Telco Fights Move to the States

As Matt Stoller has pointed out, the next great fights over the future of the Internet won't be in Congress, but in the 50 states. The fights won't just be over net neutrality, but about broadband access, municipal wireless, and whether the Internet will be a public infrastructure like roads and sewers or a private infrastructure dedicated only to making profits for the telcos who control it.

The upcoming legislative sessions in 2007 will be a key battle over the future of the Internet. And make no mistake, the telecom companies and their rightwing allies are well-prepared for this fight. In state after state, the Telcos have launched campaigns to prohibit municipal wireless. And they're prepared with a mix of industry-funded think tanks, legislators, lobbyists, and astroturf organizations to bring the fight again on issues ranging from muni wi-fi to universal access laws.

Fortunately, progressives also have a great opportunity. Like renewable energy, broadband expansion is an issue that can create new coalitions, provide a positive agenda, and unite our base if tackled properly. Executed well, expanded broadband increases democracy, grows the economy, and can even help make key advances in energy efficiency.

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MT-Sen: Today Decides the Future of the Democratic Party

For the past year, an uphill battle has been fought in Montana. Insurgent candidate Jon Tester started well behind presumptive nominee John Morrison in the race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Morrison has already won statewide twice and is known for his intense fundraising ability. Tester was President of the Senate, but still worked his farm full time and had never had to raise more than $15,000 for a race in his life.

But if there was ever a time when you've got believe, the time is now. Because Jon Tester, a prairie populist in the mold of Tom Harkin, Byron Dorgan, and Brian Schweitzer, is now poised to win the Democratic primary just one week from today. But he still needs your help.

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Sen-06: Progressive 5 Now Down to Three

Last winter, The Nation recognized that the 2006 elections could be a moment of change not just within the United States, but within the Democratic Party. We had a unique opportunity to send a truly great class of freshman Senators into the hall of Congress. Their list of potentials was wonderful: Congressmen Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown graduating into the Senate, and challengers Patty Wetterling, Matt Brown, and Jon Tester rising as voices of progressive populism. Wetterling, Brown, and Tester all had tough primaries to overcome.

So tough, in fact, that only one remains: Jon Tester.

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MT-Sen. Another Republican, Another Fake Charity

The fake charity seems to be an increasingly popular fundraising mechanism for Republican politicians to grease the wheels of their operatives.

We've had Bill Frist's AIDS charity that spent one in nine of its dollars on Frist's inner circle of advisors.

We've had Jack Abramoff's Capital Athletic Fund, an organization dedicated (in name only) to helping get young people involved in sports. Less than 1% of its budget went to such activities.

Tom DeLay had his faux children's charity that was probably funded by another sham Abramoff charity.

And Conrad Burns has the Inland Northwest Space Association (INSA) and the U.S.-Asia Network.

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Target Roy Blunt

In 2004, the netroots backed Richard Morrison and kept Tom Delay hunkered down in Houston. It was easy. All we had to do was give a candidate the money to remind Delay's district of just dishonest he is.

What keeps us from doing the same with Roy Blunt?

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MT: GOP Hits New Low, Attacks Schweitzer's Dog

If you want to see what happens to a Republican Party in disarray, look no further than Montana, where the state Republicans have started attacking Brian Schweitzer's dog on trumped up charges.

The Montana Republicans publish a weekly newsletter called the E-Brief. The document has proven laughable and occasionally divisive. In recent weeks, they've taken to attacking progressive Montana bloggers like David Sirota and me.

But this week, they've sunk further, by attacking Brian Schweitzer's dog.

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Cleaning up Washington -- Updated

Yesterday Frontier PAC launched the Reform Now! petition, aimed at sending a message to Democratic leadership that the grassroots will support a real anticorruption agenda of reform. I hope that MyDD readers will join me in standing up to those in our own party who want to block Chairman Dean and other Reform Democrats from getting voters to hold the GOP responsible for their Culture of Corruption.

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MT-Sen: The $1,000 Challenge Wrap-Up

For the past week, Left in the West has been raising money for US Senate candidate Jon Tester. We've beaten our goal of raising $1,000, but we still have a matching donation offer.

This week, we've spoken a lot about Jon Tester's integrity, his character, and his ability to get things done. We told you about his backbone when it comes to human rights, when it comes to standing up against sexual and domestic violence. We told you about his foresight on pesticide issues and farm economics. Heck, we didn't even get to his leadership on conservation issues or rural economic development (we need something to use in the third quarter fundraising push). But there's another question we haven't yet addressed fully: Can Jon Tester win?

Given that this has been the strongest criticism of the man, it only seems right that we address it. So let's all say it together, Jon Tester will beat Conrad Burns. And that, as they say, is a good thing.

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MT-Sen. An Organic Farmer with Organic Support

From the diaries--Chris

[Update] We're now only $20 short of our original $1,000 goal. Please give. A hearty thank-you to all who already have.

[Update2] "Liesa Reynolds" of Left in the West has written a post on Tester's record on sexual and domestic violence.

[UPDATE3] Success! $1,030 raised!

This is the third day of Left in the West's $1,000 challenge, which seeks to raise $1,000 for US Senate candidate Jon Tester. Today, LITW writer Lamnidae looks at Tester's switch to organic farming.--MS

I was talking to Sen. Jon Tester this weekend and he told me a story that I think perfectly sums up the reason that I support his candidacy. I was asking him about his decision to switch to organic farming in the mid-90's and why he made that decision. He told about running his boom sprayers for several days and then spending a week recovering from the exposure to the chemicals. He realized that this way of life wasn't a sustainable decision for him or his family.

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MT-Sen.: Standing Tall v. Running Scared

Cross-posted from an entry at Left in the West by my co-blogger, the pseudonymous V. --MS

I am a Jon Tester supporter for a number of reasons.  One of the major ones is that I know that he is unwilling to compromise on some of the issues that are the most important to me.  Not compromising on the equal protection of the law for all people and a strong sense of reverence for our Constitution represents a clear distinction between him and John Morrison.  When the bigot coalition contacted State Auditor Morrison, an incumbent running against Duane Grimes a state senator from Clancy, John Morrison looked closely at the polls and thought that it would hurt him too much politically not to sign on with the bigots, even though he was running what I considered to be a fairly safe race.  He has since apologized, and that does make him better than most.  Folks who recognize that they are not perfect and take the responsibility for their own actions make this state a better place, but all the same, even Conrad Burns was luke warm about changing the Constitution for political gains.

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