Video: Webb and Warner Speak at Pro-Coal Industry Rally

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Needless to say, I'm not happy with this. First off, I'm not happy that Senators Webb and Warner -- both of whom I've spent a lot of time and effort the past few years defending, fighting for, trying to get elected, etc. -- were even speaking at this rally in the first place. Ostensibly, of course, it was defensible as being "pro-coal miner." If that were true, I'd be all for it. But the reality is that this rally was organized by the coal industry groups (astroturf and otherwise), including the West Virginia Coal Association, Citizens for Coal, the Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal). These are the same companies, by the way, that have systematically been destroying coal mine jobs by replacing them with capital-intensive (e.g., not labor-intensive) mining and processing techniques like "mountaintop removal." Well, it's also "coal miner removal," but let's not pay any attention to that, I guess. As an example of how heinous these groups are, we have the West Virginia Coal Association claiming that mountaintop removal mining has "actually helped improve habitat for wildlife in Appalachia." Uh, no. We also have them saying things like, "Our professional coal miners face daily attacks on the issues of mountaintop mining, on cap-and-trade legislation and the non-consensus 'science' of global warming." The "non-consensus 'science' of global warming?" Try, reams of evidence and "overwhelming consensus of climate scientists." Of course, the coal industry groups have a strong economic interest in denying global warming, but still...ugh. Then we have the head of Citizens for Coal, Roger Horton, on the Diane Rehm Show, appearing to dismiss charges that people have been threatened for opposing mountaintop removal mining. Wow. As for "FACES of Coal," that's a fake grassroots ("astroturf") campaign that spreads pro-coal-industry propaganda and bashes the EPA (see here, for instance). Also, see Rachel Maddow for more on "FACES of Coal." Given all this, the bottom line question is, why on earth would Jim Webb -- who wrote in Born Fighting about the coal companies' "rape" of Appalachia, and their leaving that region an "economic basketcase" -- possibly appear at an event like this? And why would Mark Warner, who I know from private conversations "gets it" on energy and environmental issues, attend and say the ridiculous things he said this morning? I know that Webb and Warner are politicians, and I know that Virginia has coal mining interests (although a miniscule percentage of the state's population, work force, or economy), but it's still extremely disappointing to hear stuff like the following. First, Jim Webb, who talks about America as the "Saudi Arabia of coal," who declares that "we are not going to let EPA regulate coal out of business," who says that "we need to get our support behind the Rockefeller amendment" (to gut EPA enforcement powers), etc.? What ever happened to the man who wrote in "Born Fighting": "The Man got his coal, and the profits it brought when he shipped it out. They got their wages, black lung, and the desecration of their land." I thought Webb said that he wouldn't change when he got to Washington, DC? Hmmmm. Meanwhile, we had Mark Warner this morning implying that increased coal production will get us off of foreign oil. That, of course, is completely wrong. The fact is that oil and coal are not "substitutables" and won't be for many, may years to come (until the transportation sector converts to electric power). Right now, almost no oil is used to generate electricity in America, so how would increased coal production help us break our addiction to foreign oil? That's utter nonsense, and I can't believe Mark Warner is saying it. As for "coal being a big piece" of our future, how does Mark Warner reconcile this with mountaintop removal and global warming? And no, it's not "carbon capture and sequestration," because we know that's decades away at best. Most egregious, perhaps, was when Warner declared, "Nobody should be making the rules that hasn't been underground." Is that supposed to be a really bad joke? Is Mark Warner seriously suggesting that our national policy towards coal should be set exclusively by the coal industry, not by scientists and others who can see the big picture and don't have a vested financial interest in the outcome? If that's what Warner believes, it's deeply disturbing, not just on this issue per se, but also on the corporate sellout/takeover of our government more broadly. Last but not least,. what's with this "we outta have this driven by the market not by government policy" pabulum? The "MARKET?" Hahahahahahaha. As if there weren't massive market distortions and subsidies by the billions to fossil fuels, ignoring clean water act rules, allowing the demolition of Appalachia (in Born Fighting, Webb called it a "rape," and he was absolutely right). Look, I know you've gotta do stuff in politics, and I know that the country's gone teabagger crazy and all, but Warner's (and Webb's) appearance and speech at this rally today were extremely difficult to swallow. I mean, just because a portion of the country's going stark raving mad, does that mean we can't have Democrats who stand up for what's right, who speak the truth, who don't use right-wingnut framing and talking points, who don't sell out to corporate polluters, and who fight back against the insanity? Ugh, so frustrating. And they wonder why there's an "enthusiasm gap?!?"

Republicans Block Democratic Tax Cuts for 97% of Americans

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let's get this "renew the Bush tax cuts" story straight. First of all, at this point they're the "Bush taxincreases." Remember, it was a Republican Congress and a Republican President who passed and signed a law that raised taxes (e.g., let the 2001 tax cuts expire) on January 1, 2011. That's the default, business-as-usual case, thanks to Republicans. Which means that, unless a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President act by the end of this year, we will all be seeing our taxes go up next year. Again, if that happens, if taxes increase on January 1, 2011, it will be courtesy of the Republicans, who wrote the law that way.Second, to the extent that the Republican tax increase is postponed or rescinded, that will be the result of a Democratic Congress and Democratic President doing so.  That's right, Democrats would be cutting taxes, as they already did big time (and with almost no Republican support) in the "stimulus" ($237 billion in tax cuts to individuals, $51 billion in tax cuts for companies) last year.
Third, as for the BONE-r/Can'tor/McConnell Republicans, they're apparently willing to let taxes increase for all of us in order to give millionaires and billionaires an undeserved, largely-unasked-for, tax windfall.
Fourth, let's get real here: given our current deficit and national debt, we can't afford any of these tax cuts. In fact, "the CBO projects that a full extension of the Bush tax cuts, plus a permanent fix to the Alternative minimum tax, will cost $3.7 trillion over 10 years, not including debt service costs." Also, "The Joint Committee on Tax estimated in a March 2010 report...that the cost of extending just those cuts that affect people making less than $250,000 and permanently fixing the alternative minimum tax will cost $3 trillion. The difference-a bit less than $700 billion-is the cost of extending just those cuts for the wealthy."
Fifth, there's a case to be made that, even though we can't afford any of these tax cuts in the long haul, we need to continue them in the short haul because of the recession. I'm definitely open to that argument, although eventually taxes are going to have to go up (and health care costs gotten under control) if we're ever going to tackle our severe, long-term structural deficits.
Finally, however, the concept that the wealthiest (e.g., top 2% or 3%) of Americans (where you draw the line, exactly, is debatable, but $250,000 seems reasonable) need a tax cut right now is questionable at best. Which makes the Republicans' willingness to raise taxes on everyone else (the other 97%-98%) in order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires even more egregious than it already is.  Oh, and forget the Republicans' supposed commitment to "fiscal conservatism," as these tax cuts - for the rich ($700 billion over 10 years) or the middle class ($2 trillion over 10 years) are both completely unpaid for and unaffordable.

Arlington Sun Gazette Stoops to Homophobic Joke (?)

Over at the right-wing real estate rag known as the Arlington Sun Gazette, editor Scott McCaffrey has added a bit of variety to his usual assaults on liberals, the "loopy left" the "environmentalist left," the "blogging crowd," Democrats, anyone who criticizes him, real newspapers (e.g., the Falls Church News-Press), etc. Now, he's stooped to a homophobic joke - presuming this is a joke - and an extremely juvenile one at that (think 7th grade)!
Well, ha ha ha and hardy har har, the thought of Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran sleeping together, isn't that funny? Wait, you didn't think this was funny? Maybe that's because this wasn't really meant as a joke, that perhaps Arlington Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey really fears that Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran might become homosexual lovers, and is horrified at the prospect? Yeah, it's completely nuts, but sadly, it's also just another day in Sun Gazette la-la land.
P.S. This is the same right wingnut who denies global warming, who endorsed Felix Macacawitz over Jim Webb for Senate in 2006, who also endorsed Bob McDonnell over Creigh Deeds in 2009, who also endorsed Bill Bolling over Jody Wagner in 2009, etc., etc.
But at least he seems to love Ward Armstrong (for his "moderate positions and leadership [that] makes the left-wing blogosphere types crazy", and also because his "politics are in the Creigh Deeds mode, a style that didn't help Democrats in 2009, but may be more effective come the next statewide race."). My god. {UPDATE: Actually, Creigh Deeds is a flaming liberal compared to Ward Armstrong, who is truly a "DINO"}
P.S. If you want to read a real newspaper about Arlington, click here. Also, definitely check out the superb Falls Church News-

Cooch: "I have been under constant attack from left wing bloggers..."

Friday, September 10, 2010

The following is the latest Cuccinsanity from our most excellent Attorney General. A few comments. 1) What's a "Jourolista?" Maybe he means "Journalista", a "daily news blog about the comics industry?" (sarcastic LOL) That seems more appropriate. 2) Does Cooch realize that the "individual mandate" was first proposed by Republicans, includingGeorge HW Bush, as a way to "encourage and empower" individuals? My, how times have changed. 3) Is Cooch on the edge of sanity or what? Does he really believe that getting rid of preexisting conditions and the "donut hole" constitutes "federal tyranny?" If so, he's completely bonkers (and a fanatic), but whatever, we knew that already. 4) Yes, we'd love to bring him down. Personally, I think Cooch richly deserves to be impeached.  With that, enjoy!
Dear Friend,Today marks 39 days until October 18th - the day the summary judgment hearing will be held in the healthcare case.  These 39 days mark the buildup to one of the most important court cases this decade.
Make no mistake: so far, Virginia is winning.
It is no coincidence that I have been under constant attack from left wing bloggers, "Jouro-listas," and pundits from across the country.
From Rachael Maddow to Keith Olbermann, liberal activists who daylight as 'political commentators' have spent hours of TV time attempting to demonize my efforts to restore constitutional principles to government.  Not too long ago, Olbermann even made me his "worster person of the week," ... what an honor.
But the attacks are only going to get worse.
Virginia has a real shot at overturning the individual mandate, and the healthcare bill with it.  If we accomplish this it will be one of the most significant setbacks to the anti-freedom agenda in my lifetime.  

The Washington Times agrees - and after the decision was announced August 2nd, here's what they had to say: "On one side lies federal tyranny. On the other side is freedom. Yesterday, federal district Judge Henry E. Hudson favored freedom by keeping alive Virginia's suit to invalidate the law that created Obamacare." That's putting it simply!                      The Washington Times concluded by saying, "Ultimately, it is the people's own individual sovereignty that is threatened by Obamacare. It's that sovereignty that Mr. Cuccinelli is defending against federal tyranny."
Well, I'm honored by those words - but the reality is, we need help in spreading that message.  And that's where you come in.
As a supporter who has been with me since day one in this fight - I need you to take one step further in supporting my efforts.
Will you help me stand against these negative attacks by making your most generous contribution today?
Your funds will go right to the frontlines to battle against the attacks that are already being hurled my way.  We need support from donors across the country if we are to fight this battle head on and come out victorious.
So, will you join with me today?  If so... PLEASE click here to make a contribution to my campaign today.
With your help, I'll be able to fight back against the left's attacks and 'live to fight another day' as I continue to take the fight to the federal government - until liberty, as it was understood by our Founding Fathers, is restored.
For America and for liberty,
Ken Cuccinelli, II
Attorney General of Virginia
P.S. This fight to push back against unconstitutional encroachments by the federal government, like the individual mandate, is an uphill battle - and the (so-called) main stream media and left-wing activists are out to take me down. I need your help today by clicking HERE to make your most generous contribution today.

DCCC Abandoning Tom Perriello?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

If true, this truly sucks.
"We are going to have to win these races one by one," said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, conceding that the party would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground.With the midterm campaign entering its final two months, Democrats acknowledged that several races could quickly move out of their reach, including re-election bids by Representatives Betsy Markey of Colorado, Tom Perriello of Virginia, Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio and Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland, whose districts were among the 55 Democrats won from Republicans in the last two election cycles.
What's so frustrating here is that all of these Democrats - Markey, Perriello, Kilroy, Kratovil - voted "yes" on theAmerican Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), and two - Perriello and Kilroy - voted "yes" on the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Yet these are the candidates the DCCC is talking about ditching? Lame.So, a few questions for the DCCC: 1) Are the polls on these representatives' races really worse than those for Glenn Nye and other supposed "Democrats" who voted "nay" on both ACES and health care reform?; 2) More broadly, shouldn't you be rewarding Democrats who took tough/courageous votes for Democratic Party priorities and not rewarding those who decided, as Monty Python might say, to "run away!?!"; 3) Should you really be spending the money that we give you on candidates who go around bashing their own party, its ideals, and its leadership?
Yes, I understand that this is politics, and that it can be ruthlessly Machiavellian. But seriously, DCCC, do you really expect activists to give you money and support when you do @#$@ like this? Just sayin'.
UPDATE: The DCCC has issued a statement (see after the "flip"), essentially denying the New York Times story. I guess time will tell...
UPDATE #2Paul Goldman weighs in with some interesting thoughts on all this.

The Temper Tantrum Election

Friday, September 3, 2010

by Teddy Goodson

Eugene Robinson nails it in his opinion piece in today's (3 Sept 2010) Washington Post when the headline says "We're spoiled brats, and we vote." He acknowledges that every poll and pundit worth his salt is predicting a Republican wave in  November, a wave which many see as flipping the House to Republican rule, and installing the tanned Mr. Boehner as Speaker, all based on a gain of 45-60 House seats by the GOP. Robinson's reaction? Wait a minute.Mr. Robinson's take: This is one screwed up election.  True, Democratic favorability ratings at 33 percent have tanked, and "voters appear to be fed up with Democrats," yet voters are even more disenchanted with the Republican Party, whose favorability is just 22 percent, or way below that of Democrats. Yet the polls show voters choosing Republicans, whom they despise, over Democrats whom they despise less? Now, how could that be, illogical as it is?  Robinson says this election is not a Republican wave, "it's a temper tantrum."  
Teddy Goodson :: The Temper Tantrum Election
"The refusal of Americans to look seriously at the nation's situation---- and its prospects---- is an equal opportunity scourge," because, Robinson explains, "the nation demands the impossible: quick, painless solutions to long-term, structural problems."  Precisely. We have instant coffee, instant everything, and we expect instant answers to knotty problems which have no quick, fun solutions, wrapped and done in 60 minutes (minus commercials)---- that sentence is me talking, although Eugene is more gracious than that. He says politicians running for office, including Barack Obama, encourage the quick solution of "magical thinking," but "when they get to office, they're forced to try to explain that things aren't so simple."  In other words, re-structuring our economy, renewing the infrastructure, reforming entitlements, "redefining America's position in the world," and so on endlessly, all require long-term solutions that take a long time to implement.When he blames Obama for not framing the hard work required as "a national crusade that will require a degree of sacrifice from every one of us," I am in complete agreement. From the way Obama handled the health care reform bill through Wall Street financial reform and even the Iraq and Afghanistan policies, it has been my contention that Obama has shown a surprising lack of political leadership.  He had a perfect opportunity to rally the nation to pull together in surmounting the Recession, and in tackling the many fractures and fault-lines in not just our economy but our social and political system, fault lines which brought on the crash and recession.
Instead, it is my contention that President Obama's refusal to lead let the Republicans frame the issues and define him, and the magnificent opportunity slipped away forever. When that opportunity evaporated, the frustration and fear to which he could have given a noble purpose went over to the extremist Republicans, and what could have been used as positive energy in a progressive crusade was diverted into the Tea Party and the channels of reactionary hate, combined with a mis-directed libertarianism mingled oddly with authoritarianism, all of it funded by corporotists, that is, by business interests who are mortal enemies of Obama and progressives.
Eugene Robinson makes it quite clear that Americans don't want to hear about the hard solutions, in which he includes laying foundations for a 21st century economy, weaning us off fossil fuels, building and maintaining infrastructure to support the new economy, fixing Social Security, improving schools, developing a reasonable immigration policy, and requiring sacrifices from all of us, including the rich (who must pay more taxes).  We are, in other words, impatient, we want "quick and easy solutions that won't hurt a bit." Therefore, don't blame politicians for peddling snake oil, they are only "offering what the public wants to buy."
Democracy, as we know, is the worst form of government, until you consider all the others. It is also the only system which requires of its participants that they act like adults. This is a test.

Here Comes Hurricane Earl

Thursday, September 2, 2010

For more information on Hurricane Earl, check out the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service websites.

Rick Boucher Ad Defines "Non Sequitur"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

According to Merriam Webster, "non sequitur" can be defined as "a statement (as a response) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly related to anything previously said." Well, Merriam Webster's got nothing on Rick Boucher, who provides a perfect, video definition of "non sequitur" in this ad. So, let's get this straight: Rick Boucher has Southwest Virginia values, and "that's why he voted against the health care law" and is "a leader in the bipartisan effort to balance the budget." There's just one problem with that reasoning, namely that the health care law and increased federal spending both disproportionately help relatively low-income, net-recipient-of-federal-money areas like Southwest Virginia. Also, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates, Southwest Virginia has among the highest unemployment rates (11.3% in Radford City, 11.6% in Smyth County, 11.4% in Grayson County, 11.2% in Patrick County, etc.) in the Commonwealth. How would cutting back on federal spending or making it harder for people to get health care coverage improve conditions in this region? It wouldn't; hence, the non sequitur.