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Friday News: Tim Kaine Not Pleased Trump “dismissive of our intelligence agencies”; Why Would Trump Help Putin?


by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, December 16. Also check out Sen. Tim Kaine’s interview with WTVR CBS 6 anchor Bill Fitzgerald. Very good questions, by the way…nice job by Bill Fitzgerald.

  • Video: President Obama’s Hanukkah Reception


  • I would take the Q-Poll results yesterday regarding the 2017 Virginia Governor’s race with a HUGE grain of salt, as almost nobody is paying attention yet, knows who the candidates are, etc. But these results are completely plausible.

    Virginia voters approve 59 – 38 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing, his highest grade ever in the Old Dominion and one of his highest grades ever in the states surveyed by the Quinnipiac University Poll.

    President Obama’s previous high approval in Virginia is a 52 – 44 percent grade in a January 10, 2013, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll, as he started his second term.

    Approval is 97 – 1 percent among Democrats and 58 – 37 percent among independent voters. Republicans disapprove 84 – 14 percent.

    Virginia voters are optimistic, 55 – 40 percent, about the next four years with Donald Trump as president. Men are optimistic 63 – 32 percent, while women are divided 48 – 47 percent. Optimism by age group is highest, 60 – 39 percent, among voters 18 to 34 years old, and lowest, 51 – 45 percent, among voters 35 to 49 years old.

    Despite the optimism, Trump gets a negative 39 – 53 percent favorability rating. Men are negative 42 – 48 percent and women are negative 36 – 58 percent. White voters are divided with 48 percent favorable and 45 percent unfavorable. Non-white voters are negative 19 – 72 percent.

    “There may be no political figure in the history of Virginia who is more responsible for the state’s political transition from solid Republican to a swing state with a Democratic lean in presidential elections than President Barack Obama,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

    “He leaves office with strongly positive approval ratings. President Obama not only carried the state twice fairly comfortably, but also leaves office with a model for future Democratic White House nominees on how to carry the state.

    “The question now is whether the Democrats can continue their winning streak in the Old Dominion by electing a second consecutive governor?” Brown added.

    Virginia voters approve 62 – 22 percent of the job U.S. Sen. Mark Warner is doing. Warner gets a split 42 – 42 percent approval rating from Republicans.

    U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine gets a 58 – 32 percent job approval rating.


    Virginia voters are divided on the issue of flag-burning as a form of political protest, as 48 percent say it should be legal and 47 percent say it should be illegal.

    There are deep partisan, age and gender divisions:
    Flag-burning should be legal, Democrats say 61 – 33 percent and independent voters say 55 – 41 percent. Republicans say 70 – 28 percent that flag-burning should be illegal.
    Women say 51 – 44 percent that flag-burning should be against the law, but men say 53 – 43 percent that it should be legal.
    Flag-burning should be legal, voters 18 to 34 years old say 53 – 44 percent and voters 35 to 49 years old say 54 – 40 percent. It should be illegal, voters 50 to 64 years old say 50 – 46 percent and voters over 65 years old say 56 – 41 percent.
    White and non-white voters are evenly divided and virtually identical.
    Virginia voters oppose 62 – 34 percent amending the U.S. Constitution to make flag- burning illegal. The only listed group to support such an amendment are Republicans, 52 – 46 percent.

    “Virginians clearly understand the difference between passing a law and changing the U.S. Constitution. They are split down the middle when it comes to outlawing flag-burning as a legal method of protest. But almost two-thirds oppose amending the Constitution to do so,” Brown said.

    From December 6 – 11, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,098 Virginia voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.

    The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and the nation as a public service and for research.

    • Jim B

      I suppose we wouldn’t have to worry about flag burning if we had a more just society. We have one political party that is trying and succeeding in making the US worse not better.

    • Fern Henley

      Ralph Northam, supports as both parties did Glass-Steagall standards of banking. That would be the vital first baby step to get Wall Street off our backs. I can sew up a new flag but the lives that are destroyed by economic injustice are gone forever. Many have turned to opioids in Virginia, compounding the problem and making recovery ever more difficult.

  • Quizzical

    Re Worsening Obamacare muddle, the article notes that repealing it without a replacement will cause disruption in the insurance market and for individuals. What I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere is the disruption it will cause for health care providers, job losses in the health care sector, and impacts on patient care. For example, hospitals aren’t going to wait for three years to start adapting to what they think the new reality is going to be.

  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance:

    “As it turned out, 2016 delivered more than just a hint of Götterdämmerung, it delivered the complete Wagnerian Ring Cycle, in political terms at least.”

    “First, there was the U.K.’s Brexit vote on June 23, spelling at the very least a shock for the European Union, the world’s biggest single market; then, on November 8, the election of Donald Trump as the U.S.’s 45th President”

    “It is certainly a relief that The Donald got elected in 2016 and not in 2012, before the huge reductions in wind and solar costs transformed the competitiveness of those technologies!”

    “With the world record for unsubsidised power from solar is now below $30 per megawatt hour, and that for wind not far behind, you can forget competitiveness, renewables are robustly entering the era of undercutting. If you need to build new generating capacity, and you can deal with the attendant variability at an affordable cost, renewable energy will beat any other technology in most of the world without subsidies.”

    • Fern Henley

      Are you forgetting nuclear fission energy?

  • Subjective ranking of the legitimacy of U.S. presidential elections since 1932 on a scale of 0 (not legitimate at all) to 10 (no question whatsoever about election’s legitimacy):

    1932: FDR by 7 million votes (23m-16m) in the popular vote, 472-59 EVs. This one gets a 10 — absolutely legitimate landslide for FDR!

    1936: Even BIGGER landslide for FDR, 11m in popular vote and 523-8 EVS. Again, a perfect 10

    1940: A 5-million vote win for FDR, 449-83 EVS. The only possible issue with “legitimacy” is FDR’s run for a third term, but that was legal back then, so I’d give this one a 9 or 10

    1944: Now this one was more controversial, as FDR ran for a FOURTH term. FDR also won by his smallest margin ever (3.5m popular votes, 432-99 EVs). So…I’d give this one a slightly lower legitimacy rating, at 8 or so.

    1948: Harry Truman won by just over 2m votes, 303-188 EVs. So…relatively close but still perfectly legitimate. I’d give this one a 9 or 10.

    1952 and 1956: Two blowouts for Dwight “I Like Ike” Eisenhower. He gets a 10.

    1960: JFK by just 100k votes over Richard Nixon, and with highly likely shenanigans in LBJ’s TX and in Chicago means this one gets low legitimacy. I’d say 3-4?

    1964: Massive landslide by LBJ over Barry Goldwater. This one gets a 10.

    1968: Nixon by just 500k over Hubert Humphrey, 301-191 EVs for Nixon. Now, this one was one of the most insane, horrible, tumultuous years in U.S. history. Also, go knows what games Nixon and company were playing re: Vietnam (see Yes, Nixon Scuttled the Vietnam Peace Talks So…this one’s very hard to judge, depending on what Nixon and Company really did. Could go anywhere from very low (1-2?) to decent (7 or so?).

    1972: Massive landslide by Nixon over McGovern, but this one will always be tainted by Watergate, which basically delegitimizes Nixon in the eyes of history. So…at the time, maybe Nixon got a 10, but in hindsight, much much lower….maybe a 3 or so.

    1976: A very slim victory by Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford, but no reason to question the legitimacy of the election as far as I’m aware. I’d give this one an 8-9 given how close it was.

    1980 and 1984: Both Reagan landslides get a 10 for legitimacy. No doubt about these two.

    1988: Absolutely sleazy, racist campaign by George HW Bush, one he never should be forgiven for. However, the results (a 7m vote win for Bush) were totally legitimate, so give this one a 10.

    1992 and 1996: Big (5m and 8m vote) victories for Clinton, with no sign that Ross Perot had a disproportionate impact one way or the other. So…10s for both.

    2000: Al Gore won the popular vote and almost certainly would have won Florida – and the Electoral College – if the recount had been allowed to proceed. This Bush victory gets close to a ZERO in terms of legitimacy. One of the most disgraceful election results in U.S. history, with a disastrous outcome as well (one of the worst presidencies ever). Utter debacle.

    2004: Bush won this one by 3m votes, MUCH closer in the Electoral College (286-251) although only after a disgusting “Swift Boat” campaign against John Kerry. Still, the actual election appears to have been perfectly legitimate. I’d give this one a 7-8 I guess.

    2008: Landslide for Barack Obama, give this one a 10 no doubt about it.

    2012: Another big victory for Barack Obama, again he gets a 10.

    2016: This one gets a huge ZERO, worst election in US history in terms of…well, everything, including legitimacy (or lack thereof in this case). Bottom line: Russia interfered big time, the FBI interfered big time, Trump lost the popular vote by around 2.8 MILLLION, etc, etc. Totally illegitimate.

  • Statement from DPVA spokesperson Emily Bolton on Virginia bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks:

    “Virginia Republicans will stop at nothing to continue dictating women’s personal and private decisions. This is exactly what happened in Ohio, but with a key difference: we have Governor McAuliffe, who has been a brick wall against attacks on women’s health care. This illustrates the importance of electing another Democrat to the governor’s mansion in 2017.”

  • Video: President Obama holds news conference


  • Quizzical

    Impact of Russian disinformation campaign: Exhibit A

  • Fern Henley

    Instead of sucking our thumbs and crying, “Russia, we don’t want you to do that ever again.” Why don’t we just fix it? The parties are responsible for securing their IT issues.

    • Quizzical

      The parties are responsible for securing their bank accounts too. If some group succeeds in an electronic theft of millions of dollars from the RNC or DNC, would we just say, the parties are responsible for securing their IT issues? How much do you think the information stolen from the DNC and others was worth?

      The DNC could have done a lot better. In fact, they were terrible. But, from what I’ve read, if attackers have sufficient skill, resources, opportunity, and time, any computer network can be broken into. That seems to be confirmed in the news on a weekly basis. E.g., the recent story on a billion Yahoo accounts being hacked by a state-sponsored group. How then do we keep the Russians and Chinese out of our systems?

      As an aside, here are the latest NIST guidelines for small businesses.

      • Fern Henley

        given enought time, etc. Does that mean Russians have hacked all of other nation’s IT systems? It makes more sense to me that Russians allocate their time and resources to more productive activities than hacking into party IT systems. Their successes in other areas suggest this.

        • Quizzical

          That is an interesting question.

          France has just established a special unit, Cybercom, to counter the Russian capability, and the article mentions that the U.K. has recently done the same.

          A story on the UK unit
          Interesting quote from MI5:
          Mr Hammond’s speech followed a warning from MI5 that Russia poses an increased cyber-threat.
          “It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks,” Andrew Parker, the domestic security agency’s director general, told the Guardian.

          An article about how German intelligence accused Russia of hacking the German Parliament’s computer system

          So it looks like the answer is yes.
          The Russians have just deployed a “digital iron curtain” to protect itself from computer intrusions, which I suppose have made them less concerned about retaliation. Kind of similar to how an anti ballistic missile system is destabilizing.

          • Fern Henley

            If Russians have just deployed a “digital iron curtain” to protect itself from computer intrusions, why should US not have that very same response as you hint-an anti-hacking system. The whole mindset of mutually assured destruction is ludicrous. Clearly a mindset of homeland security based on fences making good neighbors is to be desired. Fear may be clouding our judgement and curtailing our creativity. Our mission of creating a global community of sovereign nation states as well as our very identity as a species living together in the cognitive domain gives structure to building our individual and collective characters. Ethics have become so much more nuanced since the beginning of law and order thousands of years ago as in the Hammarabi Code or the Ten Commandments. The Mandate of Heaven is to pursue happiness I should think. Less focus on retaliation and more focus on getting Americans fully employed in meaningful jobs will establish sustainable leadership for both parties.

          • Quizzical

            I wasn’t even thinking that far ahead, but you are right. Maybe we need to have our own version of the Russian “digital iron curtain.” Alternatively, or maybe in addition to that, we should re-engineer the internet from the ground up with security in mind.

          • Fern Henley

            Just hope this doesn’t mean we’ll have so much ‘security’ we have too much less ‘freedom’ on the www. It’s a fine line.

          • Quizzical
  • Fern Henley