Blue America '14

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Let's Paint The Senate With Stars-- Starting With Alan Grayson

Late in 1997, Enya, one of the most enigmatic-- and successful-- artists on the record label I ran, delivered a new album, Paint The Sky With Stars, a greatest hits compilation with two previously unreleased songs. It was a Christmas smash that year, with over 12 million album sales worldwide, 4 million in the U.S. alone. Enya isn't exactly a household name-- but she's sold far more albums than many artists who "seem" to be better known-- 75 million worldwide and close to 27 million in the U.S. Four of her albums won Grammy awards and one of her songs was nominated for an Oscar. So how did you miss her? Her music is often compartmentalized by the "mainstream" as "New Age" or "women's music" or even "healing music." They play her songs in spas more often than on radio stations. All that said, Enya has built a unique and powerful musical and spiritual bond with her audience. All those millions of record buyers are grateful she is offering something other artists aren't.

This week, in Blue America's first giveaway of 2015, we're offering a rare and collectible RIAA-certified platinum award for Paint The Sky With Stars to launch a Draft Alan Grayson effort.

Alan is the brilliant, sharp-tongued congressman from Orlando and Blue America wants him to run for the Florida Senate seat currently held by shiny, witless Republican Marco Rubio. The Democratic Establishment in Florida-- and to some extent inside the Beltway-- has been pushing lifelong Republican Patrick Murphy, a pathetic Wall Street shill with the 4th worst voting record of any Democrat in Congress. Murphy backs much of the toxic Republican agenda and has consistently voted with the Republicans against core Democratic values.

Elizabeth Warren doesn't look like she'll be taking on Hillary Clinton in 2016. But elevating energetic, innovative men and women like Donna Edwards, Russ Feingold and Alan Grayson into the Senate to serve with Warren will accomplish a great deal towards helping America achieve its lofty ideals. 

Grayson will decide in the next several weeks whether to run or not. It isn't a decision he's taking lightly. And it's likely to be a race that costs as much as $30 million! Murphy will have Wall Street fully behind him. Please let's show Alan Grayson that we appreciate what he's done in the House and want to see him doing even more in the Senate.

Anyone who contributes to his campaign this week on this Draft Alan Grayson page will be eligible to receive the rare, beautiful platinum Enya award-- something that cannot be bought in a store for any amount of money. And, for the sake of the prize, it doesn't matter if you contribute $10 or $1,000; everyone has an equal chance to walk off with the Enya plaque. One random winner will be chosen Monday, April 20th.

One thing the Senate does not need is more values-free, cowardly careerists like Murphy. Alan Grayson in the U.S. Senate... imagine how the evening news broadcasts will change!



Philly deserves a progressive mayor-- meet Jim Kenney

Tuesday, having forced Wall Street faux-Democrat Rahm Emanuel into a runoff, progressives came up short-- although doing far better than pundits had predicted. Chuy raised $5.2 million, a substantial amount... but Rahm had over $30 million to spend, most of it from just a few super-wealthy families benefiting financially from his administration. That Chuy did as well as he did is a testament to local field organizers and an ability to combine small contributions from a wide audience.

The next great American city struggling to get out from under the grip of corrupt governance is Philadelphia, where the primary is just over a month away, May 19. Blue America's candidate is Jim Kenny and Susie Madrak spoke with him and his staffers and has this report:

The first thing you need to know about Philadelphia is that it’s Ground Zero for the charter schools agenda. It’s the first city where charter schools took over, and it’s been “a miserable failure,” according to Democratic mayoral candidate and former City Councilman Jim Kenney.
 
The second thing you need to know is, Jim Kenney is the only Democrat running in the May 19th Democratic primary who is not a charter school supporter.
 
The third thing you need to know is, his closest competition is Anthony Hardy Williams, a fervently pro-charter state legislator who is funded by a trio of hedge fund billionaires from Susquehanna International Group (the primary benefactors of the generous tax credits Williams supplied via his school voucher legislation) and have pledged to spend a million dollars on last-minute ads.
 
So this race is important. Really important. The low-turnout Democratic primary is the de facto mayoral election, and it will be all about who gets the vote out. Money makes a huge difference.
 
Jim Kenney isn’t only against things; he has a great progressive track record. Kenney is the reason Philadelphia was the first major city to offer same-sex partner benefits to employees. Last year, thanks to Kenney’s tireless work on City Council, Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana.
 
He also successfully pushed Mayor Michael Nutter to drop the city’s cooperation with so-called “ICE holds”-- turning immigrants over to the feds on minor infractions.
 
And you should see the enthusiasm the famously-hyperkinetic Kenney displays when he talks about immigrants as “the future of Philadelphia.”
 
“My family were Irish immigrants. No Irish need apply, right? We need these people, we want them,” he said.
 
The Jesuit-trained Kenney is a firm believer in public service and social justice. That’s one reason why he also has a plan to bring universal pre-K into the city.
 
He’s also authored a plan to pair each community school with onsite social services – job training, counseling, literacy training.
 
Kenney was just endorsed by a broad coalition of African-American leaders (the same ones who supported the then-unknown Gov. Tom Wolf), and has sparked broad support from the millennium transplants, who love his in-your-face style. Philadelphia Magazine said:
 
“Kenney has found a potent political identity in that liminal space between old Philly and new. Nobody on the political stage today better blends the characters of those two great, colliding halves of the city. At his best, Kenney is like a walking hybrid of Two Street and a pop-up beer garden. It’s a combination that makes him a formidable candidate, with the potential to appeal to a broad swath of voters.” 
PA Working Families and NOW have endorsed him, as well as local LGBT leaders. He has deep support from almost all local unions-- including the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and their more activist offshoot, Caucus of Working Educators.
 
The support he needs now is yours. Fight back about wealthy special interests and send a message: Once again, we’ve rejected the elite interests for a proud progressive agenda-- just like we did in New York and Chicago.

 
Let’s put another urban center in the progressive “win” column.



CHICAGO MONEY BOMB-- REPLACING RAHM EMANUEL WITH CHUY GARCIA STARTS TODAY!

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Chicago's mayoral race is two weeks from Tuesday-- April 7. Today, Monday, is the first day of early voting. The race pits the pay-for-play politics and endemic corruption embraced by careerist and Wall Street shill Rahm Emanuel against the communities and neighborhoods of one of America's great cities trying to reclaim its dignity and its independence. The race is a neck and neck contest between Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Today Blue America has joined with our friends and allies at DFA, PCCC, MoveOn, Daily Kos, SEIU and Illinois Working Families to launch a money bomb on behalf of Chuy's campaign.

Does it seem to late in the cycle to make an effective contribution? It isn't-- thanks to electronic contributions delivered directly to campaigns by ActBlue. Netroots donors can still have a significant impact on the outcome of the race. No one ever thought Chuy would have the ability to raise as much money as Emanuel, who had already spent $30 million in the first round to Chuy's $1.2 million. But no one thought Chuy needed to match Emanuel either. Emanuel's record as mayor has devastated Chicago's neighborhoods and most voters have soured on him. Chuy's campaign was designed from the beginning to be a person-to-person operation-- street politics, door-to-door, friend-to-friend, neighbor-to-neighbor.

Money contributed today isn't going to be wasted on expensive network TV ads-- which Rahm is spending $10 million on-- but will be spent on real community outreach efforts.

If you're thinking about donating, remember that it costs the campaign $6 to provide a box lunch for a volunteer out in the field. This campaign is going to be won because of a get-out-the-vote effort. That's what Chuy's operation is all about right now. Providing 50 buttons for distribution at an event is $25. It costs $100 to print 1000 copies of an 8½x11 piece to pass out on street corners, outside grocery stores, on subway platforms, in front of churches and synagogues and community centers, outside high school basketball games, at parades and rallies. Money contributed today--even small amounts-- combine with others’ to make a real difference.

If Rahm loses, it will shake up Democratic politics to its core; a shake-up that is long overdue. Please consider contributing what you can-- today, 2 weeks out-- via ActBlue. There is no such thing as a contribution being too small to make a difference.

Last week, looking back at his presidential run in 2004, Howard Dean explained that he had

“represented the 'Democratic wing of the Democratic Party'-- a line inspired by Paul Wellstone that captured the spirit of my grassroots campaign. Jesús 'Chuy' García is running a similar people-powered campaign in Chicago and that's why I am proud to announce that I am endorsing him as the progressive choice to be Chicago's next mayor. Chuy García brings years of experience standing up for the people of Chicago. He worked with Harold Washington, Chicago’s reform mayor, to clean up Chicago in the 1980s. He also served alongside a then-unknown Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama, in the 1990s. In that time Chuy García fought for better schools and neighborhood services while developing the leadership skills required to lead Chicago in the 21st century. As mayor, Chuy García will focus on the needs of Chicago's working and middle class. He'll work to improve public schools and take a community-oriented approach to ending the violence in Chicago's neighborhoods. Chuy García will put the people first, not the 1%.”

Like Chuy says in the video (that I highly recommend you see) at the donate link, "Chicago doesn't belong to '$omebody.' Chicago belongs to Everybody!" Let's see how far a progressive Money Bomb for Chuy Garcia can go to start the ball rolling towards a progressive tidal wave sweeping the Country.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Donna's IN. We All Need To Help Her Win!

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Credit: BlueAmerica

When we ask Donna Edwards for something, she listens, she thinks and she responds. Blue America was the first to ask her to consider running for the Senate seat being vacated by the "dean" of Senate women, Barbara Mikulski.

And after due consideration, she said yes! We could not be more thrilled to be among the first to endorse Donna Edwards for Senate.

It has been a long road to get here. Going all the way back to 2006 when Donna first took on a corrupt, Democratic insider who was backed by the leadership and rolling in special interest money all the way to her victory in 2008 and beyond.

Every stop along the way, Donna has proved she is a Real Deal progressive; no apologies, no equivocating, no nonsense. Donna said this week:

"Blue America has been with me since my first campaign, and we have fought to promote forward thinking ideas and progressive values together. Today, that fight is for the United States Senate, and I need your support now more than ever. I need your support to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics training for our young boys and girls, and ensure equal pay for equal work. This campaign is not about me, it is about we, and I know that together we can make history."

Donna needs our help to win this:

  • She won’t be getting any money from the Koch brothers. They don't see her as an ally in their cause— and for good reason.
  • She won't be supported by the moneybags on Wall Street. They know she's a member of the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party and will fight their plutocratic agenda every step of the way.
  • The “Third Way” think tanks aren't especially fond of her since she is a fervent defender of the public safety nets which they are intent upon dismantling.
  • And defense and intelligence contractors won't step up since she's not someone who will blindly defend their interests over the cause of peace.

But Donna has something nobody else has. She has you. And if you step up, that's all she needs. There are millions of Americans all over the country who are desperate for political leadership that puts them first instead of the 1%. And those Americans are the only "special interest" Donna listens to.

This is a huge race for the progressive movement. We obviously need to have more strong women in the boys club that calls itself the Senate. We must have more African Americans in the mostly all white Senate. And it's essential that we have more Real Progressives to continue to chip away at the center right Senate.

We need Donna Edwards in the US Senate.

This is a big one. Please give what you can.



No Better Candidate-- Draft Donna Edwards for Barb's Senate Seat

Following in the footsteps of Senator Barbara Boxer earlier this year, the Dean of Senate women, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, announced this week that she will not run for re-election. For 38 years Senator Mikulski was a pathbreaker, having been "the first" in at so many things, perhaps most notably the first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee. She has served her country well and will be missed.

Luckily, Maryland has a wonderful progressive congresswoman who would be the perfect candidate to carry on her legacy: Donna Edwards of the state's 4th congressional district. She needs no introduction to those of you who have been around progressive Netroots for a while.  

For those of you who might not have been with us back in the day, let's just say that Donna isn't just a hard-working public servant with great progressive record, although she is that. And she isn't just brilliant on TV at articulating our philosophy with passion and skill, although she is that too. She is a giant slayer which she proved back in 2008 when she took down a powerful and corrupt Democratic party hack with a bold progressive message that impressed just about everybody who heard it. Her race was a template for the many Netroots primary races to come.

In fact, Donna was one of our first ever endorsees— for the 2006 race she very narrowly lost. Here's Howie back in 2007, endorsing her for the re-match she won handily:

I have a dream. I don’t know how realistic it is, but it doesn’t seem completely crazy. My dream is that my country will elect a superb leader, one who is wise and sharp and compassionate and educated, who understands what America needs and works effectively towards those goals. 
A few months ago I met Donna Edwards in Georgia. I had spoken to her many times on the phone but we had never met before. Of all the people I’ve talked to on behalf of Blue America, she’s the one who I am certain would best fulfill that dream.

And she has done just that. Donna has proven to be a stalwart progressive in the House with a perfect record on the issues. She has been a vocal leader and fighter for everything we care about. In fact, she has fulfilled Howie's expectation in every respect. 

That's why we'd like to see Donna Edwards run for the Senate. 

She has expressed no desire to do it at this point. And maybe she has other plans. But we'd like to try to persuade her to take up the challenge.

It would be a sad day indeed to see Barbara Mikulski's seat go to anyone less worthy. 

We have started a “Draft Donna” Act Blue page to tell her just how important we think it is that she consider this run. We want her to know that just as we were there for her all the way in her hard-fought primaries back on 06 and 08, we will be there for her this time as well. 

Donna is the Netroots promise in living color. She talked the talk and we backed her. We stuck with her when she hit a snag and worked hard to get her over the line in her winning race. And she fulfilled her promises every step of the way. 

Now we'd like her to consider taking the next logical step. Let's let her know that if she does, we'll be there for her once again.  

Senator Donna Edwards. It has a nice ring to it don't you think?




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