Virginia Right! News from Virginia, the US and the World 2017-08-18T10:58:33Z http://www.varight.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Tom White http://varight.com <![CDATA[STATUES & MONUMENTS– -THE OTHER SIDE FAILS TO RECOGNIZE THE TRUE VALUE]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27983 2017-08-18T10:52:03Z 2017-08-18T10:52:03Z

lee monument photo

Photo by cletch

One can’t live in Richmond Virginia and not understand the historic relevance of this city, particularly its past notoriety associated with it being the Capitol of the Confederacy during a painful and sad chapter of American history. Tens of thousands from all across the nation visit the Richmond area each year , some out of curiosity for the historical element, some have a fascination with the Civil War and all it represented during that time  The greater Richmond area is surrounded by reminders of Richmond’s role and the various markers and monuments stretching along the routes that the wars path took .

On an economic basis alone these visitors pour tens of millions into the local economy, hospitality interests alone will be seriously harmed, jobs will be lost and Richmond will be denied the benefits of those that visit regardless as to the reason why. It befuddles me as to why this element of the discussion doesn’t seem to warrant the consideration it rightly deserves. It is not going to impact a banker or a stock broker, but the people employed in these industries mentioned that will be harmed by this effort to remove these monuments and statues. I know of no one who will gloat over a “ moral victory” when they can’t pay their rent or feed their families. I just wish this would be taken into account by these moral preeners who seem to have failed in understanding an old economic adage “to every action there is a reaction”.

There is however another very important element to this issue that is also being overlooked, particularly by the folks who are determined to erase a chapter of American history.

Instead of seeing the Statues and Monuments in a negative light, and I understand why some do, perhaps another point of view might be considered.

I look at these statues and monuments as a testament to America’s ultimate victory of right over wrong, of justice prevailing over evil. It may have taken a very bloody and horrible war to finally correct what is a national stain on our otherwise proud history, but when it was over our national course was corrected, America did the right thing. I also am not ignoring it would be another 100 or more years until laws were instituted to correct the lingering effects of Jim Crow, but I acknowledge proudly that in time the U.S made good on its promise that  “ all men are created equal”   .

Taking these statues down does not erase what happened, nothing can do that. Leaving them could indeed serve as a reminder of this nation’s true character, when it mattered America corrected what it had allowed to occur, it doesn’t excuse it or make it right, but taking down a concrete and steel monument does not change anything that did indeed happen.

Bob Shannon  King William


Article written by: Tom White ]]>
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Bob Shannon <![CDATA[MISPLACED COMPASSION & EMPATHETIC ENABLERS YIELDS WHAT WE ARE WATCHING]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27974 2017-08-15T10:42:46Z 2017-08-15T10:42:46Z

snowflakes photo

When one examines the photographs of the protestors in Charlottesville and last night’s protests in Richmond it just might pay to ask the question—who are these aggrieved young people taking to the streets for reasons that seem somewhat removed from anything that someone so young could have even possibly experienced yet ?

They are far too young to have ever experienced much of what they claim to protest, discrimination, police brutality, harmful effects of a police state……..they simply haven’t lived long enough yet to have any legitimate claim to being impacted by any of this . So, if that is the case just what drives them and equally important —who are they really ?

Many of them are spoiled brats of indulging parents who continue to subsidize their lifestyle, paying their tuition, rent, medical care and other daily necessities so they can go off and show the world how “compassionate “ or “caring” they are for others plights. Survey them to find out how many are behind on their student loan payments, how many of them are collecting Medicaid benefits, SNAP card holders and leeching  off a society that is footing the bill.

The pudgy pink haired tattooed morons wouldn’t have time to engage in this nonsense if their parents kicked their sorry asses out of the basement, cut off their stipends that affords them the luxury of playing political activists, when many of them can’t hold ( or won’t) full time employment and become responsible tax paying citizens. You want to change the world Spanky…..get off your sorry behinds and go get a full time job so you might experience what the rest of us do, having to watch village idiots of all stripes go out and create mayhem, damaging others private property and burdening society then with cleaning up your messes. The actual loss of human life alone should trigger forceful action on the part of law enforcement to put these morons where they belong—in jail.

Spout off all you want about your First Amendment rights, but remember it is allowing for peaceful protest and demonstration…..you cross that line and throw a bottle or brick, spray some innocent bystander in the face with pepper spray, hit a law enforcement officer with a stick, you get whatever comes your way moron.

For those who want to place this blame on President Trump or any other elected official, take a good close look in the mirror, then go pull the 300 nose rings out of your 22 year old son Jimmy and sell the metal for salvage money—money you can then donate to your favorite pet cause.

In the meantime stay the hell off the streets so law abiding productive citizens who paid for those streets are not inconvenienced by your idiotic juvenile conduct .

Bob Shannon  Founder  King William T.E.A Party


Article written by: Bob Shannon ]]>
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Bob Shannon <![CDATA[SCHOOLS NEED LESSON ON ACCOUNTABILITY]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27972 2017-08-15T09:48:59Z 2017-08-15T09:48:59Z

school photoAt last nights B.O.S work session Supervisor Hansen asked a simple question regarding the schools failing to pass S.O.L muster last year on Math and English as a second language .  Superintendent Dr. David White refused to answer Hansen’s specific question as to last year’s results, insisting on the V.D.O.E rule that allows for a 3 year average be used, ultimately resulting on Chair Moskalski banging the gavel and declaring the meeting “ in recess”.

The political machinations aside a more basic fundamental question needs asked,when did the public sector leave the world of reality , that accountability seems to no longer apply to the schools actual performance . If you are not meeting your objectives in the private sector you risk being passed over for promotion, being denied a pay raise and possibly the ultimate sanction—being fired. In the public sector, particularly the schools, a refusal to examine if taxpayers and parents are getting their money’s worth is a legitimate fair question that Hansen attempted to zero in on. My kudo’s to Hansen’s efforts to hold accountable a system that takes in over 25 million a year ( 10+ million from local taxpayers) and is failing to pass muster with standards set by V.D.O.E

No one holds Dr. White personally responsible for the poorly equipped parents who send off  poorly equipped children and expects the schools to offset the glaring deficiencies that these parents/students present. That is not Dr. White’s fault, and reasonable people understand that.

It is however relevant to recognize the famous adage of former President Harry Truman, who coined the phrase “ the buck stops here”  Someone needs to hold this school system accountable and Hansen at least is making the effort.  Pouring more money and pay raises on them when they are clearly failing their mission is deplorable, it should not be happening. I recall asking former Superintendent Dr. Mark Jones back in 2010 how many personnel had he fired since he had become Superintendent ? His response was a timid one, he had fired 1 teacher for showing an inappropriate video to her students that apparently caused a small uproar among some parents, and this teacher was let go.

In a system with 350-375 FT employee’s normal attrition would include an annual dismissal of some 2-3% of total employee count.  That would represent some 7-15 employees being terminated annually for cause, could be poor attendance, or poor performance.

In the public sector these norms are ignored, and accountability is void. Fire some folks Dr. White, maybe hold a special after school program and introduce the school systems employees to Harry S. Truman.  Hansen is to be commended for his efforts.

Bob Shannon  Founder King William T.E.A Party


Article written by: Bob Shannon ]]>
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Tom White http://varight.com <![CDATA[Thanks to the GOP, Single Payer May Be our Best Hope for Controlling Health Care Costs]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27895 2017-08-18T10:54:56Z 2017-08-10T17:00:50Z

surgeon photo

Photo by libertygrace0

If you have been paying attention to the Obamacare debacle, it would seem that impotent Republicans have backed us into a corner with their failure to lead on the high cost of medical care.

Note that I didn’t write the “high cost of insurance”.

Health Insurance is simply a reflection of the high cost of medical services. But with their Obamacare legislation the Democrats were not trying to address the high cost of services, which is the disease. They went after the symptom – the high cost of insurance.

I own an Insurance Agency. We don’t do Life or Health, just Auto. But hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask why they pay so much for insurance.

“Well,” I want to say. “You pay $2,000 a year for car insurance. Last year, your company paid out over $100,000 for the accident you had. You will have to pay $2,000 a year for the next 50 years for the insurance company to break even!”

I know. Insurance companies are evil. So who cares if they lose money, right?

But the sad fact is, if they don’t make money, they will go out of business. And that is not a good thing, trust me.

How do Insurance Companies Make Money?

We see the huge profits that insurance companies make, so the obvious answer to the question is the one the politicians want you to believe. Insurers make money by charging you a huge premium which covers their payouts, costs and profits.

If that is what you believe, you are dead wrong.

When insurance companies set their premium prices that you and I pay, they are calculated to break even on what they pay out in claims. They do not build in profit and expenses like buildings and infrastructure and employees and employee benefits. They make their overhead and profit with careful, short term investments. And most insurance companies actually come up short in what they charge in premiums versus what they pay out in claims. That is called an underwriting loss. And these short term investments actually subsidize their claim payouts. And these investments pump trillions of dollars into the economy and investment markets.

The Truth About Single Payer Systems

If you believe insurance companies make money by charging high premiums, you have them confused with single payer systems. All single payer systems are government. And they have to charge enough to cover all payouts for claims, employee salary and benefits, offices and support staff, computers, etc. And they will not invest a dime in the markets and they will never make money by investing and growing your premium money.

With insurance companies out of the way, the true goal of Obamacare, how do we control prices?

And ponder for a moment what will happen in the markets when the insurance companies no longer invest trillions of dollars. What will happen to your 401K?

With Single Payer, Costs Can Only Be Controlled at the Source – Your Doctors, Hospitals and Pharmaceuticals

Do you like to call your cable company for tech support and be routed to India to someone who barely speaks English? If you do, then Single Payer is for you. Does it matter if your doctor went to Medical School at Johns Hopkins or some school in the Caribbean or Africa? Or just an online medical school?

Because the first thing the government has to go after are the high salaries and benefits of the providers.

US Medical Salary vs UK Medical Salary for Doctors

In the US, a Family Doctor can expect to earn $207,000 while in the UK, a Family Doctor makes between $71,000 and $109,000 (£55,000 and £84,000). And in the US, 52% of family doctors feel adequately compensated, even though they make 2 to 3 times what their counterparts do in the UK.

And if you specialize in something like Cardiology in the US, you expect to make $410,000 (and only 48% of Cardiologists in the US think this is fair compensation) while in the UK you only earn $78,000 (£60,000) as a cardiologist.

Specialist doctors in training can expect to earn around £36,000 ($47,000), but once qualified consultants are some of the most sought after professionals in the industry and get paid between £76,000 and £102,000. ($99,000 and $133,000).

In the US, Orthopedic doctors can rake in $443,000, 3 1/2 times the top pay for UK doctors.

And in a bit of irony, the article cited above for UK Doctor salaries states:

It’s stressful being a doctor and requires years and years of hard work – but you are certainly rewarded financially!

But as you can see, the rewards are far less in the UK than in the US.

(Source for UK, Source for US)

US Medical Salary vs UK Medical Salary for RN’s

Ok, so you hate insurance companies and doctors. What about the ones that do the really hard work like RN’s?

In the US, the average salary for an RN is $71,000 while in the UK an RN makes about $34,000 (£26,300).

So an RN in the UK makes about the same as a travel agent in the US, and the top paid doctor in the UK makes about the same as someone in the US extracting natural gas.

What Happens When you Lower the Salary for Doctors and Nurses in the US?

So what do you think will happen when the government moves in to control costs and sets the salaries of doctors and nurses in the US? And the medical techs and every one else that works in the Health Care industry?

Well, as they found out in the UK, that isn’t enough. They have consolidated a lot of the more expensive diagnostic and treatment equipment to fewer and fewer locations. Now it does minimize the number of machines they need, but it also increases the travel time for you. And the wait times.

And there are always not enough staff to deal with your problem.

How Long Will I have to Wait for my Surgery?

I was in the UK a couple of decades ago when the news was buzzing about women’s health care. In the US, they has come to mean abortion. But in the UK it was all about having to wait months, sometimes more than a year, for real women’s issues like hysterectomies. Women were up in arms at having to wait so long.

So the Single Payer government run health care in the UK came up with a fix. They would set a target wait time of only 18 weeks. Which is still almost 5 months. But this is only for non urgent surgery like knee or hip replacement, cataracts, hernia repair, etc.

And keep in mind that they shoot for 92% in 18 weeks. Some are longer.

Only now, that 18 weeks and 92% is out the window. And some places are so cash starved that they stopped having elective surgeries at all for several months.

And for women needing hysterectomies, you must see your GP first who sets up an appointment with a GYN specialist. And these appointments can take months and often require many calls to your GP that prompt another request because the GYN has not responded.

When Would You Like That Appointment?

“We have one today at 3 PM,” isn’t something you hear in the UK.

Neither is, “When would you like to come in.”

What you get is, “Your appointment is the 26th of next month at 9 AM.” If you get one that quickly.

So if you call your GP and say you feel a growth in your abdomen, it will usually be several weeks before you can get an appointment. And if your GP thinks you may have cancer, he must refer you to a specialist. And they do their best to fit you in in 2 months or so. And the they schedule you for tests. A few more weeks pass waiting for the test appointment. Then they have to go over the results and call you in for a consultation and decision on treatment (if it is cancer). And then they do their best to start treatment within 31 days.

So while you are waiting for one appointment after another with weeks in between you can take comfort in knowing that according to the Cancer Research UK “Many people begin to worry that the cancer will spread during this time. But we know that most cancers usually grow very slowly and this is not likely to happen. Waiting a few weeks for a scan or treatment does not usually affect how well the treatment works.”

What if we cut back on the Costs Now, Instead of Attacking Insurance?

Republicans missed a golden opportunity. They were handed the House, the Senate and the White House. And instead of actually looking at ways to cut back on the cost of health care itself, they continued with the Democrat’s dialog that the problem was the greedy insurance companies. And exchanges and bail outs and Medicaid expansion were the only way to fix Obamacare.

Republicans, by agreeing to repeal and replace bought into government run health care as a solution and that Insurance Companies were the problem.

And since Obamacare became law, Republicans have been bantering around ideas like Tort reform that would relieve some of the financial strain on providers, but that has not been in any proposal I have seen. Instead, the GOP is as stuck at stupid as the Democrats looking at ways to increase competition across state lines and eliminating mandates. They are focused on counting the number of insured blissfully ignorant of the fact that most of the insured can’t actually get treatment because they can’t afford the high deductibles. In essence, millions of Americans have health insurance, but no actual affordable coverage.

The only thing Obamacare even pretended to achieve was making insurance more affordable, not the actual care. And it failed at that.

So we need Single Payer?

We need to lower the cost of health care so people can afford it. Insurance Companies do a brilliant job of growing the pie. They take in less money (more often than not) in premiums than they pay out in claims and make money with short term investments. The government will never invest a dime and every penny paid out for claims as well as overhead must come from premiums or confiscatory taxes.

So between insurance and government run health care, insurance is the only way to get more bang from the buck. But the lack of vision and leadership in Washington has proven that these elected idiots are either clueless or intentionally failing to cut back costs. Or both. We don’t need to cut the salaries of medical providers 200% or 300%. But we have to lower costs. Many of the charges paid by those with insurance subsidize the costs for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Since we have abandoned the free market in healthcare, the best we can do now is go back to the days of price fixing by the government. When I have a test done at the doctor’s office, often the price is unbelievable for a simple test. But when I look at the Explanation of Benefits, the test that cost $100 was paid in full by my insurance for a couple of dollars.

The healthcare providers have hidden their real costs in exorbitant prices for goods and services that do not cost what they are charging. But they have a lot of overhead.

For example,

  • A single Tylenol in a hospital costs $15. You get two at a time. Average cost during a hospital stay, $345
  • A cup that holds the Tylenol costs $10. Average cup cost per stay: $500.
  • Charge to give you the Tylenol $7. Average $90 per stay.

Other things:

  • Plastic bags for shoes, clothes: $8
  • Sterile Water IV Bag: $800 (manufacturing costs about $1)
  • Hold your newborn: $39

How could things cost so much?

Here is an idea. The government now requires restaurants to post calories of their food. Why not require doctors and hospitals to post their prices online for various tests and services? Forget interstate insurance, let’s see how long a hospital can charge $47 for a couple of Tylenol if they have to post it, or how many doctor’s offices will charge $200 for a blood test you can do yourself for $20.

But it looks to me like we have not even considered looking at the cost of services, only the price of insurance.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could bring our own Tylenol and keep our doctor, plan and actually afford to go to the doctor.

But we won’t even look at reducing costs and keeping insurance. But I promise you that after we destroy all of the insurers and have government run single payer health insurance, we will look at costs. And at that point, we will be complaining about wait times and inferior treatment.


Article written by: Tom White ]]>
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Tom White http://varight.com <![CDATA[Democrat Northam May Do More to Unite Virginia Republicans than RPV’s Whitbeck Ever Will]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27889 2017-07-24T15:40:09Z 2017-07-24T14:52:27Z The Republican Party is a mess in Virginia.

As Republicans, we have always been good at finding those things that divide us, magnifying those divisions, and sitting around in a circular firing squad while weak and unqualified Democrats clean our clocks on election day.

Will Ralph Northam be the next clueless Democrat to sneak into the governor’s mansion as Virginia Republicans take turns rubbing salt into one another’s political wounds?

It is looking like that may be the case.

One of the biggest problems is our lack of unity as a Party. And that is on each and every person who calls themselves a Republican in the Commonwealth. We must learn to set aside our petty differences and unify behind the Candidates were selected to oppose the Democrats. Northern Virginia is crawling with left wing ideologues and Progressives who would enslave everyone in Virginia if left to their far left theories and opinions that have failed everywhere they have been tried.

We all managed to come together in 2009 as Bob McDonnell was an acceptable candidate to Republicans across the spectrum. The right blend of Conservative and enough of an insider to appeal to both the left, right and center of the party. But when McDonnell abandoned Conservative fiscal policy and gave Virginia the largest tax hike in the history of the Commonwealth and spent a lot of time digging for gold in Jonnie Williams pockets, he put the party into a tailspin from which we have not yet recovered.

And the Virginia GOP was furthered damaged when former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling pitched an embarrassing “Hillary-like” public hissy fit because he would be forced to run for the nomination he believed was supposed to be his – unopposed. And then withdrew. And so did the left wing of the party on election day. As Mark Obenshain amassed 92,000 more votes in his bid to Attorney General than Ken Cuccinelli did in his bid for governor. Which is a good indication that Republicans had the turnout to win in 2013, as demonstrated by votes for Obenshain, but 92,000 failed to vote for the Republican candidate.

So we learned that a house divided will not stand. The Democrats will win if the Republicans stay home or fail to cast a vote for the Republican nominee.

The year after the Virginia Gubernatorial race was handed to left wing operative Terry McAuliffe by obstinate Republican RINO’s who refused to vote for Cuccinelli, our current GOP Candidate for Governor Ed Gillespie ran against sitting Senator and former Governor Mark Warner. Polls predicted an embarrassing loss for Gillespie. And in something that no longer surprises, the polls were all wrong as Gillespie lost by less than 18,000 votes receiving 1,055,940 votes to Warner’s 1,073,667.  Many of the 1,104,138 votes that Obenshain received for Attorney General the previous November didn’t show up for Gillespie. Nearly 50,000 in fact. Which would have been enough to send Mark Warner into retirement.

We will never know precisely who voted in 2013 and 2014, and who didn’t. But when we speculate on who didn’t vote for Cuccinelli but voted for Obenshain in 2013, odds are that the left wing factions of the GOP voted for Obenshain for Attorney General and did not cast a vote for Cuccinelli. And then in 2014, a lot of Conservatives failed to vote for Gillespie.

But between the two groups, it looks like more on the right are willing to hold their nose and show up and vote for a candidate they really don’t like than the left wing of the Party. And the numbers show if the Virginia GOP was united, we have the numbers to sweep the top three offices in November.

So how do we get to that point?

Where is the Republican Party of Virginia’s leadership, specifically Chairman John Whitbeck and Executive Director John Findlay? What are they actually doing to unite the party? Sadly, nothing that I can see. Oh, I get the emails. “Democrat so an so said this. Bla Bla Bla. Send us your money!”

And then Findley, acting like a trained monkey, forwards the same email to the same list with a “Did you see this?” subject a day later.

So yea, they have to send these emails out to collect money to pay themselves. But what about the job they are being paid to do? You know, ensure Republicans win elections in Virginia? Unifying a fractured party?

On the national front, Republicans are doing well raising money.

The Republican president has a job approval rating around 40 percent. The GOP has an unfavorability rating around 56 percent. And Republicans trail Democrats by nine points in an average of “generic ballot” polls.

All of which makes it notable that the Republican National Committee is trouncing the Democratic National Committee when it comes to raising money, especially from small donors.

The numbers are striking. In June, the RNC raised $13.5 million to the DNC’s $5.5 million.

For 2017 so far, the RNC has raised $75.4 million to the DNC’s $38.2 million.

The RNC started the year with $25.3 million in cash on hand. Now it has $44.7 million. The DNC started the year with $10.5 in cash on hand. Now, that has fallen to $7.5 million.

As of June 30, the RNC reported $0 in debt. The DNC reported $3.3 million in debt.

A look inside the numbers is even worse for the DNC. Looking at collections from small donors — that is, those who contributed less than $200 — the RNC raised $10.5 million in the months of May and June. The DNC raised $5.3 million from small donors in the same time period.

The RNC’s money total is a record — more than was raised in any previous non-presidential election year. That is true for June, and for all of 2017 as well. The $75.4 million raised this year compares to $55.4 million for the same period in 2015; to $51.2 for the same period in 2014; to $41.1 million for the same period in 2013, and so on going back.

But the picture is pretty bleak here in Virginia.

The Virginia House Democratic Caucus today announced that Democratic candidates have outraised their Republican opponents in 21 Republican-held districts for the reporting period ending June 30.

The Caucus itself yesterday announced it had ended the June 30 reporting period with more than $1 million in the bank.

“Democrats are energized and organized in every corner of the Commonwealth, as our strong fundraising numbers show,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “We are even outraising Republicans in rural districts that have previously gone uncontested. These numbers speak to the quality, not just the quantity, of candidates we have recruited and trained. While Republicans in Richmond and in Washington are focused on denying people health care, our candidates are running with a strong economic message that includes expanding access to affordable health care for all Virginians.”

“Our candidates are deeply connected to their communities, which they have served as teachers, nurses, reporters and small business owners,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Given their commitment to their communities, it is no surprise that they have earned such strong grassroots support. Democrats will continue to stand up to Donald Trump and the Republicans in Richmond who mimic his policies – from denying people health care to voting to defund Planned Parenthood.”

The reasons for the current divide stem mostly from the animosity that still exists between the #NeverTrumpers and many who were formerly Ted Cruz supporters. And there is a big overlap in the Cruz supporters and #NeverTrump crowd.

Much of the heated social media dialog between these two factions never stopped when Trump won the nomination. And in Virginia, the “rivalry” carried over into this year’s GOP Primary as the same battle lines that were drawn between the supporters of Cruz and Trump simply migrated to Riggleman vs Corey Stewart and when Riggleman dropped out of the race for Governor, it became Gillespie vs Stewart.

I had hoped that when Trump won the Primary that things would calm down. And certainty after Trump won the Presidency. But among the political activists, it really hasn’t. It simply morphed into the next race.

Besides the RPV’s failure to work to unite the party, Ed Gillespie needs to tell his supporters that the primary is over. And continued battle with Stewart supporters is not going to help Ed win in November.

Republicans have the numbers. And with Ralph Northam calling the Republican President things like “narcissist in Chief” and spreading absolute untruths about Republican policies, true leadership would find a way to unite the Party against the true enemy. The Democrats. And I don’t mean using another “send money” email complete with monkey echo.

I was an early Trump supporter. I was a Corey Stewart supporter. And I still am.

But I will vote for Ed Gillespie for Governor, Jill Vogel (whom I endorsed in the primary) for Lt. Governor, and John Adams for Attorney General.

Republicans can sweep this race this year. We have the numbers to do it. But we will need everyone who calls themselves a Republican to turn out and vote Republican in November. And stop the useless bickering that is getting us nowhere and pull together.

Or at a minimum, shut up and vote GOP in November.

And please John Whitbeck, stop mailing this election in as if you are uninterested. At least make the rounds in person and acknowledge and address the divide in the party. Being a commercial isn’t enough. You have developed a reputation as an establishment Republican and a “head in the sand” leader. You must either inspire the state GOP to get behind our ticket, or resign and let someone with an aptitude for fair and impartial leadership take over. Not only does this year’s election hang in the balance, but the Senate next year as well.

Our party is in a mess!


Article written by: Tom White ]]>
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Bob Shannon <![CDATA[TO SOLVE A PROBLEM SOCIETY MUST FIRST FACE IT]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27854 2017-08-18T10:58:33Z 2017-07-24T12:25:39Z

welfare photo

Photo by bradleygee

Entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare are driven by demographics and longevity factors, which we can do little about. All those babies born after WW II are now reaching retirement age. Some 10,000 turn 65 each day and this continues for the next 16-17 years. Means testing and significant structural changes to the programs are the only way to sustain them. Lifting the caps on income subject to the two taxes are long overdue.

There is another problem however costing American society billions each year that also needs addressed, namely the number of males living in female headed households. Policies in place today are at the core of destructive cultural problems that are not going  to go away by avoiding talking about them.

In a column by Michael Giere this week he noted the 1 in 3 males today living in female headed households. The sobering consequences of this are now clear. A male living in one of these households is…..

20 times more likely to end up in prison, 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 20 times more likely to have behavioral problems, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, and 10 times more likely to use drugs.

The proliferation of teacher’s aides in every classroom  , most often cited as a consequence of the aforementioned behavioral problems is buttressed by comments from educators who have spoken to me on the condition of anonymity. Kids can’t learn when you have other students constantly disrupting the classroom serenity necessary for a learning environment. The Catholic Nuns had a sure fire remedy and it was employed as needed and hung above their desks in full view of every student. Texas has just reintroduced spanking in schools and the value in instilling a level of discipline in boys who have no authority figure in their lives is long overdue.

One can argue the merits of the various social services that have in practical terms supplanted the “ daddy” in the household with a government daddy, and the ensuing results are crystal clear to anyone with their eyes open.  Conservatives , had they been advocates of this 60 year experiment today would be ridiculed if these results from this were owned by them. Instead we have in the English language a new term “ the babies Daddy”,  replacing what used to be father. The progressive philosophy that a father isn’t actually necessary has clear and damning evidence to the contrary. Throwing more resources at this would not change what nature has dictated as a requirement for a boy to grow up in a healthy environment…..Dad has to be around.

Over the years  I have advocated for ending taxpayer subsidies that led to the social acceptance of having children out of wedlock as  simply an alternate choice to the more conventional and  superior manner of a man and woman marrying, then having and raising children in a household where the daily presence of a father has produced better results. No one would advocate for punishing the children, who after all had no choice in the matter.

What can be done to reverse this social trend is to end to all subsidies that rewards or promote this behavior. America has subsidized illegitimacy as a policy for 60 years and we now have ample results with which to measure the outcomes. The financial costs are staggering, but it is the long term damage to these young males that is simply inexcusable to ignore any longer.  To the critics who constantly cite the disproportionate number of African American males in prison today, suggesting it is a reflection of America’s racist climate, I simply refute that on the grounds that the home life is more directly linked than any suggestion racism played a part.  60 years is ample time to weigh the results.

Community efforts, often led by churches to teach young men how to be fathers are to be commended. We do the best we can with the kids who are here, try and find a way to broaden their horizons so they can hope for the best possible outcome. It is however no longer a matter of hoping the policies that have led to these outcomes simply improve on their own, we must as a nation make a commitment to amending the very policies that have led us here.  It begins with having a frank and candid discussion of the failure.

Bob Shannon    Founder Mechanicsville  &  King  William T.E.A Party

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Article written by: Bob Shannon ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Garrett’s Got Guts: Edition Two!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27850 2017-07-22T16:03:39Z 2017-07-22T16:03:39Z I was so proud of now Rep. Tom Garrett of Virginia when he dared stand up to a powerful state senator:   My column was entitled WOW! Garrett’s Got Guts.

Well, now the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan got a taste of the Garrett Guts.  Here’s the Breitbart story and a few highlights:

Rep. Tom Garrett announced his intent to file a discharge petition that would put that clean Obamacare repeal bill before the House. Garrett said, “I commend both the President and Republican leadership for working to replace the monstrosity that is Obamacare. However, we have seen discussions for replacement continue to stall and we must change our approach to reforming healthcare.”

If you prefer a source other than Breitbart, I can understand, so try Rep. Garrett’s website:

Garrett went on to say, “The House should lead with an incremental approach by supporting a clean-repeal bill and then enter into replacement negotiations. As such, I just initiated a seldom-used parliamentary procedure to advance H.R. 1436 through a discharge petition. The overwhelming majority of my Republican colleagues cast their vote in support of this legislation in 2015, and I have faith they will do nothing short of that now.”

A discharge petition is a parliamentary device to force a floor vote on a piece of legislation bottled up in committee.  It is seldom successful.  One of the best examples of a successful discharge petition is the one radical Rep. Vito Marcantonio (at the time: American Labor Party-NY) filed to force a vote on anti-poll tax legislation in the House in both 1942 and 1944:

Marcantonio’s greatest legislative crusades were on behalf of two civil rights bills: the Anti-Poll Tax Act and the Fair Employment Practices Commission Act (FEPC). Marc introduced the first Anti-Poll Tax bill in 1942. When the bill was pigeonholed in the Judiciary Committee Marc began a slow campaign to obtain 218 signatures on a petition to force the bill to the House floor. He ensured that each signature, as well as the impassioned floor debate received maximum press coverage. Arguing that the abolition of the poll tax would extend “democracy to disenfranchised Negroes and whites,” he connected the bill’s passage to the war effort, saying, “The continuance of the poll tax is discrimination and makes for disunity….Abolition of the poll tax abolishes this form of discrimination and makes for unity that is vital to victory.”

The bill passed the House, only to die in the Senate. Marcantonio succeeded in having it passed in the next session, using the same tactics, but it suffered the same fate.

You can help by asking your representative to sign the discharge petition.  Like a petition to get a candidate or issue on the ballot, it does not bind the signer to support the legislation.  It is just to get the item to the floor for a vote.

Chances are this will not succeed.  But win or lose:  Garrett’s Got Guts!  If you in his (Fifth) district and mad at the GOP – don’t take it out on Tom Garrett.  Take it out on Senator Tim Kaine instead.  Or give money to groups that will run ads to shame the reps and senators that won’t repeal Obamacare.

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Yes, Virginia [Taxpayer], we are all Slumlords. Maybe We Can Stop It.]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27836 2017-07-18T01:50:39Z 2017-07-18T01:50:39Z I decided after seeing and reading this article (here’s the follow up article) in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on public housing that I had to contend for the faith – the libertarian faith that is – anew:

Richmond public housing agency weighing ‘bold move’ to boost financial stability

I was hoping the “bold move” was to sell the projects to the residents.

But NO, not yet!  But see what YOU, Virginia Taxpayer help own and operate.  Yes, RRHA is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia:

Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the largest housing authority in the state. RRHA, a property management and real estate development company, provides quality affordable housing and leads community revitalization efforts throughout the City of Richmond.

RRHA, through its Property Management and Assisted Housing rental housing program, serves nearly 10,000 residents in approximately 4,100 public housing units and through the Housing Choice Voucher Program (also known as Section 8) provides housing assistance to nearly 3,000 families. (emphasis added)

That’s right – RRHA owns over FOUR THOUSAND UNITS of housing – and since RRHA is a state agency is effect – guess what – YOU help own it!  (Or at least pay for it)

But all is not well in RRHA-land:

Problems are mounting across the public housing communities that nearly 10,000 of Richmond’s poorest residents call home, and the cash-strapped agency that oversees the properties doesn’t have $150 million for needed repairs.

Sewage lines break, mold gathers around leaky window sills and rickety heaters sputter and fail in the January cold. Concrete foundations are deteriorating and appliances give out. Emergencies drive expenses.

Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority officials say things will only worsen with time, as the roughly 4,000 units age and federal subsidies used to keep them up dwindle.

OOPS!  So where will they get the 150 MILLION DOLLARS for the improvements?  Time to get out your wallet, Virginia taxpayer!  Well, first they have a bold move to take:

To that end, officials are weighing asking the federal government for permission to convert the courts – Gilpin, Hillside, Mosby, Fairfield, Whitcomb and Creighton – from the federal public housing program to the Section 8 housing choice voucher program.

The authority would retain ownership and operation of the communities and officials say residents would not see substantive changes, but Somanath estimated it would net the agency an extra $7.5 million annually to apply toward property maintenance and planning for large-scale redevelopment. That’s because federal payments for Section 8, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s main program for providing public assistance in the private housing market, are higher than they are for the public housing program.

Hitting the federal dole – yes borrow from PRChina – is hardly a bold move to me.  But public housing is in serious trouble all over the US.  It was stated in the article that some public housing agencies are in danger of bankruptcy.

Now I am not sure what happens when a public housing unit declares bankruptcy but I am sure it is not pretty for the residents.  Probably the creditors would at least consider a forced sale of the units.  That is likely to be the major asset a public housing agency would have to pay bills.  The residents are likely to go from the public slumlord to private ones.

So, here’s my concept – “sell” the units to the residents.  A sliding scale would be set up to reward longer term residents and maybe some sort of sales restrictions to protect the new owners from exploration from house flippers etc.  With ownership and potential for equity in a home to call their own – residents will be empowered to improve their lives, their homes and their neighborhoods.  Could be some transition loans or even grants to help get the needed repairs made since the banks could hold a mortgage on the new privately-held units.

In fact, there is existing law that allows under certain circumstances to sell public housing to the residents.  I think it is too complicated and too compromised.  But Section 32 of the US Housing Act of 1937 does allow certain residents to buy the housing:

Overview
The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) permits PHAs, through Section 32 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, to make public housing dwelling units available for purchase by low-income families as their principal residence. Under Section 32, a PHA may (1) sell all or a
portion of a public housing development to eligible public or non-public housing residents, or (2) provide Capital Fund assistance to public housing families to purchase homes, and (3) provide Capital Fund assistance to acquire homes that will be sold to low-income families. Section 32 generates an exception, allowing the Public Housing Capital Fund to be used to acquire units for sale that will not be put under public housing ACC contracts. This does not apply to the use of the Capital Fund by the PHA to build or substantially rehabilitate units that are not public housing for sale under Section 32. Although public housing units that are newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated may be sold under Section 32, such construction and rehabilitation by the PHA is not covered under this section, but rather is governed by the public housing
development and modernization regulations. The final Section 32 rule replaces the Section 5(h) rule.

Secretary Carson, call your office!  I would think he would be keen to change this and make it a way to bring the promise of homeownership to those who have to lived among us in public housing.

Maybe Libertarian Cliff Hyra will add this to his budget of ideas.  End the projects!  Let’s get the Commonwealth of Virginia out of the slumlord business.

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Bob Shannon <![CDATA[SINGLE PAYER IS COMING—WE’VE OURSELVES TO BLAME]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27848 2017-08-18T10:56:53Z 2017-07-17T10:40:46Z

single payer photo

Photo by juhansonin

Promises to repeal and replace the A.C.A ( ObamaCare) is clearly in trouble and whatever emerges from this mess will be a far cry from the solemn pledges Republicans have made for the last 8 years. Stop the presses—politicians lying.  It is however a tad disingenuous to put it entirely on the backs of republicans who knew all along they were never going to take away another new entitlement that Congress gave millions back in 2009 when this monstrosity was passed. An honest assessment is in order so that we can begin to prepare ourselves for a Universal National Health Insurance plan, equally important  so as to clearly understand why it happened.

In 2003 when former President George W. Bush was promoting ( with Congresses complicity) the Medicare Part D prescription coverage , I was asked by a couple down in the Northern Neck what I thought about the pending legislation. I told them it was a horrible idea, adding 1 trillion in expected costs ( according at that time to C.B.O’s estimates) over the first 10 years to a program that the wheels were coming off of. Keep in mind that there was no new revenue source to speak of to cover this additional 1 trillion. Bush wanted a 2nd term and knew Florida and Ohio were going to be critical to his chances. Not lost on those of us who follow these things was the growing elderly populations of both of these 2 states. The couple then went on to tell me that “ their prescription costs were going through the roof”….to which I replied with the following statement

you own a beautiful water front home worth around a million dollars, you have a 40ft Winnebago sitting in the driveway with a 36 ft. Cabin Crusier , several water ski-doo’s, a very healthy balance in your investment portfolio—–and you think someone else should pay for your prescriptions “ ? Obviously I haven’t been invited back since 2003.

Prior to the approval of the A.C.A the poor were already eligible/covered by Medicaid. It was the expansion of Medicaid after A.C.A’s passage that brought in ( among the states that took the Fed’s dough & expanded their Medicaid programs ) millions of able bodied Americans who once again demonstrated that they believed they were entitled to medical coverage , and equally important their fellow citizens should subsidize the costs. You can begin to see the “ entitlement mentality” here in play.

Republican Governors across the nation including Ohio’s John Kasich took the federal money , expanded his state’s Medicaid coverage and now is insisting the slow down in the growth rate of Medicaid ( which is what the Senate proposal does, it does not cut the program ) is unacceptable.  Some might say Kasich is just doing what politicians do ,he is afterall a career Pol.

Republicans never intended to take away a new federal entitlement no matter what they pledged. The bargaining going on in DC, let’s call it what it is BRIBES,  with 40 billion more for opioid addiction treatment, another 75 billion in insurance company subsidies ( to stabilize the exchanges) is just such evidence of how impossible it is to do what is right in the long term for the nation, which is to repeal this legislation all together and craft free market based solutions that are there, if only politicians would stand up for a principle.

That isn’t going to happen and we will stumble along with some political patchwork that won’t fix anything until a future Congressional majority caves and installs universal care.

I write however to bring as the late Jerry Lund used to say, some intellectual honesty, into the discussion. Saul Alinsky stated decades ago “you must co-opt more of the white middle class in order to collapse the system and bring about the change”.

I hope Jerry is playing on Heavens golf courses, I do know for certain Saul is quite satisfied these days that the co-opting he spoke of is almost complete.

Bob Shannon


Article written by: Bob Shannon ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[YES, Cliff Hyra Should Be Invited to the Virginia Bar Association Debate!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=27846 2017-07-16T02:19:20Z 2017-07-16T02:19:20Z I just found out the other day that the Virginia Bar Association – the first organization for lawyers in the Commonwealth of Virginia, that VBA, has a debate between (should be among as I will state further below) two of the candidates for governor – the former lobbyist GOP hopeful Ed Gillespie and the medical doctor Democrat candidate Ralph Northam.

However…

The Virginia lawyers forgot one candidate – who is ballot approved – and guess what:  Libertarian Cliff Hyra is the only Virginia Lawyer in the race.

Yes, Cliff Hyra, Virginia Attorney with license number 75021, was NOT invited to the July 22 event.

Here is the event and here is where I would send (polite!  Always be nice – honey always beats vinegar every time!) comments to.  I’d like to see many such comments regardless of political affiliation.  Don’t have to be a lawyer to comment.  It is a public debate.

Here are the ten debates Gillespie agreed to be in according to The Bull Elephant.

1. Virginia Bar Association Debate
2. WRIC-TV, WAVY-TV, WHAG-TV, and WFXR-TV Debate
3. Governor Doug Wilder Debate
4. The Center for Rural Virginia Debate
5. UVA Batten School and Southwest Virginia Technology Council Debate at UVA-Wise
6. Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Debate
7. Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Debate
8. Virginia Tech and WDBJ-TV Debate
9. Radio One & Miss Community Clovia Debate
10. Liberty University Debate

Northam has agreed to the VBA debate only so far, but suggested three debates and seven joint appearances here.  (Gillespie called it “insulting” to the voters.  What is really insulting is shutting out the other ballot-approved candidate.)

Remso W. Martinez of the Remso Republic suggested Hyra be invited (not to the VBA debate but the Liberty University one).  I agree.  It is especially galling for the Virginia lawyers (now I would note the VBA is a voluntary organization of lawyers, you do not have to join it to practice law – that is the state agency the Virginia State Bar) to say no to the only Virginia lawyer in the race.  I sent the VBA a question for the debate – will either Gillespie or Northam debate Hyra?  Don’t have to even like lawyers to see the dissonance in this position.

So I ask publicly?  Why not let the ONE Virginia Attorney debate?  Shouldn’t the lawyers in the Commonwealth hear all viewpoints – especially from one of their own?  I think so.  I am also a Virginia attorney (license number 25007) and I call for my colleague Cliff Hyra to be invited to this debate.

I have not endorsed in this race or any other race this general election cycle.  Not yet.  But Hyra ought to be invited.

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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