Conservatives hold majorities in the U.S. Congress and in the WA State Senate, yet there has never been a better time for progressives to make our voices heard. The slide into economic and political oligarchy provides no benefits to working people, and when they look for alternatives, we must seize the opportunity to show them how a progressive economic agenda will create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment and provide health care for all. Candidates who support such an agenda will earn support and votes from a populace disillusioned by income inequality and tired of playing a game that is rigged by powerful interests against the rest of us. We hope you find this website informative and that you will consider joining the Washington State Progressive Caucus.
By Brian Gunn and Martha Koester [Note: links in this article are to pages not affiliated with waprogressives.org]
On November 13, President Obama held a press conference in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. At the table with the President were individuals like former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen; Jim Baker, former Treasury Secretary; and Colin Powell, former Secretary of State. Also present was Henry Kissinger. When the President announced that all these folks were in agreement with him, progressives around the country knew they were not going to like what they were about to hear. They were right. Here's what the president said:
...if we fail to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership done, if we do not create the architecture for high-standards trade and commerce in this region, then that void will be filled by China, it will be filled by our economic competitors.
At the same time that Obama was promising that under the TPP labor and environmental standards will be observed in Asia "just as they are here, so that we create a level playing field," a Vietnamese labor activist was accusing authorities of beating and detaining her just for talking to workers who had complained that foreign-owned companies had illegally fired them from their jobs. Human rights activists have noted that Vietnamese officials may have behaved well during the TPP negotiations, but now that the deal is inked, and it is clear that the labor provisions of the Agreement are unenforceable, they are back to their old tricks of harassing workers who dare to complain that $6.45 a day is not sufficient pay. What kind of level playing field is that?
Watch and share the embedded video to the right to learn more. Then read on "below the fold" to find out what you can do to stop what many are calling "NAFTA on steroids."
The Washington Secretary of State accepted more than 337,000 petition signatures for Initiative 735 before the December 31, 2015 deadline. Initiatives to the Legislature need at least 246,372 valid signatures to be certified. Elections Division officials suggest about 325,000 signatures to cover duplicate or invalid signatures. It is very likely that enough signatures were submitted to do a 3 percent sample check of those signatures instead of a full-blown review of every signature brought in.
If a review shows there are enough valid signatures, Secretary of State Wyman will certify the results, sending the measure to the Legislature. There, three things can happen: 1) the Legislature enacts the initiative, thus making it state law; 2) the Legislature fails to take action on it, automatically putting the measure on the 2016 General Election ballot; or 3) the Legislature approves an alternative to the original initiative, with both winding up together on the 2016 fall ballot.
The initiative calls on Congress to amend the US Constitution to clarify that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money. If passed, Washington will be the 17th state to call for an amendment to address corporate personhood and money as speech.
WSPC endorsed the initiative and many of our members helped collect the signed petitions that were turned in to the Secretary of State. In particular we wish to acknowledge and applaud the efforts of Steve Zemke, a WSPC Board Member at Large, who served as State Field Director for the signature drive.
It should be noted that given the current political climate in Olympia, the Legislature is unlikely to pass the initiative into law. That being the case, this summer activists will have to get back to work to get voters to fill in the "Yes" bubble for I-735 on their ballots in November.
[Unions for Single Payer sent the following message on Jan. 04, 2016]
More in Congress Sign On As Co-Sponsors of HR 676, Single Payer Healthcare Bill
In December 2015 six representatives, Danny Davis (IL), Grace Napolitano (CA), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), Jerry McNerney (CA), Robin Kelly (IL), and Alan Lowenthal (CA), added their names as cosponsors on HR 676, Congressman John Conyers' Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, the national single payer legislation.
The total number of cosponsors is now 59, not including chief sponsor Conyers.
The more cosponsors that are added, the more quickly this real solution becomes politically viable. The more representatives who speak boldly for HR 676, the higher single payer advances on the nation's agenda.
Call your representative and ask her or him to sign on to HR 676. The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Ask to speak to your representative by name. If you need to look up a representative, you can do sohere.
When talking with representatives who have already signed on, encourage them to speak up for HR 676 on the House floor, to the press, in town hall meetings, and to put their support for HR 676 on their website. If they need further information, spend the time to bring the facts about HR 676 to their attention. This clear and simplestatement of Dr. Marcia Angellmay help.