Video: Far-Right-Wing Virginia Sen. Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain Mansplains to April Moore About Global Warming

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Virginia State Sen. Mark Obenshain (far-far-right "R") is nothing if not consistent. Consistently wrong, that is.  In a recent debate with Democratic State Senate nominee April Moore, for instance, Obenshain had absolutely no coherent response to Moore's argument in favor of Medicaid expsansion. Now, watch as Moore articulately and accurately explains very well why the Virginia Coastal Protection Act - sponsored by a Republican, no less - makes a great deal of sense as a market-oriented way to deal with the threat of climate change to the Hampton Roads area.  Among other things, as Moore points out, this bill is both economically positive and also helps shore up our coastline, "which is very important because we have the largest naval base in the world and it's vulnerable."

In response, Obenshain begain by condescendingly turning to "April" and mansplainin' to her how she sounds "a little like President Obama speaking to our service academy trying to tell the men and women of our military that global warming is the #1 threat  facing our nation." Of course, President Obama - and April Moore, and the vast majority of climate scientists, and many leaders of the U.S. military, etc, etc, etc, all agree that climate change IS a huge threat facing our nation, including our national security. That's one of the many reasons why the military is racing to shift away from fossil fuels and towards clean, non-carbon-emitting renewable energy. It's also why climate science deniers are putting the U.S. military - and our nation - at risk.

So now, the shocker: unlike many in his virulently anti-science party, Sen. Mark Obenshain - perhaps for the first time publicly - here acknowledges that global warming "is a threat, and we need to address it."  I mean, in a way, I suppose we should give Obenshain credit for doing what so many in his party can't bring themselves to do. On the other hand....seriously? We've got to give people CREDIT for acknowledging what scientists have realized for a century or more, that human emissions of greenhouse gases is changing our climate, in potentially disastrous ways?  Heck, as InsideClimate News' groundbreaking journalism (side note: why didn't the corporate media uncover this ages ago?!?) has found, top executives at ExxonMobil were warned DECADES ago by their own scientists that carbon emission from oil and other fossil fuels was leading to disaster. Of course, armed with this knowledge, ExxonMobil did....well, actually, worse than nothing, launching a decades-long climate science denial effort that continues to this day.

As for Mark Obenshain, he's about where ExxonMobil was back in 1977, when its scientists told the company's senior management that "there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels." So, mazel tov to Mark Obenshain for figuring out, 38 years later, what one of the world's top fossil fuel companies knew back when he was 15 years old: that global warming "is a htreat, and we need to address it."

Unfortunately (but predictably, given what disordered, even deranged, thinking this guy has engaged in over the years), Obenshain is responding to this threat in many ways as ExxonMobil did decades ago; by advoating, essentially, that we do nothing about it. So yeah, it's like saying "I've been told by the auto mechanics that my car with the leaking gas tank will explode and kill my family and me at some point in the next couple years, unless I take it into the shop and get it fixed, but...nah, not going to bother, got better things to do - whatever." The question is, just like with the car example, which is worse in the case of global warming: willful ignorance on the one hand, or acknowledgement that there IS a problem, but then refusal to do anything about it? It's hard to decide, but one thing's for sure: both should be disqualifiers for holding public office.

Video: In Response to Democratic Candidate's Argument for Medicaid Expansion, Right Wingnut State Senator Counters that (GASP!) "Socialist" Bernie Sanders Supports It

by Lowell

Great job by Democratic State Senate nominee April Moore in her debate against Sen. Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain (extreme-right "R") the other day, and I've got a few short videos that demonstrate why. Sure, Obenshain is the favorite to win in this bright-"red" district, but that doesn't mean he has any idea what he's talking about - on pretty much any subject - or that April Moore isn't far better informed, with her head screwed on infinitely straighter, than Obenshain.

Let's start with the issue of Medicaid expansion (see video clip). Note that April Moore makes an actual argument, supported by actual facts, to expand Medicaid: 1) that not expanding Medicaid is hurting our economy in Virginia; 2) that not expanding Medicaid is preventing 1,500 jobs from being created in the 26th State Senate district; 3) that in most advanced, industrialized countries, "health care is a right;" 4) that health care shouldn't be something hard-working people have to be "rich to afford;" and 5) that Medicaid expansion would be "good for our rural hospitals, which are being damaged by our failure to expand it." response to all these indisputable facts, what did Obenshain have to say for himself? Basically, nothing - no serious argument at all. Instead, Obenshain resorted to calling anyone who wants to expand Medicaid a "socialist," while specifically noting that Bernie Sanders - who he claims April Moore supports for president - is a SOCIALIST who supports evil, evil universal healthcare. Yeah, the horror, the horror!

With that, here's some of Obenshain's incoherent babblings, hysteria and outright falsehoods (pretty much every word he says).
You know there are candidates running for national office like Bernie Sanders, who I think Ms. Moore supports, who believe we ought to socialize a lot of industries in this country. He is the only socialist serving in Congress and he believes in universal health care. I believe in universal health care to the extent that we expand access and make sure that everybody has access to health care. But Medicaid is broken, and making it bigger is not going to fix the problem; it is making a big problem even worse. We need to improve the quality of our health care system, but expanding Medicaid, which already sucks up 22% of our state budget, is not the solution. If we expand it, we're going to experience the same thing that other states that have been given these empty promises from the federal government that we're going to cover your costs...They have busted their budget. Those promises are hollow, they are false, and there are better solutions.
Seriously, I could take the time to demolish each one of Obenshain's "points" (in quotes because they're not remotely serious), but frankly, they're SO ridiculous, SO intellectually and morally brankrupt, and SO just plain stupid that I'll leave it you all to Google his ridiculous claims yourself and find out what utter nonsense they are. Bottom line: Mark Obenshain shows in this one response how unfit he is to serve in public office. I strongly urge voters in the 26th State Senate district to boot this sorry excuse for a State Senator out of office on November 3 and to replace him with April Moore.

Saturday News: Lyin' Paul Ryan? Seriously? More Like "Memories of Con Jobs Past"

by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, October 10. Also see President Obama's weekly address, making the case for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Planned Parenthood Hearings Aren’t About Those Videos ("They are group therapy sessions for pro-lifers.")
Krugman: Memories of Con Jobs Past ("As the Paul Ryan clamor gets louder, a public service reminder: he’s a con man.... his reputation as a serious thinker is based on deception, both about what he has actually proposed and how it has or hasn’t been vetted." The concept that Lyin' Ryan is a "serious thinker" is simply an indication of how braindead the Inside-the-Beltway media is.)
Conservatives cool to Ryan as Speaker (Hahahaha, even freakin' Paul Ryan - an archconservative who would decimate the government - isn't far right wing enough for the extremists in the Republican Party. My god...)
The Real Reason for the Chaos in the House ("It’s not just rebellious GOP lawmakers. It’s what empowers those lawmakers to buck the party leadership.")
Nearly 90 Percent Of Americans Think Political Candidates Should Understand Science (None of those 90% should vote Rpeublican, then, because if these people DID understand science, they'd be pushing urgent action on the #1 threat to humanity and the planet - climate chance.)
Ben Carson defends linking gun control to the Holocaust (Stupidest, craziest brain surgeon in human history? It's quite possible.)
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine: Obama Administration’s Strategy In Syria “A Joke” (“We haven’t come up with a real strategy about what to do in respect to Syria.” Not sure that's true, actually; what are the good options exactly?)
Hard-Liners in House Aim to Weaken Power of the Speaker (Republicans need to purge and/or ostracize these extremists. They are a meance to our nation.)
McAuliffe as U.S. commerce secretary? (Weird that this is a story now; I've heard this scenario discussed for a couple years.)
You’re Walkin’ on the Writin’ Side of Me: James Webb’s Combative Books ("The sad irony is that the more Webb fails to gain political traction in the increasingly absurd presidential news cycle, the more relevant his novels will become." Yeah, I'd stick to his writing.)
Va. Senate races to watch on election day
Hillary Clinton to rally supporters with McAuliffe in Northern Virginia ("The rally coincides with McAuliffe’s efforts to flip control of the state Senate to Democrats.")
McAuliffe will propose limits on ‘abusive’ car-title loans ("The Virginia governor will push legislation to rein in lenders that critics call predatory.")
O’Malley campaign cuts ties with Va. chairman after arrest on child porn charges ("The campaign of the Democratic presidential hopeful says it is ‘horrified’ by the allegations against Richmond-area businessman Michael C. Teegarden.")
California group appeals Virginia tribe's federal recognition ("A California group that favors gambling limits is challenging an Interior Department decision to grant federal recognition to a Virginia Indian tribe.")
Trump to stump in Richmond next week
Former pastor to the Obamas, Jeremiah Wright, to speak at Suffolk church
Is Suffolk still the peanut capital of the world?
Loudoun Board candidates in brusque debate on schools, police and economy
D.C. area forecast: Weekend starts sunny and cool, then gradually warmer through Columbus Day

E.W. Jackson: "Coming Out Day" is "reminiscent of the communist cells established to keep everyone in line"

Friday, October 9, 2015

Another day...more insanity and bigotry from the 2013 Virginia Republican nominee for Lt. Governor.

You may be aware of the fact that this Sunday, October 11 is "Coming Out Day." Of course this is the day when persons with same-sex attractions or who assert their gender is different than the one they were born with, are encouraged to make it public.

We cannot and do not want to control what people do with their private lives. However, this is not a private occasion. It is an attempt to continue the fundamental transformation of American culture. They are not restricting these activities to "gay" bars and other social venues frequented by homosexual activists. Rather they are bringing this activity to public schools, colleges, businesses and events attended by families. Disneyland in Southern California participates in "Gay Days Anaheim" during the first week of October each year, when 35,000 LGBT activists descend on the noted resort and theme park. Disney World celebrates "Gay Days Orlando" in June, declared by President Obama to be Gay Pride Month.

Christians in work places all over America will be confronted by in-your-face, aggressive homosexual activists who are asking them to wear a pink triangle or the color purple to show their solidarity with the "Gay Rights Movement." We have a First Amendment which guarantees the right of free expression to everyone, including those with whom we disagree. The "sexual rights" cabal is the cultural symbol of the kind of society, the left and the Democrat Party want to force on us. As much as I disagree with them, I defend their right to speak freely.

What we have here, however, is not free speech. It is bullying and intimidation. When a school principal or teacher "invites" children to participate in "Coming Out Day" by wearing a pink triangle or a certain color, they are singling out those who don't participate as bigots. The idea here is, "If you want to fit in, join in. Even your teacher says so." These are insidious activities and public schools should not be participating in such. This is one of the reasons why many public schools are not producing quality education. Left wing unions, in concert with gay rights activists, are using the schools as tools of social indoctrination rather than quality education.

Video: Gov. Terry McAuliffe Says He Doesn't Find House GOP Dysfunction Amusing, That It's "Crippling Our Area"

I stronly agree with Gov. McAuliffe's take on Republican dysfunction in the House of Representatives. Like him, I don't find this situation amusing and I'm not looking at it from a Democratic perspective for the most part, but as a concerned American. And from that perspective, I believe what Republicans are (not) doing in Congress is harmful to our nation, which has a lot of pressing problems to deal with and a bunch of opportunities we could grab if Republicans would stop standing in the way. But again, we're not doing it, thanks to Republicans' utter unwillingness and inability to govern. To quote Gov. McAuliffe:
I gotta tell you...I'm disgusted. Forget being a Democrat, I'm talking about being Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia with all of these assets that we have. Sequestration.  These guys cannot make a decision, so they've kicked the can down the road 'til December 11 on sequestration. We now have the debt ceiling coming up on November 5. We have a highway trust fund...that they cannot put permanent financing towards. If this highway trust fund doesn't get done, in Virginia  I stop 300+ project, a billion dollars I lose.  These guys have got to get their act together. I'm competing on a global basis every single day...and by the inaction in's the same thing as a slow-motion sequestration...This is crippling our area....really inhibiting our ability to be competitive on a global basis.
P.S. On another topic, Gov. McAuliffe had some strong words: "They all ask about gun control, so they immediately come back to us and say it's not gun control, it's mental illness. Well let me be clear; the same people who have thwarted my efforts to get commonsense gun restrictions are the same people who thwart me on putting more money into mental illness. You can't have it both ways."

Former Virginia Partisans' President Questions Equality Virginia's Strange Endorsements (and NON-Endorsements)

Former Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club President Josh Israel forwarded me the latest endorsements (and non-endorsements) by Equality Virginia. Needless to say, Israel is puzzled - as am I - at many of these. I'll go through those in a second, but first, here's what Josh Israel has to say.
I don't know how they made these determinations, but it sure appears that a bunch of Democrats who responded to their questionnaires indicating the strongest possible support were not given the seal of approval against Republicans with consistent records of opposing LGBT equality at every turn. These questionnaires make it clear once again that when it comes to protecting the equal rights of all Virginians, party matters. The Democrats are becoming more and more vocal in their support -- while the Republicans remain a huge obstacle to progress.
Now, on to the  strange endorsements and non-endorsements by Equality Virginia.
  • Despite a stellar questionnaire from Democrat Laurie Buchwald, no endorsement over Del.Joseph Yost (R), who is occasionally pro-LGBT but didn't even bother to fill in Equality Virginia's questionnaire.
  • Ditto for Democrat Susan Hippen against Del. Ron Villanueva (R). 
  • Perhaps one of the weirdest - no endorsement of Democrat Chuck Hedges, whose questionnaire is superb, over far-far-far-right-wing Republican Dave LaRock?!? Seriously?!?
  • Also, no endorsement of Democrat Ellen Arthur (again, super-strong questionnaire) against... Republican Del. Ben Cline (and his miserable LGBT ratings according to Project Vote Smart). 
  • Also, no endorsement of Democrat Angela Lynn (again, very strong questionnaire) against Del. Steve Landes (refused to fill out questionnaire; also abysmal Project Vote Smart LGBT ratings); 
  • No endorsement of Democrat Jerry Foltz (again, super-strong questionnaire) against right-wingnut Republican Tim Hugo (ZERO ratings, according to Project Vote Smart, on LGBT issues)
  • No endorsement of strong-on-LGBT-equality Del. Charniele Herring (D) - although perhaps because she didn't fill out the questionnaire?
  • No endorsement of 100%-rated LGBT champion House Democratic Leader David Toscano (again, the only explanation is that he didn't fill out the questionnaire)?!?
  • Also, there are some weird non-endorsements for State Senate, such as no endorsement of Democrat and super-strong LGBT ally April Moore against anti-gay extremist Mark Obenshain.. Same thing with the non-endorsement of Democrat Wayne Powell (super-strong questionnaire) over right-wing/Tea Party Republican Amanda Chase. As for the non-endorsement of Sen. John Edwards (D), Josh Israel points out that he's been a "huge LGBT ally for years," although for whatever reason he didn't fill out the Equality Virginia questionnaire, so maybe that's it.
Anyway, as Josh Israel noted, it's hard to figure out "how they made these determinations, but it sure appears that a bunch of Democrats who responded to their questionnaires indicating the strongest possible support were not given the seal of approval against Republicans with consistent records of opposing LGBT equality at every turn." Weird.

Friday News: Can "dysfunctional to the core" GOP "still function as a party?"

by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 9.

When it Comes to Science, You Can't Get Crazier or "More Stupider" than Cooch

Thursday, October 8, 2015

by Lowell

I mean, we all know that Ken Cuccinelli has been a climate science denier and - not coincidentally - tool of the fossil fuel industry, basically forever. And we also know that Cooch's willful ignorance when it comes to climate science, even persecution against great climate scientists like former UVA Professor Michael Mann, knows no bounds. But this latest line of "reasoning" (using that word extremely loosely) -- arguing that since there are new indications regarding the possible health impacts of milk fat in our diet, that this clearly means NO science is ever "settled" and that we can ignore whatever we want to ignore, apparently - really hits a new low in terms of dishonesty and/or just plain stupidity.

I mean, by this utterly brain-dead "reasoning" (again, using that word extremely loosely), I guess if a few scientists argue that the world is actually flat, or that the earth doesn't really revolve around the sun, or that they don't "believe" in evolution (one of the greatest scientific theories ever, with voluminous evidence supporting it), etc., then we can all just throw up our hands and say, "oh well, I guess we can't know ANYTHING at all. That includes the massively well-supported scientific evidence behind: a) the greenhouse effect; b) the impact of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere on said greenhouse effect; and c) the absolutely clear, definitive case that human burning of fossil fuels has increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmsophere and driven rapid global warming. But no, go ahead ignore all that and point to something about milk fat, mock the whole concept of "settled science" and spew CO2 into the atmosphere and oceans forever, trashing the only home we have in the process. Sounds like a great plan, huh?

P.S. Sure, in searching the internet, I see that only the most diehard of the climate science deniers - basically all on the far right and/or paid by the fossil fuel folks - are pushing this crap. But still ,given that THEIR PARTY is in control of the U.S. Congress (note: with the current disarray among House Republicans, "in control" might be somewhat of an overstatement, but they certainly are causing huge problems for our country and our entire planet) and many state legislatures, I find that highly disturbing.

Toward a More Prosperous Virginia

by April Moore

This is running as an op/ed in the Northern Virginia Daily. It is one of a series of op/eds to convey my message to the voters in the 26th Senatorial District in my campaign to unseat the incumbent, Senator Mark Obenshain.
The other day I was asked what I thought our state government could do to increase our prosperity and bring jobs to our area.

My first response was stated simply: “Expand Medicaid.”

The failure of our General Assembly to take advantage of the federal offer to expand Medicaid coverage has a major economic cost as well as a human cost. Besides depriving some 400,000 Virginians of the kind of health care security that the citizens of every other advanced nation enjoy as a right, the refusal of the Republicans in our state legislature to seize this opportunity drains the Virginia economy of billions of dollars.

Expanding Medicaid would be funded by federal dollars that we Virginians are already sending to Washington. But because the expansion of Medicaid has been blocked in our state, the money we send to Washington is NOT coming back to Virginia but rather is going to other states.

Sen. Chap Petersen Calls Atif Qarni's Charges of Islamophobia "complete crap;" Qarni Responds

by Lowell

Interesting Facebook exchange the past couple days between Sen. Chap Petersen and Atif Qarni, who ran for the Democratic nomination for State Senate earlier this year and who published an op-ed in the Washington Post this past weekend (NOT a "Washington Post editorial" as Chap Petersen erroenously states; huge difference). Highlighting added by me for emphasis.
You missed the point of the op-ed. We have an issue in our country on how Muslims are treated. This is not a Republican or Democratic problem, it is an American problem.

Having said that, there is much more of an Islamophobia/bigotry problem in the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. But, we can't look the other way when this happens in our party. We have a responsibility to stand up if something is not right. I see an issue that plagues our party. And if I have to be the bad guy and state it openly, so be it.

You state that I am "claiming that the Senate Democratic Caucus had sabotaged the primary campaign of a particular candidate because he was Middle Eastern and Muslim". Where exactly is that in the op-ed? I suggest you read the op-ed again.

Also, I am of South Asian background, not Middle Eastern. This in itself is a problem that you can't distinguish between the two, given that you are an elected official from Northern Virginia from a District that is very diverse.

In the op-ed there was no discussion of the result of the primary. I discussed the process and how it can be challenging for Muslims running for office.

You have a valid point in that I did not bring out enough voters to win. That could be because I did not knock on as many doors as I should have, or I did not raise enough money to get my message out, or I did not utilize other means of communication like social media, because I was relying on a good showing from non-traditional primary voters.

A mistake you make is that this is an op-ed not an editorial. The Washington post gives us a 800 word limit, and my piece is exactly 799 words. If the Post gives me an opportunity, I would be happy to point out every single detail of the primary.

There was bias in this race. Religion was brought up. The claims I make in the op-ed are accurate. I brought up these concerns with several people--including some people you know well, but the typical response, was "this is politics". People are too afraid to stand up to people like Dick Saslaw. I teach my students that being a bystander is as bad being a bully.

You supported Michael because you know him well. Adam supported me because he knows me well. Jeremy was supported by people who he knows well. However, the scales were tipped by the "unofficial" support from certain State Senators and their donors. In the primary vast majority of the money for Jeremy came from donors who he did not know prior to the primary. During call time I called a lot of big donors in Northern Virginia. The typical response I got was that they would stay out of the primary or they will talk to Dick Saslaw. If you look at where Jeremy received most of his money was from these donors. These are donors who give to the Senate Caucus. You can deny that caucus is not playing favorites, but the proof is in the pudding.

Very few in our party have way too much influence and power. And if they are close minded then it has impacts on a lot of people.

You should not be surprised by this op-ed-- given that similar things like this have happened to others in the past. Others just have lacked the courage to say something because they would get a lot of blow back. Just like the knee-jerk reaction you are displaying.

Since this op-ed I have received emails, messages and calls from many Democrats who feel they same way as me. We have a problem and you can push it under the rug, or you can acknowledge it and try to resolve it.