logs and phone calls where you made Capitol police your very own personal taxi service. Driving you to hospitals, bars, restaurants, back and forth for your own personal usage and having nothing to do with your official duties. Your parking deck is literally across the road where there are 2 security guards patrolling it everyday, Monday thru Friday.”
Nor is it surprising to hear rumors that State Senator Bryce Reeves, and State Delegate Nick Frietas helped orchestrate this entire affair in a effort to discredit and discourage her from running in the 7th Congressional District race against Abigail Spanberger in 2020.
It’s no secret that both of them are anxious to move up to higher levels of incompetence, I mean influence having both run in the 2017 Republican State Convention, before losing out to even more extreme candidates, or that they have previously indicated an interest in running against Abigail in 2020.
While an overblown sense of privileged entitlement is hardly exclusive to Replican’ts judging by what took place at the end of the Arlington Democratic 31st District Senate debate. It’s worth noting that to Senator Favola’s credit, she had the decency to apologize at their next public debate, something which Replican’ts at every level seem constitutional incapable of.
Finally moving down to the only state elections where the residents of Louisa County have any direct say; the 17th Senate and the 56th House races. Leaving out the 22nd Senate race since Louisa’s two flaming red precincts contain such a small % of that Districts voters that their votes will hardly affect the outcome.
According our local paper, the Central Virginian, Democratic candidate Amy Laufer has a substantial fundraising advantage over Ben Hixon, raising over $ 110 K during the first quarter of 2019, yet lags behind the incumbent, Bryce Reeves first quarter totals. Reeves has accumulated ~ $ 218 K in his war chest over the course of two terms as a Senator, and is expected to handily beat his Republican opponent in the June 11th primary.
Given his close connections with Senator Norment, and the now departed 7th District Congressman Dave Brat, Reeves likely sees him self as a “rainmaker,” along the lines of Eric Cantor, a pretty boy mouth piece for the party, raising money which can be readily funneled throughout the Party food chain.
Despite starting her campaign late, Juanita Jo Matkins the Democrat running for the 56th House of Delegates seat has doubled incumbent, John McGuire's 2019 first quarter efforts. Unlike Reeves, "Lil John" has little money left over from his previous campaign, making this seat competitive for the first time in decades.
The biggest question is whether Democrats are fielding enough competitive candidates in the House and Senate to make it difficult for candidates like Bryce Reeves, and Republican PAC’s to keep sending their “excess” funds downstream to endangered state Replican’ts.
And it's something we all should expect to see more of, given what's already happened in other local county races this year, and what happened during the 2017 Mineral District race when Replican't candidate Duane Adams ran against Stephanie Koren.
Where the local media failed to report the fact that his son worked for Senator Reeves and Congressman Cline, or notice Reeves close relationship with the Party’s fundraising arm. While they did mention how a local supervisor , Duane Adams received ~ $25K worth of misleading fliers from the State Party.
They failed to note that such actions were "unprecedented" in Louisa county, or that it was a major factor in his victory. Nor is it any surprise to read in a recent edition of the CV that Adams is returning the favor this year, making two large contributions to SenatorReeves campaign.
Meanwhile there continue to be persistent rumors that now that the deadline for filing under a party banner has passed, that the county Replican'ts plan to run stealth RINO candidates for Supervisors races, and possibly other county positions, like they are doing in other counties all over the state.
Elections in our community have traditionally been conducted without partisan political sideshows trying to divide the citizens along ideological purity lines. Party affiliations, while allowed in local primaries, are not shown on November ballots, and most candidates in the past have run as independents. Only in recent years, with the rise of far-right ideologues—such as our recently-defeated Congressional representative, Dave Brat—has politics at the local level gotten ugly. This is not surprising, considering the more than 10,000 lies (so far) and the hatred emanating from the “soul-eating” occupant of the highest office in the land.
The last election showed that Culpeper is changing. Four of fifteen precincts in and around the town, comprising one-third of the county’s population, voted for our new congressional representative, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger D-7th District. Every single other precinct in the county, though remaining “red,” was trending “blue.” Don’t just take it from me, analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project bears this out. You can look it up. Ballots this year are fulsome—voters will be choosing three state senators and two house delegates, four supervisors, four town council members, four school board members, plus four Constitutional Officers. Confused? where you vote
Educate yourselves by starting with finding out where you vote. Then do your research on the candidates in your precinct—only General Assembly candidates will be listed by party—and choose.
Jon Russell noted in his Culpeper Star Exponent byline last Sunday that he that he has “served on the Culpeper Town Council for two terms and chairs the Culpeper Republican Committee. His opinions represent his ”personal views only .”
Seriously? As reader M. Campbell pointed out in a letter to the editor on May 1st, he’s affiliated with two far-right-wing lobbying organizations (ALEC and ACCE) and is hardly merely expressing his personal views. The Governor just vetoed one of their bills, which if implemented, would have severely curtailed localities’ abilities to make their own zoning decisions.
Sounding the partisan siren, the Republican Committee boasts in the Star Exponent that it will call for a Republican-endorsed slate/sample ballot for all candidates from top to bottom, including those who run as independents. This is evidence that in their view, your analysis is not required. These people think they own Culpeper, and talk about the county being “a Republican county.”
News flash: There are plenty of us who value truth, science, fair play, tolerance, patriotism, providing for those less fortunate, including affordable and accessible health care, educational and job opportunities, access to the internet without paying through the nose, curbs on gun violence, and protecting our land, air and waters for our children and grandchildren.
This is what the local GOP party posted on Facebook on April 5th: “As the Democrats embrace socialism, these articles are always a good reminder of why we fight them." Yes, Hitler and the Nazis were socialists, for the simple reasons that they were staunchly anti-capitalist and believed that the means of production in their society should be controlled by a centralized state power. That is very clear from their writings, their words and their actions. Done and done (https://www.theblaze.com/op-ed/yes-virginia-hitler-really-socialist).” This is a gross distortion of history, and name-calling at its worst.
Hitler was a fascist, not a socialist. Trump is a fascist, not a Republican. Democrats are not communists. Stalin was a communist. The Culpeper County Republican Committee wants you to see things only in terms of white and black. Their choices, not yours.
This really is a fight for the soul of America. Choose wisely.
Editor’s Note: This op-ed first appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
The recently released photos of the light halo around a black hole in a distant galaxy reminded me of the amazing advances humans make when a question is answered with an ordered, problem-solving method.
Louisa already has one black hole and is creating a second, with our tax dollars going in never to be seen again. Dreamed up by county staff, backed by the board of supervisors, created by that problem-solving method in reverse, start with a conclusion and work backwards until there is a problem.
The Scientific Method was discussed early each semester in my Earth Science classes and I reminded my students that it wasn’t just scientists who used it; it works for everyday problems, too. When a “problem” arises, think it through, come up with a possible solution, test your solution with observations, tests and experiments, review the test results then conclude if your solution solves the problem. If not, repeat the process, testing a new solution to solve the problem.
The backwards, un-scientific method, used by many government officials, is to start with a conclusion and work backwards until you have created a problem. In Louisa, the conclusion was, building a water line from the James River solves all our problems. With that conclusion, consultants were hired, data created, claims made based on that wildly inflated data, a solution was dreamed up: the water line will bring industry to pay big taxes. Problem is, there’s no industry to use all that water.
So, another conclusion was drawn, buy, rezone and flatten forest land at Shannon Hill with tax money, spend more money to extend the water line (and gas and sewer lines) to that land, hire more consultants to find and lure, with tax breaks, an amazing industry that deep into the future, will fill county coffers with tens of millions of dollars.
Just a couple of problems, both dripping with irony. First, no industry is coming to Shannon Hill because the industries officials are dreaming of are fading into the past. Water wasting, gas burning industries are fading away and should. The future needs to be thrifty with resources, sustainable.
Then to hear board members praise the recent presentation by members of Louisa County Public Schools (and praise and fully fund they should), where the school system’s long-term goals are to prepare students to work the unknown jobs of the future, not the disappearing industrial jobs of the past. The schools get it, the board doesn’t.
Stellar black holes have such powerful gravity even light can’t get out. Our local black holes have such weak logic they will continue to pull in tax money for years, with no taxes ever coming back out. No bank would loan you money for this, we are your bank and will keep working to deny this bad loan.
Call your supervisor, don’t rezone and add another black hole at Shannon Hill. Perhaps, first, solve a real problem, poor broadband countywide!
Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared in the May 2nd edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
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