Friday, August 23, 2019
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Friday News: With Europe in Record Heat Wave, “Why Are We...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, July 26.  Flags of inconvenience: noose tightens around Iranian...

Tom Perriello: “Presence of Evil” Clearer with Jerry Falwell, Jr. than...

I'm not sure about Jerry Falwell, Jr. being *more* evil than "warlords and war criminals," but I absolutely agree with Tom Perriello that Falwell...

Jerry Falwell Jr. and Dave Brat: A Match Made in…NOT Heaven,...

Is the following (see press release, below) the least surprising news ever? I mean, could there possibly be a more perfect fit than far-right...

Video: Just When You Think Neo-Confederate Corey Stewart Can’t Get More...

Just when you think that neo-Confederate Corey Stewart can't get more bats*** crazy, he goes ahead and does so. And no, despite what that...

Sunday News: “Spicey’s Back”; “Trump invokes Christian nationalism at Liberty University”;...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, May 14. Also check out SNL as "Sean Spicer...

Will GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Show Up With Donald Trump At Liberty...

From the Democratic Party of Virginia, which has been really nailing it recently on Ed Gillespie, etc.: Will GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Show Up With Donald...

A Journey Into Intimate Power and Abuse

Wahoo Way and 5th Street Charlottesville photo WahooWayand5thStreet_zps71a7cc7f.jpgLast Friday I traced the route Hannah Graham took to the place she was discovered, curious to know, among other things, how long the drive had taken. I also wondered if a former residence of Matthew's along the route that hadn't been mentioned in the news had been searched.

My interest in any of this is part of a broader curiosity about the relationship between power and behavior that began with an attempt to better understand how sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and rape should be approached by the military leadership. I am certain that the initiatives taken to curb these issues in the military are aimed at the wrong targets and will falter. But I digress. October has been National Bullying Prevention Month. There was an eye-opening, at least for me, and gut wrenching series of presentations at the Charlottesville Shelter for Help in Emergency. And though Hannah Graham was not a known acquaintance of her alleged assailant, the motivations and social skills of this sort of assailant are strikingly similar. It is really their signatures that distinguish them. They are rarely insane, by the way.

Though I am not a psychiatrist or sociologist, I am going to dare to discuss the social pathology involved in behaviors that probably should not always be stove piped into various categories like bullying, domestic abuse, intimate partner abuse, elder abuse, child abuse, hazing, rape, murder, etc. You may recall that when Hannah Graham went missing, I suggested that she would not have been her assailant's only victim. What I have come to recognize through a lot of study recommended by old friends who are experts is that these are varying manifestations of power and most of those who wield power in those ways do not perceptibly look or act differently from you or I unless they are among peers or bystanders under their influence. Their "success" is shaped by knowing what others perceive as right or wrong and only acting wrong in the presence of their victims or reliable bystanders. Often they count on their victims' and any witnesses' shame to provide leverage that avoids consequences for their actions.

So, before I go below the fold, I want to repeat what I know is easier for me to say than for others to do: if you are or know a victim of any of these trespasses, report, report, report...do not stand by, get help; help others.

Goode’s Bigotry & Rationale Indicative of Far Right Beliefs in General

Former 5th District Congressman Virgil Goode's recent bigoted comments calling Mitt Romney "the father of homosexual marriages"  in a statement released to the media before the Republican presidential nominee's visit to Liberty University over the weekend is as telling as it is unconscionable.

It is a rare moment when I feel Romney needs to be defended against his opponents. But in the face of such blatant inflammatory political rhetoric, a change of course is warranted.

First and foremost, there isn't a single shred of evidence that Romney is "the father of homosexual marriages," if such a ridiculous claim could even be objectively tested.

What is most interesting about Goode's public statement to the media is his foremost rationale for restricting the rights of marriage to heterosexual couples. Goode states that "If homosexual marriages become normal across the country...State taxpayers will have to pay for the expanded health insurance costs and State retirement costs." Essentially what Goode is saying is that fundamental human rights can be denied to individuals if the economic costs outweigh the economic benefits. Welcome to the conservative version of capitalism in the 21st Century U.S.

In a similar vein, would Goode have also argued that slaves in the U.S. should not have been freed because of the supposedly huge economic burden this would have on the U.S.? One shivers to think of his answer.  

LU Power Play in Lynchburg Fails

The recent municipal election in Lynchburg resulted in placing a far different group of city council members in power than Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., thought he could engineer.  The university, a far-right bastion of religious and political conservatism, had attempted to pressure the Lynchburg City Council to move the voting precinct for its students onto its campus, to the point of secretly recording a conversation between school officials and the mayor and city manager.

(How far-right is LU? Well, the speaker at their commencement this year is Glenn Beck, the crybaby clown who pretends to be a "commentator" on Faux News!)

For this election Liberty also conducted an on-campus voter registration drive, informed students that they were expected to vote, and provided buses to take them to their polling place. The expectation was that three Republicans could be elected and would then give Falwell enormous clout on city council since he has the student votes to control one city ward. Things didn't turn out that way.

These same actions were behind the narrow defeat of Del. Shannon Valentine last November, so I suppose Falwell thought he could pull off another coup...Not this time.