Tuesday, March 25, 2008

May and Nohe cave into tax-and-spend democrats

You will read tomorrow about the "compromise" $1.00 tax rate. Don't be fooled.

May and Nohe should be ashamed. They both earlier had supported a $1.00 rate, May as a "compromise", and Nohe because I presume he can only deal with whole dollar amounts :-)

But they proposed that rate when we thought assessments were down 16%. At that time, the $1.01 rate was seen as an 8% increase, while a $1.00 rate would be a little over 7%.
Today, we learned that the assessments were only down 15%. Also, the School board miraculously found that they didn't need as much money as they INSISTED they needed just 3 weeks ago.

And guess what -- the $1.00 rate is now seen as a 8+% increase. In other words, the $1.00 rate is just the old $1.01 rate with a higher assessment.

So in fact Nohe and May gave in to the democrats. (oh, is Maureen a Republican? I guess so -- even though she was pushing a 10+% increase, and argued earlier that there was no real difference between 99.1 and 101.0, because it was only a hundred bucks or so per family).

How many people got a raise of greater than 3% last year? Well, even the fiscal hawks were proposing raising your taxes 3.3%, so they could give 3+% raises to public employees.

And instead, we are raising your taxes by 8%. When assessments were going up, Sean Connaughton would raise our taxes by 8%, and tell us it was OK because our hosues were worth more.

Now our houses are worth LESS, and our expenses are up, and we are asked to give 8% more to a bloated county government who thinks that while it's citizens are belt-tightening, they shouldn't have to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Greg Letieq drops his objection to lawsuits?

As most people who read blogs know, Greg is being sued by Steve Chapman for making false claims. That case has not yet been settled, but Greg has made good effort within the blog community for his side arguing against the concept of using lawsuits to "stifle" speech.

My readers may know that I tend to agree with Greg on this point -- I'm not a fan of using the courts to settle matters that more easily can be settled in the court of public opinion. I've never blasted Steve on his lawsuit, although I did not encourage it, simply because Steve had a more serious matter of an attack against his livelyhood to consider (meaning that while I'm not a fan of suing to get a court to rule on truth, the courts are about the only good avenue we have if someone makes a false attack that actually harms the ability of another person to make a living).

Anyway, I was therefore surprised to see that in today's Manassas Journal-Messenger, Greg Letieq advocated a lawsuit as a proper course of action for false claims made against him, simply for reporting those false claims:

Were I not likely considered a “public figure” under the Supreme Court Case New York Times v. Sullivan, and thus forced to demonstrate “actual malice” in a defamation action against this paper, this outrageous and irresponsible behavior by this paper’s editorial board would have rapidly become the subject of a lawsuit.

I won't pretend to know the law, but I doubt being a private individual would have helped in this case -- the false charges were mostly of fact, but not of a nature to be harmful (another thing that must be proven). I doubt Greg could show harm in claiming he co-authored legislation he supported, for example, since if anything it gives him more credit than he is due. And getting his age wrong is not nearly as "harmful" to him as claiming that someone is lying about graduating from High School.

But in any case, being the strong supporter of the first amendment, and having raised SOME amoung of money for his "legal defense fund" by claiming the "free speech under attack" mantel, it just seemed rather incongruous for Greg to suggest that he would be suing the newspaper for reporting on someone else's press release, if not for Greg's being a "public figure" (which only makes it harder to prove a claim).

I imagine that if Greg cared, he could explain the double-standard. I try to apply principles equally in whatever venue I am in, but most people I find to not. In general, people who live and have made themselves large public figures through the application of a "devil-may-care" attitude toward the truth should probably not try to throw stones when a little of the same comes there way.

I think the MJM should have done some independent journalism before writing about some other group's press release -- there was some valid criticism to be made, but it's lost when there are so many obviously incorrect "facts". But I find it very hard not to laugh, much less to have any sympathy, for Greg, given his history.

Friday, March 14, 2008

So, How are the Democrats Doing? Pretty bloody awful.

A few months after Bush took office in 2001, Democrats started blaming him for everything that was going wrong with the economy and elsewhere in our country. I said at the time that people who take power deserve a certain honeymoon.

When the Democrats took power in January of 2007, I was still of the same opinion. It takes time to start implementing your agenda, and you can't really expect to accomplish much in the first 100 days. So while I did rib the Democrats (since they PROMISED to do stuff in the 1st 100 days), it didn't seem right to really blame them for not getting off to a good start.

But a honeymoon is not a permanent state. And certainly now, over a year into their legislative control, we can judge them by the state of our country relative to when they took office -- at least on those things where they have taken actions.

And how are they doing? Well, since they took office:

  • The price of oil has almost doubled
  • Job growth has been cut in half
  • Home ownership, having grown for 6 years under republican rule, dropped for the first time in years
  • he average family grocery bill has increased about $70 per month
  • The stock market has lost about 10% of its value
  • Home prices have fallen roughly 8%
  • Inflation is up over 4%
  • Consumer confidence has tanked
  • Most people think we are heading into a recession

It's hard to imagine a worse record. Oh, well there was that time in 1929. Anyway, here's an entertaining video which examines how the Democrats have done with their time in power:

"A more recent history lesson".

Monday, March 10, 2008

Response To Jonathan Marks account of conversation

I was checking if any of my older columns had made it back to an accessible part of the internet, and got a hit on my name from my "old friend" Jonathan Marks, who I had a conversation with at the PWC committee of 100.

That conversation prompted me to finish a post I had been working on for a couple of months, (at least part of it), which I posted in the thread "My thoughts about last November".

Anyway, in that conversation, Jonathan had mentioned he wasn't going to post about it, but I told him I didn't really care, and so he decided to put up his view of the conversation at the post "Charles Reichley Said He Wasn't Worried About My Repeating His Comments On The Gill-Nichols Race".

I believe that in his post, he got several of my points partially or mostly wrong. However, it could well be that I simply said the wrong things, and I don't mean this to be an attack on his post.

Instead, since he was simply reporting what he thought my opinion was, I think the best way to handle it is to simply give my actual opinion, as a way of explanation. Normally I'd post a comment, but as I've said before I'm not signing up to post comments to any of his blogs.

So here is my "corrections" to what he posted. His post information will be in italics. My correction will be after each. Before I start, I will say the general issue I have is that his account gives the impression that I knew more about the Gill campaign than I actually did. I think people thought I was involved with the campaign, but I really wasn't. So maybe he simply took my words about the campaign, which were my opinion, and thought they were based on a more intimate knowledge that he thought I had.

Charles said he had urged the Gill campaign people to confront the issue [AMC] head on, because it was on the blogs. The Gill people said that it hadn't hit the newspapers yet, and until it did responding to these concerns would simply publicize them.

I did write e-mails to the campaign urging a more forceful response. But my comment about the newspapers wasn't a response from them, it was just my opinion of why they probably didn't.

Charles said that he had asked Gill if Gill had ever represented an illegal immigrant. Charles said that he got the impression that Gill did very little immigration work. He said that it was someone else in the Gill and Gallinger firm who was doing that kind of work.

The last sentence was my opinion, not anything I received from Gill or his campaign.

I told Charles that this raises the issue of what exactly Gill does for a living. Gill as of last summer was not a member of the bar in Virginia, Maryland or DC. How does Gill earn a living? Charles told me that he did not know. I found this response a little odd. Everyone knows how Paul Nichols, Ken Cuccinelli, Brian Moran, and even Creigh Deeds earn a living. They are all members of the bar. You can meet or hear of people who they have represented.

I don't remember saying I didn't know how he earned his living, but it is correct that I do not know specifically what clients he is representing or how -- but I never asked that question either, and I also don't know exactly what clients any of those other people represent. Frankly, I don't know how a lot of politicians earn a real living. It may well be a mystery, but it's not surprising that I don't know, as I never tried to find out.

To my surprise, Charles questioned whether Faisal would ever be a viable candidate in PWC. ...

However, Charles felt that Faisal was unelectable in this county, and would have to move if he wanted to be an elected official somewhere.

Charles emphasized that he thought that Faisal was a great guy and would make a great elected official. The problem, he said, was that as soon as anyone with influence in PWC proposed Faisal running again that person would be subjected to a storm of ridicule, taunts and hostile invective. It just wouldn't be worth it for public figures to go with Faisal in the future.

I made my actual argument in my previous post which I cited above. I don't think Jonathan quite caught the intent here, but he's not far off. I would use the word "fear" rather than "felt", in that I fear he couldn't run again. It was certainly clear that people got attacked for simply supporting him, in ways I don't remember "endorsees" being attacked before.

Although since then, I've seen an increasing willingness on both sides of the political spectrum to go after people for who they endorse. So it seems it's not confined to this race or this county. I'm not talking about the "questioning of judgment" -- I'm talking about actually making up false claims of bribes against people who endorse others, for example. Personal attacks leveled simply for an endorsement.

Jonathan didn't mention what I thought he would have found the most interesting item -- that I was not originally a Faisal Gill supporter. In fact, I was leaning toward Julie Lucas (although since it wasn't my district, my "leaning" or "supporting" wouldn't have really meant anything). I knew more about Julie, and I knew people I respected who were supporting her.

It wasn't until I got into defending Faisal against false and absurd attacks that I spoke with him and looked at his campaign.

Maybe Jonathan didn't report that because he still doesn't believe it. I've said it before, but I don't think people believed me before either.

Jonathan and I also spoke about having different personas in person and on the web, and I BELIEVE that he said he found me to be a lot in person like I was in the blogs (don't know if he thought that was strange or unusual).

I told him that if I died and had a blogger epitath, that's what I would want on my blogger grave "same in the blogs as in person".

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Obama, a Liberal to be proud of

Sometimes the Democrats have been stuck with candidates who, while somewhat liberal, too often appealed to the centrists in the party, much to the chagrin of the far-left "progressives" who worked so hard to buy the party in 2004.

But this year they have a candidate the left can truly be proud of. Barack Obama is no centrist. In fact, he is the poster child for the far left.

This is a compendium of his rankings by the various organizations on the left and right:

100% from Planned Parenthood
100% from NARAL
0% from the IL Association for Right to Life
0% from Americans for Tax Reform
100% from the NAACP
8% from the American Conservative Union
A rating from the NEA [teachers union]

95 Percent Liberal Quotient, Americans for Democratic Action

100% from Children’s Defense Fund
100% from NOW
88% from the American Immigration Lawyers
0% from the Federation for American Immigration Reform
100% from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
100% from Americans for Democratic Action [gold-standard of old lefty groups] 100% from the AFL-CIO

100% from the League of Conservation Voters
0% from NRA
‘A’ from Illinois Citizens for Handgun Control

2007 Most Liberal Senator -- National Journal

Also, see VoteSmart's voting support analysis:

Other than his "88%" from the Immigration lawyers, he's a near-perfect socialist. The "8" lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union puts him to the left of even such liberal stalwarts as Chris Dodd and Tom Harkin, and Hillary Clinton (who is no slouch herself with a "9" rating), and well to the left of Leiberman, Reid, and Jumping Jim Jeffords.

He's earned that record with his broad view of government as the driver for everything that happens in this country. For example, in Barack Obama's America, it is the job of the government, using your tax dollars, to develop new technologies:

"Deploy Cellulosic Ethanol: Obama will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013."

Yes, if you think that government exists to do everything, Barack is your man. He may not be the most liberal Senator, but he certainly made the effort.