Alan Grayson-- Progressives' Cosmic Thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Except in California. Thanks to Ted Lieu.

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

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

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

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



We Cannot Afford to Lose Jeff Merkley

There are a lot of Democratic politicians asking for money these days, some of them worthy and many of them not so much.  We appreciate all the support you've already shown this cycle for our Blue America slate and we hope you'll continue to do so. But we wanted to give a special shout-out to one of the nation's most exceptional Senators: Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. We knew he was a great candidate back in 2008 and we went all out for him. And he has more than lived up to the commitment and passion he showed in that campaign. He has become one of the Democratic Party's most stalwart progressive leaders. 

Not only has he stood tall on all the important social issues, from health care to LGBT rights to the war on women, he's taken strong stands against Wall Street and the Big Banks and fought hard to preserve the signature Democratic achievements of Social Security and Medicare. You can't say that about all of our Democratic Senators unfortunately. He's been a leader on the environment and worked hard for legislation to fight climate change. And Senator Merkley is one of a very few independent-minded progressives who have taken the gutsy position of publicly siding with civil liberties advocates Mark Udall and fellow Oregonian Ron Wyden in their criticism of the Obama administration's surveillance policies. Down the line he has delivered on the progressive agenda. 

Needless to say, a record like that has caught the attention of the plutocrat wrecking crew known as the Koch brothers and they are going after him hard.

They are backing an odd duck named Monica Wehby a fairly typical tool of the GOP money machine. (She even made the fatuous claim that she wouldn't have voted for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms --- because they would have lulled the nation into a false sense of security!) Oregon may be blue but it's got plenty of red and pretty soon it's going to be flooded with green. Suffice to say that Merkley needs all the progressive support we can muster. He only won by 6,000 votes the last time and this is a mid-term where turn out is going to be key.

His campaign is running a money bomb today and Blue America has promised to help out.  If you can give something to support a real progressive who thinks independently and stands up for our principles even when it's hard, today is the day to do it. 

The bottom line is this: we cannot afford to lose Jeff Merkley. He stands at the center of the progressive Senate coalition we've been trying to build for the last decade --- with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin.

It's one thing for the Koch Brothers to take out moderate Republicans and replace them with Tea Partiers. We cannot let them defeat progressive icons like Senator Merkley.

Unlike so many others, Jeff Merkley has had our back for the past six years. Now we need to have his

Thank you for all you do to make this world a better place.

--Digby, for the whole Blue America Crew



Jimi Hendrix Contest Extended In Honor Of Memorial Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

best regards,
George Gollin
Champaign, IL
IL13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plus, we could use your help. Thanks.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson



Barbara Lee's First Endorsement… And The Beatles

Barbara Lee made history when she displayed the guts to stand up and say "NO" to Bush/Cheney's rush to war against Afghanistan in the wake of the 9-11 attack that embarrassed them and exposed their incompetence. She was the only Member of Congress to do so. Today Rep. Lee announced that her Barbara Lee Progressive PAC's top 8 priorities for congressional action starts with "Bringing an end to perpetual war, saving trillions of dollars and millions of lives." And in conjunction with that announcement comes another-- her first endorsement of a challenger for the 2014 cycle, fellow Californian and fellow peace advocate, Lee Rogers. 

"Lee," she said, "is a doctor, a thinker, a progressive Democrat-- and, he can win.

He’s running in California’s 25th Congressional District (Simi Valley-Santa Clarita area). It’s an open seat. And, the Nate Silver number crunchers say that it’s a district where Democrats can win. So help us put a progressive like Lee Rogers in it. She send this message out to her own followers today:

Want to know just how much of an ally Lee Rogers will be in Congress? Consider his philosophical approach from his website:

"Congressional insiders and K Street power brokers sold the well-being of our country in exchange for special deals and political favors.

"All this must stop. It must stop NOW! No more deals, no more special favors, no more double talk and political speak. It’s time to level with the voters, tell them the truth and get to the job of fixing the problems and restoring the promise of America."
This is the kind of fighting Democrat I need working beside progressives like Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Alan Grayson and me in the House. I’m contributing to Lee. And, I hope you will too.

For his part, Dr. Rogers said he is proud of the backing his campaign is getting from the California powerhouse. "I'm honored to be endorsed by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, someone who is always on the right side of the moral issues of the day. As a doctor, I must use the highest standard of ethics when treating patients. I'll make sure to bring those same ethics to Washington. I look forward to working with Congresswoman Lee to improve the lives of those in my district and our country."

This week Blue America is encouraging progressives to contribute to Barbara Lee's and Lee Rogers' campaigns by offering one randomly selected donor who gives on this page (any amount) a rare, signed Beatles portrait by the band's favorite photographer, Robert Freeman, who shot 5 album covers for them starting in 1963.

The iconic image on the cover of With The Beatles, personally signed by Freeman, is the one we are giving away this week. The image is 32" x 24" and perfect for framing.

It doesn't matter how much you give, just that you do give to Barbara and Lee on this page.



$1,000 Matching Fund-- Why Shenna?


"Thank you, Blue America supporters, for refusing to give up on our democracy.  Grassroots action is the only way meaningful social change ever happens, and your grassroots support is making a difference." --Shenna Bellows

Digby, John and Howie did not expect to send this note out today. They planned a sabbatical until after the first quarter rush was over Tuesday. But… we got an offer we couldn't refuse-- and one I hope you won't be able to either.

As you probably already have figured out, we feel that Shenna Bellows, the 39 year old former executive director of Maine's ACLU, is our idea of a perfect candidate. Last night she told Howie that she wants to "go to the United States Senate to work with Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul to place checks and balances on the big banks and the NSA. We can restore economic opportunity and constitutional freedoms for all if we have the courage and the vision to try."

That came right on top of a generous offer by one of Blue America's most consistent supporters to match, up to $1,000, all contributions to the Bellows campaign that are made through this page between now and midnight tomorrow (Monday night/Tuesday morning)

"I was originally attracted to the Maine contest," he told us, "by its potential to send the loudest message, of any 2014 race, that voters are sufficiently shocked, by the NSA surveillance revelations, to turn strongly against NSA-apologist incumbents like Collins. But now Collins appears even more vulnerable because of this month's outbreak of open warfare between Senate Democrats and the CIA, over the torture report that Collins may be trying to help the CIA delay or suppress. The more closely I looked at Bellows, the more I saw not only policies I support and political experience, skills and tactics that I respect, but also great potential for proving to be the right person in the right place at the right time."

There is great potential for Susan Collins’ “mile-wide” popularity to be proven “inch-deep,” because people who disagree with Collins’ positions, especially on civil liberties, can be found not only among Maine’s plurality of Democrats but also its substantial contingents of Independents and Libertarians, with whom Bellows has strong rapport.

Let's not leave this thousand dollar offer on the table. If Shenna wins in November, it will be the biggest victory for the progressive movement in America since we helped oust Wall Street favorite's senator, Scott Brown, in Massachusetts and elect Elizabeth Warren.

If you give $10 it's like giving $20 today. And if you give $50, it's like a $100 contribution. This is what Shenna needs to get her message out across Maine. This offer ends tomorrow at Midnight (ET).



LAST CALL: JONI MITCHELL CONTEST ENDS TODAY

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

Details, here.

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

The winners are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or is it all of the above?

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

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

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

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

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson



PA Progressive takes 55% of the vote in a 4-way race for May Primary

PA's Liberal Lion gets 55% of the vote
Yesterday two more important progressive groups, MoveOn and the Philadelphia Chapter of DFA (Philly for Change), joined Blue America and the PCCC in backing state Senator Daylin Leach in his bid for the open congressional seat (PA-13). In the May 20th primary Daylin will face a crowded field of garden variety Democrats who are endorsed by Big Money interests. Republicans have no shot in this deep blue seat, so the bad players are backing conservative Democrats who will play ball with them. It would be a very bad day if one of these guys take the seat.

It's a dynamic not unlike the one in the Silicon Valley high profile primary (CA-17) where Big Business interests are backing ConservaDem Ro Khanna against progressive champion Mike Honda because they know a Republican has no shot there either. Creeps like Wall Street predators Marc Leder (Romney's 47% host) and Peter Thiel appreciate Khanna's vow to cut Social Security-- which is very much like Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky's similar pledge. The most unsavory elements of the corrupt Philly Machine are backing her. This was the MoveOn vote:

• Daylin Leach - 55%
• Marjorie Margolies - 17%
• Valerie Arkoosh - 15%
• Brendan Boyle - 13%

The Matea Gold piece in yesterday's Washington Post, exposing how the Koch brothers are trying to buy elections all over the country-- with millions of dollars in poisonous, inaccurate ads targeting Democrats, isn't about Democratic primaries, but the dynamic is similar. Big Business is playing against progressives and working to elect their own crooked conservative candidates like Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky in Pennsylvania and Ro Khanna in California.

This week Blue America is attempting to help raise some grassroots campaign funds to help Daylin fight back against this influx of corrupt money. The Hooters have customized and autographed a hooter for one lucky contributor on this page. Everyone who contributes to Daylin's campaign-- any amount-- is eligible to "win." In fact, if you want the hooter and find yourself strapped for cash, send a post card to Blue America at P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you'll have a chance to win too! We'll do a random drawing next week. One of Daylin's colleagues in the state legislature, Brian Sims, the first openly gay elected state legislator in Pennsylvania history, endorsed him in with as much enthusiasm as Blue America, the PCCC, MoveOn and DFA: "Daylin," he told us, "introduced Pennsylvania's first marriage equality bill (back waaaay before it was cool); Daylin co-chairs the LGBT caucus in the Pennsylvania legislature; and just last month stood with a Pennsylvania teacher who was fired just because he married his partner. That's why I'm supporting Daylin on his run for Congress. We NEED Daylin in Washington where issues (like ENDA) are currently being debated and will effect the lives of millions of Americans."

We agree, you can contribute here on the regular Blue America House candidates page or here on the special page that registers you to win the hooter.

We are all in this together,
Howie, for John, Digby and the Blue America Team




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