Thursday, April 26, 2007
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.
- 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.
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.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
One of the impacts of last falls elections was the fact that the Abramoff scandal contributed to the defeat of a number of Republican Congressmen, most notably Richard Pombo (CA-11) and almost resulted in the defeat of John Doolittle (CA-4). Another effect was the fact that the investigation into the affairs of Jack Abramoff became old news and is no longer being covered on the 11:00 news. There must be more than a few sighs of relief, even in Huntington Beach.
The investigation is still unfolding and for those paying attention it is like listening to a centipede undress. You keep waiting for another shoe to drop, which it does on an almost daily basis.
Recent developments in the Abramoff scandal This week, one time Congressional staffer, Mark Zachares made a guilty plea and agreed to assist prosecutors in peeling yet another layer off this rotten onion. According to a Bloomberg New story...
Court documents said Zachares used his post as staff director of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Coast Guard and Maritime subcommittee to help Abramoff land clients and obtain favorable congressional action. Zachares agreed to use his committee position to retaliate against companies that hired other lobbyists, the document said.TPM has made the court filing available to all. From that we know that Zachares served as staff to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chaired by Alaska Congressman Donald Young. Zachares was identified by Abramoff while employed by the Attorney General's office in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI).
The long sordid history of Abramoff and the Marianas has been very well documented by dengre on DailyKos. I don't intend to duplicate what he has done to connect the dots, most recently to Young. I do want to point out that Dana Rohrabacher is surely one of those who is listening carefully for each shoe drop.
We know that Rohrabacher visited the CNMI and met with officials there. He went along with Young, John Dootlittle.and others on a Abramoff sponsored trip to the CNMI in 1999. I am sure that Rohrabacher's memory of this trip will be about as good as Alberto Gonzales's memory of the more recent firing of Carol Lam (investigated and convicted Randy Cunningham and beginning an investigation of other Southern California Congressmen) or Arizona USDA John Charlton (beginning an investigation of Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi.)
There is an open question about Congressman Rohrabacher and whether he was just along for the ride going to a Pacific paradise and Libertarian Free Market success story, or that is what they wanted you to want to believe. That “free market success” was built on the exploitation of guest workers, women forced into prostitution and a system of sweatshops which benefited not the citizens of the CNMI, but Abramoff's Hong Kong based employers who had taken over the CNMI government.
How much did Rohrabacher know about what was really going on? Did he so want to believe that “free market success” that he turned a blind eye to corruption on which it was built? If that is so, then he is merely incompetent, because everyone else could see it. Or is there something deeper than that?
At that time, the Department of Justice was fully aware of the extent of corruption in the CNMI. The Associate Deputy Attorney General at the time (09/1999), Nicholas Gess testified as such to the House Committee on Resources.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the famed libertarian troubadour is singing a different tune. It is time that we give his vocal cords a rest.
Every day as we work to investigate and prosecute these cases, more criminals arrive on the CNMI. As we investigate to determine whether a recruiter who promised jobs to workers to get them to come to the CNMI committed fraud or is just a bad businessman, another group of cheated workers lands at the airport. As we seize a load of drugs brought in by members of the Japanese Yakuza or Chinese triad gangs, others are already on their way, ensured of easy access to the islands. As we put one gang member in jail, others arrive. In short, we are winning individual battles, but we may be losing the war.
As soon as the mechanisms are in place, we will be telling you how you can contribute to the defeat of Crazy Dana. In the meantime, there is a good chance to help retire Doolittle from California's congressional delegation. Charlie Brown is building a campaign fund to go after Doolittle one more time. Without the strong backing of the DCCC, he almost pulled it off last time, thanks greatly to way that the netroots got behind his candidacy. We can continue that by going to the Democracy For America site and voting for Charlie Brown as their "all star". That contest ends at midnight tonight. so don't put it off.
Then, we need to identify a new allstar to take on Crazy Dana.
Monday, April 23, 2007
“Why can't you see?Nice sentiment, Dana. It has a lot of appeal to honest, hard working people who would like big government to leave them alone. It is also the appeal of those with other things to hide from view. Take Randy Cunningham, for example. I can just hear him telling Carol Lam the same words.
We just want to be free
To have our homes and families
And live our lives as we please.”
Dana Rohrabacher - West Coast Libertarian Troubadour (1973)
The real problem that I sense is that there are a lot of people who are just plain fed up with the fact that they are working the ass off, spending too much time on the freeways, too little time with their families and know that they are getting the shaft.
When the so called party of small government loads up its budgets with pork for every pet district project, bridges to nowhere, and blows away the balanced budgets that we had in 2000, then we know where to turn. This "leave me alone and let me do my own thing" may make a good sentiment for Kenny Chesney, but it doesn't make good policy in Washington.
Maybe, back then, he was just inhaling.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Crazy Dana loved the Taliban. Crazy Dana still loves disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Crazy Dana dismisses the seriously distubing reality of global climate change as just "dinosaur flatulence". Crazy Dana is vehemently anti-choice, even though he represents a pro-choice district. And now, Crazy Dana wishes death by terrorist attack upon the family members of ANYONE who has the nerve to call him out on his sheer insanity.
Simply put, Crazy Dana is batshit insane. In fact, TOO BATSHIT INSANE to even be allowed inside our nation's Capitol, let alone serving another term in Congress. He doesn't represent our values, and he can't get our logic. This is the final straw, and now it's time for us to plan how to restore sanity to our Congressional office.
So what can we do to restore insanity to our Congressional office? Well, we need to let our neighbors know just how insane our member of Congress truly is. We are a coastal community that cares about our natural resources. We are a socially tolerant community that values women's reproductive rights. We are a reasonable community that values pragmatic, common-sense solutions. And simply put, Crazy Dana doesn't represent us on any of these issues.
Crazy Dana refuses to acknowledge the serious threat of global climate change. Crazy Dana wants to completely take away a woman's right to choose. Crazy Dana wants natural gas drilling off our precious coast. And now, Crazy Dana wishes acts of terror upon family members of anyone who disagrees with his insane point of view. This is NOT someone who should represent us in Congress.
We need to let our neighbors know of Dana's insanity. We need to let them know that Dana does not represent our values in Washington. We need to let them know that Dana is no "cool maverick", but rather a far right extremist. We need to let them know that there are leaders in our community who are better fit to serve us in Congress. Basically, it's time for us to begin organizing in the 46th. We cannot afford any more of Crazy Dana. We need to return to reason in this district. NOW!
Friday, April 20, 2007
The subject was that of extraordinary rendition. That is the practice where the US government has it's agents go to other countries, kidnap citizens off the street and take them to secret prisons in countries that have no laws against torture.
This time, there was someone around to note what he said and the story has been written up so very well by US Army Reserves Colonel (Retired) Ann Wright. She gives a very illuminating picture of what happened.
At that point, I had had enough of Rohrabacher. I stood up and said "I did not serve 29 years in the US military and 16 years in the US diplomatic corps to see demise of the rule of law and violation of our own laws. Rohrback’s statements are outrageous. No wonder the world hates us!"
Chairman Delahunt gaveled for me to stop speaking and I was escorted by the police out of the committee room. I was not arrested.
Remarkably, I do agree with one thing Rohrabacker said. "They hate us."
Rohrabacker finished his sentence with "They hate us because they hate our way of life." Unfortunately, many people do hate us, but it’s not for our way of life.
Its for exactly the talk and actions that Rohrabacker and the Bush administration represent: illegal and unlawful actions, an arrogant attitude that America is always right and everyone else is wrong, that the world’s resources are for the exclusive use of the United States and we have the right to invade and occupy any country.”
Ann Wright is no starry-eyed young college student, filled with the dreams of youth. She is a veteran and you don't rise to the rank of Colonel without understand what violence begets.
If there were ever a single incident that tells us we need to reject Rohrabacher and his crazy ideas, this is it. I would have stood up with Col. Wright. I spent my time in the service. (Did Dana?) My brother was in Korea and Vietnam and eventually died in a VA Hospital, Springfield, MO. Lt. Colonel Rolley would have stood up and saluted Col. Wright, and he was a Rush Limbaugh fan.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
However, our local friends at Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties are NOT taking this lying down. They're planning their next actions... AND THEY NEED OUR HELP! If you're a progressive activist in Southern California, and if you care about women's reproductive rights, then you need to follow me after the flip to find out how you can take action.
Here's the email that I just got from my friend Serena at OC Planned Parenthood:
Dear Activists & Volunteers,
This morning the Supreme Court upheld the Federal Abortion Ban and let women's health take a back seat to right-wing politics. At Planned Parenthood, we're working hard to ensure that we can keep providing our patients with the best and safest health care possible under this dangerous law.
But we need your help...
Tomorrow, April 19th, from 10am 1pm, we'll be assembling a HUGE mailing to alert our supports of this legal set-back and how we're planning to respond. Please join us at our Administrative Offices in Orange for as long as you are able. In addition to assembling this mailing, I'll give you an update on what this decision means, how it will affect our patients, and what we plan to do about it. We'll also order lunch for those of you that are able to join us.
Please reply to this email ASAP to let me know if you'll be available.
Thanks for all your support--and the website will be updated soon, so check www.pposbc.org for more info throughout the week.
To RSVP to join this emergency improptu action, please reply to Serena at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll need as many people as possible. If you can join me and other pro-choice activists tomorrow, I'm sure our friends at OC Planned Parenthood will definitely appreciate it.
The FBI has raided the Northern Virginia home of Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), according to Congressional sources. No details are publicly available yet about the circumstances of the raid, but Doolittle and his wife, Julie, have been under federal investigation for their ties to the scandal surrounding imprisoned former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
So John Doolittle (R-Roseville) might finally be held accountable for all his dirty work...
Now when can we expect the same of Crazy Dana? Lordy knows his day in court is past due!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The lore of the West is filled with tales of the lone trapper, explorer, miner who got uncomfortable when civilization got too close and moved on, preferring a lonely freedom to controlled comradery.
You can learn a lot be examining three politicians who were either labeled as mavericks by others or who have consciously sought to position themselves as such.
At the top of any list of political mavericks, you would surely find Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey. It would almost seem that the term was invented to describe him. He is now most well known for three things: helping to draft the Endangered Species Act, being one of the co-chairs of the first Earth Day and being the first member of Congress to call for Nixon to step down as Watergate unfolded around him.
Still, the manner in which he did these things indicates that his acts were those which arose out of an innate sense of what was truly the right thing to do. His decisions often followed long periods of worrying a subject but often came very quickly and once the rationale clicked into place, were followed by almost immediate action in which he did not falter. Anyone writing about him now should take care to read Lou Cannon's The McCloskey Challenge if you can find a copy. It is amazing how a book that dealt with Pete's challenge to Nixon comes so close to defining the manner in which he took on Richard Pombo and, most recently, left the Republican Party after his family had been California Republicans since James Buchanan was president.
Then, there is John McCain. Like McCloskey, he is a veteran having had to learn to survive in unthinkable circumstances. McCain has taken care to brand himself as a maverick, from the first days of the straight talk express. He always seems to talk straight from the heart and seems to love taking on the power structure.
But, you get the sense that this is truly branding at work. There are just too many times when that talk that makes up his image and the things that he actually does just do not match. In particular, I was astounded to that McCain would spend such an effort to support Pombo, even though they agreed on almost nothing. When it is for the good of the party, when it is for McCain taking the next step up, principles do not matter as much and the self anointed maverick, McCain goes back to the herd.
Even McCain's old "Straight Talk America" web site in now just johnmccain.com.
The other example of the maverick is Dana Rohrabacher. Except, while consciously grooming the image of the maverick he has only succeed in making himself colorful, and a pale reflection of even McCain at that. The idea that the Congressman for Huntington Beach who actually surfs is about as colorful as it gets. Unfortunately that is about as colorful as Rohrabacher get also.
When this country needs serious discussion about our direction, we get feeble jokes. When we need to understand what our government is doing for us... or to us... we get a Congressman whose staff can't even keep his own web site up to date, or he hasn't made a vote since the summer of '05.
If we in the West love our mavericks, you just know that McCloskey is the real thing, that McCain is trying to be and that Rohrabacher is for the dude ranch.
Monday, April 16, 2007
But, according to the April 15 NY Times, Global Warming is a bigger threat to our national security than either of those two scary facts.
The report recommends that climate change be integrated into the nation’s security strategies and says the United States “should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate changes at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.”When will California's Republican Congressional delegation wake up to the fact that it is not nice to fool Mother Nature. They, at least, should understand the national security implications. They should understand the implication of having a 100 million displaced people asking why the richest country in the world did nothing and just allowed this all to happen.
Almost without exception, these California Republicans tell us to stay the course in a failed Iraq war and fail to consider the costs of non-action on Global Warming. Most of these corporate legislators do not even mention global warming as an issue on their web site. Rohrbacher, at least, acknowledges that it may exist, if only to use it as the point of his crude humor.
Maybe, we should consider that the cost to the US economy of taking strong action regarding global warming is about what the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars are costing us, but the implications of losing this battle are far worse than the implications of losing face in Iraq.
It is time to get someone in congress who understands what the real threats are to our national security rather than some imagined Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is time that we had someone as our representative who could provide leadership rather than jokes. (Memo to Jay Leno... "Don't worry, his timing is not that great.")
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Dana Rohrabacher may not believe that climate change is for real, but his constituents certainly do. Dozens upon dozens of people took time out of their busy weekend to show up at the Huntington Beach Pier yesterday to make a statement. They wanted to make the statement that Orange County does care about the climate, and both individuals and local governments need to take action to stop the coming climate catastrophe.
So how well did the message get out yesterday? Let me tell you all about it down below...
Yesterday, local activists from the Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment and Democracy for America-Orange County headed down to the HB Pier to get everyone at the beach to pay attention to what's happening with our climate. And they wanted to get Congress to pay attention to all this local demand for action, and to actually take action and agree to an eighty percent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. And they wanted local elected officials to pay attention, and to begin taking action in local government to reduce Orange County's carbon footprint. And yes, they wanted to get everyone else in the community to pay attention, and to begin taking action at home and at work to reduce every one's individual carbon footprint. So who was paying attention, other than me and all the other eco-conscious citizens who gathered at the pier?
Well, Gil Coerper was certainly paying attention yesterday. But then again, why wouldn't he? The conveners presented the HB Mayor with an award for him and his fellow city councilmembers for their recent decision to sign on to the US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. "Surf City" is now the fifth OC city to do so, joining Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Irvine, and Santa Ana on that distinguished list of cities taking action to stop the coming climate catastrophe.
So why isn't more action being taken? That's what we all had to ask. There are twenty-nine other cities in Orange County that haven't yet signed onto the Climate Protection Agreement. There are members of Congress here who still refuse to recognize that there's even a problem with our changing climate, including one from Huntington Beach who dismisses all of this as "dinosaur flatulence". And yes, there are still many thousands of people in OC who still don't understand just how serious this climate catastrophe is. That's what motivated so many people to come to Downtown HB yesterday to get more people to be aware of what's happening, and to begin taking real action.
Let's hope that all of us in OC get the message soon. : )
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Now, I ask you, what has Crazy Dana been doing for all of that time since then? I don't think that he has been surfing in the Potomac, though he probably thought about it.
We know that Crazy Dana goes to capital hill. I mean even Dena Bunis in the OC Register gives a good account of his talking to an empty House Chamber as if that meant something. Isn't talking to your self a sign of a mental problem?
So, where are the votes? I guess he isn't proud enough of them to tell us what he is really doing.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Framing is a serious matter of explaining the facts of science in such a manner as to make them relevant to the audience, be that other scientists, informed journalists or just you and I. They argue that scientists need to do more than repeat Jack Webb's "just the facts,Ma'am." Their article ends with...
Some readers may consider our proposals too Orwellian, preferring the traditional model of safely sticking to the facts. Yet scientists must realize that these facts will be repeatedly misapplied and twisted in direct proportion to their relevance to the political debate and decision-making. In short, as unnatural as it might feel, in many cases, scientists should strategically avoid emphasizing the technical details of science when trying to defend it.The result was rather blog overload for Mooney and elicited some very fine commentary from other bloggers.
Now, what does this have to do with Dana Rohrabacher? Maybe, it is the fact that he has chosen to frame his opinion of science as a joke, humor for the 5:00 news, or at least for other bloggers share his entertaining video.
The problem is that global warming is not a joke. There are going to be very real consequences for our ignoring this fact. I can think of no area where those consequences are going to be be felt more keenly than in Orange County. With local governments being funded by developer mitigation fees one should pay close attention to where the water is going to come from to support that growth. The forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability are for ever increasing drought in the American Southwest. That translates directly into less water for the Metropolitan Water District.
Warming in western mountains is projected to cause decreased snowpack, more winter flooding, and reduced summer flows, exacerbating competition for over-allocated water resources.(IPPC Summary p. 12)If snow does not fall in the Rockies, there will not be water in the Colorado River. If snow does not fall in the Sierra Nevada, there will not be water flowing into the Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta and South to the LA Metropolitan Area. If it falls as rain, the delta will flood.
We have a choice. We can act now to mitigate the effects of the future we know is coming or we can make jokes about dinosaurs. We know what Crazy Dana has done. What will you do when the flow of water becomes a trickle? Will you still be laughing at Rohrabacher's jokes?
One way we can start to mitigate the effects of climate change is to elect a Congressman who takes the problem seriously.
Monday, April 9, 2007
Philip D. Harvey of Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a likeable, straight-forward fellow who isn’t embarrassed that the source of his reportedly large personal fortune is uninhibited sex—heterosexual, gay, lesbian, kink, solo and with (hopefully pliable) inanimate objects. As owner of Adam & Eve, Harvey makes porn films and sells sex toys, including a large variety of masturbation devices. In 2001, he wrote The Government vs. Erotica: The Siege of Adam & Eve, which details his battles against law enforcement over the right to sell porn. As president of DKT International, he supplies government-subsidized condoms and lube to individuals and sex workers in developing countries such as Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia and India.
So how is this guy connected to Dana Rohrabacher? OC Weekly gives us all the dirty details:
Harvey is no mystery to the Huntington Beach/Long Beach representative. Rohrabacher sat on a powerful House committee that approved hundreds of millions of dollars in HIV/AIDS funding tied to Harvey-related operations. In the months before he took $500 from Harvey last October, Rohrabacher had been given a congressional dossier by Republican staff. A copy of that 10-page report, which was obtained by the Weekly, described Harvey as a “porn powerhouse” who is subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.
In 2005, Harvey caused a huge stink in the nation’s capital when he refused a Bush administration string on federal HIV/AIDS funds: the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) now requires recipients to declare opposition to prostitution and sex trafficking. Harvey refused, claiming his free-speech rights had been infringed. He won in a lower court, but in late February, a federal appellate panel reversed that ruling and sided with the government. Harvey says he is contemplating an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
OK, so that's how the "porn king" got connected with Mr. Moral Values. Well, I guess this is not the first time that Kinky Crazy Dana sold out his "moral values" for personal gain. Dana Rohrabacher may claim to have "values", but he'll dump them fast if they get in the way of "defending his good freinds".
Now I'm not exactly angry that Crazy Dana buddies up with porn kings. What I am angry about, however, is his hypocrisy on this issue. I just hope that I never have to hear from him preaching to us ever again about his supposed "moral values".
The people of this district deserve better.
Some might consider Rohrabacher colorful. We consider him dangerous. At a time when we need our government to solve problems, Rohrabacher would rather score points.
One has only to look at his Congressional Web Site, where he is using our taxpayer money to continue spinning the corporate line about Global Warming. In the face of the last two reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, both of which are very clear as to the consensus that the current rate of change in unprecedented and caused by human activity, Crazy Dana continues to spread the message of scientific doubt. The most recent report, Impacts, Adaptations and Vulnerabilty, makes it abundantly clear that Climate Change is not a future event. It is happening now and it is folly to blissfully ignore the consequences, as does Crazy Dana.
The people of this district deserve better.
We are going to use this site to point out where Congressman Rohrabacher ceases to be merely colorful and become just plain doofus.
We will enthusiastically search for a credible candidate to take on Crazy Dana and give this district the representation that it deserves.
We will consistently tell you the truth.