FL-25: Joe Garcia FISA Statement

Joe Garcia reiterated his opposition to the FISA bill yesterday:

The laws that were created under FISA were sufficient to meet our country?s national security needs. What the Bush administration has done, again, is present Americans with a false choice between national security and civil liberties, while this bill increases neither. I oppose any broad retroactive immunity provided to companies who may have broken the law. The legal purpose of immunity is to use the protection granted by such immunity as an inducement to divulge information about what occurred.  Immunity in this case would do the opposite: it would shut down any investigation into what actually occurred.

Six of nine congressional Democrats in very blue districts in Florida supported the bill. If you would like to reward Joe Garcia for his courage, help him out on ActBlue with the end of the quarter just days away. The road to more and better Democrats means helping elect them in close elections like this one. Coming from a Cuban American family, Joe strongly supports civil liberties and would speak up to defend these principles in Congress.

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FL-25: Restore the Everglades with Joe Garcia

If you would like to help Joe's campaign, consider donating to my Give in to Garcia ActBlue page. I've set a goal of reaching 50 contributions and we're almost 1/5th of the way there. If two people contribute today, we'll meet that milestone!

As the end of the quarter approaches this week, I would like to cover why Joe Garcia's race is important, especially to progressives who want a Congress with more and better Democrats. As several commenters have mentioned on The Top Ten Races post at Open Left, Joe's race against Bush rubberstamp Mario Diaz-Balart, could be a key symbol of the 2008 election.

One of the reasons the 25th district could be a symbol of change is an issue which has often been neglected on the national scene, the environment, a cause which Joe has often spoke up about. Joe previously served in the environmentally sensitive post of Chairperson of the Florida Public Service Commission. While serving there, he established preservation policies in our public utilities, only approved power plants fueled by natural gas (No coal plants), and required public water plants to adhere to higher standards set by the EPA.

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FL-25 Blog-Raiser: Mario's Big Day

Today Bush and his 25% approval ratings come to South Florida to raise money for one of his favorite rubberstamps, Mario Diaz-Balart. Of course Bush will not be doing this event out in the open or anywhere near media or the people his and Mario's policies have hurt over the last eight years. Instead, the fundraiser with top oil executives will be far away from the district in Naples.

Joe Garcia needs us in the Netroots to respond to Bush's $2300 per person fundraising with strength in numbers.

Why is it important to make a stand now with Joe Garcia?

- Universal health care coverage for all Americans

- An energy policy that moves America toward alternative sources

- A Responsible to get of Iraq

- A Public financing system of elections and clean ethics reform

- A Congressman representing the Everglades who actually cares about the environment and leaving the next generation the same America that we were born into.

- A new Cuba policy that ends the Bush/Diaz-Balart restrictions on travel and family remittances to the island.

This race is crucial because Mario Diaz-Balart has sided with Bush on the most important issues. He's voted for the Iraq War 100% of the time, he voted against SCHIP, and he voted against the GI Bill. Mario did a 180 on oil drilling and a 180 on Everglades Restoration, changing his positions to give in to the Bush/McCain stances on those issues. Mario has also gone to typical slash and burn Republican tactics in this race, calling Joe and us in the Netroots communists among other name-calling.

We can put an end to it all by joining with Joe Garcia to take back South Florida and put a progressive leader in Congress. The Conservative Cook Political Report just changed their rating on this race from Safe to Likely Republican, meaning they think this will be one of the top fought after races in the nation. And it will be if Joe has the support to fight back against Mario's coming attacks.

We can start fighting back the Bush fundraising and Bush rubberstamping right now.

Let's Give in to Garcia and bring change to South Florida.

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FL-25: Give in to Joe Garcia

On Friday George Bush will be coming to Naples to raise money for Mario Diaz-Balart, one of his most loyal rubberstamps in Congress. With the quarter fundraising deadline approaching, this means Joe Garcia is going to need our help more than ever to help match Diaz-Balart's special interest money. I'm proposing a blog-raiser for Joe Garcia and if you think it's a good idea, I would like your help to pull it off!

So what did it take for Diaz-Balart to get Bush's money you ask? He simply had to give in. Just this week, Diaz-Balart did a 180 on oil drilling off the Florida coast. In doing so, he gave in to Bush, big oil companies, and the special interests groups that have benefited at the expense of average Americans over the last eight years. In exchange, Diaz-Balart has already received over $20,000 from energy PACs in his sweet crude deal that is bad for the environment and bad for Floridians.

This isn't the first time Diaz-Balart has given up his principles at the expense of average Americans though. When John McCain came under fire for voting against an Everglades Restoration bill recently, a bill which Mario Diaz-Balart voted three times in favor of, Mario told the media "McCain was right and I was wrong."

On our side, we have a strong progressive Democrat running a grassroots campaign. He supports Everglades restoration 100% of the time and he doesn't accept money from big business PACs. He supports an energy solution that will move America towards alternative sources of energy, a health care policy that covers every American, and the Responsible Plan for Iraq that will bring our money and soldiers home safely.

Diaz-Balart gave in to the special interest groups to raise campaign money. As you can see, he's a corrupt politician who fills his cash coffers simply by rubberstamping a top-down policy that has put America back a century. Let's help Joe Garcia fight back by matching Bush's money dollar for dollar.

If you would like to help promote this, please email me at magic_star40 (@) yahoo (dot) com

Alternatively, if you would like to contribute to Joe's campaign, I've created an ActBlue page (Give in to Garcia). You can also check out Joe's website here.

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FL-25: Fighting McCarthyism in 2008 by Joe Garcia

Joe Garcia posted a guest blog at Down With Tyranny today. You can read it there or below. Also, tomorrow Joe will be live-blogging at Dailykos and Open Left at around 11:00 AM. If you have any questions, post them here and I'll pass them a long and make sure they're answered.

FL-25: FIGHTING McCARTHYISM IN 2008
by Joe Garcia

Days before I launched my campaign, my opponent tried to pre-empt my announcement by calling me a Castro-sympathizer and portraying my candidacy as a secret plot by communists to overthrow him from Congress. These suggestions have been repeated numerous times by my opponent on right-wing talk radio stations. Frankly, they get away with these ridiculous accusations because the media, once again has dropped the ball. As I have always stated, the Netroots are the courage of the Democratic Party. Together, we must push back against these red-baiting, fear-mongering, McCarthyist attacks.

We've seen these disgusting Republican tactics here in South Florida for a quarter century. This wasn't always the case, however. Cuban-Americans traditionally voted Democratic before the 1980 election. In 1980, the Reagan campaign effectively targeted Cuban-Americans in a new way. They enabled local Cuban-American leaders to design a Spanish-only campaign geared specifically towards Cuban-Americans. This campaign preyed upon the real suffering of victims of the Castro regime and accused Democrats of being communist enablers and used John F. Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs as examples.

Essentially, the 1980 election had Cuban-American Republicans talking directly to Cuban-Americans, in their native language, calling Democrats communist. Democrats countered with a typical campaign designed in Washington, DC. Republicans were talking with Cuban-Americans. Democrats were talking at them.

Things have not changed much since 1980. For example, in 2004 Republicans sent a Spanish language ad-piece that showed John Kerry together with Fidel Castro and warned:
"November 2nd is the last day for you to stop John Kerry and his communist friends."

It also stated ridiculous and incendiary comments such as: "Fidel Castro has no better friend in the US Senate than John Kerry,"and "While Ronald Reagan fought against communism, John Kerry was dedicated to forming alliances with friends of Fidel Castro like Daniel Ortega."

You might think this ad piece came from some obscure 527 group. But no, it actually came from the RNC and was authorized by Bush-Chaney '04.

Picture of anti-Kerry Ad

My pro-Democracy in Cuba credentials are solid. Before my opponent was in the Florida State Legislature I was marching and meeting with US lawmakers in DC advocating for democratic change in Cuba. This, however, will not stop them from disparaging my record. Similar to how they attacked national heroes like Max Cleland and John Kerry for being unpatriotic, they will try to label me as a communist sympathizer.

This, however, will not work for them in 2008.

I've been challenging the Republican demagoguery machine for years.

I led the Exodus Project which reunited over 10,000 families scattered throughout the world and fought against the Bush/Diaz-Balart family restrictions. My position is clear. Cubans are not part of the problem; they are part of the solution. We need to put control back into the hands of the Cuban people to make Democracy in Cuba possible. The time to act responsibly is now. We must end the demagoguery about Cuba and allow the wishes of the constituents of the 25th district to prevail.

I'm going to fight back against these Republican fear tactics in this campaign and I'm going to offer a responsible way forward. Together we will end the conventional style of foreign policy thinking in Washington. We must unite around common sense solutions that lead to progress. In this campaign we will reach out to the people of the 25th district on a grassroots level to offer a progressive alternative.

Let me also state that while Cuba is an important issue in District 25, it is not the only issue. It should not distract us from the 14,500 children who today don't have health care because my opponent voted against expanding SCHIP. We should not be distracted from the degradation of the Everglades and the environment while my opponent has accumulated a shameful 10% rating by the League of Conservation Voters. We will not let demagoguery distract us from the brave men and women who have performed their duty in Iraq and deserve a safe and responsible return home. We will not be distracted from my opponent's rubber stamping of George Bush's assault on our Constitutional rights.

Cuba will be an important issue, but we cannot allow it to be used as a political tool to vilify, scare and distract. I especially need you, the Netroots to help us fight back against the shameful, despicable, red-baiting tactics of my opponent. I would be humbled if you would join our campaign to take them on.

With gratitude for everything you do to make a difference,

-Joe Garcia

There are six days left until the end of the quarter for fundraising. Please help out by contributing and becoming one  of a thousand people to own this campaign.

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Dem Candidate Joe Garcia Bulldozes Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart

With Fidel Castro resigning, potentially one of the top races in the country for 2008 has been highlighted in the 25th district of South Florida. This race particularly offers a chance to change the landscape on American foreign and domestic policy to a progressive direction and send the signal that the people want something new.

Here in this cartoon via the El Nuevo Herald, Democratic candidate and former Miami-Dade Dem Chair Joe Garcia bulldozes over Rep Mario Diaz-Balart.

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Video: Joe Garcia Wows South Florida in Announcement Rally for Congress

The excitement is building all over South Florida. Mario Diaz-Balart will have his first tough challenge in the 25th congressional district (PVI R+4) of Florida in Miami-Dade Dem Chairman Joe Garcia. Diaz-Balart hand-drew the district for himself in 2000, but since that time, Democrats have averaged a gain of a point a year, which would put the district very close to a tie right now. With 2008 looking to be another wave year, now is the right time to turn this seat blue and put a progressive in Congress.

Garcia appeared at a couple rallies yesterday to announce his candidacy. The first event was in Miami and a very enthusiastic crowd of 75+ people turned out.

As you could hear at the end of the video, Republicans are already spending money on the race and appear very scared about losing their seats.

I was at the event myself and it was terrific to see so much excitement in an area that has seen few competitive races in the past. Now this year, we will see three strong challenges and I believe we can win all of them, but I will be watching this race most of all because of Joe's candidacy. We need progressive leaders in Congress who will show some courage and will say like Joe has, "Support our troops by bringing them home."

This is going to be a fun race in South Florida for the voters of the district and for the netroots and hopefully will be very rewarding in the end.

The campaign has also just launched its official website, which you can check out here.

For now, the Draft Garcia page will continue.

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Final Zogby Polls: Obama Leads Cali Big

The final Zogby polls are out. Most surprisingly, Zogby gives Obama a 13-point lead in California. Clinton has the lead now in NJ.

In California, which alone provides more than one-fifth of the Democratic delegates needed for the nomination, Obama led Clinton by 49 percent to 36 percent, the poll found. The margin of error was 3.3 percentage points.

Clinton pulled into a 5-point lead in New Jersey, 46 percent to 41 percent, after being tied on Monday. Obama held a 45 percent to 42 percent edge on Clinton in Missouri. Both polls had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Obama had a 20-point edge in Georgia, aided by a more than 3-to-1 lead among black voters.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20080205/t pl-uk-usa-politics-poll-20b2d2f.html

Could it have been the Shriver endorsement or is Zogby just a terrible pollster? More than anything, it's the momentum that is amazing. We'll see if it holds up tomorrow. If Obama can pull out wins in Missouri and California, it's definitely going to be a big day for his campaign though.

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FL-21: Raul Martinez Announces Run for Congress

Raul Martinez, the former mayor of Hialeah, who is largely credited with greening and turning around the city in his time of service, has announced a run for the 21st Congressional district against Republican incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart. He will make the announcement tomorrow in the PVI R+6.2 district, which has been trending more blue and increasingly independent over the past few years. Because of Martinez's popularity in the region, including the fact that he's never lost an election in very Republican areas, the election will be a fierce battle to watch. This is also likely to increase rumors that candidates will step up to take on Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart in the 18th and 25th districts, respectively, which are more Democratic in nature.

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Obama the Hypocrite

It looks like the campaign of a different kind of politics and that of "unity" is actually the campaign of the politics of hypocrisy and the politics of division.

In the last week in the Iowa campaign, Obama released attacks day after day criticizing the Edwards campaign because of a group running pro-Edwards ads. Those ads were all positive in nature and not aimed at any of the other candidates. However, Obama took it upon himself to denounce Edwards and say that he would never allow such a thing in his kind of politics. So much for that we see now.

Now move up a couple weeks later and we see groups in Nevada doing exactly the same thing for Obama. In fact, his groups are running anti-Clinton ads and doing the attacking for him, a really disgusting kind of politics. So not only does he abandon his pledge to not have 527s help his campaign, but he also abandons the pledge to not engage in negative and divisive politics. But what do we hear from the Obama campaign? Silence. In addition, he's had the Hope Pac spending and working on his behalf throughout this campaign, but we've heard nothing about Obama stopping them.

Edwards responded strongly today. First to reporters directly against these ads.

Later in a press release, Edwards expanded on his thoughts.

"Just a few days ago, on a stage where all three of us were participating in the debate, there was a discussion of putting behind us and stopping the race politics that had been going on for a few days before that between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. And everyone pledged that this kind of divisive politics that divides the Democratic Party and could divide America would come to an end.

"Senator Obama made that pledge. I was sitting five feet from him when I heard him say it. And now it turns out that in the last twenty-four hours, there's a radio ad that's being run--a malicious radio ad attacking Senator Clinton. That is exactly that kind of divisive politics. It's being run right here in Las Vegas.

"I denounce it. This kind of ad, I don't care who's doing it--in this case it's Senator Obama's supporters--but this sort of thing needs to stop. And from what I've seen, Senator Obama has not said a single word about this. Nothing...when two days ago, three days ago, he sat on a stage in front of America and said this kind of politics had no place in America. That is divides America. It divides the Democratic Party. And he denounced it. Well, now it's happening...by his supporters...right here in this campaign twenty-four hours before the caucuses. And what I have to say is he should speak up. If he really means what he says--and this is not just talk--he should speak up and denounce this kind of divisive politics. It is not what the Democratic Party needs. It is not what America needs. And let me say this very clearly, vis-a-vis Senator Obama, I will not divide America. I will unite America."

It's become increasingly clear the words of unity were just a bunch of empty rhetoric. Otherwise, if Obama can gain from the same political maneuvering that he denounces, then he will use it. His campaign has actually been behind some of the nastiest smear efforts in this process and we've seen very little of the unity that he's promised.

I also would add something about lobbyists. Isn't a bit odd that Obama all of a sudden decided to stop taking lobbyist money for the Presidential campaign, maybe convenient timing? It wasn't long ago Obama took $1.5 million from lobbyists for his Senate campaign. I'm glad Edwards has started to mention he's the only candidate who's never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists in his entire political life, as it has become much clearer Obama's recent conversion against lobbyists is not one of conviction at all. In fact, he has state chairs that are federal lobbyists! So much for that different kind of politics. So much for the tough rhetoric. So much for being an "agent of change."

Obama used to be a strong second choice for me, but not anymore. I wouldn't even consider voting for him in the primary now, even if Edwards dropped out, especially with his increasing use of Republican talking points and praising Republicans before the praising of Democrats. Also not to mention that he would appoint three Republicans to his cabinet, instead of appointing three good Democrats in those places that could lead to rising prospects in our party. And at the same time of this "unity" talk, he plays these dirty tricks that he's based his entire campaign against. I just find it rediculous. Obama stole Edwards' change rhetoric and made it is own, but hasn't followed any of the principles of it. I guess it goes to show, you can mimic someone's words, but it doesn't mean you're going to mimic their actions.

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