Democracy for America

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December 2, 2005


Teri Mills is a longtime Democracy For America community member. Her guest column on health care appears on Blog for America on Fridays and she blogs at

As we pulled out eight boxes of holiday cards to address and stamp, my twin sister had a great idea. Why not celebrate Hanukah or Christmas every other year? Of course, we realize the chance of this happening is slim to none, and if our country did so, we would leave our economy in ruins. Still, the idea is most tempting.

And so the rush begins (baking, decorating, shopping, and partying) the list seems to never end. Meanwhile, the activist's attention is always on what is happening right outside our home. We await the hearings for one of the most conservative Supreme Court nominees, Sam Alito. Over 2,100 Americans and countless Iraqis are dead because of a senseless war. 30,000 GM employees will lose their jobs this month. Katrina survivors will be kicked out of their temporary housing in the next few weeks. Thousands of Pakistani women and children will die from lack of shelter and preventable disease. 47 million Americans are now without health coverage and many more are under-insured and face huge medical bills.

So where are our priorities? Last year Democracy for America encouraged our participation in a phone card drive for our veterans and troops who would not have been able to phone a loved one over the holiday. Let's put our heads and hearts together and think of a DFACorps activity for this holiday season that the grassroots can work together on to make a difference and to help alleviate some of that holiday stress. What's your idea?

—Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP
Democracy for Oregon

Categories: Blogs

December 1, 2005


World AIDS Day
On this, year's World AIDS Day, the number of people living with HIV has reached its highest level ever—40.3 million people worldwide. The UN has called for an "exceptional response" to the crisis, in the form of investments in HIV prevention. Free condom distribution and rallies marked the day's events in many countries.

Local DFAers React to Bush's Speech
President Bush's recently-unveiled "plan" in Iraq has drawn criticism as no answer to the "flawed policy wrapped in illusion." One DFA member in Delmarva, Maryland thought the plan was all PR and no substance:

"This speech, if I were writing the headline, the headline would be 'nothing new,'" said Joel Roache, part of Democracy For America.

Nagin in the Hot Seat

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was on the receiving end of angry comments from city residents who feel that the government's response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was inadequate—and in some cases, deadly. In a town hall meeting billed as, "Bring New Orleans Back!" Nagin responded to upset comments from citizens:

"It's a hard thing to believe that the United States of America is spending nearly one billion [dollars] per week in Iraq, and here, in New Orleans, the United States, we're being neglected."

"Why do we have to beg and plead with our president, our congressmen, our elected leaders to tell them that we need help, when it's on the media every day?"

A second town hall meeting for displaced New Orleans residents is scheduled to be held next Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee. DFA members in Memphis are encouraged to report on the meeting for the entire DFA community.

Categories: Blogs

Today is a day for Americans to stand with the global community in recognizing the 18th annual World AIDS Day. It is a day for us to remember the millions of lives that this horrible pandemic has claimed, the millions more that live with it each day, and to highlight the campaigns working to control its spread.

An estimated 40 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS globally—2.2 million of which are children and more than 1 million that are American citizens. While it is important for us all to stand by those living with this disease and to renew our commitment to finding a cure—this is something we must do everyday, not just once a year.

To find a World AIDS Day event in your area and more about how you can help in the fight against HIV/AIDS visit:

Categories: Blogs

Over the past year, we worked together to support candidates across the country -- and we won elections up and down the ballot. We elected new Democratic governors in Virginia and New Jersey. We beat back Governor Schwarzenegger's power grab in California. And we put DFA-List candidates into office in every region.

Momentum is building for new leadership in our country. But the only way to continue the momentum is to recruit and support candidates in all fifty states in 2006. We're taking the first step by holding candidate forums across the country this winter. The forums will help identify candidates that the DFA community can support. The candidate forums will also be used to guide DFA’s national endorsement process.

You can read more and download the preliminary 2006 DFA field plan at:

I'd love to hear your ideas about we can help elect DFA-List candidates across the country next year! And don't forget to hit the bat:

Categories: Blogs

"Our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out ... and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie."

That's what the Vice President says about you.

Dick Cheney has made himself the name-caller in chief, referring to critics of the forged White House case for war—people like you and me—as not only "dishonest and reprehensible," but also "corrupt and shameless." He's the perfect man to say that. He knows "corrupt and shameless" personally. And on Monday he'll prove it again ... by keynoting a gala fundraiser for indicted congressman and GOP machine boss Tom DeLay.

That's the same Tom DeLay who said, "I am the federal government." Unfortunately, he wasn't far from the truth. Money talks in politics, and Tom DeLay has bankrolled 29 Republican candidates in 2005 through his political action committee. Some of those Republicans are running Washington right now.

If we want a government that responds to us—a government of the people—we have to take it back. Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney need to hear that we're sick of their corrupt and shameless party in a language they understand: cold, hard cash.

Let's put our money where our mouths are. Take on Cheney and DeLay, donate to DFA today:

While they toast each other at their $1,000-a-plate surf-and-turf dinner on Monday, we have our own asset: thousands of us rolling up our sleeves, chipping in what we can, and putting a stop to them.

That's why we've brought back the bat.

Over the last two years DFA has supported more than 850 progressive candidates with an average contribution of $1,200. With $34,800 we can match Tom DeLay's 29 Republican candidates with contributions to 29 new leaders of our own. But we need your help to do it.

Every dollar counts—and every dollar brings us closer to breaking the reign of Cheney, DeLay and their corporate cronies in Washington.

We've got them on the run. Now, let's show DeLay and Cheney what the grassroots can do. Give now:

With thanks,

Tom Hughes
Democracy for America

Categories: Blogs

November 30, 2005


Linda G. Brooks is the Vice Chair of the Newport News, VA city committee, as well as a frequent contributor to the Blog for America discussion.

Creigh Deeds, Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Virginia, is challenging the vote results from November 8. This is the closest state wide election ever in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Republican challenger is Bob F. McDonnell of Virginia Beach, Va.

The last time a vote was this close and challenged was when then governor candidate Douglas Wilder ran against Marshall Coleman in 1989.

On election night, Nov. 8, 2005, the difference in votes was over 4400. Now the difference is only 323 out of 1.95 million votes cast.

The state of Virginia statute says that if the vote is less than 1% then the state will pay for a recount. On Tuesday, Nov. 29, candidate Creigh Deeds filed for a recount.

I admire Creigh for making this stand. We worked long and hard for the Democratic ticket of Kaine, Deeds, and Byrne here in Newport News and throughout the state of Virginia.

Creigh Deeds has been in the House of Delegates for 10 years. He was a commonwealth attorney before that. He established Virginia's own version of Meghan's law to make our state safe from sexual predators. I have met Creigh and worked on his campaign. He cares deeply about protecting our state from gang violence and protecting at-risk children by creating after school programs.

We will stand with Creigh as he goes through this process. If you live in Virginia and want to help with the recount you can contact the campaign at

I monitored the results on election night for the state party and have volunteered to help out this time. I will keep you updated on the process. Please keep Creigh in your thoughts and if you would like to contribute, you can do so at the above website.

—Linda G. Brooks

Categories: Blogs

While DNC Chair Howard Dean is implementing a 50-state strategy at the highest levels of the Democratic Party, we here at DFA are revitalizing progressive politics from the ground up. We've made great strides in 2005, but still have a lot to do in the coming months and years. Yet, as Gov. Dean stated in The Hill today, "Democrats will win the House and Senate in 2006 as long we continue to send a strong message and fight for what is right." So let's roll up our sleeves and continue the fight to take our country back!

More from Gov. Dean's article:

The early results in California, Virginia and New Jersey are good. Local races in St. Louis, Parkersburg and Minnesota, where we picked up seats that had been Republican for up to 58 years, are even better.

This is a solid beginning, but there is more we must do. Cutting the fundraising advantage the other party enjoys from 3-1 to 2-1 is good but not good enough. Sticking together on the budget and supporting Rep. John Murtha's (D-Pa.) great courage are good starts, but we need to continue to work together on judicial nominations, environmental legislation, trade and jobs to send effectively the message that we are again ready to lead the American people with purpose and in a fundamentally new direction.

In 2006, Democrats will take back the House and the Senate. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have done an excellent job recruiting strong candidates, and we are already investing in the local infrastructure to ensure they win. But the key to winning is running a national campaign based on our different vision and the themes that Democrats around the country have put forward....

Together, America can do better. And in 2006, the Democrats will lead America to do just that.

To read the full article, click here.

Categories: Blogs

Join Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America, right now for a live discussion on politics and DFA. Simply click on the Comments link to join the conversation!

Categories: Blogs

Today, two and a half years after sending our troops into battle in Iraq, the President gave a speech at the US Naval Academy to defend the progress of the war. He also released a 35-page plan for victory in Iraq.

Yet, he once again failed to lay out a real strategy for success and a plan to bring our troops home safely. Instead, he offered up the same old rhetoric. We hope the next time the President decides to send our best Americans into battle and spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars that are needed here at home, he will consider coming up with a plan for victory BEFORE taking such an action.

The decision to commit troops into battle is the most sacred responsibility of any commander-in-chief. The fact that President Bush is only now unveiling his plan for victory today -- two and a half years after committing our forces into battle -- shows how incompetent, dishonest and frivolous his approach was toward this war in the first place.

The President is no longer entitled to our trust when it comes to discussing the execution of the War in Iraq because he continuously refuses to provide a real exit strategy. As a country, we need to take responsibility over this war by urging our leaders to support a responsible and coherent exit plan so we can bring our troops home and reallocate our resources toward an effective war on terror and our needs here at home.

Categories: Blogs

November 29, 2005


Can Republican congressmen get their stories straight about this "need for sacrifice" business? Let's find out [emphasis added]:

The House on [Nov. 15] agreed to a $3,100 pay raise for Congress next year to $165,200 after defeating an effort to roll it back.

In a 263-152 vote, the House blocked a bid by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, to force an up-or-down vote on the pay raise. Instead, lawmakers will automatically receive the raise officially a cost of living adjustment as provided for in a 1989 law that barred them from pocketing big speaking fees in exchange for an annual COLA.

Matheson was the only one of 434 House members to speak out against the 1.9 percent COLA, which will raise members' salaries in January.

... "It's not a pay raise," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "It's an adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power."

Okay, point taken. But — bear with us — how about the budget cuts this month for Medicaid, food stamps, and student loans? Take it away, NewsHour [emphasis added]:

Democrats argue the proposed savings in the next five years come at the expense of several desperately needed social programs. The measure allows states to impose new costs on Medicaid recipients, cuts funds for student loans, restricts access to food stamps and trims farm supports. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed her concerns.

REP. NANCY PELOSI: Raises the cost of student loans; cuts health care for the poorest children in America. It's really a disaster; it is an embarrassment.

JEFFREY BROWN: Republican Marsha Blackburn countered that charge on the House floor.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN: The left is out in full force telling Americans that we are about to cut Medicaid. Mr. Speaker, shame on them. Next year, under this bill, Medicaid will grow 7 percent -- grow 7 percent. That's not a cut. We're taking the rate of growth from 7.3 to 7 percent.

If the left wants to lie about it, that's not a lot that we're going to be will be able to do to stop them.

Looks like it ain't the left that needs to get its story straight, Ms. Blackburn.

[Hat tip: Steve Benen @ the Carpetbagger Report.]

Categories: Blogs

During a stop in El Paso, Texas today, President Bush slammed a congressman and his Republican party for taking bribes, stating:

"Any member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, must take their office seriously and the ethics seriously….The idea of a congressman taking money is outrageous," referring to the guilty plea and resignation of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham yesterday.

Strangely, President Bush has evidently forgotten about the numerous ethics investigations and indictments that have recently racked the Republican Party.

Maybe he just needs a friendly reminder…which we will happily provide.

The list Mr. President:

  • Rep. Tom DeLay: Forced to step down as House Majority Leader in September when indicted on charges of breaking Texas campaign finance laws.

  • Sen. Bill Frist: The Senate Majority Leaders is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible illegal insider trading.

  • Lewis "Scooter" Libby: The former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney was charged last month with perjury in an investigation over the leaking of a CIA operative’s identity.

  • Michael Scanlon: The former partner to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a congressman and other elected officials last week.

  • Jack Abramoff: The notorious former lobbyist has been indicted for illegal actions he allegedly took to purchase a fleet of Florida gambling boats and is being probed about his efforts to funnel money to support causes of interests to his clients.

  • Rep. Bob Ney: The Republican congressman from Ohio is under investigation in regard to his ties with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and is facing possible bribery charges.

  • Gov. Bob Taft: Taft, the Republican Governor of Ohio, plead guilty to four misdemeanor charges for accepting gifts from lobbyists earlier this year. He is also part of the ongoing "Coingate" scandal.

  • Rep. Cunningham: The most recent GOPer to become entangled in corruption, Rep. Cunningham resigned yesterday after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for help in securing Defense Department contracts.

    Now the question remains: Who else?

Categories: Blogs