Blue America and the Netroots thanks Democrats for backing the "Public Option" and you can too!

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Blue America wants to thank all the Progressives and Democrats for standing up for the "public option." We've already raised over 30K. They need to be made aware that we also appreciate the good things that they do too.

Darcy Burner made this point at Netroots Nation on a great panel discussion about what we've been doing on the health care front regarding our organizing efforts (and in her keynote speech as well). I heard from several members of Congress at NN how hard it's been in their freaked out town halls, but they believe in the "public option" and will not buckle from misinformation and people intent on killing health care reform. Progressives in Congress fired back at the White House and the Senate standing up and saying it's the public option, baby!

Please thank progressives for holding the line and donate to Standing Up for the Public Option.

The Netroots has been stepping up and pushing back hard against the ConservaDems plan to support the health care industry over American families. It's a sad choice they are making, but looking at the campaign donations they receive from the Health Care Industrial Complex, it's not surprising. It should be and the media has finally started to highlight all the money the Baucus Dogs have been taking from them.

Digby writes:

I was on a panel at Netroots Nation with Congressman Eric Massa. He was adamant about the public plan. There was no need to cajole him into supporting it, he had been there all along. He is also in a very tough swing district and his town halls have been horrific. It didn't move him, he stood and fought with his own constituents and came out even more committed because he realized just how important it was going to be to the very people who were so sadly misinformed.

That's called leadership and it deserves our support and thanks. So, Blue America thought it would be a good idea to do a little positive reinforcement and thank those who have gone out on a limb on this and are standing fast. 65 members of congress have pledged that they will not vote for a bill that does not contain a public plan and we would like to reward them.

If you have a couple of bucks to spare to thank the Progressive Caucus members who have drawn this line in the sand, please click here and give them your support.

Howie Klein put together the Act Blue page and writes:

You may remember that a few days ago I included all the names and phone numbers in a post and I want to encourage all DWT readers to call up congressmembers on the list and thank them. Thereisnospoon at Daily Kos explained the thinking behind whole campaign this morning. And Blue America is hosting an ActBlue page for people who would like to give any of the congressmembers who are standing up for the public option a dollar or two.

Is your congressmember on the list? Is your favorite member of Congress? Take a look -- and make your voice heard -- with a dollar.

Washington is paying attention. The top story at Politico today is headlined "Liberals Revolt Over Public Option":

Jane Hamsher:

The battle is not won, not by a long shot. Howie Klein and the Blue America team put together an Act Blue donation page that includes the 60 members who signed the letter, plus five more that our whip count effort have secured promises from that they will not vote for any bill that does not have a robust public plan. Thereisnospoon and Hekebolos over at Daily Kos are also on board.

Democracy for America is letting these members know that they have the support of their constituents, and Howard Dean -- well, he's been on fire. Eat it, Rahm.

Meanwhile, HCAN is going to spend $650,000 -- attacking Republicans. If grassroots efforts weren't under way to fight the real battle here, and we had to rely on the big moneyed interests, the public plan would have been lost a long time ago.

Americablog:

As everyone knows, we've been pretty upset at the Obama administration and some members of Congress over the health insurance reform debate. On Sunday, it looked like the Obama administration was going to drop the public option -- a provision that Obama has repeatedly told us is critical to reining in the insurance industry. That's proven to be unacceptable to many members of Congress. Since Sunday, a number of progressive members of Congress have stood up and basically said, ENOUGH!

Those members need to hear a big thank you from the progressive community. We need to strengthen their resolve. And, while we're quick to call out bad actions, we need to reward good behavior.

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Piggybacking and expanding on that idea is an ActBlue page created by Howie Klein called Take the Pledge to financially reward those 64 representatives who are doing the right thing...read on



I think Blanche Lincoln needs another round of ads, don't you? Please help

Blue America's first push at Blanche Lincoln proved very worth while. As Greg Sargent reported, we forced her to write an op-ed in which she shifted positions on the public option. We raised almost 28K and ran our first ad for two weeks in heavy rotation on CNN, MSNBC and all the major cable networks in Arkansas. With Max Baucus delaying the Senate Finance Committee bill for as long as he has, Blanche is now shifting back to her old position. Haven't you noticed that you never see Lincoln appear on television to express her POV? She's up for re-election, hence with her keeping a low profile.

Howie Klein explains:

Lincoln reacted quickly, making noises that sounded like she might take the side of her state's working families for a change, instead of the big Insurance companies that buy her fealty. But, alas, they were only noises. Yesterday one of our friends in Hot Springs forwarded us a form letter she got from Lincoln's office. As though it were written by a real Democrat, it acknowledges that there's a problem. But the conclusion is very disappointing, some of it coming straight from Insurance Industry Talking Points that are routinely parroted by anti-health care fanatics like Mike Pence (R-IN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI):

While I support government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, or ARKids First,” as it is known in Arkansas) that provide coverage for specific vulnerable and hard-to-insure populations, I do not support moving America to a nationalized single-payer or “government-run” health care system. Instead, in health care reform I will ensure Arkansans and Americans will have the freedom of choice to keep their current insurance plans and current doctors or choose another plan that better meets their needs.

Well, it's time to see if we can raise enough money to run a second wave of our ad. The next one will be the ad I have embedded in this post. It was #3 called "Bailout" Please donate here if you can.

She's also doing some town halls and we can use the good people of Arkansas to go there and represent Blue America and C&L.

Here's her schedule.

Lincoln will travel the state throughout the annual congressional work period. The following is Lincoln’s schedule of events around the state for August 11-15:

Tuesday, August 11—Little Rock, Malvern

9:10 a.m., Keynote address, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas Seminar, “Connecting Your Business with China.” Lincoln will join the State Chamber/AIA, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas World Trade Center, and business and community leaders to welcome the Chinese Ambassador to the United States. Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham Street, Little Rock.

12:00 p.m., Speak, Lions Club of Malvern. Western Sizzlin Steak House, 621 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Malvern.

Wednesday, August 12—Little Rock

9:00 a.m., Speak, “Jobs for Arkansas” Business Aviation Forum at Dassault Falcon Jet. Lincoln will join Governor Beebe, Senator Pryor, Dassault Falcon employees, and other community and business leaders to discuss the importance of Arkansas’s aviation industry. Dassault Falcon Jet Company, 3801 East 10th Street, Little Rock.

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Help us decide our next Blue America action!

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We had great news yesterday as our Blue America ads against Senator Blanche Lincoln pushed her to shift positions and begin to talk about actually supporting a vibrant public option for health-care reform. She was a little fuzzy, but still stated a fundamentally different position than she had before the action.

Greg Sargent broke the story, and TPM weighed in as follows: Amid Pressure From Party Leaders And Reformers, Blanche Lincoln Now Open To A Public Option

The ads are running as we speak, so congratulations to all of you for helping make that possible. We're not done with Blanche, but we are having discussions to plot out our next move. I've been focused on the people involved in crafting the health-care reform legislation and the name Max Baucus comes to mind for me, but that doesn't mean we can't focus on somebody like Evan Bayh.

Howie Klein has more:

So where does that leave the Blue America community? Our first batch of TV spots started running all over Arkansas today. We're talking about putting the second wave on hold now that Lincoln (and Pryor) seem to be moving in the right direction. We'll re-assess in a week. Meanwhile, we're trying to decide what state our next target should be. Pennsylvania, where Republican-Democrat hybrid freak Arlen Specter take even more outrageous bribes from the Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Insurance than Lincoln and who is playing a devious behind the scenes role in trying to water down the effectiveness of a public option at the behest of his patrons?

Or how about Iowa, the home of Chuck Grassley, the Republican tasked by the Insurance Industry with being on the front line of offense against the entire concept of "robustness"in a public option. As ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee-- something he held onto rather than take on that position on the Judiciary Committee for the specific purpose of working with his pal Max Baucus to weaken any reform to the point of making it ineffective-- Grassley makes an excellent target of opportunity. He also has to face a politically well-educated voting base in a blue-trending state in 2010. Or maybe you have another suggestion? Let us know-- and, please, continue donating to the Campaign for Health Care Choice. We can make this work, one crooked senator at a time!

Anyway, we'd love to hear what you have to say. Maybe one of you can come up with an excellent action that we can take. We are all ears.

And don't forget to keep the funds rolling into Blue America's Campaign for Heath Care Choice. We're close to raising 25K and we'll need to reload to continue on.



Blue America is set to run the Blanche Lincoln-Public Option ads on Wednesday

Start your engines and....we're off. Awww, some corporate Democrats must be feeling the heat and running to daddy for help. I feel so bad about it.

Howie makes a great point: Did Obama Give Us The Nod To Go After Blanche Lincoln?

The Blue America PAC blogs asked our readers to take a look at the 3 TV spots we made for the Campaign for Heath Care Choice. So far we've raised around $23,000 and this is the ad that the contributors picked for us to run in all of Arkansas' media markets:

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Is it OK with Obama that we go after one of the worst of the conservative Democrats-- and one of only two (the other being quasi-Democrat Arlen Specter) facing re-election next year-- who is opposing his plan to reform the American health care system fundamentally? Well... we think so. According to today's Washington Post Obama urged groups like Blue America to lay off bad Democrats-- but if you notice Blanche Lincoln was specifically left off the list. Obama complained about groups that are going directly to the voters to expose corrupt Democrats Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Arlen Specter, Ron Wyden (I don't understand why he stuck himself in this detestable camp) and Dianne Feinstein. But the silence over Blanche Lincoln was deafening. Obama must really hate her-- as he should, since she has opposed everything he's tried to accomplish, even after Joe Biden helped her raise a fortune from loyal Democrats for her re-election campaign.

The good thing is that we don't need permission to run our ads from anybody. You've helped make that possible. We're interested in trying to reform health care and Blanche Lincoln is up for re-election and she's a member of the Finance Committee with Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley that is looking to cut out the public option. Here's a little info on what you've helped us create with our Campaign For Health Care Choice action.

It is a two week flight, starting Wednesday July 8. almost 700 (680) spots running in Little Rock, Jonesboro and Ft. Smith DMAs. These spots are not on the weather channel, either, they are running on well-watched cable channels, like USA, TNT, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, ESPN, Food, History, Lifetime - big (for cable) stations.

This is the first wave - second wave will be bigger and cover the Memphis DMA as well.

Thanks once again for helping us out and America thanks you too.



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As you know, Blue America is targeting Blanche Lincoln because she has said she will not support a public option when it comes to the health-care debate. As Jane Hamsher says:

But in the fourth year of their terms, every Senator becomes a Representative for two years. Blanche Lincoln is running for re-election in 2010. If she's ever going to be persuadable, now is the time.

I agree with Jane completely. All Democratic politicians should be backing the public option if they want to see any kind of reform in the health-care industry.

We have a way we think can persuade Lincoln:

You can donate to Blue America's Campaign For Health Care Choice, here. It's getting harder every day, but it's not over. Blanche Lincoln is on the health sub-committee of the Senate Finance Committee and she's running for re-election in 2010. Let's see if her constituents think she should be handing out government goodies to these health industry fat cats and getting nothing in return while they struggle with health care premiums and growing unemployment.

We aren't standing still while the fat cats get fatter. So here's the thing. We've produced three different commercials with the help of BNF's to run in Lincoln's state of Arkansas and we need your help.

We've already raised over $18,000 so far and that's awesome, but what we want you to do next is it to vote for the ad that you think we should run first and you'll be letting us know by adding one, two, or three cents at the end of your donation on our Blue America's Campaign For Health Care page. Here's how it will go.

#1 Blue America Health Care Campaign - Blanche Lincoln: "I Thought We Had Insurance" Add one cent to your contribution if you want to vote for this spot.

#2 Blue America Health Care Campaign - Blanche Lincoln: "Bonuses" Add two cents to your contribution if you want to vote for this spot.
#3 Blue America Health Care Campaign - Blanche Lincoln: "Bailout" Add three cents to your contribution if you want to vote for this spot.

That's it, so a donation for #1 would look something like $20.01

Howie Klein explains:

Help us get the word out about Senator Lincoln by donating whatever you can afford to the spot (or spots) you think will persuade her voters to give her a call. The spot that collects the most money by Friday at noon will win. And if we persuade her to commit to the quality public plan, so will all Americans.

Everyone knows that if we don't have at least a vibrant public option, then health-care reform will be nothing more than health insurance companies giving us empty talking points about cutting costs and they will ultimately bamboozle their way into making just as much money by gaming the legislation and finding as many loopholes as they can. With a public option, we'll at least have a choice about the direction we want our health care system to go and remember, it's a huge start. America has been trying to reform health care since Harry Truman.

Digby has an incredible post up that chronicles the history of this debate. As you can see, it's been an almost impossible task.

But right now there is a real chance for the first time in 65 years to enact universal health care, however imperfect the specifics of it may be. I'm sure whatever they pass will be inadequate, just as medicare and Social Security were inadequate when they were originally passed. It seems to be the American way. But if our political and business elites have finally come to the consensus that America should join the first world and create a system that guarantees coverage to everyone, then I think we have to take the leap while we can. History shows that these chances don't come along every day. In fact, they come along about every couple of decades and we very rarely can even take an incremental step. We need to get universal health care on the books.

Quinnipiac just did another poll which said that almost 70% of Americans want the government to create a health care alternative: Most Americans Support Public Health Care Option, Poll Finds

Sixty-nine percent of Americans support creation of a government-run health plan to compete with private insurance companies, a new poll found. In addition, 52 percent of those surveyed by Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University said such a plan would keep the private insurance companies honest...read on

"If we build it, they will come." So, let us know which ad you want us to run and keep the money flowing.



Blanche Lincoln, here we come!

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We spent almost all day yesterday filming our commercial spots which target Blanche Lincoln's non-support of a vibrant public option at the C&L Bat Cave. Digby, d-day and BNF's were amazing. Gordon Skene of Newstalgia also joined the crew and did a bang up job.

I want to thank the readers that have donated to Blue America's Campaign For Health Care Choice so far. We can still use your help. I told you that we weren't going to sit by and watch and we're getting to work.

Adam Green from the PCCC wrote a nice post about our effort called:

Progressive Super Heros vs. Blanche Lincoln...who will win?

Some of my favorite progressive bloggers are teaming up with one of my favorite progressive filmmakers to air a new ad in Arkansas calling out Blanche Lincoln for selling out on the public option.

I'll be donating to help put it on the air -- you can consider it too...read on

While we were shooting all day did we miss any Republican sex scandals? Huh, anything? Maybe Newt Gingrich switched religions again?



Americans Want Real Health Care Reform. Help Us Make Congress Understand

Judging from the talking points being constantly spewed by the likes of Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Max Baucus (DLC-MT), Blanche Lincoln (DLC-AR), Mary Landrieu (DLC-LA), Joe Lieberman (DLC-CT), and Ben Nelson (DLC-NE), and by the coverage in the corporate media, all of it driven primarily by corporate dollars, one would think that most people oppose Obama's tyrannical plans to impose dreaded health care reform on the American people. But, no. Americans overwhelmingly want health care reform. Wisely, they don't trust the crooked CEOs who run the insurance companies and they don't trust the bought off, sold out Republicans in Congress. Every single poll that comes out shows that Americans-- by gargantuan margins-- favor genuine, government-run health care.

That's why the insurance companies and their shills in Congress are fighting tooth and nail, like mad dogs, to kill the compromise between an Insurance company bailout (the Senate Finance Committee plan authored by Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley) and single payer. The compromise, which offers consumers a choice, is called the "public option." Anyone who likes their for-profit Insurance company's service can stick with it. Otherwise, they can opt for the non-profit government run plan. Studies by the insurance industry show that within a couple of years there will be virtually no people choosing for-profit insurance companies.

John is in Florida but he e-mailed me this story from the NY Times and asked me to pass it along and remind people that Blue America is asking for donations for the television ads we're doing to make Arkansas voters aware that their senator isn't really their senator; Blanche Lincoln belongs to the Big Business CEOs who have financed her career. While she works behind the scenes to protect the interests of her Insurance Industry patrons, Americans "are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll." Even half the respondents who admitted they are Republicans prefer this plan, while among normal Americans, the margins are staggering. Look at this chart and then please consider learning more about (or donating to) our Campaign for Health Care Choice.

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The DCCC sent out an exceptionally well-done clip today pointing to the difference between Obama's vision of Hope and the Republican vision of failure. Please take a look at it. There's no doubt that the Republicans are on a mission to not just obstruct, but to undermine-- everything, from health care reform to the economic recovery and even to the safety of the nation itself. The clip puts forth a strong message, a compelling message. But it just isn't bipartisan enough. After all, it isn't only Republicans who want the single most important piece of Obama's change agenda-- substantive health care reform-- to fail. Plenty of Democrats get the exact same huge handouts from the exact same Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Insurance lobbyists and CEOs. And they will do anything to prevent single payer health care from passing-- or even being brought into the discussion!

I've got the full story up at DownWithTyranny, but John called from the airport and asked me to remind everyone to please consider helping out with the Blue America initiative to save the public option. As John keeps pointing out, health care reform isn't really a Republican vs Democratic issue; it's an issue for the welfare of all American families-- which is why a staggering 83% of Americans want the public option.

Blue America has launched this new campaign to persuade senators who routinely take a great deal of money from Big Insurance to work for their constituents, not for their campaign contributors. We are working with Brave New Films to put together a series of TV commercials that we will start running next month in Arkansas, home of two anti-reform Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Please read more about the plan-- and consider helping us put it into effect-- here at our Blue America page.



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.

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