HEADLINES: Everyone vs. Corporate Greed | Breaking Sinema’s Silence | Muscling Menendez on Pharma Prices| Progs Dominating Budget Deal | McConnell Folds on Debt Ceiling | Bernie Joins People’s Watch | Facebook Under Fire | Chevron vs. Donziger & MORE!
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If Democrats fail to pass Bernie’s budget, we will lose control of Congress to an increasingly fascist Republican party. Rush a donation now to help us get Bernie’s budget over the finish line and into law!
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EVERYONE VS. CORPORATE GREED
Two people, Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) stand in the way of the largest progressive change we’ve had a shot at in generations.
As Bernie put it at The People’s Watch rally on Capitol Hill Wednesday, we’re in a “critical and unprecedented moment in American history.”
Progressives held the line, saved our leverage, and now we are in the thick of Budget negotiations.
After weeks of stonewalling by the two senators, Manchin put out low-ball figures and said he cannot accept an “entitlement society” – and he wants progressives to choose two of Biden’s three signature policies to cut.
No. Joe Manchin can go home and tell West Virginians why HE was the one who took away childcare for families trying to return to work, why HE was the one who denied paid leave for working parents to bond with a new baby or care for a sick child, and HE was the one that ended the child tax credit that has cut childhood poverty in half.
“Does Sen. Manchin really believe that seniors are not entitled to digest their food? Not entitled to hear and see properly? Is that really too much to ask in the richest country on earth – that elderly people have teeth in their mouth?!” Bernie asked.
“Does Sen. Manchin believe that working-class parents in West Virginia should have to pay 25-30% of their incomes on childcare?” Bernie drilled down.
“Does Sen. Manchin not believe that our children and grandchildren are entitled to live in a country and a world that is healthy and habitable?”
Corporatists like Manchin and Sinema aim to eliminate whole programs or underfund and means-test them so they’ll be less successful, less popular, and easier to revoke in the future.
They fear once our programs are successfully in place, Americans will love them, and it will be impossible to take them away. That’s exactly what we’re betting on.
“It’s really not playing fair – two people do not have the right to sabotage what 48 members want, what the American people want, what the President of the United States wants,” Bernie said.
With Sinema, the pressure continues to build.
Maybe she’ll listen to the President because she’s certainly not listening to her constituents.
Breaking Sinema’s Silence
Our Revolution has been one of many progressive groups bird-dogging Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona and DC as she continues to stonewall negotiations on the Budget Bill.
Last week, Our Revolution Arizona debuted the PRO Act pickup truck at the Women’s March in Phoenix to call out Sinema’s lack of support for working women.
And on Thursday, Our Revolution Arizona rallied at Sinema’s office in Tucson demanding all of our priorities be kept in the final package so no one is left behind.
Activists also confronted Sinema at the airport Monday as she flew back to DC from a weekend spa retreat with wealthy donors in Phoenix.
Sinema hasn’t held a town hall in three years and continues to stonewall her constituents when they ask her what she wants and doesn’t want in the bill.
Paco Fabián, Our Revolution communications director, told The Hill: “People have questions. She’s not answering those questions and, as a result, people are going to start relying on more confrontational tactics to get answers to some of those questions.”
When approached, Sinema blatantly ignores constituents like they don’t exist and refuses to tell the President her demands for his legacy legislation.
When asked about it, President Biden indicated no sympathy. “It happens to everybody,” he said, adding, “It’s part of the process.”
Predictably, after taking around $750,000 in pharma cash, Sinema vaguely indicated her opposition to reducing drug prices, supporting Big Pharma profits instead.
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MUSCLING MENENDEZ ON PHARMA PRICES
Our Revolution New Jersey activists were back again at the office of Sen. Robert Menendez on Tuesday, calling him out for opposing the most popular provision of the Budget Bill – empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with Big Pharma.
Menendez, like Sinema, has been ignoring his constituents’ demands, listening instead to the demands of pharma lobbyists.
ORNJ led a group of 38 organizations to send a letter to NJ lawmakers, including Menendez, demanding support for the full $3.5T Budget Bill.
When we attempted to hand-deliver a copy of the letter at Tuesday’s rally, we were blocked from entering the building by security guards claiming it was private property.
Our activists testified about their experiences of the cruelty of the American healthcare system over the loudspeaker to ensure we were heard.
One young man, who survived Leukemia as a child and now has Type 1 Diabetes, said he faces medical discrimination from for-profit insurers and struggles to afford insulin. “I’ve had to skip doctor visits and ration supplies,” he said. “Everything you hear that people go through. That’s me.”
Menendez, a senior member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, is a key player in the Senate’s ongoing Medicare negotiations.
His opposition to Medicare expansion and lowering drug prices in the Budget Bill is not surprising as he represents the pharmaceutical industry’s epicenter in New Jersey, and he has taken $1.5 million from Big Pharma and the healthcare industry since 2017.
Big Pharma’s greed and corruption are leaving people sick, broke, dying, or dead.
Thanks to Senators like Menendez and Sinema, Americans pay 3 to 10 times more, on average, than people in other countries for the same medications, and one in five report rationing prescriptions they can’t afford.
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Corporate lobbyists are using Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and other corporate Democrats to help kill Bernie’s budget, and Our Revolution is fighting back with targeted ads, protests, and mass mobilization. Please chip in now to help us fight back as we enter the critical final push!
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NO BROADCAST ON MONDAY
In observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we will not be broadcasting our Monday National Organize to Win call.
We will return with a live broadcast at 8:30 PM ET/6:30 PM PT on Monday, October 18th with Rep. Ro Khanna to get the latest on the budget bill.
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PROGRESSIVES BENDING BUDGET TALKS TO THE PEOPLE’S WILL
REP. RASKIN: ‘HOLD THE LINE’
Rep. Jamie Raskin spoke about saving democracy and wielding progressive power at our Monday Night Organize to Win Call.
Raskin was proud to report that the Progressive Caucus is “totally unified” behind the Budget Bill, which he described as being “a dramatic remaking of the landscape in favor of democracy for the people.”
“ When I see us saying ‘Hold the Line,’ I love this message because this is the line of democracy we’re holding,” Raskin said.
“This is the idea that government must be an instrument for the Common Good, for the common man and the common woman, and that’s what this (bill) is,” he continued. “That’s why there’s no way we’re going to get suckered into voting for a weak infrastructure bill and sacrifice everything we’ve been fighting for in terms of social reconstruction in the country.”
Raskin emphasized that this gravitational shift toward progressive power is a “huge breakthrough” for the Democratic Party” as we held off a vote for the smaller bipartisan bill and maintained our leverage for negotiations to start in earnest on the Budget Bill.
As corporate Dems seek to cut the $3.5T price tag, Raskin argued that the most important thing is to get all of our progressive programs implemented through the bill even if they’re funded for a shorter period of time.
“Let’s plant a flag on everything we want and need, and prove to America how vital it is to our people,” he said, noting how difficult it would be for rightwing politicians to try to take away these critical programs and how advantageous it would be to have these programs to run on in the 2022 and 2024 elections.
Raskin wrapped up by praising Our Revolution as the “connective tissue” of the inside-outside strategy to beat back the rightwing “strategy of cynicism” to undermine people’s faith in Democracy.
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“PEOPLE’S WATCH” ON CAPITOL HILL
Our Revolution and our allied coalition of progressive groups continued our stand on Capitol Hill this week to ensure the voice of the people is heard loud and clear in the fight for the Budget Bill.
Bernie and faith leaders joined the People’s Watch Coalition at a rally in front of the Capitol Wednesday before Capitol police broke up the peaceful gathering in short order.
Bernie called out the big money pouring in against our priorities and the 1,500 lobbyists from Big Pharma alone working to peel lawmakers from supporting the bill.
“That’s three Pharma lobbyists for every member of Congress trying to stop us from lowering prescription drug prices when 90% of the American people believe that is precisely what we should be doing,” Bernie said.
“It’s not only about healthcare and prescription drugs – it’s about whether this government works for the people and does what they want or whether we continue to bow down to powerful special interests who bribe people with campaign contributions,” Bernie stated boldly.
“We are trying to restore the faith in the American people that their government can actually work for them,” he said, going on to list the crucial programs in the bill.
The faith leaders spoke out to “cut through the punditry and politics” in hopes of reaching Sen. Joe Manchin, who is known as a proud Catholic.
Rev. Susan Hendershot, president of Interfaith Power & Light, emphasized these are “profoundly moral decisions that will shape our communities and our climate for decades to come.”
Marianne Comfort with Sisters of Mercy spoke in the words of Pope Francis on the need to care for our common home: “Hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
“The Pope tells us we need to get rid of fossil fuels without delay – and, that’s a direct quote,” Comfort said. “I’d like to share with Sen. Manchin what the Pope says the duty of our elected officials is.
“He speaks of the ‘myopia of power politics that delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda,’” she relayed. “He challenges our leaders: ‘True statecraft is manifest when in difficult times we uphold high principles and think of the long-term Common Good.’”
When Capitol police cut the rally short, our activists, led by faith leaders, marched from the Capitol to Manchin’s yacht, docked at a wharf about a mile away.
We cannot be deterred in this mission.
TAKE ACTION! We need to continue holding the line! Tell your representatives: No Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill without Bernie’s budget!
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MCCONNELL FOLDS ON DEBT CEILING
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has broken down and agreed to allow a vote to raise the debt ceiling through December.
Citing concerns over building pressure around reforming the filibuster on Senators Manchin and Sinema, McConnell caved and allowed a short-term extension to pass.
Raising the debt ceiling means the government will continue to fund itself so our veterans don’t go without pay, seniors get their social security checks and our economy can continue its pandemic recovery.
For weeks, Republicans had been refusing to raise the debt ceiling – hoping voters would blame the party in power for the economic fallout ahead of the midterms.
McConnell is still hypocritically trying to blame Democrats despite much of the debt being incurred by Trump’s deficit spending and tax cuts for the wealthy.
“The debt ceiling got raised with no problems under the Trump administration. And now all of the sudden it’s a problem?” – Our Revolution communications director Paco Fabián told The Hill Wednesday.
The rightwing continues to lie, saying the debt ceiling needs to be raised to cover the “spending package” – even though the Budget Bill is paid for by making the ultra-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
Democrats will lose to a Republican Party openly trying to destroy our democracy if we don’t pass Bernie’s budget to invest in working people. Support our critical organizing by pitching in what you can here!
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FACEBOOK UNDER FIRE
Following our event the previous week calling on The U.S. Congress to investigate Facebook’s anti-competitive, monopolistic practices, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified Tuesday before the Senate Commerce Committee on protecting children online.
“I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy,” she told the committee.
Haugen unveiled thousands of pages of Facebook’s own internal research, revealing that the company deliberately amplifies hate speech, misinformation, and other conflict-driven content in its algorithm.
The strategy generates clicks and profits for the tech behemoth, but the documents show Facebook has long known it comes at great cost to the wellbeing of users, social bonds, and political relations.
Following a 60 Minutes interview with Haugen on Sunday, Facebook went down for six hours Monday, taking down WhatsApp and Instagram with it – demonstrating the dangers of holding so many communication platforms under a single monopoly power.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection said: “We must consider stronger oversight, effective protections for children, and tools for parents, among the needed reforms.”
Blumenthal suggested that Facebook’s impact on national security could be the subject of a future hearing with Haugen.
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DONZIGER DARES TO CHALLENGE CORPORATE POWER
In a shock verdict this week, Chevron-connected judge Loretta Preska sentenced human rights lawyer Steven Donziger to six months in prison on contempt of court charges.
Donziger’s conviction comes 10 years after he won a $9.5B judgment against Chevron for poisoning Ecuadorian Amazonia and indigenous communities that live there. Thousands were killed because Chevron refused to follow recommended environmental practices – including lining waste pits.
The prosecution and punishment of Steven Donziger were clearly designed to make an example of him and dissuade anyone from daring to challenge corporate power. Judge Preska denied Donziger a jury, and because the Justice Department refused to prosecute him, the Court appointed a corporate law firm as prosecutor.
At sentencing, Donziger had already served more than two years under house arrest while challenging the contempt of court charge.
Our Revolution activists have joined rallies in support of Donziger in NYC. Like Donziger, our movement won’t be cowed. We will fight the corporate capture of our government, our politics, and our justice system.
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Pitch in here to help us overcome Republicans and corporate Democrats blocking Bernie’s budget on behalf of big oil!
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MD BUDGET SURPLUS CAN BE PUT TO GOOD USE
On Friday, October 1st, Our Revolution Maryland organized with CASA and other progressives groups to support the Stop Maryland Evictions: Sleep Out Rally held overnight at the state capital in Annapolis.
In a fiery address, ORMD Chair Chrissy Holt discussed the $2.5 billion windfall that Maryland will receive from taxes on corporate profiteering from Covid-19 and how those funds could be used to provide eviction relief and advance other progressive priorities.
Addressing the Democratic veto-proof majority in the State House, Chrissy said: “The problem is not just Republican Governor Larry Hogan. The Maryland General Assembly is not doing what we need it to do right now. We need the General Assembly to work for us. We need healthcare. We need jobs. We need food. We need to take our country back!”
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Part of our mission at Our Revolution is to transform the Democratic Party into a more progressive body. Read about some big developments below.
Brianna Westbrook, a vice-chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, dropped into Monday’s Organize to Win Broadcast to discuss the party’s efforts to check Sinema’s obstruction of everything we are trying to accomplish in this moment.
Westbrook said Sinema “doesn’t give a damn what the people want” and folks are frustrated on the ground.
“People are getting restless in Arizona waiting for change. We hoped sending another Democrat to the Senate would reinforce the changing political climate in Arizona which is happening quickly,” she relayed. “We now have a congressional majority, it’s a growing Democratic state and there’s no reason for Sinema to be withholding vital things from people’s lives right now.”
Last week, the Arizona Democratic Party, led by Our Revolution members, overwhelmingly passed a resolution pledging a Vote of No Confidence in Sinema if she continues to oppose the Budget Reconciliation Bill and filibuster reform.
“The more pressure she’s getting, you’re starting to see that she’s starting to buckle a little bit,” Westbrook said. “We are going to move forward as a party whether that is with Sinema or without Sinema.”
Westbrook said organizers and political leaders in the state have already been gathering commitment pledges from voters to support a primary challenger to Sinema for 2024.
“I’m very excited about that,” she said. “We will fund a primary challenger and that’s something that Sinema has never faced – a credible opponent that can compete with her financially.”
Westbrook continued: “We hope this will put pressure on the Senator to see that there is outrage and people are ready to vote you out. They’re ready to put $5, $10, $100 toward your primary opponent if you don’t do your job.”
Don’t let big money in politics win. Pitch in here to help Our Revolution stand up and fight back to make transformative change!
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OR MASSACHUSETTS WINS VOTE TO TRANSFORM THE PARTY
Our Revolution efforts to improve the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s 2021 platform have been successful. On last Monday’s Organize to Win Broadcast, Our Revolution Somerville activist Rand Wilson described how activists within the Massachusetts party have been working to reform the way the party operates. “We petitioned party leaders to reduce the number of signatures needed for amendments to qualify for consideration – and we won the vote!”
As a result, activists were able to pass two dozen amendments to the state platform, including language to eliminate state funding to the fossil fuel industry and expanding Medicare by lowering the eligibility age and empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices for all Americans.
“This success is the result of Our Revolution members engaging in the process, becoming delegates, and voting for actual democracy in determining what the Democratic Party stands for in Massachusetts,” added Wilson.
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The ultra-wealthy and mega-corporations have endless resources to spend against us – but we have the people!
If everyone reading this right now takes action to become a monthly donor, we could grow our movement in ways that completely shift the dynamic of this David vs. Goliath battle over who our government works for. We are taking back our Democracy, and we hope you will pitch in to fund the strategic plan we’ve laid out to do so. We spend every dollar with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness.
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Join your fellow revolutionaries as we call our members across the country and take their pulse on the latest developments happening at the local, state, and national levels!
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ARIZONA PROACT TOUR KICKOFF!
Join Our Revolution Arizona activists as we take action to call on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to stop blocking the budget bill in Congress and take action to support Arizona working families.
Wednesday, October 13th, 5 PM MST in Phoenix
Thursday, October 14th, 5 PM MST in Tucso
Friday, October 15th, 9 AM MST in Phoenix
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Join Our Revolution MN for a special Get Out The Vote Virtual Rally with special guests including:
Our Revolution Board Member Keith Ellison,
Samantha Pree-Stinson, Jeremiah Ellison, Elliot Payne,
Urial Ward and more!
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In several Massachusetts cities, Our Revolution Massachusetts candidates are on the verge of having majorities on the city council and/or school board, plus the mayor. We have the chance to hold the reigns of power for the people, not the wealthy! Come join us to learn how OR chapters are doing it!
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This week was a crucial victory in the ongoing Battle for the Budget, but we still need your help to get this life-changing legislation over the finish line.
Call your member of Congress and tell them to hold the line and fight for our priorities!
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