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.



Time For Some Real Talk

Friends, just 50 days out, it’s time for some real talk.

There is a very real possibility that this country is going to elect a white supremacist, nationalist demagogue as president of the United States. Yes, it makes no sense. One would think it's impossible. But after watching the media shit show unfold daily, it’s quite obvious that it can happen here. The polls right now are very, very tight.

If it does happen here, on the morning of November 9th we will wake up to a different world. Allies will understand they need to distance themselves from the US and rivals will feel emboldened. Trump's promise of a massive military buildup will be met by an equal build-up all around the planet. Other nations will logically see that the world's only superpower has gone rogue and the post war security regime that we have known for 60 years will probably fall apart all at once.

Even those of us who believe we should find a way to end the American imperial project cannot believe it is a good idea for it to end in chaos at the hands of a torture-loving nationalist who believes that any perceived ”disrespect" demands military action. 

Then there's The Wall, "Operation Wetback" Redux, banning of Muslims,"law and order" and more on top of his standard GOP policy atrocities, including plans to enact a massive tax cut on the wealthy and end virtually all government regulations, the list of which reads like a lobbyist's letter to Santa. He even proposed to end all food safety regulations

And yes, he's a climate change denier and will reject the Paris Climate accords and anything else that seeks to deal with a problem he believes is a hoax made up by China. And of course we know he is a documented racist, misogynist, nativist, xenophobic, anti-semite which is what millions of his most enthusiastic backers like best about him.  That's just for starters. 

And yet, with all that, right now he is tied with the mainstream, center left Democratic candidate who is running for President Obama's third term and has been endorsed by people as diverse as Elizabeth Warren to Warren Buffet to every union and . That is insane. 

Unfortunately, we have a problem within our own ranks: One third of voters 18-29 are planning to vote third party and that could easily make the difference. 

Bernie Sanders has something to say about that:

"Look, I was a third-party candidate. I began my career running as a third party, getting 2 percent and then 1 percent. I'm the longest serving independent in the history of the U.S. Congress, but I think that before you cast a protest vote, because [Hillary] Clinton or Trump will be president, think hard about it. This is not a governor's race. It's not a state legislative race. This is the presidency of the United States."

"If you are a working person, do you really think that billionaires need a large tax break? Which is what Trump is proposing. If you are an ordinary American who listens to science, do you think its a good idea that the President of the United States rejects science and says that climate change is a hoax? I think that if you look at the issues—raising minimum wage, building infrastructure, expanding healthcare—Clinton, by far, is the superior candidate."

It probably won't matter in big blue states if people vote third party. But there's a good reason not to. The Democratic platform Sanders fought for is also on the ballot. Clinton has not repudiated it or run from it and that is to her credit. If a majority of the country votes against her there are plenty of people in the media and both parties who will blame that platform and her embrace of progressive policies for the loss.

As Bernie says:

"Let us elect Hillary Clinton as president and that day after let us mobilize millions of people around the progressive agenda which was passed in the Democratic platform." 

So, that's where we are right now. Clinton is falling in the polls and Trump is rising. There's a very good chance we may wake up on November 9th in a different world if he pulls this off and progressives have the most to lose, especially our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. This isn't politics as usual, friends. This requires all hands on deck.

You can donate through Blue America's Clinton page here. And if you can't do that you can do phone banking from your home or canvas in your neighborhood. I urge all Blue America members to take this seriously and do whatever you can to help Hillary Clinton win this election.



Focus On What's Hot: Florida


Tomorrow is the first day of early voting for the August 30 Florida primary. As always, the corrupt, self-serving establishment has candidates it's trying to slip in, incumbents like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and even worse garbage, like Patrick Murphy, that they are trying to advance up the ladder.

This is the last great stand of the 2016 Democratic primary season-- where genuine progressives like Alan Grayson and Tim Canova are battling the very worst the Democratic Party has to offer.

Grayson's wife, Dr. Dena Grayson, is the strongest candidate in his old district to beat back a challenge from a very conservative pro-NRA Democratic state Senator. "We progressives, not Republicans or faux-Democrats, are the only ones who are truly committed to helping people," she told us. "The way to turn Florida blue is simple. We need to stop running Republican-lite candidates masquerading as Democrats, and instead, support true progressive who recognize people's needs and will take action to improve their lives."

As the Sun Sentinel put it a few days ago, "A Canova win over Wasserman Schultz would send shockwaves across the country." Those are just the kind of shockwaves the Democratic Party establishment needs and needs badly. This morning Tim was finally able to force Wasserman Schultz into a serious TV debate after she dodged and ducked for months. She was the living, breathing embodiment of why Americans are sick and tired of self-serving career politicians and she refused to answer point blank questions, although at the last second of the debate, the moderator got her to admit she is pro-fracking. Unfortunately, almost 10,000 Democrats in FL-23 have already voted by mail. "Sadly, today, she takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from industries like Big Sugar, Wall Street banks, predatory lenders and private prisons," explained one of Canova's radio ads. "I believe you either represent the corporate lobbyists or you represent the people. You cannot do both."

Alan Grayson, the progressive in the Senate race for Marco Rubio's seat, understands better than anyone what's wrong with Democratic Party politics in his state. He told us yesterday,

“Florida Democrats are demonstrating Einstein's definition of insanity-- they keep nominating right-wing DINOs for statewide office, they keep losing, and they keep expecting that the results will change. They won't. We have now lost 14 out of the last 15 state government campaigns, going back to when Jeb Bush was Governor, because our Democratic voters have absolutely no idea what our candidates will do for them if they are elected. (The only exception was when a Democrat snuck into office because even Florida voters couldn't stomach a GOP candidate for "Chief Financial Officer" who was hopelessly corrupt.)

Florida Republicans promise abortion restrictions, pro-gun laws, cuts in social services, lower taxes and corporate welfare-- and they deliver. Florida right-wing Democrats promise I-don't-know-what, and they can't even deliver on that. As for me, I have promised to improve the lives of ordinary people in Central Florida, and I've delivered on those promises. And I'm the only Democrat to represent downtown Orlando in Congress in the past 42 years. Coincidence? No.”

Now Blue America is asking you to help make sure our slate of Florida progressives make it out of the primaries on the 30th to go on and beat reactionary Republicans like Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Matt Caldwell. You can pick and choose at the Blue America Florida page here.



Ted Lieu's New Bill To Prevent A Pres. Trump From Using Nukes

When Digby, John and I were first getting to know Ted Lieu, back when he was still a state Senator, we asked him why he was willing to leave the young family he's so devoted to in L.A. and spend so much time in Washington, D.C. He told us it actually had a lot to do with his two sons-- a compulsion to help turn Congress towards solving the accelerating problems around Climate Change. And, sure enough, last month when Ted was named the freshmen Democrats MVP, his unrelenting work-- with members on both sides of the aisle-- for climate change was first and foremost in everyone's mind. That and... cyber-security, equal rights, criminal justice and marijuana legalization. Yeah, he's been busy.

But last week, hot on the heels of his promotion to full colonel in the Air Force Reserve, Ted, along with two other freshmen military vets in the House sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to withdraw his endorsement of Donald Trump. "As veterans who previously served on active duty," they wrote, "we are horrified by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's slander of parents whose son died serving our country. Mr. Trump has already made a series of racist and sexist statements. But the profound disrespect Mr. Trump has shown toward Gold Star parents is a new low. Your continued endorsement of Mr. Trump's hateful, bigoted and sexist vision threatens the integrity of the House of Representatives in which we serve. We respectfully request that you follow what we believe your heart is telling you and withdraw your endorsement of him now."

Thursday, Ted announced he is introducing legislation to make it more difficult for a president to launch a nuclear attack.

“The erratic and impulsive behavior of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has highlighted the structural dangers of America’s nuclear weapons launch protocols. Having taught the Law of War when I served on active duty, and as a graduate of Air War College, it is clear to me that the traditional checks and balances on the Executive branch do not apply when it comes to nuclear weapons. This process needs to be fixed.

“The President does not need approval from Congress or the courts to launch nuclear weapons. All the President needs is the concurrence of the Secretary of Defense, who is appointed by the President.

“When Congress comes back into session, I plan to introduce legislation that requires the concurrence of leaders in Congress-- who are not beholden to the President-- before a nuclear strike can be launched. We can no longer have the fate of civilization depend on just two people in the Executive Branch.”

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This week Blue America is helping Ted raise funds for his reelection campaign. As a thank you we are giving away 6 advance copies of the next book by neuroscientist Dan Levitin (author of the massive NY Times best seller, This Is Your Brain On Music.) Dan, a big admirer of Ted's, autographed half a dozen advance review copies ofA Field Guide To Lies-- Critical Thinking In The Information Age for half a dozen randomly selected contributors. There is no minimum contribution; everyone is equally likely to be picked to "win" one of the signed books.

Dr. Levitin told us Friday that: "My wife and I had dinner with Ted Lieu recently and it was one of the most fascinating conversations we’ve ever had. He has a deep knowledge about a wide variety of topics, and shared many insights with us. He is exactly the kind of person we need to have in government: smart, empathetic, honest, and eager to devote his considerable talents to public service not for his own personal gain, but to help make the world a better place. He's committed to clearing the logjam that congress has become, using his intelligence and creativity to move forward policies and legislation that will benefit all of us."

Just contribute any amount by Tuesday evening at midnight at this Blue America ActBlue page to be eligible.



Eric Kingson: Why I Stand With Bernie


Eric Kingson, founder of SocialSecurityWorks, is running for Congress in a blue district centered on Syracuse New York. Eric has endorsed Bernie for president and his running on the same issues that Bernie is running on. If you want to contribute to Bernie's and Eric's campaigns, you can do so here. We asked Eric to tell us what went into his courageous decision to buck the Democratic Party Machine and back Bernie-- and in Clinton's own upstate New York backyard no less. Here's what he told us:

When the next president of the United States takes the oath of office on January 20, 2017, he or she will be a Democrat.  By then, the nation will have had its fill of the extremist right wing of the Republican Party-- especially of the disrespectful and racist messages of Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz. To be sure, the mean-spiritedness of the Republican Party will have torn at the nation’s fabric, but the ties that hold us together as a free and compassionate people are ultimately too strong to succumb to anti-democratic demagogues.

We Democrats, and the nation, are fortunate to have a choice between two eminently qualified people-- Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both have contributed greatly to our nation. Both can do the job and lead by appealing to our “better angels.” And like President Obama, they take strong stands, political and personal, against the politics, fear, divisiveness, and disregard for working families and the poor that is so evident among today’s Republican Party.

That said, I strongly and proudly support Bernie Sanders in his campaign to be our next president. Here’s why.

Bernie is igniting the interest and energies of millions of Americans, many of whom have not been previously engaged in politics. We need this at a time when our nation’s political institutions are at risk; when our economic institutions seem to work well only for the rich and powerful, not for hard-working people and families. We need new generations of Americans and older ones, too, not only to care about what is happening in our nation, but, like Bernie’s supporters, to get involved and become vehicles for a better America.

Putting aside the risks posed by Trump and Cruz to our democracy, we will still face the corporate and billionaire domination of our politics and the coordinated efforts of the Republican Party to suppress voting, especially among minority, young, and low-wage workers. Senator Sanders’ campaign is bringing attention to campaign finance. No one can doubt Bernie’s complete opposition to the domination of our politics by corporate interests and money. He refuses to accept campaign contributions from Wall Street and other corporate donors. His campaign is fueled by millions of small donations. Bernie, whose politics were shaped by involvement in the civil rights movement, is no new-comer to voting rights. He’s always been there and will work to expand the voting franchise.

Wall Street doesn’t like Bernie. And they shouldn’t because he’s the real thing.  When he talks about breaking up too big to fail banks, Wall Street and their handmaidens worry. Wall Street bankers who virtually crashed our economy don’t like the sunshine being cast on their dishonesty and undeserved huge bonuses. Too bad. The public knows that Bernie will walk the talk, and that the economic policy of a Sanders Administration will not be under the control of Wall Street shills. Another good reason to support the Senator…

Another reason for my enthusiastic support of Senator Sanders for president is that as co-founder of Social Security Works and the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, I’ve seen how effective he’s been in stopping Social Security cuts and building the case for expanding Social Security benefits. Six years ago, when we established the organization and coalition, there were only a handful of Senators and Representatives who would say “do not cut our Social Security”-- Bernie Sanders, former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and a few others. It may not seem so now, but this took political courage in the first few months of 2010. The press, the talking heads, party leaders, White House advisors, and many others were caught in their own echo chamber. Nearly all believed that cuts to Social Security were needed and would soon happen.

Concerned that the fiscal crisis drumbeat would stampede Congress into cutting Social Security, Bernie organized the Senate Defend Social Security Caucus, initially bringing five other Senators along. Later, in the context of budget and deficit negotiations, when it looked like Bowles-Simpson Commission cuts would be enacted, Bernie played a pivotal role in coordinating push-back to proposed cuts to annual cost of living adjustments. In a call that six or seven of us where on, I recall Bernie saying, “Look, we can stop this cut; but we have to act fast and get the voices of  the American people into Washington,” followed by strategic suggestions for doing so. A meeting chaired by Senator Sanders in a Senate hearing room packed to the gills with 200 advocates, seniors and journalists got the message out that the American people did not want their benefits cut. Careful messaging, speeches, and one million signatures stopped the cuts-- much to the credit of the Senator who has never been fearful of standing up for what he knows is right.

Today, the two remaining Democratic candidates for president are now firmly on record for expanding, not cutting, Social Security. This would not have happened without Bernie.

I am running for Congress in Central New York (NY-24). When I go to Washington as a new member of congress, I want to see a Democrat in the White House. And I believe our nation will be best served if that Democrat is Bernie Sanders.




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