The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLX)

On Wednesday, September 20th, Andy Schmookler and I appeared on 550 AM, WSVA for the 50th time.  We started off talking about the upcoming election for the governor of Virginia.  I offered several reasons why I believe that liberty-minded folks should not vote for Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee, in November.  From there, we spoke about efforts to revive the Obamacare repeal and the possible brewing conflict with North Korea.

If you missed the show live, you can find it here.

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLIX)

Although originally scheduled to air today, August 16th, WSVA moved our radio hour to Monday, August 14th, due to pressing events at the time.  And despite Andy Schmookler being in Shenandoah County and my recent move to Morgantown, WV, the show will go on!

For our 49th episode, the issues centered around the rally and violence in Charlottesville over the weekend as well as a possible military strike against North Korea due to threats against Guam.  We also touched on the failure of Obamacare repeal and the feud between Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump.  We would have also spoken about Elizabeth Warren and the fight for ideological control of the Democratic Party, but we ran out of time.

If you missed the show live, you can can listen to it here (once they have finished processing it).  Thanks for listening!

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLVI)

On the morning of May 3rd, Andy Schmookler and I appeared for our 46th time on 550 AM, WSVA.  For the first time, neither of us were live in the studio today as Andy lives a good distance away and although I presently live in Harrisonburg, unfortunately, my car repairs are taking longer than anticipated.

Today, we spoke about Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6) and his lack of accessibility to the average person in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as President Donald Trump, his various proposals, and whether what he is doing is constitutional.  We also briefly touched on the recent Democratic primary for the 26th district House of Delegates race.

Our next show will be at 9 AM on June 14th, the day after the Republican and Democratic primaries.

In case you missed the show live, you can find it here.

WSVA EARLY MORNINGS , 5/03/17 -TALKIN’ POLITICS WITH JOSH & ANDY

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLV)

On the morning of Wednesday, April 4th, Andy Schmookler and Joshua Huffman appeared on 550 AM, WSVA for our monthly radio hour.

The main topic of the day was Neil Gorsuch and his appointment to the Supreme Court.  As the confirmation vote draws near, more Democratic Senators, including Virginia’s own Tim Kaine, have announced they will not support Mr. Gorsuch.  Will he be confirmed?  Is this payback for what happened to Merrick Garland last year?  Will Senate Republican use the nuclear option?

The next subject we briefly tackled concerned a speech that Andy Schmookler gave outside of Representative Bob Goodlatte’s Harrisonburg office the previous day. At that time, he challenged Goodlatte to a debate or for him to investigate the possible unethical and illegal actions taken by President Trump both before and after he was elected.

If you missed the show this morning, you can find it here.

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLIV)

On the morning of March 15th, Andy Schmookler and I, Joshua Huffman, appeared on 550 AM WSVA for our monthly radio hour.  The topics for discussion included:  Obamacare and Paul Ryan’s attempts to craft his own health care law, the 2017 Virginia elections including the increasing number of contested elections for the House of Delegates in the central Shenandoah Valley, and President Trump’s connections with Russia and whether this issue creates a massive conflict of interest with his duties to the Constitution and the American people.

If you missed the program live, you can find a recording of it here.

An Open Letter to my Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Photo from CBC News

A Guest post from Robert Short Sr.

This message is only for those who claim to follow Christ, it does not apply to others as they cannot, and should not, be expected to live like Christ followers.

 

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Even if you have been living under a rock, you have heard about President Trump’s recent actions on immigration. For clarity, I am speaking of the at least 120-day ban on all refugees, at least 90-day ban on all people from seven countries, and the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. You also likely have your own opinion on this issue, and I will not provide you with any new facts today, however, I hope to provide you with a perspective that you may not have considered.

These Muslims are fleeing countries where it is, either de facto or de jure, illegal for Christians to tell others about Christ, and where people who get saved face death. They are begging to be allowed to come to a country where they can hear about Christ, where they will not have to choose between rejecting Christ and martyrdom. Yes, that isn’t why they want to come, but the woman didn’t go to the well to meet Jesus either. 

We are told that Satan is the father of lies, that he deceives people, and is active in our world. After hearing of the barbarisms of ISIS, I cannot see how anyone doubts this. Yet, the main reasons people in the Church cite for supporting the ban are all based on lies. No refugee has killed a single person in a terrorist attack in the US. The countries that have actively sponsored terrorists that have attacked the US homeland aren’t even on the ban list. Whether other Muslim majority countries allow refugees in or not is beside the point, we are not called to live and act as the world does. In fact, we are commanded to do the opposite, for Christ said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

This is not to mention the fact that we are not called to sit inside our safe zones and worry. We are meant to be taking the fight for the lost to the enemy. As Christ said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”, and as an infantry veteran, I can tell you, when you attack you don’t bring the gates.

We are commanded to go into all the world and tell them about Jesus, and part of the world we have been shut off from is begging us to let them come here. Our choice by brothers and sisters cannot be more clear, do we give in to fear and the petty politics of this world, or do we set the concerns that hinder us and run this race that he has set before us, because anyone who is against letting the lost hear the word is not serving the Word.

Remember:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Your yokemate in Christ,

Robert W. T. Short, Sr.

 

R.W.T. Short, Sr. is an accountant and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a civil libertarian and Veteran’s Rights activist. He lives in Covington, Va. with his wife of ten years, their three children, and their dogs. He can be reached via email at Robert.W.T.Short.Sr@GMail.com and on Twitter at @RobertShortSr.

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLII)

On the morning of Wednesday, January 4th, Andy Schmookler and I had our 42nd political radio hour on 550 AM WSVA.  Although I never time it, the show seemed a bit shorter than usual, perhaps starting later and/or with more commercial breaks.

The main topics of the day included: the end of the Obama presidency, his legacy, and the start of the Trump presidency.  We also briefly considered whether and to what extent the Russians may have played in the recent elections.  We planned to discuss Representative Bob Goodlatte’s attempt to dismantle of the independent House ethics committee and the resulting blowback from the public and President-elect Trump but unfortunately didn’t have sufficient time.

As usual, if you missed today’s show, you can find it here.

 

Gerrymandering Their Way To Victory

Image of Virginia’s Congressional districts from Wikipedia

As most people know, Hillary Clinton won a plurality of the vote in the state of Virginia and thus her electors were awarded all 13 of Virginia’s electoral votes.  Well, as you might imagine, some Republicans weren’t particularly happy with this result.  To correct this “error”, Senator Amanda Chase (R-11) has crafted a bill (SB 837) as has Delegate Mark Cole (R-88) (HB 1425) for the 2017 General Assembly Session.  Both bills would award 11 of Virginia’s electoral votes based on the popular vote winner of each congressional district while the remaining 2 would go to highest overall vote-getter as it is presently done.

If this system were in place in 2016, it would have radically altered the outcome in Virginia.  Instead of Hillary Clinton winning all of Virginia’s votes, instead she would be awarded 5 for winning 5 congressional districts (3, 4, 8, 10, 11) and 2 more for getting the highest statewide vote total while Donald Trump would win 6 for congressional districts (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9).

Friends, it is my sincere hope that both of these bills will be defeated.  Although some Republicans will cheer this idea because it would have helped them in the most recent election, in the long run, it only serves to aid whichever political party who controls the General Assembly and marginalize a tremendous number of Virginia voters.

First, consider the 6th district, the district where I live.  In this election, Donald Trump won 59.32% of the vote in the 6th district.  120,596 people here cast their votes for Hillary Clinton, 10,801 voted for Gary Johnson, 2,379 chose Jill Stein, 5,421 picked Evan McMullin, and 2,296 wrote in a candidate.  Under this new system, every vote for a candidate other than Donald Trump would be rendered effectively worthless.  After all, the 6th district leans heavily Republican and it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that any Republican candidate will win the 6th district regardless of who he or she might be and his or her principles.  Why, in this case, would a 6th district Democratic voter be enthusiastic to vote if he or she knows his or her vote won’t change the outcome.  Also, in 2008 Barack Obama visited the 6th district while in 2012 Paul Ryan came and in 2016 it was Mike Pence.  Under this Chase/Cole system, no candidate would waste his or her time to visit the 6th because one could assume it would safely be in Republican hands and therefore working to recruit additional Republican or Democratic votes in the region would be an exercise in folly as at most it would result in a gain of only 2 electoral votes, a total fewer than even the smallest state (which gets 3 electoral votes).  Voters in the 6th district and elsewhere would be completely ignored as campaigns instead focused upon the battleground congressional districts.  However, I should point out that there are very few battleground districts in Virginia because most congressional districts have been gerrymandered to ensure that each is safe for the incumbent representatives.  As the Republicans presently control the General Assembly, they have drawn congressional lines to ensure that Democratic voters are packed into as few safe districts and that a majority of our members of the House of Representatives will be Republicans.  Should the Democrats regain the General Assembly during a redistricting year, it is likely they will act in a similar fashion.

Speaking of gerrymandering, under this new system, if it appears that the balance of power is shifting in congressional districts, cities or counties can be moved into other congressional districts to ensure the outcome remains relatively constant.  Under these present lines, I would argue that a Democratic presidential candidate can be certain of at least 4 electoral votes from the 3rd, 4th, 8th, and 11th districts, while Republicans will pick up at least 5, the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th.

Although I would like to see Virginia move away from a winner-take-all electoral system, this proposed change is likely even worse at marginalizing the average voter than the one we currently have in place.  What if instead Virginia would give her electoral votes proportionally.  Given that Virginia has 13 votes, what if a candidate received one electoral vote for each 7.69% of the statewide vote he or she won?  Therefore, no one’s vote could be gerrymandered into congressional districts and thus into irrelevance (as suggested under this proposed change), and even in a stellar year for one candidate the opposition party (or parties) could still rally their troops and have at least something to show for it.  Under this proposal, very few Virginians would feel like their vote is wasted or their voice went unheard.

In closing, I urge you to contact your delegate and state senator and tell them to oppose SB 837 and HB 1425.  Regardless of whether you support the same presidential candidate who won your congressional district, your opinion matters and it shouldn’t be marginalized by legislators in Richmond or by anyone else!

Donald Trump is…My Fault?

Photo by Gage Skidmore
Photo by Gage Skidmore

Usually, when an election is over, especially a highly contentious one such as the 2016 presidential election, tensions run high for months or even years later.  Nevertheless, I was still quite surprised when a local Democratic elected official recently declared that I was one of the people responsible for the election of Donald Trump.

For the regular readers of this website, many of you already know that I am not nor have I been a supporter of Donald Trump.  Ever since he descended that escalator, announced his candidacy for president, and declared that most Mexican immigrants were “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” I became a vocal critic.  As I wrote back in August of 2015, “Mr. Trump’s rhetoric appeals to some of the worst elements of our society”.  I called his comments “reprehensible” and, along with his blatant sexism, said that he “demonstrates that he isn’t presidential material”.

A year later, I didn’t view Mr. Trump anymore favorably and called both the Trump and Clinton campaigns, “A Campaign of Fear and Hatred.”  I’m sure it doesn’t come as any surprise, but I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in the Virginia Republican primary nor did I cast a ballot for him in the general election.  Yes, I may have declared Marco Rubio was the worst Republican candidate on the Virginia primary ballot, but in that same piece I called Donald Trump “unacceptable”.  However, just because Donald Trump was terrible, that didn’t somehow make Hillary Clinton somehow acceptable by comparison.

I would challenge anyone to point out any of my statements where I encourage any voter to cast a ballot for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  And yet, as this elected official claims, anyone who voted for a third party candidate or chose not to vote is at fault for the election of Donald Trump.  This viewpoint, in my opinion, is quite sophomoric and harkens back to George W. Bush where a third way was inconceivable to him.

Now, this local official isn’t alone in expressing this idea.  For example, about a year ago a Republican leader credited me with electing Terry McAuliffe governor of Virginia because I didn’t support either the Republican or Democratic candidate in that election.  As such, because the Democrat won, the only explanation is that it was “my fault” and the fault of everyone who voted Libertarian.  Surely it had nothing to do with the weakness of the campaigns and the lack of issues and substance from both of the major party candidates.

It is important for you to remember that you own your vote and no candidate or party has an automatic claim to it.  They must earn it and if they fail to speak to you, either figuratively or literally, then you are under no compulsion to support them.  And, if one of the major party candidates wins, it is exceedingly foolish to declare that it is the fault of third party voters that your side didn’t win.  If one side is looking for someone to blame for their loss, maybe they ought to blame themselves.  Perhaps the major party that lost shouldn’t have nominated a candidate who the voters found so detestable.  Perhaps they should have run a more competent campaign.  And, if voting for your principles means voting for a third party candidate or an independent, that is your right and that should not be demeaned.  As Penn Jillette says, (warning for language):

Remember, despite what some Republicans and Democrats might say in order to guilt trip you into supporting someone who you don’t believe in, it is not the fault of a third party voter if the lesser (or greater) of two evils wins.  Heck, if we had a level playing field and a multiparty system, like just about every other Western democratic nation, which many Democrats and Republicans have been actively trying to suppress, the only people to blame for electing a bad politician are the people who actually cast a vote for him or her.