Southern Poverty Law Center: Rep. Matt Shea funding far-right hate groups

“Embattled conspiracy theorist and Washington state Republican Rep. Matt Shea has been skirting Washington state law to funnel campaign contributions to far-right nonprofit groups in Colorado and Arizona, a Hatewatch investigation reveals.”

Embattled Washington Rep. Matt Shea is skirting state law to funnel campaign funds to far-right groups

 

(Related:

Spokane GOP leader authors ‘Biblical Basis for War’ manifesto calling for end to abortion, same-sex marriage and death of enemies who disagree

FBI investigating Washington state rep. for manifesto urging ‘all males will be killed’
)

The Nation article on the Pentagon’s massive fraud and waste

See The Nation article Exclusive: The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed: How US military spending keeps rising even as the Pentagon flunks its audit. or download and listen to this audio Inside the Pentagon: First-Ever Audit Exposes Massive Accounting Fraud.

For exampe:

[T]here were no ledger entries or receipts to back up how that $6.5 trillion supposedly was spent. Indeed, more than 16,000 records that might reveal either the source or the destination of some of that $6.5 trillion had been “removed,” the inspector general’s office reported.

“In all, at least a mind-boggling $21 trillion of Pentagon financial transactions between 1998 and 2015 could not be traced, documented, or explained, concluded Skidmore. ”

As one congressional staffer with long experience investigating Pentagon budgets, speaking on background because of the need to continue working with DoD officials, told The Nation, “We don’t know how the Pentagon’s money is being spent. We know what the total appropriated funding is for each year, but we don’t know how much of that funding gets spent on the intended programs, what things actually cost, whether payments are going to the proper accounts. If this kind of stuff were happening in the private sector, people would be fired and prosecuted.”

“The absurdly huge plugs never even get asked about at Armed Services and Budget Committee hearings. ”

I wonder what Rep. Adam Smith will do about this. He’s the incoming chair of the House Armed Services Committee.  At recent debates and town hall meetings he often mentioned the upcoming audit (and wistfully hoped it would actually happen).

Related article: America’s Post-9/11 Wars Have Cost $5.9 Trillion “Not to mention 240,000 civilian deaths and 21 million displaced. And yet a congressional commission is urging yet more money for a bloated Pentagon.”

Can Rep. Adam Smith move the needle on military spending, secrecy, and adventurism?

Starting in January, Rep. Adam Smith (WA, D, 9th CD) will be the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

Rep. Adam Smith is called a progressive, and a great hope for pacifists, in this Politico article Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup. (The title they chose for the article is rather unfortunate.)

Adam Smith also wrote an article in Defense One decrying Pentagon secrecy: The Pentagon’s Getting More Secretive — and It’s Hurting National Security.

Though Adam Smith is not as progressive as his opponent Sarah Smith, he is a smart, reasonable guy who “gets it” about military waste, secrecy, and adventurism.

Adam Smith is mentioned, more critically, in this Counterpunch article Will the new House Dems take on the War Lobby?. The article points out that Adam Smith received $261,450 in campaign cash from the arms industry in the 2018 election cycle.

Given the power of the Blob (military industrial complex) reining it in is a formidable task. But Smith gets it. He has been moving to the left with his district.

This is an issue where we can move the needle.  Of course, we need to do this responsibly!

I know Smith personally.  I often ask questions at his town hall meetings, and he must know about this website. I told him many times that the country needs to rein in military spending and close some of the 800 military bases in more than 70 countries. The majority of military interventions in the last 75 years have had negative outcomes for the U.S. and the world — aside from the outrageous cost in lives, suffering, and money.

Smith phoned me during the campaign to solicit my support, so this issue is something I care deeply about.  I would even consider quitting my job to work on this full time if I knew I can make progress.

BTW, Trump ran to the left of Hillary on both the economy and military affairs.

U.S. Has Spent Six Trillion Dollars on Wars That Killed Half a Million People Since 9/11, Report Says “In sum, high costs in war and war-related spending pose a national security concern because they are unsustainable,” the report concluded. “The public would be better served by increased transparency and by the development of a comprehensive strategy to end the wars and deal with other urgent national security priorities.”

AG Ferguson’s 15th consecutive legal victory against federal government forces FERC to hand over public records

“As a result of Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has provided hundreds of pages of communications not previously made public, including documents that show commissioners privately considered a proposal that would have subsidized coal- and nuclear-based power. FERC must pay $23,500 in attorney costs and fees to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

This is Ferguson’s 15th consecutive legal victory against the federal government since President Donald Trump took office. The state of Washington has not lost a case against the federal government since January 2017.”

People for Climate Action

Cities Climate Action Summit:
We can do this!

People for Climate Action’s “Cities Climate Action Summit: We can do this!” was held on November 17th in Kirkland.

PCA is delighted that so many enthusiastic climate concerned members of our communities joined in the discussion on local climate action opportunities. We look forward to your engagement in our future efforts. Thank you!

Jan Keller speaks at the summit

Summit Slide Deck

The slide deck used during our Summit is available from the PCA Resources page.

A Few Useful Links

Climate Action Plans

If you want links to climate action plans from other cities, or to other organizations in the field of climate action planning, please let us know, or contact members of your local PCA group.

State Senator Maralyn Chase’s concession speech

First of all I want to thank the many people and organizations who have supported me. I was honored by, and proud of, my record as a Democrat and representative of a growing number of people who want to see Medicare for All, the best quality public education, tax fairness, living wage jobs, equal justice with affirmative action and police accountability, affordable housing, and campaign finance reform. I am especially proud of my work to protect the Puget Sound environment, to promote clean energy technology, and mitigate the dire effects of climate change. I look forward to continuing my work with you, the public, to support these policies and principles.

I was one of the first members of the legislature to endorse Bernie Sanders’ campaign and in Tuesday’s election, we saw voters send record numbers of women to Congress who represent a powerful growing movement rising out of Occupy, Black Lives Matter and the Sanders’ campaign. These new women in Congress represent formerly marginalized groups including: Native American, African American, Muslim American, Hispanic American and LGBTQ2 American women. These electoral victories validate my positions on equity, affirmative action and access to the vote. It also validates that people can overcome their prejudices, and become stronger when they refuse to be pitted one against another by those who would profit from their division.

People need to know that this divisive, democrat on democrat campaign for state senate was driven by big money in politics and biased journalism. When people understand that Monsanto, the pro-charter school PAC, Stand for Children, and REALTOR PAC expect legislators to deliver legislation that contradicts tax fairness, that dips into our public school funds for private charter enterprises and undermines the democratic process, they may be shocked.

I want people to know that we can achieve our vision for a just, sustainable and healthy life, if the wealthiest Washingtonians would only pay even half of what they owe on their taxes. Please go to the records in the Department of Revenue 2016 Tax Exemption Study and look at the charts in the introduction and summary of findings. Then look at Chapter 17 on property tax exemptions. When the highest income earners pay minimal or no property taxes it shifts the tax burden to middle and lower income taxpayers who must then pay more taxes.

Some exemptions are for the common good, e.g. tax credits to help people put solar panels on their homes. With an extra $50B a year in tax funding, we could fund every school, fix every road, provide healthcare for all, boost small businesses that provide so many jobs, fund clean technology and jobs training, and protect the Puget Sound.

People are suffering deprivations caused by the manipulation of our government and electoral process by the wealthiest among us. They undermine our cohesion as a people, numb us to the suffering of our neighbors and cause increasing levels of hostility. Now more than ever we should be united in opposition to those people and organizations that would pit us against one another to rob us of the beautiful lives and abundant wealth our work has created.

We know what we stand for and we will continue to fight.

Maralyn Chase

Notes from Post Midterm Elections National Strategy Call to Win Medicare For All

by local activists

11/13/2018

You can listen to the recording here: https://medicare4all.org/event/nov13call/

“It is not going to be an easy fight as the drug companies and insurance companies buy politicians and sell out their constituents every single day.” – Bernie Sanders

Post Midterm National Strategy Call to Win Medicare for All / HR 676

Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 2018, 5PM

National Nurses United with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Nina Turner (Our Revolution), Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bonnie Castillo (National Nurses United)

Jasmine Ruddy, moderator, National Nurses United — Moderator

We’ll hear from special guests and then talk about next steps in the movement to fight for Medicare For All: Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Nina Turner, Bonnie Castillo, Bernie Sanders and leaders of organizations for healthcare justice from across the country

Overview

We want to work together to help the Democrats pass HR 676/Medicare for All in the U.S. House. We need a massive grassroots movement to lobby members to sign-on. We’ll talk about why HR 676 is strategic, how get there, the role that the activists are playing, exactly what all of you on the call can do. We now have over a thousand people on this call.

Where we’re going and how get there. Healthcare justice is growing, can’t rely on electoral process to get there. We have to go deep into our communities, doing the groundwork to make it happen will be a deciding factor for victory.

Nurses care about their patients, many of whom suffer and die without care. Our solidarity is eliminating the inequalities. Roll up our sleeves and get to work for victory.

Nina Turner: Thanks to the National Nurses United who have been on the front lines with a vision for having Medicare For All. It is popular across the political spectrum now. In words of Nelson Mandela, “it always seems impossible until we are done.” All Democrats must support Medicare for All so we can have the best healthcare that our tax dollars can buy. We are going to make sure the Democrats will lead on this, stand up for the people, the grass tops — going to push the Democrats to do this, no excuse for any elected Representative to not support this issue.

We can’t have any other great thing in this country if people don’t have their healthcare. People shouldn’t have to make a choice between their medical bills and paying the rent. People are too afraid to go to the doctor if they can’t afford it.

Pramila Jayapal: Thank you for your vision, this is an idea whose time has come. Medicare for All is not a radical idea. Healthcare is not just for the rich and for the wealthy. Bernie used his campaign to lift up Medicare for All. We know that HR 676, John Conyers’ bill, now has a record of 123 co-sponsors. We are ready to stand up for what we believe in, we have the ground power. We will be introducing this bill, HR 676 in the U.S. House. There will be an inside-outside strategy– get your member to sign on.

Senator Bernie Sanders: Physicians see patients walking into their offices with terminal situations. Thousands of Americans die every single year because they are under insured.

Last year drug companies made $50B in profits and the American people are catching on to that reality. We are being attacked daily by Trump and his minions as they read the same polls as we do. Latest polls show that about 70% of American and a majority of Republicans want to expand Medicare for all. That’s why so many Republicans and pharmaceutical companies are getting very nervous.

When Trump attacks us it should not shock you, he is lying once again. Medicare for All does not weaken Medicare, it will strengthen it. We will expand benefits to include dental care, hearing aids, vision care, all the very important services.

Medicare For All will also be a program that will help small and medium businesses at a cost they can afford. Medicare for All is important for working people who are often trapped in jobs they do not like. The passage of Medicare for All would allow them to think about the economic opportunities they haven’t been able to consider because their families would have healthcare as a right. It is not going to be an easy fight. The drug companies and insurance companies have almost unlimited funds to buy politicians and sell out their constituents every single day. We are not going to succeed unless we tell politicians they have to do what the people want and that’s when we’ll finally get guaranteed healthcare. We need grassroots activity to make it happen, we will then transform America in a way that is a very big deal — lets stand up, lets fight back. This is an historical struggle and will transform America. Thank you all.

Strategy:

Lobbying Congress

For those new to the movement, there are two bills in congress: the Senate bill– S1804 has 16 cosponsors; the House bill– HR 676 has 123 co-sponsors. We now have a real opportunity to move HR 676 in the U.S. House in January. We want two committees to hold hearings and then move HR 676 forward to floor of the house. There are two crucial committees in the House— Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce. We really need the chairs and members of both committees to support HR 676.

We must prioritize our activism on this work. We must move both of these bills forward in these two committees, then members of Congress cannot ignore Medicare for All.

Working with a member of Congress (example: Joe Kennedy of MA)

-build a coalition: nurses, doctors, students, labor, etc.

-sign on letter from over 30 organizations from members in your district and from their national organizations

-social media day of action: Facebook, Twitter

-stand outside supermarkets and got over 250 calls, that’s when we finally heard back from our Congressional member

-he told us he does support HR 676 but has a few issues with the text of the bill

Building Coalitions

We worked on the Affordable Care Act but what people really wanted was Medicare for All. Our goal is to meet at least twice with every Congressional member and create a national network.

Democratic Socialists of America

We have chapters in all 50 states; grown by over 600% in last two years; canvassing on a daily basis. By doing this we find either people are not home or they want Medicare for All! Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot!

National Nurses United

We organized in two states– in Florida and Texas. We contacted non-union nurses work and worked with a core. Now have active groups throughout each of these states. The calling card is Medicare for All as a public policy. Our recent urgency was working on two campaigns — gubernatorial race in Florida and U.S. Senate race in Texas. Needed to have the proper technology so we used RN lists then sent texts via a computerized system to about 200,000 non-union nurses. From this effort we now have 3,000 nurses as the committed core. We set up meetings and talked about what a campaign might look like. Over 2,000 came to these classes.

California Medicare Campaign

Knock on every door, largely led by the nurses. We had over 350 all volunteer canvassers and knocked on 24,000 doors. This was not just about talking to likely voters but having as many conversations as we can. When legislators tell us that they have received over 100 calls on this issue then we know we will win because of people power.

Organizing to Win Medicare for All

What Improved Medicare means is everyone will now have vision, dental, get rid of out of pocket costs. It does not hurt anyone’s Medicare — makes it even better. Trump knows how powerful our campaign is and he will come after us. Seniors love their Medicare and they will be our best fighters for Medicare for All.

Physicians for a National Health Program

It’s an exciting time but also a dangerous moment on two fronts: insurance companies are forming a resistance. They are going to pour money into Washington DC as well as put forward half measures to dilute Medicare for All such as public options and under-insurance. We are so pleased there is so much energy on this call. Nationwide there is now a 70% support for Medicare for All. In our experiences as nurses and doctors the only solution is single payer/Medicare for All healthcare.

National Nurses United, Organizing for HR 676

1) We want all the members of the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committees to co-sponsor HR 676 then we will have a real shot at passing this bill in the House.

2) We must pressure them by building support in their districts, develop key committees, talk to people across the country, ask for their support, and call into these districts. The ask will be to call members of Congress to support our Medicare for All bill — HR 676. We need mass numbers of people to call into these offices to pressure Reps to co-sponsor this legislation.

3) From Feb. 9th-13th we will do as many mass barnstorms as possible: organizing meetings, hear from a variety of speakers, canvass, and phone bank. National Nurses United is committed to barnstorm in CA (Pelosi, Cardenas, Ruiz, Peters) MA (Joe Kennedy) TX (San Antonio). Organize barnstorms where you live– focus on Suzan DelBene in WA on the House Ways and Means Committee.

4) With mass collective action together we will win Medicare for All, so deeply grateful to you and for all of your work.

###

Here is a discussion by the Young Turks about the fight for Medicare for All:

Trump’s criminality

Following Trump’s money exposes the awful truth: Our president is a ‘financial vampire’

“Americans were confronted Tuesday with a profound problem, one that challenges our commitment to accountable democratic government and justice. It is an awful truth that we must face now that the New York Times has published a richly documented, 14,000-word expose alleging decades of deeply corrupt Trump family finances.”
Vampire Trump