Category: GOP

GOP’s Groundhog Day: More Weeks of Treason?

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By , February 2, 2013 5:10 pm

groundhogFeb. 2, 2013 — Today is Groundhog Day.  ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ predicted an early Spring.  But reading the news out of  Washington and Richmond, it looks like we will continue living with the Republican’s Winter of Discontent and suffer more weeks of Republican obstinacy.

For the past four years, we have witnessed the constant drumbeat of Republican opposition to anything proposed by President Obama. Opposition to Obama’s budgetary and economic plans have slowed economic recovery and even downgraded the Nation’s credit rating for the FIRST time in history. This Republican temper tantrum, coupled with their plans to slash and burn government, continues to cause uncertainty in our economy. At a time in our Nation’s history when our leaders should be coming together to do what’s right for the country, Republican leaders continue to cry like colicky babies and for the first time since Obama’s economic recovery, the economy contracted during the last quarter of 2012.

Right on queue, of course, the explanation from Republican leaders and their right-wing noisemakers blamed Obama’s spending. They say we need more federal budget cuts.  But, looking at the facts, which are like kryptonite to right-wingers, federal spending is down, and in fact, last quarter’s slide is largely attributable to federal spending cuts.  Let’s get this straight: the economy slid due to federal budget cuts, and so Republicans want MORE cuts! It’s been stated before, but the media largely dismisses it, but you have to really wonder if these guys are deliberately trying to sabotage our economy for their political gain.

Washington is paralyzed by the hit and run tactics of Republican leaders.  On the state level, it’s not much better.  Here in Virginia – and in other places across America – we now have Republican leaders advocating nullification of federal laws. The latest salvo is in response to the President’s call for a comprehensive plan to tackle gun violence. Never mind that the President’s measures are backed by the majority of people, including NRA members, Republican leaders say they will ignore federal laws, and even our own Republican Senator Bryce Reeves pushed legislation to do just that! We know it’s a blatant smooch to the NRA and extremists in the base, but what kind of message does that send to our kids?

What is going on today is nothing short of treason. Yep, I said it. You think that’s harsh?  Okay, but what do you call someone whose actions are deliberately harmful to the country? What do you call someone whose actions deliberately advocate unlawful actions against the government and incite others to follow suit? Before you blow this off, let’s look at the definition of treason:

Treason – /ˈtrizən/ noun

1.the offense of acting to overthrow one’s government or to harm or kill its sovereign. 2. a violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or to one’s state. 3. the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English tre ( i ) so ( u ) n  < Anglo-French; Old French traïson  < Latin trāditiōn-  (stem of trāditiō ) a handing over, betrayal. See tradition
Synonyms
1. Treason , sedition mean disloyalty or treachery to one’s country or its government. T reason is any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one’s government. Sedition is any act, writing, speech, etc., directed unlawfully against state authority, the government, or constitution, or calculated to bring it into contempt or to incite others to hostility, ill will or disaffection; it does not amount to treason and therefore is not a capital offense. 2. See disloyalty.
Looking at these definitions and what the Republican Party and its leaders have been doing, it is pretty obvious to me that if it’s not treason, it’s sedition.  We can argue the difference, but it’s disloyal to their oaths of office and is harming the country and all of us, and we need to speak out and call it like it is.  Period.

No, We Can’t Stay Home Again

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By , January 22, 2013 7:58 pm

Obama InaugurationJanuary 21, 2013 — In his inaugural speech yesterday, the President challenged us to come together as one community, one Nation to tackle big things and move America forward.  The pundits are effusive in their praise of this overture, as if it’s something new.  But those of us who supported the President in 2008 and 2012 know that this is nothing new.  Barack Obama has been talking about the importance of community and unity for quite some time, and in fact, became famous for uttering these lines in his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention:

…there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too: We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States, and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

Nor is it new that as the President continues to try to unite the country to address our challenges and opportunities, Republican Party leaders and their allies have already signaled that they will continue their strategy of dividing Americans and opposing the President’s agenda (see Joan Walsh’s piece in Salon).  I am continually amazed how pundits and reporters criticize the President for his inability to change the tone in Washington, as if it his responsibility and his alone.  Yes, he is the President, and he sets the tone, and like he did four years, today he asked for unity.  And like they did four years ago, Republican leaders will smile politely today, but tonight will ignore the call and continue to use vicious lies and fears to divide Americans and to stop the President.  So, who’s really to blame for the continued partisan tone in Washington and throughout America?  To the pundits who criticize the President for not being “nice” and schmoozing with Republicans, when will you wake up and hold those Republican leaders to the same standards?

As the President begins his second term, we are told that he is wiser and knows what he’s up against with the Republican, Inc., hate machine.  We the people need to be smart, too.  In 2009, we were elated that we elected the President, who espoused our vision and values.  We thought that we had done our job, and we went home.  We didn’t turn out in 2009 during Virginia’s state elections, and we didn’t fight back against the lies during the healthcare and subsequent battles.  And look what happened: Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and a Tea Party Congress.

Folks, this time, we can’t go home.  We have to fight for our values.  We have to fight for our community.  We have to fight against policies that restrict voting rights and women’s rights.  We have to turn out this year and elect people who share our values and vision and will move Virginia forward.  We can’t leave it up to others.  It’s up to us.

Shenk: Olsen wins Republican primary for commonwealth’s attorney

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By , August 25, 2011 9:01 pm

Perhaps the biggest story to come out of Eric “Law & Order” Olsen’s primary victory is the amount of Republicans and Independents that I know, believe it or not I do know a few, who have indicated to me that they would never vote for him in a general election. The only problem WAS that Olsen had no opponent. Well, that was until an Independent candidate, by the name of Tim Barbrow, filed to run in the nick of time.

Per the FLS:

[Olsen] will face Stafford attorney Tim Barbrow in the Nov. 8 general election.

Barbrow filed the necessary paperwork before the deadline, said Greg Riddlemoser, Stafford’s registrar. He said the necessary 125 registered voter signatures still have to be confirmed, and he figures that process will be done by Friday.

From what I can tell, Tim is held in very high regard by the legal community and offers Democrats, Republicans and Independents an excellent alternative to Olsen. I suspect this is going to be a race to watch over the next several months.

In other encouraging news, Sheriff Jett has a challenger too – a credible one to boot.  Chuck Feldbush has filed to run against Jett. Chuck is a long time Stafford County resident and a retired Prince William County police detective.

If I were Chuck I’d start out by asking Jett why he needed to purchase one of the most expensive radio communications systems in the entire nation, when other cheaper, more capable alternatives were never considered. I’m just saying…

 

“Furious George” Endorses Eric “Law & Order” Olsen

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By , August 22, 2011 12:42 pm

Republicans in Stafford County will head to the polls tomorrow to nominate a candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney. The former chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, George Schwartz, recently weighed in on the race and strongly endorsed Eric Olsen.

In an August 18 letter to the editor, in the Free-Lance Star, Schwartz had the following to say:

I am writing to express my support for Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen.

The Aug. 23 Republican primary for commonwealth’s attorney presents all Stafford voters with an opportunity to vote for a man of demonstrated integrity and one who will not bring personal bias to this extremely important criminal justice position.

I urge all voters to move Eric Olsen to the Nov. 8 general election.

I’ve long known Schwartz and the fact that he has endorsed Olsen puts some serious doubts in my mind about Olsen. For those that need a refresher course on Schwartz, please click here.

Being on the receiving end of Schwartz’s poor temperament, me first attitude and his unmistakable yearning for power, I’d have some serious doubts about anyone he chooses for any office.

Unfortunately, Democrats have failed to recruit any candidates for this office in Stafford, so the winner of this race will likely become the next Commonwealth‘s Attorney.

Oy vey!

Olsen Implies “Law & Order” Endorsement in Campaign Mailer, Yard Signs Remain

By , August 22, 2011 12:32 pm

In case you missed it, on Saturday, the Free-Lance Star covered “Law & Order-gate.” A spokesman for Universal Media Studio said,

We have contacted the campaign and asked them to stop using the logo.

As of this morning, these sorts of campaign signs remain up  – with one prominently displayed in front of the GOP headquarters in south Stafford (click on photo for a larger view):

Apparently, Olsen and Jett have failed to receive the message; and, the GOP is now an accessory to this “Unlawful & Disorderly” behavior.

If Universal Studios were up in arms over the campaign signs, wait until they see Olsen’s campaign mailer:

Since when did the show and the show’s producers endorse Jett and Olsen? It’s clear that Universal hasn’t authorized the usage of the logo. This mailer is something I’d expect from a legal novice, not someone running for Commonwealth Attorney.

I love the line “…Law & Order is Eric Olsen’s record.” It would appear that this couldn’t be furthest from the truth.

Stafford County’s “Law & Order” Candidates Breaking the Law

By , August 18, 2011 7:54 pm

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, there will be a primary election for constitutional office candidates in Stafford County, Virginia.

Despite what the two candidates running for the Republican nomination-incumbent Sheriff Charles E. Jett and Commonwealth’s Attorney Candidate Eric Olsen-would have you believe they apparently aren’t concerned about breaking the law, even though they are the “Law & Order” candidates. Gasp.

Their campaign slogan should read more like “Unlawful & Disorderly”.

Apparently, Jett and Olsen are fine with infringing on a well-known trademark. Anyone ever watch the show “Law & Order?” They have been erecting signs throughout the county with this trademark. The picture below displays one that is posted at the Stafford County Government Center (1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554):

The sign even employs the same typefaces and logo treatments as the original “Law & Order” logo:

Jett and Olsen are clearly infringing on the trademark in that they are giving the impression that the show and the show’s producer are involved or has authorized use, which I’m assuming they haven’t. This is false association and trademark misappropriation.

It seems that Jett and Olsen could use a refresher course on intellectual property law.

Cooch Denies Existence of Health Care Lawsuit Records, Pushes Forward With Frivolous Lawsuit

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By , March 31, 2010 8:54 pm

In case you somehow missed it, Virginia Attorney General (AG) Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA) recently filed a lawsuit (Virginia v. Sebelius) that challenges the legality of the health care reform legislation signed into law by President Obama last week.

Cuccinelli is certainly no stranger to controversy. From the moment he assumed office in January, he has made a point of using the Attorney General’s office to push his right-wing social agenda. This includes arguing in a letter to the state’s public colleges and universities that “sexual orientation” could not and should not be included in any anti-discrimination policies.

So his latest push to mount a legal challenge to the recently passed health care reform legislation should come as no surprise? This is simply another attempt to use the AGs office to further his political agenda – and that of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA).

As Virginia is facing a severe budget crisis that will affect so many folks throughout the state, Cuccinelli and McDonnell file a frivolous lawsuit that is politically motivated.  Not to mention that this lawsuit comes at a cost to taxpayers, right? You’re darn right!

As Blue Virginia reported on Tuesday, the Democratic Party of Virginia formally filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) formally requesting records of:

hours spent by Cuccinelli and Office of the Attorney General staff preparing Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius; cost to taxpayers of staff work on the suit; a list of conference calls or written correspondence that the Office of the Attorney General had with other states’ attorneys general or national conservative groups in planning the lawsuit; any outside firms contracted to assist on the lawsuit; and, the Attorney General’s full schedule since taking office, including any scheduled television interviews in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

David Mills, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia summed up things best when he said that

the Attorney General is acting like taxpayer funds are just a piggy bank for his personal political agenda. More than 10,000 Virginians [(in a petition launched by the DPVA)] have demanded that Ken Cuccinelli come clean about his use of taxpayer-funded state resources. This week, we’ll find out if Ken Cuccinelli still believes he’s accountable to the taxpayers of Virginia. We’re looking forward to his response.

Drum roll please. In response to the FOIA request, Stephen R. McCullough, senior appellate counsel for AG Ken Cuccinelli has responded by saying that “No such record exists” listing any attorney’s, both inside or outside the AGs office, that worked on producing the legal filing and any hours that they may have billed to the state to prepare it.

McCullough did acknowledge that existence of “correspondence between Cuccinelli’s office and the offices of 13 other state attorneys general who have also filed suit against the federal government, as well as Cuccinelli’s schedule since his took office Jan. 16.”

There were a total of 40 records related to correspondence between the Virginia AGs office and the offices of 13 other state attorneys general; and 170 pages that would provide insight into Cucinelli’s schedule, since he took office in January. McCullough said that the AGs office would not be releasing them, since the office considered them “working papers of the attorney general that are entitled to remain confidential.”

In a release yesterday, Cucinelli actually made the claim that all work “was being done in-house and said costs would be minimal beyond the $350 fee to file the suit in U.S. District Court.”

Color me skeptical, so much for government transparency. Taxpayers deserve to know the cost that is being accrued to fund Cucinelli’s personal political agenda, especially when the health care lawsuit has zero chance of being won. That’s right, ZERO!

Nevada’s Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto provided a good analysis in a letter to Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons on why joining Cuccinelli’s health care lawsuit was essentially pointless and “would not come without a cost.” When looking at Supreme Court precedence, AG Masto writes:

One theory to consider is that Congress lacks authority under the Constitution’s Commerce and Spending Clauses. However, the authority give to Congress is extensive and appears strong enough to support the Act. Health care costs affect our nation’s economy, and the Act is Congress’ answer to alleviating those costs. The United States Supreme Court long ago determined that insurance is commerce and is therefore subject to federal regulation. United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Ass’n, 322 U.S. 533 (1944). Since the 1930s and the “long-rejected Louchner-era precedents,” MeadWestvaco Corp. ex rel. Mead Corp. v. Illinois Dept. of Revenue, 553 U.S. 16, 128 S.Ct. 1948, 1510 (2008) (Thomas, J. concuring), Congress’ broad authority has been acknowledge to, among other things, uphold mandatory contributions to the Social Security Act system, Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619 (1937), and legislate many other federal programs.

So while Cuccinelli and McDonnell defund our public education system (and make several other extreme cuts) they have no problems wasting taxpayer dollars to further their radical political agendas. Hey while national Republicans plan to “sweep problems under the rug,” Virginia Republicans have become masters at creating problems.  Where’s the TEA Party when you need them!

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