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Open Thread……………………………………August 1, 2016

8-august-poppyAugust is the end of summer.  We look for the Perseids meteor shower, dog days, and the cicadas are especially loud.

Kids prepare for the inevitable–going back to school.  There is a tax free weekend.  Some kids in Virginia are going back to school August 9.  That just seems uncivilized.

The wild flowers are darker and more abundant.  The median strips on highways are full of them.  The Skyline Drive has a wonderful assortment.  Perhaps they are giving us their last show before the big competition arrives–FALL!

Local blogger disparages McDowell County, West Virginia

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Posted on a local blog:

“Thinking that the best candidate for the new County Executive in a legitimate nationwide search would be found right here in Prince William County are so unbelievably astronomical that it defies description.

Prince William County is not just another hollow in McDowell County, West Virginia where inbreeding allows for your sister to be your wife and the mother of your brother.

But that’s the way the BOCS treats hiring of top policy makers and leaders in Prince William County.?”

 

Inbreeding?  Has the author of that statement ever met anyone from McDowell County, West Virginia?  Do they know anything of the population?  Off the top of my head, I thought of the gentleman who headed up Fairfax County Parks and Rec for decades.  He was born and raised in McDowell County.  I would say that he did quite well for himself.

Has the author of that nasty, hateful comment ever seen the film October Sky or read the book Rocket Boys?  Both were inspired by Homer Hickman, a retired NASA employee, who grew up in McDowell County and became a scientist and famous author.

I detest that kind of regional bigotry and prejudice.  Maybe that statement is something you might say with your own friends in your own home but never publicly.  Maybe!

I shared the comment with my best friend of many decades who was born and raised in nearby Raleigh County. West Virginia.  I will share her comments:

“I’m speechless.  McDowell is not at all a bad place. Has no more inbreeding than Prince William.  Maybe he was never exposed to the [redacted] or the [redacted]. It is deep coal field culture but hard working and honest for the most part.  So unfair that i don’t even know what to say.”

What is wrong with people who think it is perfectly OK to disparage an entire group of people based on where they live?  Regional and class bias is never acceptable.

It is even worse to accuse those people of incest.  No, it isn’t funny and no, it isn’t OK.  Furthermore, Prince William County is full of West Virginia transplants as well as descendants of those transplants.

McDowell County is an economically depressed area.  It was a coal mining area and has had mine after mine close.  Even their Walmart closed last winter but that in no way makes the residents guilty of incest.  Many places have undergone sweeping economic downturns in this country as industries change.

It’s just wrong to make those kinds of remarks about a region–almost as wrong as making those kinds of remarks about someone’s race, religion or ethnicity.  Is this the latest Trump mentality, where it’s ok to call various groups out as rapists and thieves?  This type of regional slurring is NEVER OK.

As a matter of record, I am not from West Virginia, but many of my friends have deep roots in that  state.  The local blogger needs to profoundly apologize.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in the Gainesville District.

 

Corey Stewart unloads on Virginia Republicans not voting for Trump

RichmondTimesdispatch.com:

As more Republicans run from their presidential nominee, some have begun looking favorably on the Libertarian ticket, which consists of two former Republican governors: Gary Johnson and William Weld. A recent poll showed Johnson at 11 percent in Virginia. Retiring Rep. Scott Rigell, a Republican, has endorsed Johnson.

“This is not a standard two-person race,” says Liz Mair, a spokesman for Republicans for Johnson/Weld, “and we might see Johnson gain pretty significant traction here pretty quickly.”

This news is not being greeted calmly by Team Trump.

Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors and head of the Trump campaign in Virginia, called Republican support for Johnson/Weld “traitorous and destructive.”

“There is no such thing as an anti-Trump group,” Stewart told AMI Newswire. “Anti-Trump is pro-Hillary, and that’s what groups like this really are.”

He wasn’t finished.

“If we lose, I’ll know where to go to place blame,” Stewart said. “If they want careers in politics afterwards, they won’t get them. They’ll be destroyed. This is treason against Trump. For whatever reason — their pride, their personal interests — they will damage America permanently by helping elect Hillary Clinton. They are immature babies who are tearing down the Republican Party.”’

 

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Trump’s spokeswoman seems a little confused: Blame Obama!

Washingtonpost.com:

Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman offered a pretty stunning accusation during an appearance on Fox Business Network on Monday morning. She alleged that members of the political media have “literally beat Trump supporters into submission.”

“They are tired of seeing left-wing reporters literally beat Trump supporters into submission — into supporting policies that they don’t agree with,” Katrina Pierson said.

This is merely the latest wild accusation and strange claim made by Pierson this campaign. A charitable explanation would be that she attended the Joe Biden School of What ‘Literally’ Means. But Pierson does this kind of thing a lot — and she has been particularly factually challenged this month.

Just this weekend, in fact, Pierson alleged in no uncertain terms that President Obama started the war in Afghanistan, despite his having been a state senator in Illinois at the time.

“Remember: We weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time,” Pierson said. “Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

Asked to clarify whether she was accusing Obama of launching the war in Afghanistan, which started in 2001, Pierson doubled down: “That was Obama’s war, yes.” She later appeared to blame “audio disruptions” for her comment.

Katrina Pierson needs to blame woeful ignorance on her part for her comments.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

GOP, rescue your party from these unqualified people!!!

Trump needs to fire this woman and put someone in who at least can understand chronology.

Col. Morris Davis: John McCain’s Meddling in the Bergdahl Trial

The following op-ed appeared in the New York Times.  Colonel Morris Davis discusses the repercussions of Senator John McCain’s meddling in military justice.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is to appear this month at the next hearing in his court-martial at Fort Bragg, N.C. After Sergeant Bergdahl walked off his Army outpost in Afghanistan in 2009, he was abducted and tortured by the Taliban, who subjected him to nearly five years of harsh captivity.Sergeant Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, yet two senior military officers conducting separate, impartial investigations into his case have recommended no imprisonment. That outcome would be consistent with hundreds of other post-Sept. 11 desertion cases.

But that does not sit well with certain politicians who have treated Sergeant Bergdahl’s case as if it were a political piñata. Foremost among them is Senator John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In March 2015, the Army warned the committee that holding any congressional hearing on Sergeant Bergdahl could undermine military justice. Two months later, after a senior McCain staff member raised the prospect of the senator’s doing just that, an Army official repeated the warning against holding such a hearing. “To do so,” he added, “would be unprecedented and deviate from defense oversight committees’ longstanding practice of deference to allow ongoing military justice matters to proceed to completion without direct congressional involvement.”

Yet, in October, just after the second investigator made his recommendation of no imprisonment, Mr. McCain said, “If it comes out that he has no punishment, we’re going to have to have a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Mr. McCain also declared that Sergeant Bergdahl was “clearly a deserter.” Such prejudgment of Sergeant Bergdahl’s case is only slightly less alarming than the statements of the Republican presidential nominee (and potential commander in chief) Donald J. Trump. He has said repeatedly that Sergeant Bergdahl is “a no-good traitor” who would have been executed 30 years ago.

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Sean Hannity conducts a health probe of Hillary

Washingtonpost.com:

Every night this week, Fox News’ Sean Hannity has drawn attention to a story that was largely debunked before Monday morning. Again and again, Hannity has summoned a “Fox News Medical A-Team” to probe the claim that Hillary Clinton has serious medical issues, covered up by a press that won’t demand her medical records.

Hannity’s crusade has given the theories of a looming Clinton health crisis their highest-profile airing. A year ago, when Republicans hoped that one of several younger candidates would win their nomination, jokes about Clinton’s age and health were rampant. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the Democratic nomination fight looked like “an episode of ‘Golden Girls.'” The Washington Free Beacon ran jokey investigations of a photo that showed Clinton holding the back of a chair, asking whether she was using a walker. (She was not.)

Excuse me.  Since when it is polite to make fun of senior citizens?  Do ageists  seriously think that their discussion is appropriate?   The “investigation” into Hillary Clinton’s health is absurd.  Sean Hannity is absurd and he needs to find something else to do.

Some of these conservatives really don’t seem to have any limits.  This new focus must be the last ditch effort to make up for the fact that the fools in the GOP have hi-jacked their party and are leading it to ruination.

 

Trump: Pinocchios, burning pants and bad judgement

Washingtonpost.com:

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Donald Trump was ticking through a list of reasons to support him over Hillary Clinton on Tuesday when he decided to linger on one.

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said with a shrug at a rally here after accusing Clinton of wanting to strip Americans of their gun rights. He paused, then softly offered a postscript: “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The denouncements came swiftly from Clinton’s campaign and her allies — and from outside politics. The insinuation, critics said, was that Trump was inciting his followers to bear arms against a sitting president. And Trump’s response was just as swift: He’d said nothing of the sort but was merely encouraging gun rights advocates to be politically involved.

The pattern has repeated itself again and again. First come Trump’s attention-getting expressions. Then come the outraged reactions. The headlines follow. Finally, Trump, his aides and his supporters lash out at the media, accusing journalists of twisting his words or missing the joke. It happened last week, when Trump appeared to kick a baby out of a rally, then later insisted that he was kidding. It happened the week before, when he encouraged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, then claimed he was just being sarcastic.

And with each new example, Trump’s rhetorical asides grow more alarming to many who hear them — and prompt condemnations from an ever-wider universe of critics. On Tuesday, for instance, even Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, struggled to fully embrace his comments. Sessions insisted in an interview on CNN that Trump did not mean to encourage violence, but he acknowledged that Trump’s words were “awkwardly phrased.”

Do I think Trump really threatened violence against Clinton? No. What he did was innuendo. The danger of such statements is that some not-too-stable person might take his innuendo literally and attempt to cause bodily harm.

That’s why saying “bomb” at an airport or on a plane is a really stupid thing to do. Homeland security doesn’t know you aren’t some nut-job.

Once again, poor judgement on Trump’s part.  With Trump, there is just a sea of stupid remarks to deal with that reinforce his incredibly poor judgement.  Additionally, Hillary does not want to abolish the 2nd amendment.  That is a pure lie.  4 Pinocchios.  7 pairs of pants on fire!

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50 former national security officials declare Trump unqualified and reckless

Washingtonpost.com:

A group of 50 former national security officials, all of whom have served Republican presidents from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush, have signed an open letter calling Donald Trump unqualified to be president and warning that, if elected, “he would be the most reckless President in American history.”

The letter offers a withering critique of the GOP nominee, saying he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president. The signatories declare their conviction that he would be dangerous “and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

They state flatly that none of them intend to vote for Trump in November. Some have decided to vote for Hillary Clinton, while others intend to sit out the election or write in another name, said John Bellinger III, a former legal adviser to Condoleezza Rice and the writer of the letter’s first draft.

“We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us,” the letter says. “But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.”

In a statement, Trump said the letter writers share the blame for “making the world such a dangerous place.”

What a scathing indictment.  Trump just isn’t getting it.  These officials know what is involved in being president.  How can Trump keep surviving people from his own party rebuking him?  One CIA director and 2 homeland security secretaries are included in the open letter.  All say they cannot support or vote for Donald Trump.

Not my America: Compilation of hate from Trump rallies

 UNCENSORED WARNING!!!

At some point, we really have to address bad behavior.  This video shows the type of behavior inspired by a Donald Trump rally.  Are these really the people we want to decide the next president of the United States?

It’s difficult to decide what is the most offensive in a sea of filth.  I think that perhaps the flag-motiffed testicles  might just be the nadir of various spectacles.

Perhaps it is mostly gender-driven.  Are women just less likely to accept this hideous behavior than men are?  I don’t think that I could live in this country if that were the standard.  I would fear for my life with thugs running things.

Some of my contributors might not like the democratic candidate.  That’s fine.  But who do you really have to blame for the Trump existence?  These things don’t happen in a vacuum.  Why the frustration?  It seems to me like a minority  showing their temper over not getting their total way.  This country was made great by compromise.  Great deals have been worked out in the past, although probably not in the past 20 years.

The GOP congress (both houses) have set out to stymie any advancement, any compromise.  Now that their “base” has turned against them, perhaps they want to rethink all of that.  Trump isn’t a conservative.  I don’t know what he is.  Perhaps some political Frankenstein cobbled together by various factions of hate and distrust of anything government or intellectual.

 

 

School board has the duty and authority to appoint Brentsville replacement

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Inside nova.com:

(Jill Palermo)

The Prince William County School Board “has both the duty and the sole authority” to appoint a temporary replacement for Brentsville representative Gil Trenum, a Navy reservist preparing for a yearlong deployment to Africa, according to an “unofficial opinion” issued by the Virginia attorney general’s office this morning.

The opinion goes on to say that Trenum has already effectively given his notice to temporarily vacate his office, triggering the process to appoint his interim replacement.

“In Prince William County, the appointing authority to fill vacancies on the school board is the remaining members of the school board,” the opinion says. “Here, the school board member in question has given that notice, and thus he has now been ‘relieved from the duties of office’ commencing on the date of his deployment, and the replacement statute is in effect.”

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Republican Party leaders voice alarm over Trump

Washingtonpost.com:

Turmoil in the Republican Party escalated Wednesday as party leaders, strategists and donors voiced increased alarm about the flailing state of Donald Trump’s candidacy and fears that the presidential nominee was damaging the party with an extraordinary week of self-inflicted mistakes, gratuitous attacks and missed opportunities.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was described as “very frustrated” with and deeply disturbed by Trump’s behavior over the past week, having run out of excuses to make on the nominee’s behalf to donors and other party leaders, according to multiple people familiar with the events.

Meanwhile, Trump’s top campaign advisers are struggling once again to instill discipline in their candidate, who has spent recent days lurching from one controversy to another while seemingly skipping chances to go on the offensive against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“A new level of panic hit the street,” said longtime operative Scott Reed, chief strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s time for a serious reset.”

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Where is the Virginia Republican moral compass?

Washingtonpost.com:

In a state that is home to the world’s largest naval base and one of the nation’s largest veteran populations, military voters and their families hold sway in Virginia politics. Trump’s unusual foray into a fight with a grieving military family prompted repudiation from military groups. Both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called out Trump on Monday.

But Trump’s Virginia campaign chairman, Corey A. Stewart, who is also seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination, said Trump’s words were misconstrued by Democrats exploiting the family for political gain.

 “The Democrats have really, in a very disgraceful way, tried to put this poor grieving family in the middle of a nasty political situation,” said Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

Like Gillespie, another Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, praised Khan but did not directly criticize Trump in response to questions from The Washington Post.

“Our military men and women and their families answer a calling that is higher than politics, and we must honor that by condemning attempts to politicize and especially to criticize sacrifices military families make,” Wittman said in a statement.

At some point, Stewart, Gillespie and Wittman are going to have to find their respective moral compasses and simply denounce Donald Trump’s behavior toward the Khan family.

No Corey, no one misconstrued anything.  We all heard what he said with our own two ears.  When criticized, Trump failed to take the opportunity to walk back his hatefulness.  Instead, he doubled down and made things worse.

Don’t blame Democrats.  That just sounds stupid.  Democrats and Republicans alike find Trump’s behavior simply unacceptable under any circumstances.

I call on all Virginia Republicans to denounce this narcissistic megalomaniac and insist that he start behaving like a  civilized  adult rather than someone totally lacking adult social skills.   Responsible leaders think before they speak.  If they insult someone, they fix it.  Trump is unwilling to assume responsibility for his boorish behavior.

You will be held accountable.  This issue will not go away.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. 

Edmund Burke

Maureen Caddigan: The adult in the room

2012 Official Portrait Supervisor Caddigan

Bristowbeat.com:

When the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meet again on Aug. 3, they will vote on whether or not to grant the school board $1 million for class size reduction.

The agreement is contingent upon the school division matching that $1 million with its own $1 million for class size reduction, but not signing upon the school board signing a memorandum of agreement.

Potomac Supervisor, Maureen Caddigan, who proposed the legislation, is willing to approve it even without the MOA. She hopes it will gain support of enough supervisors to pass next week.

At the July 12 Board of County Supervisors meeting, Caddigan withdrew the motion to vote on the $1 million for class size reduction after supervisors disagreed on whether the grant should be accompanied by a the signing of the MOA.

Supervisors Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville-R), Peter Candland (Gainesville-R) and Ruth Anderson (Coles-R) said the supervisors should require the school board put the agreement in writing. With Chairman Corey Stewart (R) and Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi (R) absent, it would have likely been a tie vote.

 
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Charges dropped against man accused of murdering Chandra Levy

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Washingtonpost.com:

District prosecutors have dropped charges against the man who had been accused in the murder of Chandra Levy, saying in light of new information it has concluded it can “no longer prove the murder case.”

Prosecutors did not detail what that information is, saying only that it was received in the past week. The suspect, Ingmar Guandique, was set to go to trial in October.

Levy was a 24-year-old intern with the Federal Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared May 1, 2001. The case gained national attention because police investigators at first looked closely at former California congressman Gary A. Condit, with whom Levy had an affair. Authorities later ruled him out as a suspect.

Levy’s remains were found in 2002 in Rock Creek Park. Guandique, who had pleaded guilty to attacking other women in the park, was charged. He was found guilty of Levy’s murder following a 2010 trial, but his conviction was overturned last year and he is set to be tried again in October.

The D.C. Public Defender’s Officer said in a statement that Guandique has “maintained since the beginning, when he passed an FBI administered lie detector test, that he did not kill Ms. Levy.”

“This dismissal vindicates Mr. Guandique. Finally, the government has to concede the flaws in its ill-gotten conviction,” the statement read.

So where does this leave the Levy family, who moved heaven and earth to locate their daughter’s killer?  Will Gary Condit be considered again?   Will he be considered a person of interest?  Will Guandique be deported?  What about the charges from the other women?  There is much that has not been explained.

I have always been a little suspicious of Gary Condit.

We need to watch this story.  So much is going on now with both political conventions and the Olympics beginning.  I hope it does not become buried.  This story is too important.