Thursday, January 24, 2019
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Grayson Campaign Needs to Pull False Ad Immediately

It's not easy for me to criticize a strong progressive like Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), someone who has fought hard for just about everything I believe in (e.g., the Public Option Act). And it's even more difficult when Grayson's opponent, Daniel Webster, is about as right-wing as you can get, a true "American Taliban" if there ever was one. Finally, it continues to be the case that I would strongly prefer Grayson to be reelected than Webster to replace him.

Having said all that, however, this is truly egregious, as explained by the non-partisan, respected, Annenberg Public Policy Center.

We thought Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida reached a low point when he falsely accused his opponent of being a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, and of not loving his country. But now Grayson has lowered the bar even further. He's using edited video to make his rival appear to be saying the opposite of what he really said.

In a new ad, Grayson accuses his Republican opponent Daniel Webster of being a religious fanatic and dubs him "Taliban Dan." But to make his case, Grayson manipulates a video clip to make it appear Webster was commanding wives to submit to their husbands, quoting a passage in the Bible. Four times, the ad shows Webster saying wives should submit to their husbands. In fact, Webster was cautioning husbands to avoid taking that passage as their own. The unedited quote is: "Don't pick the ones [Bible verses] that say, 'She should submit to me.'"

Watch the ad, then watch the unedited video (see after the "fold") and decide for yourself. Here are the comments by Webster, which show that he meant the exact opposite of what Grayson's ad claims he meant.

Webb on Why Westboro Baptist Church “Speech” Not Protected by 1st Amendment

I can't embed the video of this interview, but check it out at Vivian Paige's blog. In addition to his response on the viciously homophobic (and generally insane) Westboro Baptist Church's 1st Amendment rights (or lack thereof), Webb also discusses the Defense Secretary's decision to shut down JFCOM.  

On the first issue, I have mixed feelings, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that this group's hate speech, despite being utterly despicable, is probably protected under the 1st Amendment.  In fact, the only legitimate reason I can think of why it should not be protected stems from the Schenk case, if "the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent."  If that's the case with the Westboro Baptist Church, that it makes people so angry that it incites them to violence, then how would the 1st Amendment protect all kinds of speech that we disagree with, find intolerable, feel enraged about, etc?  As much as I despise the Westboro Baptist Church and wish I never had to hear from them again, I can't think of a justification for denying them their 1st Amendment constitutional rights.

On the second issue, I think it's totally appropriate for the Virginia delegation to ask tough questions of Secretary Gates about his decision. In the end, though, it's his decision, and I don't believe the Virginia delegation can do a great deal about it in the end.

P.S. Excellent job by Vivian on this interview, and also on the one with Glenn Nye. Like Webb, Nye argues that the 1st Amendment doesn't cover the Westboro Baptist Church's disruption of military funerals, and that JFCOM shouldn't have been shut down. Your thoughts?

P.P.S. If the Westboro Baptist Church's hate speech isn't protected, then I'm not sure how flag burning, Koran burning, bible burning, etc. would be protected either.  

President Obama Signs Small Business Jobs Act of 2010

"President Obama signs a bill that will allow small businesses to grow and hire new workers by providing tax breaks, better access to credit and other incentives."

By the way, do you know how many Republicans voted for this in the House and Senate? 3 and 2, respectively. Wow.

Kookinelli for President?

Don't laugh, Virginia's nightmare really could become America's (and the world's) nightmare soon enough.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) will next week head to Alabama and, more interestingly, to Iowa to campaign with Republican candidates for attorney general.

The outspoken Virginia conservative, who is suing the Obama administration over the federal health-care law and EPA greenhouse gas regulations, has been in increasing demand nationally from Republican candidates and organizations.

His political action committee will announce Monday that he'll campaign for Republican Brenna Findley in Iowa on Oct. 4 and Republican Luther Strange in Alabama on Oct. 5. Neither trip involves taxpayer money.

If he travels to New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada in coming weeks, I'll really start to worry. For now, though, this is bad enough.

New Study: Virginia One of Top Sources for Crime Guns

This morning's New York Times reports on a new study by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which concludes that states with the loosest gun laws - states like Virginia - "exported guns used in crimes at significantly higher rates than states with more stringent laws."
"What this does is help refute some of the statements that people make on the pro-gun side in saying that tougher gun laws are unconnected to reducing crime," he said.

"A state's gun laws are only as good as the weakest link in the national chain," Professor Fox said. "A state with weaker gun laws becomes a supplier for states with stronger laws."

Indeed, the authors of the mayors' study, which was prepared largely out of Mr. Bloomberg's office, said the findings suggested that gun traffickers had sought out states with less restrictive gun-purchase laws.

"What this really shows is that bad laws really do equal more gun trafficking," said John Feinblatt, Mr. Bloomberg's chief policy adviser, "and that gaps in the law really do make a difference."

Where does Virginia fit into all this? According to the study, Virginia is one of the top 10 states, on a per capita basis, in terms of gun export rates. These 10 states "also supply a greater proportion of guns that are likely to have been trafficked."  And, not surprisingly, "There is a strong association between a state's gun laws and that state's propensity to export crime guns."  Which is why it's not surprising that, in 2009, Virginia - with its relatively lax gun laws - ranked third in the nation in top interstate crime gun supplier states, behind only Georgia and Florida.  It's also why laws like "one gun a month" and closing the "gunshow loophole" are so important, if we could ever get them passed in Virginia.

Annabel and Eric Discuss “9500 Liberty” Following Television Premier

For more information on this important and powerful film, centered in Prince William County, Virginia, click here. And, of course, congratulations to filmmakers Eric Byler and Annabel Park for receiving so much viewership and well-deserved praise for "9500 Liberty!"

Photos: Farm Team at Terry McAuliffe’s House

Thanks to Sue Langley for the photos from this Farm Team "Women of Courage and Truth" event earlier today. Looks like fun!

Photos: Al Gore Campaigns for Jim Moran

A few photos, courtesy of Sue Langley and Drew Kleibrink, of the Al Gore fundraiser for Jim Moran, held earlier today in Reston, Virginia. If only Gore had been president instead of Dubya, imagine how much better we'd all be today?  Another example of how elections have consequences and of why we need to get out and vote!

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