David Stockman on Fox News – Why Trump’s Tax Plan Won’t Work

Stockman was budget director for Reagan, and he brilliantly details why Trump’s tax plan won’t create jobs or stimulate the economy, holding off five Fox News “experts.” If you have only ten minutes to learn about the Tax Plan, watch this video.

Fox’s Shepard Smith Tells the Truth on Uranium One; Fox Viewers Want Him Out!

President Trump and his Republican enablers in the Senate and Congress (including Morgan Griffith of the VA9th) have repeatedly attempted to deflect focus on Trump’s Russian ties by claiming that Hillary Clinton traded Uranium to Russia in exchange for contributions to the Clinton Foundation. This claim was found to be flat out False by Snopes.com and rated four Pinocchios on the Washington Post.  FactCheck.org concluded, “there is no evidence that donations to the Clinton Foundation from people with ties to Uranium One or Bill Clinton’s speaking fee influenced Hillary Clinton’s official actions.”

The latest rebuttal came from a welcome but unusual source; Fox News own Shepard Smith. Here’s the video.

What’s absolutely hysterical is how Fox’s viewers are responding to Smith’s factual rebuttal. Here’s a sample tweet. 

Clearly, Ms. West and her supporters don’t want facts to get in the way of their opinions. This level of “thinking” clearly demonstrates how Trump still has a 37% approval rating.

Anthony Flaccavento Throws Hat in Ring at Grayson Dems Barbeque

The Flacc is back, and let’s hope the second time is a charm

Anthony Flaccavento, who ran for Congress back in 2012, is running again in 2018. Below is his recent talk at the Grayson Democrats Barbeque in October 2017.

Sorry for the poor quality of the video; I shot it with an iPhone and no tripod and processed it a couple of ways to limit the shakes and video noise. But the audio is clear, and Anthony’s message is striking; he has a plan to help the VA9th get on its feet.

Anthony’s website is https://www.flacc4congress.com/ and his Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/anthony.flaccavento.3.

I shot video of Anthony during his last campaign, and then used some footage for some testing performed for my day job as video journalist.  This involved watching and listening to his talk many, many times, and Anthony’s message really stuck with me.  Here’s the one-minute snippet.

There are thoughtful, compelling words, particularly given who now occupies the White House and how poorly Griffith has represented the district. It’s up to us to take our country back, and complacency is no longer an option. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Anthony will all of your energies.

Democrats Paint Virginia Blue

It’s shining today in the VA9th, even if the sun never peeks beyond the gray clouds currently painting the sky. Yesterday, Virginia voters painted the state blue, choosing the better gubernatorial candidate, rejecting campaigns based upon lies and negative ads, and rejecting the fraud who currently resides in the White House. Let’s hope it’s just the first step towards rolling back the malignant tide of divisiveness and policies by the rich for the rich formulated by Trump and his Republican enablers in both houses, including Morgan Griffith.

While overjoyed at the result, we have our work cut out for us in the upcoming Congressional race, as most of the VA9th was solidly red by margins close to 80%. Clearly, the statewide elections were won in NOVA.

But the campaign to unseat Griffith begins today, it begins now. Griffith has done little but trumpet the policies of the White House, which is particularly galling since there are few rich people in his district and many who need health care. Griffith has no vision to help make the VA9th strong and vibrant again, his major legislative efforts support large pharmaceutical companies or seek to undermine government-based offices like the Congressional Budget Office that help keep both parties honest. He supports and enables the lies that Trump keeps telling and fewer and fewer voters keep believing. We’re coming for you, Griffith, and if last night’s election doesn’t throw fear into your heart, you’re not paying attention.

We thank everyone on both sides who shared their honest views and emotions on our Facebook page over the last few months; intelligent conversation benefits everyone. To those who cursed, insulted, spread lies and mistruths, or attempted bullying, or those who debased the conversation with idiotic memes, we hope you learned from Gillespie’s stunning loss that lies and negativity don’t sway the Virginia voter. We’re big boys and girls and can take your insults, but if you want to be effective, try calm, supported logic. Or not. Keep doing what you’re doing to help us unseat Griffith and elect a Democratic congressman who will actually support the district. 

Gillespie = Trump

This is true for many reasons.

First, and most important, Gillespie is as ill-prepared for the job as governor as Trump is for president. Gillespie is a lobbyist who served Enron and literally has no state government experience; his only skill is selling access to government officials for money, which is illegal in office. Northam is a dedicated, compassionate veteran and physician with ten years experience at the highest levels of state government.  There’s no question that Northam has superior qualifications, temperament, and experience for the job.

Second, they spout the same tired Republican dogma to cut taxes. All trickle down economics has done is make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Cutting taxes in Kansas in 2012 crippled the state in terms of jobs and education, and the Republican Congress recently raised taxes in order to compete. 

Third, they both want to take health care away. Sure, Obamacare isn’t perfect, but nothing the Republicans have proposed has come close to providing the same benefits, and most of Obamacare’s problems relate to Republican efforts to make Obamacare fail. If Obamacare does fail, over 62,000 citizens of VA9th will lose health care

Fourth, they both stretch the truth when it supports their positions. For example, Gillespie has hammered Northam on his position on sanctuary cities, as has president Trump. There’s just one issue; Virginia has no sanctuary cities, which Gillespie admitted in an August debate. That’s why factcheck.org rated Gillespie’s attacks as misleading, which was charitable at best.

Here’s what the New Republic Magazine said on this issue, and Gillespie morphing into Trump:

The motto of the gang MS-13—“Kill, Rape, Control”—pulsates on the screen, before cutting to a graffiti portrait of Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia. Then a warning: Northam cast a “deciding vote” in favor of sanctuary cities, ushering in a wave of MS-13 terror in Virginia.  If you believe the ads, Northam would empty the state’s prisons and open the country’s borders to let foreign felons wreak havoc in Falls Church and MacLean.

Those tattooed men were, in fact, prisoners in El Salvador. Similarly, there are no sanctuary cities in Virginia. This rhetoric would be shocking coming from any candidate, even in 2017. But the ads are particularly notable because they support Ed Gillespie, a former chair of the Republican National Committee who is synonymous with the Republican establishment of the last 30 years. Gillespie—well-monied, well-connected, and very powerful—represents the exact establishment that Donald Trump ran against in 2016. And now he’s the Republican nominee for governor in Virginia, running a campaign with distinct Trumpian themes.

The bottom line is this. This isn’t about partisan politics, Republican vs. Democrat. This is about sending the most qualified candidate to Richmond.

Gillespie = Trump.

Don’t allow the same disaster to happen to Virginia.

Let’s Put Hate in a Box (and Bury it Once and for All)

It came as no surprise to me that clashes between white separatists and those offended by their ideologies resulted in violence, including the death of one ‘counter’ protestor. Before I continue, I am also aware of the two police deaths associated with the helicopter crash. All three of these deaths were unnecessary and a most unfortunate side effect of our collective failure to recognize our common humanity.

Violence begets violence. I am against it until and only until my life or those of my beloved are under real and obvious threat.

The current climate in Charlottesville and other places around our country is one of competing ideas, differing views about our history, and the basic sin of pride. It is important for everyone living in the United States to understand that we are a melting pot. Except for truly Native Americans, we are mostly a large, sloppy, and slow accumulation of immigrants, arriving through many generations of hopefuls who saw and see America as a promise of new and better lives. This is exactly what and who we are.

But lest we forget, some of us did not come of their own free will. Most obviously that would include the African slaves, but also Irish and other indentured servants escaping persecution both political and religious. This is who we are, and immigration continues through our southern borders…the present influx of Hispanics, who, for the record, are mostly also Native American…seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families. They cross artificial/political lines based on wars won and lost.

As each wave of immigrants comes into our country, ‘we’ benefit from the willingness of these eager workers to start at the bottom of the ladder. To put it simply, our infrastructural land and cityscapes would not exist without this influx of cheap labor over time. This advantage is not lost on the industrialists, the agri-business empire, all the way down to any of us who needs a maid or yard man. Every time we shop at Walmart or our local grocery chain store, we are buying low-priced produce partially based on that cheap labor.

Pride is our downfall. We, all of us, have more in common than not. We work hard, we raise our kids, love our families, we want time and space to enjoy our lives, to pursue our goals, and to find real meaning somewhere in the middle of all of that. We NEED one another in order to make sense of our lives. To suggest that we are not equal in these pursuits is vain, destructive and limiting. What we miss by not freely associating with those whose cultural identity is different from ours is enormous. We have so much to share, to learn from one another.

From a biologist’s point of view, the human family is actually one race. This is a true fact, not an alternative one. Many will dispute this, but in terms of what ‘race’ actually means, we are one: black, yellow, red, white and blue. It is time for us to discard our prejudices and look deeply inside of ourselves…do we choose hate over love, do we choose anger over calm, do we choose working together or working against one another? Life is hard enough without these costly choices.

Making ‘America Great Again’, Trump’s clarion call, has a ring to it. The word I find questionable is ‘Again’. What does that mean, and to whom? The United States is, historically, a young country, still an experiment, kind of like a teenager. If we are to succeed, remain strong on the global stage, to offer moral guidance internationally, we must be strong together here at home. We must resist the temptation to move backward in time, but instead to look ahead. We must replace personal pride with American pride. Let’s put hate in a box and bury it once and for all.

Scott Jackson-Ricketts

Words Matter: Jesus Preached Love Not Hate

Words matter! A lady told me she was in high school before realizing her school clothes were not purchased at “Mon-Go-Merry-Ward’s,” her immigrant parents’ misnomer for a favorite store. Lincoln’s words, “the mystic chords of memory will swell to a chorus when touched by our nature’s better angels,” softened bitter Civil War hatred.

Even casual Bible reading confirms Jesus’ most urgent words illustrated love, tolerance, forgiveness, and refraining from judging others. He always suggested fitting responses and he gave examples of spiritual concepts that made intricate faith mysteries crystal clear. I believe these are litmus tests for genuine Christian living.

Most disturbing are the distorted, rashly stated, beliefs of some who claim they’re allied with various denominations or religious sects. This seems so patently unlike the Christ of the Bible. Getting corrupt political activity hooked in with religion destroys values that last. Anger, hatred, bigotry, and intolerance become, arguably, prevailing forces that determine how people think and vote. Sadly, it’s often dubbed voting one’s conscience. If the Bible is both rule and guide, as many vehemently say, how can people so broadly miss the message of love, tolerance, and forgiveness to render conscience so doubtful a guide?

On avoiding judging others, no less a light than Paul, the Apostle, who did his utmost to get people to live by spiritual integrity, messaged one of his churches, “When you bite and devour each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other.” I think Paul’s words are apt universal social order advice. Abandoning principle extends the license for people to act on their worst instincts. Bitterness, negativity, division, and conflict become easy, albeit unconscionable, choices.

Shouldn’t the real trick to turn be staying positive, respectful, building caring values? It’s hard to beat a kindly spirit and bridled tongue for spreading goodwill and joy to the world. Words, like actions, really do matter!

John A. Duvall
Comers Rock, VA

(Rev. Duvall is a retired pastor in Holston & WNC United Methodist conferences. Earlier he taught in Mt. Airy High School, Oak Hill Academy and Wytheville Community College. He now lives at his Grayson County farm.) Gazette & Declaration


Global Warming is Real (and the Earth is Round)

In the 1970’s, Gordon Moore accurately predicted the speed of computers would double every two years.  As a retired research scientist, I believe his principle can be applied to many areas of science and technology. Just look at how fast technology advances. Our cars and cell phones now talk to us and I’ve noticed it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, the technology works the same.

Just behold the developments in medical science and the many diseases that are now being cured. Once again I’ve noticed both Republicans and Democrats embrace these cures and offer thanks to God for the wonderful scientists who discover them.

In fact, I marvel at the ability of the brilliant scientists who were able to determine the time, to the exact microsecond, of the solar eclipse on August 21. Republicans and Democrats alike believed the scientists and spent gobs of money on special glasses and lenses to observe this rare phenomenon. Because of the expertise of modern day science, the Republican President knew exactly when to look skyward and witness the eclipse.

Yet when these same brilliant scientists conclude that human activities cause global warming, so many Republicans, including the sky-gazing President, decide they don’t believe so much in science after all. No, they seem only to believe in science when it’s convenient, like the treatment of an illness or viewing of a once-in-a-lifetime eclipse.

Kim Baughman
Elk Creek

Photo courtesy: Greg McCown


Prices at the gas stations along Stuart Drive in Galax have jumped considerably in the past couple of weeks, and thanks to the temporary shutdown of refineries in Texas, prices may go higher.  Hurricane Harvey knocked out 25% of the nation’s gasoline refining capacity and caused the spike.

Given the extraordinary impacts of Harvey and now Hurricane Irma, impacts that have affected us in Grayson County, one wonders if Morgan Griffith has changed his views on global warming or if he is still a member of that cabal in Congress subscribing to the prehistoric, anti-science view that human activity is not changing the world’s climate.  In other words, is he still dragging his knuckles on the ground.

Global warming did not cause Hurricane Harvey, but it did greatly exacerbate its effects.  Rising sea levels coupled with warmer air and ocean temperatures resulted in the unprecedented flooding in Houston and surrounding South Texas communities.  Warmer air holds more moisture and produces more rain, which in combination with increased flood hazard from rising sea levels, produced the catastrophic inundation portrayed on the news.  The storm also stalled over the Gulf Coast for days, which may have been a consequence of changing atmospheric and ocean circulatory patterns.  Instead of moving out after a few hours, Harvey continued to dump rain days after making landfall on August 24.  The effects of Hurricane Irma were less catastrophic than feared, but still devastating.  Irma was the biggest hurricane ever, and its impacts were felt across Florida.

When catastrophes like Harvey and Irma occur, our hearts go out to the people affected, but we also feel some guilty relief that this did not happen to us.  It would be foolish, however, to think that in a world with a rapidly changing climate, we in Southwest Virginia are insulated from a natural disaster on the scale of Harvey or Irma.  A devastating hurricane landing on the Virginia coast might knock out our power for a protracted time and produce destructive winds even this far inland.  Other climate disasters include prolonged drought, which may result in a greater chance of wildfires in our heavily wooded region.  We got a taste of that last summer when 40,000 acres burned just south of us in North Carolina.   The eastern white pine and Virginia pine in our woodlands would light up like torches in dry conditions.

Climate science is complex, and it is impossible to predict where and when particular disasters might occur.  We do know, however, that the probability of human-caused climate disruptions is increasing.  We also know that the primary cause of these disruptions is global warming brought about by burning fossil fuels.  For decades, scientists have been measuring carbon in centuries-old air pockets trapped in the Antarctic ice sheet.  Beginning with the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700’s, increased carbon in these samples correlates with the increased burning of fossil fuels, concurrent rising temperatures, and now the increased probability of extreme weather events.

Despite the scientific evidence, Morgan Griffith remains a vigorous proponent of burning even more fossil fuel—especially coal.  In his weekly newsletters, he has referred to “clean coal” leading his readers to believe that there is some environmentally and economically viable means of burning coal without adding carbon to the atmosphere and increasing global warming.  In theory, this is possible through carbon sequestration, but it is an expensive process and has not been done at a meaningful scale.  It is a pipe dream.  Still, Mr. Griffith promotes the idea to give false hope to his constituents in coal-producing counties and to continue lining his pockets with donations from coal companies.

The Chinese currently plan to spend five times as much as the US on developing clean energy.  Meanwhile, while the Chinese are leaving us in their dust, Mr. Griffith wants us to look backward, burn more fossil fuels and deal with more climate disasters.  He and his cohorts in Congress need to get their heads out of that place where the sun does not shine.

People Will Die

Despite massive protests from people across the political spectrum, the Republicans in Congress are moving ahead with another cynical attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with legislation that will deprive millions of health insurance, including an estimated 839,000 Virginians. The Graham-Cassidy Bill gets rid of the individual mandate, but it also will result in increased insurance premiums and bring back lifetime caps on treatment. Once again people could be denied coverage or charged more for pre-existing conditions. Coverage for essential preventive care, such as mammograms and other tests to screen for disease, will not be guaranteed. Everybody in the country will be impacted if this bill passes— even people who have health coverage from an employer or under Medicare. Doctors, other medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics provide services because they are assured payment by insurance companies. When massive numbers of people lose coverage and cannot pay for health services, the healthcare providers go out of business. The doctor and hospital that would treat you in an emergency just might not be there. This bill is being rushed to a vote in the hope that regular people will not have time to figure out what is in it, but bottom-line, it is just another vile attempt by Republicans to prevent

Everybody in the country will be impacted if this bill passes— even people who have health coverage from an employer or under Medicare. Doctors, other medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics provide services because they are assured payment by insurance companies. When massive numbers of people lose coverage and cannot pay for health services, the healthcare providers go out of business. The doctor and hospital that would treat you in an emergency just might not be there. This bill is being rushed to a vote in the hope that regular people will not have time to figure out what is in it, but bottom-line, it is just another vile attempt by Republicans to prevent

This bill is being rushed to a vote in the hope that regular people will not have time to figure out what is in it, but bottom-line, it is just another vile attempt by Republicans to prevent government, at either the state or federal level, from providing anything like universal access to healthcare. This may be great for fat-cat Republican campaign donors, but it will cause great harm for the rest of us. People we know may die. Any candidate who supports this heinous bill or who like Ed Gillespie who says he does not support or oppose the bill is the servant of corporate interests and not the people. Indeed, Mr. Gillespie’s position is the definition of moral cowardice.