Billionaires trying to buy a Supreme Court seat

Billionaires pour money into state Supreme Court race

Will campaign cash corrupt the state Supreme Court?

Here’s Why You Should Care About the Tech and Finance Billionaires Trying to Influence State Judicial Races

These are the same billionaires who corrupted our legislature and pressured legislators to support an unconstitutional charters school bill last session, SB 6194.

State Supreme Court shares in blame for lack of school funding

It didn’t take long before the Legislature stopped its crowing about how it funded K-12 education and admitted that it was far from the mandates of the State Supreme Court for basic education. How is that? It starts with Stephanie and Matthew McCleary, parents of two public school kids on the Olympic peninsula. They sued the state for violation of its paramount constitutional duty to provide ample education for all children. The Legislature did indeed pass two laws in 2009 and 2010 for defining and costing out basic education. But in its McCleary ruling, our Supreme Court found that the Legislature failed to fund the laws it passed!

The Supreme Court set a 2018 deadline for full funding of basic education, and they required the Legislature to submit a plan by 2014 on how they would achieve that. However, the Legislature failed to establish such a plan, the Supreme Court found it in contempt, and gave it until the end of the 2015 legislative session to come up with a plan. Which they didn’t.

Unwilling to find funding for the laws it passed, the Legislature essentially thumbed its nose at the Supreme Court. The House and the Senate agreed to a budget mastered by State Senator Andy Hill, Republican, from Redmond. Senator Hill hailed the budget as “fully funding education.” That was a couple of weeks ago.  But now Senator Hill and other legislators are trying to figure out how to explain to the Supreme Court that they have a plan for ensuring that the state, as it says in our constitution, makes “ample provision for the education of all children.” To meet this paramount duty, “the legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools.”

To give them credit, the Senate Republicans do have a plan. They say it will cost $3.5 billion every two years (other estimates are closer to $4.5 billion). This may seem like a big chunk of money, but with over one million students, the increase in expenditures equals about $9 a day for each student. Given that we currently rank 30th among the states in expenditures per pupil (behind Missouri and Louisiana) and 45th in spending as a proportion of state income, this investment is the least we should expect. It won’t get us into the top states for funding, but at least we will be in the race for 15th best for investing in our children. Our kids will get smaller class sizes, full-day kindergarten, and more classes in high school, preparing them for work and college.

Whether it will take $3.5 billion or $4.5 billion, our legislators haven’t settled on how to come up with that money.  They don’t really have a plan.

So this month the Legislature reports to the State Supreme Court, explaining how they have laid out a pathway for full state funding of education by 2018. They won’t be able to do that.  They didn’t even come close to full funding in the budget which they just approved, even if they said they did.

Is the Supreme Court an impartial judge of what’s good for our kids? If that is the case, then they need to look themselves in the eye as well. Because it was the actions of previous Supreme Courts that took away the best funding tool for education. That tool? An initiative passed in 1932  with over 70% of the vote for a progressive income tax, starting at 1 percent and topping out at 7 percent. But with a 5 to 4 ruling, the Supreme Court invalidated that initiative. And, again in 1935, the Supreme Court blocked implementation of a 4% income tax passed by the Legislature.

If that tax was in place now, with an exemption for the first $15,000 of  income, we would realize $8 billion a year. With that we could fully fund K-12 education, drop tuition to less than $1,000 a year, institute high-quality pre-school statewide, expand mental health coverage, and reduce the sales tax by a couple of pennies on the dollar.

So maybe the Supreme Court should review its own actions in preventing the full funding of education, while considering the pleading of the Legislature. We are all in this together, whether we are judges, legislators, citizens, or our kids in school. We have to agree to full funding of education as a people, not as antagonists.

Originally published at The Everett Herald »

Ending the War on Drugs: a talk with Inspire Seattle

InspireSeattle invites YOU to join us at our Social Forum: Saturday, April 25th at 6:30PM.

Inspire Seattle

Main discussion topic for this evening: Ending the War on Drugs

For four decades the US has fueled its policy of a “war on drugs” with over a trillion tax dollars and increasingly punitive policies. More than 39 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses have been made. The incarcerated population quadrupled over a 20-year period, making building prisons the nation’s fastest growing industry. More than 2.3 million US citizens are currently in prison or jail, far more per capita than any country in the world. The US has 4.6 percent of the population of the world but 22.5 percent of the world’s prisoners. Each year this war costs the US another 70 billion dollars. Despite all the lives destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and much easier to access than they were at the beginning of the war on drugs, 40 years ago. Meanwhile, people continue dying on the streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer, more powerful, better armed.

Not one of the stated US drug policy goals of lowering the incidence of crime, addiction, drug availability, or juvenile drug use, has been achieved. Instead, our approach has magnified these problems by creating a self-perpetuating, ever-expanding policy of destruction, yet the US still insists on continuing the war and pressuring other governments to perpetuate these same unworkable policies. The drug war wreaks havoc, funds terrorism, and causes major corruption around the globe. This is the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!

With this in mind, current and former members of law enforcement have created a drug policy reform group called LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). Supporters of LEAP believe that to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction, as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition. LEAP believes a system of regulation and control is far more effective than one of prohibition.

Please join us for this important discussion!

Guest Speaker:  Jim Doherty:

Jim Doherty prosecuted drug users as a chief prosecutor and also helped keep them in jail as a corrections officer. Prior to attending law school, Jim spent a year working as an “alternatives worker” getting criminal defendants into drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and spent a year as a cell block officer in a large county jail. He later gained experience with the opposite perspective by serving as a public defender. In total, he has been practicing law for over thirty years, including several years as a felony public defender in Oregon, several as a municipal prosecutor for Washington cities, and two years as the Chief Prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office in American Samoa.

Jim describes his criminal legal experience as an exercise in futility when dealing with drug issues. “The legal prohibition of drugs has clogged our courts and jails, and has led to an out-of-control black market that destroys the lives of too many people, both here in America and abroad.”

He is part of the King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project, which was the country’s first county-wide collaboration to look at and work towards alternatives to America’s longest war. He is also a member of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers. Since 1993, Jim has served as a full time legal consultant with Municipal Research & Services Center, a non-profit organization providing research assistance to cities and counties in the State of Washington.

About InspireSeattle:

InspireSeattle is a progressive network of Seattle-area people sharing ideas and supporting action. InspireSeattle’s vision is to create connection throughout our community and better community through activism. InspireSeattle’s mission is to provide a fun, supportive gathering for people who care deeply about our community, our country and our planet. We embrace progressive policies that improve our society and protect our environment. We discuss current issues, share ideas and activism efforts while striving to inspire additional action. Subscribe (or unsubscribe) to InspireSeattle by visiting

When: April 25th at 6:30PM. Please try to be on time!!!

Where: Toni Merritt’s place, 1334 44th Ave SW, Seattle WA 98116, 773-495-4398.

Google map:,+Seattle,+WA+98116/@47.5909059,-122.386944,19z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x54904073f9488d41:0x4c67063a02b81ccf

Directions: Go west over the West Seattle bridge – take the Admiral Way exit – go up hill to California Ave SW – go right (north) on California – go 8 blocks to Atlantic – go left (west) on Atlantic – go right at 44th (first intersection) – first house on right.


It’s a potluck: so please help out and bring something to eat and to drink!

6:30 to 7:45: Social time! Eat, drink, relax, and catch up with some other local progressives

Formal discussion and guest speakers, 7:45 to 9:30

Other Announcements – got any?

Rules of Engagement!

1. So that everyone has a chance to participate, please keep your comments short

2. Raise one’s hand to ask a question in lieu of shouting out

3. Respect the points of views of others

4. No arguing of politics during the formal discussion – save that for afterwards!

Friday actions for SAFE: protest and press conference


Protest and Press Conference

This action is protesting the auction of Marquette Bowman’s family home. This home was left to her by her father who was a victim of a predatory reverse mortgage. We are coupling this protest with a a press conference announcing Barton victory in court over RCO and Quality Loan Services! A summary judgment of default has been issued against Quality Loan Services and RCO in the Barton Case. The outcome of the Barton litigation shows exactly why ongoing litigation is grounds for delaying auctions where there are questions as to property ownership.

Where: 4th & James in front of the King County Administration Building across from the King County Courthouse
When: Friday October 10, 2014 @ 10:00am
Meetup: At Einstein’s Bagels on 4th and Cherry at 9:30am

Demand Delivery

Join us in delivering a demand letter to Wells Fargo Bank on behalf of Jane Mair in her continued battle to keep her house!

Where: We will be meeting at the Food Court on the Southwest corner of 3rd & Marion in Downtown Seattle
When: Friday October 10, 2014 @ 4:15 pm

Please Join Us In Our Continued Fight For Housing As A Human

Judge Upholds SPD’s Discretion in Not Arresting Bartons While They Challenge the Legality of Fraudulent Foreclosure


Today, a King County judge ruled that SPD acted properly in not interfering in Jean and Byron Bartons’ civil land dispute regarding their home in West Seattle. The judge has now put the ball in King County’s court, giving Triangle Properties the option to seek a writ against the Sheriff’s department to carry out an eviction that they claim they have already carried out.

The Bartons’ case has now become something of a hot potato, with Triangle passing it to the courts, the city passing the matter to the county, the county passing it back to the city, and now the judge tossing it back to the King County Sheriff’s Department.

Meanwhile, Byron Barton is still in his home of 61 years, in comfortable conditions, under the home care of his wife, while the couple waits for a superior court to make a decision regarding the fraudulent foreclosure practices of Chase Bank and Quality Loan Services, who auctioned the property to Triangle last April. Quality Loan Services has already been reprimanded by Attorney General Bob Ferguson last March for illegal foreclosure practices, and those same practices were used in the theft of Jean and Byron’s home.

“If someone takes your home, and they break the law while doing it, don’t you deserve your day in court before the property is removed from you?” says Randy Whitelock, SAFE Organizer, ”The AG has already gone after QLS publicly, and put a moratorium on foreclosures they’re involved in. They are the criminals, not the Bartons.”

As far as services supposedly offered by the city…

“All we’ve gotten are a list of phone numbers, applications for 3 to 5 year waiting lists, and a case worker from the VA who has done nothing. The idea that we’ve turned down resources is ridiculous,” says Jill Barton.

The simple truth is that the city has no adequate resources for putting displaced citizens into stable, permanent housing, an issue that should be addressed by Mayor Murray in his mission to end veteran homelessness in Seattle.

But for now, the Bartons are in their home, awaiting their day in court.

"Supreme" Court and US "representative democracy" are in a deep crisis of legitimacy


It is time to arm and train the nonviolent warriors of our time.



Bill    Moyer of Backbone Campaign speech at McCutcheon VS FEC Event in    Seattle 10-10-13
Bill Moyer’s 10-10-13 statement regarding “Political Calculus” and the crisis of legitimacy for our government. This was delivered on the US Court House in Seattle, WA on the day the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on McCutcheon VS the FEC. HQ 4-03-14:
Once again, we have been betrayed by our “highest court” and I am forced to ask, what is so “supreme” about this so-called Supreme Court? How could an institution deserve such a title when it is aggressively undermining checks and balances – not just between branches of government, but between the oligarchic few and the increasingly indentured many?

The “Supreme” Court and US “representative democracy” are in a deepcrisis of legitimacy.

The injury of Citizens United vs FEC has now been compounded by the insult of McCutcheon VS the FEC. McCutcheon VS the FEC turns our Federal elections into an auction by removing limits on contributions to candidates in Federal elections. It will allow the most wealthy to spend freely to thrust their minions into Federal office. This along with their decisions on Citizens United and the Voting Rights Act…confirm that our current system in not merely broken, but “fixed.” It is fixed to concentrate power and wealth amongst the few at the expense and exclusion of the many.

Incrementalism has proven a failure in even slowing down the abandonment of our original Social Contract based upon the paradigm of sacred”unalienable rights” of Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness expressed in our original revolutionary Declaration. The evolving expression of those sacred, “endowed by creator” rights articulated as human rights, community rights, and rights of nature are under siege globally.National and global aspirations for that paradigm are being crushed by the paradigm of Commodification. The paradigm of Commodification is propelled by fear and scarcity and finds expression in the cynical inventions of “corporate rights,””investor rights,” and the rights of capital itself – the idol that blesses the commodification of everything and everyone.

It is time for a new social contract. The Constitution has failed to live up to the promises of the Declaration of Independence. We must support those who building momentum for that movement. The WAMends of this country, nationally inspired and by the Move to Amend coalition are providing a foundation for a movement for a new social contract. But this is much more than a philosophical struggle – this is a paradigmatic battle fought on every front of collusion between corporate and elected power.

Arm the Rebels!
Backbone Campaign is providing tactical tools and capacity to the moral warriors across America through trainings and material support. Join us today! Become part of our network of Action Brigades by attending an Action Camp. Help us arm the nonviolent rebels to help them boldly hold the higher moral ground and inspire a populism that is based on the best in humans rather than the worst, a revolution grounded in LOVE and Abundance.

Defend what you Love – Fight for your Aspirations. We can either acceptour creative inalienable role as co-authors of the future or choosevictimhood andbetray that which is sacred in and around us. This is a spiritualbattle in which Love Must Win!

Forward Together!

Bill Moyer & Team Backbone
Join us today!

Localize This!


Inspire Seattle: Jan 25: No New Jim Crow

          Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:30pm * 
Main discussion topic for this evening: 

No New Jim Crow

*To receive InspireSeattle invitations, click here to provide us with an email address.

Following the Civil War and continuing right into the 1960s, African-Americans were racially segregated and systematically discriminated against by a series of local and state laws that collectively became known as Jim Crow laws. These laws would eventually be undermined by the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But has the United States truly achieved legal equality for all of its citizens? In 2010 Michelle Alexander published The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness and she argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” Now it is the U.S. criminal justice system that targets black men with higher conviction rates and longer sentences under the “War on Drugs”. These practices decimate communities of color and relegate millions to a permanent second-class status as “ex-cons”.

No New Jim Crow Seattle Campaign is one of several groups in the Seattle/King County area, working to promote positive alternatives to jails, prisons, and punishments. Mary Paterson and other participants from the No New Jim Crow Seattle Campaign will speak at this gathering about transformative/restorative justice as a real alternative that is within our grasp. Their presence in the Seattle area has started the process with education and community organizing programs that will be needed in this next step.

Come join us for what should be a very important and interesting evening!!!


About InspireSeattle:
InspireSeattle is a progressive network of Seattle-area people sharing ideas and supporting action. InspireSeattle’s vision is to create connection throughout our community and better community through activism. InspireSeattle’s mission is to provide a fun, supportive gathering for people who care deeply about our community, our country and our planet. We embrace progressive policies that improve our society and protect our environment. We discuss current issues, share ideas and activism efforts while striving to inspire additional action. Subscribe (or unsubscribe) to InspireSeattle by visiting

When:  Saturdays in 2014 at 6:30PM. Please try to be on time!!!

Where:  You will receive an invitation with the location when you provide us with your email address.


It s a potluck:  so please help out and bring something to eat and to drink!

6:30 to 7:45:  Social time!  Eat, drink, relax, and catch up with some other local progressives

Formal discussion and guest speakers, 7:45 to 9:30

Other Announcements  got any?


Rules of Engagement!

1.  So that everyone has a chance to participate, please keep your comments short

2.  Raise one s hand to ask a question in lieu of shouting out

3.  Respect the points of views of others

4.  No arguing of politics during the formal discussion save that for afterwards! 



Darcy Burner played a big role in fixing the Senate filibuster

Virtually Speaking reports that Washington State’s Darcy Burner played an important role in Harry Reid’s move to fix the Senate filibuster.

Click here to hear filibuster experts Joan McCarter and David Waldman’s analysis.  Listen from 10:30 to hear the discussion of Darcy’s role. Here’s an excerpt:

To me Darcy Burner was instrumental in moving us from, “Hey, we really ought to be doing this” chat in emails to “Let me introduce you to the people who can make it happen.” And from there we took off running, and we all did this work together. But it was Darcy who said, “I can make this thought become reality.” So, she deserves a giant chunk of the credit for this today.

Darcy Burner (Wikipedia portrait)

This CNN article has more detail about the filibuster change: And credit for the nuclear option goes to…

“It took a coordinated and sustained effort from an unlikely place — progressive activists on the blogosphere.”  The so-called Fix the Senate Coalition of groups and unions phoned and emailed senators. They pursued an “inside-outside” strategy of pressure from the grassroots and from insiders whom the senators trusted.

Darcy Burner on her facebook page offers this explanation of how filibuster reform came about (republished with permission):

David Waldman (aka KagroX of DailyKos) and I talked about it while I was running, and then we convinced Daniel Weise of the Ordinary People Foundation to fund roughly a year of David’s time through (in addition to his blogging at to lay the groundwork with the Senate. This is the ultimate outcome of that effort.

Lessons? (1) Small investments can make big differences if they’re strategically done. (2) Visionary donors – and Daniel qualifies – can have a huge impact. (3) We should be doing a better job of funding bloggers.

Ashley Sanders on Move to Amend

Ashley Sanders a Move to Amend national spokesperson spoke Sep. 28, 2013 in Seattle, Washington to build connections, inspire activism, and reveal the origins of corporate power in America. This is a national campaign for a Constitutional Amendment at and a ballot initiative in approx. 20 states now, including Washington.

Organizing to End Corporate Rule and Get Money Out of Politics

Ashley will cover the hidden history of both corporate rule and democracy in this country AND talk about how we can build a democracy movement and take power back for the “We the People.” Ashley is a long time community activist from Salt Lake City. Ashley worked for Democracy Unlimited in 2009 and helped to form the Move to Amend coalition. She founded the Salt Lake affiliate of Move to Amend and serves on the National Executive Committee. Ashley helped to organize Occupy DC Freedom Plaza and was involved in Occupy Salt Lake. Ashley is one of the people interviewed in the award-winning film, “American Autumn: An OccuDoc,” a documentary about the Occupy movement.

Join the local fight to free Marissa Alexander

Free Marissa Alexander

The terrible injustice of the not-guilty verdict for Trayvon Martin’s killer has brought Marissa Alexander’s racist and sexist treatment by Florida courts to center-stage of U.S. and world attention. It is infuriating to think how a white man used Stand Your Ground to avoid any penalties for killing a Black teenager, while a Black woman is serving a 20-year sentence for firing a warning shot that injured no one to stop an attack by her abusive husband. As the national Free Marissa Now campaign has stated: ” The dramatically different outcomes of these cases is a lesson in how the criminal justice system routinely fails to support black people who defend themselves from violence on the streets, in their homes, and from institutions.”

Please come to the next meeting of the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander to discuss how we in Seattle can be part of winning freedom for this woman.


Wednesday, July 24, 6:30pm
LEMS Life Enrichment Bookstore
5023 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118


Join the movement to uphold women’s right to self-defense and to end racism and sexism in the criminal justice system. Please like the Facebook pages for “Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander” and “Free Marissa Now”

For more information, contact, 206-722-6057.