Category Archives: first

Sandy AGREES (Reluctantly) With the Governor – Let’s Work It to Our Advantage

To say I was surprised when I read the Governor’s email message (I am on the Governor’s email list not because he knows me but I signed up to get the messages.  I get a lot of propaganda but some useful information and this is one example.) about the mass restoration of civil rights (except firearm rights) to 206,000 felons who have completed their sentences and any probation/parole and paid fines and costs is an understatement.

In fact, my first thought was:  Can McAuliffe do that?  So I looked at the state constitution (after reading some of the early criticism of the executive order from Republicans) to see what it says.  Let’s ask the question:  WWSD:  What Would Scalia Do?  The future patron saint of judges would look to the text of the constitution first.

Here is Article V, Section 12 of the Virginia Constitution:

Article V. Executive

Section 12. Executive clemency

The Governor shall have power to remit fines and penalties under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law; to grant reprieves and pardons after conviction except when the prosecution has been carried on by the House of Delegates; to remove political disabilities consequent upon conviction for offenses committed prior or subsequent to the adoption of this Constitution; and to commute capital punishment.

He shall communicate to the General Assembly, at each regular session, particulars of every case of fine or penalty remitted, of reprieve or pardon granted, and of punishment commuted, with his reasons for remitting, granting, or commuting the same.

I do not see any requirement of a request first nor does it prohibit the use of executive clemency for a class of cases.

I actually called for a class of gay felons to receive a pardon because it was inherently unfair that soliciting straight sex is a misdemeanor (because consensual sex between adults is a misdemeanor and soliciting for a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor) but soliciting gay sex is a felony because of the old sodomy law was a felony and soliciting for a felony is – you guessed it – a felony!  (If I find the link I’ll link to it but it might have been at the now defunct blog Conflicted Libertarian!)  There is no question in my mind a governor could pardon a entire class of convicted persons for whatever reason he or she wants to (except maybe a bribe perhaps) as long as he notifies the next session of the General Assembly.

Could Governor McAuliffe clear death row if he chose?  Well, yes he can. I could find no statute saying the governor cannot do so.  From Article II, Section 1, paragraph 1 (concerning the right to vote):

No person who has been convicted of a felony shall be qualified to vote unless his civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority.

It does not say how the governor can act.  And there is no statute limiting the executive clemency power (and such a law would stand on dubious ground as a violation of the separation of powers or the exclusive power of the executive to issue clemency) to only those cases where a request is made.

Not this statute (Code Section 53.1-231) either:

§ 53.1-231. Investigation of cases for executive clemency by Parole Board.

The Virginia Parole Board shall, at the request of the Governor, investigate and report to the Governor on cases in which executive clemency is sought. In any other case in which it believes action on the part of the Governor is proper or in the best interest of the Commonwealth, the Board may investigate and report to the Governor with its recommendations.

The Parole Board is not required to act before the Governor can issue executive clemency neither does this statute require a request.  Nor did I find limits in Title 53 of the Virginia Code on the Governor’s power.

Now I am also on Senator Obenshain’s email list (I might be on another list after this blog post but that is another story) and the senator cites a letter that the counsel for Governor Kaine with a constitutional objection.  Here is the letter in its entirety.

But the letter does not say what it is cited to say (from the Obenshain statement):

“It is clear that the Governor has overstepped his statutory and constitutional authority by signing this executive action, which automatically restores civil rights to over 200,000 convicted felons.  Democrat and Republican Governors dating back more than 30 years have researched this issue and all have concluded that they do not have the sweeping executive authority the Governor has sought to exercise today. Even Governor Kaine reached this conclusion, which his counsel explained in a detailed letter sent to the ACLU on January 15, 2010. As Governor Kaine’s counsel explained, absent an amendment to the Virginia Constitution, a Governor cannot do what this Governor did today.  This is the kind of unconstitutional executive overreach that we have seen all too often in Washington. We deserve better from a Governor of Virginia.

“While I do support a streamlined process to restore civil rights, the Governor has gone too far. I cannot endorse the Governor’s sweeping and unconstitutional action today.  The Governor restored rights without any regard to the seriousness or violent nature of the crimes committed, whether these individuals have paid their court costs in full, whether they have stayed out of trouble since their release, or most importantly, whether they have paid restitution to the victims.  The action today by the Governor fails to respect victims of crime, the rule of law and is clearly unconstitutional.”

But no provision nor case is cited in this statement.  The letter actually says this:

“First, while the wording of the constitutional provision granting the powers of clemency and restoration of rights might be read to support the blanket use of these powers to benefit unnamed individuals, we think the better argument is that these powers are meant to apply to named individuals for whom a specific grant of executive clemency is sought.   A blanket order restoring the voting rights of everyone would be a rewrite of the law rather than a contemplated use of the executive clemency powers.  And, the notion that the Constitution of the Commonwealth could be rewritten via executive order is troubling.

Now I agree this order is troubling.  How does a felon determine if he or she can legally vote?  Where would such a conscientious person go to determine that?  What about a registrar of voters seeking to determine if a person before him or her can legally register to vote?  It would seem to me that the better idea would be to say:  Clemency is available and if you ask for it and meet the criteria, apply and it will be granted automatically.

But that is a political not a constitutional argument.  If we accept that the clemency power of a governor is plenary and I suggest it is exactly that than we must accept the legal validity of the order.  This order does not solve the constitutional provision permanently removing the right to vote for felons in the future.

I suggest that the Supreme Court of Virginia has held the governor’s powers are plenary.  See Wilborn v. Saunders, 170 Va. 153, 195 S.E.723 (1938):

   “By the Constitution of Virginia, the governor is empowered to grant reprieves and pardons after conviction, except when the prosecution has been carried on by the house of delegates, and to remit fines and penalties in such cases and under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law. He is also empowered to remove political disabilities consequent upon conviction for offences, and to commute capital punishment. Const., Art. IV, sec. 5.

“It will thus be seen that certain restrictions are here imposed upon the exercise of the pardoning power which are not found in the laws of England or of the United States. But subject to these restrictions, the effect of the governor’s pardon must be determined by the same rules which apply to a pardon by the British crown or by the president of the United States.” Edwards Commonwealth, supra.

And what did our Supreme Court say about the Crown’s pardoning power?  It was plenary and at first the Governor’s power in the Commonwealth was not plenary but was gradually increased in subsequent state constitutions:

 Prior to the independence of the thirteen former British American colonies, the power to exercise executive clemency lay within the prerogative of the crown. 5 William Blackstone, Commentaries *395–96. After the American Revolution, as part of a general reaction against the unfettered exercise of executive power, Virginia and seven other newly-independent states restricted the exercise of that power to the Governor with the concurrence of an advisory board or council of some kind. The original 1776 Constitution of Virginia granted the Governor the “power of granting reprieves or pardons” but only “with the advice of the Council of State.” The Governor was not given the power to act alone in granting reprieves and pardons until adoption of the Constitution of 1851. In the constitutional revision of 1870, the Governor was given the additional power to “remove political disabilities consequent to conviction of offenses.” 2 A.E. Dick Howard, Commentaries on the Constitution of Virginia, 641–42 (1974).

Gallagher v. Commonwealth, 732 S.E.2d 22 (Va. 2012)

Now force the issue of the details and embrace it.  Discuss how Governor McDonnell started the process of liberalizing clemency and restoration of rights.  There is an excellent article at Bearing Drift by J. R. Hoeft on the McDonnell clemency legacy (Hoeft disagrees with me on the Governor’s action however).

Suggest that the governor limit his order and streamline the requests to ensure a proper voting roll for each election.  And say to those felons newly enfranchised:  Here’s why we hope you will vote for our candidates.  But let’s not offend them at the getgo.


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Mechanicsville Walmart Profiled, Discriminated Against Young White Couple

My son and his fiancee went to Walmart in Mechanicsville today to buy groceries. They are regular customers there and shop at least once a week. Usually several times a week.

Now I’ll be honest. I would rather have a root canal than shop at Walmart and avoid it when I can. It is too big, too crowded and I always leave that place feeling like I have just spent hours at the State Fair. To me, it is a tedious ordeal and I am not a Walmart fan. And if you actually have to interact with the employees, you often hit a level of rudeness that you can find no place else on Earth. Not all of the employees are rude, but I inevitably seem to find the ruse ones.

But the younger generation seems to set the bar lower than us older folks. So my son and his Fiancee are Walmart regulars.

But after the treatment they received today, that may change.

After they finished the shopping, they proceeded to the self checkout line. There was an employee who’s job is to direct the shoppers to the shortest line. And he looked at my Son and his Fiancee and told them they had too many items for self checkout. They told me the employee was a young black man.

Mary (not her real name), told the man that she she didn’t feel like putting up with anyone and was just going to use the self checkout. The Walmart employee then proceeded to a second Walmart employee who’s job it is to oversee the self checkout area. This woman, also black, was told by the man to “keep a close eye on these people. They have a lot of groceries and look like they are up to no good.”

My son and “Mary” both heard this and then the register they were preparing to use suddenly turned off and the female employee told them they had to come over to the register by her. And she told another employee she was watching them to make sure they didn’t steal anything. My son noted that there was another customer checking out at the self checkouts who had more items than they did, and they were unconcerned about her. She was black.

My son and “Mary” were both humiliated and were sure they were profiled because they were white. And they walked out of the store distraught and certain they were discriminated against because they were white.

When they told me what had happened, my son was shaking and “Mary” was in tears. And after listening to them recant their experience, I can say it is highly probably that their race was a factor, given the fact that another shopper “of color” was not subjected to the same harassment and discrimination, not to mention the humiliation.

I was upset with this, to say the least. They didn’t know what to do about it and I offered to call the manager and let him or her know what transpired. So I dialed the number for the Mechanicsville Walmart and asked to speak to the manager. The lady that answered the line asked me what this was concerning, and I gave her a brief rundown. She promised to get me straight to the store manager. The line rang another 10 ir 15 times and bounced back to the lady that answered the phone. She put me through a second time and it also bounced back. And a third. On the 4th try I said I would be up there in 2 minutes.

So the three of us headed to Walmart and we walked in with cameras rolling at my suggestion.

The first employee we spoke to was the black guy that initially started the chain of events. I asked him if he was the store manager (he wasn’t) and then I told him I understand he was the one who harassed my son and his fiancee. And I asked him i this was racial, if he picked them to scrutinize and if that was a racist statement he made. He said he “wasn’t sure about that”. And then he tried to blame the woman who he told to watch them. And I asked him where I could find the store manager. He pointed me towards the middle of the checkout area.

On the way to find the manager, my Son pointed out the woman who was watching them and made the comment, according to my son and “Mary” about moving to the registed beside her so she could watch them.

I confronted her with those statements and as you can see in the video below and she denied them – at first. But the sudden “attitude” was unmistakable. But at the end of the video she admits to the manager that she was told to “watch them”.

Is this racism? Profiling? Economic discrimination, or an element of each?

In this day and age where we are inundated by aggressive campaigns like “Black Lives Matter” and buzz phrases like “White Privilege”, both of which are nothing more than a media driven, activist financed license to discriminate against white people with the blessing of the “Politically Correct”, most of us that are not brainwashed by public schools these days recognize this behavior as reprehensible. I have been on this earth long enough to remember the racism against blacks. I was able to read the “White’s Only” signs on the Water Fountains in the Downtown stores. And on restaurants. And I never understood it then and I still don’t.

I may be old enough to remember that sad time in America, but I was far too young to have participated in any such behavior and I am the son of a man that started his career with VEPCO, the power company in Virginia climbing polls until his shins were rubbed raw for $100 per week.

I own a business and my first employee was black, because she was the best one for the job.

But whatever the reason, this is intolerable. “Mary” is working weekends and working hard to finish High School and get a diploma. My son graduated and works in a restaurant chained to a hot stove. These are good kids and they do not deserve to be treated like this by anyone – least of all a business that is taking their hard earned and very limited money for profit.

The female employee admitted to the manager (when she finally arrived) that she was, indeed, told to “watch these two”. And the manager promised to get to the bottom of this.

I should also point out that the black lady that was helping us locate the manager was truly saddened and horrified by what happened to my kids. And her sorrow was from her heart. So this may be a matter of employees acting without the direction of management. A few bad apples.

(Video Processing. Will be available shortly.)

 

 


Article written by: Tom White

PROFILES IN COURAGE —— DOES IT EXIST ON THE K.W BOARD OF SUPERVISORS?

Decades ago citizens decided the way to raise revenue for local gov’t was to tax personal property, land, homes, and various other forms . What seemed to appear equitable has today morphed into a quagmire of selective exemptions and special tax breaks . At every level of gov’t (including local ) the tax code has become the “ dirty currency “ of politicians. Will the King William B.O.S address this in the 2016/17 budget ? Perhaps a reminder of how far out of balance local tax policy has become is a good place to start.

Land Use Tax Exemptions allow for generous reductions in the taxes paid on property that falls into 2 classes, Agricultural and Forestry. Land Use Tax Exemptions reduce revenue the County would otherwise collect by 1 million dollars a year. That shortfall is made up elsewhere, reflected in the K.W real estate tax rate of .94 per hundred, one of the highest in the entire State. 2 other local tax exemptions also add to this tax shifting , the first being an Exemption from the BPOL tax( Business Professional Occupational License ) that Farmers do not pay, the second is the Exemption from the Business/Machinery/Tools Tax, farmers are also exempted from paying this tax, paid by most other forms of business in King William County.

Just what do these 2 tax exemptions cost in lost revenue to King William , shifting even higher taxes to the remaining tax payers ? I would hope that either the Commissioner of Revenue or the Treasurer could answer that question. Is it warranted to quantify the additional cost shifting that occurs with every tax exemption ? If those receiving the tax break know what it’s value is, shouldn’t KW taxpayers know what it is costing them ? Perhaps the Board should institute a “ cost index”, publicly showing a dollar value for every single exemption. We talk about transparency in government, let’s do something about implementing it.

Add Federal Farm Subsidies ( 1995—2012) over 17 million in Federal tax dollars taken from tax payers and going to the Top 20 Farms in King William, subsidies for Crop Insurance ( some .68 out of every $1 ) paid by other tax payers, the Farm Use Vehicle Tag Exemption ( those pesky fees the rest of us pay DMV ) it is fair to say that the tax load at the local level is out of balance, favoring 1 small distinct group at the expense of the remainder of King William Citizens.

Do the Supervisors have the backbone to do something about this ? November’s election was about Taxes and Spending, any attempt to describe it otherwise is fool hardy. Voters threw out 3 incumbents who defended the status quo. Should this Board fail to address what is no longer defensible King William citizens will know the courage wasn’t there to do so . We have already reserved the paid ad space.

Bob Shannon Central Garage

 


Article written by: Tom White

Here’s That Vote on the PBI in Senate Rules last Friday on the Sports HOF Bill!

I said I’d do a FOIA request on this PBI (pass by indefinitely – e.g. kill it) vote in Senate Rules on the Sports Hall of Fame bill and I did.  Let me thank the Senate Clerk’s Office for their prompt and polite answer.

Here is the sheet – I know: It looks something like the batting lineup for the 1933 World Series – but the first list is the PBI vote – a tie (7-7, I thought it was 6 yes and seven no – remember yes is no bill and no is yes to HOF.) and the second list is the vote to refer to Finance.

Yes to kill the bill:  Hanger, Newman, Ruff, Obenshain, Stuart, Carrico and McDougle

No to keep it alive:  Wagner, Vogel, Stanley, Reeves, Saslaw, Locke and Dance.

Senator Norment was not present or did not vote.

So if I would concentrate on those also on Finance and Rules: Hanger, Newman, Ruff, Obenshain, Carrico, McDougle, Wagner (needs to change vote), Vogel (needs to change vote) and Saslaw (needs to change vote).  Also let’s hope Norment votes right here.

Also seek out these four not on Rules but on Finance:  Dunnavant, Barker, Alexander and Howell.  If al the votes are the same, and we can get Norment, we only need one more.  Talk to Dr. Dunnavant (district12 [at] senate.virginia.gov) tonight or tomorrow!

Here’s your talking points:

Now politely but firmly let your senator know you want this bill killed:

  • It’s not a proper governmental function to acquire private entities that do not affect a core function of government.  (It violates the Whitlock Test!)
  • it will take a nice honor and politicize it – the Sports Hall of Fame should be beyond politics.  I could see controversy arising for a potential honoree due to his or her political beliefs or causes they supported or opposed.
  • The $150,000 is the Tip of the Iceberg.  The board can acquire the existing museum and eventually the state will have to “bail out” the museum (which is the reason they want the board established in the first place) and this will cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.  And we are stuck with the museum.
  • One more Talking Point:  The Board CAN acquire the Museum under its powers (emphasis added by me):

A. In addition to the powers set forth elsewhere in this chapter, the Board may:

***

5. Employ, either as regular employees or independent contractors, accountants, architects, attorneys, construction experts and personnel, consultants, curators, docents, engineers, financial experts, historians, researchers, superintendents, managers and other professional personnel, personnel, and agents as may be necessary in the judgment of the Board and fix their compensation;

6. Determine the locations of, develop, establish, construct, erect, acquire, own, repair, remodel, add to, extend, improve, equip, operate, regulate, and maintain facilities to the extent necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Board;

7. Acquire, hold, lease, use, encumber, transfer, or dispose of real and personal property;

8. Enter into contracts of any kind and execute all instruments necessary or convenient with respect to its carrying out the powers in this chapter to accomplish the purposes of the Board;

9. Regulate the use and operation of facilities acquired under the provisions of this chapter;

10. Fix and revise from time to time and charge and collect rates, rents, fees, or other charges for the use of facilities or for services rendered in connection with the facilities;

11. Borrow money from any source for any valid purpose, including working capital for its operations, reserve funds, or interest, and mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the property or funds of the Board and contract with or engage the services of any person in connection with any financing, including financial institutions, issuers of letters of credit, or insurers;

12. Receive and accept from any source, private or public, contributions, gifts, or grants of money or property; and

13. Do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted by this chapter.

This bill is a Trojan horse to have the Commonwealth of Virginia acquire the museum and run it as a state entity – see the Tip of the Iceberg Test above.  Needs to be voted down.

 

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Trump Focuses on the Big Things While Cruz is Stuck on Minutia

Stuck on roofImagine you lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck and as the levies broke and allowed the flood waters to engulf your house, your only hope was to bust holes in your roof to keep from drowning.

And then imagine a rescue boat came by.

Would your first question be ‘Do you think Eminent Domain is a good thing?’

Or ‘Were you at any time pro abortion or say maybe we don’t need assault rifles?’

And if the response was ‘long ago, but not any more’ would you send the rescuers away?

Would you tell them that you will wait for someone who agrees with you on the minutia while you are in mortal danger?

Of course not. You would gladly hop in the boat knowing that you must deal with the real and immediate threats first. And maybe, when the waters recede and life returns to normal you will have the luxury of some day passing up a cab on Bourbon Street because the driver favors Eminent Domain or is Pro Choice.

But right now, perched on a roof surrounded by rising waters you have to take care of solving the most immediate and threatening problems.

Folks, this country is a sinking ship. We have waves of illegal immigrants flooding across the bow, ISIS is sending in terrorists to poke holes in the life boats, China is tossing heavy weights into the ship, our military is too weak and too spread out to help us, we have no jobs and the big banks are pushing the Captain into deeper and deeper waters.

I care about government taking private property to give to developers. The Kelo decision allowing such action was a horrible decision. Killing the unborn rips my heart from my chest. I am not happy with anyone who gives money to Democrats, especially ones like Hillary Clinton that should be in jail in a just world.

But if we don’t address the big problems, if we allow the Democrat controlled press and the RINO establishment to continue giving away America and throwing open the doors to anyone and everyone because “that’s who we are”, then there will not be an America for much longer. And none of the ideological things will amount to a hill of beans.

We all know the ship is sinking. Most of the people who read this blog are Conservative and Christian and Patriots.

But the petty back and forth measuring of each other’s Conservatism and questioning the Conservativism-hood of others when we are faced with annihilation is absolute and complete rubbish.

I normally support the most Conservative candidate in any given election. And for pretty much any office except president, a Conservative is the best option. Such a person will be but one voice with very little power as an individual, but will serve to move the body in the right direction. Perhaps a nudge. And for as long as they remain uncompromised.

But these are not normal times. We have watched as our country has gone so deeply in debt we may not be able to climb out. Ever. We have so many people unemployed and we are stuck with insane leadership who are more worried about “climate change” than terrorism. They are more concerned with offending those who would kill us or take our jobs and pump our citizens full of drugs than with actually stopping the bleeding. We are no longer free to speak what we think unless it is Politically Correct.

We have a Congress led by Republicans who all pretend to be Conservative, but have never supported a Conservative piece of legislation in their lives that was not a show vote. They are owned and controlled by the choking reality of the cost of being elected again and again and naturally inclined to pocket the low hanging shiny fruit that comes from Wall Street, Big Banks and the US Chamber of Commerce with strings that demand a complete loss of free will. And the need for this money creates the circus atmosphere of show votes and permission to defect votes when they have enough votes to appease the big money masters.

Ted Cruz seems like a good enough Conservative. And if he were running for Senator, House or even Governor of Virginia, I would probably support him enthusiastically. Even over my choice for President, Donald Trump. I don’t believe Donald Trump would make a good Senator or Congressman. That is not his strength.

Nor is Ted Cruz strength in the Executive office. Not now when we are in so deep over our heads. Four years of pushing what is seen as a far right Conservative agenda and failing is what we have to look forward to with Cruz. He has been unable to get anything done in the Senate except shut down the government. A move I applauded. But then I am a Conservative too. And I loved his nasty smack-down of Mitch McConnell. I applauded that too. Good for getting out the Conservative message, but bad for actually accomplishing anything other than a Conservative thrill up and down their leg. (Yes, I got that thrill.)

But that will not fix the sinking ship. A president being against Eminent Domain will not stop one illegal from crossing the border or a single terror attack. A Cruz presidency will unite the GOPe and the Democrats against anything and everything he tries to do. We would set a record for the number of veto’s overridden by a united congress. United against the far right winger who loves to shut down the government the press will say.

And all the Cruz supporters will suddenly find a supreme distaste for Fox News Trump hater Megyn Kelly as she blasts Cruz from the rooftops for not getting along. Meanwhile, the borders will remain open, jobs will dwindle and America will sink. But Conservatives can take solace in the fact that we died with a “true Conservative” at the helm.

No, Cruz is good in the Senate. Throwing stink bombs and exposing the shenanigans of the GOPe makes my Conservative heart happy. But he has burned too many bridges with everyone in Washington to effectively fix the major problems we face. He wasn’t in favor of building a wall until Trump gained so much momentum with it.

Neither the Press, nor the Democrats and especially the GOPe has been able to stop Donald Trump. His masterful use of the media and instinct for striking the right note with Americans who are sick and tired of being told to sit down and shut up was not so much about knowing what to say, but in having the guts to say it.

So I am a Conservative. I believe in the exact same thing that each and every Cruz supporter does. I think Ted Cruz is a great Senator.

But I also appreciate the concept of Triage. You don’t put a band-aid on a boo-boo when an artery is spewing. I like band-aids on my boo-boos, but first things first.

We don’t need an archaeologist with a paint brush to gently remove layers of dust from a long dead dinosaur. We need King Kong with a wrecking ball to get the boulders off our chest before we all die. America is still alive but we need, as my Dad used to say, a bull in a china closet.

And in this race, I see but one King Kong with a wrecking ball.

For this race, I put my conservative litmus paper and my ideological check list in my back pocket. My Conservative ideology is a luxury I can’s afford to indulge with this nation in such bad shape. I thought long and hard on how we can best get back to the America we inherited and no matter how many times I run the calculations, the answer is always Donald Trump.

 


Article written by: Tom White

2060 GOP Convention: Jacob Royal Nominated on the First Ballot!

People are milling about to speak with the 101 year old Virginia Right blogger who was on duty in Richmond, covering the 2060 GOP Convention in the new Richmond Convention Center (built with public funds over Sanders’ protests) from the media row!

Between talking about Jesus and mildly flirting with the ladies, Sanders was getting around pretty good for a centenarian, but the amazing thing was how everybody reminded him about his blog post in 2016 about the remarkable kid from Iowa, Jacob Royal, who asked then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie about the school lunch meddling by Mrs. Obama!   And now Governor Royal going to be the next President of the United States!  The former student government president, Young Republican leader in college, state senator, congressman, and Governor of his home state will be nominated on the first ballot by enthusiastic conservative and libertarian delegates at the Richmond convention!

Here are excerpts from that great article at USA Today that started the whole politics thing for the fifth grader at the Iowa school:

“I don’t care what you’re eating for lunch every day. I really don’t,” the New Jersey governor and Republican presidential contender told a student during a town hall Monday. “If I’m president, back to whatever you want to eat.”

The question came from Jacob Royal, an Omaha fifth-grader and aspiring politician, who wore a navy pinstripe suit and a Republican lapel pin.

“What are you going to do about the lunches?” he asked. “They were fine when Mrs. Bush was the first lady, but now that Mrs. Obama is the first lady, they have gone down.”

And with that burst of wisdom, the political career of Jacob Royal now leads to here:  The 2060 GOP Convention!  Perhaps President Jacob Royal will bring liberty back to the United States.  “Now that’s a New American Century I’d like to see,” says blogger Sanders.  “I hope and pray, Lord Jesus willing, to vote for Royal on November 2!”

All the best to young Jacob Royal!  Keep fighting for liberty and learn all you can!  May Jesus bless you.


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

“I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.” – Clint Eastwood

“A woman who demands further gun control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Colonel Sanders.” -Larry Elder

“And they are ignorant that the purpose of the sword is to save every man from slavery.” – Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia: The Civil War

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This week’s winning essay,Joshuapundit’sObama’s Gun Diktat – The Devil In The Details is my take on what’s really behind President Obama’s new, unconstitutional diktat for what he calls ‘commonsense gun control’ – and why it’s a lot more far reaching and dangerous to our liberty than he’d like us to realize. Here’s a slice:

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President Barack Hussein Obama has followed through on his promise to ‘go after guns’ via executive order and it was really quite a show. I especially liked the part where he started weeping crocodile tears over schoolchildren gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

“First graders in Newtown. First graders,” Obama said, pausing to collect himself. “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.”

This concern for children from a man who fought tooth and nail for infanticide? So touching.

At first glance, the president’s diktat on guns seems reasonable. Prog fascists are very good at that, and of course, the president was quick to use the usual progressive talking point that everyone knows this is the right thing to do. Or to use his exact words, there’s what he called ‘a broad consensus’ supporting this, but those mean nasty Republicans in Congress just won’t act, so he has to.

The president admitted that his plan wouldn’t have stopped what happened in San Bernardino, but he feels this has to be done anyway, in order to ‘make if harder for criminals to get guns.’

I wish all the victims of the murders attributed to the President’s own efforts to put guns in the hands of criminals via Fast and Furious had been in the room, looking right at him when he said that. Now, their reaction would have been must see TV.

Before we discuss what the president has in mind, let’s get something out in the open. Prog fascists aren’t interested in getting guns out of the hands of criminals. They want confiscation of guns from the law abiding, because that’s the route to the absolute power they revel in. There’s nothing the president is proposing that’s going to get guns out of the hands of criminals, but it will make a lot of law abiding citizens helpless before them.

When you deal with a Barack Obama and those of his ilk, you have to realize that they play the long game. First, they propose something that sounds relatively reasonable, like say, ObamaCare where if you liked your plan, you could keep your plan…and just think of the savings and how cheap the premiums will be! Months later when the peons wake up down the road and realize how they’ve been lied to and screwed over, it’s too late to get rid of it without a major effort.

Please keep this in mind as we continue our discussion…Obama’s agenda never changes. When it comes to our pathological liar of a president, whatever he and his dutiful minions might say to grease something through has nothing to do with how it’s eventually applied. And the ultimate destination remains the same. In this case, it’s gun confiscation.

So with that said, let’s look at President Obama’s new diktat on guns. And remember, he’s tried to get this sort of thing through congress twice before and both times it has failed by bi-partisan majorities.

The first thing he wants is to promulgate that wonderful lefty myth, ‘the gun show loophole.’ The truth, as anyone who’s ever been to one can tell you is that it doesn’t exist.

If you go to a gun show, what you will see is licensed dealers,, because the people whom put on these things aren’t looking to go to jail for aiding and abetting illegal weapons transaction. If you see something on one of the dealer’s tables you like, they still are required to do a background check, the same as if you were in a brick and mortar store. All the laws, restrictions, waiting periods etc. all still apply. Also, as a licensed dealer in every state of the union you’re restricted to either selling guns at the registered address of your store or at an organized, licensed gun show. You can sell guns online out of state, but they must be legal in your buyer’s home state and they must be shipped to a licensed dealer in your buyer’s home state, where once again a background check has to be done and a waiting period imposed in accordance with the laws of the purchaser’s home state. Doing it any other way is a felony offense and not something a licensed gun dealer is going to risk prison and the loss of his livelihood for.

So the president talking about closing this fairy tale ‘loophole’ this means very little in and of itself and it certainly won’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but it fits in with the rest of the president’s agenda when it comes to convincing people who aren’t even aware of which end of a firearm points where that this is somehow necessary and important.

The next thing he wants, and the heart of his plan is to hire a lot more ATF and FBI agents to provide scrutiny on things like enhanced background checks. But remember two things; first of all, they work for President Obama and are going to do what he tells them to do – just like the IRS. And second, criminals don’t obtain firearms using methods where a background check is required. In the case of San Bernardino, the two killers and the friend that purchased additional firearms and explosives for them had no criminal record. And in the Newtown shooting, Adam Lanza likewise had no record, and got his weaponry by murdering his own mother in her bed. Not only that, but as I’ve pointed out before, the only reason any children died is because a school employee violated lock down procedure and let him in.

So if gun confiscation is the ultimate aim, criminals aren’t really a very productive target. To really confiscate as many guns as possible, you have to go after the law abiding and somehow transform them into people who shouldn’t be allowed to own firearms to defend themselves. And the best way is to work the ‘mental health’ and the enhanced background check angles, the really devious parts of Obama’s plan.

Doctor-patient confidentiality? Faggedabboudit. Health and Human services rules have now been changed to put the onus on physicians to report anything you tell them that seems even slightly amiss to the FBI or the ATF. And what doctor is going to take the risk of potential liability by not doing so? No matter how minor or what the cause is, just a report from your physician that you seemed slightly depressed or not your usual self can ultimately be used to confiscate any guns you own.

And you can trust states ruled by ‘progressives’ to take this even further. California just put a law into effect requiring physicians to ask patients if they own guns, which guns they posses and where they keep them. Failure to answer alone is grounds for the doctor to report this to the FBI or the ATF, and a doctor can even order your guns seized by court order if he really wants to cooperate with the State. After all, if he doesn’t and something happens…do I need to draw you a picture? We could even be talking about criminal liability here, or forfeiting a license to practice. Fear of government is the meat prog fascists thrive on.

VA will also be a fertile grounds for this. Veterans, after all, can all be labeled victims of PTSD, mental stress, maladjustment to peacetime society, call it what you want. The psycho veteran beloved of Hollywood scriptwriters has become a cliche these days. And these are men and women who likely own firearms and have been trained to use them. You can expect them to be heavily targeted for confiscation by the Regime.

What about victims of lawfare? A spurned girl friend can accuse a man of sexual assault, claim he threatened her and/or file a police report with no proof at all except her word. Thanks to VAWA, a woman can even have a man locked up with no real evidence at all, or say that self inflicted bruises were the result of assault or domestic abuse. Any family law attorney or criminal lawyer will tell you that this sort of thing happens with disturbing frequency nowadays. That’s especially true when it comes to divorce cases, particularly where child custody is involved. And even if its proven that the accusation is totally unfounded, it remains on the record. Goodbye Second Amendment rights!

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Daniel Greenfield with Nimr al-Nimr, The Non-Violently Violent Ayatollah submitted by The Noisy Room. It’s a nice look at who the Shi’ite cleric the Saudis just beheaded was.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

More here:  

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results


Article written by: Tom White

My Answer to the Thoughtful Post on the Magnitsky Act

Anonymous wrote this as a comment to my recent post on Trump and the original Magnitsky Act and I think it deserves a thorough response:

I don’t think there is any due process burden on statements of condemnation. Saying the Magnitsky Act is an unconstitutional bill of attainder I think is wrong. Firstly, the implicated are foreign nationals, it does not pass guilt nor does it create any sort of mechanism for actually trying or sentencing these individuals. It is the United States Congress formally condemning individuals of suspected crimes. The only punishment it does provide is excluding these individuals from entering the U.S. or using U.S. banks. Sandy, do you think foreign nationals have any kind of meaningful right to enter the country or use banks under the Constitution (why I also think the statements that the visa-waiver restrictions we’re implementing or limitations of immigration from certain nations being unconstitutional are inaccurate).

Do you think we need to charge Kim Jong Un for being a brutal despot in a U.S. federal court in order to continue sanctions against the North Koreans?

I think it’s pretty evident that Putin has a history of illiberal rigging of democracy within his own country. The argument that “we’ve manipulated in other countries” doesn’t seem particularly persuasive to me. I don’t think its unreasonable to say what you do to your own citizens and your own people is a reflection of the type of principles you hold. We don’t – as much as our Left-wing “comrades” might believe – an overriding obligation to people who are not citizens or do not live in this country. But we do have one to Americans. If the government were assassinating Americans or rigging American elections, that would be a problem. And further if people in charge of that rigging called a foreign election candidate “strong” or “trustworthy”, I would rightly be suspicious if I was a citizen of that country of this candidate.

Anonymous says the Magnitsky Act is not a bill of attainder.  It only says you can’t visit the US and use our banks.  And even if it is a Bill of Attainder, this constitutional protection does not (and neither do most other provisions) apply to foreigners.

A bill of attainder was a act of the British Parliament that tried and punished officials for dereliction of duty and other crimes.  Let’s go the the Heritage Guide to the US Constitution (That’s right: Heritage as in the Heritage Foundation) for a more detailed treatment of this clause:

In common law, bills of attainder were legislative acts that, without trial, condemned specifically designated persons or groups to death. Bills of attainder also required the “corruption of blood”; that is, they denied to the condemned’s heirs the right to inherit his estate. Bills of pains and penalties, in contrast, singled out designated persons or groups for punishment less than death, such as banishment or disenfranchisement. Many states had enacted both kinds of statutes after the Revolution.

The United States Supreme Court seems to have had a more expansive view of the Clause (starting in the middle of a paragraph for that first one):

Beginning with Chief Justice John Marshall, however, the Supreme Court has insisted that “a Bill of Attainder may affect the life of an individual, or may confiscate his property, or may do both.” Fletcher v. Peck (1810).

Marshall and his successors saw the Bill of Attainder Clause as an element of the separation of powers. As the decisions of the Court in Marbury v. Madison (1803) and United States v. Klein (1871) made clear, only a court can hold a trial, evaluate the evidence, and determine the merits of the claim or accusation. The Constitution forbade the Congress from “exercis[ing] the power and office of judge.” Cummings v. Missouri (1867). In United States v. Brown (1965), the Court specifically rejected a “narrow historical approach” to the clauses and characterized the Framers’ purpose as to prohibit “legislative punishment, of any form or severity, of specifically designated persons or groups.”

Those cases, although they do not admittedly apply to foreigners, do sound absolute to me in practice.  Congress cannot try a person (except for impeachment or contempt of Congress) and then punish that person.  The Magnitsky Act does exactly that:  First accusing individual Russians of involvement in torture and murder and then human rights violations in general.  That is a serious charge to make.

And there is no trial.  None of the accused Russians were allowed to try to prove their innocence or to present any evidence at all.  No court or jury decided they helped torture or kill Magnitsky – or other human rights violations.  Congress (or actually the President, under Congressional authority) decides they are guilty.

There is punishment:  These persons cannot visit the USA and any property or money they may have can be confiscated.

This cite [Here] is the entire text of the Magnitsky Act.  [Blogger’s note:  The act is Title or portion four of a larger bill]

The act reads at first like an indictment:

SEC. 402. FINDINGS; SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
            (1) The United States aspires to a mutually beneficial 
        relationship with the Russian Federation based on respect for 
        human rights and the rule of law, and supports the people of the 
        Russian Federation in their efforts to realize their full 
        economic potential and to advance democracy, human rights, and 
        the rule of law.
            (2) The Russian Federation--
                    (A) is a member of the United Nations, the 
                Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, 
                the Council of Europe, and the International Monetary 
                Fund;
                    (B) has ratified the Convention against Torture and 
                Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or 
                Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and 
                Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention 
                against Corruption; and
                    (C) is bound by the legal obligations set forth in 
                the European Convention on Human Rights.
            (3) States voluntarily commit themselves to respect 
        obligations and responsibilities through the adoption of 
        international agreements and treaties, which must be observed in 
        good faith in order to maintain the stability of the 
        international order. Human rights are an integral part of 
        international law, and lie at the foundation of the 
        international order. The protection of human rights, therefore, 
        particularly in the case of a country that has incurred 
        obligations to protect human rights under an international 
        agreement to which it is a party, is not left exclusively to the 
        internal affairs of that country.
            (4) Good governance and anti-corruption measures are 
        instrumental in the protection of human rights and in achieving

[[Page 126 STAT. 1503]]

        sustainable economic growth, which benefits both the people of 
        the Russian Federation and the international community through 
        the creation of open and transparent markets.
            (5) Systemic corruption erodes trust and confidence in 
        democratic institutions, the rule of law, and human rights 
        protections. This is the case when public officials are allowed 
        to abuse their authority with impunity for political or 
        financial gains in collusion with private entities.
            (6) The Russian nongovernmental organization INDEM has 
        estimated that bribes by individuals and businesses in the 
        Russian Federation amount to hundreds of billions of dollars a 
        year, an increasing share of the country's gross domestic 
        product.
            (7) Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky died on November 16, 2009, 
        at the age of 37, in Matrosskaya Tishina Prison in Moscow, 
        Russia, and is survived by a mother, a wife, and 2 sons.
            (8) On July 6, 2011, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev's 
        Human Rights Council announced the results of its independent 
        investigation into the death of Sergei Magnitsky. The Human 
        Rights Council concluded that Sergei Magnitsky's arrest and 
        detention was illegal; he was denied access to justice by the 
        courts and prosecutors of the Russian Federation; he was 
        investigated by the same law enforcement officers whom he had 
        accused of stealing Hermitage Fund companies and illegally 
        obtaining a fraudulent $230,000,000 tax refund; he was denied 
        necessary medical care in custody; he was beaten by 8 guards 
        with rubber batons on the last day of his life; and the 
        ambulance crew that was called to treat him as he was dying was 
        deliberately kept outside of his cell for one hour and 18 
        minutes until he was dead. The report of the Human Rights 
        Council also states the officials falsified their accounts of 
        what happened to Sergei Magnitsky and, 18 months after his 
        death, no officials had been brought to trial for his false 
        arrest or the crime he uncovered. The impunity continued in 
        April 2012, when Russian authorities dropped criminal charges 
        against Larisa Litvinova, the head doctor at the prison where 
        Magnitsky died.
            (9) The systematic abuse of Sergei Magnitsky, including his 
        repressive arrest and torture in custody by officers of the 
        Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation that Mr. 
        Magnitsky had implicated in the embezzlement of funds from the 
        Russian Treasury and the misappropriation of 3 companies from 
        his client, Hermitage Capital Management, reflects how deeply 
        the protection of human rights is affected by corruption.
            (10) The politically motivated nature of the persecution of 
        Mr. Magnitsky is demonstrated by--
                    (A) the denial by all state bodies of the Russian 
                Federation of any justice or legal remedies to Mr. 
                Magnitsky during the nearly 12 full months he was kept 
                without trial in detention; and
                    (B) the impunity since his death of state officials 
                he testified against for their involvement in corruption 
                and the carrying out of his repressive persecution.
            (11) The Public Oversight Commission of the City of Moscow 
        for the Control of the Observance of Human Rights in Places of 
        Forced Detention, an organization empowered by

[[Page 126 STAT. 1504]]

        Russian law to independently monitor prison conditions, 
        concluded on December 29, 2009, ``A man who is kept in custody 
        and is being detained is not capable of using all the necessary 
        means to protect either his life or his health. This is a 
        responsibility of a state which holds him captive. Therefore, 
        the case of Sergei Magnitsky can be described as a breach of the 
        right to life. The members of the civic supervisory commission 
        have reached the conclusion that Magnitsky had been experiencing 
        both psychological and physical pressure in custody, and the 
        conditions in some of the wards of Butyrka can be justifiably 
        called torturous. The people responsible for this must be 
        punished.''.
            (12) Sergei Magnitsky's experience, while particularly 
        illustrative of the negative effects of official corruption on 
        the rights of an individual citizen, appears to be emblematic of 
        a broader pattern of disregard for the numerous domestic and 
        international human rights commitments of the Russian Federation 
        and impunity for those who violate basic human rights and 
        freedoms.
            (13) The second trial, verdict, and sentence against former 
        Yukos executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev evoke 
        serious concerns about the right to a fair trial and the 
        independence of the judiciary in the Russian Federation. The 
        lack of credible charges, intimidation of witnesses, violations 
        of due process and procedural norms, falsification or 
        withholding of documents, denial of attorney-client privilege, 
        and illegal detention in the Yukos case are highly troubling. 
        The Council of Europe, Freedom House, and Amnesty International, 
        among others, have concluded that they were charged and 
        imprisoned in a process that did not follow the rule of law and 
        was politically influenced. Furthermore, senior officials of the 
        Government of the Russian Federation, including First Deputy 
        Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, have acknowledged that the arrest 
        and imprisonment of Khodorkovsky were politically motivated.
            (14) According to Freedom House's 2011 report entitled ``The 
        Perpetual Battle: Corruption in the Former Soviet Union and the 
        New EU Members'', ``[t]he highly publicized cases of Sergei 
        Magnitsky, a 37-year-old lawyer who died in pretrial detention 
        in November 2009 after exposing a multimillion-dollar fraud 
        against the Russian taxpayer, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the 
        jailed business magnate and regime critic who was sentenced at 
        the end of 2010 to remain in prison through 2017, put an 
        international spotlight on the Russian state's contempt for the 
        rule of law * * *. By silencing influential and accomplished 
        figures such as Khodorkovsky and Magnitsky, the Russian 
        authorities have made it abundantly clear that anyone in Russia 
        can be silenced.''.
            (15) The tragic and unresolved murders of Nustap 
        Abdurakhmanov, Maksharip Aushev, Natalya Estemirova, Akhmed 
        Hadjimagomedov, Umar Israilov, Paul Klebnikov, Anna 
        Politkovskaya, Saihadji Saihadjiev, and Magomed Y. Yevloyev, the 
        death in custody of Vera Trifonova, the disappearances of 
        Mokhmadsalakh Masaev and Said-Saleh Ibragimov, the torture of 
        Ali Israilov and Islam Umarpashaev, the near-fatal beatings of 
        Mikhail Beketov, Oleg Kashin, Arkadiy Lander, and Mikhail 
        Vinyukov, and the harsh and ongoing

[[Page 126 STAT. 1505]]

        imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Alexei Kozlov, Platon 
        Lebedev, and Fyodor Mikheev further illustrate the grave danger 
        of exposing the wrongdoing of officials of the Government of the 
        Russian Federation, including Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, or 
        of seeking to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote 
        internationally recognized human rights and freedoms.

    (b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the United 
States should continue to strongly support, and provide assistance to, 
the efforts of the Russian people to establish a vibrant democratic 
political system that respects individual liberties and human rights, 
including by enhancing the provision of objective information through 
all relevant media, such as Radio Liberty and the internet. The Russian 
Government's suppression of dissent and political opposition, the 
limitations it has imposed on civil society and independent media, and 
the deterioration of economic and political freedom inside Russia are of 
profound concern to the United States Government and to the American 
people.


Then this act authorizes the President to submit a last of names of all those involved in the alleged torture and murder of Sergei Magnitsky.  Those named can only appeal to him or the Secretary of State to be removed from the list.  And they are punished with more than just “cannot visit the US” – they can have US-held property seized and frozen:

(a) <<NOTE: President.>>  Freezing of Assets.--
            (1) In general.--The President shall exercise all powers 
        granted by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 
        U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (except that the requirements of section 
        202 of such Act (50 U.S.C. 1701) shall not apply) to the extent 
        necessary to freeze and prohibit all transactions in all 
        property and interests in property of a person who is on the 
        list required by section 404(a) of this Act if such property and 
        interests in property are in the United States, come within the 
        United States, or are or come within the possession or control 
        of a United States person.
            (2) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  Exception.--Paragraph (1) 
        shall not apply to persons included on the classified annex 
        under section 404(c)(2) if the President determines that such an 
        exception is vital for the national security interests of the 
        United States.

This is trial and punishment authorized by Congress and implemented by the Executive Branch.  I contend it is immoral, violates due process, is unconstitutional and may violate international law.

And US banks MUST comply:

(2) 
        Requirements <<NOTE: Deadline. Regulations. Certification.>>  
        for financial institutions.--Not later than 120 days after the 
        date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury 
        shall prescribe or amend regulations as needed to require each 
        financial institution that is a United States person and has 
        within its possession or control assets that are property or 
        interests in property of a person who is on the list required by 
        section 404(a) if such property and interests in property are in 
        the United States to certify to the Secretary that, to the best 
        of the knowledge of the financial institution, the financial 
        institution has frozen all

[[Page 126 STAT. 1509]]

        assets within the possession or control of the financial 
        institution that are required to be frozen pursuant to 
        subsection (a).

The definition of US bank is broad:

(4) United states person.--The term ``United States person'' 
        means--
                    (A) a United States citizen or an alien lawfully 
                admitted for permanent residence to the United States; 
                or
                    (B) an entity organized under the laws of the United 
                States or of any jurisdiction within the United States, 
                including a foreign branch of such an entity.

So, Anonymous and my readers, is this accusation, conviction and punishment without trial or evidence taken?

Many Americans I am afraid adhere to the Lindsey Graham and Jethro Gibbs school of jurisprudence that contends that foreigners have few if any rights under US law.  But that is not true.  Foreigners have plenty of rights under US law.

Placing economic sanctions against an entire nation like North Korea is not the same as targeted sanctions against individuals and does not apply to this analysis.

I did not fully understand the final paragraph and I think Anonymous was saying be careful of a presidential candidate that a foreign leader praises with intent to influence an election.  He’s right.  But we do judge the efficacy of foreign elections and leaders regularly and publicly.  Some things ought to be left private for negotiations and discussions.  And we ought not condemn others without trial for human rights violations; if we intend to judge others in other nations, let’s make sure our own house is in order.

Some might say, but Sandy, targeted economic sanctions are more moral than blanket ones.  I agree.  BUT it has to be done right.  I would target as a sanction items that are directly relevant to the bad behavior (computer software to Iran for example) but not try to destroy economies and systems or encourage rebellion.  The United States is too eager to enact economic sanctions against a whole host of nations.  Now all lawful sanctions must be obeyed as the law of the land.  But we ought to curb most if not all of the sanction regimes we have.

The Magnitsky Act in particular ought to be repealed and replaced with an apology to Russia.  Our President is good at the apologizing game.  He would be perfect for the job.

 


 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Canova Peterson Platform: Eliminating proffers that were never actually paid made new houses, (up 13%), more affordable.

Canova Peterson is the current Mechanicsville District Supervisor in Hanover County, Va. Four years ago I helped get him elected and he barely squeaked by, winning by just 75 votes.Canova

I was proud to help with signs and I talked to hundreds of voters on election day at the polls in Mechanicsville. I don’t know the exact number, but I know a good portion of the 75 votes that put Peterson over the top were from people I personally convinced to vote for Canova.

And in reviewing the last 4 years and Peterson’s record, I can say I will not be taking a vacation day on November 3, 2015 to help Peterson at the polls. He has been a disappointment and, in my opinion, detrimental to the dream of keeping Hanover a safe, rural place to live.

Voters made a tremendous error in 2011 by electing too many supervisors to the board that had ties to developers and builders. We have seen $52 million in proffers fly out of window as Peterson and the other developer cronies voted to eliminate proffers that help to defray the costs to the existing property owners in the form of cash, land and roads and other items that will prevent a lot of the costs of the development from being passed on to existing property owners.

Canova Peterson’s largest source of campaign money, not surprisingly, is the Real Estate / Construction business according to VPAP. Peterson is an architect with close ties to the construction business.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Canova Peterson was one of the developer lackeys leading the charge to eliminate proffers and line the pockets of his top donor class. And the spin and excuses Peterson has delivered in the years since he voted to get rid of proffers is staggering.

And at the September meeting of the Hanover County Republican Committee Canova Peterson rose to address the committee at the end of the meeting and complained about the misinformation being spread around. We agree with him that there is a lot of misinformation, but all he need do to locate the source is look in a mirror.

Canova’s Spin: Proffers make housing un-affordable.

In a debate held last month between Peterson and his challenger Glenn Millican, Peterson made the following argument as a reason to eliminate proffers:

We have a need for all types of housing in this community. Not just single family housing for the well to do. Our teachers, and first responders on the Fire Department, they deserve to be able to have homes too. Many of them when they are first starting out cannot afford that first house. One of the things that’s very important that we have done over the last 2 ½ years is we did help that by getting rid of the proffers. We reduced the price on those houses so that the lower people can afford a house quicker. Our children are no longer banned to living in other communities because they cannot afford to live in the county they grew up in. (Video can be found here and this statement is at the 10:00 minute mark in video #1.)

So according to Peterson, eliminating proffers made housing more affordable so the “lower people” can afford to buy. But proffers were only added to brand new homes. The county has plenty of starter homes and rentals for those starting out who are at the dawn of their careers. But the truth is, eliminating proffers has done nothing to lower the price of new homes in Hanover.

false-fact-checkFact Check: Peterson gets an F on this  claim.

One of the arguments for eliminating proffers was that the cost of housing would go down. In a presentation on the state of the county in November, County Administrator Rhu Harris reported that new housing costs were up by 13 percent in 2014. (See article in the Hanover Herald Progress.)

So even the county administrator would have to give Peterson 5 Pinocchio’s on this claim. Peterson’s developer buddies are not passing the savings on to the new home buyers. They are simply taking the opportunity to milk more money from new citizens while leaving the current citizens holding the bag for additional police, fire, school, water, sewer and other costs. Peterson is not being honest with the Hanover voters on this.

Canova’s Spin: The County Lost Nothing by Eliminating Proffers

In the same debate, Peterson made the following statement:

The County lost nothing. We never had $52 million to begin with. What we had was a wish and a hope that this money would come forward to begin with. Proffers came into being in Hanover in 1990 at $1,800 per house. When we got rid of the policy in 2012-2013 session it was $20,000 per house.

At $20,000 the most we ever collected was $2 million and that was in 1 year. The average over the 20 years was $1.3 million. People were talking about trying to collect $10 million over the next several years. That’s all based on hope and promises.

We replaced that with the Reserve Capitafalse-fact-checkl Improvements Project that used guaranteed money adding up to $180 million over that same amount of time.

Fact Check: Peterson gets an F on this claim.

Here are a few actual examples of proffers that Peterson calls a “wish and a hope”. And remember, the Real Estate / Construction industry is his largest single source of campaign funding.

Total Receivable Applicant/Developer
1,640,160 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
6,539,141 Wilton Development Corp.
186,692 Colonial Homecrafters, LLC
412,794 The Hanover Group
120,876 The Hanover Group
410,685 D.O Allen Homes
118,430 S L A, LLC
413,375 Diamond Group
377,165 Dee Associates, LLC
2,951,517 Four West Company
2,231,307 Four West Company
661,353 BWW Holdings
8,620,326 Hanover Development LLC
854,426 Glebe Hill Associates
558,858 Godsey Properties, Inc
3,518,669 Hickory Hill, LLC
2,340,184 Commonwealth Lands
1,511,664 Rogers-Chenault
2,159,520 Mountain Air, LLC
1,190,520 D&R Property Development, Inc
396,126 Atlantic Coast Townhomes, LLC
938,706 Atlantic Coast Townhomes, LLC
3,120,480 HHHunt, LLC
277,051 Godsey Properties Inc.
364,925 Historic Polegreen Church
417,656 Colonial Homecrafters, LLC
76,168 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
494,460 Carter Oaks, LLC
373,531 Balducci Developers, LLC
372,572 Mount Hermon, LLC
223,882 Mountain Run, LLC
383,530 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
843,771 HHHunt, LLC
446,445 Santee Farm, Inc
492,470 Anthony Sherman
705,778 Godsey Properties, Inc
412,940 West Point Resolution Co.

So, what could we do with this list of “wishes and hope”? Could our schools use any of that money? How about police and firefighters? Yes, there are limits on what proffers may be used for, but money is fungible.

Can you spot the glaring error in Canova Peterson’s logic?Stupidity-quote-inspiration

Political junkies like myself have been following and watching in horror as Canova Peterson and his developer buddies (along with the rest of the Board of Supervisors) have watched with horror as Hanover is paved with blacktop, houses and low income housing with no source of revenue to take the additional burden off of taxpayers. Something about Canova’s absurd arguments didn’t add up. And it hit me the other night.

Peterson claims that proffers made housing too expensive and in almost the same breath he claims we never actually collected the money.

So eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

Let me repeat Canova’s stance on proffers:

Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

And Peterson whines about the misinformation going around.

Are you beginning to see why I will not be taking my vacation day this time to help Canova at the polls? No, I will sit back like the majority of the Hanover Republicans and do as little as possible. I will not be the grassroots this time to elect this supervisor to another 4 year term. Because he doesn’t deserve it. It is a shame that there was no primary challenger. One who will be truthful and honest with the voters.

Peterson Avoiding Debates

The Herald Progress planned to hold a debate at Lee Davis High School last month, but Peterson, citing a scheduling conflict, backed out. When I suggested that he use his Town Hall scheduled for tonight (10/13/2015) as a makeup debate, he refused.

You know why he refused? Because he can’t find a response to the question:

Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children, he cries!) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

Peterson Won’t Debate, but Sends in a Plant

Glenn Millican, the challenger, was more than willing to answer questions from Mechanicsville voters and held a Town Hall meeting in place of the debate Peterson backed out of. And while Peterson was unable to come, he did send in a plant, a Mr. Warren Rice. Rice read from talking points and repeated the same absurd claims Peterson has used to defend his “Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable” platform. (And by the way, Rice is a Peterson supporter and donor.)

What Rice claimed was that his son, a Hanover Firefighter, was forced to move to New Kent because the cost of proffers made a home in Hanover unaffordable – fitting in nicely as a prop to attempt to bolster Peterson’s argument from the debate that he muffed so badly.

And we will ignore the absurd contention by Rice that the proffers add $20,000 to the assessment of the house and the taxes ever year forever. Amen. Assessments don’t work like that, and besides, if they did, that same $20,000 would be refunded when you sell or pass on the house.

So let’s do the math on a firefighter living in New Kent and working in Hanover. And note that a firefighter living in New Kent and working in New Kent is paid less.

  • Rhu Harris said new home prices in Hanover were up 13% in 2014 after eliminating proffers.
  • The average Hanover firefighter makes $31,000.
  • The average Firefighter salary in New Kent is $27,000. 12% less.

At $.81 per $100 Real Estate Tax Rate in Hanover, if it was true that the $20,000 in additional costs added by proffers (that are not actually real according to Canova) are paid year after year, the additional tax comes to $162 per year. Which would have to come out of the additional $4,000 Hanover Firefighters are paid in Hanover vs New Kent.

But the Real Estate Tax Rate in New Kent is higher than Hanover at $.84 per $100.

Real Estate Tax on a $250,000 home in:

Hanover: $2,025.00

New Kent: $2,100.00

So, out of that $162 extra tax Rice was complaining about due to proffers in Hanover, you can subtract $75 because Real Estate Taxes are higher in New Kent. Leaving the cost of the additional $20,000 in non existent proffers in Hanover costing $87 more a year. Which is about $1.67 per week.

Now let’s say the commute from New Kent adds 40 miles per day round trip to the commute. I know firefighters schedules vary, but others, like Teachers who make an average $56,00 in Hanover and $50,00 in New Kent drive 5 days per week during school. Other jobs that are 5 days per week year ’round would drive an extra 200 miles per week. With gas pretty low right now  at $2 or less per gallon, if your car gets 25 MPG you are looking at 8 extra gallons per week, $16 dollars more per week and that comes to $832 per year in additional gas costs to live in

New Kent.false-fact-check

 So if Mr. Rice’s son lived in Hanover instead of New Kent he would save $745 per year.
So we will have to give Peterson’s plant Warren Rice a rating of False.
Peterson also made the claim that proffers were “replaced that with the Reserve Capital Improvements Project that used guaranteed money adding up to $180 million over that same amount of time.
Wow! Peterson replaced proffers that were only $52 million, but a figment of our imagination, with guaranteed money more than triple that of proffers. $180 million.
Let’s see. The proffers that made housing unaffordable but were imaginary and increased the price of housing by 13% when they were eliminated and which were paid by builders were replaced by $180 million in guaranteed money.
Notice that Peterson didn’t say who would be paying this $180 million. This time we must look in the mirror to see Peterson’s ATM. And if you are really quick, you might see a vapor trail of Canova’s hand picking your pockets.

Canova Peterson Wants More Secret Meetings Hidden From the Public

secret-meeting-safe-picHow can you deceive the voters and come up with platforms like “Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.”?
Easy. You try to eliminate the freedom of information act laws that make closed door secret meetings illegal. Canova wants to meet in secret, away from prying eyes and ears to help out his developer buddies and their plans to take advantage of the taxpayers of Hanover County.
In an unbelievably attack on government transparency,  Peterson tried to have the law changed.
Times-Dispatch: When elected officials in Hanover and other jurisdictions want to meet, they have a simple choice. They can issue a public notice and get together to discuss the issue in the open, as they should. Or they can skirt the law’s intent by holding a series of “two-by-twos,” in which two supervisors at a time meet with county staff. (Virginia’s open-meetings law applies to gatherings of three or more elected officials.) Hanover’s supervisors find this inconvenient. So their chairman, W. Canova Peterson IV, wants state law changed so open-meeting laws apply only to quorums. In Hanover, that would permit three supervisors at a time to meet behind closed doors. This is a rotten idea, whose sole purpose is to put the convenience of public servants ahead of the interests of the public they are supposed to serve.
 Is this any way to serve the voters?

Article written by: Tom White

What About Governor Gilmore, Sandy? He May Have Done Better Than Expected…

I watched the First GOP Debate and I must say:  I long for the old Ron Paul days.  I even watched some Ron Paul debate videos before the big event (I missed the event with my candidate, Jim Gilmore, in it)

I did do some looking up about Gilmore and found some info.

Yes, it appears former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina won the first debate as far as expectations were concerned.  And I must say I would like to see Fiorina against the ten that were in the first debate.  I would like to see her do better.  I could have supported her if Gilmore did not make the race.

But this neat Google search trend chart shows the Virginia governor in third place among most searched by 624 pm.  (hat tip to 538Live)  Only Fiorina and SC Senator Lindsay Graham did better.  And Graham (Lord willing!) isn’t going anywhere.

Here’s the transcript of the first debate courtesy of the Washington Post.  Here’s Gilmore’s remarks to start out:

From one side of the stage, the other — the other, Governor Jim Gilmore.

You were the last person on stage to declare your candidacy. You ran for the White House once and lost. You ran for the Senate one time and lost. You haven’t held public office in 13 years.

Similar question, is it time for new blood?

GILMORE: I think the times are different now. I think the times are much more serious.

Because Obama and Clinton policies, the United States is moving further and further into a decline. I want to reverse that decline. That’s why I’ve entered this race, and I think I have the experience to do it.

Former elected prosecutor, attorney general, governor, I was elected to all of those offices.

A person who, in fact, has a long experience in foreign-policy issues, which is different from many of the other governors and prospective governors who are running. I was an Army intelligence agent and a veteran during the Cold War, assigned to West Germany.

I was the chairman of the National Commission on Homeland Security and Terrorism for the United States for five years. I was a person who has dealt extensively with these homeland security issues. I was a governor during the 9/11 attack.

I understand both of these issues, how to build the economy and doing that as a governor who’d built jobs, had cut taxes and also a governor who understands foreign-policy, and that’s why I entered this race.

Not a bad start.  I might have played up more the elected offices.  Maybe this tack:

“Let me start with introducing myself to the American people.  I was elected first a Commonwealth’s Attorney – most of you would say District Attorney – in suburban Richmond, Virginia.  Then I was elected statewide in Virginia twice – first Attorney General and then Governor.  I then served on two key commissions [state their names] that dealt with the taxation of Internet commerce and national security/fighting terrorism.”

“We need a President who can deal with the Three T’s:  Taxation, fighting Terrorism, and Technology.  Maybe people should look for experienced leadership that has not been part of what is wrong with DC today.”

“I was the first state governor to propose a state cabinet-level Secretary of Technology.  Now I do not think we need a Secretary of Technology at the Federal level but we do need a President who can and will embrace what is right about new technology and also knows it’s dangers – especially to liberty.”

“People might not know me very well.  Some laugh at my campaign.  But I graduated from the University of Virginia Law School – the law school from Jefferson’s college – and I was not accepted initially.  I was accepted to the University of Richmond – fine school by the way – but I was not in class the first day – I was in the dean’s office at UVA and they had an unexpected vacancy – and that is how I got into UVA.  You need a President who will have determination until victory is won – on the great issues of the day.”

I would have mentioned how my commission on Internet taxation recommended the successful moratorium on sales taxation and any benefits of the terrorism commission.

I also thought the paragraph about the need to warn the American people about the very real possibility of a long war with ISIS and Islamic terrorism sounded very Presidential:

And I’m going to tell you this, we need to use the benefit of our law enforcement people across this country, combined with our intelligence people across this country. We need to use our technological advantages, because what we’ve warned of is an international guerrilla movement that threatens this country. It’s going to happen in this country, there are going to be further attacks.

We have to be prepared to defend the American people, prepare them for a long war, stand up for the defense of this country, and stand up for the values of this country…

Done very well.  Now I would also add – we do not have to fight ISIS like we did in Iraq.  Get a coalition together.  Provide support.  As the governor did here:

Our job has to be to recognize the conflict between the two. I have proposed there be a Middle East NATO so that we can combine our allies there to stand up to Iranian expansion, and at the same time join together to begin to stop and this ISIL thing before it becomes an actual state.

I might have said it differently but this is exactly right.  Consider a call for some sort of war crimes trials (yes I know it’s a concession but maybe we can do it using the existing legal systems of the nations where the crimes occurred) for the terrible acts by ISIS.  I would also consider discussing the issue of technology and liberty.  How to balance security against 1984.

The next thing was taxation, growth and regulations and the governor nailed it:

I’ve had the growth code (ph) there for about five years, and it’s this specific program. We’re going to do a tax cut for all Americans. We’re going to have a three-bracket tax code, 10, 15 and 25 percent. We’re going to combine all commercial activity in business into one place in the tax code and charge it 15 percent, which is going to suddenly make us competitive with the rest of the world. And we’re going to eliminate the death tax.

GILMORE: With a couple of additional tweaks, we know what this will do. It will cause the economy to grow, to explode, to create more jobs. And first of all, we’ve got to recognize that there is problem that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have caused. And that problem is too big regulations like the EPA, too much new taxes on business that we have seen and “Obamacare.” These are drags on the economy, it’s a deliberate drag. I propose to reverse that and get this economy moving again.

A President can control the regulatory apparatus to a great extent. This President showed that.  Governor Gilmore can do it.

I also thought the Virginia Governor nailed it again here on the appointment of judges:

GILMORE: Well, as you know, I’m a former elected prosecutor, a former elected attorney general, trained at the University of Virginia in constitutional law, and I don’t believe in litmus tests except this.

I believe we should be appointing Supreme Court justices who will follow the law and not try to make the law. Now, the challenge we’re seeing today is that the Supreme Court is being converted into some type of political body.

They have to have some legal basis and precedence for being able to follow the law instead of making the law up, and my goal is — in appointing Supreme Court justices, would be to point — to appoint justices who would follow the law.

Gilmore was not done yet:  He said he’d examine every executive order of the past (especially this President) “…because the president shouldn’t be legislating: not through that vehicle or any other. We should be relying upon the leadership of the Congress to pass the laws.”  Exactly right.

His conclusion is solid:

GILMORE: Well, I was a conservative governor of Virginia, I governed that way, and that’s my track record. But the key thing that we’re seeing now is serious challenges to this country that must change, the direction of this nation must change. And that’s why I’ve offered a specific program to the people of America tonight to address the fundamental problem of getting our country growing again, getting our economy growing, wages up, opportunities for people.

And second, the international crisis we are facing is most dreadful and most dangerous. I have the experience as a prosecutor, attorney general, governor, United States Army intelligence veteran, governor during the 9/11 attack, chairman of the Terrorism Commission for this country. It’s time for real substance and real experience.

And that’s what I’ll offer to the people of the United States in this candidacy for the presidency.

Now if say, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had said this in the later debate, it might have been a turning point.  I am encouraged that Gilmore got some serious Google search.  I am not on the Gilmore team and I am not sure I would be helpful.  But I would play the Three Ts and build a strong platform around it.  Use the UVA story.  Governor during 9/11.  (See if Giuliani would help or even endorse!)

Governor Jim Gilmore is a serious candidate and has serious ideas.  He is not tied to Bush or Obama.  I am for Jim Gilmore until and unless he either wins the election or drops out.

 

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders