Saturday, February 09, 2019

More Saturday Male Beauty

Why Ralph Northam Should Not Resign

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This will be the last post on this topic hopefully for a while.  A great column in the New York Times lays out why the Democrats' insane, "no forgiveness ever" policy needs to be put on the trash heap.  Yes, the subject of the column is Ralph Northam, who the husband and I truly count as a personal friend - not just someone I name drop as some have alleged in nasty comments on Facebook - but the overall premise is, to me, 100% on point and needs to be heeded by both Democrats and Republicans if we are not to find ourselves in a dark place where one's entire life is ruined by foolish mistakes in the past.  And let's be honest as the column reminds us, most of us are guilty of some act or statement that under the Democrats' insane standard would damn us for life.  We've merely been lucky and not publicly exposed since we are not in the public eye.  It also reminds us that he/she who is totally without any sin is the only one fit to cast the first stone.  (Sadly, these concepts were lost on Equality Virginia which joined the rush to judgment and has perhaps permanently lost my support as a result, if I apply the no forgiveness ever standard EV embraced)  Here are column excerpts:

It’s probably for the best that Ralph Northam seems determined not to resign as governor of Virginia. He may have done something ugly and dumb many years ago, when he was a young man and prevailing notions of socially permissible behavior were uglier and dumber than they are today.
In the 35 years between those two points he has, by all appearances, lived an upstanding life without a hint of racial bias. If we are going to embrace a politics where that’s not enough to save a sitting governor accused of no crime, we’re headed toward a dark place.
I write this as someone who isn’t a Democrat and doesn’t share many of Northam’s views. Nor do I think he covered himself in glory when he accused his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, of “racist rhetoric” during the 2017 gubernatorial race, while an advocacy group allied to his campaign ran an ad that made out Gillespie supporters to be homicidal bigots intent on harming minority kids. What goes around comes around, and the temptation for schadenfreude is great.
Then again, each of us might want to perform an internal audit before we join the cast-the-first-stone coalition.
Ever told — or laughed at — a bigoted joke? I have, and I cringe today at what I once found funny. Ever used one of the more common ethnic or sexist slurs — “gypped,” for instance, or “bitch” — or dropped the f-word as it commonly refers to gay people? I’ve been guilty of this too, to my shame. Have ugly generalizations or snap judgments based on ethnic stereotypes perambulated through your mind, even if they didn’t fall out of your mouth? Guilty again.
I admit to all of this not as a form of moral — or immoral — exhibitionism, but because I think it’s true of the overwhelming majority of people irrespective of their race or gender. (If you don’t agree, audit yourself twice.) Few of us are proud of these lapses. Many of us are trying to be considerably more mindful about them. But most of us don’t rip ourselves to pieces over them, either.
That’s because we believe that our worst moments and dumbest utterances shouldn’t define us. That our youthful behavior is more of a reflection of what is around us than a representation of what’s inside. That we deserve to be judged by the decency of our intentions and the totality of our deeds. That we are entitled to a presumption of innocence, a measure of forgiveness, a sense for our times, and multiple opportunities for redemption.
Should Jesse Jackson’s entire life come down to the anti-Semitic words “Hymietown,” uttered by him in 1984 (and comically immortalized by Eddie Murphy)? Should Prince Harry forever be remembered as the royal who dressed as a Nazi? What about Joy Reid’s virulently homophobic blog posts, or Joe Biden’s racially condescending description of Barack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean”?
As I said, this is taking us to a dark place. It is hard enough for ordinary, decent people, aware of their shortcomings and capable of shame, to contemplate a career in politics; why would they ever do so if the statute of limitations on past indiscretions never expires? And if they won’t run, aren’t they just ceding the field to those with no shame?
Ralph Northam needs to clear up just who’s in that photo, so Virginians won’t think he’s lying. And he has an opportunity to speak powerfully about the legacy of a casual racism that tainted his generation of Virginians, and about the need for repentance and redemption. The best way for him to do so is as governor.

"This is an Earthquake": Virginia GOP Celebrates Democrats’ Implosion

Some Democrats - especially national level Democrats with oversize egos who ought stay out of state level politics outside their own states - continue to refuse to accept that they have been skillfully played by the GOP and its far right supporters as Virginia's political chaos continues.  A piece in Politico looks at the jubilation of the Virginia GOP as it watches the Virginia Democrats and national level busybodies tear their own party apart.  Indeed, the Virginia GOP sees its odds of success in the November 2019 Virginia elections improving markedly thanks to the Democrats self-driven implosion. Anyone who doesn't grasp that this was all carefully orchestrated and a key part needed for its success was Democrat stupidity.  The Democrats should have simply yawned at the Northam expose and perhaps the rest of the shoes would never have dropped.  But true to form, the Democrats acted just as expected and allowed themselves to be played for fools.

Democrats have grown bullish the past few election cycles about putting leftward-shifting Virginia permanently in their column. Then this week happened.
The scandals that engulfed the state government’s top three leaders have given Republicans renewed hope they can blunt the state’s leftward drift. It was no accident that this week Republicans decided to target Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the state’s most popular politician who was not thought to be at risk in 2020. They think several newly-elected Democratic House members bungled their response to the first sexual assault allegation against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax by, in some cases, waiting days to react— creating an opening for the GOP.
And Democrats worry that the state’s top lawmakers won’t be able to raise money or campaign this year when all 140 seats in the nearly evenly divided legislature are up for grabs.
It’s a rare moment of optimism for Virginia Republicans at a time when their party is down and out nationally, still hurting from the midterm elections when they lost control of the U.S. House.
“They were facing generational political Armageddon,” said John Fredericks, a conservative radio host who served as chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in Virginia. “This all changed in eight days. This is an earthquake. It’s a unique opportunity for Republicans.”
In Washington, Republicans see potential to gain some ground in a state where they’ve become accustomed to losing. Democrats have held all five statewide offices since 2013, and in 2016 Hillary Clinton won Virginia by five points.
Top officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee met on Wednesday to discuss Warner, a popular two-term senator and former governor who, like other Virginia elected officials, had to navigate the thorny misdeeds of his contemporaries this week.
“In Virginia today, as opposed to two weeks ago, the political climate is totally and completely different,” NRSC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin told POLITICO. “Whereas two weeks ago it was a reliably Democratic state, today everything is in flux. There’s nothing worse than uncertainty -- that’s a dangerous place for Mark Warner to be.” Republican strategists and activists were abuzz about their chances this November, when the party’s slim control of both state legislative chambers are in jeopardy in Virginia’s off-year elections.
Republican have a two-seat majority in the Senate, which has flipped back and forth between the parties four times during the past decade. Four Republican seats had been considered vulnerable this fall, compared to just two Democratic seats.
In the House, Democrats made massive gains in 2017 and nearly took control. They were favored to make more gains in the House, where Republicans hold a three-seat majority with one vacancy.
“The entire executive branch of Virginia is apprised of Democrats and all of them are embroiled in their own respective scandals at this point so yes, that has obviously done damage to them,” Republican House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert said. Still, he added, “The damage this has done to Virginia is a much larger issue than these secondary political implications.”
Even if they hang on, the three top leaders won’t be of much help to down-ballot Democrats. Normally they would be among the most powerful Democratic surrogates to appear at campaign rallies or raise money.
After this week, Republicans said they expect to recruit more formidable candidates, while Democrats wonder who they’ll have to run for statewide races in in 2021, the next time the seats are up. Fairfax and Herring had both been expected to run for governor.
Some Democrats dispute the consequences, saying the focus will quickly turn back to Trump and national politics.  “Six months from now, everything is going to be in the rearview mirror and the focus on D.C.,” state Sen. Scott Surovell said.
Other Democrats lamented they had only hurt themselves by acting so quickly on Northam, who said he was in his yearbook photo then reversed course, but did admit to donning blackface on another occasion.
“I’m sure there is some regret and remorse at what happened,” said Ward Armstrong, a longtime Democratic legislator who served as House minority leader.

Second Woman Accuses Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax

The damage from the political tricks of far right Republican operatives against Virginia's top Democrats continues as a second accuser has come forward alleging to have suffered sexual assault at the hands of Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax.   The timing of this and the first accusation, to me is suspect given that the assaults allegedly took place 115 and 19 years ago respectively.  Where were the accusers in 2017 when Fairfax was running for office?  The other irony is that the Legislative Black Caucus - which lead the rush to judgment against Ralph Northam as it salivated at the prospect of a black governor in the form of Fairfax if Northam resigned - now finds itself calling for Fairfax's resignation. Would any of this rolling catastrophe have continued to unfold if the Democrats had used calm, reasoned analysis and understood that they had been played by the right wing when the photos in Northam's yearbook had first been floated?  We will never know for certain, but I suspect ALL of the accusations against Northam and Fairfax were carefully pre-planned, with the far right counting on the Democrats to self-destruct.  And by Democrats, I mean numerous Virginia elected officials and national figures, including would be presidential candidates (all of whom will never receive my support), not the men and women on the street who seemingly have not leaped on the rush to judgment train wreck.  Here are highlights from the Washington Post
A Maryland woman said Friday that she was sexually assaulted by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) in a “premeditated and aggressive” attack in 2000, while both were undergraduate students at Duke University. She is the second woman this week to accuse him of sexual assault. Fairfax forcefully denied both allegations.
Democratic Party leaders quickly called for Fairfax to resign, including the influential Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Many who had withheld judgment after the first allegation this week said they could no longer stand by him, including most of Virginia’s Democratic congressional delegation and national Democrats with presidential aspirations.
While Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) said Fairfax should resign if the allegations were true, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) offered no such equivocation. “The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes, and he can no longer effectively serve the Commonwealth,” Kaine said in a statement. “We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) told senior staff that he would serve out the remaining three years of his term and would not step down amid his own scandal involving a racist photograph from his 1984 medical school yearbook.
It was a head-spinning turn in a spiraling week of chaos in Virginia. Only a week ago, Fairfax, 39, was preparing to take over as Virginia’s second African American governor when it looked as though Northam, 59, would be forced out over the racial issue.
The new accusation against Fairfax came from Meredith Watson, who said Friday in a statement through her attorney that she shared her account with several classmates and friends immediately after the alleged assault occurred. Watson did not speak publicly Friday, and her lawyer did not make her available for an interview.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Gerald E. Connolly, Don Beyer, Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton, in a lengthy joint statement, called for Fairfax to resign. National Democrats piled on, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — who said “it is no longer appropriate for [Fairfax] to serve” — and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Republican leaders in the Virginia state Senate called for criminal investigations while Democrats in the Senate and the House issued a joint statement calling for Fairfax’s resignation.
Fairfax’s statement said he would not step aside. “I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations,” the statement said. “I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before.”

Where it all ends nobody except, I predict the GOP will retain control both houses of the Virginia General Assembly which is why all of these crises were deliberately ignited.   The GOP is playing three dimensional chess while the Democrats have continued their circular firing squad. 

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Friday, February 08, 2019

More Friday Male Beauty

Trump Lauds "Christian" Adoption Agencies for Refusing Same Sex Couples

While the Human Rights Campaign ("HRC") and Equality Virginia ("EV") have foolishly injected themselves into the current chaos of Virginia politics, Donald Trump reminded everyone not overcome with political correctness of where these organizations ought to be focusing their efforts.  Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning, Trump openly endorsed anti-LGBT discrimination by foster and adoption agencies receiving tax payer funds.  This sort of bigotry ought to be a reminder that 29 states still have no employment non-discrimination protections despite many years of HRC and EV shaking down supporters for money both organizations have failed to deliver on these basic legal protections. Now, in Virginia they have attacked one of their strongest allies. In my view, major changes in their leadership is needed.  But back to Trump and his lauding of bigotry.  Here are highlights from Think Progress:
Donald Trump openly endorsed discrimination by foster and adoption agencies, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.
After welcoming Chad and Melissa Buck, a couple from Michigan who he applauded for having adopted five children, he said, “Unfortunately, the Michigan adoption charity that brought the Buck family together is now defending itself in court for living by the values of its Catholic faith.”
“We will always protect our country’s long and proud tradition of faith-based adoption,” he added. “My administration is working to insure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs.”
The case Trump referred to is a lawsuit the ACLU brought on behalf of two same-sex couples challenging Michigan’s law granting adoption agencies a license to discriminate, even if they receive state funding.
One of the couples behind the suit, Kristy and Dana Dumont, sought adoption services from St. Vincent Catholic Charities in July 2016 and again in March 2017. The agency told them it did not work with same-sex couples.
During a February 2015 Michigan House hearing on legislation that would protect adoption agencies from being punished for discriminating, St. Vincent’s director of clinical services defended the bill, testifying that the agency would be affected otherwise, as it employed such discriminatory practices. “If they let us know that they’re unmarried, or they’re gay or lesbian, we immediately recommend, make a referral to another agency,” they said.
But the ACLU didn’t sue St. Vincent or any other particular agency that was taking advantage of the law. It sued state officials directly, seeking to overturn the law altogether. The agency, along with the Bucks, chose to intervene in the case to help defend the discriminatory law for which it had previously advocated. If the same-sex couples’ case succeeded, the agency claimed, it would be forced to shut down.
Trump’s assurances at Thursday’s prayer breakfast come weeks after his administration granted a waiver to a South Carolina foster care agency, granting them license to ignore an Obama administration rule prohibiting discrimination. Miracle Hill, an evangelical protestant agency, not only refuses to serve same-sex families but had also refused to place children with a Jewish family.
Anti-LGBTQ groups have prioritized passing more of these laws allowing child placement agencies to discriminate across the country while still receiving public funding in recent years. An effort to chip away at marriage equality, these campaigns demonize same-sex parents, provide special privileges to Christian agencies, and normalize subsidizing discrimination with taxpayer money.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Friday Morning Male Beauty

The Bonfire of the Democrats

While Virginia is the immediate focus of the Democrats (in my view) politically foolish "no tolerance, no forgiveness ever" policy towards anything that might offend some fraction of the party base, as a piece in Politico lays out, the problem extends far beyond Virginia and will impact other states and most visibly, candidates  in the Democrat presidential 2020 primary contests.  Yes, the author is a Republican who is editor of the National Review, a pro-Republican publication, but he makes the valid point that what the Democrats are doing will likely guarantee that no candidate capable of winning the general election will get the nomination. From my many years in the GOP in the past, I learned that the entire purpose of a political party is to win elections and maintain your party's candidates in office so that they can further the party's policies and agenda.  You never push to remove an officeholder of your party unless they are guilty of true crimes or perhaps abuse of their office. These concepts are seemingly totally lost on today's Democrats, especially those under thirty based on what I have observed on social media.  To me, Democrats need to decide whether they want to win elections and further their governing policies or self-destruct and allow their political opponents to win the battle (and the war) and put in place the antithesis of what Democrats supposedly want.   Here are article excerpts:
All statewide officials in the Commonwealth of Virginia should resign if Democrats are held to their own standards.

Even if Gov. Ralph Northam didn’t appear in blackface in an image on his medical-school yearbook, he confessed to once darkening his face as part of a Michael Jackson costume.
Attorney General Mark Herring, who called Northam’s conduct indefensible, also used blackface once when dressing as an African-American singer.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault and been harshly dismissive of the accuser (he reportedly said of her in a private meeting, “f--- that b----”).
If ever wearing blackface, even in the 1980s as both Northam and Herring did, is a career-ender, and if we are supposed to “believe all women,” then all three of these Democrats have to go.
Only Northam has been thrown overboard by the party, with Fairfax and Herring getting passes so far because Democrats don’t want to nuke the entirety of a state executive branch they control.
Regardless, Virginia is an indication of an inflamed and unforgiving Democratic mood that will define the party’s battle for the 2020 presidential nomination.
Democrats are about to embark on the first woke primary, a gantlet of political correctness that will routinely wring abject apologies out of candidates and find fault in even the most sure-footed. The passage of time will be no defense. Nor the best of intentions. Nor anything else.
Any lapses will be interpreted through the most hostile lens, made all the more brutal by the competition of a large field of candidates vying for the approval of a radicalized base. The Democrat nomination battle might as well be fought on the campus of Oberlin College and officiated by the director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Being a progressive hero of long-standing doesn’t afford any protection. Consider Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She certainly deserves all the grief she gets for her laughable identification of herself over the years as an American Indian. But for the identity-politics Left, her fault runs deeper: In trying to rebut the allegedly racist mockery of her as “Pocahontas,” she herself committed a racial offense. . . . Cherokee Nation activist Rebecca Nagle told CNN last week that Warren needed to apologize “to the tribes that she has harmed and to Native people broadly.”
Sure enough, she apologized, and presumably will keep on doing it as long as she’s running.
In this environment, being a white male, particularly a white male not obsessed with gender and race, is a risk factor. This is a major vulnerability of Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose outright socialism is no defense.
Segments of the Left jumped on him this week for doing the same State of the Union response that he’s done for the past couple of years. This time was different because he’d be following the African-American activist Stacey Abrams, and somehow or other supposedly upstaging her. Activist Marc Lamont Hill called Sanders’ choice “racially tone deaf.” Never mind that Sanders had praised the choice of Abrams for the formal rebuttal.
In every presidential campaign, candidates have to explain and backfill to get with the party’s latest program. What will make this process so much more intense for Democrats is the belief that even past mistakes involving the choice of words or symbolism are affirmatively injurious of other people. And the belief that such mistakes represent deep sins to be repented.
Even Sen. Kamala Harris, who calls racism, sexism, and trans-phobia matters of “national security,” isn’t safe. She was once a prosecutor, after all. Reviewing her record, a New York Times op-ed writer said “she needs to radically break with her past.”
Who doesn’t? No one will be woke enough to emerge from this process unscathed.
While perhaps well intentioned - the saying goes that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions -  the Democrats' "zero tolerance, no forgiveness" policy is unworkable and is likely to paralyze the party and drive away good candidates.  If the Democrats want to be politically competitive, they need to rethink this idiocy. Otherwise, be prepared for many years of GOP rule.  

Trump and Pence to Address Anti-LGBT Christian Evangelical Group

While a significant number of LGBT Virginians foolishly, in my view, denounce Ralph Northam and Mark Herring, the two strongest allies they have ever had and risk that an anti-gay, anti-black Republican could be governor, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are reminding us who are real enemies are: Republicans and evangelical Christian extremists.  The idiocy of these elements in the LGBT community is mirrored by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and black pastors who are being cynically manipulated by The Family Foundation, a hate group with antecedents in the white supremacists behind Massive Resistance, likewise seem blind to what a governor Cox would mean for black Virginians. 

The Democrat quest for lifetime unblemished purity where no infraction will ever be forgiven will be the death of progress on LGBT and minority rights in Virginia. The GOP could not win the 2017 statewide elections, but are now on the verge of having Democrats rescind their victories. The political blindness to the GOP long game is mind numbing.  

But back to Trump/Pence who will be addressing the "National Prayer Breakfast" sponsored by the secretive fundamentalist, anti-LGBT organization is known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship Foundation"  that will embrace representatives of anti-gay hate groups and evangelical Christian extremists.  The New Civil Rights Movement looks at the up coming gathering of covens of anti-gay hate. Here are excerpts: 
Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will address attendees at the National Prayer Breakfast once again, early Thursday morning. The annual event attended by many presidents is hosted by a secretive Christian evangelical organization, allegedly with ties to Ugandan politicians who worked to enact the "Kill the Gays" bill. That secretive fundamentalist anti-LGBT organization is known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship Foundation." More than three thousand are expected to attend, including representatives of anti-gay hate groups and evangelical Christian extremists.
In December it was revealed admitted Russian agent Maria Butina used the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast as a networking opportunity to get prominent Russians to meet top members of the Trump administration. Butina has since pleaded guilty to felony charges and is cooperating with federal prosecutors. Her NRA-tied boyfriend was indicted on 11 felony and fraud charges Wednesday.
Bloomberg News reported in December that Butina chose 10 influential Russians to attend the 2017 National Prayer breakfast.
On Wednesday The Washington Post reported Trump will speak at the Breakfast and "is likely to play on white evangelicals' fears."

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

The Self-inflicted Collapse of Virginia's Democratic Party

Democrat Circular Firing Squad.
Virginia continues to be in a state of political chaos and unflattering national scrutiny as all three of its top elected officials - Governor Northam, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring - find themselves embroiled in controversy.  A piece in CNN looks at the chaos but, in my view, fails to place blame where it lies, which is not on Governor Ralph Northam or the other targets of a far right Republican operatives.  Here's what CNN says as far as it goes:
    In the last six days, the following things have happened:
·         Gov. Ralph Northam said he was in a picture in his medical school yearbook of two people -- one in blackface, the other in KKK robes. He then recanted and said he wasn't in that picture. But he added that he *had* darkened his face to look more like Michael Jackson for a dance contest in 1984.
·         A woman named Vanessa Tyson accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of assaulting her during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax angrily denied the allegations. Then on Wednesday Tyson released a statement, in which she said in part "what began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault."
·         State Attorney General Mark Herring, in a statement released Wednesday morning, acknowledged that he, too, had appeared in blackface at a party. "In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song," Herring said.
What the CNN piece fails to do is (i) link these disclosures back to a far right, Trump supporting "news" outlet, and (ii) focus on how the Democrats have stupidly engaged in a circular firing squad  -just as the GOP anticipated they would do - and blown the situation all out of proportion. In short, in my view, the ultimate blame lies on Democrat office holders (the Legislative Black Caucus in particular), including a number of out of state would be presidential candidates who improperly and ignorantly injected themselves into Virginia politics (think Juli├ín Castro, Elizabeth Warren - who has her own new crisis - and Kamala Harris).   Indeed, I would summarize the series of events since last Friday as follows:

Watching how the GOP operatives at Big League Politics set this in motion and how the Democrats took the bait hook, line and sinker and set themselves up to potentially put a racist homophobe (in the form of House of Delegates Speaker Cox) has been horrifying to watch.  Everyone, starting with the Legislative Black Caucus, rushed to judge, looked for every possible slight and never took a deep breath or stopped to consider the bigger picture and the strange coincidence of the timing of the political hit jobs.  Once Northam and Fairfax were targeted, I knew something would be dug up on Herring.  Since Herring announced his own "sin" first today, I believe he must have known the GOP operative were about to expose him.
As regular readers I know both Northam and Herring - Northam is a personal friend - and neither of these men is a racist.  Stupid perhaps in their youth, but not racists. Cox is a whole different story.  Three years of Speaker Cox as governor would be a disaster for LGBT Virginians and black Virginians - and most other Virginia.

In the last few days I've been attacked as a racist "gray old man" wanting to protect "white privilege" by some.  But having been in the political game longer than many of these young upstarts who have attacked me have been alive, I know just how dirty and foul the GOP plays.  I left the GOP almost 20 years ago, but in my days as a city committee member for the GOP for eight years, I saw up close just how dirty the far right was willing to play. I wanted no part of the politics of personal destruction, deliberate lies and, in my view, moral bankruptcy, so I left the GOP.   But I did not forget what I had observed. Sadly, no one in the Democrat Party wanted to listen to my analysis and warnings.

Democrats Grapple with Fairfax Assault Accusation

UPDATED: A reader spells out what the GOP is up to in all of this:

Understand and see their end game. Third in line is the Republican President pro tempore of the Senate - Steve Newman.

Mark Herring had best hope they find no skeletons on him.

As noted in the prior post, Virginia Democrats have set the stage where any accusation no matter how old or questionable now has the potential to derail elected officials' political careers.  The tempest over Ralph Northam started by a right wing GOP outfit now has spread to Justin Fairfax. A piece in Big League Politics looks at the accusation here:
Last night after Big League Politics released the bombshell report that Stanford University Fellow and Professor Vanessa Tyson allegedly accused Democrat Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax sexually assaulted her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. She did not use his name in the initial release, and Big League Politics did not receive confirmation from Tyson that she wrote the post.
However, this changed late last night when Tyson confirmed to independent Virginia media outlet RVA Dirt that she made the allegations, and enlisted a friend to help spread the story.
Do I believe the story?  Not really given that the Washington Post supposedly looked into it and found it untrue and because I view this all asa coordinated effort to severely harm Democrats in the lead up to the 2019 Virginia elections.  Is it a coincidence that the same outlet , Big League Politics, that first attacked Northam is behind the Fairfax story?  I doubt it.  It's all part of an agenda to set the stage for the Virginia Democrat Party to implode, something it seemingly is working very hard to do.  Right wing Republicans must be ecstatic at the Democrats willingness to tear themselves apart. The problem for Virginia Democrats simply put is that now they have set the stage where no one is safe from such accusations and there is no limit on how far back in time one will be judged. A piece in the Washington Post looks at this second nightmare for Virginia Democrats:
The day after Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) denied allegations of sexual misconduct, Democrats grappled with how to respond without betraying a rising star in their party or abandoning victims in the #MeToo era.
Nearly all Democrats at the state and federal level swiftly called for Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign over a racist photo from his 1984 yearbook that became public Friday.
But lawmakers and party officials interviewed took a more circumspect approach to the allegation against Fairfax, which surfaced Monday, just three days later.
Although Democrats at the state and national level have been quick to say women should be believed and that all allegations should be investigated, they say they are resisting a rush to judgment. . . . . Virginia Democrats privately note the accuser in the Fairfax case has not yet offered evidence she says corroborates her claim.
The dilemma shows the trouble they have enforcing a policy of zero tolerance.
“I have so many different things going through my head right now,” said Monique Alcala, chair of the state Democratic Party’s Latino caucus and a Fairfax supporter since he first made a splash in state politics by nearly winning the 2013 Democratic primary for attorney general.
Quentin Kidd, the director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, said Democrats are in a bind. “The silence is deafening from Democrats,” he said. “They may be thinking, ‘We don’t want to throw our lieutenant governor under the bus while we’re also trying to throw our governor out of office.’ Republicans are probably eating all the popcorn they can find right now. It’s quite a show.”
Democrats almost uniformly took their cues from the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus {which lead the attacks on Northam], which Monday evening released a statement saying lawmakers take all allegations of sexual assault or misconduct “with the utmost seriousness.”
“Given the recent allegations regarding Lieutenant Governor Justice Fairfax, the VLBC will continue to assess this developing situation as more details become available,” the statement continued. The state party released a nearly identical statement.
Most Republicans have been content to let Democrats’ problems unfold uninterrupted. “What’s going on with the lieutenant governor?” Del. Steve Landes (R-Augusta) said coyly before adding: “I don’t have any comment, thanks.”
This insane zero tolerance policy - despite its good intentions - will be the death of the Virginia Democrats in the near term.  I predict the GOP will retain control of the General Assembly after November and if the Democrats want someone to blame, they best look in the mirror.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

GOP Operatives Succeeding in Causing Virginia Democrat Party to Implode

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported today as follows:
The website [Big League Politics] that broke the story of the racist yearbook photo that is imperiling the governorship of Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam is a scrappy, pro-Trump outfit backed by Republican operatives, part of a growing wave of low-cost, ideologically driven news publishers.
The same site reportedly leak a story about Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax alleging he was involved in a sexual assault some years back.  

The goal of both stories?  To send the Virginia GOP into chaos and weaken the party before the crucial elections in November, 2019, which will determine which party controls the the Virginia General Assembly.  So far the gambit has worked amazingly well.  Rather than taking a deep breath and taken the time to know all of the facts, the political correctness obsessed Democrats from Mark Warner and Tim Kaine on down have by played like trained circus dogs and have done exactly what the far right elements of the GOP wanted. They have rushed to judgment and demanded Northam resign and some have wondered out loud if Fairfax has a problem as well.  

Sadly, the knee jerk rush to judgment has not been confined to elected officials.  A number of self-styled leaders of the Virginia LGBT community - e.g., Equality Virginia and locally the LGBT Life Center - have joined the stampede of lemmings and signed an anti-Northam statement notwithstanding that Northam has been one of the strongest allies they have ever had.  And never mind that many in the LGBT community still strongly support Northam and do not want him to resign. 

Long term, this apparent from conception forward "zero tolerance"standard is going to make it very difficult for the Democrats to recruit candidates in the future.  Anyone who has anything in their history that might offend someone in one of the Democrats' special preferred classes is on notice that they can be drummed out of the party should that information ever surface.  

As the Washington Post reported, some seem to be realizing that the rush to judgment has been ill-advised and may have consequences those rushing to jettison Northam failed to take into consideration.  Here are key quotes:
But there is also a quieter concern that the party has come to react too quickly. Some of Franken’s supporters are still bitter over how the end of his career played out, and several senators have said they regretted pushing him to leave office.
The new atmosphere can catch even the most seasoned politician off guard. The accused feel denied any sense of due process. Supposed allies quickly turn into enemies. And, they argue, Republicans are refusing to play by the same rules.
I think there’s a rush to judgment that is unfair to him,” Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic vice presidential nominee, said Monday on CNN about Northam. “One, he says he wasn’t in that picture. Two, I think we ought to fairly ask him, did he know the picture was on his page of that yearbook. And then three, really, he ought to be judged on the context of his whole life.”
“I think he deserves a chance to prove what really is his essence,” he added. “Not to rush him out of office, unfortunately for political reasons.”
But Lieberman is in the distinct minority in a party newly animated by women and nonwhite candidates and voters, who have provided the ballast for swift decisions.
Yet a party that is moving swiftly to oust anyone with suggestions of racism or sexism could soon confront more questions: Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would take over if Northam resigns, held a news conference on Monday to deny allegations that he sexually harassed a woman in 2004.
I believe the Democrats have opened a Pandora's Box for themselves and that in their eagerness to pander to one group of voters, they are alienating many others.

I left the GOP years ago because of what I saw is the unfairness and ruthlessness of the Christian Right and those who pandered to them.  Now the Democrats are acting just as bad but on the opposite end of the spectrum.  The husband and I are definitely rethinking who we support and what candidates and organizations deserve our financial support.   By their rush to judgment on Northam, a number of would be Democrat presidential candidates have shown they do not have the calm and steady analysis for the White House.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

More Tuesday Male Beauty

The Second Coming of Nancy Pelosi

Rather than conducting a witch hunt against Ralph Northam which I predict will leave the Virginia Democrat Party deeply divided and unable to win control of the Virginia General Assembly - I already know I will not be voting for my state senator and delegate and may even decide challenge one of them - a piece in The Atlantic looks at Nancy Pelosi and what ought to be Democrats' sole focus of attention: reining in and, hopefully, dispatching Donald Trump. Unlike the civil war within the party in Virginia, this policy could rally all Virginia Democrats come November and in 2020.  Here are article highlights:

Perhaps it’s because as a child she practiced her penmanship by logging the favors owed to and from her powerful politician father in a record book so they’d never get lost. Perhaps it’s because she gave birth to five children in six years. Perhaps it’s because she first ran for public office at age 47, when her youngest kid was a senior in high school and she knew herself, and her mind, and what she had to offer. Perhaps it’s because she never gives up. 
Whatever the reasons, Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi has clearly not only reemerged as what she already was more than a decade ago—the highest-ranking woman in the history of the republic, as speaker of the House—but as the single Washington leader best able to frustrate, sidestep, stymie, outfox, infuriate, and when it suits her purposes, simply ignore Donald Trump. “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding,” her filmmaker daughter Alexandra told CNN last month, describing her mother’s negotiating style. “That’s all you need to know about her. No one ever won betting against Nancy Pelosi. She’s persevered.” No kidding.
That analysis could just as easily apply to her deft handling of the restive young Democrats, who just two months ago were grumbling that her day had passed and were all but openly wondering how they might block her from becoming speaker again. Now she’s the unquestioned heroine of the anti-Trump left, on par with the iconic Ruth Bader Ginsburg and rapidly climbing to the level of Eleanor Roosevelt, if not Joan of Arc.
Pelosi’s own public response to her reversal of fortune has been understated, but sly.  . . . . Pelosi co-opted the crop of insurgent Democratic freshmen who might have threatened her rule in part by pledging to serve only four years as speaker, but also by listening to their concerns and hearing them out, and addressing them. She has a healthy sense of her own status, but doesn’t let her ego get in the way of the task at hand.
“She knows how to count votes better than anybody,” says former Representative Tom Downey of New York, who grew close to her after she first came to Congress from San Francisco in a special election in 1987, two years before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born. “She’s perfectly politically centered to lead the new dynamic members of Congress, because she was once one of them. She gave her first speech on AIDS when she got to the Congress. She’s really absolutely the perfect person for this moment.”
Not coincidentally, her face-offs with Trump have solidified and consolidated her power over her own caucus. . . . She won it because she stood up to him [Trump].” McCarthy added bluntly, “She wants to break him.”
“It goes to show you,” she reportedly told a closed-door meeting of Democrats after her December confrontation in the Oval Office. “You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.” The Washington Post reported that she added, “It’s like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him.” Still later, she mocked Trump’s ever-shifting definition of his proposed border wall, telling USA Today, “He’s already backed off the cement—now he’s down to, I think, a beaded curtain or something.”
Pelosi uses [Trump’s] the president’s most inflammatory statements as a mere foil to talk about whatever she wants to talk about.
Pelosi’s strategy is bearing fruit. The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows that voters trust her over Trump, by a margin of 49 to 42 percent, with women trusting her even more: 54 to 37 percent. . . . . And voters overall trust congressional Democrats more than Trump on the issue of border security, by 50 to 41 percent.
“She holds some grudges, as you have to in politics,” Tom Downey says, “but she’s not consumed with it, and it’s not a big part of her plan. Trump’s a silly man, and she knows it. He’s not going to be a problem for her.”
The burgundy pantsuit that Pelosi wore when she was sworn in as speaker the first time in 2007 is already in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Curators had better be on the lookout for the iconic item of apparel or personal effects that could symbolize her second tour. She’s already well on her way to earning the honor.

Virginia Republican Leaders Foolishly Kill LGBTQ Rights Bills

Virginian Republicans again demonstrated that they are totally beholden to the Christofascists at The Family Foundation and other purveyors of anti-gay lies by killing all LGBT non-discrimination bills through rules games in a House of Delegates committee.  If Republicans were smart - a huge if - they should have allowed passage of the bills and have removed the largest reason the vast majority of  Virginians have for almost exclusively supporting Democrats. In addition, such a move might improve the Virginia GOP's position with younger voters, many of whom find the GOP's anti-gay agenda abhorrent and a prime motivator to vote Democrat, especially in the increasing crucial so-called urban crescent stretching from Northern Virginia down through Richmond and then to the cities of the Hampton Roads region.  With Virginia Democrats in a civil war over Ralph Northam, the timing would have been perfect to split off the LGBT vote from the Democrats.  Foolishly, the Virginia GOP opted to remain the political whore of Virginia's leading hate merchants.  A piece in The Advocate looks at this foolish and discriminatory move.  Here are excerpts: 
Legislation to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing and public employment in Virginia has died for this session.
Republican leaders in the House of Delegates Thursday removed the two nondiscrimination bills from the agenda of the General Laws Committee. “The move prevents the pieces of legislation from getting past committee and squanders any hope that they may become law in this legislative session,” the Washington Blade reports.
The Senate had passed similar measures, one banning discrimination in housing and the other in public employment, January 18, the Human Rights Campaign notes. The chamber had also approved bills like this over each of the past several years, but they have always stalled in the House. Virginia does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in any of its civil rights laws.
“It’s shameful that Speaker [Kirk] Cox, Majority Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo and leaders in the House of Delegates continue to use every political trick in the book to kill these crucial, commonsense nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Virginians,” HRC national field director Marty Rouse said in a press release. “For several years in a row, bills that would protect LGBTQ Virginians from discrimination in housing and public employment have passed the state Senate, but House leadership continues to obfuscate the political process and obstruct this legislation. Let’s be clear: Cox is using LGBTQ people as political pawns. This fall, voters in Virginia will head to the polls to elect their state representatives. If current leaders cowardly refuse to protect all Virginians, then voters will elect lawmakers who will. We will remember this in November.”
Polling has shown bipartisan support among Virginians for legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the HRC notes. Business groups had lobbied for the legislation this year, including the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association and the Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission.
Today’s anti-LGBTQ actions by Virginia House leadership are dramatically out of step with voters, lawmakers, and Americans from all walks of life,” said a statement issued by Freedom for All Americans CEO Masen Davis, according to the Blade. “Equality is not a partisan issue, but a human issue — and it’s a shame when legislators who don’t yet realize that fundamental truth have the power to thwart commonsense, bipartisan bills to protect their constituents.”

With thoughts of possibly challenging either my state senator of member of the House of Delegates (who is probably the more vulnerable), the GOP's anti-gay agenda makes it impossible for me to consider doing so as a Republican. 

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty

Monday, February 04, 2019

Why You’re Not Hearing That Ralph Northam Was Smeared

By throwing Ralph Northam under the bus, the Virginia Democrat
Party is trying to erase its leading role in Massive Resistance..  The hypocrisy is truly breathtaking. 
Some readers may be tired of hearing about the firestorm in Virginia - much of it fueled by inside the Beltway pundits  and right wing "news" sites - but as a close fiend of Governor Northam and his wife, I cannot sit back and quietly watch the political assassination underway.   While Northam was first smeared by a far right website, far too many Democrat elected officials have jumped on the bandwagon to make it difficult to feel that some sort of dirty deal has been cut between elected officials and the Black Caucus in the Virginia General Assembly. I am so livid that I am considering a run against either my member of the House of Delegates or State Senator both of whom are members of the Black Caucus.  I last ran for office 25 years ago and swore I;d never do it again, but with these very low turn out elections, such a campaign might just be doable.  But I digress.  A piece in Slate looks at why Northam may be unfairly being savaged by the media and social media.   What the piece leaves out is (i) evidence exonerating Northam, and (ii) the fact that the Democrat Party in Virginia has a very ugly racist history that it now pretends never happened.  Massive Resisistance - where public schools were closed down rather than integrate - occurred under Democrats, not Republicans.  By crucifying Northam, the Democrat Party of Virginia is trying to rewrite history and erase its own ugly history of racism which pales compared to anything Ralph Northam might have done as a student.  Northam, in fact, wasn't even born when Virginia Democrats developed Massive Resistance.  Here are article excerpts:
When mainstream media outlets reported on sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Republican politicians and conservative media outlets said he’d been the victim of a left-wing “smear job.” When the same outlets covered a viral video of Covington, Kentucky, high school students facing off with a Native American protester near the Lincoln Memorial, Republican politicians and conservative media outlets said the same thing. . . . There are similar open questions about some aspects of the scandal into which Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has gotten himself. Last Friday, news broke that a photo on Northam’s medical school yearbook page showed two individuals at a costume party, one in blackface and one dressed as a member of the KKK. Many Democratic politicians and left-wing commentators called on him to resign. Subsequently, though, some of Northam’s medical school classmates have said they don’t remember Northam in those get-ups, and that it’s technically possible the picture could have been put on his page by mistake.
And yet, we’re not hearing much about a “smear job” when it comes to Northam.
The difference between the reaction to Northam and the reactions to Kavanaugh and Covington is pretty easy to spot: Northam is a Democrat. Despite not every detail of his situation being locked down, we’re not hearing about this story as a smear job because, for reasons including identity, ideology, and coalition-building necessity, Democrats and pundits on the left aren’t looking for ways to worm out of confronting racist and sexist behavior. Northam’s peers in his party and his movement aren’t invested in proving that all such accusations are fraudulent, and centrist media figures haven’t been made self-conscious about criticizing people like him by years of bias accusations.

Perhaps an even more important article is this one.  Read the entire thing. 

Headed Towards Political Homelessness?

I left the Republican Party roughly 20 years ago (I do not remember the exact date I resigned from my City Committee seat) because the GOP had veered too far to the right and could no longer embrace the concept of the separation of church and state, something has become even worse under the Trump/Pence regime.  While never officially a Democrat - I have gone to some Democrat city committee meetings - I have more or less supported Democrat candidates with money and even housing campaign staffers for up to four months at a time. Now, I fear that the Democrats are going to veer in the opposite direction.  The ideology police swarming around Ralph Northam are but one symptom as the push of a "no tolerance and no forgiveness ever" policy that I suspect will ultimately cannibalize the Democrat Party and drive many like myself away.  

I also see this far left extremism infecting the struggle for LGBT rights in Virginia which, by default has forced many to support Democrats since the Republican Party of Virginia remains firmly in the control of religious extremists at The Family Foundation and neo-Confederates.  Indeed, there are events already scheduled where I now find I have no desire to attend.  I simply have no desire to see a considerable number of people that will be in attendance and have even less desire to pledge financial support given the true character of these same individuals that I have witnessed over the last few days.  

Supporting third party candidates isn't the solution since, voting for them is a wasted vote and money donated might just as well have been burned in a fireplace.  The take away is that I am not sure what the answer is, but the husband and I will definitely be rethinking our support to many, especially senior elected officials who have proven they will quickly throw others under the bus and have no true loyalty to anyone. Loyalty is a two way street in my book, not one way.

Monday Morning Male Beauty

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Republicans Call out Northam For "Racism" and Give Trump a Pass

Democrats do not have a monopoly on hypocrisy when it comes to the the Northam controversy.  At the Virginia level. the GOP Speaker of the House of Delegates has called for Northam's resignation citing the concerns of the black caucus.   Meanwhile, everything the Virginia GOP does is aimed at harming black Virginians on an everyday basis in current real time be it pushing efforts to disenfranchise them through voter ID laws and, among other things, refusing to reform Virginia's marijuana laws which have been used disproportionately against blacks.  At the national level, the GOP has Donald Trump, an out right racist with a history of racism stretching back for over 40 years. A column in the Washington Post highlights Republican hypocrisy when it comes to matters of race.  Here are highlights:
Finally, the GOP is calling out a chief executive for his appalling insensitivity on an issue of race: Saturday, via Twitter, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) decried that chief executive’s “past racist behavior” and said “He should resign.
Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel listed off what she sees as that same chief executive’s callousness on race, including, apparently, his appearance in a photo, 35 years ago in which one person is in blackface and the other is wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. The conduct that these Republicans denounced clearly deserves condemnation, no matter how or when it occurred.
Unfortunately, they’ve reserved their scorn for one chief executive, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, and have held back when it comes to criticizing a chief executive from their own party, President Trump, for his racially divisive statements and public positions. That is naked hypocrisy.
Republicans, sensing a relatively rare moment when, for once, the other party had to own a race-relations debacle, joined Democrats in calling for Northam’s ouster. In addition to McCarthy and McDaniel, Virginia GOP chair Jack Wilson called on Northam to step down, saying the governor has “lost the moral ability” to lead. Ever since Election Day 2016, when Trump’s supporters promised he wouldn’t be as awful as his critics — including me — warned he would be, Republicans have longed for a moment when they could at least pretend to gain the high moral ground. Republicans who continue to support a party dominated by Trump can’t be taken seriously on this point. Trump’s record on race-related issues is abysmal. For years, he fueled birtherism to attack President Barack Obama. He once argued that a federal judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel, couldn’t be impartial in a case involving Trump because, as Trump said, “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.” Early in his presidential candidacy, Trump called for a “total and complete ban on Muslims entering the country.” In office, he ruminated on the United States needing more immigrants from places such as Norway and fewer immigrants from “shithole” countries, referencing Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. Despite polls taken at various times during his presidency that show significant percentages of Americans either see Trump as racist or, at a minimum, someone who has “emboldened” racists, the president still enjoys the support of Republicans in Congress and 78 percent approval among Republicans in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. For the most part, the party has indulged his race-baiting comments and his crude handling of racial issues.
 But somehow party leaders, who stand firmly behind him, and a national party that just passed a resolution expressing “undivided support” for him, seems to have no qualms about calling out Northam. [W]hen commentators such as David Limbaugh ask if Trump supporters must “forfeit the right to pass any moral judgments” because of their continual excuse-making for him, the only reply is: yes. Criticizing Northam for “past racist behavior” and his present equivocation after more than two years of overlooking an astonishing record of divisiveness reflects little more than a self-serving, morally repellent double standard.