As of 1:10 pm, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 99 points (having recovered almost all of its losses after a sharp decline at the outset), but wherever the market ends up doesn't really matter to the right wingers, who are happily leaping to predictably loony conclusions. That includes top Virginia Republican Party donor Marion "Pat" Robertson (it's God's punishment for abortion, but of course) and 2016 Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump (it's the Chinese, natch), neither of whom apparently understands the first thing about economics. Yep, that's today's Republican Party - ignorance, hysteria, fearmongering, demagoguery...all wrapped up in one lovely package. Next move: blame Obama, no matter what happens, because that's just what these guys do! LOL
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, August 24. Also, check out the discussion last night on the Georgia-based Kudzu Vine radio show about Virginia politics.
For a bit of background on these law-defying, anti-gay bigots see here. And yes, this is what the 2013 Virginia Republican Party nominee for Lt. Governor of our state does in his spare time, when he's not spreading "Four Pinocchio" lies about Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Also consider that E.W. Jackson's 2013 Republican ticketmates, Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain, were not appreciably different than he was/is on social issues. So what does that say about the Virginia Republican Party, and the national Republicans Party more broadly?
Verrry interesting. So, just for fun (if you're a political junkie and don't have a life) on a Saturday night, here are two scenarios I was discussing earlier this evening with a Virginia Democratic political operative regarding what Biden and Warren might have discussed: 1) Biden was meeting with Warren to get a feel for what she might do if he ran for President (e.g., endorse him? run herself?); 2) the two of them talked about running as some sort of "ticket," in which Biden would pledge - as he reportedly has considered - to serve only one term, meaning that VP Elizabeth Warren would be the heir apparent for 2020. What's more likely, that Warren would endorse Biden if he ran, would take that as an opportunity to throw her own hat in the ring, would team up with Biden for a de facto "ticket" (and if so, what percent of Sanders supporters - many of whom originally were Warren supporters - would defect to Biden/Warren?), or none of the above? Also check out the analysis of CNN's Jeff Zeleny in the following video (note: Zeleny specifically discounts the "ticket" idea). Ah, political intrigue...
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 23. As for Donald Trump, just remember that he's not an aberration, he personifies the Republican "base" - its anxieties, fears, hatreds, etc. - to a "t" (as in "Trump").
Gerson: "What Trump is appealing to has more of a feel of European right-wing politics, ok, UKIP or the National Front -- highly nationalistic, resentment of foreigners, we've been betrayed by our leaders. There's some deep and disturbing things that are being appealed to here..."
Gerson also predicts that Trump "could damage the Republican Party for decades to come" with his immigrant/Latino bashing. On another note, Gerson rips Trump wannabe Scott Walker as "not thoughtful," "not prepared," and "not playing in the big leagues."
For his part, Mark Shields notes that Trump is appealing to an extremely angry Republican electorate, a "mean-spiritedness in the electorate he's appealing to...anti-immigrant...[a position which is] devastating the Republican Party in the long run."
Finally, Shields raises a great point that's well worth quoting: "What [Bush and Rubio] risk [by not condemning Trump strongly now] is that what Trump is doing and saying becomes so odious and so offensive that it almost will be seen as a moral surrender on your part, ultimately in the general election, that you didn't stand up to him...that's a real risk that anybody runs by not confronting him at this point."
The problem, of course, is that large swaths of the Republican primary electorate really IS xenophobic, ultra-nationalist, etc., etc. And that's the truly horrifying part of all this...
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, August 22. Also, check out Trump's freak show in Alabama and just remember, THIS is the Republican Party of "birthers, truthers, and Internet trolls."
Communities in Texas, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina participated in a grassroots action called Hands Across Our Land on Tuesday, August 18. Planned and organized by the Nelson County anti-pipeline group, Free Nelson, 35 actions were held promoting solidarity and unity among local communities facing the threat of industrialization by the energy industry with its fracking wells, pipelines, compressor stations and LNG export facilities.
Over 150 citizen protesters amassed on the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge atop Afton Mountain, with another 135 at the bridge across the James River at Wingina, which is miles and miles from the nearest town. In Montgomery County, VA, over 100 citizens stood across a field which is on the path of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, and in Franklin County, VA citizens marched to the Franklin Government Center where they asked their Board of Supervisors to help them protect their water and streams by petitioning the Governor to require pipeline companies to submit site specific erosion and sediment control plans should the MVP ever be built. In western Augusta County, 32 people cheered and sang protest songs in the pouring rain to protest the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In Richmond, over 60 citizens met at Dominion headquarters and marched to the Governor's office supporting the actions held in localities directly affected by the proposed 42" high-pressure behomeths being proposed in Virginia. Other Virginia communities which participated were Floyd, Bent Mountain, Roanoke, and Front Royal.
Virginians are at least one or two steps ahead of us North Carolinians. OK, maybe more. We are in no position to make suggestions, I know. But Virginia has a unique chance to at least hold one house in the GA, to "get it left," so to speak. As I explained in a recent diary, Virginia has a Democratic governor, who compared to those I will mention in a moment, causes many Dems across the country to have "governor envy."
Governors from many GOP-held states occupy a "Governor's Hall of Shame." Abbott of Texas, Brownback of Kansas, Walker of Wisconsin, Snyder of Michigan, Scott of Florida, and McCrory of North Carolina are bringing their states down. There are others, of course. Though they lie about their negative "accomplishments," they are not fooling many.
Their legislatures are even worse. Some are actively trying to tie the hands of their state governments for all time, with the oxymoronically named Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). This clone of the awful Colorado ALEC-driven TABOR is eyed by NC legislative destructos and winding its way into discussions. Such an amendment would cement austerity and relegate public schools, roads and other good things states once did to history. The Tea Party owned GAs package it as a "bill of rights," specifying in part that taxpayers must be treated with respect. It's about so much more than that. But low-information voters won't get it until their public schools shutter.
When a right-wing extremist nut like Ken Cuccinelli features candidates who are near and dear to his heart, every Democrat, independent, and moderate Republican should put those candidates on their short list of top priorities to defeat this November.
As for the other candidate Cooch features, Republican Nancy Dye, her big priority is to ensure that Virginia keeps sending nearly $5 million per day of our tax money out of state, and of course that hundreds of thousands of Virginians - many of whom are rural poor who live in the 21st State Senate district currently represented by State Senator John Edwards (D), and who would benefit greatly from the Medicaid expansion that Nancy Dye opposes. As would rural hospitals in the 21st district. So, when Dye claims that her top priority is creating jobs and boosting the economy, she should be asked by reporters how she reconciles that with her opposition to Medicaid expansion in Virginia, given that stopping that expansion is actually killing jobs and hurting our economy on a daily basis.
No wonder why someone utterly clueless on economics like Ken Cuccinelli, who for instance supports the dying, heavily-state-subsidized industries of the past (e.g., dirty energy) and opposes the booming, rising industries of the future (e.g., clean energy) would tout Dye as one of his favorites. They seem to think alike in many ways, and that's a frightening thought which should give Democrats additional motivation to defeat her (and of course Dick Black) this November.
From House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano (D):
REDISTRICTING SPECIAL SESSION FALLS APART - DEMOCRATIC PLAN REMAINS BEFORE THE BODY
August 20, 2015
The special session on redistricting called by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to redraw congressional lines that had been ruled unconstitutional by the District Court fell apart on Monday, August 17, 2015, largely over a Republican effort to fire a sitting Supreme Court Justice, Jane Marum Roush. Since there is much public confusion about what actually happened, I will try to provide you some background.
On October 7, 2014, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that the 2012 General Assembly redistricting for the House of Representatives was unconstitutional, holding that the 3rd Congressional District was an improper "racial gerrymandering." The U. S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal of this decision by the House Republicans in March 2015. On June 5, 2015, the Federal District Court reaffirmed its decision and directed the General Assembly to draw new lines by September 1, 2015. In response, on July 16, 2015, Governor McAuliffe called for a special session to commence on August 17, 2015, in order to fix the problem. He then sent a letter to House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership requesting that they return to Richmond in advance of the special session to develop a bipartisan map that could be passed. The Republican leadership immediately rebuffed the Governor and refused to meet. When this happened, House and Senate Democratic leadership moved independently to produce a map that could pass constitutional scrutiny. After considerable work, Democrats provided a new map and it was introduced as legislation in both the Senate and the House. The bill can be accessed here. An explanation of what the proposal does can be found here.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, August 20. Also check out the interview with Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, who explains how the entire Judge Roush situation went down. To put it mildly, Republican "leadership" - particularly Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Speaker Bill Howell - don't come off looking very good here (and, amazing, right-wing radio host John Fredericks agrees). Saslaw also asserts that what's driving Republicans is jealousy and hatred of Gov. McAuliffe, the success he's had bringing business to Virginia, and the media attention he gets for doing so.
Over at The Bull Elephant, self-described "pro-life libertarian" Paul Prados has a blog post with smart advice for Virginia House Republicans which, as a bleed-Democratic-blue guy, I sincerely hope they don't listen to. A few highlights.
*Prados rightly rips Senate and House Republicans for having been "asleep at the switch" for months on the court order to draw new Congressional district maps by April 1, 2015 (later extended to September 1, 2015).
*Prados notes that "Republican leadership in the House and Senate had the ability to avoid this problem by simply filing, and possibly passing, redistricting legislation at any point since the entry of the October 7, 2014 court order." But they didn't, for whatever reason.
*In stark contrast, "Democrats showed up with three formal redistricting plans a few weeks before the deadline."
*Now, thanks to the General Assembly's inability to agree on redistricting maps, this whole thing goes back to the courts, most likely to a "Special Master to oversee the redrawing of Congressional Districts."
*Prados describes how the oral arguments might go, with Republicans whining about how mean and "unconstitutional" the dastardly Democrats were in "illegally adjourning and refus[ing] to even consider our legislation thereby preventing passage of a redistricting plan, SOOOO you should approve a plan chosen by the Republican caucus that merely tweaks the 3rd Congressional District." Of course, this won't work, as the court will repeatedly remind everyone that Republicans failed to even INTRODUCE "redistricting legislation for ten
*For the reasons cited above, Prados predicts "a full scale redrawing of the Districts and G.A. Republicans to have minimal credibility at any hearing."
*Finally, the advice I hope House Republicans don't take: that they should "introduce and pass a redistricting plan from the House alone," just don't "walk into Court empty handed" no matter what. Which, of course, as a diehard Democrat, is exactly what I hope Republicans do. :)
By the way, my take on how the Republicans got into this mess of their own making is that they were: a) extremely arrogant, assuming that they had plenty of time, more than enough power to do what they wanted, and courts that would ultimately side with them; b) deep in denial that their perfectly gerrymandered Congressional districts might be in serious danger due to racial "packing;" and c) incompetent in not at least preparing for any/all eventualities. To all of which I say: Virginia Republicans, pleasepleaseplease don't ever change! LOL
See the invitation below, courtesy of Sen. Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain (far-right "R"), for a BBQ with Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin in Charlottesville on August 29. While you're there, you might want to ask Walker's Virginia director, far-right-wingnut Sen. Obenshain, if he agrees with his political soulmate that: 1) we should "build a wall along the U.S. border like Israel's West Bank barrier;" 2) the U.S. should end "birthright citizenship"; 3) the minimum wage is one of the left's "lame ideas"; 4) he's not sure about the theory of evolution (one of the best-supported concepts in all of science, by the way); etc. Have fun! :)
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