Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Guest Blog: Please Don’t Vote Graven Craig in the 56th

Guest Blog: Please Don’t Vote Graven Craig in the 56th

Readers:  We’re pleased to bring you our first guest blog on O’Hanrahan is Right. Please read and use the information provided to help decide your vote in the June 13th primary. – O’Hanrahan


By: E. Frederick Salem, Goochland County

June 7, 2017

Please don’t vote for Graven Craig in the upcoming Republican primary to be the nominee for the open seat in 56th District House of Delegates (HOD).  Why do I feel so strongly about this?  First, the facts:

Graven Craig is a Louisa County-based attorney who frequently defends criminal suspects in matters ranging from DUI to rape and much more.  Criminal defense is an integral part of our justice system, but what’s troubling to me and many in the District is that Mr. Craig fails to mention this in his bid for the nomination.  He and his supporters use terms like “defender of the Constitution”, but what is really at the heart of his position is his stalwart, and even successful defense of perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes against our most helpless victims: children.  Here are examples of charged (and some convicted) pedophiles that Mr. Craig has gladly defended:

2003: Frank David Miller, Louisa County.  Mr. Miller was initially arrested during an online undercover operation by police in North Carolina.  The authorities in North Carolina were not interested in prosecuting Miller to the fullest extent of the law and since he was a Louisa County resident, he was prosecuted in Louisa by the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.  Mr. Miller was defended by Graven Craig and eventually convicted of multiple counts of soliciting a minor under 18 years old for sex and additional counts of possessing sexually explicit material of a minor. 

2011: Charles Hopkins, Louisa County.  Mr. Hopkins was Charged with one count of use of a communication system to solicit sex from a minor (a real-life victim).  Mr. Craig defended Hopkins and during a motion hearing, convinced the judge to dismiss the charge mid-trial on a legal technicality.  At the time of his arrest, Mr. Hopkins was a volunteer rescue squad member in the community and is still out in the community today.

2011: Joseph Bell, Louisa County.  Mr. Bell was charged with multiple counts of possession of child pornography.  During his interview with police, Bell also admitted to hands-on sexual assault of a toddler child of the married couple with whom he was living.  Bell worked in Charlottesville for a government contractor and held a top-secret clearance at the time of his arrest.  Craig defended him and Bell eventually pleaded guilty.  He may be found on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry (also see below).

2016: John Dale Sprouse, Louisa County.  Mr. Sprouse is charged with multiple hands-on sexual battery offenses against an 10-year old, non-verbal autistic (disabled) victim while transporting the child to/from a special needs school in Richmond (read more here: ).  Sprouse was employed as a driver for Louisa Co. Public Schools prior to this incident.  Graven Craig has been his defense attorney since the charges were filed.  Additionally, Craig was not at the Goochland County meeting Wednesday, May 24 because he was defending Sprouse in a hearing in Louisa Circuit Court related to these charges.  That’s right, the case is still active and is currently set for trial after the primary.

All of this information is verifiable through publicly-available court records.
So why do I bring this to your attention?  Somebody needs to.  As a relative of one of the past victims that Graven Craig helped set free back into society, I can’t help but wonder how his experience in the courtroom will affect his ability to enact laws that protect our children in the General Assembly, should he be elected.  Was the motivation for taking these cases all about money or was it to obtain some sort of justice for child sex predators?  Either way, I personally can’t stomach someone with questionable motives attempting to get into a position as a law-maker in our district.  Do I think Graven Craig is a bad person?  Not at all.  By all accounts, he’s a good conservative politically.  But I do think he’s made decisions throughout his career that directly affect his ability to serve the public effectively… ALL of the public, including our most innocent, vulnerable and precious asset – our children
As a side note, I’m personally dismayed at many of my local county elected representatives endorsing Mr. Craig.  I can only hope they didn’t consider his track record defending child sex abusers before issuing their endorsements.
I write this not on behalf of any candidate running against Mr. Craig, but on behalf of all of the victims of child sex abuse in our community that have to face their accuser in court.  They are the true heroes and an all-too-often overlooked casualty of a stalwart approach to the defense of child predators.  After all, who else will speak for them? 
Please consider your vote on June 13th carefully.  Thank you.

E. Frederick Salem
Goochland County

Friday, April 28, 2017

What is the "Virginia Freedom Caucus"?

What is the “Virginia Freedom Caucus”?

Do you ever sit back and watch events around you and think to yourself, from where did this all originate?  No, I’m not talking in the existential, metaphysical sense, simply in the microcosm of things and stuff we are exposed to in our daily lives.  Well, I’m inquisitive by nature, so I do it all the time.  Being inquisitive by nature, I want to seek answers to my questions.  Enter: The Virginia Freedom Caucus.

Have you heard of the Virginia Freedom Caucus or VFC?  It seems to be more active on Facebook than anywhere else, operating a closed group, whose members frequently post blogs (such as this one, before I was banned by the moderator), articles, questions, polls, endorsements of candidates, etc.  It is a decidedly conservative group with sometimes unreasonable people dubbing fellow conservatives “cuckservatives” or “liberals” for disagreeing with them.  The VFC has been in operation less than 1 year.

But who is behind the VFC?  The VFC is not a PAC and I can find nowhere they have made political contributions as an entity.  A quick check of their website domain address reveals nothing as it is concealed.  However, the website makes several claims, including that they are a 501(c)(4) not for profit organization.  All such organizations need to be registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) and the IRS.  Here is what is revealed when the registration for the VFC is researched on the SCC website”

As mentioned in a previous article on this blog, Ms. Woods is a conservative activist and staffer for would-be gubernatorial candidate, Corey Stewart.  That fact is validated by VPAP:

The VFC website also openly solicits for monetary donations.  For your convenience, they accept checks, but they state the donations are NOT tax deductible.  Curious…

The address listed in Fredericksburg is the United States Postal Service local branch. 
So what does the VFC do with your donations?  Good question!  According to the IRS (and yes, I know we all loathe the IRS, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist), the parameters for operating a tax-exempt, not-for-profit 501(c)(4) or “social welfare organization” are as follows (highlighted portions are important):

So let’s summarize:  The VFC is a corporation owned by a documented paid staffer for Corey Stewart.  According to the IRS, the VFC cannot directly or indirectly be involved on behalf of or in opposition of any candidate for office.  Ms. Woods owns the VFC, which openly supports Corey Stewart on the VFC web page, Facebook page and other online outlets.  Here are 5 examples in just the first 3 pages of the VFC blog page:

For the record, there don’t appear to be any articles in support of either Ed Gillespie or Frank Wagner for Governor, nor are there any articles supporting Bryce Reeves or Glenn Davis (or any Democrats) for Lieutenant Governor, but there are articles endorsing Jill Vogel.  It would seem the very one-sided support of the VFC is in violation of the IRS guidelines for such organizations.

Furthermore, several contributors, including myself, have been banned from the VFC Facebook page by the moderator(s), of which Ms. Woods is one.  The reason for these bans?  We routinely speak out about our disdain for her boss, Corey Stewart.  That is also a clear violation of the IRS guidelines for social welfare organizations.  Mind you, I don’t care that I’ve been banned.  I just think it’s interesting to note that it's not just disagreeing opinions, there's actually a violation of the law on the part of the VFC page moderator.

So if you choose to donate to the VFC, where does your money go?  The somewhat hidden “Disclaimers” page on the VFC website states, in part, the following:

Again, they would appear to be in clear violation of IRS regulations for such entities.  Furthermore, if the owner of the VFC is a paid Stewart staffer, doesn't that mean she in fact is receiving a financial contribution?

More questions for the VFC:
  • Who is on the VFC Board of Directors and how is the Board elected or appointed?
  • Who manages the money/donations made to the VFC and where that money is expended?
  • Who decides which candidate(s) the VFC endorses or supports?
  • Does Waverly Woods use VFC donations to support the candidates she chooses are worthy of that support?
  • Does Ms. Woods receive payment from the Stewart campaign directly related to her affiliation with the Virginia Freedom Caucus?

Some people affiliated (and not affiliated) with the VFC like to dub certain candidates with whom they do not agree “squishy”.  Well, I dub the VFC “squishy”.  It appears to function in violation of the IRS guidelines for social welfare organizations and I can find no documentation of accountability in funds or decision making, and they pay no taxes on any of the donations they receive.  To be honest, this whole thing sounds like a money-making scheme to me… and it stinks. 

As a final note, if you’d like to complain to the IRS about the Virginia Freedom Caucus’ clear violations of the tax code, you may use this link


UPDATE: As I generally appreciate it when a solution is proposed along with a problem (or in this case an answer posed with regard to many questions), I would be remiss if I didn't point out that there are actually legitimate members of the Freedom Caucus in Virginia.  They would likely appreciate your donation and it would go directly toward furthering the goals of the Freedom Caucus, instead of whatever agenda the business entity cited in this article may choose.  
Here are the contact and donation addresses for each of the Freedom Caucus members in Virginia:

Tom Garrett for Congress (VA-5)
P.O. Box 209
Ruckersville, VA  22968

Friends of Dave Brat, Inc. (VA-7)
P.O. Box 5094
Glen Allen, VA 23058-5094

Morgan Griffith for Congress (VA-9)
P.O. Box 361
Christiansburg, VA  24068

And even if you don't live in the 5th, 7th or 9th districts, I'm sure each of these members would appreciate a donation in support of their efforts.  And no, I don't work for any one of these campaigns. :)

Cheers again!

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Stewart Staffer Dubs Law Enforcement Supporter(s) “Racist” In Online Statement

Stewart Staffer Dubs Law Enforcement Supporter(s) “Racist” In Online Statement

Does Corey Stewart know who he hires and why, or does he just throw campaign money at whomever he feels will be as outrageous and incendiary as he is?

In response to an online debate on the Virginia Freedom Caucus (VFC) Facebook page on 
April 8th, paid Stewart staffer and VFC Facebook page administrator, Waverly Woods dubbed this blogger “racist” and a supporter of slavery for displaying pictures of.... get ready for this one…

A Thin Blue Line American flag, which is to show support of law enforcement around the country, and a portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse (which coincidentally took place 152 years ago today), which were previously displayed on this blogger’s personal Facebook pages as cover photos.  Check out the post for yourself:

Feel free to read the entire post thread here.

While the online quips and comments between Ms. Woods and I have been many since the publication of two blogs here and here which detail her boss, Corey Stewart’s, inconsistencies and bombastic statements, the obvious personal attack was likely to be expected.  The context of this post is somewhat relevant and if you care, I would encourage you to hop on over to the VFC Facebook page to read multiple threads in relation to Mr. Stewart’s attendance and posting of a live video at a Confederate rally in Southwest Virginia recently.

However, as a paid online spokesperson for the Corey Stewart for Governor campaign, one would think Waverly Woods would have more sense than to blatantly insult law enforcement officers all over the Commonwealth and their supporters as “racist” on behalf of her Candidate for displaying that support, especially given that her questionable involvement has already landed her under subpoena in the ongoing Vogel-Reeves debacle.  Being that she is a formal representative of the Stewart campaign and no retraction, clarification or apology of these libelous and insulting comments has been issued, one can only reach the conclusion that this is the stance of the entire Corey Stewart campaign. 

As detailed here, I travel all over the country teaching police officers and soldiers how to better respond in critical situations to help people, so I see first-hand the dedication and sacrifice these men and women put forth to protect all of us when it matters most.  As such, I would encourage all law enforcement officers across the Commonwealth and their supporters to abandon support of Corey Stewart because of this statement from his campaign staff.    


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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Corey Stewart: Smoke & Mirrors (or maybe just more lies)

Corey Stewart: Smoke & Mirrors (or maybe just more lies)

I’m not a fan of Corey Stewart, as this previous blog details.  But aside from the skin crawl and raw vitriol I feel when I hear his Minnesota-turned-Virginia accent pander to this lunatic fringe group or that one, I have a hard time putting my finger on some facts that make me dislike him so much.  It’s definitely more of a gut instinct than a fact-based intuition.  So what does someone like me do to balance out the emotion and facts?  I find some facts.

Mr. Stewart hails from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, Minnesota.  As such, he attended schools in Minnesota and was apparently admitted to the Minnesota Bar at one point.  As was detailed on the Virginia Freedom Caucus Facebook page a few weeks ago, his status with the Minnesota Bar is not quite on the up-and-up, however.  As you can see, according to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Mr. Stewart is not in good standing with the Minnesota Bar for failure to pay dues and he is “involuntarily restricted by court order” (whatever that means, but it doesn’t sound good):

Also, according to the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, Corey Stewart is NOT AUTHORIZED to practice law in the State of Minnesota:

“But O’Hanrahan”, you ask, “Corey’s Firm is based in Washington, DC!  It says so right on his website!”
Yes, according to this link to Stewart PLLC, the firm is based at 1250 Connecticut Ave., Ste. 200, Washington, DC.  Corey Stewart’s bio on the firm’s website also states “He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and is also admitted to practice in Minnesota.”  See for yourself:

But according to the State of Minnesota he is “not authorized to practice”.  Now, any good attorney (and several Corey sycophants) will note that “admitted to practice” and “authorized to practice” are not the same thing.  Fair enough.  But my personal opinion about this is, he’s lying.  I know, don’t act so shocked!

Further inspection of Mr. Stewart and his firm reveals some interesting facts.  He is admitted to the DC Bar as discovered through a search, but not The Virginia Bar.  

However, his firm is registered in Virginia through the Virginia State Corporation Commission:

It is not unusual for certain business entities to have a registered agent in multiple locations.  This is done with Google, for example, because they operate globally and receive lots of legal requests in multiple states.  Stewart PLLC is not Google.  But surely there must be a record of Mr. Stewart’s business in Washington, DC, right?  Well, not so fast.  A quick check of the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs for the address of 1250 Connecticut Ave., NW, Ste. 200 reveals many (no less than eight) businesses registered to that address.  Unfortunately for Corey, Stewart PLLC is not one of them:

A quick check on Google Maps street view reveals that this is a non-descript, run of the mill, Washington, DC Building. 

This smells remarkably familiar, doesn’t it?  Wasn’t there another bombastic alt-right-esque Yankee vying for the Republican nomination forthe 5th District Congressional seat last year that employed a similar business tactic?  Is this chapter 3 in “Sleazy Business Practices for Dummies”?  Unfortunately, I don’t really have the time to visit 1250 Connecticut Ave. in DC right now, but if I find myself there some time in between now and June, I’ll definitely check it out!

Oh, wait.  I don’t have to…

Caption: Corey Stewart pays $75.00 per month for shell corporation

So let’s see.  Corey has misled (at best) or lied (at worst) about his status with the Minnesota bar.  He has a business registered in Virginia with a primary office location listed in DC, but DC doesn’t have a record of his business being operated out of the “principal office” location in DC, so is the business operated out of DC or out of Virginia?  If it’s operated out of Virginia, should he not be admitted to the Bar in Virginia?  And if it’s operated out of DC, as his firm’s website and the Virginia SCC indicates, shouldn’t it be registered in DC and pay the requisite fees, etc. to operate in DC?

“So what’s your point, O’Hanrahan?”  My point is, Corey Stewart stinks.  I haven’t found where the proverbial pile of shit is hidden yet, but all of this information leads me to believe that there’s one (or more) stinky piles to be found.  Combine that with his overly incendiary speech and calling campaign plays from the alt-right playbook, I want nothing to do with this guy.  I posted online earlier today that if Corey Stewart is the nominee, I won’t vote for him.  I’d sooner abstain from voting on that particular part of the ballot than vote for him.  Yes, I know what that means and yes, I know the possible consequences of that decision, but for the sake of the Commonwealth, I hope none of us have to be put in that position.  Because the bottom line is, he can’t win anyway, so what’s the point?  At least Gillespie has a fighting chance.

Do ya miss Denver Riggleman yet?


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Citizen Active Shooter Response: Which Approach is Best?

Citizen Active Shooter Response: Which Approach is Best?

As cited in the blog article from February 5, 2017, I have some background in active shooter response and tactical training for law enforcement and the military.  Recently, I read (yet another) article about another response model for citizens in an active shooter event.  Indeed, it seems like everyone wants to get their slice of the active shooter response pie these days.  Some programs are good, some are not so good.  I’m writing this article today to point out why one is better than the others.

First, the others.  Probably the most popular model is the “Run, Hide, Fight” model, which has been widely circulated by the Department of Homeland Security. Cops all over the country are telling their citizenry that this is the way to go.  I can’t blame them.  The program is served up on a platter for them and it’s free.  It’s not the worst plan in the world.  At the very least, it gives citizens who may find themselves in an environment where an active shooting is taking place something to fall back on.  Essentially, the program instructs innocent citizens to run from the incident or danger area as a first option.  If that option isn’t available, hide underneath a desk, in a closet or some other reasonable hiding place. Finally, if that doesn’t work, the program tells citizens to fight the attacker, ostensibly with whatever they can find to defend themselves and neutralize the bad guy.  All in all, it sounds reasonable, right? 

Another model that put forth that the Run, Hide, Fight plan was erroneous in an article last year is the “Move, Escape, Attack” model published on Police One by Mike Wood. Lt. Col. Wood’s article puts forth that “potential victims” should move “off the X” as a first line of response.  If you don’t already know, moving off the “X” is a commonplace theme in law enforcement and military training.  The “X” is the last known location the shooter had for his target, so moving off the “X” is definitely a good idea, but I put forth that calling anyone a “potential victim” is bad language and there is no difference in principle behind this and the “run” part of the Run, Hide, Fight model he takes on in his article. 

Next. Lt. Col. Wood proposes that if they can’t “move” as a first option, then “escape” is the next option.  I ask you, what’s the difference?  If you read the above-linked article, it also states that

Escape may be accomplished by finding temporary concealment (good), finding temporary cover (better), or fleeing the scene entirely (best), as the situation permits. It essentially combines the "run" and "hide" options of the old model into one, because a victim can entirely escape from the threat area, or merely escape the notice of the killer, within it.”

Again, I see no difference in this tactic from the “run” or “hide” advice that DHS is putting forth and indeed, Lt. Col. Wood points this out in the article.  What I don’t understand is, what is the difference in principle between “Move”, “Escape” or “Run”?  Don’t they all mean the same thing?  Furthermore, telling innocent citizens to find concealment or cover is tantamount to “hiding”, which I’ll pick on later.  It is no different.  And as I teach cops all the time, cover is relative to what is being shot at you.

Finally, Lt. Col. Wood writes that “attacking” a gunman as the third option is a better term to use because it “conjures a different emotional response than ‘fight.’"  He further goes onto say that to attack is to be proactive and aggressive as where “fight” doesn’t bear as many psychological teeth.  Is he right?  I don’t know.  But this notion of proactive and aggressive is something that I personally feel is lacking from both of these models, despite their protestations of same.

Avoid, Deny, Defend

The Avoid, Deny, Defend model (ADD) was created by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) group, which is associated with Texas State University.  ALERRT has a long history of training law enforcement and military first responders to effectively isolate, distract and neutralize an active shooter and does so using research and real world application of their tactics.  Several years ago, they came out with the ADD model for citizen response to active shooter events and it makes more sense than anything I’ve read so far.  There are similarities, but there’s one big difference.

Step by step, the Avoid, Deny, Defend model flows like this:  If you can, avoid the danger area. Get out of there.  This is tantamount to the “run” or “move” from the other two models.  There’s not much difference in principle here.  However, in the second part of the model is where the differences from the other two become stark. 

Deny means if you can’t avoid the danger area, barricade your current position.  Deny entry to the shooter by using desks, tables, large items, feet, door jams… whatever you need to use to ensure the shooter cannot enter the area in which you are located without great effort.  Why is this so drastically different?  Because unlike changing a word here or there, it empowers innocent citizens to take their survival into their own hands.  It’s not a passive action, like hiding.  I like empowering people under stress.  It puts them in the mindset that they will get through it and they will survive.  It can also foster teamwork and unity of force against the shooter. 

Why this drastic change from the other two plans?  Research.  The ALERRT group does a ton of research about what works and what doesn’t.  Where did this research come from?  The April, 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.  The below graphic and excerpt from the ADD presentation illustrates what actions (or inactions) took place in which rooms and what their effectiveness level was:

Source: The ALERRT Center at Texas State University

As you can see, the rooms in Norris Hall where there was no action resulted in the highest percentage of fatality and injury.  Where denial was attempted but unfortunately failed, fatalities decreased dramatically.  Where denial succeeded, there was 100% survival rate and no one was shot.  This is what happens when people are empowered to take survival into their own hands.  I wonder how many of the people in room 206 of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech were hiding or attempted to hide while 92% of the people in the room were shot?

It bears noting what motivates an active shooter.  They want notoriety.  They want high numbers.  They want easy kills.  They want to prey on sheep, because they are wolves.  What they don’t bargain for is a group of citizens who are willing to defend themselves to the point of hardening the target area through denial of entry.  That’s too much work for them and with every second they’re trying to gain entry into a hardened area, they are losing some of those numbers they so desperately want to jack up.  Also, the police are on the way, so time is crucial.  Denial is key to survival.

Beyond denial, the ALERRT model tells citizens to defend themselves, again using whatever means are available.  Fire extinguishers, staplers, hands to the eyes… whatever you can do.  If the bad guy does make entry, defend yourself at all costs.  And there’s no such thing as a fair fight.  A few swift kicks to the groin will stop even the most dedicated gunman.

As a staunch pro-gun and pro-self defense advocate, I will add, there is no better time to be armed than in an active shooter event.  If the denial doesn’t work, the last thing the gunman wants to face is another gunman (or woman).  However, if you are going to carry a gun, make sure you know how to use it.  Not just the basics, but know how your body will react under stress and how to deal with it.  Know how to effectively defend yourself, not just how to aim and pull a trigger.  Also, make sure you’re well-informed as to the law of wherever you may be carrying.

There’s a lot of nonsense out there with regard to active shooter preparedness, some of which is unfortunately being taught to and by law enforcement.  But just because someone offers you a free meal doesn’t mean you should eat it.  It could taste like garbage and leave you hungry and malnourished.  The first two civilian active shooter models cited here are good.  They’re fine.  But when seconds count and survival is on the line, I want better than just fine. I want the best.  The Avoid, Deny, Defend model from ALERRT is the best.  It’s backed by real research and facts, not theory.  If my life should ever be on the line, I would prefer to go with what has been proven to work!

Oh, and by the way… This program is also served up on a platter and free for law enforcement agencies to teach their citizens.  What could be better?


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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Denver Riggleman: The Establishment’s Worst Nightmare

Denver Riggleman: The Establishment’s Worst Nightmare

Denver Riggleman is highly motivated - some might even say angry - and with good reason.  Riggleman is running for the GOP nomination for Governor of Virginia and I recently had the opportunity to hear him speak at my local GOP Committee meeting and I could tell, his heart is in it.  I don’t mean to draw a slew of contrasts between Riggleman and would-be “anti-establishment” gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart, but I will, only because in my estimation, they’re going after the same voters.  But they’re doing it in very different ways. Riggleman isn’t thoughtless, as Stewart appears to be.  Riggleman isn’t abrasive, as Stewart is.  Riggleman is believable and doesn’t grandstand, as Stewart does.  And that’s just a few of the many differences between the two.

Riggleman, a former intelligence officer and current owner of Silverback Distillery in Nelson County, VA, has a very simple message to help garner support:  Stop the cronyism in government.  Stop the influence of special interests and big lobbyists from impacting the everyday lives of Virginians.  He has a personal tale detailing why he got into the race for Governor, in which he pulls no punches against crony capitalism and his favorite punching bag, Dominion Virginia Power.  His frustration as a business owner and land owner is palpable when you hear him speak about it.  Unlike Stewart who ostensibly watches videos of Donald Trump and tries to emulate him, Riggleman is sincere, earnest and motivated to change the pay-to-play system in Richmond. 

The biggest problem with Riggleman’s message is even though the issues he talks about affect many, many Virginians (regardless of political affiliation), most of those Virginians either don’t know or don’t care how it affects them.  The blue counties of Northern Virginia, which unfortunately blow Virginia’s political winds way too strongly, care more about what bathrooms their self-identified transgendered citizens can use than whether or not the government is taking their land unlawfully.  They care more about refugees & gay rights than property rights.  They don’t care if their local or state government hikes their taxes to pay for entitlement programs because somehow, they’ve determined that’s a core function of government, which is absurd. 

I’ve heard Riggleman give speeches on social media previously and his message is one of liberty and of freedom against government overreach.  This recent talk was no different.  Again, this affects many Virginians, but do they know it?  By contrast, the blowhard Stewart tells conservatives that illegal aliens are taking their jobs.  That’s a message they can sink their teeth into, even though the delivery source is about as unlikable as Hillary Clinton’s rabid dog.  Riggleman needs to either find an issue that every day Virginians can care about and sink their teeth into or find a way to make sure voters know how his government overreach and anti-cronyism message affects them.  The challenge is, in the age of social media sound bites, that’s a hard message to drive home in 7 – 10 seconds. 

One of the elected officials at the meeting asked the question of Riggleman… What two issues are most important to you in your campaign for Governor?  Riggleman’s answer: Transparency and funding.  No more secret votes in committee in the General Assembly, no more wasteful spending on programs no one can define.  Again, this is a fantastic message for those of us who pay attention… but most voters don’t pay attention.  Having worked at several polling places in a past election, I was awe struck by the number of voters who made up their minds right then and there.  They vote, but it’s an uneducated vote, so pushing forth a policy-heavy message is lost on those voters and even more so when it’s a substantive policy rather than a social policy.

I like Riggleman, obviously much more than wannabe radio talk show host Corey Stewart.  Riggleman has been there and done that.  He’s not a lawyer, which is refreshing.  He’s one of us.  His message is decidedly anti-establishment, but not in an abrasive, Trump/Stewart-esque way.  He seems reasonable and he’s used his personal experience (and money, I’m sure) to try to make a difference for the better for every day Virginians. He recognizes that small business is the engine that drives our economy and for too long, certain large businesses and their lobbies have been padding the pockets of politicians in Richmond to their own benefit.  He relayed to us that when he challenged this practice to some lawmakers in Richmond, he was given the message “that’s just how the game is played”.  Well he correctly calls bullshit on that game and I respect him for that.  The “game” only serves to hurt real people over time and keeps the establishment engine running smoothly in the background.

When I think about for whom I cast my vote and urge my friends and family to vote for, I think about who inspires me with their message.  Who has taken the lemons of their own personal experience and is trying to turn it into lemonade, not just for themselves, but for the betterment of all (or most) of their would-be constituents?  I’ve said for years, don’t tell me what you are, show me what you do.  Riggleman not only has the credentials to speak from experience on his policy points, he’s also genuinely likable.  I haven’t heard Ed Gillespie or Frank Wagner speak in person yet, but so far, I’m a fan of Riggleman.  I would urge more Virginians get to hear his message and start to really think about how the experience he’s had and changes he proposes would affect them.  Because Riggleman could just be the breath of fresh air Virginia needs in the emerging political winds.

Besides, Riggleman was born on St. Patrick's Day.  What better reason do you need to vote for him? :)


UPDATE: March 16, 2017:  Unfortunately Denver Riggleman announced that he is suspending his bid for the 2017 Gubernatorial campaign today.  The Bull Elephant blog shared the information linked here: 

I personally wish Denver the best.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Virginia’s Alt Right: A Bunch of Crap

Virginia’s Alt Right: A Bunch of Crap

In the seemingly endless exchanges of comments on social media and in political discussions between people of similar political beliefs, there is one group that stands out above the conservative crowd as totally unreasonable, unwavering and a total bunch of blowhard asses: The Alt Right.  In Virginia, the Alt Right has a blowhardy blog called the Virginia Underground Railroad, which publishes incendiary pieces about leftists and attacks those on the right it deems as “establishment” politicians in office for their records, their affiliations and a myriad of other things. 

The Alt Right “movement” is not a brand new phenomenon.  The term was adopted by white supremacists in 2010 and the leftstream media seems to have amped-up awareness of an Alt Right movement during the 2016 Presidential campaign, falsely labeling Donald Trump and some of his staff and supporters as “Alt Right”.  However, there are still some (perhaps many) in the conservative political ether that cling to the Alt Right ideal, which is disturbing upon inspection.

In the Virginia Underground Railroad’s September 23, 2016 blog defining “Virginia’s Alt Right”, they give credit to the outline of the basic tenets of the movement to another blog, Vox Popoli.  Interestingly, while they give credit and link these basic principles, they changed some of the wording from the cited Vox Popoli blog.  So what are these tenets?  Here they are, enumerated and commented upon as listed in the Virginia Underground Railroad blog:

  1. The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right.
So we’re defining who is not Alt Right, but who is Alt Right, right?  We’ll keep going.

2.     The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russel Kirk's 10 Conservative Principles, but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism

Read: The Alt Right is so conservative, even the Tea Party wasn’t conservative enough for us.  This tenet also editorializes that the mainstream conservative movement has “devolved toward progressivism”, but fails to define what that means in their view.  My question would be, what is your idea of “progressivism”?  Both sides trying to work together?  That’s progress I can get behind because it serves the people.

  1. The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.

So they claim to be forward-thinking, but don’t like progressivism?  I actually appreciate the belief in victory through persistence, but the comment about “remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition and the lessons of history” is interesting.  It’s also the first mention of science.  There are more as you will see.  I’d also like the term “cultural tradition” to be defined, but it isn’t.

  1. The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.

I’m down with Western civilizations being the pinnacle of human achievement, but doesn’t supporting the pillar of Christianity fly in the face of science?  And please note the omission of the “Judeo” part of what is normally referred to as a “Judeo-Christian” ethos. This tenet is also very Euro-centric.  Hold on to that, we’ll come back to that in a bit.

  1. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.
  2. The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives

These two are lumped together because they piggy-back off of one another.  The statement about homogeneous nations unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration is interesting, don’t you think?  Has America ever been homogeneous?  Will it ever be?  And if you believe this tenet, there must be a plan to work toward this, yes?  I’d be interested to know what that is, because it sounds like it could be alluding to ethnic cleansing, if you ask me.

  1. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.
This is the first one I can get on board with.  Equality is a unicorn.  It does not exist.  Neither does fairness.  Rock on with this philosophy, but so far, this is the only one that doesn’t sound like bullshit.  Oh, and leprechauns totally exists.  You’ll see on March 17th!

8.     The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific

Ok, guys… scientodific, scientody and scientistry are not words in the English language!  Where the hell did you come up with these?  And if you’re so concentrated on science, where does Christianity (or Judeo-Christian ethos) factor into it?  Smelling the bullshit yet?
(Side note, yes, I know “leftstream” is also not a word in the English language, nor is “blowhardy”)

9.     The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics

Identity is greater than culture.  Who’s identity?  Individual identity?  Group identity?  National identity?  What are we talking about here?  Culture is greater than politics. But doesn’t culture drive politics in most democratic republics?  This is how a society progresses and evolves, is it not?

  1. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.
“Opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence…”  So by that rationale, the Native Americans should be in power, yes?  To be fair, I think the sentiment behind this tenet is altruistic, but when combined with some of the other bullshit on this list, it loses its altruism entirely.

  1. The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.
Again, a nice little hat-tip to a homogenous society, which can likely only be accomplished through ethnic cleansing.  I would argue that diversity + proximity = evolution, but who the hell am I to throw common sense and reason into the mix?

12.  The Alt Right doesn't care what you think of it

Including self-avowed members of the Alt Right?  And who is “you”?  Unfortunately, I’ve seen this tenet played out in person and in social media.  It’s a very “I’m right, you’re wrong… and you’re a ‘liberal’ for disagreeing with us” mentality.  This is how dipshits like Corey Stewart get to run for Governor and gain a following.  He doesn’t care what you think about him.  He also appears to hold true to many of the above tenets and some to follow. 

  1. The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of intranational free trade is not evidence for the benefits of international free trade.
Another hat-tip to nationalism.  I could probably write a whole article on the pros and cons of international free trade.  Suffice it to say, trade anywhere, whether international or intranational needs to be equal to work for everyone, right?  But they already told us equality is a unicorn, so where does that leave us. Throw out your smart phones, folks!

Now here’s a doozy…

14.  The Alt Right believes we must defend and protect the Caucasian race. We must reverse the population decline of whites in the Western world.

Interestingly, this tenet was the only one altered by the authors of the Virginia Underground Railroad from the cited Vox Popoli blog.  The original #14 from the linked blog reads:

The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.”

Now, the difference is in the language.  The sentiment is exactly the same.  And it’s racist.  This is taken right out of the Nazi playbook and, when combined with several other of the tenets espousing ideologies of nationalism and homogeneous society, the picture starts to become clear.  And let me be equally clear: If you adhere to the Alt Right ideal and read this and think to yourself “that’s reasonable” or it inspires you in any way, you are a racist too.  I’m white, my wife is white, my kids are white.  So what?  “Defend and protect” vs. “Secure the existence of” is the same thing.  I find it oddly disingenuous that the Virginia Underground Railroad blog author(s) (whomever they are) would change the wording on this and not much else.  If you defend this, you’re either stupid or a liar.  So which is it?  Time to pick a side, Alt Righters.  You either agree with this or you don’t. 

Now, they follow up that racist crap with this statement:

15.  The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.

So, ‘up the whites’, but no “supremacy of any race…, people or sub-species.”  Is that right?  This is in direct conflict to #14.  The stench of bullshit is now enveloping the whole movement. 

Ok, last one…

16.  The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.

We value peace, but as #11 points out, “diversity + proximity = war”.  We oppose war, but in #11, we just gave you a recipe for it.  We believe in a homogeneous society, but not through genocide or genetic assimilation.  Now the bullshit is piled so high, you’d need a periscope to figure out where it ends. 

Here’s the problem with the Alt Right:  Their heads are so far up their own asses telling themselves they’re “standing up for conservatives” and digging their heels in on every little thing that they fail to see they’re part of the problem.  And unfortunately, as time goes on in the Trump administration, they stand to be an even bigger part of the problem.

Sure, call me a “liberal” because I *gasp* respect people as individuals, and don’t judge groups overall as a race or ethnicity.  Dub me an “uneducated leftists” because I appreciate that my kids go to schools where they’re exposed to different cultures, opinions and beliefs, then use what their parents taught them and their own good judgement in concert with that to come to conclusions on their own. Call me whatever you need to call me, just don’t ever call me a member of the Alt Right… because I have a very low threshold for bullshit and these tenets are pure, unadulterated, grade-A bullshit.

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