My Campaign Speech
As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."
Since you're a reader, obviously, I'll address you by name. I saw your update today, and I thought I'd address it.
The Sacramento Bee has more on the progressive political bloggers seeking to infiltrate the California Democratic Party through elections today. "The state party is largely composed of old buddies who get together to socialize every once in a while, with most meetings being poorly attended and little business getting done in them," says one 18-year-old high school student who is running. That's the point this blog made Thursday, but a few earnest types totally freaked out! Also: I'm a blogger too, so I can make light-hearted fun of bloggers. It's in the rules.
UPDATE: Dan Ancona says the Democratic party is getting energized: "The almost entirely unchecked power of special interests, the noise of capitalist society, and snarky disaffected despair like Mr Salladay all work against them. But large and growing numbers of people are making the choice to rebuild the American democracy anyway."
I happily come from a leftist-hippy family (see photo of my wood-fired hot tub - it's semi-liberal), so I know from where progressives are speaking. But I am struck by how progressives feel the California Democratic Party establishment doesn't represent their views. Universal health care? State Democrats did it. Same-sex marriage? Done. Raise the minimum wage? Multiple times. Global warming? Toughest standards in the nation. Challenge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and protect unions? They destroyed Schwarzenegger in 2005. For the most part, the problem has been Schwarzenegger's vetoes, not Art Torres.
Short answer: I won.
It's 1979 in reverse.
The enormity of what happened in Irbil yesterday is just starting to become clear. To recap, U.S. forces raided the Iranian liaison office in Irbil -- apparently it's not an actual consulate -- seized a number of computers and other documents, and took six Iranian nationals into custody. The six are accused of involvement in attacks on U.S. forces. What will happen to them? Here's Eli Lake in today's New York Sun:
Another administration source yesterday said the White House and State Department do not consider the Iranians arrested yesterday to have diplomatic immunity because the building that was raided was not a consulate. This means that unlike senior Iranian officials arrested last month, those detained yesterday will likely not be returned to Iran.
...it's good to see him in particular asking the Secretary of State the question of the day: "Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take unilateral action against Iran in the absence of a direct threat without congressional approval?" Rice's reply:
Senator, I'm really loathe to get into questions of the president's authorities without a rather more clear understanding of what we are actually talking about. So let me answer you, in fact, in writing. I think that would be the best thing to do.
While I was quite amused by Barney Frank's takedown of Patrick McHenry on the House floor, I was left wondering what the hell it was all about. McHenry, the designated Republican attack dog and the heir apparent to Gingrich and DeLay, was attempting to ask a question about whether American Samoa was exempted from the stem cell research bill that passed the House yesterday. McHenry is apparently completely ignorant of parliamentary procedure, or perhaps he just wanted to get the words "American Samoa" on C-SPAN. Because there's a growing shitstorm over a similar "exemption" for American Samoa in the recently passed minimum wage bill. From the fair and balanced Washington Times:
House Republicans yesterday declared "something fishy" about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.
"I am shocked," said Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and his party's chief deputy whip, noting that Mrs. Pelosi campaigned heavily on promises of honest government. "Now we find out that she is exempting hometown companies from minimum wage. This is exactly the hypocrisy and double talk that we have come to expect from the Democrats."
On Wednesday, the House voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.
The bill also extends for the first time the federal minimum wage to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, it exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws.
One of the biggest opponents of the federal minimum wage in Samoa is StarKist Tuna, which owns one of the two packing plants that together employ more than 5,000 Samoans, or nearly 75 percent of the island's work force. StarKist's parent company, Del Monte Corp., has headquarters in San Francisco, which is represented by Mrs. Pelosi. The other plant belongs to California-based Chicken of the Sea.
"There's something fishy going on here," said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina Republican.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), applies generally to employment within American Samoa as it does to employment within the United States. The minimum wage rates for American Samoa are set by a special industry committee (29 U.S.C. 205, 29 C.F.R. Part 511) appointed by the U.S. Department of Labor, as required by the Act. The rates are set for particular industries, not for an employee's particular occupation. The rates are minimum rates (29 U.S.C. 206(a)(3)); an employer may choose to pay an employee at a rate higher than the rate(s) for its industry.
The Act contains a number of additional requirements, including the payment of premium rates to certain covered employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek (29 U.S.C. 207), limitations on the employment of minors, and provisions relating to the Act's coverage and exceptions to and exemptions from some of the Act's general requirements.
Ever since Abramoff's lobbying scandal broke, top Democrats have been eager to highlight the labor-rights records of the Northern Mariana Islands...
But Samoa has escaped such notoriety, and its low-wage canneries have a protector of a different political stripe, Democratic delegate Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, whose campaign coffers have been well stocked by the tuna industry that virtually runs his island's economy.
Faleomavaega has said he does not believe his island's economy could handle the federal minimum wage, issuing statements of sympathy for a Samoan tuna industry competing with South American and Asian canneries paying workers as little as 66 cents an hour. The message got through to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), the sponsor of the minimum-wage bill that included the Marianas but not Samoa, according to committee aides. The aides said the Samoan economy does not have the diversity and vibrancy to handle the mainland's minimum wage, nor does the island have anything like the labor rights abuses Miller found in the Marianas.
Republicans say she tried to. But on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear that the new federal minimum wage would apply to all U.S. territories, including American Samoa. This happened after Republicans accused Pelosi of doing a favor for a hometown company - the San Francisco-based Del Monte.
But in American Samoa, it is the tuna industry that rules the roost. Canneries employ nearly 5,000 workers on the island, or 40 percent of the workforce, paying $3.60 an hour on average, compared with $7.99 an hour for Samoan government employees. Samoan minimum-wage rates are set by federal industry committees, which visit the island every two years.
Faleomavaega's aides said yesterday that the delegate was in American Samoa for the opening session of the island's government and would not comment. But he is no stranger to the minimum-wage issue. When StarKist lobbied in the past to prevent small minimum-wage hikes, Faleomavaega denounced the efforts.
"StarKist is a billion-dollar-a-year company," he said after a 2003 meeting with executives from StarKist and parent company Del Monte Foods. "It is not fair to pay a corporate executive $65 million a year while a cannery worker only makes $3.60 per hour."
But after the same meeting, Faleomavaega also said he understood that the Samoan canneries were facing severe wage competition from South American and Asian competitors. Democratic aides familiar with the issue said Faleomavaega is not about to allow the federal minimum wage to reach Samoa -- and perhaps for good reason.
Department of Interior testimony last year before the Senate noted that canneries in Thailand and the Philippines were paying their workers about 67 cents an hour. If the canneries left American Samoa en masse, the impact would be devastating, leaving Samoans as wards of the federal welfare state, warned David B. Cohen, deputy assistant secretary of the interior for insular affairs.
Coupled with low-income levels is the ever-increasing cost of living. .Since 1982, the current index registered at 153.8 index points as of the fourth quarter of 1996. This means that the cost of living has increased by close to 54 percent, or an annual average of about 3.8 percent. A single household in American Samoa spent an average of about $18,318 in 1988 compared to $12,235 in 1982. More than 50 percent of average spending went to food and housing. Special expenditures such as church donations, customary gifts, and fa’alavelave (family affairs, such as funerals, weddings and title investitures) remained a significant portion of Samoan household spending.
A significant source of spending associated with fa’alavelave is the necessity for uniforms. Uniforms are needed for many occasions, ranging from church functions to civic organizations, as well as primary and secondary school uniforms. The uniforms cost from $10.00 to $30.00 at local sewing shops, not including the fabric and notions. For low-income families, these costs can be difficult to manage. The ability to sew can save the average family hundreds of dollars in sewing costs per year.
Unemployment in American Samoa is estimated at about 5.2%. There are few economic opportunities outside of the local government and the tuna canneries. Emigration to the mainland in search of jobs is common; for those left behind, there is a great need to offer ways to supplement family income.
The House and Senate are rolling along implementing the 100-hour agenda, with mostly victories, a couple setbacks, and the 800-pound elephant in the room (Iraq) impinging upon the whole thing.
Before taking control of the House last week, Democratic leaders briefly considered proposing a new government-run prescription drug program as a way to reduce seniors' drug costs, according to Democratic aides and lawmakers involved in the deliberations.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her allies chose a far less ambitious plan -- to require the government to negotiate for lower Medicare drug prices -- that will come to a vote today. They stepped back largely out of concern that the pharmaceutical industry would stall a complex change, denying them a quick victory on a top consumer-oriented priority, aides say [...]
The industry worked closely with the Republican Congress to shape the Medicare prescription drug program, which included a provision barring the government from negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry for lower prices. In the three-year run-up to passage, industry lobbyists poured more than $6 million into both Republican and Democratic campaign coffers, dispatched an army of more than 800 lobbyists to Capitol Hill and quietly funded seniors organizations and patient advocacy groups that opposed Democratic alternatives.
Democrats opposed the legislation, but now that they have a chance to rewrite the law, they are pressing for what party leaders concede is only a minor alteration. "This is a first step," said Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The House proposal would require the government to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry for lower prices on behalf of the private insurers that run the drug benefit program. The impact on prices could be small, however, since the government does not buy drugs directly for Medicare and manufacturers could ignore federal pressure to lower prices without consequence.
To strengthen their position, drug firms and their trade groups have been transforming their Washington operations by hiring top Democratic lobbyists to gain access to new committee chairmen, bolstering Democratic political donations and spending millions on public relations campaigns to overcome an image, indicated in recent surveys, that the industry puts profits ahead of patients.
Drug companies spent more on lobbying than any other industry between 1998 and 2005 -- $900 million, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. They donated a total of $89.9 million in the same period to federal candidates and party committees, nearly three-quarters of it to Republicans.
Senior House Democrats said yesterday that they will attempt to derail funding for President Bush's proposal to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, setting up what could become the most significant confrontation between the White House and Congress over military policy since the Vietnam War.
The bold plans reflect the Democrats' belief that the public has abandoned Bush on the war and that the American people will have little patience for an escalation of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. But the moves carry clear risks for a party that suffered politically for pushing to end an unpopular war in Vietnam three decades ago, and Democratic leaders hope to avoid a similar fate over the conflict in Iraq.
The striking new approach took shape yesterday morning during a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), invoked Martin Luther King Jr. as she urged her members against timidity, members who were there said. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), a quiet, hawkish supporter of the war, stunned many of his colleagues when he came out strenuously against Bush's proposal and suggested the war is no longer militarily winnable.
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense and the party's leading voice for withdrawing troops, is to report back to Appropriations Committee members today on hearings and legislative language that could stop an escalation of troops, said Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), a member of Murtha's subcommittee.
Those plans could attach so many conditions and benchmarks to the funds that it would be all but impossible to spend the money without running afoul of the Congress. "Twenty-one thousand five hundred troops ought to have 21,500 strings attached to them," said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).
Joe Lieberman, the Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is continuing in the stonewalling tradition of the 109th Congress where his Republican allies were in the majority.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, the only Democrat to endorse President Bush’s new plan for Iraq, has quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.
Lieberman’s reversal underscores the new role that he is seeking to play in the Senate as the leading apostle of bipartisanship, especially on national-security issues. On Wednesday night, Bush conspicuously cited Lieberman’s advice as being the inspiration for creating a new “bipartisan working group” on Capitol Hill that he said will “help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.”
But the decision by Lieberman, the new chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to back away from the committee's Katrina probe is already dismaying public-interest groups and others who hoped the Democratic victory in November would lead to more aggressive investigations of one of the White House’s most spectacular foul-ups.
Last year, when he was running for re-election in Connecticut, Lieberman was a vocal critic of the administration’s handling of Katrina. He was especially dismayed by its failure to turn over key records that could have shed light on internal White House deliberations about the hurricane, including those involving President Bush.
"I would confess I'm no expert on military matters."
Day-um, I was up until about 7:00am last night working, or I would have known that SusanG picked up the Robert Salladay story from yesterday.
No, my beef is with Salladay's denigration of the office itself for which these bloggers are running, an in-your-face putdown that begins with the headline, "Jobs for the Sickly," and speeds straight downhill from there:
"For both parties, the honor of delegate status normally attracts sallow depressives who enjoy debating meaningless bylaws more than, say, interacting with human beings."
Well, sheesh. There's nothing more inviting to an ordinary citizen than having a desire to get involved in local politics come with a ready-made diagnosis as a social misfit straight from the DSM-IV (and a "sallow" one, no less). What's next in this ongoing citizen participation series? Only unemployed losers with nothing better to do on Tuesdays bother to cast a vote?
Now I've been blogging for a while. I understand the temptation to succumb to a combination of cynicism, infatuation with one's own striking phrases and stabs at in-the-know bleak humor. Many times, I've given in. But never about people's dedication to becoming more active in the political process or their willingness to make a real sacrifice of personal time for a thankless and dry job such as our bloggers are competing to perform.
Perhaps that's just a symptom of my own naiveté; after all, although I was a professional working journalist for years, I admit up front I don't measure up to the extensive c.v. Mr. Salladay posts at the Los Angeles Times blog - longer than your average "Breaking!" diary here at Daily Kos. Indeed, his resume is so deep that it makes it clear that although he's mucking around in the bloggy swamp with the "little people," he's obviously far, far less little than the rest of us. Not that we're supposed to be cowed by this Voice of Authority, or anything. No, not us.
I am likely to be awake until 6:30 this morning.
"It's bad policy to speculate on what you'll do if a plan fails when you're trying to make a plan work."
In fact, as a significant increase in the national minimum wage heads toward law, businesses here at the dividing line between two economies — a real-life laboratory for the debate — have found that raising prices to compensate for higher wages does not necessarily lead to losses in jobs and profits.
Melanie Morgan has been caught red-handed astro-turfing her own mea culpa show. She sent an email to a list of sycophants asking them to call her show in support. (please click the link. Id've simply posted the text, but it wasn't forwarded to me - the person with the scoop deserves the traffic)
If my instincts are correct, KSFO is pre-empting their nationally syndicated show tomorrow to provide a time in which they can speak to their audience and advertisers in an ostensibly honest way. For Morgan to pull a stunt like this is a complete betrayal of the trust relationship she should have with her advertisers.
"Don't expect a revolution or a populist shift for France. The monarchy is too organized to let that happen."
The two big stories today are:
U.S. forces in Iraq raided Iran's consulate in the northern city of Arbil and detained five staff members, a state-run Iranian news service said.
The U.S. soldiers disarmed guards and broke open the consulate's gate before seizing documents and computers during the operation, which took place today at about 5 a.m. local time, the Islamic Republic News Agency said. There was no immediate information on whether any of those detained are diplomats.
The raid follows a warning yesterday to Iran and Syria from President George W. Bush in his address to the American people on a new strategy for Iraq. Bush accused Iran and Syria of aiding the movement of "terrorists and insurgents'' in and out of Iraq and said the U.S. will "seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies.''
MATTHEWS: Well, he did say we’re gonna disrupt the attacks on our forces. “We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran.” Does that mean stopping at the Iranian border or going into Iran?
SNOW: Well, again, I think what the president’s talking about is the war in Iraq, Chris.
MATTHEWS: So he will seek congressional approval before any action against Iran?
SNOW: You are talking about something we are not even discussing.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, but you are, Tony, because look at this. “I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region.” Isn’t that about Iran?
SNOW: It, it — yeah, it is, in part, and what it is is it’s saying, look, we are going to make sure that anybody who tries to take aggressive action — but when Bill Clinton sent a carrier task force into the South China Sea after the North Koreans fired a missile over Japan, that was not as a prelude to war against North Korea. You know how it works [...]
MATTHEWS: My concern is we’re gonna see a ginning up situation whereby we fall in hot pursuit any effort by the Iranians to interfere with Iraq. We take a couple shots at them, they react, then we bomb the hell out of them and hit their nuclear installations without any without any action by Congress. That’s the scenario I fear, an extra-constitutional war is what I’m worried about.
SNOW: Well, you have been watching too many old movies —
MATTHEWS: No, I’ve been watching the war in Iraq, is what I’ve been watching. As long as you say to me before we leave tonight that the president has to get approval from Congress before making war on Iran.
SNOW: Let me put it this way. The president understands you got to have public support for whatever you do. The reason we are talking to the American public about the high takes in Iraq and why it is absolutely vital to succeed is you’ve got to have public support, and the president certainly, whenever he’s taken major actions, he has gone before Congress.
Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.
The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country [...]
Some are suggesting that the Consulate raid may have been designed to try and prompt a military response from Iran -- to generate a casus belli for further American action.
If this is the case, the debate about adding four brigades to Iraq is pathetic. The situation will get even hotter than it now is, worsening the American position and exposing the fact that to fight Iran both within the borders of Iraq and into Iranian territory, there are not enough troops in the theatre.
Bush may really have pushed the escalation pedal more than any of us realize.
LA Times journo Robert Salladay picks up the story of progressive bloggers running for CDP elections, in particular me, and says "Lordy, help us."
Don't expect a revolution or a leftward shift for the party. The establishment is too organized to let that happen.
Dday thinks I'm a bit cynical. OK, maybe a tad. But only about the dying party system!
This award must be bestowed to John McCain, who needed to find a way to reconcile his current pose of "I always had problems with the execution of the war" with his earlier statements that "success in Iraq will be fairly easy." Here's what he came up with:
RUSSERT: Go back, Senator, to 2002. The administration saying we would be greeted as liberators. John McCain saying you thought success would be fairly easy.
MCCAIN: It was.
RUSSERT: In all honesty…
MCCAIN: It was easy, it was easy. I said the military operation would be easy. It was easy. We were greeting as liberators. Look at the films of when we rolled into Baghdad.
Victory [in Iraq] will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.
I'm very weary-eyed, but I've read a good deal of the various reactions to the President's speech on Iraq. Yesterday I mentioned that someone so wrong - who thought that elections with an unequivocal sectarian cast would bring Iraqis together shouldn't possibly be trusted to get it right. The fact that practically every member of the media's Gang of 500 was brought in for a high-level meeting with the President before the speech shows that this strategy is not geared to a solution, but to marketing. And the fact that Iran and Syria were singled out for threatening rhetoric suggests that the President is looking past this war to the next one, by bringing up the impossible theory that war with Iran and Syria is the pathway to peace in Iraq.
Before I wade into the Iraq mess and more on the President's speech last night, I want to address the other war we're fighting. No, not that one. I mean Somalia, where we've decided to forget about putting an Ethiopian face on the war and get to bombing ourselves. Incidentally, anyone who thinks "Iraqis will be in the lead" of operations in taking Baghdad needs to remember the Somalia situation as exhibit A.
Local Somali aid agencies said that the bombing was indiscriminate. They reported that groups of pastoralists wandering across southern Somalia's barren terrain searching for water supplies had been attacked during the day. At night, those that lit fires were targeted. Analysts in the region said the attacks could destabilise the Horn of Africa further. A Somalia expert in Nairobi said: "Trying to find a few individuals in Somalia when military intelligence is so weak is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It seems they cannot distinguish between Islamic Courts fighters and pastoralists watering their animals."
The controversial US air strike in southern Somalia missed all three top al-Qaeda members Washington alleges are hiding out in the country, a senior US official said on Thursday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said eight to 10 “al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists” were killed in Monday’s attack, but gave no details [...]
The strike was criticised by the European Commission, as well as the Arab League which claimed it had killed “many innocent victims” and demanded that Washington refrain from further attacks. There were no accurate casualty figures.
A messy, low-level battle for control of the battered streets of Mogadishu continued Wednesday, as a fighter shot a rocket-propelled grenade at a convoy of Ethiopian trucks passing through the combustible Somali capital.
The situation is so confused and the city so fractured and armed that the attacks, recounted by witnesses, could have come from any number of groups frustrated with the presence of Ethiopian troops, who last month swept a popular Islamic movement from power on behalf of the weak, U.S.-backed transitional government that is now struggling to assert control.
Former fighters loyal to the ousted Islamic Courts movement are hiding in the city's byzantine tin-patch neighborhoods. Sub-clans and sub-sub-clans are angry with Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, who they say is favoring his own people as he doles out power and who has announced intentions to forcibly disarm an insecure city fortified with guns.
And many Somalis are enraged over the U.S. airstrike in the southern tip of the country early Monday, which was aimed at suspects in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania who are thought to be among the ousted Islamic leaders on the run along the marshy coast near the Kenyan border.
"We are afraid of a long war," said businessman Abdulahi Mohamed Mohamud, 31, speaking by telephone from Mogadishu. "And people are angry at the Ethiopian troops."
Until yesterday's bombing, the last time America cared about Somalia was October 3, 1993, when 19 Americans were killed while trying to arrest local warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
I saw the movie "Black Hawk Down" and really liked it. The realistic battle scene, the bravery of the American troops. It even had an almost happy ending.
What it didn't have was a motivation for the Somalis who fought those brave American soldiers. Between the movie, the political rhetoric, and the MSM, all you can tell is that the Somalis hated us for no particular reason.
In other words - they are acting like primitive savages. You don't have to understand them.
For those of us who actually look for reasons and motivations, you might want to check the news from September 10th, 1993, just three weeks before "Black Hawk Down".
In the latest incident, at least 200 Somalis -- mainly women and children -- were killed when a US Cobra helicopter gunship opened fire on a crowd in Mogadishu on September 10. (Cobras have not been used in inner city combat since the Vietnam War.)
In a grotesque attempt to justify the slaughter, UN military spokesperson Major David Stockwell told reporters that "the women and children were combatants'' and that they posed "an imminent threat against our soldiers''.
The massacre began as a bulldozer accompanied by three tanks, four armoured personnel carriers and 100 ground troops started removing barricades in south Mogadishu. Armed resistance to the attack was followed by tank reinforcements. But when barricades were re-erected, largely by Somali children, the Cobra cannon attack started. According to Stockwell, the decision to fire on the Somalis was "regrettable but a last resort''. One UN soldier was killed, bringing the UN death toll to 48 since May.
A day earlier, hundreds of patients, doctors and nurses were forced out of one of Mogadishu's main hospitals as UN Cobra and Black Hawk helicopter gunships attacked.
While the 19 American soldiers had their deaths made into a movie, the 200 dead Somali woman and children are completely forgotten in the western world. No wonder we don't understand their motivations - we never cared enough to look for them.
Let's get the particulars out of the way. I'm dday, in the real world I answer to Dave Dayen, and I, like hekebolos, am running for CDP (California Democratic Party) delegate this weekend. In fact, there are over 20 progressive bloggers running for CDP delegate slots all across the state. My district, AD 41 (the fightin' 41st), stretches along the coast from Santa Monica all the way up to Oxnard. There's a map here. The 41st AD caucus meeting is on Saturday, January 13th at 10 a.m., at the Malibu Library, located at 23519 Civic Center Way (Mapquest it). If you or someone you know is a registered Democrat in my district, I'd be honored to have you (or them) vote for me and the entire Progressive Slate. The full details are at this DFA link.
I've lived in California for the last eight years. I'm a fairly active and engaged citizen, one who has attended plenty of Democratic Club meetings, who has lived in the most heavily Democratic areas of the state in both the North and South, who has volunteered and aided the CDP and Democratic candidates from California during election time, who (you would think) would be the most likely candidate for outreach from that party to help them in their efforts to build a lasting majority. But in actuality, the California Democratic Party means absolutely nothing to me. Neither do its endorsements. The amount of people who aren't online and aren't in grassroots meetings everyday who share this feeling, I'd peg at about 95% of the electorate.
I mean, I'm a part of both those worlds, and I have no connection to the state party. I should be someone that the CDP is reaching out to get involved. They don't. The only time I ever know that the CDP exists is three weeks before the election when they pay for a bunch of ads. The other 23 months of the year they are a nonentity to the vast majority of the populace.
And this has a tremendous impact. The state of California is hardly deep blue. It's had Republican governors for 80 out of the past 100 years. The last time the Democratic Party meant anything to California's citizens was in the time of Alan Cranston and Pat Brown in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Democratic Club movement began, and when the state party was most involved with the grassroots. At the time, the party was committed to progressive values and offered a real politics of contrast to move the Democratic brand in the state forward. This has receded in the past 30 years.
We were quite Iraq-heavy today, and I suspect we will be tomorrow, so I want to clear the decks of a few things that have piqued my interest.
Indian Hill lawyer and former congressional candidate Paul Hackett - armed with a loaded assault rifle - chased down three men in a car after it crashed into a fence at his home in the early morning hours of Nov. 19.
The driver was charged with failure to maintain reasonable control, driving under suspension and carrying a concealed weapon - a pair of brass knuckles found in his pocket - according to the Indian Hill police [...]
Hackett told police Nov. 30 that he was carrying an AR-15. He said one round was in the chamber and that he usually has 28 rounds in the magazine. He also told police that he did not point the weapon at the three men, the safety was on and he never put his finger on the trigger.
Hackett said he had followed a trail of fluid left by the car, and the vehicle stopped in a driveway. Hackett told police that he hopped out of his truck and that he was armed.
"He told the boys to 'Get the ---- out of the car and get on the ground.' ... He said he did not touch the vehicle with the rifle and maintained his distance. 'I knew they saw I was armed,' he said. He said he had done this about 200 times in Iraq, but this time there was not a translation problem," the Indian Hill police report said.
Moore said Hackett was woken up by "criminal activity" and "took affirmative action to protect his wife and family from an unknown disturbance at his house." He then "attempted to bring the perpetrators to justice who had fled from the scene," according to Moore.
A US Army battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks to deploy to Iraq.
Army Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata and other US commanders say that will happen as the Taliban is expected to unleash a campaign to cut the vital road between Kabul and Kandahar.
The official said the Taliban intend to seize Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city, where the group was organized in the 1990s. With NATO unable or unwilling to stem the rising violence, the Taliban are pressing their advantage.
Rather than withdrawing to regroup over the winter, intelligence officials and combat commanders said, the Taliban forces — clad in new cold-weather boots and fleece jackets — are fighting through the bitter cold months.
"It is bleak," said Colonel Chris Haas, commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan.
Conway said US commanders understand that the Afghan war is an "economy of force" operation, a military term for a mission that is given minimal resources because it is a secondary priority, in this case behind Iraq.