Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blackwater Bogged Down

Even with support from Crazy Dana, it seems that Blackwater could not convince the good people of Potrero, CA from slapping them down a peg or two.
EAST COUNTY – Five members of the Potrero planning group were voted off the panel Tuesday night in a recall election that served as a symbolic referendum on a controversial training camp proposed by Blackwater Worldwide.

The five incumbents all supported the proposed facility.

As the five were ousted, five candidates on an anti-Blackwater slate were voted in to replace the incumbents on the rural town's planning group.
I wonder what group of "outsiders" Rohrabacher will blame for not supporting his friends.

OOOPS. I forgot, Rohrabacher is an outsider.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

California Energy Commission vs Dana Rohrabacher.

I would love to see that in court, or even in a good debate. But then, it would hardly be fair. To paraphrase Rush, the Commission could win that debates "Half theit brain tied behind their back just to make it fair."

We all know that Dana is so certain that Global Warming comes from dinasaur flatulence. However, the Energy Commission, all but one of which were appointed by Schwarzenegger, just took the most important action against Global Warming that could be taken. In a unanimous decision, they approved a new 2007 Integrated Energy Policy Report (PDF - 301 pages).

One key element in this is that it opens the door for communities to change their current permitting and planning processes for new buildings and major renovation. In fact, the targets that the Energy Commission set are the most stringent in the nation.

I am just waiting to hear Dana and the various Chambers of Commerce cry about their being too stringent and that it will hurt growth in California. Well with our water problems now, that might not be all bad.

Now, I wonder when the Republicans down here recognize that the real dinosaur is name Dana. Dana the Dinosaur. It is just like the Republicans in Richard Pombo's district who didn't like him, thought he was out of touch, but would not take a stand against him because the didn't want to lose that district. So, they kept Pombo and the lost the district because of it.

The time will come when that is true of Rohrabacher also. Maybe this year?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Take This Last Chance for DFA Training!

What are you looking to do over the next year or so? Want to organize for universal health care? Want to campaign for your favorite Democratic Presidential Candidate? Want to manage your best friend's campaign for Congress? Want to just know what all your friends at DFA are talking about whenever election time approaches? Whatever you plan to do in politics, you need to learn how to be better at it by joining us at DFA Training Academy on July 21-22 in Irvine!

Oh yes, and I should say this. If you haven't registered yet, this is your last chance to sign up to attend! We're nearing our maximum attendance limit of 150, and the actual training is barely more than a week away. If you're in Southern California and you haven't yet signed up, take this last opportunity to learn how progressives can win, and how YOU can be a part of it!

Follow me down below to find out why you shouldn't pass up on this last chance to learn how to be a force for change in your community...

(Cross-posted at Obama OC and Trash Dirty Gary)

So what will we be learning about at DFA Training Academy? Take a look at the curriculum! Learn how to fund raise! Learn how to target voters! Learn how to use the media to your advantage! Find out all the new organizing tools available that are easier than ever to use! And find it all at the training academy!

OK, so there's plenty of serious stuff to learn. How much fun can one have here? Well, plenty! We have a very special social night ready for you on Saturday, the 21st. What do we have planned? Well, sign up for the training and get ready for a pleasant surprise! And oh yes, don't forget how much fun you'll have in meeting new progressive pals from all over Southern California! Who knows? Maybe you'll meet some neighbors who you never thought were also Democrats. ; )

So we have a great curriculum and a great chance to meet fellow local activists. Where the heck can one stay for the night? And what about food? Don't worry. If you're coming in from some far away location like Santa Barbara or San Bernardino or San Diego, there's a hotel room reserved just for you. And lunch is provided for Saturday AND Sunday. But again, this is only available for a limited time!

So what more can you ask for? You have a hotel room (if you need one). You have lunch plans. You have trainers ready to help you become a campaign rock star. And you have a whole lot of progressive activists who want to meet you. What more can you ask for? Take this last chance to sign up for DFA Training!

Trust me, you won't regret it. ; )

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Another Groovy Surf City Independence Day!

(Cross-posted at Obama OC and Calitics)

History was made again yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Huntington Beach once again for the Fourth of July Parade. And once again, the OC Democrats had a fantastic time being a part of the largest Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi River. And the party didn't stop when the parade ended, as local activists pitched up tent by the pier to wake up the neighbors, and let them know about the importance of next year's election. All in all, we all had a great time!

Follow me down below as I take you on a tour of the biggest and best party one could be at on the Fourth of July!

For twenty-five years, the Democratic Party of Orange County has been a part of the parade. And every year, we continue to delight the crowds with our rockin' music and jubilant marchers. This year's theme of our float was "Opportunity, Diversity, & Freedom", and boy could everyone see all that and more yesterday! We had young Democrats and long-time Democrats who are still young at heart. We had gay Democrats and straight Democrats. We had black Democrats, brown Democrats, and white Democrats. We had Democrats supporting Barack Obama, Democrats supporting John Edwards, Democrats supporting Hillary Clinton, and Democrats supporting other Democratic Candidates for President. And what brought all us Democrats together yesterday was that we're all part of the Democratic Party of Orange County, and that we all stand for the right of working families in Orange County to have that opportunity to succeed.

So who was there yesterday? Here I am (left to right) with our newest OC Democrat Mitch Star, the one & only Mike Lawson of The Liberal OC, and Elizabeth and Jason of Orange County Young Democrats (OCYD).

Here I am with (left to right) Garden Grove City Council Candidate Paul Lucas, Mitch, and Mike.

Here's Former State Senator & Current California Medical Association CEO Joe Dunn with some young Democrats as they prepare for the moment of truth.

Here I am with the great Vern Nelson, the fearless Orange County organizer for Healthcare for All California.

And here's the float in action!

Now all these great Democrats were a part of the parade, but they weren't the only Democrats busy in Surf City! Obama OC laid out some blankets on the beach by the pier, put up a canopy, and got to work registering new voters and letting others in the 'hood know about Barack Obama and the 2008 Election. We had over 30 new registrations yesterday, including a Republican and a Green who switched to Democrat because they've been inspired by Obama. And of course, we had dozens more come on over to our beach party, just to talk to us about the election and show their appreciation of us being out in the community.

OK, so a few of us Obama Girls did manage to get in the parade! ; )

And here's our great booth!

Oh yeah, and could we have possibly held a beach party at a better location than this? : )

Yep, I'd say that yesterday was a huge success for OC Democrats! At the parade, we let the community know that we're 454,000 voters strong and we're making a difference for working families in this county. At the beach party, Obama OC showed the folks by the pier that there are progressives who care enough about changing the same old politics of despair and destruction that we get out in the community and let them know that hope is still here. Now what could be more American than this?

Perhaps a terrific fireworks show? What the heck, why not! ; )

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Wake Up & Smell the Inferno

(Cross-posted from Calitics... This isn't exactly Dana specific, but it is an imporant issue that we need to press Dana on.)

Have you seen the weather report lately? I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I see this in the OC Register, but I am. Wow, it gets hot down here... But rarely THIS HOT!

People everywhere were beginning to seek relief Monday from a heat wave that will intensify over the next three days, with temperatures forecast to hit 105 degrees in some inland areas.

The worst heat will come Wednesday – the Fourth of July – says the National Weather Service. But by mid-afternoon Monday, the temperature had hit 99 in Mission Viejo and 96 in Placentia. In Palm Springs, it was 114.

The heat wave will be so oppressive the weather service has issued an "excessive heat" advisory for Wednesday and Thursday, meaning that temperatures will be high enough to cause heatstroke and dehydration.

Whoa! That's hot! But wait, why are we having more of these extreme heatwaves? We've had plenty of hot weather in Southern California before, but rarely this much reoccurring throughout the year. Wait, could this have something to do with it?

OK, OK, so we've heard all the rhetoric about climate change (aka global warming) causing more severe weather. We've heard all the warnings about future killer hurricanes, massive flooding, lethal heatwaves, and just all around more erratic weather. But wait, what if all of this severe weather isn't waiting for the future? What if we're experiencing the consequences of ignoring climate change now?

Remember seeing this in The Washington Post last August? Well, you should. Oh yes, and would you like some ice water to drink while reading this?

Heat waves like those that have scorched Europe and the United States in recent weeks are becoming more frequent because of global warming, say scientists who have studied decades of weather records and computer models of past, present and future climate.

While it is impossible to attribute any one weather event to climate change, several recent studies suggest that human-generated emissions of heat-trapping gases have produced both higher overall temperatures and greater weather variability, which raise the odds of longer, more intense heat waves. [...]

And researchers at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., reported this week that nighttime summer temperatures across the country have been unusually high for the past eight years, a record streak.

"It's just incredible, when you look at this thing," said Richard Heim, a research meteorologist at the center. He added that only the Dust Bowl period of the mid-1930s rivaled recent summers for sustained heat levels.

And my goodness, we're feeling the effects of this here in California! Look at all the wildfires burning around us. Check out the record-breaking heat in the Inland Empire. Even parts of the Bay Area may hit triple digits this week. We've had plenty of heat before in California, but never like this before.

OK, so it's extra hot this week. So what? It's perfect beach weather! Well, that or shopping in a nice, big air-conditioned mall. Well, that may be true. However, heat like this can also be deadly. Remember all the people who died in last year's heatwave?

Just take a look at some of the nasty health effects of this extreme heat. Bodies get stressed from the extra pressure on the circulatory system. And for people with circulatory problems, this extra pressure can be lethal. Heart-related illnesses escalate, leaving anyone with heart conditions extra vulnerable. And of course, anyone can be susceptible to suffering heat stroke. And if not caught in time, heat stroke can leave one dead.

So why again are we suffering from this extreme heat? The OC Register actually had a good article a couple of weeks ago that gave a good answer. Basically, it's the climate crisis finally crashing down upon us.

While experts debate the exact health effects of climate change, many scientists agree that a growth in heat waves is among the most inevitable. In many areas of the United States, Earth's rising temperature will increase the intensity, number and duration of heat waves in the summer and bring more winter precipitation as rain, said Paul Epstein, associate director for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School in Boston. [...]

Between 1970 and 2004, greenhouse gas emissions believed to contribute to rising temperatures increased 70 percent, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Scientists have been examining the effects of climate change since the early 1990s, Epstein said. "Finally we're seeing strong signs of it and some of them are way ahead of schedule."

So what can we do now? Aren't we doing plenty already to stop the climate crisis? What about that "Global Warming Solutions Act" that was signed into law last year? Well, the Governator has already been working on ways to weaken the implementation of that and other laws to please his corporate sugar daddies. Meanwhile in Washington, Congress is just now beginning to take some real action on finding solutions to the climate crisis. But of course, anything that Congress passes would have to get through George W. Bush, who still doesn't seem interested in finding any real solutions.

So what can we do? What can we do right now? Well, we can join Environment California in sending personal messages to our Representatives' iPods, urging them to take action on federal legislation to take on climate change. Send an email to Governor Arnold, and let him know that you don't appreciate him weakening the implementation of the climate change law that he had claimed as "his achievement" last year. Oh yes, and if you're healthy and able-bodied, do your best to only use the energy that you need. By all of us being more efficient with our energy usage, we're reducing our carbon footprint AND allowing people who really need that air conditioning to use it.

So go ahead, go to the beach! Just think about riding the bus there, or carpooling with friends. Jump in the pool! Just remember to keep the AC to a minimum when you're not in the house. And please, have a great Fourth of July holiday! Just remember that there are plenty of things we can do to prevent future Fourth of July holidays from becoming blazing infernos that none of us could ever enjoy. : )

Saturday, June 30, 2007

March with the Democrats at the Surf City Fourth of July Parade!

What do you think of when you think "Fourth of July"? The American flag, perhaps? Fireworks? Independence? Apple pie? Ice cream? The beach? A parade? Well, what if I told you that you can experience all of that AND MORE on Wednesday?!

Yes, my friends, this Wednesday is July 4th. And yes, this means it's time for the Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade, THE LARGEST INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER! And guess what? The Democratic Party of Orange County will once again have a fantastic float in the parade! Oh yes, and our fabulous Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez will be marching with us! Oh yes, and we need more people to march with us in the parade. Come on now, don't YOU want to be a part of the parade?

So would YOU like to be a part of this world-famous All-American celebration? Follow me after the flip for more...

(Cross-posted at Trash Dirty Gary and Obama OC)

For the past 28 years, OC Democrats have been a part of this VERY OC tradition. We've had local elected officials like Former State Senator Joe Dunn and current State Senator Lou Correa join us in the parade. We always have the Young Democrats dancing on the float. Oh yes, and how about that float? Live music. Festive decorations. The American Spirit. What more could you possibly want?

So why NOT go? Join in on the fun. Just remember to COME EARLY TO FIND PARKING. Here are some details on what will be happening, courtesy of The Liberal OC:

The parade begins at 10:00 A.M. and ends at 12:30 P.M. Democrats begin gathering at 7:30 A.M. to march. We will have shuttle cars to take you to the staging area or to the handicap cheering section.

Shuttle Starts: 7:00 A.M.
Last Shuttle: 9:00 A.M.

Please come early, the traffic gets very busy and we cannot transport everyone at the last minute.

For parking and shuttling, drive to Seacliff Village, located at Goldenwest and Yorktown. Look for the Del Taco fast food restaurant. Then look for the signs saying “Democratic Parking.”

Oh yes, and before I forget, we should all remember that all marchers with the Democratic Party of Orange County entry must wear red T-shirts or polo shirts and blue jean or dark/navy blue shorts or pants. Get it? Got it? Good.

Well, I'm picking out my red shirt and blue jean shorts. How about you? The Fourth of July Parade may only be once a year, but it's something that give us great memories to last us all year long. Why not be a part of these great memories?

To participate, simply show up!

If you have any questions, please contact Caren Bolinger at 310-293-8320 or email her at
: )

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

They demand a role call. We demand a recall.

It is easy to tell when someone in Congress wants to make a political statement regarding a particular piece of legislation, or the procedures to enact that legislation. They demand a role call vote so that they can point to their vote in pride and opposing votes in derision.

Such is the point of Rep. Flake's demand for a recorded vote yesterday on his amendment to HR 2771 - a $3.1 billion appropriations bill that funds the legislative branch of government. Congressman Crazy voted "yes" on this amendment, which reduces the amount used to fund the printing of copies of the Congressional Record by $3.2 million. Score one for Republican fiscal responsibility. Score another one for Republican hypocrisy.

According to comments reported in the Congressional Record (H6994) this is or is not about what it purports to concern.
Mr. Flake. Let me point out, just as with any program that is not an entitlement, everything is subject to appropriation. The Government Printing Office is not bound, no pun intended, to print as many copies as they think they need. They can print as many as they have money for. We were very careful in taking $3.2 million, to take only the printing costs for half of the number that are printed already. I think that is reasonable.

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Madam Chair, I really believe that we should approach this in the appropriate way. If we want to change the statute and go to electronic production of the Congressional Record, that is what we should do. We should not simply hamstring the GPO by requiring them to print a Congressional Record and not ensuring they have adequate funds to do that, when they are already in a deficit situation.

I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment.

What a waste of time over a trivial matter. That $3.2 million pales in comparison the to amounts that the Republicans saved by not adequately funding trauma care for Iraq vets. Yes, Rohrabacher voted to save money there also.

Make that score 2 for hypocrisy.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Republicans war on aliens takes a direct hit.

What is Congressman Crazy going to do with all of his Republican supporters? I suggest that they should start vetting their party leadership with Homeland Security.

While Rohrabacher is whipping up a frenzy about the two Border Agents who shoot people in the back, we find that the California Republican Party leadership likes to hire Aliens, those who come to the US to take jobs that no one else would do.

This entire debacle starts with the revelation that California Republican Party could not find a reliable political consultant in the entire State and had to hire a Canadian names Chris Matthews. No, it is not the Hardball guy.

Of course, this was reported by the "biased" liberal San Francisco Chronicle. That is opposed to the "not biased" Orange County Register, whose lack of bias decided that there is no story here. But, wait a minute, the California Republican Party hit back. According to the political blog at the Chronicle the response came quickly.
"The press is trying to portray Republicans as racist (see the "brown menace" quote in the story) when we discuss illegal immigration," Michael Kamburowski, the party's recently hired chief operating officer, said in a letter to the state party's executive board, "yet when we promote individuals who have displayed great skills but who just happen to hail from another country, we are pegged as hypocrites."
That was a big mistake, because Kamburowski is himself, not from the good ol' U S of A. He is in fact, an Australian. He is, in fact, here illegally, having been ordered deported in 2001. He is, in fact another hypocrite. Even Michelle Malkin leads her story with "What a feaking mess." That seems to sum up the California Republican Party right now.

So, what does Congressman Crazy do? He continues his crusade to free Border Agents Ramos and Compean. Lets all ask the Daily Pilot why one is a story and the other is not. Let's ask the OC Register why they don't consider the resignation of the Chief Operating Officer for the California Republican Party to be a story worth covering.

Malkin was right. What a freaking mess.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A new member of the Crazy Dana Fan Club

It is not often that I post an entire segment from somewhere else. There are copyright issues and all of that, but I think that all of our readers would love these admittedly editorial observations from the Long Beach District Weekly. So, here's the full story regarding our favorite congressman and I hope I got all the bold type in the right place.
Sat | Jun 16 I’ve heard that one of the indicators of a serial killer is that they torture small animals as a child. I’ve also heard that you can tell someone is crazy when they become delusional. Torture? Delusions? This must be about Dana Rohrabacher. And yes, this is about Congressman Crazy, who today leads a rally of outraged citizens in Huntington Beach protesting the jail sentence of two immigration officers who shot a guy in the back, then tried to cover it up, and then claimed they did it because he was an illegal alien, which they didn’t know when they shot him. Okay, “rally” is a little bit of a stretch. Basically, it was a sad collection of elderly people who get pissed off listening to talk radio hunched over and holding some homemade signs that made this look like the worst church car wash ever. As for delusions, Rohrabacher says at the rally, “the President of the United States, if they want to be President of the United States, is going to . . . have to get my support,” adding that he would journey far to the land of the paisley, where he would do battle against the forces of the pale wizard and his army of rainbow-flavored minions.
Ok, tell us how you really feel. What do you expect from a guy who thinks that it is OK for the US to kidnap and torture just anyone with the same name as a possible terrorist just so that we make sure that we get the bad guy. It is like the do not fly list has a block for anyone named Robert Johnson. Hope Crazy Dana doesn't want to question all the Robert Johnson's in the world to get to the real one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is Crazy Dana Pro-Criminal?

Did you hear? Crazy Dana won't endorse ANY Presidential Candidate who doesn't pardon convicted Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
He feels that an injustice has been committed.

Now maybe there actually was an injustice. After all, they did shoot a guy who was entering the nation illegally. And yes, this guy was smuggling marijuana across the border.

But still, this guy was unarmed. This was a clear violation of Border Patrol policy, as well as federal law. Maybe Dan's right at The Liberal OC.

OK, so we have a tough situation here all around. But the United States is a nation of laws and the Bill of Rights applies to everyone in this country even if you are here illegally. The border agents violated department policy and the law. They committed a crime against a person who also committed a crime by entering the country illegally. But as my mom always said, two wrongs don’t make a right.

So why is Rep. Rohrabacher so pro-criminal? [...] Is Dana’s endorsement that critical?

Good question.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Earmarks again?

We have to give Dana high marks for perseverance and loyalty to friends like Duncan Hunter. Sadly, we once again have to give him low marks for his understanding of science or even for his adherence to the great Republican Virtue of controlling government spending.

The case in point is a sci-fi aircraft from Dupont Aerospace. In the last 19+ years the DP-2, a VTOL jet rumored to be able to fly a squad of soldiers and a humvee some 5000 miles at 700 miles per hours. So far, after burning through some $63 million in earmarked spending for friends of Hunter and Rohrabacher, the plane has yet to be able to get more than a couple of feet off the ground before coming back down "hard".
John Eney is an aerospace engineer who headed up the aircraft conceptual design group at the Naval Air Development Center Naval Air Systems Command. He led an onsite review of the DP-2 program in 1999.

"It's a pipe dream," he said.

In order to have the promised VTOL capabilities, the aircraft directs jet exhaust toward the ground. Eney says this would incinerate troops rappelling out of the aircraft.

Hunter "failed to understand the basic physics of this situation," he said.
So, where is the 46th free thinking Congressman in all of this?
California Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican member of the House Science and Technology Committee, hailed duPont president Tony duPont as "a respected engineer" and "a maverick."

"When we come to the point where we don't (give) mavericks and free thinkers the chance to prove their theories, we're putting a great limitation on what our potential is for the future," said Rohrabacher.
Well, I guess Dana doesn't need to understand physics to be a Congressman. But, he should surely be smart enough to hire some staff who can research a problem and get him the facts. Mission Failed. This is about as bright as his dinosaur flatulence remarks regarding global warming.

If Dana wants to be known as a real free thinking radical standing up for what is right, maybe he should start by insisting the any project he supports has some basis in sound science before spending another $63 Million on a project that the military doesn't even want.

Is this being a good Republican? Is this being a good, don't like government waste Libertarian? Sorry, I forgot. Dana quit being a Libertarian when he got a real job as a speech writer. In any case, it isn't like he is doing what even the Republicans in his district say they want.

The best thing that the Republicans could do to keep this district is to find someone else to run, someone who practices what Republicans preach. Let Dana stay at home and play with the triplets. He can't do as much harm there.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dana has strange friends

One of the games played in Washington is that of taking every advantage of doing things that get your name mentioned in public. Dana has made an interesting decision in that regard.

Tomorrow, June 12, Dana will be speaking at the unveiling of a new monument in Washington. This one, the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, appears to be motivated by some flash of patriotic fervor. I wonder, though, what political advantages got Dana and Tom Lantos to share the speaking duty.

We all know Lantos. He is the Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Normally, Lantos often keeps his mouth shut unless it is about Israel, where some have considered him the Congressional voice of Mossad.

That must play well with Dana and his Taliban friends.

The second unusual thing is that the only organization that thought this event was newsworthy seemed to be World Net Daily. You may not be familiar with World Net Daily, but it's editor is Joseph Farah, once known as the ghost writer of Richard Pombo's only book and the man who filed the 1990's trumped up ethics charges against John Garamendi.

Actually, knowing Farah's past, I might ask what Lantos is doing in the story. I know that answer to that. He has been called the "best friend that Israel ever had."

Why then, did Dana jump in with the enemies of his friends. Well, it is all about China. Dana is a big supporter of Taiwan and this is a chance to embarrass the Communist China. And Communist China is another frequent target of Farah and his World Net Daily. Dana is also a long time supporter of helping to arm Hmong rebels to topple the Communist regime in Laos.

Oh, yes, it is all about politics and any news event is a good thing for a politician. That is especially true when you can be against something rather than having to be for anything. Maybe, if Dana and Tom can get on first name basis, they might convince Ohlmert and Abbas to try the same thing. However, I doubt that the subject will come up. Both Congressmen are to politically sophisticated to allow doing something to get in the way of a photo op.

If there is one thing you can count on tomorrow, it will be Rohrabacher's propensity to open his mouth and insert his foot. There is enough going on at this event that he will be sure to push someone's hot button. Farah said that Bush had been invited to the event. Even he isn't dumb enough to show up on that stage.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Crazy Dana's Wrong, Even When He's Right

There's something wrong with the immigration bill in the US Senate. We already know that. But what's the problem? Is it this? (From Daily Pilot)

"The president insists on defining amnesty in a way that is contrary to the way everybody else defines that word," he said. "Every time he does, he loses credibility."

Calling himself a strong supporter of Bush throughout his administration, Rohrabacher said that this time he was personally offended by Bush's suggestions that the bill was good for America. He repeatedly referred to it as the "Bush-Kennedy" bill, linking Bush to Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, and he blamed the bill on an "unholy coalition between the big-business element of the Republican Party and the liberal left."

Amnesty? "Bush-Kennedy"? Huh? Maybe Dana Rohrabacher is taking the right position on this bill, but he's doing it for the completely wrong reason. So why is Dana wrong, even when he's right? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So why again does Dana Rohrabacher oppose this bill? Oh yes, that's right...

The bill has no teeth in its enforcement provisions and would only embolden people to sneak across borders to get government benefits, Rohrabacher said.

"Wake up America," he said. "Our country is being stolen from us. Our country is being invaded. The Senate legislation will only accelerate this invasion."

Dana then went on to denounce the "Z-visa" provision in this bill, which would charge the undocumented immigrants already here $1,000 for some legal status. He called that "amnesty that would give millions of lawbreakers access to government programs like Social Security", and he just had to condemn the "illegal immigrants cutting the line in front of legal immigrants". And of course, he attacked a proposed guest worker program and a points system as this would give these workers a chance to come here legally.

And you know what? Crazy Dana's actually doing the right thing in opposing this legislation. He's just doing it for the wrong reason.

Dana doesn't want to give these "lawbreakers" access to programs like Social Security, even once they become legal. But doesn't this undermine the whole goal of comprehensive immigration reform? This would take away an incentive for people to come out of the shadows, and get back in line to come here legally. And wait, don't they already pay into Social Security? Why can't they receive the Social Security that they've already paid into, especially once they receive legal status?

And amnesty? How does this bill provide "amnesty"? Where is the "amnesty" in this bill? These immigrant workers would have to pay fines. They would have to be split from their families in many instances. They would have to leave after eight years to their nation of origin, and go through a long and complicated process to try to return. Now I understand that these people should have to go to back into line and pay some fine in order to earn legal status. However, do they really need to be kicked out after eight years? And how the heck is that even enforceable? And do they need to be split from their families, and from their communities? Is this really "amnesty"?

Now Dana's right about the guest worker program being a raw deal. Remember what I said yesterday?

This bill would also create a new underclass of immigrant workers. Under the new guest worker program, immigrant workers can only stay here temporarily, and then just return home. Meanwhile under this new "merit based" system of immigration, people would be admitted into this nation based on how "economically valuable" they would be. This really only serves the American corporations that want continued cheap labor. Under the new law, they can get their "disposable labor force" that can be discarded and replaced every few years.

Now maybe a guest worker program would work. However, the NILC has it right when they say "that temporary workers who establish ties here must have a realistic path to permanent residence and true job portability that allows them to change employers freely if they are mistreated". This proposed guest worker program in the bill does not have this, but only provides for a temporary labor force that American corporations can dispose of and replace at their will. Barbara Boxer was right when she said this would hurt American workers. But you know what? It would hurt these immigrant workers, too.

But anyways, back to Crazy Dana. He's doing the right thing, but it's really for the wrong reason. He's opposing this sham that's supposedly "comprehensive immigration reform", but he's opposing it because he wants a more cumbersome, punitive, and downright impractical like that disastrous HR 4437 that the US House passed in 2005. We don't need that. We need comprehensive immigration reform. We just need comprehensive immigration reform that actually works for these immigrants, and works for American workers. It's just too bad that Dana Rohrabacher isn't interested in real reform that's actually practical.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Once in a while, Dana gets it right.

In the interest of being fair, I should remind everyone that even Rohrabacher is right on occasion. This time, he directed his stings at General Alberto Gonzales. According to a March 16 story from Attorney The Hill...
There’s been a pattern of arrogance in this Administration,” Rohrabacher said. “They’ve demonstrated contempt for Congressional oversight and now we see a misuse of FBI authority, heavy-handed firings of U.S. Attorneys along with the ruthless prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean.
Now that Congress is exercising that oversight, calling not only Gonzales to testify but also most of his immediate staff, even offering immunity to Monica Goodling, I wonder if Rohrabacher is willing to join the Republican chorus calling for Gonzales to resign, as he seemed to be hinting. It's time to find out if he is the independent free spirit he says he is.

Why Care About Corruption?

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

OK, so perhaps people in Southern California are finally starting to notice the immense corruption of members of Congress like Gary Miller, Ken Calvert, and Dana Rohrabacher. However, these everyday citizens and typical voters wonder how all this corruption applies to their typical everyday lives.

Why should they care about whatever Gary Miller did with some Lewis Group company in Upland? Why should they care about some land that Ken Calvert owned near March Air Force Base that just happened to benefit from Ken Calvert's earmarks? Why should they care about Dana Rohrabacher's Hollywood deals? How does any of this matter to people's everyday lives?

When all else fails, voters often choose the party of their choice by default. And though the Republican Party is becoming less attractive nationwide, a good plurality of voters in this area still identify themselves as Republican. They still think the GOP is the party of low taxes and fiscal responsibility. They pretty much set their political compass to autopilot, and they just don't have time to think too much about some silly politics in Washington.

And after all, who has the time to pay attention to these crazy political scandals? Who has time to drop everything in between the PTA meeting and the kids' soccer game, after a hard day of work and before that fancy dinner that's supposed to impress the new client, just to learn more about politics? Why does any of this matter?

That's the challenge here. In order for us to defeat these corrupt Republicans, we have to get our family, friends, and neighbors to realize how all of this corruption is personally affecting them. We have to let them know that all these earmarks that go to these pet projects that just happen to be near their real estate holdings mean money that's NOT being spent on real efforts to relieve traffic, such as improving local freeways and federal aid for commuter rail. We have to let them know that when these members of Congress try to weaken environmental laws, they are just taking away the parks and open space that we all love to hike through, bike through, and camp at, just so that they can make a little more money on their development projects. We have to make that personal connection, and make these folks realize that all that corruption in Washington really is making life more difficult for them at home in Fountain Valley and Mission Viejo and San Clemente.

That's the key here. We have to show to them that all this federal money being spent on these shady earmarks is money that's NOT being spent on the things that we care about. That money should go to our schools. That money should go to our parks. That money should go to our roads. Basically, that money should actually be spent toward helping our communities. These members of Congress should NOT spend that money, OUR MONEY, on projects solely meant to enrich themselves. They're wasting our time, and they're wasting our money. That's why we need to kick them out of Congress!

If we want to defeat Dirty Gary and Crazy Dana and Creepy Ken next year, we need to get these voters in these districts out of their comfort zone of apathy, and force them to see the futility of sending these scumbags back to Congress. We need to get these voters to start caring again. After all, what we don't like about politics will never go away if we never do anything to change it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rohrabacher should explain his vote

Dana Rohrabacher was one of only 34 Representatives to vote against HR 1700, the COPS Improvement Act of 2007. This act would enhance the funding for COPS on the BEAT programs across the nation and remove the restriction that it only apply to Cities with population over 150,000. This latter change would allow cities like Costa Mesa or Fountain Valley to apply for funding.

I am not sure what motivations Rohrabacher had, but as someone who spends so much time talking about the police problems associated with illegal aliens, this vote does not make a lot of sense. Then again, many things he does do not make a lot of sense to anyone other than Jim Gilchrist.

According to Hank Shaw, writing in the Stockton Record, the COPS program has been found to be "effective".
Critics of COPS say its effectiveness is overrated, although the federal Government Account-ability Office says otherwise. The GAO report found that from 1998 to 2000, new officers hired were responsible for stopping between 200,000 and 225,000 crimes, one third of which were violent crimes such as homicide, rape and robbery.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When Green is in...

As someone who has tried to educate myself on the environment and on environmental issues since I was in school back in the 1950's, I find it amazing that members of Congress like Senenator James Inhofe (R. OK) and Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R. CA-46) continue to allow the words come out of their mouths that they do. Let me cite the latest quotation from Rohrabacher.
You know that there are hundreds of scientists who object to this. For example, Dr. Timothy Ball, a very respected man, "Believe it or not global warming is not due to human contribution of carbon dioxide. This is the greatest deception in science." The earth is getting a little warmer. Since 1850 there's been a 1 1/2 degree temperature rise. They don't mention that 1850 happened to be at the tail end of a 500 year decline in temperatures. Not something we should be concerned about. When Greenland was green, it was in fact a very wonderful time for the Earth, crops flourished, population expanded. In and of itself, temperature rise is not a problem. Just like the warming on Mars and other planets. Probably due to sunspots. That said, we need to do things aimed at energy and cleaning the air. We are now vulnerable to foreign potentates and terrorists who want to do us harm. Not because the air is any warmer than it was 300 years ago. Is there not a parallel direction here, for those of us interested in human health that draws us together, and that the global warming thing, we may not have to be in agreement here?
Such a statement could have been predicted with even more accuracy that we can predict tomorrow's weather.

What Rohrabacher does not tell us is that Dr. Timothy Ball is dependent on funding from Exxon-Mobil. I find that the full extent of this dependency has been documented pretty well by another blogger.
Closer to home, one of the 19 Canadian signatories to the skeptics letter is Tim Ball, a retired professor of climatology from the University of Winnipeg, now living in Victoria. As a global-warming sceptic, he is in high demand by the front groups sponsored by the fossil fuel industry.

Ball's particular niche is the argument that since 1940, the world's climate has actually been cooling. The conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reached by over 2,000 climate scientists, that the world is heating up is wrong, he says, because it used "distorted records."

Undistorted records in hand, Ball is promoted by the National Center for Public Policy Research ($225,000 from Exxon Mobil), and Tech Central Station (which also receives support from General Motors). He's a hot topic on the Coalblog web site, sponsored by the coal companies. In the past year, he's given policy briefings to the Fraser Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg.

You could have found him and Baliunas at a conference in Ottawa in November 2002, just days before parliament ratified the Kyoto Protocol. That conference, urging the government not to proceed with ratification, was paid for by Imperial Oil (Exxon Mobil's Canadian subsidiary) and Talisman Energy and put together by public relations firm APCO Worldwide.
OK, if Dr. Ball is dependent on Exxon-Mobil, then maybe we should ask what we know about the company who makes huge profits out of our gas guzzling ways. To begin with, we have known for years that Exxon-Mobil has funded pseudo-science to protect their interests. Chris Mooney, a journalist reporting on Science, detailed this for Mother Jones.
Forty public policy groups have this in common: They seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat. And they all get money from ExxonMobil.
Not one to drop the issue, Mooney has now authored a new book, Storm World, in which he documents the current understanding of the relationship between climate change and the rate, intensity and time of year appearance of tropical storms. Even today, he comments at Science Blogs about the out of season appearances of tropical storms Andrea (Atlantic) and Akash (N. Indian Ocean). The point is that Mooney is not just an average reporter doing an average job.

It would seem that Crazy Dana continues to mouth the old platitudes from the Exxon-Mobil playbook while everyone else has moved beyond that. If Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox News, understands climate change and is willing to spend money on being "green" you might wonder what Rohrabacher's constituency will now be hearing from their favorite news source. Even Exxon-Mobil is changing it's stance. Will Crazy Dana now be out of step with the rest of his constituency or will he continue to try and play with our minds?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In case you missed the point.

UPDATE: I posted this today. Just before I posted, I double checked the Daily Pilot and still could not seem my comments there. Now, they are present and what I implied about media bias below my not be true. It may be that they just check this stuff once a day. Or, it may be that they found my post. I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

When I posted my comments on Frank Barbaro's Open Letter to Dana Rohrabacher last night, I also went over to the Daily Pilot and posted a comment there, to the effect that Barbaro was right to ask the voters to of the 46th CD to check his record. I gave the example of Rohrabacher's votes against our disabled veterans.

The Daily Pilot chose NOT to publish my comments, even though I received the response from their site that the comment has been accepted.

The Daily Pilot rightfully sets some rules for feedback.
Reader comments must be free of obscenity, profanity or content of a questionable nature. The Daily Pilot reserves the right to edit or delete reader comments that do not meet its publishing standards.
My comments were definitely free from profanity. They were also free of obscenity, unless the word Rohrabacher now falls under that definition. That means that my comments must be considered "of a questionable nature."

To begin with, there is not a single thing that I said in the comments which was untrue. I did make reference to the votes against our veterans which you can see from the link above. So, that can not be it. It might be just because I don't live in the district. However, I did make the point that when a Congressman makes the kind of statements that Mr. Barbaro was referring to, statements that underscore the arrogant attitude of some Americans that is losing us friends around the world, we all live in Rohrabacher's district.

I don't think that they suppressed the post for those reasons. I think that they suppressed the post because I agreed with Mr. Barbaro. Note: Every other comment that they allowed was in support of Rohrabacher. With this kind of even handed media support, I guess the Rohrabacher does not even need to campaign. I mean, why even waste taxpayers money to hold the election, just anoint him Congressman for Life.

If you think this was media bias, why don't you post to the Daily Pilot yourself.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Who is this Democrat?

At last, OC Democratic Party Chairman, Frank Barbaro, had managed to get an Open Letter to Dana Rohrabacher into the Daily Pilot.
For someone who purports to be a champion of patriotism, nothing is so un-American as an inability to listen to different points of view. A similar stubbornness has not served President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney well over the last six years.

It is only a matter of time before the residents of your district look beyond your status as an incumbent and consider your record and leadership qualities.
It is about time, I was beginning to wonder if any Democrat was willing to speak up about Dana's Craziness. Now, all Barbaro has to do is to find a candidate who is willing to take up the challenge. We started this blog because we agree 100% with Barbaro's final statement. It is about time that someone looked past his reputation as a "libertarian troubadour" or Reagan speech writer and went through his votes, item by item, issues by issue and tried to make sense of what you find. To begin with, I have found that he talks one way and votes another, especially on the issue of supporting our servicemen who have fought Bush's silly war n Iraq. Read my earlier post on his lack of support for veterans or those who are injured in combat.

You are right on, Mr. Barbaro. Now, in you are really serious, get a real candidate going.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crazy Dana & the Taliban

(Photo courtesy of OC Weekly)

Yes, you heard me right: Dana Rohrabacher has had a VERY LONG HISTORY of being a little too close to Islamist extremists in the Middle East. Now why should this worry us? Perhaps because Dana Rohrabacher can't really determine who are our real friends and who are our enemies? Perhaps because Dana Rohrabacher shouldn't be making important foreign policy decisions on our behalf in Washington if he can't even tell right from wrong?

Don't believe me?

Here's an oldie-but-goodie from the November/December 1996 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

The potential rise to power of the Taliban does not alarm Rohrabacher, because the Taliban could provide stability in an area where chaos was creating a real threat to the U.S. Rohrabacher says that under the previous situation Afghanistan was becoming a major source of drugs and a haven for terrorists “an anarchistic state of narco-terrorism.” In contrast, the Taliban leaders have already shown that they intend to establish a disciplined, moral society.

Rohrabacher calls the sensational media reporting of the “harsh” imposition of strict Islamic behavior, with the underlying implication that this somehow threatens the West, “nonsense.” He says the Taliban are devout traditionalists, not terrorists or revolutionaries, and, in contrast to the Iranians, they do not seem intent on exporting their beliefs. Rohrabacher would have preferred to see a negotiated compromise among the various factions (but with no role for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) rather than a bloody confrontation. But in the absence of such a compromise, he believes a Taliban takeover would be a positive development.

Still don't believe me? Crazy Dana probably violated the law to meet with Taliban officials in Qatar in 2001. Here's an oldie-but-REALLY-goodie from Talking Points Memo from August 2002:

[...] In April 2001, Rohrabacher travelled to Doha, Qatar to attend a conference on "Free Markets and Democracy." While there, he met with a Taliban delegation led by Muttawakil. Al Jazeera reported that the two discussed Osama bin Laden, the situation of women and civil liberties. Rohrabacher told Agence France Presse that the conversation was "frank and open." And he told the Associated Press that Muttawakil's response to his plan was "thoughtful and inquisitive."

Now the Logan Act prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. But that's a rather technical matter. So let's pass over that for the moment.

It turns out there's more. The Muttawakil meeting was attended by several members of the United States Congress, according to AP and AFP reports. Who those other members of Congress were is not clear. They don't seem to be jumping forward. Who are they? I'd like to know.

Still more interesting are the two groups who sponsored Rohrabacher's trip: the Egypt International Forum and the Islamic Institute. Those who follow Republican politics will recognize the Islamic Institute as the group Republican power broker Grover Norquist established to help corral American Muslims into the Republican party. Norquist has been a close friend and political ally of Karl Rove for a couple decades and he is now a close advisor to President Bush.

OK, so you still don't believe me? Check out this scary story from OC Weekly. And what makes this so scary is that it's all true.

As a speechwriter and special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, Rohrabacher played a key role in the late 1980s getting money and arms, including U.S.-made Stinger missiles, to Afghan holy warriors, then at war with the Soviet Union. He once bragged of being "certainly a major player" in a coalition inside the White House that supported anyone "opposing Communist domination around the world." In November 1988, he even visited the Afghan front lines during a five-day hike with an armed mujahideen patrol in eastern Afghanistan. Among those fighters he encountered, he later recalled, were "Saudi Arabians under a crazy commander named bin Laden." [...]

A veteran U.S. foreign-policy expert told the Weekly, "If Dana's right-wing fans knew the truth about his actual, working relationship with the Taliban and its representatives in the Middle East and in the United States, they wouldn't be so happy." [...]

Evidence of Rohrabacher's attempts to conduct his own foreign policy became public on April 10, 2001, not in the U.S., but in the Middle East. On that day, ignoring his own lack of official authority, Rohrabacher opened negotiations with the Taliban at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Qatar, ostensibly for a "Free Markets and Democracy" conference. There, Rohrabacher secretly met with Taliban Foreign Minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, an advisor to Mullah Omar. Diplomatic sources claim Muttawakil sought the congressman's assistance in increasing U.S. aid—already more than $100 million annually—to Afghanistan and indicated that the Taliban would not hand over bin Laden, wanted by the Clinton administration for the fatal bombings of two American embassies in Africa and the USS Cole. For his part, Rohrabacher handed Muttawakil his unsolicited plans for war-torn Afghanistan. "We examined a peace plan," he laconically told reporters in Qatar.

To this day, the congressman has refused to divulge the contents of his plan. However, several diplomatic sources say it's likely he asked the extremists to let former Afghan King Zahir Shah return as the figurehead of a new coalition government. In numerous speeches before and after Sept. 11, Rohrabacher has claimed the move would help stabilize Afghanistan for an important purpose: the construction of an oil pipeline there. In return, the plan would reportedly have allowed the Taliban to maintain power until "free" elections could be called.

The idea was outlandish and even provocative. Though he is a member of the same ethnic tribe as the Taliban leadership, the 87-year-old exiled former king—who lost his throne in 1973—is known not for his appreciation of democracy, but for his coziness to Western corporate interests. With good reason, he was considered a U.S. puppet by the Taliban.

Actually, why should ANY OF US be happy with the fact that our member of Congress has had such a close working relationship with CRAZED TERRORISTS?! Why should any of us be happy with the fact that Crazy Dana Rohrabacher would agree to give more aid to a government harboring known terrorists? Why should any of us be happy with the fact that Crazy Dana was once comfortable with the Taliban continuing to hide Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan? Why should we be happy with the fact that Crazy Dana had once felt all that sympathy for the Taliban for so long, yet he now simply tries to deny that any of this ever happened?

This should trouble all of us. Dana Rohrabacher tried to unilaterally alter US foreign policy in order to make a deal with a government known to harbor terrorists. Dana Rohrabacher just could not give up his own old sympathies for his old mujahideen buddies, even after everyone else had realized that they were never really the "freedom fighters" that they had claimed to be. And if Dana Rohrabacher still can't deal with this mistake now, then how can we expect him to learn from other grave mistakes?

Shouldn't we be at least a little concerned about Crazy Dana and his very scary friends?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Where to start?

One of the problems that I have with writing this blog is finding a starting point. To understand what Dana Rohrabacher is really doing, to establish whether or not he is part of the malignancy that grew around the Republican Power structure in Washington or just a good ol' boy along for the ride, you need to write the narrative of his involvement (or non-involvement) in each element.

There are many starting points to this narrative, but if you are just beginning to read the narrative of Dana Rohrabacher, then I suggest that you start with the diary that dengre posted on dailKos today. I warn you, this is not easy reading. If you can read that diary without a sense of outrage welling up inside you, you are a very cold person indeed.

What I want to do is to connect Dana Rohrabacher to the events that dengre has so painstakingly laid out in his series of posts on Jack Abramoff and the destruction of human dignity that took place in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Let me lay out the CNMI narrative for you in Readers Digest short version.

Hong Kong businessman, Willie Tan, recognized that there was an opportunity for self enrichment when the US government established that goods manufactured in the CNMI could be sold with the Made in the USA label. This was clearly described in the New Republic.
The textbook example involved the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (cnmi). An archipelago of Pacific islands captured by the United States in World War II, the cnmi acquired a unique status in the U.S. economy. Even though U.S. labor and minimum wage laws didn't apply in the cnmi, manufacturers had permission to stamp cnmi products with made in the usa labels and to evade trade quotas. Taking advantage of this loophole, Chinese entrepreneurs flocked to the island, bringing with them 32,000 workers, many of them indentured and forced to live in horrifying camps. According to a 1997 federal report, "Violations of labor standards and other abuses appear common.... Chinese contract workers allegedly work under 'shadow' contracts signed in their home country that subvert their rights under the U.S. Constitution.... Foreign contract workers report being victims of such crimes as rape, assault, and forced prostitution by those who have recruited them to work in the cnmi." To protect the $1 billion per year garment industry and stave off legislation that might correct some of these conditions, the cnmi and its business interests hired Abramoff

He established dual citizenship (Hong Kong and CNMI) and proceeded to build a sweatshop empire based on importing labor from other Asian countries, keeping them in near slave conditions for the fortunate. Others were forced into prostitution, even forced to have abortions if they were unfortunate enough to get pregnant. All of this is clearly documented, but our government has done little or nothing to protect the workers in the CNMI. Even when California Congressman George Miller tried to have US labor laws extended to the CNMI, the legislation was bottled up by Tom DeLay.

In fact, there is a video recording shown on 20/20 of Willie Tan referring to the fact that DeLay would not allow this to happen. Why could Wilie Tan get away with this? Consider that the CNMI Governor through a good portion of this time was Ben Fitial, once a Vice President of Tan Holdings.

As long as the Republicans were in charge of Congress, nothing happened that would affect the CNMI and Willie Tan. In fact, that is still true. Consider that from the 2006 effort to raise the minimum wage, the clauses that would have raised the minimum wage in the CNMI were stripped out of the bill in between the time it was approved in committee and when it was voted on the floor of the House. Tan's reach is still powerful even though Abramoff and DeLay are gone.

Where was Dana in all of this?

Well, we know that the CNMI was loudly proclaimed as a triumph of Free Enterprise. The Libertarian Free State Project considered re-focusing as a Free Territory Project and considered the CNMI to be a good "target". I would like to ask Dana whether he chose to see the CNMI though some sort of funny colored glasses. How could he have made fact finding trips to the CNMI in 1996/7:
The trip was from 12-27-1996 through 1-4-1997. Joining Jack Abramoff and Brian Bilbray on the New Year's Eve Holiday Congressional trip to CNMI were Bilbray's wife, Patrick Pizzella, Cong. Rohrabacher, Dana's fiancé Rhonda Carmondy, and Cong. Duncan (R-TN) and his wife.
and again in 1999:

and not to have been aware of what was going on?

Maybe it was Dana's friendship with Abramoff. After all, Abramoff used Rohrabacher as a reference to secure the loan for buying SunCruz, the fraudulent deal which ultimately landed Abramoff in jail. If Dana was on first name relations with Jack, then we have to ask if he was swallowing the swill that Abramoff was handing out regarding the CNMI.

There is no one so blind as the man who chooses not to see.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

How deep is the Balckwater?

Thanks to a tip from an OC friend, I started to look at the connection between Dana Rohrabacher and Blackwater, the mercenary soldier of fortune organization that was founded by Erik Prince, himself once a Navy Seal. I did not have to look very long.

I have not thought very much about civilian armies. I know that the militia stories that circulated all over after Oklahoma City bombing were scary. Maybe we have all been anesthetized by the military entertainment complex churning out Rambos or Delta Force or television's 24 Hours or The Unit. But I grew up on a higher class of movie. More like The Manchurian Candidate or Dr. Srangelove.

The result of all of that is I don't always trust the government and I surely don't trust the creation of an army created precisely because they don't have to play by the rules of engagement. We have seen the results when America's forces step over the line: Abu Graib for example. Even when it was not intentional, like today's US Air Strike that hit an Iraqi school, it turns the non-committed into committed enemies. So, Blackwater's army lets us do the dirty work without taking the blame... except that everyone knows who these "contractors" are.

How difficult would it be to take that same Blackwater force and to start it operating within the US? That is where the television series would take us. We should not be hiring thugs to do what we don't want to have blamed on us. We should be wary of government officials who have anything to do with them.

It was easy to find direct connections between Blackwater and Rohrabacher. According to a story posted recently at Democracy Now, Prince once interned with Rohrabacher. There is no clear definition of exactly what he did for Dana, but there are plenty of examples of an ongoing relationship.

This is from the Democracy Now source:
But also, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater worked as an intern for Representative Dana Rohrabacher, another California Republican. In fact, when Blackwater was founded, both Dana Rohrabacher and Representative John Doolittle were brought out, at the company's expense, to be at Blackwater's grand opening. So these are deep Republican ties in California that Blackwater has.
Those deep Republican ties also includes Duncan Hunter.

This is going to be an long story. Rohrabacher has left a trail behind him that should be easy to follow. For example, did he actually account for that trip to the big show by his one-time intern? The FEC filings do not show it and the other online source of records of Congressional travel American Radio Networks, does not go back before the year 2000. There is probably another story for someone who wants to go through all of those trips. I would bet you could like a few to the Taliban photo I have heard about.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Data to back up Andrew's Comments

Andrew made an appeal to all good Democrats to come to the aid of their party, even in districts where there is not an immediate, obvious payback. I thought that I would add some data to show what is really happening in the 46th CD.

The Secretary of State's office published voter registration numbers for the state on several regular schedules. In February of odd numbered years, they publish what is called an Odd Year Report. These generally represent bed rock voters in the district as the number of registered voters will increase as we get closer to major elections, especially presidential elections like we will have in 2008.

So, let's compare voter registration number in the 46th CD in 2005 and 2007. I added 3 of the smaller parties as they really complete the profile of the district. The table below show that there was a 2% drop in both Republican and Democratic Registration and a 4% rise in the numbers who Declined to State their party connection. The only one of the smaller parties that gained in registration was the American Independent Party (AIP), an illustration of the role that the immigration issue plays in this district. The AIP is essentially a single issue party.

My conclusion is that the profile of the district is changing and that, while the Republicans are losing registration, no other party has been able to capture the voters that left. That would argue for a very low turnout in 2006, which is exactly what we had in the Congressional election. Give the voters an alternative to the same old Dana, someone with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, someone with a compelling narrative as to why they challenging to status quo, and this district will respond.

Democratic 121.254
Republican 186,271
DTS 69,191
Libertarian 3,040
Am. Ind. Pty 7,670

Democratic 119,015
Republican 181,880
DTS 72,280
Libertarian 3,043
Am. Ind. Pty 7,801

Sunday, May 6, 2007

How to Turn This "Red District" Blue

Why should we be going after Gary Miller? Why should we bother with Dana Rohrabacher? Why should we be investing in building Democratic infrastructure in such "hopelessly red places" like South Orange County? Why should we be growing the progressive grassroots in such "strongly Republican towns" as Yorba Linda and Huntington Beach? Why should we even be talking about organizing in such "red counties" as Orange County?

Perhaps we should be organizing in these "red counties" because they are not actually as "hopelessly Republican" as we think they are. Perhaps we should take a second look at these red areas because they are fast turning purple, and have the potential to turn blue. Perhaps we should look at these areas because their populations are growing as the populations of such "safe blue areas" as San Francisco and Los Angeles are stagnating. Perhaps we should do something in these "red areas" because these regions are the key to keeping California blue.

So what can we do?

How about conversing with voters about environmental protection instead of talking down to them about it? Perhaps instead of simply lecturing voters in these regions on why we must protect our environment, talk with them about how environmental protection enhances our quality of life. Talk about preserving all those lovely ocean views, and about how a balanced climate is ultimately good for business. Believe me, people will listen. Huntington Beach has signed onto the US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. Brea has embraced the principles of "smart growth". And of course, Laguna Beach has always been a leader on environmental preservation. People here do value their quality of life. They appreciate clean beaches, clean water, pretty parks, and plenty of open space... And so do Democrats. We can make a connection here.

How about talking with voters about government's duty to protect the public good, and NOT to meddle in people's private lives? Many so-called "conservatives" in places like Orange County are really libertarian-minded people who just don't want government making decisions regarding their personal lives. Look at all the places in Orange County where Prop 85 lost. Many people here really are pro-choice, and they don't appreciate government involving itself in women's private medical decisions. People here really don't mind the gay and lesbian couples living in the neighborhood. However, they DO MIND government snooping in people's sex lives. People here appreciate safe neighborhoods, but they don't appreciate government searching their homes and businesses without any court warrant. People here want government to focus on such basic matters as keeping the neighborhoods safe, paving the roads, and beautifying the parks. They don't want government to intrude upon private personal matters. People in these "red counties" value freedom and civil liberties, and so do Democrats. We can make a connection here.

How about talking to voters about how tough it is for small businesses to make it these days? There are many small business owners in "red counties" like Orange County, and there are many things on their minds. These folks are concerned about providing health care for their workers, and they are concerned about their own health care. These folks are concerned about big-box stores like Wal-Mart moving into the community, and they don't know if they can compete with these big box stores and all their government subsidies. They are wondering how to stay competitive in such a tough business environment. These small business owners are concerned, and so are Democrats.

So why can't we connect better? Well, we haven't really tried before. Our state and national parties have never really bothered before to take another look at the "red counties", and see the purple inside. All too often, many Democratic leaders would rather just ignore places like Orange County while they continue to chase after a narrower and narrower set of "swing voters" in "swing regions". Well, how about expnading our base for once? How about investing in new areas, like Orange County, the Inland Empire, and San Diego County, where there are new opportunities for Democrats. Times are changing, and so are these communities. Let's start working here, and perhaps we change these corners of the map from red to blue. : )

Friday, May 4, 2007

A House Cleaning is in Order

I never seem to get around to reading the NY Times. Maybe I should. When a friend of mine sent me this link to an Adam Cohen editorial today, it made me stop and think a bit.

The House of Representatives has long been a place where the perks of a little bit of power seem to play to the worst impulses of greed people. The players change, even the parties involved change, but the story never does.

The overall cleanup of the House promised by Newt Gingrich never happened. The scandals that brought down Dan Rostenkowski and the House Democrats in the early 1990's are now the scandals that are playing havoc with the Republicans who stayed hanging around long after their idealist slogans were tarnished, turned green with money.

No where has that been more the case more than with the California House Republicans. For every person of principle there have been two made in the image of Duke Cunningham. For some reason, Southern California seems to be the spawning ground for this sort of graft and corruption. The first to fall was "Duke" Cunningham. Then, up in No Cal, the supposedly powerful Richard Pombo lost the CA 11 seat to a guy whom even the Bay Area House Democrats said "can't win."

The Republican Party needs to start asking itself just how far they will let the likes of Cunningham pull them down, as the winds of shame are swirling around Jerry Lewis, Gary Miller and Dana Rohrabacher, the self-styled Libertarian Troubadour and (later) Reagan speech-writer.

I ran across the following description of Rohrabacher's early career, laid out in a discussion of Totaliarianism Today.
The final step was provided by an anti-communist free-market anarchist named Dana Rohrabacher at the St. Louis YAF Convention. He was a charismatic campus activist, radicalized by Robert LeFevre who provided him with small funding to travel the country with his instrument and folk songs from campus to campus, converting YAF chapters into Libertarian Alliances and SIL chapters. Alas, later he fell into politics, but not the LP. The Libertarian billionaire Charles Koch supported him in two failed Republicans primary campaigns, and after Rohrabacher put in time as Ronald Reagan's speechwriter, he got his reward of a safe seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Orange County. He is still in office today, with growing seniority. There are few issues on which he is still Libertarian, certainly fewer than, say, Ron Paul holds.
It looks more like the attraction of money eventually ate away at those Libertarian Values that he once held dear.

I wonder how many more reference to the old Rohrabacher, the one who lived his value (on other people's money) I can find and whether they will prove embarrassing to the new Rohrabacher. Or maybe the one we see is the one that was there all along and all that Libertarian stuff was just an act, a young man, a guitar and an act to take on the road. He surely seems to have come a long ways from the ideas of Robert LeFevre or the late Samuel Edward Konkin III.

I would guess that we should give Rohrabacher the benefit of the doubt. That at one time he really believe in what he was doing. But then, we have a good measure of just how long it take the power and money flowing through Washington to reach someone, to change the way that they look at the morality of the things they do. Only the very strong seem immune and I don't see that Rohrabacher is all that strong. Those two failed races for office as Libertarian spouting Republican must have taught him that to gain and keep, that power, you have to go along. So he went along to the Marianas Islands with Tom Delay.

Where else did he go along? We will keep the travelogue running.

Crazy Dana = Anti-Choice

Let's face it: Crazy Dana Rohrabacher is completely out of touch with us when it comes to women's reproductive rights. He simply doesn't accept a woman's right to choose.

Let's look at how Planned Parenthood rates Dana. They see him as 100% anti-choice. He opposes insurance coverage for contraceptives. He opposes confidential family planning services for minors. Actually, he opposes ANY access for family planning services.

So why should we care? We should care about this because Crazy Dana is more interested in scoring cheap political points than he is in ensuring that women's private medical decisions remain private, between a woman and her doctor. We should care because Dana would rather have Washington politicians meddle in women's health decisions than to allow a woman to choose what's best for her own health.

Crazy Dana talks the talk on fighting for individual rights, but he certainly doesn't walk the walk. He has consistently acted to prevent women from making their own decisions about their own bodies. I guess he just doesn't think that women know what's best for themselves. And no, I wouldn't call taking away a woman's right to choose "fighting for individual rights". I just call BS.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Getting it on the Record

I have to hand it to the OC Register. They actually provided a blog entry regarding the comments made by Congressman Rohrabacher to the EU Parliamentarians. In fact, they have a link to the entire sequence of the discussion on YouTube. Thanks to Martin Wisckol we can watch our congressman embarass us all.

As I posted earlier this week, actions like this are one of the reasons there are so many who don't like our government.

Get yourself into a calm state and watch this video. It is about 9 minutes long. I don't think I could have stood it much longer.

Honoring our Veterans

  • The current Republican Administration has been stalwart in standing up to their perceived threat to the American way of life and invisible when it comes to providing for those who have given a part of themselves in service to our country. Since the 911, the preparation for and prosecution of armed combat has been the singular focus of the Bushies and our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters have paid the price. Maybe the children of those who were killed or injured in service to their country have paid the greatest price as they struggle with the question: why?

The Disabled American Veterans keeps a running scorecard on key votes by all members of Congress on legislation that is important to those who left a part of themselves in some other country. There have been 12 such votes since 9/11/2001. Congressman Rohrabacher has voted for our veterans only 3 time. That is a sorry record.
I will add to the table of votes below by explaining just what our veterans lost by his votes. Pay special attention to the 5th item dated 01/26/2005. This is labeled as voting down an amendment to HR 2528 by Melancon (D. LA) that would have added $53 Million to the Veterans Administration funding. This amendment would have provided:
  • an additional $8 Million for combat related trauma care;
  • an additional $9 Million for research on improved prosthetics for those who left a limb in Iraq;
  • an additional $6 Million for telemedicine;
  • and additional $23 Million for ongoing support of war orphans.
Representative Melancon's amendment failed by a vote of 213 to 214. You could consider that Dana Rohrabacher cast the deciding vote. He has the gall to spend $ Billions on the war and can't find the $23 Million to take care of the wounded who make it back or the families of those who do not.

For those who love their country, this is not the way that a person with a clean conscience treats those who are willing to die for their country. Whether you support the war in Iraq or find it disgusting, you have to agree that Rohrabacher and the rest of the Republican Congress, marching along chanting "no new taxes" just do not understand how much we can figure out and how much we deplore what he has done.

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program Extension 11/14/2006 Y
Passed Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2006 06/28/2006 Y
Passed Veterans Benefits Improvement Act 05/22/2006 Y
Failed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 On Motion to Recommit with Instructions 05/11/2006 N
Failed Melancon of Louisiana Amendment; Military Quality of Life and VA Appropriations, FY2006 05/26/2005 N
Passed Congressional Budget for FY 2006 03/17/2005 Y
Failed Spratt of South Carolina Substitute Amendment; Congressional Budget for FY 2006 03/17/2005 N
Failed Obey of Wisconsin Amendment; Congressional Budget for FY 2006 03/17/2005 N
Passed Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2005, and for other purposes 03/15/2005 Y
Passed Congressional Budget for the U.S. Government for FY 2005 03/25/2004 Y
Passed VA/HUD Appropriations 07/25/2003 Y
Passed Providing for the Consideration of H.R. 2861, Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Indepenent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 07/25/2003 Y
Failed Motion to Recommit the Joint Resolution to the House Appropriations Committee 11/13/2002 N