Sept 2015 Newsletter

October Surprise

by Alice Woldt

WAmend volunteers have gathered over 150,000 signatures on Initiative 735 petitions and expect to have the required number of signatures by the deadline at the end of the year. So far, almost 700 volunteers have turned in “Get Big Money Out of Elections” petitions. But a bump in volunteers and signatures is needed in October. Will you help create an October Surprise? Your name will be entered in a drawing for prizes for each petition you turn in. Create an October Surprise for WAmend by bumping up the signatures. You could just win an October Surprise for yourself.
Don’t have a petition? Send an email to alice@fixdemocracyfirst.org with your name and mailing address and you will receive a petition in the mail. Can’t collect signatures? Campaigns cost money and your donation at wamend.org will help assure success.

No October Surprise for final signature
Unfortunately, it looks like there will be no October surprise for a final signature on the letter from state legislators urging Congress to pass an amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC. We are short one signature from the Senate. A majority of the House members signed. See the list of signers HERE.                                                        

Who’s Funding the Current Presidential Candidates?

by Charles Green

Here is a summary of the money behind the leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates:

Jeb Bush (R)
Jeb Bush served as the governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007.  To date, Mr. Bush has raised $11.4 million in campaign financing.  In addition, he is supported by super PAC funds holding over $108 million in funds.  This makes him the most well-funded candidate in the presidential race.  Mr. Bush’s largest group of contributors consist of retired individuals, followed by members of the securities and investments industry as well as attorneys.  His largest contributors include: Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup and Barclays.

Ben Carson (R)
Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon at John Hopkins University Medical Center.  Mr. Carson has raised $10.6 million in campaign financing to date. Substantially all of his supporters are individual donors, who overwhelmingly consist of retired individuals.  Mr. Carson has utilized virtually no PAC funds or self-financing.  His largest donors consist of Coca Cola and West Coast Venture Capital.  Due to his limited use of PAC funds and relatively limited corporate donors, Mr. Carson’s fundraising data indicates that he is the most independent major Republican candidate in the presidential race.

Hillary Clinton (D)… Read More

The Political “Earth” is Moving Under Our Feet

by Ken Dammand

“I Feel the Earth Move Under my Feet,” sang Carole King in 1971.  And certainly the earth was moving then. And now.  Over the past 4 years the obvious conclusion that money has severely corrupted our political process has increasingly permeated the American consciousness to the point that it has become an inescapable political issue.  Further, the underlying resistance to correcting the problem is weakening.
The real proof of the above is that even the cadre of elected officials who have benefitted from the “pay to play” system has begun to openly acknowledge the negative impact of the landslide of money coming into the political arena.  That is incredibly significant.   Most ordinary people who were paying attention in 2010 knew immediately that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United would open the floodgates for the corrupting influence of money on our political system. And many realized that the only solution would have to be an amendment to the US Constitution.
Now the two leading Democratic presidential contenders, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and Republican candidate, Lindsey Graham have openly stated their support…   Read More

We Need Real Presidential Debates

by Ken Dammand

Our democracy has been hollowed out through the use of gerrymandering, highly sculpted misleading TV commercials, and highly partisan media masquerading as objective news.  In their way, each of these is a fraud perpetrated upon the American people, enabling the aggregation of political power wrapped in the trappings of democracy.  But perhaps the most ingenious of such deceptions are the Presidential debates.   www.fairdebates.com has a detailed history of the Presidential debates problem and numerous specific actions you can take to help correct it.
Here are some interesting surprises from that history: Presidential debates have been a part of American history since the Lincoln/Douglas debates in 1858, and they have been hosted by various organizations, including the major TV networks. But between 1960 and 1972, there were no nationally televised presidential debates.  So in 1976 the League of Women Voters… 
Read More 

Honest Elections Seattle

by Alice Woldt

Big corporate interests, developers and lobbyists in Seattle have a stronger voice in local government than ordinary people. It’s time to give a voice to all our citizens. Honest Elections Seattle will put the people back in charge of our city’s public policy and elections. If you are a Seattle voter, vote yes on I-122 on the ballot you’ll be receiving in a couple of weeks. I-122 limits big money interests from influencing elections and restores public financing of city council and mayoral campaigns in Seattle. Fix Democracy First is a stakeholder on the Honest Elections Seattle campaign. Learn more and join us as an endorser HERE.

A review of the book Code Red: Computerized Election Theft…

by Phil Harrison

Jonathan Simon has written a deeply disturbing book, CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century,  whose main premise is that American democracy has been subverted through systematic election theft carried out through manipulation of vote counts by computers whose inner workings are unobservable trade secrets of right-wing corporations.  Furthermore, academics who have been able to study these voting systems find that they are insecure and easily manipulated….  Read More
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