Blue America's new Campaign For Health Care Choice: Targeting Blanche Lincoln on the Public Option

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As you've probably noticed, I've been very upset with the way the health-care debate is headed. Kathleen Sibelius did a good job defending the public option and of exposing some of the lies being used the medical industry and their cohorts in Congress.

I think we can all agree that single payer is the way to go, but since it was never made a priority by our representatives, we are left to fight for a solid and robust public option. We know that the obstructionist Republican Party will never get behind any meaningful reforms so Blue America has to go after members of the Democratic Party in the Senate and call them out for selling Americans health care down the drain.

For weeks I've been working on an action so we could get busy defending the best option we have and I think we've come up with a great idea. We are going to target Blanche Lincoln first with TV ads, with the help of Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films, and expose her actions to her constituents in Arkansas. This will be the first play because she is up for re-election in 2010 and has already received the second most money from the HIC of any Senator.

Digby writes:

Watching the health care debate unfold is frustrating and predictably enervating. These kinds of debates are often followed by a deepening of public apathy and a sense that government can't help solve the big problems. And this plays into conservative hands since they are the ones who want to stoke that belief so that the citizens don't get it into their heads that they can get an equal shake with those who think they own this country.

We can't let that happen with health care. It is just too important on every level, for individuals, business and the country at large. It's time to get involved. To that end Blue America is launching a campaign to raise money to run some television ads. We've got to get these wavering Democrats off the fence about a public plan choice or this thing is going to fall completely apart before it even starts.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Lincoln is showing so much compassion for the poor insurance companies. She's taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from them over the years. In fact, she's already received $14,500 from insurance companies for her 2010 campaign, the second highest of any senator up for re-election next year. And the only reform they support is reform that will get the taxpayers to pay the overpriced premiums for the 47 million uninsured without having to change their ways. The fact is that insurance companies are not in any danger of going out of business because of the public plan choice unless they continue the kind of practices that have brought us to this crisis.

Please go to our Blue America Act Blue Page a to give what you can

Howie Klein writes:

Digby's been writing TV scripts for a whole week to try to salvage health care reform from the tender mercies of Democrats who have grown worthless to working families after millions and millions of dollars in legalized bribes from the Medical-Industrial Complex and the Insurance Giants. Robert Greenwald is standing by with a camera crew ready to start shooting. The first batch of ads are going up on TV in Arkansas and, man, do we need help. We have a new Blue America Page that I want to urge you to visit today.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Lincoln is showing so much compassion for the poor insurance companies. She's taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from them over the years. In fact, she's already received $14,500 from insurance companies for her 2010 campaign, the second highest of any senator up for re-election next year. And the only reform they support is reform that will get the taxpayers to pay the overpriced premiums for the 47 million uninsured without having to change their ways. The fact is that insurance companies are not in any danger of going out of business because of the public plan choice unless they continue the kind of practices that have brought us to this crisis.

Digby has finished several excellent scripts and we've begun the casting process. Please join us and support Blue America in its fight to save the public option. Idiots like Joe Lieberman are saying the fight over health insurance is for "universal access," but that's a lie.

Access doesn't do anything if the health care sucks. Lieberman should have said the fight is for universal health care for all if he was a human being instead of a shill for the HIC. We will not let them get away with this garbage.

Blanche Lincoln is the first one up on our radar, but we're sending a signal to the rest of the cowardly, corporate influenced Democrats that we are coming. Please help us save health care.

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Alan Grayson, a real maverick, takes on the lack of vacation time and the Fed

Blue American’s Alan Grayson has been a maverick -- I mean the real kind -- since he was elected to Congress when nobody said he had a chance to win except of course Blue America. And he is becoming a real leader and not a follower. First, he’s trying to get a bill passed that really does help working-class America:

Howie Klein:

Alan is introducing a bill, the first in (American) history, that guarantees paid vacations. (France guarantees a month of paid vacation per year.)

The bill's provisions, which are expected to meet stiff opposition from Republicans and Blue Dogs poll exceedingly well among average Americans. Nearly 70% of Americans support the idea. This is what Grayson's legislation would accomplish: • Requires one week of paid vacation for employees of companies with at least 100 employees. Three years after passage, the bill extends this requirement to companies with at least 50 employees, and requires two weeks for companies with 100 employees.

• Covers workers after one year on the job. Part-timers must work 25 or more hours a week and 1250 hours per year to be covered.

Read on.

You can be sure that the Blue Dogs and Evan Bayh’s garrison of phonies will do everything they can to block it, but at least Americans are seeing what a good and better Democrat can do.

Now he’s trying to audit the Federal Reserve to see exactly where the 2 trillion dollars that they dished out went.

Jane Hamsher writes:

Last month Charles Grassley tried to push a bill through the Senate which called for the Fed to be audited, but Richard Shelby watered it down before it passed. Now there are 165 cosponsors of Ron Paul's Federal Reserve Transparency Act in the House, but 135 of them are Republicans. (Bernie Sanders stands alone sponsoring the bill in the Senate.)

Alan Grayson is trying to bring Democrats on board: The Federal Reserve has refused multiple inquiries from both the House and the Senate to disclose who is receiving trillions of dollars from the central banking system. The Federal Reserve has redacted the central terms of the no-bid contracts it has issued to Wall Street firms like Blackrock and PIMCO, without disclosure required of the Treasury, and is participating in new and exotic programs like the trillion-dollar TALF to leverage the Treasury’s balance sheet.

Continue reading »



Republicans target Alan Grayson (D-FL) for his strong progressive voice

It's no coincidence that Republicans are going all out to target first term Orlando Democrat Alan Grayson. Grayson's defeat of entrenched rubber stamp incumbent Ric Keller last year was one of Blue America's most important victories ever. Since entering the House in January Rep. Grayson has made a name for himself standing up for working families and flying right in the face of the powerful banksters who have financed the deregulatory mania Grayson aims to fix.

He's fearless and his tough, aggressive questioning of banksters at the House Financial Services Committee, frightens bribe-besotted Republicans and their crooked patrons. He didn't seen intimidated by Republican efforts to recruit a top tier candidate to run against him. Doesn't this sound exactly like Grayson?

"Any Republican in my district who wants to see what it's like to run for Congress and lose is welcome to do so. But whoever it is, the DCCC will leave welts on his back."

More about Grayson and about how much bluer this district has become at DownWithTyranny. And if you'd like to help us get Grayson's back -- here's the place.



C&L Welcomes Blogger Judd Legum, Running For The Maryland General Assembly

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Judd was one of the first bloggers whose work I admired when I discovered there were actually other political bloggers. A few weeks ago he told me he had decided to run for the Maryland state legislature and John and I asked him to come by and tell everyone about his race. Please join us in the comments section to take part in the live discussion. Here's a little background material on Judd, who is seeking to replace a far right freshman misanthrope, Ron George, and take the values he learned as a progressive blogger-- accountability, transparency and inclusiveness-- and bring them into state government in Maryland.

Born and raised in Annapolis, Judd is an attorney who graduated Cum laude from Georgetown University and then worked for 3 years at the top progressive think tank, Center for American Progress. He helped create their blog, Think Progress, and now blogs at his own Maryland blog, Legum's New Line. Last year he worked as Hillary Clinton's national research director and helped prepare her for over 20 debates.

Judd is seeking to represent the district he grew up in and to replace one of the most right-wing extremists in the General Assembly. Ron George was a sponsor of "Maryland's Marriage Protection Act," a state constitutional amendment that's widely viewed as Maryland's version of Proposition 8. The bill would not only write discrimination against gays and lesbians into the Maryland constitution, it would "affect the ability of the State and local governments to extend benefits to partners of the same sex," such as hospital visitation rights. He also sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, regardless of circumstance and, although he campaigned on a pledge to work for a clean environment, he received a score of 33% from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Judd's agenda is all clean, clean, clean:

Clean government: He's not accepting money from Maryland lobbyists or corporate PACs.

Clean Bay: The 25-year, multi-billion dollar effort to restore the Bay has been a failure. "If we don't act quickly," said Judd, "the Bay will soon pass the point of no return. This means standing up to powerful special interests such as agribusiness, which remains the number one source of pollution in the Bay. This is more than an environmental issue, it's an economic issue. Much of Maryland's economy is dependent upon the health of the Bay."

Clean Energy: Judd has been telling voters that the state faces an energy crisis. "Absent policy changes the state will face rolling blackouts starting in 2011. Marylanders have also seen their energy bills skyrocket. We need to move aggressively on three fronts: 1) energy efficiency programs, which can reduce the need for new generation and reduce costs for consumers, 2) investment in transmission which will allow more power to flow into the state at reduced costs. 3) new sources of clean energy including wind, solar and biofuels."

He'll be running a grassroots campaign and we promised to help make sure the netroots is aware of his race. If you can handle it, please consider making a donation at his ActBlue page. Now, join us in the comments section.



You supported him and we helped get him elected. It's nice to see a Blue America candidate take it to "the man." Yea, baby. He took it to "the man." The Wall Street man that is. He stuck up for average Americans and UAW workers who have been told that they should tear up their contracts of they want to survive.

Go Gary Peters, go!

“In my Congressional district in Michigan, there are thousands of UAW employees who have employment contracts, and they’ve been told they need to renegotiate those contracts and make concessions to justify taxpayer investments. There are thousands of white collar employees with employment contracts who have forgone promised bonuses and benefits and have taken pay cuts in order to save the companies they work for. People are sick of this double standard where working class and middle class workers are treated differently than the financial industry executives.”

Blue America did the best job of picking winners in the 2008 election and getting out a progressive message to the people I believe then any other PAC out there. I'll post more on this at another time, but to me, picking winners isn't the only goal, progressive values are, but I also love winning and it seems to be working very well for us.



Alan Grayson: Is there any way to save the system other than showering taxpayer money on banks?

I love Alan Grayson. Blue America endorsed him when nobody thought he had a chance in hell to get elected. And he's taking the Hill by storm. If you want to understand the dynamic gripping Capitol Hill right now, it basically boils down to one question. Is there anything that can be done other than throw billions of dollars at banks? This is a Financial Services Committee hearing on how to fix the whole system (or in Washington-ese 'systemic risk').

Congressman Alan Grayson asks a number of financial services association directors this question, and most of them fumble around and filibuster the question. Until we find an answer, though, it's billions and billions of taxpayer money thrown at bank CEOs. Don't you just love that?



C&L Chat: Please welcome netroots hero Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa

One of Blue America's earliest and most heartfelt successes came in 2006 when we helped Bruce Braley turn Iowa's first CD from red to blue. After a stellar first term, Bruce didn't need help being re-elected. His 64% win in November was the highest margin of any candidate in the state (including Senators Harkin and Obama!).

Braley_788de.JPG His success has been especially sweet because of the way his candidacy started out. You may recall that in 2005 Rahm Emanuel was running around the country sabotaging progressives and bullying anti-war candidates. He managed to ruin Democratic chances in district after district with his wrongheaded insistence that voters backed his own pro-war position in Iraq and that progressive candidates needed to soft-pedal their opposition to Bush's (and Emanuel's) agenda.

When Emanuel went to candidate Braley with that line Braley didn't buckle; he pushed back and pushed back hard. Emanuel backed down. "I wouldn't change who I am to run for office. I am running to be a strong voice for change and to speak out for people who don't have a voice in Washington," he told us at the time. "I met with Rahm several times and I convinced him that my positions are the mainstream positions in this district. He listened and he understood."

After his initial win, Congressman Braley caught our attention in 2007 when he took the lead on questioning Bush Regime hack/GSA head Lurita Doan and exposed the Regime's illegal use of government resources to target Democrats. (See the video up top.) Since then he's established a solidly progressive voting record in the House and has become a leader at the DCCC. Last cycle he was one of 3 co-chairs of the Red to Blue Program. In the 2010 cycle he is the sole Red to Blue Chair.

You can get a fuller picture of Congressman Braley's activities over at DownWithTyranny but before he joins us in the comments section here at Crooks and Liars, I want to emphasize one of the exchanges we had on the phone yesterday. When I recounted hard feelings in the netroots about how much money the DCCC spent on conservative Democrats like Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith, both of Alabama, who have already started crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans on issues as basic as equality for women in the workplace, this was Rep. Braley's response:

I can't dispute that characterization. It's extremely frustrating to me. It doesn't seem like one of those defining issues that is going to be used against you to paint you as a tool of the Speaker, which is usually what happens in these races in the Deep South. It does seem like this is an issue that is a defining issue for Democratic voters and I would hope that Democrats in those districts in Alabama and around the country would make their feelings known to help educate these new members to the fact that just because you have received support in the past, to pick up an open seat, does not mean that you can ignore what your party stands for when it comes to basic tenets.

He also spoke about the intricacies of prioritizing races across the nation and says he would be delighted to have assistance from grassroots sources:

The challenge for us always is trying to weigh all of the objective data and balance that with subjective input we get and try to make informed decisions that are going to help us expand our majority. Sometimes it's more of an art than a science and that's why I would welcome input from the netroots early on and have that as part of an ongoing conversation as we move forward.

Now, please join us in the comments section and help us ask Rep. Braley about building a better Democratic Party and a better USA.



Charlie Brown (CA-04) Needs Help With Tight Race

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Charlie Brown has been one of Blue America's priority candidates for Congress for over 3 years now. We first got behind him when he was running an impossible race in one of California's most Republican districts-- the PVI is an astounding R+11-- against crooked right-wing extremist John Doolittle. In 2006 Charlie drew 97,217 votes (vs 104,746) and held Doolittle to under 50%. Doolittle and his wife have been indicted on corruption charges and he decided not to run again and the California GOP got behind an even more extreme right-wing fringe candidate, Tom McClintock, a carpetbagger from L.A.

Today, with around 50,000 votes left to count, this is a 50/50 race, the Secretary of State's website showing that just 889 votes separate Charlie and McClintock. If all votes get counted, Charlie will win. McClintock and his lawyers will do all they can to prevent that from happening. In a letter to supporters yesterday, McClintock admitted that when the bulk of votes from Nevada County show up on the board this week, he will have a deficit.

McClintock's legal team will challenge every vote for Charlie and these battles are costly. Blue America is working on the DCCC to help and we hope to make an announcement about that in a few days. Meanwhile we want to urge anyone who still has anything they can spare to chip in to Charlie Brown's campaign fund. Even $5 and $10 donations help and you can do it right here at the Crooks & Liars Blue America page. This isn't a race about just "more Democrats;" this is a race about a BETTER Democrat, a much better Democrat.



Shades Of The Sopranos: Someone Leaves Severed Goat Head At Charlie Brown HQ

Now to be fair, this could have been a Halloween prank, but Jiminy Cricket, what kind of mind thinks of a thing like this?

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Calitics:

On Friday night, upon leaving the Charlie Brown for Congress campaign office in Grass Valley, staffers found a severed goat's head on the front step. [..]

Who in the world would do something like this? I don't care if it has nothing to do with the election, although putting it at a Brown campaign office obviously makes a certain connection. Authorities were involved in the removal and are looking into finding the perpetrator. If this is politically motivated, it is sad and cruel for someone to involve an innocent farm animal in their personal frustration or anger or derangement. Hopefully, those responsible will be caught.

The photos are more than a little graphic, and are available at Calitics, though I don't recommend going to the link if you are squeamish.

Sadly, despite being endorsed by his local newspaper against Republican rival Tom McClintock (the current seatholder, Republican John Doolittle did not seek re-election in the face of ongoing scandals), Charlie Brown is behind in the polls. If there are any C&Lers in the Sacramento/Grass Valley area who can volunteer at his office for one last "GOTV" effort, I'm sure he'd appreciate it.



Blue America Candidate Round Up: Are you ready?

We've been busy trying to get our Blue America candidates elected with your help and add more and better Democrats to Congress.

Digby:

Howie is doing all the heavy lifting, gathering information and putting together the pre-election round up over at his place. If you're a Blue America donor this cycle and want to know how it's going for our candidates, be sure to check in with him over the next couple of days and after the election for the full round up.

Yesterday, he wrote about Blue America's media work in this cycle

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Stay tuned for more at Howie's place. We are poised to bring some better Democrats to congress this time and all of you who donated to Blue America and our candidates over the past year or so can take a look in the mirror and be proud that you helped elect some real progressives to Washington. It's not as sexy s Obamamania, but it's important.

Howie's been doing a series of progress reports and since so many of you have donated, please check them out as Tuesday is almost here.

The Daily Blue America Report-- #10

The Daily Blue America Report-- #9




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