Trump has taken a very hard-line position on immigration . Yet only two years ago, he was telling advocates for immigrants, "You've convinced me." He has reversed himself similarly on Hillary Clinton's performance as Secretary of State. She has gone from doing a "good job" to being the "worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States." Likewise, he's switched his position on issues like guns and abortion.
This is opportunism, not candor. This is saying whatever serves his immediate purposes.
The second reason for doubting Trump's candor is that he often says things that he must know are false, or that anyone qualified to be president would know are false.
So, with the following announcement (which I'd heard rumors about in recent weeks) that Mark Herring will run for reelection as AG, that: a) clears the field for Ralph Northam, all but assuring him of the Democratic gubernatorial nomnination in 2017; b) Mark Herring can continue his excellent work as Attorney General for four more years (I'd hope that Herring's second term would focus heavily on challenging corporate control of our government by Dominion Power in particular, making Virginia friendly to clean energy, and protecting the environment), assuming of course that he wins the general election; c) it sets Herring up to run for governor in 2021 (which I think will be a better time, potentially, for a Democrat to be governor anyway, as perhaps by then we'll have made some gains in the General Assembly); and d) the only contested Democratic primary contest in 2017 will likely be for Lt. Governor (I've heard Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn and Charniele Herring - also just heard Del. Jennifer McClellan - mentioned as possible candidates, wouldn't be at all surprised to see a bunch more jump in as well).
With that, here's Attorney General Herring's announcement.
"Serving as Attorney General has been the highest honor of my career. I love practicing law, I love public policy, and most of all, I love helping people. This job asks me to do all three every single day.
"Over the last 20 months, our Commonwealth has made historic progress that has changed lives for the better. We have shown an increasingly diverse and dynamic Commonwealth a new vision for this job, how it intersects with Virginians lives, and what can be accomplished when the attorney general prioritizes the law and the people he serves.
"We successfully fought in the courts for marriage equality and made college more affordable for DREAMers. We led the Governor's task force to help Virginia become a national leader on reducing campus sexual violence. We led 22 states in the fight to successfully defend affordable healthcare from yet another cynical, political attack at the Supreme Court. We corrected erroneous legal advice that threatened to shut down clinics and restrict women's access to healthcare services.
"We responded on multiple fronts to the growing crises of heroin and prescription drug abuse, putting drug traffickers behind bars and working with Republicans on a strong, bipartisan legislative response to help save lives. We've enhanced our efforts to put away predators who try to exploit children online, kept dangerous criminals behind bars, and provided critical training to help law enforcement dismantle gangs, prevent and respond to domestic violence, and to help young people stay on the right side of the law.
"We brought the services of the office into communities across Virginia with our first-ever regional outreach coordinators, and hired the Commonwealth's first local jail re-entry coordinator to help ex-offenders turn their lives around. When the Commonwealth was on the verge of shutting down innovative ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, and when Sweet Briar College stood on the edge of collapse, we showed that creativity, collaboration, and communication can still solve difficult problems.
"We took on out-of-state special interests that were attacking our Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan and we won. We helped end a decades-long dispute that finally got tens of millions of dollars in natural gas royalties to Southwest Virginia landowners. We have stood up for Virginia consumers by fighting for lower electric bills and utility rates. We have recovered millions of dollars lost to illegal business practices, and are seeking to hold big Wall Street banks accountable for damaging our state pensions. And we are working to restore the public trust by enacting the Office's first ethics policy and a strict gift ban.
"These milestones would not have been reached without the right team exercising the powers and responsibilities of the Office of Attorney General. That means this hard-won progress is as fragile as the next election.
"Our future progress as a Commonwealth requires an attorney general who is fiercely and fearlessly committed to promoting justice, equality, and opportunity for all Virginians.
"For that reason, I plan to run for re-election as Attorney General.
"Some of the path forward is clear for the Commonwealth, but we'll face challenges in the years ahead that we can't yet imagine. I believe Virginians will again entrust this office to someone who is ready to tackle those challenges, who shares their values, and who fights for them every single day.
"They have that champion in Governor Terry McAuliffe, with whom we have worked hand-in-hand on so many of these initiatives. Virginians will find that champion as well in Ralph Northam - and I will work as hard as I can to help elect him governor. Together, we will keep Virginia moving forward."
Most Americans support a robust private sector. Yet few would argue that we should profit from imprisoning fellow citizens, for example. The implicit conflict-of-interest works against Constitutionally protected freedoms. I do not know how many would want to profit from medical care for the poor. But I hope we are better than that. Some things should never be privatized. I've written in this space before about how far gone is our NC legislature and our governor. They cannot run the state to save their lives, but would have citizens believe they have "saved' North Carolina (from what, no one knows). I've also told you how "Governor" Pat McCrory hired as his Secretary of Health and Human Services, a physician whose only qualification was that she'd made a huge donation to said governor. She dutifully ran HHS into the ditch.
The "launch" of the new HHS computer system resulted in so many errors it defied the imagination. The unfortunate souls depending on Medicaid weren't necessarily the ones who got the paperwork, including their Medicaid cards, in the mail. So many wrong addresses received Medicaid cards you almost had to try to mess up that badly. Yet the vendor was handsomely paid for one of the biggest fails in recent NC history. God save privatization.
Now the GA has decided it wants even more privatization. Indeed, it wants to inject the profit motive into Medicaid services. So having cut Medicaid, cut unemployment insurance by a third, and refused to expand Medicaid, the GA has been discussing one of the worst ideas ever: Allowing profiting from health services for the poorest among us. That's essentially another cut because the monies allocated won't be providing health care, but rather lining white-collar pockets. This is the worst-of-the-worst of Republican bad ideas.
Sure, Donald Trump supporters may be a bit crazier and more extreme than likely Republican voters in general, but according to a new national poll, they're basically all cuckoo.
Trump's beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to
eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29%
grant that President Obama was born in the United States. That's less than the 40% who
think Canadian born Ted Cruz was born in the United States.
Of course, this is the same electorate that has Donald Trump in first place and the even more extreme (if that's possible) Ben Carson in second place nationally. They're also the same folks who don't "believe" (as if science is a matter of "belief") in global warming (66% of these folks don't "believe" in it, even though there's overwhelming scientific evidence, dating back a century or more, in support of it) or evolution (49% don't "believe" in it, even though it's one of the most fundamental, well-supported theories in all of science). And they're the same folks who support "establishing Christianity as the national religion," which of course completely violates one of the most important, underlying values - separation of church and state, tolerance of other religions than the majority one - that make us American. What's amazing is that anyone could make it through K-12 (let alone college!), get hired by a company, or succeed in life in any way with such disordered, bizarre ways of "thinking." But there it is...ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 Republican Party's primary electorate! Gack.
Tonight I attended the debate between Democratic School Board Member Kathy Smith and Republican Tea Party Member John Guevara, candidates for the Sully District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Sitting on the western edge of the county alongside Dulles Airport, with about 130,000 residents, Sully is one of the most rapidly growing and changing parts of the Commonwealth. This race is a chance for Democrats to pick up an open seat in a district currently represented by a Republican, retiring Supervisor Michael Frey -- who also was the debate moderator.
I have to say that I was surprised when the debate turned ugly, thanks to Mr. Guevara's comments (which I will address later). For most of the time things were relatively civil and Guevara came across as a polished candidate who seemed committed to a drama-free event. But I guess he couldn't resist throwing some red meat to his supporters so, as they say, the gloves came off.
Supervisor Frey remarked on the large crowd, which neared 100 people -- quite a feat for an obscure political debate taking place before Labor Day. I doubt that there were many undecided voters in attendance. This appeared to be an exercise in candidates and parties getting their supporters out. Us Democrats had a good crowd, with elected officials and many top party activists in attendance. The Republicans clearly had sounded the alarm for the Tea Party folks to come out.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, September 1. Also check out President Obama addressing the "GLACIER Conference" in Alaska. According to Obama, "the science is stark" on the dire threat of climate change, with the Arctic being the "leading indicator" of what the planet as a whole faces. Which is all true, but is contradicted by allowing drilling for oil in the Arctic. To the contrary, we need to be getting off of fossil fuels ASAP, like yesterday would be nice.
Dorothy left the Governor holding their children's backpacks on the evening before Richmond schools began classes, joining Delegate Dave Toscano (D-57th) at Linda Perriello's home and bringing attention to important initiatives and the women running for the Virginia House who support them. Chaos in the mansion?
Delegate Toscano introduced this Virginia First Lady who continues in the footsteps of her Democratic predecessors in the impressive tradition of competent leadership. The Perriello home was crammed with enthusiastic advocates of effective legislation and good government. Linda Perriello's grandchildren pitched in with the hosting even officially welcoming the First Lady with a bouquet as Linda circulated as best she could in a house almost bursting at the seams. There was also at least one caped Wonder Woman apprentice making an appearance.
Here is the thing about DMac: she takes every opportunity to pursue her personally held and informed rather than politically motivated agenda; one that includes improving the lives of every Virginian. Her rifts are not made of red meat mantras that rile and anger a constituency demanding to be pandered. She genuinely strives to guide her audience to consider solutions for 21st century challenges rather than harkening back to an era that no longer exists and trying to wish away contemporary problems that demand innovative approaches.
Toscano's introduction emphasized her efforts to ensure that every child in Virginia gets a nutritious meal each and every day. And he reminded us that Dorothy has been at the lead in the effort to make Virginia the most veteran friendly state in the Union ever since her husband's first run at elected office in 2009.
Great job by Del. David Toscano, who on Sunday night held a fundraiser with First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe for six female candidates for Virginia House of Delegates. Good luck to every one of these candidates, and please do whatever you can to help them win in November!
From the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV): "This really sums up gun policy in Virginia. Earlier today [Sunday], a peaceful protester (mother of two) on a sidewalk outside the C&E Gun Shows, Inc gun show in Roanoke, Virginia was handcuffed by Virginia State Police. Meanwhile, inside, guys were selling guns to each other through private sales, no background check required, cash and carry. And law enforcement didn't so much as ask them--or their buyers--any questions." Also note the Nazi and Confederate paraphernalia. Lovely, eh? Must be those "good guys with guns" again. Heh.
P.S. CSGV adds a good question: "Whose side are you on, Members of the Virginia General Assembly? We'd love to know."
For a reminder, from the early days of Raising Kaine, about the pathetic record of Jerry Kilgore, check out 25AgainstJerry. The list includes: 1) "The Kilgore campaign has resorted to racial code language and "nativism" repeatedly in this campaign"; 2) "Kilgore recently was subpoenaed in connection with a political eavesdropping scandal"; 5) "Kilgore has also received a significant chunk of change from Kansas-based Koch Industries;" 6) one of Kilgore's big contributors was "Bob J. Perry of Houston, chief financier of the infamous 'Swift Boat Veterans'; 10) "Kilgore was a miserable failure as Attorney General" (e.g., " On his watch, drug arrests fell by nearly half, while forcible rapes increased 10%"); 14) "Kilgore's family is notorious for corruption and brass-knuckle tactics." Sounds like a perfect fit for Scott Walker...ugh.
Like everyone else who pays attention to American politics, I have been thinking a lot about the astonishing rise to political prominence of Donald Trump. What a sad thing it is that our country is in this condition where such a man, saying such things, and acting in such a way, can inspire so many people to rally to his support.
What does it mean?
Recently, George Will -- for whom I do not anymore have the respect that I once had - put his training in the classics to good use in making an apt observation: he equated "Trumpism" with "Caesarism." (Wikipedia defines Caesarism as "a form of political rule that emulates the rule of Roman dictator Julius Caesar over the Roman Republic, in that it is led by a charismatic strongman whose rule is based upon a cult of personality...")
That resonated with me, as it connected with an image that, for weeks, had been arising in my mind in relation to Trump. It's an image of Mussolini standing on the balcony with his hands crossed in front of his chest and his head thrown back in the most arrogant and full-of-himself way. Mussolini was explicitly trying to be the new Caesar in a regime that harkened back to the days of Roman dominance over the world.
(And of course this would-be Caesar willingly made himself part of history's greatest nightmare.)
"Make Rome great again" was a theme of that twentieth century Italian Caesar. And now in America our own embodiment of the ugly force of "Caesarism" is running to be president of the United States under the slogan "Make America great again."
It would be one thing if Trump had a genuine understanding of what American greatness is supposed to be about, and if he presented a picture of what we as a nation need to do to restore that greatness by repairing the damage lately done to our nation.
But Trump's notion of greatness is all about our getting more "victories." It's all about winning. It's all based on a Caesarian lust for power.
Following Donald Trump on the path that he is pointing us down would be not a restoration of what has been really great about America. It would represent, rather, an empowering of the very force that has degraded our once-great nation.
This past Wednesday, Voces Verdes- Latino Leadership in Action hosted a forum in Falls Church entitled, "The Impact of Climate Change on the Health of the Latino Community." Speakers included Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Alexandria/Arlington), Vanessa Cardenas (Latino Outreach Director of World Wildlife Fund), Lisa Garcia (Earthjustice's VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities), Hareth Andrade (DREAMer & Arlington activist). I wasn't able to make the forum, unfortunately, but Del. Lopez (moderator of the forum) was kind enough to forward me his opening and closing remarks, which I include below (after the "flip"). Also check out the tweets (in English and Spanish) and photos courtesy of Voces Verdes Twitter feed. Finally, check out this recent poll, which found that "Latinos have an intense commitment to action on climate change, carbon pollution standards, development of renewable energy sources, and strong policies to clean up our waterways and air."
@VocesVerdes "Me interesa este tema del #cambioclimatico porque tiene que ver con nuestra salud y los trabajos."
@VocesVerdes "Let's make sure that #climatechange is not a soap opera. We don't want a tragic ending. It affects us daily."
@VocesVerdes "Flooding like in #hamptonroads directly affects #jobs & quality of life." - @Lopez4VA #voces4climate #climatechange #cleanenergy
@VocesVerdes "Tenemos que conectar nuestra vida cotidiana con el #medioambiente." -Lisa Garcia, @Earthjustice #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes "Cómo vamos a crear un movimiento tan fuerte como lo de #inmigración?" - Gaston Araoz #voces4climate #virginia
@VocesVerdes "If thousands of #scientists say #climatechange is real, we can't give weight to the oil & gas industry." @Lopez4VA
@VocesVerdes "El impacto que estamos teniendo en el #planeta está impactando más a los pobres." -@vcardenasDC #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes "Cuál es el rol del @Pontifex en este movimiento de #accionclimatica?" - Federico Cura #virginia #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes Quien dijo que no nos importa nuestro medio ambiente!? Estamos aquí y de aquí no nos vamos #AccionClimatica
@VocesVerdes "Tenemos que hablar con nuestras familias. Necesitamos un movimiento fuerte." - Hareth Andrade, Dreamers of #Virginia
@VocesVerdes "We need to call upon our #electedofficials to talk to us about #climatechange. Queremos acción." - @vcardenasDC, @WWF #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes "We have to show that we as #Latinos are united & care about nuestra #madretierra." - Lisa Garcia, @Earthjustice
@VocesVerdes "No hay cuestión que nos importa #inmigración. Es que también nos importa el cuidado del #medioambiente." - Lisa Garcia #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes "#Latinos are more likely to live near polluting facilities."-Lisa Garcia, @Earthjustice #voces4climate #ActOnClimate
@VocesVerdes Our amazing panel today. Lisa Garcia from Earthjustice taking the mic right now en español! #ActOnClimate
@VocesVerdes "Tenemos que cuidar a nuestra creación." -@vcardenasDC #voces4climate #CambioClimatico #accionclimatica #actonclimate
@VocesVerdes Thank you to our panelists for speaking to #Virginia community members about the #CleanPowerPlan! #voces4climate
@VocesVerdes Voces Verdes is so proud of Falls Church's Latinos for the amazing outcome today
@VocesVerdes "El #cambioclimatico es real y nos esta afectando donde vivimos y trabajamos."
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