Scott Walker on Partisanship

Dear Group,

On May 15, the day after the much advertised Washington Policy Center’s and Greater Spokane, Inc.’s “Solutions Summit” the Spokesman ran a front page article describing former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s speech. Here are the first two paragraphs:

Former Wisconsin governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker urged conservatives to be prepared if Washington state ever flips from blue to red during a speech to hundreds of business leaders and elected officials Tuesday in Spokane.

Walker said the state could be at a tipping point, just like Wisconsin was when he first ran in 2010. In that election, Republicans won control of the state government and later passed a controversial bill that dramatically decreased public unions’ ability to collectively bargain.

The basic message: “We have an important Republican agenda. You business people are on the Republican team. If the team all works together in Washington State, if you’re prepared when your state flips (i.e. to a trifecta, a Republican majority in both houses of the State House and a Republican governor) the way Wisconsin flipped in 2010, you can ram our agenda down the throat of the citizenry before they know what’s happening. What he probably did not say was that in the 2010 Wisconsin governor’s race Walker purposely did not run on attacking collective bargaining for public employee…but that was his first priority once in office. 

The Spokesman article goes on: 

He [Walker] said if he would have waited until longer into his term to pass conservative policies, he likely wouldn’t have won his recall election.

Message: Strike hard. Shock and awe. If people have time to figure out what you’re up to you might be removed from office. That is a revealing. The attendees at the Solutions Summit must have been clear they weren’t listening to a statesman, a man interested in the good of the country, but rather a political ideologue bent on winning, defined as passing as much partisan legislation as possible.

More (the bold is mine):

Walker said Wisconsin Republicans had prepared policies and talking points years before winning control, a feat Washington Republicans could achieve as well.

That is, with enough conservative opinion pieces and talking points from the non-profit dark money Washington Policy Center to rally around you can achieve here in Washington what I, Scott Walker, achieved in Wisconsin before the voters wised up and elected, in 2018, a governor with actual knowledge and experience in education, Tony Evers. 

What Mr. Walker perhaps did not say was this: When you finally are voted out of office don’t leave in a statesmanlike manner. During the lame duck session between your loss and the seating of the new governor make every effort you can to hamstring the incoming Democratic governor. You must plan for these things, too. After all, to Walker government isn’t cooperative, it’s a winner takes all enterprise. There are many articles on what the lame duck Wisconsin legislature and Mr. Walker rammed through in the last days of his governorship. Read here if you have access to the New York Times.

Then what does one expect from a college dropout with little life experience outside of politics, a dropout steeped in Baptist and Republican ideology from his early youth? 

Various local Republicans came to hear Walker speak at the Washington Policy Center’s Solutions Summit, came to hear his counsel on how they should function, plot, and plan in their elective offices (the bold is mine):

Walker was one of many prominent attendees at conservative think tank Washington Policy Center’s Solutions Summit event at the Historic Davenport Hotel. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, state Treasurer Duane Davidson, Spokane Mayor David Condon, Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, and several Spokane Valley council members attended the event.

Nadine Woodward, mayoral candidate for the City of Spokane, was also there, in case you had any doubt as to her partisan leanings. 

I doubt Walker’s speech offered anything new for most of those who listened. I wonder how many of the listeners had any acquaintance with the rest of the Walker story.

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. Scott Walker’s speaker’s fee is reported to be between $15,000 and $25,000. Once he quit licking his wounds from last fall’s election defeat he joined up with the Worldwide Speakers Group, purveyors of other guiding lights like former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Not bad for a guy whose salary as governor of Wisconsin was $146,597.88. Let’s see, six to ten half hour speeches as a Republican cheerleader to make your prior annual salary? 


Dear Group,

You were thinking Presidential Election? That consumes the consciousness of many Americans, and it certainly consumes the national news media. Here in eastern Washington, though, we’ve got a 

Municipal Primary Election on Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Municipal General Election on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Put those dates on your calendar. You should receive a ballot for the Primary in the mail by the third week of July. These are the elections to which many of us (including this writer) have paid little attention in many past years. As a result people like Mike Fagan, a speaker at the Liberty State Gala, get elected. THEY pay attention.

First, check yourself out on Are you registered? Is your information up to date? One tab there shows you who your incumbent elected officials are.  Another tab, “Voters’ Guide,” shows those among whom you get to chose in the Primary. (Note: Since we have “top two” primaries in Washington State, if two or only one candidate has filed for a position, they will appear only on the General Election ballot in November.) 

Print out the list. Pay attention to the names. Who, if any, is the incumbent? When you look at the paper or watch local news some of what you hear and see will stick better with some name recognition.

These elections are said to be “non-partisan.” It only takes a few minutes at the computer to figure out likely party affiliation. No one, for instance, is likely to mistake Nadine Woodward for a Democrat, especially after she dutifully attended the recent Washington Policy Center “Solutions Summit” with “Governor” Scott Walker (WI) as the featured speaker. 

For those interested in a broader view of the election landscape check out the comprehensive list of “Candidates Who Have Filed” available through the Spokane County Elections website. Check out the links to maps in the References section in the next box below, maps that show the layout of the City Council Districts and School Districts. 

Finally, the Public Disclosure Commission’s “Campaign Explorer” offers a snapshot of who currently has a significant campaign war chest. Click on individual names to get an idea of who their contributors are. It takes some fiddling, but there is a wealth of information there required by law, information that can be very revealing.

At the very least right now go to, make sure your voter registration is up to date and check out your Voters’ Guide so you know who the players are.  

Keep to the high ground,


Global Warming and Physics

Dear Group,

Every once in a while I find a quote that’s spot on. This one, particularly the part I’ve bolded, is such a quote. It is from a podcast of an interview with Bill McKibben on NPR’s Fresh Air entitled “Climate Change Is ‘Greatest Challenge Humans Have Ever Faced,’ Author Says” .The link offers the podcast itself as well as a transcript. Here was the most striking bit for me (the bold is mine): 

Having wasted 30 years, doing nothing at the behest of the powers that be, we’re now left with a set of very uncomfortable and difficult choices. We have to move much more quickly than is convenient, politically, economically, socially. But what choice do we have? I mean, in the end, this isn’t a fight between Republicans and Democrats or environmentalists and industry. It’s, in the end, a fight between human beings and physics. And physics is poor at compromise, doesn’t negotiate easily. We’re going to have to do what physics demands.

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. Bill McKibben is the founder of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide is considered a relatively safe concentration in our atmosphere. CO2 concentration was 280 ppm when we started burning fossil fuels in large quantities (coal at first) in the 19th century. Today the concentration hovers around 400 ppm. Recently, at the observatory on Mauna Loa in Hawaii (with continuous measurements since the late 1950s) a seasonal high of 415 was reached, higher than any point in the last 800,000 years. There is a local chapter of, Another organization, Citizens Climate Lobby, is currently sponsoring bipartisan legislation, H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, offering a free market solution to address this existential threat. Check them out.

State of Liberty Gala this evening

Dear Group,

Here is a copy of the ad for the Liberty State Gala Event this evening. There are a number of people planning to go and listen. It’s free and attending might offer some insight. There is a hint the unnamed speaker in the invitation, “Lady Liberty,” is René Holaday, Matt Shea’s Legislative Assistant and, apparently, the proud author of a 2012 book entitled “The Perils of Sustainable Development.” Since 2012 it has gathered a grand total of thirteen reviews. Click on the title to check out the praise for the book. I’ve copied and pasted the “Editorial Review” below for the flavor it gives of this mindset of these folks.

Ad for this evenings event from Facebook:

Liberty State Spokane County is pleased to announce that we have finalized the speaker lineup for our Liberty State Gala Event. The rally will take place on Thursday, May 23rd at Center Place in Spokane Valley from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Headlining the event will be 4th Legislative District Representative Matt Shea. Joining Matt on stage will be Mike Fagan and Tim Benn from the ACN radio show, The Right Spokane Perspective; Republic, WA Chief of Police & author, Loren Culp; and Lady Liberty.

Admission to the event is free, however donations would be gratefully accepted. There will also be a “Dessert Plus” auction to raise funds for Liberty State. Mike Fagan will be the auctioneer.

This will be a family-friendly event. Come and learn about Liberty State and what you can do to make it a reality!

Editorial Review of Ms. Holaday’s book:

“The Perils of Sustainable Development” is about “The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 21”, and how Sustainable Development plans to completely abolish things like private property rights, individual rights, air conditioning, driving of vehicles, rural living, meat consumption, livestock ownership, farming, logging, and much much more. It is written in a way that makes it an “easy and a quick read” that will provide the reader with an instant basic outline of all the most important facts, so that you don’t have to spend years weeding through endless deceptive government documents and websites! Six years of solid research has pulled together a complete picture of what the UN has in store for the United States, and what has already been covertly accomplished in our great nation. It is a compilation of all the most important facts and glaringly incriminating quotes. It also supplies the reader with Resolution Templates and blueprint action plans that have already been successful in over 57 cities, counties, and two states in the USA. The reader can use these “blueprints” in order to start putting their own plans of action into progress in their own local areas to put a stop to these UN programs. This book is also highly recommended for use by our elected officials, regardless of party affiliation. If you enjoy your private property rights and other essential American values, this is a “must have” book that will show you what is going on and what we can do about it! When deception has been the central theme of these UN programs, every American needs this information before it is too late for the entire nation. It also contains multiple maps that outline affected areas, regional governance, and much more. You will need to know- do you even know if you live in an area deemed by the UN to be a “Wildlife Corridor” that will allow little to no human use within the next few years? Buy now!

It behooves us to understand something of the mindset of these people. For my part, I find it appalling that several of them have held or hold public office in the region.

Keep to the high ground,


Local Christian Identity Politics

Dear Group,

There is a recurring cancer in our midst. The signs of its recurrence have been present but noticed by only a few. Now the cancer has a Representative in the Washington State House of Representatives. His name is Matt Shea. At least some people of both the major political parties and some Christian leaders are starting to pay attention.

Last evening I attended a presentation by “Senator” John Smith to the Republicans of Spokane Valley. (See Monday’s post, Local Republican Soul Searching, for details on Mr. Smith’s political career.). Mr. Smith, who was brought up in the culture of Christian Identity, gave a chilling account of the worldview of groups like the Marble Fellowship in northern Stevens County, a frequent lecture stop of Matt Shea: “the supremacy of the white race, the evil of the Jews, and an anti-govenment belief that they were ordained by God to control the church and the state.” He detailed tactics. Start at the level of local government. Seek folks with whom you find some common ground, then draw them in. You don’t want eastern Washington to become like Seattle? Join us. We’ll form the “State of Liberty,” where “we” will be in the majority. Mr. Smith traced links to the neo-nazi Aryan Nations, founded in Hayden Lake, ID in the 1970s, the Redoubter movement, the Bundys and the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (All three of the latter have abundant connections with Matt Shea.)

The audience of about thirty people, including Leonard Christian [1] and a brief appearance of Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, seemed appropriately concerned by Mr. Smith’s presentation. Mr. Smith never directly brought up Matt Shea, but in the question and answer period it was clear that everyone had Shea in mind. 

Earlier in the week one of my readers wrote, “I’ve had several very productive conversations with some of my rabid Trump/CMR supporting friends regarding Matt Shea.  I approach them describing my curiosity to learn how they are reacting to all the news swirling around Shea.  So far, none of them have really known much about it. That’s because Shea is not being covered on Fox News, which is their primary source of information about current events.  But, it has opened up the door for me to share some of these articles and so far I am 100% in hearing them express shock, disgust, and in a couple cases a desire for him to be impeached, followed by pledges that they will never vote for him again.”

This is a problem. If people who would be aghast at Shea’s revolting wing nut activities don’t hear of them, he will sail back into office on the November 2020 election. All of us need to talk with our neighbors in the way my reader did.

There has been some coverage of Shea in the Spokesman, but not nearly enough. Daniel Walters of The Inlander has done better. I encourage you to click and read Mr. Walters’ May 7 article, Rep. Shea’s secret group discussed sending severed wolf tail and testicles to environmental activist, as well as Jason Williams’ article in The Guardian, Exposed: the Republican who stokes fears of civil war and fuels conspiracy theories. Share the articles, especially with Republican friends, Click on the links in the articles. Go down this disgusting rabbit hole, look around, and learn enough about it to talk with people. The Guardian has worldwide distribution. Eastern Washingtonians (and North Idahoans) do not want this reputation, especially having partially excised the earlier cancer of the Aryan Nations. The difference this time is the movement has a political foothold.

One should not expect the entire worldview of the Christian Identity crowd to be on display at every event. Tomorrow evening you could go listen for yourself at the Liberty State Gala from 6:30 to 8:30PM at the Centerplace Regional Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley. Click here for the advertisement. Here’s the lineup: “Headlining the event will be 4th Legislative District Representative Matt Shea. Joining Matt on stage will be Mike Fagan and Tim Benn from the ACN radio show, The Right Spokane Perspective; Republic, WA Chief of Police & author, Loren Culp; and Lady Liberty”. (ACN stands for the American Christian Network, a broadcast network exclusive to the Inland Northwest and Shea’s favorite medium, based on where he spends a lot of his campaign money.) It should be an interesting evening. Others are planning to attend and ask exactly who is writing the constitution for this new state and what it contains. Listen carefully and share.

Keep to the high ground,


[1]  Leonard Christian, like Mr. Smith, was appointed to the Washington legislative but was beaten in the following election. In Mr. Christian’s case he was beaten in the Primary for LD4 by not one but TWO Republican challengers for the seat now occupied by McCaslin Junior. Mr Christian was also a failed candidate for Spokane County Assessor last fall. Neither Mr. Christian nor Mr. Smith, as far as I can tell, ever been elected to public office.

Local Republican Soul-Searching

Dear Group,

This evening, May 20, a distinct group of local Republicans, “The Republicans of Spokane County,” (distinct from the larger and more extreme “Spokane County Republicans”) are meeting at 6:30PM at the Fairfield Inn on Argonne in Spokane Valley. I’ve reproduced the invitation, forwarded to me by a friend on their mailing list (the bold is mine):

Sharia Law, Antifa, Left Wing Extremism…….all the things we hate and stand against. 

Yet, when far right activities occur in our own back yard……….crickets.  Are we complicit?  What can we do? Are these two sides of the same coin?

Please join us at the Fairfield Inn on Argonne and Mission at 6:30, on May 20, 2019 for our May meeting featuring Senator John Smith.  John’s unique history gives him insights to the story you may not have heard.

We need to have a serious discussion as Republican voters on the direction we are heading in our region.

Please like our facebook page and refer to our meeting post for more information!

Beva L. Miles


Republicans of Spokane County

It seems that at least a few Republicans have gotten the message about Rep. Matt Shea (State Rep from Legislative District 4, Spokane Valley and points north). Shea has been featured in national media, most recently in yet another article in The Guardian on May 9. (That article provides a fairly comprehensive summary of Shea’s wingnut activities, ongoing for at least a decade. It is worth reading if you haven’t.)

The only Republican who has publicly called out Matt Shea and the lunatic wing of the Republican Party Shea represents is Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. Others, particularly Washington State representatives from Legislative District 7 (NE Washington) specifically avoid the topic. McMorris Rodgers accepts Shea’s endorsement. (Is she fearful that if she were to come out against Shea she would lose her white supremacist and Redoubter support?) 

Who is “Senator” John Smith and what is his unique history that offers him insight? Mr. Smith was appointed to fill the State Senate position for LD7 (NE Washington) left open due to the terminal illness of Senator Bob Morton. (Morton was the man for whom McMorris Rodgers worked right out of Pensacola Christian College and the man on whose coattails McMorris Rodgers became a State Rep from LD7 when Morton became Senator.)

John Smith was appointed to the State Senate January 4, 2013 by the vote of 13 of 15 County Commissioners (of the five counties all or part of which are in LD7, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, most of Okanogan, and the northern part of Spokane ). Less than a year later to December 6, 2013 Mr. Smith was defeated by Brian Dansel in a low turnout special election. (Dansel was replaced by Shelley Short in 2017 when Dansel took a position as a “special assistant” in the USDA). 

A the time of his appointment Mr. Smith was vice chairman of the Stevens County Republican Party. What happened, what is his “special insight” that shines light on “far right activities” in eastern Washington? After all, Mr. Smith never won an election and served less than a year in public office.

For an eastern Washington Republican, Mr. Smith sounds like a pretty reasonable guy, at least in the Spokesman article about his appointment in 2013. His story might be worth hearing…

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. Do take note of the things “we hate and stand against…Sharia Law, Antifa, Left Wing Extremism” in the ad for this meeting. Why does this sound to me more like declaration of articles of faith than anything grounded in reality? Is anyone aware of any credible evidence of efforts to install Sharia law in eastern Washington? Activities of “Antifa”? I haven’t ever seen anything locally and very little nationally to suggest the workings of Antifa. These are boogeymen, straw men, whose only purpose is the inflame the followers. It is a sad commentary on the divisive tactics of the right. And what is “left wing extremism” exactly? 

P.P.S. The 2013 special election for Bob Morton’s LD7 Senate seat was one of those in which the apparent underdog (Brian Dansel) won. Dansel, age 30, was a Ferry County Commissioner with total of candidate contributions of $42,614.76 going against an (appointed) incumbent, John Smith, with $127,517.59 in contributions. Of those contributions Smith even had more in individual contributors and contributions than Dansel. Incumbency and a thrice over monetary advantage couldn’t cut it. What went on here?

Local Campaign Finance Fiasco

Note: The inspiration and the basic facts for this email come from Daniel Walters‘ article “A mayoral candidate who already dropped has busted campaign donation limits wide open” which appeared in The Inlander May 13.

Dear Group,

Andrew Rathbun was running for Mayor of the City of Spokane. On April 24 he announced he’d changed  his mind. He is not running for Mayor. Instead, he filed to run against incumbent Karen Stratton for Spokane City Council, District 3 (NW part of Spokane). All that is pretty unremarkable. Filing week for public office ends today. The political landscape shifts, odds change. Even though Mr. Rathbun has dropped out of the mayoral race, he has left a big mark. During February and March, when Mr. Rathbun was still planning to run for Mayor he contributed $29,010 to his campaign, a fairly princely sum for a personal contribution to a local election campaign. He accepted several $1000 contributions from supporters for either the Primary or the General, for a total of $2000 from some individuals for his mayoral candidacy. His new account for the City Council candidacy shows he contributed another $11,500 personally and is already accepting $2000 (Primary plus General Election) donations. 

Here’s where is gets complicated. In late 2017 the Spokane City Council passed the Spokane Fair Elections Code. Its intent was to make donations to political campaigns more transparent and make it harder in our local community for large donors to overwhelm the campaign contributions of more modest contributors. Among the new regulations is a $500 cap on a contribution to either a Primary or a General election ($1000 for the two combined), The Washington State limits are twice that at $1000 for each election ($2000 for the whole cycle of Primary and General). 

There was a problem, however. In 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Buckley v. Valeo that spending one’s own money on one’s own political campaign is part of a candidate’s right to free speech. If someone like Andrew Rathbun wants to jump into a race and self-fund his campaign, it is his Constitutional right to do so. Lacking any Constitutionally valid means of limiting such self-funding, the new Spokane Fair Elections Code says that if a candidate enters a race and contributes $11,500 or more to his/her own campaign, then the restrictions revert to the higher State of Washington limits for everyone in that race. The writers of the Spokane Fair Elections Code reasonably figured that in the event of a self-funding candidate the other candidates should at least be allowed to accept a nigher level of contribution (the Washington State legal limit).

Andrew Rathbun is no longer a mayoral candidate. He says he has wound down his personal money in his mayoral campaign account to below $11,500. 

This makes Mr. Rathbun a bit of a spoiler. What to do when one candidate exceeds the personal contribution limit and drops out of the race, and no other candidate has similarly exceeded the personal contribution limit? Nadine Woodward knows exactly what to do: ask contributors for the full $2000 to cover both elections and declare that’s the way it ought to be. The limits were lifted by Mr. Rathbun, right? You can’t turn back the clock.

When Nadine Woodward filed with the Public Disclosure Commission on April 2 she opened with twenty-one thousand dollars in $1000/election donations. Currently, Ben Stuckart has 334 distinct contributions, Woodward has 200, and yet they have gathered equivalent funds at around $65,000. 

Rathbun argues that the limits should revert back to $1,000 (Primary + General) now that he’s gone. “I am not aware of any requirement for me to report the above, but I believe this is the right course of action in the spirit of full disclosure, transparency and the Spokane Fair Elections Code.” 

Woodward disagrees. No surprise there. She has the big money associated with the Spokane Republican Party behind her (even though all these municipal races are nominally non-partisan). The language of the Spokane Fair Elections Code and the City Attorney’s office agree with her.

In a system that affirms spending personal money on a campaign is part of “free speech,” writing campaign finance law without loopholes is tricky business. Ms. Woodward and the Republican machine that backs her wasted no time in finding and exploiting the opening. (Read the P.S. below for a fanciful conspiracy theory.)

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. If this story were played on the national stage the conspiracy theorists would be having a field day. Here’s how it would read: The local Republicans saw an opportunity to subvert the new Spokane Fair Elections Code. Mr. Rathbun was funneled money from the local wealthy Republicans supporting Woodward. (Alternatively, Mr. Rathbun is himself a wealthy committed Republican willing to legally spend $29,010 to support Woodward.) They set him up to briefly enter the mayoral race. Once he established a campaign account he contributed the money to his campaign precisely to trigger blowing up the contribution limit for Ms. Woodward. Then, carrying the extra name recognition with him, Mr. Rathbun shifted his focus to a City Council seat, contributed the precise amount necessary to blow up contribution limits for the City Council seat, too. Even better (from the standpoint of weaving a conspiracy theory), along the way Mr. Rathbun is coached to throw people off the scent by accusing Woodward of campaign finance irregularities (Mayoral candidate raises questions about opponent’s transparency.) and insisting, disingenuously, to the Inlander that, in the “spirit of full disclosure, transparency and the Spokane Fair Elections Code,” the limits should revert back once he dropped out of the mayoral race. Of course, he knew full well what he was doing the whole time. Alex Jones, step aside, spinning a conspiracy theory is easy!

All kidding aside, what IS Andy Rathbun thinking stepping into two local races with his fat fat bank account and blowing up the contribution limits? At the very least he is thumbing his nose at the intent of the Code. At worst, his plea for the limits to revert in the mayoral race after his departure suggests he is clueless about reading an ordinance. That alone ought to disqualify him for both the races in which he has meddled.