Tag Archives: Moveon

Contract for the American Dream

In my activist days I have never seen an organization take of quite as fast as this one. That includes the Tea Party. The following is a request for your participation in directing where the organization should go. Another great thing is the folks behind this know the internet, social media and costs/money. Needless to say I am impressed. I think you will be, too.

Three weeks ago, I announced the launch of Rebuild the Dream, and we started the process to create a Contract for the American Dream. I was hopeful and optimistic. But honestly, the whole idea was unproven. I wasn’t quite sure if everyone else felt the same sense of energy and opportunity that I felt.

Now I’m convinced-because in the past three weeks more than 13,000 people have signed up to gather at American Dream house meetings, 16,000 ideas have been submitted for possible inclusion in the Contract for the American Dream, and together we’ve rated them more than 3.5 million times!

Today I’m writing to ask you to help finish collecting and rating the very best solutions. We will feed these ideas into our discussions at next week’s meetings about what belongs in the Contract.

The final area we’re focusing on is how to protect the foundation for strong communities and a thriving middle class in this country: good schools, access to healthcare, a clean environment, robust Social Security, and a strong safety net for when hard times hit.

To remind us how we ended up here, we put together a funny and informative new video that lays out how the middle class got in trouble in the first place.

Check it out. Then let’s finish choosing the best Contract for the American Dream ideas:

Watch the video and rate ideas! Link: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2109…

Next week-at more than 1,400 American Dream house meetings-people will gather in living rooms to sort through the top ideas and discuss what the American Dream is really all about.

People with opposing ideas to ours crafted their vision nearly 40 years ago. Ever since, they’ve been systematically dismantling the middle class in this country. Now it’s up to us, right now, to unite as a movement, craft our vision, and stop them in their tracks.

I’ve already watched something amazing happen this year that’s given me confidence. Ever since the protests in Wisconsin this winter, I’ve watched the whole progressive movement come together. I’ve seen the energy spread from the Capitol in Madison to nearly every corner of this country.

This is a big opportunity, and I’m excited that you’re already a part of it. Today I hope you’ll join in one more time and help find the very best ideas for how we can ensure access to great healthcare, provide for our seniors, run a great public school system, and do everything we can to keep our families and communities strong.

Click here (or copy/paste) to join in and start rating ideas:


Thanks for all you do.

-Van Jones

Net Neutrality: Protest at Google on Friday

California’s own Google and Verizon released a new plan for how the Internet should operate, if they got to rule the world.  We’d keep Net Neutrality for the wired Internet, at least for consumers not corporations, but they could set up fast lanes and slow lanes for the wireless Internet.  Wireless is of course the future of the Internet, but then again that is exactly the point.  

Eliminating Net Neutrality could destroy independent blogs like Calitics that can’t afford to pay for our readers to reach us on faster connections.

The media has trashed their evil deal and over 300,000 people have signed an open letter demanding Google drop this proposal.

It’s a giant corporate power-grab and Google who claims to “do no evil” is doing exactly that with this evil plan. That’s why MoveOn, the PCCC (where I work), CREDO Action, Color of Change and Free Press are holding a rally at noon tomorrow in front of Google headquarters. The event is at the corner of Amphitheatre Parkway and Charleston Road in Mountain View. Click here to RSVP.

For people in the San Francisco area, there will be a bus leaving from the San Francisco Opera House at 301 Van Ness at 11 a.m. You have to RSVP to get on the bus, as seats are limited.

This deal can be stopped, but only if President Obama and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski understand just how angry we are at the prospect of our rights being trampled online by Google and other corporate giants. So, please join us, or if you don’t live in the Bay Area, pass along the info to your friends.

And because Sam Seder rocks, here is his latest episode of “That’s Bullshit” on Net Neutrality, with Sam playing “the Verizon Guy”.

Chris Kelly Fought MoveOn to Defend Facebook’s Infamous Beacon Program

I believe I used a Prodigy email address to sign an online petition calling on congress to “censure President Clinton and move on” back in 1998. As I’m sure you know, out of those efforts rose the organization MoveOn, which sent emails to my Yahoo account for years and to my gmail for the last six years or so. It has been one of my favorite organizations, through their ups and downs, for a decade.

Which is why I simply can’t fathom the blunder they made yesterday, thrusting themselves into the California Attorney General’s race to fluff former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer (best oxymoron ever) Chris Kelly. In the final days of the campaign, no less.

MoveOn’s fluffing of Kelly began yesterday morning when staffer Marika Shaub posted a link on MoveOn’s FB Group, “Facebook, respect my privacy!” Shaub urged the 180,000 members to share a note from Chris Kelly with all of their Facebook friends and later MoveOn sent an email to an unknown number of members of MoveOn’s giant list with Chris Kelly’s message (I received it twice).

As I long-time Moveon member and devoted supporter, I was shocked that MoveOn’s current leadership seems to have so little understanding of the dynamics and history of the battle for privacy. It was only back in 2007 that MoveOn went to war with Facebook, scoring a major victory for privacy by leading the organizing to shut down the infamous “Beacon” program. MoveOn was attacked repeatedly in the press by…Chris Kelly — who was not defending privacy, but defending Beacon. In fact, Kelly made so much money eroding privacy at Facebook that he’s dumped over $12,000,000 into his attempt to buy the California Democratic Party nomination for Attorney General.

If, like MoveOn apparently, you have forgotten how Chris Kelly fought MoveOn to defend Beacon, follow me after the jump. If you remember the history better than MoveOn, feel free to check out how Chris Kelly’s campaign is already using MoveOn as a validator — against attacks on Beacon, in the LA Times.

Here’s a reminder from The New York Times Chris Kelly fighting MoveOn to defend Beacon:

MoveOn’s demands could be satisfied by making the Beacon feature “opt in.” Right now, users who don’t want the information displayed need to opt out after purchases at each participating external site.

However, Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said MoveOn is “misstating the way this process works.”

He said the purchase appears only in the news feeds of confirmed friends and on the individual’s profile (users have control over who can see their profiles), not to the “world.” Mr. Kelly also pointed out that two ways to opt out, at the point of purchase on the external Web site, via a box that pops up, but fades away in under a minute and the next time they sign into their accounts. If users ignore the notification, the purchase information will be displayed, but nothing happens until the user signs in.

Chris Kelly was mocked for this over on ABC News’ site:

The argument made by Facebook in support of this is disingenuous, and uses that old trick I learned in my PR days of isolating one error in the opponent’s claim and using that to dismiss their entire argument. In this case, Chris Kelly, Facebook’s “chief privacy officer” (one of those new corporate titles that’s going to come back and bite companies) told the New York Times that MoveOn is “misstating the way this process works.” In particular, he said, the purchase is only shared with confirmed friends and on the user’s own profile, not to the “world.” At the same time, he does confirm, that if the user ignores the notification and fails to opt out, the purchase information will be automatically displayed.

And this coming from the Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook.

Chris Kelly’s attacks on MoveOn to defend Beacon made the hop across the pond, getting picked up by The Times:

A Facebook spokesperson said that MoveOn.org was “misrepresenting how Facebook Beacon works”.

He said: “Information is shared with a small selection of a user’s trusted network of friends, not publicly on the web or with all Facebook users. Users also are given multiple ways to choose not to share information from a participating site, both on that site and on Facebook.”

Earlier this year, Facebook shrugged off privacy fears when Chris Kelly, the group’s chief privacy officer, told The Times: “We have always said that information [submitted by users] may be used to target adverts.”

“Shrugged off privacy fears”?

Of course, Chris Kelly was mocked, MoveOn was right:

So far, about 13,200 out of over 55 million members have joined MoveOn’s protest group and Facebook is standing by the statements of chief privacy officer Chris Kelly, who told The Wall Street Journal that the company has been transparent with users and that it welcomes feedback from those who have concerns. According to the Journal, Kelly acknowledged that the company could change its policies based on customer reactions but that so far he says reaction has been “fairly muted.”

While the Beacon scandal was the most extreme example, the fact of the matter is user privacy was continually eroded at Facebook during the time Chris Kelly was in charge of privacy. Play with this interactive chart, click on the different years to watch what happened to privacy at Facebook.

Chris Kelly got amazing rich eroding privacy at Facebook, which MoveOn honorably fought. Until yesterday, when out of incompetence over the history of their own campaign and cluelessness over progressive politics in the largest state, they came to the aid of Chris Kelly during the final days of his $12 million vanity campaign.

Californians don’t want an Attorney General doing for Justice what Chris Kelly did for privacy. It would be nice if MoveOn were leading the charge against Chris Kelly, instead of giving him cover to defend himself against ads criticizing Chris Kelly for his role in the Beacon scandal…when he fought MoveOn.

MoveOn’s Founding Director, Challenging Jerry Brown in CA-Gov Dem Primary

Friends, I have some big news today: I’m running for Governor of California, in the June 8th Democratic primary, challenging Jerry Brown as a progressive.

Please join my campaign, at: http://PeterForGov.org.

From my four years as MoveOn.org’s founding Executive Director (2001-2005), and an organizing career almost two decades long, I know what it takes to win:

   * Take bold, principled stands on the key issues

   * Run a vigorous grass-roots campaign

   * Make the best possible use of the Internet

I’m an old fan of Jerry Brown — I worked my tail off campaigning for him when he ran for President 18 years ago — but I don’t see him doing any of these things.

Six-plus years of Republican mismanagement have left California in a fiscal and civic crisis.  We’ve got to win the Governor’s office, and the way to win is to fight for our core values, not run away from them.   We have to campaign vigorously, on our principles.  Nothing less will be enough to beat Whitman’s corporate, Wall Street billions.

I’m taking strong stands on the key issues facing California:

We have to close our budget gap by making corporations, big commercial property owners, and the richest people pay their fair share.  If you care about protecting our children, our grandparents, the most vulnerable Californians, you must support raising revenues.  Jerry doesn’t.  Meg Whitman is actually campaigning on cutting jobs — her true Goldman Sachs colors are shining through.

We also have to break the Republican minority’s stranglehold on our state, by ending the 2/3 rule for raising revenues.  Democracy means a majority vote, not rule by a few obstructionists.  Jerry’s doesn’t support this change — in fact he’s been sabotaging it.  Whitman wants to keep things the way they are, with the Republican boot on California’s neck.

At MoveOn.org, I fought hard to pass the California car-mileage and climate-change law that President Obama’s E.P.A. just adopted nationwide.  If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you were part of that campaign — thank you!  But Meg Whitman wants to suspend another major California climate change law.  She’s got it totally backwards.  Clean tech is today’s great economic opportunity, and California can’t get left behind.  Whitman trying to undermine it is like going back 30 years and cutting funding for the development of the Internet.  Where would eBay be today?

We need real leadership.  Not politics.

Join my campaign for California’s future at: http://PeterForGov.org


– Peter

Moveon is Not Greenwashing Gavin Newsom’s Corporate Party

When San Francisco blogger Sasha McGee noticed that Gavin Newsom was being feted by PG&E and AT&T at the Denver convention, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see a DLC candidate running for governor of the largest state. What was a surprise, was that Moveon was also listed as a sponsor.

But fear not, Moveon hasn’t sold out, their logo showing up was a mistake.

In addition to the somewhat unseemly relationship between Newsom and PG&E, it seemed strange that MoveOn would cosponsor an event with one of the big drivers behind the move to preemptively absolve the nation’s biggest telecommunications companies of any consequences from their spying on Americans. MoveOn was a strong champion of the idea that these companies broke the law, and should suffer the consequences. That much of AT&T’s involvement took place in San Francisco only added particular irony to the situation.

Well, MoveOn now calls their being listed as a sponsor “a mistake” (they’re apparently sponsoring an event at the same time), and swears they’re going to get their name taken off the publicity for the event.

Indeed. And there is a huge gulf between the people-powered progressive side of the Democratic Party and the corporate-powered, DLC side represented by Gavin Newsom. For instance, compare how Moveon and Gavin Newsom responded to Al Gore’s push to go to 100% clean energy. Moveon issued a challenge to sign on that they would deliver, “to elected leaders and candidates across the country.” Gavin Newsom apparently didn’t get the memo as he opposes San Francisco turning on 100% clean energy:

When I approached Newsom at Netroots Nation after he gave a well-received speech on climate change, I asked him if he supported the Clean Energy Act. His initial response was “yes,” but he added that he didn’t think it was all that substantive. Eric Jaye was standing next to us at the time – and as I started to walk away, Jaye said something to Newsom. The Mayor then called out to me and asked, “did you mean the one about PG&E?” I said “yes,” and he then said: “oh, it’s horrible. I don’t support it.” Newsom wouldn’t explain why, and denied that Jaye working for PG&E had anything to do with his position.

And moveon plays well with other, while just last week Gavin Newsom’s taxpayer funded press secretary used the term, “lunatic fringe” to refer to the Democratic Party. Moveon works in solidarity with progressive blogs, while Gavin Newsom crossed the local netroots picket line and hired former Lieberman-consultant Garry South, whose idea of listening to online feedback can best be summed up in his own words (directed at calitics publisher Brian Leubitz:

Here’s my final word: When you have actually run and won a campaign electing a Democrat to any office at any level, instead of just sitting at your computer composing bile and bilge and hitting “send,” come back and talk to me.  Until then, you can kiss my . . . baby.

If Gavin Newsom wants to publicize AT&T and PG&E buying his ass, that is his decision. But he can’t hide behind moveon. And to have two of the worst corporations pay for him to have a party during the speech of the VP nominee is selfishly uncool. As for moveon, always cool. Please spread the word so people don’t get the impression moveon has any association with the awful corporations trying to elect Newsom governor.

MoveOn Moves Movies: Obama in 30 Seconds

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Backed by one the the most, uh, interesting coalitions in politics, MoveOn is launching a giant nationwide contest for the best user generated Obama ad. From “Bush in 30 Seconds” to “Obama in 30 Seconds” pretty much sums up the difference between the creative class voting against Bush and now creating for Obama. Alphabetically, here are the judges that will determine the best Obama ad in America:

Academy Award-winning writer/actor/director Ben Affleck; Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor/director Steve Buscemi; Academy Award-winning writer/actor Matt Damon; progressive hero & future Congresswoman Donna Edwards; musician/activist Michael Franti; actor/musician/director Adrian Grenier; Academy Award-nominated producer Ted Hope; author & civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson; award-winning documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy; Grammy-winning recording artist John Legend; Stanford Law professor & founder of the Center for Internet and Society Lawrence Lessig; recording artist & Bush in 30 Seconds co-founder Moby; Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas; President of Lionsgate Entertainment Tom Ortenberg; Native American activist and documentary filmmaker Heather Rae; President of Focus Features James Schamus; producer, author, and entrepreneur Russell Simmons; author, lecturer, & experimental hip hop musician DJ Spooky; Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Ricki Stern; Academy Award-winning writer/director Oliver Stone; Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Annie Sundberg; Grammy & Golden Globe award-winning songwriter and musician Eddie Vedder; and New York Times best-selling author Naomi Wolf.

That is an actual political coalition, all for www.ObamaIn30Seconds.org. The timing is aimed for a full earned media spree through April with the winning ad getting national airtime running up to the Pennsylvania primary:

Contestants will be allowed to submit their ads between March 27th and April 1st. Beginning April 4th, 3.2 million MoveOn members and the public will have a chance to vote on which ads advance to the finals. On April 10th, the finalists will be announced and the panel of judges will begin judging the final ads. The winning ad, and ad-maker, will be announced on April 17th–just before Pennsylvania’s April 22nd primary.

In the email announcement, MoveOn writes:

Every day, political insiders and pundits tell Americans what to think about the presidential race. But now, it’s YOUR turn to take the megaphone. We want to run ads that are of the people, by the people, and for the people. So consider making an ad.

If you have acting or writing talent and have a friend with video skills, join as a team! Or, pass this email to a friend who is good at making videos. This contest builds on the success of MoveOn’s “Bush in 30 Seconds” contest in 2004-which resulted in thousands of videos and a great winner that aired nationally.

Obama has already inspired many supporters to produce independent videos, and you can now be part of this movement. By combining all of our creative talent with the power of online video, we can help push Obama to victory. Thanks for all you do.

It takes a huge amount of critical mass to pull off a video contest, but MoveOn has done it before and this year’s winner is likely to be the most viewed political ad in all of history:

In 2004, MoveOn received 1,500 entries for its “Bush in 30 Seconds” competition. The winner was an ad called “Child’s Pay,” depicting children performing adult jobs followed by the words: “Guess who’s going to pay off President Bush’s $1 trillion deficit?” CBS refused to run the ad during the Super Bowl, but it still ended up being among the most watched political commercials, receiving free air time on newscasts and Web sites.

Only 19 days (but three weekends) until the submission deadline. Any Caliticians planning to submit? And make your predictions in the poll.

Fair Districting?

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Moveon Members Vote to Endorse Today

Moveon has 575,000 California activsts:

Spurred by John Edwards’s withdrawal from the race on Wednesday, MoveOn surveyed a sample of its members to gauge endorsement interest, according to a source with knowledge of the group’s operations. Then MoveOn set a deadline of 11 am Thursday for members to back a virtual endorsement vote. If a majority support the idea, virtual balloting will run overnight, open only to the group’s 3.2 million activists, and an endorsement could be announced by Friday.

Your ballot will be hitting your inbox shortly. Looking at the movement in the Daily Kos poll, I can see Obama meeting the revised, 2/3 threshold.

UPDATE: Here’s the email, they are also doing a running phone verification sample to ensure nobody’s cheating:

Dear MoveOn Member,

We have a big decision to make. Yesterday, John Edwards left the race for president, leaving just two major Democratic candidates. And next Tuesday, over half of MoveOn's members will go to the polls in the biggest primary day in American history.

Right now, we have an opportunity to influence who our next president is-3.2 million MoveOn members together. When we surveyed over 200,000 MoveOn members yesterday to see if we should go forward with an endorsement process, a big majority said "yes."

So it's time to ask the question: Who should MoveOn endorse in the Democratic primary? If two-thirds of MoveOn members support one candidate, we'll campaign for that candidate together. Here's your ballot-vote today:


The above link is your personal presidential endorsement ballot for the Democratic nomination-it can be used only by you. It's important to vote immediately. Voting lasts until 11 a.m. Eastern tomorrow-Friday, February 1st. Then the ballots are counted, and we'll announce whether anyone met the 2/3 threshold.

If we can agree on a candidate by tomorrow, our endorsement will give that candidate a significant boost going into Super Tuesday, just a few days away. In addition to mobilizing MoveOn members to vote, our endorsement would mean that we campaign actively, as a unified movement, to elect a candidate who will represent us.

Each week over the past year, randomly selected MoveOn members filled out a survey about which candidate they supported. For months, MoveOn members were divided among many candidates-and many of us were waiting to see who would take bold progressive positions on the issues. But with Edwards dropping out, it's down to just two major candidates. And especially with Super Tuesday right around the corner, many progressives are making up their minds. Now's the time we can band together to make a difference.

Here's how MoveOn's endorsement process works:

   * Everyone who is a MoveOn member as of noon Eastern on Wednesday, January 30th, and will be at least 18 years old by November 4th, 2008 gets one vote.

   * Voting lasts now through 11:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow-Friday, February 1st. This will allow MoveOn to make an endorsement in time to make a difference on Super Tuesday.

   * MoveOn will only endorse a candidate if more than 2/3 of our members select that candidate. These are the same rules MoveOn has applied in contested Democratic congressional primaries. If MoveOn endorses a candidate, we will immediately start campaigning for that candidate.

   * If no candidate receives more than 2/3 of the votes cast, MoveOn will encourage members to vote and play an active role in the primary process, but will not endorse at this time.

   * We are taking extra security measures to protect the integrity of the vote. A random sampling of voters will get verification phone calls after voting. We've also ensured that each ballot is unique to one MoveOn member-so forwarding links will not allow more people to vote.

Click here to vote: [link]

2008 will be an exciting year. Together, we have an opportunity to make a big difference.

Thanks for all you do,

-Eli, Wes, Joan, Justin, Adam G., Adam R., Ilyse, Karin, Nita, Noah, Marika, Laura, Peter, Anna, Matt, Daniel, Carrie, Tanya, and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team

 Thursday, January 31st, 2008

P.S. If you want more information about the candidates before voting, one good source is the Democratic debate on CNN tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

MoveOn joins the movement to censure Sen. Feinstein

(full-disclosure, I work for Courage Campaign.  this was x-posted on Daily Kos)

The call for the California Democratic Party to censure Senator Dianne Feinstein has grown exponentially over the past few days and a huge log was just thrown on the fire.  MoveOn.org just sent an email to all of their California members urging them to sign on to the call for censure over at Courage Campaign.

They are now one of 19 grassroots organizations in California who have signed on to the call since Monday.  That is absolutely amazing considering how long it takes many Democratic Clubs to pass resolutions given their high barriers for endorsement. 

The response by the party structure and the Senator have been well documented here by dday and hekebolos.  Needless to say, we stirred up one heck of a hornet’s nest and it really could not have been done without you.

Below is the email we just sent out to our list and MoveOn’s email.  As the email says, join the movement.  Hold Senator Feinstein accountable.

Dear Julia,

This is the moment. This is the movement. And this is just the beginning.

This is the moment when tens of thousands of you express your profound disappointment in Senator Dianne Feinstein for voting with President Bush on the most important issues of our time.

This is the movement for accountability, a people-powered coalition of grassroots, netroots, and Courage Campaign supporters standing together to protect the core progressive principles that make America unique.

And now MoveOn.org is standing up for these fundamental values as well. Show them your support now by joining the movement to censure Senator Feinstein:


Today, MoveOn is joining you in calling on the California Democratic Party to approve a resolution that censures the Senator. You can read MoveOn’s reasons for supporting the censure of Senator Feinstein below in an email message sent to their members today.

As MoveOn says in its message, “let’s send Senator Dianne Feinstein a message she can’t ignore.”

However, time is running out to send that message, with this weekend’s California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Anaheim fast approaching.

Please join the progressive organizations and Democratic clubs (click the link below to read a full list) driving this movement for accountability by signing your name in support of censuring the Senator:


Rest assured that no matter what happens this weekend you can count on the Courage Campaign to continue to hold Senator Feinstein accountable as long as she fails to defend the core principles of her own party and country.

And, remember, this is just the beginning. Whether it is killing Republican dirty tricks, blocking Blackwater’s base on the California border, or holding Senator Feinstein accountable, the Courage Campaign is committed to people-powered political action that — as Democracy for America’s Jim Dean says so often — builds a culture of activism, not a culture of incumbency.

Please join this movement today. The grassroots, the netroots, the Courage Campaign and Move.org need your support:


Please also take a minute to read MoveOn’s message in full below. It captures this historic moment — and the movement you are building — amazingly well.

Rick Jacobs
Courage Campaign


From: Wes Boyd, MoveOn.org Political Action
  Date: Nov 15, 2007 11:12 AM
  Subject: Send Senator Feinstein a Message
  To: Rick Jacobs

Dear fellow Californian,

Last week, every member of the Senate had a chance to take a stand against torture. Most Democrats did-they opposed the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General because he left the door open to torture. He wouldn’t, for example, say whether water-boarding-an interrogation technique that simulates drowning-constituted torture.

But Senator Feinstein wasn’t with the majority of Democrats-she actually cast a pivotal vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm him.

And that’s not all. In recent months, Senator Feinstein backed the president on issues ranging from right-wing judges to immunity for phone companies that broke the law.

Now, California Democrats-led by our friends at the Courage Campaign-are seriously organizing to get her attention. They’ve launched a grassroots campaign to ask the California Democratic Party to officially censure Senator Feinstein when its executive board meets this weekend.

We only have a few days before the meeting, so it’s important to make our voices heard right now. Can you sign the Courage Campaign’s petition asking the California Democratic Party to censure Senator Feinstein? Click here to sign:


Only 29% of Californians-and just 9% of California Democrats-approve of the president, but Senator Feinstein has sided with him on key issues.

  • On Torture: Senator Feinstein recommended Michael Mukasey for Attorney General, despite his refusal to call the practice of water-boarding “torture.”1
  • On Judges: Senator Feinstein was the deciding vote to confirm Judge Leslie Southwick,2 even though Southwick had ruled that a white employee couldn’t be fired for using a demeaning and offensive racial slur towards an African-American co-worker. Southwick also took custody of an eight-year-old girl away from her mother, because the mother was living with another woman in a “lesbian home.”3
  • On Wiretapping: Now Senator Feinstein says she is going to support immunity for phone companies that helped the Bush administration illegally spy on the phone calls and emails of innocent Americans.4

When Senator Feinstein sides with President Bush and the Republicans on key issues like these, she not only goes against what a majority of her constituents want-she gives cover to other weak Democrats, too. This means it’s even harder for Congress to make progress on the critical issues that so many voters care about.

Senator Feinstein isn’t up for election again until 2012, but we can’t afford another 5 years of this. She needs to hear from Californians that she needs to start siding with them-not George Bush.

A censure from the California Democratic Party is the strongest way to send that message.

Can you add your name to the Courage Campaign’s petition asking the California Democratic Party to censure Senator Feinstein? Click here to sign:


Let’s send Senator Dianne Feinstein a message she can’t ignore.

Thanks for all you do,

-Wes, Ilyse, Joan, Carrie, Tanya, Marika and the whole MoveOn.org Political Action Team
  Thursday, November 15th, 2007


1. “Bush Nominee Wins Key Democratic Support,” NPR, November 3, 2007

2. “Feinstein to support attorney general nomination,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 3, 2007

3. “Senators Should Reject Bush’s Latest Nominee to 5th Circuit,” People for the American Way, May 30, 2007

4. “Feinstein backs legal immunity for telecom firms in wiretap cases,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 2007

note: I changed the links so they are not the tracking ones used by MoveOn.

More Progressive Orgs. Push For Accountability On Feinstein

(UPDATE: The ACLU and CREDO, formerly Act For Change, are also pushing Sen. Feinstein.)

In addition to the buzz in the blogosphere about activist efforts to censure Dianne Feinstein for her votes with Bush Republicans on key issues, some of the top progressive organizations have DiFi in their sights.  MoveOn is asking their California members to call Feinstein about tomorrow’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee over the revised FISA bill, and tell her not to grant retroactive immunity to telecom companies who violated the law by handing over information to the Bush Administration.

Senator Dianne Feinstein is facing tremendous pressure from the Bush administration. Tomorrow, she will likely vote on whether or not to let the phone companies off the hook for helping the president illegally spy on the phone calls and emails of innocent Americans.

President Bush wants immunity for these companies to cover-up his own illegal actions. The pending lawsuits against companies like AT&T may be the only way we ever find out how far the Bush administration went in breaking the law.

We have to make sure Sen. Feinstein hears from us right away. Can you call Sen. Feinstein and tell her to vote against immunity for big corporations who break the law? Tell her that voters want accountability and oversight-not immunity.

Here’s where to call:
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Phone: 202-224-3841

DiFi has already signaled her intention to allow telecom immunity for lawbreakers, but clearly she needs to feel the pressure.  What is far more interesting is DFA’s effort to have Feinstein removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee altogether.  on the flip…

In California, we have a law — commonly called the three-strikes law. And, like all laws, I think it ought to apply to everybody — including my Senator, Diane Feinstein.

Too many times Senator Feinstein has failed to represent the people of California. Now she has announced that this Thursday she will support President Bush for the third time in two months. And it all comes down to Senator Feinstein’s role on the Judiciary Committee.

Strike One: A Bush nominee for the federal bench, Leslie Southwick has a long history of rulings in lower courts that violate equality laws. Feinstein cast a deciding vote to give him a lifetime seat.

Strike Two: Michael Mukasey, nominated for Attorney General, refused to say he would oppose torture. But Feinstein voted to send his confirmation to the Senate floor anyway.

Now she’s poised for her third bad vote in a row, on a rework of the FISA Act — the law that’s supposed to protect us all against illegal wiretapping […]

Please call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid right now and demand he remove Senator Feinstein from the committee and replace her with a Democrat who will stand up to President Bush’s abuse of power.

Senator Harry Reid

As I’ve said, progressives in California are looking for ways to get DiFi’s attention, and inform her that she works for the people of this state, not elites in DC.  These are two national organizations working at the local level to do just that.

Harman Speaks to Westside Progressives in Los Angeles

My post about Jane Harman’s remarks at a town hall meeting yesterday about the secret “torture memos” revealed this week by the New York Times is up at Think Progress, submitted through their Blog Fellows Program, which I can’t recommend enough.  Let me contextualize those remarks a bit more, and add some of the other interesting things Rep. Harman had to say.

I asked the question to Harman about the secret memos.  Earlier this week, the White House claimed that all relevant members of Congress had been fully briefed on the classified program sanctioning harsh interrogation techniques by the CIA.  At the time of the memos, Harman was a member of the “Gang Of Eight” routinely briefed on intelligence matters.  Harman was shaking her head as I asked the question if she was fully briefed, chuckling almost in disbelief.  Her answer:

We were not fully briefed. We were told about operational details but not these memos. Jay Rockefeller said the same thing, and I associate myself with his remarks. And we want to see these memos.


Harman is now the third member of the Gang of Eight, joining Jay Rockefeller and Nancy Pelosi, to reject the White House’s claim that they were fully briefed about these memos.  The Administration is lying, again, and it is now incumbent upon Congress to make every effort to obtain those memos and to enshrine into law a full repudiation of the arguments therein described.  The follow-up question I wanted to ask Rep. Harman, but could not, was how she would go about pressuring the White House to get those documents.  Obviously the vehicle for this is through the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey.  Considering that these memos came out of the Justice Department, there should simply be no movement on his confirmation without an exchange of the memos.

Let me add some additional information about the town hall.  I wrote in my Think Progress post this tidbit:

Harman later revealed that she was speaking with an unidentified Republican in her office, who told her that if President Bush were to attack Iran, then even he would vote for impeachment.

You have to understand the environment of this town hall meeting.  The audience included the hardcore progressives that made up the core of the Marcy Winograd primary challenge to Harman in 2006; in fact, Winograd was on a panel right before Harman’s arrival.  These people were SCREAMING for impeachment; the first two questions were about this issue.  And Harman could do nothing but reiterate that Nancy Pelosi, not her, had taken impeachment off the table.  She went on to describe her no votes against the Clinton impeachment and how MoveOn.org was born out of the impeachment debate (odd of her to approvingly cite MoveOn, considering she voted to condemn their remarks in the “General Betrayus” ad).  But when she brought up Iran, she said “this little anecdote should make you smile,” and mentioned the above exchange.

Here are some of the other notable tidbits in Harman’s meeting.

• She recommended Jack Goldsmith’s “The Terror Presidency” as the best source for understanding how the Bush Administration attempted to expand executive power through neutering the Office of Legal Counsel.  She had the book with her.

• She reiterated that “intelligence was politicized again” on the FISA bill, referring to the fake terror attack hyped by the White House designed to get wavering Democrats to sanction warrantless surveillance.  It was a cold-blooded tactic, and it should be heavily publicized.  I thanked Rep. Harman for speaking out on this, and I hope that she’ll continue as well as encourage other members to corroborate her allegations.  Harman said she is working to change the new FISA bill, which will “probably be introduced this week.”  The goals are that any surveillance must be done through the FISA court, with a warrant, and with minimization protocols if a US national is involved.

• Harman spoke about her legislation to close Guantanamo, restore habeas corpus, and end the use of national security letters outside their initial purpose.  She spoke glowingly about the vote this week to put Blackwater contractors under the auspices of US law, and thanked both Rep. Waxman and Rick Jacobs, who produced Iraq for Sale, with their efforts to get the word out about Blackwater’s numerous abuses and how they fell into the “legal black hole” regarding their activities.

• She recommended the Seymour Hersh article about developments with respect to Iran, and said that she has invited him to speak to the Congress.  Harman was adamant in saying that “targeted sanctions are working” with Iran, and that the government should “stop the saber rattling” that could lead us to another catastrophic war.

• She trumpeted her contribution to the House energy bill, a measure to retire the incandescent light bulb by 2012.

• On trade, she made a disappointing statement.  Despite voting against NAFTA and CAFTA and claiming that she was proven right on those votes, she said that some trade deals are admissable with proper labor and environmental standards as well as trade adjustment assistance, and referring to the current Peruvian Free Trade Agreement that will come up for vote in a couple weeks, she said that “It was approved by Charlie Rangel.”  Uh-oh.  We know that this bill, crafted in the dead of night to appease corporate interests, does not go nearly far enough to ensure labor and environmental standards, and would be nothing more than NAFTA-light.

• Someone asked Rep. Harman about the Walt-Mearshimer book “The Israel Lobby” and AIPAC’s support for endless war, including war with Iran.  Harman, who has been linked in the past to lobbies like AIPAC, said “I’m not a member of AIPAC… I support a two-state solution where Palestine can thrive economically with borders that are defensible to Israel.”  She pretty much dodged the question.

• On the still-unresolved EPA waiver that would allow California to make their own rules on tailpipe emissions that contribute to global warming, Harman said that she signed on to a letter protesting the slow-rolling from the EPA and the Department of Transportation, and she added that Gov. Schwarzenegger should work harder to get DoT to “back off” (they’ve been accused of lobbying lawmakers to pressure the EPA to block the California law).

• Finally, Harman asked for education activists to call her office and tell her about the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.  While she said that Rep. Miller has claimed to her it has been improved, she said “I am prepared to oppose it” if the changes are not satisfactory.