14 California Republicans Just Handed Their Own Constituents A Big Tax Increase

IssaTrumpLoveScrewingNormalPeople.pngDarrell Issa may regret being Drumpf's BFF when November 2018 rolls around. Just sayin'.

Paul Ryan got a budget bill passed Thursday night, albeit very narrowly-- 216 to 212. Every single Democrat and 20 Republicans voted against it. And if just 3 more Republicans had voted NO it would have failed. Why should they have?

Well, passage allows for a quickie vote on Ryan's tax cuts for the rich-- which includes big tax increases for many middle class families. The worst hit will be middle class families in California, New York, New Jersey and other states with high state and local taxes. In some cases taxes will increase by $25,000 annually. That part of the Trump-Ryan tax bill is referred to as eliminating the state and local tax deduction. Lots of Republican congress members voted "no" in order to protect their constituents from these outrageous tax increases. BUT NOT ONE California Republican did.

There are 14 Republicans from California in Congress and none of them elected to join their Republican colleagues from New York and New Jersey who staged an attempt to force Ryan to keep the middle class deduction... NOT ONE.

Eric Bauman, Chairman of the California Democratic Party had this to say after the vote:

"In voting for the Donald Trump/Paul Ryan budget bill, every member of the CAGOP 14 voted to raise taxes on middle class and poor workers in Orange County, the Central Valley and all across California... just so they could give a huge tax cut to their billionaire paymasters and to appease Donald Trump. All 14 of them voted to take healthcare away from cancer patients and raise taxes on the rest of us, which they will turn around and hand to their ultra-rich patrons.

Darrell Issa, Dana Rohrabacher, Jeff Denham, David Valadao and the rest of their cronies are not just failing to do their jobs-- they're actively sticking it to millions of their own constituents, and hurting real people in the process. The people of California will not fall for this deceptive tax hike and the California Democratic Party intends to make sure every voter remembers this in 2018.”

All of the Orange County Republicans-- Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher-- are hanging on by a thread, so the collective decision to increase their constituents' annual tax bill is probably a very bad idea.

In fact, even long-shot red districts like CA-50 (Duncan Hunter) and CA-22 (Devin Nunes) look like they could be offering unexpected opportunities: the former because of an unexpected but likely indictment and the latter because of Putin-Gate.

Kia Hamadanchy, one of the progressives running against absentee-congresswoman Mimi Walters:

"It’s remarkable to me how out of touch Mimi Walters remains with the residents of our district. I am out everyday at events, community meetings, and rallies and the support for Trump is abysmal-- and I’m hearing that from Republicans and Independents, too. Yet just this week, Mimi told a reporter that, 'It is very important that Republicans back the President… He stands for what we stand for.' As far as I’m concerned, that means she stands with white supremacists and xenophobes and not the incredibly diverse and vibrant people of the district she is supposed to represent in Washington. If Mimi continues to be Trump’s rubber stamp, I don’t see any way she gets re-elected. She better start looking for her lobbying gig already."

When it comes to kitchen table issues, there is no one in Congress fighting more ardently for working families than Ro Khanna (D-CA). He's very interested in making sure Congress becomes bluer and more progressive. He told us after the vote that

"California Republicans are being forced to cast votes again and against against their constituents. They are having to choose between the people they represent and the Trump/Ryan agenda. As long as we run bold progressives who are rooted in the community and offer a positive vision, we should win many seats in California!

Nor is that tax deduction conundrum the only one of Trump's legislative proposals making reelection for the California GOP delegation look more and more like a long-shot. The Republican ultimate bête noire, ObamaCare, is not a bête noire for millions of California voters-- including in GOP-held districts-- who need it for their families. Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would lead millions of Californians to lose health coverage and premiums would skyrocket, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Low-income people that depend on Medi-Cal for their health care, many of whom live in the Central Valley, would be disproportionately affected. Three Republicans represent Central Valley districts that would suffer disproportionately: Denham, Valadao and Nunes.

And there are more issues that find California Republicans on the wrong side of the fence-- from immigration to deadly military equipment being sold for private use. Trump’s polarizing effect on California’s electorate underscores the balancing act for Republicans headed into 2018.

Opportunities like this do not happen every cycle, or even every 4 cycles. We cannot let them get away. Will you contribute what you can today to the candidates on our page for making California more Progressively Blue?

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Winning Back A Blue Seat In California Takes A Progressive

"Let's create our own game-- one founded on the ideals of integrity, sustainability, cooperation and realizing the promise of self-government. It's not up to them-- we're the stewards of this democracy." --Katie Hill, Blue America '18 candidate in CA-25

Even the worst Democrats in Congress have caught on to the fact that railing against Trump is profitable. A case can be made that it is Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is responsible, at least as much as Putin or Comey, for installing Trump in the White House. And now she sends e-mails several times a week begging for money by robotically denigrating Trump. Being anti-Trump doesn't mean a politician backs a progressive agenda. Wasserman Schultz, who opposes John Conyers' Medicare-For-All Act, for example, and is still the poster gal for DC corruption, can be anti-Trump 'til the cows come home but that doesn't mean anyone in their right mind should back her against progressive primary challenger Tim Canova.

As you've probably noticed, effective and sincere Resistance Leaders in Congress-- people like Ted Lieu, Elizabeth Warren and Pramila Jayapal-- aren't just sending out fundraising emails for themselves; they've been putting together the foundations for what congressional resistance to Trump and Trumpism looks like. And every one of them has expressly acknowledged over and over that being against Trump isn't the be all and end all to the progressive agenda. It's become a key point Blue America talks about with the candidates we back.

Our newest endorsed candidate, Katie Hill, feels as strongly about it as we do. Her district-- a blue Southern California seat-- is held by knee-jerk, right-wing Republican Steve Knight, a proud TrumpCare supporter.

The district went convincingly for Hillary last year-- 50.3-43.6%. But while Hillary was winning by over 6 points, the DCCC-imported candidate lost by close to 10 points. Another perfect example of an utterly clueless DCCC big-footing into a primary in a district they don't know anything about. They spent about $3.5 million on their Beverly Hills attorney candidate and lost 54.2% to 45.8%. Reactionary Blue Dog Cheri Bustos, vice chair of the DCCC recruitment committee, wants him to run again. I'm sure Paul Ryan, Steve Knight and Kevin McCarthy do as well.

Blue America has just started raising money for Katie Hill today and we hope you'll help her with a contribution towards getting her message out to voters.

She penned the following guest post for us that goes to the heart of why it's so important for progressives to win congressional seats like CA-25. "Our nation stands at a crossroads," she began. "Do we continue down the same self-destructive path we’ve been walking for decades? Or do we blaze a new trail into the future?"

Moving Away From The Politics Of Fear 
-by Katie Hill

Donald Trump is not the problem. He’s the symptom of a damaged political consciousness in America.

Opposition politics have become the new normal. In 2010, Mitch McConnell declared the sole ambition of the Republican Party for “President Obama to be a one-term president.” While Democrats resisted the urge to give in to these schoolyard tactics at first, in 2016 they gave in and centered their entire campaign strategy around personal attacks on Donald Trump, rather than policy.

They played the fear card-- to much less effect-- and it lost. Big time. Which is why now is the time for us to move away from the politics of fear and into an affirmative political vision moving forward.

But what is our vision? We have a great, grassroots resistance that has emerged, but right now, all we’re doing is reacting to Trump’s every move. He is setting the agenda, maintaining the initiative, and we’re screaming on the sidelines.

It’s understandable. Trump is a disaster. He’s doing things that would have been unimaginable in any other time. He is putting our country at risk, going against our every value with every unhinged twitter outburst. We, of course, must resist.

But that’s not enough. We must be more than the anti-Trump party or we fail. Period.

It’s time for us to start screaming this from the rooftops. We can fight Trump at the same time, but we can’t stop looking ahead-- because the fate of our party and, quite frankly, our country, depends on it.

  • I, like most Americans on either side of the aisle, believe that our country isn’t broken, but our political system is. The extreme polarization of politics and gerrymandering have turned voters off. Consequently, people who are supposed to be representing all of us only truly represent a tiny minority of those still voting. We need to restore faith and trust in our government and that means enacting meaningful campaign finance reform. Supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen’s United isn’t enough-- we need to elect people who are willing to regulate themselves as representatives and stand up to the people who hold the purse strings.
  • We must call this rigged system of crony capitalism what it is and do everything we can to address the ever-growing income inequality in America. Our economy gives big banks and big oil massive government subsidies while small businesses struggle to survive or fail. Our health care system bankrupts sick Americans so big pharma and insurance companies can make record profits. Our tax code allows Wall Street bankers and hedge funds, who just a decade ago destroyed the economy, to pay less than half the tax rate a middle-class family would pay. We need to put the system back to work for every American, not just a privileged few.
  • We need to tackle long-neglected social reforms, starting with healthcare. It’s not good enough to just save the ACA, we need to work tirelessly until we ensure that no American must choose between getting the health care they need and putting a roof over their heads. We must deal with the rising rates of mental health disorders and substance abuse, and ensure that we are providing effective, early intervention and treatment to people regardless of their ability to pay. We need massive criminal justice reform. We need to make sure that everyone-- no matter who they are or where they come from-- can afford college or trade school and not come out with a lifetime of debt. We need to address the housing affordability and homelessness crisis that is plaguing so many of our communities. The list goes on-- every one of these issues needs to be talked about, and we can’t afford to wait any longer.
  • We need to be pro-sustainability in every sense of the word. The future of labor goes hand in hand with a progressive, pro-environmental policy. Research shows the growing green economy creates more jobs per unit of energy than the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps one of the biggest perks of a renewable economy is these jobs cannot be shipped overseas. By installing and developing green infrastructure, we will create local and regional projects benefitting the communities nearby. Strengthening local projects and supporting green energy makes for a more sustainable planet, and a more sustainable economy.
  • Finally, it’s time we focused our energy and attention on the cooperative nature of life and governing in America. For far too long, politicians have tried to divide us with polarizing, partisan rhetoric. In the real world, we get things done as families, friends, neighbors and communities, without devolving into a mudslinging circus. Every single day, diverse Americans run businesses together, coach little league together, put on theater productions, run our school districts and cities, support each other, and keep our communities going. If we want to solve the countless problems facing our country right now, we must face them together.

It is time for a more affirmative political movement in our country. We’re not lacking the ideas, innovation or ingenuity; we’re lacking the political will.

Currently, the establishment is more vested in constant re-election campaigning and serving their corporate masters. That’s their game, but they can only play it if we allow them to. I hope you’ll join me on this journey because I know we can do this and we will make our government and our country better, together.



There is only One Way to Stop Trump

photo credit: Justin Lane/EPA

Blue America hasn't spent precious time since the election asking you to sign petitions for impractical symbolic appeals to the electoral college, or to waste your money on an unwinnable pointless Senate race in Louisiana.

We are very focused on what can be done-- politically-- to break the back on Trumpism. And that focus is, clearly, taking back the House in 2018.

If Trump and Ryan do half the damage they promise, even an incompetent DCCC won't be able to keep the two dozen seats that need to change hands from flipping, effectively put ting the brakes on Trumpism.

Blue America is working daily to recruit solid progressive candidates in districts from coast the coast. You can follow-- and support-- the results of our progress here.

Let me introduce you to one of our first recruits, Jimmy Gomez-- if only they could all be this good!-- a young guy from my neighborhood. When Xavier Becerra was appointed by Jerry Brown to become California Attorney General, my first thought was to wonder if Jimmy could be persuaded to run for the congressional seat. It's a deep blue district and there's no Republican who could ever compete there. Obama got 83% of the vote in 2012.

It's going to be a campaign about who who will be the best Democratic candidate, the one with the best proven vision for the job. Before Jimmy decided to run, I started tweeting about his accomplishments and suggesting that Congress needed his unique combination of heartfelt progressivism and hard-headed ability to work with political adversaries to accomplish his goals. The first "push back" I got came, not unexpectedly, from Sacramento. It was from a top staffer of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. "Please," the staffer wrote to me, "don't do this. We desperately need Jimmy here in Sacramento."

Eventually Jimmy decided he would run-- and Speaker Rendon endorsed him, as did the President Pro Tem of the state Senate, Kevin de León and dozens and dozens of Jimmy's colleagues in the legislature. Monday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in on behalf of Jimmy as have virtually all the progressive office holders in the state.

Tuesday, our old friend, former congresswoman, former Secretary of Labor and current County Supervisor Hilda Solis added her name to the growing list of public servants backing Jimmy. She wrote that "Jimmy Gomez has proven to be the State Assembly's most effective and dedicated champion for working families. He wrote the nation's strongest family leave laws, and stands up for equality in the workplace, in our schools and colleges, and for women's health care. In fact, I've been proud of him from the days he worked for me in Congress, from his years fighting for better health care for all at the United Nurses Association of California and throughout his career in the Assembly. We need him in Congress, protecting the people of Los Angeles, and I'm proud to support him."

Last week I had dinner with Jimmy and his wife Mary in a neighborhood diner. He talked to me about his vision for the people in his district and how he's gone about implementing it in the state legislature. Halfway through I cursed myself for not having a tape recorder. Knowing how busy he is organizing his campaign in a field that grows more and more crowded every day, I asked him if he would write down everything he had just said so I could share it. I think he stayed up later than he wanted to to do it. 

Making The Progressive Reform Agenda Work For Everyone, Including Those Who Need It Most ----by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez

I’m proud of California because we are a state of firsts . . . we are the first to pass paid family leave, the 15 dollar minimum wage, paid sick days, and groundbreaking climate change legislation to reduce green house gas emissions and preserve our environment for future generations.

Yet, California isn’t perfect. Although our state continues to improve, we still rank last or near last when it comes to a number of social indicators: education, health, economic and environmental.

Why?

Why are the laws that we pass not working the way we intend and why are we not seeing the improvements we would expect to see?

Why are certain parts of the state getting left behind, while others are thriving?

I believe it's because a lot of our laws, policies, and programs are built on a misguided concept that anything that divides the pie equally must be fair and it must be effective in dealing with the problems we are trying to solve.

As we know, that is definitely not always the case.

There is a big difference between what is equal and what is equitable. And policy makers and politicians confuse the two. And just because it is equal doesn’t make it fair. And it definitely doesn’t make it effective.

A good example of this is California’s first-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave program that provides workers with a 55% wage replacement for up to 6 weeks to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Although the program has benefited millions of Californians, a Senate Labor committee report found that the people using the program the most were those making $82,000 a year or more, and those who were using it the least were workers making minimum wage or barely above minimum wage. Why is that?

Because it is unrealistic to expect a worker who is already living paycheck to paycheck on 100 percent of their salary to use a program for 6 weeks at only 55 percent of their wages. For many workers, California’s current Paid Family Leave program was simply an illusion. That’s why I authored AB 908, to fix this inequity and ensure all who pay into this vital program can afford to use it, regardless of their income.

Simply, my bill AB908 restructured the Paid Family Leave program and State Disability to increase the wage replacement for workers earning minimum wage to 70 percent, and 60 percent wage replacement for all other workers. This bill ensures that every worker gets the necessary funds to actually use the program and spend time with their newborn child or sick family member. When Governor Brown signed AB908, California was not only the first state to have paid family leave, it also became the first state to have a paid family leave program built on the concept of equity. A program that ensures that every family on the economic ladder gets what they need. And I’m proud of that.

This has been some year for all of us with highlights like helping elect Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin followed by the unspeakable triumph of Donald Trump, something we have to be very clear and very focused in defeating. Don't get distracted; keep your eye on the ball: winning back the House in 2018.

Meanwhile, thanks for all you've done and... have a safe and healthy holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at Blue America.



Why Bao? Lou Correa's Record Proves He's Not A Democrat

Northern Orange County-- Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange-- includes a deep blue congressional district in which Obama beat Romney 61-36%. It's an open seat and the primary yielded up a Democrat vs Democrat general election contest. Our candidate is Garden Grove Mayor and Berniecrat Bao Nguyen and his opponent is a former state legislator who had made a name for himself in Sacramento as the most right-wing Democrat in state government, Lou Correa.

Bao was endorsed by Blue America as well as by other progressive groups from PDA, DFA, and the SEIU to the Sierra Club, the Mexican American Bar Association PAC and the Nurses Union. Meanwhile Correa was endorsed by both the Blue Dogs and the New Dems, although in the long list of organizations that have endorsed him, he names neither group. After all, the two make up the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in Congress and CA-46 isn't that kind of district. So Correa tries his best to downplay where he stands and what kind of a record he's built for himself.

In a majority Latino district, Correa isn't just keeping it quiet that the joined the New Dems and Blue Dogs, but also that he voted against SB-60, which would have made drivers licenses available for all qualified Californians regardless of immigration status. His vote was a complete betrayal of the Hispanic population. Nor is that the only time he voted with the Republicans against working families-- far from it.

Although Correa claims when he campaigns that he's committed to affordable higher education, that sure isn't what his record shows. When Assembly Speaker John Perez proposed AB-1500 and 1501, the Middle Class Scholarship Act, to provide scholarships covering 60% of fees and tuition at all California State colleges and universities for families with household incomes of under $150,000, Correa crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP again. Perez took the unusual step of going on the record and single out Correa for killing the bill.

"Today was an opportunity for the State Senate to join the Assembly in approving tax fairness for California businesses and college opportunity for middle class families. Unfortunately, even though most Senate Democrats supported the Middle Class Scholarship Act, we could not reach agreement with Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) or Senate Republicans that would achieve the two-thirds vote necessary... It is disturbing that Senator Correa and so many Republicans would refuse to stand up for the middle class and instead continue to support a tax giveaway that favors out-of-state companies over our own." In a disturbing pattern that defines Correa's life, he pocketed campaign contributions from International Paper-- which vehemently opposed the bill-- 10 days before he voted against AB-1500, and more loot three weeks after the disgraceful vote.

If killing the Middle Class Scholarship Act wasn't bad enough, Correa also helped kill a 2014 attempt by Democrats in the legislature to raise the minimum wage. Although 63 of his fellow Democrats were co-sponsors of the bill, he claimed he voted with the Republicans against it because it was too long and he didn't know what it meant. It's almost as though he was already practicing to be a New Dem or Blue Dog!

He also worked with the GOP to restrict women's access to family planning and abortion services and to push the NRA's agenda. Planned Parenthood gave him a big fat ZERO rating and labeled him anti-Choice. He's actively supported loopholes to make sure assault-style military weapons would wind up in California neighborhoods. Again, Correa's sick record is not what Orange County Democrats and independents (nor even Republicans) want to protect society from gun massacres. 

I bet you could guess he's also an environmental disaster, right? You'd be guessing right. California's League of Conservation Voters says he has the worst environmental record of any Democratic elected official in the state. He always sides with special interests to protect corporate polluters, consistently failed to protect the state's water sources from lead and contamination, and voted against ensuring Californians have a right to clean, safe and affordable water. Year after year the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) gave him the worst rating of any California Democrat.

Sounds like a nightmare? The Democratic Establishment loves Correa. Steny Hoyer's PAC gave him $20,000, the most of any 2016 candidate. And the state party has endorsed him as well. And then Democrats wonder why voters don't find enough clear differences between the two parties and feel less loyalty towards the Democratic Party.

Please help Bao overcome the heavy odds he faces-- the way he did in the primary-- and let's help him win a victory in November that will send a message to establishment Democrats.



Bao Nguyen Defies The Media--November Ahoy!


Howie:
In November, voters in Orange County will choose between progressive Democrat Bao Nguyen and unsavory DINO, Lou Correa. Blue America has been behind Bao all year and we're asking for fellow progressives to help raise the money he'll need to get out his message and run his grassroots campaign. Here’s a message directly from Bao:


It’s been a tough and bruising primary season for progressive candidates, from the presidential race all the way down to my race for Congress here in Southern California. But I’m excited to announce that because of your support and the support of Blue America, I’ve placed in the top-two primary system, and we’ll be heading to the general election in November. 

Early in the primary, local pundits had reached a consensus: our progressive campaign for Congress stood no chance against two better-known and better-funded opponents. Even on election night, when only absentee votes had been counted, but nothing from the polls and no provisional ballots had yet been processed, people in the media and elsewhere were already declaring victory for a different candidate. 

But we didn't give up. We knew there were more ballots to be counted, so we sent volunteers to the registrar to make sure every vote was counted fairly. Every day, we climbed up in the vote count and narrowed the gap. Eventually, we passed up our opponent who had supposedly already won, and we haven't looked back.

But the fight isn't over, and we're facing an uphill battle against a much better funded opponent.

What the experts don’t get is that this election was never about who has the most money. It’s always been about hardworking middle and working class families. Washington is broken, and we know that sending another politician who’s in the pocket of special interests isn’t going to fix it.

We need to elect a representative who has a record of fighting corruption, not participating in it. The era of big money, special interests, and corporate lobbyists running Washington is over.

The progressive movement is just beginning. The American people aren’t bought and paid for, so why should our Congress be? Let’s vote for political courage this election. Let’s give ‘em hell

Yours truly,

Bao Nguyen
Mayor of Garden Grove
Congressional Candidate CA 46



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

NA Red Truck 2.jpg
Credit: Eye Catching Media driver
Jeff Denham wants to cut Medicare-- but he doesn't want his voters to know that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Blue America Welcomes Alan Lowenthal

Alan Lowenthal will be the last official Blue America endorsement of 2012. As a state legislator, Alan has been an unabashed, unapologetic and very effective progressive from Long Beach. He's widely acknowledged to be one of the best California state senators when it comes to moving progressive ideas out of the realm of wishing and hoping and into the realm of solid policy achievement. If he can do half of what he's accomplished in Sacramento, in Washington, the whole country will be better off.

This week there was a brouhaha in his race because the confused Republican running against him told an audience filled with Fox News global warming deniers that he doesn't believe in Climate Change and that we can't do anything about it anyway and they should just recycle. Even the right-wing newspaper that always endorses Republicans was shocked. Alan's whole career has been based on doing something about it!

At the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, Alan drafted legislation which capped emissions and reduced airborne particulates by over 75%. Now, the two ports are the cleanest and greenest ports in the nation and a model for clean ports all over the world. That's called doing something about it.

Is Alan too principled and too wedded to progressive solutions to be able to work with Republicans? Well, maybe not Bachmann and Akin but Senator Lowenthal has been one of the most effective legislators in California history in bringing both sides together for the sake of ordinary families. He authored legislation which increased student success and graduation rates at all 113 of California’s Community Colleges, and linked the educational community in Long Beach by aligning common core standards from kindergarten to college. This was done with overwhelming bipartisan support. And as a founding member of the Bipartisan Caucus in the State Assembly, Alan also took the lead in authoring the legislation needed to create a new redistricting process which was more representative of the needs of the people, not the political self-interest of the politicians; the end result being the independent Citizen Redistricting Commission.

It's important to remember that his opponent, who is being heavily backed by Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, will never stray from right-wing dogma. Gary Delong will always walk in lock-step vote for the Party and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is lying to Democrats, Independents, and progressives throughout the district about being a “new breed” of Republican, and trying to paint Alan's stellar legislative career as the worst thing to ever happen to this state-- blaming him for trying to ban styrofoam, passing AB 32 (California’s climate change plan), and choosing to save funding for schools and public safety instead of cutting them completely.

In officially endorsing Alan, Blue America joins the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Bill Clinton, the American Federation of Teachers, MoveOn.org and DailyKos. Please consider helping upgrade Congress by supporting Alan Lowenthal for a swing district that spans Long Beach and parts of Orange County. He's joining us for a live chat in the comments section (below) today at 11am (PT).



Gary Delong-- Global Warming Denier... In Southern California?

Thursday we looked at how hostile to Science-- the engine of all economic progress-- the Republicans in Congress are. And, of course, like most reactionary trains of thought, Global Warming deniers are dominant in the old slave-holding states of the Confederacy. But in Southern California? Gary Delong, the Republican nominee who beat mainstream Republican Steve Kuykendall in the primary, roiled the race for the 47th CD congressional seat (Long Beach, Cypress, Westminster and Garden Grove) by making a stunning claim that he sees no scientific evidence of Climate Change. Does he think he's running for a seat in Mississippi or Alabma instead of California?

Delong removed the video from his own website, but luckily some of his fans had saved it and you can watch the whole thing here. (Delong gets going into Republican Fantasyland at 10:25.) David Allgood, Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters, was stunned. "Climate change and global warming are real. The denial of this scientifically proven phenomenon is not only a threat to our planet's health, but our economy and our children's future. Climate change deniers are nothing more than apologists for polluters, oil companies, and right-wing ideologues like the Koch brothers. Gary DeLong is not just wrong, his position is dangerous. We can't afford someone like him who puts politics and ideology ahead of science and the health of our community."

Thursday the editorial board of the very right-wing Long Beach Press-Telegram, the biggest newspaper in the district-- which has endorsed Delong-- was also mortified.

With the weather being so unseasonably warm over the last few days, one would think Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong would believe in a proven little fact like climate change. Alas, no.

The Republican congressional candidate recently told the Rossmoor Homeowners Association that global warming is "questionable."

When asked a follow-up question as to whether climate change is manmade, DeLong offered this doozy:

"No, you know there are scientists on both sides of it, but no, I don't immediately get there," DeLong said in a video posted on YouTube. "I don't see any scientific evidence."

These pages endorsed DeLong for the 47th Congressional District and hailed him as a moderate based on his own statements that he would buck the GOP's lockstep train of thought on social issues and the environment. ... Was DeLong pandering to the conservative views of a handful of Orange County voters in this new congressional district? With only 20 days left until Election Day, it's up to the voters to decide where DeLong's vision for the environment truly lies.

State Senator Alan Lowenthal is the progressive running for the seat. He also happens to be widely considered one of the most environmentally-conscious members of the state legislature and has been lauded for drafting the legislation that has made Long Beach and Los Angeles the cleanest ports in America and models for ports all over the world. Alan will be the Blue America guest at Crooks and Liars on Tuesday morning at 11am (PT). (You can contribute to his campaign on the main Blue America page.) His campaign was surprised to hear Delong take such an extreme, ideological position that is so diametrically opposed to that of most people in the district. Claiming that "now is not the time" to address the climate crisis, isn't something most voters in the 47th want to hear from someone running for office.

It is worth noting that DeLong went on record, and even wrote published editorials, opposing Alan Lowenthal’s bill SB 568, which places recycling standards on non-biodegradable expanded polystyrene containers that pollute the Los Angeles River and the Pacific Ocean.

“Climate change isn’t just a political issue, it is a scientific fact and an economic issue,” said Alan Lowenthal. “Economists Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton calculated that putting off adaptation and mitigation efforts could cost the United States 1.4% of its gross domestic product by 2025, and 1.9% by 2100. We can’t afford this hit to our economy just so polluters can avoid making sensible changes to stop fouling our air and water.”

A recent Pew Research study also concluded that 67% of Americans believe in climate change.

“Gary DeLong is now aligning himself with polluters and right-wing climate deniers like the Koch brothers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is not a principled position. This is putting the future of our children and the health of our planet at risk in order to increase profits for oil companies and polluters,” Lowenthal spokesman Mike Shimpock said, “Climate change is a scientific fact, it is not a partisan issue or a talking point. Gary DeLong just chose politics and profits over the truth.”

California is the 12th largest emitter of carbon in the world, but has been widely recognized as the leader in climate change awareness and mitigation.

In 2006, Senator Alan Lowenthal voted in support of AB 32, the landmark law to reduce California’s carbon emissions, and serves as a national model. The law requires the California Air Resource Board to develop regulations and market mechanisms to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, representing a 25% reduction statewide, with mandatory caps beginning in 2012 for significant emissions sources and was signed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Alan Lowenthal is a leader in reducing pollution and the amount of carbon emissions at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. His efforts helped cut pollution at the Port by more than 75%.

He is endorsed by shipping industry leaders such as Maersk, Inc., and environmental organizations such as Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

“Climate change is real-- the facts are there,” Lowenthal said, “If Gary wants to continue denying it, then so be it; Californians such as myself will continue on a path of climate change mitigation, adaption, and cooperation with or without politicians like him.”



Blue America Welcomes Jay Chen (D-CA)

This week Blue America is endorsing our second California candidate, Jay Chen, who's running in a newly created district that takes in a chuck of L.A. and San Bernardino counties-- Brea, Buena Park, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, Fullerton, Hacienda Heights, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Placentia, Rowland Heights, Walnut, and Yorba Linda. Jay will be joining us for a live blogging session here (in the comments section below) at 11 AM (PT). Try to stop by and meet him if you can. He told us that he's "fighting to restore the American dream that brought my parents to this great country, a dream that feels increasingly out of reach for the middle class with each day that Congress fails to move critical legislation forward."

Jay's opponent is Ed Royce, who represents a neighboring district in Orange County but is trying to make the move to Jay's area. That's a problem for him because he's made a career of exactly two things: serving the interests of the Big Banks that have financed his career, and demogoguing the most sordid kinds of racism and bigotry. And "his" new district is 30% Asian and 30% Latino. Royce proudly boasts being California’s “most effective conservative” and that he was a Tea Partier before there was a Tea Party. His 20-year record in Congress includes trying to end the Voting Rights Act, weakening laws protecting women, fighting against subprime mortgage regulation, and voting to privatize Medicare. He believes Arizona’s “Show me your Papers” law should be the national standard, and has been caught on film describing multiculturalism as “odious.”

The new 39th CD is full of the same folks that Royce has tried to disenfranchise over the years with draconian English-only laws and attacks on diversity. This district needs a Congressman who will fight to rebuild Main Street, not just fight to protect Wall Street. "We need new leadership," Jay told us, "and I intend to bring it."

"I was educated in the public school systems of this district, and fortunate to earn a degree at Harvard University. I’ve worked inside large corporations and within small businesses, but my main passion has been education. That is why I ran for school board for the same district that gave me my remarkable educational opportunities. As the President of the board I helped guide our district to increased achievement while avoiding layoffs and furloughs to K-12 education. As a Congressman, I will put money back into higher education and ensure that our students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

"I have faith that our government can work, because I not only help oversee a successful school district, I am also an officer in the United States Naval Reserves. Far too many Congressmembers are eager to talk tough on national security and send other peoples’ sons and daughters into battle. I will never send our troops into harms way unnecessarily, and will always make sure our troops have the resources they need when deployed, and the support they need when they return home.

"We have critical issues that need to be moved forward. I want to invest in our roads and bridges, ensure that our students can get the higher education they need, and nurture a green economy that will clean our environment and create good jobs. I also want to empower women to make the best decisions about their own reproductive health, and ensure that the diversity of our country is celebrated, not condemned."

Royce has been ducking the League of Women Voters' request to set up a debate. He's afraid of Jay-- and Jay says they have a lot to talk about... in front of the voters: "Recently, Royce voted to weaken the Violence Against Women Act, lower penalties and punishments for abuse against women and to remove the exemption for rape and incest that Republican anti-Choice legislation still has. As millions of families were still reeling from the subprime mortgage market he helped deregulate, Royce voted against a critical measure to help families save their homes. He also voted, again, to give insurance companies the right to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Consider helping Blue America replace Royce with a sterling example of the next generation of American leadership. Jay is the kind of public servant we can all be proud to send to Congress. Please give what you can on our Act Blue page.



Live Chat: Blue America welcomes back Norman Solomon

It was with gladness in our hearts that all of us at Blue America celebrated the state of New York legalizing gay marriage this past week-end. It was a welcome reminder that even in this era of Tea Parties and economic malaise, human progress cannot be stopped. Imagine if we had a national government with enough fighters for working families to make progress on all fronts, from civil rights to economic justice to ending our useless expensive wars. Imagine if we had more leaders like Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison and Donna Edwards to press for that agenda.



Yesterday, longtime progressive congresswoman Lynn Woolsey announced her retirement from the Congress after a long and illustrious career. And Blue America endorsee and longtime political activist and author Norman Solomon stands ready and able to carry on the progressive tradition of that district and join the above list of progressive leaders.



“We’re gaining the kind of traction that a grassroots campaign needs in order to win,” Solomon says, “the groundswell of support is very encouraging.”



Indeed it is. We need congressional representatives who understand that we are no longer able to afford open ended military adventures and corrupt political boondoggles and Norman has been fighting to end them his entire life.These issues are no longer matters of abstract ideology-- they are necessary and pragmatic approaches to the problems of our time. We need people like Norman Solomon in congress to lead the way.





And please help Norman with a donation if you can.



The good news is that it looks as though we aren't the only progressives who are enthusiastic about him-- the campaign has managed to collect $100,000 already from small donors. But he is not a corporate funded Democrat and will need our help to compete. 



Howie writes today (all the way from Asia!):

Yesterday Norman penned a guest Op-Ed for the Marin Independent Journal that presents a lot of insight into what kind of congressman he'd be-- and into why Blue America is so committed to his candidacy. I bet this is what you wish YOUR congressmember and senator-- not to mention our president-- was saying about the dangers of nuclear energy... and what to do about it. But they're not. It's why it's so crucial that we need real leaders like Norman Solomon, not just someone who will probably vote well in the House.

Several decades ago, three expert nuclear engineers told a congressional panel why they decided to quit: "We could no longer justify devoting our life energies to the continued development and expansion of nuclear fission power-- a system we believe to be so dangerous that it now threatens the very existence of life on this planet."

The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy heard that testimony in 1977, when the conventional wisdom was still hailing "the peaceful atom" as a flawless marvel. During the same year, solid information convinced me to move from concern to action against nuclear power.

By the time the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant came close to rendering much of central Pennsylvania uninhabitable, I was nearly two years into full-time anti-nuclear work that included public education, civic activism and nonviolent direct action. Given what was at stake, I didn't mind spending a month in jail for civil disobedience.

More than 30 years later, the ongoing disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant underscores the grim realities of nuclear power, ranging from catastrophic reactor accidents to highly radioactive waste that will remain deadly for many thousands of years.
[...]
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Energy Department have been avidly promoting nuclear power for decades. Periodic calls for more "studies" have kicked the radioactive can down the road.

I reject the notion that we should wait for such nuclear-enthralled agencies to tell us whether nuclear power is an acceptable risk for Californians.

As the director of the National Citizens Hearings for Radiation Victims in 1980, I learned a lot about patterns of official enabling of the nuclear industry-- with awful results for human health and the environment.

Similar patterns persist in this country.

In contrast, the government of Germany has seen the light. At the end of last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a reversal of policy-- moving to shut down nuclear power instead of trying to expand it.

The decision to immediately close eight German nuclear power plants and shut the rest by 2022 came in a country that had been getting 23 percent of its electricity from nukes.

Here in California, we're less reliant on this Faustian technology, getting just 15 percent of our electricity from nuclear power. The state has a lot of excess generating capacity from other sources, but far better choices for the environment are within our grasp.

Don't you think that's a point of view that deserves to have representation in the congress? Is it too much to ask that we have at least a few liberal voices willing to speak out on issues like nuclear power and endless wars in the US Congress? We don't think so.

Please consider helping Norman bring this kind of thinking to Washington by contribution to his campaign through ActBlue.

Norman summed his platform up in one powerful sentence today saying is he's elected to Congress, he "will insist that we need to bring our troops and tax dollars home-- that we need healthcare not warfare-- that we must resist corporate power-- that caving in to Wall Street and polluters and enemies of civil liberties is unacceptable."

Please welcome Norman Solomon back to Blue America.




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