Support Daylin Leach, Who Wants To Save Social Security From Chained CPI

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Hopefully, most of you have seen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano's letter to President Obama that states very clearly they will never vote for cuts to our social safety nets:

That’s why we write to let you know that we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.

More and more Congress critters are signing up to support this venture. In the above video, check out Daylin Leach's (PA-13) response to chained CPI fixes---errrr...I mean cuts to Social Security.

Leach: The last thing we should be doing is fixing Social Security on the backs of the senior citizens who rely on it to survive.

He's a true progressive in every sense of the word and if he's elected--will never vote for cuts against our social safety nets and that includes Obama's proposed chained CPI cuts.

Please check out our new single issue Blue America page: Saving Social Security and see if you can throw a little support to Daylin Leach (PA-13) and all our other candidates that have begun to speak out against these draconian measures.

And mucho kudos to Bernie Sanders today for delivering millions of signatures to the White House rejecting proposed cuts to Social Security.

I'll be posting more videos from our Blue America candidates as they come in who are standing up for our senior citizens when many of America's politicians are falling down on the job of protecting working class Americans.

And here's our Saving Social Security page again.

Blue America Welcomes Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)

We've been doing these Blue America live chats for almost seven years. Today we're proud to welcome our very first Republican ever, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina. Join us in the comments section below at 3pm (ET, noon on the West Coast). This isn't a fundraiser or an endorsement session, although I couldn't help noticing that last year the mainstream conservative, libertarian-leaning Jones voted more frequently with progressives on crucial roll call votes than 3 of North Carolina's "Democratic" congressmen.

If you watched one of MSNBC's presentations of Hubris in recent weeks, you must have noticed the spotlight that was shined on Rep. Jones because of the way he reached inside himself-- and reached out through his strongly held religious beliefs-- to reassess his vote for Bush's illegitimate attack on Iraq in 2002. It profoundly changed Walter Jones-- if not as a man (I barely know him enough to say), as a Member of Congress. Now you find him working across the aisle-- with sincere advocates of peace from both parties-- on issues that aren't especially partisan... just especially American. It was Alan Grayson who introduced me to him and when I told Raul Grijalva Rep. Jones would be a Blue America guest today he told me he recalled, vividly, "the long years of the Bush/Cheney machine and how hard it was to find a Republican to speak the truth. My colleague Walter Jones became an almost lone voice of reason in his party and he's stayed true to his word every day since. I'm glad to have him on our side. When it comes to real checks and balances, Congress' oversight duties, drone attacks and warmaking, he's been as right as anyone, and I'm happy to see him get the recognition he deserves for his courage."

Last year John Boehner had Rep. Jones' bill, HCR 107 (which was co-sponsored by, among others, Grijalva, Lynn Woolsey and Dennis Kucinich, as well as Ron Paul and... Louie Gohmert, who, admittedly, will cosponsor anything that uses the word "impeachable") bottled up in committee, where it died without so much as a hearing. The bill simply expressed "the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution."

In November Walter Jones was reelected with a robust 63% of the vote, the biggest margin of any Republican in the state-- much to the chagrin of Eric Cantor, who had encouraged a primary challenge against him with money he got from Sheldon Adelson. Immediately upon reelection, Jones reintroduced his resolution, this time as HCR 3. This is the letter he sent to every Member of Congress explaining it, prefaced with a quote from James Madison: allowing the President alone to take the country into war would be "too much of a temptation for one man."

Dear Colleague:

Over the last 20 years American presidents have assumed powers that our Constitution does not explicitly give the commander-in-chief. From the U.S. intervention in Bosnia to the recent U.S. involvement in Libya, Congress did not authorize the use of military force. However, the president continues to send our forces into harm's way without congressional approval. To address this issue, I have introduced H. Con. Res. 3. This resolution reaffirms that the power to declare war resides in the U.S. Congress. Under Article 1, Section 8, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the president must come to the Congress to initiate hostilities. The proceedings of the Constitutional Convention make clear that the framers firmly believed that the momentous consequences of initiating armed hostilities should be decided not by a single individual, but only by concurrence of both houses of Congress.

H. Con. Res. 3 affirms that if a president, any president, violates this most fundamental constitutional provision, doing so would constitute an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article 2, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution.

I ask you to join me as a co-sponsor of this important resolution. Thank you for your consideration.

"[M]y concern has always been," he said last year, "since we were misled with the intelligence to go into Iraq, and all the number of young men and women who have been killed, and loss of limbs, that Congress needs to come back to what the Constitution says, and that is, if you’re going to commit our young men and women to fight and die, you must declare war.” This session he's also co-sponsoring a bill, HR 125 with Rosa DeLauro (R-CT) that has a fascinating genesis. The bill was originally introduced in the Senate by then-Senators Clinton and Obama. Jones simply changed the word “Iraq” to “Afghanistan.” The bill directs the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an unclassified report providing the justification for the President's decision to deny Congress its constitutionally protected role by concluding an agreement on the future of the security relationship between the United States and Afghanistan as an executive agreement." Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) have since signed on as cosponsors. Boehner has it bottled up in the House Foreign Affairs Committee where Ed Royce is sitting on it. (Brooks is also a member of the committee, as is Grayson.)

Heroes And Villains: Massachusetts Senate Race

Massachusetts will pick a replacement for Senator John Kerry on June 25, although it's likely that the winner of the Democratic primary on April 30 will pretty much have it locked up. All of the top tier Republicans who looked at the race-- ex-Senator Scott Brown, ex-Lt. Governor Kerry Healey, ex-Lt. Governor Jane Swift, ex-Governor William Weld, ex-state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei and a bunch of Romneys-- quickly declined to run. If enough of the petition signatures they turned in are deemed valid, the 3 Republicans who will be on the primary ballot-- ex-Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez. ex-U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Michael Sullivan and the one non-ex, state Rep. Daniel Winslow-- don't really offer a serious challenge to either Democrat running, Ed Markey or Stephen Lynch.

So it comes down to a battle between Congress' sharpest and most stalwart fighter for a sane Climate Change policy, progressive Ed Markey and a run of the mill conservative Democrat, Stephen Lynch, who's made a name for himself as an anti-Choice fanatic and GOP kiss-up in their culture wars. Example: on Palm Sunday, 2005, when Tom DeLay called Congress, back for a special session to exploit Terry Schiavo's tragedy, almost all the Democrats in the House ignored him and refused to take part in his circus. 102 Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, stayed away, including Ed Markey. Lynch could barely wait to get back to Washington to cast his vote with DeLay and the Republican necrophiliacs.

More recently, we watched Congress tackle the issue of Sequestration. Markey, along with virtually all the progressives in the House, voted against the policy. There was tremendous pressure from the White House-- exerted by pro-Sequestration party leaders Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- for Democrats to toe the line. Markey refused. No one needed to twist Lynch's arm. He was one of the 95 Democrats who went along with Boehner and Cantor and voted for this disastrous policy. That vote tells you a lot about who Stephen Lynch is and who Ed Markey is.

Yesterday we looked at how Sequestration is part of an orchestrated plan to nudge panic reluctant Americans into accepting a Simpson-Bowles version of the failed European Austerity agenda and how progressives are fighting back against that potentially disastrous outcome. The Grayson-Takano letter ("we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits-- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need") sends a clear message to Obama and the House Democratic leadership that not all Democrats will sell out working families to pursue a conservative vision of deficit reduction at a time when the deficits are already shrinking and at a time when working families are being pushed to the brink, even as the stock market and the wealth of the one percent soars. 

Markey, of course, stands with Alan Grayson and Mark Takano and the two dozen other progressives who are leading the way. Stephen Lynch refuses to sign the letter or anything like it. He's waiting-- as usual-- to be told what to do by his Establishment backers. Stephen Lynch is the last kind of politician a state like Massachusetts needs in the Senate-- which probably has a lot to do with why polling shows Markey substantially ahead and why both outgoing Senator John Kerry and newly elected Senator Elizabeth Warren have enthusiastically endorsed Markey. And so has Blue America. This week we set up a special Profiles in Courage page around the Grayson-Takano letter. Our first profile is Ed Markey. Please consider helping him win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

UPDATE: Lynch Raises The White Flag, Signs The Letter!

Today 3 more progressives and a conservative signed on to the Grayson-Takano letter. The progressives were Lacy Clay (D-MO), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and their signatures are really non-stories, since they tend to support progressive initiatives anyway. The conservative is much bigger news: Stephen Lynch, who is freaking out that Ed Markey is ahead of him by double digits in another poll that came out today!

Blue America Welcomes Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-IL)

We all often talk about how crucial it is that our political leaders have some kind of inbuilt empathy system for the ordinary working families whose interests they're supposed to be serving. The alternative, as we've seen, is a kind of self-absorbed Ayn Rand Republicanism or, closer to home, the Blue Dogs and New Dems. That's why Blue America is so vigilant about congressional races wherever and whenever they happen. And the next congressional race coming up is for the seat Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigned from, IL-02, with a primary on February 26 and a general election April 9. The second district is very Democratic-- Obama beat Romney 80.7-18.5% and Jackson, who was hospitalized for the entire campaign, was reelected with 63%-- and the winner of the primary next month is all but assured a seat in Congress. Although there are nearly two dozen people running, the two front-runners are progressive state Senator Toi Hutchinson and self described "conservative Democrat" former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson. It's a majority African American district and Halvorson's hope has been getting as many African-Americans as possible to run to split the vote so she could sneak back into Congress.

Seeking to gauge exactly what kind of empathy we could expect from a Congresswoman Hutchinson, she told us about her grandfather who passed away a few months ago. "He started his career as a door-to-door World Book Encyclopedia salesman. He worked hard, and saved his money so he would have something to leave his children, but he lost almost everything in the financial collapse of 2008. It’s critical that we hold people accountable for our current economic collapse, but I’m grateful that he was able to stay in his home because of his veterans’ benefits and Social Security. I know how important those programs were to our family when my grandfather was passing, and I’ll never support any kind of cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security that are so critical to so many people."

That's exactly the kind of Representatives we need in Congress. That kind of core attitude manifests itself across a wide spectrum of issues that Members of Congress have to deal with. Let's take the gun safety issues roiling the political elites right now. Sen. Hutchinson is on board with Obama's proposals, of course, but she knows that isn't the solution to a very real problem. "I am a cosponsor," she told us this week, "on two bills in Illinois that would outlaw assault weapons and high capacity clips, but that’s not enough. I know that kids on the South Side of Chicago aren’t being shot by AR-15s. We need to have a larger conversation about how our politics and our government are letting down poor communities that suffer every day under the yoke of violence. The source of crime and violence is hopelessness-- it is a generation of young people that doesn’t see a future, and view crime and gangs as the only path to supporting themselves. It is a generation of young men that can’t find work or a place to live, and crime becomes their only option."

Last two times Halvorson ran-- first against Republican challenger Adam Kinzinger who beat her 58-42% and then, after redistricting, in a primary against Jackson last year she lost 71-29%, voters telling her they weren't interested in her kind of corporately-oriented conservative politics. Fellow corporately funded New Dems in DC are pushing her candidacy again this year. Blue America has endorsed Toi Hutchinson and she will be joining us today for a live chat in the comments section (below) at 1pm (CT). If you'd like to help us raise some campaign money for her, please go to the special election page we set up on ActBlue.

Will Halvorson vote with the Democratic leadership on most bills? Sure... but will she fight for progressive values and issues? She never did when she was in Congress before and there's no reason to think she's any better now. She has a record; it isn't very good. Toi has a record too-- and it's a lot better. She worked with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to make their state "the first state in the country to mandate the testing of rape kits within 10 days of submission so that survivors of sexual assault can build their case in court. And while the State of Illinois was shredding the safety net in the name of fiscal discipline, I fought to pass a new tax on strip clubs that directed proceeds to help victims of domestic violence get back on their feet."

Blue America chat: Activist Debra Cooper for New York City Council

When the Netroots first appeared in the middle of the last decade, there were a few people who instantly joined up as supporters, benefactors and activists who "got it." But no one got it more clearly than our good friend Debra Cooper, a long time champion of women's rights, New York NARAL board member and Democratic Party activist. From the very beginning Debra understood the power of this new force in American politics and embraced our work and enthusiastically participated in our activities, often to the befuddlement of other experienced organizers who failed to see the potential of our new medium. Debra has been a stalwart supporter of Blue America since its inception and we are thrilled to return the favor by making her our first endorsee of 2013.

Blue America doesn't normally get involved in local races, but a New York City Council seat is not the usual local race ... and Debra is not the usual candidate.

As she says:

I have been an unabashed progressive my entire life. And I have been around long enough to see that it matters is we move forward as progressives and not react backward. If we aren't pushing forward on our agenda, the right wing is pushing us backward. And it goes from everything from women's reproductive rights to social security to the safety net to the issue of gun control. Those issues all matter. We have to push forward, we have to enlarge the conversation to include our solutions and not just react to their solutions.

I have been asked about my lines in the sand. Actually I have lines in quick drying cement. And those lines are about principles --- progressive and democratic principles. Lines in the sand are for tactics and for strategy. They are moveable and they are erasable. Principles are not. They are firm and they are clear. You use lines in the sand to negotiate. And over the long term, as a progressive , if we want to move the conversation in the right direction, we want to make the lines in the sand the same as our lines in cement.

A couple of years back Debra wrote a piece that I've often quoted on my blog because it's so important. She talked about abortion in the language of freedom, which is frankly something I've never heard anyone do before:

For women ALL Roads to freedom and equality - economic equality and most particularly the ability to avoid poverty START with control of their bodies. If they can't control how they get pregnant and when they will have a child then poverty is the result.

There is theory about something called the Prime Mover - the first action or the first cause. Well for women it IS reproductive rights. It precedes everything. It really is simple. Without the abilty to control your own body then you are a slave to everything else.

Frankly sexism, the need to control women's lives by controlling their bodies and the things that arise from it, are endemic to any social structure. It is ever enduring and even when it seems to be quashed it returns in another form. That is the story in the modern era of women's rights. One step forward after a long struggle - suffrage and then a step back. (And no way do I say that women are not complicit in their own subjugation. We are.)

I am reading The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin. In the epilogue he makes a point of saying that the loss of power and control is what the elite and the reactionary fear the most. More than a specific loss itself the fear the rising volcano of submerged anger and power. And for them it is most acutely felt compulsion for control in the "intimate" arena. That is the most vexing and disturbing of all.

It is why they want to control women. And controlling their reproductive lives is the surefire way to control them.

It is why abortion rights are absolutely central to every other kind of freedom.

Wouldn't it be great to have someone who thinks like this in elective office? She is one of us, a stalwart progressive who has been inspired and motivated by our work --- and your commitment --- to throw her hat into the ring and represent our shared values in elective office.

John, Howie and I are proud to support her and we hope you will too.

Hopefully everyone had a chance to rest up during the holidays and take a breather. But the reactionaries never sleep. As Debra says, if we aren't pushing our agenda, the right wing is pushing us backwards. It's time to start pushing.

Please welcome Debra to Blue America for our first chat of the New Year.

You can donate to Debra's campaign here.

Blue America, Onward And Upward: Good Guys Always Win In The End

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The first time he ran for Congress, Alan Grayson lost the primary. Two years later Blue America encouraged him to run again and he did. Derided by the political Establishment in Florida and in DC, he beat their favorite in the primary and went on to beat the incumbent Republican congressman in the November general. He then went on to inspire millions of Americans desperate for political leaders who could and would stand up to the conservative consensus that dominates Beltway politics. And when Grayson lost in 2010, he started working on the 2012 race. Blue America was with him every step of the way.

And on Tuesday we celebrated when he won the biggest congressional comeback in American history-- a 62.5% victory that saw him win the vote in every municipality in Florida's 9th district. He won among men and he won among women; he won the youth vote and he won the senior vote and he won the votes of people in between. He won among white people, among black people, among Hispanics and among Asians. He won the urban vote, the suburban vote and the rural vote and he won over 60% of the vote in Orange County, in Osceola County and even in red-leaning Polk County! 3,205 individual contributions from Blue America donors added up to $57,190 for Alan this year.

Yesterday, Grayson said in a statement that speaks volumes about his dedication to the ideals embodied in the men and women who put him back in office:

"Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that one Democrat is as good as any other, that we’re all interchangeable parts. We’re not. Some of us have a head, and a heart, and a spine, and some of us don’t. Blue America concentrates on helping the Democrats who deserve our help, the Democrats who can make a difference. Blue America’s encyclopedic knowledge of every Congressional race means that they do your homework for you. When you support Blue America, you’re supporting the best of the best, in the most important races in the country. It sure made a difference in our election.”

And Alan wasn't our only big win this cycle. After we helped a young reform-minded El Paso City Councilman, Beto O'Rourke, oust longtime corrupt incumbent Silvestre Reyes in a primary that sent shock waves through the DC Establishment, Beto went on this past Tuesday to roll up an awe-inspiring two-to-one landslide, beating his Tea Party opponent 65.5 to 32.8%. Aside for raising money for Beto, we also introduced him to Alan Grayson and Jared Polis so that he would have a base among other reform-minded Democrats in Washington and not just the corrupt, corporate-oriented glad-handing party leaders.

As you know by now, all three of the people Blue America backed for Senate -- Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin -- won incredible victories. Bernie was reelected with over 70% of the vote. Elizabeth was the only Democrat to dislodge a sitting Republican senator -- Wall Street's favorite member of the Senate, no less -- and Tammy Baldwin beat back a four-term governor to become Wisconsin's first woman senator, and the first openly gay person to even win a Senate seat in America.

In 2010, Annie Kuster and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter were both victims of the Tea Party wave that swept over New Hampshire. Tuesday that wave reversed itself, and both outstanding grassroots progressives won congressional seats and helped turn New Hampshire dark blue again-- with a new Democratic governor and an overwhelming victory in the state legislature. And across the country in California, state Senator Alan Lowenthal, a principled and determined progressive, who got no help from the DCCC, won a powerful 10-point victory over Climate Change-denier Gary Delong.

Blue America is very proud of all our winners, of course -- and very proud of our members who gave and gave and gave and gave so generously and so consistently. We're also incredibly proud of the candidates who didn't win their races but who fought hard, usually against overwhelming odds and with no help from the DCCC or the Beltway Establishment or the state parties that take their cues from Washington. Rob Zerban gave Paul Ryan the biggest fight of his career and came closer to ending it than anyone who's ever challenged him before. Rob will be back.

And Rob isn't the only one we will be working with again. Some of our youngest first-time candidates -- Aryanna Strader, Lee Rogers, Nate Shinagawa, Nick Ruiz -- have assured me that what we've worked so hard to build won't be wasted. Lee took on the powerful and entrenched chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and gave him the first close call of his long, corrupt career. Will McKeon even run again? None of these candidates had any help from the DCCC; all of them outperformed expectations and made a mark. The morning after his near victory over Tea Party debt collector Tom Reed, the DCCC asked Nate Shinagawa to suit up for 2014, which indicates that might actually support him next cycle. I'm certain, with your help, Blue America will.

Let me share with you a note I got on Wednesday morning from Aryanna Strader our candidate in PA-16, who waged a lonely battle against entrenched incumbent Joe Pitts:

Continue reading »

Blue America Welcomes Alan Lowenthal

Alan Lowenthal will be the last official Blue America endorsement of 2012. As a state legislator, Alan has been an unabashed, unapologetic and very effective progressive from Long Beach. He's widely acknowledged to be one of the best California state senators when it comes to moving progressive ideas out of the realm of wishing and hoping and into the realm of solid policy achievement. If he can do half of what he's accomplished in Sacramento, in Washington, the whole country will be better off.

This week there was a brouhaha in his race because the confused Republican running against him told an audience filled with Fox News global warming deniers that he doesn't believe in Climate Change and that we can't do anything about it anyway and they should just recycle. Even the right-wing newspaper that always endorses Republicans was shocked. Alan's whole career has been based on doing something about it!

At the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, Alan drafted legislation which capped emissions and reduced airborne particulates by over 75%. Now, the two ports are the cleanest and greenest ports in the nation and a model for clean ports all over the world. That's called doing something about it.

Is Alan too principled and too wedded to progressive solutions to be able to work with Republicans? Well, maybe not Bachmann and Akin but Senator Lowenthal has been one of the most effective legislators in California history in bringing both sides together for the sake of ordinary families. He authored legislation which increased student success and graduation rates at all 113 of California’s Community Colleges, and linked the educational community in Long Beach by aligning common core standards from kindergarten to college. This was done with overwhelming bipartisan support. And as a founding member of the Bipartisan Caucus in the State Assembly, Alan also took the lead in authoring the legislation needed to create a new redistricting process which was more representative of the needs of the people, not the political self-interest of the politicians; the end result being the independent Citizen Redistricting Commission.

It's important to remember that his opponent, who is being heavily backed by Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, will never stray from right-wing dogma. Gary Delong will always walk in lock-step vote for the Party and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is lying to Democrats, Independents, and progressives throughout the district about being a “new breed” of Republican, and trying to paint Alan's stellar legislative career as the worst thing to ever happen to this state-- blaming him for trying to ban styrofoam, passing AB 32 (California’s climate change plan), and choosing to save funding for schools and public safety instead of cutting them completely.

In officially endorsing Alan, Blue America joins the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Bill Clinton, the American Federation of Teachers, and DailyKos. Please consider helping upgrade Congress by supporting Alan Lowenthal for a swing district that spans Long Beach and parts of Orange County. He's joining us for a live chat in the comments section (below) today at 11am (PT).

Gary Delong-- Global Warming Denier... In Southern California?

Thursday we looked at how hostile to Science-- the engine of all economic progress-- the Republicans in Congress are. And, of course, like most reactionary trains of thought, Global Warming deniers are dominant in the old slave-holding states of the Confederacy. But in Southern California? Gary Delong, the Republican nominee who beat mainstream Republican Steve Kuykendall in the primary, roiled the race for the 47th CD congressional seat (Long Beach, Cypress, Westminster and Garden Grove) by making a stunning claim that he sees no scientific evidence of Climate Change. Does he think he's running for a seat in Mississippi or Alabma instead of California?

Delong removed the video from his own website, but luckily some of his fans had saved it and you can watch the whole thing here. (Delong gets going into Republican Fantasyland at 10:25.) David Allgood, Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters, was stunned. "Climate change and global warming are real. The denial of this scientifically proven phenomenon is not only a threat to our planet's health, but our economy and our children's future. Climate change deniers are nothing more than apologists for polluters, oil companies, and right-wing ideologues like the Koch brothers. Gary DeLong is not just wrong, his position is dangerous. We can't afford someone like him who puts politics and ideology ahead of science and the health of our community."

Thursday the editorial board of the very right-wing Long Beach Press-Telegram, the biggest newspaper in the district-- which has endorsed Delong-- was also mortified.

With the weather being so unseasonably warm over the last few days, one would think Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong would believe in a proven little fact like climate change. Alas, no.

The Republican congressional candidate recently told the Rossmoor Homeowners Association that global warming is "questionable."

When asked a follow-up question as to whether climate change is manmade, DeLong offered this doozy:

"No, you know there are scientists on both sides of it, but no, I don't immediately get there," DeLong said in a video posted on YouTube. "I don't see any scientific evidence."

These pages endorsed DeLong for the 47th Congressional District and hailed him as a moderate based on his own statements that he would buck the GOP's lockstep train of thought on social issues and the environment. ... Was DeLong pandering to the conservative views of a handful of Orange County voters in this new congressional district? With only 20 days left until Election Day, it's up to the voters to decide where DeLong's vision for the environment truly lies.

State Senator Alan Lowenthal is the progressive running for the seat. He also happens to be widely considered one of the most environmentally-conscious members of the state legislature and has been lauded for drafting the legislation that has made Long Beach and Los Angeles the cleanest ports in America and models for ports all over the world. Alan will be the Blue America guest at Crooks and Liars on Tuesday morning at 11am (PT). (You can contribute to his campaign on the main Blue America page.) His campaign was surprised to hear Delong take such an extreme, ideological position that is so diametrically opposed to that of most people in the district. Claiming that "now is not the time" to address the climate crisis, isn't something most voters in the 47th want to hear from someone running for office.

It is worth noting that DeLong went on record, and even wrote published editorials, opposing Alan Lowenthal’s bill SB 568, which places recycling standards on non-biodegradable expanded polystyrene containers that pollute the Los Angeles River and the Pacific Ocean.

“Climate change isn’t just a political issue, it is a scientific fact and an economic issue,” said Alan Lowenthal. “Economists Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton calculated that putting off adaptation and mitigation efforts could cost the United States 1.4% of its gross domestic product by 2025, and 1.9% by 2100. We can’t afford this hit to our economy just so polluters can avoid making sensible changes to stop fouling our air and water.”

A recent Pew Research study also concluded that 67% of Americans believe in climate change.

“Gary DeLong is now aligning himself with polluters and right-wing climate deniers like the Koch brothers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is not a principled position. This is putting the future of our children and the health of our planet at risk in order to increase profits for oil companies and polluters,” Lowenthal spokesman Mike Shimpock said, “Climate change is a scientific fact, it is not a partisan issue or a talking point. Gary DeLong just chose politics and profits over the truth.”

California is the 12th largest emitter of carbon in the world, but has been widely recognized as the leader in climate change awareness and mitigation.

In 2006, Senator Alan Lowenthal voted in support of AB 32, the landmark law to reduce California’s carbon emissions, and serves as a national model. The law requires the California Air Resource Board to develop regulations and market mechanisms to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, representing a 25% reduction statewide, with mandatory caps beginning in 2012 for significant emissions sources and was signed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Alan Lowenthal is a leader in reducing pollution and the amount of carbon emissions at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. His efforts helped cut pollution at the Port by more than 75%.

He is endorsed by shipping industry leaders such as Maersk, Inc., and environmental organizations such as Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

“Climate change is real-- the facts are there,” Lowenthal said, “If Gary wants to continue denying it, then so be it; Californians such as myself will continue on a path of climate change mitigation, adaption, and cooperation with or without politicians like him.”

Blue America Welcomes Back Patsy Keever (D-NC)

The last time Patsy joined us for a chat she was going up against a conservative Democrat Steve Israel had recruited in the North Carolina primary. Patsy won-- and by a lot (Israel's candidate wound up with 26% of the vote)-- not just in her own Buncombe County but in every one of the district's seven counties.

Since then she's been running a grassroots campaign for a seat held by one of the banksters' favorite patsies, Wall Street shill Patrick McHenry who represents part of the district in the current Congress. The video above is a TV ad-- except it's not on TV. Patsy Keever has been one of the most consistently independent and progressive voices in the North Carolina legislature but that hasn't endeared her to the big money special interests she's been taking on on behalf on ordinary North Carolina working families. Meanwhile, as of June 30, McHenry had taken in over a million dollars-- only 2% of it from small grassroots contributions. He sits on the House Financial Services Committee and immense sums of money have flowed into his campaign from special interests with business before his committee. Wells Fargo, sleazy payday lenders Advance America Cash Advance Centers, American Bankers Association, Goldman Sachs, Koch Industries, and Moneytree, Inc. are among his biggest donors. They've been financing his scurrilous political career and counted on him to stab his own neighbors in the backs on their account. He adamantly opposes all regulations to keep banksters from ripping off consumers. And up against his million-plus haul, Patsy's grassroots campaign has raised $482,279. She doesn't have the money she needs to put that ad up on TV and she's going to be pushing it online. Blue America wants her to get it up on television in the 10th district.

Although cable TV is a lot less expensive and we can probably help her get the ad on Anderson Cooper's show in Gastonia, Rachel Maddow's in Asheville and Real Housewives of Atlanta in Hickory, because of the hard fought presidential campaign in North Carolina, broadcast TV rates have gone sky high. In Patsy's part of North Carolina it costs $322 per point. You have to buy 100 points at a time, and 100 points will guarantee that your ad will be seen once by your target audience in the space of a week. So we can say we want to target high-information voters... then 100 points will get us one ad seen by high information voters (during the news) in the space of a week. Would you like to help us try?

This afternoon (2pm, EST, 11am on the West Coast), Patsy will be joining us for a live chat here in the comments section. There are no races in the country where the difference between the two candidates is clearer and more stark. his week Patsy told us that "Patrick McHenry wants to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system that would cost seniors at minimum an additional $6,000 a year for their health care. I want to keep America’s promise to its seniors and protect the current Medicare benefits that they have earned by paying into the program throughout their lives. I would never support any effort to voucherize Medicare." And that's hardly the only difference between the two candidates. "Patrick McHenry voted to allow taxpayer money to be spent on companies that have outsourced our jobs to China, India and Mexico," she reminded us. "I will vote to support companies that keep our jobs right here in America... I think the flood of money pouring into campaigns from special interests is turning voters off and threatening our democracy. During this election cycle alone, PACs have contributed more than $500,000 to Patrick McHenry’s campaign, with Koch Industries’, Goldman Sachs’ and Morgan Stanley’s PACs contributing $10,000 each. To date, I have received an average donation of $138 from more than 2,700 people, showing I have strong grassroots support from voters who live in the 10th Congressional District."

Here's the page where you can watch the ad and contribute to Patsy's campaign at the same time. Do you have any friends you could send the link to? If they ask you why they should care about a district way out in North Carolina, remind them that, as Patsy told us, "McHenry voted to cut student loan assistance to middle and working class families. As a former public school teacher, I know that every child deserves the opportunity for a quality education–from early childhood through technical school or college. When elected, I will do everything in my power to see that they get it."

Want To Help Patsy Keever Get An Ad Up On TV?

Tomorrow North Carolina state Rep. Patsy Keever will be back here for a live chat at Crooks and Liars. That video above is a TV ad-- except it's not on TV. Patsy, one of the most consistently independent and progressive voices in the North Carolina legislature, is running for Congress in the newly redrawn 10th district. Her opponent is Wall Street shill Patrick McHenry and he's taken in well over a million dollars. Of that money, 54% was from PACs, 44% was from large donors and only 2% came from small grassroots contributions. He sits on the House Financial Services Committee, so it may offend you, but shouldn't surprise you to know that he gets most of his money from special interests with business before his committee.

His half dozen single biggest contributors were Wells Fargo, sleazy payday lenders Advance America Cash Advance Centers, American Bankers Association, Goldman Sachs, Koch Industries, and Moneytree, Inc. These are all interests who count on McHenry to screw over his own constituents on behalf on predator banksters. They have financed his career and he has stabbed his own neighbors in the backs on their account. Up against his million dollars-plus, Patsy's grassroots campaign has raised $482,279.15. She doesn't have the money she needs to put that ad up on TV and she's going to be pushing it online. Blue America wants her to get it up on television in the 10th district.

Although cable TV is a lot less expensive and we can probably help her get the ad on Anderson Cooper's show in Gastonia, Rachel Maddow's in Asheville and Real Housewives of Atlanta in Hickory, broadcast TV in Patsy's part of North Carolina costs $322 per point. You have to buy 100 points at a time, and 100 points will guarantee that your ad will be seen once by your target audience in the space of a week. So we can say we want to target high-information voters... then 100 points will get us one ad seen by high information voters (during the news) in the space of a week. Would you like to help us try?

Like I said, tomorrow afternoon (2pm, EST), Patsy, who we haven't talked with since she beat her ConservaDem opponent in the primary, will be joining us for a live chat. She's been focused like a laser on making sure folks in western North Carolina know just who Patrick McHenry is and that "he voted to allow taxpayer money to be spent on companies that have outsourced our jobs to China, India and Mexico. I will vote," she told voters, "to support companies that keep our jobs right here in America."

Here's the page where you can watch the ad and contribute to Patsy's campaign at the same time. Do you have any friends you could send the link to?

Paid for by Blue America PAC,, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.