Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Webb's Good Buddy Kerry calls McCain a liar.

Sure, you thought I was exagerating when I pointed out Kerry was attacking McCain. "No, he was just attacking Rush Limbaugh, not McCain".

Well, in his 2pm press conference, Kerry just said this, in response to a question about McCain's calling for an apology:

"John McCain knows that is not what I said."

So, John Kerry, best friends and bosum buddies with James Webb, is saying that John McCain is lying about what he said.

Webb, are you going to let this man, John Kerry, who you rightly dispised for so many years bacause of how he stabbed veterans like you in the back, call your good friend John McCain, a decorated veteran and POW, a liar?

Democrats mix class warfare and military service

When Kerry claimed that if you were smart, you could avoid having to join the military and getting sent to Iraq, he was simply saying in a different way what democrats have been saying for years.

However, they usually use the class warfare language, rather than the educational level language. But it is clear if you look at what Kerry said that he is equating education level with your living "class" as an adult:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Education is the key to a better lifestyle. Kerry is saying that if you don't concentrate on education, study hard, do your homework, you will not "do well", meaning you will end up a poor person.

And what do poor people do, according to the Democrats? Join the military, because they have no other job choices. For example, this from the Democrat Leadership Council (with members such as Senator Clinton and Carper, Gov. Vilsack, and others):

In the 1950s, about one-half of the graduating classes of Princeton and Harvard entered the service for a tour of duty. Today, less than 1 percent do. Likewise, in 2003 only slightly more than 1 percent of members of Congress had a child serving. This is not a Democrat-versus-Republican issue. It is a class issue. Small-town, religious, and middle-class Democrats or Republicans are more likely to have someone in the military in their extended social group than wealthy partisans of either party living in big cities.

Or this comment from Congressman Democrat Charles Rangle:

"I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that's involved, the sacrifice that's involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility."

"Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country. For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance."

Then there is this from Congressman John Conyers, on the record:

What our bill does is address the growing disparity in socio-economic background between those who go to fight our nation's conflicts and those who send them. The statistics show that minorities and the working class segments of society constitute a disproportionate percentage of the military. African Americans represent 21 percent of the military as opposed to 13 percent of the civilian age population.

Only 24 percent of the persons in the military have parents in white collar management jobs, while that is true for 34 percent of the general military population. It is plain fact that the military does not come from the higher socio-economic status of society.

So Democrats are on record complaining about poorer, less educated people disproportionately serving in the military. So why shouldn't we beleive that Kerry meant to point out the economic disparity in military service when he clearly said that if you work hard in school, you can "do well", and therefore not have to take a job serving in the military?

Will Webb denounce Kerry for Attacking Vietnam Veteran McCain?

OK, maybe Kerry didn't MEAN to attack the troops when he said that if you didn't get a good education, you'd end up "stuck in Iraq".

Hey, maybe he didn't mean to belittle the presidency when he "explained" his position by stating that if you work hard, you can "do well", but if not you could get stuck in a job like President of the United States like George Bush.

But it is clear that he DID mean to attack Senator John McCain, a Vietnam Veteran, a POW survivor, and an honorable man, when he issued THIS PRESS RELEASE:

Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

And who are the "assorted right wing nut-jobs" who are complaining about Kerry's statement? None other than Senator John McCain:

Senator Kerry owes an apology to the many thousands of Americans serving in Iraq, who answered their country's call because they are patriots and not because of any deficiencies in their education. Americans from all backgrounds, well off and less fortunate, with high school diplomas and graduate degrees, take seriously their duty to our country, and risk their lives today to defend the rest of us in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

They all deserve our respect and deepest gratitude for their service. The suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq, is an insult to every soldier serving in combat, and should deeply offend any American with an ounce of appreciation for what they suffer and risk so that the rest of us can sleep more comfortably at night. Without them, we wouldn't live in a country where people securely possess all their God-given rights, including the right to express insensitive, ill-considered and uninformed remarks.

James Webb says he admires John McCain (of course, he used to hate John Kerry and now he takes Kerry's money and puts his arm around him at Campaign Stops). So, will Webb denounce Kerry's attack on Decorated War Hero John McCain?

Probably not. He'll defend Kerry's lame excuses, just as he asserts that Thai culture includes "not sexual" acts between fathers and 4-year-old sons.

Will Webb denounce Kerry's Belittling of the Presidency?

Having been caught red-mouthed using the class-warfare rhetoric and bigotry claiming that smart people don't go into the military, only people who don't work hard, Kerry is furiously backtracking.

First, let me remind you about Kerry's outrageous claim about education:

Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps.

Actually, listening to the video, here is the exact quote:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Now he's trying to explain himself. But in doing so, he is just digging the hole deeper. From John Kerry's own Web Site:

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. "

OK, let's parse what he said. If you don't study hard, if you don't do your homework, if you make no effort to be smart, you will end up being stuck as President of the United States. Then, as president, you will be figuratively "stuck" in Iraq while actually living a life of luxury at the White House.

So Kerry is saying that "doing well" means NOT being President. In fact, Bush went to college, and he went to Graduate school, and he certainly "did well" for himself. Actually, the democrats claim that it is Bush's life of privilege that kept him from HAVING to serve in the military.

But Kerry is saying that he meant "Bush" was "stuck in Iraq" because he's the President, which is a job for people who don't "do well".

Oh well. I wonder whether being a Senator is "doing well".

Does Webb have the integrity to return Kerry's money?

Webb was quite upset at having to defend his character and integrity, after months of his campaign throwing mud around at his opponents. The stuff about his fictional books wasn't really germane to the campaign, but certainly his fight to stop a female vietnam vet memorial was an appropriate topic, as was his lying about his role in adding billets for females in the military and getting an African-American in the memorial.

But lets talk about something a lot more recent. Up until a few months ago, Webb appropriately opposed John Kerry and what he stood for, saying he wouldn't even TALK to Kerry.

But now Webb and Kerry are best buddies. Webb's been seen hugging Kerry, he's talking to him. Hey, he JOINED KERRY'S PARTY, and he's taken Kerry's money.

And now Kerry has stabbed him in the back with our servicemen and women, with an outrageous claim about education:

Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps.

Webb has tied his campaign and his character to that of John Kerry, and now he must answer for Kerry's claims. Does Webb believe his son is in Iraq because he is too stupid to get a real job? That's what Kerry is saying. Will Webb defend the honor of his son? Will Webb return the money he received from Kerry? Will Webb go back to not talking to the Senator from Massachusetts?

Actually, Webb will probably be silent on this, just as he has been silent on virtually EVERYTHING except defending his right to write in disgusting detail about offensive things simply because he saw them.

Or he'll make some lame statement about not "agreeing" with the statement, but he'll keep the money. Or he'll find some way to blame the Allen campaign, like he blamed them for what Webb wrote in 1979 about women, or about what Webb wrote in his own novels.

See the Video:

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Stem Cell Research Commercial you WON'T see

Here's another spokesperson giving HIS position on Embryonic Stem Cell research and the Missouri Race:

Michael J. Embryo:

See the scrappleface writeup here.

Embryonic Stem Cell Funding Debate

Yes, we are having a stem cell funding debate, although you wouldn't know it to watch the commercials.

Seems Michael Fox, who is suffering from Parkinsons Disease, is not satisfied with how much of your tax dollars is being spent to find him a cure.

So, he is running around the country attacking republicans who voted against federal funding for one specific stem cell research, namely Embryonic Stem Cell research that kills viable embryos.

It's not enough that the republicans are the first to fund embryonic stem cell research. Or that they voted to increase funding for the much more promising adult stem cell research, and cord research.

It's not enough that embryonic stem cell research is LEGAL federally, and in the states.It's not enough that many states and localities are funding research into embryonic stem cells, including 6 BILLION dollars in california.

No, Michael Fox will not rest until every one of us is forced against our will to contribute to the destruction of human life for a pie-in-the-sky promise of medical miracles decades down the road.

Like most liberals, Michael Fox believes the government exists to solve his problems, and that working americans exist to fund whatever is important to him, in this case killing human life to save his own life.It's time for us common folk to stand up to these multi-millionare hollywood types who think they are more important than we are, who think simply because we are willing to fork over 9 bucks to watch their crappy movies we would be happy to have them take our money by force to fund their pet projects.

Michael Fox, stop stealing MY money, and go after your buddies Soros, Buffet, Gates, and Turner -- they have BILLIONS of dollars, and are giving it away to people like you.

Government's compelling interest in marriage.

In an article called "A Message from Rabbi Tilsen -- Same-Sex Marriage", Rabbi Tilsen argues for government to stop recognizing marriage altogether, and instead recognize what he would call "Civil Partnerships":


Connecticut law requires that any “religious” marriage be recorded with the State (General Statutes, Ch. 815e, Sec. 46b-22). This makes a religious marriage subject to the laws of the State, but does not make a State marriage subject to the laws of any religion. Is this requirement for the benefit of the State, or for the benefit of the couple? What is the State's interest?

A Christian or other religious marriage has a set of rules, customs and expectations that defines and governs the marriage, and that goes beyond the civil definition of marriage. Religious marriages are distinct from the civil Las Vegas marriage, which can be licensed, recorded and terminated within a span of days. While the government may recognize all of these as “marriages,” they are not quite the same.

Why should the state recognize any marriage? Our answer to this question determines our position on same-sex marriage. The state's reason cannot be to help the religious communities enforce their doctrines or value systems. If the state recognizes any marriage, it must have a purpose that helps the broad public without infringing on our liberties or harming a segment of our population.

As far as I can see, the state finds it advantageous to have a conventional set of rules for taxation, inheritance and the like to apply to a “couple.” It really does not matter to the state if that couple is living according to Catholic ideals, halakha, or their own private set of “commitments” that they have made to each other. For that reason, I have no more objection to the state calling the commitment between a same-sex couple “marriage” as I do to any of the other religious or civil relationships that are called by that name. But if it is found that it harms the religious sentiments of many Americans to share the word “marriage” with a same-sex couple, then perhaps the state should simply stop using the word “marriage” for anyone and instead define “civil partnerships.” Let the battle over the word “marriage” be fought on the battlegrounds of the religious communities (including our own), where the symbolism is of utmost importance, not in the civic arena, where tax policy, inheritance and medical benefits are at stake.

Rabbi Tilsen asks the right question -- what is the State's compelling interest in marriage? But unfortunately, he gets that answer wrong, which leads him to the wrong conclusion.:

As far as I can see, the state finds it advantageous to have a conventional set of rules for taxation, inheritance and the like to apply to a “couple.” It really does not matter to the state if that couple is living according to Catholic ideals, halakha, or their own private set of “commitments” that they have made to each other.

That is most certainly NOT the reason government has a compelling interest in marriage. Government has no reason to care about "a conventional set of rules". Far easier for government would be to have no special rules at all. Further, history shows the real answer to his question.

Government's interest in marriage is based on marriage being the foundation of a prosperous society. And "marriage" in that regard is the biological conjoining of opposite-sex partners, who will then procreate and raise offspring under their care and nurture.

Society requires children to continue. So obviously government wants to encourage procreation. But if children are abandoned, it creates a burden on government that government is ill-suited to handle, witness the many horror stories regarding orphanages.

So, our government, in it's wisdom, has recognised that having a stable family environment is the ideal method for children to be raised and become productive members of society.
Also, it is clear that the biological bond between parents and children creates the strongest stable environment. Without that biological bond, families are much more likely to break up as either the father or the mother, having lost their lustful bond with their spouse, have no parental bond with the children to concern themselves.

Let me repeat that a different way-- We see stories every day of how men who fathered a child feel compelled to be involved in their lives, even if they were never told of the child until the child has grown. And NOBODY will doubt the special bond of a mother to her child of her womb -- in fact, one often hears the argument that abortion is preferable to adoption because a mother cannot bear to separate from their offspring.

Also, it is clear that children are best trained by a combination of two parents of opposite sex, to expose the children to both sexes and allow them to develop normal, healthy views of sex and gender.

So government has a compelling reason to encourage and subsidize marriages as the building block of society. And it is clear that marriage they want to encourage should be on with people of the opposite sex who will likely have biological offspring, who will raise those offspring in the care and nurture of their real, biological parents, and produce the next productive generation of society.

There is absolutely NO reason for government to encourage ANY other type of union. Same-sex unions by NATURE will not produce biological offspring. At best any children will be related only to ONE of the parents, leaving the other with no bond who could easily leave. More often neither parent has a biological attachment.

Of course, it is true that adoptions exist, and some argue that is a valid government purpose. But evidence suggests that a child in a two-sex foster family is better off than in a same-sex couple situation. And in any case, special encouragement is not necessary
for the same-sex couple who wants to experience child-raising, as their desire itself is motivation enough.

The idea of encouraging a "non-marriage" relationship between opposite-sex couples is even MORE ludicrous. With same-sex couples, at least you can pretend you are encouraging a longer-term commitment to raise a family. But opposite-sex couples who spurn marraige have already shown a distaste for long-term commitment, and that distaste should be DISCOURAGED, not encouraged.

If it were not for the benefit to society of two-parent, biological families, Government would best stay out of marriage altogether, providing NO benefits whatsoever. Let people just do what they want to do, without involving government approval or disapproval.

But it is clear that society suffers when the family falters. And so government should be doing MORE to encourage biological family units, NOT less. Rather than entertaining same-sex "relationships", government should be strengthening the laws to provide incentives for families to stay together rather than give in to cheap, easy divorces.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another thing Webb doesn't know.

As we learned from the Washington Post endorsement, Webb is weak on domestic issues, has no idea what's going on in Virginia, and needs a lot of work to be ready to be a Senator -- work he apparently hasn't really gotten started on yet.

Now, the Webbies have provided another example of knowledge Webb SHOULD have, but doesn't -- a major Veteran's group, which has existed for over 23 YEARS, made up of people from his own Vietnam war along with veterans of the 1st Gulf war (which Webb opposed).

From an article in the Daily Press, 2nd page:

The VFW endorsement was, Webb said, not unexpected because the organization generally endorses the administration. "Besides, they gave me their top award - the commander's award - in 2001," he noted.

And as to the other endorsement - especially considering that Webb was a highly decorated Marine during the Vietnam War - "I've never heard of them."

Of course, he never heard of Chaney Island either, but it's a critical location of importance in Virginia.

Anyway, what is this "obscure" group of Veterans? The National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition:

The National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition was established in 1983 to unify diverse veterans groups in support of common goals. Since its inception, the Coalition has assisted veterans, and advocated passage of legislation and administrative procedures vital to their well being.

In 1984 and again during 1989 – 1991, the National Vietnam Veterans Coalition directed media attention to remedial legislation concerning Agent Orange, and played a significant role in the passage of legislation in 1984 and 1991 providing for benefits.

Extensive Coalition resources have also been dedicated to helping members and non-members alike in their search for information from the United States and other governments about American servicemen reported missing-in-action or held captive in Vietnam.The Coalition played a critical role in securing passage of legislation to establish the select Senate Committee on POW/MIAs. In turn, this led to long-sought declassification of most POW/MIA intelligence materials.

From its ten member beginnings, the National Vietnam Veterans Coalition has grown to its present strength of over 100 member organizations representing Vietnam and Gulf War veterans throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia, and has since changed its organization name to the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition.

Originally, the strategy of the Coalition was to concentrate the entire Vietnam veterans movement on a single issue. Thus, while the first Agent Orange bill was pending in Congress in 1984, we directed massive media attention to that debate.We are credited with pushing that bill over when it was short of votes in the United States Senate. During the next major legislative push for Agent Orange legislation in 1990, the Coalition was the only non-chartered veterans organization even permitted to testify before the House of Representatives.

Beginning in August 1984, the Coalition has concentrated on the live prisoner-of-war issue, seeking to pressure more meaningful action. It has assisted numerous groups and individuals, both within and without the Coalition, who seek to publicize or dramatize the fact that POWs continue to be held. The Coalition has, for example, played an important, often behind-the-scenes role in assisting or promoting numerous actors, from the producers of several video documentaries through Robert Garwood. It has carried these concerns as far afield as a face-to-face meeting in the Kremlin with Nikolai Ryzhkov, then premier of the Soviet Union.

During the 1988 and 1996 Presidential elections, the Coalition successfully encouraged several hundred candidates to run for convention delegates in both parties.

Its advocacy and Congressional testimony in support of judicial review before the 100th Congress contributed to the pressure that resulted in the historic compromise legislation creating the new Court of Veterans Appeals.

In 1991, the Coalition played a critical role in securing the passage of legislation to declassify POW/MIA reports before the United States House of Representatives and to establish a Senate Committee on the POW/MIA issue. The Coalition was instrumental in securing the passage of the Missing Personnel Act of 1996 to reform the manner in which MIA cases are resolved.

In 2004, the Coalition endorsed over 100 candidates for the US Senate and House of Representatives who have supported, and/or promised to support, veterans issues and legislation.

The Coalition continues to remain active on the POW/MIA issue and in 2004/2005 has been working closely with DPMO in a more productive setting to aid in securing a full accounting or ALL missing servicemen.

Coalition members have been supportive in attending rallys and demonstrations on behalf of those men left behind and had been instrumental in demonstrating against Prime Minister Khai during his visit to the U.S. in the summer of 2005.

The Coalition continues to support legislation that will continue to benefit our veterans and our future veterans.

The Coalition is recognized under Section 501 (c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code as a non-profit organization. It has an annually elected board of directors consisting of thirteen members.

In the 1980s, when Webb wasn't chasing young woman at the military academy, he was serving in the Reagan administration, with a stint as the Secretary of the Navy. And remember, he was a decorated Vietnam Veteran.

And yet he has no clue about a major Vietnam veteran's group that was active in lobbying in the 1980s about Agent Orange? What does Webb care about other than writing "fiction" about a father performing perverted sex acts on his son?

This isn't some fly-by-night organization that just popped up to endorse his opponent. This is a well-respected, major organization, a coalition of a myriad of veteran's groups with a history of activism for those who served our country.

But simply because they did not endorse Webb, he dismisses them with a wave of his hand "never heard of them". Right.

First it's "Towel-heads", now its dismissing an esteemed veterans organization simply because he didn't get their approval. What's next, attacking his opponent for honoring a fallen Marine? Oh, wait, he already did that as well.

You know you are a child of the 2000s when....

1. You go to a party, sit down and take MySpace pics.

2. You havent played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. The reason for not staying in touch with your friends is that they don't have AIM.

4. You'd rather look all over the house for the remote instead of just pushing the button on the TV.

6. Your evening activity is sitting at the computer.

7. You read this list, and keep nodding and smiling.

8. You think about how stupid you are for reading this.

9. You were too busy to notice number five.

10. You actually scrolled back up to check if there was a number five.

11. And now you're laughing at your stupidity.

Washington Times Endorses highly qualified candidate Allen

Today the Washington Times endorsed Senator George Allen for re-election. Unlike the Washington Post endorsement of Webb which said nothing good about him, the Washington Times is full of good things about Allen, things that are simple facts and that the Washington Post IGNORED in order to falsely claim that Allen had done nothing for Virginia.

The Times devotes almost all of their endorsement to things about Allen that make him a highly qualified and clear choice for the position, Allen for Senate:

For the past six years and previously as governor from 1994-1998, Sen. George Allen has ably represented the Commonwealth of Virginia. A vigorous conservative, he is a good choice for both moderate and conservative voters this November. The Washington Times endorses him for re-election to the U.S. Senate over Democratic challenger James Webb.

Actually, he's a good choice for liberals as well, because while they are wrong on their own thinking, they too have greatly benefited from all that Allen has done for our state, and will benefit from having a qualified Senator rather than a guy who knows he is ignorant and has done nothing to correct that ignorance.

Mr. Allen's opponents have tried to obscure his record, which is no surprise. Mr. Allen has voted to cut taxes; opposed illegal immigration; supported the Patriot Act and other tough antiterrorismmeasures; supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; and voted for conservative judges. He has also pushed free trade; defended traditional marriage; expanded opportunities for education and health care; aggressively worked to improve benefits for veterans; and sponsored economic, transportation and military initiatives which improved the livelihoods of Virginians across the state. That's a record the citizens of the Commonwealth can applaud.

An excellent summary of a myriad of things Allen has done that the Washington Post couldn't remember.

Not so well known is Mr. Allen's record on local matters: Mr. Allen has pushed to widen I-66 inside the Beltway and helped spur the Springfield Interchange and Wilson Bridge projects. He pushed the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project and widening of I-95 between Route 123 and the Fairfax County Parkway. He has secured $3.63 billion in federal nanotechnology funding, the largest such investment in history. He has fought to prevent discriminatory and innovation-stifling taxation on Internet businesses. He has secured greater rates of return for Virginia's gas-tax dollars, which means more federal money for roads, highways and other state infrastructure.

And the Washington Post had the audacity to claim that, "unlike" Frank Wolf and Tom Davis, Allen hadn't done anything for transportation or for Northern Virginia. They just couldn't find the articles because their searches all filled up with "macaca".

He has also done right by Virginia's veterans. He has pushed for active-duty-equivalent health and education benefits for reservists and members of the National Guard. He sponsored legislation to increase the service member's death benefit from $12,000 to $100,000. He saved the Defense and Veterans Brain-Injury Center from a damaging budget cut and found scarce dollars to improve its treatment of wounded service members. He has also helped finance unprecedented health-care improvements at the Department of Veterans Affairs which has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years.

The Webb campaign is running ads falsely claiming Allen was bad for Veterans, with absurd charges about voting against body armor. The contrast is clear.

As governor of Virginia, Mr. Allen cut taxes by $1 billion, abolished parole for violent criminals and swept away years of inefficient government regulations. A decade later these accomplishments still yield dividends for Virginians.

The Washington Post completely ignored Allen's record as Governor.

In a Senate with as slim a Republican majority as the current one -- one which could shrink this November -- there are scenarios in which a George Allen loss would flip the Senate to Democratic control. That would likely mean no more constitutionalist judges, no tough immigration reform, withdrawal from Iraq, a dismantling of tough antiterrorism measures; and paralysis on much of the Bush administration's remaining agenda. The stakes are high.

In such a senate, Webb would have virtually NO control, and no say -- there are liberal democrats for every position of leadership. Virginia would suffer greatly both by the loss of majority status for Senator John Warner, and the fact that the democrats would destroy the economy with tax increases, and would filter money to their more liberal states.

James Webb is an intelligent and honorable servant of his country, but he is not the man conservatives remember as President Reagan's Secretary of the Navy in 1987-88. This estranged Republican-turned-Democrat is now a pro-choice, pro-homosexual "marriage," anti-Iraq war liege of the Democratic party. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have campaigned for Mr. Webb, and he will be honored by Bill Clinton this week. An intensely negative campaign on behalf of the challenger has partially obscured the chasm between Mr. Webb's current views and those of conservative Virginia. It can't be hidden, however. The James Webb of 2006 is too liberal for the Commonwealth.

Although as the note it's hard to know that because first his campaign never talks about issues, and second, as the Washington Post noted, Webb doesn't actually have any grasp of domestic issues so it's hard to see how liberal he might be.

For Virginians who favor low taxes, strong defense, limited government and traditional values, George Allen is the clear choice for U.S. Senate.

That's me. I favor low taxes, strong defense, limited government and traditional views. And Allen is MY man.

This newspaper endorses him without reservation.

Unlike the Washington Post, which was full of reservations about their candidate Webb, who they admitted was unqualified and unprepared for the task at hand.

Washington Post endorses unqualified candidate Webb

At least, that's what the Washington Post says.

THE U.S. SENATE race in Virginia pits a novice politician, Democrat James Webb , against a much more experienced one, incumbent Republican George Allen

Good start. And they provide a list of accomplishments for George Allen, couched in negative language. I'll provide translation:

He has spent his time in the Senate in lock step with the Bush administration, embracing tax cuts that have imperiled the nation's fiscal health;

Tax cuts which have benefited 3 million virginians, gave us an economy that provided 215,000 new jobs and a 10% rise in income in the last 2 years, and have lead to RECORD REVENUE to the Federal and State treasury, a 4.6% unemployment rate, and record home ownership.

subsidies for oil and gas companies that hardly needed the help;

Support for an energy bill which seeks to encourage domestic exploration which will help us break our dependence on foreign oil.

prisoner detention policies that have undercut America's image abroad;

Voting for a prisoner detention/interrogation bill which will provide adequate safeguards while allowing us to keep terrorists detained and providing us valuable information.

and restrictions on embryonic stem cell research despite its medical potential.

Voting to block FEDERAL FUNDING (not restrictions on the research) for unrestrained testing on living human embryos that many citizens consider immoral, and which has shown no clear applications -- and thus freeing up more federal funds for other research, including adult stem cell research which is already yielding actual medical applications.

The Post provides even MORE accomplishments of Allen, and these they even believe ARE accomplishments:

Many of the initiatives that Mr. Allen has undertaken in the Senate are the easy stuff -- relatively noncontroversial measures that lavish money and favors on his constituents. Nothing wrong with that, if it's part of a broader record of accomplishment. But while Mr. Allen has proposed some worthwhile bills -- for instance, to expand investment in nanotechnology and to help historically black colleges and universities upgrade their telecommunications infrastructure

The missed dozens of bills he has introduced. For example, the list of accomplishments cited by the VFW-PAC in their endorsement of Allen today, as I listed in a previous entry. I didn't mention there but Allen also introduced the bill which increased the death benefit for our fallen troops to six figures. I guess the Post ran out of space to list everything Allen has done, since they needed so much space to explain that Webb has no accomplishments and no grasp of the issues.

Then there is what they said about Webb.

Mr. Webb, a fine writer, remains in many ways a political work in progress. His impressionistic grasp of domestic policy generally and his passing acquaintance with Virginia issues in particular reflect his meager experience in electoral politics. His diagnosis of America's widening disparities in wealth and income is on the mark, but his fuzzy-headed attacks on free trade are the wrong prescription. As a candidate, Mr. Webb has had a steep learning curve; to his credit, he has acknowledged it.

A man unqualified to be Senator now, but at least he knows it. A man who in the 7 months he has actively pursued the job of Virginia Senator, has according to the Washington Post learned little about anything, even though Webb himself knows he has a "steep learning curve".

So Allen has a proven record of accomplishment, a keen grasp of the issues effecting Virginia, and a history of experience both as Virginia Governor, and as Virginia Senator. And a bevy of respected leaders on both sides of the political spectrum, including many minorities, vouching for his character and supporting him for re-election.

Webb is a neophite, has no experience in any elected office, and has shown no interest in learning anything about our state or in fact any domestic policy. In the rare case where Webb has taken a stand, like trade, his ideas are "fuzzy-headed" and as Kaine said are a "losing strategy" for Virginia and our country.

So of course, the Washington Post endorsed the unqualified candidate Webb, because after all, Allen said "macaca".

Oh, and ignore that Webb said "Towel-head", after all that was just in the Post today, and the editorial board can't be bothered to keep up with the latest news.

Richmond Voice endorses George Allen

Central Virginia's largest African-American newspaper has surprisingly endorsed George Allen for Senator. Apparently they don't believe the stories about Allen being a racist. Funny how a bunch of white guys in the Webb campaign think Allen's a racist while so many black democrats see Allen as a better Senator.

From the Voice:

This has been an election year in which Blacks have had to listen to allegations about which U.S. Senate candidate is a racist, who said the n-word, and so forth. It is sad that when they talk about Black people, it’s only in the context of these trivialities and not about the issues that affect the everyday lives of Black folks.

So this black newspaper has taken the Lowell and the gang at the Webb campaign to task for pretending they care more about vague recollections from 30 years ago than the real issues.

There are myriad issues that should be dominating conversations—how to ensure that our children grow up in safe, drug free and crime free neighborhoods; how to guarantee an equal playing field for our small businesses when it comes to getting government contracts; how to change the schools in our neighborhoods so they can all pass benchmarks; how to fight the HIV/AIDS ravage of our community; and how to help single parents discontinue the cycle of poverty that governs their lives.

And those are issues that are also important to white Americans, and to most Virginians, except apparently the Webb campaign, who is much more interested in deer heads and people cursing playing cards (and also fishing without a license -- that's a real big issue to the Webbies).

History has shown us that when we are out of sight, we are out of mind. When the elections are over, you just might be out of mind. And if only the campaign was dominated with real issues, at least you would know that you said your piece before you were out of mind.

It was refreshing to learn that state Sen. Benjamin Lambert III had stepped out of the box and was thinking for himself instead of letting his political affiliation think for him. Regardless of what you think, what he did was gigantic because the Democratic Party has always had a noose around Black folks’ necks.

While Lowell and the Webb campaign focused on Allen having a noose in his office years ago, the people at the Richmond Voice are concerned about the noose that people like those in the Webb campaign have used to keep black people in line. And while they recognise the courage of Lambert, the Webb campaign sent their paid bloggers out to trash the man in an attempt to ruin his reputation, simply for speaking his mind rather than touting the Webb party line.

Bishop Gerald O. Glenn of Chesterfield County also spoke out against race baiting, and this newspaper, always an independent thinker, is speaking out too.

We can’t live in the past forever, we must build new bridges and our first step across the bridge is to endorse Sen. George Allen, who is running for re-election. The past allows our slave masters to always tell us how to vote, and this newspaper is doing its part in breaking away from the slave shackles.

Sen. Allen’s record with the Black community may have started out blotchy, but we feel that he has learned the most about what is important to the Black community. We don’t have to justify our endorsement, but we want to tell our readers that a new breeze is blowing and you can either join it or stay shackled in the past.

They care about results, not transparent attempts by the Webb campaign to scare them into voting for the Democrat who otherwise has said NOTHING about how he thinks about any issues of importance to their community.

Unlike the Washington Post, who could care less that Webb shows no interest in Virginia and has done nothing to obtain any grasp of domestic issues, the Richmond Voice staff see that Allen has been good on issues of importance to their community.

And they actually think that choosing a Senator with a proven record of accomplishment is better for them than choosing a guy who "acknowledges" having a steep learning curve but who has, according to the Washington post, done little to actually DO the learning needed.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Veterans of Foreign Wars PAC Endorses Senator George Allen

This morning, Senator George Allen received the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars PAC. This non-partisan group represents thousands of veterans throughout the country, and their endorsement is based on a careful consideration of each candidate's record of acheivement and their support for veterans.

With James Webb being a former Marine, and former Secretary of the Navy, I'm certain he received serious consideration from this organization. But after looking at Webb and Allen, and weighing their impact on both Veterans affairs and national security, they have endorsed our current Senator, George Allen.

Jerry Peterson of Virginia made the presentation at the Manassas Airport. His endorsement speech listed the many things Allen has done which earned him this prestigious endorsement:

* increased funding for Veterans affairs, to care for our injured troops
* increased the education benefits for our veterans
* restored funding for the Veteran's brain injury center
* brought jobs to Virginia by funding military construction
* increased job opportunity for veterans

He closed with this statement:

"Virginia Veterans have no better friend than Senator Allen"

Here's a picture of the Allen receiving the endorsement:

Jerry Peterson presents Challenge Point to Senator Allen

Following that presentation, Allen also received a second endorsement, which I will post later.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is the Webb Campaign pressuring Women to keep Quiet?

BVBL has some stories about Webb from his days when he taught at the Naval Academy. It's again the 30-year-old stuff, and it's not what interests me.

However, in the comment section, a poster indicates that the Webb campaign has been calling women from those days, which is reminiscent of Clinton's campaign in 1992 fighting "bimbo eruptions. From BVBL's comment section:

This “Harrington Issue” has become quite an incident for concern. Many of Harrington’s classmates from the Academy, mainly women, have received calls from Joe Cato, USNA ‘80, and others from the Webb Campaigns Damage Controllers. The Webb folks, are quite concerned, as well they should be, that Webb’s tainted history will destroy his campaign.

It would be interesting to know if Joe Cato has contacted Harrington, would it not?

So, first question, is there a person named Joe Cato working for the Webb campaign? If so, does he deny calling classmates and pressuring them not to talk about Webb?

It's one thing to say that old stories are old stories -- we've wasted way too much time discussing what people said and didn't say when they were in college, especially when we have a 20-year public record indicating the opposite.

But any time an active campaign is trying to call people and keep them from talking, that is something that is of concern TODAY, because it indicates the current character of the candidate.

I've already taken shots at Webb for not controlling his own campaign as they launch tired attacks against his opponent while he pretends to be uninvolved. This is worse, if true.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Webb and the contradiction of deployable forces

I don't normally point people to the Allen blog, I figure anybody reading here is probably reading over there first anyway.

But I thought Jon raised a point that I wanted to expand upon here. His comments of note were embedded in a post about answers given by the two candidates to a written questionaire. As a prelude, I like these types of exchanges, because it gives the candidates lots of time to think through their answers, and give responses that should completely and accurately reflect their thinking.

This mirrors how our legislatures operate, with plenty of time to evaluate problems and formulate policies. Not at all like a debate format. There's no "gotcha" games in legislating, you should be able to do your best.

That's why I find it particularly funny when a candidate messes up the answer to a written question.

Anyway, in the post Questioned Jon notes:

Meanwhile, a couple of Webb’s responses are a bit mystifying. For example, Webb cites a successfully thwarted terror attempt, and calls it evidence that we need our troops to be mobile, rather than “bogged down in Iraq”.

As evidenced by the failed terror plot in London this summer we need to be able to fight terrorists wherever they may be. This requires our troops to be a mobile fighting force, something that cannot happen as long as we are bogged down in Iraq.

But exactly who does Jim Webb want US forces to invade?

I could picture us running an amphibious landing in London. But I'm thinking a few thousand troops tops, and with over 600,000 troops and only 150,000 in Iraq (and those not really a rapid deployment force now), we certainly could pull off a deployment.

In fact, the thing that could most prevent us from having a deployable force to go anywhere in the world would be if we tied up most of our "deployable" assets somewhere stupid, like say the middle east, instead of using fixed assets.

Except that is exactly what Webb WANTS us to do. He is totally opposed to our fixed bases in Iraq (where we are actually fighting) and wants us to redeploy to other countries, from where he says we could "rapidly deploy if necessary" back into Iraq. In other words, he wants us to replace our fixed fighting assets with a very large rapidly deployable force in the middle east -- which would surely put a strain on our ability to rapidly deploy to other hotspots where we DON'T have a country offering us large fixed bases like Iraq.

I know Webb is a genius and former Navy Secretary, and I'm just a lonely blogger, but maybe deployable means something different to a navy guy....

The problem Webb has is that even those of us who would be open to new ideas about how to win in Iraq can't get on his side, because his ideas are senseless.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Local Governments should join ICE training program

That was my headline for my Thursday column, which ran in the paper as "Joining the ICE Training Program".

It answers the objections found in a recent editorial run by the paper titled "Is it Manassas or Herndon South". Greg L. over at BVBL deconstructed their "inane editorial" in a post titled "MJM puts it's head in the Sand" the same day I wrote my column, and made a lot of the same points.

My column, which was only 740 words long, was knocked down to 660 words by stripping the last two paragraphs. I put them back here, because I liked them.

When the column gets posted to their web site, I'll strip this down, reference the site, and add some commentary. For now, here's the full column:

Recently the town of Herndon, beset by problems with illegal immigration, voted to join a federal program which trains police officers for immigration enforcement. Manassas City Councilman and 50th district Delegate Candidate Jackson Miller thinks Manassas should join the program, and has asked the City Council to study the proposal. This is an excellent idea, and all our local jurisdictions should join this free federal program.

The program, run by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration, provides training and support to state and local law enforcement officials. ICE’s web site explains the value of the program in combating both terrorism and criminal activity:

“State and local law enforcement play a critical role in protecting our homeland security because they are often the first responders on the scene when there is an incident or attack against the United States. During the course of daily duties, they will often encounter foreign-born criminals and immigration violators who pose a threat to national security or public safety.”

A recent editorial in this paper (Is it Manassas or Herndon South? October 8, 2006) opposed local participation. But the arguments were based on speculative fear, and were at odds with the specific proposals and real-world results.

The paper cites the strain on the local police force. The training does take five weeks, but after that the program can take as little or as much time as desired. For example, Miller proposes the police act only “when they arrest an immigrant on local charges." The idea is to provide additional tools to handle illegal immigrants who break the law, not to just round up illegal immigrants.

The paper suggests arresting and detaining illegal immigrants would overcrowd the jails, or require transportation to other jurisdictions. But suspects arrested for criminal activity would already be in jail. And running an occasional busload of illegal immigrants to another area jail is a small price to pay for ridding our communities of lawbreakers who are also here illegally.

The next objection is more serious: “How many local immigrants would be willing to come forward and report a crime or testify in court, if they already saw the police as immigration agents?” This would require a public relations campaign to explain that enforcement is targeted at criminals. In any case legal immigrants have nothing to fear from enforcement of illegal immigration laws. Fear can be overcome with results and community outreach. Legal immigrants will benefit greatly from reduced crime as the law-breaking illegal immigrants are removed from their communities.

The paper suggests the program is only intended to help border towns. But ICE says Herndon’s proposal will likely be accepted. There are programs already operating in places like Mecklenburg, North Carolina, certainly not a “border town”. In fact, border towns probably don’t need this program – illegal immigrants don’t stay at the border. This program is for places where illegal immigrants live – and our area has a serious population of illegal immigrants, and a serious problem of criminal activity by those illegal immigrants.

Manassas police Chief John Skinner is also concerned about the resources necessary to run a new program. Certainly it won’t be free – nothing worthwhile is. But removing a portion of the criminal population will reduce repeat offenses, and should also deter other illegal immigrants who currently see themselves as above the law and untouchable.

Rather than speculating about the program, we can examine the program in action. Mecklenburg County, North Carolina sent 12 officers through training. Sheriff Jim Pendergraph says the program “has been a success beyond what I had even imagined”. His agreement with ICE included removal of the identified offenders – but he’s captured so many illegals (over 800 so far) that ICE can’t keep up. ICE provides information to easily identify illegals, including those with out-of-state warrants: “We are finding people who are wanted in other parts of the country."

Pendergraph’s program is so successful that nearby Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloniger signed up as well. The illegal immigrants are leaving Mecklenburg and he wants to keep them out of Gaston. At least four other North Carolina counties are interested in joining the program.

So we can sit on our hands, mired in speculative fear. But I’d much prefer we take action based on the proven results and enthusiastic embrace of the program in places where it is already being used.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Crazy Location for Regional Communications Center

This weekend's Washington Post tells about the new regional communications center.

District officials have opened a high-tech emergency communications center, a landmark in their efforts to reform a troubled 911 system and better prepare the city for terrorist attacks and other crises.

But it's built in DC. If I was building a center to coordinate our area for a terrorist attack, I don't think i'd put it at ground zero.

The pink-brick Unified Communications Center, built on the grounds of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast Washington, will handle all emergency police and fire calls, house the D.C. Emergency Management Agency and serve as the mayor's command center in a disaster.

The $116 million building was inaugurated Sept. 26 during a ceremony that drew dignitaries from throughout the region, including D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The building is so state-of-the-art that even Chertoff admitted to a case of "operations center envy."

I don't think he'll be suffering from envy when we are evacuating DC and our communications hub is right in the blast zone....

Webb biggest Gaffe in tonight's debate

I made fun of Webb's raising an obscure island dispute as an important foreign policy issue, especially absurd given the possible testing of a nuclear device today by North Korea.

But his real gaffe was his comment on day labor centers.

According to the Washington Post article:

Webb accused Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress of failing to secure the borders, making the day labor centers a necessary step for local governments.

As I noted over at BVBL's site, there are several problems with this answer. First is the obvious -- most Virginians are opposed to day labor centers. Even Herndon, which embraced the idea, are now having second thoughts. Prince William County wouldn't touch day labor centers with a 10-foot-pole.

Second, the suggestion that sealing the borders on January 21, 2001 (the day Bush took office) would have eliminated all illegal immigrants in Virginia is laughable. And given that his Democratic Party opposes sealing the borders, wants to offer amnesty to most of the people here illegally now, and to offer a virtually unlimited guest worker program, it's hard to see how his blaming republicans for not "sealing the border" can be taken seriously.

But third is the true gaffe. Look back again at what Webb said -- he said that we needed day labor centers BECAUSE we didn't secure our borders. Since we have illegal immigrants, who are here because of the republicans not securing our borders, we need day labor centers.

BUT -- the argument for day labor centers was to give a place for LEGAL IMMIGRANTS to get work. They are NOT supposed to get work for illegal immigrants (although the organizations pushing the centers clearly cater to both legal and illegal immigrants). In debates on day labor centers, the need for legal immigrants to have access to good-paying day labor jobs is cited as the reason for opening day labor centers, NOT to help illegals.

Webb essentially says here that people using day labor centers are all illegal immigrants that he wishes were not here, but that are only here because of the evil republicans who didn't keep them out.

How do the legal immigrants and citizens of Virginia feel about Webb saying they are all illegal immigrants here only because republicans didn't "secure the border"? If a republican said this, we'd already have 5 articles in the Washington Post about how we were anti-hispanic.

Well, do you think the hispanic community won't pick up on Webb saying they are unwelcome interlopers, criminals here only because of the failure of republicans to keep them out?

That's what Webb said tonight in his answer about Day Labor centers.

UPDATE: I listened to Webb's answer again, and I'm not absolutely sure the Washington Post characterization of his answer is totally accurate (no surprise I guess). I'll try to get the transcript, and do another update.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Could the Foley story backfire on Kellum?

Maybe so, according to the New York Times. They sent a crack reporter out to find what they were certain would be a story of how values voters were fleeing the republicans.

So they hit a local Mercy Me concert, and asked about Foley. And what they discovered apparently shocked them so much they actually PRINTED it.

From the New York Times, Evangelicals Blame Foley, Not Republican Party:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Oct. 7 — As word of Representative Mark Foley’s sexually explicit e-mail messages to former pages spread last week, Republican strategists worried — and Democrats hoped — that the sordid nature of the scandal would discourage conservative Christians from going to the polls.

But in dozens of interviews here in southeastern Virginia, a conservative Christian stronghold that is a battleground in races for the House and Senate, many said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck-and-neck re-election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.

They had serious problems with Foley, and would happily punish Hastert IF he was found culpable, but they were waiting for proof:

To a person, those interviewed said that Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois should resign if he knew of the most serious claims against Mr. Foley and failed to stop him. They said the degree of Mr. Hastert’s responsibility remained to be seen. Many said the issue had not changed their view of Congress because, in their opinion, it could not sink any lower.

Ouch. But apparently not one of these evangelicals were deceived by the democratic party response:

But all also noted that the swift Democratic efforts to broaden the scandal to Mr. Hastert and other Republicans had added more than a whiff of partisanship to the stink of the scandal.

Seems Kellum tried to make this an issue in the race:

As the details were emerging last Tuesday, for example, Phil Kellam, the Democrat challenging Ms. Drake, called on her to demand Mr. Hastert’s immediate resignation. In a statement, Mr. Kellam said the House Republican leaders’ “lack of attention” was “perhaps more shocking” than what Mr. Foley had done.

Drew Lankford, a spokesman for Mr. Kellam, said the attacks on Ms. Drake had “painted her into a corner” because she was unwilling to denounce Mr. Hastert. Ms. Drake has said she will wait for a thorough investigation into what Mr. Hastert knew. (The matter has come up less in the Senate race between Mr. Allen and Jim Webb, the Democrat.)

But it seems Kellum's strategy of politicizing this scandal could backfire:

Brian Courtney, a Republican-leaning sales manager attending the concert, said the Foley affair had led to “the kind of mudslinging one would expect to see at an election time like this.” He added that he was paying closer attention to the “values and character” of the candidates, and that he would probably vote Republican again....
Still, many conservative churchgoers said that what stood out for them was not the politics but the individual sin. “It is not going to affect my vote because I don’t live in Florida,” said Scott O’Connell, a mechanical engineer who described himself as a fundamentalist. “But there is a bigger moral issue which I would say is the prism I view this through: I do not believe in homosexuality.”

David Thomas, a father taking his family to the concert, said that he, too, was leaning toward voting Republican and that the scandal only reinforced his conservative Christian convictions. “That is the problem we have in society,” Mr. Thomas said. “Nobody polices anybody. Everybody has a ‘right’ to do whatever.”

In an interview on Friday, Pastor Anne Gimenez of the 15,000-member Rock Church here said the scandal “doesn’t change the issues we are voting on,” like abortion, public expression of religion and same-sex marriage.

The church has been actively registering parishioners and reminding them to vote. “Every Sunday already,” Ms. Gimenez said.

A Tale of two Islands

Long, Long ago, in a debate far, far away.....

Allen asked Webb was asked about Craney Island, an island here in Virginia critical to our economy, host to a military operation, and future site of a port which Allen fought for. Webb had no idea what the island was, which Allen used to good advantage highlighting both Webb's lack of knowledge of an important economic development, AND allowing Allen to note his own acheivement. As the Washington Post tells it:

Last week, the U.S. Senate authorized a 580-acre expansion of the island, which will cost $671.3 million. As much as $26.2 million in federal funds has to be appropriated for the project. The authorization is the initial step in getting the first phase of the terminal opened by 2017.

"It's going to make us an international port of some significance," said Portsmouth Mayor James W. Holley III, an independent who credits Allen with moving the project along.

It was an excellent use of a "candidate question".

Tonight, Webb had his chance to return the favor, and he too picked an island, but not one that was all that important to Virginians, as it turns out it was an island in the south pacific: Senkaku Island.

Turns out this little island has been the center of a very long-running discussion between China and Japan. Doesn't seem like it's going anywhere, or it's a big deal, except to Webb. From the internet, we find this entry:

Which country should the islands called Diaoyu by the Chinese and Senkaku by the Japanese belong to, China or Japan? Currently, these islands are under Japanese control, but China also claims sovereignty over them. When signing the 1978 Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship, then Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping said: "Our generation is not wise enough to find common language on this [Diaoyu/Senkaku] question. The next generation will certainly be wiser. They will surely find a solution acceptable to all."

We, the people of the 21st century, are the "next generation." Although it is doubtful that we are any wiser than our predecessors, we can at least try to improve our understanding of these issues.

A first step in that direction is a well researched book on the Diaoyu/Senkaku question, Suganuma Unryu's Sovereign Rights and Territorial Space in Sino-Japanese Relations: Irredentism and the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2000).

This is actually an interesting little tale, if not particularly important to Virginians. It remains to be seen what Webb was trying to accomplish with this question, other than to remind people about Craney Island. I'm sure there's lots of islands in the world that nobody knows anything about -- but only a few of them are actually IN Virginia.

Maybe Webb has some great accomplishment related to this Chinese/Japanese island that he didn't have time to mention. Or maybe one of his racist fictional characters has business dealings there. Who knows? Maybe Jarding can explain it.

I certainly hope Webb didn't waste a valuable question in a debate simple to say "hey, I know of an island somewhere in the world that YOU don't know about, too!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Argument against Marriage Amendment is a 'Mirage'

That's the cute headline on this week's Potomac News column, Argument against Marriage Amendment is a 'Mirage', in which I debunk the argument of the pro-gay-marriage forces that their objection to the Marriage amendment has nothing to do with same-sex marriage at all:

Should marriage be between one man and one woman? That is the purpose of a constitutional amendment presented to voters this November. However, opponents of the Virginia Marriage Amendment say the issue isn't about marriage at all. They want gay marriage, but since most Virginians do not, they know they can only stop the amendment if they confuse people into voting against it.

I describe why an amendment is needed at all:

The Marriage Amendment is needed to protect Virginia from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Opponents discount this threat, but just this year a judge overturned Maryland's 33-year-old ban on same-sex marriages, leaving lawmakers scrambling to enact an amendment of their own. Waiting until a judge throws out our law is unacceptable.

I left out California, where a judge had ruled their ban unconstitutional -- because a 2-1 ruling just set aside that ruling, so now we are waiting a state supreme court ruling. You know, even if we were able to WIN such a case, it is a costly thing for the state to have to litigate.

The amendment has two paragraphs. The first paragraph defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. This is what opponents object to. Claire Gastanaga, manager of the anti-marriage-amendment Commonwealth Coalition, recently said "Our fight is to defeat this proposal so we can debate that first paragraph." But rather than debate gay marriage, a debate they believe they will lose, they instead attack the second paragraph.

It's not to hard to find articles that spell out the opposition tactics, but I was fortunate to stumble across a quote that succinctly made the point, albeit with a clmsy reference to "paragraphs". I wanted to note the amendment only had 3 sentences.

The second paragraph is needed because "marriage" is just a word. Another state could legalize same-sex marriage, but call it something different -- like "mirage." A mirage would be just like marriage, but without the name. Virginia could be forced to honor the rights and privileges afforded to "miraged" people, in direct contradiction to the expressed will of Virginians.

To prevent this, the amendment prohibits a mirage of a marriage. It says Virginia can't be forced to create or recognize an unmarried relationship, or any other union however named, which is set up to look just like a marriage. In other words, only opposite-sex couples can get married, and only married people can be recognized as being married.

If it looks like a marriage, walks like a marriage, and quacks like a marriage, it's pretending to be a marriage, and the amendment will protect us from such end-runs around the will of our citizens.

Opponents say this is "confusing." They claim this paragraph might affect any law that matches a benefit provided through marriage, like wills, contracts, or powers of attorney regarding medical care.

The only thing confusing is the arguments of the opposition trying to claim these harms. Oh, also confusing is how Kaine went from supporting the amendment, to opposed but not fighting the amendment, to opposed and vigorously fighting the amendment, all in the space of one year.

But the Virginia Attorney General says their argument is without merit. He issued a detailed legal opinion covering each specific objection raised by opponents. His rebuttal is really not complicated. Basically, the rights and privileges that the opponents claim would be in danger are not defined by marriage, and therefore can't be misconstrued as imitating marriage.

For example, leaving money to your partner using a will is not a "marriage relationship." Virginia law allows you to leave money to anybody. Likewise, entering into contracts is a right afforded to every person. The laws cited by opponents define rights and privileges without regard to a marriage contract, so those laws cannot be interpreted as an attempt to set up a mirage of a marriage.

McDonell's brief is pretty readable, although a bit dry. It is way too long to summarize neatly, but it deals convincingly with each of 5 straw-men put up by the opposition, of which I just glance over here, on my way to the opponent's big toy gun:

The opponent's most common scare tactic is to suggest the amendment will prevent the enforcement of domestic violence laws for unmarried people. Ohio enacted a similar amendment, and opponents' claim that in two cases a court found the amendment overruled the laws. However, in both cases higher courts threw out these rulings, so the amendment did not affect Ohio's domestic violence laws.

Further, the problem the lower court found in Ohio wasn't the amendment's wording, but rather the Ohio Domestic Violence law itself, which was restricted to a person "living as a spouse." The Virginia law specifically includes non-married relationships -- so in Virginia, protection from domestic abuse is not a "right approximating marriage," it is in fact a right of every person in a domestic relationship.

Frankly, I was surprised to find Ohio gave special protection to spouses that was not available to anybody else, although their courts have ruled both before and after thier amendment that "spouse" was meant to cover these other relationships. Would be better if Ohio re-wrote their law to say so.

State Del. Bob Marshall recently debunked the complaints of "unintended consequences." He noted that 13 of the 20 states with Marriage Amendments have similar language barring "mirage" marriages. There are 99 million residents in those states, but the ACLU has not found a single complaint that rights to contract, to probate a will or to sign a durable power of attorney with respect to medical care have been infringed.

It was nice of Del. Marshall to address the local PWC GOP recently, and provide this piece of information.

In summary:

In short, the argument that the amendment is confusing, or will lead to unintended consequences, has no basis in reality. It is a smokescreen used by organizations that support gay marriage, but know most people don't. They hope to derail the amendment, knowing it will take several years to craft a new one -- years in which they hope the courts, or circumstances, will shift in favor of gay marriage.

If you are wondering where the line was where I say we need to ban same-sex marriage, you won't find it. I figure if the OPPONENTS of the amendment aren't making the argument publicly, why should I refute their non-existant argument.

Maybe the "mirage" and "marriage" thing is a little too cute, or trite. But it might stick in people's heads just because the words are similar.

Williamsburg Blogging

Wow, is it wet. Me and the kids are doing a weekend of holloween adventure at Busch Gardens.

Got off to a soggy cancelled start. BG closed today because of rain. So I drove down at 7:30pm (i know not to try to go ANYWHERE while the crazies are doing their hour-long commutes to and from work clogging up the roads we all paid for).

Wasn't too much better, took me over 3 hours to get down here. Very wet, very tiring.

Now we are getting to bed (except me) to try again tomorrow, hoping for some minor breaks in the weather.

My favorite hotel in Wburg has finally got high-speed wireless, and I'm trying it out.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tape Delay Live Blog Allen's Virginia Address

OK, it's coming up. Scene/song from Lost. I Don't watch that show.

Here is is, Allen and his wife, standing together.

He decries the lack of issues in the campaign.

Acknowledges that some of the distraction was his own fault.

(This is great, wish he had done this earlier)

Going through his achievements. It always made me laugh when the commenters at NLS would run around screaming "But what has he done", and we'd post a dozen things and they'd be back the next day saying 'But what has he done'.

2 minutes isn't enough. I'd love to see a candidate do a 10-minute presentation about an issue, to show how complicated the real world is and how sound bites won't cut it.

Perot was a nutcase, but his 30-minute shows were very educational.

UPDATE: YouTube has it now:

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Allen To Make Major Address on Issues Monday

It seems Allen is going to do something Perot-esque in his Senate race, buying 2 minutes of time on 4 major TV stations on Monday at 7:58 PM to discuss the issues important to Virginians in the Senate campaign.

Perot of course was famous for his 30-minute info-mercials about issues; Allen isn't doing that. But it sounds like it's just going to be Allen talking, not a glitzy TV-spot.

Here's some excerpts from the announcement:


On Monday evening, Senator Allen will be giving a major address to Virginians on statewide television. This two-minute talk will be a defining moment in this campaign. In the days to come, you will hear Senator Allen, Susan Allen and thousands of concerned Virginians reminding Virginia voters of what is important in deciding their vote:

Democrats know when this race is about his record, issues, and ideas George Allen wins. That's why they are attacking him and attacking him fiercely.

Senator Allen believes Virginians deserve to have this campaign focused on the issues and the differences between his views and record of performance and those of James Webb. So, he is going to bring this campaign back to where it belongs.

Here are the stations and approximate viewing times tomorrow evening:

NOVA: WRC-TV 7:58pm