Blue Louisa: A blog Covering Central Virginia & national politics from a progressive perspective
While the subject of ®esident45’s mental health has been a concern before he was elected, and throughout his time in office, and most reasonable people recognize that his antics are how a raging narcissist behaves, his recent actions have raised those concerns to 5-alarm fire levels.
Over the past two months, there have been numerous public examples of his mental and physical decline, and invoking the 25th amendment to remove him for office is necessary. Under normal circumstances, that process would start with the Vice President, and members of the cabinet. However, these are not normal times, because Orange Julius has filled his cabinet full of ideologues, sycophants and yes men, and Vice President Pence is as spineless as they come.
So by default, it becomes Congresses responsibility under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to create a “disability review body” which would rule on the Presidents disability. To be clear, we’re not talking about impeachment for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors,” but removing him from office because he’s unable to perform the most basic executive functions without being constantly stage handled.
Having a figurehead serving as president is unfortunately, something this country has seen before.
First, with Woodrow Wilson incapacitated by a stroke, and most recently with Ronald Reagan suffering with Alzheimer’s for the better part of two terms. Considering the Mango Mussolini’s family history with Alzheimer’s, and his actions so far, there are legitimate concerns that he is a prime candidate for his following his father into the inescapable labyrinth of dementia.
Given his unusual physical mannerisms, and behavior during recent public appearances, it’s likely that he’s showing signs of a form of dementia called frontotemporal dementia. What’s not debatable is his narcissistic and infantile behavior, which if allowed to continue unchecked, will leave us with a poltergeist ®esident at the helm of the world’s largest economic and military power. Something, the people of this country and this world can ill afford.
Even more so than the circumstances surrounding Reagan’s presidency, his enablers in the White House and power brokers financing the ® Party will continue to manipulate and use him, allowing him to literally fall to the ground in the later stages of dementia before they will acknowledge there’s even a problem, because he’s their “useful idiot.”
To be even clearer, the 25th amendment process must start when Congress resumes this fall, not at some politically convenient time that won't interfere with the 2020 campaigns, or even during (gasp) during his second term. At this point, discerning and skeptical readers should be saying, “so where’s your evidence for invoking the 25th amendment?”
Especially, since these alarmist claims seem little removed from the video’s that everyone from conspiracy sites to British tabloids were circulating as “proof" that Hillary Clinton was at deaths doorstep during the 2016 campaign. And this is where the notion of “who are you going to believe, me or you lying eyes,” and the vast differences in people’s perceptions comes into play.
Some will look at these recent pictures and videos of our ®esident and promptly dismiss them as “fake news,” while other will say, “I didn't know what I was looking at.”
Figure 1- Leaning and using others to “balance” himself with the classic spread feet, butt back, forward leaning, arms out posture
Figure 2 -Leaning forward hanging on to the podium using his body to balance himself.
Figure 3 - When Trump sits on a chair, he not as many people would interpret this body language, “asserting his dominance,” he’s sitting on the edge to spread his weight between his butt and his legs. If he sat back in an over-stuffed chair, he would move about with obvious twitching and writhing, and is compensating for that by leaning forward to brace himself
Figure 4 - Sitting at his desk, feet pressed to the floor, butt on the edge of the chair, using his left arm, palm flat on the desk to braces himself.
As his unsteady gait, rigid body posture, muscle weakness and twitchy mannerisms become more noticeable, expect to see him appear less and less frequently in public, and future senior moment videos like this one with Nobel Prize recipient Nadia Murad edited out. Particularly videos like this one with Buzz Aldrin commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, where he repeatedly looks to his handlers for cues.
While there clearly are two divergent reactions to the same information, these differences are largely attributable to how people perceive the world around them, on one side are folks capable of changing their existing “opinions” based on new evidence, because they are grounded in tangible reality.
On the other side, are those who will cling to their beliefs no matter what new information they might encounter, with multiple studies showing that these divergences between “liberals” and “conservatives” are measurable and attributable to differences in how they manage fear.
While a certain amount of fear is reasonable and indeed healthy, for example; should a lion suddenly walk into your living room, only a complete fool wouldn’t be fearful and make every effort to avoid becoming dinner. According to these studies, what most conservatives dread, is rarely this tangible, it’s a entirely different kind of apprehension.
A fear that the world is not as they imagine it to be, and when faced with a world which rarely conforms to those preconceptions it's no great leap of logic to understand why their first and often only “rationale” for why the world doesn’t match their preconceptions is that “something or someone is preventing it.”
As rationalizations go, it’s hard to beat “it’s not your fault, its all [fill in the blank] fault,” as the reason why the world isn’t the way you think it should be. Like “faith” in most western religions, it’s a mindset which can never be disproved, because it only exists is in ones imagination.
For many conservatives, the downside of their blanket acceptance of a “faith based” worldview is that it leaves them highly susceptible to the messages of demagogues, particularly those who preach that blaming others for everything under the sun is acceptable. And in following these messages, it often sets them on a lifelong journey down one rabbit hole after another forever chasing the next scapegoat and bogeyman.
In that regard, Hillary Clinton completely failed to grasp how the so called “deplorables,” view themselves. In their minds, they were not being racist, sexist and homophobic because they supported an even worse presidential candidate, they’re simply “wretched refugees” adrift in a sea of liberal socialism desperately searching for magical solutions … I mean validity.
Should Congress decide not to invoke the 25th amendment, we shouldn’t count on the pundit class or the lamestream media to stay focused on the fact that the ®esident is unfit for office and should be removed ASAP. It will be up to concerned citizens around the country to keep repeating this message, ®esident45’s is sick and is unfit to be in office.
Words, which will no doubt enrage him, spurring him on to even more bizarre behavior, but it will be a message that will turn off some of his supporters, who like their idol will have no sympathy for a sick, weak, old “loser” man. While that may strike some as being unnecessarily mean spirited, it’s where we are as a society, either we resist this administrations growing fascism with every means at our disposal, or we will be consumed by it.
Special Counsel Mueller’s testimony before two congressional committees last week starkly described Russian interference in the American 2016 elections. Wikileaks released Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian government hackers. Mueller noted there were signs of Russian targeting of state voting systems, with the expectation that the American public would lose confidence in its ballot. Mueller put a huge number on the fake Facebook groups and messages as the Russians flooded social media with false news reports and incendiary political ads designed to boost Trump’s campaign.
One of the great American stories is its immigrant tradition. America, the beacon of freedom. Americans take pride in the Statue of Liberty and the poem by Emma Lazarus—a symbol recognized throughout the world. Remember the student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 made their own Statue of Liberty to represent their hopes and dreams.
Since the founding of America, its leaders were aware of its diversity. That’s why America’s motto is e pluribus unum. The Constitution was written with diversity in mind. The 2004 book “The Island at the Center of the World” by Russell Shorto describes the religious, racial and ethnic diversity that was already in place in the 17th century Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. Diversity has been here all the time.
However, our diversity has not always been honored. Ask Japanese-Americans interned during WWII; ask the Chinese who built America’s railroads and faced the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was not changed until well into the 20th century. Ask the Greeks and Italians who faced discrimination in more recent times. The list is long and domestic forces are making it longer.
There has been much immigration legislation submitted in the U.S. Congress in the last two decades, but little has gathered the necessary bipartisan consensus needed to pass. As time passes anti-immigrant rhetoric has become more vicious. Current U.S. leaders justify deporting perhaps millions of people by describing Hispanics here illegally as rapists, murderers, and gang members. Yet the rhetoric often doesn’t match the mothers, husbands, and grandparents who are being stigmatized and deported. The Russians see an opportunity to distract America, a sprawling, diverse nation with a long history of ethnic assimilation, from finding creative solutions for a strong immigration regime and secure borders.
Much of what America has done in the last two years follows the path of dehumanizing immigrants and attacking them with uncaring cruelty. The Trump administration has verbally obliterated the difference between legal asylum seekers and random border-crossers. People are denied long-accepted rights; U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents put people of all ages in cages and unsanitary, even unhealthy situations. These conditions bring to mind the fact that Anne Frank didn’t die in the gas chambers; she died of typhus in an overcrowded concentration camp. Leaders of any country play a major role in setting the tone, defining the hopes, and encouraging basic human decency for their societies. This is particularly true in the United States, a nation that takes pride in the assertion, “...all men are created equal ... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” The Mueller Report suggests Russians want to undermine the American dream. Today internal forces awaken fears with derogatory stereotypes, and Russia stokes the flames.
Dr. King stirred the soul talking about his dream for a diverse nation. As we approach another November election, are there any who have a different hope than the Charlottesville chant, “Jews will not replace us?” Any who lift their eyes rather than bow their head? Perhaps in the quiet of the polling booth, some will dream the dream of hope. Otherwise the Russians have a plan for us.
Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
As chairman of the Black Caucus of the Hanover County Democratic Committee, I am concerned about the Hanover County Board of Supervisors’ very anemic response to the Ku Klux Klan’s appearance and protest in Hanover.
With the exception of Supervisor Faye Prichard, those of you who responded didn’t seem too concerned that Hanover was the place the Klan picked to demonstrate and asked for membership support and those with no response, well “the silence was deafening”.
Bigotry and disdain for any human being is like a cancer and it eats at the core of our inalienable and God-given rights as our Constitution’s 9th Amendment so states the concept of “inalienable rights”.
The Ku Klux Klan ideas represent a deadly poisonous venom spewed on black and people of color and there is no place in Hanover County or America for this deep-rooted hatred because of the color of anyone’s skin.
Our nation thrived on diversification and will continue to do so. We fought that war and “WON” -- it ended May 9, 1865; this is 2019.
We, as Americans have too many issues to deal with these immoral and hateful acts and we will continue to stand and fight against theses vile forms of oppression.
We support the Hanover NAACP’s call on the Hanover County Board of Supervisors to speak out against racism and inequality and replace it’s cavalier message with one of dignity, moral character and support for all of the people they serve, all people of Hanover County.
Sandra R. Howard Chairman Black Caucus, HDC
Editor’s Note: this op-ed originally appeared in the July 16th edition of the Hanover-Mechanicsville section of the Richmond Times Dispatch, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
Once again, we come to a time in the history of Hanover County where we can choose to move forward or continue to live within the impenetrable “legacy” thought process. What is that legacy?
If you look strictly at one segment of the population it appears that legacy means continually celebrating the history of the losers of the Civil War: the Confederacy. It appears that they forget that the Confederacy lost the war.
Another aspect of the population wants to move forward with a united Hanover where all are celebrated and where we can celebrate as the Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .” We want to create a NEW Hanover legacy of justice and equality for all.
And yet, we witness a Ku Klux Klan rally staged to gain membership in front of OUR Hanover Courthouse. Why would they feel comfortable enough to come to Hanover to do this? Would it have anything to do with the “rumble in the jungle” of the 97th District of the Republican Party where the man who stood up to help those of lesser means in his district was tossed out of office and replaced with a commander of one of the six local Confederate groups in Hanover?
Were they aware of the tossing off the board of Earl Hunter Jr., an African-American with no reason for his dismissal and said that is our kind of town.
Even more recently, they witnessed the dismissal of Marla Coleman who made one mistake in their estimation -- she voted for a change in the names of the Confederate name schools. After all, she was representing all people.
Perhaps they followed the story of the tossing of Dr. Kevin Washington and his wife from a “town hall” meeting of the NRA and the GOP. They were the only two people of color in attendance as Dr. Washington went to become informed on the NRA stance in his bid for the seat in the 97th District.
Dr. Washington wants to represent all citizens. Would it have to do with well-qualified candidates of color continually applying for a seat on the Hanover County School Board and not being appointed?
Most recently, one of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors members admitted Rev. Scott Bray had great qualifications as candidate, but how many times, how many years have we heard that?
Nah, we can’t put you here but look, we’ll give you this instead.
Rev. Bray, it was reported, was assured he’d get another appointment soon. Would it have to do with the overwhelming support they see of our board of supervisors as they refuse to do anything to change the names of the two schools in Hanover County that still carry the names of the losing generals of the Civil Wars Lee Davis and Stonewall Jackson?
Throughout the country there are less than 100 schools that still carry the name of Confederate generals, they are mostly in the Deep South.
Virginia has started moving toward being a state for all people and now has only 13 schools still carrying the names of the Confederate generals.
Yet, Hanover, in its infinite wisdom, has the distinction of having two schools still named after these generals. The Board of Supervisors would have you believe they left the decision up to the citizens of Hanover. They knew the result before the vote because of the reputation Hanover has.
They know the percentage of minorities in Hanover and knew they could depend on the people of Hanover not taking into consideration the feelings of minorities as they decided to stick with their legacy -- a legacy of schools honoring the losers of the Confederate war. WHY? They could dismantle this controversial issue and bring Hanover together as a place for ALL people with one positive decision. CHANGE THE SCHOOL NAMES. Get us off the news cycle on TV and in the newspapers, where we are reported to continue living in the past. We made not only The Mechanicsville local, the Roanoke paper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Washington Post.
Hanover wonders why they have a hard time getting teachers/administrators of color in our schools. It is hard to find a person of color willing to put up with what they know they will face in schools that profess their legacy so blatantly.
When will this Board of Supervisors decide to do the right thing for ALL people? If they can’t make that decision, it is time for the good people of Hanover to decide we need new blood, a board that sees clearly the future and not the past.
We need to vote to have an elected school board -- a school board that represents all of the people of Hanover County.
I don’t want my grandchildren living in a place where the KKK feels comfortable coming for the recruitment of new members. My family has been in Hanover County as long as any of the families of the board of supervisors.
Don’t we, the minority citizens, deserve some consideration? After all, we were on the right side of history.
And as we looked for a rebuke of the actions of this group, all we got was a shallow response from the chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “I 100% support citizens of this community and country being able to express their opinions — as long as they do it peacefully,” said W. [Canova] Peterson, while noting that he disagrees with those who appeared at the rally on Saturday. “There’s a lot of people who disagree with me, but I’m not going to try and shut them down.”
Editor’s Note: this op-ed originally appeared in the July 16th edition of the Hanover-Mechanicsville section of the Richmond Times Dispatch, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
Our president said over the weekend that certain politicians should “go back” to “the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”
It is widely believed he was referring to four United States congresswomen. Since they were all elected to Congress, having passed the first hurdle to election of becoming a U.S. citizen, he must mean the states they came from. This type of rhetoric coming from the primary defender of our Constitution seems wildly out of place in both the political and religious founding of this great country. I’m sure certain fundamentalist organizations, like the Klan, are cheering today just like certain countries are alleged to have cheered over 9-11.
Bias, bigotry and lack of tolerance seem to permeate Washington. But Richmond is no slacker in this either. This November, we get to choose new representation in state politics. If you are a woman or a minority perhaps you’ve noticed that Bryce Reeves voted against the Equal Rights Amendment, along with other members of his party. Is this what we Virginians want – a return to barefoot and pregnant? Continued “pay them less because they’re not men?” Deny them control over their bodies? Is it bad to have an abortion, but OK to kill children in schools or coworkers with guns in the hands of those undergoing some sort of breakdown?
While I don’t think abortion is a good idea, it’s not my decision (plus abortions are declining anyway). While I keep and shoot guns, it’s not right to ignore the pain caused by a less-than-rational shooter.
The president will be voted in or out next year (and that’s important); but what about our election this year? Let’s look at our local politicians and decide if they truly represent all of us.
Get out and vote this November, especially if you are a woman or a minority.
Editor's Note: this originally appeared in the July 19th edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author's permission.
What occurred July 9 during the General Assembly’s Special Session should be a wake up call. Three Virginians die every day from gun violence. The majority of these deaths are suicides. Many others are the result of domestic violence.
The current NRA mantra is that a good guy with a gun is the best defense against a bad guy with a gun. But where’s the “good guy” when a person commits suicide? What about women killed by their ex-husbands, husbands, boyfriends or ex-boyfriends? How about a young child who finds a carelessly stored gun? It seems in our society we value human life, except in these cases.
The Governor’s request was simple. After the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, he wanted legislators to reconsider gun legislation that failed to pass a few short months earlier. Virginia’s failure to act has a long history. Twelve years after 32 people died at Virginia Tech we still have no meaningful gun safety legislation. Recommendations from a bi-partisan Blue Ribbon Panel generally have not been acted on. After 12 years of inaction, more than 11,000 Virginians have since become victims of gun violence.
To pretend we are powerless to address gun violence is ludicrous. After the 90-minute charade I watched last Tuesday, even after some influential legislators promised to submit legislation for debate, Virginia’s legislators simply chose to dodge their responsibility to provide for public safety. Many other states have passed legislation to protect lives. It’s time for Virginia to join them.
The Governor said he expected better. We all should expect better. Families who have and will continue to use lose loved ones deserve better. On November 5, it’s time to remove from office those individuals who won’t even consider common sense public safety solutions.
Editor's Note: This originally appeared in the July 17th electronic edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent, and has been re-posted here with the author's permission.
I hereby announce, “No liver will be served in this house.” So does this mean I can be labeled a “vegan,” “pescetarian,” “animal lover” or “animal hater?” No, it means if you’re coming to a potluck at my house, leave the pâté at the end of the driveway.
Was this a bold move? Maybe no one would bring pâté; so just consider it a warning that if you might, don’t. Maybe The City of Charlottesville and Albermarle County’s announcement that their police forces would not participate in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids was also just a warning. I don’t know. I wasn’t part of the decision. I can’t read minds. Enter Jon Russell on July 14, 2019, with his article in the Star-Exponent, "Two communities, two immigration stances," and his labels of a “bold move,” “a political stunt designed to make headlines,” and evidence these communities are “de facto sanctuary communities.” Fact Check: there is no legal definition of a sanctuary community, and such continuous labeling until perceived as truth is a tactic straight out of Propaganda 101.
Last year Sheriff Jenkins signed a 287(g) agreement with ICE; one of two Virginia counties to do so. So far I haven’t seen massive reports of immigrant criminals running rampant in the other 93 counties. I also haven’t seen any hard data from Sheriff Jenkins. How many have been arrested? What were the charges? How many convictions? Deported? Monies received? Spent? Has 287(g) been effective in keeping our community safer, a deterrent in keeping criminals away, or has it merely stoked fear in our minorities and votes for our politicians?
You can count me among the compassionate and the committed to the rule of law, and Mr. Russell and Sheriff Jenkins are welcome to bring the facts to my house anytime. Just leave the propaganda at the end of the driveway.
Editor's Note: This originally appeared in the July 15th electronic edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent, and has been re-posted here with the author's permission.
The state of Wisconsin recently maneuvered itself into a position of granting enormous tax breaks – and other advantages that included providing additional infrastructure – to a company (Foxconn) that made grandiose promises that weren’t intended to be kept, were unable to be kept, and have no hope of being kept
You have to ask relevant questions to get some insight or to speculate about the motivation and the ability of any government level to impose a financial burden on an unsuspecting public and expect it to willingly submit to its backdoor machinations. Tony Evers, the new governor or Wisconsin inherited the responsibility to resolve the sham that was named “economic development.”
Without an investigation, there is only speculation about how that fiasco occurred but we can also use that speculation to consider if Louisa County is headed for a similar disaster with the Shannon Hill Project – or Megasite
The Wisconsin Foxconn projections were overly optimistic from the start, but who could’ve known that of the thousands of estimated jobs, only about four to six actual employees had been identified. How certain are we that the Megasite projections don’t have similar flaws? Someone should’ve anticipated what would happen.
We can be confident that the Foxconn mishap likely has its origins in misinformation, disinformation, and intimidation (to some extent). There are really three participants in this drama.
All the participants have access to varying levels of information but in typical fashion, taxpayers have the least information, which almost always manifests itself as the amount of the bill when government and business complete their collusion in a financial enterprise. The victim role is the one assigned to taxpayers, while government and business exchange levels of culpability and responsibility for perpetrating deception. It’s conceivable that government can rightly plead “not guilty” in a few instances when it allows itself to indulge in gullibility.
Business is the “usual” culprit in manipulating and taking advantage of the Economic Development mechanism in its continuing quest for profit – it’s a natural pheromone. Government misunderstands it but submits to the overtures of financial promises, even if they’re unrealistic. But, does government really know how to make a sound business determination?
Taxpayers are at the greatest disadvantage because they lack the exposure to the language and experience with the processes that the government and business have created and protected between themselves.
Land ownership is a significant incentive to entice “development,” especially if the price is right and there’s no further use for that land. If a significant short-term profit can be made because of bleak long-term prospects some business enterprise will certainly offer a large tract of land. Business is extremely adept at getting government to become an accomplice in any venture as long as the magic word is used – Economic Development.
Misinformation can easily be viewed as the propagation of incorrect information without any necessary intent to deceive. This is a familiar pattern with large and diverse groups. It’s a natural phenomenon that’s displayed in communication models as “noise.” It can happen through honest misinterpretation at the start of sending information; through the various levels of business, government, and public; and, the final destination where taxpayers are usually expected to suffer the consequences of mutated information.
Part of this noise is the result of bias and unreasonable expectations. The concept of Economic Development creates optimistic – but unrealistic – expectations even when there is no justification for it. As a society, we tend to ignore any deeper meaning beyond the sound bites we’ve grown accustomed to receiving. The inquisitiveness that accompanies critical thinking has moved along the path of atrophy.
This is a dangerous state that leaves citizens exposed to manipulation by business – sometimes with the aid of government, unwittingly caught in the misinformation trap. And this is only the most benign of the “bad things” that can happen.
Disinformation is even more sinister – an active attempt to deceive and mislead. It becomes worse when government willingly and knowingly abets business. Elected and appointed officials do not simply fail to perform all the fiduciary duties and responsibilities on behalf of the taxpayers, but actively participate to disrupt and distort information. Under these conditions, the reaction is to preserve the undeserved image of a functioning government.
Claims of restrictions to sensitive information are only used to add to the perception of importance – if you believe government can be serious about that. If these distractions work, the government is emboldened to continue its deceit – in concert with business – and increases the risk of further damage to the financial structure that should be benefiting citizens, instead of business.
Intimidation has many facets but its utility is best seen when there is insufficient justification for a planned enterprise and a false choice is offered between only two options when other possibilities exist. Taxpayers are challenged and humiliated to participate in the process – this is the intimidation – then that participation is trivialized when blic comments don’t allow enough time to adequately express concerns.
This is in direct contrast to the audience granted to business. Any obstacles the government places to prevent or minimize public participation are intimidation. Another example of intimidation is government dismissively taunting the public to vote its representatives out of office if the decisions are unsatisfactory. By then, too much time would’ve gone by and even more disasters burden the taxpayers.
The problem with either, misinformation or disinformation is that the results are the same. And, the solutions are the same:
That perspective may have complemented or conflicted with the government understanding, but the right of the people takes precedence. In Louisa, it might make a difference to its citizens if they knew that the biggest beneficiary of Option 1 to the Shannon Hill Industrial Park Development is a Richmond entity – not someone from Louisa. Under Option 3 of that plan, the only beneficiary of the land sale is the Richmond entity.
That information is available if someone knows where to look for it, but it wasn’t forthcoming from the Louisa County government.
Consider how Wisconsin could have facilitated the participation of its citizens to reach an equitable agreement with Foxconn – if all the information were made available. The government could have ensured that all reports and studies would be readily available well in advance of decision milestones, if for no other reasons than:
Exchange of clear information is necessary for the security of the public – both financial security and, especially, political security. Sometimes we can see the government adopt an arrogant tone with voters because of how it manages to portray itself in the hierarchy. Too often, that kind of intimidation succeeds because citizens don’t always realize the rights that they still have, or the rights they’ve abdicated along the way.
Consider what the Wisconsin voters could have done without the arbitrary obstacles of a government. As a society, we’ve become too timid – timid to the point where our employee, the government, is telling us what to do. In some ways, it’s the same thing as a contractor (business) telling the government what to do. There’s very little difference. Business tells the government; and the government tells the people. This is the process of government going in the wrong direction.
Is there that much difference between the state government of Wisconsin and the county government of Louisa?
In magnitude, yes. In the ability and capability to serve all the information to the taxpayers that allows a consensus decision, both the government and business are successful in isolating the public from deciding on those issues that affect it.
Is there that large a difference between the vulnerability of the citizens of Wisconsin burdened with Foxconn and the citizens of Louisa disadvantaged by the Megasite?
The risk to and alternatives for the public don’t get to be addressed when the path to “Economic Development” machinery is already in motion.
Do the citizens of Louisa County deserve the risk and burden of Shannon Hill Industrial Park turning into a Wisconsin Foxconn?
The taxpayers of Louisa still haven’t received a full accounting of the decision made by its government. The voters of Wisconsin could have avoided the Foxconn fiasco with information, participation, and control. These same things are needed in Louisa because of the steps taken by the government without our consent.
We make the mistake of sometimes forgetting that our elected officials work for us. It’s not up to the government to make decisions for the people; it’s government’s duty and responsibility to implement the decisions of the people.
We have just celebrated one of our founding fathers’ greatest achievements—the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson, listing grievances of the colonies against the governance of King George III of Great Britain.
Jefferson wrote a mission statement that still guides the hearts of free men everywhere. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The Declaration challenged George III’s unbridled authority to interfere with local government, abuse taxation, and maintain an army, while at the same time not protecting the settlers against the Indians on the frontier. Discouraging immigration and suborning justices to comply with the King’s will were listed. There are 27 indictments in all.
Jefferson ended with the observation, “In every stage of these Oppression's, we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
With British abuses in mind, the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution. When I became a presidentially appointed Foreign Service Officer, I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. My military colleagues, other public servants, the Congress and even the vice president take the same oath.
In their day, Jefferson and his colleagues swore an oath to a person: The King. The Founding Fathers took great pains to construct an instrument of law that contained the unbridled powers of the monarchy they opposed. Hence, the Constitution is the reason Americans believe no one is above the law.
John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States, summed up the constitutional project by saying, “If Congress or any other department of government can ignore the limitations of the Constitution, all distinction between government of limited powers and a government of unlimited powers is done away with.”
Further, “the people themselves cannot make treaties, enact laws, or administer the government. They must do such things through agents. That these agents might abuse this power was no argument against giving it, for the power of doing good is inseparable for that of doing some evil.”
Thus, the Constitution deliberately created a balance of power between the three branches of government. The First Amendment protects the press, which we have long called the fourth branch of government.
Jefferson himself was very aware of how frustrating the press could be, but he also saw it as a protection against tyranny. The Founding Fathers would never have labeled the press the “enemy of the people.” In fact, the great contemporary defense of the Constitution comes from the Federalist Papers—which were printed, not in book form, but as newspaper articles.
The Constitution requires much of us. It also assumes that representatives and senators will represent the interests of their constituents. That assumption was embedded in Lincoln’s eloquent phrase, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Today, we have representatives who seem more interested in getting their dogma straight than their constituents’ problems solved.
We have a president who talks about “my army” and “my generals.” That’s the people’s army, thank you. We have a president who talks about foreign policy as a function of his feelings about other leaders. He does not talk about what best protects America or its image in the world.
We must ask ourselves, if avoiding the tyranny of George III is the steel in the construction of the Constitution, are we honoring the Founding Fathers and the Culpeper Minutemen, who fought tyranny to live like free men, when we forget what the Constitution requires of us?
Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent and is re-posted here with the author’s permission.
It seems that Jerry Reynolds is upset because someone denigrated President Donald Trump with disrespectful language.
Trump is a cruel, egotistical, racist, narcissistic maniac who tells lies more often than he tells the truth. The Washington Post has documented over 10,000 instances of lies and misinformation that Trump has told since taking office. Trump is known for denigrating almost everyone he knows or even those he doesn’t know, with the exception of the leaders of Russia, Israel, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and China.
Trump acts like a five year-old child in a playground by giving people infantile nicknames. En route to London, he sent out a nasty tweet about the mayor. He insulted Gold Star parents who had lost their son and said he had sacrificed as much as they had by creating jobs and making donations.
He insulted the late John McCain while he was alive and even after his death, because he was a prisoner of war. Meanwhile, Trump was at home dodging the draft with fake bone spurs.
He talks down to and openly criticizes other world leaders who do not agree with him. If you watch televised international meetings that Trump attends, you will see that he is also disrespectful in his actions. He’s been shown pushing others out of his way so he can be up front. He talks down to and criticizes other world leaders with no consideration of how this will affect our relations.
Trump is a wanna-be dictator. According to Psychology Today, some of the traits of a dictator are: charming, charismatic, self-confident, independent, sexually energized, self-absorbed, masterful liar and compassionless, with a boundless appetite for power.
He doesn’t follow the rules of governing. He uses his executive privilege to cover up things he doesn’t want Congress or the public to know. Controlling people by not allowing them to testify, and covering up information not only from the people but also Congress. That is definitely an act of a dictator.
He thinks he should be allowed to do whatever he wants to do, even though he does not have Constitutional authority to do so. He wants to use military funds to build his wall. He wants to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.
He thinks the treasury department is his own personal bank account to spend however he wants. He has spent over $112 million to play golf at his resort in Florida, and that doesn’t include money wasted on his other golf trips to his other golf clubs. While we taxpayers have been footing this bill, Trump is making a profit by charging his staff, press members and secret service detail for food and lodging while staying there. We pay the tab every time he plays golf at one of his clubs and he makes a profit. This is the man who criticized former President Barack Obama for playing golf!
His latest big waste of taxpayer money was taking his four adult children and their spouses to London. Taxpayers paid $1.3 million for hotel accommodations alone!
He is so jealous of Barack Obama that he has tried to destroy any good that Obama did. One of his first actions was to appoint an individual as secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency who had sued the agency at least three times. That individual rescinded almost all of Obama’s regulations on fossil fuel, coal mining, wastewater and other issues that have a detrimental effect on our environment.
Obama joined a group of 100 nations who agreed to work toward clean air. Trump is the only world leader to withdraw. He backed out of the multi-national pact with Iran on nuclear weapons, and now we are on the verge of war with them.
Trump brags that he has done more to reduce unemployment than any other president. When Obama took office, the unemployment rate was at 7.8 percent. When he left office, it was at 4.7 percent, a 3.1 percent decrease. It is currently 3.8 percent, which is less than a percentage point decrease since Trump took office.
Trump has immigrant families in virtual concentration camps with unsanitary conditions, and doesn’t think we should be providing them with personal hygiene products. He claims to be a Christian, but he certainly doesn’t act like it as far as these people are concerned. Read Leviticus chapter 19, verses 33 and 34 to find out what God says about how to treat strangers living among you.
As for the Mueller report, it was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine if there was collusion or corruption by Trump and his administration. While collusion could not be confirmed, Trump was not totally exonerated from obstruction of justice. No fewer than five of his associates are now in jail as a result of their criminal activities.
Trump declared that his tax cuts would help lower- and middle-income people the most. However, the plan eliminated many deductions that average working-class people previously used, such as $1,050 per person personal exemption and creating mortgage interest caps, causing millions to pay more taxes than they had previously. Meanwhile, the plan made private airplanes and golf courses tax exempt. Does anyone know how many airplanes and golf courses Trump owns? We’ll probably never know since he refuses to release his tax returns and has directed the Internal Revenue Service to not provide them to Congress, even though there is a law on the books that says they must. More obstruction of justice?
I know Mr. Reynolds and other Trump fans will rant and rave, and say I am lying. All they have to do is check the facts. I did.
Editor’s Note: this op-ed originally appeared in the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
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