(New John Boehner ad. New John Boehner ad. New John Boehner ad.) You can see how much his golf habit costs him. How much do you spend just on your groceries?
Since our Beat Boehner Billboard has been such a hit with Ohio, the media and all of you, we've produced an ad with the help of Americans for America PAC. It's running in Boehner's district (OH-08) on Monday and we want to raise enough money to keep it running for as long as we can.
It's time we started taking the fight to these Corporate /Lobbyist/shills that dress up as Congressmen and wear embarrassing tans like John Boehner does. Check out his appearance on Meet The Press this Sunday:
Boehner makes a complete fool of himself because he refuses to answer Gregory's questions which ask him if tax cuts pay for themselves. Of course he can't be honest.
MR. GREGORY: That's not the question, Leader Boehner. The question...
REP. BOEHNER: And the people that the president wants to tax...
MR. GREGORY: ...is, are tax cuts paid for or not?...read on
And he admits to wanting to raise the retirement age to 70. This is the GOP working for you except they are working against you. It's too bad conservative activists believe failed Bush policies are the way to go. The more money Blue America raises, the more action items we can produce.
Rhode Island's first congressional district, the eastern and northern parts of the state, including most of Providence, is an open seat this year because of the retirement of Patrick Kennedy. It's one of the safest Democratic districts in the country and McCain barely managed to scrape together a third of the vote. In 2008 Kennedy was re-elected with almost 70%. It's safe to say that whichever Democrat wins the September 14 primary will be the next Rhode Island congressman. There are 4 Democrats running: today's guest and the newest Blue America endorsee, state Rep. David Segal, Providence mayor David Cicilline, conservative businessman Anthony Gemma, and Bill Lynch, the Establishment candidate, a former Democratic Party state chairman and the brother of the state's Attorney General.
There are no actual John Barrows or Bobby Brights or Parker Griffiths among the Democrats. And although David Segal stands head and shoulders above the rest on every single policy issue without exception, the reason Blue America has decided to endorse in this race has more to do with his leadership potential. Everyone is always telling John and Digby and I that we need more Members like Alan Grayson in Congress. They don't grow on trees-- but we found one.
David Segal is one of us. He was elected to the Providence City Council in 2002 as a Green, and is now a lefty Democratic state Rep for Providence and East Providence. He has a very clear path to victory and he can win-- and if he does, he'll be among the strongest voices for progressives in the halls of the Capitol.
David's worked on the meat-and-potato issues: Jobs, the environment, housing, progressive taxes, all with success. He's successfully pushed for expanded renewable energy, more affordable housing, against predatory lending, and for foreclosure prevention measures.
But he's never shied away from the really controversial issues: He's been a vocal leader on criminal justice reform, standing up for the rights of immigrants and for gay rights, and has pushed as hard as one can from the state level against war spending. He's an ardent supporter of gay marriage, and was the sponsor of the last year's bill, which was passed over the Governor's veto, to allow gay partners to plan each other's funerals.
He's a co-sponsor of marijuana decriminalization, and just convinced the Governor-- after two years of vetoes-- to allow a bill to become law that ensures due process for people on probation.
He's sponsored the "Bring the Guard Home" legislation, and his first act on the City Council was to pass a resolution against the war in Iraq.
But, most importantly, he's an organizer at heart, who is committed to joining the Progressive Caucus-- and making it function better. Here's an excerpt from an interview with David Swanson:
"[I]n Rhode Island I've tried to develop alternative structures for legislators to lean on when the leadership makes such threats. I am the lead organizer for our progressive caucus. I founded a political action committee to support members of our progressive caucus so that if funding from sources dries up at leadership's request because something was done to offend them, that we would have at least some, some degree of money to fall back on to help fund our campaigns nonetheless. We funded ten, twelve races relatively modestly in the last cycle and hopefully we'll be able to do something in the forthcoming cycle."
Last week, many of us were disappointed as 148 Democrats, including Patrick Kennedy, joined Boehner, Cantor and 158 other Republicans to vote for more unjustifiable billions of dollars to throw down the Afghan sewer. The disgraceful supplemental demanded by the Military Industrial Complex passed 308-114, more Republicans voting for Obama's proposal than Democrats! Among the candidates running in RI-1, only David Segal came out publicly to say he would have voted NO.
I've been against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning. My first act on the Providence City Council in Providence was to sponsor an antiwar resolution in 2003, which of course was not going to end the war in its own right, but it was an opportunity for Providence to assert the negative impact of the war on the city’s ability to function-- to fund municipal services and education.
I don’t think there’s any indication that we’re preventing future terrorism by keeping our presence in Afghanistan right now. The CIA’s made it clear that the drone attacks there present a real risk of destabilizing the Pakistani government, which possesses nuclear armament and should be a grave concern to all of us.
I think that it’s unfortunate but it’s the case that our involvement in Afghanistan is effectively a quagmire right now; there is no neat and tidy way to get out and tie it all up in a bow wrap everything up and leave it neat and pristine and I think it’s time to recognize that and bring the troops home.
I am the only candidate in the Democratic primary for CD 1 in Rhode Island who has pledged that the only Afghanistan war funding I will approve is the funding necessary to safely and expeditiously bring our troops home.
That's the kind of straight forward answer we always look for from our candidates and it's part of the reason we endorsed Segal today, why we've asked him to join us below in the comments section for a chat and why we're asking you to dig deep and help him run his grassroots campaign, a campaign that accepts no corporate contributions. And it's also why Segal has also been endorsed by the PCCC, PDA, DFA, the
Rhode Island American Federation of Teachers & Healthcare Professionals and why we'll be hearing some interesting endorsements this week from other organizations that will comes as a bit of a shock to the Democratic Establishment.
On June 30th we hosted Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) here at C&L for an open ended discussion that started with the immigration reform debate. Rep. Grijalva has graciously agreed to keep us up to date on what's going on in Congress and in the Progressive Caucus he chairs once a month. He'll be visiting with us again today (in the comments forum below) and I've asked him to talk with us about a new bill he and Marcy Kaptur introduced in April, the Right-To-Rent Act, H.R. 5028. The Obama Administration's somewhat tepid HAMP program isn't working and millions of families are still facing foreclosures by avaricious bankers. Rep. Grijalva's bill would let foreclosed families stay in their homes as renters at a fair market rate set by a judge. If banks don't want to become landlords, they would have incentives to renegotiate the terms of the mortgage. The foreclosure crisis needs exactly this kind of creative, common-sense solution, and the Congressman has been out in front on this issue from the beginning. Dean Baker's Center for Economic and Policy Research called the bill "one of the most efficient and simple ways to help millions of families facing foreclosure remain in their homes."
It would increase the bargaining power and security of homeowners by temporarily changing the rules on foreclosure and allowing homeowners to remain in their homes as renters for a substantial period or time. During this time, homeowners would pay the market rent for the home as determined by an independent assessment.
"Right to Rent immediately gives the homeowner security in their home. They will be allowed to stay there for a substantial period of time, allowing their children to stay in their schools and families to prepare for and plan their future moves," said Baker in his testimony on Wednesday. "Right to Rent also would make foreclosure much less attractive to investors. This gives investors more incentive to modify loans on their own, without the involvement of the government."
The GOP is going after Congressman Grijalva's seat like they never have before. They're trying to stir up divisiveness based on the immigration issue in his southern Arizona district. Blue America has a donation page specifically for his campaign One America and we're hoping you'll visit and leave a little token of your appreciation for his leadership and courage. There's an alternative though-- a memorabilia auction on eBay! We love all of these items, but are particularly fond of the “doodles.” No two are ever alike, and the two that we are auctioning are particularly exceptional, both for their intricate detail (look for the faces and eyes!), as well as for the setting in which they were drawn (Natural Resources Committee hearings concerning Deepwater Horizon).
When Arizona's accidental governor signed SB 1070 into law in April, Digby, John and I put up a new Blue America page, One America, dedicated to helping Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) fight back against Know Nothings and teabaggers in his state. Yesterday Congressman Grijalva met with President Obama at the White House to discuss comprehensive immigration reform and we invited him to join us for a chat below in the comments section.
Grijalva, as we explained at One America, is the chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a booming voice on behalf of working families on every issue that comes before Congress. He helped lead the fight against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, helped lead the fight against Wall Street predators and helped lead the fight for equitable health care. And he was the first to step up and speak out, at great political -- and personal -- peril, against SB 1070, urging the governor to veto what is clearly an unconstitutional bill. He even called for a boycott and pointed out that "one of the first conventions to cancel was Martin Luther King's fraternity, which would have brought up to 5,000 people. It was going to have a convention in Phoenix and within a few days of the governor's signature they canceled and moved it to Las Vegas. That should have been a harbinger of things to come for the governor and the state legislature... I find it ironic that the resort industry and Chamber of Commerce are so concerned about the loss of business, but have yet to state publicly how they feel about the law.”
There's a pattern here. 1070 was the peak of a crescendo that's been building in the state for the last five or six years.
...At some point soon one out of every three kids coming into kindergarten is going to be Latino in this state. This growing population is seen as a threat. Whether it's Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, you name it, it's just feeding and feeding. Underlying the issue of immigration here in Arizona and in other parts has been the issue of race. What 1070 did, both in Arizona and on a national level, is put the question of race front and center in the debate. It was always there, but now it's out in the open.
...We're going to look for opportunities to encourage people to come to this state, but to come with a sense that they're part of the opposition to this law, as opposed to blindly ignoring the fact that we have this law in this state. We're looking at a political change that is probably a decade away. So in the meantime what becomes the avenue to undo this law is the courts.
This year, because of his forthright stand against SB 1070, the GOP has targeted Rep. Grijalva and they and their front groups have been pouring a great deal of money into the election. This is anything but a safe seat. Although Pima and Santa Cruz counties went for Obama in 2008, Pinal, Maricopa, Yuma and La Paz counties all voted Republican. Rep. Grijalva has been popular in the district but the Republicans have their divisive engine on overdrive. Our guy doesn't whore himself out to lobbyists and corporate PACs. Digby, John and I want to ask you to consider joining us in doing what you can to retain a true tribune for ordinary working American families. That's why Raúl Grijalva is the only Member of Congress aside from Alan Grayson with his own personal Blue America page! Today marks the first of a monthly series Crooks and Liars will host with Congressman Grijalva. Help us make him feel at home.
If any of you have been over the Daily Kos or many other progressive blogs recently you know that today is the day of Alan Grayson's Peace Party --- a fundraiser to help Grayson keep his seat in this fall's election:
On JUNE 28, 1919, the United States put an end to a world war, after less than two years of fighting. In 1945, the United States ended another world war, after less than four years of fighting. But in 2010, we are embroiled in two wars, after almost nine years of fighting.
When will it end? When Blackwater and Halliburton say so? When we’re all broke?
It’s time that someone spoke out for peace.
Indeed. And it's not surprising that the person speaking out for peace today is none other than the progressive congressman from Florida. I don't know about you, but I am convinced that it takes political fighters to keep us out of war, and there's no smarter or more effective fighter in the Democratic Party than Alan Grayson.
Who else says things like this?
"Imagine if we had decided after 9/11 to wean ourselves off oil and other carbon-based fuels. We'd be almost ten years into that project by now.
"Imagine if George W. Bush had somehow been able to summon the moral strength of Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller, or Martin Luther King Jr, and committed the American people to the pursuit of a common goal of a transformed society, a society which meets our own human needs rather than declaring "war" on an emotion, or, as John Quincy Adams put it, going "abroad, in search of monsters to destroy".
"Imagine that we chose not to enslave ourselves to a massive military state whose stated goal is "stability" in countries that never have been "stable", and never will be."
Blue America was the first Netroots PAC to endorse Grayson when he decided to run. None of the Very Serious People in politics thought he could win in what was a Republican district but we don't base our endorsements solely on electability, so that wasn't relevant. We felt he had a good chance and we knew that if he won, he would be an articulate and passionate advocate for our values. He has exceeded our expectations, to say the least.
One of the reasons Grayson can be so outspoken is that he takes no special interest money from businesses his committees oversee and so depends on small donations more than other politicians. So far, the netroots have come through for him, giving him an independent funding base and allowing him to operate with much more freedom than the average representative. Today, he's asking for your help again. If you can spare a few bucks, now's the time.
The world is full of supposedly indispensable men and women, virtually none of whom are actually indispensable. Grayson, in my view, is the exception. The progressive movement needs this man in congress, serving as an example of intelligent, aggressive, principled progressivism and hopefully building up a paradigm for others to follow.
Alan Grayson is joining Blue America on C&L today at 4:30 PST/7:30 EST [UPDATED] 5 PM for a Special Live Chat to help with his fundraising effort. Because the Congressman is so popular and willing to fight for American families like other Democrats refuse to do, he's become a major target for the GOP and their tea party off shoot. He'll be here talking about his new bill, "The War is Making You Poor Act, HR 5353," as well as his new speech which he premiered here Friday based on Eisenhower's "Chance for Freedom' Speech. Please join us later today.
We have a little exclusive from the great Congressman from Florida.
Alan Grayson adapts Eisenhower's 1953 speech called: "The Chance For Peace" to make an enormous point in our country today. He's changed a few words to make it fit into our current narrative, but they are still important and explosive words that all Americans need to hear.
We waste over 600 billion dollars a year on the Military Industrial Complex and if we even cut back 20% on that monstrosity, how much good can we accomplish here? How much change and prosperity can be funneled to every day working class families that toil so hard just to make ends meet?
We have a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross, a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and the point of hope that come with this time. God created men to enjoy, not destroy, the fruits of the earth and of their own toil.
They aspire to this: the lifting from the backs and from the hearts of men, of their burden of arms and of fears, so that they may find before them a golden age, a golden age of freedom and of peace. Thank you.
We talk a lot about wingnut welfare and conservatives and Libertarians whine all day long about our tax dollars being used to fund programs that are used for the betterment of our society such as Social Security and Medicare.
Yet they remain quiet and mute, like scarecrows in the middle of a desert when billions upon billions are shifted out of their pockets and into the hands of companies like Blackwater aka Xe Services or some new Star Wars program that is useless unless you're the recipient of those funds -- for the sole purpose of mass destruction rather than enrichment.
How strange. It turns out that America's chief military strategist for the past decade is Osama Bin Laden himself. We've been doing exactly what he has wanted us to do: spend staggering sums on the military, until the American economy is bled dry. But it doesn't have to be that way. We are a democracy. We can choose peace.
I have voted against Bin Laden's strategy to destroy America, and I will continue to do so. But I've done more than that. I have introduced a bill called The War is Making You Poor Act, HR 5353.
This bill requires that the war be funded by the Pentagon's base budget - "only" $549 billion. And it uses the resulting savings to eliminate federal income taxes on your first $35,000 of income - yours and every American's. It also reduces the deficit.
Bin Laden told us how he would destroy us. And we're following his instructions, to a "t." How absurd is that? No more. We have to make our so-called "leaders" listen to us. If we are to survive.
That's what we're going to do, together. Sign our petition, and show your support for HR 5353. Ask your friends to do the same. Let's stop the war, before it stops all of us.
Mr. Stupak’s dogmatic insistence on inserting his own religious views into the legislative debate and threatening to deprive his constituents of needed healthcare reform eroded people’s trust in him. Throughout the debate there was the sense that our Congressman let us down and that sense has not disappeared with the change in his vote. For me and so many of his constituents, he crossed the line with his grandstanding.
Howie Klein notes that today is the day you receive all those desperate emails for end-of-the-quarter donations from the Democratic party committees --- and that the money will almost certainly be spent on preserving the seats of Blue Dogs who vote against everything you care about. It's more than a little bit frustrating.
As I wrote yesterday, Stupak got punk'd by the lobbyist for the Catholic Bishops --- a Republican ally to such a degree that they were willing to deny millions of the working poor access to health care in order to help the GOPs cynical obstructionist agenda. Stupak was either too stupid to see it or too cynical himself to care. Either way, his behavior should not be rewarded.
Please feel free to donate any sum you can to Connie's campaign. She's showed real courage to try and take on a anti-choice incumbent Dem like Stupak. Good for her.
It looks like pressure paid off. Mike McIntyre announced this afternoon that he has changed his stand on SCHIP. More from the release...
Congressman McIntyre stated, "As a long-time advocate for children for over 25 years, and as one who has consistently supported family health issues, I will not support President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill, and I will vote to override his veto. My objection to the method of funding for this bill and my support of North Carolina's farmers and the economic well-being of our communities are well-known, but I have always supported the SCHIP program and will do what is necessary to preserve it for the sake of children and families in need. As Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee that oversees tobacco, I will also continue to do all that I can to support our farmers and our region's economy. That commitment has not changed with this vote for our children."
This flip-flop comes in the wake of national pressure, local pressure from Wilmington, NC MoveOn members, and bad publicity in the Wilmington, NC StarNews newspaper.