Thursday, June 20, 2019
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Loudoun County Republicans Play Dress Up

Yesterday, Not Larry Sabato wrote about a "Loudoun-based hate group" named Public Advocate, an organization chaired by the extremist, homophobic Loudoun County board member, Eugene Delgaudio (far-right "R").  Another active member of this group is Mark Sell, the man with the goatee in the photos below, and the guy who was just elected chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee.  As NLS writes, "Sell is featured on the Public Advocate website here, leading a DC protest.  He is the guy dressed up in a dark blue windbreaker with "Thought Control Police" across the front, with the balding head, glasses, and goatee."

Anyway, I thought it was worth giving the photos of Sell and Delgaudio some more exposure. Sadly, this appears to be what the Loudoun County Republican Committee has come to these days.

P.S. As I wrote here, guess who strongly endorsed Eugene Delgaudio? That's right, the "moderate" (hahahaha) Republican Frank Wolf, who said "No one works harder than Eugene. He is not afraid to make the tough decisions and speak out for what he thinks is right. He deserves re-election this fall. I urge Sterling residents to vote for Eugene on November 4." Does Wolf agree with Delgaudio's views and language with regard to gay and transgendered individuals? How about Delgaudio's belief in "thought police" and other craziness?

Barack Obama Begins To Earn His Nobel Peace Prize

When I heard that Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, my reaction that it was extremely premature. Yes, I thought, Obama might ultimately merit the Nobel Peace Prize, but not after a few weeks as president.  Well, it now looks like Obama is starting to earn that Nobel Peace Prize.
President Obama and Russia President Dmitry Medvedev sealed a new nuclear arms reduction treaty during a phone call this morning, committing the two nations to a significant new reduction of the strategic missiles each side has deployed, U.S. officials announced Friday.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, flanked by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen, announced the agreement to reporters at the White House, calling it an historic step toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Great work by President Obama on the crucial issue of reducing the threat of nuclear weapons and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. I strongly urge the Senate to ratify this treaty.

Bob McDonnell’s “Rampant” Illogic on Anti-Discrimination Laws

So, Bob McDonnell believes that "Virginia does not need to write protections for gays and lesbians into state statute because he has not seen evidence of discrimination in the state workforce." McDonnell adds that "If you're going to have a law, it needs to actually address a real problem."

To illustrate the rampant illogic here, let's apply Bob McDonnell's standard to other areas where the problem isn't "rampant" either.

*Anti-black racism in state government is probably not "rampant," but does that mean we shouldn't have anti-discrimination laws for African Americans?

*Anti-female discrimination in state government is probably not "rampant" either, but again, does that mean we shouldn't outlaw it?

*Arson isn't "rampant," in fact it's very rare, so do we not need laws against it? How about murder? Poaching of bald eagles? Dumping of radioactive materials in the water?

Obviously, all of this is absurd, since nobody would ever seriously argue that we shouldn't have laws against racist discrimination or murder or eagle poaching or whatever. But, it does illustrate the laughable illogic of McDonnell's "rampant" standard.

As to McDonnell's "address a real problem" standard, how is it not a "real problem" if even a few dozen people - or one person, for that matter - are discriminated against in state hiring every year?  It's certainly a "real problem" for the people who were discriminated against, and it's also a "real problem" for Virginia's attractiveness as a place for people to live and work, as well as for businesses to locate.  

Sorry, but the only things "rampant" here are Bob McDonnell's lack of sensitivity and his lack of willingness to move beyond the rigid he was taught by Pat Robertson's professors back in the "thesis" days.

Cenk Uygur, Paul Krugman on Eric Cantor, Right-Wing Victimhood, etc.

The following "Young Turks" video and excerpt from today's Paul Krugman column pretty much sum up my feelings toward Eric Cantor's "bullet through my office window" story. Enjoy.

Now, here's Paul Krugman.

What has been really striking has been the eliminationist rhetoric of the G.O.P., coming not from some radical fringe but from the party's leaders. John Boehner, the House minority leader, declared that the passage of health reform was "Armageddon." The Republican National Committee put out a fund-raising appeal that included a picture of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, surrounded by flames, while the committee's chairman declared that it was time to put Ms. Pelosi on "the firing line." And Sarah Palin put out a map literally putting Democratic lawmakers in the cross hairs of a rifle sight.

All of this goes far beyond politics as usual. Democrats had a lot of harsh things to say about former President George W. Bush - but you'll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials.

Of course, the facts would interfere with right wingers' desperate attempts at false equivalency and victimhood, not to mention the cowardly corporate media's eager embrace of this meme.  So, carry on, cowardly corporate media, you're doing a heckuva job as always!

UPDATE: Cantor's story continues to crumble.

It Can’t Be Unconstitutional If It’s Not A Mandate

As I'm sure you heard, our fine Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, is working hard to defend us against the evils of having to buy health insurance. In fact, Cooch claims, this is not just a bad policy but actually unconstitutional, and he's on a mission to prove it. Now, there are any number of obstacles to this suit making any headway, including the fact that its utterly devoid of any merit.  But minor quibbles aside (heh), let's start at the beginning, with Cooch claiming a "mandate" is unconstitutional. There's only one problem, as Ezra Klein explains: this isn't really a "mandate" at all.
Most people will never notice the mandate, as they get insurance through their employer and that's good enough for the government. But of those who aren't exempt and aren't insured, the choice will be this: Purchase insurance or pay a small fine. In 2016, the first year the fine is fully in place, it will be $695 a year or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher. That makes the mandate progressive.

And what happens if you don't buy insurance and you don't pay the penalty? Well, not much. The law specifically says that no criminal action or liens can be imposed on people who don't pay the fine. If this actually leads to a world in which large numbers of people don't buy insurance and tell the IRS to stuff it, you could see that change. But for now, the penalties are low and the enforcement is non-existent.

That's right, you have the option of buying health insurance or not buying health insurance. And if you don't buy health insurance, what happens to you? Not much, or at worst a "fine" - essentially a fee for being a "free rider" on the system - that you  have essentially chosen to pay in order to not carry health insurance coverage.  That's some onerous "mandate," huh?  No, didn't think so. In fact, it's far more accurate to call this a combination incentive and disincentive to purchase health insurance. But you don't HAVE to. So where's the "mandate" exactly?

By the way, what's so hilarious about the sudden Republican hysteria on the individual (non-)mandate is that they're the ones who came up with this idea in the first place! That's right, back in 1993, Republicans supported the individual mandate "as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time." Even in 2006, Republican Mitt Romney wrote the following in the Wall Street Journal:

Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate...But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.
Today, suddenly, Romney and other Republicans are against THEIR OWN IDEA of an "individual mandate," because that's the politically expedient thing for them to do. But that doesn't mean there's any merit to their argument that it's "unconstitutional."  And that's before we even address the question of whether being given the OPTION of purchasing insurance or paying a fee/fine/whatever is truly a "mandate" at all. I'd argue it isn't, since you don't have to do it (which is what "mandate" means, right?).  

Regardless, there's almost certainly nothing unconstitutional about government requiring people to pay a fee/fine/tax/whatever, unless the courts decide to overturn centuries of legal precedent. Which means that Ken Cuccinelli is simply wasting everyone's time and money on a wild goose chase that will lead nowhere, instead of doing his job - cracking down on predatory lenders, internet predators, gangs, etc., etc.  Gee, aren't you glad you hired the "tough-on-crime" Republican as Attorney General?  

Webb, Warner Vote For Reconciliation Package

Thank you to Jim Webb and Mark Warner, who both voted for the House "reconciliation" bill this afternoon, sending it back to the House of Representatives for final approval. Hopefully, the House will vote early this evening and send the "fixes" package to President Obama for his signature.  With that, the year-long odyssey of health care reform will be finished, and we can move on to other, pressing business - the economy, immigration reform, clean energy/climate legislation, financial reform, etc.

Example #Infinity: When Democrats Vote For Right-Wing Bills, It Kills Their Message

There are so many examples of this phenomenon, it's hard to know where to start. I'm talking about Democrats voting for a right-wing bill, then hoping that nobody remembers (or something) so they can use that same bill as a campaign issue against Republicans.  Recent Virginia examples that leap to mind include: Democrats voting for - and Tim Kaine signing into law - the 2007 "transportation monstrosity" (including "abuser fees" and "regional taxation authorities"), which took that issue off the table for Democrats in the General Assembly elections that fall; Democrats voting for Bob McDonnell's crappy budget this year, then hoping to run against McDonnell's policies next year; Democrats voting for Bob Marshall's crazy anti-"mandate" bill, then attempting to criticize Ken Cuccinelli's constitutional challenge to mandates.

On that latter issue, a classic example came yesterday, as Democrats held a press conference in Richmond to denounced Cuccinelli's anti-"mandate" lawsuit. The two featured speakers were Sen. Donald McEachin and Del. Jennifer McClellan (also a member of the DNC, a "superdelegate," and vice chair of the DPVA). In McEachin's case, that's fine, as he voted against this horrible bill. The problem is with Jennifer McClellan, who - believe it or not - actually voted for the so-called "Health Care Freedom Act," which declares "that a resident of the Commonwealth shall not be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage."  In short, Del. McClellan spoke at the press conference yesterday denouncing HB 10, even though she voted for HB10. I'm confused.

By the way, Jennifer McClellan was not the only Democrat who voted for this horrible piece of legislation. The only reason I'm singling her out is that she was chosen to represent Democrats at a high-profile press conference denouncing that very same legislation. Does that make any sense to anyone? If so, I'd love to hear the explanation.

P.S. I forgot to mention earlier, the VA GOP Caucus posted about this first thing this morning, pointing to the difference on this issue between Jennifer McClellan and her husband, DPVA Executive Director Dave Mills. You see how this undercuts our messaging?

UPDATE: It's worth noting that Del. McClellan voted "no" on this bill multiple times prior to voting "yes" on the Senate substitute.

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