Must See TV From Alan Grayson. Wonderful News!

As you know, Blue America has been trying to draft Alan Grayson to run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat. Nearly 450 of you agreed with us and contributed. Today it paid off: Congressman Grayson announced that he's running! 

He released this video to introduce himself to explain why he's decided to take up the challenge. Alan tells us that he came up from a multi-ethnic working class neighborhood in the Bronx to work his way through Harvard at 16 and became a successful attorney who sued military contractors for war profiteering --- and won. You all know his record as a fierce advocate for working families during his time in the US Congress. 

His story is the ultimate realization of the American Dream.  And Grayson wants to ensure that his children and all children have the same chances to succeed in life that he did.  He doesn't short-change the idea that it takes work and dedication.  He is a living example of how important it is to work hard and never give up.  But he knows that the opportunities to make something of yourself are becoming rarer as our nation's wealth and opportunities are concentrated more and more at the top. 

He says:

Where I grew up, you had to work hard just to survive. I’ve met plumbers who could be engineers, truck drivers who could be lawyers, nurses who could be doctors. And I realized that if they had genuine opportunity, unchained by poverty, prejudice, poor health, poor education or discrimination, then we all would be better off. That’s the real American Dream-- to be all that you can be. And when everyone is better off individually, then everyone is better off together.

Grayson is known for his fiery speeches and aggressive critiques of the power elite in the Republican Party. And if there's one thing the Senate Democrats could use, it's a little more fire. But Grayson has also been the most effective member of the House. Yes, you read that right. At a time of tremendous gridlock and pusillanimous impotence, Grayson has proved that he knows how to get things done. 

Grayson, again:

In the past two years in Congress, I have written more bills, passed more amendments on the Floor of the House and enacted more of my bills into law than any other Member of the House-- #1, out of 435 of us. Salon magazine labeled me the most effective Member of the House. Because of all the good we have done, more than 100,000 supporters have given their hard-earned money to our campaign. That’s more than any other Democrat in the House. In 2012, and again in 2014, I was the only Member of the House of Representatives who raised most of his campaign funds from small donors-- not lobbyists, or special interests, or millionaires, or multinational corporations. I don’t work for them; I work for you. I am unbought, and unbossed. I owe nothing to anyone but the People.

Howie says:

Over the years, Alan has been the most beloved Member of Congress by Blue America members and he has been generously supported by our members from his first run for Congress. Helping him get into the U.S. Senate is Blue America's top electoral priority for the 2016 cycle. Chuck Schumer, the de facto head of the DSCC now, grew up in New York City too, but in a solidly middle class family and he went to very non-diverse schools. I know; I was a classmate of his at James Madison in a basically all Jewish section of Brooklyn. Although they both went to Harvard, Schumer had a very different career trajectory, one that led him not into heartfelt service to working families, but into the arms of the Wall Street bankers and Big Business powermongers...Today Schumer is working much harder than either McConnell or Boehner to keep Grayson out of the Senate. 

He's gone so far as to recruit a person who was a Republican during the Bush administration to run against him. Wall Street and the banks are very happy about that. 

Grayson welcomes their hatred. He knows he has a secret weapon: you. He's always financed his campaigns with small donations from Democrats who want leaders with the guts to take on the powerful on behalf of the people. That's Alan Grayson.

Blue America has eagerly retired our “Draft Alan Grayson” page. To send Chuck Schumer a message about the kind of Senator YOU want, please donate here at the brand new “Alan Grayson for US Senate” page.  



Don't Send Flowers

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

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

Howie asked me to suggest something else instead.

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Best Progressive Investment of 2014 Is Ted Lieu

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Credit: Ted Lieu Campaign Site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



WE CAN Stop Fast Track (Action Alert)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Blue America Endorses Russ Feingold


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re asking you to help too.

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



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!



Donna's IN. We All Need To Help Her Win!

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Credit: BlueAmerica

When we ask Donna Edwards for something, she listens, she thinks and she responds. Blue America was the first to ask her to consider running for the Senate seat being vacated by the "dean" of Senate women, Barbara Mikulski.

And after due consideration, she said yes! We could not be more thrilled to be among the first to endorse Donna Edwards for Senate.

It has been a long road to get here. Going all the way back to 2006 when Donna first took on a corrupt, Democratic insider who was backed by the leadership and rolling in special interest money all the way to her victory in 2008 and beyond.

Every stop along the way, Donna has proved she is a Real Deal progressive; no apologies, no equivocating, no nonsense. Donna said this week:

"Blue America has been with me since my first campaign, and we have fought to promote forward thinking ideas and progressive values together. Today, that fight is for the United States Senate, and I need your support now more than ever. I need your support to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics training for our young boys and girls, and ensure equal pay for equal work. This campaign is not about me, it is about we, and I know that together we can make history."

Donna needs our help to win this:

  • She won’t be getting any money from the Koch brothers. They don't see her as an ally in their cause— and for good reason.
  • She won't be supported by the moneybags on Wall Street. They know she's a member of the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party and will fight their plutocratic agenda every step of the way.
  • The “Third Way” think tanks aren't especially fond of her since she is a fervent defender of the public safety nets which they are intent upon dismantling.
  • And defense and intelligence contractors won't step up since she's not someone who will blindly defend their interests over the cause of peace.

But Donna has something nobody else has. She has you. And if you step up, that's all she needs. There are millions of Americans all over the country who are desperate for political leadership that puts them first instead of the 1%. And those Americans are the only "special interest" Donna listens to.

This is a huge race for the progressive movement. We obviously need to have more strong women in the boys club that calls itself the Senate. We must have more African Americans in the mostly all white Senate. And it's essential that we have more Real Progressives to continue to chip away at the center right Senate.

We need Donna Edwards in the US Senate.

This is a big one. Please give what you can.



No Better Candidate-- Draft Donna Edwards for Barb's Senate Seat

Following in the footsteps of Senator Barbara Boxer earlier this year, the Dean of Senate women, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, announced this week that she will not run for re-election. For 38 years Senator Mikulski was a pathbreaker, having been "the first" in at so many things, perhaps most notably the first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee. She has served her country well and will be missed.

Luckily, Maryland has a wonderful progressive congresswoman who would be the perfect candidate to carry on her legacy: Donna Edwards of the state's 4th congressional district. She needs no introduction to those of you who have been around progressive Netroots for a while.  

For those of you who might not have been with us back in the day, let's just say that Donna isn't just a hard-working public servant with great progressive record, although she is that. And she isn't just brilliant on TV at articulating our philosophy with passion and skill, although she is that too. She is a giant slayer which she proved back in 2008 when she took down a powerful and corrupt Democratic party hack with a bold progressive message that impressed just about everybody who heard it. Her race was a template for the many Netroots primary races to come.

In fact, Donna was one of our first ever endorsees— for the 2006 race she very narrowly lost. Here's Howie back in 2007, endorsing her for the re-match she won handily:

I have a dream. I don’t know how realistic it is, but it doesn’t seem completely crazy. My dream is that my country will elect a superb leader, one who is wise and sharp and compassionate and educated, who understands what America needs and works effectively towards those goals. 
A few months ago I met Donna Edwards in Georgia. I had spoken to her many times on the phone but we had never met before. Of all the people I’ve talked to on behalf of Blue America, she’s the one who I am certain would best fulfill that dream.

And she has done just that. Donna has proven to be a stalwart progressive in the House with a perfect record on the issues. She has been a vocal leader and fighter for everything we care about. In fact, she has fulfilled Howie's expectation in every respect. 

That's why we'd like to see Donna Edwards run for the Senate. 

She has expressed no desire to do it at this point. And maybe she has other plans. But we'd like to try to persuade her to take up the challenge.

It would be a sad day indeed to see Barbara Mikulski's seat go to anyone less worthy. 

We have started a “Draft Donna” Act Blue page to tell her just how important we think it is that she consider this run. We want her to know that just as we were there for her all the way in her hard-fought primaries back on 06 and 08, we will be there for her this time as well. 

Donna is the Netroots promise in living color. She talked the talk and we backed her. We stuck with her when she hit a snag and worked hard to get her over the line in her winning race. And she fulfilled her promises every step of the way. 

Now we'd like her to consider taking the next logical step. Let's let her know that if she does, we'll be there for her once again.  

Senator Donna Edwards. It has a nice ring to it don't you think?



Domestic spying? Ted Lieu already wrote a law against it.

One of the most critical primaries coming up next week is for Henry Waxman's House seat on the Westside of Los Angeles-- Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach… Blue America did a dual endorsement for a jungle primary that will yield two finalists for the November general election, hopefully two stalwart progressives. Our picks are state Senator Ted Lieu, a proven progressive leader and champion of working families, and Marianne Williamson, an independent progressive and cutting-edge thought leader.

Ted has been the California legislature's top leader in several areas, including mortgage bank reform and protecting citizens from unconstitutional domestic spying. I spoke to him yesterday and asked him about the phony NSA "reform" the House passed last week. They voted on the so-called USA Freedom Act, a watered-down, pale excuse for reform of the NSA that passed overwhelmingly, 303-121. 51 Republicans and 70 Democrats voted no. I noticed that one of the Democrats working with the Republicans to pass it was Adam Schiff, who is also working to elect Wendy Greuel, one of Ted's opponents. Most of the congressmembers who are working to elect Ted-- solid progressives like Mark Takano, Mike Honda, and Alan Lowenthal-- fought the bill and voted against it, as, of course, did Henry Waxman. I asked Ted a simple question-- Had you been in Congress last week, would you have voted with Adam Schiff and the others who wink and nod at domestic spying or would you have voted the way Henry Waxman, Barbara Lee, Alan Grayson, Raul Grijalva and your own backers did?

His response was clear and unambiguous. "I'm disappointed Congress gutted significant provisions of the USA Freedom Act. Our privacy rights and our Constitution are not watered-down, neither should legislation that upholds our fundamental values. If I were in Congress, I would have voted NO on the watered-down 'reform.'"

Lieu comes from a military background and he doesn't take national security lightly. He's also an attorney and he doesn't take the U.S. Constitution lightly either. "I agree with the National Security Agency that the world is a dangerous place," he told us. "That is why America’s founders enacted the Bill of Rights. They understood there are few things more dangerous than an Orwellian government that overreaches, invades our privacy, and monitors our everyday lives. The NSA’s bulk collection program-- which seizes the phone records of every single American for seven years-- has been described by a federal judge as Orwellian. One of the reasons I am running for Congress is to stop this program and reign in the NSA’s invasions of our privacy and constitutional rights."

Other than Matt Miller, a DC-centric kook who publicly admits he supports bulk collection of personal communications, all the candidates running pay some kind of lip service to privacy rights. In Ted's case, it goes beyond posturing and promising; he's already taken action.

I am proud to author bipartisan legislation, SB 828, that prohibits California officials from supporting or assisting the NSA’s blanket spying on Americans unless the NSA has secured a specific warrant for a specific individual. The Fourth Amendment is clear: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated” unless the government upon probable cause secures a specific warrant. The NSA’s blanket dragnet is flat out unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment and it is time we stop this mass violation of our privacy."

Regardless of whether we have a President Bush, a President Obama, a President Clinton, a President Cruz or a President Orwell in the White House, we need principled, capable, independent-minded Members of Congress willing to stand up against the herd. That will never be a Wendy Greuel, an Elon Carr or a Matt Miller. It will certainly be Ted Lieu.

Blue America is helping Ted, who is leading in the polls, raise money for his Get Out the Vote efforts this week, and for his tough campaign against whoever comes in second next Tuesday. Please consider contributing here.




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