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.

We are very different from the establishment parties.

  Dem Rep PROG
Real campaign finance reform, particularly in Oregon NO NO YES
"Medicare for All" comprehensive health care NO NO YES
Oppose cuts in Social Security & Medicare benefits NO NO YES
Increase minimum wage to $15 or more NOW in all of Oregon NO NO YES
Employment for All (public works projects, WPA style) NO NO YES
Increase income taxes on big corporations and the wealthy NO NO YES
Oppose Wall Street bailouts NO NO YES
Repair, improve infrastructure (transportation, water systems, etc.) NO NO YES
Oppose NAFTA, WTO, Trans-Pacific Partnership "free trade" deals; support local products & services NO NO YES
Oppose war in Iraq, Afghanistan; bring troops home now and stop sending in more NO NO YES
Slash military spending and foreign bases NO NO YES
End occupation of Palestine NO NO YES
Oppose spying on Americans, including drones NO NO YES
Equal rights for all; same-sex marriage NUVR NO YES
Clean energy; no nuclear subsidies NO NO YES
Oppose shipping coal or oil for export from Pacific Northwest ports NO NO YES
Oppose offshore oil & gas drilling NO NO YES
Legalize marijuana possession and use ??? NO YES
End “corporate personhood” and constitutional rights for corporations NO NO YES
Require labeling of genetically engineered food NO NO YES
End the U.S. Senate filibuster; restore majority rule NO NO YES
NUVR = not until very recently

 
OREGON ISSUES
1.     We have worked for real campaign finance reform. Oregon Democrats and Republicans have never enacted limits on political campaign contributions but have repealed voter-enacted limits 3 times. Democrats in state office are refusing to enforce the campaign finance reform Measure 47 enacted by Oregon voters in 2006. Campaign spending for Oregon state offices has skyrocketed from $4 million in 1996 to $57 million in 2010. Spending by candidates for Oregon Legislature increased another 13% in 2012. Winning a contested race for the Legislature now typically costs over $600,000, sometimes over $1 million.  

2.     The initiative and referendum should be available to grass-roots efforts. The Democrat Secretary of State is now discarding over 30% of all voter signatures on initiative petitions due to arbitrary, hyper-technical, and unnecessary rules, raising the cost of petition drives so high that only corporations, unions and the very wealthy can afford to use it.  

3.     The State Treasurer should direct part of Oregon's $87 billion of investment funds to invest in local public works and jobs for Oregonians instead of vulture capitalists, corporate raiders, leveraged buyout artists, and fossil fuel corporations and vendors.  

4.     We want fair taxation. Oregon has the 4th highest income taxes of any state on lower-income working families and is still at the bottom in taxes on corporations.  

5.     We want to stop government promotion of gambling, including video poker, video slots, and approval of private casinos.  

6.     We oppose installation of police "spy cameras" and use of drones to spy on Oregon citizens.  

7.     We oppose using public money to subsidize rail transport of oil or coal through Oregon communities.

OPP at 2015 Oregon Legislature

The Oregon Progressive Party is taking stands at the Oregon Legislature.

As bills are scheduled for committee hearing, we take our positions.  The Oregon Legislature's committees will not accept the submittal of testimony, until a bill is scheduled for committee hearing.  That requires any interested person to keep track of the schedules for dozens of committees.  This is not a good way to encourage public participation.

You can learn about these bills at the website of the Legislature. Go to https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1 and click on Bills in the upper right area.  You can add your comments about these bills below.  You can click on OPP's Legislative Group to join it.

You can read our testimonies at Progressive Party Testimonies.

The table below shows bills we supported or opposed.  Bold means that the Legislature passed the bill, and the Governor signed it.

On the whole, the 2015 Legislature did nothing of signficance that we supported.  The 15 enacted bills we supported were not very consequential.

We Supported We Opposed
HB 2020
HB 2074
HB 2077
HB 2134
HB 2178B
HB 2272
HB 2237
HB 2315
HB 2336
HB 2447
HB 2448
HB 2489
HB 2559
HB 2600
HB 2627
HB 2638
HB 2704
HB 2790
HB 2791
HB 2850
HB 2940
HB 3043
HB 3193
HB 3194
HB 3225
HB 3250
HB 3252
HB 3262
HB 3287
HB 3297
HB 3331
HB 3349
HB 3415
HB 3470
HB 3478
HB 3505
HB 3551
HJM 4
SB 14
SB 118
SB 130
SB 190
SB 286
SB 294
SB 313
SB 314
SB 317
SB 330
SB 332
SB 375
SB 409
SB 415
SB 477
SB 575
SB 610
SB 631
SB 668
SB 673
SB 691
SB 710
SB 713
SB 732
SB 852
SB 853
SB 878
SB 911
SB 928
SB 940
SJR 4
SJR 5
HB 2058
HB 2158
HB 2178
HB 2892A
HB 3090
HB 3096
HB 3212
HB 3269
HB 3273
HB 3445
HB 3500
HJR 29
SB 75
SB 189
SB 292
SB 294
SB 521
SB 580
SB 611
SB 675
SB 814

OPP Endorses Bernie Sanders in Democratic Party's Primary

The Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) has endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Oregon Democratic primary election to conclude on May 17.

"Bernie is clearly the most progressive candidate in the Democratic race," said Liz Trojan, a member of the OPP State Council.  "His stances on important issues are quite consistent with our platform."

Here is a summary of the Oregon Progressive Party's Platform

"Bernie is the only candidate in the Democratic Party's primary who is not dependent on big money from Wall Street, fossil fuel companies, drug companies, military contractors, and others who profit from human misery," said OPP Chair David Delk.

"Bernie has been a true progressive for decades and is actually still not a member of the Democratic Party," noted Jason Kafoury, Secretary of OPP.  "He has always been elected as non-affiliated with a political party, and Vermont has no party registration system at all."

Oregon Progressive Party members cannot vote in the Democratic primary, unless they change their registrations to Democratic.  Doing that, however, can jeopardize the continued existence of the Oregon Progressive Party, which needs to maintain a certain level of membership in order to be recognized as a political party under Oregon law.  "If you switch your registration to Democratic in order to vote for Bernie Sanders, please switch it back to "Progressive Party" after the May 17 primary," added Jason Kafoury.

OPP Endorses Brad Avakian in Sec. of State Primary

Avakian Endorses IP-77 Statewide Measure for Oregon Campaign Finance Constitutional Amendment

Brad Avakian, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for Secretary of State of Oregon, has sought and received the endorsement of the Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) in the primary election.

Avakian has endorsed IP-77, a proposed statewide ballot measure that would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow limits on campaign contributions and expenditures and mandatory “taglines” on political advertisements, identifying their major funders.

While Oregon has the same "free speech" clause as 36 other states, the Oregon Supreme Court is the only state court anywhere in America that has concluded that it somehow prevents governments from adopting limits on political contributions. Further, the Oregon Legislature's attorney ("Legislative Counsel) last year called into question whether requiring political ads to identify their funders is somehow also negated by the same "free speech" clause -- again a unique interpretation. Eight states already require political ads to list their major funders, including California and Washington.

"Among the Democratic candidates, Brad Avakian is most attuned to the value of minor parties and the competition they provide for the Democrats and Republicans," said Jason Kafoury, Secretary of the Oregon Progressive Party. "He is also the only one who has endorsed IP-77, and that is very important to us."

Oregon Progressive Party members cannot vote in the Democratic primary, unless they change their registrations to Democratic by April 26. Doing that, however, can jeopardize the continued existence of the Oregon Progressive Party, which needs to maintain a certain level of membership in order to be recognized as a political party under Oregon law. "If you switch your registration to Democratic in order to vote for Bernie Sanders, please switch it back to Progressive Party after the May 17 primary," added David Delk, Chair of OPP.

OPP Supports Democracy Spring!

OPP Spokesmodel Published Article on How Trump Will Not be President

Counterpunch on March 1 published an article by Dan Meek on why Donald Trump will not be President. The Republican Convention can deny him the nomination, even if he enters the convention with what he thinks is a majority of the delegates. Recall that the 1968 Democratic Convention nominated a candidate who had received exactly zero votes in the primaries (Hubert Humphrey), as the police rioted outside the convention hall in Chicago.  And by the time of the convention, it will be too late for Trump to get on state ballots as a non-affiliated candidate.  If he were smart, he would start gathering the necessary signatures now.

Rubio Also Feeds Off of Phony Colleges

In the debate yesterday, Marco Rubio noted the 3 lawsuits for fraud against Trump University. "TU" was a "private college" that existed for 5 years (2005-10) and enrolled about 10,000 students over that period.

What Trump did not know, however, is that Rubio has been the spokesmodel for the phony private college industry, receiving large campaign contributions (over $27,000) from executives of Corinthian College and others, and intervening with the U.S. Department of Education to stop the Department from sanctioning those private colleges. As Bloomberg News reported (April 29, 2015):

Last summer, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida asked the U.S. Department of Education to "demonstrate leniency" toward Corinthian Colleges by permitting the wealthy for-profit company to continue accessing millions of dollars in federal financial aid while it was cooperating with a federal investigation.

Ten months later, the company shuttered its remaining 28 campuses, instantly displacing some 16,000 students just days after it was fined $30 million by the Department of Education for a scheme involving "confirmed cases of misrepresentation of job placement rates" for as many as 947 students. The decision to close shop came after years of federal and state investigations into the company.

So, while Trump no doubt obtained money by selling his name to "Trump University," Rubio has been the henchman for phony private colleges.  The pot and the kettle come to mind here.

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

Public Bank in Portland?

Is a municipal public bank in Portland's future?

Too-Big-To-Fail banks are tied to high risk speculative investing for the benefit of the bank's major stock holders.

Currently, the city's deposits are held by private banking establishments. What could happen if, instead of supporting those banks via our city's use of those banks, we created a locally owned public bank to cycle city revenues back into the local economy? How much additional revenue from such a cycling of city revenues into a city public bank would be generated for investment in affordable and low-income housing, infrastructure and community-based economic development?

Walt McRee, chair of the Public Banking Institute, will address how public banking is being explored around the nation, including in Seattle and Santa Fe, and how Portland could benefit from exploring the options and opportunities presented by formation of a municipal public bank.

Location: First Unitarian Church, Eliot Chapel, SW 12th and Salmon, Portland OR.
Date/time: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7 PM, doors open at 6:30 P
Sponsored by Economic Justice Action Group of First Unitarian Church, Alliance for Democracy
Admission: $5-20 donation requested, but no one turned away for lack of funds

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...