My dad needs your help

 Amnesty for my father Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in a North Korean Special Labor Camp

  By Jonathan Bae

My father Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, is being imprisoned in a North Korea (DPRK) labor camp. Please sign my petition to free him now.

My father—like any other American father—was working hard to provide for his family. Through his tour company that he started, he was able to show the natural beauty of North Korea to many. My father was arrested on November 3, 2012 while working as a tour operator in Rason (Rajin-Sonbong), one of North Korea’s special economic zones for foreign investors. My father is a good man with the biggest heart for the people and nation of North Korea, and now he has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what the DPRK identified as anti-government activities.

On July 3, 2013, the eve of two important events—America’s Independence Day and my grandfather’s 70th birthday—a video of my father was released from the North Korean labor camp. My family was shocked to see him! He had lost a significant amount of weight, and his time in prison has clearly taken a toll on his health—and this was only two months into his 15-year sentence. The video showed my father working eight hours of physical labor in the fields, plowing and farming six days a week. He has chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart problems and back pain, which require close monitoring and medical treatment.  We don’t know how quickly his health will deteriorate and how much longer his body can withstand the impact of the labor camp.

In my father’s prison interview, he asked for help from the United States government. He tells us that the only way to bring him home will be for the United States government to take more proactive action to secure Special Amnesty from the DPRK. My father had hopes of being home to celebrate his father’s 70th birthday, which was on the Fourth of July. I can only imagine that his hope now is to make it through another day, one day at a time until he is finally reunited with his family.

My family and I have hopes, too. We have been distraught by my father’s deteriorating health and his sentence of hard labor. However, we have not given up hope because we have faith in our government to represent and protect American citizens here and abroad.

Please sign my petition asking the Obama Administration to pursue every course of possible action, without delay, to secure Special Amnesty for my father and allow him to come home to his family and friends.

Looking Back, Continued


More Reflections on 2013

This week we’ve been bringing you some of our thoughts on 2013: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are a few more ThinkProgress items you might find of interest as the year comes to a close.

Travis Waldron from ThinkProgress Sports, a new section launched this year, writes about the most influential man in sports in 2013. It’s probably not who you think it is. He also took a look back on the year in sportswriting.

Building on her earlier pieces on the year in books and movies, today Alyssa Rosenberg focuses on the year in television.

Writing over at Climate Progress, Emily Atkin takes a deep dive on 45 fossil fuel disasters the industry doesn’t want you to know about. On the positive side of the ledger, Kiley Kroh and Jeff Spross look at 13 major clean energy breakthroughs in 2013.

While House Republicans refused to take up immigration reform this year, Esther Yu-Hsi Lee and Rebecca Leber highlight 8 of this year’s wins on immigration. 2013 also saw the Obama administration’s record pace of deportations slow.

Was 2013 a good year to be an international journalist? Annie-Rose Strasser details the threats journalists faced this year.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back at you with some final thoughts on 2013 before the Progress Report takes a break for the holidays.

In the Newsroom with Gov. Inslee


  • 12/18/2013 –
Joint Statement issued tonight from Governor Jay Inslee and the bipartisan House and Senate transportation negotiators on the next phase of  transportation revenue package negotiations
  • 12/17/2013 –
Small business health care tax credit now available in Washington counties with no SHOP plans
  • 12/17/2013 –
Governor proposes hold-steady supplemental budget, big challenges loom next year
  • 12/16/2013 –
Governor Inslee announces new appointments to King County Superior Court
  • 12/13/2013 –
Gov. Jay Inslee statement on latest Boeing offer to Machinists
  • 12/12/2013 –
Governor Jay Inslee issued this statement in response to tonight’s news that Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers were unable to reach an agreement
  • 12/12/2013 –
Statement from Governor Jay Inslee on potential Boeing Research & Technology staffing shifts
  • 12/12/2013 –
Statement from Governor Jay Inslee on the passing of retired Washington State Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers
  • 12/05/2013 –
Governor Inslee announces appointment of Christopher Melly to Clallam County Superior Court——————————————————————————————————————————————–

Detailed overview of the 2013-2015 operating budget signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on June 30, 2013

Washington State-Philippine Relief Effort

We did it!

HCAN Supporter,

After a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for progressives to run a grassroots-powered, $60 million successful push for health reform, HCAN is bringing its five-and-a-half year campaign to a close at the end of 2013.

We want to thank all of HCAN’s partner organizations, allies and activists who led the fight to pass and implement the Affordable Care Act. Hundreds of thousands of people like you demonstrated the grassroots support needed to end the insurance industry’s stranglehold on our health care.

You sent hundreds of thousands of letters to your senators and representatives, gathered millions of petition signatures telling them to do the right thing, and made a remarkable number of phone calls to Capitol Hill. Without you, our coalition wouldn’t have won the biggest expansion of access health care in the last half century.

You did this. Your actions made this possible. You told Congress that America needed health care reform now. Thanks to you, we got it.

Online enrollment is back on track and millions are signing up for quality, affordable health care – many for the first time. There is still work to be done, and we need to keep fighting. We don’t imagine that Republicans and the tea party are going to stop attacking the law any time soon. We hope you will remain involved in the fight to support health care reform and build a strong middle class. To learn more, please visit HCAN’s leadership organizations in the links listed below.

Best wishes from all of us at Health Care for America Now.



Alliance for a Just Society

American Federation of Teachers

Americans United for Change

Campaign for America’s Future

Center for American Progress

Communications Workers of America


Leadership Center for the Common Good


National Council of La Raza

National Education Association

National Women’s Law Center




United Food and Commercial Workers

Women’s Voices. Women Vote.

Working America

Petition: Stop voter suppressio​n in Florida

Rick Scott’s administration has just made their next move in the attempt to suppress voting rights in Florida.

The Secretary of State issued a directive — without much (if any) input from regional election supervisors — that limits the locations at which Floridians can drop off absentee ballots to elections offices only, instead of remote drop off sites that are more convenient for voters.

Put simply: Rick Scott’s administration once again has just made it harder for folks in Florida to vote.

The next big election in Florida is coming up on January 14th — a special election primary to fill the vacant seat in Florida’s 13th congressional district. We have a great candidate in Alex Sink and it’s another prime pickup opportunity for Democrats.

Every Floridian in that district should be able to make their voice heard without worrying about these new restrictions. These limitations are unnecessary and can have a dramatic impact in suppressing the vote. For instance, in 2012, 42% of all ballots were dropped off at these remote sites closer to where voters live.

We cannot let slick Rick try to rig another election. Join me in calling on Rick Scott and Florida Republicans to retract these new voting restrictions immediately.

The right to vote in this country is non-negotiable. Any changes we make to our election structure should make it easier for people to vote, not harder.
Thank you for standing with me against these new restrictions.