Home Virginia Politics Thursday News: “The GOP’s Problem is Not Donald Trump…It’s Their Voters”

Thursday News: “The GOP’s Problem is Not Donald Trump…It’s Their Voters”


Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, September 3. Also, check out the video of President Obama speaking in Alaska about climate change and energy policy.

*The GOP’s Problem Is Not Donald Trump (“It’s their voters.” Bingo.)

*The Iran deal just got the votes it needs, in a huge victory for Obama (Excellent.)

*The pushback against unfair labor practices (“No effort to reduce our towering levels of inequality can succeed unless workers can amass more power. On this Labor Day, they appear to be finding ways to do just that.”)

*America has to do more to prevent gun violence

*Donald Trump isn’t rich because he’s a great investor. He’s rich because his dad was rich.

*Has the Republican Establishment Created a Monster? (“They wrote big checks to Jeb Bush before they knew what type of candidate he would be. Now he may become the spoiler they fear.”)

*Donald Trump Still Leads in Iowa-but That’s Not What Should Have the GOP Worried

*Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: This is the difference between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (“Watch how they conduct their campaigns.”)

*California passes bill forcing biggest pension funds to divest from coal (Looong past time for Virginia and every other state to do the same!)

*O’Reilly Asks Expert If Black Lives Matter Is To Blame For Police Murders. Then Things Got Awkward. (You mean O’LIElly? Oh yeah, that guy…heh.)

*Our view: How Roush stays on (“What would Republicans want in return? What would Democrats be willing to give up? Can the state get by from September until January with a question mark hanging over the Supreme Court as to whether one of its justices is lawfully appointed? Dum-de-dum-dum-dum . . . Stay tuned!”)

*Virginia could see a 41-year low in jobless benefit claims

*Va. attorney general to seek reelection, won’t run for governor in 2017

*Fairfax candidate slammed for focusing on salary of opponent’s spouse (“Republican board of supervisors hopeful says that he, unlike his opponent, must earn enough at work to pay the bills.” Lovely.)

*Editorial: Herring puts ambitions on hold (“Mark Herring has done what Ken Cuccinelli should have done.”)

*Easy math on beach light rail (“THE EQUATION doesn’t even require algebra. 4 light rail cars + $3.2 million in savings + no risk = a no-brainer. Under a proposal presented Tuesday to the Virginia Beach City Council, the Beach would benefit from a generous offer from the state – and piggyback on a rail-car order in Minneapolis – to get $20.4 million worth of light rail cars for $17.2 million.”)

*Va. lawmakers seek to expand background checks to include gun shows

*Ailing prisoner died in filth, family says (Inexcusable on so many levels…)

*Casey: Hate-crime in Raleigh Court remains unsolved (“A woman’s 2014 Ford Escape was torched, and the N-word was spray painted on the passenger side. The crime remains unsolved, and the victim has moved out.”)

*Mistreatment of animals continues at Natural Bridge Zoo, critics say (Why is this place still open?)

*R**skins GM’s wife apologizes for disparaging sexual favors remarks to ESPN anchor (Is there anything good about this franchise?)

*Nationals finally close one out as Papelbon shuts door in St. Louis (Mazel tov.)

*D.C. area forecast: Heat and humidity reign today but are overthrown by the weekend

  • Sure looks like it.


    ~ On the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons ~

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement today supporting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action:

    “I believe that supporting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China is the best option for advancing the goal of keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. While I believe there are several areas of concern with the agreement, the choice I ultimately had to make was between accepting an imperfect deal, or facing the serious ramifications if Congress rejected a deal that has the support of the rest of the world.

    “While I choose to support the deal, I am not satisfied with it as a final measure and will support efforts to shore-up its weaker points. That includes clarifying that Congress retains the ability to pass sanctions legislation against Iran for their regime’s numerous other destabilizing activities including support for terrorism, and that there is no ‘grandfather clause’ to shield foreign firms in the event Iran violates the deal and the United States and its partners re-impose sanctions. I would also support requiring the Administration to provide additional reporting to Congress on how Iran uses any funds received through sanctions relief.

    “My decision did not come lightly.  It follows many weeks of study, classified briefings, congressional hearings, detailed conversations with independent experts, Administration officials, representatives of the P5+1 negotiating countries, regional stakeholders, representatives from countries we rely upon to uphold the strength of our sanctions, and views expressed by many of my Virginia constituents.

    “As I reviewed the agreement, I kept two fundamental questions in mind: (1) Does this agreement advance the goal of keeping Iran free of nuclear weapons? And (2) Is there a viable alternative that would be superior to this deal?

    “As for the first point, I believe it does advance the goal of a nuclear weapons free Iran. The deal outlines a significant reduction in Iran’s fissile material stockpile, reducing their uranium stockpile by 98%. It restricts Iran’s production capacity, reducing the number of operational centrifuges from 19,000 to about 5,000, and completely removing their ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium. It further limits Iran’s research and development activities. These reductions and restrictions on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will extend Iran’s break-out time from a matter of months to at least one year for the next fifteen years.

    “The JCPOA also establishes a verification regime that includes continuous inspections at all of their declared nuclear sites and an enforceable mechanism to inspect any suspect undeclared sites.  This leaves us with significantly more information about their program than we would have without a deal.  As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I am aware of the formidable capabilities of our intelligence community to track violations.

    “Our intelligence professionals have said that we will know much more about Iran’s nuclear program with inspections than without them. Further, even with the agreement in place, all of our options, including the military option, remain available to address Iranian misbehavior now and in the future.

    “On the second point, I believe there is not a superior alternative. I sit on the Banking Committee, and I pushed early for strong international sanctions that helped bring Iran to the negotiating table. My record of being tough on Iran speaks for itself: since joining the Senate, I have cosponsored or supported every important piece of sanctions legislation passed by Congress.

    “I have spoken with representatives of foreign governments – the ones we rely on to uphold sanctions to continue the pressure on Iran – and asked for their best assessment of what their countries would do if Congress rejects this agreement. In every case, I have been told that the sanctions in place would erode fairly quickly after such an action. Unilateral sanctions are not sufficient to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

    “On balance, I have determined this international agreement is an improvement over the status quo.  It will prevent Iran from having the means to develop a nuclear weapon for a long time.  It will lengthen Iran’s potential break-out time, and will not preclude the U.S. and our international partners from responding with all means at our disposal should there be a need to do so.  It will provide much better insight into Iran’s nuclear activities, and it furthers the national security interests of the United States and our allies.

    “I have been, and remain, a strong and consistent ally of Israel. As we move forward, I will continue to work to ensure Israel’s security. I will continue to press the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that Israel preserves a qualitative military edge in its tough neighborhood. I will look for ways to strengthen our commitments to Israel, and I will support additional efforts to stop Iran from advancing a nuclear agenda, or engaging in other efforts to destabilize the region.

    “This agreement is just the beginning, and not the end, of our combined international efforts to keep Iran free of nuclear weapons.”  

  • Awesome, that makes it unanimous among the Virginia Congressional delegation’s Democrats.  As for the Republicans, well…again, they’d oppose Obama if he found a cure for cancer, so who cares.

    NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement announcing his support for the P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear agreement:

    “This month, Congress will be voting on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran nuclear agreement, which, if enacted, would deny the President the authority to waive certain sanctions against Iran.  After careful deliberation, I have decided to support the Iran nuclear agreement and will vote against a resolution of disapproval.

    “This agreement took years of careful negotiations between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.  It has been heralded as an unprecedented, landmark agreement for nuclear non-proliferation and was immediately endorsed by a unanimous vote of the United Nations Security Council.

    “Opponents of the agreement have suggested that if Congress blocks it, we will be able to go back to the negotiation table to get a better deal.  This idea has been summarily dismissed by our negotiating partners.  British Ambassador Peter Westmacott has called such a scenario ‘far-fetched.’  Philipp Ackermann, Germany’s Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States, has said the ‘option of getting back to the negotiating table is close to zero,’ and ‘it would be a nightmare for every European country if this is rejected.’

    “Furthermore, in the unlikely event that we are able to go back and negotiate a new agreement, it would be doubtful that a new agreement would be materially different from the agreement before us now and could even be worse.  Considering the position of our international partners, it could take months to bring them back to the negotiating table.  During that time, Iran would have the opportunity to ramp up its efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, which would put it in an even stronger position to re-negotiate a more favorable deal for itself.

    “If the deal is blocked, opponents have also suggested that international sanctions will continue.  However, that notion has also been rejected by our international partners.  British Ambassador Westmacott has said that sanctions have already reached ‘the high-water mark’ and are likely to erode if this agreement fails.  German Ambassador Peter Wittig has likewise stated ‘if diplomacy fails, then the sanctions regime might unravel.’  And Foreign Policy magazine reported that the Russians have also indicated international sanctions are likely to fall apart if Congress blocks the agreement.

    “Without international sanctions, U.S. sanctions alone will be ineffective to prevent the release of Iranian funds because most of those funds are actually held in foreign banks.  We will not be able to coerce our international partners to re-impose sanctions if Congress blocks this agreement.  China, for example, holds trillions of dollars in U.S. securities, so the idea that we can intimidate their banks is dubious.

    “So if Congress blocks this agreement, we will not have a better deal, Iran will get sanctions relief, and its nuclear program can continue without the restrictions and inspections required under this agreement.

    “Insofar as a better deal is not a realistic possibility, I have spent the last several weeks attending classified briefings, reviewing reports from nuclear and non-proliferation experts, and reading the agreement myself.  During that time, I have focused not on what should have or could have been in this agreement, but rather on how the agreement compares to where we would be with no agreement at all.

    “Without this agreement, Iran will be only weeks or a few months away from having enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear weapon.  The inspections regime that was in effect before these negotiations began will return, denying the international community effective access into Iran’s nuclear sites and the opportunity to uncover clandestine weapons activities.  These ineffective inspections allowed Iran to develop more advanced nuclear technologies, build and install thousands of new centrifuges, and enrich uranium to levels near weapons-grade – putting it at the threshold of having a nuclear weapon.

    “And without this agreement, the only viable alternative to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon will be military action – without the support of the international community.  However, even military action has its limitations.  Without effective inspections, which the agreement would provide, we will not have the best intelligence on what sites to target.  And any benefit of targeted military action would be short lived.  Unless we invade and occupy Iran indefinitely, it is likely that military action would only increase Iran’s resolve to defy the international community and develop a nuclear weapon.  Furthermore, there is no evidence that our nation has the political will to unilaterally begin another prolonged war in the Middle East without international support.

    “So where does that leave us if Congress blocks this agreement?  It is unlikely that any of the P5+1 nations will return to the negotiating table any time soon, and if negotiations did begin, those nations would not take our diplomats seriously, because they would reasonably believe that any new deal would be just as likely to be rejected by Congress as this one.  International sanctions against Iran will fall apart.  Iran will be on a faster track towards developing a nuclear weapon.  And the United States loses any moral authority we had to advance diplomatic solutions to confront future challenges elsewhere in the world.

    “Compared to the consequences of no agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action does offer a better strategy to prevent Iran from being able to develop a nuclear weapon during the term of the agreement and beyond.

    “The agreement establishes long-term and verifiable restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and enhances the International Atomic Energy Agency’s ability to monitor and independently verify Iran’s compliance.  Under the agreement, Iran must alter its Arak heavy water reactor facility, so that no weapons-grade plutonium can be produced.  Iran will be required to reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium.  Iran will also be limited in the number and type of centrifuges it can use to enrich uranium and must refrain from enriching uranium beyond a certain point for at least 15 years.  The agreement also severely restricts Iran’s ability to conduct research and development on more advanced nuclear technologies.    

    “To ensure compliance by Iran, the agreement puts in place a strong monitoring and inspections program that covers every aspect of the supply chain from mining and milling to conversion and enrichment to fuel manufacturing, maintaining nuclear reactors, and handling spent fuel to allow international inspectors the ability to catch any suspicious activity.

    “Critics of the agreement’s inspections provisions contend that Iran will have an opportunity to conceal its weapons activities.  There is, however, a clear consensus amongst nuclear physicists and non-proliferation experts that this agreement includes sufficiently robust technical inspection and verification provisions to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and to make it extremely difficult for Iran to hide unauthorized activities.

    “If the agreement is unsuccessful, the agreement preserves international sanctions by providing mechanisms for them to ‘snap back’ into place should Iran substantially violate the agreement.  And keep in mind that sanctions are more likely to actually snap back with this agreement than without it.

    “Finally, if the agreement fails to achieve its goals, we will still have all the options currently available if the agreement is rejected, including military action, but with the important difference that we would have the support of the international community.

    “A nuclear-armed Iran would be detrimental to the security of our allies in the region, and negotiators set out to reach an agreement that would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon over the next decade or longer.  After careful deliberation, I am convinced that we are much more likely to achieve that goal with this agreement than we would with no agreement at all.”