Saturday, June 02, 2012

Eric Griego's Grassroots Campaign is Full Steam Ahead in Closing Days of Race

Greigo logoFrom the Eric Griego for Congress campaign:

Momentum builds as campaign raised over $56,000 in 24 hours, Secures Endorsement of National Wall Street Reform Leader Congressman Alan Grayson

Co-founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, to rally dozens of volunteers tomorrow at campaign office for final GOTV efforts

In the last 24 hours, Eric Griego has raised over $56,000 and secured the endorsement of one of the leading national voices for Wall Street reform, Congressman Alan Grayson.

The surge in donations and the Grayson endorsement occurred as donors and New Mexico voters flocked to the only candidate in the race for New Mexico's 1st district who has firmly committed to reject any cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits and ensuring that the Wall Street bankers who broke the law go to jail.

Over the next four days Griego's campaign plans to make over 15,000 phone calls and knock on 5,000 doors during 300 volunteer shifts with the help of its grassroots army of volunteers -- which includes dozens of seniors attracted to Griego's steadfast opposition to any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

Tomorrow, Griego's campaign will hold a rally headlined by the two co-founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, to gather dozens of these grassroots volunteers to Get-Out-The-Vote at 10:30 AM at campaign headquarters located 929 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, NM.  PCCC has nearly 10,000 members in New Mexico’s First Congressional District.

"Grassroots donors and volunteers in New Mexico and across the country are flocking to Eric Griego in the closing hours of this campaign because they know that he's the only candidate committed to protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits and hold to Wall Street accountable," said Ed Yoon, campaign manager.  "While our opponents continue working on their slimy attack ads, our grassroots volunteer team is focused on knocking on the doors and making the phone calls it will take to send Eric Griego, a proven progressive, to fight for us in Washington."

Building even more momentum, Griego’s campaign was also endorsed by Congressman Alan Grayson, a national leader for Wall Street reform.  Grayson sent out an email to his supporters on Griego's behalf, allying Griego even closer to leaders in Congress fighting real accountability for Wall Street bankers.  The email focused on Griego's extraordinary biography as an unlikely success story if not for his close family and the benefit of key programs that help working families like Social Security, Head Start and Pell Grants.

Excerpt from an e-mail where Griego tells his own personal story: (Full text of email below.)

I grew up and I still live in the Barelas neighborhood, a working-class Hispanic area near downtown Albuquerque. The average household income in the area is about $20,000.

My personal values come from watching my mother struggle. Despite all of her hard work, and all of our hard work starting at a very young age, we would not have made it without society's investments in us, through programs like Headstart, public schools, public colleges, Pell Grants, etc.

My mom was able to retire, thanks only to Social Security, modest savings, and help from us. She had decent healthcare, thanks to Medicare, which she had paid into her whole working life.

As an elected official I have always fought, and I always will fight, for families like mine.

The response to the email and endorsement was overwhelming raising $28,000 for the campaign in 24 hours.

The full text of Alan Grayson’s e-mail:

Dear friend,

This is former Congressman Alan Grayson. I'm going to let Eric Griego, a progressive candidate for Congress in New Mexico, explain this one himself:

"I grew up and I still live in the Barelas neighborhood, a working-class Hispanic area near downtown Albuquerque. The average household income in the area is about $20,000.

My brother, two older sisters and I were raised by my single mom. My mom was a housewife for 10 years, until my father left her in 1969. Then she had to join the workforce, with only a high school diploma.

My mom had to work two minimum wage jobs to get by. She was a secretary by day, and she worked as a cocktail waitress at the Disabled American Veterans hall on weekends. We all worked from the age of 13, or younger, to help support ourselves and the family. I sold newspapers in front of churches and intersections. My brother and sisters worked in restaurants.

We had only three rooms at home. My sisters slept in the same bed. My brother and I slept on couches in the living room.

Even with all of us working, we still had to rely on food stamps and free school lunches to have enough to eat. We wore second-hand shoes, collected in local shoe drives. Our only Christmas gift many years was a basket from the Knights of Columbus.

In 1970, my mom enrolled me in the Headstart Program. That changed both my life and hers. I learned to read and write, and my mother could focus on work, knowing I was in a safe place.

Thanks to state schools, my sisters and I became the first ones in our family to finish college, and even obtain graduate degrees. We all were able to do that only because we received scholarships, Pell Grants and student loans.

My personal values come from watching my mother struggle. Despite all of her hard work, and all of our hard work starting at a very young age, we would not have made it without society's investments in us, through programs like Headstart, public schools, public colleges, Pell Grants, etc. My mom was able to retire, thanks only to Social Security, modest savings, and help from us. She had decent healthcare, thanks to Medicare, which she had paid into her whole working life.

My mom died ten years ago, but in the last years of life she lived with dignity, and love. As an elected official I have always fought, and I always will fight, for families like mine."

The latest poll shows Eric Griego TIED in next Tuesday's Democratic primary in New Mexico. Your support can help to put him in Congress. Please donate $3 today.

We're all in this together.

Courage, Alan Grayson

June 2, 2012 at 06:37 AM in Candidates & Races, Economy, Populism, Eric Griego, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heinrich in New TV Ad: I’ll Never Stop Fighting for New Mexico

Martin Heinrich released his third television ad in three weeks today, one that assures voters that he will “fight for the things New Mexicans have worked so hard for.” The new spot highlights the jobs Heinrich saved at Kirtland Air Force Base and his effort to stand up for seniors and stop Republican attempts to weaken Social Security and Medicare. The ad will air in both the Albuquerque and El Paso media markets.

Since he was elected to Congress in 2008, Martin Heinrich travels home almost every weekend to meet with the people of New Mexico. From day one, Martin has put the interests of his constituents before the special interests and knows that the best ideas don’t come from Washington, they come from the folks back home. That is why he organizes job fairs, speaks directly with small business owners, visits with veterans at the VA hospital in Albuquerque, and meets with seniors to discuss how he's protecting their Social Security and Medicare.

May 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Candidates & Races, Jobs, Political Ads, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Social Security, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Will Republican Janice Arnold-Jones Go On the Record on the GOP Budget Plan to Cut Medicare While Protecting Tax Cuts for Millionaires?

Yesterday, dozens of local seniors joined Democratic Pre-Primary Convention winner Eric Griego to deliver an open letter and thousands of petition signatures to the Republican front-runner, Janice Arnold-Jones.  The open letter asked Arnold-Jones if she supported the Republican budget plan to end Medicare as we know it by replacing it with a fixed amount voucher program while protecting tax cuts for millionaires.

While it was unclear if Arnold-Jones was at her campaign headquarters, a campaign staffer received the group to let them know that she was unavailable and would not discuss her position on the GOP budget.

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“Does Janice Arnold-Jones support the Republican budget plan to cut Medicare’s guaranteed benefits while protecting tax cuts for millionaires?” asked Virginia Calderon, one of the local seniors visiting with Arnold-Jones.  “Protecting Medicare’s guaranteed benefits is especially important for seniors who are women, because women tend to live longer than men and rely more on the program.  We want to know if Janice supports seniors and women or millionaires.”

“Why won’t Janice Arnold-Jones or her campaign tell us if she agrees or disagrees with the Republican budget plan to end Medicare?” asked Paul Eichhorn, another local senior in the group.  “It’s an important question for seniors like me and others who will become a Medicare beneficiary.”

Eric Griego has said that he would never accept any cuts, privatization or undermining of Medicare, and called on Arnold-Jones to state her position clearly also.

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To watch the delivery of the 5000+ petition letter signatures follow this link.

The following is the text of the open letter started by Griego that was delivered to Arnold-Jones today:

Dear Republican Candidates for Congress,

Our elderly have earned their Medicare benefits.  They have worked and paid taxes to support those who came before them, and it is their right to receive those guaranteed benefits in their retirement when they need it.

Unfortunately, the Republican Congress has released a budget proposal to end Medicare by replacing it with a fixed amount voucher program while protecting tax cuts for millionaires.  The Republican plan hurts seniors and especially women, who typically live longer than men and thus rely more on Medicare.

New Mexican voters deserve to know where each of the candidates for Congress stands on this important issue affecting seniors.  I am getting on the record to promise New Mexicans that I would never accept any cuts, privatization or undermining of Medicare, and that I oppose the Republican budget plan.

Will you also get on the record to state clearly whether you support the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it while protecting tax cuts for millionaires?

Eric Griego
Democrat for Congress (NM-1)

March 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM in Candidates & Races, Eric Griego, Events, Medicaid, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (12)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NM-1: Eric Griego Opposes GOP Budget Proposal to End Medicare

Griego logoFrom the Eric Griego for Congress Campaign.

Eric Griego Calls on Republicans Dan Lewis and Janice Arnold-Jones to choose between Medicare for seniors or tax cuts for millionaires.

On Monday, Democratic Pre-Primary Convention winner Eric Griego issued a challenge to his leading Republican opponents Dan Lewis and Janice Arnold-Jones to choose between protecting Medicare for seniors or keeping tax cuts for millionaires.  Griego also announced that he would personally deliver thousands of petition signatures to Lewis on Wednesday and to Arnold-Jones in the near future.

Griego’s challenge to the two Republican candidates is in anticipation of the soon-to-be-revealed GOP budget proposal by the Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, who has vowed to save tax cuts for millionaires by ending Medicare and replacing it with a fixed amount voucher program.

“It’s unconscionable that the Republicans insist on forcing seniors to give up Medicare’s guaranteed benefits to keep paying for tax cuts for millionaires,” Griego said.  “From their push to privatize Social Security to their relentless attempts to end Medicare, the Republican war on seniors must be stopped.”

“That is why we must make it clear to Republican candidates that there will be a political price to pay for trying to end Medicare while coddling millionaires and HMOs,” Griego continued.  “I am proud to lead the fight to protect Medicare, and I applaud the other progressive congressional candidates in other races around the country for joining me this week to deliver these petitions to Republican opponents.”

Under the GOP plan to replace Medicare, if the voucher’s fixed amount is not enough to cover certain health problems, then the beneficiary must find another solution.  For most seniors living on fixed incomes, Griego says it would amount to Republicans telling seniors, “If you get sick, then you’re on your own.”

Griego has vowed to fight any attempts to cut, privatize or undermine Medicare and Social Security.

March 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM in Action Alerts, Candidates & Races, Eric Griego, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Senior Citizens, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3/02: Heinrich to Hold News Conference to Discuss Strengthening Medicare & Social Security

144U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich will hold a news conference with special guest National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) President Max Ritchman on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 4 p.m. in Santa Fe to discuss strengthening Medicare and Social Security for New Mexico's seniors and for generations to come. The details of the event are below.

Who: U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich and NCPSSM President Max Ritchman

What: News Conference on Strengthening Social Security & Medicare for New Mexico's Seniors

When: Friday, March 2, 2012, from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

Where: The Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe 87505

Questions? (505) 926-1809

Always standing on the side of New Mexico’s seniors when Social Security and Medicare are at risk, Heinrich was honored to receive the endorsement of NCPSSM, the nation's most influential senior advocacy and education membership organizations.

February 29, 2012 at 06:52 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Candidates & Races, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Social Security | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, December 09, 2011

NM-1: Democrat Eric Griego to Deliver Petition to Republican Front-runner Dan Lewis

031From the Eric Griego for Congress campaign:

Griego calls on Lewis to choose between eliminating tax cuts for millionaires or cutting Social Security and Medicare.

Democrat Eric Griego is heating up the race for New Mexico’s First Congressional District with a direct challenge to Republican front-runner Dan Lewis.

On Thursday, Griego said that he has already collected more than 3,000 petition signatures demanding the Republican candidates in the race, including Lewis, get on the record and choose between eliminating tax cuts for millionaires or cutting Social Security and Medicare.

Griego will personally deliver the petition to every Republican in the race, starting with Lewis.  The date and time for the deliveries will be announced in the near future.

“Working families and seniors deserve to know if conservative Tea Party candidate Dan Lewis and other Republicans in the race support Washington Republicans’ outrageous insistence on cutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for tax cuts for millionaires,” Griego said.  “I stand with the 99% of us who count on these programs’ earned benefits and instead would eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the rich.”

Lewis has endorsed the radical plan by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it.

In October, Griego also started a petition that was joined by several Democratic congressional candidates in other key races to deliver more than 35,000 petitions to Speaker John Boehner, demanding that he and the Republican Congress “stand with the 99%” and pass the President’s jobs bill to get the economy going.

“Dan Lewis and his radical right-wing supporters know that if I’m elected, I won’t be some squishy Democrat that the Tea Party can push around,” Griego continued.  “I will boldly stand up to their 1%-only agenda and fight to limit the influence of their Wall Street and Big Oil backers on our democracy.”

Go to http://griegoforcongress.com/petitionchoose/ to view and sign Griego’s petition.

December 9, 2011 at 04:02 PM in Eric Griego, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Social Security, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

10/1: Join AFGE Rally at Tiguex Park to Support Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid & Government Services

From the AFGE:
Join your American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) to rally for our public programs in Albuquerque on Saturday, October 1, at 12 Noon at Tiguex Park. Members of the AFGE union work for the Social Security Administration. The event takes place during their Hispanic Coalition's national meeting.

The rally will focus on the importance of protecting, preserving and strengthening Social Security benefits, the jobs, benefits and pensions of state, county and federal employees, government services and benefits and your family's future.

America’s Working Families are Under Attack
Let’s fight back! Click for Flyer
Free Food and Drinks, Entertainment and More!
Bring your signs, banners and T-shirts

Speakers will include:
  • AFGE National President John Gage
  • AFSCME Leader Jose La Luz
  • HISCO Chair Jose Gonzalez
  • NMFL President Jon Hendry
  • AFL/CIO Don Manning
  • New Mexico ARA Terry Schleder
  • AFGE National Vice Presidents
  • SSA Council President Witold Skwiercynski

Sponsored by AFGE National Office, AFGE Local 4041, AFGE Local 2063, AFGE Local 2142, AFGE Local 2263.

September 29, 2011 at 04:59 PM in Events, Healthcare, Labor, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video/Photos: Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Lujan Speak to Santa Fe Seniors on Medicare and Social Security


Click for photo album

On Monday, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and NM-03 Congressman Ben Ray Lujan visited the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center in Santa Fe to talk about the importance of saving and strengthening Medicare and Social Security. It's a topic that is much on the minds of New Mexicans these days, as these programs are under attack as never before from right-wing extremists gone mad.

Republicans have been mounting a savage campaign against these two highly successful programs that have helped so many seniors obtain low cost, quality health care and live a life of dignity instead of abject poverty. Especially in the U.S. House, where extremists like Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. John Ryan are pushing to abolish the programs, "privatize" them or at least cripple their ability to function effectively, Dems like Reps. Pelosi and Lujan have their hands full battling misguided right-wing rhetoric with the facts.

Meanwhile, the leading GOP candidate for president,Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has even referred to Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme," and claimed the program -- which pays for itself -- is unconstitutional and unsustainable. Nothing could be further from the truth, and both Pelosi and Lujan made it crystal clear that they will fight to protect our social safety net with every ounce of their being in the face of brutal right-wing attacks.

Reps. Pelosi and Lujan addressed a packed house on Monday, accompanied by Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, Sylviana Diaz D'Ouville of the New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans, Carol Estes of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and others active in the senior and health care communities. The large crowd paid rapt attention to the speakers and were clearly looking for reassurances that Congressional Dems will continue to fight hard to protect these vital and often life-saving programs. They got what they came for.

In the video above, Rep. Lujan welcomes everyone, outlines what we are up against from Republicans and asks those present to stay active in helping Dem protect Social Security and Medicare.


Rep. Nancy Pelosi addresses the crowd

In her speech (above) Rep. Pelosi said these programs are "about the economic security of families; it's about our responsibility from one generation to the next." She noted that 46 years ago Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson who said, "no longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that people so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years."

She explained that when Social Security was passed, President Franklin Roosevelt said it was a law that "would take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness." This isn't just about how these programs meet the needs of seniors; it's about how these programs "meet the needs of our country," Pelosi emphasized.

The "Super Congress" Table of 12
Rep. Pelosi spoke about the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in cuts by late November, saying, "We're at a place where there's a big debate going on in our country. I think you will agree it has not been a pretty sight. So we have to bring clarity to what is going to happen at that table. And as we bring clarity for all of you, we also hope that it brings you hope." She explained that the "decisions on these programs will take place at "a table of 12 people. This table of 12 cannot be a chopping block for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It must be a table of hope, of opportunity, of economic growth, a table of greatness for our country, a nurturing table -- not a chopping block."

Pelosi also stressed that all of the proceedings of the "Super Congress" table of 12 should be "open to the public" and "transparent," with real-time webcasts online and broadcasts on TV, so that the "decisions made will be clear to the public." Why? "So when a decision is there that says they want people to pay more for Medicare and get fewer benefits, while they give tax cuts to corporations sending jobs overseas," people will see who is pushing for that. "So when they say they want to block grant and shrink Medicaid, while we can give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in America, while making those who are economically challenged pay more, those who have contributed to the growth of our country," people will know who is supporting that and also "know that we say no!"

Pelosi continued, "And when they say to young people, you're going to pay tens of billions of dollars more for your student loans so we can give tens of billions of dollars in tax subsidies to big oil, the American people will know whose side everyone is on in this debate." 

American Values
Rep. Pelosi said we need to take the discussion to "higher ground." She asked the audience if they thought "most Americans would agree that the education of our children is an important value." Big applause. She asked if most Americans would agree that "a dignified retirement, health and economic security for our seniors" is an American value." Big applause. Can people agree that "creating jobs for the American people is an important value?" Big applause. Would people agree that "protecting the American people -- whether it is the security of safe neighborhoods, clean air, clean water, the national defense of our country -- is an important value? Big applause. She said we are going to do that "in a fiscally responsible way, fix the deficit and take us into the future in a more stable economy."

"So that table shouldn't be about who do we cut and who do we tax; it's about how do we provide growth? How do we use our tax code to do that, how do we make our investments and government investments" so there's "more effective use of those dollars?" 

Standing Our Ground
Pelosi explained that "we are not drawing any lines in the sand. We are open to suggestions that address the greatness of our country" and its values. "Because if you support the values that you have applauded, and you know the American people support those too, you couldn't possibly support the budgets that have been put forth by the Republicans." As for our seniors and veterans, "their concerns will be represented at that table by the Democrats -- I can assure you of that -- and I hope by the Republicans too."

"We try to take as much partisanship out of all of this" as we can. "We try to find our common ground. But where we can't find the common ground, we must stand our ground for our children, for our seniors, for their families, for our sense of community, for our veterans, for those who have built American, for those who have defended America and for those who are America's future." Standing ovation from the crowd.

The Real Causes of the Deficit
Here, Rep. Pelosi takes a question from Rob Nikolewski of the right-wing-funded Capitol Report about how we can possibly protect Social Security and Medicare given the large federal deficit and debt. She notes that we're mistaken if we think that passing the bill for caring for our seniors to the states is actually reducing the deficit.

She agrees that the deficit is large and must be reduced, but says that, "Democrats know how to reduce the deficit. We had to sweep up behind President George Bush I when he left President Clinton a huge deficit. We passed a bill -- our Budget Bill of 1993 -- that took us into a path of fiscal stability" and "raised taxes on the wealthy." She noted that 4 of Clinton's budgets "were either in surplus or in balance."

Then along comes President Bush II. "Tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country. A prescription drug bill that gave away the store to the tune of billions and billions and billions of dollars to the pharmaceutical industry. And two unpaid for wars." As she said, you shouldn't lower taxes for the wealthy when you go into war, but Bush did. She noted that Dems can reduce the defict and will do so, but that the current debate is not truly about reducing the deficit. "If this is all about reducing the deficit, why didn't the Republicans say 'boo' when this defict was being amassed under President Bush? They didn't say word one" at that time.

"Now they say tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs," Pelosi continued. "They didn't during the Bush years! In fact, it's important to note that more jobs in the private sector were created in the second year of the Obama administration than in 8 years of the Bush adminisration." She stressed that "these tax breaks aren't creating jobs; they're just creating a deeper deficit by the same people who now say to this president, and this president alone, that if we have to raise the debt ceiling we have to have all of these cuts in our domestic agenda. They've never said that to any other president."

Pelosi explained that, as far as Republicans go, this is really about "destroying the public role," destroying "public education, public safety, clean air, clean water, public safety, you name it -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They have said they have no place in a free society" and they should "wither on the vine." She continued, "if you understand that they don't believe in the public sector ... and they want to privatize" Social Security and other programs.

In the clip above, Rep. Lujan answers another question from Rob Nikolewski about the deficit by saying, "Look at the trajectory Republicans put us on. When there was revenue, they took that revenue and gave it to the most wealthy in the country. They never brought it back. On top of the costs of Afghanistan and Iraq. And now they're saying, oh, well there's not enough revenue coming in. Well they gave it to all the most wealthy of the country." He says, "That's not right." He noted that, "the words "Social Security" shouldn't even be used in the same sentence with "deficit reduction."

As Rep. Lujan notes, the American people are now waking up to what's really going on, and we are not going to stand for it. The Republicans gave away our tax revenues to the rich and big corporations and now they have the nerve to whine that we have to cut vital services to the people because we don't have enough money to pay for them. No way. It is clearly time to ask the rich and big corporations to pay their fair share -- to share in the sacrifice. No more free lunches for them while the right wingers insist that we must balance our budget on the backs of working and middle class Americans.

All videos and photos by M.E. Broderick.

August 31, 2011 at 11:14 AM in Economy, Populism, Finance, Investments, Jobs, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Senior Citizens, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

There Are No Good Jobs There Are No Good Jobs There Are No Good Jobs

I say again, there are no good jobs. And in many places there are no jobs period. Even where there are jobs, paychecks are stagnant or falling and benefits are going the way of ye olde pension plans, while the safety net for the poor, the sick, the elderly, the workers, the middle class, the retired is being demolished, along with unions, education, you name it. We need jobs and we need to get the economy working for people other than the investor class. Period. We need to invest in our people and our future. We have to stop rewarding the people and entities that got us into this jam in the first place and who intend to keep us there. And we need to end THE WARS right now.

You've heard the baloney coming from "our side" -- we ALL have to sacrifice, we have to compromise in the face of economic blackmail perpetrated by the GOP/Wall Street/banking/financial cabal. Excuse me, but Ameircan workers, middle class families and the downtrodden have already done more than their part in sacrificing down to the bone and sometimes beyond. Excuse me, but rolling over for extortionists used to be considered the most effective way to encourage more blackmail -- and was considered to be the path of pathetic cowards and appeasers.

We now have an allegedly Democratic President and way too many Dem 'leaders" insisting that the only positive way to end this manufactured "debt crisis" is to entirely capitulate to irrational forces that can only be defined, at this point, as economic insurrectionists. Our president and DC Dems appear to be joining forces with the worst of America to subject our already ruinous economy to massive cuts, and to target those cuts at anything and everything that in any way, shape or form helps ordinary people or serves to create jobs, improve our infrastructure or invest in a better future for ordinary Americans. And nobody better touch the extravagant tax loopholes, subsidies and incredibly low taxation rates of the rich and powerful, whether individuals, hedge funds or globally irresponsible corporate entities.

Yes, our President and Congress are now solely concerned with "deficit reduction" -- cutting spending that A) helps people who have no jobs and B) helps create jobs. A cardinal rule in dealing with recessions (or whatever this "jobless recovery" actually is) has always been that cutting spending during economic downturns is a no-no -- because it's economic suicide. Yet this is the priority of Republicans, most DC Democrats and certainly our President, who appears to be a member of the plutocrat/oligarch/Wall Street Party despite all his huffing and puffing during the campaign about change we can believe in. Community organizer my ass. This man is now trying to out right wing the right wingers. It's that bad. 

I can only hope that this response will continue and grow: Black Leaders Rebuke Obama. Excerpt:

Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), a 24-term congressmember who is highly revered in the African-American community, is openly dissatisfied with the president’s handling of the self-inflicted debt ceiling crisis. Speaking of concessions the president is willing to make to avoid a default if the debt ceiling is not raised, Conyers told a reporter that he was angry.

We’ve got to march on him,” Conyers said. “We want him to know from this day forward that we’ve had it. We want him to come out on our side and advocate, not to watch and wait to see what [lawmakers] are doing in the House and Senate. We’re suffering.” Conyers and other leaders respected by the African-American community are voicing concern over the impact of the decisions of Obama’s Administration. They say the concessions the president put on the table will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable in our society. Conyers and others are particularly concerned about the President’s apparent willingness during debt ceiling negotiations to make entitlement cuts and his lack of action on job creation.

“We’ve got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States.” Conyers told a reporter this week. The Congressmember pointed out that the Republican leadership — neither Speaker Boehner nor Majority Leader Cantor — called for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. Says Conyers, “The President of the United States called for that, and my response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this.[emphasis added]

Take heed, think-inside-the-box campaign strategists, advisers and presidential enablers:

“The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future. [I'm not so sure of that myself.]

But he said, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party — young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos — are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”

No More Excuses for Obama's Damaging Behavior
This needs to stop and ordinary people need to step up to the plate and stop it -- and stop making excuses for it because the man perpetrating these horrors is Barack Obama. We need to start treating him like any other servant of the plutocrats and oligarchs on the scene:

No matter how the immediate issue is resolved, Mr. Obama, in his failed effort for greater deficit reduction, has put on the table far more in reductions for future years’ spending, including MedicareMedicaid and Social Security, than he did in new revenue from the wealthy and corporations. He proposed fewer cuts in military spending and more in health care than a bipartisan Senate group that includes one of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans.

To win approval of the essential increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling, Mr. Obama sought more in deficit reduction than Republicans did ... despite unemployment lingering at its highest level in decades, Mr. Obama has not fought this year for a big jobs program with billions of dollars for public-works projects, which liberals in his party have clamored for. Instead, he wants to extend a temporary payroll tax cut for everyone, since Republicans will support tax cuts, despite studies showing that spending programs are generally the more effective stimulus.

Um, does it really have to be pointed out to the President that the few dollars in payroll tax cuts instituted during his previous capitulations to the GOP don't help people without jobs because they aren't on any payroll? Again, take heed, Democratic establishment:

“The president’s proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare has the potential to sap the energy of the Democratic base — among older voters because of Medicare and Medicaid and younger voters because of the lack of jobs,” said Damon A. Silvers, policy director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “And second, all these fiscal austerity proposals on the table will make the economy worse.

This should make every Democrat retch:

“Democrats created Social Security and Medicare, and we have fought for decades against Republican attempts to end these programs,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s communications director. “And President Obama believes that now is the time for Democrats to be the ones to step up and save Social Security and Medicare.”

Yeah right, save them -- using a right-wing frame, right-wing approach and right-wing policies. 

14th Amendment Now!
As John Judis writes in his excellent article arguing that Obama, who is always comparing himself to Lincoln, doesn't understand the essence and approach of Lincoln whatsoever:

I am not an expert on Lincoln, but I have a pretty good idea what he would say if he were to suddenly appear on the scene. He would reject the Republican majority’s attempt to blackmail the rest of the government and the nation. If, because of Republican intransigence, the Congress were unable to raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, I suspect he would follow Bill Clinton’s advice and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally on the grounds of the fourteenth amendment, which says that “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.”

That’s certainly a risky move. If Obama were to do it, he could eventually face a hostile Supreme Court majority, just as Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus aroused the ire of Chief Justice Roger Taney in 1861. But, given the dangerous game that the Republican Party is playing, that’s a risk worth taking.

Bottom line: If Democrats don't push back hard -- right now -- against the corporatism and anti-working and middle class positions of Obama, who will? Are you going to continue to be a sucker for Obama's corporatist hoodwinking, or will you finally see the light, stop the denial, admit to the realities and start fighting and pushing back with all your might?

I ask the same question of every single Democrat running in 2012 for any position up and down the ticket. Are you with the people or with the powerful moneyed interests? You're either on the bus or off the bus at this point. No more hiding out behind platitudes, pretending the President is for working people and American families. Speak up now -- speak truth to power -- or get out of the way to make room for those who will.

July 31, 2011 at 04:21 AM in 2012 Presidential Race, Corporatism, Democratic Party, Economy, Populism, Jobs, Labor, Obama Administration, Right Wing, Social Security, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (11)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dueling Emails from Eric Griego, Marty Chavez: Who's the Bold Progressive in NM-1 Dem Primary?


Eric Griego at yesterday's rally in downtown Albuquerque

This past Monday, NM-1 Democratic congressional candidate and former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez released a call via email and Facebook for supporters to sign a petition telling Congress that Social Security and Medicare cuts are unacceptable. He noted that, "New Mexico needs bold, progressive leadership that will stand up against these radical cuts ... I've done that as Mayor - and I'll do it in Congress." 

Today, fellow NM-1 Dem candidate Eric Griego sent out an email to supporters mocking Chavez for his claim to be a progressive and citing some of the actions he took as mayor as evidence to the contrary. Griego included a video clip (see above) from a grassroots demonstration at Rep. Martin Heinrich's office held yesterday in which he was leading some of the cheers about protecting Medicare and Social Security, and making the top 1% and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. He stated that, "My version of bold progressive leadership is action."

So who's the real bold progressive in this race? I'll let you decide. See below the fold for the email pitches of both candidates.

Marty Chavez's email:

Social Security and Medicare are under attack.

Right-wing Republicans in Washington are desperately trying to pass massive cuts to these vital programs while protecting huge tax breaks for the wealthiest few. I don't believe we should ever balance the budget on the backs of seniors. That's why I'm taking action to tell Congress to reject these radical cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Tell Congress not to cut Social Security or Medicare by signing my petition here!

New Mexico needs bold, progressive leadership that will stand up against these radical cuts that will hurt middle class seniors. We need leaders who know how to balance a budget without destroying the vital programs that people need to survive.

I've done that as Mayor – and I'll do it in Congress.

But I won't be able to fight these dangerous cuts if they've already been made.

That's why I need people like you to stand with me and tell Congress that we won't stand for massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare. If we can collect over 1,000 signatures, I will personally deliver them to members of the New Mexico delegation.

Social Security and Medicare cuts are unacceptable. Sign the petition!

***************

Eric Griego's Email:

My conservative Democratic opponent in this race for Congress, Marty Chavez, sent out an e-mail on Monday calling for “bold progressive leadership” -- and I thought he was endorsing my campaign. But it was a campaign e-mail for himself!

My opponent’s version of bold progressive leadership is opposing the minimum wage increase, endorsing a Republican for the U.S. Senate, and saying Tom Udall is “too liberal.” As the former mayor of Albuquerque, Mr. Chavez consistently joined Republican attempts to sell out middle class families to benefit the very rich, out-of-state corporations and big developers.

My version of bold progressive leadership is action. Yesterday, I joined local progressives in my district to show support for our current Congressman who is fighting hard against Republican attempts to dismantle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

My campaign is picking up a lot of momentum. I’m proud to be already endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), the local and national Brotherhood of Teamsters, several of the most progressive legislators in the state, and many more signing up each week because they know that I can be counted on to take the fight to the Republicans.

I'll put it plainly: If I was in Congress today, I would fight boldly against any attempts to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

I would be honored to have your support so that I can run a people-powered campaign and bring bold leadership to Washington -- click here to watch a video of the event today and chip in $3 and help win in 2012. 

July 27, 2011 at 01:04 PM in Democratic Party, Eric Griego, Martin Chavez, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Progressivism, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, July 11, 2011

NM-01 Congressional Candidate Eric Griego: Hands Off Social Security and Medicare

With multitudes of vulnerable New Mexicans and Americans up at arms about President Obama's announced intent to put cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the table during the current standoff in Washington over the nation's debt ceiling, Democratic Congressional candidate Eric Griego issued the following statement:

I stand with seniors, the disabled, and the working and middle class families of New Mexico in calling on President Obama and Congress to keep their hands off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as they negotiate a solution to the federal debt default crisis. While I support President Obama in his effort avert the catastrophic collapse of our recovering economy, any deal with Republicans that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid for New Mexico seniors and working families while failing to ensure that our nation's wealthiest are paying their fair share is entirely unacceptable.

In an email to supporters, Griego urged folks to keep the message going:

Can you share this message with your friends and ask them to join our campaign? Click here to share on Facebook. Click here to tweet this message:

Eric Griego is Standing up for Social Security--together we can protect these programs. Join us: http://griegoforcongress.com #NM01

Together, we can protect working families.

In the current political climate where more and more Democrats -- including our President -- seem to have abandoned the core values of the Democratic Party in favor of wishy washy platitudes and adoption of right-wing talking points, isn't it great to witness a Democratic candidate sticking up publicly for ordinary people? More of this please!

July 11, 2011 at 08:05 AM in Eric Griego, Healthcare, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Senior Citizens, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ARA Action Alert: Tell Members of Congress No Cuts to Social Security

From the Alliance for Retired Americans:
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that AARP is willing to consider benefit cuts to Social Security. The Alliance for Retired Americans and our Strengthen Social Security allies are totally opposed to this position. 

Ed Coyle, the Executive Director of the Alliance responded, “The story in the Wall Street Journal -– which states that AARP supports cutting Social Security benefits -- makes it apparent to me that AARP is not representing their members on this issue. AARP does not speak for all seniors. There is no ambiguity on where the Alliance for Retired Americans stands on Social Security -- never has been, never will be. We are against Social Security benefit cuts. The current economic recession is all the proof we need to know that Social Security frequently is the only safety net that keeps millions of seniors in their homes with food on their tables.”

This change in position by AARP could give political cover to those members of Congress who are wavering on this issue and may choose to support draconian cuts.

***Please call and email your Member of Congress and your Senators to tell them NO CUTS!!! *** SEE BELOW:

Send an email letter to your Representatives easily by clicking here.

Find your Representative's phone number here or dial the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

SAMPLE PHONE STATEMENT
My name is _________ and I am a constituent. I am appalled that AARP is open to cutting Social Security benefits.  AARP does not speak for me. I urge you to stand strong against any cuts or changes to Social Security – period. There are many alternatives to strengthen Social Security besides cutting benefits. Raising the payroll cap, for instance.  Hands-Off Social Security!

Thank you for your participation!

Note: To get involved locally, contact the New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans, President Barbara Pardo, email: [email protected], tel: (505) 266-2505, ext. 119.

June 23, 2011 at 11:23 AM in Action Alerts, Senior Citizens, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (0)