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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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August 22, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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August 22, 2012
 

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I +i!!''+: +i PAGE ~ "No government ought to be without A4 i!! censorsandwherethepressisfree, no one ever will." )irit of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE Wednesday, August 22, 2012 EDITORIAL The Spirit of Jefferson is committed to making our local community the best possible place to live and do business, and we believe there's no more important way for our.read- ers to get involved than by heading to the polls Nov. 6. But citizens who aren't already registered voters can't wait until November to sign up; the cutoff to complete the paperwork to cast a vote in the fall election comes on Oct. 16 - that's just 55 days away. In the weeks to come, the Spirit will be working hard not only to fully inform our readers about the candidates and is- sues on the November ballot, but to encourage every eligi- ble voter to sign up and then to follow through and cast their vote, either through the early voting process or by going to his or her local precinct on that first Tuesday of November. Our push already is under way. Spirit representatives set up at the Jefferson County Fair this week have been hand- ing out voter registration forms sent to us by the Secre- tary of State's office.in Charleston. We'll turn in completed forms to the Jefferson County Clerk or to the clerk's office in Martinsburg if any Berkeley County residents stop by our booth. Anyone eligible to vote should sign up; like all other vot- er registration drive, there is no preference given for any particular political party. For too long, the Eastern Panhandle has been underrepre- sented - not because of any machinations on the part of the power-hungry in Charleston or any other outside force, but simply because so many here don't exercise their right to vote. We need to change that. Sign up to vote. If you've never taken part in an election, now is the time. If you're new to the area and still registered at your former address, make that update. If you're 17 but will turn 18 by Election Day, get registered now. In the weeks to come, you'll see lots of news about this election - coverage of local contests as well as county, state and federal races. You'll see lots of campaign signs and many ads and commercials. This election will affect you and your family, but it's only the voters who come out on Nov. 6 who will have a voice in determining our future. Be one of them. Get involved now. No cover for Klan rally The Spir# of Jefferson recently, received a letter announcing that the Ku Klux I lan would be holding a rally Sept. 8 at Harp- ers Ferry National Historical Park. Park Police have since confirmed that the Klan has been is- sued a permit to assemble and protest on that day, as is required by the First Amendment. This is not the first time a Klan group has held a rally in Harpers Ferry. The group that previously held rallies in the town disbanded to join the neo-nazi National Socialist Move- ment in 2006, according to reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups. A new Klan group appears to have formed in its place, and they will be the ones gathering next month. Upon receiving this letter we were faced with a double bind. On the one hand, people in Harpers Ferry and throughout the county have a right to know what will be happening in their community. On the other hand, it is clear that the Klan is trying to create a news story that will raise their profile and help them to increase their numbers. Objectivity is a core value of journalism. We understand this to mean that, even when a journalist strongly disagrees with the position of someone whose views they are describing, he or she must present those views upon their own merits without allowing his or her personal disagreement to enter the picture. But certain ideas have no merit at all. The hate-fried lies that will be expressed in our county next month belong to this cat- egory. Based on the fact that this group sent us a letter announcing the event, it is clear that they desire for us to cover their rally. The presumptive reason is that they would use such publicity to aid their efforts to recruit more people to their cause. Usually, their targets are impoverished, disaffected white youths with few obvious prospects for a better life who do not understand the actual causes that underly this tragic condi- tion. Hate groups step in to provide them with a narrative that - while categorically and obviously false - can be compelling to someone who holds little hope for the future. This group hopes that by creating a media event they will be able lure more such youths to their wicked Cause. We are not going to play this game. We will not allow this newspaper to be used as a forum for a domestic terrorist organization- one that bears responsibility for over a century of lynchings, intimidation, political corrup- tion, racial and religious hatred, and numerous other deplor- able acts - to express their views. Evelyn Beatrice Hall, a biographer of the French philoso- pher Voltaire, wrote: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." We support the free speech protection our laws afford groups such as this. The only telling mark of a government that truly protects free speech is that it protects speech with which it dis- agrees: even Hitler, Stalin and Mao supported free speech for those that,agreed with them. We are a free society if and only if hate groups such as the Klan are allowed to assemble and speak without hindrance by law. But this does not mean we have to listen. Eight-year drivers' license might be proposed to take edge off ID requirements This state's implementation of the requirements part of this new system so that none of this data can tbr a new tederal REAL ID plan as West Virginia be lost. residents obtain or renew their driver'sSen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, license got under way back on Jan. 3, led the effort to pass a state law in 2008 2010. Two adjoining states Mary- that would have put West Virginia on lan -- on ro or . oppos requ ements of Pennsylvania and Virginia are refusing ii:iiiii the federal Real ID law. But that inca- to participate. ~i~ sure died in the House of Delegates. However, there's still time for those :~:~: Meanwhile, a 19-page audit re- two states bordering West Virginia to : i:i:i::: leased last week recommends that the comply with the federal requirement :~::: state's Department of Health and Hu- -- signed into law by former Presi- :ii i i man Resourcesbe stripped ofitsauthor- dent Bush in reaction to the 9/11 terror- ity to award contracts independently ist attack -- because the so-called "drop without the consent of the state's Divi- dead" deadline isn't until Dec. 1, 2017. sion of Purchasing. And DHHR agrees Steve Dale, a deputy commissioner of the Westwith that position, but only after it awards one of the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles, told mem- most valuable contracts in state government without bers of a legislative study committee last week in that oversight. Charleston that this state has already met most of the Legislators. and auditors alike are concemed that requirements. DHHR has not done enough to make sure it has the Proof of any name change is one of the key docu- best possible deal in a proposed 10-year contract ments required for these five-year renewals of a state that is worth about $20 million a year. No wonder driver's license. And Dale pointed out to legislators state Sen. Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, told a DHHR that the new requirements place an unfair burden on official at a meeting last week in Charleston that it women since they are the ones that are more like- doesn't make sense for agency leaders to agree that ly to have name changes by marriage while a name it shouldn't be able to award contracts on its own change for any male resident is extremely rare. while at the same time it is planning to do just that. The new requirements for five-year renewal of a The contract now pending involves a complex driver's license at the Division of Motor Vehicles in computer system that processes claims for the state's West Virginia requires: (1) an original or certified Medicaid program, which provides health care for copy of a birth certificate or a valid U.S. Passport; about 420,000 West Virginians. (2) one document that provides proofofa Social Se- In addition to the legislative audit, lawmakers are curity number; and (3) two proofs of West V-lrginia also concerned about nearly $11 million that DHHR residency such as a Voters rlegistration card, a West has paid to a Maine-based consulting firm for work V'lrginia utility bill that is no't more than 60 days old helping the agency put together the bid requests for or one of several other documents, the Medicaid computer system. Currently West Virginia residents are required to Finally, there is one statistic that could well de- renew their state driver's license every five years, feat efforts to require businesses engaged in sales on Dale hinted at last week's legislative hearing that the Interact to start collecting consumer sales tax on DMV is considering a proposal to recommend to the those transactions and sending the money to the var- Legislature that the state law be changed so that a ious government jurisdictions that impose this tax. driver's license would only need to be renewed ev- According to an official who handles government cry eight years, relations for eBay, there are more than 9,600 tax ju- He also said once West Virginia residents bring risdictions in this nation that would qualify for these in the necessary documentation such as birth certifi- tax collections. cates, proof of legal name changes, etc. for the first The proposal to impose the sales tax on Intemet renewal under the new system, it will not be a re- purchases is pending in Congress and Sen. Jay Rock- quirement at subsequent renewals. Instead, DMV efeller, D-W.Va is a co-sponsor of that bill. The .~. will scan and store the documentation electronically owner of one West Virginia business who sells auto for future verification of the applicant's identity. This will enable West Virginia residents to re- new their licenses on the Interact or at a kiosk so it won't be necessary to go to one of the DMV of- fice locations around the state, Dale said. And he as- sured concerned legislators that ample security is a parts online, who claims he has sales in 48 of the 50 states every year, said he doesn't work for all these taxing entities but only for the state of West Virginia. Califomia already has a law that requires nonresi- dent firms to collect the sales tax but only from finns with more than $1 milliorrin annual sales. You might be a conservative I was asked the other day what the term conservatism means, I thought of the philosophical, theological, and political definitions I have read, and although they were all erudite descriptions, none of them seemed to be very practical. None fit the bill in describing a conservative--the person--and how to detect one. With all due respect to Jeff Foxworthy, here are some clues: If you think individual actions have consequences take responsibility for those actions, you might .be a conservative. If you think states are a better place to resolve many issues rather and you must JOHN BAGLADI Guest Columnist than having the federal government make those de- cisions, you might be a conserva- tive. If you think h,~;,~a mare than $15 trillion in debt--much of it to China--is a bad idea, you might be a conservative. If you think not doing much about it other than watch the debt get bigger is an even worse idea, you might be a conservative. If you are sick of being called a racist bigot homophobekmisogynist because you disagree with some other people's political views, you might be a conservative. If you think money spent in sup- port of adoption is a far better op- tion that paying for abortions, you might be a conservative If you think having winners and losers rather than giving everybody a "participation trophy" teaches a good lesson about life, you might be a conservative. If you think people wishing +to immigrate to the United States ought to do it in accordance with laws, you might be a conservative. If you are tired of being called a radical Christian because you be- lieve in God and practice your reli- gion, you might be a conservative. If you think "cutting the bud- get" should mean much more than just reducing proposals for future spending, you might be a conserva- tive. If you believe that respect for the office of the president is deni- grated by appearances on every comedy program and late-night talk show on television, you might be a conservative. If you believe that disintegra- tion of the family leads directly to increased moral, social, economic, and educational problems, you might be a conservative. If you think that the same people who created the political ad show- ing grandma in a wheelchair being pushed over the cliff and then rant against "attack ads" is a bit hypo- critical, you might be a conserva= tive. If you think speaking and un- derstanding English is crucial for a full, active participation in Ameri- can life, you might be a conserva- tive. If you wonder why everybody complains about the problem of re- paying huge student loans but no- body questions why tuition rates are so high in the first place, you might be a conservative. If you would rather listen to can- didates explaining their positions rather than name-calling pundits telling you what you should think, you might be a conservative. If you think it shouldn't be too much of a burden to show who you are before exercising your right and privilege to vote, you might be a conservative. While this is certainly not an ex- haustive list, I hope it helps in un- derstanding where many conserva- tives come from. Oh, one more -- if you have a sneaky suspicion there are more of you out there than there appears to be, you might be a con- servative. -- John Bagladi is a retired feder- al contractor. He writes from Shan- nondale. ~i~ii!~!~iiii~i~i~i~i~iii~iiiiiiiiii~ii~iii~i~i~ii~i~iiii~iii~i~i~iiiii~