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Tuesday night I was on a conference call with Organizing For America, what the Obama campaign structure has morphed into since the campaign. I, along with thousands of other former Obama campaign volunteers, expected to get our marching orders, told who we should telephone, e-mail, visit, blog about - whatever it took to get the best possible stimulus legislation out of Congress.

But that didn't happen. Instead, we heard about house parties for the weekend and future conference calls. Building blocks for the future - yes. But action for the here and now? No.

I'm done waiting.

I've started a FaceBook group called "We Are The Change". It's goal is simple. To create enough public pressure on our elected officials so that we end up passing an effective stimulus bill, and not a Frankenstein's monster.It's being reported that the stimulus bill as is won't pass the Senate. That means the measures that will actually stimulate the economy will be gutted in favor of useless, but popular, tax cuts. We need to get moving.

Learn how after the fold......

The Conservative Right is waging an aggressive campaign against the Obama administration. Their goal, to permanently damage Obama and the Democrats in Congress. And so far, it's working. You don't have to look any further than the front page of any major newspaper - Republicans uniting against the stimulus bill, McCain using his campaign list to send out a mass email asking supporters to sign a petition against "Democrat Pork", the piling on against Daschle, the insistance that "bipartisanship" means Democratic capitulation - I could go on.

So here's the ASK:

Legislation for Economic Recovery is now on the Senate floor. We got the word that calls to Senators are running 100 to 1 against it. As stated in a previous diary on this site,  if senators perceive that Americans side with Obama in this fight - which most polls say they are - that will strengthen the power of progressives in the debate and we'll get a good bill. If, on the other hand, senators are only feeling the heat from conservatives, then our advocates will be weakened and we'll get a lousy bill. That's the way things work on Capitol Hill.

Think your Senator is friendly, or a Democrat and doesn't need a call? Think again. The following DEMOCRATIC senators are on record as either opposing the bill, or trying to stuff it with corporate tax cuts:

Mary Landrieu (LA)

Ben Nelson (NE)

Blanche Lincoln (AR)

Kent Conrad (ND)

John Tester (MT)

Have we forgotten $4 gasoline so quickly?

Even Barbara Boxer (CA), has teamed up with Republican Senator Inhofe,to gut provisions for public transit in order to add $50 billion in highway spending. Have we forgotten $4 gasoline so quickly?


1) PHONE
Pick up the telephone and call 202-224-3121 (or use the toll-free service at 866-544-7573). If you don't know who your Senators are, go to this link to find out:http://www.senate.gov/...

Ask the Capitol operator to transfer you to one of your state's U.S. senators. When you're connected, say you're calling to urge your senator to "support the Obama economic recovery plan and oppose all conservative amendments." Call back and repeat for your other senator.


2) EMAIL
If you are unable to get through by phone, use this link to find your Senator:

http://www.senate.gov/...

Once you've found your Senators, use the 'web form' link to send them an email. Some suggested talking points:

a) Invest in infrastructure that will put people to work, not tax cuts that will do little to stimulate the economy.

b) Invest in our future, not our past. We need to invest in green technologies such as mass transit, alternative and renewable energy development, and fuel-efficient vehicles. What we DON'T need are billions for "clean coal" plants and highway slush funds.

c) Reinstate the House provision that would allow people 55 and over who are laid off to continue COBRA coverage at a subsidized rate until they're 65 and eligible for Medicare, and which would allow individuals who were laid off temporarily to be eligible for Medicaid.

d) Include meaningful bankruptcy reform. Bankruptcy judges should regain the ability to restructure mortgages (that is, lower the amount owed and the interest rate, reflecting the lower value of the house) so that borrowers can stay in their homes.

e) Refer to this new chart from USA Today to find out how many jobs would be created/saved from the Senator's state. Quote this number.


3) SPREAD THE WORD
Join"We Are The Change" Use all your social networks - facebook, family, friends, coworkers to spread the word. We especially need Republican Senators to feel the heat from their own constituents. Some good Senators to target would be Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Richard Burr of North Carolina, John Ensign of Nevada, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Mel Martinez of Florida, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine.

If you have any friends and family you can reach out to in those states, do it.


4) DONATE
Americans United For Change are running devastating radio ads linking Republican opposition to the stimulus bill to Rush Limbaugh. They just announced they've expanded their campaign to cover GOP Sens. Jim Bunning (KY), Richard Burr (NC) and Mel Martinez (FL) They need our help to keep it going.

Go to this link to donate: http://www.americansunitedforchange.org/

5) CONTACT NEWS MEDIA
Every time you hear "government spending bill" uttered by some talking head on cable news, a Republican Operative is doing his job, and doing it well. We need to change that language. Words matter. This is about Economic Recovery. Stimulus. Job Creation........... Use these phrases every time you comment on a blog, write a letter to the editor or call in to a talk show.


6) BE CREATIVE
How about sending a thousand postcards to Arlen Specter? Get your child's third-grade class to paint a giant banner asking why John Ensign won't support children's healthcare and hand deliver it to the steps of Congress (after, of course, you've called all the media outlets)? The possibilities are endless. But remember, size matters. Putting up a video protest on YouTube that gets a thousand hits doesn't count. Putting up video that gets a million does.


Is this everything that can be done? Not by a long shot. I'm sure I've left things out, and the tactics will change as the situation changes.

It's a start. We have to start somewhere. We cannot wait for permission or official instructions from OFA, Obama, or anyone else to act. We must act. And act now.

WE ARE THE CHANGE.

UPDATE: Wow! Thanks for putting this on the rec list. Spread the word. This doesn't work unless we go viral with it.


UPDATE #2 This new chart from USA Today is a fantastic resource. It breaks down how many jobs would be created or saved, how much in taxes ordinary citizens would save, and more state by state. Use this when you call your elected representatives!


UPDATE #3  - We are up to over 700 800 members on the We Are The Change FaceBook Group. Phenomenal response in less than 12 hours! My goal here to get the group up to 5,000 in the next couple of days (that's the cutoff point where FaceBook will no longer allow emails to be sent to group members). This might be ambitious, but it's worth a shot. The more members, the more phone calls and letters that go out, which is our ultimate goal.

I HAVE EARLY WORD ON WHAT THE "ASK" WILL BE FOR THE ECONOMIC HOUSE PARTIES. OFA will be asking for stories from ordinary people who are effected by the recession. Lost your job? Can't find health care? Have a strong, compelling story to tell that will humanize this issue?  They want to know what it is. Write down or videotape it. As soon as I have information for submission, I will post it. In the mean time, sign up to host or attend a house party here.

MovOn.org has a new "letter to the editor" tool for the Economic Recovery Plan.
You type in your zip code, and just follow the directions to send effective letters to all the major news outlets in you area.



UPDATE #4 OBAMA'S OP ED PIECE IN THE WASHINGTON POST

"By now, it's clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression. Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone; millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished. People everywhere are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

That's why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending -- it's a strategy for America's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it's a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We've seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

Every day, our economy gets sicker -- and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now.

Now is the time to protect health insurance for the more than 8 million Americans at risk of losing their coverage and to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years, saving billions of dollars and countless lives in the process.

Now is the time to save billions by making 2 million homes and 75 percent of federal buildings more energy-efficient, and to double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy within three years.

Now is the time to give our children every advantage they need to compete by upgrading 10,000 schools with state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries and labs; by training our teachers in math and science; and by bringing the dream of a college education within reach for millions of Americans.

And now is the time to create the jobs that remake America for the 21st century by rebuilding aging roads, bridges and levees; designing a smart electrical grid; and connecting every corner of the country to the information superhighway.

These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay. They're patient enough to know that our economic recovery will be measured in years, not months. But they have no patience for the same old partisan gridlock that stands in the way of action while our economy continues to slide.

So we have a choice to make. We can once again let Washington's bad habits stand in the way of progress. Or we can pull together and say that in America, our destiny isn't written for us but by us. We can place good ideas ahead of old ideological battles, and a sense of purpose above the same narrow partisanship. We can act boldly to turn crisis into opportunity and, together, write the next great chapter in our history and meet the test of our time."

UPDATE #5 I have revised the talking points to reflect the changing situation in the Senate. Please refer to these when you make your calls. I am also asking that you ask folks to keep recommending this diary. It's at the bottom of the rec list right now, and it would be great if we could keep this visible for another day.

Originally posted to msblucow on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:58 AM PST.

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