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Archive for October, 2010

“A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets. A philosophical battle is a nuclear war.” These words were written by Ayn Rand way back in 1964. This sentiment was, at one time, shared by the Tea Party groups that inhabit central Virginia. They understood that the time for fixing those metaphorical rusty bayonets to unreliable antique muskets was past, and that a new war was raging.

This new struggle represents a fundamental disagreement over the very philosophical basis of our great Republic, and whether our future course will reflect or even remotely resemble it.

There are still a few who recognize this central fact upon which the national Tea Party movement was built, but there are many more who fall into the ranks of what the central Virginia Tea Party has now become: yet another partisan group, concerned merely with short-term political victory. Preferably Republican.

There are far too many examples of this paradigm shift to include in the limited space allotted here, so the most egregious will have to suffice. During the 5th District GOP primary, 6 truly conservative candidates garnered over fifty-two percent of the vote, giving a clear indication of their lack of enthusiasm for and/or trust of State Senator Robert Hurt.

Tea Party leaders throughout the Fighting Fifth also voiced their displeasure with his voting record, some even going so far as to formally endorse other candidates.

But all that changed rapidly, once the primary was over. The GOP, which already had their hooks deep into the local Tea Party groups, began flexing their muscles even more.

The whispers of “Come with us. We’ve been around longer and we understand how to get things done in politics” gained volume and force, and the Tea Party groups (and some former primary candidates) believed that they were becoming the bestest buddies of the GOP. They were convinced they would be granted a prime place at the GOP table, if only they would capitulate, grovel, and compromise “just this once.”

And the Tea Parties, throwing caution to the wind and consciously ignoring those old warnings from Mom and Dad, accepted the sucker and climbed into the panel van with the nice man who was surely sent by Mom to pick them up, just as he told them he was.

Some have said that the Tea Party movement has been hijacked. I disagree and submit that it is much more in keeping with the preceding scenario; a consensual kidnapping. What one friend of mine refers to as “the political equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome.”

The next indication that local Tea Party groups have confused this battle with a political one is their shameful treatment of Independent conservative Jeff Clark. The fear campaign from the right has convinced Tea Party “leaders” that the future of the entire Republic hinges on Virginia’s Fifth District.

In a classic case of missing the forest and running face-first into an individual tree, they have conflated Tom Perriello with Nancy Pelosi, his values and record be damned.

I am by no means a Perriello supporter, as evidenced by the fact that I launched a campaign to run against him, before the ’08 recount was even finalized. My concern here is that principles be paramount.

I know Tom’s principles, and I know Jeff’s. Because they both draw their principles from a deeply-held personal philosophy. Robert Hurt’s principles, according to me and every single candidate that challenged him in the primary, are skin deep and subject to change without a moment’s notice.

The local Tea Parties staunchly opposed Hurt in the primary. This race is being watched closely on a national (and even international) level. Adding those two factors together, a victory by Robert Hurt next Tuesday will be trumpeted by the vast majority of the national media as an embarrassing defeat for the Tea Party movement.

To return to the beginning: “A philosophical battle is a nuclear war.” And a vote for Robert Hurt is the equivalent of signing a unilateral disarmament treaty in 1977.

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After reflection, soul searching, and prayer, I have decided to bring forward information on Senator Hurt’s past that, so far, the press has either been ignorant of or has decided to ignore. In either scenario, lackluster reporters like Catherine Amos and Janelle Rucker have let down the public by failing to reveal important facts about Senator Hurt, the man, and his character.

Hurtards like to think that Senator Hurt is just a local Southside boy. They ignore that he was born into wealth and spent most of his early childhood either in New York City or at one of the nation’s most elite and privileged boarding schools. After attending a series of safety private schools to satisfy the claim that he has a degree, he began to practice law in Pittsylvania County. But with his background of power and privilege, how much work does Senator Hurt actually do at his law firm? And who does he work for?

In at least two cases, Senator Hurt served as the attorney for criminals involved in crack cocaine dealing. This supposed man of character and integrity decided that defense of drug dealers in Southside Virginia was the best use of his talent and resources.

The first is related to a large drug bust of a crack cocaine ring in the New River Valley. Senator Hurt represented one of the men involved in this ring, Gregory Smith, who was eventually sentence to 13 years in prison for his role. And what was part of Smith’s role?

Ashley Nicole “Red” Franklin’s boyfriend, Gregory Douglas “Binky” Smith, introduced her to cocaine when she was 16. Franklin, 19, later became an addict and a distributor.

Interestingly, the original article from the Roanoke Times outlining Senator Hurt’s role in defending Smith is no longer available through their website, while the original outlining about the cocaine ring from an earlier date is still up. Here is the transcript of the article linking Senator Hurt to a drug dealer who addicted a young teenage girl to crack cocaine.

MAN GETS 13 YEARS FOR ROLE IN DRUG RING

A federal judge sentenced a Radford man to more than 13 years in prison in connection with his participation in a large crack cocaine ring in the New River Valley.

Judge Samuel Wilson said that he took Gregory Smith’s extensive criminal history into account as part of the sentence. Smith, 31, is the first of 11 defendants to be sentenced in connection with the ring. Federal authorities have argued that at its height, the ring trafficked 1 to 5 kilograms of crack and powder cocaine per month into the New River Valley.

All of the defendants in the case have pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges, except the alleged ringleader, Richard Lamont Lighty.

Wilson also said he took into consideration the argument by Smith’s attorney, Robert Hurt of Chatham, that Smith was a minor player in the drug conspiracy.

Smith, already in custody on state charges, will have to serve his federal sentence consecutively, Wilson said. He also fined Smith $1,000.

Does Senator Hurt still believe that addicting young girls to crack cocaine is a “minor” part of the drug trade? The only thing “minor” here was the age of the girl when her life was ruined by illegal drugs.

In a second case, decided earlier this year, Robert Hurt represented a convicted criminal, Alpheus Spencer Adams, involved in the cocaine trade. Here Senator Hurt was representing a criminal attempting to use the appeals system to get his conviction overturned on a technicality, and the courts rightly ruled against these shenanigans.

I am disgusting that the media in the 5th District has been unable to perform its minimal task of looking into the background of candidates for public office. Jeff Clark’s name has been dragged through the mud, but no one has even touched Robert Hurt’s record. This is just the first step in revealing the true Robert Hurt.

(h/t to NotAndySere)

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