You probably already saw this morning's Politico story, "Ex-GOP sleuth eyes House seat, Benghazi," that I highlighted in this morning's news clips and which has been getting some buzz today on the "intertubes." If not, though, there are definitely some choice quotes about Comstock worth repeating. First and foremost was Paul Begala - "chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign," author of five books, former co-host of Crossfire, Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, etc. - who unleashed on Comstock for her role in the persecution/prosecution of the Clintons in the late 1990s. The quote that's got the far-right wingnuts frothing at the mouth is the following.
"If she wins, she will no doubt practice the same politics of personal destruction she and her ilk practiced in the Clinton days," said Paul Begala, a former political adviser to Bill Clinton who has assumed the role of Comstock attack dog. The Republican, he said, has a "really almost sick, sort of stalker-like obsession with President Clinton."
Of course, there's no doubt whatsoever to anyone who has followed Comstock's infamous career or knows the first thing about her that she "will no doubt practice the same politics of personal destruction she and her ilk practiced in the Clinton days." Is that even a serious question? The fact is, it's just in her nature (reminds me of the dark joke about the Middle East, in which the scorpion stings the camel to death as it hitches a ride on the camels' back across the Jordan River, condemning both of them to death. When the camel asks why the scorpion did it, the scorpion responds - depending on the version of the joke I've heard - either "it's my nature" or "what did you expect, it's the Middle East!").
Enron was the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history - and Ed Gillespie was their lobbyist. Enron paid Gillespie and his firm $700,000 to lobby for hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and to help them block regulation of the energy markets, so they could raise utility rates on you. When Enron collapsed in scandal, 20,000 employees lost their jobs, their healthcare, and life savings, while top executives were hauled off to prison. Ed Gillespie - the million dollar Washington lobbyist who put Enron ahead of you.
Lovely, eh? As DPVA Executive Director Robert Dempsey puts it: "Virginians deserve to know Enron Ed's history of fighting for special interests at the cost of working families. Virginia simply can't afford Ed's retainer." No, we sure can't afford that. I hope this topic comes up in Saturday's debate at The Greenbrier.
Woodbridge, VA – Prince William County residents and elected officials will join Adam O’Neal, the Republican mayor of Bellhaven, NC, to discuss the importance of expanding Medicaid and closing the coverage gap to families and health care providers. Mayor O’Neal is walking 273 miles from Bellhaven to Washington, DC to highlight the impact of closing the coverage gap on local communities. As in Virginia, conservatives in the North Carolina General Assembly are blocking Medicaid expansion. O'Neal became an outspoken critic of the obstruction when his local hospital closed as a direct result of the lack of expansion.
In Virginia, a hospital in Lee County has already closed and without expansion, hospitals and clinics like the Woodbridge Community Health Center are facing financial pressures that could impact their ability to continue to serve our community. According to The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, over 13,000 Prince William residents could access affordable care if Virginia closes the coverage gap.
WHO: Mayor Adam O’Neal, Delegate Michael Futrell, State Senator George Barker, Virginia New Majority, Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington, ProgressVA, and local community leaders
WHAT: Rally in support of closing the coverage gap and extending quality, affordable health care coverage to up to 400,000 Virginians
WHEN: Saturday, July 26th at 6pm
WHERE: Outside the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, 4379 Ridgewood Center Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22192
In recent years, I've been deeply troubled by an adverse shift in the balance of power between good and evil forces in America. The evidence for that shift is plain to see in the damage that's been done in recent years to so many of the dimensions of American civilization. Clearly, the forces of destruction have gained ground at the expense of those forces that work constructively to improve the nation.
An important factor in this shift is a stark mismatch between the generally fine values of people like many of my rural Virginia neighbors and the goals and practices of the political force to which they give their support.
Most of my neighbors believe in conservative, patriotic, and Christian values. The Republican Party gains their support by claiming to be a champion of those values. But in these times, those claims are false: what today's Republican Party is serving is the very opposite.
Genuine conservatives, like many of my neighbors, understand that traditions are there for a reason, and should be honored and respected. But today's Republican leaders, though claiming to be conservatives, trample America's political traditions. Meanwhile, they misdirect their followers' attention to a few issues of concern, like abortion and gay rights, that have one important characteristic: they don't get in the way of the Republicans' deeper agenda -- transferring wealth and power from average Americans to those who already have the most.
Our country has had an established way, for example, of dealing with the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling has been raised, as needed, more than 80 times without a crisis because both parties know the full faith and credit of the United States is too important to play politics with. But, today's congressional Republicans swept that tradition aside in 2011, as no real conservatives would, to extort concessions to advance their political goals, and in 2013 they tried the same kind of blackmail again.
Interesting forum tonight at Cafe Asia in Arlington on "How to Elect More Women," organized by the Arlington Young Democrats Women's Caucus. Participants included Jennifer Boysko, who ran in 2013 and lost to Del. Tom Rust (R-86th) by just 32 votes out of 21,000 cast; Kathleen Murphy, who ran in 2013 and lost to Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th) by just 422 votes out of 29,544 cast; State Senator Barbara Favola (D-31st); Yasmine Taeb, who was recently a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 48th district; and State Senator Jennifer Wexton, who won a special election to fill the seat of Mark Herring, who had been elected as Attorney General of Virginia in 2013. Here's some video from the event. Note that the acoustics in the room were not the greatest, nor was the microphone used by the speakers, and that (unfortunately) reflected in the quality of the recording.
My bottom line takeaways were: 1) many of the lessons for electing women are applicable to electing ANYONE, male or female; 2) there are both advantages (e.g., more women vote; women are perceived as more likely to be running for the "right reasons" and not just power hungry, etc.) and disadvantages (e.g., weak recruitment and developmemnt of female candidates) for women running for elective office; 3) while the number of women holding elective office in this country is increasing, it's still far lower than women's share of the population, let alone the electorate; and 4) the Democratic Party most definitely needs to up its game when it comes to recruiting, training, and helping elect strong, qualified female candidates.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, July 24. Also, courtesy of Eric Byler and Annabel Park, see the statement of GOP Mayor Adam O'Neal after meeting with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday. Mayor O'Neal is currently making his way across Virginia, en route to Washington, DC, as part of his "14-day, 273-mile march to Washington, DC in support of quality health care."
Our friends at the far-right-wing Middle Resolution PAC are at again, this time spending on TV advertising in Virginia's 38th State District to try and elect Republican Ben Chafin to succeed former State Sen. Phil Puckett (D), who resigned under shady circumstances several weeks ago.
So, Middle Resolution PAC now has a new website, Action Virginia, that's supposed to be a volunteer/training hub. It stresses how control of the State Senate is at stake in the 38th, which is true, Yet, despite spending money in this race, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect Republican state senators over the past six years, they appear to be completely clueless as to how the Virginia State Senate actually works.
Check oiut the screenshots (here and on the "flip"; click to "embiggen") showing two separate claims by the Middle Resolution bozos that Attorney General Herring, not Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, gets the tie-breaking vote in the Senate:
“Virginia's Senate has a 20-20 tie of Democrats and Republicans, with left-leaning Attorney General Mark Herring as the tie-breaking vote.”
“In Richmond, there is a 50/50 split, with left-leaning, job killing Attorney General that now controls that deciding vote.”
Obviously, Article V, Section 14 of Virginia's constitution says otherwise, which is that the Lieutenant Governor gets the tie-breaking vote. Also, it's curious that they call Mark Herring "job killing," as it's pretty hard for the Attorney General to do anything at all regarding jobs in Virginia. Of course, using the phrase "job killing" is utterly mindless for Republicans, doesn't mean anything but apparently "tests" well in their focus groups, direct mail, etc. But it's utterly ridiculous in general, and specifically in this case even more so. Not that THAT would ever stop these folks...
A lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court Fairfax VA in December 2003 seeking injunctions to stop a $4 billion Dulles Corridor rail project. Support for the high stakes suit comes primarily from landowners threatened with higher property taxes to help finance the project which they feel offers them negligible benefits. The rail line is also a major threat to the Dulles Toll Road (VDOT) and the Dulles Greenway (investor-owned) since it would occupy median land that otherwise could be used for road widening with all the tracks and paraphernalia of trains. At the same time the finances of the tollroads are threatened by proposals for siphoning off toll revenues to subsidize the lossmaking trains.
The legal case is being handled by Gil Davis a colorful local lawyer who knows how to gain maximum attention for his cause. Davis achieved fame during the Clinton Administration representing Paula Jones in her successful Supreme Court case against the President.
The Davis law suit is being funded by LOWER (Landowners Opposing Wasteful Expenditures on Rail), led by Patrick Herrity, Chris Walker, Tom Hirst, and Ken Reid, among others.
And you can be sure, like a fly drawn to honey, the same Pat Herrity who filed the lawsuit to stop the Silver Line will be front and center again this coming Saturday, eager to take credit for something he opposed, at ceremonies marking the beginning of the new Metrorail service.
To see Pat Herrity joining his pro-transit Democratic colleagues at the multi-modal terminal dedication was both galling and ironic. Note that this facility will handle bicycles along with buses, personal vehicles, and pedestrians. Why would Herrity - the man who wanted to do away with Fairfax County's bicycle coordinator and who doesn't apparently feel that bike/pedestrian improvement should receive any funding - participate in a ribbon cutting for a facility that promotes bicycling as a transportation mode? Again, because he is a hypocrite. And has a great deal of chutzpah, apparently. All the more reason to call him out for his preening and posturing to the cameras, pretending to be a big fan of stuff that he's consistently fought against and disparaged over the years. The question is, how does someone like this get elected in an increasingly "blue" place like Fairfax County? Whatever the reason, it needs to end in November 2015, the next time he's up for reelection.
P.S. Braddock Supervisor John Cook was at the Wiehle Road multi-modal facility ribbon cutting as well. He's never been big on biking either, for instance saying he doesn't "believe a bicycle is a transportation device." He's also a huge hypocrite and grandstander, possibly rivaling Herrity for his chutzpah. It's very unfortunate he wasn't defeated by Janet Oleszek in 2011 (she lost by around 100 votes, if I remember correctly).
It isn't a formal proposal just yet, but it could move that direction at the September Legislative Advocacy Conference of the Virginia School Board Association (VBSA). Under the radar, school board members are questioning whether the Virginia Constitution allows the legislature to grant tax authority to school districts.
In a number of conversations that began during the McDonnell administration's efforts to strangle the budget in order to boast fiscal austerity and have intensified as the effects have manifest, school board members across the Virginia have floated concepts of revenue generation to meet shortfalls that are starving maintenance and operational funding. Because there is no standard for engineering studies and no requirement to maintain a maintenance reserve, there is no practical measure of unfunded liabilities. In the short run, that masks the accumulating real deficit.
ANTI-CHOICE *National Right to Life Committee - Positions (June 4, 2014) 100%
*Planned Parenthood Action Fund - Positions captured January 9, 2014 (reflect past 6 years' voting record) 0%
*NARAL Pro-Choice America - Positions 0%
ANTI-ANIMALS, ENVIRONMENT *Animal Welfare Institute - Compassion Index 0%
*Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund - Positions 0%
ANTI-LGBT *Human Rights Campaign - Positions on Marriage 0%
*FRC Action - Positions 100% (note: the Family Research Council has been designated as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center)
PRO-CORPORATE-TAKEOVER OF OUR DEMOCRACY *Americans for Prosperity - Positions (Jan. 7, 2014) 100% (note: this is the Koch brothers' group)
ANTI-PUBLIC EDUCATION *National Education Association - Positions 0%
PRO-GUN *Gun Owners of America - Positions 100%
ANTI-IMMIGRANT *Federation for American Immigration Reform - Positions 100% (note: FAIR has been designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center)
ANTI-WORKER *American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) - Positions 0%
ANTI-SANITY *The John Birch Society - Lifetime Score 94%
ANTI-VETERAN *Disabled American Veterans - Positions (Senate only) 0%
ANTI-CIVIL LIBERTIES *American Civil Liberties Union - Positions (captured June 17, 2014) 27%
And a couple more, as if all that's not bad enough:
*Arab American Institute - Positions on Arab-American Issues 6%
*National Journal - Conservative on Foreign Policy 79%
Also check out these Rand Paul quotes, including that the "fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed -- socialism doesn't work" and "if you think you have the right to health care, you are saying basically that I am your slave." What a guy.
At 1:30 AM Thursday I got in my car and drove for about 6 hours through the night to the mountains of Southwest Virginia, which in the daylight are so heart-breakingly beautiful one almost forgets the poverty of so many therein.
I stopped briefly to check in to my hotel in Norton, then drove a few miles more, through Wise to the Wise County Fairgrounds for yet another "mission," this my 5th.
It was the 15th anniversary of the Wise Virginia Health fair, with dental services provided by the Missions of Mercy of the Virginia Dental Association's foundation and everything else provided by Remote Area Medical, founded by Stan Brock.
Officially the event began on Friday, but first we had to unload these two trucks and set up. We had many students from the School of Dentistry at VCU, as well as from other colleges and universities. I will talk some more about the students for whom this too was a sacred obligation, as it was for so many - of course the dentists volunteering under what became extremely difficult circumstances, and general volunteers, like yours truly.
The following is from the Suzanne Patrick for Congress campaign. My question: what's Rigell afraid of exactly? His pathetic record of obstructionism, perhaps?
Rigell unwilling to answer for his record of voting against Hampton Roads’ Residents
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – One week has gone by since Suzanne Patrick formally challenged Congressman Scott Rigell to a series of debates to inform residents of the district about where the two candidates stand on the issues that matter – and Congressman Rigell is still ducking Patrick’s challenge and unwilling to answer for his record of dysfunctional Washington politics.
“It is disappointing that Congressman Rigell doesn’t see the importance of a conversation about the future of our country. The residents of the Second Congressional District should have a clear opportunity to learn where both of us stand on the issues that matter,” said Suzanne Patrick. “Congressman Rigell has repeatedly said one thing in Hampton Roads and done the opposite in Washington; he has failed his constituents by voting for the sequester and government shutdown, as well as voting against a minimum wage increase. Congressman Rigell is contributing to the dysfunction in Washington – and by refusing to explain his actions to his constituents, Congressman Rigell is once again sidestepping his responsibility.”
The proposed series of debates included specific topics relevant to the Second Congressional District, including:
I just talked to Don, he seems like he'll be a strong candidate against "Sideshow Bob." As for Atif Qarni, who ran against "Sideshow" the last time, stay tuned for some interesting news... :)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: 571-248-1322, email@example.com
July 22, 2014
Don Shaw Announces Campaign for Virginia House of Delegates
Gainesville, VA - Today, Don Shaw announced his candidacy for the 13th House of Delegates District seat. The district covers portions of the Brentsville, Coles, Gainesville, and Occoquan Magisterial Districts in Prince William County as well as all of Manassas Park City. The race will take place in November 2015.
"After having given the situation a lot of thought," Shaw said, "I have decided I can make a greater impact in Richmond by working to advance responsible economic legislation and mainstream social policies in the General Assembly. I look forward to serving the constituents of the 13th House District."
Good news from Virginia Attorney General Herring's office, partially counteracting the outrageously a wrong/absurd decision by the right-wing judicial activists on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals this morning. Fortunately, the DC Circuit Court decision was so absurdly wrong that it will almost certainly be overturned by the full court ("en banc") and/or by the Supreme Court. Still, it's frightening how a bunch of radical, right-wing, "Federalist Society" judges have screwed up the federal judiciary so badly. THIS is a classic example why elections matter, and why we need to keep electing Democrats to the White House, Senate, etc. for the foreseeable future...
~ Virginia filed an amicus brief and presented oral argument supporting 177,000 Virginians who have already received financial assistance on exchanges ~
Richmond--Today, in unanimously affirming the lower court's decision in King v. Sebelius, now King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Attorney General Mark R. Herring's position that Virginians are eligible for financial assistance to help them afford insurance purchased through the federally-operated exchange. Because of this ruling, at least 177,000 Virginians will keep an annual average of $3,048 in financial assistance they are already receiving. Attorney General Herring filed an amicus brief in the case and Virginia delivered oral argument defending the right of low- and moderate-income Virginians to access thousands of dollars in assistance to make healthcare coverage more affordable.
"If our tax dollars are helping working families afford healthcare then I will fight to make sure that working families in Virginia have equal access to that assistance," said Attorney General Herring. "Today's ruling is welcome news for 177,000 Virginians who have already purchased a plan and received financial assistance, and for those who may purchase healthcare through the exchange in the future. I'm glad the Fourth Circuit was not convinced by the specious arguments of the plaintiffs, which were based on strident opposition to anything related to the Affordable Care Act."
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