Wall St. Hopes You Won't Give to Donna Edwards' Money Bomb

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Credit: Edwards Campaign FB

Donna Edwards has been an active and effective part of the progressive community for decades, and one of the most effective and steadfast progressive leaders inside Congress for a progressive agenda that advances the legitimate aspirations of working families. Her opponent in the race for Maryland's open Senate seat, Chris Van Hollen, is another cog in the machine that Thomas Frank was writing about when he lamented to Thom Harmann that the Democratic Party has been turning its back on working families to cater to the special corporate interests, Wall Street and the Top 10%. In 22 days early voting begins for the April 26 primary election.

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The financial forces behind the establishment have lined up behind Van Hollen and have bloated his campaign chest. As of the December 31 FEC filing report he had already amassed $6,295,124. Donna's grassroots campaign has brought in $2,166,226. Van Hollen has already outspent her two to one but she leads in the polls by as much as 10%. Unfortunately, Wall Street and other corporate special interests have rushed to his side and he now has ten times more money on hand than she does and plans to swamp the airwaves with more false attack ads she will be unable to respond to.

Schumer has made sure the Financial Sector was aboard Van Hollen's train and it has stepped up to the tune of $390,807 so far, in gratitude to the Ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee who always made sure the banksters' priorities were covered. Although he is trying to wiggle out of his reactionary positions for the primary, Van Hollen has supported the job-killing trade policies that have devastated American manufacturing and has advocated "saving" Social Security by cutting benefits, the kind of "saving" Paul Ryan and the Republicans advocate under the guise of "compromise."

Last May, the New York Times recognized the Maryland race as "a fight over the future of the Democratic Party... a fight over what a true Democrat should, and should not, be."

Although our top reason for backing Donna is about electing a proven and effective progressive fighter, we're cognizant that if she wins she'll make history as the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland-- and only the second black woman in the history of the Senate.

The fact that she's taken a pledge to not take a dime from the Wall Street banks; has led the fight against the TPP; has been a strong defender of Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose; a leader on equality; and is fighting for every family-- regardless of zip code, has led Blue America to endorse her and to ask you to chip into her money bomb this week.

She's shown that she's not afraid to lead on issues we care about: Medicare for all, marriage equality-- she was the first member of Congress in Maryland to publicly endorse the idea, far before it was a "safe" position for establishment Democrats-- and she actually took a stand against her own party's Republican-like gerrymandering.

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It's important to remember that Donna’s personal experience is tied to being an African-American single mom who founded the National Network to End Domestic Violence, fought developers in her neighborhood, and won her first race for Congress against a corrupt Democrat bought by special interests. That informs her policy positions and, in a Congress dominated by well-off white males, it matters. We backed her in every race she's ever run and America-- and an increasingly off-the-rails Democratic Party-- need her voice at the table in Washington.



Walls, Walls Between Us, and a Chance for Steely Dan History

Walls. Wasn’t the Republican hero Ronald Reagan famous for tearing down walls?  Now, another famous Republican would like to build his version of the Great Wall of China on America’s southern border. Competing for the spotlight and citing "legitimate concerns" about security at the Canadian border, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, before cutting and running, said he'd consider another wall up north. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are not walls, but you could place them into the category of "giant moats."  They provide us with distance from the conflicts in Europe and Asia, a kind of "free security" courtesy of geography and plate tectonics.

Continents drift, collide and pile up against each other and make their own walls; and we give them names. Once Denali, then Mount McKinley, and then back to Denali-- to name just one artifact of continental collision in the news recently. People drift too, though a bit faster. They are fleeing wars, violent drug cartels, crushing poverty, radical and murderous extremists, intolerance and oppression. The drifting people are also given names; refugees, undocumented immigrants, migrants, illegals, aliens and wetbacks. Some Republicans would call them rapists, criminals and anchor babies.

What does it mean to progressives that Mr. Trump leads the Republican field? I expect that we are not surprised that many Republicans identify with his divisive and hate-filled message. What should surprise and alarm us is that 39% of voters today identify as Independents, up from 30% in 2004 according to the Pew Research Center.  Although 48% of those Independents lean Democratic and 39% of the Independents lean Republican, the overall increase in the number of Independents means that progressives and Democrats must do a much better job in helping the average voter to see compelling differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Is there something we can learn about America from the refugee and migrant crisis gripping Europe, Africa and the Middle East? The first lesson might be that it takes extraordinary circumstances for people to uproot and leave the familiar to travel hundreds of miles across deserts and open seas. How many people do you know who would willingly pay their last dollars to a Mexican "coyote" to be jammed into the back of a truck or a Libyan smuggler to board a crowded inflatable raft to cross the Mediterranean Sea?

The second lesson is that however tranquil and orderly America appears on most days, fear and deep resentment boil beneath the surface. Mr. Trump knows this. His immigrant attacks have adroitly tapped into a receptive audience. Progressives see another pot boiling when we look at street protests in Ferguson and riots in Baltimore. That is a different pot of poor people, largely African American, who don’t see a place set for them at the American table.

Progressives should worry that people struggling for a small slice of the American pie know instinctively that the Democrats care for them more than a party obsessed with keeping taxes low for America’s top 1%. But they doubt the Democrats can actually deliver with a job and the other things they need. Many who we think should be Democrats believe that Republicans have the skill to manage government and create growth and opportunities.

Progressives have heart and progressive ideas are smart. We know it, but we’ll only win when we convince Independents that progressives care about them, we’re not in the pocket of big business, we know how to govern better, and that our ideas make sense and will get working families ahead.

Joseline Peña-Melnyk is a progressive with heart and smarts. She’s the true progressive running for Maryland’s 4th congressional dstrict to replace Donna Edwards. Born in the Caribbean and fluent in Spanish, she is equally at home with the district’s growing Latino population and its longstanding African American majority. She preaches unity, not division.

She’s a doer. As a former prosecutor and defense lawyer, Joseline saw that minorities are over-represented in prison. Thanks to her, a new Maryland law taking effect soon will help remove bias by requiring police line-up administrators to be ‘blind’-- that is, the administrator will not know the identity of the suspect or, if he knows the identity of the suspect, the administrator should not know which line-up member is being viewed by the eyewitness. Research shows that in lineups today eyewitnesses often take cues from the line-up administrator and feel pressure to make a selection. The result of her law should be fewer wrongful convictions and more confidence in the justice system. 

Progressives can be practical too. Joseline led Maryland into the adoption of digital medical records. With doctors sharing a database of patient information there are fewer mistakes, fewer duplicative tests, and less unnecessary expensive care. When a constituent came to her with a family tragedy-- the suicide of a teenage daughter, Joseline was the motivator behind "Lauryn’s Law" to ensure that school counselors have training in recognizing teen suicide risk factors.

Immigrant students with limited English language skills were failing in Maryland schools. Only 55% percent of these students graduate high school, as compared to 77% of the general population. Joseline worked closely with the schools administrations to establish two new high school programs funded in part with $3 million in seed money from a Carnegie Corporation grant to target this achievement gap. She did it because we all win if the next generation is prepared to take their place in our society.

In Congress Joseline will continue pushing smart progressive ideas. She’ll support creating jobs by rebuilding the nation’s failing roads, bridges and sewer and water systems; she’ll keep fighting for affordable education; and she’ll keep protecting the civil rights of the people on the margins and working to get them a bigger piece of the pie.


Please help get Joseline Peña-Melnyk in Congress where she belongs through your Blue America contribution and maybe you'll luck out and win a very special and very rare Steely Dan platinum album award as a bonus. Rolling Stone has called Steely Dan-- Walter Becker and Donald Fagen-- "the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies."  Maybe that’s like Reagan being the anti-hero to Trump. I don’t know, but Steely Dan is a complex blend of jazz and rock that is simultaneously intellectually challenging and spiritually, emotionally and physically uplifting. The band sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The particular platinum record we’ll be giving away to one lucky randomly-selected contributor is a super rare collector's edition for Two Against Nature that commemorates RIAA platinum sales certification (1,000,000 albums) and 4 Grammy Awards in 2001-- including Album of the Year. Only a few were made for the band and their associates. This particular one was awarded to Blue America co-founder Howie Klein, then president of Reprise Record, now a devoted Joseline supporter. You can help her win a crowded primary and take a chance on a memorable piece of music history.

The "contest rules" are simple. Just contribute any amount to Joseline Peña-Melnyk's campaign on this page. We're not Republicans so the winner isn't the person who contributes the most. Any amount goes. In fact, if you don't have any cash to spare at the moment and want a chance to win anyway, just send us a post card to Blue America, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you'll have the same chance as anyone else. But do it quickly. The contest is over next Sunday night at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time.



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.



Stop Tom Cotton From Extending the "Patriot" Act

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You have surely heard of a new Senator from Arkansas by the name of Tom Cotton. He was a 37 year old congressman who won the Senate seat formerly held by the conservative Democrat Mark Pryor in 2014. Cotton took the Senate by storm penning one of the most embarrassing documents ever written by a sitting Senator and then getting the entire GOP Senate caucus to co-sign it --- the infamous Iran Letter.  

Undaunted by this humiliation, the Republican party has decided that Cotton is the man to lead them into the future on national security issues. And unfortunately, he's decided that his next mission will be to lead the Republican charge to extend certain provisions of the Patriot Act which are set to expire this June. They've even added some new powers for the NSA just to make things interesting, 

There was a lot of talk at one time about a new coalition of civil libertarian Republicans and civil libertarian Democrats coming together to reform these programs now that the nation is aware of what they're actually doing. Sadly, the number of civil libertarians in the Republican Party can fit in a small Smart Car and the civil libertarians in the Democratic Party are not a majority. And with uber-hawk Tom Cotton waving the “national security” banner we can be sure the Republicans are intent upon squelching any thoughts of reform.

This is why it's so important for Democrats to elect more real progressive civil libertarians to congress. We cannot count on this tiny faction of libertarian Republicans, led by their hypocritical grandstanding leader Rand Paul, to ever provide the numbers required to roll back the surveillance state. Hawkish national security and authoritarian police policies are in the modern GOP's DNA.

This is going to require a majority progressive Democratic Party led by people like Congresswoman Donna Edwards who is now running for the Maryland Senate seat currently held by retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Edwards has been consistent on these issues throughout her career in congress. For instance, in 2014 she voted against the USA Freedom Act, originally conceived as a reform measure which was later gutted by the Republicans in committee. She issued this statement at the time:

“After much deliberation I opposed the USA Freedom Act because I continue to believe it doesn’t strike the necessary balance between protecting our national security and protecting our 4th Amendment rights. Without question, national security issues are critically important, and I applaud all those who work at the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and others for their dedication to duty and professionalism. We must provide them with the means to gather the information necessary to keep America safe. However, we cannot allow the pursuit of that goal to infringe on the civil liberties that we, as Americans, hold sacred and fought so hard to defend.”

She will bring that same principled clarity to the Senate.

Last week the House passed yet another Republican surveillance bill. Blue America's slate of progressive civil libertarians voted against while all the usual suspects supported it. Blue America primary candidate Alex Law, who is challenging New Jersey congressman Donald Norcross gave this statement:

Yet again we have a clear difference between myself and my opponent in the Democratic primary in NJ-01. Today, Donald Norcross voted in support of the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, a bill that is a surveillance bill disguising itself as a cyber-security bill. This bill gives companies a significant expansion in their ability to monitor customers' online activities. It allows them to share vaguely defined 'cyber threat indicators,' which then automatically go to the NSA. The NSA is then authorized broad law enforcement rights that could stretch beyond cyber-security.This chain of events is a slippery slope. I totally disagree with the structure of this bill. We must stand up for individual privacy. What we have in this bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and if I were in Congress, I would have voted against it like other progressives such as Alan Grayson and Judy Chu.

The provisions of the Patriot Act which are set to expire in June should not be extended. We don't know for sure if they will. The USA Freedom Act ultimately died in the Senate when the Democrats who were in the majority at the time added a few safeguards and then couldn't overcome a filibuster. (Yes, the GOP ultimately filibustered the bill for being too weak ...) The Republicans are now in charge and Tom Cotton is working overtime to give the NSA every last item on their wishlist. Perhaps we'll get lucky and gridlock will work in favor of freedom once again. But I wouldn't count on it. 

There are simply not enough principled, progressive civil libertarians in congress to stop these abuses. We must elect more of them.

Please give what you can to stalwart civil libertarians like Donna Edwards and Alex Law.  And then, give your current representatives a call and tell them you want them to vote against any extension of the Patriot Act. 



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?



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Beth Krom (D-CA)

This year the DCCC has decided to spend virtually all of its resources playing defense. They're not spending money on replacing out-of-step, obstructionist Republicans -- not even vulnerable ones like John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and John Campbell -- but on saving the worthless hides of the mistrusted Blue Dogs who vote most frequently with the GOP and who have opposed most of the president's Change Agenda -- reflexive reactionaries like Travis Childers (MS), Bobby Bright (AL) and Walt Minnick (ID). So once again, it's up to grassroots and netroots organizations like ours -- who helped find and support progressives the DCCC ignored, like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, John Hall, and Carol Shea-Porter -- to work toward making Congress a more receptive place for progressive values and ideas that put ordinary working people before wealthy corporate interests. And today we want to introduce you to one of those candidates, Orange County activist Beth Krom. She's joining us live in the comments section below.

Beth is a proven, intrepid, can-do progressive -- a former mayor of Irvine and current City Council member of that city-- who is running for the Orange County seat, CA-48, currently help by one of the most ridiculous of all California Republicans, "Birther Amendment" author John Campbell. The district used to be solidly red but has been changing -- and rapidly. Old style pundits and prognosticators may not have noticed -- they're better at reporting what happened than predicting what's happening -- but districts like Beth's have undergone profound demographic changes. In 2008, in fact, Obama narrowly won the 48th, which helped him run up a 67-31% statewide vote against John McCain.

A dedicated environmental activist, she first ran for City Council in 2000 to stop an international airport from being built at Orange County’s former El Toro Marine Base. Within the first two years she served, a countywide initiative was drafted and passed that rezoned El Toro for park and open space use. Today, where the airport was proposed, the Orange County Great Park is being developed. The park is the missing link in, what will be, once restored, the longest urban wilderness corridor in America, extending from the ocean at Crystal Cove to the Mexican border. When we talked with Beth about the importance of smart growth, open space preservation and balanced planning, she pointed out that "buildings don’t make communities; people make communities."

Beth is exactly the kind of candidate we would like to see replacing a careerist clown and partisan hack like Campbell. Profoundly anti-environmental -- yet representing one of the most beautiful stretches of seacoast in America -- Campbell is every irresponsible developer's fondest dream. Beth has a very different vision for Orange County and for America.

As we experience the “shock and awe” that has gripped the nation in the wake of the worst offshore oil spill in human history, it’s important to consider that our thirst for oil has led to policies that place our entire ecosystem at risk.

When everything is out of balance, we feel the effects on a daily basis. An economy out of balance, a health-care system out of balance and a planet out of balance, reflect public policies that are out of balance. There are no perfect solutions, but ignoring our problems will only lead to greater challenges in the future.

Politics is not about the black and white, it’s about the thousand shades of gray. It takes smart, courageous politicians to advance the kind of policies that will inspire change and help to move our country forward.

We think Beth can win and we think she'll bring a tremendous improvement to Congress and to Orange County is she does. If you can, please consider giving her a hand at the Blue America ActBlue page.



Blue America Welcomes Back Alan Grayson for a Live Chat on "Money Bomb" day

In the 2006 cycle the candidate who attracted the most support from Blue America donors was Ned Lamont, with his campaign that served notice on the Democratic Establishment that the grassroots was unwilling to just eat up whatever crap it was served up from Inside the Beltway hacks. Blue America raised over $77,000 for him in our first year in action. The following cycle, saw another inspiring progressive primary challenger, Donna Edwards, attract the most donors and the largest amount (almost $65,000). It may be too early to tell, but it looks like 2010 cycle will mark the year of Alan Grayson. It's still only 2009 but Blue America has already raised over $30,000 for him-- without having even made an official endorsement! We've been collecting contributions for him at No Means No, a page dedicated to members of Congress who voted against Obama's supplemental war budget in June, and at Getting Grayson's Back, a page dedicated to standing up for him when he got GOP noses out of joint by telling the truth about their health care obstructionism.

Today Blue America is joining a netroots money bomb effort on behalf of Grayson, urging our community to band together and answer the Inside-the-Beltway and Villager mentality that says there's no room for a plainspoken truth-teller like Grayson in Congress. Nevermind, they tell you, that he studied economics at Harvard, then worked as an economist, then studied law at Harvard and then successfully pursued war profiteers and Bush cronies in Iraq-- even before being elected to Congress in a Republican district and becoming the scourge of banksters and assorted evil-doers dragged before the House Financial Services committee. No, to the Villagers, he's all about "outlandish rhetoric;" he's "the left's Michele Bachmann;" he's "pugilistic" and a "wing nut."

Rep. Grayson joins us below in the comments section where you can see for yourself he's quickly become the favorite member of Congress of Democrats and independents from across the country. And please, help out with the money bomb today.



Real Democrats Standing Strong For American Working Families

One week ago we started a Netroots-wide action at Blue America, inspired by Darcy Burner's closing keynote speech at Netroots Nation, thanking the 65 stalwart progressives who have promised-- in letters to Speaker Pelosi and HHS Secretary Sebelius and to activists from Firedoglake-- to stick with the public option, even after the bribe-besoted Senate tries to kill it in the Conference Report this fall. Since then more than 6,400 donors have contributed almost $400,000.

Every member on the list has received over $3,000 from grateful donors, but some have been given way over that. People have asked me why some congressmembers-- like Barney Frank ($11,717), Lloyd Doggett ($9,173), Anthony Weiner ($9,836), Dennis Kucinich (7,622), Donna Edwards ($7,457)-- have wound up with so much more money than some of the others. After all, 60 of them signed Grijalva's letter to Sebelius clearly stating that they "stand in strong opposition to your statement that the public option is 'not the essential element' of comprehensive reform. The opportunity to improve access to healthcare is a onetime opportunity. Americans deserve reform that is real-- not smoke and mirrors. We cannot rely solely on the insurance companies' good faith efforts to provide for our constituents. A robust public option is essential, if we are to ensure that all Americans can receive healthcare that is accessible, guaranteed and of high-quality. To take the public option off the table would be a grave error; passage in the House of Representatives depends upon inclusion of it... a final proposal for the President's signature, MUST contain a public option."

Generally speaking the members with the most donations and the highest totals are the ones who have spoken out the most forcefully during the recess. Barney Frank's contributions shot to #1 after a Larry King Show YouTube went viral (over a million views) showing him answering a crazed and delusional teabagger comparing President Obama to Hitler. GOP propaganda whore Rush Limbaugh pushed Barney's donations even higher when he went off on a snide homophobic tirade the next day.

Similarly, the way Lloyd Doggett handled a disruptive mob of teabaggers at his town hall meeting early in the month won him a great deal of admiration from progressives, not just in Texas but across America. Anthony Weiner's aggressive and spirited defence of the Public Option on Morning Joe bumped him through the roof.

Donna Edwards' unimpeachable record of leadership has been an inspiration for progressives inside and outside of Congress. Last week she reiterated her commitment to real healthcare reform:

I just want to be absolutely clear-- comprehensive reform must include a robust public health insurance option. Otherwise, we're just tinkering around the edges and run the risk of giving even more power to the already too powerful insurance and pharmaceutical industries and their overpaid CEOs. I am unequivocal, unwavering, and unapologetic about my support of a robust public option-- in and outside of the Congress. Indeed I appeared on the CBS Evening News just this week urging Democrats to move forward on healthcare reform, including a robust public option, with or without Republican support since they seem more interested in the politics of taking down President Obama than healthcare for millions of Americans.

It is important that we stay focused on getting a robust public option included in the House version of the bill-- nothing watered down. As a progressive member of the House of Representatives, I can't spend time guessing or speculating about what the Senate will do. I do know that if we don't do our work to get a strong bill out of the House, we won’t be able to beg, borrow or steal a robust public option from the Senate. And, the naysayers and opponents of reform know this-- they know what's at stake. That's why they've tried to use August to kill reform. With your help, it hasn't worked and it won't work.

To accomplish our goal, we must be vigorous advocates for a public option that uses the Medicare provider network, starts immediately without triggers, and has a payment system that encourages quality patient care. We're almost there, and that's why it will take your voices outside of Congress and those of us inside to encourage our colleagues and our President to be courageous to the end. I hope you will continue to join me in this fight for comprehensive health care reform.

No more tinkering.

No more dictates by the big insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

No more deceptions and distractions.

Let's fight for a robust public option to ensure quality, affordable healthcare and lower costs for everyone and provide transparency and accountability. I know we can do this. I will keep fighting, but I need you to keep fighting with me.

Friday Steve Kornacki at PolitickerNY emphasized how powerful Jerry Nadler's message on health care has been and Nadler is assigning credit to the grassroots efforts inspired by Darcy Burner's epic speech.

“If they try to get a bill through the Senate with 60 votes without a public option, it won’t pass the House,” he said. “We will make sure it doesn’t pass the House.”

Other House progressives have been making similar threats, and Nadler admits he’s not sure how seriously the House leadership and the White House have been taking them-- until now.

He described a conference call this week for all House Democrats in which “people who you’d be surprised at” spoke up and told Pelosi they’d reject any bill without a public option. It was only a few weeks ago, after she struck her deal with the Blue Dogs, that Pelosi seemed to sneer at the threats of progressives.

But now, Nadler said, “I think she’s probably going to take that more seriously.”

“We’ve got to draw the line somewhere,” he added. “And this is where we’re drawing it. And we have to draw it here. We probably should have drawn it a little closer in.”

So what happens, I asked Nadler, if the House is ultimately presented with a bill with a cop-op provision instead of a public option-- and if the White House and House leadership then tell progressives that it was the best they could do and that if it fails, the Obama presidency might be sunk?

“They can’t allow it to come to that situation, because I’ll vote no,” he replied. “They cannot allow it to get there, and that’s what we’re telling them now. If it comes to that, enough members, I think, will vote no. And they certainly don’t want to test that.”

Strong stuff, huh? Yesterday's biggest recipient of netroots money on our page was Maxine Waters, who sent an unequivocal message to the Democratic Leadership that the line in the sand is for real. She spoke at a town hall meeting in a part of L.A. where teabaggers and nightriders don't venture and she made it crystal clear that without a public option she will oppose whatever the Insurance Industry and their congressional shills try shoving down our throats. I doubt there's much Emanuel can do to her-- except take her off the White House Christmas card list. Addressing President Obama directly, she reminded him that "[t]he people of this country elected you and gave you a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate... Yes, we know that you are a nice man, that you want to work with the opposite side of the aisle. But there comes a time when you need to drop that and move forward. We're saying to you, Mr. President, 'Be tough. Use everything that you've got. Do what you have to do. And we have your back.'" As for the corrupt members of the House of Lords... I don't think Rep. Waters will have their backs any time soon.

"Not only are we going to do everything we can to organize and put pressure on the senators-- some of whom are Neanderthals-- we're going to say to the president, 'We want you to use every weapon in your basket in order to get those senators to do what they should be doing,' " Waters said.

So... if you haven't said thanks yet, I'd recommend today would be a good day to think about Maxine Waters, Jerry Nadler, Donna Edwards, Barney Frank... and any of the other members you've heard speaking out forcefully about the public option. You can donate to one or two or as many of the 65 members of the House who have promised to stand firm as you'd like at the Blue America page.



Blue America's Alan Grayson Wins Florida Primary

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

Down With Tyranny:

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

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

or this?

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




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