Campaign Finance Need Not Be a Partisan Issue

Conservatives and anti-Tester liberals often feel the need to point out that while Rick Hill illegally attempted to spend a half a million dollars in the closing days of the gubernatorial race, Jon Tester, too, is tainted by anonymous money, never mind that he benefited from legal, anonymous money over which he had no control. They point to articles like “In Montana, Dark Money Helps Democrats Keep a Key Senate Seat“. The exact accusations and comparisons are fallacious, as we’ll see, but the greater point is accurate, and needs to be made: while casting campaign finance as a partisan issue may be good for fundraising and vote getting by the Democrats at election time, that same characterization can obscure the fact that Citizens United has had repercussions that are damaging for our Democracy regardless of your political inclination.

First, is the allegation accurate? Does the influence of outside groups reflect poorly on Jon Tester? Hardly. You may disagree with the League of Conservation Voters or Planned Parenthood, two of the largest groups donating to Tester, but their goals are still pretty well defined and the organizations are well known, even if their funding is anonymous. More importantly, Tester did not actually receive the greater amount of outside funding – the GOP had a slight edge in outside donors, and spent far more money from anonymous donors (this admission from the article proclaiming that ‘Dark Money’ had helped Tester get elected…). Nationwide, the ratio is even more skewed: 84 percent of anonymous money went to openly conservative groups. And finally, unlike Jon Tester, Rick Hill had a choice: Stand up for Montana’s laws rather than benefit from outside spending. Tim Fox did so, and its safe to say the move paid off. Tester had no control over outside spending, of course – if he had contact with the groups spending on his behalf, he would be breaking the law. And blaming ‘Montana Hunters and Anglers’, whoever they are, for Denny losing the libertarian vote is like complaining that the National Enquirer brought down John Edwards: they merely broadcast Rehberg’s anti-libertarian stances; he has to take responsibility for taking them.

But the point still stands – outside funding of campaigns is not a partisan issue. This cycle Montana, because it had a competitive race and small population, was the hardest hit by political ads, many of which were outside-funded, and the volume and negativity of which hurt both candidates by making voters cynical and apathetic. And this, whether by accident or design, is why both parties should oppose this kind of advertising. Countries with very high confidence in their governments, like China, spend millions of dollars on positive government news and propaganda. In the US, we allow unaffiliated groups to spend millions attacking the very people who will be running the country a few months down the road. Outside spending thus erodes confidence in the government, creates the impression, if not actuality, of corruption, and leaves our elected officials beholden to groups besides their constituents, and this is true whatever your party affiliation. Three quarters of Montanans have recognized this fact: hopefully the same number of Senators will remember it when they are approving Supreme Court Justices. And if we’re really lucky, perhaps our State legislature can start a real effort at constitutional change to address the issue.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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  • Party blinders cloud your judgment. Also, it is apparent that you really believe, in spite of the amount of money spent on their brhalf, that elected officials really have power. That’s what I mean when I say that you don’t know how to follow money or understand power relationships. You’re quite the Pollyanna.

    You say of the groups that funneled the money that “…their goals are still pretty well defined and the organizations are well known,” without knowing the source of the dark money, which is alos the sour e of the real goals.

    As Tester said, the money “…was important…We had to remind people of who I am.” Indeed. I agree in total with him on this one. The money tells me who he is: MiniMax.

    • Looks like your legislature is going to try and dissect the wishes of Colorado voters to liberalize cannabis rights: Montana is likely self-destruct without any help from us.

      Democrats: get pissed or watch Tim Fox and the other red state AGs fill their federal prison quotas.

    • “Also, it is apparent that you really believe, in spite of the amount of money spent on their brhalf, that elected officials really have power. ‘

      Mark, for the last time, come prepared to class. If you’d done the assigned reading, you would note that in fact anonymous money was an exceedingly poor predictor of electoral success. Less than a third of that money ended up supporting winning candidates. I’d be willing to wager that most big campaign donors make more than 400,000 a year, yet they will be taking a tax hike this year. Corporate shareholders are a big group of donors, as are heirs and heiresses, but again they lost.

      Republicans manage to maintain enough of a presence in the US congress to stymie progress, and so it is easy to believe that Democrats want it that way, too. However, one tenth of the nation, the part called California, did elect a Democratic supermajority to the legislature, and guess what? They succeeded in raising taxes over the objections of their wealthiest citizens, thus balancing or nearly balancing the budget, despite the fact that they are in the same political system as our national politicians.

      But overturning Citizens United, while more technically difficult, is also more popular. Like I noted, Montanans and Coloradans have already overwhelmingly expressed their opinion about it, and I don’t think we are alone. And the failure of anonymous funding to sway many elections in the last elections indicates that the repercussions in terms of campaign funding for those legislators who stand up to corporate person hood will in fact not be insurmountable. The Supreme Court has put us in a pickle, but not one we can’t eventually get out of.

      • No, no, no, I’m just not reaching you. One outcome of our manic focus on elections is to distract us from where real power lies. It is not with elected officials. It is behind the money that buys them. No matter which party wins, that party is beholden. Your idea that certain money failed without seeing that no matter who won, money won, is your blinders at work.

        We were already corrupt before CU. Fixing that is only a partial remedy. Obama criticized the ruling in his 2011 SOTU, and true to form, has done nothing.

        • “No, no, no, I’m just not reaching you.”
          Thank goodness – you’re spouting falsehoods, I’m glad they haven’t gotten to me yet.

          Mark, read whole comments, then respond, m’kay? Money LOST. Not big, certainly not. But money lost. Your ratchet theory? Gone. The middle class and poor kept their taxes and benefits the same. Social Security, despite your endless shrieking, is untouched, except in that it ended the payroll tax holiday and thus ended that supposed threat to Social Security.

          Now, are people making between 200,000 and 400,000 really middle class? No, not at all. But those people are also not ‘money’, as in, real money that controls campaigns. Real money, the people who fund campaigns, are the people who pull down a half mil a year, people who inherit fortunes, people who rake in cash on capital gains. Those are the people who got hit with a tax rise. And yeah, they are going to be okay, the tax rise for them is not enormous, but it is something, and something has changed.

          Why were things so different after the elections, even though the congress hadn’t taken their seats yet? Because money lost the election. Sure, they hedged their bets and put money on both sides, because they are investors and they know to do that sort of thing. But make no mistake, they lost the election. They made clear which candidates they wanted to win, and those candidates lost. And while yes, CU is only part of the problem, but with its removal, he rest of the problem will be easier to solve.

          “Obama criticized the ruling in his 2011 SOTU, and true to form, has done nothing.”

          Barack Obama has less say in constitutional matters than Christine Kaufman – at least she can introduce a constitutional amendment in the State Legislature. He has chosen two judges who continue to oppose the CU ruling. That’s the most he can reasonably do. If Scalia, Thomas or Kennedy are gone in the next four years, CU goes with them.

          • I make very clear when I write about presidential activities to state what power he has, which is not much: bully pulpit, moral force, swaying of the legislature. Zip, zero, nothing. He either has no power (my opinion) or chooses to to use it ( strong second.) When he wants something, like indefinite detention, he’s all over, lobbying, threatening, sending justice to the courts. Of course, “he” does none of this, but the executive “under” him s not our friend.

            Regarding everything that just went down, I know very little of it beyond what has written in popular media, which is not informative. It appears that some good passed, and also, as you say, that there was no harm done in places. It more appears they postponed reckon g for a few months, so the story is yet to be told.

            I do fer chrissakes wish you could understand that if money finances both sides, money cannot lose. Where on earth is your head at?

            • “I do fer chrissakes wish you could understand that if money finances both sides, money cannot lose. Where on earth is your head at?”

              You oversimplify the relationship between money and power. Money flows from me to my employers, and they in as a result have power over me. Money flows from me to my landlord, but this does not give me power over him. To some extent money goes into campaigns to control politicians, but it also serves as a kind of tribute. And the very wealthy bet very heavily on one side in the last elections.

              For example, I’ve no time to go through all major PAC donors, but according to the Huffington Post’s list of donors who gave more than a half million dollars, the top ten total donors are split between giving to Democratic causes and Republican ones. But the breakdown of the money shows that if by ‘money’ you mean the very wealthy and powerful, then money has made its preference abundantly clear.

              From the top ten donors, Republican causes got 123 million dollars, 93% of which came from very wealthy individuals. Dems got almost fifty million, over half of which came from Unions. This is of course small portion of the overall spending for both parties, but it is illustrative of how big the difference between Dems and the GOP is.

              The policy differences are also (finally) starting to show – the Court has stopped moving rightward and will hopefully take a left in the next four years; taxes on the rich have gone up, unemployment benefits continue to be extended. We’ll see how the debt ceiling talks go, but ‘big money’ is losing ground.

              • One, you think that there are substantive differences between the parties, and so take solace in more money going to Republicans. The light never comes In your apartment. Investors weigh public opinion – they knew that public opinion had tired of Bush and the Republicans, and so financed Obama and the Democrats, giving them the presidency, the congress, and with which they did exactly nothing except ratchet. since 2010 Obama has intensified the “Bush” agenda. The best way to control the opposition is to lead the opposition, so that many Republicans, like Baucus and apparently Tester, run as Democrats. There are a few good men and women in your party, but they are a minority.

                Investors pay attention, are organized, and expect results. Voters are distratced and uninformed, unorgmanized and easily manipulated (as Tester did), and yet you think that pliticians listen to voters and not investors. Interesting. I must study you further.

                And it is really interesting to watch, because while performing as a Republican in office, a man like Tester can manipulate symbols, words and even his voting record to appeal to Democrats. Most votes of record count for nothing, meanwhile he meets in secret to formulate anti-environment pro-timber legislation. In secret! Because he’s a Democrat, you’re OK with that.

                The Supreme court has not changed in my view – Kagan was a soft pitch, as she filled an already somewhat less right wing seat. Sotomayor was a wild card and will be most likely right wing, as Obama and his handlers are right eing. We’ll see. But let’s not forget, he’s a Democrat, and he says the right words and manipulates symbols to appeal to you.

                I am surprised at the legislation that passed, and note that you are happy that they did not attack Social Security, enough to please you. Medicare is up in the air as is SS). It’s an unfinished story. I’m just starting now to get the tax story through my professional subscriptions. We’ re traveling so I have not read any of it. The news media is worthless. The devil is in The details.

  • Hope you’ve gotten your bars installed on your hacienda there on the Front Range, Mark: it must be so gratifying to be smack dab in the middle of history. Have a nice mugging, lil buddy.

  • “Conservatives and anti-Tester liberals” is an odd phrase, and required some thought on your part. It’s an interesting choice of words, as neither group exists in American politics.

    For me personally, you can call me a leftist, a progressive, or an anti-fascist. I am not a “liberal” and find that word offensive. American liberals gave us Vietnam and many other horrors of the mid-to-late twentieth century. I want no part of that.

  • PW: Thank you for bringing continued attention to the secret, Dark Money influencing our elections and highlighting ProPublica’s most recent article, “In Montana, Dark Money Helps Democrats Keep a Key Senate Seat.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with your statement, “while casting campaign finance as a partisan issue may be good for fundraising and vote getting by the Democrats at election time, that same characterization can obscure the fact that Citizens United has had repercussions that are damaging for our Democracy regardless of your political inclination.”

    And I also agree with this statement, “This cycle Montana, because it had a competitive race and small population, was the hardest hit by political ads, many of which were outside-funded, and the volume and negativity of which hurt both candidates by making voters cynical and apathetic. And this, whether by accident or design, is why both parties should oppose this kind of advertising.”

    However, I do have to point out that (unless you don’t read comments on ID, or don’t look at personal email messages I send to you) you do, in fact, know who the secret, Dark Money group Montana Hunters and Anglers is. Therefore, I find your statement, “‘Montana Hunters and Anglers’, whoever they are” to be a little disingenuous.

    For example, an email I sent directly to you on Don P on December 27, 2012 including this information:

    Additional information about “Montana Hunters and Anglers Action” is below.

    SNIPS: “Land Tawney of Missoula, president of the newly formed group…..Tawney, a senior manager for the National Wildlife Federation , wouldn’t reveal the cost of the buy, but sources told the Lee Newspapers State Bureau that it’s between $200,000 and $250,000….In addition to Tawney, its officers include Democratic state Sen. Kendall Van Dyk of Billings; Barrett Kaiser, a Billings communications consultant and former aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; and George Cooper, a senior vice president for a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm and former news producer for CNN.”

    So, unless you missed this email PW, or the Helena IR’s October 2011 article, it’s been known that the leadership of the secret, Dark Money group Montana Hunters and Anglers is made up of Land Tawney of the National Wildlife Federation, sitting Democratic state Senator Kendall Van Dyk, former Baucus aide Barrett Kaiser (who is currently a partner at DC lobbying firm Hilltop Public Solutions) and George Cooper, a senior VP at a DC lobbying firm. The ProPublica article also identified current Hilltop Public Solutions associate Joe Splinter (who was Montana Conservation Voters Development Director from 2009 to 2011) “as the treasurer for the Montana Hunters and Anglers super PAC.” It’s also worth pointing out that Land Tawney has a pretty good connection to Senator Tester, as Tawney sits on Senator Tester’s Sportsmen’s Caucus advisory group (

    I do agree that this secret, Dark Money in politics need not be a partisan issue. I myself 100% oppose the use of secret, anonymous dark money to influence our democratic elections no matter who’s spending it and what they are spending it on. One would think that the vast majority of Montanans and Americans feel the same way. However, highlighting and shedding some light on some of the people involved with supporting Senator Tester through their use of secret, Dark Money doesn’t make one an “anti-Tester liberal” (whatever that is). Again, this is about much more than D’s vs R’s….this is about the future of democracy. Thanks.

    • Matthew –

      Technically, you’re right, we know some of the people behind Montana Hunters and Anglers. What we don’t know is where their money comes from, so we don’t know who they represent, really. That’s what I meant.

      Ultimately, it needs to end. We know Mark supports public funding of elections entirely, and that could well be the answer. However, its not clear most Americans are there yet. What is clear, however, is that the most recent expansion of anonymous campaign finance is not popular, and we need to make sure we get it overturned before it gets excessively entrenched.

      As to an anti-Tester liberal, it means just what it sounds like. Those people who are far enough to the left of Jon Tester that they are opposed to him continuing to hold office. I agree that it is certainly possible to support Tester while still opposing dark money, and I suppose those of us who fall into that category ought to be talking about the issue more than we have. I personally think that in a race with no outside money, Tester could have still pulled it off; the presence of this money, however, introduces an element of doubt to the legitimacy of his election and his tenure.

      • That snark was merely meant to highlight your attitude that politicians follow public opinion rather than merely manage it. Your attitudes simply do not withstand scrutiny, but I can see why you mantain them – you would otherwise have to forsake your Democratic Party and Tester. If you support them, you also have to aupport dark money.

        And so you do – you are twisting like a pretzel to justify Tester’s behavior. You are claiming the money has noble purpose, that it reinforces the stated goals of the groups through which it was funneled. You presume that those who passed it along (even knowing the names we now know, we still don’t know its true origin).

        You and I both know if this was honest money for an honest purpose, there would be no problem coming forth and taking ownership of the deed. That is the hard, cold fact that you must face – Tester is corrupt. If he was honest in 2006, DC has ruined him. If not, if he was already bought, this has merely smoked him out.

        In any case, to continue supporting him, you must carry on with this pointless internal dialogue that occasinally becomes a blog post. The rest of us clearly what has happened. It is only for you to come around now.

        And before you claim the fallback position that Rehberg was the only viable alternative and so supportng even a corrupted Tester was the better alternative, think it through. Corrupt Democrats and Republican sots are an insult to your intelligence. Come over where the air is breathable, clean politics.

        • “Pollyanna speaks.” “That snark was merely meant to”

          No, Mark, I’ve seen you long enough to know how you operate. You are dependent on future predictions to justify your point of view. The problem is, your point of view is foolish, and so your predictions never come true. When your house of cards comes crashing down, you turn to insults, hoping I’ll either engage you in an insult war, or ban you so you can complain about your censorship. But I’ve seen this charade before, and I have a very different banning policy than Don.

          Now, lets look at what you wrote once it was clear I wouldn’t stoop:

          ” You are claiming the money has noble purpose”

          No I am not. Where you do I suggest such a thing? I do claim that it comes from well-known groups, which is true. I also pointed out that it was all legal, which is also true, and that Jon Tester had no control over the money spent, also true, and that Jon did not receive more dark money than Denny Rehberg, which is true.

          “You presume that those who passed it along (even knowing the names we now know, we still don’t know its true origin).”

          This is not a sentence. Also, it was Matthew Koehler who helpfully pointed out the names; I openly admit we don’t know the origin of the money, especially the money that went to support Cox.

          “Corrupt Democrats and Republican sots are an insult to your intelligence.”

          One – Again, what they are doing is legal. If it’s corruption, make it illegal. Until it is, humans are human, and they will go as far as they can But the real world has demonstrated the real differences between the parties: our Dem majorities have raised taxes on the wealthy, cut neither social spending nor social security, and have laid low your every foreign policy prediction. Your absurd efforts to defend the hypothesis that there is no difference are falling by the wayside, and so you complain that your copious intelligence is being insulted. I’d rather have my intelligence insulted than watch my friends and family lose their social benefits or get sent into more wars.

          • “The problem is, your point of view is foolish, and so your predictions never come true. ”

            I try to avoid predictions, but have made some. One, concerning the Libyan bloodbath, is going on. My world view is a little more complicated than that, as anyone who reads my website knows. What I write here is all you ever read of me, so your outlook is quite clipped, and of course makes no sense to you.

            I do not like being banned, and complaining about censorship is like holding up signs in front of the White House – an exercise in futility and demonstration of weakness.

            The incomplete sentence was meant to read ““You presume that those who passed it along acted with good intentions, also something you cannot possibly know as you do not know their identity. Blind faith.” I must have blued it and typed over it.

            ” I do claim that it comes from well-known groups, which is true. ”

            False, It was … funneled through… well-known groups, quite a different story.

            ” Jon Tester had no control over the money spent…”

            Probably false – we now know, long after statute, that Baucus approved the sleazy attacks on Mike Taylor. The idea that he is removed from this is nonsense. They may construct artificial barriers to eliminate paper and electronic trail but the Tester people were desperate, as Jon was going down, as he richly deserved. Desperate people … Anyway, your statement is nothing more than a statement of faith in Jon, a pollyannish attitude. Placing faith in a politician is ultimate statement of powerlessness.

            Since no one save a few dogged investigators of the progressive community are investigating the source of the money, there will be no affidavits, and no certainty ever about the source of the money. Some may come forward, but until someone investigates, subpoenas, we cannot beleive anything. It is utterly corrupt and sleazy. And legal.

            The “fiscal cliff”, a PR name for a PR scam, or perception management (we did not even need to be talking about such nonsense in the midst of a rec/depr/ession, but opinion managers have such control over thought that you were all sucked into the vacuum. It’s all I heard – cliff cliff cliff, all nonsense, a made-up crisis. It was averted by kicking the can down the road. It ain’t over. The problems, minor anyway,were not solved. The main roadblock was not Democrats, but TP idiots, so that their stupidity actually served a progressive cause. It happens now and then – real world counter-forces interact, and the outcome is beneficial.

            Regarding the raising of taxes on everyone over $400K, again, I specifically said I was surprised by that, but do keep in mind that preservation of cuts for everyone up to $400 K is a huge compromise that probably could have been avoided by merely refusing to negotiate the matter.

            I don’t see where your Dems have done anything of value so far. We’ll talk again in March.

            Finally, Democrats have “…laid low your every foreign policy prediction.”

            That, frankly is a new low for you. If you read my blog now and then I go into these matters in detail. Nothing is as it appears and anyway, the executive has long been separated from military affairs, Obama no more having control than a child in a pretend driver’s seat. Military policy is a function of the Pentagon, weapons manufacturers and whatever corporate interest or goal is served by aggression. Tax policy belongs to “Wall Street,” more than adequately represented in “Obama’s” administration. The president seems to have some control over public lands if he targets smaller interests, as Clinton exercised, but that appears to be his limit. Otherwise, he gives speeches, cuts ribbons, and lives the life of the narcissist. Our democracy is fake, has been for decades.

            My overall thrust, as those who read me know, is that elections are merely for local issues and to prevent rebellion, as a people who know they have no power often get up in arms. High-up elected officials do not answer to the public, but merely spin them as you have been spun. The few that do work for us are a distinct minority, and as with Anthony Weiner and Peter Toricelli, often find themselves on the outs, or like Paul Wellstone, dead.

            • Once again, begging people to read you …

              At least 4 please to read your site in the last comment alone.

              ~sigh~ Tokarski, you make predictions all the time, left right and sideways. You predicted that we would already be gearing for war with Iran, if not actively engaged. That prediction went by the wayside with juicier media narratives. You predicted any number of “October Surprises”. The only October surprise was that Sandy whipped the East Coast. Could that have been … OBAMA!?! Whether it was or not, your predictions were of an international policy nature. Kindly don’t chide people for reading what you write here if what you write here is all that should really matter to them. Thanks.

              Some things really are as they appear to be. Positing conspiracy does not make it so. Are you now suggesting that Paul Wellstone was murdered?

            • ” One, concerning the Libyan bloodbath”

              Nope, your prediction was for a quagmire following US invasion.

              “False, It was … funneled through… well-known groups, quite a different story.”

              Not at all – people in the employ of LCV and Planned Parenthood ultimately decided where that money went. Now, it is possible that people who made their careers at the LCV and Planned Parenthood secretly were funneling money from unrelated sources to Jon Tester to keep him indebted to big business, but that is far less likely than the alternative: people who have dedicated their lives to the environment or reproductive rights put money into a critical race even though Tester was only nominally better than Rehberg because they knew on important votes they would rather see Jon in than Denny.

              “we did not even need to be talking about such nonsense in the midst of a rec/depr/ession”

              Oh, but we aren’t in the midst of either of those things. We are the midst of economic growth, quite remarkable in light of the stagnation of the rest of the rich countries. Now, we may have very high unemployment still, regardless of how you figure it, but that’s not the point. The point is, the economy is churning out more money than it used to, and yet the government is still running massive deficits. The only intelligent response to such a situation is to increase government revenues from the wealthiest, for whom the economy is booming, while maintaining services for the unemployed, whom the economy is failing. That, my friend, is exactly what Democrats did, and yet you refuse to recognize it as significant because it flies in the face of your nonsense about ratchets and the like. Democrats did something of immense value – they raised revenue for both the general fund and social security.

              ” If you read my blog now and then ”

              I try not to. When my inhibitions are lowered and I feel my life needs more absurdity, I head over but its rarely even worth commenting, because it resembles the paragraph that follows – claims, hypotheses and statements supporting one another but lacking any evidence.

              For example, you insist that the marked change in foreign policy in 2000, and the following, in 2008, could not be the result of the president changing because the president has no authority over the military. The evidence of this? There was no policy change in 2000, or 2008. And when I point out that there was immense policy change in that period? It couldn’t be the result of the president, and round and round we go.

              During the tenure of George W Bush, American occupied two countries, and did so badly. During the tenure of Clinton, America occupied zero countries. During the tenure of Obama, America has occupied zero countries. Now, has your famous list of dictators we don’t like changed? No, because the fact that those dictators oppose us and limit our power hasn’t changed. But the methods we use to deal with them certainly have. Now we are seeing the same change in economic terms – our tax code is more progressive now than its been in decades. We can also see quite clearly real policy differences between Red and Blue states, policy differences that affect millions of lives. So both latitudinally and longitudinally the data clearly supports a hypothesis that there are real policy differences based on which party is in power.

              • Interesting conversation you’re having there, though I don’t know who with. As typical of any American, your knowledge of foreign affairs is limited by your lack of exposure to non-American media. We were lied to about Libya while it went on, do not know the extent of carnage, and nothing of what is going on now. But I congratulate your astute observation that all is hunky dory, since Obama is the president.

                I can deal with ignorance, but willful ignorance is something again.

                I follow the economic situation as best I can, but do so knowing the stock market is not a good indicator. This economy has fooled me before, of course, but something is keeping us afloat, but it is not high employment or good wages. I follow Debt Watch, as Steve Keen has a better grasp on economics than most of that profession. (He watches private debt, not public, as his key indicator – it tells us when we are in a bubble, and it appears we are. Remember how hunky dory it all was in 2007? That’s what you sound like now.

                Your attitude about Tester’s dirty money is so typical of a man with his head in the sand. The idea that LCV or Montana Anglers (whoever the hell they are) had any control is easily stood on its head. If the money had honest origins and was not merely being funneled, those who raised it would merely have stepped forward. End of story. They would only hide the sources because they needed them to be hidden.

                I don’t care if you read my blog and do note your condescension – that’s kind of yucky. You’re not that well informed, you know. You just presume you are. My only point was don’t think you’ve got me pegged without reading me. You don’t. Not by a furlong. But man, what a pompous ass! I’ve met you before in my life, a million times, full of hubris, intellectually satisfied and incurious, and the last to know what you don’t know, a legend in your own mind.

                Your attitude about foreign affairs is laughable, steeped in confirmation bias, oblivious to everything. Neither foreign or tax policy is within the purview of the executive, has not been for decades. It’s fun to pretend, though. That is American democracy – pretending. But I’ve come to know you well – you imagine the world as you wish the world to be, and avoid information that upsets things for you. I just wrote about you today, as you need to do a lot of reading, doubt, questioning to overcome youthful indoctrination.

                From the blog (lower them inhibitions, oh wise one!) “I don’t have any illusions that I can force you to jump ahead in your thinking.” You must progress at your own pace, but damned it would be nice if you actually progressed now and then.

                • I just read a lot of words, but its hard to find any facts among them. There are a few, but they are irrelevant. For example, I never said Libya was in a great shape (though you said it was worse than Syria…that’s interesting) or make any guess how the country would end up. I merely said that Obama is not Bush, and we would not invade. I was right. I also said Obama would not bomb Syria a year a go, and he didn’t. I was openly dismissive of your dire warning of a nuclear strike on Iran. In every case, I was correct, and you had no idea what you were talking about. If you don’t see the difference in policy between invading Iraq with an enormous land force and occupying the country, and aerially intervening into a civil conflict in Libya, and if you are incapable of noting how that is more similar to US policy under Clinton; if you’re incapable of seeing how the tax code is currently more progressive and more balanced now than it ever was under Bush, then you’re welcome to sit back and live in your world. But stop pretending you’re backing it with facts.

                  The only point I’ll admit you were right is that I was rude to you. I apologize for that – it was uncalled for, though I think you’ll agree not entirely un-reciprocated.

                • Libya being in “great shape” begs the question. That’s classic.

                  That we are not told of American objectives or activities is demonstrated by past activities where we were lied to incessantly. That because Obama is president things have changed, well, you’re not too far advanced in American governance as of this moment, but reduction to the will of the executive is a mental exercise that makes things understandable. It is quite pointless. It does relieve you of responsibility for thinking. Real power lay elsewhere.

                  Clinton, who was quite aware of his inability to control foreign policy or the military, held office at a time of extreme barbarity, with the death of half a million kids in Iraq and aggression in Serbia, betrayal of Russia and buildup of NATO far beyond defensive posture. He was a clever politician and used his Antiquities orders to salve woulds he inflicted on the left, sadly, with success.

                  Syria is under attack by NATO, which is the US in disguise. NATO is funding the insurrection with the idea that it can play to an Assad reaction as casus belli, or open military attack. This is the Kosovo/Serbia model, where NATO ran KLA terrorism to trigger a Serbian response to justify aggression. It’s as old as recorded history. The US is currently sending Al Qaeda fighters from Kosovo (trained at Bondsteel?), Libya and Saudi Arabia, but the Russians are creating a prolem, and the operation is failing. Putin is a true executive, a solid leader, and not a figurehead like Obama. He knows chess.

                  Iran is a problem in that they are again dealing with Putin, so frontal attack is problematic, as it would create a superpower confrontation. ise of “nukes” entails tactical as well as the hreat of the big ones, but the only fear of Iran having a bomb is that it can then buy time and force aggression to slow down. No one seriously thinks Iran would attack anyone. Russia may soon be a bad guy again in our propaganda system. They are doing all in their power to undermine the country with sanctions, infltration, most likely terrorist acts, undermining elections. Iran has done nothing to justify this. It is naked aggression.

                  I work with the tax code. I sit through hours of head-pounding tedium about it. I work with the entire tax code, including payroll, income, gift and estate, and soon to come, health care “reform” measure to force Americans to buy private, overpriced and nadequate insurance policies. Voting does not change the tax code.. It has not changed substantively since 1986. It targets working people and seniors, letting poorer people with jobs (a Republican policy) and dependents and rich people off the hook.

                  You are correct that if you insult me, you grab a wolf by the ears. Are we done here?

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