Last night, watching a brief account of the political centerpiece of the world (the Iowa State Fair), I saw an item -- without, of course, any reporter challenge -- to add to that list. The @RealDonaldTrump was going on about his signature concept of a border fence with Mexico. And, he then went on to say just how easy it would be to enforce and that tunneling wouldn't work to get around it as ...
all we'd need to do is fly an aircraft overhead with radars and we'd see them all
Okay, truth in advertising, this is a paraphrasing -- didn't catch it word for word and don't plan on searching for a transcript of a randomly seen news report. But, it is an accurate paraphrasing of 'meaning' and substance.
Now, this is a pretty small item out of the inanities that "The Donald" puts out but it is a very clear item related to 'fact': can we 'easily' detect tunnels from overhead?
- The U.S. military, concerned about North Korean tunnels, has spent tremendous amounts of money to develop effective (remote) tunnel detection systems. As far as 'we' (public) know, this has had limited success -- at best.
- The Israelis, concerned about smuggling tunnels into/out of Gaza, have worked hard to develop systems to detect tunneling and active tunnels. As far as 'we' (public) know, this has had limited success -- at best.
- The various U.S. and State government agencies concerned about drug smuggling tunnels into the United States are searching, hard, for effective systems to detect tunneling and active tunnels. As far as 'we' (public) know, this has had limited success -- at best.
No, Donald, it ain't so easy to find a tunnel.
And, well, who in the media will bracket showing the @RealDonaldTrump's 'ease of finding tunnels' comments with quotations from actual experts showing that his comments are simply wrong, demonstrating ignorance and a flagrant lack of concern for actual truthful engagement?
While Webb is far from the stage of having formal policy issue statements, he does have a record of action and statements to examine. Over at Grist, Ben Adler put up a searing review of Jim Webb and climate/environmental issues:
...in the Senate, Webb was a "climate curmudgeon," [who worked to undermine Presidential authority to negotiate climate treaties, fought against the Environmental Protection Agency, etc.]...And on climate change, by far the most monumental environmental issue, Webb may be little better than the Republican Party to which he once belonged.During his Senate term, Webb:
- Spouted language that could have come from denialist propaganda
I am not convinced the Clean Air Act was ever intended to regulate or classify as a dangerous pollutant something as basic and ubiquitous in our atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
- Undermined President Obama's leverage in Copenhagen climate negotiations
- fought to stop (okay, delay ... indefinitely) EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions
- Refused to back climate legislation
- Spoke on the National Mall at an industry-funded astroturf coal rally, enthusiastically discussing America as the "Saudi Arabia of coal," declared that "we are not going to let EPA regulate coal out of business," said that "we need to get our support behind the Rockefeller amendment" (to gut EPA enforcement powers)...
McAuliffe's Inaugural Committee has received $25,000 from Alpha Natural Resources, an $8 billion coal company that gave $92,500 to Cuccinelli's campaign. Dominion Resources, a Virginia-based coal, gas, and nuclear conglomerate that gave Cuccinelli $75,000, has given McAuliffe's committee $50,000.Yes, of the $325,000 from large contributors through 2 December, just under 25 percent comes from two firms closely associated with seeking to undermine climate science, hamper Virginia's moves to greater energy efficiency and a cleaner electricity system, and who strongly supported the campaign of fossil-foolish climate-science denier Ken Cuccinelli.
Differences on climate science and clean energy were stark during the election campaign. And, those differences played a significant role in McAuliffe's election, as Virginians want to move forward to a clean-energy 21st century rather than double-down on polluting 19th century energy concepts.
As a Virginian concerned about creating a prosperous clean-energy future for my children and my fellow Virginians, that these fossil-foolish interests can (seemingly) buy a seat at the table for such relatively paltry -- for them -- amounts is disconcerting and raises concerns of that 'business as usual' processes of buying access and influence in Richmond will continue on their merry way.
As posed to our next governor, Terry McAuliffe
Nearly $20 million's been spent on TV ads in this race. 75% of 'em, we did the calculation, have been negative. This is both of you. I want each of you to respond to the stereotype you've been tryin' to create-- about the other. Mr. McAuliffe, the stereotype of you is that you're an operator, cheerleader more than a legislator or governor. That you don't have the relevant experience to be governor. And that you're a man in a hurry, who's willing to use political connections, sometimes in very high places, to take shortcuts. Your response?This question provided Terry a chance to hit a homer out of the park, make news, undercut Cuccinelli, and add -- in my opinion, with just this one question response and the reporting that might have followed from it -- points to the lead.
See after the fold for a concept for a(n overly long) truthful response to the question that might have achieved this result.
This legislation represents one of the rare occasions where House of Delegates Democrats might actually have serious leverage. In looking at this bill, here are three major problems that House Democrats can use their leverage to address:
- Wholesale gas tax is lower than general sales tax rate.
- Hybrid tax is punitive and the (il)logic doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
- There are horrid transportation boondoggles embedded in this that will syphon off $billions (potentially $10s of billions) of limited resources that could be better spent on other transportation projects to improve Virginians' lives, improve Virginia's economy, and better serve Virginia's future.
Two recent items suggest that something fishy is going on ...
1. It appears that candidate for Governor Ken Cuccinelli's driver is a paid Virginia employee? Is it an appropriate (excuse me, legal ...) use of taxpayer funds to pay for campaign staff?
2. Ken Cuccinelli's forthcoming book has a co-author (secondary author?) listed on the cover. That 'co-author' is a Commonwealth employee (Brian Gottstein) who works for the Attorney General. Ken Cuccinelli reportedly received a $30,000 advance for this book. Is it appropriate (legal ...) for a government official to have a subordinate, who is paid by the taxpayer, work on something for which he receives outside compensation?
These are questions ...
These questions might have reasonable (potentially even very reasonable ...) answers and explanations.
These flashpoint issues have masked other serious issues. While the threat to the Electoral College and the legislation to redistrict the Commonwealth's Senate seats are capturing the majority of attention, Governor Bob McDonnell's very troubling and damaging transportation proposal is receiving minimal (if any) national attention.
And, this matters.