You get the sense that with President Obama, the U.S. military is used not as often to really protect American interests...the homeland or even our allies. Instead, the military is just another tool in [President Obama's] arsenal to level the playing field. In other words, Africa really deserves more of America's money, because we're people of privilege.
We're people of great privilege, so we should do what we can, we the American taxpayers, to transfer wealth over to Africa. It's [President Obama's] father's rage against colonialism, as Dinesh D'Souza wrote about, and maybe this is a way to continue to atone for that.
I mean, there are all sorts of things we can do, short of sending 3,000 troops out there. And, frankly, if you're a left-wing activist in the Saul Alinsky tradition, if a few American military personnel have to be exposed to the Ebola virus to carry out this redistribution of the privileged's wealth, then so be it.
"I heartily agree that we have a dysfunctional government, but isn't it the people's fault for voting in the Republicans in the first place?"
To which I gave a response I'd like to share here, because it says a lot about how I see the essence of what's going on in America today. I wrote:
The question of "fault" is a tricky one.
Yes, at the very least one can say that a serious defect is revealed by the vulnerability of so many millions of Americans to being conned in this ugly way. It is possible to perceive the defect in these people, and in the culture that shaped them.
I live among these people, and they are many of them wonderful people. And they've got no clue what it is that they're supporting.
So yes, there is a lot of brokenness that goes onto having these people get conned into lending their support to an evil force.
But the question of whether, or how much, we should look at this as their "fault" depends on how we understand the whole workings of brokenness in the world.
For more of Mark Levin's insanity (e.g., that the GOP is filled with "cockroaches" who aren't conservative enough; that the National Organization for Women is actually "the National Organization of Ugly Women"; that there really are "death panels" in Obamacare; that clean air and clean water mean "poverty;" etc.) see here. Also see Barbara Comstock touting this nut's endorsement below. Bottom line: Comstock's not a "moderate," as she's no doubt like people to believe, in an way, shape or form. And she'll prove it if she gets elected to Congress on November 4. Let's make sure that doesn't happen!
Governor McAuliffe, stung by legislative setbacks that he foresaw when he campaigned saying that he didn't want to be Governor if he faced a veto-proof General Assembly, is going to his advertised strong suit: jobs. It's a gamble. And he's playing a high profile hand with Stone Brewing.
Stone Brewing wants to expand East Coast sales. A brewery located on our side of the Mississippi expands presence and reduces shipping costs. The potential sites for the new brewery have been narrowed to Ohio and Virginia. Each state has its own transportation advantages with Ohio arguably better situated. But only Virginia allows sales of Stone Brewing's higher alcohol by volume (ABV) content brews.
There is something of an irony here. The competition is between Ohio and its Republican Governor, John Kasich and Virginia and our Democratic Governor. But it is Ohio's Republican legislature that stands in the way of Ohio's successful courtship of this employment plum.
"Stone Brewing expects to invest up to $60 million in its east coast brewery which will include a restaurant and retail area. The company anticipates 375 jobs would be created over 5 years." - WOSU Public Media
Last December, Ohio state Democratic Representative Dan Ramos introduced a bill that would adjust the allowed ABV content, removing that obstruction, if it really is one, from consideration. It had bipartisan support and an almost equal number of the 21 cosponsors from each party. But this will be familiar to Virginians: Ramos's House Bill (HB) 391 went to committee where it has since languished.
From what Stone Brewing has announced about the decision to locate, one can deduce that Ohio is the preferred location. The anticipated announcement allows time for Ohio legislative action on HB 391 but action has been slow coming. For once a Republican legislature may offer Governor McAuliffe an advantage. Sadly it isn't Virginia's.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, September 27. Also check out President Obama's weekly address, in which he talks about the effort against ISIL.
As much as the corporate media and Ed Gillespie campaign would love to create a "race-is-tightening" narrative vs. Sen. Mark Warner, it's highly unlikely that's actually the case. For one thing, the Quinnipiac poll showing Warner with "only" a 9-point lead is the first poll by that outfit since March, when hardly anyone had even tuned into the race yet. At that point, for what it's worth, Warner held a 15-point lead (46%-31%). Now, Quinnipiac pegs the race at 50%-41%, which basically means that Gillespie has consolidated the core, Republican base. That's good for Gillespie, but far from sufficient to move this race out of the "likely Democratic hold" category.
Second, it's important to note that you really can't compare poll results from different polling outfits. In this case, Roanoke College and Christopher Newport University's most recent polls of this race had Warner with a (hard-to-believe) 20-point lead, so the Q-poll showing it at 9 points led the Gillespie campaign and corporate media to conclude, "ah ha, the race is tightening!" Of course, if you look back at the last two CBS/NY Times polls, they've got it at +12 and +10 for Warner, statistically about the same as Q-poll's +9. And, frankly, I'd be more likely to believe the CBS/NY Times poll, which Nate Silver rates as a strong "B" polling outfit, then Roanoke College (C-) or Christopher Newport University (C+).
Finally, a new poll out today by Public Policy Polling (B- rating from Nate Silver) is headlined with the narrative-killing "Warner holds a steady lead." Even worse for the Gillespie/corporate media narrative pushers are the details: "Mark Warner leads Ed Gillespie 48/35, compared to a 49/35 advantage when we looked at the race in April."
Bottom line: We should never ever ever (repeat a few more times) take ANY race for granted, and we should always work like we're down a point or two. Having said that, there's no indication of any particular trouble for Mark Warner at this point, other than one poll by Quinnipiac College, which still shows Warner leading by a comfortable, 9-point margin. Next subject.
P.S. From the same PPP poll, there's 55%-35% support for Medicaid expansion, 62% support for increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour, and 28%-46% DISapproval for the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly. In short, welcome to "blue Virginia!" :)
A federal complaint has been filed by Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) citing events that I witnessed and documented for Story of America. On June 20, 2014, I traveled to Lawrenceville, Virginia to film an emergency town hall meeting about the possibility of putting an Unaccompanied Alien Children's (UAC) program on the campus of the recently closed St. Paul's College.
HOME's complaint argues that immigrant minors were denied equal housing opportunity and subjected to discriminatory statements when public outcry, much of it clearly hateful, was cited as the primary reason for moving the program elsewhere. I have shared portions of the many hours of video I shot with HOME upon their request.
I learned a lot from reading HOME's press release below. In fact, it changed my outlook on what I saw that frightful evening. The lesson for me is this: sometimes public sentiment appears to be so passionate and so overwhelming that we assume it to be the only meaningful consideration when making public policy. But what happens if that sentiment, and the decisions that stem from that sentiment, violate constitutional rights and other rights that are protected by law? Although I did not see it on June 20th, I see now that the events I witnessed in Lawrenceville may be such a case.
It's easy to forget that our nation decided to outlaw unequal treatment based on race 150 years ago, and again 50 years ago. Whether or not political entertainment combine with current events to popularize overt discrimination, the law is the law, and it needs to be enforced.
The bottom-line is that our Constitution and legal system protects minority rights despite popular opinion. It's easy to forget this when the popular opinion is expressed so loudly and dramatically.
Below is the Story of America video I released in June documenting some of the discriminatory statements that are mentioned in the federal complaint.
CLICK HEREto read the blog post I wrote at the time, and please read HOME's press release below:
In response to Barbara Comstock’s insulting comments at the recent VA-10 debate comparing immigrants to FedEx packages, the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia (DLOV) – an organization dedicated to supporting candidates who embrace policies that benefit the Latino Community of Virginia – and Virginia Delegate Alfonso Lopez issued the following statements condemning Comstock and calling for her to apologize to the Latino community:
Statement From Dadly Cordero Terán, Spokesperson for DLOV:
"With Barbara Comstock's FedEx/immigrant tracking statement, it seems Virginia Republicans are either going out of their way to deliver the next great right wing bumper sticker or auditioning to be shock jocks on AM radio. Between this and Ken Cuccinelli referring to immigrants as ‘rats’, perhaps they're actually campaigning for votes on Last Comic Standing because they've gone beyond insensitivity into outright ridiculousness. This is a joke, right?"
"Con la declaración de Barbara Comstock comparando a los inmigrantes con paquetes de FedEx parece que los republicanos de Virginia estuvieran cambiando de profesión en rumbo a ser payasos. Junto con Ken Cuccinelli y su referencia a los inmigrantes como 'ratas,' quizás de veras están haciendo campaña para ganar un concurso de chistes al decir cosas tan ridículas. Seguro que solo están bromeando y que pronto ofrezcan opciones pragmáticas para poder tener un verdadero debate sobre un tema que realmente afecta los residentes del distrito 10."
Statement from Virginia Delegate Alfonso Lopez:
"Considering the significant demographic shifts and the increase in the number of immigrants and New Americans in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District and throughout the Commonwealth, these comments are incredibly insensitive. Delegate Comstock has shown that she lacks a fundamental understanding of our immigration system. We need serious Members of Congress who will debate and support comprehensive immigration reform without relying on unthinking and dehumanizing statements."
"Teniendo en cuenta los cambios demográficos significativos y el aumento en el número de inmigrantes y de los Nuevos Americanos en el Distrito Congresional #10 de Virginia y en todo el estado, estos comentarios son increíblemente insensible. Delegada Comstock ha demostrado que carece de una comprensión fundamental de nuestro sistema de inmigración. Necesitamos miembros fuertes en el Congreso que debatan y apoyen lareforma migratoria integral, sin depender de las declaraciones insensatos e inhumanas."
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, September 26. Also, check out the PBS report on a "region of the Pacific Ocean that is home to thriving colonies of rare and endangered species" and that "will be protected as the world's largest marine preserve, under an executive order by President Obama." Thank you President Obama (and also to President Bush for setting up the first preserve in this area)!
There's so much idiocy from former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in this interview, where does one even begin?
1. He claims that hard-right Republicans like Mitch McConnell aren't conservative enough, is "vehement about not believing anything." Riiiight.
2. He claims that the Democratic Party's "establishment...is the liberals." Uh, what? That's certainly news to most of us who consider ourselves progressives, liberals, etc.
3. He claims you can only win as a Republican if you're a hard-right true believer. Yeah, like Ken Cuccinelli, for instance, who ran as a hard-right true believer and...LOST to Terry McAuliffe. Uhhhh.
4. He states, "at the presidential level, 100% of Republican nominees who ran as conservatives won, and 100% of Republican nominees for president who ran NOT as conservative...have all lost." OK, so let's unpack that whopper with a few facts - yeah, those pesky, liberal things, I know! LOL
OK, so I'm not sure how far back Cooch wants to go with this, but it's hard to argue that Herbert Hoover didn't run as a true conservative. As we will recall, Hoover lost the 1932 election in one of the greatest landslides in U.S. history to FDR. In stark contrast, moderate Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected easily for two terms. Richard Nixon - other than Watergate and Vietnam, of course - governed in many ways as a liberal (negotiated "detente" with the Soviets, announced the formation of the EPA in June 1970, supported the Clean Air Act of 1970, supported the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, proposed a private health insurance employer mandate, imposed wage and price controls, enforced desegregation of Southern schools, etc.). And yes, Nixon the moderate/progressive Republican was reelected in a landslide in 1972.
As for Cooch's hero Ronald Reagan, he "raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office," "nearly tripled the federal budget deficit," "grew the size of the federal government tremendously," "did little to fight a woman's right to choose," "signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty," etc, etc. And Reagan won reelection in a landslide in 1984.
As for George HW Bush, he ran as a more liberal, "kinder gentler" version of Reagan in 1988, and...yes, won! (note: Bush lost in 1992 more because of the economy and possibly the Ross Perot independent candidacy than because he didn't run as a hard-core conservative)
Summary: It is clear the Republicans, with their obstructionism, have deliberately hurt the nation. That betrayal explains why the American political system is now more dysfunctional than in generations, maybe ever. The American people are quite dissatisfied with the performance of their government, but they need help understanding where the problem lies. I ask President Obama: Why are you not using this last opportunity to tell the voters what's gone wrong, so they can use their votes to get back a government that does the people's business?
Hey, Mr. President. Why aren't you out there on the hustings talking to the American people? There's an election coming up, and the American political system is more dysfunctional than it's been in generations, maybe ever. What does it mean that you, as president, are not using this last opportunity of your presidency to talk to voters about what's gone wrong with the system and what voters can do now to get back a government that does the people's business?
The people know that something's gone terribly wrong, as we can see from the record-setting low esteem in which the people hold the Congress. The people's displeasure presumably that has something to do with another record the Congress has been setting in the past four years: its off-the-charts, unprecedented failure to accomplish much of anything to meet the considerable challenges our nation faces.
I assume you know what the problem is -- that it's the result of the Republicans' having made it their top priority, even before you became president, to make you fail by blocking everything. That, even though the nation faced major challenges.
Business owners give state leaders, Gov. McAuliffe low ratings for making Va. competitive in growing clean energy economy, protecting environment
WASHINGTON-September 25, 2014-As world leaders meet this week to address climate change and 400,000 people march in the streets in New York City, a new survey shows that Virginia's small business owners support state action to cut carbon pollution and believe that doing so will help Virginia's economy.
At the same time, Virginia's small business community is not entirely pleased with the job Gov. Terry McAuliffe has done protecting the state's water, air, and overall environment.
According to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) for the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2):
• 63 percent of small business owners in Virginia think state leaders should do more to compete with other states to attract and develop more clean, renewable energy companies and jobs to Virginia. A similarly high number - 65 percent - voiced support for advancing energy efficiency.
• 52 percent of small business owners in Virginia think Gov. McAuliffe and the state legislature should support the federal standards to reduce carbon pollution produced by power plants.
• 60 percent of Virginia's small business owners give Gov. McAuliffe a fair or poor rating or are not sure about the job he has done protecting the state's water, air, and overall environment. Meanwhile, 84 percent of small business owners in Virginia believe protecting Virginia's good environment and quality of life is important to their state's economic growth.
Utterly pathetic, what is Barbara Comstock so afraid of? On second thought, given her long record of voting for things like mandatory/government-enforced "transvaginal ultrasounds;" of voting AGAINST things like healthcare coverage for hundreds of thousands of Virginia and crucial transportation funding for her districdt; of participating in McCarthyite witchhunts; of being endorsed by extremists like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin; of defending the indefensible (e.g., Scooter Libby); of making outrageous comments like comparing immigrants to FedEx packages; it's no wonder she terrified of talking to reporters and instead has her campaign staff run interference for her.
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