Focus On What's Hot: Florida


Tomorrow is the first day of early voting for the August 30 Florida primary. As always, the corrupt, self-serving establishment has candidates it's trying to slip in, incumbents like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and even worse garbage, like Patrick Murphy, that they are trying to advance up the ladder.

This is the last great stand of the 2016 Democratic primary season-- where genuine progressives like Alan Grayson and Tim Canova are battling the very worst the Democratic Party has to offer.

Grayson's wife, Dr. Dena Grayson, is the strongest candidate in his old district to beat back a challenge from a very conservative pro-NRA Democratic state Senator. "We progressives, not Republicans or faux-Democrats, are the only ones who are truly committed to helping people," she told us. "The way to turn Florida blue is simple. We need to stop running Republican-lite candidates masquerading as Democrats, and instead, support true progressive who recognize people's needs and will take action to improve their lives."

As the Sun Sentinel put it a few days ago, "A Canova win over Wasserman Schultz would send shockwaves across the country." Those are just the kind of shockwaves the Democratic Party establishment needs and needs badly. This morning Tim was finally able to force Wasserman Schultz into a serious TV debate after she dodged and ducked for months. She was the living, breathing embodiment of why Americans are sick and tired of self-serving career politicians and she refused to answer point blank questions, although at the last second of the debate, the moderator got her to admit she is pro-fracking. Unfortunately, almost 10,000 Democrats in FL-23 have already voted by mail. "Sadly, today, she takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from industries like Big Sugar, Wall Street banks, predatory lenders and private prisons," explained one of Canova's radio ads. "I believe you either represent the corporate lobbyists or you represent the people. You cannot do both."

Alan Grayson, the progressive in the Senate race for Marco Rubio's seat, understands better than anyone what's wrong with Democratic Party politics in his state. He told us yesterday,

“Florida Democrats are demonstrating Einstein's definition of insanity-- they keep nominating right-wing DINOs for statewide office, they keep losing, and they keep expecting that the results will change. They won't. We have now lost 14 out of the last 15 state government campaigns, going back to when Jeb Bush was Governor, because our Democratic voters have absolutely no idea what our candidates will do for them if they are elected. (The only exception was when a Democrat snuck into office because even Florida voters couldn't stomach a GOP candidate for "Chief Financial Officer" who was hopelessly corrupt.)

Florida Republicans promise abortion restrictions, pro-gun laws, cuts in social services, lower taxes and corporate welfare-- and they deliver. Florida right-wing Democrats promise I-don't-know-what, and they can't even deliver on that. As for me, I have promised to improve the lives of ordinary people in Central Florida, and I've delivered on those promises. And I'm the only Democrat to represent downtown Orlando in Congress in the past 42 years. Coincidence? No.”

Now Blue America is asking you to help make sure our slate of Florida progressives make it out of the primaries on the 30th to go on and beat reactionary Republicans like Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Matt Caldwell. You can pick and choose at the Blue America Florida page here.



Volunteers? Bob Poe Is Paying His $15 an Hour-- An Actual Living Wage

poe_splash_10.png
Credit: Daily Kos

Florida's newly, court-ordered redistricted 10th district in the Orlando area is so much bluer than it was under the state legislator's gerrymandered boundaries that the Republican incumbent, Daniel Webster, packed his bags and moved to another, redder district. There are 4 Democrats appealing to Democratic primary voters for the nomination but, as they do, the DCCC has intervened on behalf of the least suitable and most conservative of the candidates. Instead, we'd like you to consider the most competent and progressive of the candidates, Bob Poe.

Today, though, we want to tell you about a field program that Bob is running unlike any filed operation you've never seen before. Because he spends his time the way candidates should-- knocking on doors and talking to voters-- Bob learned early that one of the biggest problems in his district was a lack of opportunity for people with criminal records. They've paid their debt to society, but couldn't get jobs, housing, or car loans, which means they were utterly stuck, with no chance to build any kind of economic security or provide for their families.

Bob likes to say that "in order to make a difference, you have to be a difference." Well, Bob decided not to wait until he gets to Congress to start making a difference. That's why he started the Second Chance hiring program for his field staff. Instead of relying on volunteers or unpaid interns for his campaign, Bob hosted 3 job fairs in the district and ended up giving 30 field positions to people with records of conviction or incarceration. Most importantly, because Bob believes in walking the talk about progressive values, their campaign is paying those field staffers $15 an hourThat's the kind of person we need in Congress living our values and standing up for progressive issues. 

As you can see, Bob isn't running a typical campaign, doing whatever Democratic insiders tell him to-- unlike his reactionary New Dem, corporatist opponent, Val "I lost my gun" Demings.

Despite years working to elect Democrats and promote economic populist issues, Bob is running is own campaign, fueled by community members he's worked with for decades and the kind of grassroots support that shows he's a man who represents the people. Bob's campaign is supporting a $15 minimum wage, expanding Social Security, equal pay for equal work, comprehensive immigration reform, and reducing gun violence. 

At a time when there's so little trust and faith in our leaders in Washington, Bob stands out as his own man, running his own campaign and promoting the progressive values and issues that we all share, no matter whether the establishment Democrats are on board or not. One thing's already been made clear: a Congressman Bob Poe will be the same as candidate Bob Poe-- speaking up for the people and working to advance real progressive change in our communities. Please give what you can to help him today.



What Would It Be Like To Have Your Own Personal Jesus in The Senate?


The Grayson for Senate campaign is getting close to having it's 100,000th contributor. The 100,000th contribution will happen in the next few days. And whoever that 100,000th person is, Blue America will be proud to award them a platinum album as rare in the world of Depeche Mode collectibles, as is Alan Grayson’s "policy of truth" within this corrupt Congress.

The 1991 "Violator" album went platinum in Mexico and Warner Bros Music Mexico, the Depeche Mode label there made a dozen hand-crafted awards and one of those gorgeous plaques is the one that is being given away to the 100,000th donor. Grayson's average contribution is $18.12.

Some people give $1,000 and some people give $5.00 but whatever you contribute to Grayson on our special Depeche Mode “Violator” page doesn't make it more or less likely that you'll be the "winner" of the plaque. Whether the 100,000th person gives $10 or $2,000, he or she will get the plaque.

Alan Grayson is the one of the most valuable members of Congress, if not the most valuable member. He's accomplished more than any other member from either party and has been a leader on issues from fiscal responsibility and peace to health care and consumer protection. He's an independent-minded, brilliant congressman and is very much needed in the Senate to hold McConnell and Schumer to a higher standard.

Grayson's Republican-turned-New-Dem primary opponent, Patrick Murphy, is the top recipient of Wall Street money among any candidate for the U.S. Senate who isn't an incumbent. Murphy pushes Wall Street's agenda in the House Financial Services Committee and the banksters have rewarded Murphy with $1,054,300 so far, the only none incumbent candidate from either party already over a million dollars. Murphy is Wall Street's #1 priority. Grayson doesn't get bankster money. He's dependent on small dollar contributors like us.

The race for the open Senate seat from Florida is one of the most important of the cycle. And this week, any contribution to Grayson's Senate campaign on the special Blue America "Violator" page means you could be the lucky 100,000th contributor and own the very rare, very collectible Depeche Mode Mexican platinum award-- not to mention help Alan win a seat in the Senate where he'll be working alongside Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown.



Blue America Welcomes Back Alan Grayson

Today, January 21, is the two-year anniversary of the absolute worst and most dangerous Supreme Court decision of our lifetimes, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. We decided it would be the perfect time to reiterate Blue America's enthusiastic support and endorsement of Orlando Democrat Alan Grayson and to invite him here to Crooks and Liars for a question-and-answer session.

Why Alan? He was one of the first victims of an unrestricted opening of the spigots of corporate money in a congressional race. According to a Politico article late in the campaign in 2010, almost 20% of all of the independent expenditures in House races in the entire country were deployed against Alan. His district was flooded with an unrelenting radio and television smear campaign by the corporations who didn't appreciate his hard work on behalf of consumers and workers. The average person in Orlando saw 70 negative ads against Grayson-- $2 million of which was paid for by the Koch Brothers, $2 million by the health insurance industry and another million from the NRCC. The cash that flowed into the district from the Chamber of Commerce and Rove's band of cutthroats was a direct response to Alan's reform efforts on the House Financial Services Committee and because he was the most effective national Democratic spokesperson in Congress. The DCCC, of course, offered him no help whatsoever in defending his seat.

Two years ago there were only two Members of Congress at the Supreme Court when the narrow 5-4 decision striking down the provisions of the McCain–Feingold Act that prohibited all corporations' and unions' unrestricted election spending on advertising was read out: Alan and Mitch McConnell. I can imagine McConnell squealing with delight. Grayson had quite a different reaction. He warned later that evening on Countdown that "if we do nothing, you can kiss this country goodbye." (See video above.) I don't think he actually meant the physical country itself-- just democracy, so loathed by the plutocratic elites, and all the benefits democracy brings with it.

Alan had gotten over 100,000 people to sign a petition to the Justices at SaveDemocracy.net, and he personally delivered the signatures to the Supreme Court. This was a new experience for the Supreme Court.

"Seeing it coming," he told me when discussing the ruling, "and assuming the worst, I had introduced four anti-Citizens United bills the week before, and introduced four more afterward. We called this our Save Democracy Platform. The core of three of these bills made it into the DISCLOSE Act." These were the bills Alan introduced:

The Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act (H.R. 4431): Implements a 500% excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees, and on corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns.

The Public Company Responsibility Act (H.R. 4435): Prevents companies making political contributions and expenditures from trading their stock on national exchanges.

The End Political Kickbacks Act (H.R. 4434): Prevents for-profit corporations that receive government money from making political contributions, and limits the amount that employees of those companies can contribute.

The Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act (H.R. 4432): Requires publicly traded companies to disclose in SEC filings money used for the purpose of influencing public opinion, rather than for promoting their products and services.

The Ending Corporate Collusion Act (H.R. 4433): Applies antitrust law to industry PACs.

The End the Hijacking of Shareholder Funds Act (H.R. 4487): This bill requires the approval of a majority of a public company's shareholders for any expenditure by that company to influence public opinion on matters not related to the company's products or services.

Blue America was urging Alan to run again even as the votes were being counted in 2010. And we are determined that this year he's going to be back in Congress-- and this time in a solid Democratic district (the new 27th based in Orlando). Please help us raise him the money he needs to beat back the Kochs and the Roves and the corporate special interests.

He recorded this for us last night:



Republican Anorexia Economica

[Ed. note: This afternoon Howie did a long post at DownWithTyranny about Blue America's first challenger for the 2012 congressional cycle, Nicholas Ruiz. In light of the House Republicans' vote to repeal health-care reform yesterday, Nicholas wrote a guest post for C&L today that fits right in with our efforts to call attention to the hypocrisy of conservative legislators voting against health care for taxpayers while keeping taxpayer-subsidized health care for themselves and their own families. Nicholas' opponent, freshman Tea Party Republican Sandy Adams, is a prime example -- thus this ad Blue America worked on with Daily Kos, Americans for America PAC and Americans United.]

by Nicholas Ruiz III

The diagnosis is clear: Many congressional Republicans and their highfalutin million-dollar pundits are afflicted by the disease of anorexia economica.

Their obsessive fear of budgetary obesity is lopsided and distorted like one’s anorexic appearance in the carnival mirror that makes one appear ridiculously thin and wide simultaneously.

For sufferers of the Reaganomic zombie variant of the malady -- parts of the budgetary body are perceived to be ridiculously engorged and wide -- when they are in fact, too thin and undernourished to the point of tempting national heart failure, as in for example, the budgetary aspects of the U.S. Social Safety Net and support for national funds and endowments for public education, culture, arts, humanities, and universal health care.

Alternatively, the defense budget that consumes about half of all U.S. tax revenue and represents more defense spending for our one nation than almost every other nation’s defense spending combined-- that budgetary addiction is perceived to be sweet as peaches, and ignored, except for the continual annual need of replenishment. In fact, such budgetary spending in defense, tax loopholes and tax cuts for behemoth corporations and the uber-fortunate, I think you will agree, are policies in need of a reasonably healthy and revitalizing diet.

Republican anorexia economica is contagious and it is spreading.

Everywhere, the Republican symptomology presents itself in a seemingly hynoptic-induced, drone-like mantra among sufferers such as Sandy Adams (FL-24), repeating over and over again, with little else of coherence, a tired chant that amounts to: “We have to cut the spending-- we need tax cuts.” Or in the case of Michele Bachmann’s (MN-6) over-stimulated, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed paradoxical meandering on Fox News: “Nothing is on the table and nothing is off the table.” Really? How lucid. Talk about dark matter.

Or in the case of Hansen Clark (MI-13) as reported by the NYTimes: “I need to be able to work up to 20 hours a day and still get some decent sleep, and if I sleep in my office I’ll be able to do that.” What kind of sense does that make? Who can actually believe that working twenty hours per day-- and in sleeping in one’s office, is a healthy proposition? It’s just as we suspected. Democrats are susceptible to the disease. Or in another Republican example, the case of Joe Walsh (IL-8), again in the NYTimes: “I don’t want to think about where I’m living, I don’t want to think about what I’m eating; I want to get in, do my work and then get home and talk to the people who sent me here.”

Such a new congressional binge and purge disposition borders on the obsessive and dysfunctional. Excess and scarcity combine in such collectively neurotic thinking to create record levels of poverty, unemployment, home foreclosures, war-mongering, soaring equity and commodity market prices-- all coupled to artificially suppressed wages, worker rights and benefits, sociocultural and environmental devastation.

It sends the wrong message to America and the world. They don’t call it the 112th Congress’ “Couch Caucus” for nothing.

Continue reading »



Republican Anorexia Economica

[Ed. note: This afternoon Howie did a long post at DownWithTyranny about Blue America's first challenger for the 2012 congressional cycle, Nicholas Ruiz. In light of the House Republicans' vote to repeal health-care reform yesterday, Nicholas wrote a guest post for C&L today that fits right in with our efforts to call attention to the hypocrisy of conservative legislators voting against health care for taxpayers while keeping taxpayer-subsidized health care for themselves and their own families. Nicholas' opponent, freshman Tea Party Republican Sandy Adams, is a prime example -- thus this ad Blue America worked on with Daily Kos, Americans for America PAC and Americans United.]

by Nicholas Ruiz III

The diagnosis is clear: Many congressional Republicans and their highfalutin million-dollar pundits are afflicted by the disease of anorexia economica.

Their obsessive fear of budgetary obesity is lopsided and distorted like one’s anorexic appearance in the carnival mirror that makes one appear ridiculously thin and wide simultaneously.

For sufferers of the Reaganomic zombie variant of the malady -- parts of the budgetary body are perceived to be ridiculously engorged and wide -- when they are in fact, too thin and undernourished to the point of tempting national heart failure, as in for example, the budgetary aspects of the U.S. Social Safety Net and support for national funds and endowments for public education, culture, arts, humanities, and universal health care.

Alternatively, the defense budget that consumes about half of all U.S. tax revenue and represents more defense spending for our one nation than almost every other nation’s defense spending combined-- that budgetary addiction is perceived to be sweet as peaches, and ignored, except for the continual annual need of replenishment. In fact, such budgetary spending in defense, tax loopholes and tax cuts for behemoth corporations and the uber-fortunate, I think you will agree, are policies in need of a reasonably healthy and revitalizing diet.

Republican anorexia economica is contagious and it is spreading.

Everywhere, the Republican symptomology presents itself in a seemingly hynoptic-induced, drone-like mantra among sufferers such as Sandy Adams (FL-24), repeating over and over again, with little else of coherence, a tired chant that amounts to: “We have to cut the spending-- we need tax cuts.” Or in the case of Michele Bachmann’s (MN-6) over-stimulated, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed paradoxical meandering on Fox News: “Nothing is on the table and nothing is off the table.” Really? How lucid. Talk about dark matter.

Or in the case of Hansen Clark (MI-13) as reported by the NYTimes: “I need to be able to work up to 20 hours a day and still get some decent sleep, and if I sleep in my office I’ll be able to do that.” What kind of sense does that make? Who can actually believe that working twenty hours per day-- and in sleeping in one’s office, is a healthy proposition? It’s just as we suspected. Democrats are susceptible to the disease. Or in another Republican example, the case of Joe Walsh (IL-8), again in the NYTimes: “I don’t want to think about where I’m living, I don’t want to think about what I’m eating; I want to get in, do my work and then get home and talk to the people who sent me here.”

Such a new congressional binge and purge disposition borders on the obsessive and dysfunctional. Excess and scarcity combine in such collectively neurotic thinking to create record levels of poverty, unemployment, home foreclosures, war-mongering, soaring equity and commodity market prices-- all coupled to artificially suppressed wages, worker rights and benefits, sociocultural and environmental devastation.

It sends the wrong message to America and the world. They don’t call it the 112th Congress’ “Couch Caucus” for nothing.

Continue reading »



Blue America Welcomes Our Old Friend Alan Grayson Back For A Live Chat

Congressman Grayson's clip above is positively existential. It's hard to believe it's coming from a Member of Congress. Of course, it's hard to believe there's a Member of Congress of Alan Grayson's calibre. And I get the feeling there are an awful lot of people in the Orlando area who know just how lucky they are. On the other hand, Alan has drawn a veritable circus sideshow of opponents, each one fringier and more insane than the other. Tomorrow is primary day in Florida and we'll be watching with interest as a small number of disheartened and disillusioned Republicans pick over the 4th and 5th tier candidates hoping for the nomination-- from Patricia Sullivan who (publicly) claims Sarah Palin as a role model, Dan Fanelli who proudly (and publicly) flies his racist flag for everyone to see, to the kook, Ross Bieling, whose platform is impeaching President Obama and the hate talk radio guy, Todd Long, who was found passed out drunk one morning in front of a local elementary school to a state legislator, Kurt Kelly, who disgraced himself last month by interpreting Rep. Grayson's efforts to bring the troops home to safety as wanting them to die and then to the feeble fave of the Establishment, Dan Webster, who's best known for pushing a radical religious agenda that has included ending the right of divorce and introducing the legislation that started the whole tragic Terri Schiavo debacle. And on top of that the Florida TEA Party has nominated Peg Dunmire, someone even nuttier than that crew -- well, not nuttier than Fanelli -- running as well.

Goal ThermometerAnd then there's Alan Grayson, probably the most beloved and effective champion of ordinary working families of any Member of the House. Today's the climax of a moneybomb his campaign launched a few days ago. Blue America has our own goal for Alan's campaign, an even $50,000. As you can see from the thermometer on the right, we're more than two-thirds there. I hope you watched the video up top. It knocked me out. Here's some of what Orlando's greatest gift to America had to say:

There are two groups in this country right now. I call those groups Us, and Them.

We want more jobs, better schools, better health, better pensions, and we want to keep our homes. We want not just jobs but jobs that mean something, jobs that pay a decent wage. We want to live a good life.

And then there's them. They simply have one goal and one goal only. And that is to destroy the government. They're not conservatives. They're anarchists.

I don't know why they want anarchy. In fact, they don’t know, either. Even they don't know what kind of inner darkness causes them to seek wars without end, to burn the planet, to welcome poverty for so many, to leave the old and the sick helpless, to cheer oil in the Gulf. I've spoken to enough of them to be able to tell you that they themselves don’t know why.

But that's what they want. So, now we have to decide who is going to run this country. Is it Us, or is it Them? And what's at stake is the future. The future in a country that my five children will live in, that your children will live in, that you'll live in for the rest of your life.

Are we going to have a country with a decent middle class life for everyone-- jobs, health care, roads, schools? Or, are we going to have poverty, cheap labor, helplessness and hopelessness? The choice is yours.

I think President Obama feels much the same way. I wish he had the guts to say it the way Alan Grayson does. Please, if you only contribute to one campaign this year, it's Alan Grayson who has earned that honor. Please join us below in the comments section to participate in a love blogging session with Congressman Alan Grayson.



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

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

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

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

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



Blue America's Alan Grayson Wins Florida Primary

Congratulations, Alan! Great news from a great progressive candidate.

Down With Tyranny:

(Tuesday) Florida had its congressional primaries and with about 93% of the vote counted it's looking like Donna Edwards may soon have a strong progressive with a reform-minded agenda working with her in Congress. (Oh, there's still the general election in November... but Keller barely managed to hold onto his party's nomination against Todd Long who's getting 47% of the Republican vote.) AP has called the race for Grayson but says it's too close to call on the GOP side. [..]

Which ad do you think will be most effective in the general election?

or this?

Both of them are hard to resist. Please consider donating to our Blue America ActBlue page so he can keep running the ads.



Blue America Candidate Alan Grayson's New Ad for Florida Seat

Hell yeah, that's the kind of ad all Democrats should be running. Howie has more:

Blue America-endorsed candidate running against garden variety rubber stamp Republican Ric Keller in an Orlando district that has been turning blue. Early balloting started this week for Florida's primary election and Alan has been the only candidate with a TV ad up-- and what a TV ad! If every Democratic candidate had an ad this powerful to run, we wouldn't be talking about 12-20 House seats; we'd be talking about 30-50. Of course, not every candidate has a story as compelling as Alan's. [..]

If you'd like to see Alan keep this running, please consider donating to his campaign at the Blue America ActBlue page.

Matt Stoller has more at Open Left: Alan Grayson on Iraq Reckoning: "We'll Put People in Prison"




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