Don't Send Flowers

My name is Jacquie and I work with Digby, John and Howie at Blue America. Not sure I need to remind you (they’ve already started…) but you're about to get bombarded with "urgent" (desperate) pleas for end-of-the-quarter contributions from the DCCC, the DSCC, the DNC, and candidates and incumbents far and wide. They use these letters to compile master lists of donors— since all those organizations sell and share their e-mail addresses with... anyone they want to. Let me assure you, we don’t.

Since Howie’s been writing about the process he's going through fighting cancer we've had dozens of beautiful letters from Blue America members, many of whom wanted to know where to send flowers while he's in the hospital. He says he’s very grateful for the warm wishes but he's not allowed near flowers-- not even dried ones-- until his immune system in built back up again.

Howie asked me to suggest something else instead.

All of us were elated about the Supreme Court decision that came down Friday, putting the ultimate constitutional seal of approval on marriage equality. This year, as part of the Blue America candidate endorsement process we ask all prospective candidates about their public stand on LGBT equality, in terms of marriage, work, housing, discrimination. No candidate gets a Blue America endorsement who is wishy-washy or tentative about equality.

Another part of the screening process is gauging how dedicated candidates are towards protecting and strengthening the social welfare net conservatives have been shredding since Ronald Reagan was president. We look for candidates who fit in with the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders/Alan Grayson wing of the party; dedicated to expanding Social Security, strengthening Medicare and fighting for the legitimate interests of ordinary working families. Not one of the Blue America-endorsed candidates would compromise away the hard-fought gains that protect the elderly and the most economically vulnerable among us.

We strongly believe that our work here will eventually lead to having a real Congress that represents “We, The People.”

So... instead of flowers for Howie, how about considering helping one or more of the progressive candidates Blue America has endorsed for the 2016 cycle? These are dedicated public servants with vision, not self-serving careerists... and not near and dear to Big Business and Wall Street. Their campaigns are grassroots affairs and they are dependent on small donations to get their messages out.

You can find the whole list of our candidates here-- there are only eight so far who have earned our endorsement. Please give what you can but remember what Howie always says: there is no contribution that is too small.



Jeff Denham (R-CA)-- Disingenuous And Misleading

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Credit: Eye Catching Media driver
Jeff Denham wants to cut Medicare-- but he doesn't want his voters to know that

A friend of mine, Michael Stewart Foley, had an interesting way to start the introduction to his newest book, The Rise Of Front Porch Politics In America. It sounds like he's talking about a bumper sticker, but what he's really talking about is how politicians do everything they can to hide the simple facts from the voters. Nothing is ever clear Inside the Beltway.

Maybe you have seen it on America's highways, a bumpersticker designed to prick your conscience" IF YOU'RE NOT OUTRAGED, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION. A few years ago, that slogan most often appeared alongside an image of George W. Bush inside a circle with a line running through his face; these days, the face might be Barack Obama's. It is an amazingly versatile phrase, equally at home on bumpers sporting Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street slogans. Over the years it has been marshaled in the service of many political causes, but it originated in the 1970s and 1980s, when Americans were notably outraged about a wide range of issues.

At the risk of over-thinking mass-manufactured protest items, I begin with the bumpersticker because it expresses a very particular and personal kind of passion and anger over the state of the union. "You're not paying attention" means that you, individually, are ignoring things that should preoccupy, rankle and motivate you. The driver in front of you hopes to leave you thinking about who you are as an American, what you expect from your country and fellow citizens, and what you are prepared to do to get it. The point is to shake you from your reckless complacency.

Wednesday the U.S. Senate voted to press forward with the vile package of bills that make up the TPP. This is how the official Senate publication that makes it easy for citizens to track votes described the successful attempt to shut down the filibuster against the job-killing package:

On the Cloture Motion: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2146; A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers to make penalty-free withdrawals from governmental plans after age 50, and for other purposes.

How many people do you know who would understand that the 60 senators who voted for it were voting for the catastrophic corporate trade agenda? Don't worry; they're not supposed to be able to figure it out. It's supposed to be lost to history so the senators can be reelected when the results of their support for this tragic legislation kick in.

Blue America has been running a moving billboard campaign in two Central Valley congressional districts, CA-10 and CA-16, the former represented by Republican Jeff Denham and the latter represented by Blue Dog Jim Costa. Both are enthusiastic supporters of the reactionary trade agenda and both are mighty lucky that Congress has decided to write the laws in such a way that bribery in the form of "campaign contributions" is not considered bribery by the criminal justice system, a whole other deception worth taking time to think about.

Denham is well aware that his Democratic-leaning district would not put up with a $700 million Medicare ripoff to grease the skids of the TPP, so he tried to disguise his support. (Costa, who has no respect for the voters who have given him a comfy lifestyle, doesn't care if the voters know what he did or not.)

Modesto Bee reporter Nan Austin asked Denham's office for a comment on the rather blunt and unambiguous accusations against him that are being driven up and down CA-10 and into almost every city and town Denham represents.

"Congressman Jeff Denham just voted to cut your mom’s Medicare by $700 million to finance a trade agenda that sends your job to China" is not what Denham wants voters thinking about when they decide between him and Democrat Michael Eggman. But that is exactly what we want voters to be thinking about when they visit the polls next year. Austin:

The Denham camp called the signs "disingenuous and misleading."

"Congressman Denham supported legislation to eliminate the Medicare cuts that were contained in the Senate version of TPA, and he supported legislation to increase trade and bring jobs to the Central Valley. This a disingenuous and misleading line of attack," said Denham Press Secretary Jordan Langdon, in response to a Bee inquiry.

Blue America, however, stood behind the Blue America Pac political ads, saying the message referred to an earlier vote that included the Medicare cut. Denham voted against that portion of what was then a two-part package, but the group called that a slight of hand.

"Costa voted for both halves. Denham voted for one half. But the clear intent of the House Republicans was to pass both halves," said a Blue America spokesman who would give only the pen name Gaius Publius. "Any vote for any piece was a vote for the whole package to succeed," he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

If you'd like to help Blue America keep the truck rolling for Denham and Costa, here's what you can do.



Women Have Come A Long Way-- Still Plenty Of Work to Be Done


In 1968 Phillip Morris launched a brand and marketing campaign targeting women... for death-- Virginia Slims: "You've come a long way, baby," which later morphed into "It's a woman thing." Women HAVE come a long way since then, a very, very long way. And women have more real economic and political power now than ever in recorded history.

When a clown like Jeb Bush comes out and declares, in public, that unwed mothers should be publicly shamed, women count that against him. He's still collecting tens of millions of dollars from fat-cats who want to see him get into the White House but to women voters... he's dead, and his campaign is floundering and moribund. Bush: "Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots."

Last week Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, penned an OpEd for The Hill focusing on Scott Walker's own personal war against women. Walker, they wrote, "has lied to women and he has lied to workers. And those lies have consequences. They have hurt Wisconsin's women, families and workers... When women do better, the economy does better. When the economy does better, women do better. Women and workers are in this together, literally."

None of the Republican candidates are even remotely acceptable on women's issues. And a few days ago, 3 George W. Bush-appointed judges backed up GOP tactics for closing women's clinics and thwarting pro-Choice rulings that go back to Roe v Wade, a ruling that came 5 years after Phillip Morris started running those Virginia Slims commercials!

In 1977 Barbara Mikulski was elected to Congress from Maryland and then ten years later she won a statewide seat for the Senate. When she retires next year, one of the most powerful voices on behalf of women and issues crucial to women and families will disappear from the Senate.

Blue America would like to make sure a voice just as compelling and just as powerful takes that seat-- and the candidate has already been tested-- Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland's most progressive and most outspoken political leader and chair of the House Democrats' Women's Caucus. 

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We asked Donna if women's issues still need to be watched over so carefully in 2015. Haven't we gotten beyond the outmoded, conservative mentality that places women in an inferior position to men, instead of one based on achievement and equality. 

"It's startling to see the lack of voices of women and mothers-- especially those of color-- represented in Washington," she told us. Donna:

As a single mother who raised a black son on her own, I worry deeply about the issues of race, education, economic opportunity, and justice that impact all our communities. And as a woman, I worry about issues like equal pay for equal work, the rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade being chipped away by Tea Party Republicans, and childcare costs that are crippling far too many families. 

We need to have serious discussions about our communities all across our country-- especially those that have been historically overlooked or feel left behind. Communities where there are not enough jobs. Where young people feel a sense of hopelessness because they lack economic opportunities. And where people feel like they don't have allies in the fight for progress. 

Here's the thing-- we can make a difference. These issues could be addressed head on by ensuring more mothers, more women of color, and more women of diverse economic backgrounds are in seats of power. That's why this fight is so important.

And that's why Blue America has endorsed Donna, once again, and why we're asking you today to consider contributing to her grassroots campaign, where she faces a gaggle of less progressive men.



Best Progressive Investment of 2014 Is Ted Lieu

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Credit: Ted Lieu Campaign Site

Last cycle we asked you to chip in and help Ted Lieu win the Los Angeles congressional seat from which Henry Waxman was retiring. With your support, Ted won a convincing victory. So, how do we know what's going to happen after someone gets elected? In Ted's case, his record of accomplishment as a state legislator was so overwhelming that we had a powerful feeling he would make an exceptional Member of Congress. We were right.

We think he's worth supporting again. Can you pitch in to help him make his quarterly goals?

He's been more than we could have hoped, getting elected freshman class president in his first week on the job and working effectively on one tough issue after another. The easy stuff is never where Ted puts his tremendous energies. Just as he did in California, Ted introduced the first federal ban on LGBT conversion therapy, which applies to adults as well as the transgender community. And, again, as he did in California, Ted introduced the Climate Solutions Act of 2015, which takes California's successful approach to climate change and takes it nationwide. Last week he introduced and passed an amendment that cut the federal marijuana eradication/suppression programs in half and his amendment redirected the funding to help child victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

Ted isn't taking cautious nibbles around the periphery of problems. He was the first Democrat to oppose the proposal to send US ground troops back to Iraq. At the same time, he has been one of Congress' loudest and most effective voices against granting Fast Track Authority to the White House on the TPP, a principled position that hasn't endeared him to the Establishment.

"One of the main reasons I ran for Congress," he told us, "was to take on the NSA and our out of control spying-industrial complex. From bipartisan letters I have written to the NSA to my public speeches and comments to my advocacy in the press (such as on MSNBC with Chris Hayes), I have worked across the aisle inside Congress to reign in the NSA for the first time in decades. Although I don't think the reforms went far enough, at least it is a good step in the right direction. And there is more to come."

And that was just the beginning. "Another reason I ran for Congress," he told us, "was to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform. I am also passionate about combatting poverty and am fighting to increase funding to poverty programs." Below is from an OpEd Ted wrote with Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project:

This year, almost 60 million primary school-age children will have no access to school. While the world has made progress to get more kids to school since 2000, the severe lack of financing for global education continues to waste global talent and inflicts a lifelong sentence of poverty for those without an education.

...[I]mproving education worldwide actually helps American security. An uneducated child grows up to be an uneducated adult, and large adult populations that are uneducated and impoverished are destabilizing for countries and regions. With this in mind, our nation's security increases when there is more stability in the world.

Improving education worldwide also boosts the American economy. Just one year of primary school increases the future earning potential of a boy in a developing nation by 5% to 15%. The increases for a girl are even greater. Millions more educated children growing up to be educated adults would have a sizable impact on economies in the developing world, which means greatly increased global economic opportunity for America.

This year is a historic opportunity for the movement to end extreme poverty. In September, world leaders will approve the Sustainable Development Goals, which we expect to target education with the objective to give every child 10 years of free quality education. Investing in education is a clear prerequisite to achieving all other sustainable development goals and ending extreme poverty by 2030... The United States must do more to help empower communities to lift themselves out of poverty. It's good for children and good for America.

Ted, in fact, has been so busy doing the peoples' business that he hasn't spent the time the Leadership insists on raising money for reelection. Would you help Blue America help Ted make sure he closes out the fundraising quarter with a decent amount? You can contribute to his campaign here.



WE CAN Stop Fast Track (Action Alert)


In recent days, you've probably heard the barrage of lies Wall Street's Chuck Schumer has manufactured in his vicious and bitter campaign against Alan Grayson's run for the open Florida Senate seat. Grayson is basically ignoring Schumer and the DSCC and going about his work on behalf of his Florida constituents. He has, for example, been leading the battle in the House to stop TPP Fast Track Authority. And Sunday, he sent a pretty bold letter to his supporters on behalf of that battle:

Under the First Amendment, you have the right to petition your government to redress your grievances.

Now would be a good time to do that. Today.

According to public reports, the 18 Democratic Members of Congress listed below are leaning in favor of voting for "Fast Track," legislation that would prevent Congress from debating or amending whatever the Executive Branch calls a "trade bill." As a public service, we provide you their office phone numbers.

Rep. Ami Bera (New Dem-CA) - (202) 225-5716
Rep. Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA) - (202)225-3341
Rep. Jared Polis (New Dem-CO) - (202) 225-2161
Rep. Mike Quigley (New Dem-IL) - (202) 225-4061
Rep. John Delaney (New Dem-MD) - (202) 225-2721
Rep. Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE) - (202) 225-4155
Rep. Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY) - (202) 225-3461
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR) - (202) 225-4811
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) - (202) 225-0855
Rep. Kurt Schrader (New Dem-OR) - (202) 225-5711
Rep. Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN) - (202) 225-4311
Rep. Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX) - (202) 225-1640
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX) - (202) 225-8885
Rep. Don Beyer (New Dem-VA) - (202) 225-4376
Rep. Gerry Connolly (New Dem-VA) - (202) 225-1492
Rep. Rick Larsen (New Dem-WA) - (202) 225-2605
Rep. Derek Kilmer (New Dem-WA) - (202) 225-5916
Rep. Ron Kind (New Dem-WI) - (202) 225-5506

Call one; call them all. Call as many as you want. Exercise your constitutional right to redress your grievances. Make them listen. (By the way, the system is rigged so that you can't send them an e-mail unless you are a constituent. So you have to call.)

Here are some things that you might explain to them about this bad bill:
(1) Our trade debt stands at eleven trillion dollars ($11,000,000,000,000.00). That's more than $35,000 for every human being in America-- including you. "Fast Track" would pave the way for new trade bills that would increase that. How are we ever going to pay that money back?

(2) Fast Track applies to whatever the Executive Branch calls a trade agreement, even if it has nothing to do with trade.

(3) Fast Track unconstitutionally restricts Congress from holding hearings, conducting investigations, debating a bill and offering amendments-- basically, its job. In fact, it could restrict each House Member to only 83 seconds of debate.

(4) No other bills get this special treatment-- not bills on taxes, or Social Security, or defense, or transportation, or healthcare. Nothing.

(5) Fast Track applies to trade bills that the Executive Branch hasn't even released to the public.

(6) None of the "standards" that Fast Track sets for trade agreements is enforceable-- not one single standard.
Alternatively, you can just say that you're tired of Middle Class America getting hosed.

But whatever else you say, make sure you say this: NO on Fast Track!

Blue America has a list of incumbents who are fighting for progressives values along with Grayson. Wall Street would like to defeat every one of them and several are already under attack from Wall Street Republicans and/or from Wall Street Democrats. Take a look at the list and please consider encouraging their fight against Fast Track with a contribution to their reelection campaigns.



Blue America Endorses Russ Feingold


If there was one race that indicated that the 2010 midterm GOP sweep was a sign of the end times, it was the fact that Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold had been unseated by a Tea Partying cretin by the name of Ron Johnson. The plastics manufacturer bought himself the seat with nearly 9 million dollars of his own fortune and many millions in outside PAC money. One would have thought that a grown man building a statue of Ayn Rand and running on the “Atlas Shrugged” platform would have put them off, but like all the winning Tea Partyers that year, his dishonest claim that Feingold’s vote for Obamacare would result in everyone over 65 being thrown into Lake Michigan (or something just as bad) meant that he got a shot.

Five years later the state is drowning in regret, with Johnson mired in less than 40% approval , his constituents embarrassed and ashamed.

And they want Russ Feingold back! He is leading Johnson in every poll that’s been done this year, the most recent a PPP Poll that puts him up 9 points. He’s up 14 points among Independents and even manages to get Republicans in the double digits. Let’s just say that Wisconsin knows they made a mistake.

Luckily, Feingold is rested and ready to take his seat back. He announced this week and Blue America is enthusiastically endorsing him as we have in every race he’s been in since we first started. Nothing would be more thrilling to us than to see both Wisconsin progressive stalwarts, Russ Feingold and Tammy Baldwin, in the US Senate together.

If you’re wondering if Feingold has trimmed his sails in the last five years, wonder no more. The first thing he did after he announced was come out swinging without hesitation against the Trans Pacific partnership trade deal:

"The economy has definitely been improving, and things like the stock market are doing better. But the economy has to be good for working-class and middle-class families who work every day, send their kids to a school like is in front of my house, and they have to be able to enjoy their lives. That's why you don't pass a trade agreement that ships even more jobs overseas."

In case you still think he might not be the kind of Senator who will join that growing bloc of progressives in the Senate, perhaps this endorsement will put your mind at ease:

Elizabeth Warren said "Just the idea of having Russ by my side in the Senate makes me happy. But I don’t kid myself: We’ve got a really, really big fight in front of us for that to happen."

She’s asking her supporters to get behind Feingold early to help him offset the gusher of cash the right wing money boyz are preparing to throw at Ron Johnson.

We’re asking you to help too.

Russ Feingold was a great Senator and we know he will be a great Senator again. Blue America is proud to endorse him. We hope you’ll join us and give what you can to help put this man of conscience and integrity back in the Senate where he belongs.



Stop Tom Cotton From Extending the "Patriot" Act

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You have surely heard of a new Senator from Arkansas by the name of Tom Cotton. He was a 37 year old congressman who won the Senate seat formerly held by the conservative Democrat Mark Pryor in 2014. Cotton took the Senate by storm penning one of the most embarrassing documents ever written by a sitting Senator and then getting the entire GOP Senate caucus to co-sign it --- the infamous Iran Letter.  

Undaunted by this humiliation, the Republican party has decided that Cotton is the man to lead them into the future on national security issues. And unfortunately, he's decided that his next mission will be to lead the Republican charge to extend certain provisions of the Patriot Act which are set to expire this June. They've even added some new powers for the NSA just to make things interesting, 

There was a lot of talk at one time about a new coalition of civil libertarian Republicans and civil libertarian Democrats coming together to reform these programs now that the nation is aware of what they're actually doing. Sadly, the number of civil libertarians in the Republican Party can fit in a small Smart Car and the civil libertarians in the Democratic Party are not a majority. And with uber-hawk Tom Cotton waving the “national security” banner we can be sure the Republicans are intent upon squelching any thoughts of reform.

This is why it's so important for Democrats to elect more real progressive civil libertarians to congress. We cannot count on this tiny faction of libertarian Republicans, led by their hypocritical grandstanding leader Rand Paul, to ever provide the numbers required to roll back the surveillance state. Hawkish national security and authoritarian police policies are in the modern GOP's DNA.

This is going to require a majority progressive Democratic Party led by people like Congresswoman Donna Edwards who is now running for the Maryland Senate seat currently held by retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Edwards has been consistent on these issues throughout her career in congress. For instance, in 2014 she voted against the USA Freedom Act, originally conceived as a reform measure which was later gutted by the Republicans in committee. She issued this statement at the time:

“After much deliberation I opposed the USA Freedom Act because I continue to believe it doesn’t strike the necessary balance between protecting our national security and protecting our 4th Amendment rights. Without question, national security issues are critically important, and I applaud all those who work at the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and others for their dedication to duty and professionalism. We must provide them with the means to gather the information necessary to keep America safe. However, we cannot allow the pursuit of that goal to infringe on the civil liberties that we, as Americans, hold sacred and fought so hard to defend.”

She will bring that same principled clarity to the Senate.

Last week the House passed yet another Republican surveillance bill. Blue America's slate of progressive civil libertarians voted against while all the usual suspects supported it. Blue America primary candidate Alex Law, who is challenging New Jersey congressman Donald Norcross gave this statement:

Yet again we have a clear difference between myself and my opponent in the Democratic primary in NJ-01. Today, Donald Norcross voted in support of the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, a bill that is a surveillance bill disguising itself as a cyber-security bill. This bill gives companies a significant expansion in their ability to monitor customers' online activities. It allows them to share vaguely defined 'cyber threat indicators,' which then automatically go to the NSA. The NSA is then authorized broad law enforcement rights that could stretch beyond cyber-security.This chain of events is a slippery slope. I totally disagree with the structure of this bill. We must stand up for individual privacy. What we have in this bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and if I were in Congress, I would have voted against it like other progressives such as Alan Grayson and Judy Chu.

The provisions of the Patriot Act which are set to expire in June should not be extended. We don't know for sure if they will. The USA Freedom Act ultimately died in the Senate when the Democrats who were in the majority at the time added a few safeguards and then couldn't overcome a filibuster. (Yes, the GOP ultimately filibustered the bill for being too weak ...) The Republicans are now in charge and Tom Cotton is working overtime to give the NSA every last item on their wishlist. Perhaps we'll get lucky and gridlock will work in favor of freedom once again. But I wouldn't count on it. 

There are simply not enough principled, progressive civil libertarians in congress to stop these abuses. We must elect more of them.

Please give what you can to stalwart civil libertarians like Donna Edwards and Alex Law.  And then, give your current representatives a call and tell them you want them to vote against any extension of the Patriot Act. 



Alan Grayson-- A Congressman With Spine, Nerve, Backbone and *Cojones*

Last Monday we offered to give away a rare, collectible platinum record award for Enya's  Paint the Sky with Stars. Tomorrow (Monday) is your last chance to "win" this contest. At noon (PT/3pm on the East Coast), we'll randomly select one person from this who contributed to Alan Grayson's campaign on this page.

I worked with Enya while I was at Warner Bros and I found her to be one of the most fascinating artists on the roster-- just as Grayson is the most fascinating Member of Congress. Blue America has been part of the team working to persuade Grayson to give up his Orlando-based House seat to run for the U.S. Senate seat being abandoned by Marco Rubio. Your contribution goes to Grayson's federal account, which can be used interchangeably for a House reelection campaign or for a Senate run.

So far over 320 people have contributed on the Draft Alan Grayson ActBlue page. Keeping another conservative enemy of working families out of the Senate-- whether a Republican or New Dem and Wall Street shill Patrick Murphy (the corrupt Establishment pick)-- is a worthy endeavor and worth the investment... even if you don't win the Enya award!

Grayson considers his supporters as people "with both a head and a heart. You’re something of an idealist," he wrote, "like I am. You want to live in a world of justice, equality, compassion and peace. And you’re willing to lift a finger or two to make that happen.”

It’s people like that-- people like you— who make our campaigns successful. In fact, it’s people like you who make our campaigns possible. If not for you and your support, I’d just have to be another scum-sucking, bottom-dwelling pol on the make, like everyone else. 

A couple of years ago, when I was out of Congress and fighting to get back in, nine days before the election, people like you made more than 60,000 volunteer phone calls in a single day – yes, in a single day – to Democratic voters in my district, urging them to vote. And I returned to the House in the greatest comeback in the history of the House-- a 43-point swing in just two years. Thanks to people like you. 

So here we are, just five months after the last election, and 19 months before the next one. It’s too early to make phone calls. It’s too early to put out yard signs. It’s too early to knock on doors. 

But it’s not too early to give. 

Q. What is the best way to support our campaign for justice, equality and peace?

A. Make a commitment-- give every month.

We have had more than 116,000 people give to this campaign. I’m grateful to them all. But the ones who have given us the biggest boost are the ones-- several thousand-- who have signed up to contribute to our campaign every month. 

Some give as little as a dollar. Most give between $20 and $25 each month. A certain number contribute $50 each month. And a few give $100 each month, knowing that over the course of the whole campaign, that means that they “max out,” reaching the legal limit. 

The numbers build up, and they build up fast. During several months last year, monthly contributions comprised around half of our online donations. That’s what made it possible for me to be the only Member of the House who raised most of his campaign funds from small donors. Again. You and I, together, we are establishing a new paradigm for campaign finance. 

It just depends on what you can afford, and how much you care. But as everyone knows, it’s a lot easier to give $100 for 24 months than it is to write a check for $2400. Unless you happen to be a Koch Brother. 

(I know that you’re not a Koch Brother. They don’t read stuff. They hire people to read stuff for them.) 

So here is my “ask”: if you can afford it, please sign up for monthly contributions to our campaign. And please do it today, not next October

And in return, you get a Congressman with temerity. A Congressman with audacity. A Congressman with spine, nerve, backbone and cojones

A Congressman with Guts.

Here's where Blue America team members can give-- once, monthly, a lot or a little... whatever works for you.



Let's Paint The Senate With Stars-- Starting With Alan Grayson

Late in 1997, Enya, one of the most enigmatic-- and successful-- artists on the record label I ran, delivered a new album, Paint The Sky With Stars, a greatest hits compilation with two previously unreleased songs. It was a Christmas smash that year, with over 12 million album sales worldwide, 4 million in the U.S. alone. Enya isn't exactly a household name-- but she's sold far more albums than many artists who "seem" to be better known-- 75 million worldwide and close to 27 million in the U.S. Four of her albums won Grammy awards and one of her songs was nominated for an Oscar. So how did you miss her? Her music is often compartmentalized by the "mainstream" as "New Age" or "women's music" or even "healing music." They play her songs in spas more often than on radio stations. All that said, Enya has built a unique and powerful musical and spiritual bond with her audience. All those millions of record buyers are grateful she is offering something other artists aren't.

This week, in Blue America's first giveaway of 2015, we're offering a rare and collectible RIAA-certified platinum award for Paint The Sky With Stars to launch a Draft Alan Grayson effort.

Alan is the brilliant, sharp-tongued congressman from Orlando and Blue America wants him to run for the Florida Senate seat currently held by shiny, witless Republican Marco Rubio. The Democratic Establishment in Florida-- and to some extent inside the Beltway-- has been pushing lifelong Republican Patrick Murphy, a pathetic Wall Street shill with the 4th worst voting record of any Democrat in Congress. Murphy backs much of the toxic Republican agenda and has consistently voted with the Republicans against core Democratic values.

Elizabeth Warren doesn't look like she'll be taking on Hillary Clinton in 2016. But elevating energetic, innovative men and women like Donna Edwards, Russ Feingold and Alan Grayson into the Senate to serve with Warren will accomplish a great deal towards helping America achieve its lofty ideals. 

Grayson will decide in the next several weeks whether to run or not. It isn't a decision he's taking lightly. And it's likely to be a race that costs as much as $30 million! Murphy will have Wall Street fully behind him. Please let's show Alan Grayson that we appreciate what he's done in the House and want to see him doing even more in the Senate.

Anyone who contributes to his campaign this week on this Draft Alan Grayson page will be eligible to receive the rare, beautiful platinum Enya award-- something that cannot be bought in a store for any amount of money. And, for the sake of the prize, it doesn't matter if you contribute $10 or $1,000; everyone has an equal chance to walk off with the Enya plaque. One random winner will be chosen Monday, April 20th.

One thing the Senate does not need is more values-free, cowardly careerists like Murphy. Alan Grayson in the U.S. Senate... imagine how the evening news broadcasts will change!



Philly deserves a progressive mayor-- meet Jim Kenney

Tuesday, having forced Wall Street faux-Democrat Rahm Emanuel into a runoff, progressives came up short-- although doing far better than pundits had predicted. Chuy raised $5.2 million, a substantial amount... but Rahm had over $30 million to spend, most of it from just a few super-wealthy families benefiting financially from his administration. That Chuy did as well as he did is a testament to local field organizers and an ability to combine small contributions from a wide audience.

The next great American city struggling to get out from under the grip of corrupt governance is Philadelphia, where the primary is just over a month away, May 19. Blue America's candidate is Jim Kenny and Susie Madrak spoke with him and his staffers and has this report:

The first thing you need to know about Philadelphia is that it’s Ground Zero for the charter schools agenda. It’s the first city where charter schools took over, and it’s been “a miserable failure,” according to Democratic mayoral candidate and former City Councilman Jim Kenney.
 
The second thing you need to know is, Jim Kenney is the only Democrat running in the May 19th Democratic primary who is not a charter school supporter.
 
The third thing you need to know is, his closest competition is Anthony Hardy Williams, a fervently pro-charter state legislator who is funded by a trio of hedge fund billionaires from Susquehanna International Group (the primary benefactors of the generous tax credits Williams supplied via his school voucher legislation) and have pledged to spend a million dollars on last-minute ads.
 
So this race is important. Really important. The low-turnout Democratic primary is the de facto mayoral election, and it will be all about who gets the vote out. Money makes a huge difference.
 
Jim Kenney isn’t only against things; he has a great progressive track record. Kenney is the reason Philadelphia was the first major city to offer same-sex partner benefits to employees. Last year, thanks to Kenney’s tireless work on City Council, Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana.
 
He also successfully pushed Mayor Michael Nutter to drop the city’s cooperation with so-called “ICE holds”-- turning immigrants over to the feds on minor infractions.
 
And you should see the enthusiasm the famously-hyperkinetic Kenney displays when he talks about immigrants as “the future of Philadelphia.”
 
“My family were Irish immigrants. No Irish need apply, right? We need these people, we want them,” he said.
 
The Jesuit-trained Kenney is a firm believer in public service and social justice. That’s one reason why he also has a plan to bring universal pre-K into the city.
 
He’s also authored a plan to pair each community school with onsite social services – job training, counseling, literacy training.
 
Kenney was just endorsed by a broad coalition of African-American leaders (the same ones who supported the then-unknown Gov. Tom Wolf), and has sparked broad support from the millennium transplants, who love his in-your-face style. Philadelphia Magazine said:
 
“Kenney has found a potent political identity in that liminal space between old Philly and new. Nobody on the political stage today better blends the characters of those two great, colliding halves of the city. At his best, Kenney is like a walking hybrid of Two Street and a pop-up beer garden. It’s a combination that makes him a formidable candidate, with the potential to appeal to a broad swath of voters.” 
PA Working Families and NOW have endorsed him, as well as local LGBT leaders. He has deep support from almost all local unions-- including the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and their more activist offshoot, Caucus of Working Educators.
 
The support he needs now is yours. Fight back about wealthy special interests and send a message: Once again, we’ve rejected the elite interests for a proud progressive agenda-- just like we did in New York and Chicago.

 
Let’s put another urban center in the progressive “win” column.




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