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Bernie: Get Ready to be Screwed

Dear Bernie,

You chose to run in the the Democratic Party primaries. You are an independent progressive and have been fighting the big money interests for decades. Because of that, get ready to be screwed.

At the highest level, the Democratic Party is run by its big contributors. It has devised a primary system designed to nominate one of its own, Hillary. Really, you have virtually no chance of getting that nomination.

Here is one reason: 30% of all delegates to the convention are "Superdelegates" not chosen by the voters. They are politicians who have succeeded in the big money, Citizens United/McCutcheon system of campaign finance. So far, 451 of the 712 Superdelegates have announced their support of Hillary. Only 19 support you. So she is getting 96% of the Superdelegates. If that continues, she will amass a total of 683 Superdelegates; you will have 29.

Hillary will then will need only 509 of the 1670 delegates chosen by voters. You will need to win 1163 of those delegates.

Hillary can secure the nomination by winning only 30% of the voter-chosen delegates. But you have to earn 70% of those delegates. In other words, you can beat Hillary in the primaries and caucuses by better than 2-1 and still lose the nomination.

"Democratic" Party, indeed.

- Ralphie Buffalo

Scalia Dead; Obama Can Get a New Justice, Maybe without Republicans

Antonin Scalia died on February 13. Obama might be able to nominate a justice and have that person confirmed by a Democratic-majority Senate. The Democrats have a reasonably good chance to retake the Senate majority in the November 2016 election (8 seats now held by Dems are up; 17 seats now held by Rs are up). The 2017 session of Congress starts January 3, 2017. Obama does not leave office until January 20, 2017. So he can nominate the next justice during that 17-day period in the 115th Congress and get confirmation from a Democratic-majority Senate, regardless of who wins the 2016 election for President.

Not enough time in January 2017, you say? Obama could nominate much earlier than that, in the 114th Congress, so that all the hearings would be concluded prior to January 2017.

The minority Rs in January 2017 would filibuster, you say? The Democrats could use the "Constitutional option," as they did in 2011 over a bill about Chinese currency manipulation. The filibuster can be eliminated any time a majority in the Senate want to eliminate it. But the Democrats have been exceedingly weak in exercising that authority, when they have had Senate majorities.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/harry-reid-senate-precedent_n_9...

Statement on Executions in Saudi Arabia

The Oregon Progressive Party opposes the death penalty and deplores the mass execution of 47 people by Saudi Arabia, including the peaceful Shia cleric, Sheik Nimr Al-Nimr. These were only the latest of 157 executions committed by Saudi Arabia during the past year. These executions, coupled with Saudi Arabia's ending of the ceasefire in Yemen, have dramatically escalated tensions in the region.

Similarities certainly exist between these executions, which included beheadings, to those committed by ISIS, so roundly denounced by the western press and governments in order to build support for continuing and growing military intervention in the affairs of Middle Eastern nations.

The reaction of the American government to the ISIS committed executions differs from its reaction to these Saudi Arabian executions. Rather than commit military resources to the defeat of Saudi Arabia as we have with ISIS, the United States instead approved military contracts worth tens of millions of dollar to them. As reported by Paul Gottinger in Reader Supported News, the U.S. recently approved contracts with Raytheon ($24 million), Advanced Electronics ($12 million), and Boeing (multi-millions).

The status of the United States as the world's largest military weapons manufacturer and exporter, selling to the world's worst violators of human rights, enrages people around the world, making America less safe. The resources which America spends on war would be best spent on the needs of the American people, as well as people around the world. Instead, America uses those funds to build up the military-industrial-Congressional complex and enrich the CEO's of Amecian military contractors.

Source: http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/34426-focus-us-appro...

Statement on U.S. Military Interventions in Middle East

United States foreign policy in the Middle East has been a policy of forced regime change for decades. A few examples include:

  • 1953 overthrow of the elected Iranian government of Mossadegh by U.S. and British forces
     
  • 1958 U.S. invasion of Lebanon with 15,000 troops
     
  • 1963 CIA-aided coup deposing the Qasim government of Iraq, which 5 years earlier had ousted the U.S.-allied Iraqi monarchy
     
  • 2002 invasion of Afghanistan, followed by a decade+ of occupation
     
  • 2003 invasion of Iraq, followed by a decade+ of occupation

The U.S. has been pushing regime change in Syria since at least 2001. These policies should end.

U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost thousands of American lives, tens of thousands of grievously injured Americans, and the lives of hundreds of thousands Afghanis and Iraqis. They have displaced millions of Afghanis and Iraqis who fled their homes to save their lives. $2 trillion American taxpayer dollars have been spent. The wars have accomplished nothing, apart from creating an environment that bred the creation of ISIS and allowed it to thrive and expand.  Now the U.S. is pursuing the same counterproductive policies to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

John Pilger wrote in 2014:

A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today's Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of a US-made apocalypse, this time in Southeast Asia. . . .

Al-Qaeda - like Pol Pot's "jihadists" - seized the opportunity provided by the onslaught of "shock and awe" and the civil war that followed. "Rebel" Syria offered even greater rewards, with CIA and Gulf state ratlines of weapons, logistics and money running through Turkey. . . .

ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington, London and Paris who, in conspiring to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS is the mutation of a Western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great distance. Their culpability is unmentionable in "our" societies, making accomplices of those who suppress this critical truth.

All human life should be protected. French warplanes carried out airstrikes in urban Syrian areas using its 12 jet fighters based in Jordan and the U.A.E. for months prior to the brutal killing of innocents in France. The government of France saw no outrage in bombing the Syrians.  Nor does the U.S. government.

The solution is not more war. The solution is for western powers (particularly the U.S.) to stop their decades-long practice of military intervention to create or prop up compliant regimes, regardless of the wishes of the people who live there.

Delusional Democrats

A recent poll for the Pew Center finds that only liberal Democrats think that they are "winning" more than "losing" on issues that are important to them.  I guess constant military adventures, the continuing destruction of the middle class, the rise of the billionaire class, and the two-tier justice system are not important to liberal Democrats.  Because Americans surely are not "winning" on those issues.

CEO Richard Master Masterminds Full Medicare for All

CEO Richard Master Masterminds Full Medicare for All - Just when the prospects for single-payer or full Medicare for everyone, with free choice of doctors and hospitals, appear to be going nowhere, from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley comes a stirring that could go national and make single-payer a reality. Throwing … Continue reading [Ralph Nader]

Statement on Corrupt Sports Gambling in Oregon

The Oregon Progressive Party calls on Oregon's Attorney General to follow the lead of New York state's Attorney General, who on November 9th, 2015 “ordered DraftKings and FanDuel ... to immediately stop accepting bets from New York residents.”

NY Attorney General Schneiderman described these daily fantasy sports sites to be “...leaders of a massive, multi-billion-dollar scheme intended to....fleece sports fans across the county.”

Oregon's sports fans are no less cheated by the operation of these on-line betting parlors. Why silence from Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum?

The Oregon Progressive Party throughout its 7-year history has consistently opposed the legalization of gambling and "government promotion of gambling, including video poker, video slots, and approval of private casinos." We call upon the Oregon Attorney General to order fantasy sports gambling operations to stop accepting bets from Oregon residents.

Statement on Marketing of Tobacco to Youth

Greedy tobacco companies continue their efforts to entice children to smoke by paying merchants to place tobacco products at low counter levels in stores, where children will see them, and by packaging tobacco products to be attractive to children. They look like candy.

SmokeFree Oregon has produced television ads calling our attention to these practices and asks that we take action.

The Oregon Progressive Party calls on our Legislature to pass laws banning the display of tobacco products in stores, period.  Anyone who want to buy tobacco products should have to ask at the check-out counter.  If the Legislature will not do this, then our county and city governments should do so.

Veterans Day Message

State Integrity Investigation gives Oregon an F

The long-standing State Integrity Investigation of the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International has granted Oregon an overall F grade on avoiding corruption in state government.

The ranking is accompanied by a scathing, accurate article about Oregon's failure in fighting corruption.

Oregon's overall rank fell from 14th to 42nd, the biggest drop of any state.

We have been saying for years that Oregon's lack of limits on political contributions and repeal of laws requiring that political ads identify their funders makes Oregon government inherently corruptible.  Now the leading national investigation of State integrity agrees with us.

Oregon at Bottom in Fighting Corruption

 
 

Open Period for Nomination to One Seat on State Council of Oregon Progressive Party

Update: At the November 10 OPP meeting, David Hess was elected to a 5-year term on the State Council.

The 1-year term of David Hess as a member of the Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) State Council is expiring at the end of this year. The party will conduct an election for a new 5-year term for this seat. The party will accept suggested nominations through the close of October 31, 2015, and will post them on this website. David Hess, who is also the Treasurer of the party, is interested in continuing his service on the State Council and will be nominated.

Please send your suggested nominations to statecouncil@progparty.org. A nominee must qualify as a Supporter or Active Member of OPP and must maintain that status throughout the term of office.

The election will occur at the party's monthly meeting on November 10 (7:00 pm) at 411 S.W. 2nd Avenue, 2nd Floor, in Portland. Supporters and Active Members of OPP will be eligible to vote.

Sunlight Foundation Too Generous in Giving Oregon a D on Lobbyist Disclosure

Update (August 13): The Sunlight Foundation, having been notified by us about HB 2058,  has now downgraded Oregon to an F, joining Florida, Nevada, and West Virginia in the F category.

The Sunlight Foundation issued a report on August 12 , 2015, rating each state's lobbying disclosure requirements. They assigned Oregon a grade of D, but that grade was based on their error in failing to account for the new bill passed by the 2015 Oregon Legislature (and not vetoed by Gov. Kate Brown), HB 2058.

That law allows lobbyists to avoid reporting for the next 2 years what amounts to over 99% of their expenditures.  So Oregon now clearly deserves a -1 on the Expenditure Transparency criterion, which would give Oregon a correct overall score of -3 and place it firmly in the "F" category in the Sunlight Foundation analysis, along with only 3 other states (Florida, Nevada, West Virginia).

I testified to the Oregon Legislature (on behalf of Oregon Progressive Party) that I was "in the rare position of agreeing with an editorial in the Bend Bulletin, which pointed out that this bill would relieve lobbyists of the obligation to report all but $92,000 of the over $26 million actually spent on lobbying in Oregon in 2014."

"This 99.6% reduction in reporting of such spending seems particularly inappropriate in light of the recent events that caused the resignation of Governor Kitzhaber. Oregon needs more disclosure of money in politics, not less, and lobbying spending is definitely part of money in politics."

It was the only written testimony against HB 2058, which passed the Oregon House by a vote of 42-16, with Democrats providing 24 of the yes votes. It passed the Oregon Senate by a vote of 18-11, with Democrats providing all of the yes votes.

Here is the Oregonian article on the Sunlight Foundation report.

Dan Meek and David Delk Discuss Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

Dan Meek and Davlid Delk discussed recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and actions (and inactions) of the 2015 Oregon Legislature. Must See TV!

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