Thursday, October 4, 2007

Dirty Gary Offers Blackwater a License To Kill

The House passed a bill today that would hold private military contractors in war zones accountable for any crimes they might have committed. This removes the legal loophole that allowed companies like Blackwater to ship their personnel suspected of indiscriminate murder back to the US without charges.

The bill passed 389-30. Reps. Doolitte, Miller, Hunter, and Rohrabacher don't think Blackwater personnel should be held to any standard. They would rather offer them a license to kill at will. Not only do private military contractors operate with impunity, they hurt the actual efforts by the military to carry out the mission.

Here's one example of what Rep. Miller sanctioned through his vote today:

A Blackwater USA employee under investigation in the killing last December of an Iraqi bodyguard in an off-duty confrontation was so drunk after fleeing the shooting that another group of guards took away the loaded pistol he was fumbling with, a report to a House committee said Monday.

The guards, employees of Triple Canopy, another private military contractor, returned the weapon to the Blackwater employee, who smelled of alcohol, and escorted him away from their guard post in the fortified Green Zone, the report said. Shortly afterward, the police detained the man, a 26-year-old firearms technician whom the report did not name, at the Blackwater camp inside the Green Zone, but determined he was too intoxicated to be interviewed.

Within 36 hours, the report said, Blackwater fired the man for possessing a firearm while drunk and arranged with the State Department to fly him back to the United States, angering Iraqi officials who said the Christmas Eve shooting was murder.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

CA-42: The Weekly Dirt on Dirty Gary

(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

It's been quite a wild week in the 42nd Congressional District. Ever since Ron Shepston announced that he's running against Dirty Gary Miller, there have been quite some interesting developments that have occurred in the race to replace Dirty Gary. We've had the bloggers talk about going offline. We've had the California Democratic Party go online to announce its new website targeting Dirty Gary. We've heard rumors that a former Republican politician might reemerge to challenge Dirty Gary in the primary. Oh yes, and what did Ron say about John Kerry?

Follow me after the flip for all the latest dirt on Dirty Gary...

Part One: The Bloggers

The bloggers are coming out of the computer room. OK, so how do I know? The call has been made on Daily Kos. A few of my Kossack friends joined me at DFA Training last month, and they are ready to get the netroots involved in grassroots politics.

So what will come out of this? Hopefully, a whole lot of good work! I encourage our online friends, especially those of them in Southern California, to help us local activists in kicking some Dirty Gary arse and bringing some integrity back to the 42nd District!

Part Two: The Party

Nothing really prepared me for this. The California Democratic Party is actually doing something in the 42nd... And the 44th, as well as the 41st! It's started the "Triangle of Corruption", a web site that will keep track of all the dirty wrongdoings of Gary Miller, Ken Calvert, and Jerry Lewis. Way to go, CDP!

Part Three: The Other Challenger?

Oh my goodness, you just have to see this bit of salacious gossip that Art Pedroza included in this week's "OC Political Chismes"! Apparently, there's word out here that Lynn Daucher may run against Dirty Gary in the Republican Primary next June. Yes, you heard me right... Lynn Daucher!

So will Miss "Shopping for the Right District" end up running where she actually lives? I don't know. Still, it would be nice to see Lynn run for office representing a place where she actually resides.

Part Four: The Candidate

Oh yes, and take a look at this, why dont you? No, Ron isn't trying to take a jab at John Kerry. He's just talking about how much the Daily Kos community contributes to Democratic victory. Go ahead and take another look at Ron's latest Daily Kos diary... You might start thinking differently about "those crazy bloggers".

Part Five: And Finally...

Here's another rule that Dirty Gary broke! Cheese louise, he wore a hawaiian shirt inside the halls of Congress?! Not only does he have no respect for decorum, but he doesn't even have any good taste! ; )

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dirty Gary Makes the "Triangle of Corruption"

Hot off the presses from the California Democratic Party, via The Liberal OC:


Sacramento – The California Democratic Party today unveiled its new website feature “Triangle of Corruption” to remind voters that unfortunately, in the three Southern California congressional districts of Jerry Lewis, Gary Miller, and Ken Calvert, the GOP “Culture of Corruption” is alive and well.

The site features news coverage, commentary, blog items and additional information related to the three Southland Republicans, each of whom is under Federal investigation – Lewis, for his role in the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal; Miller, for several questionable land deals among other issues; and Calvert, also for his role in dubious land sales.

“Last November, voters across the United States resoundingly rejected the Republican Culture of Corruption,” said Senator Art Torres (Ret.), Chairman of the California Democratic Party. “Sadly, that message of reform seems to have gone in one ear and out the other of Representatives Lewis, Miller and Calvert. We’re here to make sure that the voice of the voters is heard loud and clear.”

The website will be continuously updated with new information and developments leading up to the 2008 congressional elections.

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dirty Gary is too cool for Congress

Apparently, five terms in Congress isn't quite enough for Dirty Gary miller to know Congress' dress code. From Roll Call (subscription):

Granted, it is summer, when dress codes tend to get a little looser in the face of Washington's starched-shirt- wilting heat. But a slipper-clad Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) apparently took the summer casual look a little too far and he got a dressing down for, well, dressing down!

ROLL CALL reports: During a House vote at about 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Miller strode onto the floor wearing a look better suited to a backyard cookout than the House chamber: a loose-fitting Hawaiian shirt, linen pants and slippers.

The sartorial faux pas even prompted Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who was presiding over the chamber at the time, to weigh in: "The chair must remind Members that the proper standard of dress in the chamber is business attire, which includes both coat and tie for gentlemen."

Time for Ron Shepston to provide decent representation to the voters of the 42nd.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Take This Final Chance for DFA Campaign Academy This Weekend!

Something amazing is happening tomorrow. DFA Campaign Academy is coming to Southern California! Tomorrow, progressive activists from all over Southern California will be coming to Orange County to learn how to win next year and in future elections. And guess what? All of us activists will be learning from the experts who know a thing or two on how to win.

Oh, and here's some more good news. Even though registration for attendance is already at 160 people, DFA is still accepting sign-ups for tomorrow! That's right, even if you haven't signed up yet, you can still come to DFA Training!

So what's happening at DFA Training? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics and The Liberal OC, and Daily Kos)

So what's in store for this weekend? Well, why not look at the curriculum to find out?! Learn how to fundraise! Learn how to target voters in your neighborhood with new and imporved online tools ready for you to start using! Learn how to use communicate your message better in your local area! Take advantage of this opportunity to learn all this and more this weekend!

OK, so why exactly is this important? Why should we learn all these campaign stuff, especially if we're not in an area where progressives can win? Actually, that's why we need to all go to the training this weekend! For far too long, many Democrats have written off areas like Orange County and the Inland Empire as "hopelessly Republican". But you know what? We can change this!

Ron Shepston may already be doing this as he's getting his campaign started in the 42nd Congressional District. Now what could possibly be a better way for all of us in Southern California to help Ron out than to go to DFA Campaign Academy and learn how we can convince our neighbors in CA-42 to support Ron? Ron will need people to can take a progressive message, and communicate it in a way that catches the attention of people who may not know much about politics. Ron will need people to help him raise money. Ron will need plenty of help from us if we want to see him win next year, so let's learn how we can make that happen this weekend!

OK, so you're nowhere near Orange County? And you don't live near the 42nd District? That's fine. Please come anyways, as it's also important that you learn how to get Democrats elected and promote the progressive agenda in your neighborhood! Perhaps if you sign up now, you can also still catch a hotel room available if you need one. It's important that we build up Democratic infrastructure everywhere, so let's get started this weekend! Let's go to the training and learn what we need to know to gegin building that infrastructure we need to win!

So who's with me on this? I've already signed up for the training. Have you? Well then, you can still sign up! The training's only $70... That includes lunch for both days and all the workshops you want inside! Oh yes, and this is your chance to meet some of the finest progressive Democrats in the entire region. So what are you waiting for? Sign up to come tomorrow and join the fun! ;-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CA-42: I'm Ron Shepston and I'm running for Congress

(Also found at Daily Kos and The Liberal OC)

Today, something truly amazing is happening. A blogger is announcing that he's running for Congress. And oh yes, his campaign is growing organically from the world of blogs. This is something that we've never seen before, but hopefully something that we won't ever see again.

And on this note, I'd like for you to see this announcement from a good friend of mine named Ron Shepston. He's a long-time blogger, brave military veteran, and trusted Orange County Democrat who's challenging ethically challenged Republican incumbent Rep. Gary Miller in the 42nd District. And today, he's come here to The Liberal OC to share with you why he's making this announcement today that he's running.

So without further adieu, here's Ron Shepston:

Caution is preferable to rash bravery - Sir John Falstaff, King Henry the Fourth, Part I

Falstaff may be beloved, but he was not who you wanted leading you into battle. Political challengers today need to be brave, brash, maybe even a little rash.

In World War II, when the gates came down in LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel), exposing the marines and soldiers inside to uncounted barrages of fire, they didn't sit around discussing whether it was prudent to charge ahead with the goal of defeating a formidable enemy. No one had to order them to go to give their lives; they just did it. They had a world to save and they gave their lives for a cause they believed in.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket(Wikipedia)

Today, those of us who would defend the Constitution have a new fight. Today, as a Democrat, a veteran, and a longtime member of the internet grassroots (or netroots) community, I’m marching off to that fight.

I’m running for Congress.

My campaign manager, Greg Diamond says that he likes this photo of me that he took at the Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade, where I marched with the Democratic Party of Orange County, and that it has to appear near the top of the diary so people know who’s talking to them. Here you go.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Now let’s talk about my campaign.

I'm running because Congress has let the President stomp on the Constitution, balloon the deficit, and get us stuck in a misbegotten war. Gary Miller seems to see his position in Congress mostly as a way to make money for his friends. I swore an oath to defend the Constitution when I was in the Air Force during Viet Nam (1966-1970), and that's why I'm going to run. I'm going to swear another oath to defend the Constitution as a Congressman. I didn't see combat then, but that doesn't stop me from fighting now and when I get to Congress.

No one has elected me to “represent the netroots” in a run for Congress, but I think my opinions on issues reflect those of the broad community. I want us out of Iraq and back to making the alliances with other countries that we /need/ to fight terrorism. I want single-payer health insurance that is available to all. I want a government that respects scientific facts – in global warming and otherwise – rather than fantasies that give them some political advantage – in making policy decisions. But if there is one issue that motivates me above all others, it’s this:

I want to defend the Constitution and the rule of law – while we can.

There are forces in and out of our elected government who think that they have the right to ignore our laws and the fundamental basis for American values. We see it with signing statements, defying subpoenas, ignoring constitutional amendments, evading Congressional oversight, and flouting federal law. While this President and Vice-President have stomped on the Constitution, my opponent, Gary Miller, has held their coats.

I’ve been around for a long time and I have never before seen such a concerted effort on the part of a political party to subvert our precious and beloved form of government. Not even Nixon. At least Nixon had the honor to leave after even Republicans told him that it was that or be impeached and removed from office. As I've written here, in effect Bush and his associates have been instituting something like a slow coup against our very system of government. Their monarchical vision of our government is not how our system is supposed to work; we must restore our system to its proper form.

Democrats have control of the House – and control of the Senate when Joe Lieberman is thinking straight – which gives them a lot of power. It’s not total power, but it’s more than they use. Our party has the power to inform and rally and lead Americans. But too many members of our party convince themselves that it’s best to play it safe and wait until 2008, when they hope that things will all get better.

I think that's wrong. I think that we need to take the fight to the enemies of our Constitution.

Think back again to the Marines and Army storming the beaches of Normandy. Imagine where we'd be if they stayed in their LSIs and waited for the enemy to leave! It's time that we metaphorically storm the beaches of government and take our country back from the enemy who would destroy it for their own purposes.

If we storm all fronts, from the Water Board to every single Congressional District, we will overwhelm the enemies of the rule of law. We will make America a better place and restore our values, honor and dignity in the world – and thus our public safety as well.

I want to part of the second landing wave. The first wave consisted of Jon Tester and Jim Webb, of John Hall, Paul Hodes, Nancy Boyda, Jeremy Kalin, California's own Jerry McNerney and others who were encouraged – some say in part put into office – by the blogosphere. It consisted too of people like Daily Kos blogger Brian Keeler, who fired a shot across the bow of those who cling to power without serving the public good. We were part of the solution in 2006. I believe that we’re helping to foster a fundamental change in America.

I've been part of the netroots community for 2-1/2 years. I'm not a candidate coming to the netroots for support; I’m a candidate coming from the netroots. I believe that I’m the first “homegrown” netroots candidate to run a viable campaign for the United States Congress. I won't be the last.

This is not a vanity or protest campaign. California’s 42nd district is Republican-dominated, but increasingly independent – which means that it’s full of people who think like Democrats whom we have to convince to vote the way they think. It’s a district I can win. The local party establishment supports me. My opponent, Gary Miller, has been swimming so long in the ethical cesspool of Congressional privilege that he’s grown gills. He’s vulnerable – but no one was on the ballot against him in 2006. No local elected politician in the district – which has too few elected Democrats – is running against him next year. So I’ve rashly stepped up and strapped up; now I’m going to show up and make people sit up and pay attention.

Part of why my campaign will be noticed – one reason that it has captured the interest of people outside of the blogosphere – is that I am from the netroots and they’ve seen what it can accomplish. There has been a group of longtime netroots activists, dare I say "blog celebrities", who have been part of an incredible brain trust so far, and there are many others who've been part of this by means of offering their support and good wishes and still keeping it a "secret". Long-time "Kossack" (as Daily Kos members are often referred to as) Major Danby (aka Greg Diamond) will be managing my campaign full-time. You’ll be reading a lot of stories about the campaign from them in the days to come on places like Daily Kos, Calitics, The Liberal OC, and right here.

My aim in this campaign is to bring the netroots to the many wonderful people I’ve been meeting in the grassroots, and to bring back to the netroots some of what they have to offer. With the spirit and broad expertise of the netroots and the local knowledge and drive of the grassroots, I think we can create something different and new.

I will come here looking for money like other candidates do; for the netroots to come out strongly for my campaign will get attention throughout the political world. But today, having just announced, is not the day for a hard sell. I’ll just say this: if you’d like to be among the first to contribute to my campaign, please go to my ActBlue page. The amount of money that people donate, and the number of people donating, will for better or worse dictate much of the reaction that the world beyond the netroots will have towards my campaign. To show them that we have a chance, we need to show them that we have a base.

This is not just about one candidate or one campaign, but about building a movement. It's about the netroots making connections with the grassroots, and with the voting public. The future of our movement is everywhere in the country, in whatever races we choose to focus our efforts. It's about re-establishing the rule of law. It's about defending America and American ideals. Are we ready to do that together?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CA-42: The Campaign Manager Reveals Himself

I am so honored to present something VERY special here at The Liberal OC. A friend of mine from that Big Orange place, Major Danby, has a important announcement that he'd like to share with all of us at The Liberal OC... He will be managing the historic netroots-grassroots campaign against Dirty Gary Miller in the 42nd Congressional District! Wow, is that amazing or what??!!

So without further adieu, here's Major Danby, making his BIG announcement at Daily Kos. : )