Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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Mark Warner: “My businesses prospered greatly during the ’90s”


On Squawk Box, Mark Warner talks small business and extending tax cuts to the richest Americans. According to Warner, we should extend the Bush tax cuts to those making less than $250,000 per year, but if we extend the cuts to the richest of the rich, then "we're gonna lose all credibility that we're gonna be willing to take on the deficit." I couldn't agree more.  Also, Warner makes an excellent point about the tax rates that existed during the 1990s, when the U.S. economy boomed:
I don't mind going back to the rates that I paid under Clinton and Bush 1, when I was in business, because frankly, my businesses prospered greatly during the '90s.
Yes, they most certainly did, along with the rest of our economy. Why wouldn't we want to go back to that, especially when we've seen what the Bush/Cheney/Republican Congress policies did to us in the 2000s?

Saturday at the Wise VA free medical-dental fair


I have begun with a photo.  The eight people you see are current (and one recent) staffers for Virginia Democratic US Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb.  They were here in Wise as volunteers, as was Madison Warner, daughter of the Senator.  Senator Warner also was here, with lots of people wanting to get their pictures taken with him.

I saw no one from the offices of any of Virginia's three state-wide elected Republicans.  But no matter.  

I have just returned from a leisurely dinner, where I sat with two former Presidents of the Virginia Dental Association, one of whom is the child of Greek immigrants.  

Tonight's diary will be somewhat different than those of the past two nights.  I request that you keep reading, and perhaps consider either passing this on, or recommending, or both.  I will be happy if you merely read, although I admit to being a bit greedy.

Mark Warner on Wall Street Reform Becoming Law


Nice work by Senator Warner on this one -- yet another major achievement by Democrats and by President Obama!

Virginia Graduates Apply to Senators Webb and Warner for Clean Energy...

Nice job on this one by Repower Virginia!
Virginia Graduates Apply to Senator Webb and Senator Warner for Clean Energy Jobs
Recent Graduates Drop Off Their Resumes to Senators Webb and Warner

Richmond, Va. - A transition to a clean energy economy can create 50,000 jobs in Virginia and current students and recent graduates from schools across Virginia including Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Radford University, College of William & Mary and George Mason University are calling on their Senators to support a clean energy economy creating the jobs young Virginians need.  Today, students from UVA, VT, VCU and W&M submitted their resumes to Senators Warner and Webb for employment consideration in a new clean energy economy.

"As a current student of University of Virginia with a major in Environmental Science, I bring the skills and commitment necessary to thrive in a new clean energy economy," said Kellen Lauer.  "I hope Senator Warner and Senator Webb will consider my resume, and help produce the thousands of jobs businesses all across Virginia are ready and willing to create for graduating students like myself."

Mark Warner and Other Freshmen Call for Energy Efficiency, Price on...

Having spoken to Mark Warner extensively about clean energy and climate issues, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that he "gets it," whether we're talking about the environmental, national security, business opportunity, or economic aspects of the issue.  Also, there's very little question in my mind that, in the end, Warner will vote the right way on clean energy and environmental issues. What I don't necessarily expect is for Warner to be outspoken publicly on these topics. That's why I'm so pleasantly surprised to see Sen. Warner's signature on this superb letter from the "Freshmen Democratic Class" - to Sen. Reid. The key points of the letter:

*The "transition to a clean energy economy...is an economic, national security and environmental priority." Exactly.

*We need a "comprehensive solution that includes making polluters pay through a price on greenhouse gas emissions." Yes!

*Legislation should provide "targeted incentives for investments in energy efficiency throughout the American economy."  As I've said a gazillion times, energy efficiency is, by far and away, the lowest of low-hanging fruits - also the "biggest bang for the buck" - when it comes to energy. For more on this subject, see David Goldstein's book, "Invisible Energy", which explainsthat "efficiency could produce 30 percent of the energy America would otherwise need by 2030," with an "economic stimulus [of]...several trillions of dollars per year." This one is the no-brainer of all no-brainers, frankly.

*We need a "federal renewable electricity standard (RES) that results in a meaningful increase in renewable energy production."  This is good, although the "devil's in the details."  For instance, the RES shouldn't include things that aren't really "renewable energy," and it shouldn't include any form of energy that does more harm than good. That should be obvious, but sometimes it isn't.

*We should invest in "expanded use of rail transportation" as well as "electric vehicles." Combined with a strong RES, this should result in a sharp decrease in oil consumption, carbon emissions, the U.S. trade deficit, and the billions of dollars that currently flow to countries (and non-state actors) that aren't our friends.

Again, thanks to Sen. Warner and the other freshmen Senators for signing this letter. Now, let's get it done!

P.S. It would be great to see Jim Webb signing letters like this one!

Warner Pleased with Financial Reform, Touts Stimulus Dollars


In an interview with WSLS-TV yesterday, Sen. Mark Warner summarized why he was very pleased with the financial reform legislation Congress just passed.

"We've now got a bipartisan bill that puts new rules of the road in place. It's going to end tax payer bailouts, it's going to make sure we've got rules in place so that no institution is too big to fail, it's going to make sure that a consumer that goes to try and get a mortgage or has a credit card has some rules that make sure they don't get into a house they can't pay for, or the credit card company won't jack up your rates without disclosure."

For me, the biggest irony of the vote on the bill was that Bob Corker (R-TN), who helped Warner write the part of the bill that is designed to force "too big to fail" financial institutions in trouble to unwind through bankruptcy, joined most of the "party of no" and voted against a bill he helped draft.

A rival to that in irony was the fact that Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin voted against the bill because of it had too many loopholes. Feingold's refusal forced Harry Reid to seek the vote of Scott Brown (R-MA), allowing Brown to write an additional loophole big enough to drive Goldman-Sach's proprietary trading desk and all the hedge funds in Massachusetts through.

Brown got a watering down of the so-called Volcker Rule. That rule originally would have  prevented large bank holding companies from engaging in proprietary trading - making bets with its own money - as well as investing capital in hedge funds or private-equity funds. Thanks to Brown, the institutions can continue those financial gambles, the sorts of things that helped get us where we are. At least, the bill does limit how much capital a bank can bring to the "gambling table."

On another question he was asked in the WSLS interview, Warner refused to second-guess state government on how to spend the "surplus" created by tricks in budgeting, pushing up sales tax collections, and short-changing Virginia's retirement system. However, he pointed out that Virginia's budget would have been in dire straits without federal stimulus money that filled a massive budget hole, the stimulus money that every Republican from Virginia voted against.

Students Ask Warner and Webb to Act on Climate and Clean...


Here are a couple of pictures from the press conference - sponsored by Repower America and the Alliance for Climate Protection - earlier today in Richmond, where Virginia students and local leaders asked Senators Warner and Webb to stand up for comprehensive, clean energy and climate legislation - not for Big Oil interests.

UPDATE: Here's some video as well.

“Sea of Students” to Urge Warner and Webb to Act on...

This looks like a great event by Repower America and the Alliance for Climate Protection. If you're in Richmond, check it out!
Sea of Students to Urge Senators Warner and Webb to Act on Climate and Clean Energy
Virginia students ask senators to side with the American people instead of Big Oil interests

RICHMOND, Va.  - On Thursday, July 8, Virginia students and local leaders will hold a news conference urging Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb to work quickly to pass a comprehensive climate and clean energy policy this year.  As Congress goes into recess this week, these local representatives will remind Senators Warner and Webb that they have a clear and stark choice to make:  they can stand with Big Oil and delay action on our energy and climate challenges or stand with the American people and work to pass the real reforms our country wants and needs.   They need to make the best choice for Virginia.

In the wake of the Gulf Coast oil disaster, it is clear Americans want a clean energy and climate plan that will reduce pollution, invest in clean energy, create millions of jobs and enhance our national security. More than a year ago, the House took bold leadership in passing comprehensive legislation to put our country back in control of its energy future. Now is the time for our senators to get to work.

WHAT: News conference with students dressed in blue, representing their sea of support for clean energy

WHO: Local students, environment leaders, community leaders
WHEN: Thursday, July 8.  3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Outside of Senator Mark Warner's office
                    919 E. Main St.
                    Richmond  23219

Virginia Environment Report Card


It's not often that I feel a need to thank the Richmond Times-Dispatch for providing information helpful to progressive politics, but here goes: Thanks, Times-Dispatch, for sending Virginia's members of Congress a questionnaire about their views on global climate change. The answers the newspaper got and published allow me (Hey, I am a retired teacher!) to grade our state's congressional delegation's views on global warming and how to mitigate it.

Let's get the F's out of the way first.

D-/F: The entire Republican delegation. At least you can say this about Virginia Republicans: they don't appear to be outright climate change deniers. Other than that, though, they have basically nothing to offer on this issue, voting against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) and everything else that might actually allow the United States to address the problem. They also have no credible program themselves.

The only Democrat who merits a D, albeit a D+, is Glenn Nye (D-2nd). Nye does acknowledge that global warming "is a real and serious problem, and we must work to correct our current energy practice." Then, Nye turns around and opposes any serious measures to solve the problem, first and foremost setting some sort of price on carbon. Nye voted against ACES, which really is inexcusable, given that his coastal district is so vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

There were four congressional members who merit an A+: Bobby Scott (D-3rd), Tom Perriello (D-5th), Jim Moran (D-8th) and Gerry Connolly (D-11th).