Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let's Worry About BETTER Democrats And Let The Democratic Party Worry About More Of 'Em-- Time For Norman Solomon


This morning at 11am PT John and Digby are going to be hosting a live chat with Norman Solomon, a movement progressive running for the North San Francisco Bay area House seat being vacated by another progressive, Lynn Woolsey. The live chat will be at Crooks and Liars in the comments section. I hope you can join them... I'm in Asia and it'll be 1am on Wednesday and I'll be fast asleep.

If, like me, you can't make it to the chat, please consider contributing to Norman's campaign based on our last live chat with him, and on this letter we sent out to all Blue America members yesterday.
It was with gladness in our hearts that all of us at Blue America celebrated the state of New York legalizing gay marriage this past week-end. It was a welcome reminder that even in this era of Tea Parties and economic malaise, human progress cannot be stopped. Imagine if we had a national government with enough fighters for working families to make progress on all fronts from civil rights to economic justice to ending our useless expensive wars.  Imagine if we had more leaders like Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison and Donna Edwards to press for that agenda.

Today, longtime progressive congresswoman Lynn Woolsey just announced her retirement from the Congress after a long and illustrious career. And Blue America endorsee and longtime political activist and author Normon Solomon stands ready and able to carry on the progressive tradition of that district.

We're asking you to help us help him run an effective campaign and win this seat. Will you give what you can today?

“We’re gaining the kind of traction that a grassroots campaign needs in order to win,” Solomon said. “The groundswell of support is very encouraging.”

Indeed it is. We need congressional representatives who understand that we are no longer able to afford open ended military adventures and corrupt political boondoggles and Norman has been fighting to end them his entire life.These issues are no longer matters of abstract ideology-- they are necessary and pragmatic approaches to the problems of our time. We need people like Norman Solomon in congress to lead the way.

Blue America will be hosting Norman in a live chat at Crooks and Liars on Tuesday at 2pm EDT/11 am PDT. Please join us.

And please help Norman with a donation if you can.

The good news is that it looks as though we aren't the only progressives who are enthusiastic about him-- the campaign has managed to collect $100,000 already from small donors. But he is not a corporate funded Democrat and will need our help to compete. 

Thanks again for your support. We hope you'll join us on Tuesday for a lively discussion. 

We are all in this together.

Yesterday Norman penned a guest Op-Ed for the Marin Independent Journal that presents a lot of insight into what kind of congressman he'd be-- and into why Blue America is so committed to his candidacy. I bet this is what you wish YOUR congressmember and senator-- not to mention our president-- was saying about the dangers of nuclear energy... and what to do about it. But they're not. It's why it's so crucial that we need real leaders like Norman Solomon, not just someone who will probably vote well in the House.
Several decades ago, three expert nuclear engineers told a congressional panel why they decided to quit: "We could no longer justify devoting our life energies to the continued development and expansion of nuclear fission power-- a system we believe to be so dangerous that it now threatens the very existence of life on this planet."

The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy heard that testimony in 1977, when the conventional wisdom was still hailing "the peaceful atom" as a flawless marvel. During the same year, solid information convinced me to move from concern to action against nuclear power.

By the time the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant came close to rendering much of central Pennsylvania uninhabitable, I was nearly two years into full-time anti-nuclear work that included public education, civic activism and nonviolent direct action. Given what was at stake, I didn't mind spending a month in jail for civil disobedience.

More than 30 years later, the ongoing disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant underscores the grim realities of nuclear power, ranging from catastrophic reactor accidents to highly radioactive waste that will remain deadly for many thousands of years.

Such inherent dangers are all too close to home here in California, where the state's two nuclear power plants-- Diablo Canyon at San Luis Obispo and San Onofre farther south-- are both located on major earthquake faults along the coast.

The overall record of Diablo Canyon's owner and operator-- PG&E-- hardly inspires confidence. And recent events in Japan showed that official assurances can become worthless after a big quake and tsunami.

Continuing radioactive leaks from Fukushima are extensive and multifaceted. The authoritative journal Nature reported in late May that "some scientists are simply floating the idea of turning Fukushima into a nuclear graveyard"-- but "given the plant's location on the coast, storing the waste there for millennia may be unrealistic."

Here at home, I fundamentally disagree with the official mantra that California's two nuclear power plants should keep operating while federal agencies conduct "studies" to determine whether those nukes are risky enough to warrant closure.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Energy Department have been avidly promoting nuclear power for decades. Periodic calls for more "studies" have kicked the radioactive can down the road.

I reject the notion that we should wait for such nuclear-enthralled agencies to tell us whether nuclear power is an acceptable risk for Californians.

As the director of the National Citizens Hearings for Radiation Victims in 1980, I learned a lot about patterns of official enabling of the nuclear industry-- with awful results for human health and the environment.

Similar patterns persist in this country.

In contrast, the government of Germany has seen the light. At the end of last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a reversal of policy-- moving to shut down nuclear power instead of trying to expand it.

The decision to immediately close eight German nuclear power plants and shut the rest by 2022 came in a country that had been getting 23 percent of its electricity from nukes.

Here in California, we're less reliant on this Faustian technology, getting just 15 percent of our electricity from nuclear power. The state has a lot of excess generating capacity from other sources, but far better choices for the environment are within our grasp.

Effective conservation options are readily available, and widespread use of renewables like solar is in reach. What we need is the political will to fight for serious public investment in sustainable energy and a non-nuclear future.

Please consider helping Norman bring this kind of thinking to Washington by contribution to his campaign through ActBlue. Norman summed his platform up in one powerful sentence today saying is he's elected to Congress, he "will insist that we need to bring our troops and tax dollars home-- that we need healthcare not warfare-- that we must resist corporate power-- that caving in to Wall Street and polluters and enemies of civil liberties is unacceptable." Your kind of guy?

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