Gregory’s Web for May 10, 2020
As regular readers know, I am not normally a conspiracy theorist. I am likewise not a big Sean Hannity fan.
But I have to say that Hannity’s conspiracy ideas regarding General Michael Flynn and efforts to improperly remove President Donald Trump appear to have been accurate these past three years.
Liberals are screaming that the federal Justice Department never drops illegitimate prosecutions, even when proven wrong. Oh come now.
The George W. Bush administration sought to and did ruin the political career of an honorable man, Alaska Republican U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. The “Alaskan of the Century” was actually charged, tried and CONVICTED on bogus charges. As a result, Stevens narrowly lost re-election in 2008.
Almost as soon as the Obama administration took power, they dropped the entire case. The conviction was wiped out because prosecutors withheld evidence that would have exonerated Stevens of all wrongdoing.
Internal Alaskan Republican politics contributed to the Stevens fiasco. Some in the GOP were jealous of Stevens and sought to ruin him. Bush joined that cabal. Even if Bush had been a good President otherwise (which he wasn’t), I would have nothing good to say about him because of the Stevens affair.
Flynn appears to have suffered a similar fate. He ended up broke and lost a stellar reputation due to a pack of lies spread by professional lawmen and their political cronies. He was badgered into pleading guilty for something he didn’t do.
I was, and am, a Barrack Obama supporter. I hope the trail of injustice does not lead directly to him.
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Cases like Flynn’s bring to mind the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on misdemeanor charges.
It has been determined that evidence favorable to Blankenship was withheld from his attorneys and, thus, from the jury.
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Hopefully, a few creative West Virginians are capitalizing on Governor Jim Justice’s slip of the tongue last week.
Sweatshirts and banners have cropped up depicting Justice and his almost-use of the infamous “f” word in exhorting West Virginians to follow his coronavirus rules.
Listening to him and hearing replays, I’m confident he said something other than that well-known adverb. But I really can’t imagine what he MEANT to say. Suffice it to say “f—-ing” fit the phrase and the situation perfectly.
The worst mistake Justice made was going back to try to apologize for what he didn’t say. That just called more attention to the hoopla.
Justice assured one and all that he’s NEVER said that offending word.
Former and current players and fans whose teams have played the Greenbrier East girls basketball team coached by Justice dispute that he’s never said it before.
In the meantime, grab your shirts before they’re all gone. Social media was filled with ads for them by week’s end.
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The non-partisan farce that is the races for three seats on the state Supreme Court were even more apparent last week when the state Republican party endorsed candidates.
I’m not sure, for one thing, what the state GOP is doing endorsing ANY candidates in non-partisan races. I suppose next they’ll endorse prospective school board members in their continuing drive to be all-powerful.
The trio endorsed — incumbent Justice Tim Armstead, Jackson Circuit Judge Lora Dyer and Putnam Assistant Prosecutor Kris Raynes — are clearly the conservative, business oriented candidates. If the GOP or anyone interviewed Armstead and challengers Richard Neely and David Hummel, they would have known that Armstead is conservative and Neely and Hummel liberal. No doubt about that.
But if we have any hope of judge elections being “non-partisan,” we need party executive committees to focus on partisan races only. And judge candidates should shy away from blatantly political affairs.
Hopefully, the three endorsed candidates did not seek the recommendation of the state GOP.
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Speaking of partisanship, is it proper for a member of the state GOP committee to be opposing the renomination of the REPUBLICAN Senate President? That hardly seems designed to promote party strength and unity.
At least one well-known Putnam County state executive committee member has caused a stir with his obvious preference for Delegate Jim Butler over Senate President Mitch Carmichael in the Fourth Senate District.
Carmichael is being challenged by both Butler and school teacher Amy Nichole Grady in the primary. Paul Hartling, a self-styled GOP power in Putnam, has made it clear he’s for Butler, Carmichael supporters say.
Hartling is the Second Congressional District Vice Chair of the state GOP. His preferences for Butler have appeared on social media, according to Carmichael’s friends.
One said Hartling maintains he did not give up his First Amendment rights to support whoever he chooses.
Executive committees should NEVER get involved in primary elections. That’s divisive for the party they claim to be supporting. The good of the party should be foremost, not personal prejudices.
Butler is giving up his House seat to take on Carmichael who Butler says is not conservative enough.
Carmichael is a heavy favorite to win but the dark horse, Grady, cannot be counted out.
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An interesting twist in the state Supreme Court races came when Raynes posted her support for General Flynn on social media.
“As a career prosecutor” Raynes said she was pleased when the Justice Department dropped its charges against Flynn.
While I agree with Raynes, the politics of her support is dubious. As noted, most conservatives and business-oriented groups already identify with Raynes. Her comments may only have discouraged support from moderates who think the DOJ was pressured by President Trump to drop the charges..
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I don’t know Elgine McArdle but the Ohio County Republican apparently did the right thing when she resigned from that county’s executive committee last week.
Unlike Hartling, McArdle explained that she felt it improper to remain on the committee while supporting gubernatorial challenger Woody Thrasher in the primary against Justice.
Assuming her comments as quoted in the Wheeling Intelligencer to be accurate, she did the honorable thing in resigning.
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Last election cycle, I introduced a number of readers to Nate Silver, whose accuracy in predicting election results using statistical data is legendary.
It was Silver who kept assuring us that Democrat congressional candidate Richard Ojeda had no chance against Republican Carol Miller, for example.
Although things can always change between now and November, it is safe to say our four Republican congressional members are locks to win in 2020. Silver confirms that.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito is arguably the state’s most popular politician. She expects a huge primary win over Allen Whitt.
The three House of Representatives members — David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Miller — are seen as sure winners.
Those predictions go for both the primaries and general election.
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The main contenders showed why they are that when Republican gubernatorial candidates appeared on a teleconference “debate” last week.
With Justice not appearing, former legislator Michael Folk and ex-Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher firmly dominated the session. But there was little new from them or any of the other candidates.
Campaigning and bringing the candidates together for these debates has been virtually impossible due to the coronavirus. Seeing the candidates sitting in front of their computers is not the best way to judge them. Still, it’s all we have right now.
In my opinion, the more of these get-togethers, the better.
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Seldom.are sparks going to fly during these impersonal type encounters, however.
Nevertheless, the Governor candidates as well as a forum with Republican Huntington mayoral candidates (missing Scott Caserta, who had to work) went smoother than any Joe Biden town hall.
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I liked the social media post that showed a crowded store full of shoppers elbow to elbow with their masks on and a separate picture of the vast space between voting devices on election day.
If it’s safe to wear the mask and head to the store, why not wear one and vote in person on election day was the question.
I agree although I’ll emphasize there is no LAW that says you must wear a mask. In the process of giving up all freedom, we are just pretending there is one.
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When we endorsed Michael Folk as the Republican candidate for governor, we mentioned that he reminds us of President Donald Trump in his personal/public pronouncements. Nothing has changed that opinion.
One of the minor candidates for GOP Governor, Brooke Lunsford, has taken offense that Folk referred to him as a “communist,” in a recent email exchange.
Lunsford, who proudly headlines his campaign as a “Jesus First” effort, should not be surprised at Folk’s terminology. Welcome Jesus and Lunsford to the real world of modern day politics.
Lunsford, apparently naive as they come, has run a campaign based on platitudes that wouldn’t exist if he got Jesus on them full time. He acts as though he can wave a magic wand and simply make things happen. He can’t.
He discusses creating thousands of jobs through goodwill and high hopes. He’s convinced private enterprise will just fall in line once he gives them his sales pitch.
He refers to dubious ideas like running some sort of raffles in every county with income going to the public schools. He has hinted, as part of that grand scheme, that the state could chip in to buy the raffle tickets so that entry would actually be free for the contestants.
He talks about building hundreds of cabins in or near state parks as tourism development. It’s never clear who would own the houses; how bidding to place them on state property would be handled; or any of the sticky little legal details. If I point out that the law might prevent some of his grand illusions from working, he simply says that, as Governor, he and his staff will get the law changed.
Lunsford constantly blurs the lines between church and state as well as state and private enterprise. It’s this crossing the divide (reminds me of dividing the sea) that likely spurred Folk to call him a “social communist.”
We’ve often urged courtesy and diplomacy in political campaigns. We still would be happier if Folk had chosen his words with Lunsford more skillfully. But, as our editorial endorsement of Folk said, we need a different kind of leader for these tragic times.
His outspoken language in characterizing an opponent who seems to want to rely on big government to solve all problems is not uncharacteristic for Folk.
Suffice it to say, we’d still feel much more comfortable with Folk at the wheel. Although Lunsford is not a serious candidate, Folk has performed just as we’d expect: he calls it as he sees it.
That’s what we need in the White House right now and it wouldn’t hurt to get a shot of honesty and “tell it like it is” in the statehouse.
Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or email@example.com. Hear his political commentary each Monday at 7 a.m. on the Tom Roten Morning Show on NewsRadio 800, WVHU, Huntington.