Road to Taking Back Congress Starts in WA-08

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Blue America’s last endorsement of the 2014 cycle was Jason Ritchie, the candidate running for the Blue-leaning seat currently held by conservative Republican, Dave Reichert in a district that stretches from the suburbs south and east of Seattle all the way out to Wenatchee and Ellensburg. At the time, Ritchie vowed he would make a concerted effort to win the seat over at least 2 cycles. "I'll be back in 2016 and we're building the infrastructure, identifying the voters, and organizing to win now and in the future." This year, Jason was Blue America's first endorsement.

We’re asking you, again, to consider chipping in whatever you can to help Jason, a stalwart progressive.

Reichert remains a GOP hack, continuing to vote like a zombie-- backing the Tea Party in their demands to shut down funding for the Department of Homeland Security to obstruct immigration reform, shutting down the government in 2013, suing President Obama and nearly 60 votes cast to gut the Affordable Care Act. Reichert, who may declare his candidacy for governor this year, has a clear record as a cog in the Republican Party obstructionist machine.

Jason’s platform continues to be advocacy of behalf of students in his support of America’s College Promise and reforming the student loan debt machine. Jason is speaking out on the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and urging his supporters to pay attention to the details of the proposal. Jason says “The challenges of climate change, wage stagnation, income inequality and social injustice will not simply resolve themselves. It’s up to us as progressives to demand change and fight for a more fair future for our country. We must stand up against those who would seek to allow corporate control over our economy and our political system to drive us further into oligarchy. 

Jason told us that "the first duty of a progressive is to counter corporate influence and Big Businesses' corrosive impact on our communities and middle class. This is the fight that I am committed to in 8th Congressional District of Washington State... I believe in fighting for middle class, family wage jobs. I strongly support the Affordable Care Act, I believe earned benefits like Social Security and disability must be protected and I strongly support women's health care choices. Our social safety net must not be weakened, it must be reinforced.

The 8th Congressional District is one of 17 districts nationwide that was won by President Obama in 2012 but has a Republican representative. This district is a winnable, progressive district that we must turn blue if we are going to turn the House back to our side. Inexplicably, the DCCC has abandoned the district entirely, although they have indicated that if Reichert declares he's running for governor, they will have one of their conservatives to primary Jason. So far though, Jason has an open shot for this race. 

His campaign is already underway: "We have phone banks set up across the 8th Congressional District. We are identifying voters, growing our volunteer base and registering new voters every day.” He was a leader of the movement against the TPP in Washington, a state very divided over the trade bill, and he was willing to stand up against corporate Dems. Almost all Dems in Washington, though-- as well as plenty of Republicans and independents-- agree on one issue: the need for environmental protections.

"The 8th Congressional District," he wrote, "is home to some of the most beautiful land in the world. From Snoqualmie Pass to Mount Rainier, we have an obligation to nurture and protect our environment especially from the dangers of global climate change. The Mountains to Sound Greenway run through the heart of the 8th Congressional District and is our responsibility to maintain and preserve. It is an essential part of our commitment to the environment and our promise to future generations. Maintaining this treasure to the region must be our shared goal.” 

"Protecting local wilderness areas is just one part of defending our environment. As many members of the Republican Party continue to deny the existence of climate change, our planet comes closer and closer to the brink of ecological disaster. According to the EPA, rising temperatures are already affecting our local snowpack, stream flows, and forest cover, and we can expect worsening conditions if current trends are allowed to continue. The snowpack that our Cascades store every winter is expected to dwindle, threatening our agriculture, wildlife, and drinking water supply. Increased drought brings increasingly severe summer wildfires, and our already struggling salmon populations wouldn’t be able to survive in their remaining habitats. Pest and weed control are forecasted to become huge problems as well, which spells trouble for our local farmers. Climate change has far-reaching global consequences, and the potential damage to be inflicted on our own communities in particular motivates me to take action."

This flies right in the face of the virulent anti-environmental approach Reichert, a Climate Change denier, has taken. Please consider helping Jason replace Dave Reichert and bring another strong progressive voice to the House of Representatives.



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

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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.



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.




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