Meeting debrief

Last Thursday’s meeting was interesting. Thank you, Collin from FUSE, for explaining the coalition support and legislative advocacy that FUSE WA is busy with year round, and the progressive voters guide and mobilization we see from you around election time.  Thanks, Aaron from the Economic Opportunity Institute, for explaining the think tank work you do on behalf of the people who need it most, providing research and support to FUSE and others. Thanks, Craig from Washington Public Campaigns, for discussing your organization’s mission in the current political climate and where we might be headed.  Some ideas that we batted around include:

  • Create a web based marketplace of ideas
  • Form sub groups chartered with addressing narrower topics
  • Utilize examples that illustrate the human cost of corrupt politics
  • Focus on how people in the past have organized to help themselves (in contrast to reflexively looking to politicians and media, I think)
  • Develop a system for outreach to the dozens of other progressive groups in the area
  • Bond with other progressives through social events–Inside Job, anyone?

Did I miss anything?  Thank you to everyone who was there and thanks for contributing great ideas.  If you have an urge to spearhead one of the above, please contact me so we can talk about how you might go about it.

Sunday through Tuesday MO is offering up a chance to regroup with our progressive neighbors.  If you haven’t gotten an invitation from MO and would like to attend a potluck, please email or call me and I will put you in touch with a host.

Also, I just received an invitation from FUSE to do organizer training in Federal Way Saturday November 20.  If this is something you would like to do, please email me and I’ll hook you up.

Special interest groups pouring money into Republican campaigns

<From http://www.moveon.org/team/campaigns/takeoverreport/news.html&gt;

It’s hard to keep track of all the articles about the impact of corporate and right-wing front groups on elections. Here are just a few of the most important ones to help you prepare for your report release:

Buying Democracy Report Release

MoveOn.org

Political Action

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR                                        

October 12, 2010                              

MoveOn Members Expose Corporate Front-Group Ads, Spending in Washington State Elections

New report details corporate front group spending for Rossi in WA

On Tuesday, October 12, MoveOn members will hold a press conference to release a new report detailing the amount of money right-wing corporate front groups are spending in Washington elections in support of Dino Rossi.

The report shows expenditures made by organizations that exist to do the bidding of the corporations that fund them.  Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited secret corporate spending in politics, front groups funded by Big Oil, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and others, have been spending tens of millions of dollars in support of Republican candidates. By using front-groups, corporations can hide their electoral spending.

Just last week, two of the biggest-spending corporate front groups, the Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS, came under fire. It was reported that some of the $75 million the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending this election cycle came from foreign corporations, while the IRS was asked to investigate the legality of the spending of Karl Rove’s group, Crossroads GPS, which already spent $18 million this election cycle.

“Washington voters have a right to know who is spending all this money in support of Rossi, and why,” said Jeff Graham, a local MoveOn member.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars are pouring into our state from deceptive front groups set up to hide giant contributions from foreign corporations, Big Oil, financial institutions and other corporate interests. The effects on our democracy are devastating. It’s impossible for ordinary voters here to make informed choices or have our voices heard, and with corporate CEOs and lobbyists shelling out big money to buy misleading ads in support of Rossi, he’s going to owe them. Who’s going to represent ordinary families in Washington then?

WHAT:          Report release on corporate front-group spending 

WHO:             MoveOn members

WHERE:       Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 1301 5th Ave

WHEN:          Noon, Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

 

***VISUALS: Signs/crowd ****

 

MoveOn.org Political Action is a political action committee powered by 5 million progressive Americans. We believe in the power of small donors and grassroots action to elect progressive leaders to office and to advance a progressive agenda. We do not accept any donations over $5,000, and the average donation to MoveOn.org Political Action is under $100.

###

Get Famous and Do Some Other Good Stuff

Seattle Council, MoveOn has turned Washington State into a priority campaign. That means leave the laundry unfolded and the dirty dishes in the sink and get out there to Patty Murray’s campaign office where you are desperately needed. Paper plates ’till Nov 3!

http://www.pattymurray.com/

In other news: Yes on 1-1098 (income tax for the rich) is canvassing tomorrow with a 60 Minutes crew in tow–no kidding. Don’t forget this is a VALUES debate–do we want health care and education to be adequately funded in Washington State, or do we do all sorts of handwringing about the opposition’s “slippery slope” arguments (“vote for this and soon you’ll be turning your first born child over to the state!–give them an inch…”) I don’t make anywhere near the target income, but please, someone, come and tax me so our state can do what it is supposed to do–the bidding of the voters. Tax! Please! Go and be famous. Details here:

http://action.yeson1098.com/blastContent.jsp

Then spend the rest of the month working on Patty Murray’s campaign, please. Really. Oh yes, and Tuesday at noon we’ll be hosting a press conference to release data documenting the INSANE amounts of money coming into this election. It comes from corporations, via right wing organizations, for the purpose of purchasing a politician, in this case Rossi. Giant corporations are handing over buckets of cash to get their pet candidate into office. Rossi will be expected to do the bidding of his corporate sponsors, legislating so more wealth and power get funneled toward the already fabulously wealthy. He’ll be more than happy to do this as he has nothing but contempt for regular people anyways. Come by 5th and University Tuesday the 12th at noon to participate in delivering our damning report to the press.
Yours,
Sandra VanderVen
Seattle MoveOn Council Coordinator

Sign up to recruit hosts

Let’s do the math.

Say you volunteer for Murray’s campaign. That’s one person more, that is good.

What if you go to a call party, make some calls, and in so doing, convince 10 people to work for a priority campaign. 10 times as good, right?

So what if you host a call party, 10 people show, and each of those folks recruits 10 MoveOn Members to volunteer for a priority campaign. You have leveraged your 2 hours times 100, right? But wait, it gets even better.

What if you spend a couple of hours calling MoveOn members asking them to host a Stop the Takeover party. What if you are successful, and a couple of people sign up to host?

Now we’re talking.

Think Obama Hasn’t Done Enough? Don’t Believe the Hype.

President Obama hasn’t been able to get everything done he promised in his first 20 months in office.

That’s true, and the news is full of how Democrats are frustrated and discouraged and not “excited” about November’s Election.

BUT WHY IS THIS?

Because Republicans have said NO to everything he wanted to do!

They have filibustered EVERYTHING handed to them!

SO, do we just throw in the towel and give up?

DEMOCRATS, DO YOU WANT TO LOSE EVERYTHING WE’VE FOUGHT SO HARD TO WIN?

We can’t afford to lose what Democratic Congress HAS accomplished — LOOK AT THE LIST!  We should be PROUD of our Democratic accomplishments and willing to fight for them:

  • Passed Historic Health Care Reform requiring Insurance Companies to cover all children until age 26, prevented them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, prevented them from canceling insurance because you get sick, ended lifetime limits on coverage, and set up Insurance Exchanges to allow for more competition and increased coverage of 37M Americans by 2014
  • Expanded Medicaid & SCHIP Health Coverage for millions of Children
  • Held BP accountable for the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill with a $20B damages fund
  • Funded the “Cash for Clunkers” program that saved the car dealership industry
  • Set up mortgage and foreclosure reform to help save millions from losing their homes
  • Closed the Medicare “Donut-Hole” for millions of Senior Citizens
  • Created the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” now being set up by Elizabeth Warren
  • A “new” Green Energy Jobs program
  • Consumer Credit Card “Bill of Rights”
  • Doubling Green Energy Research Funding
  • Ended ban on Federal Funds for Stem Cell Research
  • Enacted the Matthew Shepard “Hate Crimes Prevention Act”
  • Ended the ban on Global Warming Research
  • Fully funded the VA and expanded medical and mental health coverage
  • Fully funded the “Violence Against Women Act”
  • Funded National Endowment for the Arts
  • Hosted Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks for 1st time in 20 years
  • Hosted a Nuclear Disarmament Summit, promising to cut Nuclear Weapons by 1/3
  • Increased Funding to AmeriCorp and our National Parks System
  • Increased Funding for our National Parks System
  • Increased Funding for Pell Grants
  • Increased Unemployment Benefits for Millions of Americans suffering from the Economy
  • Passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, ensuring equal pay for equal work for all women
  • Approved tax cuts for the Middle Class through the Stimulus passed to help save the Economy
  • Passed the Economic Stimulus Package and created 2.5M jobs with Stimulus Package
  • Raised the fuel economy standards for vehicles to 33.5 MPG
  • Reformed Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Standards
  • Historic Wall Street Reform legislation
  • Passed tax credits for hybrids and electric vehicles
  • Saved US from the “Next Great Depression” by preventing a total collapse of the Banking System
  • Ended the Iraq War by removing 100,000 troops from Iraq and changing US Mission in Iraq
  • Kept Social Security Benefits safe and not privatized

DO YOU THINK ANY OF THIS  WOULD HAVE PASSED UNDER REPUBLICAN RULE?

DO YOU WANT THESE THINGS REPEALED?

We can’t afford to go back to the policies of Bush and the Republicans!

  • $6 TRILLION National Debt!
  • 8.5 Million jobs Lost!
  • 2 totally unfunded, unnecessary wars [Iraq & Afghanistan]
  • The financial “collapse” of 2008
  • The “Great Recession of 2009/10”
  • Increased Global Terrorism
  • Decreased Worldwide Public opinion about the US
  • Increase in Iranian regional power
  • Katrina aftermath and regional neglect
  • North Korea now having nuclear weapons
  • Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires instead of Middle Class Americans
  • Highest Poverty Rate in 50 years!
  • Increasing Islamaphobia and push for WWIII
  • Guantanemo Bay and Torture policies contrary to the Geneva Conventions
  • Racial tensions and prejudice re: Immigration and immigrants

AND DEMOCRATS, WE HAVE SO MUCH LEFT TO DO!

Here’s some of the possibilities:

  • End Corporate “personhood” and reverse “Citizens United” ruling
  • Break up the biggest banks and end “Too Big to Fail”
  • Bring all our Troops home from Iraq AND Afghanistan
  • End Warrantless wiretaps
  • Cut Global warming emissions
  • Shift from dependence on oil to alternative energy systems
  • Ensure a Progressive, Liberal Supreme Court
  • Support continued home foreclosure relief
  • Pass significant immigration reform and support current immigrants in a path to citizenship
  • Close Guantanemo Bay and end US torture policies contrary to the Geneva Conventions
  • Repeal “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” Policies
  • Reduce Nuclear proliferation and ensure safe storage and protection of current nuclear stockpiles
  • Approve Gay Marriage and full equal rights for all Americans
  • Medicare Buy-In before 65 and/or Single Payer healthcare

Please — Consider the “alternative”….VOTE “D” ON NOVEMBER 2nd.

GET ALL YOUR FRIENDS TO VOTE “D” ON NOVEMBER 2.

IF DEMOCRATS VOTE, DEMOCRATS WIN and OUR COUNTRY WINS!

— Donna Ertel Riley

PCO, Sandy Point Precinct/Langley, Whidbey Island, WA

The Other 98%

What would happen if the U.S. Government was beholden to only one interest group–its citizens?  Only 2% of We the People can afford lobbyist representation.  I am not among them, and chances are, neither are you.  What would this country be like if lobbyist activity was restricted much more than it already is?  What if corporations didn’t fund our elections, making the winner beholden to his or her corporate sponsors, and our elected officials could vote their consciences?  What if corporations did not receive the same constitutional protections enjoyed by U.S. citizens, allowing them to buy elections?

Unscrupulous, greedy people have turned our image of government into a cartoon.  The whole concept has been slimed, implying it is “us” vs. “them”.  What happened to, “of the people, by the people, for the people”?  What happened to it is corporate influence.

The conversation we should be having about government is how it can best help us live more satisfying lives.  But this debate has been co-opted by conservative (in this day and age a misnomer) think tanks and TV stations, to name a few things; funded by, guess who, giant corporations who stand to benefit from diverting the government’s limited resources toward maximizing their profits.  Some folks have bought the message that what helps corporate bottom lines will also help average citizens.  These same characters were in control during the Reagan years, the first and second dynasties of Bush, and to some extent the Clinton years.  The economic agenda they implemented has made life for my generation much harder than my parents’.  There are as many harsh realities as there are people–people who can’t afford to buy healthful food and instead get fat and malnourished at the same time by eating fast food (*see Texas), people who are reduced to living off of credit cards to stave off foreclosure, people who face financial ruin because of a family member’s illness, people who can’t retire because the financial meltdown stole their savings.  We know these people.  This is not theoretical.  Poverty and homelessness are ever on the rise.  Compare this with the economics of past decades, when a household required the income of only one adult to stay afloat, retirement was something people could look forward to, and kids who had the inclination and ability could attend college without undue financial burden being inflicted on the family. Government isn’t functioning on our behalf anymore, clearly.  Economic policy, written and voted on by members of congress, created the reality that we live in.  This was no “invisible hand”.
If we resolved that elections should be publicly funded, that the constitution doesn’t exist to protect and promote corporate interests, and that you and I should be as powerful as someone who has enough money to hire lobbyists, our government would then begin to function “of the people, by the people and for the people”.  We would be able to make a living, we’d be able to raise and educate kids.  Instead, we find ourselves mired in this endless economic scramble, watching corporate greed win over and over.

Government needs to exist; in fact, it should be robust, and do our bidding.  I am in support of changing the rules of our Democracy so that it functions on behalf of the Other 98%.

Sandra VanderVen, Seattle MoveOn Council Coordinator