Video: "We Don't Want Your Pipeline" By Robin and Linda Williams

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Great stuff, love it! And no, Dominion, we do NOT want your destructive, dangerous pipeline. Thanks to Robin and Linda Williams for this song, which I'll now be hummning the rest of the day. :)P.S. Extra credit reading material for Gov. McAuliffe: Nation rushes to embrace natural gas and fracking despite risks to environment

Is Jim Webb Really "Antiwar?"

Monday, September 29, 2014

This morning's Washington Post had a curious article, entitled "Jim Webb, former senator from Va., takes on his party's hawks. And maybe Clinton." I say "curious" because it made the point-blank, matter-of-fact (as if it's glaringly obvious) statement that Jim Webb is "antiwar," even an "aggressive, antiwar populist."  But is there any actual, ya know, evidence that Webb is "antiwar" in a general sense, as opposed to being against specific wars fought at specific times in specific ways, while also being FOR other wars fought at other times in other ways?The Post article, written by former National Review reporter Robert Costa, doesn't get into that -- it simply states it as a matter of fact, point blank, that Jim Webb is "antiwar." But is he? Let's look at a few data points from his record. But first let me just make absolutely clear what my point is here: the following is NOT meant as criticism of Jim Webb, but of the Washington Post article (and the media more broadly) for wildly oversimplifying this complex, strategically thoughtful and highly knowledgeable (certainly on foreign policy and national security matters) man's views, and by shoehorning the whole thing into an inane, wildly oversimplified, political narrative about the supposed "hawk" Hillary Clinton being challenged by the supposed "antiwar" Jim Webb. It's just lame on all levels. With that, here are some of Webb's actual views on this subject.
Vietnam: In March 2007, Jim Webb gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he asserted:
I may be one of the few people in the Congress who still strongly supports the Vietnam War. I believe that the logic for the Vietnam War was sustainable, and I believe that the American people, in spite of the way we look back at Vietnam, also agreed that the political logic for Vietnam was sustainable, even though the way that we fought the war was not sustainable.
That's right, Webb strongly supported the Vietnam War then, and he strongly supports it in hindsight. And why didn't we fight that war in a "sustainable" way, one that might have led to victory? In Webb's view, part of the problem was the "anti-war left."
lowkell :: Is Jim Webb Really "Antiwar?"
The Anti-War Left: Hoping for a Communist Victory...The people who directed the antiwar movement did not care whether McNamara had a workable strategy, or whether it could have been adapted to circumstances. They did not care whether Nixon's Vietnamization program might have worked. They did not care whether the South Vietnamese should have been given an adequate chance to adjust their strategy after the American withdrawal. And they did not care whether the communists signed a pledge guaranteeing free elections and a peaceful reunification of the country. Quite simply, they wanted the communists to win...only by comprehending that the antiwar movement's dilatory effect was Hanoi's greatest ace in the hole can we understand why the communists had few reasons ever to compromise at the negotiating table.
Now there's a problem if Webb really does want to run as the "antiwar" candidate -- his strongly negative views, stated many times, about the anti-Vietnam-War movement in the 1960s and early 1970s. We'll see how that goes over in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa...Iraq: But wait, you say, that was all a loooong time ago, right? What about more recent events, and what about Webb's views in more recent years? Let's cut right to the chase -- the Iraq War -- which Webb opposed. Except that Webb didn't oppose the Iraq War because he was/is morally or otherwise broadly "antiwar." Instead, Webb opposed that specific war at that specific time in that specific way, because he strongly believed it was a strategic error at that time and in that way.
"I am not against fighting when fighting is necessary," Webb told Inside the Navy during a sit-down interview last month. "What I am for is making sure you are fighting the right war.""If you dump a huge percentage of your resources into the Iraqi situation, you lose your capability of being maneuverable around the world to deal with other situations. And I am certainly not alone in saying that," he said.
"The problem is that the people that want this war with Iraq have tried to create an inference that if you don't support the war against Iraq, you are anti-war," he told ITN. "It's dishonest on their part, and they know it. They are trying to stifle a debate."
So, bottom line: Webb is not against fighting when necessary, as long as the war is waged in the "right way." Which is, by the way, fine with me; I agree with Webb that we should employ military force when necessary, as long as it's consistent with (and important if not crucial to) our national interests, makes sense strategically, brings the necessary resources to bear, is planned and fought competently, has an "exit strategy," etc.Iran: Part of the reason Webb opposed the Iraq war was that removing a strong Iraq would end up "empowering Iran." Which, in Webb's view, would not be a good thing, given his deep suspicions about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Second, Israel. It stands to lose greatly through the strategic axis China is developing with the Muslim world. The first foreign official to visit Pakistan after its detonation of nuclear devices was Iran's Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, who proclaimed that "Muslims now feel more confident that Pakistan's nuclear capability would play a role of deterrence to Israel's." Though he later played down this statement, the world must consider it in the context of Iran's attempt to develop nuclear weapons of its own also with Chinese - and Russian,-assistance.The United States and Israel must keep the rest of the world focused on this, and should not rule out pre-emptive military strikes if there is evidence that Iran is building a weapon.
Again, whatever you think of Iran's nuclear weapons program (and I find it deeply troubling), does leaving open a preemptive military option against it sound like a blanket, anti-war worldview to you? Nope, didn't think so.Libya: Webb was highly skeptical of the 2011 military operation in Libya which ended up toppling Muammar Qaddafi from power. The reason, though, wasn't because he's "antiwar." Instead, consistent with his thinking on national security matters, Webb felt the Libya case lacked: a) a "clear statement of foreign policy" to accompany the military operation; b) "a picture of who the opposition movement really is;" and c) the American people and Congress hadn't really debated it. All of which are valid points, even though none of them really applied in the Vietnam War (which Webb supported then and now). But regardless, it's not what a principled "antiwar" person would have focused on, which is that war is always - or nearly always - wrong, immoral, stupid, etc. That's not what Webb was saying here at all.
China: Jim Webb has warned about the rise of China for many years now. In 1996, for instance, he warned:
The bases in Subic are gone, with no visible movement to replace them elsewhere. Our bases in Japan and Okinawa are in jeopardy. The Korean peninsula is a tinderbox, even on the verge of war. China is mocking American power as it builds its economy with the help of American business and at the same time develops a strategic axis with the Muslim world, intimidates its neighbors, proliferates nuclear weapons, and aggressively grows its own fleet. Libya is building a massive poison gas facility. Pakistan and Iran are increasing their military and even nuclear aspirations, bidding to become major powers.
These events are occurring against a backdrop where the fleet is moving toward 300 ships, one-third the size of the Navy when I was commissioned, and half of the nearly 600 we were able to rebuild it to during the Reagan era. Not surprisingly, over the past seven years our national presence in Pacific Asia has become ever more tenuous."
Of course, 1996 was a while ago. How about more recently? Well, in 2012, Webb continued to sound the alarm about China: "History teaches us that when unilateral acts of aggression go unanswered, the bad news never gets better with age." Webb added that "all of East Asia is watching what the U.S. will do about Chinese actions in the South China Sea," that countries in the region "know a test when they see one," and that they "are waiting to see whether America will live up to its uncomfortable but necessary role as the true guarantor of stability in East Asia, or whether the region will again be dominated by belligerence and intimidation." Now, Webb's certainly not calling for war here. On the other hand, he's certainly not backing down from a possible fight, or from a strong naval presence, or for an assertive-if-not-aggressive U.S. policy in the region. We can debate whether or not we agree with that or not, obviously. But what I don't think is debatable is whether Webb's some sort of pacifist or "antiwar" person in a general sense. That's clearly not the case.The bottom line of all this? Clearly, Webb is "not against fighting when fighting is necessary," but sensibly is for "making sure you are fighting the right war." Also highly sensible is Webb's view that "[t]he question is where you draw your national priorities and how that plays out." Seems pretty obvious, unless you're absolutely against the use of military force in all (or the vast majority of) cases -- views Webb obviously does not share. One thing's for sure, though: none of this conforms with the Washington Post article's oversimplified characterization/forced narrative of Webb as the "antiwar" candidate (vs. Hillary Clinton as the "hawk" candidate, presumably?) in a potential Democratic primary contest for president in 2016.

Actually, Frank Wolf Has Been Hard Right at Least Since the Mid 1990s

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I keep hearing people talking about how Barbara Comstock is supposedly "no Frank Wolf," the implication being that Wolf has been some sort of moderate and that Comstock is a right-wing nutjob. Well, no doubt "Transvaginal Ultrasound" Comstock's a right-wing nutjob, but what about Wolf? Let's go to Project Vote Smart and find out. (# of asterisks indicate level of right-wing nuttiness, on a 1-4 scale)****Abortion Rights: Back in 1996, NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Wolf a big fat ZERO rating, while the anti-choice National Right to Life Committee gave him a 100%. And in 2013? Same ratings. That's right, Wolf was virulently anti-choice in 1996, and he still is today. No change.
****Reproductive health and freedom: As of early 2014, Planned Parenthood Action Fund rated Wolf a ZERO, reflecting his past 6 years' voting record. And no, this isn't an aberration: from 1995 to 1998, Wolf also received a ZERO from Planned Parenthood.
****LGBT Equality: In 1995/96, the pro-LGBT equality group Human Rights Campaign gave Wolf a ZERO rating. Wolf continued to get ZERO ratings from HRC in almost every year since then, with the exception of a pathetic 9% in 1999 and an awful 15% in 2011-2012.
***Environment: The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) gave Wolf a pathetic 28% lifetime score in 2013.
****Civil Liberties: Back in 1996 and 1997, the ACLU gave Wolf ratings of 12% and ZERO. In 2014? Nothing's changed, Wolf's still a big fat ZERO on civil liberties.
***Civil Rights: Back in 1995-1995, the NAACP gave Wolf a pitiful 18% rating on civil rights. In 2011, he got a 10%, rocketing up to 40% (wow) in 2014.
***Immigration: Wolf got a 100% rating in 2014 from the virulently anti-immigrant "Federation for American Immigration Reform," which the Southern Poverty Law Center labed a "hate group" in 2007. Wolf did manage to get a modest 59% rating in 2014 from the Hispanic Federation, LCLAA, LULAC, Mi Familia Vota, NCLR, and Voto Latino - National Immigration Scorecard.
****Education: The National Education Association gave Wolf a godawful 5% rating in 1996, and a ZERO in 2013. The more things change...
***Labor: Wolf's been bad for working people pretty much forever, with a 25% rating in 1996 and a 33% rating in 2013.
Bottom line: In no way, shape or form has Frank Wolf ever been a moderate. To the contrary, he was hard right wing in the 1990s, and he's hard right wing today. He's also a bit of a conspiracy theory nutjob, obsessed with BenghazeeeeeeeeIslamgay marriage's "threat" to our culture, and the supposed"terrorists crossing the border". So please, spare us with the "Barbara Comstock's no Frank Wolf." To the contrary, Comstock will be as far right as Wolf, just without the seniority.

Audio: Dave Brat's Pal Laura Ingraham - Ebola Aid About Obama's Father's "rage against colonialism"

Seriously, Laura Ingraham just said this crap, prior to rallying with Dave Brat yesterday. Charming.
You get the sense that with President Obama, the U.S. military is used not as often to really protect American interests...the homeland or even our allies. Instead, the military is just another tool in [President Obama's] arsenal to level the playing field. In other words, Africa really deserves more of America's money, because we're people of privilege. 
We're people of great privilege, so we should do what we can, we the American taxpayers, to transfer wealth over to Africa. It's [President Obama's] father's rage against colonialism, as Dinesh D'Souza wrote about, and maybe this is a way to continue to atone for that. I mean, there are all sorts of things we can do, short of sending 3,000 troops out there. And, frankly, if you're a left-wing activist in the Saul Alinsky tradition, if a few American military personnel have to be exposed to the Ebola virus to carry out this redistribution of the privileged's wealth, then so be it.
What. The. F@#?!?

Video: Cuccinelli Claims 100% of Republican Nominees Who Ran for President as Conservatives Won

Thursday, September 25, 2014

There's so much idiocy from former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in this interview, where does one even begin?1. He claims that hard-right Republicans like Mitch McConnell aren't conservative enough, is "vehement about not believing anything." Riiiight.
2. He claims that the Democratic Party's " the liberals." Uh, what? That's certainly news to most of us who consider ourselves progressives, liberals, etc.
3. He claims you can only win as a Republican if you're a hard-right true believer.Yeah, like Ken Cuccinelli, for instance, who ran as a hard-right true believer and...LOST to Terry McAuliffe. Uhhhh.
4. He states, "at the presidential level, 100% of Republican nominees who ran as conservatives won, and 100% of Republican nominees for president who ran NOT as conservative...have all lost." OK, so let's unpack that whopper with a few facts - yeah, those pesky, liberal things, I know! LOL
OK, so I'm not sure how far back Cooch wants to go with this, but it's hard to argue that Herbert Hoover didn't run as a true conservative. As we will recall, Hoover lost the 1932 election in one of the greatest landslides in U.S. history to FDR. In stark contrast,moderate Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected easily for two terms. Richard Nixon - other than Watergate and Vietnam, of course - governed in many ways as a liberal (negotiated "detente" with the Soviets, announced the formation of the EPA in June 1970, supported the Clean Air Act of 1970, supported the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, proposed a private health insurance employer mandate, imposed wage and price controls, enforced desegregation of Southern schools, etc.). And yes, Nixon the moderate/progressive Republican was reelected in a landslide in 1972.
As for Cooch's hero Ronald Reagan, he "raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office," "nearly tripled the federal budget deficit," "grew the size of the federal government tremendously," "did little to fight a woman's right to choose," "signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty," etc, etc. And Reagan won reelection in a landslide in 1984.
As for George HW Bush, he ran as a more liberal, "kinder gentler" version of Reagan in 1988, and...yes, won! (note: Bush lost in 1992 more because of the economy and possibly the Ross Perot independent candidacy than because he didn't run as a hard-core conservative)  
lowkell :: Video: Cuccinelli Claims 100% of Republican Nominees Who Ran for President as Conservatives Won

Video: Barbara Comstock Runs Away from Reporter After Debate

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Utterly pathetic, what is Barbara Comstock so afraid of? On second thought, given her long record of voting for things like mandatory/government-enforced "transvaginal ultrasounds;" of voting AGAINST things like healthcare coverage for hundreds of thousands of Virginia and crucial transportation funding for her districdt; of participating in McCarthyite witchhunts; of being endorsed by extremists like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin; of defending the indefensible (e.g., Scooter Libby); of making outrageous comments like comparing immigrants to FedEx packages; it's no wonder she terrified of talking to reporters and instead has her campaign staff run interference for her.
Discuss :: (2 Comments, 2 new)

Washington Post: "2 of every 5 Arlingtonians say they're likely to move out of county in 5 years"

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I've been thinking about this issue for a long time, talking to people who know a lot more than I do about the subject, etc. That includes reading this article at Bacon's Rebellion ("The Emerging Exurban Dead Zone"), which discusses research conductec by EM Risse on the "profound shift - what he calls the U Turn - away from the scattered, low-density pattern of growth widely referred to as 'suburban sprawl' (a label he avoids as a 'core confusing word') toward infill and re-development of the nation's urban cores." That got me to thinking about why places like Arlington -- and in fairness, it's not just Arlington, but also DC, Bethesda, and other "inner DC suburbs" to more or less an extent -- have become so expensive that now, anew affordable housing study finds that (as the Post summarizes) "two of every five residents say they are likely to move out of the county in the next five years because of housing costs." I'm also seeing this story on local TV news.So, what on earth is going on here? As I said, I've been thinking about this for a long time, for a reason: this problem has been around for a long time, and has only been getting worse. My main thesis as to why it's getting worse is simple, taking us all the way back to college and Econ 101 (remember supply and demand curves?).
In short, places like Arlington have enacted the types of policies (and/or failed to enact the types of policies) that, both explicitly and implicitly, have constrained the supply curve for housing (e.g., kept that supply curve from shifting out sufficiently) while the demand curve (the overall number of people who "demand" housing in Arlington) has shifted out sharply, along with the region's population.
The result of the demand curve shifting out and the supply curve staying relatively fixed, per lesson #1 in Econ 101: the price of housing  - both owned and rented - has skyrocketed, with Arlington home values nearly doubling between 2002 and 2012 (from $269k to $519k) and rents at the level where a full-time salary of nearly $34/hour is needed to afford the AVERAGE rent ($1,615/month in 2011; undoubtedly higher today) of a one-bedroom apartment in Arlington. Also note that average rents in Arlington County have increased 47% over 10 years, while "while average salaries have increased only 37%." That means "more Arlington residents are priced out of the rental market" every year that goes by.
How bad is this situation? According to this report by the Alliance for Housing Solutions:

What Is Wrong in Charlottesville?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

by Dan Sullivan

Charlottesville Chief of Police Longo photo TimorthyJLongoSr_zpse17850a9.jpgThere was a moment during Charlottesville Chief of Police Longo's press conference on Friday that was telling. It wasn't about the Hannah Graham case. It was about commercial media. A reporter asked why two recent Charlottesville sexual assaults hadn't been in the news. Turns out, the press wasn't interested enough.Chief Longo pulled out the morning briefings that detailed the cases. If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? We finally have the answer: not if it requires any investment or effort by local reporters; even those who feign an interest in women's issues. "News"paper and electronic media staff have come to rely upon the kindness of plagiarism: press releases, internet bloggers, and wire services. They are more interested in the flavor of the day. Like beagles, they are easily distracted by any scent. Have you seen any follow-up reporting about the scheduled arraignment of Charlottesville Delegate Toscano's wife's assailant just last Wednesday? NBC 29 updated a story from 18 August for the second time. In case you missed it, well here it is: the case has been continued; again until 10 Oct.
By now you may be wondering of it is open season on women in Charlottesville. Republicans would undoubtedly deny any such characterization. But, what is it? Four women gone missing in five years? Not a single one of those cases solved? Some may argue that is statistically insignificant. Others might wonder if there is or are (a) serial offender(s) that have found sanctuary. In fact they may wonder why these cases have been so frustrating and if they are, in effect, actually closed.
There was something else about Chief Longo's press conference. Someone should ask if he was calling for vigilante action when he intimated someone else should reveal the identity of a person the police interviewed (acting seemingly out of frustration). So I may. I have the name of a person matching the description of the person who owned that orange car who resides at the address of the search. It was not difficult to determine. So what is it Longo wants from me or anyone else with the same information. And why hasn't the commercial "press" sniffed this person out? Frankly, that is Chief Longo's job...not that of a mob.
All of this is disconcerting.  

E.W. Jackson "honored to stand with" Tea Partier who used "hateful and false birther rhetoric"

Yep, that's who the 2013 Virginia Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of Virginia ia hanging out with now: a Republican State Senator (Owen Hill) who "joked" (hahahaha - not) about President Obama being from Kenya, and who the DCCC condemned for his "hateful and false birther rhetoric." Now, why E.W. Jackson would hang out with a bigot like this is something only he can answer, but given his own voluminous history of unhinged ravings, it's not a surprise. As always, the question is, how could a supposedly major political party in this state have nominated E.W. Jackson for Lt. Governor? How did this theocratic extremist get nearly 45% of the vote last November? Do those 45% actually agree with Jackson, or do they simply vote for anyone with an "R" by their name, even against a moderate Democrat like Ralph Northam? It's truly disturbing, no matter how you look at it.

Appalling Even by Ken Cuccinelli "Standards"

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Yes, this is appalling even by Ken Cuccinelli standards. First off, he links to a climate science "skeptic" website. Then, he channels Rand Paul's insane criticism of Hillary Clinton that she can't say that BOTH global warming AND terrorism are threats to the world (and that global warming poses by FAR the greatest threat to the future of mankind, 1000s of other species, the oceans, life on earth in other words). Then, he posts this disgusting, repulsive "cartoon" mocking Hillary Clinton for stating the obvious, also what 97% (or more) of climate scientists are saying: climate change is an urgent threat that we need to deal with. And just remember, this lunatic was elected Attorney General of Virginia in 2009, then spent four years waging war against climate science (and climate scientists like Michael Mann), then came within a few points of being elected GOVERNOR of Virginia! All of which raises an even more disturbing point: there are millions of Virginians (and Americans) willing to vote for people like this. That's even more disturbing in its own way than this cartoon, and the fact that Cuccinelli chose to tout it on his Facebook page. Shudddderrrrr....

People Arguing for the Fracked Gas Pipeline Are Just Factually Wrong

Thursday, September 4, 2014

According to an editorial in this morning's Daily Press, the proposed new natural gas pipeline from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina is "the type of project Virginia should embrace." In contrast, the Daily Press falsely disparages opponents of the pipeline as "the NIMBY crowd" (utterly absurd, as I'm confident that most environmentalists would be happy to see solar panels in their "backyards" - on their roofs, etc.). Yet, oddly and illogically, in the same editorial the Daily Press acknowledges that environmentalists are "understandably worried about the potential impact of a natural gas pipeline running across Virginia," and that their "concern for the environment is well placed." The Daily Press further acknowledges that private property owners will "worry will be about fair market value for their land and protecting themselves from unwanted or unfair encroachment." Gee, ya think?!? Yet, somehow, despite all that, the Daily Press still concludes that we should "embrace" this project? Uh...WTF?Meanwhile, in its own internally illogical editorial, the Virginian Pilot acknowledges that this pipeline will NOT be the "game changer" Gov. McAuliffe claims it will be (remember, McAuliffe's the same guy who introduces everyone as "the greatest [fill in the blank] in the history of [fill in the blank]," so take ALL his claims with a huge grain of salt). The Virginia Pilot also admits that "fracking fouls groundwater and pollutes the air," but claims that it's not "worse than for coal or oil," so...yippee(?).
So much illogic, red herrings, and ignorance, so little time to address it all. Let's just list a few facts (yes, they are empirically verifiable, just do some research) here:
1. There is no doubt whatsoever that hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), which is how the natural gas for this pipeline will be produces, tears up the environment - water pollutionair pollutionhabitat destructionearthquakes, etc. - in the process of getting it out of the ground.
2. There is no doubt whatsoever that fracking uses ungodly amounts of (increasingly scarce) water in its process.
3. There is no doubt whatsoever that the fracking process emits methane - a greenhouse gas much more potent thatn CO2 - at rates which "Negate Industry Claims of Fracked Gas' Benefits".
4. There is no doubt whatsoever that fracking (the development of which was heavily subsidized by your tax dollars, by the way) artificially lowers the price of natural gas, since "externalities" are not incorporated (e.g., frackers get to pollute with impunity), thus foolishly delaying the inevitable domination of renewable energy.
5. There is no doubt whatsoever that energy efficiency is a far better option than increased fossil fuel production, in terms of "bang for the buck," "low-hanging fruit," "Econ 101," whatever you want to say.
6. There is no doubt whatsoever that (non-polluting, clean, abundant, cheap) solar and wind power costs have plummeted in recent years, are already competitive with natural gas in many areas of the country, and will be competitive in Virginia as soon as next year (BEFORE this new gas pipeline cranks up, making it a $5 billion white elephant?).
Finally, it's important to understand why this pipeline has gotten as far as it has. It's very simple, really: just go to VPAP and check out where the $9 million (!!!) Dominion Power has donated to Virginia politicians over the years has gone. Basically, Dominion controls Virginia's government when it comes to energy policy, and it's used that control to lock its current business model into place, whereby all their incentives are AGAINST conservation and energy efficiency, and FOR producing more fossil-fuel-generated power. Oh, and those incentives are all FOR continuing the dying, top-down, command-and-control, centralized model and AGAINST the distributed energy revolution that's sweeping increasing parts of America and the world.
In short, Dominion is a negative, reactionary force that has worked for years to block any progress on Virginia energy policy and to entrench themselves in their position as an incumbent industry, theoretically-but-not-really-regulated monopoly, and major polluter. The question is, why would anyone who cares about Virginia's economic future -- in a 21st century where clean energy, not fossil fuels, will be a key to success -- support this pipeline to nowhere? I hate to be cynical, but the short answer is simple: just follow the money, keeping in mind that the "Virginia Way" is basically a system of legalized corruption, lobbyists and corporations making a mockery of democracy, and other fine features like that. Great stuff, huh?

Dominion Resources Should Quit ALEC

Monday, September 1, 2014

by Seth Heald

(See comments for related story on natural gas pipeline; huge Gov. McAuliffe #FAIL - promoted by lowkell)

Recent William & Mary grad Priscilla Lin, wrote this piece. Priscilla is concerned about climate change and in particular ocean issues. She volunteers with Oceana, which is a co-sponsor of the Sept. 4 Dominion-Dump-ALEC rally in Arlington County.It's time for Virginians to call on Dominion Resources, Inc. to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Join me for a Dominion-Dump-ALEC rally at ALEC Headquarters in the Crystal City area of Arlington County on September 4 at noon.
As a native Virginian and 2014 college graduate interested in protecting the  environment, it comes as no surprise to me that Dominion Virginia Power, Virginia's largest electric utility, is dirty. Dirty fossil fuel energy, which contributes to climate change and ocean acidification, is not the way towards a better, cleaner future. I learned recently that Dominion belongs to ALEC, an organization with a pro-polluter agenda. Dominion publicly touts its supposed environmental awareness, but it doesn't explain what it does behind closed doors with the shady anti-climate and anti-democracy group ALEC.
You won't find any mention on Dominion's website or in its public pronouncements of its work to undermine environmental protections through its participation in ALEC, which has been described as "a corporate bill mill." It brings together corporations and state legislators and comes up with "model legislation" for the legislators to introduce back home.
ALEC has consistently pushed anti-climate and anti-environment legislation. Dominion's association with the group directly conflicts with its claims to support clean energy. You can learn more about ALEC at
SethHeald :: Dominion Resources Should Quit ALEC
A recent report by the Toronto Star reveals ALEC's "plans to undo environmental legislation" with its own model bills, referring to leaked internal documents from ALEC's recent summer meeting in Dallas. Among the leaked internal ALEC documents were  slides from a conference presentation denouncing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and promoting ways to "rein in EPA" by impeding renewable energy development, opposing carbon pricing, "lifting obstacles to conventional energy," and more. You can access the slides, posted online by the nonprofit watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).  That ALEC presentation showcases 19 ALEC model bills that specifically target the group's goals. The presentation was given by Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute-an extreme group notorious for its support of climate-science denial (even comparing those who "still believe" in climate science to mass murderers).
ALEC also has supported voter suppression and pushed for controversial stand-your-ground gun laws. This has led to more than 80 corporations to date, including Walmart, Coca-Cola, and (most recently Microsoft) to cut ties with ALEC.
Why on earth is Dominion helping to fund ALEC? It's time for Dominion to make a real commitment to addressing climate disruption. The company should stop fighting clean-energy measures and work with a sense of urgency to develop Virginia's carbon-free energy potential. An important first step is to leave ALEC.
The rally at ALEC Headquarters in Crystal City, Arlington County on September 4 is sponsored by nine groups: the Sierra Club, Oceana, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace, Progress VA, Elephants DC, and the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions.
Beginning at noon on Thursday, participants will march with signs alongside busy U.S. Route 1/Jefferson Davis Highway (between 27th St. and Crystal Drive). Speakers, including Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, will address the group.
For more information, go to  

Fairfax Republicans and their Disdain for the Working Class

Matt AmesI was astounded by what my local Republicans wrote on the subject of Labor Day.  These days I guess I shouldn't be surprised (after all, they did invite us to join the Tea Party's "Boycott Labor Day" event in 2012), but this time their message was so full of contempt for working Americans, so disdainful of the tradition of the holiday, and so deliberately misleading -- that I felt compelled to respond.First of all, today isn't a day of rest and relaxation for everyone.  If you go to the grocery store or the gas station today, the folks working there are struggling like you and me.  And they have to work nights, weekends and holidays if they want to earn a living.  Having worked in various industries such as foodservice and retail, even digging ditches for minimum wage, I understand that sometimes you have to do whatever you can to get by. This is something the Republicans don't seem to understand.
In the Republicans' world, the President doesn't actually have "respect for the value of work" - despite the fact that he is fighting for an increase in the minimum wage, in other words, paying people for the value of their work, which Republicans oppose.  They believe we want a society where "a growing underclass lives on the government dole" and that we would deny people the self-respect of knowing they're pulling their own weight.  
frankoanderson :: Fairfax Republicans and their Disdain for the Working Class
Finally, Fairfax Republican Chair Matt Ames goes as far as to say that we have "a fundamentally false and foreign philosophy" that threatens our way of life.  I have to ask, do they actually believe President Obama wants America to fail?I've got news for the Republicans: today's workers are pulling their own weight -- they're just not being fairly compensated for it. And the vast majority (nine tenths) of those who receive government assistance (who Mr. Ames contemptuously describes as the "growing underclass") are in working families, or are elderly or disabled.
This is a classic example of the Republicans' tactics to divide us by using the politics of resentment.  Let me make this clear:  we value the working class of America.  It was the progressive movement that started Labor Day.  That's why the employees who serve you have overwhelmingly voted Democratic.
Frank Anderson
Executive Director, Fairfax County Democratic Committee