Blue America Welcomes Back An Old Friend-- Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH)

There weren't many progressives who got dragged under in the Tea Party tsunami-- or more appropriately, in the stay-at-home malaise from the Democratic base that practically wiped the GOP-leaning Blue Dogs off the map. But several of Blue America's best old friends were among that tiny handful-- Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold, Carol Shea-Porter and Mary Jo Kilroy. This week Blue America is very happy to be endorsing Mary Jo once again. And the great news is that in their rush to lock in an unfair Republican electoral map, the state legislature has created one super-blue district based around Columbus... the heart of Mary Jo's old seat. She's off and running and Blue America wants to help her get back into Congress. So do Progressive Caucus co-chairs, Raúl Grijalva and Keith Ellison, who endorsed her on the same day she announced she would run. She'll be joining us for a live chat here in the comments section (below) today at 2pm (ET). You can contribute to her campaign here at the Blue America ActBlue page.

One of the things that first attracted us to Mary Jo is that she came roaring into Congress and immediately flew in the face of both party establishments by voting against the Bush TARP bailout, which she recognized as an unwarranted giveaway to the Wall Street banksters. Today she's still hammering home what she was saying then:

"We must focus on jobs and the economy. It is time we re-invest in America. Build roads, bridges and rail. Help our manufacturing sector revive. Provide strong job training programs. Expand VISTA and Americorps so young Americans can work to improve their neighborhoods, parks and coastal areas. We need to help those long term unemployed to get back in the workforce.

"It is time to stop giving tax breaks to the most privileged of our society and to end tax cuts for billionaires who pay a lower rate than their secretaries and end the tax loopholes that send our jobs overseas.

"It is time for the millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. They have benefited while working people have been hurt in the economy over the last decade. As Elizabeth Warren was so correct in
pointing out, they benefited from the teachers who taught their workers, the police and fire fighters who protect their homes and businesses, the public roads they use to take their products to market. When I was in Congress I called for a vote-- before the 2010 election-- on ending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and voted against extending that tax cut.

She went from championing working families inside Congress to working on a grassroots level in the campaign to defeat Kasich's anti-labor legislation. "Teachers, police and firefighters," she emphasizes, "did not cause the problems with Ohio's budget."

I asked her about the healthcare reform bill that she supported in the House. She called it "a start, a beta version" of what she envisions. "In the last Congress, I voted against the anti-choice Stupak amendment. I pushed to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions are able to access care. I was disappointed in the failure to include a public option. I know there is more work to do to make health care affordable and accessible."



Blue America Welcomes John Waltz


You know what I love for Blue America? When we find a perfect candidate and he or she is running against a perfect villain. Michigan's 6th district offers us just that combination this cycle and I want to introduce you to Democrat John Waltz, a movement progressive, who's taking on cartoonish plutocrat, Fred Upton, the Whirlpool heir who has always treated the district as though it were a feudal fiefdom. Upton, by inheritance one of the richest members of the House, was appointed to the SuperCommittee by his crony John Boehner because Republicans know he will never agree to anything sensible that can in any way help dig the middle class out of the economic mess the modern day Robber Barons, in their unparalleled greed, have created for the rest of us. Today the man we hope will finally retire Upton from political life, John Waltz, will be joining us for a live blog session here in the comments section at 2pm, ET (11am, PT).

A 34 year old Iraq War vet, John is a completely dedicated champion for a commonsense progressive agenda, born and raised in Kalamazoo, the heart of the 6th district. It's a district Bush won in 2000 and 2004 with, respectively 52 and 53%. In 2008 Obama took the district 54-45%. When I started talking to John about this race this summer, he told me he feels Upton is alienating his constituents with his conspicuous, if defensive, move towards the Tea Party. "I fully expect him to propose privatizing Social Security, gutting Medicare, gutting the VA budget, working to get rid of the EPA, all to protect tax cuts for the 1,400 millionaires who didn't pay a dime in income taxes last year... and to do so again and again while normal people shoulder the load." John Conyers, Michigan's most progressive political leader, was out of the box endorsing Waltz.

Although Waltz has a lot to say on every major issue facing America today-- and all of it is spot on-- his campaign is all about getting the economy working again for ordinary American families. Talking to him this week, I didn't gather he was from the Tim Geithner/Rahm Emanuel/Harold Ford end of the Democratic Party.

The last ten years we have been transformed into a nation that has been brainwashed into thinking that they will one day be millionaires and that only their needs matter. The shame we bear as a nation is that we were unified by the tragedy on 9/11. It was short lived though and the last ten years will be remembered in history as the decade our economy was systematically looted by Wall Street, which was enabled by politicians in DC.

Instead of focusing on getting folks back to work and getting our economy back on its feet we have been lulled by the constant cries that we need to fix our deficit. The only deficit we need to fix is the chasm between the rich and the rest of us. While the middle class (what is left) and the poor are clawing away at just paying the essential bills, keeping a roof over our heads, and sending our kids to school, millionaires are basking in the glory of a government that coddles their every need. This is not the America I know, you know, or the one I thought I was fighting for when I joined the military.



Blue America Welcomes Chris Donovan (D-CT)

Last July Chris Donovan, Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives, wrote a powerful guest post at DWT, It's long past time to start rebuilding America. At the time, we pointed out why Chris is the kind of leader progressives long for.

He's not just good on the issues, he understands the mechanisms of power that create public policy. He's not the kind of progressive that sits around being right and not getting anything done. That's why he holds the top position in the Connecticut legislature, and that's why the Connecticut legislature has been taking such cutting-edge positions on issue after issue at a time when reactionaries like Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Rick Snyder, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Tom Corbett, Paul LePage, Bob McDonnell, etc. are dragging their states backwards.

Chris is running for the U.S. House seat in the western and central part of the state (CT-5) being given up by Senate-bound Chris Murphy. It looks like his opponent will be a crazed teabagger, Mark Greenberg, a firm believer in ending Social Security and Medicare so corporate taxes can be further cut and the estate tax on multimillionaires can be eliminated. He's wrong on every single issue-- from the environment and women's Choice to gun control and national security.

But, like I said, Chris is not just right on every issue; he's been a leader on every issue. He led the successful fights in the Connecticut House to pass 12 minimum wage increases, implement the strongest campaign finance reform legislation in the country, allow all Connecticut students to pay instate tuition rates through the CT DREAM Act, create the first statewide paid sick leave legislation in the country, ensure marriage equality, end discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity, decriminalize marijuana, and implement a municipal pooling of health care and prescription coverage that will save both the state and its cities and towns money-- the first step on the path to a public option for Connecticut. Dream candidate? Absolutely-- and Blue America's latest endorsed candidate-- and very much worth helping elect to Congress!

Like every candidate Blue America has endorsed this year, Chris has told us that jobs is the single most important issue voters in his district are concerned about. If you listen closely, though, Chris isn't using Republican Party/Inside-the-Beltway framing to discuss it. He's very much an advocate for public sector jobs and for the government playing a vital role in the general welfare of the nation. "Our private industries and small businesses need customers," he told me yesterday, "at the same time that our towns and cities need teachers, nurses, and public safety workers. Instead of calling for more jobs to be cut, Republicans and pundits in Washington and Hartford should join progressive Democrats in investing in quality jobs with strong benefits that benefit our communities. We need more teachers, more firefighters, more construction workers, and more nurses. The Republicans in the House claimed to be running on a jobs agenda in 2010-- more than 240 days and zero jobs bills later, it’s time for them to honor their promises."

Above is a video of Chris announcing his campaign last week. He went right to protecting Social Security and Medicare from ravenous Republican class war fanatics. "When I hear that the Inside-the-Beltway crowd is talking about cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, I am outraged. These programs make America what it is, a country that cares-- about our seniors, about our children, about our people. That’s what I’m going to fight for in Congress-- to protect our future, to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and to make sure they are around to protect our grandparents and our grandchildren."

Chris will be joining us for a live q&a session in the comments section below today at 2pm (ET). I hope you'll come over and meet him and hear what he has to say. And, if you can, please consider giving him a hand in the only district in New England Republicans are targeting for a blue to red switch. You can contribute to his campaign here.



Ed Potosnak Comes Out For k.d. lang... A New Blue America Contest


I was the general manager of Sire Records when k.d. lang released her platinum smash album, Ingénue in 1992. I worked on the amazing video for "Constant Craving," which I wanted to use in this post. But Warner Bros Records, a company long since pillaged by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and sold off for spare parts to the Russian Mafia, doesn't allow embedding for the clip on YouTube. So... below, the song that inspired the Rolling Stones' "Anybody Seen My Baby" 5 years later-- yes, k.d. gets writing credit on it-- is the live Grammy Awards performance. In fact, the song won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Aside for my love for k.d. and for her music, why am I bringing this up now? Glad you asked. k.d. is also one of Ed Potosnak's favorite all-time artists and, as you probably know, Blue America has endorsed Ed for the New Jersey congressional seat currently held by anti-health care reactionary Leonard Lance. See that platinum award disc up top? k.d. gave that to me after her album sold a million copies. This week she agreed to personally autograph it, not to me, but to whomever wins our Ed Potosnak contest. She's playing at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ on September 22. So... we'll pick a lucky random winner on September 20 and Ed will personally take the plaque backstage so k.d. can sign it to the winner. So, the obvious question: how do you enter?

That's easy: just donate to Ed's campaign here-- any amount; after all, we're not Republicans-- and one winner will be chosen at random to get this very special Thank You from Blue America. We did a similar kind of contest for a signed Green Day guitar and raised over $5,000 although the winner just gave $10. Make sure you contribute between now and September 20th, either on the linked ActBlue page or by check to Blue America PAC, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

But, apart from wanting a memento of k.d.'s incredible career, why donate to Ed's campaign? We've written about him many times before but you can get to know more about him from this guest post he wrote in July. Ed's a science teacher and yesterday he told me that "our future is in today's classrooms. All across our nation great disparities exist between the educational experiences of some students and others. Not only is it not fair, these inequities hurt our future. Republicans have shown their disregard for our future time again by slashing aid to schools, teacher bashing, and cutting support for our colleges. For America to remain economically competitive in the global economy, Congress needs educators like myself to make sure every child is treated fairly and has access to a high quality education." Equality of all kinds is a hallmark of Ed's campaign. He also said that "our nation's diversity is one of our greatest strengths and in Congress I will work every day to ensure every American is treated equally. It is not acceptable to allow discriminatory policies to be on the books. As an openly gay man, I have experienced institutional discrimination and am committed to making sure it ends for all our communities."

Again, you can contribute to a stalwart and dedicated New Jersey progressive, Ed Potosnak, here at the Blue America page, and we'll enter you in the running for the k.d. lang RIAA platinum award for Ingénue. While you think about it, see if you can resist this:



Blue America Proudly Welcomes Senator Bernie Sanders For a Live Chat

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International Big Business, the Oil Industry, serial polluters... they've been trying to end Bernie Sanders' political career for many years. But, until now, weak, lax campaign rules have held them back, at least to some extent. This year, America's preeminent tribune for working families, may not-- at least according to Public Policy Polling -- have a strong potential Republican opponent. But what he does have is a Citizens United empowered plutocracy who hate him more than anyone in Washington. Bernie Sanders is the Senator up for reelection endorsed by Blue America this year... the one even running for Senate at all we've endorsed so far. That's because Bernie is clear and consistent and driven by values and principles to fight for the legitimate aspirations of regular American families. He doesn't belong to any special interests. He belongs to us. Just listen to what he has to say about the Koch Brothers in the clip above. And, better, join us in the C&L comments section below at 2pm (ET) and meet Bernie for yourself. And, please do think about contributing what you can to help him stave off the attack we know is coming courtesy of a deranged and reactionary Supreme Court ruling in favor of plutocracy and against democracy.

This week Bernie gave a keynote address to the delegates of the United Steelworkers of America at their convention in Las Vegas. He told us he wants to talk with us today about the same stuff he discussed with the 3,000 steelworkers Thursday and the same stuff that he'll be talking about with the New Hampshire Democrats at the Merrimack County annual picnic on Sunday. His message, he says, is "simple, straight-forward and appears to be resonating."

Yes, deficit reduction is important, but it is not the most important issue we face. We are in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and if the middle-class is to be saved we need to create millions of good paying jobs in the very near future. And we can do it. Here are three approaches that I will be working on to create the jobs we desperately need when Congress reconvenes after Labor Day.

He's been hammering three overarching themes. First is the need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, pointing out that "when we do that we not only create millions of good paying jobs, but we also make the entire country more productive and competitive in the global economy." After that he points to the need to move our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy breaking our dependence on Middle East oil, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing air pollution and putting "millions of Americans to work building American made solar panels, building American made wind turbines, building American made heat pumps and weatherizing millions of American homes with energy efficient products and technologies-- all made in America."

And his third theme is how "we have got to fundamentally rewrite our trade policy laws so that American products, not jobs are our number one export." If his rhetoric on this scares you, you've been brainwashed by the plutocratic overlords "Simply stated," he explains, "our current trade policy of unfettered free trade has been a disaster for American workers and must be reformed. Over the past thirty years, we have been told by the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama that unfettered free trade will increase jobs in America. They have been proven wrong. NAFTA has led to the loss of over one million American jobs. Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China has led to the loss of over 2 million American jobs." He worries that if George W. Bush's unfettered free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are signed into law by this President, even more American jobs will be lost. I will be doing my best to fight against these job-killing free trade agreements and come up with a trade approach which is based on the principles of fair trade, not unfettered free trade."

"Despair is not an option," he says. We need to "make sure that government represents all the people, not just the wealthy and powerful... This fight is not just about what happens to our lives. More importantly, it’s what happens to our kids and grandchildren. For their sakes, we cannot give up the struggle." You can see why so many people consider him a national treasure and you can see why Blue America is so determined to help him keep his seat in the U.S. Senate. It's The People's seat amidst so many seats that belong to every sort of wealthy, powerful, selfish special interest. If you can help, please give what you can afford.



A Right Wing Plot To Delegitimize Democracy?


Many progressives, though certainly not all, are disappointed with President Obama for acquiescing to right-wing talking points about deficits and Austerity. It got worse yesterday. But it's still a touchy-- and some even say still nuanced-- topic in Democratic circles. But I think what all Democrats-- and hopefully most Americans-- can agree on is that the extremist obsession with delegitimizing Barack Obama, no matter how you feel about what a weak and ineffective president he is and how angry you may be that he caves to the corporate right, and his presidency is destructive to the country. The GOP version of a "debate" over how to handle the debt ceiling is an attempt at a modern day coup d'etat by the far right. Making the country ungovernable, wrecking the economy and threating the well-being of millions of families is standard operating procedure for fascistic movements. And it's a procedure that has been more and more put into action by the Republicans since Obama was elected.

This weekend they have pulled every parliamentary trick out of their black hat to force the country into default-- or force President Obama out of his comfort zone and into acting on his own to protect the country from their nilhilism in a way that will trigger immediate impeachment hearings. It has long been clear that the ONLY solution to this manufactured debt ceiling "crisis" is to pass a clean bill and then go back to fighting over competing agendas without jeopardizing the fiscal life of American families, businesses, the country itself-- and the world economy.

And as for the competing agendas, we've seen what the conservative agenda is: more grossly unfair tax cuts for the rich and lots of "shared" sacrifice of the rest of us. THEY ARE GUNNING FOR MEDICARE IN A BIG WAY. And after that they want to abolish Social Security by privatizing it. If we don't have a president willing to stand up and protect the values and principles behind Medicare and Social Security, it makes all the more crucial that we have Members of Congress who will.

We've been talking to Blue America's endorsed candidates about a statement that sums up where they stand on the competing agendas. In the end, former and future Congressman Alan Grayson wrote it and Ed Potosnak, Nick Ruiz, Ilya Sheyman and Norman Solomon signed onto it. Please read it carefully. Blue America won't be endorsing any candidates this cycle who can't embrace these ideas with heartfelt enthusiasm:

Every one of us either collects Social Security benefits, or hopes one day to do so. Virtually every one of us who works for a living contributes to Social Security, and earns the right to Social Security. For many of us, without Social Security benefits, we would have work until the day we die.

Every one of us either enjoys Medicare coverage, or hopes one day to do so. Virtually every one of us who works for a living contributes to Medicare, and earns the right to Medicare coverage. For many of us, when we are old and sick, Medicare coverage will be the difference between our own life and death.

Any one of us can fall prey to poverty. For some, poverty might come through sickness, injury, disability or medical bills. For others, it might come from a lack of education, or from discrimination and bigotry. Or it may come with unemployment or divorce. Regardless of how it happens, any one of us who is poor and sick, or becomes poor and sick, may need Medicaid coverage to alleviate terrible pain and suffering, and even to stay alive.

A just society is one that shelters the homeless, feeds the hungry, and heals the sick. It is one that honors our fathers and mothers. Our first responsibility as Americans is to meet our own needs, and to take care of ourselves. We are judged by how we treat the least among us, the most vulnerable among us.

Therefore, all we who sign this make the following pledge, to the voters of our districts and to all the American People:

We Are Against Any and Every Cut to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Not today, not tomorrow, and not ever. No way, no how. Not on your life, and not on mine, because both your life and my life may depend on it.

N-E-V-E-R.

Do you approve? Please show your encouragement to Alan Grayson, Ed Potosnak, Nick Ruiz, Ilya Sheyman and Norman Solomon at our Blue America Act Blue page. Actually, showing encouragement is only part of what we're asking. We need to help these guys get elected to Congress so they can put these ideas into practice.

UPDATE: KRUGMAN SAYS IT'S A CATASTROPHE

So while John Conyers is calling for demonstrations at the White House against Obama's deal, Paul Krugman is brutally honest in the Times: "Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels... [M]any commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong."

For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.

Start with the economics. We currently have a deeply depressed economy. We will almost certainly continue to have a depressed economy all through next year. And we will probably have a depressed economy through 2013 as well, if not beyond.

The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.

Indeed, slashing spending while the economy is depressed won’t even help the budget situation much, and might well make it worse. On one side, interest rates on federal borrowing are currently very low, so spending cuts now will do little to reduce future interest costs. On the other side, making the economy weaker now will also hurt its long-run prospects, which will in turn reduce future revenue. So those demanding spending cuts now are like medieval doctors who treated the sick by bleeding them, and thereby made them even sicker.

And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction-- and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts.

Republicans will supposedly have an incentive to make concessions the next time around, because defense spending will be among the areas cut. But the G.O.P. has just demonstrated its willingness to risk financial collapse unless it gets everything its most extreme members want. Why expect it to be more reasonable in the next round?

In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.

Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes.

First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call.

...It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.

And Krugman's editors agreed with him. They were brutally honest too, calling the SatanSandwich deal "a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery."



California's Most Outstanding Senate Candidate--Blue America Endorses Tony Mendoza for CA State Senate

Last night Wisconsin's extreme right Governor, ideologue Scott Walker, suffered a major rebuke when his acolyte, Jeff Stone, was soundly defeated in the race for his old job, Milwaukee County Executive, by a little-known Democrat, Chris Abele. It was a stunning 60-40% loss for the Republicans.

People think that California is a far more solidly Blue state where there's much less to worry about. True enough, California has a Democratic governor, state Senate and state Assembly. But that's hardly the end of the story. All of the Republicans and nearly all of the Democrats are in the pockets of the big money lobbyists, who practically run Sacramento. You can count the number of dyed-in-the-wool progressives in the legislature on the fingers of one hand. Last month Digby, John and I spent some time with one of the most outstanding and courageous of them, Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, who has had a spectacular career in the Assembly and is campaigning for the state Senate seat opening up in his East L.A. area.

Blue America is proud to endorse him and proud to ask you to consider making a contribution to his Senate campaign.

Tony, the son of immigrant parents, farm workers, is a former school teacher and the first in his family to go to college. Public education is close to his heart and he has been one of California's most outspoken champions for teachers and students. "I have benefited," he told us, "from a system that is free, open and non-discriminatory. The greatest strength of the U.S. educational system is universal access to public education. This belief is what keeps our country competitive. It is what fuels the American dream. More than 90 percent of students in the United States attend public schools. And if they try hard, almost all of them have the opportunity to go to college-- the opportunity to make whatever they wish of their lives. I fight for public education not only because I am a former public school teacher of 10 years, but because I am one of those kids you read about who has defied the odds and graduated from college. I know I couldn’t have done it without a strong public education system and I am committed to preserving, protecting and strengthening it for the benefit of future generations.”

When Tony got to the Assembly, instead of resigning himself to a go-along-to-get-along mode, he moved right into action, never fearing controversy. His very first bill, A.B. 97 in 2007 was all about ending the use of trans fats in California restaurants. With the special interests-- particularly the California Restaurant Association and the Chamber of Commerce-- lined up solidly against him, it literally looked impossible. It took two years and he didn't get a single Republican vote, but he managed to get it passed and signed into law. "We're the first state to require restaurants to cook without artery-clogging trans-fats, which have been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Banning their use helped to reduce the number of cases of cardiovascular disease-- the No. 1 killer in the nation-- by an estimated 6 to 19 percent, reducing health care costs and most importantly, saving lives.”

That's why Tony is in government service-- to make a real difference in people's lives. It's why Digby, John and I have decided to try to help keep him in government service and why we're recommending him today. Right now we're working with him on a bill he's shepherding through the legislative process again, A.B. 22, a model for what progressives in Washington would like to do. Tony's bill would prevent employers from using credit reports to discriminate against workers. It's already passed both houses twice and was vetoed twice by Schwarzenegger. “A credit report," Tony told us, "is not a good indicator of a person’s trustworthiness or work ethic. Many Californians are still experiencing financial hardships from the economic downturn including layoffs, high unemployment rates, and the ongoing foreclosure crisis. All of these things make it harder for people to pay their bills. Consider the condition of the economy and the negative effect these circumstances can have on a person’s credit-- a credit report is an unfair lens through which to view job applicants. Using credit checks in the hiring process decreases employment opportunities. Many people have blemishes on their credit reports, especially at this time in our economy. Preventing someone from becoming employed due to a poor credit history is shameful. This bill will simply remove an unnecessary barrier to employment for those seeking jobs.”

It's likely the L.A. Democratic Machine will run a candidate more easy for them to deal with against Tony. Blue America is proud to endorse him and proud to ask you to consider making a contribution to his Senate campaign. Tony will be joining us for a live chat at Crooks and Liars 2pm (PT) on Thursday and we hope you can come by and meet him. He's an extraordinary guy-- and a leader for the future.

Thanks for doing what you can,
digby, John, Howie and the Blue America team



New Jersey's Biggest Hypocrite-- The New Blue America Ad Leonard Lance Forced Us To Make

Last night Forbes Magazine summed up our dilemma: because technically our first ad was inaccurate-- we didn't mention that Lance was still taking government-subsidized healthcare paid for by New Jersey taxpayers through the state plan instead of the far less costly federal congressional plan-- we had to stop running it on WCTC, 1450AM in Somerset. "[T]he reason Rep. Lance turned down the federal benefits," explains Forbes "is because he’s already getting a better policy at a much better deal from the State of New Jersey. As a retiree from the state senate, he qualified for a free Cadillac style health care plan the state provides for retirees and their families (he does have to pay co-pays but no premiums) for life."

That would be one of the programs that have come under attack by conservative Governor Chris Christie in his battle with public employee unions over the unusually lucrative benefits paid to retiring public servants.

Oops. So much for sacrificing to make a point.

...What is important here is that Rep. Lance and his family are in great shape when it comes to their own health care thanks to the generosity of the taxpayers of New Jersey. As for the Americans who would be denied health coverage by Lance’s repeal vote-- coverage that does not even begin to approach the quality of what the good Congressman is receiving for free-- well, I guess that’s a personal problem for Americans that Rep. Lance cannot be bothered about.

So... our new ad (above) is ready to go and we're getting it up on WCTC this week. And we'd like to get it on some other stations as well. Can you help us do that through our ActBlue page?

Ed Potosnak, the Blue America-endorsed candidate from 2010, who is looking like Lance's likely challenger in 2012 as well, is demanding that Lance "come clean with New Jerseyans and admit the radio ads run on WCTC were essentially correct." We agree.

Lance claimed ads educating listeners to the fact that he voted to deny everyday Americans the benefits, protections, and security he gets through Government provided healthcare for him and his family were false. After Congressman Lance requested the ad be pulled because he forwent federal insurance, what Mr. Lance was attempting to conceal was then uncovered. Congressman Lance’s family health insurance is being paid for by New Jersey taxpayers, to the tune of $1,906.42 per month, or $22,877.04 per year, more than twice the cost of the federal plan.

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“If we are going to get our edge back in America we need to change the people in Washington because our families are taxed enough and deserve some honesty,” Potosnak added. “I am committed to creating jobs for unemployed Americans by simulating innovation, research and development and improving education,” he concluded.

When Lance's clueless bully of a Chief of Staff, Todd Mitchell, insisted WCTC stop running the ad because of the technicality, he stepped in it big time. "I should've kept my mouth shut," he moaned to the Cherry Hill Post-Courier when Lance was exposed trying to mislead his own constituents by making them believe he was paying for his own healthcare without any government subsidies, the way he insists they do.

We'll look forward to helping Democrats win back this seat, one that President Obama won in 2010, next year and replacing a hypocritical and dishonest career politician with a forward-thinking progressive, hopefully Ed Potosnak. Somehow I have a feeling New Jersey residents are sick and tired of being represented by Snooki and Leonard Lance. Again, give us a hand if you can with the ad here and... listen to it again:

John Amato: Here's my quote from Blue America's press release:

"Governor Christie," said Amato, "claims he's opposed to these Cadillac style plans for state retirees. Well Lance's plan is a Rolls Royce, not a Caddy and he didn't need to be burdening New Jersey taxpayers with his family healthcare. He could have done what almost every other member of Congress did-- including all the other Republicans in the New Jersey delegation-- and accepted the federal plan. Or is Christie's opposition just for public employee unions-- teachers, firefighters and policemen-- and not for career politicians like Lance?"



Alan Grayson's Got Your Back on Foreclosure Fraud. Won't you get his on November 2nd? UPDATED

You know, when America's worst columnist devotes an entire piece to his eliminationist right-wing wish for the voters to "purge" you from the American scene, you have to figure you're scoring, and against some sensitive targets. Why else target you?

Well, Alan Grayson has been fighting the good fight for the people of Florida 08 since he hit the halls of Congress in 2009. And he's been out in front of every other politician in the country in demanding accountability for the greatest banking fraud scandal in American history. When he heard reports of banks foreclosing on homes they didn't own, he didn't consult pollsters or political strategists, Grayson took action and requested that the Florida Supreme Court step in. That public request got the ball rolling and Attorney's General and state officials across the nation looked at the evidence of similar fraudulent behavior and called for moratoriums on foreclosures.

As this foreclosure fraud scandal unfolds, Grayson remains at the forefront of those demanding accountability, speaking plainly and assertively of the need for this criminal behavior to come to and end so the country can finally start to rebuild from the rubble. And like Republicans running for national office all over America, his opponent has breathed nary a word about it, fearing, as they all do, the wrath of the big banks and wealthy financial interests who want to sweep this under the rug to protect their profits.

If you want someone who isn't afraid to take on the big corporate interests, someone who isn't afraid to take on entrenched political power, who isn't afraid, period, you'll vote for Alan Grayson. He's got your back -- won't you get his?

You can donate to his campaign to help him keep fighting the good fight, here.

UPDATE:

VP Joe Biden and the White House stepped up their support for him even after the DCCC snubbed Alan Grayson and are hosting a fundraiser for him. This is great news, but remember that Grayson is the #1 enemy of Republicans and Tea Partiers.

Please help him out if you can especially after George Will unleashed a vicious attack on him. This only proves how effective Grayson has been at fighting back against the Republicans every day he's spent in Congress.

You can donate to his campaign to help him keep fighting the good fight, here.



What Has Bobby Bright Earned?

Crossposted at DownWithTyranny

This is from his own ad; he's braggin'-- he even uses a 2 decades old photo of the vain Boehner

You may have noticed a building antipathy here at DWT towards reactionary Democrat, Bobby Bright. Before he started his campaign ads, Bright had already marked himself out as the single most reactionary Democrat in the House. His ProgressivePunch score-- a dismal 19.83 (out of 100)-- is not just the lowest Democrat's score; it's also lower than two conservative Republicans'! Bright has shown his fealty to Boehner on every single contentious issue that has come before Congress in the past two years. In fact, when SCHIP came up for it's final vote only two Democrats crossed the aisle to vote against health care for needy children and Bright, of course, was one of the two. He has been sure to noisily vote against a woman's right to Choice (and, like Christine O'Donnell, he's even been against contraception), against equality for the LGBT community, against health care reform, against Wall Street reform, against energy legislation... You name it-- if Barack Obama was for it, Bobby Bright was against it. And that's been the theme of his reelection campaign, a reelection campaign that the latest polling shows he might be winning.

His ads and campaign statements target and demonize Nancy Pelosi, while building up... John Boehner. He's flat-out declared he won't vote for her as Speaker, the minimum Democrats have required of their candidates. This hasn't stopped the clods at the DCCC from spending more on Bright than on any other Democratic incumbent, close to a million dollars so far with more coming-- enough money to have shored up the shaky seats of real Democrats like Alan Grayson, Raúl Grijalva, John Hall, Mary Jo Kilroy and Carol Shea Porter or to have won races by cash-starved progressive challengers Ed Potosnak, Bill Hedrick, Billy Kennedy, Joyce Elliott, Beth Krom and Justin Coussoule. If the Democrats lose the majority-- or if its close enough to matter-- it is widely assumed in Washington that Bright will jump the fence if he's reelected and officially join the party he's always supporting anyway.

But the stupid, incompetent Republicans haven't figured out how to beat him. They're busy calling him a Nancy Pelosi pawn in the white suburbs of Montgomery, where he-- and his reactionary politics-- are quite popular. So Blue America decided to point out his record to some other of Bright's constituents. Yesterday, we began a massive, targeted radio and TV campaign in just 4 counties, the 4 counties where Barack Obama did best in 2008, the 4 counties most badly effected by Bright's anti-family votes, the 4 counties that make it hard for a Democrat to win district-wide without landslide victories: Lowndes, Bullock, Barbour and Butler. When the African-American precincts in and around Montgomery were gerrymandered into the 3rd CD, the 2nd was left as a hopeless Republican bastion. It's a freak of nature that even a throwback Democrat as far to the right as Bright could have ever won the seat. He won it 144,368-142,578... but with massive support from the African-American voters in Lowndes, Bullock, Barbour and Butler counties, voters whose interests he has consistently ignored since being elected. Obama only won 36% of the vote in Alabama's 2nd CD but he won landslides in Lowndes County (5,447 to 1,807) and Bullock County (4,001 to 1,389) and ties in Butler and Barbour counties. This is the radio ad some local actors have made for us:

It was paid for by a single targeted contribution. No general Blue America PAC money was used to make it or to put it on the air. And we're aware that not everyone thinks it's sage to help defeat a Democrat in a perilous election like this. But what exactly does Bobby Bright bring to the table? What good would saving his seat do? He's already announced he won't vote for Pelosi (which means he won't vote to organize the House for the Democrats). He votes with the GOP on every contentious issue. He works within the Democratic caucus to destroy or water down every single piece of progressive legislation he can get his hands on. And he denigrates the Democratic brand with his framing, making it seem toxic to even be a Democrat. Yesterday when Crisitunity at SwingState reported on our I.E., he offered that "This has to be one of the weirdest IEs of the cycle: Blue America is spending in AL-02 of all places, and they're spending $48K against Bobby Bright. I guess they hate Blue Dogs just that much." Well... it isn't really about Blue Dogs per se. We even helped raise some money for one, Mike Michaud (ME) when he worked on the public option and we've been fair to moderate Blue Dogs who break from the pack and do good things from time to time, like Patrick Murphy. This is about Bobby Bright and that should be clear to anyone who bothers to look at his record and his political framing. When Democrats passed the DISCLOSE Act in the House, to stop the flow of foreign money into American elections, something they knew would be a boon for the GOP and a disaster for Democrats, Bright was one of the Blue Dogs to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans. He is one of only five Democrats-- each a reactionary-- who has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the funnel for millions of yuan, dinars and rubles being used to pervert our country's political system.

If you'd like to help us with this ad, you can do it here. Otherwise, consider helping keep progressive champions like Alan Grayson and Raúl Grijalva in office or help progressive House challengers like Bill Hedrick, Ann Kuster, Justin Coussoule, Ed Potosnak, Billy Kennedy and Joyce Elliott or Senate challengers like Elaine Marshall, Joe Sestak and Jack Conway.

This is a Democratic Party ad that was released this morning. Does it get you angry at Republicans? It should. But every single thing it says about Republicans, it also says about Bobby Bright (upon whose reelection efforts the DCCC has thus far lavished $1,128,188.33):




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