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Former VA Sec. of Natural Resources Spews Propaganda for Koch-Funded, ALEC-Connected, Climate-Science-Denying, Anti-Environment Front Group

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

by Lowell

This past weekend, the "Republican Times-Disgrace" (aka, "Richmond Times-Dispatch") published a wildly false, anti-EPA, anti-Clean-Power-Plan screed by former Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech (R). I'm not even going to debunk all the lies, craziness and stupidity in Domenech's op-ed, because it's all been debunked a gazillion times, and I'm not going to waste my time and energy with this trash.

More interestingly, IMHO, is that the Republican Times-Disgrace simply listed Domenech as working for something called the "Texas Public Policy Foundation," without disclosing to readers what that "Policy Foundation" actually is and who it's funded by. That, in and of itself, is wildly unethical for a newspaper to do, but sadly, I'm not even surprised at this point.

Fortunately, the amazing resource SourceWatch - which tracks/investigates corporate PR, front groups, etc. - has a detailed page on this group. Here are some highlights...ok, lowlights about these slimeballs.

Sen. Louise Lucas (D) Flips, Supports Republicans in Bid to Oust Virginia Supreme Court Justice Jane Roush

So...this just happened: State Sen. Louise Lucas (D) flipped from a "nay" to a "yea" on the Republicans' bid to oust Virginia Supreme Court Justice Jane Roush. According to Daily Press reporter Travis Fain, "So: Senate Courts of Justice cmt. just voted to certify Alston to Supreme Court. Dem. Sen. Lucas voted with R's. R Sturtevant still a no. .... Cmt also certified Kenneth Melvin of Portsmouth, which Lucas represents, for Court of Appeals. Lucas a yes. Sturtevant a no...So it would seem, with Sturtevant unwilling to vote for GOP judge choice Alston, a deal was struck with Dem sen Lucas."

The only question is, what was the deal? But the bottom line is that Gov. McAuliffe's Supreme Court pick, Justice Jane Roush, is now toast, even with Republican Glen Sturtevant a "no" to replace her. Ugh.

UPDATE: The deal was for Lucas to get this guy (according to the Washington Times, "Lucas said she voted for Alston in exchange for her neighbor and political mentor to replace Alston on the appeals court") on the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

UPDATE 5:29 pm: According to AP reporter Alan Suderman -- "Chaos: Louise Lucas says @GovernorVA got her to change her mind on defecting to GOP on high court pick." WTF?

Something I Knew Nothing About, "Proffers," May Be the "Sleeper Issue of the 2016 Virginia General Assembly?"

by Lowell

I was chatting yesterday afternoon with a Virginia General Assembly legislative aide about "proffers" - something I knew basically nothing about prior to the past few days - and the person said something to me that I found striking: that the issue of "proffers" could end up being the "sleeper issue of the 2016 Virginia General Assembly."

What are "proffers," you ask, and why should you (or anyone else, for that matter) care? For more on that, see Sunday's Washington Post story, Va. bills seek to weaken land-use tool behind new roads, parks and schools; the Richmond Times-Dispatch story, Proffer reform bill advances as Richmond-area localities fight to stop it; and yesterday's Washington Post story, Va. Senate postpones vote on reforms to development proffers. Also see HB 770 Conditional zoning; provisions applicable to all rezoning proffers, definitions. and S.B. 549. A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 15.2-2303.4, relating to conditional zoning. Here are a few key points from the news stories:

Tuesday News: Corporate Tool RoboRubio Has Another Programming Glitch; I-66 Tolling Plan Might Survive After All?

by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, February 9.

Video: Hillary Clinton Says She Will Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling Off the Atlantic Coast

Monday, February 8, 2016

I'm glad to hear this, as an oil spill in the Arctic would be a catastrophe, and an oil spill off Virginia's coast could devastate the environment, not to mention Virginia's billion-dollar fishing and tourism industries. Plus, with oil at $30 per barrel, it doesn't even make any economic sense to drill in the Arctic or along the Atlantic coast. Finally, I find it fascinating that Hillary Clinton has staked out a very different position than her close friend and political ally, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, on this issue. Clinton also is not on the same page on this issue with either Sen. Mark Warner or Sen. Tim Kaine, both of whom have been mentioned as potential Clinton running mates (although I've never thought she would pick Warner).

 

Right-Wingnut Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA4) Announces Move to 2nd CD; Larry Sabato Shifts Ratings for Two Congressional Districts

by Lowell

With the announcement this afternoon by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-4th) that he'll be "leaving behind his 4th Congressional District to seek election next door in the 2nd District," Larry Sabato's "Crystal Ball House Ratings" have shifted, making the new 4th CD a presumed shoo-in for whoever the Democratic nominee is (I'm assuming State Senator Donald McEachin). As for the 2nd CD, which Rep. Scott Rigell (R) is vacating after his current term, Sabato has shifted it from "Toss-up" to "Leans R."

My big question: will Democrats have a candidate against Forbes in the 2nd, and if so, will it be a strong candidate? Among other reasons why we need a candidate, the 2nd leans a bit Republican, but it's certainly winnable in a presidential election year, particularly if Republicans nominate an extremist (Trump, Cruz, and Rubio all qualify) for president. Also, I'd note that although I was no Scott Rigell fan, at least that guy has some sense, sanity, and willingness to "reach across the aisle," as the saying goes. Forbes, in contrast, is a wild-eyed right-wing ideologue. Why do I say that? Check out Right Wing Watch for more, but here are a few highlights on this nut.
Also see Randy Forbes Rants Against Anti-Gay Hate Crimes LegislationThe Climate Zombie Caucus Of The 112th Congress (Forbes is on the list, of course!), Forbes says Army training program listed evangelical Christians and al-Qaida as extremistsDavid Barton's Lies in Action: Randy Forbes Reintroduces 'Spiritual Heritage' ResolutionRep. Randy Forbes Is Unfit to Serve – As Chairman, etc, etc. Again, Democrats badly need to run a strong candidate against this loon.

P.S. How about Forbes resign from his current job, given that he's now running in the 2nd CD???

GOP Immigrant Bashing Continues as Virginia Senate Passes Anti-"Sanctuary Cities" Bill

by Lowell

Looks like more Latino immigrant bashing by Virginia Republicans...sadly not surprising. Definite veto material for Gov. McAuliffe!

P.S. Oh, and we can now add this nasty bill by "Sideshow Bob" Marshall to the list.

UPDATE: ‏@RTDSchapiro just tweeted: "Hmmm? Garrett anti-'sanctuary' city bill that just passed #Va Senate is suddenly up for another vote. Final vote now delayed until Tuesday." Alrighty...

A Much Better Way for Hillary and Bernie to Compete


by Andy Schmookler

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have a great opportunity to advance the Democratic cause, but to seize it they’ll have the think differently about their contest.

A SHADOW OVER THE DEMOCRATIC RACE

This opportunity grows out of a shadow that hangs over the campaign for the Democratic nomination. It is widely recognized that any Democrat who is elected president will be unable to accomplish much of what he or she is calling for.

On the big issues – whether it’s climate change, or guns, or immigration reform, or campaign finance, or widening inequality – legislation is required. But as things now stand, any Democratic president will almost certainly be blocked by the Republicans in Congress. Although we hear talk about the ability “to reach across the aisle,” after the last seven years – with a Democrat downright eager to reach across the aisle -- we should know better.

During these years, we’ve seen the Republicans obstruct President Obama wherever they could, on virtually every front – blocking even Republican ideas and stonewalling the president’s nominations– in order to make him fail. There’s no reason to believe they’d stop their wall-to-wall obstructionism with a President Hillary Clinton or a President Bernie Sanders.

Why would they stop? Their strategy has worked well for them over the past seven years.  In 2010, their lies and obstructionism on health care reform were rewarded with a big electoral victory. And they swept to still more power in Congress again in 2014, after their obstructionism gave America the least productive Congress in history.

It’s hard to imagine these Republicans working constructively with President Hillary Clinton-- not after they’ve been demonizing her since the 1990s. (Remember the charge that she’d murdered her friend Vince Foster?) The Republican base is so convinced that she’s really evil that they’ll support combat, not cooperation.

Nor will Republicans be interested in working with the “socialist” Bernie Sanders. That word is enough of a cover for them to adopt a policy of total non-cooperation with President Sanders, just as they’ve done with President Obama.

So, for any of the ideas these two strong candidates are proposing to actually move forward, one of two things must happen. Either the Republican Party has to change, or the power of the GOP to obstruct progress has to be taken away.

Monday News: Republican as the "Time-Loop Party"; "Will McAuliffe honor Paris or Dominion?"

by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, February 8.

Everyone's Focused on Rubio Choking and Being a Brain-Dead Robot, but Not on the Absurdity of His Anti-Obama Talking Points

Sunday, February 7, 2016

by Lowell

Since last night's debate meltdown for Marco "Boy in the Bubble" Rubio, I've seen a gazillion tweets, comments, stories, etc. on how he "choked," how he's like a mindless robot, how Chris Christie kicked his butt, yada yada yada. All that's true - and highly revealing of this pathetic lightweight - but what I haven't really seen is any focus on the substance of what Rubio's robotically-repeated anti-Obama attack line actually said, and why it's a huge, fat, stinking pile of wackiness and paranoia. First, here's the memorized 25-or-30-second screed.
And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.

That's why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I'm president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.
My god...where do we even go with this stinking pile of elephant manure? A few points.
  1. Is there really anyone out there, at least outside the right-wing fever swamps, who actually believes the laughable "fiction" of which Rubio speaks, that supposedly Barack Obama - a brilliant man, whatever else you might think of him, and extremely competent - doesn't "know what he's doing?" Is that like the biggest straw man ever to set up and knock down? Of course, there are those on the far right who simultaneously believe that Obama is: a) weak/utterly incompetent AND b) a ruthless, conniving, calculating dictator wannabe. I mean, yeah, obviously those things are utterly contradictory, not to mention bonkers, yet that hasn't stopped the far right from believing them simultaneously -- kinda like they simultaneously believe Obama went to Jeremiah Wright's CHRISTIAN church for years, yet somehow is actually a MUSLIM. Crazy, I know.
  2. Only with a Tea Party exremist like Rubio can it be a BAD thing to know what you're doing. Of course, this is coming from a guy (Rubio) who has accomplished absolutely nothing in his time in the Senate, to the extent that one of his top surrogates (Rick Santorum) couldn't even list a single Rubio accomplishment the other day on tee-vee.
  3. As for this "systematic effort to change the country" and supposedly to "make America more like the rest of the world," it's hard to even know what to say. I mean, why on earth would ANYONE run for president if they didn't want to "change the country" (for the better in their view, obviously) in some way. That's kind of why people run for president on campaign emphasizing "change." On the Republican side, of course, we've got people who want to "take America back" -- to the time before Social Security, Medicare, minimum wages, clean air, clean water, safe food, voting rights, civil rights, and a bunch of other stuff we take for granted. As for Obama, of course he's tried to change things -- for the better. And he's succeeded, thank goodness - from the utter DISASTER he inherited from Bush/Cheney. Thus, today the economy is growing (as opposed to melting down, as it was in January 2009), unemployment is down to 4.9%, the stock market is around double what it was when Obama took over, U.S. energy production (particularly oil, natural gas, wind and solar) has skyrocketed and imports have plummeted, millions more Americans are covered with health insurance, Iran has dismantled its nuclear weapons program, etc, etc. Horrible, huh? Yet Rubio somehow makes this all sound sinister. Bizarro.
  4. I've said this a million times, but "Obamacare" is basically Romneycare and/or the Republican alternative to "Hillarycare" (btw, these nicknames are so stupid...gack) in 1993-1994. "Obamacare" incorporates a lot of conservative ideas, from the individual mandate to keeping a private/for-profit health insurance system to...you name it, basically. And it's mostly working so far, despite reletnless Republican attempts to sabotage it. What's the problem, then? Other than the fact that it's a major Democratic accomplishment, and that it doesn't help Republicans' favorite people - the top 0.1% - nothing, of course.
  5. As for Dodd-Frank, apparently Rubio believes (falsely) that it "cripples innovation and economic growth." Fact checkers have had a field day with this line of attack: see Rubio’s fantasy figure on bank closures due to Dodd-Frank, Marco Rubio slams Dodd-Frank, gets his numbers wrong, etc. As for "crippl[ing] economic grwoth," Rubio can only WISH that the economy performed as well under Republican presidents than under Democratic ones (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama combined saw job creation of around 31 MILLION during their terms in office; Reagan and the two Bushes combined saw around 20 MILLION, far fewer than the Clinton/Obama combination, and I'm even giving the Republians an extra presidential term to be generous! LOL)
Bottom line with Rubio: he's not just a brain-dead robot, a "boy in a bubble" and a big-time choker, he's a big-time liar; according to PolitiFact, only 37% of Rubio's rated statements have been either "true" or "mostly true." The other 63% -- not so much.