Blue America '14

2014 Is going to be a tough year for Democrats to win back the House, especially with Steve Israel once again running the DCCC. But that doesn't mean we can't elect more progressives in both primaries and in the general election. That's our goal.

Blue America '14 has raised $88030.52 from 1463 donors.
Donate: $(amount distributed equally among all candidates)

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Contest! Sinatra and…South Dakota?

Today Blue America is launching an effort on behalf of prairie populist Rick Weiland, who is running for the open blue Senate seat in South Dakota. With two Republicans running against the GOP Establishment pick in the general election, this should be a great opportunity to elect a dedicated tribune for working families in what the DC pundits see as a tough race.

This week, Rick released his first television ad. You can you watch it here. Digby, John and Howie are asking Blue America supporters to chip in getting the ad seen more widely-- and you can do that on the same page you watch the ad on.

There are basically two big media markets in South Dakota. One covers the Democratic-leaning half the state (East River)-- Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Watertown, Brookings, Huron, Mitchell and Yankton-- and the other covers the more conservative half of the state (West River)-- Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis, Custer, Wall, Lead, Deadwood and Hot Springs.

This is a sample of what a typical contribution can buy in the eastern part of the state:

• $28- All In With Chris Hayes
• $35- Southern Charm
• $125- Good Morning America
• $165- Face The Nation
• $225- Wheel of Fortune
• $400- 48 Hours

And this is what we can get in the western part of the state:

• $34- The Rachel Maddow Show
• $50- Inside Edition
• $75- Big Bang Theory
• $120- The Today Show
• $150- 60 Minutes
• $300- The Blacklist

So what's all this got to do with Frank Sinatra? Well, Howie was the president of the record label Sinatra started, Reprise Records. Sinatra started it-- and Howie continued it-- as a haven for artists who didn't want to be pushed around by corporate dictators, an ethos that epitomizes Rick's "Take It Back" campaign.

Howie was awarded an RIAA-certified plaque when Sinatra's greatest hits album, The Very Good Years went double platinum… two million records sold in the U.S. alone. He's donating this gorgeous, historical collector's item to one randomly selected donor to this Rick Weiland effort this week.

The "contest" ends next Monday, April 28, at noon. It doesn't matter how much you give, just that you do give on this page.

And, for the Sinatra fans, some of the songs that are on The Very Good Years: "Fly Me To The Moon," Cole Porter's "I Get A Kick Out of You," "Luck Be A Lady," "Love and Mariiage," "Send In The Clowns," "The Lady Is A Tramp," "Strangers In The Night," "I've Got You Under My Skin," and the song Howie says is the perfect theme for Rick's campaign for South Dakota, "The Best Is Yet To Come." And some of the musicians who played on this record-- Nelson Riddle, Woody Herman, Count Basie and Quincy Jones.

You want to know Rick stands for policy wise? He's a bold progressive and he sums up his political beliefs in that :30 second TV spot we want you to look at.

Remember, a little bit of money goes a long way in South Dakota, so don't be shy about making even a modest contribution.

Thanks, we are all in this together,

Jacquie for Blue America



$10.10… It's Good For Us All

Friday, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich made the case that unemployment is still high and the economic recovery so turgid because of the failed European-style austerity measures being forced on the country by the plutocrats and oligarchs, primarily through their bought=and-paid-for conservative handmaidens in government.

Most companies continue to shed workers, cut wages, and horde their cash because they don’t have enough customers to warrant expansion. Why? The vast middle class and poor don’t have enough purchasing power, as 95 percent of the economy’s gains go to the top 1 percent.

That’s why we need to (1) cut taxes on average people (say, exempting the first $15,000 of income from Social Security taxes and making up the shortfall by taking the cap off income subject to it), (2) raise the minimum wage, (3) create jobs by repairing roads, bridges, ports, and much of the rest of our crumbling infrastructure, (4) add teachers and teacher’s aides to now over-crowded classrooms, and (5) create “green” jobs and a new WPA for the long-term unemployed.

And pay for much of this by raising taxes on the top, closing tax loopholes for the rich, and ending corporate welfare.

But none of this can be done because some wealthy people and big corporations have a strangle-hold on our politics. “McCutcheon” makes that strangle-hold even tighter.

Connect the dots and you see how the big-money takeover of our democracy has lead to an economy that’s barely functioning for most Americans.

A healthy majority of Americans-- including 83% of Democrats and nearly a third of Republicans-- supports the efforts to increase the minimum wage to $10.10. The financiers of congressional careers, however, are not part of that majority. They and their conservative puppets don't want to increase the minimum wage; they want to abolish it. And the faux-moderate position becomes, "let's not abolish it or increase it too much." You can watch apologists for the plutocrats, like Republican Susan Collins (ME) and New Dem Colleen Hanabusa trying to broker "a compromise" that leaves working families in poverty. Both represent blue states with overwhelming majorities that want a $10.10 minimum wage and both take excessive campaign money from the forces that want to hold the level down. And… both are running for Senate in November-- against tireless leaders in the fight for working families. 

Shenna Bellows of Maine and Senator Brain Schatz of Hawaii are pushing very hard for the $10.10 minimum wage increase. In fact, every Blue America candidate is pushing for the $10.10 level. 

I know it sounds a little gimmicky, but today we're asking Blue America supporters to chip in $10.10 for one or more of the Blue America candidates running for Senate.

And believe me, it isn't just Shenna and Brian. Rick Weiland, the prairie populist running for the open South Dakota seat is adamant about raising the minimum wage to $10.10. His GOP opponents, Mike Rounds and Stace Nelson, would like to see the minimum wage disappear altogether. Rick:

Political reality today is that America is being turned into a plutocracy by the ability of big money to buy what it wants from Washington, and increasingly from every other level of government as well.

Political reality today is that politicians who used to be public servants are now servants of the big money that elected them.

How else can you explain the endless array of policy decisions at every level of government that are vehemently opposed by large majorities of ordinary citizens, but are made anyway by elected officials. Think about it. 90% plus majorities of the voting public oppose offshore tax havens for billionaires and yet they persist. 90% oppose shutting our government down, yet it is shut down. Oil spills occur, dangerous vehicles are sold, banks evict families from homes they have been conned into buying, payday lenders extort poor families, all practices supported by virtually no one, but permitted to persist, even encouraged by the representatives supposedly elected by the people these things harm. Most Americans, including independents and Republicans, want to see the minimum wage rise to $10.10 but politicians in the pockets of the self-entitled billionaires are preventing it from passing in Congress.

What more can I say? Is it worth $10.10 to you to help elect tribunes of the people like Rick Weiland and Shenna Bellows?

Take my word for it, Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren can't do it by themselves. We need lots more like them.

Our candidates, I can report, were not invited to the Sheldon Adelson primary try-outs. Can you help?

We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby and John



$1,000 Matching Fund-- Why Shenna?


"Thank you, Blue America supporters, for refusing to give up on our democracy.  Grassroots action is the only way meaningful social change ever happens, and your grassroots support is making a difference." --Shenna Bellows

Digby, John and Howie did not expect to send this note out today. They planned a sabbatical until after the first quarter rush was over Tuesday. But… we got an offer we couldn't refuse-- and one I hope you won't be able to either.

As you probably already have figured out, we feel that Shenna Bellows, the 39 year old former executive director of Maine's ACLU, is our idea of a perfect candidate. Last night she told Howie that she wants to "go to the United States Senate to work with Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul to place checks and balances on the big banks and the NSA. We can restore economic opportunity and constitutional freedoms for all if we have the courage and the vision to try."

That came right on top of a generous offer by one of Blue America's most consistent supporters to match, up to $1,000, all contributions to the Bellows campaign that are made through this page between now and midnight tomorrow (Monday night/Tuesday morning)

"I was originally attracted to the Maine contest," he told us, "by its potential to send the loudest message, of any 2014 race, that voters are sufficiently shocked, by the NSA surveillance revelations, to turn strongly against NSA-apologist incumbents like Collins. But now Collins appears even more vulnerable because of this month's outbreak of open warfare between Senate Democrats and the CIA, over the torture report that Collins may be trying to help the CIA delay or suppress. The more closely I looked at Bellows, the more I saw not only policies I support and political experience, skills and tactics that I respect, but also great potential for proving to be the right person in the right place at the right time."

There is great potential for Susan Collins’ “mile-wide” popularity to be proven “inch-deep,” because people who disagree with Collins’ positions, especially on civil liberties, can be found not only among Maine’s plurality of Democrats but also its substantial contingents of Independents and Libertarians, with whom Bellows has strong rapport.

Let's not leave this thousand dollar offer on the table. If Shenna wins in November, it will be the biggest victory for the progressive movement in America since we helped oust Wall Street favorite's senator, Scott Brown, in Massachusetts and elect Elizabeth Warren.

If you give $10 it's like giving $20 today. And if you give $50, it's like a $100 contribution. This is what Shenna needs to get her message out across Maine. This offer ends tomorrow at Midnight (ET).



Why Blue America Is Taking A Time Out

For the rest of this week, you are likely to be bombarded with hysterical, desperate spam from the DCCC, DSCC and their myriad candidates…ugh.

The New Dems and Third Way candidates from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party have been instructed to send out as many as 5 e-mails per day leading up to Monday, the last day of the FEC's first quarter. So we're not going to send any more e-mails out 'til after that circus is over.

Today, though-- we're offering to send a $1,000 check from our PAC to whichever House candidate our members prefer. You tell us who.

Just go to the regular Blue America page and contribute-- any amount-- to whichever candidate or candidates you would like to see get the extra grand. The candidate that gets the most contributions (not necessarily the most cash) gets the PAC check. Clean and easy!

We want to know who you're feeling so far this cycle. We're not going to make any pitches.

All the candidates on this page have been vetted as Blue America '14 candidates and are worthy of your vote and dollars.

Digby, John and I write about them all the time. You can search our sites for posts to learn more about each of of them.

Or just contribute to the one you already know enough about to want to see win in November.

Thanks,

Digby, John, Howie



You Know-- Even If Republicans Don't-- Hawaii Is A State


There are no perfect candidates. They all have at least one flaw. But we still haven't found one for the progressive seeking the open House seat based in Honolulu, Stanley Chang. Blue America endorsed him because he's quite literally a progressive dream candidate. He's great on women's equality, LGBT equality, immigration reform, environmental issues, and campaign finance reform. But today we just want to emphasize the populist economic vision that puts Stanley, a former student of Elizabeth Warren's at Harvard Law, right in synch with the proud Hawaiian traditions advanced by Patsy Mink, Tom Gill, Jean King, Dan Akaka and Mazie Hirono.

"Social Security," he told us "is the bedrock of the safety net for our kupuna. Make no mistake, 'chained CPI' is a euphemism for deep cuts to Social Security, a program that keeps 22 million seniors out of poverty. I was relieved that the White House dropped chained CPI from its most recent budget proposals, but we should continue to be vigilant. Social Security must be strengthened, not gutted. Let’s look at simple, commonsense reforms, like raising the cap on taxable income, which would ensure that Social Security stays solvent for many more generations. Surely we can do better than to balance the budget on the backs of our kupuna who have worked a lifetime to enjoy a secure retirement."

Same type of progressive attitude when it comes to raising the minimum wage: "When the minimum wage was introduced, it was $10.74 in today’s dollars" he reasoned. "Today, the minimum wage is only $7.25. Many of the homeless on our streets today work full-time jobs, but can’t afford rent or even a security deposit on their minimum wage paychecks. Raising the minimum wage would stimulate the economy, generate more jobs, and lift working families out of poverty. Hawaii is in particular need of a raise as its minimum wage is stuck at the national minimum. No one who works full time should be relegated to poverty and homelessness."

And he's eager to go much further, of course. "Almost one quarter of American families live outside the mainstream banking system and spend, on average, over $2,000 per year on costly fees and services such as payday loans, bill paying and check cashing. With 35,000 locations across our country, the United States Postal Service is well positioned to provide these service at a low cost to families and is exactly the kind of innovation our financial system and working families need. Providing basic financial services at a dramatically reduced rate while pushing some of the most unscrupulous banking service providers out of the market is a smart move for America… I support a new Glass-Steagall Act, which for generations banned investment banks from gambling away people’s life savings. America’s five biggest banks hold more than half the banking assets in the country. Clearly, we must fight to increase capital requirements and break up the banks that are 'too big to fail.' We have to prevent the large banks from keeping all the profit from the good years while forcing American taxpayers to bail out their losses."

Sound like your kind of candidate? He's ours and his opponents in the August primary are a nightmare, mostly a bunch of DINOs from the other wing of the party, the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. This district is deep blue; whoever wins the primary will be going to Congress. Let's make sure it's someone who shares our progressive values. You can contribute to Stanley's campaign here. Have you ever contributed to someone running in Hawaii before?

We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team




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