Bao Nguyen: GOP Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Is Despicable

With Loretta Sanchez running for the U.S. Senate, Orange County's 46th congressional district is will be an open seat in 2016. It's a solidly blue district (D+9) and Obama won it with 59% in 2008 and with 61% in 2012. The district includes Santa Ana, Anaheim and Orange and the voters are overwhelmingly Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans. Although there may be as many as 10 Democrats interested in running,

Blue America has endorsed the most progressive of the lot, Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen, an openly gay Vietnamese immigrant who arrived in this country when he was just three months old. I asked him when he made of the anti-immigrant mania sweeping the Republican presidential race. This is what he had to say.

As an American immigrant it disgusts me when I hear how Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and the other Republican Presidential candidates have been talking about immigrants. It’s despicable, and disgraceful. Immigrants are the backbone of this country. They built this country and continue to add to it in so many ways. I was born in a refugee camp, and came to this country when I was three months old. We didn’t have much-- let’s be honest, we were just poor. But we found a welcoming and supportive community of all nationalities and backgrounds, and with help and hard work, I was able to build a life here in California. But my story is no different from that of millions of immigrants who came to America in search of a better life-- who knew they needed to work hard and play by the rules in order to get a fair shot at the American Dream. We need to celebrate the accomplishments of our immigrant neighbors, and we need to bring everyone out of the shadows, so they can be full participants in the American Dream.
 
But instead, Trump and the rest of the GOP Primary Clown car have started to bang the drums of fear and hate to alienate and divide our nation and it's CITIZENS. As the discourse has gone more and more into the gutter, even the relatively ‘moderate’ GOP candidates have joined this chorus of hate. You may have heard the derogatory term "anchor babies" returning again, as it has in past debates about immigrations. Sadly, Republicans have resorted to an age old tactic to galvanize the extremist fringe of their party, by calling for stricter crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, primarily from Latin America, who they claim are trying to take advantage of America's policy of birthright citizenship under the 14th amendment.
 
Recently the party favorite, Jeb Bush was criticized for using the term "anchor babies" during a conservative radio interview. Governor Jeb Bush has doubled down, telling reporters that he does not believe the term is offensive. "Nothing about what I've said should be viewed as derogatory towards immigrants at all," he said Monday in McAllen, Texas. "I think we need to take a step back and chill out a little bit."
 
I just want to restate, an "anchor baby" is a term to used to define an undocumented immigrant, coming to America with the intention having a baby specifically to take advantage of the Constitution-- it IS a disgusting and derogatory term, period. 

Bush clarified further, saying that he used the term "anchor babies" specifically to refer to fraud in a "specific targeted kind of case" involving mothers who travel to the U.S. only to win citizenship for their unborn children.
 
"Frankly, it's more Asian people."
 
I know that Jeb is just trying to back track his xenophobic statement and not lose the elusive Latino demographic his party hopes to gain in the general election. Let me give some clear and direct advice, all Americans, no mater if their ancestors came from, Latin America, Western Europe, and yes Americans of Asian descent, find your divisive rhetoric abhorrent-- no matter which group of people you are slinging mud at for your own political gains. This is exactly why we need to bring  more people to Washington who can tell the story of the very people that Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are trying to silence. I hope you will support me in my campaign to be that voice.

Bao, who is trilingual in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, earned a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and while attending college, interned for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He also holds a master’s degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and has a certification in mediation from the Dispute Resolution Program of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. He will offer a unique and valuable perspective on Capitol Hill. When we asked him about the Iran deal, he told us he would vote for it. "From what I have seen this is the only option on the table that keeps Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and at the same time keeps American lives out of harms way. If this deal fails there are fewer non-military options since the international sanctions that were in place are no longer available to us. Frankly, I am disappointed with Republicans who only continue with their policy of opposing anything supported by Obama with no response to what they would do other than sending more Americans to war in the Middle East."

Please consider helping him get his grassroots campaign into position to win this race. One thing I can assure you about Bao-- he will never be a wishy-washy Democrat. He's a fighter and, truth be told, reminds me in some ways of a  young Alan Grayson!



3 More Days Left In Our Ice-T Gold Record Fundraiser For Alex Law


Blue America is at the tail end of a fundraising effort on behalf of Alex Law, the progressive Democrat running against South Jersey Machine incumbent Donald Norcross, brother of notoriously corrupt party boss, George Norcross. Since being installed in Congress by his brother in 2014-- after the corrupt old Machine hack was driven out by scandal-- Norcross has been a dependable vote for many of John Boehner's worst policies. His first vote in Congress was for the Keystone XL Pipeline. And after an AIPAC-funded trip to Israel he returned to Cherry Hill in his district with GOP warmonger Tom MacArthur  in tow  to announce he would vote with the Republicans against the Iran agreement.

Alex Law, the first Democratic congressional candidate anywhere in the country to endorse Bernie Sanders, is as different as a Democrat could be from Norcross. He backs the Iran deal, opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline and is all about helping ordinary middle class Jerseyites fulfill their legitimate aspirations while taking on the big money special interests that call the shots for the the Norcross brothers.

Blue America will thank one randomly selected donor to Alex's campaign on this page by sending them a rare, collectible RIAA-certified gold record for Ice-T's album, O.G., Original Gangster. Ice-T, a resident of New Jersey, is now best known as an actor but in the '90s he was an inspirational rapper who was an early incarnation of what is now called the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 

In Alex's own words, "the #BlackLivesMatter movement is something that expresses the continued frustration around the idea that some people in our society exist under different rules than other people. This is the same kind of frustration that Ice-T's music expressed 25 years ago. I am working to do everything I can to find real solutions to these problems such as unfair drug policy, income inequality, and education disparity. I think we need to legalize marijuana, as it is one of the biggest tools used by over-zealous police forces to imprison young African-American males at a rate astronomically higher than young white males. I think we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour so that people can work at a livable wage. I think we need to make college more affordable for everyone, so that in America, everyone, not just the privileged, have the opportunity to better themselves. The frustrations expressed by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Ice-T are incredibly real and the problems are daunting. But, I am going to work as hard as I can to help." 

Any contribution for Alex Law's grassroots campaign on our Blue America ActBlue page that comes in before Sunday night at 9PM will make the donor eligible for the thank you gift from Blue America.

As Alex told us last week, "I am running against Donald Norcross in next year's primary because he represents the worst in American politics: catering to special interests, machine political corruption, and voting with the Republicans constantly despite his Democratic district. We are lean and we are grassroots, but ultimately, we will win this election."  

Let's help him do just that.



Alex Law Endorses Bernie Sanders... And Ice-T

Ice-T released his fourth album-- and many say his best-- O.G., Original Gangster in 1991. It made it into the top 10 and was awarded a gold album. Ice lives in New Jersey now and Blue America decided to give away one of those original RIAA-certified O.G. gold record awards to help us raise contributions for a young candidate in New Jersey's first congressional district, Alex Law. Turns out Alex is an Ice-T fan. "Ice-T's music and story," he told us, "are inspiring to me. Despite his difficult upbringing and early life, he was able to become a voice for the voiceless through his music, expressing the frustrations of the African American community in a way that was relatable for many people. He was fearless in his critique of mainstream society and never backed down to pressure from those who were uncomfortable with his truths. As I fight against corruption and conservative policy here in South Jersey, I can't help but take inspiration in his courage through adversity."


Anyone who contributes-- regardless of amount-- to Alex's campaign on this page this week will have a chance to randomly win this gold record as a thank you gift from Blue America.

But winning an Ice-T gold record is far from the biggest reason you should consider helping Alex win a seat in Congress. As he reminded us yesterday, "Proudly, I am the only Democrat running for office in New Jersey that has endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. Like me, Bernie is talking honestly to real people about progressive ideas. I admire his courage and his vision for the country and firmly support his candidacy. Bernie Sanders speaks for all of us as he fights big money interests to improve the lives of real Americans. His policy is common sense and his honesty is refreshing. His progressive campaign is a tremendous inspiration for me. Particularly, Bernie's thoughts on student loan reform, campaign finance reform, income inequality, raising the minimum wage, diplomacy over war, tax reform, and drug reform resonate deeply with me. His influence is apparent in my policy ideas." 

Even other candidates who admire Bernie don't have the courage to publicly endorse him. Alex has also been forthright in talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, something that frightens or confuses many candidates. "The #BlackLivesMatter movement is one that I support whole heartedly," he told us. "I often tell people that we have a creed in this country that we are the 'Land of the Free,' but our creed isn't matching our deed. We imprison more people in this country than any nation in the history of the world. Disproportionally, many of our imprisoned population are African-American males. Even more heart breaking, victims of police violence are similarly disproportionally made up of the same community. I believe we need comprehensive drug reform, including the legalization of marijuana, to get many of these individuals out of prisons and prevent law enforcement from using these ridiculous laws as reasons for mistreating the African American community. Further, we need to make sure our policy for other drugs is shifted to treatment rather than punishment. Finally, I believe that nation-wide, the police should have to wear body cameras so that everything that is done while on duty is recorded for the public record. This will make accommodation of professional, excellent police work easier as well as prevent much of the wonton violence that has plagued our society over the past year."

If Alex wins the primary-- which in NJ-01 is tantamount to winning the election-- he will turn 25, the legal age to enter Congress, just in time. He'll bring a much-needed and unique perspective to Congress, to whichever committees he's assigned and to the Democratic caucus. The current incumbent, New Jersey Machine boss George Norcross' little brother, announced this week that he's voting against the Iran deal. His first vote in Congress was to back the Republican plan to kick President Obama out of the Keystone XL Pipeline decision-making process. He's a typical DINO steep in the kind of systemic corruption at the heart of what's wrong with American governance and politics. Alex, who opposes building the Keystone XL and supports the Iran deal, couldn't be a clearer anymore inspiring alternative to Norcross.

"My campaign is simple. It isn't about big money and back room deals and political operatives. My campaign is about people.That's why every day we knock on hundreds of doors. That's why every week we make thousands of phone calls. That's why every month our support is growing and our volunteers are spreading our ideas. This campaign is about honesty and smart progressive policy that will make America a better place. I am running against Donald Norcross in next year's primary because he represents the worst in American politics: catering to special interests, machine political corruption, and voting with the Republicans constantly despite his Democratic district. We are lean and we are grassroots, but ultimately, we will win this election. "

Please help him make that happen... and maybe you'll luck out and win the Ice-T gold record for your trouble.



Honor Social Security’s 80th By Backing Eric Kingson For Congress

NY-24, the congressional district centered on Syracuse New York, is the bluest district (D+5) in the entire country represented by a Republican-- thanks in no small part to the deranged insistence from the DCCC that only conservative DINOs should run there. Obama won the district twice, in 2008 with 56% and in 2012 with 57%, and this cycle a sterling progressive, Eric Kingson, is the Democratic candidate (although the DCCC has been consistently threatening to dig up an unspecified conservaDems to run).

There is no stronger and no more knowledgeable champion of Social Security anywhere than Kingson. And that's something to especially take account of today, August 14-- the 80th anniversary of the most popular social program in history. "Nothing has done more," Eric tells us, "to advance economic justice for older Americans, persons with severe disabilities, children whose parents die or are work disabled, and surviving widows and widowers. Social Security is the nation’s most effective, popular and efficient (less than 1% in administrative costs!) public innovation. It rendered fear of the poorhouse in old age and necessity of giving up children to orphanages by a surviving parent lacking reliable income relics of the past. It institutionalized retirement for the middle class, not just the rich. Today, 60 million Americans receive monthly benefits, mostly older persons but also 9 million persons with disabilities and more than 4 million children. Extraordinarily popular across all political and demographic groups, Social Security is the poster child for 'government that works.'  It is also valued because it gives expression widely-shared beliefs-- responsibility to care for our parents, children, neighbors and selves; responsibility to work hard and, as a result, a right to benefit from that work; human dignity."

The hard work of progressive organizations like Social Security Works, co-founded by Eric Kingson, stopped the cuts proposed by George Bush, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party by rallying the voices of citizens and exposing the real fraud-- misinformation and deceit perpetrated by ideologues to dismantle our Social Security and Wall Street bankers who want to pull more money out the pockets of the American people.

Truth is, the main things wrong with Social Security are that its vital but modest benefits, averaging just $16,000 a year, are too low; its inflation protection falls short and it doesn’t provide several benefits such as paid family and sick leave. We can and should expand Social Security. We are a rich nation and can afford such expansion by “scrapping the cap” (currently $118,500) on payroll contributions so that millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate on all their earnings; and other modest changes such as counting dividend, interest and other income from assets for Social Security purposes for persons with yearly incomes above $250,000.

"Nothing," Eric told us, "has been more disliked by those wanting to shrink government and turn back our nation’s progress. From Republican presidential candidate Alf Landon charging in 1936 that FDR’s Social Security was a 'fraud on the working man' to the Koch Father and Brothers efforts to dismantle Social Security to Bush’s and the GOP's effort to privatize, and, more recently, to the use of phony austerity politics to legitimate huge cuts, the ideological opposition has been relentless, deceitful and, thankfully, always defeated. And soon we can expect an effort to turn a minor rebalancing between Social Security’s two trust funds-- one that has taken place 11 times before without fanfare-- into a debt-ceiling-like hostage-taking crisis to provide another opening to cutting Social Security, most likely in the lame-duck session following the presidential election."

So, this month, honor Social Security’s 80th anniversary by making a contribution to a real Social Security champion, Eric Kingson, who is running for Congress.

You’ll be getting a committed activist with serious Social Security expertise as scholar, staff advisor to two presidential commissions addressing Social Security and co-founder of one of the nation’s most effective public interest organizations. Eric has worked effectively to stop cuts and help lay a foundation for expanding our Social Security system, an idea that is being advanced by the Sanders, Clinton, O’Malley campaigns. His most recent book-- Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All -- tells how, working together, we can expand Social Security for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. 

Let's help put him into position to keep that expansion in the mind of the Members of Congress who will make that decision. You can support Eric Kingson's campaign on the main Blue America ActBlue page. Three of today's contributors-- chosen randomly-- will get autographed copies of Kingson's Social Security book from Blue America.



Road to Taking Back Congress Starts in WA-08

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Blue America’s last endorsement of the 2014 cycle was Jason Ritchie, the candidate running for the Blue-leaning seat currently held by conservative Republican, Dave Reichert in a district that stretches from the suburbs south and east of Seattle all the way out to Wenatchee and Ellensburg. At the time, Ritchie vowed he would make a concerted effort to win the seat over at least 2 cycles. "I'll be back in 2016 and we're building the infrastructure, identifying the voters, and organizing to win now and in the future." This year, Jason was Blue America's first endorsement.

We’re asking you, again, to consider chipping in whatever you can to help Jason, a stalwart progressive.

Reichert remains a GOP hack, continuing to vote like a zombie-- backing the Tea Party in their demands to shut down funding for the Department of Homeland Security to obstruct immigration reform, shutting down the government in 2013, suing President Obama and nearly 60 votes cast to gut the Affordable Care Act. Reichert, who may declare his candidacy for governor this year, has a clear record as a cog in the Republican Party obstructionist machine.

Jason’s platform continues to be advocacy of behalf of students in his support of America’s College Promise and reforming the student loan debt machine. Jason is speaking out on the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and urging his supporters to pay attention to the details of the proposal. Jason says “The challenges of climate change, wage stagnation, income inequality and social injustice will not simply resolve themselves. It’s up to us as progressives to demand change and fight for a more fair future for our country. We must stand up against those who would seek to allow corporate control over our economy and our political system to drive us further into oligarchy. 

Jason told us that "the first duty of a progressive is to counter corporate influence and Big Businesses' corrosive impact on our communities and middle class. This is the fight that I am committed to in 8th Congressional District of Washington State... I believe in fighting for middle class, family wage jobs. I strongly support the Affordable Care Act, I believe earned benefits like Social Security and disability must be protected and I strongly support women's health care choices. Our social safety net must not be weakened, it must be reinforced.

The 8th Congressional District is one of 17 districts nationwide that was won by President Obama in 2012 but has a Republican representative. This district is a winnable, progressive district that we must turn blue if we are going to turn the House back to our side. Inexplicably, the DCCC has abandoned the district entirely, although they have indicated that if Reichert declares he's running for governor, they will have one of their conservatives to primary Jason. So far though, Jason has an open shot for this race. 

His campaign is already underway: "We have phone banks set up across the 8th Congressional District. We are identifying voters, growing our volunteer base and registering new voters every day.” He was a leader of the movement against the TPP in Washington, a state very divided over the trade bill, and he was willing to stand up against corporate Dems. Almost all Dems in Washington, though-- as well as plenty of Republicans and independents-- agree on one issue: the need for environmental protections.

"The 8th Congressional District," he wrote, "is home to some of the most beautiful land in the world. From Snoqualmie Pass to Mount Rainier, we have an obligation to nurture and protect our environment especially from the dangers of global climate change. The Mountains to Sound Greenway run through the heart of the 8th Congressional District and is our responsibility to maintain and preserve. It is an essential part of our commitment to the environment and our promise to future generations. Maintaining this treasure to the region must be our shared goal.” 

"Protecting local wilderness areas is just one part of defending our environment. As many members of the Republican Party continue to deny the existence of climate change, our planet comes closer and closer to the brink of ecological disaster. According to the EPA, rising temperatures are already affecting our local snowpack, stream flows, and forest cover, and we can expect worsening conditions if current trends are allowed to continue. The snowpack that our Cascades store every winter is expected to dwindle, threatening our agriculture, wildlife, and drinking water supply. Increased drought brings increasingly severe summer wildfires, and our already struggling salmon populations wouldn’t be able to survive in their remaining habitats. Pest and weed control are forecasted to become huge problems as well, which spells trouble for our local farmers. Climate change has far-reaching global consequences, and the potential damage to be inflicted on our own communities in particular motivates me to take action."

This flies right in the face of the virulent anti-environmental approach Reichert, a Climate Change denier, has taken. Please consider helping Jason replace Dave Reichert and bring another strong progressive voice to the House of Representatives.



Must See TV From Alan Grayson. Wonderful News!

As you know, Blue America has been trying to draft Alan Grayson to run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat. Nearly 450 of you agreed with us and contributed. Today it paid off: Congressman Grayson announced that he's running! 

He released this video to introduce himself to explain why he's decided to take up the challenge. Alan tells us that he came up from a multi-ethnic working class neighborhood in the Bronx to work his way through Harvard at 16 and became a successful attorney who sued military contractors for war profiteering --- and won. You all know his record as a fierce advocate for working families during his time in the US Congress. 

His story is the ultimate realization of the American Dream.  And Grayson wants to ensure that his children and all children have the same chances to succeed in life that he did.  He doesn't short-change the idea that it takes work and dedication.  He is a living example of how important it is to work hard and never give up.  But he knows that the opportunities to make something of yourself are becoming rarer as our nation's wealth and opportunities are concentrated more and more at the top. 

He says:

Where I grew up, you had to work hard just to survive. I’ve met plumbers who could be engineers, truck drivers who could be lawyers, nurses who could be doctors. And I realized that if they had genuine opportunity, unchained by poverty, prejudice, poor health, poor education or discrimination, then we all would be better off. That’s the real American Dream-- to be all that you can be. And when everyone is better off individually, then everyone is better off together.

Grayson is known for his fiery speeches and aggressive critiques of the power elite in the Republican Party. And if there's one thing the Senate Democrats could use, it's a little more fire. But Grayson has also been the most effective member of the House. Yes, you read that right. At a time of tremendous gridlock and pusillanimous impotence, Grayson has proved that he knows how to get things done. 

Grayson, again:

In the past two years in Congress, I have written more bills, passed more amendments on the Floor of the House and enacted more of my bills into law than any other Member of the House-- #1, out of 435 of us. Salon magazine labeled me the most effective Member of the House. Because of all the good we have done, more than 100,000 supporters have given their hard-earned money to our campaign. That’s more than any other Democrat in the House. In 2012, and again in 2014, I was the only Member of the House of Representatives who raised most of his campaign funds from small donors-- not lobbyists, or special interests, or millionaires, or multinational corporations. I don’t work for them; I work for you. I am unbought, and unbossed. I owe nothing to anyone but the People.

Howie says:

Over the years, Alan has been the most beloved Member of Congress by Blue America members and he has been generously supported by our members from his first run for Congress. Helping him get into the U.S. Senate is Blue America's top electoral priority for the 2016 cycle. Chuck Schumer, the de facto head of the DSCC now, grew up in New York City too, but in a solidly middle class family and he went to very non-diverse schools. I know; I was a classmate of his at James Madison in a basically all Jewish section of Brooklyn. Although they both went to Harvard, Schumer had a very different career trajectory, one that led him not into heartfelt service to working families, but into the arms of the Wall Street bankers and Big Business powermongers...Today Schumer is working much harder than either McConnell or Boehner to keep Grayson out of the Senate. 

He's gone so far as to recruit a person who was a Republican during the Bush administration to run against him. Wall Street and the banks are very happy about that. 

Grayson welcomes their hatred. He knows he has a secret weapon: you. He's always financed his campaigns with small donations from Democrats who want leaders with the guts to take on the powerful on behalf of the people. That's Alan Grayson.

Blue America has eagerly retired our “Draft Alan Grayson” page. To send Chuck Schumer a message about the kind of Senator YOU want, please donate here at the brand new “Alan Grayson for US Senate” page.  



Don't Send Flowers

My name is Jacquie and I work with Digby, John and Howie at Blue America. Not sure I need to remind you (they’ve already started…) but you're about to get bombarded with "urgent" (desperate) pleas for end-of-the-quarter contributions from the DCCC, the DSCC, the DNC, and candidates and incumbents far and wide. They use these letters to compile master lists of donors— since all those organizations sell and share their e-mail addresses with... anyone they want to. Let me assure you, we don’t.

Since Howie’s been writing about the process he's going through fighting cancer we've had dozens of beautiful letters from Blue America members, many of whom wanted to know where to send flowers while he's in the hospital. He says he’s very grateful for the warm wishes but he's not allowed near flowers-- not even dried ones-- until his immune system in built back up again.

Howie asked me to suggest something else instead.

All of us were elated about the Supreme Court decision that came down Friday, putting the ultimate constitutional seal of approval on marriage equality. This year, as part of the Blue America candidate endorsement process we ask all prospective candidates about their public stand on LGBT equality, in terms of marriage, work, housing, discrimination. No candidate gets a Blue America endorsement who is wishy-washy or tentative about equality.

Another part of the screening process is gauging how dedicated candidates are towards protecting and strengthening the social welfare net conservatives have been shredding since Ronald Reagan was president. We look for candidates who fit in with the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders/Alan Grayson wing of the party; dedicated to expanding Social Security, strengthening Medicare and fighting for the legitimate interests of ordinary working families. Not one of the Blue America-endorsed candidates would compromise away the hard-fought gains that protect the elderly and the most economically vulnerable among us.

We strongly believe that our work here will eventually lead to having a real Congress that represents “We, The People.”

So... instead of flowers for Howie, how about considering helping one or more of the progressive candidates Blue America has endorsed for the 2016 cycle? These are dedicated public servants with vision, not self-serving careerists... and not near and dear to Big Business and Wall Street. Their campaigns are grassroots affairs and they are dependent on small donations to get their messages out.

You can find the whole list of our candidates here-- there are only eight so far who have earned our endorsement. Please give what you can but remember what Howie always says: there is no contribution that is too small.



Jeff Denham (R-CA)-- Disingenuous And Misleading

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Credit: Eye Catching Media driver
Jeff Denham wants to cut Medicare-- but he doesn't want his voters to know that

A friend of mine, Michael Stewart Foley, had an interesting way to start the introduction to his newest book, The Rise Of Front Porch Politics In America. It sounds like he's talking about a bumper sticker, but what he's really talking about is how politicians do everything they can to hide the simple facts from the voters. Nothing is ever clear Inside the Beltway.

Maybe you have seen it on America's highways, a bumpersticker designed to prick your conscience" IF YOU'RE NOT OUTRAGED, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION. A few years ago, that slogan most often appeared alongside an image of George W. Bush inside a circle with a line running through his face; these days, the face might be Barack Obama's. It is an amazingly versatile phrase, equally at home on bumpers sporting Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street slogans. Over the years it has been marshaled in the service of many political causes, but it originated in the 1970s and 1980s, when Americans were notably outraged about a wide range of issues.

At the risk of over-thinking mass-manufactured protest items, I begin with the bumpersticker because it expresses a very particular and personal kind of passion and anger over the state of the union. "You're not paying attention" means that you, individually, are ignoring things that should preoccupy, rankle and motivate you. The driver in front of you hopes to leave you thinking about who you are as an American, what you expect from your country and fellow citizens, and what you are prepared to do to get it. The point is to shake you from your reckless complacency.

Wednesday the U.S. Senate voted to press forward with the vile package of bills that make up the TPP. This is how the official Senate publication that makes it easy for citizens to track votes described the successful attempt to shut down the filibuster against the job-killing package:

On the Cloture Motion: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2146; A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers to make penalty-free withdrawals from governmental plans after age 50, and for other purposes.

How many people do you know who would understand that the 60 senators who voted for it were voting for the catastrophic corporate trade agenda? Don't worry; they're not supposed to be able to figure it out. It's supposed to be lost to history so the senators can be reelected when the results of their support for this tragic legislation kick in.

Blue America has been running a moving billboard campaign in two Central Valley congressional districts, CA-10 and CA-16, the former represented by Republican Jeff Denham and the latter represented by Blue Dog Jim Costa. Both are enthusiastic supporters of the reactionary trade agenda and both are mighty lucky that Congress has decided to write the laws in such a way that bribery in the form of "campaign contributions" is not considered bribery by the criminal justice system, a whole other deception worth taking time to think about.

Denham is well aware that his Democratic-leaning district would not put up with a $700 million Medicare ripoff to grease the skids of the TPP, so he tried to disguise his support. (Costa, who has no respect for the voters who have given him a comfy lifestyle, doesn't care if the voters know what he did or not.)

Modesto Bee reporter Nan Austin asked Denham's office for a comment on the rather blunt and unambiguous accusations against him that are being driven up and down CA-10 and into almost every city and town Denham represents.

"Congressman Jeff Denham just voted to cut your mom’s Medicare by $700 million to finance a trade agenda that sends your job to China" is not what Denham wants voters thinking about when they decide between him and Democrat Michael Eggman. But that is exactly what we want voters to be thinking about when they visit the polls next year. Austin:

The Denham camp called the signs "disingenuous and misleading."

"Congressman Denham supported legislation to eliminate the Medicare cuts that were contained in the Senate version of TPA, and he supported legislation to increase trade and bring jobs to the Central Valley. This a disingenuous and misleading line of attack," said Denham Press Secretary Jordan Langdon, in response to a Bee inquiry.

Blue America, however, stood behind the Blue America Pac political ads, saying the message referred to an earlier vote that included the Medicare cut. Denham voted against that portion of what was then a two-part package, but the group called that a slight of hand.

"Costa voted for both halves. Denham voted for one half. But the clear intent of the House Republicans was to pass both halves," said a Blue America spokesman who would give only the pen name Gaius Publius. "Any vote for any piece was a vote for the whole package to succeed," he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

If you'd like to help Blue America keep the truck rolling for Denham and Costa, here's what you can do.



Women Have Come A Long Way-- Still Plenty Of Work to Be Done


In 1968 Phillip Morris launched a brand and marketing campaign targeting women... for death-- Virginia Slims: "You've come a long way, baby," which later morphed into "It's a woman thing." Women HAVE come a long way since then, a very, very long way. And women have more real economic and political power now than ever in recorded history.

When a clown like Jeb Bush comes out and declares, in public, that unwed mothers should be publicly shamed, women count that against him. He's still collecting tens of millions of dollars from fat-cats who want to see him get into the White House but to women voters... he's dead, and his campaign is floundering and moribund. Bush: "Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots."

Last week Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, penned an OpEd for The Hill focusing on Scott Walker's own personal war against women. Walker, they wrote, "has lied to women and he has lied to workers. And those lies have consequences. They have hurt Wisconsin's women, families and workers... When women do better, the economy does better. When the economy does better, women do better. Women and workers are in this together, literally."

None of the Republican candidates are even remotely acceptable on women's issues. And a few days ago, 3 George W. Bush-appointed judges backed up GOP tactics for closing women's clinics and thwarting pro-Choice rulings that go back to Roe v Wade, a ruling that came 5 years after Phillip Morris started running those Virginia Slims commercials!

In 1977 Barbara Mikulski was elected to Congress from Maryland and then ten years later she won a statewide seat for the Senate. When she retires next year, one of the most powerful voices on behalf of women and issues crucial to women and families will disappear from the Senate.

Blue America would like to make sure a voice just as compelling and just as powerful takes that seat-- and the candidate has already been tested-- Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland's most progressive and most outspoken political leader and chair of the House Democrats' Women's Caucus. 

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We asked Donna if women's issues still need to be watched over so carefully in 2015. Haven't we gotten beyond the outmoded, conservative mentality that places women in an inferior position to men, instead of one based on achievement and equality. 

"It's startling to see the lack of voices of women and mothers-- especially those of color-- represented in Washington," she told us. Donna:

As a single mother who raised a black son on her own, I worry deeply about the issues of race, education, economic opportunity, and justice that impact all our communities. And as a woman, I worry about issues like equal pay for equal work, the rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade being chipped away by Tea Party Republicans, and childcare costs that are crippling far too many families. 

We need to have serious discussions about our communities all across our country-- especially those that have been historically overlooked or feel left behind. Communities where there are not enough jobs. Where young people feel a sense of hopelessness because they lack economic opportunities. And where people feel like they don't have allies in the fight for progress. 

Here's the thing-- we can make a difference. These issues could be addressed head on by ensuring more mothers, more women of color, and more women of diverse economic backgrounds are in seats of power. That's why this fight is so important.

And that's why Blue America has endorsed Donna, once again, and why we're asking you today to consider contributing to her grassroots campaign, where she faces a gaggle of less progressive men.



Best Progressive Investment of 2014 Is Ted Lieu

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Credit: Ted Lieu Campaign Site

Last cycle we asked you to chip in and help Ted Lieu win the Los Angeles congressional seat from which Henry Waxman was retiring. With your support, Ted won a convincing victory. So, how do we know what's going to happen after someone gets elected? In Ted's case, his record of accomplishment as a state legislator was so overwhelming that we had a powerful feeling he would make an exceptional Member of Congress. We were right.

We think he's worth supporting again. Can you pitch in to help him make his quarterly goals?

He's been more than we could have hoped, getting elected freshman class president in his first week on the job and working effectively on one tough issue after another. The easy stuff is never where Ted puts his tremendous energies. Just as he did in California, Ted introduced the first federal ban on LGBT conversion therapy, which applies to adults as well as the transgender community. And, again, as he did in California, Ted introduced the Climate Solutions Act of 2015, which takes California's successful approach to climate change and takes it nationwide. Last week he introduced and passed an amendment that cut the federal marijuana eradication/suppression programs in half and his amendment redirected the funding to help child victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

Ted isn't taking cautious nibbles around the periphery of problems. He was the first Democrat to oppose the proposal to send US ground troops back to Iraq. At the same time, he has been one of Congress' loudest and most effective voices against granting Fast Track Authority to the White House on the TPP, a principled position that hasn't endeared him to the Establishment.

"One of the main reasons I ran for Congress," he told us, "was to take on the NSA and our out of control spying-industrial complex. From bipartisan letters I have written to the NSA to my public speeches and comments to my advocacy in the press (such as on MSNBC with Chris Hayes), I have worked across the aisle inside Congress to reign in the NSA for the first time in decades. Although I don't think the reforms went far enough, at least it is a good step in the right direction. And there is more to come."

And that was just the beginning. "Another reason I ran for Congress," he told us, "was to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform. I am also passionate about combatting poverty and am fighting to increase funding to poverty programs." Below is from an OpEd Ted wrote with Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project:

This year, almost 60 million primary school-age children will have no access to school. While the world has made progress to get more kids to school since 2000, the severe lack of financing for global education continues to waste global talent and inflicts a lifelong sentence of poverty for those without an education.

...[I]mproving education worldwide actually helps American security. An uneducated child grows up to be an uneducated adult, and large adult populations that are uneducated and impoverished are destabilizing for countries and regions. With this in mind, our nation's security increases when there is more stability in the world.

Improving education worldwide also boosts the American economy. Just one year of primary school increases the future earning potential of a boy in a developing nation by 5% to 15%. The increases for a girl are even greater. Millions more educated children growing up to be educated adults would have a sizable impact on economies in the developing world, which means greatly increased global economic opportunity for America.

This year is a historic opportunity for the movement to end extreme poverty. In September, world leaders will approve the Sustainable Development Goals, which we expect to target education with the objective to give every child 10 years of free quality education. Investing in education is a clear prerequisite to achieving all other sustainable development goals and ending extreme poverty by 2030... The United States must do more to help empower communities to lift themselves out of poverty. It's good for children and good for America.

Ted, in fact, has been so busy doing the peoples' business that he hasn't spent the time the Leadership insists on raising money for reelection. Would you help Blue America help Ted make sure he closes out the fundraising quarter with a decent amount? You can contribute to his campaign here.




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