Ted Cruz couldn’t have picked a worse place than Virginia to launch his soon-to-be-failed campaign for president. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that over 80% of Virginians overwhelmingly disapproved of his government shutdown – a political tantrum Cruz still threatens to repeat today. Virginia, home to thousands of federal workers and military personnel, was more affected than any other state by his dangerous antics.
Cruz would happily keep thousands of Virginians from their jobs and paychecks just to show his opposition to affordable healthcare. Meanwhile, in the Lynchburg area alone, there are over 11,000 Virginians languishing without access to quality care thanks to his national right-wing movement against closing the coverage gap.
“Ted Cruz is remarkably tone-deaf to launch his campaign in Virginia, of all places, after engineering the government shutdown that kept thousands of Virginians from their jobs and cost the national economy $24 billion,” said Robert Dempsey, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia. “His policies are wrong for the Commonwealth and wrong for the middle class, from repealing all corporate income taxes to opposing a living wage and affordable healthcare. Ted Cruz can take his shutdown politics elsewhere -- Virginians know better than to take him seriously.”
Ted Cruz is the embodiment of everything wrong with today’s Republicans: all he’s done is oppose and obstruct help for the middle class through his bombastic outbursts and unwillingness to govern. Shutdown Ted is starting off on the completely wrong foot coming to a state disproportionally hurt by his partisan brinksmanship to launch a campaign for more of the same.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, March 23. Also, check out the video, which shows what a success the Affordable Care Act has been, and how Republicans were wrong about basically everything (as usual).
Under normal circumstances, Hillary Clinton's position on Israel would be a no-brainer. She would take the usual position of a Democratic candidate: strong in alliance with Israel, and expressing support for a peace process working toward a two-state solution.
These, however, are not normal circumstances.
The way the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sought re-election, and succeeded in that quest -- by an unprecedented slap at an American president in speaking as he did to Congress, in alliance with the president's enemies; and by the ugly way he drew upon fear and bigotry in the final days when he faced possible defeat -- have made the usual position impossible.
Hillary must now --that is, whenever she enters the presidential race -- find a way to solve some difficult simultaneous equations. How does she 1) support Israel in ways that satisfy those who care about Israel and generally support the Democrats, 2) take into account the blow that Netanyahu inflicted on any notion of a peace process, and 3) stand with the president of her Party-- a president who, being full up to here with Netanyahu, has deliberately (and in my view, quite rightly) affirmed the serious breach in the normal constellation of relations between the two countries.
Whether she finds a way to do so will demonstrate a good deal about her political skills. And about what she's made of.
I'm uploading some video now (including of Delegate David Bulova and Senator Chap Petersen introducing Janet Oleszek) from Oleszek's campaign kickoff earlier this afternoon for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from the Braddock District. Also, see below for the prepared text of Janet Oleszek's speech today. Remember, Oleszek lost to Republican incumbent John Cook by just 371 votes (12,492-12,121) last time around, in 2011. Since then, Cook has been no better, and in some ways worse. See below and after the "flip" for Oleszek's blistering critique of Cook on ethics issues, specifically noting that "John's firm is representing the Sheriff's office in the recent taser death at the Fairfax jail." Oleszek further notes the John Geer case, and that Cook's "law firm is taking on a number of high profile cases involving Fairfax County," which "means he has to recuse himself at times" on important issues pertaining to Braddock District and to Fairfax County in general. Obviously, if you find this situation unacceptable, you should NOT be voting to reelect John Cook this November. Instead, you can be one of the 372 additional votes Janet Oleszek needs to boot Cook off the Board once and for all. Go Janet!
Thank you all for coming!
Thank you David for that great introduction! And thank you Chap for your great remarks as well!
Four years ago I decided to seek a seat on the Board of Supervisors because our community was in need. We were not in need of a new set of priorities, Fairfax has always been known as a community ready to invest in its schools, in our workforce and for those in our community in need. But over the years in the great recession budgets got tight and we started to see real cracks emerging in the foundation of our community. That's what made me decide to run for the Board of Supervisors.
Unfortunately we were not successful the first time. 52% of voters in Braddock District voted against Supervisor Cook but we split that vote with an independent candidate and came up short in the closest race in Fairfax County that year. After that campaign I decided I would watch carefully and only run for this position again if Supervisor Cook continued to work against our priorities. Unfortunately he has and that brings us to why we are here today. Let me tell you about what has happened since our campaign in 2011.
Here's an opportunity to support Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinics in Virginia and preview the Republican plan for healthcare delivery in America. Look for elected Republicans today at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) when the movie about Stan Brock's organization is screened to benefit the new Virginia affiliate.
The trailer for the movie quickly frames what should be our national shame and how opponents to providing access to medical care use pride to rally those who would benefit most to rail against their individual interests. RAM was established to bring free aid to the developing world. But that international delivery has been cut back in places like Africa because the organization has been overwhelmed by the need right here. 60% of the RAM clinics are now held in the United States. Four are scheduled in Virginia during 2015.
The showing will be at the Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at PVCC Main Stage in Charlottesville, Virginia today at 3pm. After the screening there will be a question and answer session with Dr. Victoria Weiss, Virginia RAM, and Stan Brock, RAM Founder and President as well as a reception with light refreshments. Ticket sales will benefit the new RAM Virginia affiliate. $10 Adults and $5 Students.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, March 22. Meanwhile, gotta love the right-wing propaganda network's take on the situation at UVA (for starters, they claim it's the "media" criticizing the police, when of course it's many UVA students who are outraged, and may Virginia politicians who are calling for an investigation and possible changes to the ABC police).
While Jeb Bush made his usual, mushy, try-to-please-everybody response yesterday in Atlanta when asked about a proposed Georgia law to allow businesses to discriminate against gays by claiming a religious belief, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-4th Virginia) clearly declared his support for such discrimination a few days ago in an op-ed appearing in the Washington Examiner, when he and another Representative, James Lankford of Oklahoma, straight out advocated for prejudice against gays. Bush hedged his support for blatant discrimination by saying that "couples in long-term committed relationships" deserve "respect," but then justified prejudice by stating that people had a right to discriminate because of their "faith." Not Forbes.
Forbes and Lankford used a bizarre, ridiculous reason for their support of bigotry, tying it to a business decision by Chipotle restaurants to refuse to buy and serve pork from suppliers using cruel factory farming of pigs. Because Chipotle could decide from whom to buy its food, Forbes argues that all businesses should have the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians because they say their "religion" requires it. Or, put another way, if one can "discriminate" against pork for humane reasons, then bigots should be able to discriminate against other people on the basis of who they love. Huh??
Without even going into the obvious unconstitutionality of such discrimination, my first question for the legally-challenged representative from the 4th District is this: Just how will businesses know a person is gay? In Nazi Germany it was easy because gays and lesbians were required to wear pink triangles. Is that the next step in a Forbes plan to let people justify their hatred through claims of a religious exemption?
It's past time for voters in the 4th District to find someone else to represent them, someone who won't be a national embarrassment. Randy Forbes does nothing for the citizens of his district, while doing far too much to show the world just how ridiculous he can be.
You may have seen the article in this morning's Washington Post about the Prince William County Republicans' failure in court Friday to convince a judge "to overturn a decision by the Prince William County Electoral Board that blocked Republican efforts to hold primary nominating contests for several local GOP incumbents who are running for another term." As the Post reports, the decision "angered [Prince William County Board Chair Corey] Stewart and his colleagues [Supervisors Martin Nohe, Maureen Caddigan and Sheriff Glen Hill], although they said they're unlikely to file an appeal." The reason they're "angered" is obvious: because the Republican incumbents stand a far greater chance of losing to a Tea Partier in a smaller nomninating process, such as a "firehouse primary" or convention, then in a much larger primary.
I've been following this story in the papers and on the blogs, and have been wondering how it would play out. I was super busy late last week and had very little time to follow up with my sources in Prince William County about this, but I've been eager to do so, as it seemed like such a juicy story. So, earlier this morning, I emailed Prince William County Democratic Committee Chair Harry Wiggins, asking him specifically about this post on the right-wing, Prince William County political blog, "Sheriff of Nottingham", which basically gloats/celebrates the fact that Stewart et al. lost in court, and that "they will now be forced to account to a group of fiscally Republican voters for their horrendous voting records on taxes and spending." (gotta laugh at that claim, but whatever...have at it, Teapublicans, I'll sit back and make some more hot-buttered popcorn! LOL)
By the way, I've heard from multiple sources (including Harry Wiggins; see below) that the "Sheriff of Nottingham" blog is written by Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland (R)'s top political aide, Mac Haddow (you can read more about Haddow in the Washington Post, including that Haddow "pleaded guilty to an unrelated conflict-of-interest charge while at HHS and was sentenced to several months in prison for launching a nonprofit foundation with ties to HHS that employed his wife"). I asked Prince William County Dems' Chair Harry Wiggins about this, and about the PW County GOP meltdown generally, and he responded:
The convicted felon, Mac Haddow is the puppeteer for the two puppets, [Gainesville District Supervisor] Pete Candland and [Brentsville District Supervisor] Jeanine Lawson, while Haddow denies [it], there is no doubt he is the "Sheriff." By the way, Haddow's wife - who was the recipient of Haddow funnelling money to her non-profit and resulted in Mac going to prison - is on Candland's staff.Haddow is trying to take out Stewart, Nohe and Caddigan and replace them with nut jobs, nuttier than Stewart.
I talked to Wiggins over the phone a little while ago, and he had a lot to say. Here are some highlights.
Ellen Arthur, who is retiring after 35 years as a practicing attorney in Lexington and vicinity, will kick off her campaign for the Democratic nomination for the 24th District House of Delegates seat currently occupied by Republican Ben Cline on Thursday April 2 at 10 a.m. in front of the old courthouse in Amherst, 113 Taylor Street. She will similarly kick off her campaign that day in front of the Augusta County Courthouse in Staunton at 1 p.m. and at Hopkins Green Park in downtown Lexington at 4 p.m. She will appear in Bath County on a date to be announced shortly.
The public is invited to all these events.
"Although I've never run for political office before, I am very concerned about the direction that politics have taken in Virginia, especially in the General Assembly," Ms. Arthur said. "Too many legislators are more concerned about pleasing well-funded interests and getting reelected than they are in serving the needs of their constituents.
"I am concerned about the future of Virginia and am running for office to do my part to build a better Virginia for our children and grandchildren.
"I'm especially troubled by Delegate Cline's strenuous opposition to the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion, which is being implemented even by Republican-controlled legislatures in other states, would allow up to 400,000 working Virginians, including thousands of hard-working people in the 24th District, to obtain health insurance. Virginians currently are paying federal taxes to fund Medicaid expansion and getting nothing in return. Medicaid expansion would pay for itself. Virginians currently pays for services to people who lack health insurance from the state general fund, as do all of us in higher health care expenses. Expanding Medicaid would allow Virginia to use the federal dollars and reduce the state's costs.
Free Nelson attended Thursday night's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting in the Shenandoah Valley. The meeting was designed to hear concerns from the public regarding the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), and to contribute input towards the Environmental impact study (EIS) FERC is required to conduct.
What we found truly astonishing about this meeting was the lengths to which Dominion Power continues to sink in its efforts to create the appearance of support for its ill-conceived, dirty fossil fuel pipeline. Some of the tactics used by Dominion are eerily similar to a 6-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, and they're just as unattractive.
After inviting folks who do not live in the affected areas of the proposed ACP, Dominion's uninformed "plants" attended a pre-meeting meal supplied by Dominion. To be allowed to speak, everyone had to stand in line to receive a speaker number. Everyone, that is, except - surprise, surprise! - Dominion supporters. One Dominion supporter even tried and failed to cut into the front of the line. After a commotion, he was summarily sent to the back, grumbling all the way.
When grassroots activists arrived at Stuarts Draft High School at 5 pm, Dominion was already present and had put up its "clean energy" signs. Friends of Augusta and Augusta County Alliance volunteers put up two large "No Pipeline" signs, dwarfing Dominion's yard signs. Dominion reps came out and added a dozen more yard signs. Grassroots activists continued by putting up yard signs -- this time, a set of No Pipeline signs harkening back to the old "Burma Shave" signs.
Again, Dominion reps appeared with more "Clean Energy" signs, placing them so as to block the message of the Burma Shave signs. Volunteer Tom Harvey insisted Dominion move those signs from blocking our message. As both the activists and Dominion countered with signs, Mr. Harvey approached a Dominion employee stating he had 1,000 signs in his vehicle. He suggested he could put them all up or they could call a truce, which the Dominion representative readily agreed to.
We’ve got a chance this year to change the balance of power in the Virginia Senate.
In 2013, you supported my campaign for Lt. Governor of Virginia. While ultimately we came up short on Election Day, I’ll never forget that you stepped up to participate in our democracy. Today, I’m asking you to step up again and support my friend Atif Qarni, who is running for the Virginia Senate.
A math teacher and Marine Corps veteran, Atif is a strong candidate to fight for our values in Richmond. He lives in Manassas with his wife and their two sons. The Democratic Senator representing Atif’s district has decided to retire, and Atif is running in the June Democratic primary to replace him.
Our democracy is at its best when folks step off the sidelines and get into the game. I know what it’s like to be in a tough primary – but I know Atif has what it takes to win. I also know that while primaries are tough, they are good for our party, and for our Commonwealth.
Atif’s family emigrated from Pakistan. He grew up here and graduated from George Washington University. He joined the Marines and served in combat in Iraq. For the past 6 years, he’s been a teacher in Prince William County public schools. He knows what it takes to win.
A contribution from you can have a tremendous impact on this race.
Thank you for your friendship, and for supporting candidates who will provide strong leadership for Virginia.
With the announced retirements of two Arlington County Board members - Walter Tejada and Mary Hynes - and with the filing deadline for candidates just one week away, the race to succeed them is heating up. And, although a Republican-pretending-to-be-an-"Independent" won a board seat last year in two weird/unique elections, the advantage in overwhelmingly "blue" Arlington still goes to the Democratic nominee(s). Which is why the Democratic primary on June 9 could very well determine who the next two Arlington County Board members will be.
Note that this election comes at an important time for Arlington, with economic challenges we haven't seen in many years due to sequestration, Republican "drown government in the bathtub" policies, and increased competition from surrounding jurisdictions (e.g., the District, Tysons). This election also comes after a tumultous couple years for Arlington County, with rancor and conflict the likes of which I can't recall in the nearly 30 years that I've lived here. Today, after heated battles over a number of issues, first and foremost the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar project, and with a Board that soon will have just one member (Jay Fisette, elected in 1998) who's been there more than three years, the future direction of this county is very much at stake.
Superb job by DivestUMW Representative Zakaria Kronemer. Here's some background on what you see in the videos (part 1 here, part 2 on the "flip").
University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors Rejects Student, Faculty, and Administration Voice
March 18th, 2015 - The University of Mary Washington's Board of Visitors, a governor appointed university advisory board, has rejected the student's, faculty's, and the administration's concerns over the university's investments in the fossil fuel industry. The Board of Visitors has refused, without deliberation, to form a subcommittee in order to explore divestment options. DivestUMW, the central organization campaigning on the issue responded within 15 minutes to confront the Board of Visitors with a rally of over 30 students.
Zakaria Kronemer, a member of DivestUMW stated to Holly Cuellar, Rector of the Board of Visitors, "we were asking for information, we were asking you to take our voices seriously, and you flat out rejected it, and we will hold you accountable for that."
DivestUMW has been campaigning for 2 years at the University of Mary Washington to demand a divestment from the fossil fuel industry.
Also see Part 2 of the video, on the "flip," in which UMW Rector Holly T. Cuellar replies in an utterly inadequate, condescending, even insulting fashion to Zakaria Kronemer of DivestUMW. Kronemer's response is right on point: "You didn't respond to us then and you're not responding to us now." I'd just a link to The argument for divesting from fossil fuels is becoming overwhelming, which explains why investing in fossil fuels is so risky (e.g., Paul Fisher of the Bank of England warns, "As the world increasingly limits carbon emissions, and moves to alternative energy sources, investments in fossil fuels - a growing financial market in recent decades - may take a huge hit"), and why divesting from fossil fuels isn't just a moral and environmental imperative, it's also the financially imperative thing for investors (including university endowments) to do - ASAP.
P.S. By the way, I sure hope that the great work we're seeing at UMW is going on at every other Virginia college and university. If not, why not?!?
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