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.



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!



Alan Grayson-- Progressives' Cosmic Thing

Alan Grayson was 30 when the B-52’s were recording “Love Shack,” “Channel Z,” “Roam” and the other classic songs that were released on their most beloved and successful album, Cosmic Thing. He had graduated from Harvard, where he had written his masters thesis on gerontology, done some law clerking for both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia and founded the non-profit Alliance for Aging Research.

While the rest of us were trying to figure out which voice was Cindy’s and which voice was Kate’s, Grayson was trying to figure out how to improve the human experience of aging for all American seniors and working with Members of Congress to accelerate the development of treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Now, of course, Grayson is a Member of Congress himself, arguably the single best member and certainly the best member when it comes to the issues facing the non-rich elderly. This week, Blue America is asking one last time this cycle for our members and supporters to chip in to make sure the Koch brothers don’t succeed in November doing to Grayson what they did in 2010, when he didn’t have the resources to respond to a $5.5 million barrage of vicious, false attack ads they financed.

So… anytime all week— until Friday, October 10 at noon (PT)— everyone who contributes, any amount, to Grayson’s campaign on this Blue America page will get a chance to walk off with an RIAA-certified quadruple platinum award for Cosmic Thing.

This isn’t something you can buy in a store. The band and record company awarded it to a small handful of people who helped make Cosmic Thing such a gigantic success. And there’s more. If you want to and you’re the lucky random winner, we’ll fly you and a guest to Orlando where Alan Grayson and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will personally present you with the plaque. Yes, photos allowed!

Alan has been gracious and generous with his time and efforts to help elect progressives to Congress. Here in Los Angeles, he jumped right into Ted Lieu’s battle to win a House seat against Sheldon Adelson protégé Elan Carr. Why is Grayson helping raise money for a California state senator running for Congress when he needs to protect his own seat in central Florida? Here’s why— in his own words:

The American Psychiatric Association has unequivocally condemned any psychiatric “treatment” based on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder. The Attorney General has written that “a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable.” The World Health Organization has said that “sexual orientation by itself is not to be regarded as a disorder.” And yet in the United States, gay teenagers have been held in isolation for months, and forced to attend this “conversion therapy.”

Except in California. Thanks to Ted Lieu.

In 2012, State Senator Ted Lieu wrote a bill to prohibit conversation therapy for minors in California. That bill passed in the California Legislature, and was signed into law. Ted Lieu made California the first state to ban conversion therapy for minors, but hopefully not the last. That was a very important accomplishment.

Now Ted Lieu is running for Congress, and he needs your help. He is seeking the seat of Rep. Henry Waxman. Henry has served for 40 years in Congress, and yet he kept his seat last time with only 54% of the vote. It’s a difficult district, it’s a close race, and we need Ted Lieu in Congress.

…I’m asking you to click below, and show your support for Ted Lieu. He had the guts to take on the Religious Right when it was the Religious Wrong, and he rescued countless children from the bigoted lie that their sexual identity was a “disease” that demanded a quack “cure.” Ted Lieu deserves our support.

Blue America also supports Ted Lieu— but today is Alan Grayson day day for us. Please contribute what you can here— and good luck with the B-52’s Cosmic Thing platinum award and the trip for two to meet Grayson and Pelosi in Orlando.



Jimi Hendrix Contest Extended In Honor Of Memorial Day

You're probably aware that we're getting into the final stretch of our Alan Grayson Jimi Hendrix fundraiser. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, we've extended it until Tuesday-- one extra day. You can get in on it here-- and possibly win the rare, collectible Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced? platinum record award.

Do you remember the Blue America-endorsed candidate in Illinois, George Gollin, a particle physicist? Unfortunately, he didn't win his primary against Steve Israel's heavily-funded mystery meat candidate, Ann Callis, who has virtually no chance whatsoever of unseating weak Republican Rodney Davis in IL-13. George, however, hasn't withdrawn form politics. He's still working to make the progressive movement stronger and this is the introduction he wrote urging his supporters to contribute to Grayson's campaign this week:

Howie Klein is a progressive political blogger who writes the DownWithTyranny.blogspot.com blog. He is also helps with BlueAmerica, which raises funds for progressive candidates. Howie passed to me a message asking for help in support of Alan Grayson, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents a district in central Florida.

I met Mr. Grayson for the first time a few weeks ago in Washington. Grayson is smart, progressive, quick, and fearless. He has advanced degrees. And he not only speaks truth to power, but willingly mocks the king who comes into the room unclad. I was not surprised that he was kept off the Democratic side of the House panel that will watch the Right make political hay from the deaths in Benghazi.

One of Grayson’s gigs is serving on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. One of the many reasons we need to help him stay in office is to protect us from the Republican crazies on SS&T. Recall that this is the committee which features Paul Broun (R-GA-10) as a subcommittee chair; Broun is the guy who declared that "All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell." And before he lost his seat in 2012, Todd Akin (R-MO-02) was also a Republican member of the committee. He’s the yahoo who explained that women who have been raped will not become pregnant because "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

So I encourage you to read Howie’s appeal below, and contribute to Alan Grayson’s campaign fund.

We need better people in office than the Democratic organization will tend to support; most recently, they’ve backed one guy with a fake college degree who isn’t even a Democrat and others who appear to have been laundering campaign contributions from their parents to increase their cash intake.

I don’t plan to send you very many messages of this sort, and thank you for your indulgence, and your consideration.

best regards,
George Gollin
Champaign, IL
IL13

You can read all about the "contest rules" and contribute to Grayson's campaign here-- Any amount goes, even one dollar. And if you don't have any cash on hand at the moment and want a chance to win anyway, just send us a post card to Blue America, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you'll have the same chance as anyone else.

Writing to his supporters today, Grayson decided to put the Hendrix context into some context, "so you recognize," he wrote, "just how mind-boggling this opportunity is."

Are You Experienced? was Jimi Hendrix’s first album. Rolling Stone ranked Hendrix as the greatest guitarist of all time.

In the year that Are You Experienced? was released, the readers of Melody Maker voted Jimi Hendrix the Pop Musician of the Year. The following year, Billboard named him Artist of the Year, and Rolling Stone called him Performer of the Year.

Rolling Stone called Are You Experienced? "epochal," and rated it the 15th greatest album of all time, as well as the third greatest debut album of all time. Rolling Stone also ranked "Purple Haze," the lead song on the album, as the 17th greatest song of all time.

Noe Goldwasser, the founding editor of Guitar World, called it "the album that shook the world." He added that it is "the measure by which everything in rock and roll has been compared since."

The album was distributed by Polydor Records. When the head of Polydor first heard the album, he said, "This is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard."

The album contained several innovative effects, like "amp howl" guitar feedback and backward guitar and drum music. It was so unprecedented that when the recording studio master tapes were sent to Reprise Records for remastering, they wrote on the box "Deliberate distortion. Do not correct."

Are You Experienced? reached the Billboard Top 40-- for 27 weeks.

The Library of Congress chose Are You Experienced? as one of only fifty recordings to be added to the National Recording Registry. The archivist of the Smithsonian Institution called it "a landmark recording," because "it altered the syntax of the music," he explained, "in a way I compare to James Joyce’s Ulysses."

At the insistence of one Paul McCartney, Hendrix was invited to play songs from Are You Experienced? at the Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix closed the set by smashing his guitar, and setting it on fire.

I haven’t done that on the Floor of the House. Yet.

So how special is the RIAA-certified Platinum Album Award for Are You Experienced? Very special. Very, very special.

And thanks to Blue America PAC, if you contribute to our campaign this week, you have a chance to own a special piece of music history and legend, by winning the Jimi Hendrix Platinum Album Award. It’s your chance for Musical Paradise.

Jimi Hendrix released only seven albums in the United States. Six of them went platinum, selling over a million copies. If you have a way to get the RIAA-certified Platinum Album Award for one of those other five albums, go for it. And if you already happen to have one of those other Jimi Hendrix Platinum Album Awards, then by all means, please disregard this offer. But if not, then contributing to our campaign today is the only chance that you’re ever going to have to get one.

Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t blow it.

Plus, we could use your help. Thanks.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson



We Need Members Of Congress Who KNOW Something

Earlier this month we introduced our newest House candidate, Illinois particle physicist George Gollin. This link goes to the TV ad he's trying to get up on more stations across the sprawling district that goes from Bloomington and Champaign, straight through the Illinois farm belt to the northern suburbs of St. Louis. The election is a week from Tuesday, March 18, enough time to show that ad to the undecided voters who will cast the decisive ballots in this hotly contested race. Can you help him do it?

Even before scientist/Rep. Rush Holt announced his retirement from Congress, a friend of mine put together this explanation of why it's important to help Gollin win this race. He was making an argument that was the exact opposite of the argument for confirming Nixon failed Supreme Court nominee G. Harrold Carswell-- later arrested for trying to have sex with random men in public toilets in Tallahassee and Atlanta-- that was made by Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska. Hruska, no rocket scientist himself, is remembered for this one statement he uttered in his 22 years in the Senate, this one about Carswell: "Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos." Well, I think we can try. We certainly have a very, very long way to go. 

Thoughtful people in the House are really getting tired of listening to people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

One of the dirty little secrets of Congress is that many of them legislate in areas in which they are utterly bereft of knowledge. If ignorance is bliss, then some of the Members must be deliriously happy. (No wonder Sen. Ted Cruz is always smiling!)

Seriously, we have Members on the Agriculture Committee who couldn’t tell a plow from a harvester. We have Members on the Science Committee who couldn’t tell a proton from a photon.  We have Members on the Foreign Affairs Committee who couldn’t locate Indonesia on a globe if their lives were at stake. And we have Members on the Intelligence Committee who are as dumb as...

Well, you get the idea. And don’t even ask me about the Ethics Committee.

So that’s why we're supporting George Gollin for Congress, and why you should support him, too. He actually knows stuff. Lots of stuff.

Even worse, to the extent that Members of Congress know any stuff at all, it’s always the same stuff. According to Roll Call, out of the 435 Members of the House, we have 187 businessmen, 156 lawyers, and 77 educators. Do the math. That leaves 15 Members.

For four years, Alan Grayson worked as an economist. As far as we know, he's the only Member of Congress who can make that claim. Roll Call did not uncover anyone else. And believe me, whenever he starts to talk economics in a Congressional hearing, the eyes glaze over. Quickly.

But don’t worry. Whenever we need an expert opinion on something, we can turn to the three former talk radio hosts in the House. (It was four, until one got caught snorting-- possibly selling-- cocaine.) Or perhaps we can benefit from the expertise of the former professional football player-- whenever it’s third and nine on the Floor of the House.

This is why we need George Gollin in the House. The man actually knows what he’s talking about.

George Gollin is a physicist. In the 70s, he worked on muon scattering, to test quantum chromodynamics theory. (We're not making this up.) In the 80s, he studied neutral K meson decay, to test for CP violation. (I swear that this is true.) In the 90s, he measured the production and decay properties of heavy quarks. (I kid you not.) Since then, he has specialized in the design and construction of electron-positron colliding beam facilities. (This is indeed bona fide.)

So we can elect George Gollin to Congress, or settle for yet another lawyer/businessman tool. What do you think? And as you consider that question, also consider that the U.S. Department of Energy spends roughly $10 billion a year in taxpayer dollars on physics research, with no one in Congress qualified to do oversight on that effort.

Members who serve on the House Science and Technology Committee tell me it's bleak, really bleak. A few months ago, one of the Members on the Committee said that evolution is “a lie straight from the pit of hell.” Most of the Members are climate change deniers. One friend of our on the committee keeps encouraging them to transfer from the House Science Committee to the House Religion Committee, and follow their true calling. (There is no House Religion Committee, but their eyes light up anyway.)

The progressives on that committee need George Gollin’s help there-- and in Congress. So we should help him get there.

Here’s another really good thing about George Gollin-- he’s a liberal Democrat, and he’s not afraid to say so. In fact, that’s exactly what his TV ad says-- that he’s a proud progressive Democrat. For that reason alone, he deserves our support. A progressive who is proud to be a progressive-- how refreshing! I hope that this catches on.

Maybe Congress always will be crawling with witless lawyers and businessman, like vermin. But if someone like George Gollin can win, then maybe not. Maybe there is hope.

…Help George Gollin win his primary next month… because George Gollin has both a head and a heart.

You can contribute to Gollin's campaign on the Blue America '14 Congressional candidates page. Please do.



LAST CALL: JONI MITCHELL CONTEST ENDS TODAY

UPDATE: Thank you to all who participated. The contest had 945 people who donated something to either Alan Grayson, Lee Rogers or Blue America, for a total of $27,572.

Details, here.

Everyone who was randomly selected is very excited and happy to win their prize, which is one of four Joni Mitchell Prints.

The winners are:

Garland Marshall, a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in St Louis,
Paul Droluk, near San Diego
Jim Gilkeson, Orlando
Clark Newhall of Salt Lake City

Thanks again, and apologies to those of you outside of the United States, who, by law were unable to contribute. :(
******************************

At noon today (Pacific Time, so 3pm on the East Coast), Blue America will randomly select 4 "winners" of our Joni Mitchell drawing. It's been a fun little "contest" and we managed to raise around $8,000 for Congress' most essential Member, Alan Grayson, and another $6,000 for California congressional candidate with a similar progressive perspective, Lee Rogers. We feel good-- and we feel grateful to the over 500 men and women who chipped in (here>. Thank you.

If you haven't entered the contest yet, you have 'til noon at that link above. And if you want to contribute to Alan and Lee but have no interest in the contest, you'll find them both on the regular Blue America page-- along with all the other progressive House candidates we vetted so far this cycle.

But the real purpose of this e-mail is to remind you of what we're up against-- all of us.

The Koch brothers are already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in Orlando to try to defeat Grayson with their regular complain of smears and lies. "Vicious, fraudulent negative ads. Money to burn. Who could that possibly be? Can you guess?" Grayson asked last week. And answered:

Right. It’s the Koch Brothers. The Koch Brothers are running attack ads against me. Already.

The Koch Brothers, Charles and David, are tied for fourth place on the list of the richest Americans. Each of them has $36 billion. That’s $36,000,000,000.00.

They own Koch Industries, which is one of the biggest polluters in America.

The Koch Brothers pledged and spent over $100 million in 2012, trying to defeat President Obama and the Democrats. That was roughly one one-thousandth of their wealth.

The Koch Brothers also spent $2 million to defeat me in 2010, through their front group “Americans for Prosperity” (AFP). And another $2 million through their front group “60 Plus”.

In 2012, their front group AFP printed 80,000 door-hangers to distribute in my district, condemning me for voting twice to raise the debt limit. I actually had voted twice against raising the debt limit – on the very bills that they cited. But the Koch Brothers don’t care. As far as they’re concerned, the truth is whatever they say it is.

Well, now they’re back, to try to beat me again. The ads in my district are paid for by the Koch front group “Concerned Veterans for America.” Virtually every nickel that the “Concerned Veterans for America” has to its name comes from a group called the TC4 Trust. And the money for the TC4 Trust comes from the Koch Brothers. The Washington Post and Open Secrets laid it all out, nice and neat, earlier this month. In a Washington Post article called “The Players in the Koch-Backed $400 Million Political Donor Network,” one of the “players” was “Concerned Veterans for America,” which “was funded almost entirely by TC4 in 2012.”
In the illustration above, Koch groups like this are called “Astroturf Agents,” “fake ‘grassroots’ groups to project an appearance of popular support for ideas and policies that benefit big corporations.”

Why do the Koch Brothers have it in for me? Is it because Slate magazine called me “the most effective Member of Congress”? Is it because Business Insider listed me as the most productive Member of Congress? Is it because I introduced more bills last year than any other Member of Congress? Is it because I passed more amendments last year-- in a Republican-controlled House-- than any other Member of Congress? Is it because I stood up against the military-industrial complex over war with Syria, and won?

Or is it all of the above?

Look, it’s clear at this point. Whoever ends up as the nominal Republican nominee in FL-9 this year is simply a placeholder. A proxy. A surrogate. It’s going to be me against the Koch Brothers.

As I explained yesterday, we need reach our voters, to dispel the Koch Brothers’ lies. And whether we do it through TV ads, radio ads, internet ads, mail or even yard signs, it all costs money.

I need your help, and I’m going to need it all of the time between now and Election Day. Not once-- all the time. If you haven’t contributed to our campaign yet, then you need to start now. If you have contributed, then you need to do it again. If you aren’t already contributing monthly, then you need to do that-- because these rotten attack ads against me are going to run monthly, weekly, daily and hourly. And if already you contribute monthly, God bless you for that, but please consider upping the ante.

This is serious. I need you to pitch in. Every dollar counts, because I count, and you count.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson



Kochs/Fox Aiming to take Alan Grayson Out-- Joni To The Rescue?

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Koch brothers are already pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into ads meant to demonize Alan Grayson and defeat him in November. Fox "News" is targeting him again as well. That these powerful entities are shoveling their vast resources towards Grayson's defeat is good news… Because it proves he's succeeding at the job we sent him to Congress to do!

Today, Blue America is launching a Joni Mitchell contest to help raise some campaign cash for Grayson's reelection in the very expensive Orlando media market.

Grayson also requested that we ask our donors to give to Lee Rogers at the same time, a friend and political ally running a tough campaign to win the seat Buck McKeon is giving up just north of L.A. "I like Lee Rogers," Grayson explained. "But that’s not why I’m asking you to support his run for Congress."

I respect Lee Rogers, because he is the doctor who founded and directed the Amputation Prevention Center, and reduced amputations by 72%.  But that’s not why I’m asking you to support his run for Congress.
 
I know that we need a progressive doctor like Lee Rogers in Congress, to help Drs. Ami Bera and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) counter the demented ravings of Drs. Paul Broun (R-Paleolithic), Scott DesJarlais (R-Patient Dating), Michael Burgess (R-Fetal Wanking) and Larry Bucshon (R-Guns).  But that’s not why I’m asking you to support Lee Rogers’s run for Congress.
 
I’m asking you to support Lee Rogers for Congress, because we have to win a seat like his to turn the U.S. House of Representatives blue.

…Please contribute to the Lee Rogers for Congress campaign today. Every dollar counts, because every person counts.
 
Do it for Nancy Pelosi, to make Nancy-- the first female Speaker of the House-- Speaker once more. Do it for me, so that I can push through all of our legislation for justice, equality and peace. Do it for yourself and the people you love, so that all of us can enjoy the blessings of good government.

This time we're running the "contest" a little differently. The basic rules are the same: just contribute any amount to Alan and Lee on this special Joni Mitchell page-- or, if you're strapped for cash and want a chance to win, send us a post card telling us so at P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

What makes this contest different is that we're giving away 4 Joni Mitchell art prints (18" x 24") and Grayson suggested that we choose four random winners! Everyone has a lot better chance to win one of the rare, collectible Joni prints-- four times better-- that have never been offered for sale for any amount of money.

Let me just leave you with something Lee Rogers told us about Grayson: "As a doctor, I know most people use their guts for digestion. But, Rep. Alan Grayson uses his guts for a more constructive purpose. He stands up for the voiceless and underrepresented as a Congressman. Sadly, unless you're one of the 0.01% that donates significant money to fill the coffers of politicians, you're probably one of those underrepresented by Congress. Alan is your voice. I greatly admire Alan for having the guts to stand up to nearly everyone and almost single-handedly prevent an American war in Syria. He's bold and "tells it like it is." Those are qualities I hope to emulate in Congress and I'm honored to have his support in my election."

Again, here's where you can support Alan Grayson and Lee Rogers and enter to win one of the 4 Joni Mitchell prints. One is pictured, above.



Time For House Democrats To Find New Leadership


Enough of this crap

All the House Democratic leaders, from conservatives like Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Joe Crowley to "liberals" like Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn and Xavier Becerra, are working to round up votes inside the caucus to back Obama's plan to bomb Syria. Pelosi became leader of the Democrats because she stood up to Bush and Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt when they asked Congress to approve plans to attack Iraq. Most Democrats joined Pelosi against that war-- and that ended Dick Gephardt's political career. That was a very different Nancy Pelosi than the one leading House Democrats today.

On the other hand, we still have plenty of Democrats in the House strenuously opposing the war arguments-- Alan Grayson, Raul Grijalva, Barbara Lee are three excellent examples. Pelosi announced last week that she has no intention of ever being Speaker again. The vultures waiting in the wings-- Hoyer, Wasserman Schultz, Crowley-- to take over the leadership of the House caucus would all be catastrophic for the Democratic brand and for grassroots values that make someone a Democrat instead of a Republican.

It's time to start thinking about electing a leader of the House Democrats who is NOT a conservative and who is not a pillar of institutionalized Beltway corruption.

The way WE can help that process along is to elect more progressives to Congress who will not be beholden to the Steve Israels, Steny Hoyers, and Debbie Wasserman Schultzes. It's imperitive that we help elect people who will be open-minded about electing caucus leaders like Grayson, not yesterday's stale leftovers like Hoyer and Wasserman Schultz. A grassroots progressive in Oklahoma, Tom Guild, is an independent thinker and is going to have an open mind. "Syria is a basket case," he told us, "with heartbreaking tragedies piled one on another. The [Assad] government is evil and much of the opposition is affiliated with enemies of the United States. We should tread carefully and make sure we are not drawn into another war without end. American cannot be the world’s policeman, and we have paid a heavy price trying to do so."

Nick Ruiz, a professor who once ran as a Green, is the progressive Democratic candidate in the Orlando area running against GOP warmonger John Mica, also gave us a position just before Obama announced he would ask for a congressional vote before attacking.

"Why not conference and engage the Syrian leadership and factions-- and Iran, along with Russia and China for good measure? Before drones and Tomahawks, bombs and killing; as an alternative to the stereotypical language of violence that the world is so tired of hearing. Let's talk about it; not naively, but intensely; let's argue about what's happening in Syria, with the Syrian leadership and rebellion, their neighboring ally Iran, and advocates of sovereignty: Russia and China. We get it. We understand boundaries and sovereignty. And we ought to thoroughly understand rebellion, having been borne of it... The world's interests are better served with an eye toward de-escalation, rather than aggravation and aggrandizement... My vote would be NO on assaulting Syria.

"As Democrats we know better than to fight unjust wars; we do not leave the poor defenseless, nor erode civil rights or ignore social injustice. We helped to define these vital, democratic concepts in the modern era. When our leaders change for the worse, and seek to lead us toward the lowest common denominator, then we should thank them for whatever good they've done in the past-- but must tell them 'No, we will not follow you there, and further, you will not lead us any longer.' It is a crucial time when one must have the good sense to choose new leaders. But it's now true: that time is upon us."

As the other, better-known, progressive political leader from the Orlando area, Alan Grayson said, "Nobody wants this, except the military-industrial complex." We need a new generation of leaders to represent the Democratic Party, not the money-driven Establishment shills who have more in common with their Republican House colleagues than they do with grassroots Democrats.

Please consider supporting the 2014 Blue America candidates for Congress.

As you can see, we've recently added three new ones, Tom in Oklahoma, plus Danielle Adams in North Carolina and Paul Clements in Michigan. Clearly, Washington needs new leadership-- leadership that is rooted in the Democratic grassroots. Electing candidates like this to Congress is a healthy first step.



FEC Quarter Ends Today; Should You Care?

Today's the end of the FEC fundraising quarter and I want to refer you to a post yesterday you may have missed about real bipartisanship, bipartisanship based on compromising that genuinely works for both sides, not compromise based on a combination of opportunism, bribery and one side betraying core values.

Some Members of Congress-- virtually all the Republicans, all the New Dems and every single Blue Dog for example-- finance their political careers by taking legalistic bribes from special interests like Wall Street banks, armaments makers and/or Big Oil. Blue America has been encouraging a new model, one based on congressmen and senators who represent actual citizens and citizens who in turn chip in to help with those Members' campaigns. Our primary avatars for this model has always been Alan Grayson in the House and Bernie Sanders in the Senate.

Like I said, this weekend is another quarterly FEC deadline. You probably got dozens of e-mails from all kinds of phony-baloney Democrats begging for help, primarily ones like Patrick Murphy, Sean Patrick Maloney and Ann Kuster who have worked for the bad guys all year and have only earned your scorn. Instead we'd like to ask you to consider making a contribution to Alan Grayson's campaign. He continues to super-serve ordinary working families, not big, wealthy corporations and their lobbyists.

This week he offered an amendment to an offshore drilling bill that would have guaranteed each state the right to make the ultimate decision about drilling. He put together a coalition of environmentally concerned Democrats and states rights-oriented Republicans, including some of the most right-wing Members of Congress. Big Oil panicked and put pressure of the GOP House leadership to get some of the Republicans to change their votes. Some did-- but not enough. But Big Oil had an ace in the hole: Blue Dog John Barrow (GA), the House Democrat they gave the most money to last year. He and fellow Blue Dog Jim Matheson (UT) were the only Democrats to vote against Grayson's amendment Friday. The amendment lost by one vote... by one vote in a House where Republicans have a 33 vote margin. No Democrat has been able to do anything like that... except Alan Grayson.

Big Oil, Big Finance, the Military Industrial Establishment have every Republican and a good solid chunk of Democrats. We have Alan Grayson. Let's make sure we keep him in Congress. The other names on that page have been vetted with Grayson in mind. We want to find him a team who will be there fighting for the same values and principles, instead of more like John Barrow and Jim Matheson.

UPDATE From Congressman Grayson

To whom does Haliburton give money?

Not me.

Here's how Congress works for most of the Members: they sit in their offices, they cross the street to the Floor of the House to vote every once in a while, and, while in their offices, corporate lobbyist after corporate lobbyist comes to kiss their rings. They kiss that ring with their lips, and, with their hands, they hand over the language that they want inserted into a bill that will help their cause.

Then, after the Members of Congress do the bidding of their corporate masters, they walk across the street to the party HQ, pick up the phone, and ask those same corporations to raise tens of thousands of dollars for their campaigns.

These corporations aren't bankrolling my campaign, because I don't do their bidding. I rely on you. If you want me to keep fighting and keep legislating in the public interest, I need your support before the important June 30th deadline.

Even $5 and $10 contributions, if enough people make them, can determine a race. You can help Alan here.

We ran this amazing video of Grayson already but I want to run it again... it's that good:

And here's another clip that should blow minds-- especially inside the DC Democratic Establishment. "We need more Democrats who are Democrats... As Howard Dean said years and years ago, 'You can't beat a Republican by being a Republican.' Nobody's fooled by that. If the public has a choice between a real Republican and a fake Republican running as a Democrat, they'll choose the real Republican every time. So it's actually self-defeating." He just devastated Steve Israel's entire DCCC strategy:




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