Saturday, October 21, 2017
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The Right-Wing Stole the Court — Liberals Shouldn’t Shut Up About...

The Call to Battle: A major crime has been committed in the United States, in plain sight, and the criminals are getting away with it. The...

More Thoughts in the Wake of This Terrible Loss

I'm still trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings, with so much of the world that I expected to be living in having...

Should President Obama “appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if...

An op/ed column in today's Washington Post, by an attorney named Gregory L. Diskant, proposes a most interesting idea. The essence of the idea...

Senator Warner’s Three Reelection Campaign Themes

It will be interesting to see if the presumptive Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate crosses swords with Virginia's senior Senator over Warner's campaign themes. It is hard to disagree with Warner's concern for student loan debt, the federal deficit, or that Congress is too polarized to compromise.

Those were the essence of his three campaign themes as Mark Warner headed out on a six day sweep across Virginia that began last Friday. Born in a middle class family, educated in public schools, and the first person in his family to graduate from college, Warner is the epitome of the American dream. It was not a direct line to success for him; his first and second businesses failed.

"In America, everybody ought to get a fair shot. It doesn't mean we can guarantee you success. But it does mean that everybody ought to get a fair shot."

Warner wonders if our children and grandchildren will have the same fair shot he had at success. If working hard doesn't mean you can make it, then it will become a very different America. Specifically he wonders if he would have had the courage to fail had he come out of college with the crushing student debt people face when they graduate today.

"Prediction here. Next financial crisis: student debt. $1.1 trillion in student debt. More student debt than there is credit card debt."

For every major piece of legislation he works on, Warner seeks out a Republican partner. One such is with Senator Marco Rubio (FL): "Know before you go." He proposes metrics that will allow potential students (and parents) to measure the value of the education they are seeking so they may be informed consumers. He also believes that debtors ought to be able to refinance student loans to take advantage of fluctuations in interest rates.  

Take the VA GOP Beltway Bandit Twins Quiz!

Cross-posted at Daily Kos
Way back in the distant past -- 2013, to be precise -- Virginia GOP leaders were denouncing Terry McAuliffe as a Washington insider unfit to be governor of a state on the OTHER side of the Potomac.

Today, the Virginia Republican party is proudly touting Washington insider candidates in its two most prominent races: Ed Gillespie for U.S. Senator, and Barbara Comstock for 10th District U.S. Representative -- who shall hereafter be referred to as "the Beltway Bandit Twins."

Do you really know what these two have done while slithering through the rankest political sewers of our nation's capitol?  Now is your chance to test your knowledge.  Identify who -- Gillespie or Comstock -- did which of the following.  Answers (with sources) below the fold, so you can rank your scores.  No peeking!

1) Defended George W. Bush's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: "British Intelligence stands by their assessment that the Iraqis sought to purchase uranium from Niger. That's a fact today, and it was a fact when the President said it 7 months ago."
2) Created committee to defend "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's former aide, after he leaked the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame in an act of retribution.
3) Served as lead investigator for former Congressman Dan Burton's committee, famous for hounding Bill Clinton with conspiracy theories.
4) According to ex-conservative David Brock, "once dropped by my house to watch the rerun of a dreadfully dull Whitewater hearing...screaming over and over again, 'Liars!'"

How to ruin a country: George Allen’s energy and environmental playbook

To more clearly elucidate their mutual views on energy, government regulations, and President Obama's healthcare reform, George Allen and 12 local business leaders met for a morning roundtable discussion Friday in Springfield.  

Without stepping too far out of bounds of his limited political lexicon, George Allen stated that "My thoughts on energy are that it should be affordable, reliable and preferably American." The ironic thing about this comment is that if he were to become Virginia's next U.S. senator and he were to help approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, it's unclear how much of the crude would stay in the U.S.! Oh, and the price of oil would also increase in the U.S.  

What's more, George Allen and his political and business allies clearly have a good time annihilating the environment, at least if it means "more jobs." Last I checked, though, the clean energy sector also exists in the U.S., a sector which also creates "more jobs."  But in the world of George Allen, there are "immediate" sources of energy ready to be sucked up and spewed out into the atmosphere, so why not use them?  

Gov. Kaine’s bid for U.S. Senate, a Must Win for VA...

At a fundraiser for Gov. Tim Kaine in Richmond on February 24, the former governor of Virginia outlined his focus if elected to the U.S. Senate with one word, "talent."

Everything else, according to Gov. Kaine, follows from talent, including economic growth, equality of opportunity, and overall social well-being.

Kaine noted that Virginia or the federal government can attempt to balance the budget until they're blue in the face, but until the U.S's education system focuses more on fostering and using talent effectively, our economy will eventually falter under the weight of too many jobs with too few skilled workers.

On the environment, Gov. Kaine responded honestly that he wouldn't seek out any environmental committees to sit on in the U.S. Senate. He did however say that if and when environmental legislation came up in the Senate, he would vote to protect public health, the environment, and economic growth ( all of which go together). Gov. Kaine explicitly mentioned his support for clean energy!  

George Allen’s Phony Fiscal Prudence Claim

It is not surprising that former Virginia Governor George Allen, campaigning to be the Republican nominee to fill Virginia's Senate seat, currently held by Senator Jim Webb, is making the claim that, while he was Governor of Virginia, he reined in Virginia's budget and reduced the size of its government. He is, after all, a Republican, what else could he say? His words now, however, do not fit his actual deeds then, when he was Governor, according to Politifact, which did its usual meticulous job of analyzing statements by politicians---- what we used to call "fact checking."

Checking the facts when it comes to budget claims means sorting through a welter of figures, not just the actual state budget, but the growth or decline in the economy, as compared with history. To begin with, over-all state spending "increased significantly" during the Allen administration, rising from a budget of $14.7 billion when Allen came into office to a budget of $20.7 billion when he left, a 40.7 percent increase.  Since much of that increase was beyond a governor's control because it came from the non-general fund and was composed of earmarked revenues (like federal highway grants), simply looking at overall spending "may be unfair." Instead, Politifact checked the general fund "which supports public education, health programs and public safety. It's supported by state income and sales taxes." When Allen came into office, the general fund was almost $6.8 billion; when he left, he proposed a $9.9 billion general fund budget beginning 1 July 1998, a 45.6 percent increase.