At the Crossroads

Dark money headquarters


I couldn’t end another visit to Warrenton without visiting the belly of the beast. On the first floor of this nondescript office building, tucked behind a small bank on a quiet Warrenton street, is the law firm of Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky. This is where billionaires go to buy elections. Hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money have passed through these doors on their way to skewing elections towards conservative candidates across the nation.

Forty-Five N. Hill Drive is the legal address of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS PAC, American Crossroads, and several other right-leaning advocacy groups. Crossroads GPS, if you’ll recall, contributed nearly 99 percent of the funding to Dallas Woodhouse’s CarolinaRising group, which in turn spent 97 percent of its money to get Thom Tillis elected to the Senate. This appears to play fast and loose with IRS and election laws though as of yet regulators have taken no action. HVJT was also instrumental in filing voter challenges during McCrory’s failed reelection attempt. Several voters falsely accused of fraud have filed suit against a McCrory campaign official.

I plan to learn more about HVJT and the ways of bleeding edge campaign finance and law because what’s being done here undermines democracy.

Mike “Bo” Boran

Mike “Bo” Boran

Speaking of Herndon High School, last month one of my favorite teachers at Herndon, Mike “Bo” Boran, passed away. Bo was my Government teacher in senior year and a great listener to his students. Before he went into teaching, Bo was an up-and-coming musician whose former bandmates went on to form The Mamas and the Papas. I was always blown away by this.

The advent of Facebook gave me the ability to reconnect with Bo and I enjoyed hearing what was on his mind. He still remembered me after all these years. He was particularly impressed that my great uncle was Fred Turner, of Gideon v. Wainwright fame.

Bo inspired me and so many other students who were lucky to be in his class. He made it easier for me to survive high school and taught me to have a clear view of what was really going on in government. I am grateful to have known him.

Bo in The Smoothies, upper left, performing as Michael Rand

Fourth of July with the in-laws

I spent the long Fourth of July weekend with the family and in-laws in Virginia. We spent the weekend playing games (including ping pong), cycling town the W&OD bike path into DC, shooting fireworks, and playing card games (Spoons). Oh, and we watched as Travis created a few videos: one for his grandparents’ wedding anniversary and another just for fun. It was a hot weekend but sure was fun.

On the biking trip to DC, I bailed out early due to an irritated eye. After getting a Doc-in-a-Box to tell me it was okay, I wandered around my old Holly Knoll neighborhood snapping pictures. Hard to believe it was 30 years ago that I lived there.

The Herndon High School Class of 1987’s 30-year reunion is this October so we’ll soon be back in town.

President Trump is out of his mind


Yesterday, President Donald Trump lost his way from the stairs of Air Force One to the limo parked directly in front of him. Fox News captured the video of him confusedly walking away from the limo.

I don’t know how you can explain how this is the behavior of a sound mind. He is either high as a kite, drunk, demented, or suffering under some other frighteningly-incapacitating disease. The limo is as big as a bus. It’s RIGHT THERE. Why in the world would you take a right turn?

Congressional Republicans need to answer for this. It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Why I don’t like Nextdoor, part 4,671

A friend of mine recently posted this observation about NextDoor:

Not sure why I still use Nextdoor. Someone asked about the round reflective stickers you sometimes see on mailboxes. From the paper deliver, etc. A response:

I’ve been hearing about something like that happening in other areas where homes that have dogs are targeted to be stolen, the. re-sold for sparing with fighting dogs & for medical research.

#myneighborsareidiots

If you’re only seeing the world through the lens of paranoid neighborhood Nextdoor posts you’re liable to freak out at everything. The Internet and television’s greatest blessing – bringing news from far away – is also its curse. The obscure crime that happened once and thousands of miles away is brought to your doorstep. The folks across the street could be terrorists. Dead people really can come back to life as zombies and eat your brain.

Well, something has clearly eaten these people’s brains. I keep hoping people will take a deep breath and realize, as a great president once proclaimed, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Cops, the public, and stereotypes

A friend recently drove by a traffic stop conducted by the Raleigh Police Department and was surprised at the number of officers who responded. Four units were there and the driver, a black male, had his hands firmly and safely planted on the side of the car from his place in the driver’s seat. My friend turned around a few minutes later to see what happened and came across the driver still parked there, but now alone and doubled-over sobbing on the steering wheel. She shared her experience on social media.

I respect my friend tremendously and I take comfort that she cares so much for our neighbors. Nobody wants to see an incident in Raleigh like those that have taken place in various places in the country, where innocent black men – doing everything right – get shot to death by hotheaded cops. My black friends are understandably concerned about being pulled over and in an instant possibly losing their life.
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Washington Monthly | The Ossoff-Parnell Lesson: Stop Chasing Romney Voters

The lesson of the special elections around the country is clear: Democratic House candidates can dramatically outperform Clinton in deep red rural areas by running ideological, populist campaigns rooted in progressive areas. Poorer working class voters who pulled the lever for Trump can be swayed back to the left in surprisingly large numbers—perhaps not enough to win in places like Kansas, Montana and South Carolina, but certainly in other more welcoming climes. Nor is there a need to subvert Democratic principles of social justice in order to accomplish this: none of the Democrats who overperformed Clinton’s numbers in these districts curried favor with bigots in order to accomplish it.

But candidates like Clinton and Ossoff who try to run inoffensive and anti-ideological campaigns in an attempt to win over supposedly sensible, wealthier, bourgeois suburban David-Brooks-reading Republican Romney voters will find that they lose by surprisingly wide margins. There is no Democrat so seemingly non-partisan that Romney Republicans will be tempted to cross the aisle in enough numbers to make a difference.

The way forward for Democrats lies to the left, and with the working classes. It lies with a firm ideological commitment to progressive values, and in winning back the Obama voters Democrats lost to Trump in 2016 without giving ground on commitments to social justice. It does not lie in the wealthy suburbs that voted for Romney over Obama in 2012, or in ideological self-effacement on core economic concerns.

Source: Washington Monthly | The Ossoff-Parnell Lesson: Stop Chasing Romney Voters