Thursday, May 31, 2007

That's a funny way to support your own candidate.

Have the Gill-haters ran out of bad things they could make up about him?

It seemed so, since they started attacking people who weren't even running for office. They've worked hard to convince us not to vote for Alamoudi, or Asim. Of course, neither of them are running. But tonight, things took a bizarre twist, as GoodByeKen (won't link to it, find it yourself) repeated an attack on Julie Lucas that BVBL is hosting at his blog, from an anonymous commenter.

When I still had to read that blog, most of the so-called "Gill supporters" were actually Gill haters pretending to be Gill supporters to say stupid things. Now it seems they've moved on to trashing their own candidate.

You know things are getting bad when you host attacks on your OWN candidate just so you can blame the opponent for them. For the record, the only place I've read any personal attacks on Julie Lucas is at BVBL's blog (and now JM's place).

And as you all know, BVBL CAN and WILL delete posts and ban commenters. That makes BVBL an editor, and responsible for what is written in his blog and his comments.

So, one must conclude that BVBL WANTS these attacks on Lucas in his blog. And since he's banning pro-Gill posters, you can figure who it is that's posting these Lucas attacks.

BVBL should just pull the posts if they are offensive (I mean offensive in the normal sense, not offensive in the BVBL sense of containing factual refutations of absurd charges).

Or he could just ban everybody from reading his blog. Then we'd all be better off.

Meanwhile, if you are wondering whether anything you read at BVBL should matter, let this sink in. BVBL banned me and deleted my comments because I was correcting his errors and posting factual refutations of the more outrageous and unsubstantiated claims.

But when an anonymous blogger posts trash about his own candidate, BVBL leaves it up for the world to read. BVBL has put his own political ambition above the personal well-being of his chosen candidate for office.

This "do anything to win" mentality will be the death of civility in our culture. Meanwhile, what's Help Save Manassas doing to stop the Senate Immigration/Amnesty bill, while BVBL's owner and their president is taking all his time attacking a candidate who opposes the Senate Bill and would be a strong voice of support in the fight against illegal immigrants in our state?

UPDATE: Wow, GBK wanted to get this attack on Lucas out so bad that he got it syndicated three times, under two different names, to the blog aggregators. Of course, unlike BVBL who claims to be supporting Republicans, GBK is an attack blog against a good conservative Republican officeholder (that BVBL allows to dominate his "conservative" blog).

So it's no surprise GBK wants to get this story out, without having to take credit for it. If BVBL had deleted the comment the democrats wouldn't have this to smear our good republican candidate with.

Update 06/01: James Young over at Skeptical Observor also denounces this attack, and actually refutes it to some degree as well (I decided not to even mention the actual claim). This means that the two posters most identified as "Gill Supporters" (even though I'm neutral) have denounced the attack, while the two most rabid Gill haters have hosted and propogated the attack on Lucas.

Don't Stop Thinking About Tommorrow

Maybe the jobs of tomorrow don't require spelling skills...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Updated for moderation

After saturday, we will have a Republican nominee for the 51st district House of Delegates race.

It could Julie Lucas, a good Republican with a long history of service to our party and committee, who has served the community with distinction as a member of the school board, and in various other capacities.

Or it could be Faisal Gill, also a good Republican with a long history of service to our party and committee, who served his country in the Military, and in the White House, and in the Department of Homeland Security, as well as serving on the local Housing board and in various other capacities.

Which ever candidate wins on Saturday will deserve support. In that spirit, I am spending some time cleaning up some previous posts. Mostly minor re-writes, removing names and changing objects to focus on the issues that were raised in the past few weeks, rather than focusing on people. I'll continue after the election.

I hope some others will come to their senses, and clean up their own messes. There's been a lot of rampant speculation and unsubstantiated gossip thrown around. A lot of "I've heard this", or "it looks like", or "there might be's". The ethical thing is to contact people when you think they've done something, to see if there's more to the story. Obviously this week is "dump the garbage" week at some sites. There's no excuse. But after Saturday, they'll be no time pressure, so hopefully a little more fact-checking might be in evidence.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Misinformation is harmful to the 51st district convention process

I do not live in the 51st district, and I have not endorsed a candidate. But as a republican and a member of the Prince William County republican committee, I am very concerned that our convention process, and our nomination fights in general, be done fairly, above-board, and without suggestion of impropriety. Moreso, as a blogger, I want the information I provide to be accurate, not half-truths to support an agenda. I should think that all bloggers would feel the same -- we should convince based on the better argument, not based on ignorance or lies.

That means that, before reporting whatever tidbits of information are leaked by a candidate, we should all verify the story, the WHOLE story, before reporting it. That is especially true in the case of this convention, where there is already widespread fear, uncertainty, and doubt being cast by a small but vocal band of Gill Haters who will do anything to tear him down, and that includes making things up and hiding the truth from their readers (some going so far as to delete facts that refute their charges).

In the latest case of a half-truth being used to try to sway public opinion, a post over at Virginia Virtucon titled "More about those 51st convo delegate filing forms", they provide the following account about a supposed act taken by the credentials committee:
We’ve received some additional information on some of the convention delegate filings for the 51st Dist. GOP convo. Among the filings said to have been accepted were three from one family where the signatures were all the same — not the same handwriting mind you — one person signed three forms with his own name. When contacted, this individual admitted to signing all three forms, yet apparently all three were still allowed.
That statement is incorrect. I've posted a comment over their to correct the misstatement and to provide all the facts. I wanted to cover it here as well, because BVBL picked it up, and I'm certain he's written a lot more nasty stuff about it (although I can't read his blog so I don't know what he said).

I do not blame the author of the post at VV. My guess is he reported what he was told, and THAT person, probably involved in a campaign, which only gave him half the story. I'm guessing VV won't make the mistake of accepting THAT person's reports without checking the facts again.

I wasn't actually reading VV. Instead, I was having a phone conversation with Mike May, co-chair of the credentials committee, regarding the RPV response about the deadline for "applied for registration". He was helping me get my facts straight for a posting I made on that subject (I thank Mike for everything he is doing, he is serious about doing this job right).

During our conversation, he mentioned the post at VV, and then gave me the facts. We then exchanged e-mails to flesh out a statement I made over there on the subject. Here is my full response:
As to the suggestion that 3 delegates were accepted on the same signature, that is false. Mike May (credentials commitee co-chair) has given me the facts. There were four forms with the same signature — a father and his three family members. The father signed all four forms. Then there were three additional forms with the individual signatures of each family member. All seven forms were submitted, rather than the 3 invalid forms being discarded. The committee correctly rejected the incorrect and duplicate forms, but accepted the properly signed forms (the father’s original, and the family’s three duplicates with proper signatures).

And in an abundance of caution, the committee is requiring a sworn statement for all cases where the signature on the forms was ever in doubt because of duplicates where the signatures did not look the same. They are also requiring sworn statements if there are any discrepancies between the name listed on the form and the name provided by the registrar (e.g. if a delegate's registration name is "Donald Duck", but they put "Don Duck" on the form), and also if there is a discrepancy b/t the address listed on the form and the address listed on by the registrar (provided that person’s address per the registrar is still in the 51st).

So in NO case is a delegate being accepted on the basis of a form with an invalid signature or with any other invalid information. Only forms submitted by May 21st that have valid signatures are being accepted.

It is especially important, given the volatility surrounding this convention caused by some vocal gill-haters, that responsible bloggers get the entire truth, and not stir the pot with inaccurate or incomplete information.

I have spoken with Mike May about this issue. I sent the following statement to Mike May and received his approval before posting:

He expressed concern that the committee's job was hard enough without people leaking partial information. He also said while he reads the blogs regularly, he has not had time to comment and respond to every issue that was being raised in the blogosphere. He advised that if any blogger whatsoever wanted information regarding the credentials committee process, he was available. All they need to do is give him a call. He also emphasized his neutrality in the race and his attempts, along with his co-chairman Delegate McQuigg, to keep everything honest and above board.
I urge anyone who has a question to take Mike up on his offer, rather than engage in speculation and the spreading of half-truth and rumor that will only harm our reputation without acheiving anything.
My point here, beyond answering that specific point, is to urge here as well for everybody to take up Mike on his offer. The partial information is making their job harder, and it's not helping the candidates. There is no excuse for not having all the facts, we have been offered access. And there is certainly no excuse for INCORRECT information such as this.

The problem with RPV's response to the "registration" question

(Editor's note: The RPV responses below have been edited to remove individual names, changing them to generic pronouns)

A previous post contained my argument for why registration (and filing for registration) should not have a deadline prior to the night before the convention, which I sent to the committee chairs. I received a reply which included the RPV response.

The RPV response was as follows:
(PARA 1): I think it is reasonable to argue that application for registration needs to have been made by the date of election of the Delegates. Only those who meet the qualifications for participation are eligible to be elected a Delegate. Thus, if a person who is not a registered voter files a prefiling form, and if that person at least files an application to register to vote before their election as a Delegate, they would be qualified to be elected a Delegate.
According to that paragraph, a person should be allowed to register, or file for registration, AFTER the cutoff for the delegate forms. The date of cutoff, argues RPV, should be the date at which the delegate must meet the requirement -- in this case, the date of a mass meeting in the case where there was overfiling.

This is exactly what I argued before. The form clearly indicates you only have to meet the requirements ON THE DAY you take formal action as a delegate. I said that would be the convention date, but here the RPV says that, if you needed a mass meeting ahead of the convention to select delegates from an overfiled list for a precinct, you would need them registered (or filed) at THAT time.

And when are the mass meetings scheduled? June 1st, 2007: The call regarding mass meetings says the following:

The Republican Mass Meetings for precincts in the District shall be held, if necessary, on Friday June 1, 2007 at the McCoart Government Center, Woodbridge, or at an alternate site and/or time as determined by the Chairman, (...)

In the event the number of persons in a precinct who pre-file as delegate to the convention is equal to or less than the total number of delegates allowed from that precinct, all of those pre-filed persons from that precinct will be deemed to be elected and the Mass Meeting for that precinct will not be held.(...)

The results for each Mass Meeting shall be reported to the 51st House District Republican Committee Chairman or his designee no later than 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2007 at Gar-Field High School, Woodbridge, Virginia.

So, if we had overfiled a precinct, the RPV would allow delegates to apply for registration up until June 1st, 2007. That was the Gill campaign request, and the RPV says that is a reasonable date. Except, in our case, we have no over-filed precincts, so there will be no mass meetings.

And here, the RPV in my opinion mis-applied their own argument:

(PARA 2): If, however, there is no separate election for Delegates because there was no overfiling, the date of election as a Delegate is the same as the date of the prefiling. Thus, if the person in question has not applied to be a registered voter by that date, they are not qualified to be elected a Delegate.
I have two objections to their "date of election of delegates" argument. First, I would argue that the date the delegates are "deemed" to be elected should be the date the mass meeting was SCHEDULED, not the date the forms were filed, or some other date.
  1. The mass meeting date was the date specified for "electing the delegates".
  2. The mass meetings are not cancelled until a formal ruling that there were no overfilings, which doesn't occur at the filing date.
  3. Imagine that on Tuesday, the credentials committee finds that a boundary was mis-specified, and therefore one precinct IS in fact overfiled. The mass meeting for that precinct would be held. So really, until the date of the mass meeting, we cannot be absolutely sure that the mass meeting will be cancelled.
  4. There are NO dates specified in the call or RPV plan for "delegates are deemed to be elected". Absent any other date, the date used SHOULD be the date upon which they would HAVE been elected, had the election been necessary. If the RPV plan wanted to specify a different date, they could have -- so again, when a different date could be specified, but isn't, the law requires that no such date be arbitrarily assigned.

Therefore, the date at which the delegates are "deemed to be elected" should have been June 1, 2007, and the RPV informal recommendation would be to allow delegates to apply for registration up until that date.

Second, I don't believe the "date of election of delegates" was itself important. The purpose of invoking the delegate election in (PARA 1) was NOT because electing the delegates was itself specified as the date registration was required. Rather, it was simply the first formal act by delegate. IF you had to elect the delegates, that was a formal action which would require that the delegates being elected be VERIFIED, thus meaning they had to meet all the requirements to vote at the time of the meeting to elect them.

So in the absense of a formal action to elect the delegates, the date of requirements should have been set to the first date the delegates DID take a formal act, which would be on the day of the convention (Although a uniform application of the date of the mass meetings would make sense)

Beyond the logical arguments above that the RPV mis-applied it's own rational argument (which SHOULD have lead to a June 1, 2007 cutoff date), there is an equal protection argument to be made against their ruling. In fact, their ruling sets TWO different cut-off dates, based on circumstances beyond the control of the delegate, and which could apply differently to different delegates.

The RPV says that if there is no overfiling, the date for application for registration is May 21, but if there IS overfiling, the date for application for registration is June 1st.

So, what if SOME precints were over-filed, but other precincts were NOT overfiled? According to the RPV guidance, the delegates from the over-filed precincts have until June 1st to apply for registration and be accepted to the convention. But the delegates from the other precincts had to apply for registration by May 21st or be rejected.

Surely we run afoul of equal protection under the constitution when two delegates to the same convention have different rights and deadlines simply based on whether there is a mass meeting for the district.

I believe the credentials committee should use the reasoning presented by the RPV in their first paragraph (PARA 1), and set the cutoff date to June 1, 2007, as the RPV would have recommended had there been mass meetings.

It makes NO sense, notwithstanding the RPV guidance, to set a cutoff date for the application for registration EARLIER when there is no mass meeting than it would be if there WAS a mass meeting.

That said, I am impressed by the work of the 51st credentials committee, and wish that everybody would treat them with politeness and respect. We can disagree about the decisions without resorting to personal attacks.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Google watching, judging, controlling your life?

In addition to the many ways the Google is manipulated by partisans seeking to deceive the internet readership, I have some real problems with the company. A private company, it provides little of the safeguards against misuse of all the information it collects than the government (I may explain that seeming contradiction to the normal thought process of a conservative later on in an update).

While I love searching books, I think Google's plan to put books online without compensation is theft of copyright. I hate that they collect information on my blog searches, and provide it to other companies for payment. I don't like their pro-censorship position (google Tieneman Square on the china version), their capitulation to governments around the world to limit their people's access to the web information while pretending they aren't.

Not to mention their disdain for liberal over conservative, their celebration of secular events while ignoring the patriotic and religious (see their cute iconic treatments on "holidays", and of course the shear "size" they have reached -- I don't trust the "big guys", they are too strong.

So today I found myself shaking my head in agreement at this article from the Financial Times, titled "Google's goal: to organize your daily life":

Google’s ambition to maximise the personal information it holds on users is so great that the search engine envisages a day when it can tell people what jobs to take and how they might spend their days off.

“The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ”

But to do that, they are going to need to know a little bit more about you:

Mr Schmidt told journalists in London: “We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.”

He said Google’s newly relaunched iGoogle service, which allows users to personalise their own Google search page and publish their own content, would be a key feature.

Another service, Google personalised search, launched two years ago, allows users to give Google permission to store their web-surfing history, what they have searched and clicked on, and use this to create more personalised search results for them

So while you think Google is being kind to you, offering personalized service, it turns out it's just part of their plan to learn so much about you that they can run your life for you. All of course to help you, because you might not know yourself well enough and Google will know what is good for you.

Some people have recognized the danger:

Earlier this year, however, Google bowed to concerns from privacy activists in the US and Europe, by agreeing to limit the amount of time it keeps information about the internet searches made by its users to two years.

Two years is a long time.

Google has also faced concerns that its proposed $3.1bn acquisition of DoubleClick will lead to an erosion of online privacy.

Fears have been stoked by the potential for Google to build up a detailed picture of someone’s behaviour by combining its records of web searches with the information from DoubleClick’s “cookies”, the software it places on users’ machines to track which sites they visit.

Unfortunately, we haven't learned the lesson of the fox guarding the henhouse:

Mr Schmidt said this year that the company was working on technology to reduce concerns.

So Google's goal is to know everything about us, so they can run our lives, but since people are concerned about that, Google is going to fix it so they can't do what they have staked their future on doing. Right.

Gee, imagine next year, when someone wants to know why half the republicans in Prince William County were so interested in terrorist organizations? I sure hope nobody uses those Google searches to "associate" people with a fixation on pro-terrorist organizations. That would be such a shame.

My Call to the 51st District Credentials Committee -- Treat the new people fairly

UPDATE 5/27 10pm: I received a response that gave me some answers and raised others. I'm working both on getting approval to post information from the response, and to send my new questions to the people who originated the response because I think I have a valid argument and want them to tell me if they considered it.

The following is the text of an e-mail I sent to the chairs of the convention credentials committee, Michelle McQuigg and Mike May. I know these two are smart, fair people and, if they are given the right facts, can find a way to do the right thing, at least i hope so.

I understand the pressure on them by those who oppose Gill is fierce, and if it's anything like the threats made against Gill supporters at BVBL, it may include campaigning for their opponents or running smear campaigns against them.

Anyway, here is the letter:


Mike, Michelle,

I consider you honest, decent, and intelliegent people. I thank you for serving on the credentials committee. I write as a disinterested 3rd party to the race for the 51st delegate nomination. I am not in the district, and have not endorsed either candidate.

However, the piece I read about the committee's work over at Virginia Virtucon disturbed me. Specifically, I am bothered by the approach that seems to be coming to the fore regarding delegates who have not yet registered to vote.

First, the committee seems to be under the impression that a person must be registered in order to sign their delegate form. That is incorrect. The signature does not apply to qualifications, and that is a simple fact, and shouldn't be the subject of a debate by the candidates. I provide an explanation following my remarks here, lifted from a blog entry I constructed about this fight.

Second, the report suggested you would ask for RPV input and accept their response. I thought that was an unnecessary step, but supported it because I assume the RPV will give you the same answer I provide below.

However, I've read rumors that the committee seems to be leaning toward setting a false, arbitrary deadline for registration, one which will needlessly disenfranchise valid voters without providing any benefit except to one candidate over the other, something your committee must fight to avoid.

The following are my arguments on those two points, first what the signature actually means, and second why the deadline for registration (or in this case, FILING for registration), can only be the day of the convention (or for practical purposes, 5 pm on the day prior to the convention, when the registrar closes).

First, here's the entire text from the delegate form, for reference, verifiable through a link :

(I included here all the qualifications from my post below, I won't repeat it again)

First, the last paragraph is the "signature" paragraph. The first three are the "qualification" paragraphs.

Second, the signature paragraph specifiesTHREE claims made by the delegate when signing the form. There are three things the delegate attests to:

  1. They have READ the qualifications. Note that at the time they sign, they neither have to MEET the qualifications, nor do they attest that they meet the qualifications.
  2. They are in accord with the principles of the republican party.
  3. They will support the nominees of the Republican party in the ensuing election.

Third, it is clear the qualifications are to be met as of the day of the convention, NOT the date of submission of the delegate form. It's obvious, but I offer these seven facts as proof:

  1. The person obviously must meet the qualifications on the day of the convention. If a delegate moved from the district after submission but before the election, they would be ineligible. So even if you verify prior to the convention, the person MUST still meet the qualifications on the day of the convention.
  2. The rule specifies that those who meet qualifications "may participate as members" "in mass meetings", etc. The qualifications exist ONLY to control participation IN the meetings. . Since participation is ON the date, and the rule specifies NO OTHER date, it must apply to that date, not some arbitrary earlier date, be that the date of submission, of acceptance, or the submittal cut-off date.
  3. If the rules intended to specify a different date, they could have easily been written to do so. They don't, therefore the presumption is there was no intent to do so. For example, the rule could have said "must be registered as of the date of signature". Or "must be registered as of the cutoff date for submission of delegate forms". Or "must be registered 2 weeks prior to the meeting". When a rule could clearly specify a restriction, and does not, it means there is no further restriction.
  4. I refer you to the case of Tom DeLay, where a judge ruled that rules regarding the qualification of candidates are only enforced on the date of the election, and therefore the fact that Tom DeLay was not a registered voter or even a resident of his district on a date before the election did NOT make him ineligible as a candidate for the election.
  5. We have NEVER before applied a rule about registration that required registration before the convention. If a delegate got a valid voter card and brought it on the day of election, they were allowed to vote. This would be the first time we applied a rule to a date other than the convention. When in doubt, do what you've ALWAYS done, not something new that benefits one candidate, and disenfranchises good-faith voters.
  6. Rule 5 of the RPV plan (found in paragraph 3 above), allowing FILED applications to count as registrations, must obviously follow the same time guidelines as if the registration HAD been accepted. After all, the purpose of the rule is to cover the case where the delegate TRIED to register, but through no fault of their own could not get a voter card, because the SBE had closed registrations (due to an election). If we would have allowed the registration had they been open, we HAVE to allow the FILED registration by rule 5.
  7. Precident. Delegates HAVE been sent to get registered after the filing deadlines, even the day of a convention. The only time a delegate has been rejected is when the delegate missed the deadline for the day of the convention.

Fourth, the 3rd paragraph clearly states that delegates who have filed papers to register to vote shall still be considered a "qualified and legal voter", if the books "have been closed in connection with a local election". The registrar's books ARE currently closed due to the local primary election. They closed on May 13th, and will be closed until June 12th.

Given this rule, and that the rules of eligibility apply on the day of the convention, it is clear that for the 51st convention, ANY delegate who has proof of filing an application for registration before the convention, by rule must be considered a "qualified and legal voter". Whatever your opinion of this rule, the rule is clear, and there can be no argument of fact or law on this point. (I believe the committee can adopt rigid standards to ensure that these voters will pass registration).

I don't care who these delegates are for, and I have ALWAYS fought for inclusion rather than exclusion. We do our party a grave disservice is we spend time looking for reasons to REJECT voters, rather than ACCEPT voters. Any rejection based on an arbitrary date which was never specified would be a travesty of the process.

Let me provide one more thing to ponder. We could easily have amended the RPV plan to remove this clause. They added three items last year, and yet they kept the clause. So we must assume the RPV has this clause, allowing FILED registrations, for a reason.

So I've heard some poeple argue the "deadline" for this "filed registration" should be May 13th, since that is "30 days before the primary", an SBE deadline. That is an obviously illogical argument. If RPV wanted the deadline to coincide with primary deadlines, they could have simply removed this item from the plan, since before May 13 registration was still OPEN and so the people would have cards.

It is clear the intent of the RPV was to allow republicans who were NOT using a primary to keep registering voters PAST any arbitrary deadline governed by the SBE cutoff dates. And having removed THAT deadline, the RPV plan provides NO other deadline than the obvious one -- which is AT THE MEETING ITSELF.

For the RPV plan to have REJECTED the arbitrary deadline set by SBE activity, only to have a committee REPLACE that deadline with a deadline dreamed up in a CONVENTION COMMITTEE without prior notice to those who desire to be delegates, would indeed be a travesty.

This is not about being "fair" to the candidates. This is not about the candidates at all. Each candidate has equal claim to every delegate who shows up to vote, as every candidate is officially neutral, and free to vote for either candidate. This is instead about fairness to the DELEGATE.

In this case, you have delegates who read the delegate form, which clearly states they can register up until the day of the convention. Acting in accord with the clear reading of the rules, they have filled out valid registration applications, and are submitting them in a manner that, absent an SBE freeze on registrations, would provide them with valid VOTER cards well before the convention.

To tell those delegates that we are arbitrarily CHANGING the rules, and taking away THEIR right to vote for the Republican of their choice, would be wrong, and would be in my opinion actionable.

I could be wrong about the RPV response, but I don't see how they could read this any way other than I have, and I would expect if you hired an independent lawyer to look over the document they would tell you exactly what I just told you.

I do NOT work for either candidate, and neither candidate has talked to me about this issue or asked me to send this letter. I am doing this only in the interest of fairness to the new registrants, the new members of the Republican party, who I fear you will DRIVE AWAY from the party before they ever get to participate.

We WANT new members. We want new Republicans willing to give up their Saturdays to vote. We should encourage these new voters, and do everything in our power to get them qualified. We should NOT be looking for excuses to throw them away -- I can guarantee you our opposition party will be HAPPY to welcome them with open arms.

Thank you for your time,

Another old answered story rehashed - UPDATED

Update 5/30: there is an article in the print-only Washington Jewish Week on this subject. I've made a major re-write to focus on the points of interest and remove misinformation based on the faulty reprint at BVBL.

The version BVBL had when I captured it was apparently re-typed, and introduced most of the errors I caught. My suspicion was reasonable given BVBL's lack of a source and the typos that BVBL had written it, but he just copied it poorly.

Of course, because I worked from the bad version BVBL had, it led me to bad assumptions. While those were the result of the BVBL version's errors, I should have waited to confirm the language of the actual article. So while I was right that the version at BVBL was not an original newspaper article, as everybody now knows, I was still "wrong" because there was a real original, it's just not the one that appeared at BVBL.

BVBL has taken to posting unsourced "newspaper articles" provided with no date, faxed to him by unnamed people, purporting to be written by a famous lawyer, which BVBL admits can't be accessed online, but which mention the current race for the 51st convention, and remarkably says almost word for word stuff written AT BVBL the past two months.

Now, it is possible that all of this is really true. With BVBL, you just never know, once in a while there are true things posted. In fact, I have a call into the lawyer in question, so we should know in no time what the truth of the matter is. (Update 5/30: I received confirmation, but BVBL's version has errors not in the real article).

I won't say much more tonight, except to summarize three things:

1. the argument made is derivative and specious. There's nothing new.
2. Update: It was in Washington Jewish Week, but not yet the online edition. I hadn't thought of who the author's target audience was, and assumed it would be the convention delegates. I was wrong.
3. The article repeats the disproven charges of error by Gill in his disclosures. I researched and and took the time to write at least two comments covering aspects of this which I posted over at BVBL. Those comments were deleted. But the facts are that Faisal Gill had a high-security clearance, was fully qualified to have that clearance, fully disclosed as required by law ALL of his associations, and was cleared after an investigation of EXACTLY the concerns raised by the "two senators". See "Faisal Gill Qualfied for This Position".

The article contains some really good stuff that is true:
On the surface, Gill is about what one would expect from a GOP candidate. Conservative on all big issues, lawyer, Navy JAG Corps. Gill even has the requisite Washingtonesque government job history, a former director of intelligence policy for the Department of Homeland Security’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate. Surely a man with extremist affiliations would not hold such a sensitive job?
It could have stopped there. It's right about Gill's qualification, and it is absolutely right that a man with "extremist affiliations" would not hold that job. And in fact, the investigators made that clear in their report. Gill was completely investigated and was found to be MORE than qualified for the position.
We must remember that accusation by the government does not equal guilt, and even terrorists deserve legal representation. Lawyers who step up to represent unpopular defendants deserve praise for helping our system function.
That is surely true. Not just about lawyers, but about so much else.

Notice of a fair bit of editing

I re-assessed my blog entries of the last day. Obviously, I was somewhat perturbed that literally hours of hard work, research, and writing, all intended to correct false impressions and statements, were summarily deleted without warning.

But I have always said that I want to be about ideas and issues, and not personalities and people. There is a time when you must refer to people by name, especially public figures, and sometimes I will do so.

But whenever possible, I like to deal with the issue at hand, not the people involved in the issue. That is true even when, as in this case, a person might be intertwined with the issue.

Plus, my protagonist is bigger than I am, and in better shape, and could beat me up if I'm not careful. :-)

So, I have edited my posts of the last day, removing (I think) every reference to a name, and replacing it with the name of the blog, BVBL (Black Velvet Bruce Li). I may have missed something, or used "Lee" instead of "Li". Some places may not make quite as much sense either.

While doing this, I did some fairly involved edits of my posts, in order to make the new blog-centric focus gramatically correct. I also removed some words, mostly to make my arguments more concise, but occasionally because they were too harsh, or asserted as too strong an opinion something that would be more like "motive" -- I've explained in the past that discussing what is DONE is more productive than speculating as to the motive.

I did leave my speculation about the motive for the comment deletions, because not only do I believe it to be true, it is also a good argument to make. Whatever the intent, BVBL's actions have the effect of insulating that blog from having to answer for it's false claims, unproven assertions, downright nutty ideas, and inaccurate and misleading partial quotes from legal documents.

So, for the 3 people that read this, that is why I have edited all these posts.

Thank you for your time.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Should Delegates be required to affirm their pledges?

Update: re-written to correct typo.

BVBL claims that a majority of his readers voted to support Jeff Dion in the general election if Faisal won. I don't suppose he restricted voting to 51st district people, but for his poll to have any meaning, it would have to include 51st district people, and likely delegates to the convention.

So it seems clear that there is a good chance some delegates to the convention are on record that they will NOT vote for Faisal Gill. It is with that in mind that I write this post.

Each delegate to the 51st convention was required to sign an oath, based on the following COMPLETE text, verifiable through a link :

Qualifications for participation: All legal and qualified voters of the 51st District under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions, or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.

In addition to the foregoing, to be in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, a person otherwise qualified hereunder shall not have participated in Virginia in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party after March 1, 2004. A single exception shall be approved for a voter that renounces affiliation with any other party in writing, and who expresses in writing that he/she is in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and intends, at the time of the writing, to support the nominees of the Republican Party in the future. Any voter that utilizes the foregoing exception, and thereafter participates in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party, shall not have the benefit of the exception thereafter.

A person who has made application for registration and meets all other qualification requirements, but whose name does not appear on the local registration books solely because of the books having been closed in connection with a local election, will nonetheless be deemed a legal and qualified voter.

I have read the Qualifications for Participation and affirm that I am in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, and state my intention to support the nominees of the Republican Party in the ensuing election. If I have participated in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party since March 1, 2004, I hereby renounce any affiliation with that party.


Several things are clear.

First, the last paragraph is the "signature" paragraph. The first three are the "qualification" paragraphs.

Second, the signature paragraph specifies the claims made by the delegate when signing the form. There are three things the delegate attests to:

  1. They have READ the qualifications. Note that at the time they sign, they neither have to MEET the qualifications, nor do they attest that they meet the qualifications.
  2. They are in accord with the principles of the republican party.
  3. They will support the nominees of the Republican party in the ensuing election.

Third, it is clear the qualifications are to be met as of the day of the convention, NOT the date of submission of the delegate form. It's obvious, but I offer these four facts as proof:

  1. The person must meet the qualifications on the day of the convention. If a delegate moved from the district after submission but before the election, they would be ineligible.
  2. The rule specifies "may participate as members" "in mass meetings", etc. There is no other times specified other than the time of participation, so the rule must apply to that date, not some arbitrary earlier date, be that the date of submission, of acceptance, or the submittal cut-off date.
  3. If the rules intended to specify a different date, they could have easily been written to do so. They don't, therefore the presumption is there was no intent to do so.
  4. I refer you to the case of Tom DeLay, where a judge ruled that rules regarding the qualification of candidates are only enforced on the date of the election, and therefore the fact that Tom DeLay was not a registered voter or even a resident of his district on a date before the election did NOT make him ineligible as a candidate for the election.

Fourth, the 3rd paragraph clearly states that delegates who have filed papers to register to vote shall still be considered a "qualified and legal voter", if the books "have been closed in connection with a local election". The registrar's books ARE currently closed due to the local primary election. They closed on May 13th, and will be closed until June 12th.

Given this rule, and that the rules of eligibility apply on the day of the convention, it is clear that for the 51st convention, ANY delegate who has proof of filing an application for registration before the convention, by rule must be considered a "qualified and legal voter". Whatever your opinion of this rule, the rule is clear, and there can be no argument of fact or law on this point. (I believe the committee can adopt rigid standards to ensure that these voters will pass registration).

Fifth, what is crystal clear from the delegate form is this: When the delegate SIGNED the form, they were pledging to support all Republican nominees in the next election. That includes the winner of the 51st delegate convention. So any person who signed their delegate form, but does NOT plan to vote for the winner of the convention, is ineligible to be a delegate to the convention. There can be no argument of fact about THAT either.

Sixth, the first paragraph specifies that, in order to be a qualified delegate ON THE DAY OF THE CONVENTION, you must be willing to attest ORALLY, or in WRITING, that you STILL intend to vote for the nominee of the convention. So, lest someone wishes to argue that they intended "at the time of signature" to vote, but have only now changed their mind, the rules clearly indicate your pledge applies on the day of the convention.

Conclusion: Because several potential delegates have voted in a BVBL poll that they intend to vote for the Democrat instead of Faisal Gill, it is imperative that those known to have so stated be required stand up publicly at the convention, and orally attest to their intent to support Faisal Gill should he win the nomination. If they will not do so, they must by rule be disqualified as a delegate.

(Actually, I probably would not push for that, I'm just making a point. It's not Gill whose campaign is trying to take away delegate's right to vote.)

Maybe they could have the entire body stand, and take the pledge en-mass, to remind people of their solemn duty and their pledge for which they affixed their name.

People have a right to not support Faisal Gill. But those who make that choice are not qualified to be delegates to the convention, and should be prohibited from voting. Republican conventions are for those who pledge to support the winner, not for those who will only support their candidate.

Finally, it could well be that ANY single person can rise and require the pledge. Paragraph one states "and who, if requested, express in open meeting". There is no qualifier on that "request". If the rules had intended that the request require adoption by the convention, it would say "if requested by the convention", or "requested by majority vote", but the rule does not say that.

Potomac News: BVBL Hates the Police

UPDATE: I just wanted to make it ABUNDANTLY clear that I in NO WAY think BVBL hates police, nor am I endorsing the letter writer. I'm trying to make a point by way of analogy, but I am doing some "clean-up" to bring this more clearly back to the realm of issues, not people. Correspondingly, I've changed a lot of references from Greg to BVBL, in multiple posts, because my arguments are about the issue of what is said at BVBL.

Today's Potomac News has a great example of how "guilt-by-association" works, which I presume even BVBL's minions will disapprove of. A letter-to-the-editor attempts to smear Glenn Hill, candidate for Sheriff, by associating him with BVBL and all of BVBL's "bigoted" and "hateful" comments.

In the manner of a BVBL reader, the next thing would be cries of anguish that Glenn should drop out of the race for the good of the party, that we should all jump behind Mr. Fotis because he "doesn't have the baggage", and to ask Glenn Hill to explain his relationship with BVBL who hates the police.

Anyway, from the Potomac News, A Negative Blogger and Glendall Hill:

He calls himself "Black Velvet Bruce Li." He has a website which recently came to my attention. I am perfectly aware of our sacred First Amendment rights, but in my estimation, this guy has crossed the line on decency. He has disparaged the Journal Messenger, our local politicians, our police officers and both Manassas Park and Manassas City.

That much of the letter is mostly true, although BVBL would point out that he only attacks BAD police, and that he supports police in general. But a "guilt-by-association" attack uses truth without context, like BVBL does with Faisal Gill. BVBL cannot deny that he has attacked police, and disparaged local politicians. Without context BVBL is guilty.

Reading the volley of negative comments from his blogs is, to me, very reminiscent of middle school students passing notes in the hall. In reality, Black Velvet is nothing more than an egocentric who has attempted to elevate himself to that of genius of all subjects, political, personal, social and religious. There is a nary a subject he has avoided and would have you believe that he has all the answers/solutions to the ills of the world, but most especially our community.

Actually, there are a lot of subjects BVBL has not addressed -- like any real issues in the 51st district race, or ANY reason why Julie Lucas is qualified to be the delegate. But the letter writer has an interesting read about BVBL in general.

Next, we see how the letter-writer turns the corner to address BVBL's leadership of Help Save Manassas (an organization which could also be hurt by "association" with BVBL), and supposed attacks on James Fotis:

He has gone so far as to lead some citizens in the fight to free our community of illegal aliens. He has made it abundantly clear that he is totally anti-law enforcement. Bashing of the newest candidate for sheriff (James Fotis) has already begun.

I don't know what bashing she refers to -- I can't check BVBL to see that it's false, because BVBL is scared to let me read what he is writing.

This brings me to the subject of our current sheriff Hill, and why an elected law enforcement official would align himself with someone who loudly professes his disdain for our police officers? Black Velvet and Glendell Hill are obviously pals and I find this a bit disingenuous and strangely ironic. It is astounding that Glendell Hill is willing to put himself in association with someone who hates police officers.

And there it is. Having used half-truths and truths that are out of context to set the table, identifying BVBL as a bad person, she can now use BVBL's friendship with Glen to attack Glen for having bad judgment, poor character for associating with a "police hater". She doesn't call for Glen to "denounce" BVBL, but how could Glen denounce BVBL?

Glen could pretend he doesn't know BVBL, but we've seen them talking and shaking hands, Glen attends the meetings BVBL attends, Glen is a member of the same PWCGOP that BVBL is. That BVBL's personal opinions really have nothing to do with Glen doesn't matter, it's the ASSOCIATION that matters.

So if Glen wants to defend himself, he's got to actually try to prove that BVBL isn't a bad person. Why should Glen have to do that? only because that's the point of guilt-by-association, to make a candidate have to vouch for people they have no control over.

On the other hand, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone, considering Hill is now hiring young kids to ring doorbells and distribute his political material in neighborhoods late at night. It's difficult to try to predict what this guy will do next in order to hold onto his cushy job. Oh, we do so need a change!

And the other shoe drops. A claim, without any evidence, but it's from a real person, so it must be true. And if true, it's really a minor thing, but it's not one thing, it "shows" how Glen makes a LOT of bad decisions, from the "golf carts" (not mentioned here, but I'm sure she would have if she had remembered), to his "association" with BVBL the evil police hater, to hiring young kids because he can't get any real supporters, to distributing late at night when it bothers the residents.

We can all rightly laugh at this letter, because we know that Glen is a good man, that BVBL does not actually hate police officers, and that Glen can't really be held responsible BVBL supporting him but also being a hateful person.

But that's just feelings and opinions, while the facts "seem" to suggest the "allegations" are "serious" enough to "raise issues" that make you "wonder" if there "might" be "something" there. And why should we pick a nominee with all that "baggage", with all these "doubts", when there is a candidate (Fotis) who has none of this baggage, and isn't "associated" with the likes of BVBL.

No, this woman's letter can make us laugh. But it's clear that when she read BVBL's blog, she learned from him. She learned her lessons well, as her argument is right out of BVBL's playbook.

BVBL should be happy that he is "educating" the citizens of our county. On how to make unethical and poisonous arguments to tear people down.

BVBL Makes 51st District harder for Republicans

Updated to make this about the issue, not the person. Also to note that this was probably not a "safe seat". I had said so, but NLS corrected me in the comments, so I have modified the post accordingly.

The owner of BVBL, in his zeal to destroy the man representing his opponent in a lawsuit, has made the 51st seat harder for the Republicans to win in November. His misquided and quixotic attacks on one of the two Republican nominees obviously gave hope to the Democrats for the seat.

And his senseless attacks on the weaker opponent, Jeff Dion, has forced Jeff to drop out of the race in place of a candidate that is considered by BVBL to be the stronger candidate.

It is likely that some Gill opponents have actively pushed for this other Democrat to get into the race, in the hopes of scaring delegates to vote against Gill for his "baggage" which is mostly just their imagination.

Worse, the Julie Lucas may be ill-equipped to beat this other Democratic candidate. Jeff Dion would have been easier, but against a more serious candidate, it's questionable.

I think Gill can beat the new guy, but it won't be as easy as it would have been to beat Jeff Dion. Fortunately, Gill has appeal across a wide range of voters, and can bring new people to the polls. He is a strong candidate, an excellent speaker, and is up on the issues.

Still, it is dissappointing to say the least that a supposed conservative Republican has put what was already going to be a hard-fought seat at higher risk. If Julie wins the nomination, and loses the general election, BVBL will be remembered long after his unsubstantiated and baseless attacks as the man who lost this seat for the Republicans.

And while looking around, I also found a post at Too Conservative where a commenter actually tries to argue that Gill is the candidate the democrats want. My response was this:

"Faisal Gill…he’s the Republican the Democrats want to run against because it will be a cake walk for them".

I've not seen a single Democrat make a negative comment about Julie Lucas. Instead, they have been defending her, saying she's much better for the district. The democrats at BVBL, for example John Mark and probably some of the anonymous posters, are all attacking Gill before the nomination. They are all working hard to destroy him, so that the "good" republican wins the nomination.

It is clear which candidate the democrats want to have in the race. Want more evidence? When the democrats believed their smear campaign with Greg's help was succeeding, and Julie would win, they were content to let Jeff Dion run against her, because they figured he could beat her

But when the numbers came out for delegate, and it becamse clear that there was a serious chance for Gill to win, the democrats panicked and went looking for a better candidate.

The idea that the democrats are pining for Gill and his resume, background, and abilities, rather than Julie Lucas the School Board member, is silly. If the democrats didn't have some hope that republicans would actually attack their own candidate, they'd be shaking in their boots at what Faisal Gill represents -- a real threat to a new group of voters that the democrats previously took for granted given the republican tendency to call them all terrorists.

Rendevous with Faisal Gill -- a short interview

Rendevous with Faisal Gill -- a short interview

Friday, May 25, 2007

Faisal Gill, Family Man

Faisal Gill, Family Man

Faisal Gill: Qualified for This Position

Faisal Gill, Thoroughly vetted, exceeded all requirements.

By BVBL's Math, Gill's more appealing to Republicans than Lucas

UPDATED: to make more about issue and less about a person.

Update 9:52pm. BVBL has hidden his blog from my access, so I no longer can read what he writes. I can't be responsible for bad links now that I can't use them.

BVBL's bizarre post complaining about Gill bringing in new voters has, as I said before, a false charge against some new republican voters, and a complaint about Gill attracting new people to the party.

But that's not all that's funny. Originally, Faisal Gill filed 745 delegates to Lucas's 511. But with 50 duplicates to Julie's 2, that leaves Faisal with 695, and Lucas with 509. Then there are the 68 new voters that have not been able to register because registrations are suspended before a primary.

If you assume the Lucas campaign will be successful in denying all those delegates their opportunity to vote, even if they file registrations before the convention and thereby meet the RPV plan rules, that would leave Faisal ahead in raw numbers, with 628 to Lucas' 509, a difference of 119 delegate forms.

However, a BVBL poster, trying to do simple math, said: That makes this a very close race. Maybe only twenty votes apart.

Of course, that is minor compared to BVBL's major gaffe on this matter. In trying to smear Faisal Gill, BVBL looked at the 68 new voters and made the claim "So much for the idea of Faisal Gill appealing to Republicans". BVBL's suggestion was that since 68 of Gill's people were new, his remaining delegates weren't enough to show a real appeal for republicans.

But of people who were already registered Republican voters, Gill OUT-SIGNED his opponent by 119 votes. So if Gill's 628 delegates suggests a "lack of appeal", what does Lucas only getting 509 mean? I guess BVBL is saying that Julie Lucas is even MORE unappealing to Republican voters.

In reality, both candidates got more delegates signed up than were signed up in the 50th district race last year. The TWO candidates should be commended for their hard work and success in getting delegates, not attacked for getting new voters.

BVBL -- Let my Comments Go!!!

UPDATED to make it about a BLOG, not about a person. Also to note that, a day later, I stll have received NO word from BVBL, I'm still blocked, and BVBL still refuses to send me copies of my own comments that were deleted.

As I've said earlier, BVBL has taken to summarily deleting refutations of his false claims about Faisal Gill. That's clearly an admission that the owner and commenters can't answer the refutations, and that he can't defend their claims.

Also, BVBL has BLOCKED my access to the site, so I will no longer be able to refute his charges here. Odd that a blog which claims to want to get the truth out is unwilling to have dissenters even READ what is being said.

Also, I will note that even though BVBL knows my name, knows my phone number, and has my e-mail address, and knows I read the blog, BVBL has not TOLD me to stop posting, or told me why the actions were. Everything done today was without so much as a courtesy e-mail. And BVBL has refused to inform it's listeners that contrary comments are being deleted and suppressed (at least up till the time I was forbidden to read the blog).

Unfortunately, I had a lot of time devoted to some of those comments. I did extensive research, tracking down full quotes to their partial ones, checking source material. My refutations were good, but I didn't save them.

BVBL still has access to them on his site. But he has locked me from seeing MY OWN COMMENTS.

So BVBL, in the interest of common decency -- Let my Comments Go. Send them to me. Or better, put them back, and fight me on the field of ideas and issues, and not through blocking filters and censorship.

BVBL attacks Faisal Gill for Attracting New Republican Voters

In an astounding post over at BVBL (where my comments are summarily deleted), BVBL has launched an attack on Faisal Gill for finding NEW voters to join the Republican party.

Yes, you heard it. We spend a lot of time setting up in shopping centers trying to convince new voters to register and join the republicans. If we get 10 new voters, we are happy.

Faisal Gill, while collecting a remarkable number of delegates for the 51st district, managed to find 68 previously non-registered voters who not only decided to join the political process, but signed up to come to a convention and to pledged to vote Republican.

Faisal should be applauded, but instead he is being attacked. In the blog entry deceptively titled 51st District Delegate Form Issues, BVBL says:
So much for the idea of Faisal Gill appealing to Republicans. He has to sign up as delegates a substantial number of people who haven’t even bothered to vote before, and aren’t even registered to vote? If Faisal Gill has to go to these lengths to sign up delegates, I can only imagine what else close inspection of his delegate forms would reveal

So BVBL is upset that, while polling the 51st district to get delegates for the Republican convention, Faisal Gill found and signed up new Republicans. Rather than recognizing that this speaks to the appeal of Faisal (his ability to get people involved and to pledge adherance to Republican principles), BVBL attacks him for it.

Given this, why would anybody believe any other subjective charges BVBL makes about Faisal Gill? In the past month, BVBL has falsely claimed that Gill has failed his navy physical (he passed), took pictures in uniform for his campaign(they were family photos), and gave $750 to the committee for NO REASON (it was payment for a table at the Lincoln/Reagan dinner), among other things.

BVBL also claimed the PWCGOP chair was applying a false 3-meeting rule that "wasn't in the Republican Plan for Virginia" (it was in the RPV plan). BVBL claimed the 51st convention chair added a "new clause" to allow convention delegates who weren't registered (the statement was directly from the RPV plan). BVBL apologized for those last two false statements, but has not apologized or retracted his other baseless accusations.

So let ME say thanks, Faisal Gill, for performing outreach to our community, for finding new voters, and signing them up to participate in the Republican Party process. That is exactly what we need, and I call on Julie Lucas to denounce BVBL's rediculous attacks on voter outreach.

Update 5/26/2007 2pm: I was reading Citizen Tom's blog, and found an older reference he had to a humorous (aren't they all humorous) thread at Too Conservatives. That led me to a comment at TC that applies to this subject from May 19th, 2007 at 12:57 am :

I’ll be interested to see how many actual GOP voters show up for Gill at the convention… my guess is very few- word is he’s getting a bunch of “voter registration ballots,” which doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand those aren’t active Republicans supporting him

This brings up a few points. First, before may 21st, but after the may 13th freeze, Gill was getting registrations forms. That means he was working to get his delegates registered even before the may 21st delegate cutoff. Second, it shows that Faisal was working hard to register new voters who would sign the pledge. Good things. They won't be 'active republicans', they will be 'new republicans', people who are willing to sign a form stating they are republicans and will support republicans. Just the kind of people we want to get registered.

BVBL post slanders, falsely charges new republican voters

Updated to make this about the blog, not the person.

In an astounding post over at BVBL (where my comments are summarily deleted), a post makes false, slanderous, and totally uncalled-for attack on new Republican voters (at least it did up to the time I was blocked from reading the blog, which I still am):

In the blog entry deceptively titled 51st District Delegate Form Issues, BVBL says :

You’d think that when a delegate signs his form, which states that they’re eligible to vote, they wouldn’t then have to run out and try to make themselves eligible to vote after the fact. It’s too bad those forms don’t contain a statement which would make false statements legally punishable.

The highlighted words are false. The delegate form does NOT "state that they are eligible to vote".

BVBL's owner knows what the forms say, because he had to sign one for this convention. Here is the relevant text, read the form at this link:

I have read the Qualifications for Participation and affirm that I am in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, and state my intention to support the nominees of the Republican Party in the ensuing election. If I have participated in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party since March 1, 2004, I hereby renounce any affiliation with that party.
That's it. Nothing about being registered to vote. Nothing about meeting the qualifications for delegate. The only thing the signature says is that you will vote republican and that you are a republican, and that you READ the qualifications. You are NOT affirming that you MEET the qualifications at the time you sign the form -- because in fact you do NOT have to be registered until the actual convention, and further you don't even HAVE to be registered, in some cases, you simply have to have FILED for registration before the convention.

So the post's statement: "signs his form, which states that they’re eligible to vote" is a false statement. And where the post says "make false statements legally punishable", BVBL is accusing newly signed-up republicans of making false statements, which is a false statement. And BVBL wishes they could be "prosecuted" for these "false statements".

BVBL owes the new signed-up delegates, at LEAST all those who make it through the registration process, an apology. He should stand up AT THE CONVENTION and apologize personally to them.

So I call on BVBL's owner -- Do the right thing. Take down your false posts. Apologize to those new voters you slandered. Retract your untrue attack against their character.

I first tried to handle this within BVBL. I posted a nice comment to the blog pointing out his error. That comment was deleted.

Later, several other commenters have picked up and expanded on the false accusation. I tried to answer each with a one-sentence response that they are wrong. Those comments were deleted.

Then I was banned from posting and reading the blog.

So not only did the owner of BVBL make a false charge against the new voters, the owner has perpetuated that charge, prohibited answers to that charge, and encouraged others to believe and propogate the lie.

My only recourse was to post this to my own blog. I'd much rather BVBL have handled this like he did the last two times he was completely wrong about documents, when he apologized and corrected his posts. My guess is BVBL couldn't take another blow to his already-damaged reputation of inaccuracy.

This seems highly unethical blogger behavior, to allow lies to continue on simple factual matters after having them pointed out. We cut blogger's some slack on the facts because they are amateurs and often-times sloppy, but the expectation is they will fix their mistakes when pointed out. When a blogger refuses, it harms the reputations of ALL of us. We will ALL be judged by the unethical and reckless actions of a blog like BVBL, if we don't speak out.

Could my comments have been out of line? Here's one that was blocked, you be the judge:
JM, Lars: The form's signature does not require you to be registered. The signature only affirms your adherance to republican principles and your pledge to vote republican in the fall.

Is there an issue with taking delegate forms from unregistered people? Obviously not. If you found a person who was not registered, but was willing to be a delegate, you would GIVE them a form for registration with a delegate form. You'd collect the delegate form, and tell them to file the registration form with the registrar.

So obviously, at the time they signed the delegate form, they would not ALREADY be registered. Far from being some illegal act, this would be the standard procedure.

Update 5/26m 11:25am:

BVBL noticed this post, and had the nerve to respond to it AT BVBL. I say nerve, because remember I am blocked from READING or RESPONDING. BVBL is trying to dismiss my claim without allowing me to know or answer.

Fortunately, the net is a lot bigger than BVBL, so I have this from his site:
UPDATE: Lest anyone be confused about this, the statement which applicants sign begins with this:
Qualifications for participation: All legal and qualified voters of the 51st District under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Apparently a few readers making comments elsewhere haven’t quite figured this out.
As I noted above, the signature says you READ the qualifications, not that you currently meet them. This is another attempt to mislead BVBL readers. And note how I'm called a "reader" when I'm blocked from reading, and chastised for making comments "elsewhere" when I am blocked from commenting there. Classless. Further, slightly down the page from the partial quote without link BVBL provided it's readers, it says this:
A person who has made application for registration and meets all other
qualification requirements, but whose name does not appear on the local registration books solely because of the books having been closed in connection with a local election, shall nevertheless be deemed a legal and qualified voter.
So anybody who applies to register before the election meets the qualifications BVBL is complaining about -- and that could include the 68 new voters. BVBL is intimately familiar with this section -- it's the one BVBL falsely claimed was NOT in the RPV plan, when it clearly was.

Since the BVBL, and his average reader apparently, seem incapable of understanding simple english or comprehending things they are signing, I have taken the time to write an extensive post on the entire section of the delegate form, explaining what it means in words so simple even a BVBL reader should understand. The post is called BVBL and his followers should e made to affirm their oath.

Oddly, after attacking new republicans falsely, it seem obvious BVBL plans to violate HIS agreement that he signed on his form, to vote for Faisal Gill in the general election. BVBL wishes those who "falsely" sign the form could be prosecuted. Will BVBL pledge to vote for Faisal Gill in the general election?

BVBL can't stand the heat, kicks me out of his kitchen

I am officially neutral in the 51st delegate race. However, knowing Faisal Gill and his supporters enough to know he is a decent and honorable man, I have from time to time taken to answering the more outlandish charges against him (and there are many).

In the past week, the Black Velvet Bruce Li (BVBL) blog has gone into full-attack mode, making up more and more charges, and allowing anonymous and other commenters to say outrageous and offensive things without restraint.

Since a baseless charge unanswered may be believed, I took to answering each charge made against Gill specifically, and directly. I was factual in my presentation, and avoided attacking his opponent. There are answers to most of the charges being made.

I've also been defending Ken Cuccinelli, Scott Lingamfelter, Bill Bolling and Corey Stewart against outlandish, slanderous statements being made about them in comments. When people start accusing our elected officials of taking bribes and being unprincipled hacks and terrorist sympathisers, Good Republicans, and in fact all good men, have to stand up.

But instead of welcoming the exchange of ideas, or defending the outrageous claims, the BVBL blog owner instead deleted every comment I made in the past week.

A blog can do that, of course. But that shows the weakness of the position -- the charges can't be defended, so the opposition has to be silenced.

The BVBL blog is now highly misleading. The blog is trying to drive google hits to "tell the truth" about Faisal, and instead is presenting a one-sided picture. Further, there is no indication that comments are deleted, so readers are being led falsely to assume they are seeing every comment being made.

If BVBL can't stand comments, comments should be turned off, so people know why there are no answers to the charges. By allowing comments, but secretly deleting arguments against his position, he is essentially lying to his readers by suggesting that nobody HAS an answer to his arguments.

Bloggers should be offended by these actions. While a blog has a right to delete comments, what is a "right" is not always "right", and in this case it is most certainly wrong. It certainly is NOT ethical blogging to offer a blog with comments, to suggest to readers that there is a free exchange of ideas while surreptitiously deleting opposing comments.

BVCL is re-writing history by deleting comments en-masse from the past week.

Bloggers can ban people from their site. They can stop people from posting. They can remove individual comments if those comments are over-the-top or not germaine to the discussion. And, they can delete all the comments that argue against their position.

But what you have a RIGHT to do is not the same as what IS RIGHT to do. It's bad enough to ban someone from a site. It is deceptive to pretend to allow open debate, while blocking people who successfully refute your arguments.

But to allow people to spend their time posting to a web site, to CLAIM CREDIT for hits to the site, but then to delete those comments simply because you don't like the opinion or can't answer the criticism, is highly unethical, and should be roundly criticized by the blogging community.

If Bloggers don't denounce unethical blog behavior, we deserve the ill reputation we get.

School Board Lawsuit - It's not just about the trailers

I dealt with the School Board's lawsuit against the county in this week's column in the Potomac News, titled "It's not just about the Trailers". I've recently learned that, being a hobbyist and not a serious journalist, I managed to sign away my rights to online publication of my own work, so for now I can just post excerpts and my other thoughts.

As you might know, the School board is trying to put 7 new trailers with the 6 existing trailers at Brentsville High School. But the planning commission, citing serious deficiencies in the school infrastructure including a lack of adequate toilet facilities, rejected their request. That prompted a lawsuit:

According to the Potomac News, this has prompted the County School Board to file a lawsuit against the county, supposedly to "clarify the role of the planning commission" in reviewing School Board requests.

I know it sounds silly. Lawsuits are used to get our way, not to "clarify" things. But the School Board claims its action is "not intended to be confrontational," and "is not meant to be hostile." Instead, it's an expression of a "need to clarify things," and to reach a "little bit of better understanding."

I still laugh about that, and they repeated those quotes in a new article today. Nobody files a lawsuit to "make nice", sorry.

I complained about how much money we were going to waste on this stupid lawsuit. But I also pointed out that, contrary to what some might think (because it's how it's written in the paper) the lawsuit isn't about getting the trailers, it is actually seeking a court ruling that the Planning Commission has no right to review the trailers:

The lawsuit is not just about the trailers. The goal is to remove the planning commission and Board of Supervisors from the review process. The School Board is, in effect, suing us (through our government) to force us to accept its control over school property.

I also point out the lawsuit is unnecessary, as the board had an appeal process to the Board of County Supervisors, which they also chose to use. There will be a hearing June 5th. But the School Board is trying to circumvent that hearing with the lawsuit.

Next, I addressed the editorial board siding with the School Board, and specifically their claim that we should just TRUST government entitities to do what is right:

On Tuesday, this paper's editors sided with the School Board, saying in part that the members "have made themselves expert in what the county's schools need. If they say they need trailers, they should be trusted." The editors are wrong. We should not trust the School Board to do, or know, what is best.

Our government meets in public because we don't trust our representatives to always do what is best unsupervised. We hold public hearings because we don't trust them to always know what we want. We have review boards and commissions because we don't trust a handful of people to always make the right decisions. We have an appeal process because we don't trust the bureaucracy to always get things right.

Then I got into the actual problems with the School Board's proposed trailers:

The School Board proposal failed to address the capacity of the school's support structure.

For example, with the trailers, the school would have about 800 females sharing 15 bathroom stalls -- that's 53 people per stall. That's about 9 girls per stall per break, or 30 seconds per girl, if they only use the bathrooms once a day.

I also pointed out that other parts of the building are also undersized. My point is that you can't say you have reduced overcapacity to "114%" just by fixing the class size problem. Other parts of the school (bathrooms, cafeteria, office space) are still 42% overcrowded. The School Board did half the job, when they should have lowered the number of students.

My point is, given how badly the School Board did on this proposal, it should be clear that they need MORE, not LESS, oversight:

Fortunately, the planning commission was there to catch their errors, to think about the items they forgot.

This shows why we need the planning commission and the Board of County Supervisors involved in this process. The School Board has shown itself incapable of comprehending and correctly evaluating school space planning. The additional review protects our children from its mistakes.

My penultimate paragraph sums things up:

The School Board allowed a school to get 42 percent over capacity. It adopted a faulty plan for trailers without addressing infrastructure needs. Now, rather than fixing the problems cited by the commission and presenting a better plan to the supervisors, Board members want to force an unworkable plan through the courts and to remove from the process the very people that caught their mistakes this time.

I urge the school board to DROP the lawsuit, and instead to work with the Planning Commission and the Board of County Supervisors to really fix this mess at Brentsville.

Then we can move forward, and the School Board should take this review process seriously. They should do a better job of evaluating facilities, and in planning alternatives. They should get the planning commission involved earlier so we aren't time-pressed like we are now.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

PWC School Board Wastes our Money for "clarification"

According to Friday's Potomac News ("Schools, planners clashing, in the print version "School Board takes action on trailers"), the Price William County School board is confused about the scope of their power to ignore the democratic process:

On May 2, the Prince William County Planning Commission voted to deny the School Board's request to place seven additional trailers at Brentsville to help relieve overcrowding.

The School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to file litigation in Prince William Circuit Court to get clarification on the planning commission's legal right to do that.

The article shows the School board taking great pains to explain that the lawsuit is not meant to get a certain result, but is simply the only way the School Board could think of to learn how the law works:

Their goal is to "clarify the role of the planning commission in placing and relocating trailers on school property," Keith Imon (said)...

Imon and School Board members said the legal action is "not intended to be confrontational," but is meant to clarify the legal roles of the School Board, the Planning Commission and the Board of County Supervisors in making decisions related to the schools.
"The intent behind this particular action is not meant to be hostile," Occoquan District representative Grant Lattin said at Wednesday's School Board meeting. "It is an expression of a genuine need to clarify some things. … Hopefully we can all move forward with a little bit of better understanding of what we can and cannot do."

And what does the dictionary say about "lawsuits"? Are they "a means by which a body requests clarification of a law or other matter? " Well, not quite:

lawsuit - a case in a court of law involving a claim, complaint, etc., by one party against another;
lawsuit - a quarrel or disagreement taken to a court of law to be settled
lawsuit - an action brought in a court for the purpose of seeking relief from or remedy for an alleged wrong

By it's very nature, a lawsuit is confrontational and hostile. It seeks to acheive a certain outcome. In this case, the School Board is attempting to get a legal right to circumvent the Board of Supervisors (elected by us to defend our interests) and the Planning Commission (which in part provides citizens with protection from arbitrary and detrimental land use by other property owners).

But however you feel about whether the School Board should be allowed to use trailers without approval or not, the issue is using a lawsuit against the county to achieve the goal, if all they really wanted was "clarification".

A lawsuit is an expensive proposition, which involves high-priced attorneys, and likely staff work input for both sides. And guess what -- both sides are fully funded by OUR tax dollars. Yes, we are suing ourselves, fellow citizens, and we will be paying the legal fees for all the lawyers on both sides, for the staff work necessary to prepare the case, and for the judge and courtroom costs.

If all the School Board wanted was clarification, they could have simply requested an advisory opinion from the County attorney. According to that office's Mission Statement:

The County Attorney's Office provides counsel and advice in all civil matters to the Board of County Supervisors and all boards, commissions, departments, agencies, offices and officials of the general County government; drafts and prepares County ordinances and legislative proposals; defends and brings actions in which the County or any of its boards, commissions, etc., shall be a party; and in other matters, advises and represents the general County government.

So, if the School Board merely wanted clarification, they should have asked for it, rather than waste our money on a major lawsuit. Remember, this is the same School Board who a little more than a month ago went to the newspapers to complain that they didn't have enough money for teacher's raises.

Note: This may be a state legal matter, depending on the laws that set up school boards vs. county governments. If so, they should have requested an advisory opinion from the State Attorney General.

Of course, I suspect they don't want "clarification" at all, especially since there's never really been a question about this in the past. What they want is to WIN their lawsuit, so they don't have to bother getting permission for their activities. So it's not really that they were too stupid to know how to get clarification. They certainly know how to ask for legal advice, so it's much more likely that all the protests about "not being confrontational" are because they ARE being confrontational.

If the School Board wants direct control without government interference, they should go through the legislative process to get that control (assuming that the legal opinion they would get would be against their position). They have ready access to both local and state legislative remedies.

But instead, they decided to circumvent the democratic process, ignore the county and state offices that exist precisely to provide legal opinions, and instead waste our money by having us sue our selves in an attempt to win what they want in a court of law.

I'd love to be able to blame this on Lucy Beauchamp, who was the one who previously went to the papers to complain about not having enough money. But the decision to file a lawsuit against the citizens of Prince William was a unanimous one.

So every sitting school board member, including several who the PWC Republican committee just re-endorsed for office, shares the blame for this unecessary taxpayer expense. Each of them should be made to answer for this vote.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Continuing Farce of the Faisal-Haters.

In the story that will never end, a couple of local blogs, strong supporters of Julie Lucas, repeatedly recycle stories of relationships between various muslims, muslim organizations, members of the Bush administration, career government officials, and Faisal Gill.

Their point, if it could be said they even have one, is that the "associations" formed by the linking of the names of these groups, is itself a disqualifying factor.

What remains unsaid is what the associations are supposed to "mean" to a person being a delegate representing the 51st district. But that is really all that is truly important, so it's a rather large ommission.

Because if the past associations have no bearing on what the candidate says, does, or is expected to say or do when elected, and if the "appearance" suggested by those associations is mitigated by the FACT that nobody actually believes what is suggested, then the associations themselves are truly meaningless.

Nobody who really knows Gill believes that he supports terrorists. Nor does anybody who really knows Gill believe that he supports terrorist sympathisers, gives money to terrorists, would vote to enact muslim law as a delegate, or would give special preference to terrorists or terrorist-related groups.

Further, there is no EVIDENCE that Gill would do any of these things. There is no indication that his actions today are anything but those of a patriotic American who loves his country. His service as an active-duty soldier in our military, as a committed public servant serving in the department of Homeland Security, his life as a good family man, all belie the notion that he is some sleeper-terrorist looking to overthrow our government or establish sharia-law. And that is true whatever "associations" one might draw between Gill and people who have expressed those opinions.

Further, when these "associations" were first raised in 2004, there was an active government investigation. But knowing everything claimed about Gill and "terrorist associations", the DHS not only cleared him of wrongdoing, they allowed him to remain and kept his security clearance active. Nobody whose job it is to find and weed out terrorists and people connected to terrorists found ANY issue with Gill.

About the only remotely applicable issue is whether Gill should have known all about these associations, and made different choices based on that knowledge. But while the "revelations" splashed about are news to most people, those who needed to address this did so years ago, and those who know Faisal are convinced that this too is a charge belied by their own knowledge of the man.

Further, the oddity of people just learning stuff that others knew years ago, and based on that new knowledge loudly proclaiming that others were stupid NOT to know of the same things years ago, should be obvious with the telling. Those who spend years looking into cracks and crevices often come up with associations and issues that a vast majority of people would never even dream of. How we act when we LEARN of these things is far more important than the fact that we, like millions of others, weren't the first to discover them.

To use an analogy, most of what we see as "modern technology" seems quite obvious to all of us today as we use it. In fact, it's hard to imagine why airplanes could not be invented hundreds of years ago, for example, given that you need no special knowledge to build an airplane wing, and kids make lifting-body paper airplanes all the time.

And yet, the Wright Brothers were considered great inventors for making flight work. Because hindsight is easy. All those things that are obvious now were one time great mysteries.

But I digress (part of my general nature -- I hate doing these "personal application" posts, and would much rather talk in broad strokes about things like how what is known was once unknown -- oh well, maybe another time).

I think this is what has frustrated me and most others who are seen as "faisal defenders" (remembering that I am neutral in the race). It's not that we are oblivious to terrorist and terrorist ties, or dismissive of anything that is said. It is that all of the "light" shining on the past has no use other than to illuminate, and given the testimony of those who personally KNOW the man today, the supposed "illumination" of the past if found to be false, and therefore useless.

If I had to summarize a different way, I would say that all the hand-waving asks a legitimate question -- does Faisal Gill support terrorists? But that's all it does, ask the question. If all we had were the reports of the past, we would have to devine the answer, and the repeated and more detailed information from the past might be considered relevant to that task.

But we are not engaged in an academic exercise. The man we are looking at walks among us. He comes to our meetings, he lives in our community, his children go to school with ours. We don't have to guess at who he is today. We can ask him, we can ask those who know him, who deal with him on a daily basis.

The fact is that those who want to get Lucas elected don't ask Gill the questions. They don't approach him at the meetings, or send him e-mails. It took a 3rd-party blogger to ask a few of the questions that were 'so important' to the local bloggers. They were happy to link to the results, only to misinterpret the answers and then again to NOT ask for clarification. They don't want facts or actual dialog, because they just want to leave the questions out there based on the past.

Voters will have to look at the issues of importance to the district, listen to the two candidates, read their proposals, and determine which of the two is more likely to do what they want, and which has a personality and background to better accomplish things in Richmond.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Democrats plan to turn Iraq into 'terrorist Disneyland'

My Potomac News column from May 17th: Democrats plan to turn Iraq into 'terrorist Disneyland'

Democrats plan to turn Iraq into 'terrorist Disneyland'

The new Democratic majority in Congress has put forth its "plan" for Iraq, which consists of surrender starting Oct. 1. The president vetoed the measure, but it is not going away. The only argument for most Democrats is whether the troops should come home today or in a few months.

But in all their speeches about how they are tired of our troops being killed and injured for "no reason," or how the war is already lost, they never seem to address their plan for after the troops are removed.

This is not surprising. Their debate is not about what we need to accomplish, what our goals should be or the long-term vision for the Middle East. For the Democrats, "the war" is just American troops fighting, as if fighting was the only purpose. And to end "the war," we simply need to stop fighting, as if that will make all the problems go away.

Maybe the Democrats see our troops as the problem in Iraq, but since they passed their terms of surrender, the media has decided it would be good to look at what we might expect after America has abandoned Iraq to the terrorists. And the picture they paint is not a pretty one.
CNN correspondents Kyra Phillips and Michael Ware have spent a good deal of time in Iraq, talking to the people, the troops and the generals. When CNN's America Morning show asked them if a troop pullout would "help the situation" in Iraq, Phillips responded that "it would be a disaster." Ware added "in terms of American national interest, if U.S. troops leave now, you're giving Iraq to Iran … and al Qaeda."

Ware, a darling of the left when he attacked McCain for a too-rosy picture of Baghdad, said of the Democrats' war funding/surrender bill, "I'm struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, how delusional it is." If we leave now, he insisted, "it's going to come and blow back on America."

Secretary of Defense William Gates said in recent congressional testimony that withdrawal from Iraq would have "dire" consequences, not only for Iraq but for American interests around the world. It would give al Qaeda a "base from which to plan operations not only inside Iraq, but first of all in the neighborhood and then potentially against the United States."

Tuesday, Reuters reported that an American troop pullout would leave Iraq "a terrorist Disneyland" where al Qaeda could build up its strength unchallenged." Al Qaeda expert Rohan Gunaratna said terrorists would use Iraq to launch attacks around the world, and "after two or three years, the U.S. forces will have to go back to Iraq."

It is obvious Democrats have not thought this through. Iraq is a struggling democracy, friendly to us, but with citizens wary of our resolve. Many have put their lives on the line siding with us against the terrorists, and if we pull out, they will be left helpless against the Iran-sponsored insurgents and al Qaeda operatives.

The Democrats plan will turn Iraq against us and destroy our reputation in the region and the world. Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain's MI6 Intelligence service, said al Qaeda was focused "on some sort of propaganda victory over the United States," noting that "if they can claim in the Muslim world that they've done well, then that puts us in a very difficult position."

The group Move America Forward has declared today to be "Surrender is not an Option" day. Given the disastrous result that would follow the abandoning of Iraq, surrender clearly is not an option.

Fortunately, the American people know this. While polls show we are weary of the war, the latest IBD/TIPP poll shows a majority of us disagree with Majority Leader Harry Reid's claim that the war is lost. In addition, over 60 percent think victory is important, and a whopping 78 percent say we need to stabilize Iraq before we consider bringing our troops home.

Maybe the Democratic Congress should stop insisting they speak for America and instead should listen to someone other than the anti-war left that funded their victory. Whatever you think about the wisdom of starting a war in Iraq, there is no wisdom in stopping now. The result would be a disaster for Iraq, America and the world.