Monday, January 18, 2021
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Virginia Is For…Birthers?

Virginia may be "for lovers" generally speaking, but within the Virginia GOP, it appears to be more for "birthers" than for "lovers" (certainly not gay lovers!). First Cooch, now there's this.
I asked {2nd CD Republican candidate Ben Loyola} point blank if Barack Obama was a natural born United States citizen. His response: "I'm not sure, and that troubles me."
Another "cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs" Republican, I guess that's not a shocker these days. What about the likely 2nd CD Republican nominee, Ken Cuccinelli clone Scott Rigell, does he also doubt that President Obama was born in the United States? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

Scott Surovell: “Harry Byrd Rolls Over”

For anyone who wants to understand how messed up the recently-passed Virginia budget really is, see Del. Scott Surovell's superb analysis at "The Dixie Pig". Here's an excerpt:
Going into this budget cycle, we were faced with a $2.1 billion hole to plug after $7 billion of cuts already if we rejected Governor Kaine's proposal to eliminate car tax relief and increase the state income tax. The budget that the House & Senate just passed on Sunday night was "balanced" by using the following maneuvers.


There are some problems with these methods. The Virginia Retirement System is not our Rainy Day Fund. I do not view "borrowing" monies allocated for retirement as balancing a budget. While it is not technically "debt" borrowed from a third party, it is borrowing from the future. It perverts our state's pay-as-you-go history.


The reality is that Virginia's Budget suffers from significant structural deficits that we did not address this session. Our annual expenses exceed our annual revenue. The FY 2010-2012 hole was plugged with one-time fixes that papered over a problem instead of dealing with it. While I am glad that we fought and lessened the impact today, I am very worried about the future.

Other than that, heckuva job the Virginia General Assembly and by Bob McDonnell!  Not.

Tom Perriello: Senate Health Care Bill Upholds Hyde Amendment

The following statement is from Rep. Tom Perriello and is basically a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on the Senate health care bill in terms of abortion language.  Whaddya think of that, Rep. Stupak? :)
Since the beginning of the debate on health care reform, I have maintained a pledge that I would not support any health care reform bill that includes federal funding for abortion, and I stand by that pledge today. The original House bill language (Capps Amendment) did not meet this standard, and so I opposed that language. I voted for the Stupak Amendment-the only alternative offered at the time-because it ensured no federal funding of abortions, even though it also went beyond the current federal standard (Hyde Amendment) to prevent Americans from purchasing private insurance with their own dollars.

As health care experts and pro-life leaders agree, the abortion language in the Senate bill upholds the Hyde Amendment standard. The Senate health care bill prevents federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, as the Catholic Hospital Association and legal experts have recently stated and as my own research has confirmed.

Furthermore, several key yet unadvertised provisions of the bill are likely to reduce the number of abortions in this country in ways that move beyond politics toward a real impact on the culture of life in our country, such as those that provide $250 million for programs to support vulnerable pregnant women and increase the adoption tax credit, also making it refundable, so that lower income families can access it fully.

I have tended to avoid the labels pro-life and pro-choice-often drawing ire from both sides of this debate-because I believe those labels serve to end debate rather than start us on a path towards solutions. I understand why many pro-choice groups consider the Senate language a major setback, but I made this pledge to the people I represent. Mired as we are in the issue of taxpayer dollars in this debate, we have not been discussing how this bill can reduce abortions. My hope is that, after this debate in the health care bill, lawmakers will come together to support a culture of life in their policy-making, including improving pre- and post-natal care.

I have plenty of serious problems with the Senate bill and, until I see the final language, I cannot take a position on final passage. But the existing language on abortion in the current Senate bill meets the pledge I made to ensure no federal funding for abortion in this health care bill.

“Is the GOP’s Scott Rigell Another Ken Cuccinelli?”

Verrry interesting.
... Scott Rigell, a local auto dealership owner with long ties to the Pat Robertson elements of the Christian Right. Perusing Rigell's campaign website it looks amazingly much like Bob McDonnell's did and even talks about " I WILL SERVE EVERY PART OF OUR COMMUNITY." But on closer inspection, it be comes clear that Scott Rigell will serve you only if you belong to a particular part of the community. And gays clearly have no place in that community. Repeated requests for a clarification of Ridgell's position on ENDA and DADT repeal have gone unanswered. Equally telling, the page on his website dealing with "family values" is something that The Family Foundation might have written (who knows, maybe it did)...
Also, here's Rigell speaking at a Tea Party event (he misspells the word "anniversery" in the title) and basically declaring himself to be a Tea Party candidate. That's fine, but then why is he running as a Republican and why is he pretending to be a moderate and not another Ken Cuccinelli? Quick, someone ask Rigell if he thinks President Obama was born in the United States or whether global warming is real. The answers should be fascinating.

Creigh Offers 10 Free Tickets To JJ Dinner

If you're interested in attending the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond this Saturday night but don't have the cash, click here to win one of 10 free tickets being offered by Creigh Deeds. Good luck!

CNN Anoints Keith Fimian As 11th CD Republican Nominee


CNN: "Connolly is facing a rematch in the fall with Republican Keith Fimian."

Hahahahaha. Uh, CNN? Something tells me Pat Herrity might have something to say about that. :)

P.S. In the CNN transcript, CNN also spells Connolly's name wrong.  Great job by the "mainstream media" once again!

Fimian Rips Herrity, Compares Him To “Barney Frank and Chris Dodd”


Check out the video, starting around 4:10, and watch as Keith Fimian rips into his Republican rival, Pat Herrity. Although Fimian doesn't name him, it's crystal clear who he's talking about - trading off his name, next step up the ladder, etc. Boy, is this 11th CD Republican primary going  to be fun! :)

By the way, I love how Republicans consider "Barney Frank and Chris Dodd" - two smart, effective, progressive Congressmen - to be epithets. Wouldn't it make more sense to compare people you don't like to Eric Can'tor and John BONER?  Heh.

But the point is...the crowd of which I speak -- the insiders, the status quo, the good old boy network - you know, they live off their political connections, they trade off their names. They are opportunistically ambitious, and all they care about is moving up on the next rung of the political ladder. And that is not what we need now, it is dangerous what we have. Look at where we are.  They will tell you they have experience. "I've got experience," you know. Your experience means nothin'! Barney Frank and Chris Dodd have experience! Look at where we are.

Are There Any Good Arguments Against Health Care Reform?

Over the past year, we've "debated" health care reform in this country. The reason I put "debate" in quotes is that much of what we've seen hasn't been so much "debate" as it has been people shouting at each other, putting their hands over their ears and yelling "no," and tossing out straw men and misinformation (aka, "lies") as if they were going out of style.  

Now, with (Democratic) health care reform legislation looking to be on the verge of passage, I was trying to decide if I'd heard anyone make any sensible (Republicans/right-wing) arguments in the past year against it. So far, I'm not doing too well on that score. For instance:

*"Death panels!" There aren't any and never were any. This one is nothing more than tinfoil hat territory and paranoid ranting, not to mention an automatic disqualification of Sarah Palin for President for ever claiming such a thing.

*"Socialized medicine!" To the contrary, what this legislation actually does is expand the market for private insurance. What it doesn't do is let everyone by into Medicare, create a single-payer system (which many on the left want to do), or even create a public option so that people aren't forced to buy private health insurance from companies whose business model is "health care for profit." That model, unfortunately, isn't challenged by current health care reform legislation. If anything, it's entrenched.

*"It will ruin the 'best health care system in the world!'"  Actually, the United States ranks #41 in the world on infant mortality, #46 on life expectancy, 37th in overall performance and 72nd (out of 191) "by overall level of health."  So much for that "argument."

*"The bill is so long!" Yes, health care reform legislation has many pages, but that's because the U.S. health care system is large and complicated more than anything else. Also, it's worth noting that 5 of the 10 longest bills over the last decade were written by Republicans. That includes "No Child Left Behind Act" by none other than John Boehner, who now likes to use health care reform legislation as a combination doorstop/prop. Whatever.

*"They're ramming it through!" Hahahahaha. Sorry, but I just can't help laughing at a claim that an issue that's been debated for decades, including the intensive "debate" of the past year, is being "rammed through." Also, the concept that a bill which has already passed the Senate with 60 votes ("filibuster proof" majority) and the House of Representatives is being "rammed" anywhere. More broadly, this is a case of "elections have consequences," just as Bush's tax cuts for rich people and war against Iraq were the consequences of electing him.  The only difference is that Bush didn't run on invading Iraq, while Democrats clearly ran in 2008 on reforming health care. It's called a "mandate," and it's also called "Democracy."

*"It costs too much!" Of course, the fact is that the current "health care for profit" system costs too much, and also that rates are rising through the roof. Sorry, can't blame this one on government; instead, it's the wonders of the "free market," combined with stupid policies that subsidize junk food and sedentary lifestyles that encourage obesity, that are doing this.  In reality, Democratic health care reform legislation  will reduce the deficit, but admittedly it won't "bend the cost curve" sufficiently.  That's one reason I support a public option, which of course has mainly been opposed by...wait for it...the same Republicans who say this "costs too much!" Nice, huh? The bottom line is that not doing anything about soaring health care expenditures in this country will bankrupt us.  This bill will help, although admittedly not enough. Still, it's a start, which is far more than the "Party of No" has offered.

*"It's unconstitutional for government to force people to buy health insurance!" We'll let the courts fight this out, but for now I'll defer to Stuart Taylor, who writes:

The answers are yes, yes, and that's the point! according to most of the experts who have weighed in on whether the Supreme Court would uphold a mandate for individuals to buy comprehensive health insurance unless they're already covered by employer-based plans. They cite the justices' very broad reading since the New Deal of Congress's powers to regulate interstate commerce and to tax and spend.

So much for that argument, in other words.

Anyway, those are just a few of the "arguments" against health care reform legislation I've heard over the past year. As far as I can determine, none of them hold any water. That, of course, hasn't stopped the Eric Cantors and John Boehners (and Ken Kookinellis) of the world from making the "arguments." Fortunately, we're not "mandated" to listen to these guys.

P.S. There are arguments from the left against the current health care reform legislation, mainly that it doesn't go far enough, that it entrenches the health-care-for-profit system, that it doesn't enact "single payer," that it doesn't give people a "public option," etc. I agree with most of these, but don't believe they're sufficient in the end to oppose passing the current bill.  What we need to do is do this, then improve it down the road, first and foremost by giving people a public option.

DPVA Calls On McDonnell To Rein In “Extreme” Cuccinelli

Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director David Mills writes about Ken Cuccinelli's "apparent comments in support of Virginia pursuing legal challenges to federal laws based on questioning President Obama's birth certificate."
Unlike Republican leaders, Virginians are more concerned with their jobs and their children's schools than with pursuing conspiracy theories and a narrow social agenda. But in the last month, under the leadership of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Governor Bob McDonnell, Virginia is rapidly becoming a national laughingstock.

Attorney General Cuccinelli owes Virginians an explanation for his out-of-whack priorities. While our Commonwealth struggles with a $4.2 billion dollar deficit, the Attorney General has shown that he's willing to use the resources of his taxpayer-funded office to push his own radical agenda. Virginians shouldn't be asked to foot the bill for Ken Cuccinelli's irresponsible behavior and missplaced priorities.

The Attorney General should pledge today not to spend a dime of our tax dollars pursuing ridiculous conspiracy theories about President Obama. We hope Governor McDonnell is making plans to rein in his 2009 ticketmate and protect Virginians' money from being spent on Ken Cuccinelli's extreme political agenda.

UPDATE: Politico reports that Cooch has issued a statement.
I absolutely believe that President Obama was born in the United States. I don't buy into the claims that he wasn't. On the recording, I was asked a hypothetical legal question, and I gave a hypothetical legal answer in response. As I said previously, this issue was not a part of my campaign, and it is not part of what I am doing now as attorney general.
What a bunch of bull, "hypothetical legal answer" my a**.
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