Democracy for America

The Official Democracy for America Weblog


XML feed

Last update

1 week 20 hours ago

February 12, 2006


This Week (ABC) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.
will talk to "This Week" about the violence across the world sparked by cartoons of Muhammad, Iran's nuclear program and the CIA leak investigation. Then, an exclusive interview with Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann on his campaign to become the next governor of Pennsylvania. Finally, actress Sigourney Weaver on heart health and the American Heart Association's "Go Red" campaign.

Face the Nation (CBS) - CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer will be joined this week by Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State; Howard Dean, Chairman, Democratic national Committee; and Elizabeth Bumiller of The New York Times.

Meet the Press (NBC) - This week on "Meet the Press," the debate over intelligence intensifies. This Sunday's "Meet the Press with Tim Russert" features a joint interview with four congressional leaders who received briefings from the White House on the NSA Surveillance program before the story became public. What information was shared? When and in what form? We'll spend the full hour talking exclusively with: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) and Ranking Member Jane Harman (D-CA). The foursome will discuss the controversy over the constitutional, legal and political ramifications of the domestic surveillance program.

Chris Matthews Show (NBC) - Chris will be discussing whether the Muslim riots represent a turn for the worse in the war on Terror? Also, will Hillary be a soft-spoken or outspoken candidate in '08? Guests include; Cynthia Tucker -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Joe Klein -- Time Magazine, Norah O'Donnell -- MSNBC and David Brooks -- New York Times; The Newshour.

Fox News Sunday (Fox News) - FNS will speak to Senate Judiciary Committee members Sens. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), and Charles Schumer, (D-NY). Then, who has the inside track to replace Rep. Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader? We'll handicap the race with Reps. Roy Blunt, (R-MO), John Boehner, (R-OH), and John Shadegg, (R-AZ). Plus, we'll be joined by Harry Johnson, president of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project.

Late Edition (CNN) Drawing outrage: What will it take to defuse the dangerous clash of cultures over controversial cartoons? Plus, the war on terror. Guests include; Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Danish prime minister, Sen. Chuck Hagel, (R-NE), Foreign Relations Committee, Select Intelligence Committee, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (D-CT), Armed Services Committee, Iyad Allawi, Former Iraqi interim prime minister, Iraqi Parliament member, Nabil Fahmy, Egyptian ambassador to the United States, Afif Safieh, Palestinian representative to United States and Danny Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the United States.

60 Minutes (CBS) This week's 60 Minutes will include the following stories. Steve Kroft investigates how some of the $50 billion the U.S. spent on reconstruction work in Iraq was spent and why $8.8 billion of it is unaccounted for. As some of the estimated 400,000 unused human embryos are destroyed each day in fertility clinics, critics question the White House's restriction on their use in research. Lesley Stahl reports. Many of today's soldiers who are severely wounded in combat are returning home thanks to body armor and improved medicine. Several of them tell Mike Wallace their stories.

Categories: Blogs

February 11, 2006


Brad Watkins is Organizer for Democracy for Memphis.

The Democracy for Memphis Congressional Candidate Forum was held this week at the home of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). I am pleased to say that the event was a huge success! We secured the involvement of seven exciting candidates and received messages from campaign workers representing two other candidates who could not attend...

The participants included—

Lee Harris, a law professor who is a newcomer to the field of politics.

Tyson Pratcher, is a former member of Senator Hillary Clinton's Staff.

Ron Redwing is the owner of a local public relations firm as well as a former aide to Memphis Mayor W.W. Herenton.

Bill Whittman, an attorney with the law firm, Bass and Sims PLC.

Ralph White, is Pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church.

Joseph Kyles is a local real estate developer and community activist.

Ed Stanton, a former asst. city attorney and now with FedEx.

Nikki Tinker and Marvell Mitchell Sr. were not able to attend due to prior engagements, but sent representatives to address the attendees.

The format was simple. Each candidate was given up to three minutes of time to make an opening statement. Then, in alphabetical order, each candidate was given a question picked at random from the pool of submitted questions provided by DFM and members of other local groups and progressive individuals. The candidates were given up to three minutes to respond. Following that the other candidates were given 90 seconds each to respond to the question. Finally each Candidate made a two minute closing statement.

The candidates shared a great deal of common ground, but differed in degrees and in tactics on how to reach those shared goals. Ed Stanton, spoke on the pressing need to deal with the problem of Memphis' high rate of infant mortality as well as staying on message with his themes of economic justice and opportunity.

Tyson Pratcher informed the audience of his experience working in the Senate and with members of Congress, in opposition to CAFTA and other Republican pieces of legislation, as well as his work in community empowerment and education.

Ralph White, the eldest members of the "Class of '06", jokingly referred to the youth of the other candidates. He also was measured in his response to the issue of the Iraq war, wanting to "look deeper into the issue." He also spoke out against corruption within Unions themselves.

The other candidates spoke in full support not only of union efforts, but all supported legislation making it easier for workers to organize.

Joseph Kyles, spoke about correcting inequalities in government services and economic opportunity. He and Harris took the strongest stands against the war in Iraq. Bill Whittman, was the strongest voice for affordable healthcare and he called on Democrats to be authentic, we need to "raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for good, quality, simplified, healthcare".

Ron Redwing, spoke about not only his humble beginnings, but about his commitment to working for greater opportunity for all the residents of District Nine.

Lee Harris, spoke to the issue of outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas. He proposed taxing companies that outsource jobs overseas, and using the proceeds in a program to retrain American workers.

Jackson Baker, political columnist for the Memphis Flyer was on hand and his observations can be found at the Flyer's website.

DFM friend and local blogger Steve Steffens, also posted remarks, to be found on his blog, Left-Wing Cracker.

Derek Haire, an early DFM member and blogger on the popular Flypaper Theory blog, is providing a full recording of the event if you want to get the candidates' statements verbatim.

DFM member and County Commission candidate Reginald Fentress was on hand and did an excellent job as moderator for this forum. The event drew a crowd of close to 100 people and the audience was very pleased to have the chance to get to hear the various candidates speak on the issues that will shape the political future of the Ninth Congressional district of Tennessee.

This was a great night for Democracy for Memphis. During the week, at the DFA Film Club, we'll also host a screening of the film "Unconstitutional: the War On Our Civil Liberties" at which time we will also have a small panel discussion and opportunities for local action in opposition to the Patriot Act.

All of these activities will lead us as we gain steam for the upcoming DFA Training Academy in March (which you can now register for).

We are all excited about the prospects of promoting progressive values and ideals and look forward to taking an active role in many of the '06 campaigns.

—Brad Watkins

Categories: Blogs

A Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts was forced to rethink his campaign strategy when local activists got involved in the party caucuses last weekend. Attorney General Thomas Reilly had written off rival Deval Patrick, but local activists got involved and handed Patrick an unexpected victory.

One DFA member, Carolyn Fuller, wrote that she was inspired to get involved by a DFA e-mail. After receiving the e-mail Carolyn wrote:

"[I] registered as a Democrat the last week in December, showed up yesterday at my local caucus and not only participated in an historic Deval Patrick victory but found myself along with my husband committed to attending the State Democratic Convention, each of us as an alternate delegate on the Patrick slate!

One e-mail goes a long way!"

The actions taken by Carolyn and others have had a serious effect on the Massachusetts Governor’s race, and prove once more that "You have the power."

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

The Rockingham/Strafford branch of Democracy for America hosted their candidate forum this past weekend, drawing over 75 people from the surrounding area to hear each of the four congressional candidates state their positions. The event, put together by DFA's own Monica Smith, included four local candidates: Gary Dodds of Rye; Col. Peter Duffy of Manchester; Carol Shea-Porter of Rochester; and Peter Sullivan of Manchester. Each had their own views on where the current administration is going wrong:

During the forum, sponsored by the Rockingham/Strafford branch of Democracy for America and by the University of New Hampshire College Democrats, the candidates raised concerns about Bradley and the Republican-run House of Representatives’ approach to health care, education and a federal deficit.

Peter Sullivan of Manchester

Sullivan, an attorney who is serving his third term in the state House of Representatives, said protecting the country from another terrorist attack is what he sees as one of the most important issues in the race.

He also expressed concerns over providing health care to all Americans and reforming pensions by allowing workers to have portable pensions in response to concerns raised about Social Security.

Col. Peter Duffy of Manchester

Duffy, a military lawyer who served in the Army until four years ago, said his campaign slogan is "20/20 vision for the country," meaning that by 2020, Congress will have found a way to provide universal health care, halted the country’s dependence on foreign oil and found a way to fully fund the many unfunded mandates facing the states and schools today.

The crowd erupted in applause when Duffy called the war in Iraq "illegal" and a "strategic blunder."

Gary Dodds of Rye

Dodds, a Rye School Board member and chief financial officer of Accent Magazine Inc. and New England Glory, a restoration/real estate business, said he is a "numbers" man who would challenge the current administration’s budget approach.

"If I ran my business like we run this government, I’d be broke and in jail," Dodds said. "We’re not prioritizing our needs."

Carol Shea-Porter of Rochester

Shea-Porter also received a warm response from the audience when she said: "I’m not against all war, but I am against illogical, immoral war."

The former college political and American history professor said she was the candidate who could speak out against the "culture of corruption" and focused her concerns on the "disappearing" middle class.

Congratulations to Monica Smith and the Rockingham/Strafford Democracy for America group for an excellent candidate forum. If your DFA group has hosted a candidate forum and you would like to share a report with the DFA community, let us know.

Categories: Blogs

February 10, 2006


In less than 12 hours, you've raised over $21,000 for Ciro from 550 contributors. By setting our stake in the TX-28, we're putting DINOs everywhere on notice. Let's keep it up! This money will pay for crucial lawn signs, mailings to voters, and media advertisements. It will help the Rodriguez campaign build a grassroots network to take their message right to the voters in the TX-28.

If you live in Texas, don't forget to sign up to volunteer.

Categories: Blogs

Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America, as well as Dina Wolkoff, our Finance Director, made a trip to Severna Park, Maryland to join DFA supporters and the MD Democratic Party Chair, Terry Lierman. John Schneider hosted the event in his home:

Terry Lierman and Jim Dean

DFA supporters gathered at Severna Park, MD

Categories: Blogs

Over 300 people have contributed more than $12,000 to Ciro's campaign. Let's get that number up to the 500 by the end of the day! Contribute now.

You can also sign up to volunteer at:

Categories: Blogs

You've raised over $6,000! Dollar by dollar, we're matching the Club for Growth and putting DINO's on notice. Let's keep it up. Contribute today:

Categories: Blogs

February 9, 2006


Bush Discloses Failed 2002 al Qaeda Attack

President Bush said today that after the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda began planning to use shoe bombers to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building in Los Angeles. The details were the first given by the administration since the attempted attack was disclosed last year. The plot was set in motion by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks. President Bush credited international cooperation in the war on terrorism with saving lives.

Full Committees Get Briefings

Under pressure from both Republicans and Democrats, the White House changed its position yesterday and provided a closed-door briefing on the NSA's domestic surveillance program to the full House Intelligence Committee. The three and a half hour briefing was given by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and General Michael Hayden and included a general description of how the program operates. The Senate Intelligence Committee received a briefing earlier today. Rep. Jane Harman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House committee said it was a "good start" but she doesn't believe "it complies with the National Security Act, which requires that the committees be kept fully informed of intelligence activities."

Cheney "Authorized" Libby to Leak

I. Lewis Libby testified to a grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defense the administrations use of prewar intelligence. Libby testified to the grand jury that he had been authorized to leak parts of the National Intelligence Estimate in the summer of 2003 in order to rebut charges being made by former ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Howard Dean on Switchboard

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean is Bob Kinzel's guest on the next Switchboard. They'll discuss the mid-term elections, the lobbying scandal in Washington and Dean's efforts to revitalize the Democratic Party.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

Marian Harris is the organizer of the Central Ohio DFA-Link group.

I have worked for politicians both in and out of office (my first real campaign was Jimmy Carter for President and I was on Sen. Howard Metzenbaum's staff for 6 years). I have always been a behind the scenes person, an organizer and facilitator. Great at scheduling a candidate, great at pulling volunteers together but noooooo, I would never want to be a candidate.

Well, I live in Ohio! This can and should be our year to take our great state back—and I remember when it truly was great—number one in the good things not number one in the bad things. An early Deaniac, I became the coordinator of our Central Ohio DFA and our fledgling state DFA group.

When I became aware of a vacancy in a state representative race I decided I had to practice what I'd been preaching all that time—that we at the grassroots level have to step up to the plate and become a player. So I first offered to be a placeholder—but the more I thought about it and the more encouragement I received from my fellow DFAers—including a call from Jim Dean!—I'm going to go for it.

I know it's a long shot but if I can make the incumbent spend money on his race instead of giving it to others, if I can increase the percentage of Democratic votes and if I can convince enough voters that we need a change in Ohio—well maybe I'll make a difference. So I join a number of other central Ohio DFAers who are running for the first time. This is the way we're going to take Ohio—and our country—back.

So if anyone reading this lives in the 19th House District of Ohio, please get in touch with me! I just started a DFA-Link group for the campaign. Join me!

—Marian Harris

Categories: Blogs

February 8, 2006


Eric Olsen, an Army chaplain who returned to Saranac Lake, NY after 10 months in Iraq with the 108th Infantry Battalion, is talking to people about the effects this war is having on our men and women in uniform. This is a war without sacrifice—no one is collecting metal scraps or rationing sugar at home to help the troops abroad. This is a war that for millions has become a nightly television show which you can skip past with a Tivo and hope that it gets cancelled by next season.

Our soldiers are returning home to witness this ambivalence and—coupled with the falsehood-based nature of the war itself—are becoming despondent about their service to America:

Since returning to the United States, Olsen said he is finding that soldiers coming home from Iraq often have a difficult time figuring out what it is they have achieved while serving. He said he has had to deal personally with the deaths of three soldiers—two from drug overdoses and one from suicide.

"When you are in the service, you only have to make it through until the next day," Olsen said. "We are there for the guy next to us, we're there for the mission."

But when servicemen and women get home they enter a gray area, he explained, as they leave the structured world of the military and re-enter the civilian world where there are no visible signs of sacrifice by the general population and the war is reduced to a nightly news feature and headlines.

"We are so isolated," Olsen said of the all-volunteer U.S. military. "We no longer represent the American people."

After his speech, Olsen mingled with members of the church and then headed to New York City to fulfill a request to speak to a group that included several of the soldiers he had counseled in Iraq.

Before leaving he asked the congregation if it would be willing to accept gas at $6 a gallon instead of the cost of a war.

How much would you pay per gallon to have them home alive?

[Hat tip to Andrew C. White at The 10,000 Things]

Categories: Blogs

Jessica Falker is a longtime DFA supporter and Organizer of Rutland DFA, Democracy For Vermont Steering Committee, as well as Finance Director of My Vote is My Voice. Her letter to the editor appeared in the Rutland Herald (VT) on February 7, 2006.

Thank you to Peter Welch (D), David Zuckerman (P), and Mark Shepard (R) for participating in the recent forum in Rutland, hosted by Rutland Democracy for America. We are lucky that all three gentlemen have committed themselves to publicly serving the people of Vermont, and I hope they will return to the Rutland area again soon.

Because they are all good candidates, it is very hard to choose just one. Unfortunately, our current voting system forces citizens to vote for just one candidate, with no opportunity to rate our second and third choice.

There's a better way.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) allows voters to rank the candidates at the voting booth. If your first choice does not have enough votes to win, your vote is credited to your second choice, and so on. It's a very simple way for voters to have more say in who is elected to represent them in our government.

As David Zuckerman said at the forum, this is not just a left-wing issue. When was the last time you saw a third party, 100 percent pro-life candidate run for statewide office? With IRV, people on both sides of the political spectrum, and everyone in between, will be able to rank the candidates of their choice instead of worrying that their vote will be wasted, or worse, that voting for their favorite candidate will actually help their least favorite candidate win.

IRV will be used in this March's Burlington mayoral election. Following that election, the state Legislature will review the results and decide if they will pass IRV as a statewide voting system. Naturally, people in power are reluctant to change the system that got them where they are. However, IRV is what will give the people of Vermont the opportunity they deserve, the opportunity to vote for the candidate(s) of their choice. Please encourage your representative and senators to pass IRV.

Jessica Falker

Categories: Blogs

Ronald Rice Jr. is a member of New Jersey for Democracy and co-organizes the Essex County, NJ DFA group. Ron is also DFA-List candidate for West Ward Councilman in the City of Newark.

These words drive my life's service to my community and currently express my gratitude to Jim Dean, the staff and members of DFA for this endorsement. I am truly humbled and excited by the support as it shines a spotlight on our efforts to reinvent city government in Newark, NJ.

It is our hope that my candidacy will not only lead to innovation and a major decentralization of government to the people, but that our efforts will be an example for other urban cities in America that struggle to retain their former glories and wrest control of their cities from old, status quo machine politics that inhibit progress and real holistic development.

Time is of the essence and we are actively embarking on a 90 day campaign to transform our city. We are knocking on doors, raising money, making phone calls. And working 7 days a week to win. You can learn more about our efforts by accessing our website at You can also request our bi-monthly Rice Report to get campaign updates at

—Ron Rice

Categories: Blogs

February 7, 2006


Miles Kurland is the president of Sonoma County Democracy for America.

On Thursday, January 19th, Sonoma County DFA co-sponsored a candidate forum with the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee, Progressive Democrats of Sonoma County (a PDA group), as well as the other local co-sponsors (listed below). This forum was actually scheduled prior to DFA's announcement of its nationwide effort to organize such forums. Perhaps our experience can help others in their forthcoming events.

The race under consideration is California's 6th Assembly District, which consists of Marin and the southern portion of Sonoma County. The current assemblyperson from this district, Joe Nation (D), cannot run for re-election due to term limits (6 yrs.) and there are currently five Democrats who are running for office:

John Alden -
Damon Connolly -
Jared Huffman -
Cynthia Murray -
Pamela Torliatt -

We held the event at Sonoma State University's Person Theater, which seats 475. The university provided invaluable technical assistance on sound and lighting. We had an MC, SCDFA's brilliant VP, Kathleen Shaffer, who welcomed the audience and explained the ground rules. We had two moderators: myself (acting as SCDFA President) and Kathleen Hill, who is Vice-Chair of the 6th AD committee, and we took turns asking questions.

Each question was to be answered by all of the candidates in rotation. Each candidate got a minute to introduce themselves, and two minutes to reply to a question. At the end, they received another two minutes to make a closing remark. We had timekeepers sitting in the middle of the first row with sheets of florescent construction paper, which could easily be seen from the stage. At the one minute point, a green card would be raised... at 1:30 a yellow card... and at 2:00, the red card would be shown, indicating "time's up!"

Categories: Blogs

Four Presidents at Kings Funeral

Four U.S. Presidents joined more than 10,000 mourners Tuesday at Coretta Scott King's funeral. President Bush praised King as a leader, "Having loved a leader, she became a leader, and when she spoke, Americans listened closely." Numerous speakers stressed that King spoke out, not only about racism, but also about the problems of poverty and war. The Rev. Joseph Lower, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "Our marvelous presidents and governors come to mourn and praise ... but in the morning will words become deeds that meet need?"

U.N. Security Council Gets Report on Iran

The U.N. Security Council formally received notification today about Iran and its nuclear program. This report opens the door toward potential U.N. sanctions against Iran. The Security Council must now decide whether Iran wants nuclear capabilities for energy or for arms.

Two Blasts Kill Seven in Baghdad

Two bombs exploded minutes apart from each other today in central Baghdad. The bombings killed at least seven people and wounded 20. The increase in violence comes just ahead of a major Shiite holy day later this week. Also today, the U.S. military said four marines died in separate explosions in Western Iraq.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

Ralph Miller is the Executive Director of Latinos for America. Democracy for America welcomes LFA columnists on Tuesdays.

San Francisco—Eyeing 2006 and beyond, Latinos for America ( is today announcing our decision to form the first progressive Political Action Committee geared to serving progressive Hispanic candidates in the United States. Dubbed, "LFA-PAC," this move is critical in our development from a grassroots organization to an engaged political force. In 2004 and 2005, LFA focused on training activists. We engaged Hispanic progressives and friends of Hispanics who wanted to get involved in taking their communities, states and country back. Because of our work and the efforts of many other groups, new and highly qualified Latino/Hispanic candidates are coming forward to run. However, as a non-profit, LFA is limited in the kinds of help we can provide these candidates to exempt, non-partisan activities. The PAC will allow us to expand this work.

Now, through our newly-formed LFA-PAC, LFA will fill a need for politically active Hispanics. Working together with other progressive Hispanic groups, we will help frame these new candidates' message and influence their tactics. LFA-PAC can make a difference in ways no other group is doing.

The role of Hispanics in the American social fabric is increasing. Our numbers are growing. Our political influence is growing in lockstep, as more and more Hispanics are becoming politically engaged. LFA has helped mobilize the progressive Hispanic community. LFA-PAC allows us to support our message of citizen participation within the Hispanic community in a way that is specifically geared to defining a progressive agenda and getting progressive Hispanics elected to public office.

Since the Dean campaign, through Latinos for America, we've been broadly engaging Latinos in American politics. We believe that no national Hispanic organization has ever taken this approach—that we're the first Dean-inspired, progressive-defined Hispanic PAC of our kind in the country. Our approach is based on fairness, openness and shared responsibilities. With this PAC, we can take an even more active role in promoting the national progressive agenda. Please let us know of progressive Latino candidates in your communities so we can engage them as soon as possible, for 2006 and beyond!

—Ralph Miller

Categories: Blogs

February 6, 2006


Liz Herbert is the Editorial Director of the Rapid Response Network. The Rapid Response Network offers guest commentary at Democracy for America every Monday.

A substantial number of my mom-hours have been spent over the years supporting my daughter's involvement in the National History Fair. This year's theme is "Taking a Stand in History." That got me thinking of who was taking a stand today. I didn't have to look far.

Here in my hometown, Leon County (FL) Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho, has as long as I can remember asked the tough questions about the security of our elections. Sancho, still asking, organized an audit of Diebold optical scanners. My local news became national when Diebold failed the test. Naturally, Sancho looked elsewhere—to ES&S—to complete purchases necessary to meet the Help Americans Vote Act standards.

But, as is so often the case, taking a stand can have consequences. ES&S inexplicably pulled out of the agreement, leaving Sancho short on options to comply with the federal law. Now the state of Florida is withdrawing about half a million dollars given Leon County to upgrade for HAVA, after having missed a January 1 compliance deadline. Understandably, Sancho is getting some heat at home:

"While I offer no specific comment on Mr. Sancho's judgment or abilities at this time, I will note that he places Leon County in a difficult situation in failing to comply with federal and state statutes," [Leon County Commissioner Bill] Proctor said in a memo to fellow commissioners.

... Sancho's response:

No problem, said Sancho.

"We absolutely will be in compliance with HAVA," Sancho said. "I've got the money to buy a fully compliant system—the only question is, is there one?"

That is, indeed, taking a stand.

Liz Herbert (FL)
Speak up. Join Rapid Response.

Categories: Blogs

White House Predicts $423 Billion Deficit

President Bush sent Congress a $2.77 trillion budget plan today that would boost defense spending and tighten entitlement spending. The budget will also make the Presidents tax cuts permanent, at the cost of $1.4 trillion over 10 years. Despite the decreases in entitlement spending, overall spending for the proposed budget is up 2.3 percent. In the budget documents the administration said the deficit for this year will set a record at $423 billion. The administration, however, contends that deficits will decline over the next five years.

Boehner Opposes Sweeping Changes in Lobbyist Work

New House Majority Leader John Boehner said he opposed efforts to ban privately funded travel for members of Congress and provisions in spending bills that fund lawmakers' pet projects. Boehner's position on this legislation makes it less likely that the more far-reaching proposals will become law. Boehner said he would favor more disclosure of dealings with lobbyists but would not seek complete bans on travel or "earmark" provisions.

Senators Question Gonzales

A few Republicans joined Democrats in the Judiciary Committee in raising questions about whether President Bush went too far in authorizing NSA's warrant less surveillance. The committee's chairman, Arlen Specter, who wants the administration to ask the FISA court to review the program, asked Gonzales, "What do you have to lose if you're right?" Democrats questioned the truthfulness of Gonzales and Bush, and pushed, unsuccessfully, to have Gonzales sworn in. Senator DeWine (R-OH) said the administration and the country would be stronger if the administration came to Congress for authorization.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

The survival of our democracy demands that every vote be counted accurately. That's why Democracy for America members around the country are working with Congress and other organizations every day to ensure the integrity of your vote. We have made some progress. But this is crunch time. The mid-term elections are just eight months away. We must act now to ensure that our voting systems produce accurate and verifiable results every single time.

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in Congress has resisted every call for real reform. Well, we can't wait any longer for Washington to act. The way to protect our elections is to go right to the source by reaching out to town and county election officials. In most areas, these officials have the power to ensure fair and accurate voting systems even if our federal government won't act.

Today, we call on our county election officials to demonstrate that their systems use paper-ballots that allow a) voters to verify their choices; and b) officials to conduct meaningful audits and recounts. Add your name to the call for accountability:

Paper-ballot voting is the gold standard because it is the only way to ensure an auditable paper trail. Both the non-partisan Government Accountability Office and the bi-partisan Carter/Baker Commission have resoundingly condemned touchscreen electronic voting systems as lacking even the most basic security and reliability. In one test after another, electronic voting systems are failing at rates of 30% or higher.

It's time to let our local election officials hear from us. We can use the grassroots network we've built to bring real voting reform to our country. And we'll do it our way: from the bottom up, one county at a time.

Sign the call for accountability:

After you sign the petition, Democracy for America staff will work with you and thousands of others around the country to make sure your voice is heard by delivering your signature to your local election officials.

Casting a vote is the most fundamental action we take as citizens. But unless we act now, that fundamental right may be undermined by failing technology, and unaccountable election officials. It is our responsibility to ensure that -- in 2006 -- every vote is counted accurately.


Tom Hughes
Executive Director
Democracy for America

Our coalition on this campaign includes:

- Mainstream Moms:
- VoteTrust:
- Verified Voting:

Categories: Blogs

February 5, 2006


Miriam Raftery is the Media Committee Chair for San Diego for Democracy. Photo by Leon Thompson, who is the Candidate Recruitment Chair for San Diego for Democracy.

...Jim predicts that DemocracyFest in San Diego, CA will be a "home run."

"We're getting a reputation for getting things done," Democracy for America Chair Jim Dean told San Diego For Democracy (SD4D) members at a January 26th meeting. "The best thing this year was the level of voter contact," he added. "It's all about calling on voters and showing up. That's what we're known for."

San Diego For Democracy at their January 26th meeting

A flurry of local special elections has given DFA members extensive experience in organizing armies of supporters to walk precincts, walk precincts, and devise creative strategies for getting positive progressive messages out to the community. Dean praised those efforts, crediting San Diego For Democracy with helping to turn the tide to defeat all of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's right-wing-backed ballot initiatives.

"It's been a roller-coaster ride here in San Diego," said Dean, citing the near-victory of progressive, Democratic mayoral candidate Donna Frye in what was once viewed as a conservative stronghold city. Dean praised the perseverance of local activists. No sooner was Frye's race over, he recalled, than SD4D leaders Charlie Imes and Martha Sullivan called him with good news. "They said, `Guess what? Duke Cunningham's resigning today and we've all gone out to work for Francine Busby." Busby, a Democrat, is running for the 50th Congressional District seat vacated after Cunningham resigned and pled guilty to bribery charges. Although it is a "red" district, Dean called Busby a "terrific candidate" and noted, "This district is definitely in play."

Indeed, Busby revealed, a new poll shows her leading her Republican opponents – and further shows that voters overwhelmingly prefer a candidate with positions in contrast to the Bush administration.

"In this culture of corruption, the progressive movement means people who want to restore the balance between the people and the special interests running government," said Dean. "We all want the same things. We all want access to affordable healthcare, good education, and a foreign policy guided by common sense." Voters are also concerned about deficit spending, he added.

DFA accomplishments in the past year included getting people involved in the fight to preserve Social Security and to make Wal-Mart a more responsible company, as well as informing people about the Downing Street Memos, Dean recalled. "Trainings last year were a big success," he added.

The DFA Plan for 2006 includes at least 20 training sessions around the country for activists, campaign volunteers and staffers. "The big thing is that 2006 is an election year," said Dean. "We want to roll out a lot more candidates in 150 races." A list of state and federal candidates endorsed by DFA will be available soon, he added.

This year, DFA will also provide job banks listing campaign positions. In addition, DFA will sponsor a different activity every month for DFA link meetings, said Dina Wolkoff, DFA finance director, who also addressed the group. Training sessions will include candidate forums, straw polls and candidate endorsements initially, followed by emphasis on early voting, get-out-the-vote, Dean Corps and community service.

On July 14-16, San Diego For Democracy will be hosting the third annual DemocracyFest at San Diego State University. "It's going to be a homerun," predicted Dean. DemocracyFest Incorporated is the Executive Producer of the event.

"We're raising the bar on Democracy Fest," said SD4D leader Charlie Imes, who encouraged DFA members nationwide to attend. In addition to hearing from DFA founder and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, participants will have the opportunity to learn from prominent national progressives as well as veteran local activists. Watch for the announcement of early registration in the next few weeks!

Located just minutes from beaches, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and other world-famous attractions, the SDSU campus is easily accessible by trolley and will provide on-site dormitory housing. So pack your bags, mark your calendars and join the festivities in sunny San Diego. DemocracyFest organizers pledge that DemocracyFest's motto will be fully realized: "Education by day, Celebration by night." After a grueling year of seemingly non-stop elections, SD4D members are ready to not only share their collective wit and wisdom, but also join with fellow progressives to celebrate, Southern California-style! Watch for the announcements of early registration in the next few weeks.

—Miriam Raftery

Categories: Blogs