Open seat in California--Let's turn it BLUE!

Friday morning the PCCC officially endorsed Lee Rogers and Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, under the eye-catching headline, "A Dem Candidate Who Would Expand O'Care And Social Security," went beyond the Beltway conventional wisdom/claptrap and got to the heart of why the race in the Santa Clarita, Antelope and Simi Valleys (CA-25) is so important for progressives.
Yesterday, GOP Rep. Buck McKeon, a longtime member of Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, announced his retirement. The move could pave the way for an interesting experiment, one that could provide a glimpse into how progressive policies play in a swing district that’s already very difficult for Democrats.

The Democrat vying for the seat is Dr. Lee Rogers, who not only aggressively embraces Obamacare, but wants to expand it to achieve “universal” coverage, and even wants to expand Social Security. In an indication of what this candidacy might look like, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which supports Rogers, notes that he champions “Medicare access for all,” and in a PCCC email going out today, Rogers says: “I’ll fight to allow people to buy into Medicare. I’ll push for Medicare to negotiate drug prices to lower costs. And I promise to help bring us closer to universal healthcare coverage.”

…Make no mistake, this one will be a steep climb for Dems. Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report doesn’t think Rogers has a shot, because a big chunk of the district is made up of Latino voters among whom turnout could drop off in a midterm election. “This district has unique voting patterns that more or less doom his candidacy from the start,” Wasserman says.

However, it could still be an interesting test of progressive messaging at a time when public worries about inequality and declining economic mobility seem to be rising. ”If he gets more than 45 percent than he got in 2012, maybe that’s a sign his message was effective,” Wasserman says.

Whatever his chances, the race is worth watching, partly for the simple reason that Rogers’ support for expanding Social Security is a relative rarity among Dem candidates. The issue is emerging as an increasingly important issue for progressives, one central in the debate over whether the Democratic Party should embrace a truly economically progressive platform. It’ll be interesting to see how expanding Social Security (and Obamacare) play politically, given that many Dems have shied away from such positions-- even as there is strong public support for protecting social insurance and the safety net.
In the past, we've written about DCCC Chairman Steve Israel's "mystery meat" candidates. Israel warns candidates to not take controversial stands on big issues, especially not progressive stands. When I asked one freshman who ran as a progressive and then joined the Wall Street-financed New Dems and started a distinct pattern of voting against the progressive agenda she ran on, she was very frank and told me she had followed the DCCC's instructions to freshmen "100%" and that that was how they told her she could be reelected (in her D+3 district that Obama won with 56 and 54% in 2008 and 2012).

Friday, when Israel was crowing about McKeon's resignation in a press release, he didn't even mention Rogers' name, even though Rogers beat McKeon in the Antelope Valley in 2012-- the fastest growing third of the district and an area McKeon had never previously lost-- and even though many members of the California House delegation have been Rogers' most vocal and persistent champions.

Israel: “Congressman McKeon is getting in a crowded line of Republican moderates who are abandoning John Boehner’s broken Congress so that they don’t have to defend their party’s indefensible priorities to the voters. Congressman McKeon’s retirement puts yet another Republican-held seat into reach for Democrats, as he joins the likes of Tom Latham, Jon Runyan and Frank Wolf and others in rejecting the irresponsible behavior of their party. In this competitive district, Democrats will stand behind a candidate who is dedicated to working across the aisle to solve problems for hardworking California families and who will put a premium on creating jobs and growing the middle class. Meanwhile, Republicans are already facing yet another divisive primary where they will compete in a brutal race to the right.”

Buck McKeon, a "moderate?" Only in a topsy turvy Beltway universe where "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel could be head of the DCCC. McKeon is a radical right ideologue whose political positions are very extreme across the board. He was the financial go-to person in the Mormon jihad against LGBT equality in California. He has consistently and unwaveringly voted against women's rights, against unions, against economic security for working people, against basic human rights, against environmental sanity.

Sargent's point is well-taken. What would happen if grassroots Democrats like Rogers-- and like the rest of the Blue America endorsed candidates-- who espouse the actual values and principles of the Democratic Party, were the ones who were financed by the DCCC, instead of the conservatives Israel has dug up? For one thing, voters would have a real choice on election day, something conservative Democrats like Israel fear to the core of their being.

Please join us today in reaffirming Blue America's three-year old determination to turn CA-25, not just blue, but PROGRESSIVE. You can do that by contributing to Lee Rogers' campaign here.

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



Last Blue America Contest Of 2013-- And It's All About Minnesota… And Depeche Mode

Keith Ellison stood out as a principled, values-driven progressive when he was a member of the Minnesota legislature. Blue America backed him back then, hoping for more of the same in Washington. And we haven't been disappointed. Co-chair of the Progressive Caucus and Democratic Chief Deputy Whip, Keith is one of the only Democrats on a leadership track who speaks to the interests of ordinary working families. As Raúl Grijalva told us, "Keith, above all, isn't posturing. He deeply believes in and relentlessly fights for progressive values and equality for all… He is a real person for these unreal times, and I support him every chance I get."

Keith is one of the few Members of the House Financial Services Committee who doesn't kowtow to the banksters and, unlike many of his colleagues, Wall Street doesn't finance his reelection efforts. When Blue America offered to help him with reelection expenses, he thanked us and asked if we could also help Mike Obermueller, the progressive Democrat running against John Kline in the district next door. We are happy to oblige.

Today is the first day of a week-long drive to raise some campaign funds for Keith and Mike-- and Blue America is going to give away a beautiful, classic, RIAA-certified double platinum award for the album Violator.

One lucky random donor on this ActBlue page will get that special prize as a gift from Blue America-- regardless of how much you contribute.

In fact, if a contribution is too much of a stretch right now, you are still eligible to "win" by sending a note to us at:

Blue America
PO Box 271201
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Easy rules, right? So is Keith's proposed Robin Hood tax.

"While the Tea Party pushes to slash government investment, Congress has ignored simple, progressive revenue options that could help us grow our economy. One solution would be my Inclusive Prosperity Act, also known as the Robin Hood tax, which will add a tax of a fraction of a percent on transactions made by the same Wall Street firms and stock traders who crashed our economy in 2008. Forty countries have a similar tax, as did the U.S. until 1966.

"This tax alone will generate up to $300 billion a year in revenue, stabilizing the deficit and allowing us to invest in the things that matter-- like roads and bridges, and health care for our seniors.

"The American people stepped up to help Wall Street because they thought it would protect Main Street. But what has Wall Street done in return? Give itself bonuses and exorbitant pay? Tried to repeal Dodd-Frank protections? No, it’s time for Wall Street to help out with Main Street."

And Mike sees eye to eye with him on economic justice. "Congressman Ellison," he told us, "is talking about putting justice back in our system. I, too, want to make sure everyone has a fair opportunity in this country. Those who can afford to pay more should step up so that those who are less well-off have a chance at success. Congressman Kline wants to pad the pockets of the wealthy, while ignoring the inequality that still exists in this country. We can do better and I’m committed to making sure we actually do."

Whether you're a Depeche Mode fan or not, please help us make Minnesota even bluer by contributing to Keith Ellison's and Mike Obermueller's campaigns today.

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



Making Marijuana Legalization Part Of The Progressive Agenda

With Your Help, Heather Mizeur Can Be the Best Governor Ever

Last summer, Blue America first endorsed Heather Mizeur for Governor of Maryland. If she wins, Heather would be the first woman governor of Maryland and the first openly gay governor in the country. But as she says, she’s not running to make history, she’s running to make a difference. And over the past several weeks, we've been noticing that her campaign has been living up to the progressive dream we knew her candidacy would be.

In Maryland, the gubernatorial candidates pick their lieutenant governor before the primary, and Heather wasn’t afraid to make a bold choice-- she now has a progressive change agent by her side. His name is Delman Coates, an African-American pastor who runs an 8,000 member church. But he’s not your typical reverend. He played a significant role in the 2012 campaign for marriage equality in Maryland, speaking at rallies and appearing on TV ads. His works stretches to several social justice issues, including common sense gun reform, immigration reform, health care, and voting rights, and has been recognized by the ACLU.

Heather released her 10-point jobs plan and it reads like a progressive wish list. She proposed a millionaire’s tax, with the revenue going to income tax cuts for 90 percent of Marylanders. She wants to turn Maryland’s minimum wage into a living wage-- $16.70 by 2022, with sizable increases along the way. She even wants to close corporate tax loopholes and use the money to give small business tax rebates. And her plan also includes paid sick days for all workers, more funding for job training and adult education, and the building of major transit projects, schools, and bridges.

Most recently, Heather has called for marijuana legalization, drawing a clear line of distinction between her and her establishment opponents. While there is now sizable public support for legalizing marijuana, our politicians haven’t caught up. But Heather took the bold step of not only supporting it, but also pledging to make it a gubernatorial priority when she gets elected. And what would she fund with the $157 million in annual tax revenue? Universal pre-k.

This is why Blue America was so excited to endorse her candidacy during the summer. With our help, Heather will be one of the next great leaders of the progressive movement. Can you imagine what Maryland would be like with a progressive income tax system, a $16.70 an hour minimum wage, paid sick days, universal pre-k, and legalized marijuana?

You can donate to her campaign on our Blue America page for gubernatorial candidates.

In the past, Heather has told us she wasn’t interested in business as usual at the Maryland State House, and that she wasn’t willing to settle for the status quo. "Whether it’s a $16.70 an hour minimum wage or progressive tax reform," she explained, "my campaign is about putting people over conventional politics. It’s about returning Annapolis to the people of Maryland, and taking it back from the special interests and party leaders." We asked her about her very bold marijuana initiative last week.

My proposal to legalize marijuana in Maryland comes from these values. Maryland had the third most marijuana possession arrests proportionally of all states-- over 23,000. It’s easy to see that this system is not working. By legalizing marijuana we will save tens of thousands of people from unnecessary run-ins with law enforcement, imprisonment, or worse.

Marijuana's time as an illegal substance has run its course. Marijuana laws ruin lives, are enforced with racial bias, and distract law enforcement from serious and violent crimes. Our criminal justice system should keep people safe, treat them fairly, and use limited fiscal resources wisely. Legalizing marijuana is the first step to ensuring that happens.

Marijuana criminalization costs our state $281.7 million every year without making us any safer. A Maryland with legalized, regulated, and taxed marijuana will mean safer communities and fewer citizens unnecessarily exposed to our criminal justice system.

It will also provide Maryland with a dedicated revenue stream to make overdue and critical investments in early childhood education. The new annual revenue will provide 23,625 children with a full day of prekindergarten. Our plan will help ensure that prekindergarten is available to all children in our state.

This campaign is not just about me-- it’s about what we can do when we all come together. The election won’t be won by special interests, lobbyists, or backroom deals in Annapolis. It comes down to which candidate’s vision creates a large enough movement of people to win on Election Day and then lift our communities up when we govern.

You'll find comprehensive plans for all of her proposals on her website.

If you believe in this kind of progressive vision, please consider making a small contribution to help her turn these plans into real results for Maryland’s families-- and to help her set an example for what governors can do across the country.

Thank you!

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



Aside From Steve Israel, Where Does Empty Suit Pete Aguilar Get His Campaign Money?

In 2012 Steve Israel's empty suit candidate lost to TWO Republicans in a D+5 district!

Redlands’s unelected Mayor, City Councilman Pete Aguilar, has never actually ever done anything well. In fact, most people regarded him as an unaffiliated conservative or a Republican until Steve Israel encouraged him to run for a nice blue congressional seat as a Democrat.

Under Aguilar's leadership, once thriving small businesses in Redlands have been killed by the Wal Mart Aguilar’s administration attracted and now much of the city’s north side is in Detroit-like poverty. 34 year old Pete, simply put, is a failed politician who has never held a job other than at the expense of taxpayers. He's been on the Redlands City Council since 2006 and works part-time as a banking lobbyist.

It also seems as though he doesn’t even crack jokes too well. As you see below, he felt it would be funny to dress up as a 19th century settler-- on his facebook page-- but instead looks like a pedofile. I guess the Redlands city council doesn’t have much going on if he can do this while in his office (probably on the phone with a Wal-Mart manager, life-coach or the Spanish language tutor the DCCC found him in case he's forced into having to participate in a Spanish language debate).

Steve Israel wants this loser to go to Congress and represent a district (CA-31) that is one of the most economically distressed districts in California. And how does Israel think he will get him there? FAR RIGHT REPUBLICAN MONEY! And that’s no joke!

Just take a look at half a dozen of Pete’s max out donors ($5,200) as evidence of Aguilar’s far right strategy to make it to Capitol Hill:

Max Out Donor 1: Jack Dangermond

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, billionaire Jack bundled $45,000 for the NRCC and was one of the state's biggest donors to Ken Calvert and to former Redlands congressman Jerry Lewis. Now isn’t that ironic; he seems attracted too the confluence of conservatism and corruption.

Max Out Donor 2: Stephen Matich

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Stephen donated thousands and thousands of dollars to California right-wing Republicans Kevin McCarthy, Paul Cook and Ken Calvert. His family has also contributed thousands more to Aguilar-- as well as to half conservative Republicans all over southern California-- not to mention Bush, McCain and Romney.

Max Out Donor 3: John Mirau

In addition to maxing out to empty suit Pete Aguilar, John donated thousands to Republican conservatives Jerry Lewis and Paul Cook.

Max Out Donor 4: Barbara Morris

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Barbara donated $5000 to Georgia Tea Party extremist Tom Price and $5,000 to the Republican National Committee. I hope she got a good seat at their convention!

Max Out Donor 5: Barry JoLette

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Barry donated thousands to GOP Establishment hacks John Campbell, Kevin McCarthy and Ed Royce.

Max Out Donor 6: Carol Baker

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Carol donated thousands to the RNC the NRCC, the NRSC, as well as to John Boehner, Jerry Lewis, Mitt Romney, and $900 to the Exxon Mobil PAC. So I guess we know who Pete wants to protect in Congress…

So let’s see, un-elected mayor Pete Aguilar has taken max out donations-- just this cycle (more last time when he raised Republican money and lost)-- from billionaire bankers and oil executives whose total donations (so far in the 2014 cycle) in already in the tens of thousands of dollars.

That is disgusting and pathetic, and yet again shows how Steve Israel is an incompetent moron, and Pete Aguilar is a perfect recruit for him. This duo really is good at bad jokes.

If we do this, we embarrass this want-to be comic, unelected mayor, Pete Aguilar worse than he already is publicly embarrassing himself.

Maybe Redlands can have a Pete Aguilar comedy club after he loses. Steve Israel can be their opening act!

Let’s get Eloise the money she needs to get on the way towards helping save the ordinary working families of the Inland Empire. Please give what you can today.



Deep Blue District Finally Gets Candidate it Deserves

Every once in a while a grassroots leader emerges who is not only smart, hard-working and philosophically aligned with Blue America, but whose very life embodies the progressive American Dream.

Eloise Reyes is one of those leaders. To spend time with her is to be inspired anew at the promise of what America used to mean and can mean again.

Eloise Reyes will commit to preserving the very best of the American promise. She knows how valuable it is. She's lived it. Please give what you can to help get her into Congress. Thank you.
Eloise grew up in Colton California, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mom and a Mexican American Dad (who didn't know he was a US citizen as a child!) They were poor people who raised up a bunch of kids who became lawyers, police officers, business owners, public servants and college professors. All those kids worked in the fields alongside their parents, they studied hard and made their way into America's middle class. Eloise became a lawyer, establishing her own private practice while devoting herself to long hours of pro-bono work with Legal Aid for many, many years. She became successful and gave back by becoming a committed grassroots activist working to make life better for her community and her country.

Eloise benefited from a strong family and a strong society that went out of its way to offer opportunity and security to people like her --- and she's committed to making sure that society is available once more to future generations.

Eloise is running for congress against a cookie cutter Democrat named Pete Aguilar who is backed by the DC establishment --- a Democrat so inept that he came in third in California's jungle primary to two Republicans in this deep blue district in the last election. The result was that the progressive majority had no Democrat on the ballot for congress when they cast their votes for President Obama in massive numbers. Why the DCCC thinks it's a good idea to back someone who couldn't do better than that in a presidential year remains a mystery, but they are doing it. And Pete Aguilar could lose this seat again.

This seat can be won by a Democrat next time quite easily --- if the right Democrat is on the ballot.

This is a deep blue district and if the party succeeds in getting their malleable, empty suit (who doesn't even speak Spanish!) on the ballot to face the incumbent Republican, it's just as likely that the progressives in this district won't bother to vote. But they will vote for Eloise Reyes, who is extremely popular and known to be committed to the progressive values of her community. She is someone the people in California 31 relate to as one of them --- because she is one of them.

And she is one of us, too. Here's Eloise on the Chained-CPI:

I grew up in a family where everyone did their part to make ends meet. My brothers, sisters and I all worked the onion fields alongside our parents to help pay for our school clothes. I understand what it means to work your whole life, pay into Social Security and expect to live out your final years without having to make critical choices between food or medicine or rent.

It’s simply wrong to try to balance the budget on the backs of our seniors, veterans and the disabled. I’m running for Congress to make sure that never happens to anyone in San Bernardino, Upland, Redlands or anywhere else in America. Whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat who proposes it, "chained CPI" is just another way of saying "benefits cuts"-- and I will always hold Congress accountable when it comes to keeping the promises we have made to our seniors.

Imagine what it would be like to have Democrats like Eloise in congress, leaders who would step up and proudly declare their opposition to cuts to the very programs that allow working Americans like her parents and her to take chances in their lives, change jobs, start businesses, get advanced degrees, knowing that their risk is mitigated by a society that provides some minimum level support if and when you become too old or sick to work.

Eloise Reyes will commit to preserving the very best of the American promise. She knows how valuable it is. She's lived it.

Blue America is proud to endorse her for the congressional seat in California's 31st district and we hope you'll join us by donating what you can to her campaign here.

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



Meet Eloise Reyes, The Progressive Candidate Running For Congress In The Inland Empire

This week the Blue America team met with Colton attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes who's running for Congress in California’s 31st District. This is the only deep blue district in America with a Republican incumbent. The reason right-wing extremist (and carpetbagger) Gary Miller won last year is because the new jungle primary functioned badly and resulted in the two top vote getters both being Republicans. So while 57% of the voters were casting their ballots for President Obama in the general election, there was no Democrat on the congressional ballot. The weak candidate the DCCC picked, Pete Aguilar, had managed to lose to both Republican contenders, even in Redlands, where he had been appointed mayor. CA-31, which boasts a PVI of D+5, starts at Upland and Rancho Cucamonga and heads west along the 10 and 210 Freeways towards San Bernardino, Colton, Loma Linda and Redlands. The race there has been identified as one of the top five opportunities in the country for Democrats to take back a district, and with only a net of 17 seats needed to turn the House blue, this is a race that matters and that Blue America has big plans for.

Eloise Gomez Reyes is the grassroots progressive candidate running in CA-31, the woman facing a tough primary challenge from the same empty suit who was rejected by voters in 2012. Steve Israel, of course, refused too even meet with Eloise and anointed Aguilar the Democratic candidate, basically telling Democratic voters in CA-31 to shut up and do what they're told from DC. As Israel is about to find out, it's not that kind of district. After our meeting, we asked Eloise to consider the question: Where do progressives fit into California’s jungle primary system? This is her response:

With the passage of Proposition 14 in 2010, California adopted what is commonly referred to as the “jungle primary”-- a nonpartisan competition in which the top two vote-getters in a race advance to November regardless of party affiliation. The jungle primary system is designed to push candidates toward the middle. In theory, it makes politics more representative by crafting candidates, and ultimately elected officials, whose moderate stances appeal to a wider base of constituents.

But what happens when a Democrat is running in a truly blue district? Does the candidate with the backbone win the election, or does the catch-all candidate with most manufactured platform take the day?

California’s 31st congressional district is one such case study.

In the 2012 election, Barack Obama won over 57 percent of the vote in CA-31, yet the district sent a far-right Republican to Congress. In fact, two Republicans won in the primary election and faced off against each other in November. The unthinkable happened in CA-31 in 2012 because a field of weak Democrats cleared the way for two Republicans to fight it out in the general election.

CA-31 walked away from the 2012 election with a PVI of D+5, a radical Republican Congressman and proof that diluted platforms lose elections.

No Democrat won.

Despite lessons learned, Washington Democrats are lining up to run he same career politician for this seat in 2014. Pete Aguilar, the "moderate" Mayor of Redlands who came in third in his own hometown when he ran for Congress in 2012, has entered the race under the handling of the DCCC. And NRA-backed Joe Baca, who served in Congress and lost his seat in a neighboring district in 2012, is looking for a second chance here in CA-31.

This is a district that is bright blue. There is no reason for a so-called "moderate" Democrat-- let alone a far-right Republican-- to represent it.

Voters here want, and need, a progressive in Congress. The Inland Empire currently leads the nation in poverty. San Bernardino County, once a thriving hub of commerce and transportation, has suffered the consequences of our crumbling national infrastructure. Its unemployment rate has risen to 11.6 percent in 2013, and more than 220,000 Inland Empire homes were seized by banks and sold out of foreclosure over the last five years. With Latinos making up 34 percent of registered voters in CA-31, our district must be represented by someone who will fight for comprehensive immigration reform, and our senior and veteran populations need someone who is going to not just defend, but expand, their Social Security benefits.

This race is about more than providing another career politician with the next step on his professional ladder. It’s about making life better for people who desperately need a voice in Congress.

And I am the voice of California’s 31st raised in the Inland Empire. I was born and raised in the Inland Empire. I began working the fields here as an onion topper at the age of 12 and held up to three jobs at a time to put myself through college and then law school. Rather than leave my community’s challenges behind, I returned home to serve my community as an attorney. I became the first Latina to open and manage my own law office in the Inland Empire and for nearly three decades, I have volunteered with Legal Aid to provide pro bono legal services to families in need here in our community.

For me, the lesson from the 2012 election in CA-31 is that not all Democrats are created equal. And that’s a good thing. I am proud to be running as the progressive in this race, and I am ready to serve my district as a Member of Congress beholden to no one other than my community.

I invite you to visit my website at www.eloiseforcongress.com. We are hard at work winning this seat back and need you on our team!

And contributions to Eloise's campaign can be made at the Blue America ActBlue page starting... today!



Blue America Endorses Paul Clements In Michigan

Last week, MoveOn and PPP polled some of the swing districts where the DCCC protects Republican incumbents. The results were breathtaking, especially for media folks who only get their information from Cook and the DCCC. Blue America candidates are on target to beat long-time Republican incumbents and one of the strongest showings was from first-time candidate, Paul Clements, who's running against Fred Upton in western Michigan. Upton is underwater in terms of his constituents' approval. Only 34% approve of his job performance. 53% disapprove. And if the election were held today, only 38% would vote for him, while 51% would vote for a Democrat. While that's really good news for Paul Clements, even better news is that when voters are told that Upton voted for and backs the Tea Party government shut down, his re-elect numbers really go south. Only 36% of those polled say they would vote for him. 56% say they would vote for his Democratic opponent.

Also last week, Paul Clements introduced Bill McKibben, America’s leading activist on climate change, to an audience of thousands in Kalamazoo. This is important because Kalamazoo is the biggest city in Michigan's 6th district, and in 2014 this district will be ground zero in the fight for action on climate change.

This part of Michigan has been represented by Fred Upton for 20 years but when he was first elected he ran as a mainstream conservative. Once Boehner appointed him to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee he transformed himself into a climate science denier and anti-environment zealot: Upton authored and passed through the House a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency regulating greenhouse gasses, he tried to stop federal support for clean energy technologies, and the L.A. Times named him Congress’s #1 enemy of the earth.

Clements got into the race because he sincerely believes we need stronger action on climate change. (There is also Upton’s denial of science on antibiotics, his cutting food stamps amidst rising hunger in his district, his votes against women, workers, seniors, the middle class, African Americans, immigrants, and LGBT equality, his vote to shut down the federal government …) Clements is highlighting that Upton changed his views on climate change to get the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship-- just one more example of Upton selling out, but in this case literally selling out all of humanity.

McKibben’s talk is the keynote of a 20-event series Clements has helped to organize to raise awareness and understanding of climate change-– the science, the politics, and what each of us can do. Upton is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress but Steve Israel has protected his seat in the past and continues to do so today. Clements environmental series is a key step in building the coalition to defeat him in 2014.

In just the last 3 months, the American Chemistry Council and the American Petroleum Institute spent $340,000 in ads for Upton, and there will be much more where that came from. Defeating Upton will show that to deny climate science is, in political terms, a losing proposition.

Clements needs your help. Blue America is endorsing him for Congress because of his overall progressive vision, as well as for this opportunity to replace Congress' most toxic anti-environment crusader. Please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here. This is a very winnable race if Paul can compete with the flood of corporate cash Upton has been sucking up.

We are all in this together,

Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team



Time For House Democrats To Find New Leadership


Enough of this crap

All the House Democratic leaders, from conservatives like Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Joe Crowley to "liberals" like Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn and Xavier Becerra, are working to round up votes inside the caucus to back Obama's plan to bomb Syria. Pelosi became leader of the Democrats because she stood up to Bush and Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt when they asked Congress to approve plans to attack Iraq. Most Democrats joined Pelosi against that war-- and that ended Dick Gephardt's political career. That was a very different Nancy Pelosi than the one leading House Democrats today.

On the other hand, we still have plenty of Democrats in the House strenuously opposing the war arguments-- Alan Grayson, Raul Grijalva, Barbara Lee are three excellent examples. Pelosi announced last week that she has no intention of ever being Speaker again. The vultures waiting in the wings-- Hoyer, Wasserman Schultz, Crowley-- to take over the leadership of the House caucus would all be catastrophic for the Democratic brand and for grassroots values that make someone a Democrat instead of a Republican.

It's time to start thinking about electing a leader of the House Democrats who is NOT a conservative and who is not a pillar of institutionalized Beltway corruption.

The way WE can help that process along is to elect more progressives to Congress who will not be beholden to the Steve Israels, Steny Hoyers, and Debbie Wasserman Schultzes. It's imperitive that we help elect people who will be open-minded about electing caucus leaders like Grayson, not yesterday's stale leftovers like Hoyer and Wasserman Schultz. A grassroots progressive in Oklahoma, Tom Guild, is an independent thinker and is going to have an open mind. "Syria is a basket case," he told us, "with heartbreaking tragedies piled one on another. The [Assad] government is evil and much of the opposition is affiliated with enemies of the United States. We should tread carefully and make sure we are not drawn into another war without end. American cannot be the world’s policeman, and we have paid a heavy price trying to do so."

Nick Ruiz, a professor who once ran as a Green, is the progressive Democratic candidate in the Orlando area running against GOP warmonger John Mica, also gave us a position just before Obama announced he would ask for a congressional vote before attacking.

"Why not conference and engage the Syrian leadership and factions-- and Iran, along with Russia and China for good measure? Before drones and Tomahawks, bombs and killing; as an alternative to the stereotypical language of violence that the world is so tired of hearing. Let's talk about it; not naively, but intensely; let's argue about what's happening in Syria, with the Syrian leadership and rebellion, their neighboring ally Iran, and advocates of sovereignty: Russia and China. We get it. We understand boundaries and sovereignty. And we ought to thoroughly understand rebellion, having been borne of it... The world's interests are better served with an eye toward de-escalation, rather than aggravation and aggrandizement... My vote would be NO on assaulting Syria.

"As Democrats we know better than to fight unjust wars; we do not leave the poor defenseless, nor erode civil rights or ignore social injustice. We helped to define these vital, democratic concepts in the modern era. When our leaders change for the worse, and seek to lead us toward the lowest common denominator, then we should thank them for whatever good they've done in the past-- but must tell them 'No, we will not follow you there, and further, you will not lead us any longer.' It is a crucial time when one must have the good sense to choose new leaders. But it's now true: that time is upon us."

As the other, better-known, progressive political leader from the Orlando area, Alan Grayson said, "Nobody wants this, except the military-industrial complex." We need a new generation of leaders to represent the Democratic Party, not the money-driven Establishment shills who have more in common with their Republican House colleagues than they do with grassroots Democrats.

Please consider supporting the 2014 Blue America candidates for Congress.

As you can see, we've recently added three new ones, Tom in Oklahoma, plus Danielle Adams in North Carolina and Paul Clements in Michigan. Clearly, Washington needs new leadership-- leadership that is rooted in the Democratic grassroots. Electing candidates like this to Congress is a healthy first step.



Meet Barbara Buono, Chris Christie's Worst Nightmare

CROSS-POSTED TO CROOKSANDLIARS.COM

My first exposure to Chris Christie was when I saw video footage of him abusively browbeating a school teacher at a town hall meeting for having the temerity to question his education policies. I can hardly begin to explain the depth of my visceral repulsion at his bullying tactics. I can't imagine ever voting for him after seeing that and I don't think I'm the only woman in America to react that way.

But it's not just his vile personality. His record is execrable as well. Tom Moran at the Star-Ledger characterized his time in office this way:

New Jersey’s unemployment rate is the highest in the region, and yet he left $3 billion in federal money on the table when he canceled plans to build a tunnel under the Hudson River. The state’s credit rating has dropped on his watch, thanks to his habit of pushing costs to the future. New Jersey’s foreclosure rate is also among the highest in the nation, and the state’s response among the most inept...Christie opposes abortion rights and closed six Planned Parenthood clinics. He vetoed marriage equality. He vetoed a surtax on millionaires. He has retreated on climate change. And he removed the only black justice from the state Supreme Court.

He's also on record denying climate change and just last week declared himself the one true heir of Rudy "9/11" Giuliani with a national security speech that would have sounded better in the original German. Only in America would such a man be widely touted by the chattering classes as a voice of "moderation."

Luckily for New Jersey there is one feisty politician who knows better, State Senator Barbara Buono, the Democrat who'd like to save her state from any more of Christie's so-called "success" by denying him another term as Governor. Let's just say her record is as progressive as his is conservative. And there's no mistaking what she really stands for.

Buono is the daughter of a butcher and a substitute school teacher who put herself through law school. She vividly recalls her own early years of struggle, even having to apply for government assistance at one point. Her compassion for the concerns of average working families led her to politics in the early 90s, working her way up to become the first woman majority leader in the State Senate, where she took on Christie as the Chair of the budget committee. This woman isn't one little bit cowed by the thuggish Christie.

We know it's an uphill climb and so does Buono. But we all think that there are a whole lot of New Jersey Democrats, especially women, who will go into that voting booth and decide they just can't stomach the idea of Chris Christie as Governor again or ... gulp ... president and put a stop to him. If people get a chance to hear a reform-minded, anti-corruption progressive like Barbara Buono they may just realize they have a better choice. We'd like to help her get the word out and we hope you do too.

If you can donate something to her campaign it will not only help a true Blue America progressive but will also help to stop one of the most odious conservative villains in American politics. A twofer!

Please help me welcome State Senator Barbara Buono to Blue America.



New Jersey Can Help Fix The Senate

I’m not the most famous candidate running for Senate in New Jersey.  If you know me at all, you probably know me as the congressman who beat IBM’s computer, Watson in Jeopardy-- the one whose bumper stickers say “My Congressman IS a Rocket Scientist!”

But as a true progressive, you care about more than celebrity and slogans.  You care about electing the senator who will fight the hardest for our shared values.

So let me tell you why, with your support, I will be that person:  the truly progressive, evidence-driven voice we urgently need in the U.S. Senate.

As a teacher and a scientist, I used to help run the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and led the nuclear nonproliferation program at the U.S. State Department. This experience gives me a very different perspective from anyone now in the Senate –and gives me the conviction to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

You see, right now, the Senate has zero scientists. And as a result, the evidence in support of our progressive priorities is being ignored:

• The earth’s climate is changing, and human beings are responsible. Every single month for the last 28 years has been warmer than the historic average. If America fails to act, millions of people will die.

• America’s health care system is not the best in the world-- not even close. We’re paying 40 percent more than any other country as a share of our economy, and we’re still leaving almost 50 million people uninsured.

• America is betraying our young college students-- burdening them with an average of $27,000 in student loan debt, then abandoning them to face 13 percent unemployment in the workplace.

If we’re honest about the evidence, the way forward is clear.

We need to tax carbon so that polluters pay for the greenhouse gases they’re dumping into our atmosphere.

We need to move to a single-payer health care system, the kind that has held down costs and improved quality in nations around the world.

We need to make college more affordable by charging students the same low interest rate, 0.75%, that Wall Street banks pay to borrow money from the government.

And we desperately need a senator for the 21st century: someone who has a real understanding of the science and technology that are changing our world.

Because despite what some senators have claimed, the Internet is not a series of tubes, abortions do not cause breast cancer, and breast implants do not make women healthier. And although changing technology does present new challenges to law enforcement, it does not mean the NSA has the need or the right to monitor the phone calls, letters, and e-mails of innocent people-- treating Americans as suspects first and citizens second.

It’s long past time for the Senate to have at least one scientist, at least one voice who follows the evidence wherever it leads, no matter the political or personal risk.

Rush Holt, Rocket Scientist

Contribute

Will you help me be that truly progressive, evidence-driven voice? If so, I ask for your vote and your support.

Please visit my website, RushHolt.com. See where I stand, watch my videos explaining these ideas in more depth, and-- if you like what you see-- share the word with your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Thanks.  It’s a privilege to run for your seat in the Senate, and I can’t wait to get to work for you.

Rush Holt




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