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Archive for June, 2009

After a several day hiatus, I discovered I had a number of emails about the whole Cap and Trade issue. I’d like to share two briefly with you.

The first is from the Harrisonburg City Republican committee. It lists the phone numbers of the eight House Republicans who voted for Cap and Trade. They are:
* Bono Mack (CA) 202-225-5330
* Castle (DE) 202-225-4165
* Kirk (IL) 202-225-4835
* Lance (NJ) 202-225-5361
* Lobiondo (NJ) 202-225-6572
* McHugh (NY) 202-225-4611
* Reichart (WA) 202-225-7761
* Chris Smith (NJ) 202-225-3765
The email then goes on to say, “These guys need to be replaced by Real Republicans. We can’t afford this much government. And we certainly can’t afford the idea that government has to panic over every chicken little that comes down the street. A crisis may be a terrible thing to waste but we can’t afford all the waste that results.” I’m both surprised by the words of the local party, but also pleased. Some go along to get along types might say that we shouldn’t fight amongst ourselves, but if we don’t hold the big government Republicans accountable, then for what does the Republican Party stand? We must reassert our principles and cast aside politicians who don’t really share our values.

Now the second email was from one of Rep. Goodlatte’s staff members. It included a link to Bob Goodlatte’s recent speech concerning the Cap and Trade issue, which I’m happy to share with you here:

Thank you Bob Goodlatte for taking a stand against the further regulation and expansion of the federal government. I truly hope that enough Senators heed your words.

With the recent death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, both the media and the general public seem to be ignoring this important issue. Nevertheless, I once again urge you to contact your Senators to make sure that Cap and Trade doesn’t become the law of the land.

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I’m sure that you’ve heard the news by now. Governor Sanford of South Carolina travels to Argentina to continue an affair. When I first read the story, I figured his faked story was true; he wanted some time off, so he went hiking in the Appalachian Mountains. After all, we all need time to unwind, relax, and just get away. Then again, the odd part about the story was that he should have been reachable, should his office have needed him and he should have appointed someone to tend to the affairs of South Carolina (no pun intended) while he was gone.

But no…he wasn’t hiking during the Father’s Day weekend. He was in Argentina cheating on his wife. I cannot tell you how disappointed that news makes me. Although I haven’t written that much about Mark Sanford, I really did admire him for his commitment to the same limited government principles that I share. I hoped that he would run for President in 2012 to restore both the Republican Party and the nation too. But now…but now he has tarnished himself greatly. Like former Speaker Gingrich, he has proven himself to be a hypocrite, condemning Bill Clinton for marital indiscretions and then committing adultery himself. There will be no Mark Sanford for President committee. Heck, there might not be any champion of the Constitution next time around. He has squandered his political future, his family, and my hope. I don’t know what else there is to say.

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Good evening readers.

As I write this post, I find myself, like a number of Americans these days, trying to find work. I’ve been yearning for a position that allows me to focus on either my passion for writing…or politics…or ideally both. As my present employment will be coming to a close in less than two months time, I’ve been hunting around lately. Unfortunately, as we are in a pretty tough job market these days, it has proved to be quite a challenge to locate such an occupation. Now, you may think it odd for me to write a blog post about looking for employment, and perhaps it just a reflection of the present economy coupled with an ever-increasing reliance on the internet, but I figure that I should not rest until I have exhausted every potential outlet, including this very blog. I am aware that most of my readers are content to remain quiet, but maybe, just maybe, one of you either are looking for a person such as myself, or know of someone who is.

Should you know of such an opportunity, please contact me via email at conservativeva@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Joshua

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Chances are, you’ve heard the phrase “silence means consent”. However, such a line of thinking has little bearing when it comes to American law. After all, we value the right to remain silent and the ability to avoid self-incrimination to such an extent, that it can be found in our Fifth Amendment and in the Miranda warning. So, from where then does the saying arise? As I recall from my high school days in Latin class, in ancient Rome a person offering their silence regarding a particular charge or action was often taken the same as agreement. Fortunately, such a line of thinking has no bearing in our society…or does it?

Regrettably, when it comes to the realm of politics, far too often is consent assumed when no answer or uproar comes forth. For example, if a politician wishes to increase our taxes or create some sort of new spending program, what besides the votes of his fellow representatives can stop him or her? How about the loud outrage of his or her constituents! If the public remains silent, far too often the politician takes that to mean that the people either support the proposal, or simply don’t care. I suppose that such an attitude is one of the defining marks of a politician versus a statesman. A politician does not really seek to represent any particular ideology or particular constituents. Rather, he or she looks to maximize his or her own wealth or fame, and to aid his or her friends and supporters with kickbacks, pet projects, and the like. Ultimately, principles take a back seat to power. Therefore, only the threat of unpopularity, the loss of donors, and the potential to be removed from office motivate the politician.

So what’s the take-home message for you, the reader? You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Get involved! Our political system is not meant to be a spectator sport. Is your Representative or Delegate shredding the Constitution? Does your Senator spend more of your money in a day than you make in a year? What are you going to do about it? Do you research and then write your legislators, call them on the phone or visit their offices. Don’t be too negative, however. You should you praise the ones who advocate your values…but as for the rest, let them know you’ve had enough of their outlandish schemes and you won’t remain quiet or inactive anymore. Otherwise, the politicians will continue to think your silence means consent.

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In today’s issue of The Daily News Record, Jeff Mellott’s Primary Price Tag:  $32,000 discusses the cost of the recent Democratic primary and it isn’t pretty.  In Harrisonburg and Rockingham County alone, the bill to local taxpayers was around $32,000.  Now I know that there are certainly a lot of fixed costs with holding such a contest, nevertheless, given the low voters turnout, the average cost per voter in Harrisonburg was $9.38, while the cost in Rockingham was even higher…$17.50!  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have paid $9.38 to vote in the Democratic primary, much less $17.50.  However, given that this bill is widely dispersed among the taxpayers, no one complains.  On the other hand, a convention costs non-participating voters nothing.  But, Joshua, you say, you spent well over $100 to join fellow Republicans in Richmond.  Wouldn’t you have preferred to pay less?  Sure I would have, but, then again, I care enough about the future of the RPV to make such an expenditure.  Should I force my friends and neighbors to defray that cost?

I believe that the high cost to turnout ratio, coupled with the relatively low voter interest (4.2% turnout in the city and 3% in the county) and potential crossover voting, make a strong argument in favor of nominating conventions (like the Republicans did) as opposed to primaries (like the Democrats did).  After all, who should foot the bill for party nominations?  Should it be the party faithful who willing give up both their time and money to participate in these functions?  Or should it be the average Virginia taxpayer, most of who don’t give 2¢ about whom the parties nominate?

So fellow Virginian, just speaking in terms of money, what should it be, the primary or the convention?  The choice is clear.

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It’s amazing how HR 1207, The Federal Reserve Transparency Act continues to gather co-sponsors.  Since my post on April 30 when there were a little over 100 co-sponsors, the list has ballooned to 224!  In fact, I just got an email from my Representative’s office on this very issue.  It reads:

Dear Joshua:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the need for greater accountability of the Federal Reserve System, commonly referred to as “the Fed.” It is good to hear from you, and I am pleased to inform you that I have cosponsored legislation addressing this issue.

The Fed has a unique role in our financial system. Since its creation by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, this central banking organization has been the subject of relatively loose scrutiny. The Fed is currently required to publish numerous annual reports and is audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). However, the GAO is prohibited from auditing monetary policy operations, foreign transactions, and the operations of the Federal Open Market Committee, the primary policy-making body through which monetary policy is formulated. This is particularly troubling considering the fact that the Fed has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out failing financial institutions in the past year alone.

I believe that the Fed’s funding facilities and relationship with the Department of the Treasury deserve careful evaluation, as does its relationship with foreign entities. Our financial system has experienced a period of shock over the last several months. To avoid unnecessary further damage, I believe it is fundamental that we provide stronger oversight of the Fed.

To address this problem, Representative Ron Paul of Texas introduced H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009. This legislation would provide the GAO the authority to fully audit the Fed and require an audit of its Board of Governors. H.R. 1207 would require this audit to be completed by the end of 2010, presented to the relevant Congressional committees of jurisdiction and Congressional leadership, and made available to any Member of Congress within 90 days.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 was introduced on February 26, 2009, and was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. No further action has taken place. As a cosponsor of H.R. 1207, rest assured I will work hard to see this legislation signed into law.

I appreciate you taking the time to contact me. I feel it is important to keep an open line of communication so I can best serve the interests of the 6th District. I hope you will continue to be in touch as the 111th Congress debates issues of importance to the United States.

Again, thanks for the benefit of your comments. Please feel free to contact me whenever I may be of assistance.

Sincerely,
Bob Goodlatte
Member of Congress

I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate a letter from my Congressman.  Now given that there are 435 members in the House of Representatives, that means that over a half of the members openly support this legislation. According to my count, 117 of the 178 Republican members of the House of Representatives are in favor, as are 61 Democrats.  Joining the ranks of our Rep. Wittman (VA-1) and Rep. Goodlatte (VA-6) are Randy Forbes (VA-4), Frank Wolf (VA-10), and even newly elected Democrat Rep. Tom Perriello (VA-5).  Thank you!  Every Virginia House Republican has joined in the effort…every Virginia Republican but one…Rep. Eric Cantor.

Representative Eric Cantor (VA-7) is arguably the most powerful member in the Virginia Republican House delegation as he serves as the Republican Whip.  One function of the whip is to rally fellow party members behind important legislation.  But where is Eric Cantor when it comes to HR 1207?  Why has he not taken a stand?  Have his fellow Republicans charted the course ahead of him?  Is he content to be a silent follower on this issue?  Or does he intend to balk at the wishes of the majority of his party?  I recently called his Culpeper office to discover the answer.  Not surprisingly, that office referred me to his office in Washington, D.C.  From there, I was redirected to a nonfunctioning voice mail.  Whoops!  So, undeterred, on Monday, I tried again.  This time, the D.C. office informed me that Rep. Cantor has not yet reached a decision regarding The Federal Reserve Transparency Act.  Not reached a decision?  Come on Representative Cantor!  Using your influence and position as whip, you can and should lead other Republicans to support greater accountability and openness in the federal government.  Therefore as a reader of this article, your mission is clear.  If you live within the 7th district and support HR 1207, then I strongly recommend that you contact Rep. Cantor’s D.C. office (202.225-2815) and urge him to support the resolution.

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One of last month’s comics from Tatsuya Ishida jogged my memory of high school.  I, like I’m sure many of you, attended one of Virginia’s numerous public high schools.  Mine was Harrisonburg High School.  It’s amazing the growth in the school in the eleven years since I was there.  Here are just a few random observations and questions.  They have a new building far removed from the center of the city that is just huge.  When I visited it, I found myself wandering the corridors feeling like a rat in some sort of lab experiment.  I have read that the numbers of non-native English speakers have exploded.  I would guess that such a statistic would prove an additional challenge to teachers and administrators.  Why is it that according to Wikipedia that our only notable alumni are sports athletes?  I’d like to think that our school serves to enrich both the body and the mind?  But, now I’m getting off the topic of religion in school.

If you look at the webcomic I mentioned, you might wonder how that comic has anything to do with my high school.  Well, in sophomore year, I took biology.  Let me say upfront that I really liked my biology teacher.  He was a personable guy and always took steps to make the lessons both informative and entertaining.  However, during the school year (way back in 1995-96), he mentioned to the class that he would soon discuss the topic of human evolution, not merely as theory, but as fact. These were the earliest days of my political activism having come to political awareness in the later half of 1994 and I was uncertain what I should do.  Evolution ran counter to my own religious beliefs, and I worried that my fellow classmates might fall prey to his arguments.  I believed that evolution is a theory in the same way that traditional creationism is a theory.  Both seek to explain the beginning and purpose to human existence.  Both have scientific data that support and run counter to them.  Both cannot fully be proven using empirical evidence.  Therefore, both require faith.  As a result of requiring faith, both creationism and evolution are facets of larger religious movements.  Looking back, I would expect that my facial expression on hearing such news of evolution in the classroom mimicked Seymour’s in the last panel.  I believed then, as I still do now, that theories of creationism and evolution seek to annihilate one another and using the forum of public schools and our children’s minds to achieve such ends is wholly unacceptable.

Now it would be entirely different if the teacher merely stated that he or she believed in evolution (or creationism) and taught from an equal perspective, but teaching one as a fact stifles the debate and gives school children only one side of the argument (possibly a side that differs from the wishes of their parents and their religion).  The position of a teacher can be very powerful in the minds of impressionable students and offers tremendous credibility to his or her ways of thinking.  After I had a bit of time to think, I began to gather information in favor of creationism in order to provide this balance.  Perhaps some will say that it was merely the foolish idealism of youth, the thought that a student could rebuff a teacher and his or her classmates, but I ardently believe that at any age one must stand up for his or her religious or political beliefs lest they be swept away by the popular currents of the day.

I kept waiting for the day when the teacher would bring up the subject of human evolution.  I lugged around scientific and religious texts, as well as a recorded sermon from my pastor on the topic to and from my locker.  Yet, the day never came.  Perhaps, he ran out of time to discuss the issue, or decided against such a controversial issue, or maybe, just maybe, he noticed one of his students dutifully carrying around materials opposing his point of view.  I doubt I’ll ever know.  Yet, I strongly encourage students, in a respectful manner, of course, to question their teachers, fellow students, or anyone else when they offer up teachings that run contrary to their own values.  My advice to high school and college students is simply this:  You can make a difference.  Be strong and don’t be intimidated.  And beware religion taught under the guise of science in school.

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As I mentioned in a post back in 2008, Republican activists and politicians would do well to remember the tenants of the Virginia Republican Creed.  These include such “radical” concepts like following the Constitution, observing fiscal responsibility, and promoting a moral backdrop for our society.  Sadly, such thinking has fallen out of favor with some of our leaders and representatives both here in Virginia and in Washington.  However, I’m pleased to say that our friends and allies in Botetourt County have taken a stand for these principles and our creed.  A few days ago, the following release arrived in my inbox:

Botetourt County Republican Party Acceptance of Republican Candidates

Whereas, the Republican Party of Virginia has adopted core principles as expressed in the Virginia Republican Creed, namely,

Virginia Republican Creed

That the free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice,

That all individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice, and opportunities and should assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society,

That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government,

That the Federal Government must preserve individual liberty by observing Constitutional limitations,

That peace is best preserved through a strong national defense,

That faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation.

Whereas, the Botetourt County Republican Party heartily endorses its nominees for elective office,

Whereas, the Botetourt County Republican Party and its volunteers work tirelessly to elect candidates that support the U. S. Constitution and the Virginia Republican Creed,

Whereas, the Botetourt County Republican Party strongly supports the efforts of grassroots activists and supports policies which elevate the voice of grassroots supporters,

Whereas, an elected nominee or representative can supplant the voice of the people for a time and do much damage to the reputation and integrity of the Republican Party,

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the Botetourt County Republican Party shall consider only prospective candidates for nomination that accept as their guiding principles those laid out in the Virginia Republican Creed,

Be it Resolved, that the Botetourt County Republican Party shall consider only prospective candidates for nomination that support the United States Constitution as it was intended by our Founding Fathers,

Be it Resolved, that the Botetourt County Republican Party shall consider only prospective candidates that support the local Republican Party as well as its nominees,

Be it Further Resolved, that the Botetourt County Republican Party shall consider public support of a candidate of a party other than the Republican Party by an elected official as prima facie evidence that the elected official no longer desires to be affiliated with the Botetourt County Republican Party.

In order to be a functioning, coherent, and successful party, we must agree to a certain set of basic principles.  If we cannot rally behind something as fundamental as the creed, then for what do we truly stand?  Don’t we need to hold our politicians accountable as both Republicans and Virginians?  Otherwise, what makes Virginia Republicans Virginia Republicans?  Therefore, if you agree with the Creed of the Republican Party of Virginia and the Botetourt County GOP resolution, I suggest two actions.  First, insist that your local city or county committee make a stand in support of the creed.  Second, send a word of thanks and encouragement to the Botetourt County Republican Party.  To borrow a quote from Martin Luther, “Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.”

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Well, the results of the Democratic Primary are in.  Sure, there are still a few unreported precincts, but, with 99.80% accounted for, the numbers are clear.  Creigh Deeds will be the nominee for Governor and Jody Wagner will be the nominee for Lt. Governor.  However, please note that all numbers used in this post come from the Virginia State Board of Elections and are currently unofficial.

First, I have one important observation with the Lt. Gov. race.  Sure, Wagner won with a commanding 74.21%, and won just about every city and county save for nine.  However, look at the numbers for Harrisonburg.  Mike Signer won with 57.5% of the vote (which was his best showing after Halifax County and Martinsville)!  In a down ticket race like this one, name recognition is everything.  I expect that his band of volunteers around Harrisonburg made this small victory possible.  A friendly face, a few good words, and a sign right before you vote can work wonders!  Take note.

As expected for an off year election, turnout was low…6.315% of registered voters in Virginia for Governor and even less for Lt. Governor.  However, there are some interesting variations.  For example, you have a very high turnout in Deeds country like Bath and Highland County (24.52% and 21.92% respectively) while the southwest corner of the state, Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties had turnouts of only 1.536%, 1.614%, and 1.978%!  Deeds captured 80 localities with an outright majority, and 43 by plurality.  Not surprisingly, Senator Deeds performed very well in his Virginia Senate district getting over 90% (yes 90%) of the vote in Alleghany County, Bath County, and Covington City.  Although just a preliminary glance at the map, it does not appear as if any particular geographic region was very bad for Deeds.

Considering Deeds was, for the most part, painted as the most moderate of the three Democratic choices, I think that this primary illustrates that Virginia voters, even the ones who vote in Democratic primaries, are more conservative than the media would lead us to believe.  Therefore, I believe that if Bob McDonnell can successfully articulate and promote a conservative message, run a solid campaign, and highlight Deeds’ more liberal qualities, he should be able to capture the mansion in November.  Here’s hoping.

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As I mentioned in my last post, if you have any interest in the three statewide races here in Virginia, I strongly suggest you get to vote.  I just did.  The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Keister (my polling place) was the odd lack of signs for the candidates.  There were no signs for any of the governor candidates…none whatsoever.  This deficiency raises an interesting question.  If the candidates cannot motivate their supporters to actively participate in the primary process, won’t that hurt their chances in the fall?  As the lone exception, the Mike Signer campaign had a couple of signs and a person handing out information, but no other candidate had anything or anyone.  I asked the fellow campaigning for Signer where the other campaigns were.  He stated that the Signer campaign was the only one active in the city.  Intrigued, after I voted, I decided to drive over to both the Waterman and Spotswood polls, and, sure enough, Signer was the only candidate represented.  Having spent many an hour at the polls, I think that such active campaigning is a strong boost to a candidate, especially in a down ticket race like Lt. Governor.  Therefore, I congratulate the Signer campaign for their efforts.  As for specific tactics, I wished he didn’t keep using the word “progressive”.  I guess Democrats like that word, but for a conservative like myself, it conjures up all sorts of negative and unconstitutional connotations.  Anyway, as expected, the voter turnout was pretty low.  When I voted at 11:00 AM, the count was around fifty.

Should be interesting to see who wins.

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