Home Barack Obama Thursday News: “Trump’s Obama Obsession”; “Perriello, wealthy donors team up to help...

Thursday News: “Trump’s Obama Obsession”; “Perriello, wealthy donors team up to help Democrats chase seats in Va. House”

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, June 29.

  • Quizzical

    Australian engineers have figured out a way to plant germinated tree seeds using drones, and they want to try it to reforest reclaimed mine lands on New South Wales.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-25/the-plan-to-plant-nearly-100,000-trees-a-day-with-drones/8642766

    There are about a million acres of reclaimed mine lands that need to be reforested in the Appalachians.

  • Pride Fund Endorses Danica Roem, David Reid, Kathleen Murphy, Karrie Delaney, and John Bell

    LGBTQ PAC focused on gun reform makes 5 endorsements in Virginia’s House of Delegates Races

    Washington, D.C, June 29, 2017 – Pride Fund to End Gun Violence PAC – America’s only national LGBTQ political organization solely focused on gun violence prevention – today announced its endorsement of five candidates for Virginia’s House of Delegates election. Danica Roem in House District 13, David Reid in House District 32, Kathleen Murphy in House District 34, Karrie Delaney in House District 67, and John Bell in House District 87.

    “Danica is running a historic campaign in her lifelong home of House District 13, and is the first out transgender candidate to win a primary for Virginia’s House of Delegates. Pride Fund is proud to support Danica, a long-time local reporter, and help her make history as the first out trans state legislator ever elected,” said Jason Lindsay, Executive Director of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence.

    “David Reid is in tune with the needs of the constituents of House District 32, and is the kind of leader Virginians need in the House of Delegates,” said Lindsay, “As a US Navy veteran he is well-versed in the policy of the gun safety debate, and he’s a strong advocate for commonsense gun reform. I know he will continue to be a strong voice in the House of Delegates,” Lindsay said. “Virginia must do more to reduce preventable hate violence that claims the lives of our LGBT brothers and sisters at a disproportionate rate, especially people of color, transgender women, and gay men,” said Reid.

    Kathleen Murphy currently represents HD-34 and is running for re-election in this very competitive district. “Kathleen Murphy lost her brother to robbers and knows the tragedy of gun violence first hand. She is a strong supporter of commonsense gun safety reform and has passed two bills barring domestic abusers from getting access to firearms,” Jason Lindsay said. “Every year over 33,000 people in the U.S. die from gun related incidents. It is a public health crisis. I will continue to fight for common sense gun safety reforms to keep Virginians safe, especially our most vulnerable Virginians, like those in the LGBTQ community,” Murphy said.

    “Karrie Delaney supports commonsense gun safety reforms like universal background checks and state funding for gun violence research. She’s a strong advocate for LGBTQ equality and Pride Fund is proud to support her campaign in House District 67,” said Jason Lindsay. “I’m proud to have the endorsement of Pride Fund today. It is offensive and irresponsible when Jim LeMunyon votes for bills that make it easier for military grade weapons to be in our community and allow Virginians to strip the rights of the LGBTQ community under the cover of ‘religious freedom.’ I’m running for Delegate to be an advocate for a safe and welcoming Virginia for all,” Delaney said.

    “I’ve carried a gun in combat zones; that’s why I know that common sense gun safety legislation like universal background checks is so important to make Virginians safer. I’ve also stood up for the LGBTQ community by sponsoring legislation that would include gender identity and sexual orientation to non-discrimination clauses in Virginia code. I will always put the safety of all Virginians over the special interests of the corporate gun lobby and groups who wish to put politics over equality,” said Delegate John J. Bell. “John Bell is running for re-election in HD-87 and has been a consistent supporter of commonsense gun safety laws, and is an ally to the LGBTQ communities,” said Jason Lindsay, Executive Director of Pride Fund.

    Pride Fund has thoroughly reviewed the platform and records of these candidates to assess their commitment to protecting the rights of the LGBTQ and improving the safety of all Americans. These candidates represent the kind of leaders we need–who won’t prioritize the special interests of the gun lobby over the safety of the American people.

    About the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence:
    Pride Fund to End Gun Violence is a Political Action Committee (PAC), organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect pro-LGBTQ candidates at the federal and local level who support sensible gun reforms.

  • Lee Carter (D), who is running against Del. Jackson Miller (R), issued the following statement following the tragic death of Miller’s wife.

    We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Suzanne Miller, wife of Delegate Jackson Miller, and would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to their family.
    Jackson and his family will be in our hearts and minds during this difficult and trying time, and we feel now is not the time for politicking. Out of respect for the Miller family, we will be postponing all campaign activities for the next few days, including Saturday’s canvass.

    Please keep the Miller family in your thoughts and prayers within the coming weeks.

  • From Rep. Don Beyer’s office:

    Beyer, Rutherford Lead Bipartisan Group Of Over 100 Representatives Urging Interior Secretary Zinke To Halt Seismic Airgun Blasting In the Atlantic

    June 29, 2017 (Washington, DC) – Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and John Rutherford (R-FL) today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke urging an immediate halt to the permitting process for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 103 Representatives.

    The Representatives wrote:

    “This decision to move forward with permits for seismic airgun surveys for subsea oil and gas deposits puts at risk the vibrant Atlantic Coast economies dependent on health ocean ecosystems, which generate $95 billion in gross domestic product and support nearly 1.4 million jobs each year.

    “…We hear from countless business owners, elected officials and residents along our coasts who recognize and reject the risks of offshore oil and gas development. More than 120 local governments have passed formal resolutions opposing oil and gas exploration and/or drilling in the Atlantic or Eastern Gulf.

    “…Opening the Atlantic to seismic testing and drilling jeopardizes our coastal businesses, fishing communities, tourism, and our national security. It harms our coastal economies in the near term and opens the door to even greater risks from offshore oil and gas production down the road. Therefore, we implore you not to issue any permits for seismic airgun surveys for subsea oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean.”

    Rep. Beyer previously introduced the Atlantic Seismic Airgun Protection Act to ban the use of seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic, and has been a vocal opponent of the Trump Administration’s decision to resume Atlantic drilling.

    The letter was signed by 103 Representatives, and the full text of the letter is below.

    June 28, 2017

    Secretary Ryan Zinke
    Department of Interior
    1849 C St NW
    Washington, DC 20240

    Dear Mr. Secretary:

    We are writing in strong opposition to your recent secretarial order (#3350) to move forward with offshore oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean, and the subsequent issuance of five Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHAs) by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for Atlantic geophysical & geological (G&G) permit applications.

    This decision to move forward with permits for seismic airgun surveys for subsea oil and gas deposits puts at risk the vibrant Atlantic Coast economies dependent on healthy ocean ecosystems, which generate $95 billion in gross domestic product and support nearly 1.4 million jobs each year.

    Offshore oil and gas exploration and development, the first step of which is seismic airgun testing, puts at risk coastal economies based on fishing, tourism, and recreation. Numerous studies show the detrimental impacts seismic airgun blasting has on fisheries and marine mammals, thereby affecting the catch anglers bring dockside and the revenue generated by related businesses. A 2014 study conducted off North Carolina’s coast by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Duke University and NOAA found that, during seismic surveying, the abundance of reef-fish declined by 78 percent during evening hours, a time of day when fish use of that same habitat was highest on the previous three days when seismic surveys were not being conducted. The tertiary effects of this trickle down to fishing businesses, restaurants and the visitors that flock to our coastal communities.

    Some proponents of opening drilling in the Atlantic make the argument that seismic airgun surveys for oil and gas deposits would allow local communities to learn more about what resources might be available. The reality is that, by law, the data obtained from seismic surveys are proprietary and only available to the oil and gas industry. The public, local government officials and even Members of Congress would not have access to the survey data. This inability to access information leaves coastal communities without the opportunity to perform substantive cost-benefit analyses for extracting oil and gas reserves off their coasts. Our constituents would be left taking on significant risk without being involved in future development decisions.

    We hear from countless business owners, elected officials and residents along our coasts who recognize and reject the risks of offshore oil and gas development. More than 120 local governments have passed formal resolutions opposing oil and gas exploration and/or drilling in the Atlantic or Eastern Gulf. These include numerous local chambers of commerce, tourism and restaurant associations, commercial and recreational fishing associations, and the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. More than 41,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families strongly oppose offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling. Further, NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force have also expressed concern with offshore oil and gas development threatening their ability to perform critical activities.

    Opening the Atlantic to seismic testing and drilling jeopardizes our coastal businesses, fishing communities, tourism, and our national security. It harms our coastal economies in the near term and opens the door to even greater risks from offshore oil and gas production down the road. Therefore, we implore you not to issue any permits for seismic airgun surveys for subsea oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean.

    Sincerely,

    John Rutherford
    Member of Congress

    Don Beyer
    Member of Congress

    Cc: Walter Cruickshank, Acting Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    Dr. Bill Brown, Chief Scientist, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    Samuel Rauch, Acting Director for Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries
    Jen Anderson, Regional NEPA Coordinator, NOAA Fisheries

  • House Dems Statement on Death of Suzanne Miller

    RICHMOND, Va. – House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring issued the following joint statement on the death of Suzanne Miller, the wife of Delegate Jackson Miller:

    “We mourn the loss of Suzanne Miller, who passed away after a courageous fight with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleague and friend, Jackson, and his children, during this time of great sadness and challenge.”

  • Southern Liberal

    Trump made a misogynistic attack on Mika Brzezinski this morning. http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/29/media/mika-brzezinski-donald-trump-tweet/index.html

  • Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam Calls Senate Healthcare Proposal “Detrimental” to Virginia

    Norfolk, Va. – Dr. Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, criticized the Better Care Reconciliation Act at an event in Norfolk today.

    “One of the very first principles of medicine is ‘do no harm.’ As a doctor, I know firsthand what that means,” Lt. Gov. Northam said. “We as policymakers need to have the same principle. If we look at what’s going on in Washington right now, the Senate healthcare proposal is very harmful and it’s very detrimental to this country and this Commonwealth.”

    Lt. Gov. Northam outlined the negative impact of the U.S. Senate health bill outside the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters where he has cared for patients for nearly 25 years. Over 55 percent of the patients at CHKD are recipients of Medicaid.

    The federal proposal calls for an estimated $1.4 billion hit to Virginia’s Medicaid program, which serves nearly 1 million Virginia children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and elderly. Additionally, the bill would cut funding for essential women’s reproductive health services and allow insurers to deny people with pre-existing conditions.

    “I’ve been clear about where I stand — I will keep fighting this irresponsible effort to undermine our healthcare system and to ensure that no family is one medical illness away from financial demise in this commonwealth,” Lt. Gov. Northam said.

  • Dan Rather nails it, as usual:

    “You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

    These are the immortal words of army lawyer Joseph Welch in response to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the communist witch hunts of the 1950s. They are sadly just as apt today.

    I do not like rising to the bait of the tweets of President Trump. But this morning’s demeaning, sexist, and scurrilous attack on Mika Brzezinski cannot go unmentioned. I have known Mika for many years. We were colleagues at CBS News and she is a fearless and fair journalist. I also knew her late father, Zbigniew, who was President Carter’s national security advisor. The fact that this attack comes while Mika is still mourning his death only adds to the outrages and disgust.

    For years we heard sanctimonious and cynical attacks on President Obama by many in the GOP about how he was demeaning the office of the presidency. Really? Check your twitter feeds folks, for I fear we have a demeanor in chief in the White House now.

    This is not about policy or even politics. This is about a common decency.
    Senator McCarthy once was powerful, and then the fever broke and much of the country saw a small, vile, hateful man. His name is now an epithet for an era of shame in our country’s history.

    In that 1954 testimony, the army lawyer Welch added: “”Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” Imagine if McCarthy had Twitter. There can be no more surprise about the level of cruelty or recklessness we are witnessing today.

  • Video: Sarah Huckabee Sanders demonstrates why she’s Trump’s spokesperson. And not in a good way…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d2wbXF_VZ8

  • Governor McAuliffe Statement on Request from Trump Elections Commission

    RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement in response to a letter directed to Virginia and other states from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity:

    “Today the Commonwealth and the other 49 states received a lengthy request from Kris Kobach, the Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, requesting a list of all registered Virginia voters, the last four digits of their social security numbers, their addresses, date of birth, political affiliation, and their voting history. The Vice Chair’s letter also contained a list of vague inquiries about the election policies and laws of the Commonwealth.

    “I have no intention of honoring this request. Virginia conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Virginia. This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November. At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.

    “The only irregularity in the 2016 presidential election centered around Russian tampering, a finding that has been confirmed by 17 of our intelligence agencies and sworn testimony delivered to several congressional committees. In 131 days Virginia’s Department of Elections will again conduct a statewide election for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General, as well as 100 House of Delegates races and numerous other positions. I’m not going to divert resources that could potentially compromise that important work to enable this politically motivated and silly posturing.”

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