Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pombo: "My Friend Mercury"

A recent San Francisco Chronicle article raises concerns about toxic mercury contaminating animals of all types across the country.
"From songbirds to alligators, turtles to bats, eagles to polar bears, mercury is accumulating in nearly every link of the food chain," said Catherine Bowes, an author of the report who manages the [National Wildlife Federation]'s mercury program in the northeastern states.

The article goes on to state that
High mercury levels in popular fish such as swordfish and canned albacore tuna prompted government health warnings in 2004 aimed at pregnant women and children. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage fetuses and cause mental retardation, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness.

Funny, that completely contradicts a report Pombo and fellow Republican Jim Gibbons of Nevada issued in 2005, called "Mercury is Our Friend". Oops, the real title was "Mercury in Perspective: Fact and Fiction About the Debate Over Mercury" put out by the propaganda arm of the House Resources Committee. Pombo never was shy about using your taxpayer dollars to promote energy industry lies and distortions.

Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, called Pombo's report "a misleading contrarian pamphlet aimed at convincing Americans that despite everything they may have heard, mercury levels in fish aren't dangerous and U.S.-based mercury emitters aren't a significant part of the problem." (from American Prospect article)

And where did Pombo the "sudden scientist" get his data? From his friends in the energy industry, of course. According to Mooney:
Pombo's report runs "over much of what we know about mercury risks from reliable sources like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Academy of Sciences. Instead, the report turns to industry and think-tank opinion. Of its 59 references, 14 cite industry sources like the Edison Electric Institute and Electric Power Research Institute or conservative think tanks like the Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP) at Frontiers of Freedom (which calls the basis for any regulation of mercury from power plants "questionable")."

And here is the next obvious step in this whole charade: how much money did the coal/energy industry pump into Pombo's campaign? Do you have to ask? Isn't it clear by now that Pombo will say or do anything to win the favor of these lobbyists?

Okay, if you need facts and figures on the money, here are some from Open Secrets: in the current election cycle alone, Pombo has received $228,894 so far from Energy Industries. This includes oil, gas, coal mining, and electric utilities. That is almost enough to pay his wife, Annette, her "fee" for "fundraising" activities!

What a racket! Get a bunch of money from these polluting industries, give over a quarter million of it to your wife and family, then use taxpayer dollars to put out highly skewed "studies" promoting just what the industries want.

A great scam -- except for all those children and pregnant mothers, along with every sort of animal, suffering from mercury contamination. Gee, if it wasn't for that one little inconvenient fact, Pombo would have perfected quite the perpetual money machine for himself.

NRCC/Pombo Watch 2

Brace yourself for McNerney hit piece number ten. That's right, the NRCC reported yet another $38,475 independent expenditure yesterday, bringing their anti-McNerney spending in CA-11 to $386,913. If you add in the $37,145 they've spent doing polling for Richard Pombo which is apparently so bad that they're afraid to release the results, that brings the grand total that the NRCC has spent in the last two months in CA-11 to $424,058.

DCCC spending, still zero.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Get This Guy a Hanky

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund and allied groups are running an aggressive people-powered grassroots campaign against Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) in California's 11th Congressional District.

And he's not happy about it.

In a fluff piece in today's Manteca Bulletin, Rep. Pombo, in his own words, openly complained about the grassroots effort aimed at unseating him this November. After fourteen years in the U.S. House, it turns out Rep. Pombo can't stand the heat. Like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, Pombo counts the unseen forces ranging against him.
The group has a full-time office in Pleasanton with a full-time staff, Pombo said. They have drawn their activist workers from personal website blogs in the Bay area. They send them into the neighborhoods campaigning against him in his congressional district, he said.

“It’s a full-blown campaign,” he pointed out. “I don’t think there has ever been anything to this extent before.”
Whaa, whaa, Rep. Pombo. For someone who fights dirty (and plays even dirtier), Pombo is showing signs of buckling under the pressure.

Pombo and the NRCC are sweating heavily at his prospects for re-election this November. After several internal polls, which they refuse to release the findings of, the NRCC has flooded the district with money. Not only that, but they are flatly lying about his Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney in an effort to stave off an electoral disaster.

He is so desperate, he has to employ the help of President Bush to make a trip out to Stockton. Bush will attend a breakfast fundraiser to raise money for his main squeeze on October 3rd. (Vice President Cheney and House Majority "Leader" John Boehner attended fundraisers for Pombo earlier this year already.)

Do the math. They are worried. And they should be.

The Manteca Bulletin continued:
Just recently the campaign group had some six buses pick up the Bay Area activists they had searched out from San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley taking them to district neighborhoods for door-to-door contact.
Actually, it was seven buses, totaling over 150 volunteers. Pombo, on the other hand, had zero turnout for his campaign "kick-off." That's the difference between ordinary citizens and Pombo's corporate-fueled campaign running on dirty, dirty money.
When Pombo was home in the district during the months of August and September, the group showed up at every event he attended with their signs charging him with corruption, he said.
His response? Silence.

Ed Yoon, campaign manager for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, said "It must be hard to manage 'One of the Thirteen Most Corrupt Members of Congress.'" Adding, "The corporate special interests don't seem to have any trouble though."

National Security And The CA-11 Campaign

On Tuesday, Matt O. wrote about the recently-released National Intelligence Estimate. He pointed out that the NIE findings belie the Bush Administration’s assertions that the war in Iraq is somehow making us safer from terrorists. Let me just repeat these NIE quotes from Matt’s post:
"Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists … are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion. [...]

"The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement."
Matt goes on to note that nowhere on his website does Richard Pombo even mention his support for George W. Bush’s failed Iraqi policy, and Pombo’s entire position on National Security consists of the following single sentence:
I am very protective of our constitutional rights as American citizens, but I find it outrageous to suggest that foreign terrorists deserve the same rights as the American citizens they seek to destroy.
Now, that’s a helluva National Security Policy (and one I promise we’ll visit at length tomorrow). You see, Pombo is trying to have it both ways. While blindly supporting Bush’s Middle East tactics, Pombo is simultaneously trying to distance himself from Bush’s failed policies.

The LA Times had an interesting article on Wednesday entitled “Security Shaping Campaign.” The subtitle for the article read: ”The debate over whether Bush's policies have made the country safer is fast becoming the pivotal issue in the November elections.” Here are some excerpts from that article:
With Congress entering its final days before adjourning for the fall election campaign, the two parties are fighting over which image will be uppermost in voters' minds on Nov. 7: that the U.S. has taken the terrorism challenge head-on by invading Iraq, or that the invasion and its bloody aftermath have left the United States less safe. […]

Democrats in past years have been reluctant to challenge the GOP on national security matters, because the issue has benefited Republicans in recent cycles and Democrats have been divided on Iraq. On Tuesday, they made it clear that they intended to fully engage their rivals on the security front this time. […]

Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, who leads Democratic strategy for House campaigns, said few developments would shape the debate like the newly revealed intelligence report.

"There was a debate as recently as two weeks ago about whether Iraq is advancing or debilitating America's interests," Emanuel said. "You have now the best minds of American intelligence saying it's debilitating, and that is affecting the political terrain for this election."
Well, no shit, Sherlock.

You see, the NIE is merely confirmation of what most of us already knew, either intellectually or intuitively — that the Bush Administration’s ham-handed foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 has made the world a much, much more dangerous place. If Rahm Emanuel didn’t understand this, all he had to do was check out this chart of worldwide terrorist incidents per year that was prepared by Thom K in LA.

Jerry McNerney had it figured out. He has had a long-standing foreign policy statement on his website that lays out his position very succinctly:
Our foreign policy has been hijacked by fears resulting from the terrible attacks on 9/11. Terrorists must be dealt with harshly and without compromise or negotiation. However, our foreign policy needs to be guided by a rational assessment of what actions will result in a more secure homeland.
Frankly, we didn’t need the NIE to tell us that Bush’s national security policy is failing. The facts have been there all along, clearly visible to anyone willing to accept them. All we’ve needed from the very beginning were leaders courageous enough to stand up to the Bush Administration and tell the American people the truth. Leaders like Jerry McNerney.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rep. Pete Stark To Host McNerney Fundraiser

Congressman Pete Stark and the Chouinard Vineyards are hosting a reception for Jerry McNerney this Saturday evening, from 5-8 pm at the Chouinard Winery at 33853 Palomares Road in Castro Valley.
The Chouinard Family invites you to an evening of award winning wines, hors d’oeuvres, dessert, live entertainment & stimulating conversation among thoughtful people. Come meet Jerry McNerney, share your concerns and listen to his plan for a brighter future for America.

Live music by rock/folk guitarist Kardinal & vocalist duo SIS (Sisters in Song) Dawn Coburn & Sherilyn Gordan.

Suggested Contribution
(all contribution amounts greatly appreciated)

RSVP Nicholas Hatten at or 925 556 7077
Sounds like a very pleasant way to show your support for Jerry McNerney and learn more about his campaign.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NRCC/Pombo Watch

On Monday, the NRCC reported spending another $5,412 for phone banking in CA-11 in opposition to Jerry McNerney, as well as funding their eighth anti-McNerney mailer to the tune of $38,385. On Tuesday, they reported spending $5,541 for further anti-McNerney phone banking. [UPDATE: On Wednesday, they added another $38,475 for their ninth anti-McNerney flier.] Total NRCC independent expenditures to date in CA-11 now stand at $348,108 $386,583. DCCC independent expenditures, still zero.

We all know that Richard Pombo can’t find any actual volunteers to work for his campaign. But frankly, if McNerney is going to survive the onslaught of $5,000-a-day phone banking, progressive activists (that’s you and me) are going to have to step up to the plate in a BIG way.

[UPDATE]: Scott Chacon, who was an early Democratic candidate in the CA-11 primary, is posting images of all the NRCC/Pombo/McNerney campaign literature that he receives on this site. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

NIE Contradicts Republicans on Iraq, War on Terror

A few select pages of the declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) were declassified today and provide scathing analysis of the Iraq and anti-terror situation. The verdict is in: Bush and the Rubberstamp Republicans Congress are wrong on Iraq and the War on Terror.

(ed. note: What a surprise: Bush disagreed with the findings, and complained about it's timing. He knows a thing or two about that.)

The NIE is an assessment by the sixteen agencies of the entire U.S. intelligence community. The report refutes many of the claims made by Bush and Congressional Republicans about the effects of the war in Iraq, the state of global terrorism and America's national security.

# The terrorism problem is growing worse and spreading.
Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion. [...]

... New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge.
# Iraq is being used as a recruitment tool, training ground for terrorists.
We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere. [...]

The Iraq conflict has become the “cause celebre” for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight. [...]

Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role. [...]

Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics.
# Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, and other top al-Qaeda leaders, would cause a fragmention of the group, and make the U.S. safer -- even for just a short period.
The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups. Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the mission, the loss of these key leaders would exacerbate strains and disagreements.

We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qa’ida.
I guess one out of three ain't bad...

Rep. Pombo, a supporter of Bush's misadventure in Iraq, has little to say about it in public. He sticks to generalities about "completing the mission." In fact, the "On the Issues" page of his campaign website fails to mention Iraq at all. (National security/terrorism only gets one run-on sentence towards the bottom of the page.)

Iraq is a losing topic for Republicans, and Pombo knows it.

The NIE is blatantly clear: The Bush administration's Iraq policies are failing. And the Republican-controlled Congress stubbornly refuses to change course.

We will just have to do it for them.

McNerney Poll Shows Tight Race With Pombo

The McNerney campaign has released the results of an internal poll that they commissioned nearly three months ago, approximately one month after the primary. The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted by Lake Research Partners from July 9-11 and has a Margin of Error of +/- 4.4%.
With enough resources to communicate McNerney's strong messages, inform voters about Pombo's voting record, and drive home the potent contrast between McNerney's priorities and Richard Pombo's special interest agenda, this seat is entirely winnable.

  • In the initial ballot, seven-term incumbent Pombo receives only 43% of the vote against McNerney. McNerney is in striking distance with 33% of the vote and 24% are undecided. Pombo remains solidly under 50% throughout the survey. After both candidates are given a positive introduction, McNerney pulls into a virtual tie with Pombo — 43% for McNerney to 41% for Pombo.

  • Bush's job performance rating is only 37% (good or excellent) versus 62% (just fair or poor) with a plurality (40%) rating his job performance as poor.

  • Pombo's own job performance rating is almost as low as Bush's. Just 38% rate Pombo's job rating as good or excellent versus 54% who say it is just fair or poor, for a net negative job performance rating (-16%). Furthermore, while Pombo is viewed favorably by 42% of the voters, he is viewed unfavorably by 42% (including 28% very unfavorably). These low ratings foreshadow a strong desire for change among California llth's voters.

  • Pombo has certainly not sealed the deal on his reelection, as just 34% are ready to re-elect him. The remaining 66% of the electorate would consider voting for someone else (27%), vote to replace Pombo (27%), or aren't sure (12%).

  • Roughly two-thirds of voters are opposed (including almost half who express intense opposition) to Pombo's support for privatizing Social Security, his votes on cutting benefits for troops and veterans, and his status as one of the "13 most corrupt members of Congress."

So. This poll explains a lot about the events of the last two months. The voters of CA-11 don’t like Richard Pombo. But most of them don’t know Jerry McNerney. When they learn about Jerry McNerney, they like him. Hence the push by the NRCC, which has conducted three of its own polls during August/September, to spend $250,000 $310,000 $348,000 over the last month trying to create a negative impression of Jerry McNerney among the voters of CA-11.

But the McNerney campaign is striking back. I just heard a McNerney radio ad today on a Bay Area station; you can listen to it here.

And if you’d like to see the television commercial the campaign has prepared, you can check it out here:

Whether it’s by mailer, radio ad, TV spot or massive canvassing efforts, it is absolutely critical that we get Jerry McNerney’s name and message in front of the voters of CA-11 over the next six weeks. So volunteer to canvass or phone bank this week and make a generous contribution to get the word out to the voters of CA-11. Let them know that they don't have to settle for a corrupt and despicable politician like Richard Pombo. Let them know that by voting for Jerry McNerney, they can send an honest, accountable leader to Washington who will fight for their interests not the special interests. Let them know they have a choice.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Afternoon Pombo Captioning

This photo was labeled "Richard Pombo at a luncheon discussing resources with Alaska's Lieutenant Governor." But I'm confident you can come up with more apt descriptions of what's going on here.

Pombo Disrespects Veterans And Then Lies About It

Back on August 30, and the Defenders of Wildlife held a press conference to publicize the costs of the Iraq War, both in human terms and in tax dollars. The Tracy Press was there to cover the story:
Ed Yoon, campaign manager for press conference organizer and liberal activist group, accused Pombo of protecting Iraq contractors in four House votes, and he said Pombo took $16,500 in donations from defense contractors who received more than $100 million in Iraq contracts.

Yoon also said Pombo voted to cut benefits for veterans in 2005 — three years after voting to send troops to war in Iraq. The vote set the congressional budget for the United States Government for 2006.

But Pombo campaign manager Carl Fogliani accused of attacking the congressman over a procedural motion, rather than looking at Pombo’s support of veterans.

Fogliani said the veteran’s budget had increased by 77 percent since 1995, two years after Pombo took office.
Now, that’s not the first time I’ve heard that 77 percent figure trotted out by the Pombo campaign. Richard Pombo’s own website makes the same claim: that the Department of Veterans Affairs budget has increased 77% over the last ten years and that veterans health spending has risen 80% over the same period.

There’s just one problem with that assertion by Richard Pombo’s campaign: According to this House website, ”In 1995, VA treated 2.6 million veterans and their families. In fiscal year 2006, the Department expects to treat more than twice that number – 5.4 million.”

Think about that for a second. The number of veterans has gone up over 100% during the last decade, and the money allotted for their benefits and healthcare during that same period, in a time of war no less, has only risen 77% – 80%. To anybody but Richard Pombo, that’s what would be known as a 20-25% cut in services to our veterans. (So much for this).

Meanwhile, Pombo has routinely voted against legislation that would benefit veterans. The advocacy group Disabled American Veterans has published a scorecard that shows Pombo voted against disabled veterans’ interests in 11 out of 12 votes from 2000 to 2006, giving him a ghastly rating of 8% support for veterans’ health issues.

In May of 2005, Richard Pombo voted against H.R. 2528, a $53 million amendment to increase funding for veterans’ health care including a program to provide improved prosthetics to vets who had lost limbs. That amendment lost by just one vote.

At the same time, the Republican House leadership which Pombo supports stripped out an amendment to the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act that would have expanded the TRICARE coverage provided to Reservists, who constitute 40% of our forces in Iraq. To this very day, TRICARE coverage begins 90 days before mobilization and ends 180 days after deactivation. After that, our reservist vets are hard out of luck.

And with that kind of a voting record on veterans’ benefits, Richard Pombo, who never served a day in his life, has the audacity to stand before you and me and say:
“The men and women of our armed services have performed exceptionally in Iraq, and I will continue to support them as they complete their mission.”

Sunday, September 24, 2006

No Taste for Pombo

I went to the Taste of Morgan Hill festival yesterday. It was really a fine, beautiful day. Every year, the auto show gets bigger and better. But for this list, the major thing was the opportunity to shake hands with Jerry McNerney. You see, he and I had never officially met face to face, though we have exchanged email for several years.

Notable by his absence was Richard Pombo, off doing the nation's business, I guess, like renaming a post office. This is typical Pombo, essentially ignoring Santa Clara County. When I was campaigning for McCloskey, I found a number of people who said that the only time Pombo showed up over here was to ask for votes. Well, in this case, I didn't even see him doing that.

I did drop by the Republican booth. They had a very nice booth with signs up strongly supporting Tom McClintock, but I didn't even see a Pombo flyer to be handed out. They also had signs up encouraging people to "Register Republican". However, when questioned they said you could register any way you wanted to.

Maybe Pombo is not to the Taste of Morgan Hill residents. He did not even carry the primary election here. And, it seems that Morgan Hill is not in Pombo's plans either.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pombo Push Polling In CA-11

Political push polling is the practice of dishonestly claiming to be taking a survey while instead conducting voter persuasion. In its nastiest incarnations, push polling spreads vicious smears about a candidate under the guise of innocent polling; the most notorious example of this was in the 2000 South Carolina Bush/McCain presidential primary, where the anonymous lies told about McCain arguably cost him the election.

The practice of push polling is so loathsome and contemptible that the American Association of Political Consultants, took a strong stand against it over a decade ago:
The AAPC's Ethics Committee addressed this issue in December of 1995, agreeing unanimously that so-called "push-polls" violate the AAPC's stricture against "any activity which would corrupt or degrade the practice of political campaigning." To the extent that practitioners of the "push-poll" ruse convey inaccurate information about an election opponent, they also violate the AAPC's stricture against false and misleading attacks.
So who do you think is out there conducting push polling in CA-11? The Richard Pombo camp, of course.

Unfortunately, one of the voters the anti-McNerney "pollsters" contacted recently turned out to be none other than Steve Thomas, former Democratic candidate for CA-11 who won almost 19% of the vote in the June primary. Here’s his story of the phone call he received:
Said they were a survey company — did not identify themselves as associated with the Pombo campaign or the RNC.

The questions started out general:
  • Do you consider yourself conservative/liberal/?
  • Do you consider Jerry McNerney to be a liberal?
  • Do you work inside the home or outside the home?
  • How old are you?
Then they got more pointed:
  • If Jerry McNerney gets elected, that’ll put Nancy Pelosi and the liberals in charge of Congress.
    Would this make you more or less likely to vote for him?

  • If Jerry McNerney gets elected, he’ll raise the taxes on small businesses.
    Would this make you more or less likely to vote for him?

  • If Jerry McNerney gets elected, he’ll raise gasoline prices and get rid of the tax cuts.
    Would this make you more or less likely to vote for him?

  • If Jerry McNerney gets elected, he’ll help terrorists by limiting wiretapping.
    Would this make you more or less likely to vote for him?

  • If Jerry McNerney gets elected, he’ll cut spending for defense.
    Would this make you more or less likely to vote for him?

  • If Jerry McNerney gets elected, he’ll cut spending on intelligence.
    Would this make you more or less likely to vote for him?

  • (Pro-life/pro-choice)
Then they summed up:
  • Which candidate do you feel would be more effective in Congress?

  • What party are you with?

  • Have you seen material on both of the candidates? Where do you get your political information? Newspaper, TV?

  • Which one would you weight more?

  • If the election was held today, who would you vote for?
Pretty sleazy, right? This would seem to easily meet the definition of push polling put forward by the AAPC:
The AAPC acknowledges, of course, that voter persuasion by telephone is a perfectly legitimate campaign practice. What we condemn is advocacy phone calling that:
  1. Masquerades as survey research;
  2. Fails to clearly and accurately identify the sponsor of the call; or
  3. Presents false or misleading information to the voter.
Well, the anti-McNerney call hits the jackpot on all three counts.

So who is behind this unscrupulous activity? Well, there seem to be two possibilities. First, the NRCC is the only group that has filed independent expenditure statements with the FEC on behalf of Richard Pombo. They have made two independent expenditures this week in CA-11 in support of Richard Pombo opposition to Jerry McNerney for “phone banking,” $5,413 on Tuesday and $5,450 on Thursday. As disturbing as it is to think that the NRCC would pursue this kind of nefarious behavior, the second option is even more troubling: that the push polling is originating from directly within Richard Pombo’s campaign.

It’s also where the story takes a strange twist. I’ve referred several times to the standards adopted by the AAPC. What, exactly is the AAPC? Well, here’s the way they describe themselves:
The association now numbers more than 1,100 active members, and operates from a permanent office in Washington, D.C.

The American Association of Political Consultants maintains a Code of Professional Ethics for members. Applicants for AAPC membership are required to sign the code, and to live by the standards it sets, as a condition of membership in the organization.
And who is the president of the AAPC? Well, none other than Wayne Johnson of JohnsonClark Associates. Yes, that Wayne Johnson, Richard Pombo’s long-time campaign consultant. You know, the same one who was paid $136,951.76 by Richard Pombo’s campaign on May 30, 2006, for “polling mass mail.” The same one who on May 18, 2006, was paid $298, 576.18 by Richard Pombo’s campaign for “TV radio & mass mail.” The same one who on June 14, 2006, was paid $18,663.87 by Richard Pombo’s campaign for “consulting advertising.”

So which is it? Is it Wayne Johnson who’s violating the very code of ethics that he promised to uphold as president of the AAPC, or is it the NRCC conducting activities that fall outside the boundaries of ethical behavior that have been established for over a decade? We already knew Richard Pombo is the king of sleaze, but now he seems to be contaminating everyone that he touches.

[UPDATE:] Word on the street is that there have been NRCC robo-calls the last few days, one about immigration claiming that McNerney supports illegal aliens using social services including the ability to go to state universities paying only "in-state tuition," and the other claiming "Jerry McNerney never met a tax he didn't like." Both lies. Apparently, the NRCC has no qualms about violating the "AAPC's stricture against false and misleading attacks."

Let's see. Who does that leave?

Pombo Gives Seniors The Donut Hole

When the Republican-controlled Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill in late 2003, they put in place a $700 billion system that benefits pharmaceutical companies and HMOs at the same time that it punishes seniors. Instead of legalizing the importation of drugs from Canada or allowing Medicare to negotiate lowered prices from the drug companies, Richard Pombo and the Republican majority put into place a complicated and convoluted program that takes advantage of some of the weakest members of our society.

When Medicare Plan D finally took effect earlier this year, most seniors were confused by the many options that were presented to them. With looming deadlines and 47 different plans available, many struggled to wade through conflicting options for payments, deductibles, and drug coverage. It was easy to miss one little detail which has now come back to haunt them. It’s called the donut hole. Millions of seniors signed up for standard plans which called for them to pay a monthly premium and a 25% co-payment for their prescriptions. What they didn’t realize was that these plans would completely stop their coverage once the total annual expenses reached $2,250 and wouldn’t kick in again until the annual expenses totaled $5,100. After $5,100, almost all of their drugs would be provided for free. This $2,850 gap where seniors have no drug coverage at all is the donut hole.

According to the Campaign for America’s Future, today is National Donut Hole day, the day when the average American senior citizen will reach the $2,250 mark and enter into a period where they must pay all of their drug expenses out of pocket (while, of course, still making their monthly premium payment). For some, the donut hole came many months ago; for the lucky ones, it will be avoided altogether. However, it’s estimated that 7 million seniors nationwide will struggle to pay for their prescription drugs over the next few months.

And the really bad news is that the process will start all over again on January 1. With costs set to rise, premiums will likely go up, and the donut hole will come earlier and earlier in each successive year. Congress has put our seniors on a treadmill of escalating costs and declining benefits.

The Institute for America’s Future shares this perspective:
Dorothy Berger of Urbana, Illinois recently went to her pharmacy, private Part D plan card in hand, to get her monthly pain patch. "I had my $10 out to pay $8 for the patch. The pharmacist says, 'No, it's $489 and some change.'" Dorothy continues, "This system is terrible, and that's all there is to it. Whoever dreamt this up must have had a rock between their ears."

Perhaps this is because the Republican Congressional leaders behind the program were beholden to a pharmaceutical industry, and its 952 lobbyists, that filled their campaign coffers. Under Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay’s K Street Project, industries were permitted unprecedented access to the creation of legislation in return for their political/financial help.
Is it any wonder that the resulting legislation favored the drug companies and HMOs over average citizens? Now, 7 million seniors will bear the burden for Republican lawmakers’ greed and corruption; 7 million seniors will pay the price for Richard Pombo’s “yes” vote on Medicare Plan D.

There is hope, though. The Democratic Party has a plan to reform Medicare Part D, and with the addition of new Representatives like Jerry McNerney, they will be able to implement an approach to drug benefits that finally puts the needs of seniors above drug company profits.

As Jerry McNerney points out on his website, if, instead of having 47 different private plans, we simply allowed Medicare, which has a proven track record, to both administer the drug plan and negotiate for lower drug prices, we could save more than $600 billion over the next six years, and seniors would not be facing the donut hole crisis every fall.

In the meantime, many of our most vulnerable senior citizens are going to face difficult choices: “Buy medicines or food?”

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pombo's New Campaign Theme Song

I was able to get a copy of Pombo's new Campaign Theme Song and thought I would share it with everyone here:

New Pombo Campaign Song - "I'm So Indicted"
Sung to the tune of "I'm So Excited" by the Pointer Sisters

Tonight's the night we're gonna pass your bill
Tonight we'll put all other things aside
Get in this time and show me big donations
We're goin' for those fundraisers in the night

I want your money, to feel it, wrap myself around it
I want to squeeze you, squeeze you, I just can't get enough
And if you move too slow, down your bill goes

I should be indicted and I just can't hide it
I'm about to lose control and I think I like it
I betcha I’m indicted and I just can't hide it
And I know I know I know I know I know I want your money

We should think about another fundraiser tomorrow
Your sweet money only lasts so long
We'll pass your bill, don't you worry
And if we're still playin' around, just give us more dough

Let's get indicted, we’ll try to hide it
I'm about to lose control and I think I like it
I will be indicted and I just can't hide it
But I know I know I know I know I know I want your money, your money

I want your money, to feel it, wrap myself around it
I want to squeeze you, squeeze you, I just can't get enough
And if you move real slow, down your bill goes

I'm so indicted and I just can't hide it
I'm about to lose control and I think I like it
I'm so indicted and I just can't hide it
And I know I know I know I know I know I want your money

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jerry McNerney Named DCCC "Emerging Candidate"

On Monday, the DCCC announced its third and last wave of candidates for its “Red to Blue” program. Here’s how Jesse Lee over at the Stakeholder explains Red to Blue:
The Red to Blue program is designed to provide financial and structural aid to the strongest Democratic candidates across the country. The program will introduce Democratic supporters to new, competitive campaigns in order to help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns.
The DCCC had named 34 candidates to the program in the first two waves, and this final wave added eight candidates, bringing the total to 42. Concomitantly, the DCCC announced a new program, the “Emerging Candidates Race List.” Again, I’ll let Jesse Lee describe it:
The DCCC Emerging Races list is made up of candidates who have taken traditionally non-competitive districts and, through the strength of their campaigns, put themselves in a position to win in November. Red to Blue and Emerging candidates all represent the new direction that American voters are searching for and all have pledged to put the priorities of middle class families first when they get to Washington.
Jerry McNerney is one of the 15 members of the Emerging Candidates program. So the big news here is that the DCCC has finally recognized the strength of Jerry McNerney’s incredible grassroots campaign and just how weak Richard Pombo is within his own district.

Funny, though. If the DCCC had been paying attention for all these months, they would have known this a lot sooner. Like, for example, the NRCC.

The NRCC came into CA-11 back on August 3rd and dropped $16,275 on the table to finance polling for Richard Pombo. Then, a mere month later, they plunked down another $9,765 for a second round of Pombo polling. Now, I suspect that we’ll never know what that polling told them because they haven’t been in any hurry to release their findings publicly. But that omission probably tells us most of what we need to know about their results. And if there were any lingering suspicions, the NRCC’s subsequent actions have more than answered the question.

Following the first poll, the NRCC paid out $1,477 to Marsh Copsey & Associates for issue ad production and $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers. After the second poll on 9/6, they made the following independent expenditures, all within a ten-day period:

  • 9/8 — $28,500 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
  • 9/8 — $28,500 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
  • 9/13 — $38,385 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
  • 9/18 — $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
  • 9/18 — $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
  • 9/18 — $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers.

It’s worth noting that all of these expenditures have been identified for FEC purposes as being made in opposition to Jerry McNerney. That means the voters of CA-11 are going to be barraged with several more rounds of anti-McNerney advertising. It’s telling that even the NRCC can’t seem to find much good to say about Richard Pombo and his record in Congress. Instead, they have to content themselves with lying about Jerry McNerney.

Taken in total, that’s $250,762 in negative mailers paid for by the NRCC on behalf of Richard Pombo in just the last two weeks. Together with the polling, that means they’ve spent $276,802 in CA-11 in the last six weeks. You simply can’t convince me that Richard Pombo and the Republican Party aren’t deeply worried about the outcome of this race.

[UPDATE 9/21:] On Tuesday, the NRCC reported another $5,413 for opposition phone banks, on Wednesday, they reported another $11,105 for Pombo polling, and today, they reported another $5,450 on phone banks, bringing their total expenditures for August/September to $298,770.]

So what has the DCCC spent on behalf of their “Emerging Candidate,” the one who “through the strength of [his] campaign, put [himself] in a position to win in November”?

Oh, but you already know the answer deep down in your heart, don’t you? You got it. Zero.

Chris Bowers made this observation at MyDD:
[N]ot a bad list, but I am very disappointed that McNerney in particular is not in the higher category of support. CA-11 is one of the 21 Republican-held seats where the NRCC has made independent expenditures so far. In fact, they have spent more than 100K in non-polling expenditures in CA-11, placing it 14th in the NRCC's overall expenditure list since July 1st. [Note: Chris wrote this before the latest expenditures of $115K had been posted.] Given this, one thinks that the NRCC sees similar results to the poll in May that showed McNerney ahead. I bet the DCCC would be targeting that seat more vigorously had their chosen candidate, Steve Filson, not been handily defeated by McNerney in the primary. The way they are treating McNerney is petty, disrespectful, and counter-productive.
That’s why it’s so very important for us, you and me, to contribute both our money and our time to support the candidacy of Jerry McNerney.

This race is winnable. And if the DCCC isn’t going to step into the breach, that means it’s up to us. If we don’t get involved, nobody else is going to do it for us. All of us who live in Richard Pombo’s district, all of us who are tired of being screwed by our politicians, all of us who are sickened by the endless and soul-numbing war in Iraq need to step forward and turn our words into action.

Because if we don’t fight like hell to take our country back, I guarantee you — they’re not going to give it to us.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pombo-McNerney Debate October 5

Here's some breaking news from Hank Shaw's blog:
Tracy Rep. Richard Pombo will debate Pleasanton wind energy consultant Jerry McNerney Oct. 5 at a forum sponsored by the Tracy Press. This could be the only debate of the campaign, so it should be enlightening. More details when I get 'em.
You know, I can think of a lot of words to describe what this debate might be like, but somehow I don't think "enlightening" would be anywhere near the top of my list. I'd be tempted to go with something a little closer to ultimate fighting.

A Sorry Congressional Record

Congress has a long history of holding hearings on global warming, climated change or whatever they want to call it this week. To be more explicit, they have been examining the buildup of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and the effects that it has on us for thirty years. Since the Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee held its first hearings on STRATOSPHERIC OZONE DEPLETION, PART 1 ,September 8, 9, 15, 17, 1975, there have been 239 hearings. If you want to see the entire list, it has just been published by the National Environmental Trust.

May 13, 2003
Field Hearing- Clairsville, OH

I have read the transcripts of that hearing and much of it was set up to make the point that signing on to the Kyoto Treaty would mean that coal miners might lose their jobs. Such practice of only calling on the witnesses who will make the point you want to hear is a common practice under Pombo's heavy hand.

Now, lets take a look at the legislation that came out of all this work. From the Resources Committee? Nothing.

I would ask you all to read about Al Gore's comments on Solutions to Global Warming, delivered yesterday at New York University. This is not really about policy. It is a question of values. It is a question of the type of world that we will leave for our grandchildren.
"This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue -- it affects the survival of human civilization," Gore said in an hour-long speech at the New York University School of Law. "Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours."

There is another way to express this view, that of the 7th Generation Ammendment championed by Native American leader Winona LaDuke.
The preamble to the US Constitution declares that one of its purposes is to secure "the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity." Shouldn't those blessings include air fit to breathe, water decent enough to drink and land as beautiful for our descendants as it was for our ancestors?

We need a Seventh-Generation Amendment to the US Constitution to protect our common property rights and ensure these blessings to ourselves and our posterity.
I can not imagine that Richard Pombo thinks past the next November 7th, let alone the effects of his action on the 7th generation of his family... and yours.

The history of Congress in failing to deal with Global Warming has little to do with economic policy. It has a lot to do with what we value. Not coming to terms with a major threat to our economic and physical security, to spend so much resource on maintaining the status quo of a fossil fuel based economy, shows how little faith that Pombo and the Republican Leadership have in the power of American ingenuity or in the strength of the American Worker. When we need solutions, they are offering placebos, maybe because they are not strong enough to take strong medicine.

At least Jerry McNerney has delivered economically sound solutions that will aid us in holding down the effects of global warming. That alone should be enough to endorse his candidacy. Pombo has given us many, many more reasons to endorse Jerry.

Arrrrrr! Cap'n Pombo Plunders CA-11

[The following is a guest post by SNTP’s good friend, “Moby Dick Pombo.”]

Avast Ye Scurvy Dogs! It’s International "Talk Like a Pirate Day!"

An’ "Act like a Pirate Day," too, if ye be darin’ enough like me. Cap'n Richard the Pigeon-Hearted here. An’ actually, me an’ the mates don't just act like pirates one day a year; we be rapin’ an’ pillagin’ the public every day o' the year. An’ the best thing is, it’s all legal, it’s all free, an’ there ain’t no-one in the Justice Department to stop us.

If ye be bold enough to git away with it, like me, ye can pay the salaries of yer First Mate (Steven Ding) an’ yer Second Mate (Brian Kennedy) on the taxpayers’ doubloon. Ye can issue yer campaign PRs disguised as government business, an’ even mail hard-hittin’ pieces of hate against yer opponent using the taxpayers’ pieces o’ eight.

Then usin’ the tribute you exact from other Pirates of the High Seas (Exxon, Cap'n Jack Abramoff, Chief I-Wanna-Casino), you pay the mistress in yer home port (Annette), yer incompetent brudder (Randall), an’ even toss a few bones to yer cabin boy/chief bilge sucker (Carl Fogliani). With a racket goin’ like this, do ye blame me for sayin’ I'd rather walk the plank than honor me commitment to term limits?

So here’s me advice: If ye choose to be a landlubber, stay outta the floodplains. Rather than shiver me timbers, I say cut down the timbers an’ keep on buildin’ like there's no tomorrow. Wood houses will float after all, an’ if we make 'em water-tight, they'll make good pirate ships. We can then use these good ships to attack those enviros in the Bay Area in thar home ports an’ finish 'em off fer good. Before they scare everyone with all that nonsense about global warmin’, which, after all, raises the sea level an’ gives me access to new lands to plunder.

Now, armed with Cap'n Jack's booty, an’ plenty o’ it, I intend to keelhaul this McNerney guy in a barrage of sleaze that'll leave him wishin’ he'd never heard o’ Johnny Depp. After all, with plenty o’ grub an' grog, I don't give a damn about no red-legged frog. Or you, ye scurvy dog. Or anything that ye should write on this here liberal leftist blog. So call me the King of Pork, but never a hog.

Cuz it’s yo ho yo ho a Pirate’s Life for Me
With dismembered whale guts
An’ no ifs, ands or buts
It’s a Pirate's Life for Me!

Yo ho yo ho a Pirate’s Life for Me
You'll be walking the plank
As you fill up yer tank
It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me!

Yo ho yo ho a Pirate's Life for Me
My crew is all scum
But ye all be so dumb
It’s a Pirate's Life for Me!

Arrrrrrrrr Matey!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pombo Lies About McNerney's Immigration Policy

I’ve been hearing stories over the last week about a Pombo flier that attacks Jerry McNerney’s immigration policy. Let me start by saying this: if you have a copy of this campaign literature, please send it to Matt, and we’ll get a copy of it up on this post ASAP. I have to admit that I’m at somewhat of a loss to comment on this mailer, not having seen it, but here’s what I’ve gleaned from the sidelines: The piece attacks McNerney’s immigration policy, and, from the many troll comments that I’ve seen in the last few days, it alleges that he supports illegal immigration, supports medical and Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants, and supports allowing illegal immigrants to vote.

Lies. All lies.

First and foremost, if you go to Jerry McNerney’s website, you’ll see this immigration policy, which has been posted unchanged for several months:
The problem with our immigration policy is that the Federal government doesn't have one. For too long our government has failed to secure our borders, allowing easy access for illegal immigration, and having little to no enforcement at the workplace. No wonder people are frustrated and demanding action.

I support a comprehensive solution to our immigration policy that fixes our country's broken immigration system. That means securing our borders and making America safer while at the same time promoting an earned path to citizenship for hard working immigrants.

We must not create a fugitive class of people in this country, but citizenship isn't something to be doled out easily. That is why I support the bipartisan McCain/Kennedy immigration reform plan, the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, which:

  • Establishes an earned path to citizenship. It allows incentives for undocumented immigrants already here, working, and contributing to our nation. It allows those who live in the shadows to register, pay a fine, learn English, resolve back taxes, and continue to work hard as a means of eventually earning permanent residency.

  • Creates smart and secure borders (a homeland security necessity).

  • Toughens penalties for employers who illegally employ undocumented workers and enhances worker protections.

  • Helps and invests in local communities that bear the burden of illegal immigration.

  • To truly stem the flow of people, we need to pursue policies that help alleviate poverty south of the border so people have less incentive to cross our borders. One such policy to pursue is to renegotiate trade agreements to include fair trade provisions that protect workers on both sides of the border equally and raise living standards.
    So here’s the deal. Pombo has no immigration policy. If you look at his website and then study his positions, you’ll see that his response is to offer trite axioms and then tell various groups what he thinks they want to hear at any given moment. That’s it.

    The real truth is that in America today, we do not have an illegal immigrant problem; we have an illegal employment problem. If there were no employers eager to exploit undocumented workers — big surprise, the workers wouldn’t be here! It’s just that simple. No jobs, no undocumented workers. Instead of punishing those unfortunates who seek to better their lots in life, why not punish those who seek to exploit them? You know, like the members of the Farm Bureau, those ardent Pombo supporters.

    You see, they want to have it both ways. If immigrants were allowed to enter this country easily and legally, they would join with their American compatriots and demand decent wages and working conditions. But by subjugating their workers to the threat of deportation or, under H.R. 4437 which Pombo supported, the threat of felony charges, illegal employers silence the voices of migrant workers. It’s the 21st century version of involuntary servitude.

    And it’s brought to you by Congressman Richard Pombo.

    Jerry McNerney seeks to end this cycle by securing our borders and offering a straightforward path to those who seek to immigrate legally. And for that, he’s attacked by Richard Pombo.

    This is a classic Karl Rove tactic: Attack your opponent on the very issue on which you are weakest. Pombo is supported by those illegal employers who have the most to gain by supporting the status quo on immigration; Pombo has no serious immigration policy that goes beyond mouthing tired platitudes; Pombo has flip-flopped like a dead fish on immigration issues. So, using Rovian logic, what could be more natural than to attack Jerry McNerney on immigration?

    [UPDATE:] Hat tip to Progressive 11th blog for providing images of the brochure:

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    La Frontera de la Muerte

    La Frontera de la Muerte is a documentary film that was screened recently at Our Lady of Guadelupe Church in Lathrop. It is concerned about the number of people who cross the border illegally from Mexico to the US.

    The US Congress took one stab at this back in December. This is when our favorite congressman voted for HR 4437 to build a bigger fence on the border and to make being in the US without proper papers into a felony. Let me remind you that Pombo was the only representative, Democratic or Republican, fromn the San Joaquin Valley to vote this way.

    If people are so motivated to come to the United States that they will risk crossing La Frontera de la Muerte, his solution is to build a bigger fence. I assure you that the motivation is not to save lives, becuase it is not a complete fence and it will drive those who would cross into even more dangerous areas, such as the Air Force Gunnery Range East of Yuma, AZ.

    Some how, this does not make sense to me. If it is so hard for workers to come to the US that they will risk death to do it, then maybe the solution is not to make it more difficult to cross illegally, but to make it easier to move back and forth across the border legally. But, Pombo seems not to want to do that.

    What Pombo appears to want to so is to be everything to everyone. He will talk tough on immigration to one crowd. He will tell the Farm Bureau that he is for a guest worker program on another occasion. He has changed his story on this so many times that I don't think he knows what his position is. But, when it comes time to vote, he always votes one way, just like the Republican Leadership wants him to. That means he voted FOR 4437. It also means that he voted for the little brother of 4437 this last week.

    The House has stripped the criminalization language out of 4437 and offered a new bill, H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act of 2006 that only mandates the building of more fences. Maybe, like the neighbor in Robert Frost's poem, Mending Wall, he believes that "Good fences make good neighbors." Yet, Frost had another opinion:
    Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offense.
    I would guess that Pombo does not care. He seems confident that there are not enough registered Latino voters in the district to make a difference. There are over 100,000 Hispanic residents of San Joaquin County, but less than 15% are registered and turnout has historically been low.

    There are those who are working hard to turn this around. We have had major voter registration drives aimed at getting more Hispanic voters registered. They have been backed by the SEIU, the Clean Water Action Project and the still active Pete McCloskey along with the Revolt of the Elders Committee.

    The Bilingual Weekly has run an OpEd by Pete McCloskey this week. I copy it below, because they don't get the web site updated as often as one likes. However, it did go out in print in both English and Español. The same issue had a paid advertisement from the Revolt of the Elders, also in Español, calling on San Joaquin County Latino's to register and vote. The ad reads:"

    "If you like to express yourself, then vote."

    Register to vote. Your vote is your voice.
    Use the power of your vote to take action and benefit our community.
    Education and health. Jobs with fair salaries. Health care. Clean air. Fair Immigration policies.

    San Joaquin County has over 100,000 Latinos, but only 12.5% of them are registered.

    Call 209.401.9663 for help in registering or to obtain an absentee ballot...

    The OpEd from McCloskey is:
    Richard Pombo Betrays His Latino Constituents
    By Pete McCloskey

    In a December 2005 Christmas betrayal of Latinos, Richard Pombo became the only Congressman from the San Joaquin Valley to vote in favor of HR 4437: the disgraceful House immigration bill. This bill would make every undocumented worker in the US a felon, subject to imprisonment and deportation. The bill would also make criminals out of any US citizens that might assist these workers, such as family members, health care workers, or even Catholic priests. This is shameful and insulting to all Americans who value hard work and recognize the importance of keeping our families whole.

    The bill also called for the building of an immigration barrier – a wall – along the US-Mexican border totaling nearly 600 miles. Pombo says that this wall, along with deploying troops to our border, is necessary to “protect our national security.” Perhaps he thinks Osama bin Laden is going to try and sneak into the US wearing a sombrero, crossing the desert with the help of a coyote. I see such a wall as causing the cruel and unnecessary deaths of thousands of additional Latinos in their every day struggles to survive and help provide for their families.

    Only Richard Pombo would then have the gall, following the large protests organized by Latino community leaders in Stockton against HR4437 in the Spring, to say he DOESN’T support making criminals out of undocumented workers and really favors a “guest worker program” with a way for these workers to someday earn US citizenship - but only after the border is completely secured. Yet his Christmas “present” only months before had been to make criminals out of everyone. I personally find such hypocrisy despicable.

    But he didn’t stop there. On June 28, 2006, Richard Pombo voted for an amendment to the Voting Rights Act that had it been approved, would have eliminated bilingual ballots. That’s right, US citizens – not undocumented workers – who have limited English skills would no longer have the option to secure a ballot in Spanish. This effectively treats such citizens as second class, as it deprives them of their right to be well-informed as they seek to effectively exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote. Pombo’s vote thus has nothing to do with undocumented workers or national security – it is a direct slap at the face of the proud Latino citizens of the US.

    I hope you will join me in fighting back and sending a strong message to Pombo on Election Day. Pombo’s Democratic opponent Jerry McNerney, stands with Latinos in support of a humane immigration policy and the right to have bilingual ballots. If you are a US citizen, you can REGISTER TO VOTE BY OCTOBER 23, knowing that YOUR VOTE ON NOVEMBER 7 IS YOUR VOICE. There is much at stake for all of us Californians on Election Day 2006, Latinos and Gringos alike.

    To register to vote, call: 209-401-9663

    Pete McCloskey is a former US Congressman (1967-1983) from the San Francisco Peninsula. He challenged Mr. Pombo in the June 2006 primary, and proudly marched in the Stockton protests against HR4437.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Bush to Appear at Pombo Fundraiser October 3

    Early this morning, the Sac Bee reported that George W. Bush would be appearing at a fundraiser for Rep. John Doolittle. Buried in the story was this nugget:
    Doolittle said Bush will also attend a fundraiser for Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, earlier that day, but that could not be immediately confirmed by the Pombo campaign or the White House.
    Now TV station KESQ has confirmed the story:
    Bush will appear at a fundraising lunch for Doolittle October third at the Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills. He'll do a breakfast for Pombo on the same trip.
    The earlier Sac Bee article quoted Sarah Feinberg, spokeswoman for the DCCC, on the significance of this presidential appearance:
    ”The president raises money for candidates who are most vulnerable or need cash infusions,” she said.
    Last week, I wrote about Pombo’s attempts to distance himself from Bush and his plummeting popularity. Now apparently he's so desperate that he has no choice but to appear side-by-side with the man. No wonder he looks so miserable in this picture.

    This should be entertaining.

    [UPDATE:] This is from Associated Press: “The Pombo fundraiser will be held at Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium.”

    McNerney Super Weekend Tomorrow

    Last weekend, a Daily Kos member named Cecil Vortex posted a diary about his experience walking precincts in CA-11.
    The Dublin McNerney HQ is a 30-minute drive from where I live near Oakland. (Specifically, it's at 6250 Village Parkway, right off 580.)

    The folks there were friendly and well organized. They were also flexible -- I showed up long after the start time listed on their site and it didn't really matter. I was there with a pal, but they told me for future reference that had I shown up solo, they would have paired me up with someone.

    They gave us a list of about 380 Democrats and unaffiliated voters in San Ramon (the vast majority were Ds). The instructions and maps were straightforward -- I'm pretty inexperienced in this and they kept it simple enough for a newbie like me to handle.

    San Ramon is about 5 minutes from the Dublin office. It was beautiful there today -- nicer than back in Oakland. Sunny with a light breeze and a real treat to walk in.

    We covered about 200 of the voters on our list. Almost everyone had flags outside. Almost everyone had a dog. Not everyone was pro-McNerney, but just about everyone who was home was friendly.

    Most folks were either neutral or anti-Pombo. Many were strongly anti-Pombo (we heard "that crook" pretty frequently). A lot of folks who were happy enough to vote against Pombo hadn't heard of McNerney, so it felt like we were actually doing some good just by getting his name out there.
    Well, tomorrow, Saturday, September 16, there is going to be a HUGE McNerney canvassing effort all over CA-11. Please come and join in — do your part to get Jerry McNerney’s name out to the voters.

    First of all, Defenders of Wildlife/Pombo In Their Pocket:

    Defenders will be doing canvassing in both the Tri-Valley area and in Stockton. Check out Matt O’s earlier post for all the details. Defenders will have seven (!) buses running from all over the Bay Area (Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Palo Alto and Santa Cruz) into CA-11, as well as BART shuttle service from the Pleasanton BART station. Lunch will be provided.

    Additionally, We The People is organizing separate events:
    San Joaquin County Kick-Off
    Saturday, September 16, 2006
    11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
    John Morearty, Activist, Founder of the Peace and Justice, Network of San Joaquin
    American Legion Park on Bedford and Baker Streets
    Stockton, CA
    Free Food and Beverages
    Canvassing, phone banking, and camaraderie
    Contact: Anthony Sisneroz ( or (916) 834-6597). RSVP recommended.

    Tri-Valley Kick-Off
    Sunday, September 16, 2006
    11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
    Special Guest and Speaker, Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman
    Dolan Park on Padre Way
    Dublin, CA
    Free Food and Beverages
    Canvassing, phone banking, and camaraderie

    **Free Transportation from Morgan Hill at 9:45 AM. Please contact to reserve your space.**

    Contact: Adam Borelli ( or (925) 577-6635). RSVP recommended.
    As if that’s not enough, Project BlueBridge and Take Back Red California will be joining host Delta Democratic Club in Brentwood:
    Brentwood Latino Voter Registration and Precinct Walking for Jerry McNerney, Saturday September 16th:

    Project BlueBridge has a carpool leaving from North Berkeley at 8:30 or meet at 10am at Brentwood City Park Corner of Oak and 2nd St., downtown Brentwood. After precinct walking, there will be a picnic from 1-2:30 pm in the park with Jerry McNerney. Lunch provided. Spanish speakers especially needed! Contact Kari Hamerschlag at 510-295-4781 for carpool information.
    You can also check in directly with the McNerney campaign. They will be walking precincts throughout the district on both Saturday and Sunday, including walks in Tracy and Morgan Hill.

    And if you can’t walk precincts, you can always help with phone banking.
    There will be phone banking at the Dublin headquarters all day Saturday. There’s also Oakland Phone Banking for Jerry, Monday, September 18th and Wednesday, the 20th, 5:00-9:00 pm (Come any time for as long as you can!) Phone banking is almost as much fun as canvassing! Stop by after work and enjoy pizza and drinks served at 6!
    Location: SEIU Local 535, 447 29th St., between Broadway and Telegraph in Oakland
    PLEASE RSVP: or call Eden at 510-499-4862

    DFA is also running a South Bay Phone Bank for Jerry McNerney, September 20th and every Wednesday, 6-9PM at 2302 Zanker Rd, San Jose. You can come for an hour or three, but please do come to help Jerry out.
    RSVP to
    Finally, if you can’t volunteer but want to support Jerry McNerney, there’s the after-party on Saturday evening:
    Saturday, Sept 16, 2006, 4:00-7:00 p.m. – Berkeley:

    Join with Barbara Lee, Wilma Chan and Loni Hancock and enjoy gourmet food, great wine and rocking music. Meet Jerry, the man who will hand Pombo his pink slip, and give what you can to help him on his mission.

    PLEASE RSVP: Kathleen Kahn (510) 524-9270
    And if you’re not in the area and feeling blue because you can't join in the festivities, never fear! You can always help Jerry McNerney defeat Richard Pombo by donating to SayNoToPombo’s ActBlue page.

    [UPDATE:] Click here to see the two new McNerney mail pieces that will be sent out in CA-11. Your donation through ActBlue will help get these pieces distributed throughout the district.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Pombo Brings Tribal Gaming Bill To Defeat

    Yesterday, Richard Pombo’s Indian gaming bill, H.R. 4893, went down to defeat. Although it was approved by a vote of 247-171, the bill failed to get the 2/3 majority that it would have required for passage. H.R. 4893 would have prevented tribes from building casinos on newly-acquired land, a practice known as “reservation shopping.” The bill had generated a great deal of controversy among Native Americans, with those wealthy tribes who already had casinos supporting a law that would have given them virtual monopolies on gaming in their areas. Poorer tribes who were still hoping for a share of the wealth being created by casinos were opposed to the bill, as were a large number of Native Americans who were simply concerned about the erosion of sovereignty for tribal governments.

    Yesterday, just before the vote, Rep. George Miller announced his opposition to the bill. His concern was that a bill which had generated so much controversy was being placed on the suspension calendar, which is typically used for noncontroversial measures (thus the requirement for a 2/3 majority vote). Bills which are placed on the suspension calendar receive little debate, and there is no mechanism for offering amendments to such bills.
    "It's an inappropriate procedure for a bill of this magnitude," [Miller chief of staff Daniel Weiss] said.

    Weiss said several House Democrats have concerns about the bill that have not been addressed, though he did not specify those concerns.
    It’s worth noting that Miller voted for the bill when it was in committee. Weiss went on to state that “Miller has not decided whether he would support Pombo's bill if it were to get a full debate on the House floor.” But Pombo refused to open the bill up for debate.

    So what, exactly would this bill have meant to residents of CA-11?

    Well, the Sacramento Bee explained it this way:
    Pombo's bill was aimed at stopping the spread of what has been called "off-reservation" gambling. The term has come to describe the efforts of usually remotely located tribes or newly recognized tribes that, typically working with a casino developer, acquire property distant from their historic territory and apply to the Interior Department to have it qualify for a casino under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

    Despite the enormous expansion of tribal casinos in California, little of it is the result of the loopholes in the 1988 act that Pombo sought to close. And while Pombo initially had proposed even more restrictive legislation, the version that came to the House floor Wednesday would not have stopped any of the major new casinos proposed in Northern and Central California.

    "The way the legislation is now, we would be fine," said Jacquie Davis-Van Huss, secretary of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, which is working to develop a large casino complex north of Madera on state Route 99.

    Tribal spokesmen said the bill also would not stop two controversial casino projects in Amador County proposed by the Ione Band of Miwok Indians and the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians.
    Okay. So what exactly did this bill mean to Richard Pombo?

    The Sacramento Bee had an explanation for that, as well:
    Last year the odds of legislation curbing Indian gambling looked better. The Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal focused attention on the enormous wealth of gambling tribes and their efforts to wield power in Congress.

    But even then, critics charged that the legislation was as much about campaign contributions as stemming casino expansion. Pombo held hearings on the issue around the country, and often held fundraisers in conjunction with them. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Pombo is the top recipient of contributions from the gambling industry with nearly $200,000 to his re-election committee in the last two years, much of it from gambling tribes.

    So Pombo carried the bill for his big donors in the gambling tribes. Now, a cynic might say that perhaps he purposely took a bill that would have passed had it been brought under normal circumstances and guaranteed its failure by subjecting it to a super-majority vote. A cynic might point out that the failure of this bill in this Congress merely opens up whole new round of fundraising opportunities for Richard Pombo AND it gives Pombo the added bonus of being able to rail against Democrats for the defeat of his bill.

    Here’s how George Miller’s chief of staff put it:
    Hastert and Pombo had the votes and could have passed the bill easily if they brought it up under regular rules. "The only people to blame for this bill not passing are Republican leaders," [Daniel Weiss] said.