Thursday, March 02, 2017

GOP launches effort to replace Obamacare with something that works (Satire)

Republican leaders in the House and Senate held a press conference today to announce their plan to replace the failing health care system in the United States.  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spoke about their comprehensive solution by describing the thinking process that went into the development of the plan.

“After much deliberation and thought, we have come to a consensus that Obamacare has failed our great country, and that our citizens deserve better.  The principles that guided the development of this plan were articulated very well by his speech on Tuesday night.  Those principles are to expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better health care," Ryan said.

“This new plan will allow our young people to remain on their parents plans, will not discriminate against preexisting conditions, will provide choices in the marketplace for health care insurance and doctors, will pay doctors and health care facilities fairly for the wonderful work they do taking care of our citizens, and will help state governments provide for their people by moving decision making power out of the hands of a federal bureaucracy.”

Ryan pledged that nobody currently covered by a plan that came from the Affordable Care Act would lose coverage, and that the 20 million people who still do not have coverage will get access to a doctor soon under the new plan.

“Families in our country are hurting, and we have to fix this dire problem with a solution that works for everyone.”

When asked for specifics, Speaker Ryan said “everywhere you now see Obamacare or the ACA, you will now be required to call our healthcare system by a new name.  You can call it Trumpcare if you like, but after consultations with our base, we have come up with a new name that pleases everyone.  Let the word go forth that the new standard of care on our nation is the American GAS Act.  This will solve all of our problems, I guarantee it.”

Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi responded to the Speaker's announcement by asking reporters to look carefully at the details of the legislation and inform the American people that as citizens it is our responsibility to be aware of what is happening on Capitol Hill.  “The exact details of how much tax money it will take to change all references in our laws and administrative procedures, not to mention mandating that all media outlets begin using the new name for our health care system, Trumpcare, is not known yet, and we look forward to those discussions.”

When asked what Pelosi thought of the change to the American GAS Act, she replied, “I will need to speak with Speaker Ryan about what he thinks it stands for, but I'm confident that it means what I think it means after the President's speech.  America gives a shit.  I suppose the base that he was referring to was the oil and gas industry, and they came up with the idea because that industry wanted more advertising.  But then you never know.”

“But please realize,” she concluded, “that this new Act by Congress does not actually repeal any of the aspects of the previous law.  Because all of those provisions are extremely popular with the American People, and even this President is smart enough to realize that removing health care access from people is a bad idea today.  So we'll see what happens but I am of course hopeful for our future.”

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The most terrifying words...

In 1980, while running for US President, Ronald Reagan described the nine most terrifying words in the English language. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." This was a libertarian battle cry, and it described a world where the free market reined supreme.
It also told the people of my country that we were on our own. That the government was not here to support them, that it didn't care whether we worked or starved, lived or died. That our incoming President of the United States did not care whether we worked or starved, lived or died. Being eleven years old in 1980 I remember watching this speech on television, but I don't remember my grandparent's reaction. Probably because they had left the room in disgust. Being of the Greatest Generation, they knew exactly how much of a lie that was.
In 2003, I heard nine words over the telephone that terrified me. "The results came back, and your cancer is confirmed." I have never been so scared in my life. I was actually at work, and so the first person that I was able to talk to was my supervisor and department director. They could see how scared I was. And they had my back. My employer based health insurance covered it. Without that insurance, my wife and I would likely have had to sell our condo. But not everyone has an employer with the resources and willingness to provide great health insurance to their employees. And so many of our people don't have employers at all, either self employed or not employed. What were they supposed to do if they ever got a phone call like that?
That's why I started getting politically active in 2003. That's why I worked my way up the ranks within the Democratic Party to Chair of my local party organization, and that's why when Bernie Sanders put out the call for Medicare for All in 2015, I dropped everything to help him. Longshot, yes. But my fight with cancer was a shot across the bow, and I wasn't going to take no for an answer.
At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, I stood watching and listening on Thursday night hoping that the winner of the Democratic Primary would say the right thing. These are the words that she used: "If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care, join us." I sat down, devastated. I said then and I say now that we need to do better than that.
This morning I was checking my phone, and someone I got to know during the campaign told me the four most terrifying words in English language. "I don't have insurance." This is a mother with kids, someone who cares about her community and wants to build her community. And she is worried about getting sick. This is not acceptable. This is not tolerable. This is why I fight, and will not stop fighting until we never, EVER, hear those words from anyone in our country again.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Knock Knock, version 2

Knock Knock
Hello? How can I help you?
Well, I understand that you are having a party, and one of the bands you have playing is one of my favorites! I was wondering if I could join the party.
Did you bring anything for the potluck?
Well, no, I'm between jobs right now so money is tight. But I can grab something if it's required.
Sigh, no, technically it's not required, but it's only common courtesy. You should know that, you're an adult.
Right, thanks. I'll see what I can get.
Knock Knock
Hello? Oh, it's you again.
Hi there, yes, I found something I could afford from the store down the street. It's not much but I hope it helps. Oh, I love that song that's playing.
Yeah, it's an old tune but sometimes we like to play it just for the nostalgia. The more modern music doesn't quite have the bite.
And there's nothing like the classics. Can I come in?
Sure, I guess. Just, please take your shoes off, and you'll need to sign this form to say that nothing you hear or see can leave the house.
I don't understand, I thought you wanted more people. This is a really nice house, btw.
Yeah, it's been in the family for a long time. Needs some work, but we never seem to have enough help to get that work done.
I have a whole bunch of friends that I could call.
The house is pretty full already.
But I don't see very many people, where is everyone?
Oh, everyone is in their group space. Each room of the house is for different kinds of music. People usually just go into one of the rooms and stay there unless they need to go to the kitchen or dining room.
That's no fun, why not play different music in a central place so people can get to know each other while they enjoy different kinds of music?
Oh, you know, tradition. It's how we've always done it, and nobody really wants to change.
I know my friends love all kinds of music, they'd love to go from room to room getting to know people and ...
Yeah, that's kind of discouraged. It's distracting. And people here are used to their favorite music.
Oh, come on, it will be fun! Lots of people moving from room to room, talking, singing, dancing. I remember hearing stories about this house in previous times being like that, my Dad said it was a whole lot of fun to be here!
Where did you put your shoes again?
Why, do you want me to leave?
Well, no, but I wouldn't want you to lose anything...

Knock Knock, version 1

"Knock knock"
Hi, welcome! Are you here for the party?
Yeah, I heard about the party from a friend. What's going on?
Well, we want to get people together to talk about how to solve this problem.
What problem? Is it my problem? Do I have a stake in this?
Of course, come on in, let's talk about it. Did you bring anything for the potluck?
Oh, now you're telling me that I had to bring something for the potluck to be allowed in?
No, I just asked if you had brought anything. It's not required, it's just something we do so we can share the load because everyone gets hungry while they talk.
Oh, ok. So am I allowed in?
Of course! Come on in. What is your top issue?
Oh, well, I don't think my issue is your top issue is your top issue, so I don't think I should come in yet. I want to stand out here for a while and listen. Can you set up some microphones and speakers for everyone outside so we can all hear and participate without coming in the house?
"Baby, it's cold outside." Come on in.
You know that's a rape song, right? I don't think I can come in because now I'm afraid for my safety in your house.
Look, it is cold outside, it is raining, in fact there's a big storm coming and I would like to invite you to come inside so you can be sheltered from the storm and so we can talk and work on these problems together.
You don't look like me.
Why does that matter?
Well, because you don't look like me I don't think we can communicate because I don't think your experiences match mine.
You're probably right, but that just means we can tell each other stories and get to know each other better.
But I don't think my stories will be respected because my shoes are wet and that looks like new carpet.
We can wash the carpet. It's more important for you to come in from the rain. Please come inside.
I can't, you're standing in the doorway.
Ok, I'm now giving you whatever room you need to come inside.
But I don't know that I'm actually welcome.
Would you just come inside already?!
Now you're being aggressive, and I don't like that. I don't think I'm actually welcome. And I can still see you, and you don't look like me.
Do you want to join this conversation so we can work on solving these problems?
I see a green field next door. Maybe I can set up a tent and listen to the speakers that you are going to set up and talk into the microphone that you are going to set up for me.
We have plenty of room inside the house, and everyone is welcome.
I don't believe you. I haven't been invited before. At least I don't think that invitation was for me, you spelled my name wrong.
... Look, I have people who are waiting for me to rejoin the conversation. I'll just leave the door open and you can come in if you want to. I'll be in the other room.
I can still hear you. I think you're talking about me now. I don't like that.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Washington State Progressive Caucus, it's time for me to return.


It is my intention to run for Chair of the Washington State Progressive Caucus at the January reorganization meeting.  If you have seen my posts and plans for the state party, the community inclusion effort includes introducing an amendment to the State Party Bylaws that formally codifies the existence of the Constituency Caucuses, and identifies in language the reason they exist, which is building bridges to all of our communities around the state and organizing local caucus structures in the Congressional Districts, Counties and Legislative Districts over the next few years as part of an overall Community Inclusion strategy.  It's long past time to do this, and I'd like to build on the efforts that the current Board has already started that I heard about at the September WSDCC meeting.

For anyone who does not know me, I was born in Seattle, raised in Kent, spent 6 years in the US Navy, owned a small business in Everett in the 1990's, work for Nordstrom now, and I've been involved in the Democratic Party since 2003.  I've been on the Executive Board of the 46th LD since 2005 as an At Large member, KCDCC Rep and Chair.  I was one of the primary organizers for Bernie Sanders in 2015-2016, including being a National Delegate to the 2016 National Democratic Convention.  I am currently on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee from King County, elected this past Sunday.

I am one of the founders of this Progressive Caucus in Washington State, and was Chair in 2007-2008 until I stepped back to focus on being Chair of the 46th, 1st Vice Chair of King County and Chair of the Washington State Democratic Chairs Organization in 2011.  I stepped back in 2012, but returned to help Bernie get 74% in our state and 46% nationally.  I am currently involved in national organizing efforts to encourage and train progressive activists on how to be effective agents of change in their local and state party organizations so that we can promote our values and push our policy objectives into law.

My top issues are Single Payer Health Care, Climate Change Action and Economic Opportunity for All.  I have been writing, blogging, organizing and planning for 12 years.  I have a degree in Business Systems Analysis, and I want to put those skills to work building the strongest Democratic Party that this state and this country has ever known.  I ask for your vote.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What does it mean to be Progressive?

Whenever I use the word Progressive, I have some people agree with me, and others looking confused or frustrated. It's easy to understand why. Progressive is a very subjective word, with multiple meanings coming from individuals and situations. Wikipedia has this definition:

"Progressivism is a philosophy based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition."

I've been reading about and participating in progressive politics for a few decades now, both in and out of the Democratic Party. This is my framing and it consists of four parts.

Grassroots, People-Powered Democracy

If a decision is being made on any level of government that affects you, your voice should be heard on that issue. What we need in this country and around the world is a way for people to get directly involved in the way our government operates. Many opportunities exist now, but they are hidden behind a wall of secrecy and only the hard-core activists seem to be able to break through. We have to make the process of electoral, issue based and identity based politics transparent and open so everyone can get involved, however that works for the individual.

The Concept of WE

The Earth is a single environment. Everything that affects individuals affects groups, and the larger the subject, the larger the group that is affected. I'm tired of hearing people describe the world in terms of 'us versus them'. We're all on this planet together, and the more we understand that, the better we will be able to create a world that works for everyone. How can we get a better understanding of how everyone is linked together, and that something affecting one affects us all?

Understanding the Past

Where do our problems come from? How do they relate to each other? If we search for an understanding of our past mistakes, we gain a better understanding of how not to repeat them. Maybe we can even solve two problems with the same action. Critical Thinking requires that we have an understanding of the foundations we stand on before we start building.

Looking to the Future

It's not enough anymore to think and act for the moment. In the big picture, we are creating the world of the future by our actions today. I'm concerned about how my children are growing up, but I'm just as concerned about the kind of world their grandchildren will be living in. We should grant them the power to turn that world into whatever they wish it to be, with clean air and water, energy resources to explore their dreams, a peaceful world where people talk instead of fight with each other. What can we do now, either big decisions or small actions, that can help to create that world of opportunity?

What is your definition? What is your framing?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

PCOs and friends, I need your endorsement.

Campaigns are not won by the candidate.  Campaigns are won by the community that supports that candidate.

I'm running for King County State Committee Man to represent the Democrats in King County, and I need your help to win this race.  Please let me know that you support my efforts to build a strong community in order to help heal our world.  If you are an old friend who has been with me through this entire journey, I'd love to hear from you.  Let's talk about history, enjoy some stories and plan for the future.  If you are new to the party, I welcome you with open arms and an open heart.  Please tell me your dreams and ask questions about how we can do this together.

There are 1,144 PCOs in King County, and I'm trying to reach out to each and every one.  I have worked with and met with elected officials, movement leaders and party leaders all across the state and around the country.  Please help me build this community by making connections with each other as we move forward.

You can endorse me on my campaign page, you can send me an email that I can share, or you can send me a message.  I hope to hear from you.

A longer tunnel

Welcome to the KCDCC!

Dear Elected PCOs

My name is Chad Lupkes, and I would like your consideration at the December 4th reorganization meeting of the King County Democraic Central Committee for the position of State Committee, identifying as Male.  I know we have multiple people interested in this position, and I welcome the vigorous discussion that I hope will occur in just two and half short weeks.

I have been working within and around the King County Democrats and the state party for well over a decade now.  I could go over that history in detail, but I've already written about it extensively when I ran for National Delegate for Bernie Sanders at the May 21st CD Caucus.  I could also give an detailed description of what I want to do on the State Committee, but I've already written about that as well.  In fact, I write a lot, and most of it comes out as a firehose of rants and opinions and links and forwards on my Facebook page.  If I'm not already connected with you on social media, expect a connection request.  If we are connected, expect more from me.  I'm not running for a "leadership" position, because I see the State Committee as a representative position.  And what elected officials, both government and party, need to be is Responsible, Representative, and Responsive.  
Just over the last year, I have
  • Launched and helped maintain social media infrastructure for Bernie Sanders.
  • Been a Delegate at every stage of the 2016 Caucus cycle, up to and including the National Convention.
  • Kept contact with the Delegates from Washington and around the country.
  • Encouraged progressives to file for PCO and become more involved in the Democratic Party.  #DemEnter or Bust.
  • Helped with GOTV and Party events around the state, from Seattle to Spokane to Vancouver.
I joined the party in 2003 hunting the smoke filled rooms in order to open them up.  I either didn't find them, or found them to be a very different thing than I expected.  No door has been closed, so far.  If a decision is going to be made, I will be talking about that decision and hearing feedback.  I know who will be making those decisions, and I have ideas about how to influence them.  I know how to help people become the decision makers.  The State Committee members represent their County Central Committees or their Legislative District organizations.  So I will represent you, while you represent your precincts and the voters in your precincts.  We also have several thousand additional precincts to fill with Appointed PCOs between now and 2018.  I am an organizer at heart, especially on social media.  It is what I have always done, and will continue to do locally, at the state level and nationally.  I also have plans and dreams to build on what I have done over the last decade in order to support progressive candidates all over the state, push our progressive agenda into all levels of government, build our party stronger than we have ever seen it before, and strengthen our communities in ways that we have not seen before, or at least not for a very long time.

Connect with me on Facebook.  If we are not already connected, send me a private message so I can approve it quickly.  I'm well over 4,000 connections, and Facebook has a limit of 5k so I'm being careful at this point to make sure that I can directly connect to the people I need to communicate with.  I want to connect with you and hear from you.

Follow me on Twitter at @chadlupkes, and let's use this tool to amplify our conversations.  I don't use Twitter as much as Facebook, but if it exists in the Social Mediaverse, I'm there somewhere.
As an Elected PCO, you will vote on December 4th for the Officers of the King County Democratic Central Committee. The meeting will be at 12pm / Noon at this union hall:

IAM Machnists Hall - Seattle
9125 15th Place South
Seattle, WA 98108

Ask me questions. If I don't know the answer, I will help you find the answers.  I've been dedicated from the very start to engage, inspire, educate and empower.  That won't change.

Many of you already know me from the work that I've done in the party and during the 2016 Presidential Primary.  I was the insider trying to bring new people in.  I was the establishment welcoming new voices.  I tried my best to walk the fence, because I was waiting and hoping that the fence would no longer be necessary.  I didn't want to make enemies on either side, because that makes the work harder.  Now the election results have knocked that fence down by force and we have to build bridges, not burn them.
We do have a longer tunnel ahead of us.  And there will be turns and strange noises on the tracks.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is still there.  I know it is.  It's up to us to make sure that light doesn't get turned off.


Chad Lupkes
PCO, SEA 46-2324

Saturday, October 08, 2016

I'm running for State Committee from King County

 I've decided to run for the State Committee Man position from King County.
I have been working within and around the Washington State Democratic Central Committee for 12 years. I have known three state party chairs, all three that I consider friends. I have seen four Presidential Cycles, and many off year elections. The new energy and incredible new activists that came into the process in 2016 thanks to Bernie Sanders AND Hillary Clinton inspired me from the very beginning of the caucus cycle last year, and while I supported Bernie Sanders 100%, I know that the only way we are going to accomplish any of our goals is by working together for the same agenda. Our platform, our values, our kids.
I want to see a revival of the Democratic Party in Washington State. I believe that there are aspects of the party that have atrophied over the last few decades, and I want the party rebuilding its full potential. Our country needs the FDR coalition to be rebuilt. We need our labor movement supported by our elected officials. We need our communities of color to know who to turn to. We need our immigrant populations to feel welcome and valued. We need our sovereign Native allies to feel the same security and respect within their borders that we desire to feel within ours.
Electorally, we need candidates in every election, from US Senator down to the most local special district. Our candidate recruitment efforts need to be boosted, and we need to recognize that the lowest level of the farm team is actually municipal boards and commissions. Working with our incumbent elected officials, I think we can build a list of those positions across the county and across the state and open doors of opportunity for our PCOs and activists to get involved with actual governance.
Legislatively, King County has an active committee that works hard to push our platform into law. But that type of engagement needs to be distributed, and it needs to be transparent in order to thrive and grow. There was a proposal for a Legislative Action Committee at the state level presented at the State Convention, one that would take significant resources to implement. We need to talk about our options, recognize our limitations, and do what we can with what we have. I believe that a distributed network of activists can be brought together through communications infrastructure. I've watched pieces and parts of this infrastructure rise and fade many times over the past decade, and I really believe that we now have the tools and teams that could really make something work.
Party building means a lot to me. I believe that the Democratic Party is THE Progressive Party in the United States, or at least it could be if people would get engaged and STAY engaged in the processes that make the infrastructure work. We need to understand the role of the party in the overall progressive movement, and we need to be an open door to progressives who actually want to work to improve our world. PCO recruitment begins on December 1st to fill every single precinct in the county, and eventually every single precinct in the state. I've been working to build this reorganization cycle into a transformation event.
And finally the most overlooked aspect of our party is our Community Outreach. I've seen outreach efforts bear fruit in North Seattle where we built lists of neighborhood groups, activist groups and non profit organizations that we can consider allies, then sent people to those groups to invite them to community outreach events. We did a District Profile dedicated to documenting this research work. That kind of profile should be a standard across the state.
If a citizen comes to us with an issue, we will know how to help them answer the three core questions of activism.
What decision is being made?
Who is making that decision?
How can I influence that decision?
In addition, we need to be the place where people with those answers go to take the biggest step, which is becoming the decision maker, running for office, becoming the decider. This is what I want to build for my State Democratic Party. And I can't do it alone. I'm very serious when I say it's time for a revival, a revolution, in our political spheres. Climate Change is the most important threat that we face. Inequality and injustice permeate our society from top to bottom. Our economy is struggling, being undermined by the Profit or Die Corporations at the top and the lack of funding for education and research at the base.
We are the Democratic Party. We must rebuild the FDR coalition. That's what I want to do.