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Archive for September, 2009

Well, the Netroots Debate didn’t happen.  It is a shame, but life will go on.  The most curious aspect of this situation is the disappearance of the host site, Common Sense for Virginia.  When you click on the link to the site, a message flashes up indicating that the blog cannot be found.  Strange indeed.  On a cached page (that too has now similarly vanished), the author of Common Sense for Virginia offers a bit of explanation.  In the post, he laments the lack of civility and rational dialogue prevalent in many political blogs today.  As he puts it, “Over the past 5 months, I have been appalled by these so called “activists”, the “backbone” of the party. Not only has the blogosphere shown time and timr [sic] again their relative lack of civility, honesty, character, respect, and intelligence but most bloggers seem content with scoring cheap shot after cheap shot and complete disregard for facts.”  He goes on to say, “The level of disrespect, contempt for honesty, and de-facto party ‘spinners’ is terrifying at best. While I can respectfully [say] that I admire many bloggers aim to further their party, bashing doesn’t usually work out to be the best course of action.”  Unfortunately, for the most part, Venu is right.  Honest and meaningful discussions about the pressing issues of the day have taken a backseat to political demagoguery, sound bites, and outrageous clamoring.  Politics has become more about entertainment and sensationalism than information and persuasion.  Some blogs read more like substance free tabloids and include titles like “Backwards Bob Wants to Keep Women at Home” or “Republicans Plan to Kill Seniors.”  Although I wish I could say otherwise, this issue doesn’t just plague the left.  By comparison, from what I gathered, Common Sense for Virginia tried to chart a fairly neutral route, typically offering statistics and explanation without heavy stumping for any position.  It is exceedingly rare these days (even in academia) to look at politics from a purely objective point of view.

In closing, Common Sense for Virginia offers this thought:  “I think I’ve learned some valuable lessons here: Politics is a rather depressing hobby.” Now if that is the only lesson one can glean from American politics today, it leads to unsettling conclusions.  Not only will individual participation and interest in our government decrease, but it also throws the future of our very Republic in question.  As few politicians seem to be concerned with constitutional restraint, states rights, and individual liberties, should more citizens take a passive role, then the government will continue to grow unchecked.  In that dark age, the lives, liberty, and property of citizens will exist merely to serve the grandiose schemes of the state.

I wish you well, Venu.  Thank you for adding to political dialogue in a meaningful and civil manner.

But this post is titled “An End And A Beginning”.  Even though Common Sense for Virginia is no more. I’m delighted to tell you about a new blog.  One of my friends from my college days has joined the conversation with Vicious Print.  Though it is quite new, it serves to offer his commentary as well as direct viewers to his ongoing graphic novel.  Given my lengthy dialogues with “Mr. Average”, I have high hopes for his work, as his political observations are usually informative, entertaining, and poignant.  Unlike my typically conservative slant, he writes from a libertarian perspective.  I recommend reading his post “Oh, you, wacky, wacky lefties!

Just remember:  “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.  A time to be born and a time to die…” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (NLT)

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Last night this blog received a few comments.  One of them concerned a post from about a year ago, Searching for Judas, which dealt with Sen. Cuccinelli, Rep. Wolf, and the pro-life movement.  In the comment the respondent wrote:

You brought the bible into the discussion…

Where in the bible does God promote influencing government instead of people? Wouldn’t all of the money spent lobbying our government be better spent on individuals in need? Lead by example rather than force.

You say “Should I treat them as unrepentant heretics? Heaven forbid. Not only would I alienate myself, I would also condemn many otherwise fine and upstanding people that I respect and desire to work along side, not against. ”

In that short passage, you have usurped Gods omnipotent power to judge and bowed to the will of the people rather than God. Are you not aware that, as a believer, you are expected to be ridiculed?

Although I didn’t agree with the remark, I certainly would have allowed such a comment on this site.  Little did the respondent know, however, that the first time anyone posts a comment to my site, it has to be personally approved by me.  Now as it was sent while I was sleeping (at 12:33 last night), I didn’t see it until the morning.  Enraged by the fact that the comment did not appear, about two hours later the respondent commented again, this time solely to belittle my religious devotion.  I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to tell you that I won’t be approving comments by this individual anytime soon.

Although I appreciate the comments you all make, please try to be civil.  Before you post, you should read A Comment About Comments.

Thanks!

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I’ve mentioned in the past the importance of electing officials who share our principles of liberty, limited government, and personal responsibility.  That’s why I’ve ardently supported Senator Ken Cuccinelli as our next Attorney General.  Both Virginia and our nation as a whole could benefit from more leaders like him.  I’m pleased to announce that my former employer, Congressman Ron Paul, has taken note of this race as well.  From an email earlier today:

Dear Friend in Liberty,

The 2009 elections in Virginia promise to be very important for the direction of our Country. America has taken a dangerous turn away from Liberty and toward big, oppressive government. We must elect leaders who will help right our ship and return us back toward freedom and prosperity.

Ken Cuccinelli is just such a leader. In the Virginia Senate, Ken fought tirelessly against tax hikes and big spending. He was a a great ally in our fight against Dangerous ID, and will defend property rights, gun rights and the tenth amendment. We need Ken Cuccinelli fighting for us in Richmond.

That is why I am proud to endorse Ken Cuccinelli for Attorney General in Virginia. Please support Ken in any way for you fell comfortable. You can visit his website, www.Cuccinelli.com, to donate, volunteer or get information to share with your friends and familiy.

And. most importantly, please be sure to vote for Ken on Tuesday, November 3rd. Together, we can elect a true defender of Liberty in Virginia.

In Liberty,

Ron Paul

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Note:  This post is from a portion of an email from my State Senator, Mark Obenshain (R-26).  Even if you don’t live in his district, I strongly encourage you to sign up on his email list, as he is one of the leading conservative voices in Richmond.  As I appreciated this segment of his most recent piece, I wanted to pass it on to you.  Thank you Senator Obenshain.

It’s probably not on your calendar, but September 21st is the International Day of Peace, and former President Jimmy Carter will be in town lecturing on the subject. Unfortunately, the former president hasn’t acted like much of a peacemaker this past week, fanning the flames and engaging in a little race baiting by accusing critics of President Obama, and specifically Rep. Joe Wilson, of racial animus.

Now, I don’t approve of Joe Wilson’s antics. There are right and wrong ways to challenge the President’s assertions, and interrupting an address before a joint session of Congress falls in the latter category. Rather than criticizing a lack of decorum, however – hardly a first in the often boisterous world of politics – Jimmy Carter wasted no time in playing the race card, accusing Wilson and other critics of ObamaCare of mounting opposition to the proposal out of a deep-seated racism.

I don’t suppose it could simply be that they oppose the bill on the merits? I don’t know about Mr. Carter, but I, for one, remember a similar backlash when President Clinton advanced his health care proposals in 1994. Maybe the American people are simply uncomfortable with a government takeover of health care.

Racism is not, alas, dead, and I have no doubt that some small number of President Obama’s critics are animated by such base motives. To assume that dissent implies racism, however, is to slander anyone who happens to have a different point of view. It is an attempt to stifle dissent, not a way to bring people to the table. Someone who styles himself a peacemaker should know better.

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Today, ladies and gentlemen, is Constitution Day.  It has been 222 years since the Constitutional Convention adopted our Constitution.  Despite the massive (and unconstitutional) growth of the federal government since that time, we would do well as free citizens to take a bit of time to reflect on the document.  As such, if you’ve never visited The 10th Amendment Center, I strongly encourage you to clink on the link today.

Now, although the day may pass with little fanfare in many parts of the country, I’m pleased to say that citizens of the Virginia Peninsula are marking the occasion.  Tonight, at Merchants Square in Colonial Williamsburg, citizens will gather to celebrate this founding document.  It pleases me to know that at The College of William & Mary, my alma mater, students from the College Republicans will be in attendance.  But what’s this?  You don’t have your own copy of the Constitution?  Find Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96) who freely gives them out or visit either the James City County, York County, or Newport News Republican Party headquarters.

So tonight your task is threefold.  Reread the Constitution, reclaim your rights, and (if there is a gathering in your area) party like its 1787!

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For those who tuned in to the 2009 NetRoots Supporters’ Debate, you may have been disappointed by the sudden and unexpected termination of the discussion.  Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the debate could not continue.  However, these issues have now been resolved and therefore I’m pleased to announce…

The Clash of The Bloggers II, The Revenge

The new details are as follows:

Date: Sat. Sept 26, 2009
Time: 7:30 to 9:00 (EDT)
Website: http://netrootssd.forumotion.com/

Come join debaters Tom White of Virginia Right! and Waldo Jaquith of waldo.jaquith.org along with hosts Venu Katta of Common Sense for Virginia, and myself for this next round of action.  From the brief preview that we got last time, believe me, you don’t want to miss out on this entertaining and informative event.  See you there!

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Well…it’s been eight years since the horrific attacks by terrorists on September 11, 2001.  I, like so many Americans, have that morning forever burned into my memory.  I can recall sitting in my dorm room at William and Mary before class reading news of some sort of airplane crash into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  At the time, I didn’t know what to think.  Was it an unfortunate pilot error?  Was it an attack similar to the 1993 bombing of the very same center?  I remember leaving for class pondering the significance of that event.  However, it was more of a curiosity, like studying an unusual insect that just landed on a nearby windowpane, than anything else.  Certainly I had lived through similar events (the Cole bombing, Oklahoma City, Waco, 1993 as mentioned above, and Columbine to name a few), but they were isolated one-time events and in a part of the country far removed from our fair Virginia.

IMG_1836As I traveled down the stairs heading to the eyesore known as Morton (the Government Department’s building), a fellow member of the College Republicans approached me.  He asked if I had heard of the attacks.  Yes, I said, I did hear of the plane hitting the tower.  I asked him what he thought it meant and if he had any more details. Towers, he corrected me.  Towers?  What?   He told me that the other tower had been struck as well.  I recall feeling a bit queasy as I entered the building.  Both towers?  That couldn’t be a mere accident.  In the government wing every television on my floor broadcast the second plane striking the South tower again and again and again.  As I watched the scene repeatedly, fixated on the fiery impact, my heart sank lower and lower until I felt I could no longer stand.  Then in this dark hour came news of the attack on the Pentagon.  Moments later, the first tower descended into a grey plume of smoke.  I began to wonder if this could be the end, if the country we knew and loved was approaching its finale…if life from that moment would ever be the same again…if all youth and innocence were suddenly and permanently ripped asunder from this world.  Except those were days and worries now eight years in the past.

Prior to 9-11, the national tragedy that haunted my mind was the destruction of the Challenger.  Sitting there in my small plastic chair in my elementary school, my classmates and I eagerly watched the launch.  After all, a schoolteacher was going into space.  How exciting!  My mind swam with the possibilities of space travel.  Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to be an astronaut!  As the shuttle rose into the sky, it carried not only the NASA crew, but my hopes and dreams too.  In a blinding flash both were torn apart and thrown into the cold sea.  I didn’t understand what went wrong at that time, but suddenly becoming an astronaut didn’t seem like such a great idea anymore.  However…that’s another story for another day.

Getting back to 9/11, in the days, weeks, and months that followed fear became a normal part of life.  Runaway airplanes gave way to anthrax letters and no one felt like leaving the relative safety of their plastic encased homes anymore.  The government devised a panic inducing color-coded chart to supposedly assess the terror level.  With danger a shopping mall, bridge, or nuclear power plant away, it felt as if the terrorists had truly won, as if being an American meant living a life of constant fear.

Fortunately, slowly but surely life began to return to a quasi-normal state.  Unfortunately, as is typical, the federal government agency that arose to “deal” with 9/11 remains to this very day.  In our fear, and in the name of temporary security, we bartered away a portion of our freedom to the federal government.  As Ben Franklin reminds us, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”  What startled me was that many of my conservative allies embraced this new police state as if it were natural.  For sticking to our principles and resisting further government intrusion as I had always done, I was labeled a libertarian and scorned by many of my Republican colleagues.  Of course, the nation-building preemptive conflict in Iraq only deepened this growing divide.  Therefore, I must condemn every last one of the neoconservative bastards who used the hijacking of a handful of planes as a political opportunity to hijack our nation and the Republican Party.  Although the state guards over them, neither true security and liberty are derived from the government.  Rather they spring forth from the society, the individual, and, lest we forget, our creator.

What have we learned in eight years time?  Are we wiser than we were then?  Do we have more liberty?  Are we more secure?  I know that this sentiment will sound naïve, but I long for a return to the days of September 10, 2001 when the government was a bit smaller, our foreign policy slightly less interventionist, our gas considerably cheaper, and our people felt more at ease.  Can it happen? I sorely wish it could.  Nevertheless, like the Kennedy assassination and Pearl Harbor before it, 9/11 has become the tragedy of the present generation.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, so what, if anything, have we learned?

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Recently a reader of this blog asked me, “Josh – If you’re a Ron Paul conservative, why in the world are you supporting Bob McDonnell?  Dr. Paul is hardly enthused w/ McDonnell…”  It is certainly a fair question to ask. Why should I, as a constitutional conservative, support Bob McDonnell? Some might say that I should because he is the Republican candidate.  Although I typically support Republicans over Democrats, it is because of their principles, not simply their party affiliation.  We all know Republicans, like Arlen Specter (formerly a Republican) or Lincoln Chafee, with whom we agree little politically.  Principles and principles alone must be our guiding factor.  That having been said, what principles link both Bob McDonnell and myself?

Both the abortion issue and the second amendment are very important to me.  While one defends the lives of the most defenseless among us, the other protects our property and very freedom against the potential tyranny of our neighbors and the government.   I believe that Bob McDonnell upholds these same values and I’ll share with you a video clip about these issues.

How about taxes?  Obviously, in order to shrink the size of government we must exercise fiscal restraint.  Bob McDonnell has demonstrated his resolve on many occasions throughout his political career.  When I spoke to Delegate Brenda Pogge (Yorktown-96) about conservative support for Bob McDonnell, she pointed out, “Bob was also the Chief sponsor of legislation to kill the death tax.  Bob is definitely a conservative who believes in less govt.  He led the legislation in the house on most of the reforms initiated under George Allen.  Welfare to work comes immediately to mind.  His record will reflect that he voted over 50 times to cut taxes and has never voted to increase them.”

Need more? Try checking out the NetRoots Supporters’ Debate at Common Sense for Virginia on September 12.

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Who will be our next Governor, McDonnell or Deeds? You’ve visited their websites, you’ve read their campaign literature, you’ve seen the attack ads, and you’ve likely browsed the “unbiased” Washington Post. But one unanswered question is, with the rise of the new media, what do the bloggers say? It’s time to find out!

Therefore, I’m pleased to announce the 2009 Netroots Supporter Debate hosted by Common Sense for Virginia. Representing Creigh Deeds is Waldo Jaquith while Tom White carries the standard for Bob McDonnell. Need more info? Here…watch this video.

But wait, there’s more! As Common Sense for Virginia reminds us,

And, in this debate of bloggers, for bloggers, by bloggers, we are giving a chance for questions to be wholly submitted by bloggers. Email questions to either CSFVA at venukatta@hotmail.com or The Virginia Conservative at conservativeva@gmail.com. Please put “Debate Question” in the header. We will attempt to get through all submitted questions and credit whoever submitted the question. Thank you and join us at 7:30 PM September 12, 2009 for the 2009 NetRoots Supporters’ Debate

So think of some good, thought-provoking questions, send them to Venu or me, and enjoy the lively discussion.

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