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.

Quick Link: Bill Gates backs climate denier Judge David Larson for Washington State Supreme Court position

As reported in Bill Gates backs climate denier Judge David Larson for Washington State Supreme Court position

Gates is so blinded by his desire to have charter schools in our state that he doesn’t seem to be concerned with the qualifications of an individual who will potentially participate in setting policy affecting education in in his home state.

The Washington State Supreme Court made the decision that charter schools are unconstitutional in Washington State but Mr. Gates and others are determined to privatize the state’s public school system by any means.

Supreme Court Judge Charles Wiggins is one of the judges who decided in favor of the plaintiffs who challenged the constitutionality of charter schools in Washington State.

Bill Gates, Paul Allen along with Steve and Connie Ballmer, all major contributors to the charter school campaign, Initiative 1240, have contributed over $500,000 as of last week to the Political Action Committee (PAC) called Citizens for Working Courts Enterprise Washington to defeat Judge Wiggins.

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Supreme Court Justice Wiggins is being outspent at about 20:1.

But while on the school board in Federal Way, Larson voted to suppress Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth.

Hedge fund billionaires push charter school

This article from The American Prospect traces tells the sordid story about how hedge fund billionaires bankrolled charter schools and teamed with ALEC and the Koch brothers to support union-busting policies and the candidacy of Republican governor Scott Walker. Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) was funded by hedge funders a decade ago. Hedging Education: How hedge funders spurred the pro-charter political network..

The cash has infiltrated Washington State politics too: Following the charter school cash in the Washington State Primary: The latest money scheme

Quickie: How Long Can Big Money Keep Democrats In The Charter School Camp?

From http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/how-long-can-big-money-keep-democrats-in-the-charter-school-camp/:

For decades, the petroleum industry has stuffed the coffers of candidates in both parties to ensure legislation continues to favor oil consumption, stall alternative energy sources, and ensure lax environmental regulations.

The other source of corporate cash in Democratic politics is much newer: charter schools. …

…the combo of big oil and education reform mustered at least $24 million in donations to back candidates who opposed “Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to halve motorists’ use of fossil fuels by 2030” and who supported “expanding charter schools.”

Meyerson spotlights a number of races around the state where candidates who benefitted from the big oil-education reform combo defeated more progressive Democrats.

Across the Golden State, reports LA School Report, “Education reformers spent big ahead of California’s primary … The millions paid off with all of the candidates they supported advancing to November’s general election.”

A similar influx of corporate cash is infecting Democratic Party politics in Washington State, with the money coming from astroturf groups such as League of Education Voters, funded by Microsoft, Boeing and other rich people enjoying tax breaks.

The Divided Left revisited

The Divided Left in America is a major problem, and it’s come to fore in the discussions on social media about whether Bernie should run as an independent and about whether Bernie supporters should work within the Democratic Party.

Progressive Democrats are desperately trying to reform the Democratic Party but lack numbers. As a result the corporate Dems win. Greens,Socialists and others further to the left flee the Democratic Party and support candidates like Ralph Nader, Jill Stein, and Rocky Anderson. Nationally, these third party candidates win maybe a few percent of the votes and fail to organize effective political organizations. For example, they don’t typically have statewide candidates.

In short, angry Dems flee the Democratic Party, allowing the corporatists and hawks to win. In contrast, angry conservatives take over the GOP and push it further to the right.

In local races, candidates like Kshama Sawant can win a city like Seattle. But statewide (e.g., in the suburbs) they are perceived as too radical by most people. (Bernie Sanders is more of a social democrat than a democratic socialist; he harmed his chances by calling himself a socialist. Noam Chomsky and others agree with this view.)

I understand that working within the Democratic Party is difficult, dirty, unpleasant work. Whoever said the Revolution would be pleasant?

Still, I’m not condemning those people who flee the Democratic Party. I understand why they do it. The leadership is corrupted. This is clear nationally. Statewide, Inslee voted to give $8.7 billion to Boeing, and he allowed the charter schools bill to become law. In my LD (41st) there are many good Dems but the LD allows our legislators to betray us: Tana Senn and Judy Clibborn both voted for Steve Litzow’s (R, 41 LD) charter schools bill, despite the fact that the state Supreme Court ruled charter schools are unconstitutional; despite the fact that McCleary isn’t yet funded; and despite the fact the the state party platform says “We oppose charter schools.” Many (most?) of the 41st LD Dem PCOs are pissed, but the LD leadership treats me like a dangerous outsider. They also disliked my criticisms of Hillary’s hawkishness.

The PDA pursues an inside-outside strategy that allows people to work but within and outside of the Democratic Party. That’s perhaps necessary but it’s not ideal.

Anyway, any ideas for uniting the left? For years I have been promoting the idea of a shared media platform where people post articles and discuss things. Progressives and socialists are supposed to believe in cooperation for the common good. Fact is: people don’t work together too well.

Microsoft & Boeing receive billions in tax breaks, fund astro-turf groups

There were big endorsements for Steve Litzow, Jay Inslee and others who support charter schools. The endorsements came from the charter-schools-loving League of Education Voters, which is funded by Microsoft, Boeing, the Seattle Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and others. Follow the money. Boeing and Microsoft enjoy massive tax breaks and use their money to fund astro-turf groups that buy campaign ads.

League of Education Voters backs Inslee, top Republicans.

The LEV also endorsed Democratic legislators who support charter schools, including Tana Senn and Judy Clibborn.

Follow the money.  The scam basically works like this. In exchange for the billions in tax breaks they receive, Gates, Microsoft and Boeing fund campaign ads via innocent-sounding astro-turf groups such as League of Education Voters and Stand for Children.  The ads will show attractive, smiling, obedient children sitting in classrooms and listening to the teacher.

Contrary to the statement in the article, Gates, Boeing, and Microsoft are not independent at all. They’re self-interested tools of the 1%, intent on dismantling public education, attacking unions, and blaming teachers for outcomes that are the result of poverty and willful under-funding of education. Republicans and their neo-liberal Democratic allies under-fund government so it doesn’t work well and so that they can justify tax cuts for rich people and privatization of government services.

This is all at the expense of the middle class  and the poor, who pay the vast majority of state taxes here in Washington State, due to our regressive tax system.

Despite the $8.7 billion in tax breaks, Boeing still shipped jobs out-of-state.  See Tax-subsidized Boeing Co. snubs state again. Boeing profits enormously from government subsidies via its military business.  But it still avoids paying taxes.

Heck, Inlee’s major “accomplishments” as Governor are: handing $8.7 billion to Boeing and letting the charter school bill become law.

The charter schools bill, SB 6194, is in violation of the State Constitution; last year the state Supreme Court ruled that charter schools are unconstitutional. The bill steals money from public education at a time when the legislature is in contempt of court for not adequately funding public schools (McCleary decision).

The charter schools bill is also contrary to the state Democratic Party platform which states “We oppose charter schools.”

The following article about Bill Gates and his meddling in education policy helps explain why so many legislators continue to push for charter schools: Charitable Plutocracy: Bill Gates, Washington State and the Nuisance of Democracy.

Want to understand politics? Follow the money.

Follow the money.

For a related article see These Dems voted to undermine public schools, contravene the Constitution, and aid Republicans.