No Exaggeration: The Survival Of Mankind


This week we've been working with our friends at ClimateHawksVote to win House seats for candidates committed to ameliorating climate change-- candidates who are in winnable districts that the DCCC is ignoring. With Trump's dysfunctional campaign and crude bigotry dragging down the whole ticket, it looks-- for the first time this cycle-- that the Democrats actually have a chance of recapturing the majority and retiring Paul Ryan from the Speakership. Imagine a House where Ryan's willingly ignorant committee chairmen no longer set the agenda!

The DCCC doesn't like taking on GOP committee chairmen. We do-- and we are. Our candidates are all running, in part, to address global warming, combat the fossil-fuel industry, and support renewable energy. If climate hawks are part of a winning coalition that takes over Congress in 2017, we can work towards halting toxic fracking, towards stopping extreme-energy projects; we can start the work it will take to put a price on carbon pollution, and we can make sure subpoenas are sent to ExxonMobil instead of climate scientists. Our candidates want to invest billions in renewable, resilient infrastructure to restore climate justice and end the fossil-fuel economy-- before it's too late.

Taking back the House is a big challenge-- Republicans currently hold a 30-seat advantage. But all across the country, Democratic registration is up and Trump's continuous stream of bile is turning off mainstream conservative voters who are telling pollsters they won't be voting for Republican candidates November 8.

Progressive candidates in the suburbs of Philadelphia (Mary Ellen Balchunis), Austin and San Antonio (Tom Wakely), New York (Zephyr Teachout and Duwayne Gregory), Los Angeles (Bao Nguyen and Nanette Barragán), Kalamazoo (Paul Clements), Miami (Alina Valdes), to name a few, weren't looked at as winnable by the DCCC.

That's all changed now... and if we're going to have a House ready to work on, for example, climate issues, it means taking back the House and not taking it back with Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the ones who opposed single-payer and the public option and stuck us with a very flawed Obamacare. So... please dig as deep as you can comfortably do and pick out a candidate or two-- for the future of the country and the species and the planet.

Want to get a feel for how strongly our candidates feel about climate as an issue? Mary Ellen Balchunis told us yesterday that "While the Republican party is still debating whether climate change even exists, I am prepared to enact legislation that will reduce carbon output on day one. I will fight for a carbon tax while encouraging investment in clean, sustainable technologies to shape the clean energy economy. Beyond this, I will support public transit development and a modernized electrical grid, to make sure that we have the infrastructure to sustainably meet demand in the future. Unfortunately, my opponent Pat Meehan claims to care about climate change, but has voted to repeal the only carbon regulations on power plants, end research into the effects of fossil fuels, and even permit pipelines to run through our national parks and monuments. Pennsylvanian's deserve a legislator who prioritizes a healthy environment for their children's future ahead of oil and gas companies' balance sheets."

And our candidates have records of leadership on progressive issues. Take Nanette Barragan, for example. "While my opponent was filling his coffers with Big Oil special interests money from the most disreputable lobbyists in Sacramento," she told us, "I was leading a successful fight to prevent the drilling of 34 oil and water injection wells in Hermosa Beach and into the Santa Monica Bay. If you care about climate change, retire Isadore Hall and send me to Congress. We both have records that are as crystal clear as the water still is off Hermosa Beach." Does that sound like someone you want on your team, fighting for your issues? Her opponent, Isadore Hall, is one of Sacramento's most corrupt legislators, a disgrace to a legislature that can't wait to see him leave.

Paul Clements isn't just one of the strongest advocates of climate change action of any candidate running for Congress, he's up against the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Rep. who buries every climate proposal. "In this election, we have the opportunity to replace one of Congress's leading climate science deniers," he said. "Fred Upton has been called, appropriately, 'Congress's Number 1 Enemy of Planet Earth,' and has been using his position to block any meaningful action on climate change. Congressman Upton has taken $931,000 from the oil and gas industry, and has used his role as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee to keep energy companies from being held accountable for their actions, especially companies like Exxon and BP, in which he owns a quarter of a million dollars in stock. Despite his record, an outside group recently had the audacity to come into our district to promote Fred Upton as a 'clean energy champion.' The outrageous nature of their lies show just how important Fred Upton is to oil and gas, and how threatened they are this year. If Congressman Upton is reelected, we can expect two more years of obstructionism from Congress, and a dangerous lack of action on climate, our nation's most critical challenge. I look forward to working in Congress to reverse the damage that has been caused, and prevent climate catastrophe."

Tom Wakley is running against Science Committee Chairman and chief climate change denier, Lamar Smith. "What truly gets me worked up," he told us, "is this idea that you have to 'believe' in climate change. The notion that it takes some great leap of faith in order to see and feel destruction or pollution is simply maddening. This is basically a matter of rejecting reality. There is no option when it concerns our climate. We have to act now. We must end fossil fuel subsidies and find market based initiatives to turn over a new leaf. There's no going back if we continue to wait for the corruption to subside or wait for the oil to run out. Lamar Smith and anyone of his ilk must be retired. The livelihood of future generations depend on it."

You want the government to deal seriously with Climate Change? Help us bring on congressional change.



One Last 2014 Ask From Blue America

A week from tomorrow is election day. The Blue America strategy has been to see if we could elect some solid progressives to Congress. This is our list of House candidates still in the running and this is our list of Senate candidates.

All of the candidates on both pages have been carefully vetted and will, first and foremost, represent the interests of regular working families in Congress, not corporate special interests and not their own careerism.

If you've been waiting for the last minute to see where end-of-the-cyle money would do the most good, I'd recommend Paul Clements (MI-06), Mike Obermueller (MN-02), and Pat Murphy (IA-01) in hotly contested House races and Rick Weiland (SD) and Shenna Bellows (ME) for Senate seats. At this point, all money coming in to those campaigns at the links above go for Get-Out-The-Vote operations.

The other ActBlue page we want to ask you to consider is for the Blue America I.E. committee, which is running ads in South Dakota, Maine, CA-33 and MN-06, hoping to bolster our candidates, respectively Rick Weiland, Shenna Bellows, Ted Lieu, and Paul Clements.

This is the last time we're expecting to ask our members to contribute for the 2014 midterms..

So if you've been waiting... now's the time. The DCCC hasn't lifted a finger to help any of the Blue America-endorsed candidates with the exception, eventually, of Pat Murphy. DCCC chairman Steve Israel has worked to protect GOP committee chairs Fred Upton (MI-06) and John Kline (MN-02) and both are vulnerable to effective grassroots action.

This week we have a full page ad in the L.A. Times talking about Ted Lieu's record of accomplishment, vision and leadership in the state legislature because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars Vegas mobster Sheldon Adeleson and his circle have thrown into the race at the last minute, much of it not just ugly and divisive but extremely racist. We feel these races are progressives' best shots to win between now and the 2016 general elections.

Thanks for all you've done this cycle. Stay abreast of any late developments between now and Election Day at Digby's blog, at Crooks and Liars and at DownWithTyranny. We'll have another report after the election.



People's Climate March. Because, Fred Upton.

As the UN prepares for a Climate Change summit hosted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Tuesday, this morning New York saw a massive People's Climate March down the west side of Manhattan, one of dozens of climate change events around the globe.

Ban Ki-moon: "Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women's empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all."

All Blue America- endorsed candidates are "good on Climate." Our candidates are all enthusiastic about the march and about the summit.  And no one is better on this than Michigan congressional candidate Paul Clements.

He may be a progressive across all the important issues that Americans face but I always get the feeling that Climate Change is what motivated Paul to run for Congress. And he's running for the seat occupied by the #1 biggest enemy of the environment in the entire country, House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton. Yep-- the man who bottles up all the environmental and climate proposals and never lets them see the light of day.

This morning Paul told us that "Climate change is the greatest threat facing Michigan and our world in the 21st century. We need bold leadership on combatting climate change, both domestically and internationally. America needs to lead this charge and create the economy of the future while doing so."

"Congressman Upton isn't just a part of the problem on climate change," he continued, "he is the problem. The L.A. Times named him "One of the biggest threats to Planet Earth.” That’s not hyperbole. Upton has led the effort to deny science and prevent any action on climate change. He hasn’t just worked to stop proactive legislation, but has consistently sided with polluters and worked to fast track devastating projects like the Keystone pipeline. He has voted to protect the tax breaks for oil and gas companies as their profits have increased to record levels."

After another pipeline explosion and more pollution this week, progressive organizations have joined with western Michigan residents in calling for Upton to give back the gigantic campaign contributions he's scooped up from Big Oil and Gas. Adam Green from PCCC: "Republican House Energy Chair Fred Upton has taken $2,091,236 from big oil, gas, and other energy interests-- and voted with them against his constituents. PCCC members are calling on Upton to give his money from big polluters to local cleanup efforts-- and to stop voting with his big-money donors." And May Boeve, executive director of 350 Action made a similar suggestion: "Companies like TransCanada couldn’t care less about our health or or climate. Greed is what drives them, and their campaign dollars are driving climate denial in Congress. Activists fighting TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline have known this for years: Members of Congress who take the most fossil fuel money are the ones most eager to help fossil fuel companies wreck our climate by building risky pipelines like Keystone XL. Voters need to know that Fred Upton is beholden to fossil fuel companies who don’t have their best interest at heart. We are proud to join PCCC in calling him out."

It's an issue that's effective in a part of Michigan that prides itself on its natural beauty and clean environment. More and more voters are starting to worry about what Upton's role has actually been in these matters. Clements pointed out that "At the same time he protected their tax breaks, Upton personally had at least $238,000 in oil and gas company stock and he has received over $644,000 dollars in contributions from the industry. Upton directly received contributions and profited from supporting tax breaks for oil and gas companies while middle class families pay the price. My passion for the environment, specifically climate change, is one of the main reasons I decided to challenge Congressman Upton and run for Congress. For years, I have studied the politics of climate change and how to make our economy stronger while combatting it. I'm proud of my friends marching in New York to change the status quo and save our planet. Activists like Bill Mckibben have been leading the charge while Congress has been absent, and it's time to change that."

 Blue America would like all of our members to consider supporting this week's Climate activities by helping Paul Clements replace Fred Upton in Congress.

The Democrats may not win the House back but the message of Clements beating Upton would resound decisively across the country. Please consider contributing to Clements' campaign here.



Blue America Endorses Paul Clements In Michigan

Last week, MoveOn and PPP polled some of the swing districts where the DCCC protects Republican incumbents. The results were breathtaking, especially for media folks who only get their information from Cook and the DCCC. Blue America candidates are on target to beat long-time Republican incumbents and one of the strongest showings was from first-time candidate, Paul Clements, who's running against Fred Upton in western Michigan. Upton is underwater in terms of his constituents' approval. Only 34% approve of his job performance. 53% disapprove. And if the election were held today, only 38% would vote for him, while 51% would vote for a Democrat. While that's really good news for Paul Clements, even better news is that when voters are told that Upton voted for and backs the Tea Party government shut down, his re-elect numbers really go south. Only 36% of those polled say they would vote for him. 56% say they would vote for his Democratic opponent.

Also last week, Paul Clements introduced Bill McKibben, America’s leading activist on climate change, to an audience of thousands in Kalamazoo. This is important because Kalamazoo is the biggest city in Michigan's 6th district, and in 2014 this district will be ground zero in the fight for action on climate change.

This part of Michigan has been represented by Fred Upton for 20 years but when he was first elected he ran as a mainstream conservative. Once Boehner appointed him to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee he transformed himself into a climate science denier and anti-environment zealot: Upton authored and passed through the House a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency regulating greenhouse gasses, he tried to stop federal support for clean energy technologies, and the L.A. Times named him Congress’s #1 enemy of the earth.

Clements got into the race because he sincerely believes we need stronger action on climate change. (There is also Upton’s denial of science on antibiotics, his cutting food stamps amidst rising hunger in his district, his votes against women, workers, seniors, the middle class, African Americans, immigrants, and LGBT equality, his vote to shut down the federal government …) Clements is highlighting that Upton changed his views on climate change to get the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship-- just one more example of Upton selling out, but in this case literally selling out all of humanity.

McKibben’s talk is the keynote of a 20-event series Clements has helped to organize to raise awareness and understanding of climate change-– the science, the politics, and what each of us can do. Upton is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress but Steve Israel has protected his seat in the past and continues to do so today. Clements environmental series is a key step in building the coalition to defeat him in 2014.

In just the last 3 months, the American Chemistry Council and the American Petroleum Institute spent $340,000 in ads for Upton, and there will be much more where that came from. Defeating Upton will show that to deny climate science is, in political terms, a losing proposition.

Clements needs your help. Blue America is endorsing him for Congress because of his overall progressive vision, as well as for this opportunity to replace Congress' most toxic anti-environment crusader. Please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here. This is a very winnable race if Paul can compete with the flood of corporate cash Upton has been sucking up.

We are all in this together,

Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team




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