Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Operative Question on Corruption

Republican Congressman Mark Kirk holds fundraiser by skype with American Donors who do business in Beijing. One of them includes a man whose company makes its money by capitalizing Chinese businesses overseas. Kirk goes back a day or two later, and votes against the termination of the tax breaks for businesses that outsource domestic jobs. All in a days work, right?

It's a simple question of what you want out of your government. Do you want it to be a moderating force, a force that calms treacherous markets, prevents system-threatening misbehavior on Wall Street, which cushions economic troubles for its citizens, and ensures that we as a nation remain healthy and productive?

Do you want it to really serve the public, and not just the people who contribute the most money?

As a liberal, my political philosophy is not that complicated: our government is designed to represent the wishes of the people to work for their collective greater good, and it should operate as it's designed.

I know I don't say this with a perfect party, and I really don't care. I wish the same sense of reform to take hold across the board. There will always be some degree of imperfection in the relationship, but I would much prefer it if the expectations of what policies would succeed wasn't better gauged by lookin at contributor lists than by looking at what people in districts and the country actually want.

So much of what has motivated me to get into politics to the degree I have stems from my deep disdain for a government that practically gets shouted at by its people to do something, but then does something absolutely antithetical.

The ultimate result of the GOP's efforts, of which Kirk was a part, is evident in the fact that the bill got 53 votes in the Senate, yet did not pass.

How many times has the rule of the majority, the needs of the majority of Americans been made second priority to the gains of a few? Do we really think that after a generation of such corruption, our current situation is a mere accident?

This is a tough problem with no easy answers, but the least response folks like you out there should have for this should be your outrage, and your support for a government that remembers that it's of the people, by the people, and most importantly for the people. I anticipate some of you will talk of hypocrisy, but the question if you should ask yourself if you field that argument, is do you use it to argue for better candidates, better governance, or do you do it to stifle the criticism coming from others about this kind of behavior?

Many Democrats have fallen prey to the same problem, I will admit, and nobody's completely free of it. The question is what we as a people are willing to push for, and whether we respect ourselves enough to stand up for our interests.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 20, 2010 2:35 PM
Comment #310786

Stephen D. said: “The question is what we as a people are willing to push for, and whether we respect ourselves enough to stand up for our interests.”

And just how can we the people stand up to such powerful brokers of wealth and power acting in their own interests instead of ours and the nations? There are two ways - with our vote, withholding it from those overseeing bad government results and actions and giving it to challengers instead, or Revolt, destroy it all, and start from scratch.

Sorry, there is a third option - but, it goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing - and that is to not vote at all.

Voting Out Incumbents who oversee bad government results is the only non-violent and Constitutionally authorized way for the people to rectify government gone bad. And ours is has become really, really BAD!

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 20, 2010 4:23 PM
Comment #310789

David R. Remer-
Republicans claim that the rise in their poll numbers across the country are a mandate. Democrats claim the same before. The parties will be quick to spin the anti-incumbent votes in their favor when they head their way.

In my view politics, the sticking point is what I call narrative symmetry: that is, do others see a fairly similar story going on when they look at a political event. If they don’t, then your supposedly anti-incumbent measure may be taken to mean something I’m sure you never thought it would register as: Republicans are back! Obama is powerless! Obstruction was right!

The anchoring of politics to real world policy changes and conditions is fundamentally important in my view, because that provides a break on both rampant speculation and distortions of the news. If the focus isn’t there, if people succeed in taking things to na-na land, there’s no limit to the height of the bull**** that gets stacked. That’s simply because of the way language and sentiments can be endlessly manipulated in messages.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 20, 2010 5:25 PM
Comment #310793

Stephen, you are trying your best to change the subject from issues to personal attacks. It’s not working with your liberal leadership and it won’t work here. I have watched as WB liberals have attaked the TP over the months. Obama, his admin, Pelosi, and Reid have all had their shots at the TP with personal attacks. Just recently, the NAACP has posted a list of TP supporters and called them racists. Dick Morris has posted a great article about the TP on his web site. Might I suggest you read it and weep. Conservatives have tried to explain to those on the left, the changes coming to the Republican Party, but the left has foreign objects in their ears, because they can’t hear.

“Published on on October 19, 2010

A fundamental change is gripping the Republican grass roots as they animate the GOP surge to a major victory in the 2010 elections. No longer do evangelical or social issues dominate the Republican ground troops. Now economic and fiscal issues prevail. The Tea Party has made the Republican Party safe for libertarians.

There is still a litmus test for admission to the Republican Party. But no longer is it dominated by abortion, guns and gays. Now, keeping the economy free of government regulation, reducing taxation and curbing spending are the chemicals that turn the paper pink.

It is one of the fundamental planks in the Tea Party platform that the movement does not concern itself with social issues. At the Tea Parties, evangelical pro-lifers rub shoulders happily with gay libertarians. They are united by their anger at Obama’s economic policies, fear of his deficits and horror at his looming tax increases. Obama’s agenda has effectively removed the blocks that stopped tens of millions of social moderates from joining the GOP.

As a byproduct of this sea change in the Republican Party, GOP grassroots activists are no longer just concentrated in the South. They are spread all throughout the nation, as prominent in Ohio as in Alabama, in New York as in Georgia, in California as in Nevada.

The Tea Party’s focus on fiscal and economic issues finds deep resonance among voters of all stripes, united as they are in economic hardship and disappointed as they all are by Obama’s economic program. This antipathy to federal policies is paving the way for vast Republican inroads in normally solid Democratic turf like New York state, Massachusetts, California and Washington state.

Fighting over abortion has become a cottage industry in America. As useful to the left as to the right, both camps have used the issue for 30 years to demand orthodoxy of their constituents and fidelity from their electorates. No longer does the pro-life/pro-choice debate hold voters in blue states hostage to the Democratic Party, bound and determined to swallow as much in regulation and taxation as their liberal candidates offer if only to protect Roe v. Wade. Nor does it hypnotize Southern or rural conservatives who grant their Blue Dog congressmen a pass on Election Day as long as they are right on life, guns and gays. Now these Blue Dogs are paying the price for their betrayal of fiscal conservatism and find that they can no longer assuage their angered base by way of ads showing them with firearms. While social concerns still exist and are held deeply throughout the country, economic and fiscal issues have gripped the hearts and minds of Republican voters and candidates, pushing the social questions aside.

This preference for economic and fiscal questions over social issues is not a top-down decision of the Tea Party leadership. There really is no Tea Party leadership. Those who conduct its affairs are mere coordinators of local groups where the real power lies. The entire affair is a grass roots-dominated movement. I was shocked to learn that the umbrella group, to which more than 2,800 local affiliates belong, has a total payroll of $50,000 per month, with only seven paid staff members, some of them low-level at that. This group, which embraces more than half of the self-described Tea Party groups in the U.S., leaves up to each local organization how to proceed and what to do. It is a bottom-up movement.

The determination to focus on fiscal and economic issues, to the exclusion of social questions, wells up from below as individual members vent their concerns over ObamaCare, stimulus spending and cap-and-trade legislation. It is around opposition to Obama’s agenda, not Roe v. Wade, that the movement is organized. It is a new day on the Republican right.”

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh said, “once the American people realize their votes can make a difference, this country will never be the same.

Posted by: TomT at October 20, 2010 6:00 PM
Comment #310797


In 2008 people asked Obama about foreign money. He still has not explained or cleared up the mess.

If the Obama folks have real evidence, they should bring it. Otherwise they are just craven liars. This, unfortunately, is the Democrat MO. They throw lots of mud and hope some sticks. When they are all done, the actual proof doesn’t come out, but they convince people like you that all that crap was valid.

Don’t you recall Al Gore getting all those big bucks at a Buddist temple? Or how about the Democratic fundraiser who was actually working for the Chinese government?

Democrats think that foreign money is involved because that is what Democrats do. It is a Democrat problem that they are projecting onto others.

“Fund-Raiser to Detail Role of Chinese Intelligence

Johnny Chung, fund-raiser who pleaded guilty to tax violations, has told Government investigators that Chinese general in charge of Beijing’s intelligence service was behind $300,000 in payments used in part as contributions to Democratic National Committee; Chung is expected to describe his dealings with Chinese intelligence officials when he appears under subpoena before House Government Reform Committee; Chung’s lawyer says Chung was never witting participant in suspected Chinese intelligenc…”

Posted by: C&J at October 20, 2010 6:59 PM
Comment #310806

There you go C&J; bringing up those pesky facts again. You’re going to get Stephen all flustered again.

Posted by: Beretta9 at October 20, 2010 8:27 PM
Comment #310807

Here you go Stephen, a quote from Rush Limbaugh’s home page:

“Story #3: The Long History of Democrat Foreign Fundraising

RUSH: What was the name of the aerospace company back during the Clinton years? The ChiComs could not get a satellite in orbit. They’d launch it, and whatever they were trying to get in orbit would plummet. There was a big Democrat donor, an aerospace firm that had the answers for the ChiComs. It was Loral Space and Bernie Schwartz was the CEO. Now, at the time the State Department had purview over how much an American corporation could help a foreign government. The Clintons transferred that from the State Department to the Commerce Department where their buddy Ron Brown — may peace be upon — was serving. The Commerce Department took over so Bernie Schwartz was allowed to make big-time donations to the Clintonistas in exchange for giving the ChiComs help with gyros, essentially, to keep their space objects in orbit. Loral Space actually went over to China and examined some of the debris from failed ChiCom spacecraft, missiles, satellites, and what have you, to try to figure out what was going wrong. This was payback for the contributions to the Democrat Party.

We had John Huang; we had Charlie Trie and the Peoples Liberation Army guy that was smuggling weapons into the US via Long Beach harbor. The media was far more invested in the Democrat Party than any foreign money was ever invested in the Republican Party. Bernie Schwartz was the single biggest contributor to the Democrat Party in the Clinton era, Loral Space. “A review of campaign finance databases by NBC News and the Center for Responsive Politics shows that between 1992 and 1998 Bernard Schwartz gave the Democrat Party $1,131,500 while he, his family, his companies, and their political action committees and executives gave another $881,000 to other Democrat candidates. Schwartz gave another $217,000 to the Democrat Leadership Council.” So we’re well over $2 million from one guy and his ancillaries. “The Man Behind the China Trouble.” This is a story from the MSNBC website, Congressional Record, House of Representatives, June 18th, 1998, Bernard Schwartz. So all this talk of foreign money, this, by the way, is designed to do two things. That’s to get domestic money going to the Democrats to ramp up their fundraising. It’s also to set the stage to explain the blowout. “Well, there’s no way we could compete against special interests of foreign money.”

What, Snerdley? Yeah, Johnny Chung, $50,000 in cash to the White House to the Map Room, the coffees, all those $250,000 in money orders, campaign contributions. Anyway, it’s a setup, it’s all to blame the Republicans, explain the loss, and it’s also to, I think, set up an explanation and a defense for potential Republican House oversight investigations into the corruption in the regime. You could start right with the czars. They’re appointed, but they’re not confirmed; they’re not accountable to anybody, nobody even knows what they’re making, and some of them have more power than cabinet secretaries do. It’s a mess, folks.”

Posted by: Beretta9 at October 20, 2010 8:37 PM
Comment #310808


“Dems have raised more than $1 million this cycle from foreign-affiliated PACs
By Michael O’Brien and Hayleigh Colombo - 10/17/10 11:32 AM ET

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate alleging GOP groups have funneled foreign money into campaign ads have seen their party raise more than $1 million from political action committees affiliated with foreign companies.

House and Senate Democrats have received about $1.02 million this cycle from such PACs, according to an analysis compiled for The Hill by the Center for Responsive Politics. House and Senate GOP leaders have taken almost $510,000 from PACs on the same list.

The PACS are funded entirely by contributions from U.S. employees of subsidiaries of foreign companies. All of the contributions are made public under Federal Elections Commission rules, and the PACs affiliated with the subsidiaries of foreign corporations are governed by the same rules that American firms’ PACs or other PACs would face.

“This is not foreign money per-se, but these PACs are certainly populated by people who work for foreign companies,” said Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

“Foreign companies and foreign governments can lobby Congress, and that is probably one area where they have a measurable effect on politics,” Levinthal explained. “Foreign-subsidiary political action committees is about as close as you can get.”

Republicans with groups under fire from the White House say the hefty campaign contributions illustrate Democratic hypocrisy.”

Or perhaps here:

Posted by: Bill at October 20, 2010 8:59 PM
Comment #310813

Tom T-
Did I make a personal attack here?

Mark Kirk is running to represent people in the Midwest, people who have been hard hit by the outsourcing of jobs. If he’s actively helping those people, if his party is, then all your rhetoric about new days dawning is just a joke.

A sick joke, really, given what people there have gone through. You kept on telling them for decades that if we relaxed environmental standards, business would stop closing up. Your Congress achieved that, and lo and behold, they shipped jobs overseas.

That, even after the tax cuts that were supposed to motivate business owners to give out more jobs. Oh, but maybe it was some other regulation, some other thing that the businesses weren’t allowed to do.

The jobs remain elusive. But now environmental problem, socioeconomic problems and other issue weigh on them as well.

So you tell me, what’s in it for the average American, given this track record? What you call personal attacks, I call holding you people accountable for three decades worth of broken promises.

Citing Dick Morris isn’t that helpful, not when he’s saying the Republican party isn’t dominated by God, Guns and Gays, or suggesting that the Republicans weren’t interested in financial matters up until now. If What he says is true, how do we explain Glenn Beck, Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, the vote on DADT recently, and the continued opposition of conservative groups to Gay Marriage? It’s BS. It’s Morris doing what Morris does best: spinning. That’s what he did for Clinton, up until he got caught with the prostitute, it’s what he does now for Republicans. He spins fanciful stories for people who want to believe such fairy tales.

Federal laws required disclosure of the sources, that’s how these examples were found. But recently, a list of at least eighty-five foreign donors contributing dues directly into Chamber of Commerce accounts that are used for their ever-present ads has popped up.

Projection? Doesn’t matter. If I am indeed projecting, then both our parties would be wrong together. I’m willing to say that. Are you willing to look past partisan politics to admit that what Mark Kirk did was corrupt? I will, regardless of what you say, admit that it would be against the law, and corrupt for Democrats to solicit foreign donations. I believe there were investigations. I believe the investigations did not find criminal wrongdoing on the part of those who got the donations, and that they were returned.

Is Mark Kirk telling the Chamber of Commerce to take a hike, dealing with the revelation that the Chamber was putting foreign money in the same coffers as domestic businesses were?

The very problem here is that the secrecy, combined with the volumes of wealth being pumped in, create real concerns that folks may be able to buy elections in a highly deceptive fashion, in order to further private agendas at public expense. I mentioned the tax breaks that were blocked by the filibuster. Did I mention that they also filibustered legislation designed to force these big dollar donors into revealing themselves? How convenient. Republicans don’t get held accountable for who supports them, and their supporters don’t get held accountable for their actions.

Your party’s practically writing the invitations now for the lobbyists to return, promising that a Freshman Congressman would get a plum appropriations committee seat if he were elected.

But you’re going to lecture me about disclosed donors, whose money was returned. Who’s projecting?

If you’re trying to threaten me with facts, you should have picked somebody who was actually good with them.

A reconstruction of the administration’s handling of the 1998 launch permission – technically a “waiver” of prohibitions against some high-technology dealings with China – reveals a complicated, and in many ways mundane, picture of a bureaucratic process propelled by a policy forged in the Reagan and Bush administrations.

For the past 10 years, the U.S. government has permitted – even encouraged – U.S companies to launch commercial satellites atop Chinese rockets. Not only are the Chinese launches cheaper than those of other countries – a boost to U.S. industry in a highly competitive business – they are seen as facilitating future U.S. commercial entree into other lucrative Chinese markets and, most important for policymakers, as enticing China into a more cooperative relationship on such sensitive issues as nuclear proliferation.

The Bush 41 administration started the practice in the wake of the Challenger disaster. The agency that would find fault with the inadvertant technology transfer caused by the transfered technical report signed off on the launch before hand.

But trust Rush to talk of chi-coms, even as his Buddy Mark Kirk is telling the Chinese not to trust our budgeting.

Rush calls himself an entertainer, so he doesn’t have to shoulder the responsibilities he might have to shoulder if, say, his program were actually news, and he a journalist. That’d be things like fact-checking, for example Note that Fortune Tellers and other purveyors of BS also employ that same defense

Yet millions of listeners treat his propaganda, covered by such excuses, as gospel truth.

The article itself says that it’s legal just so long as Americans make the decisions, and - and this is import - and the money from foreign donors is kept separate from what’s used to buy political ads.

The flaw of the piece is that they offer quit conclusive evidence in the Think Progress piece that the money goes in to the same account, and so far, The Chamber of Commerce has given us no real insight into whether they’ve satisfied that condition or could satisfy it, given where the money is going to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 20, 2010 10:08 PM
Comment #310814

One question here: why has the impulse here been to push a narrative of Democrat’s hypocrisy here?

Even if true, does that change the fact that what Mark is doing is corrupt in spirit, if not in legal terms?

How will we ever clean up the system if our response is to bat this back and forth like a tennis ball?

Neither side is pure, and waiting for one side to become so before we start standing up for the average American’s stake in their government is a decision to wait forever. Something in the spirit of the average tea party supporter indicates that they want more consideration of their needs as Americans.

But if the dominant idea in Washington is that government policies must be corporate friendly, rather than corporate policies being public friendly, it’s an impulse that tea partiers will indulge in vain.

We have to, in my opinion, shift back to a paradigm that says that government takes care of the public, and the private companies take care of themselves in the context of the rule of law. They don’t pollute so much that the poison and cause economic damage to their neighbors. They give us good, pure drugs and food. They don’t engage in such reckless speculation and lending that they undermine the economic system.

This wasn’t once a Democratic Party or Republican Party thing. Once, there was a recognition that some regulation was necessary, at the very least to keep things calm and ordered.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 20, 2010 10:17 PM
Comment #310816


I don’t know much re Mark Kirk, but I will admit that he may be corrupt, if you admit the same re Obama, Gore and the Democratic party. They have done much the same things on a bigger scale.

Obama never revealed the sources of his many small donations and refused to install the simple methods that could have stopped foreign donations.

Re the Chamber - there is no real revelation. There are lots of lies and innuendos by the Obama folks.

You should look at the Factcheck articles. Nobody really believes the Democrat claims, except maybe you.

Posted by: C&J at October 20, 2010 10:31 PM
Comment #310824

I don’t know much about Mark Kirk either, but I find it odd that these Chinese business leaders would buy a Republican vote given the make-up of Congress.

From the story linked:

Now, it’s not like the contributions from Americans doing business in China likely swayed Kirk much. Just about every Republican voted against that bill.

Posted by: George at October 21, 2010 6:00 AM
Comment #310827

I will admit, as many other Democrats would, that Obama let too many people from Wall Street formulate policy, as he also let too many people from the oil business formulate policy on their end. We have to realize that there are two kinds of corruption occuring, too: the first is the active corruption of the system by those who seek influence, and those who knowingly grant it on these grounds.

But more insidious is the corruption of assumptions and accountability that, after all that’s been done to pad corporate bottom lines in policy, is difficult to undo. That, I think, is what Obama is mainly a victim of. Obama was willing to risk Wall Street funds, which have indeed fled his part, in order to enact policy, so he’s not as bad as some, but he still sometimes operates under assumptions that are the product of years of corporate lobbyists pressuring government.

As for the Chamber: the dues go into the same account. The law allows foreign money to go into these PAC, so long as Americans run it and American money alone contributes to their campaigns. The chamber has not done nearly enough, or shone nearly enough evidence to guarantee to us Americans that the foreign money we know they are taking in is not being used for campaigning in this country. I mean, I doubt even you, the person defending this, can speak factually to how they’re complying with this law, given that the money goes into the same account.

Given what the law says, it is not unfair to raise questions of whether there is sufficient separation in the accounting to comply with existing laws.

But also, given who we see on the list of dues paying members (in effect, contributors to CoC funds), there is a good question about whether the CoC genuinely has American business interests as it primary concern.

Your party deliberately blocked a bill that would have made it necessary for the Chamber of Commerce to show who is giving it money, who is paying for all the ads it an other groups are pushing. By doing so, you create the space of ignorance that allows Democrats and others to speculate about who it is who are behind all the cute, positive, fluffy-bunny organization names. Democrats have already shown they’d improve the disclosure laws, and many of the organizations that support them already have to disclose their donors.

I think that’s a step in the right direction. Now, you decry the innuendo and the logically invalid claims, but really, in the absence of information about a politically influential group, it would be political malpractice not to allege dark secrets hidden in the gap in information. If you don’t want the Republicans to look like they’re being backed by shadowy cabals of industry members and the wealthy, make it illegal for them to be shadowy cabals- force their fundraising into the sunlight, and let the identity of the donors be part of the debate.

People have a right to know who is trying to persuade them, a right not to be dupes in the schemes of the selfish actors in society. And society itself will benefit from the greater trust in institutions which is fostered when people don’t have cause to believe that their government is being influenced by secretive, deceptive conspiracies beneath the surface.

Given how much the Chamber of Commerce has pushed into their campaigns, We should ask about what the interests of other candidates donors are, as well.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2010 8:40 AM
Comment #310829

That’s funny Stephen! As Schieffer would say, “Is that the best you’ve got?”

Just keep slinging that mud and maybe no none will notice your own dirty laundry.

Posted by: George at October 21, 2010 9:06 AM
Comment #310837

Who’s resorting to character attacks on the author?

I’m telling people to look at everybody’s dirty laundry, and decide if this is what we want. I will focus on Republicans because I am a Democrat, and the others will focus on Democrats because they are Republicans.

But either way, together, we can ask the common question: do we want that kind of money and special interest power overwhelming our own inputs into the Federal Government’s decision making?

I believe we can do something about the problem that plagues both our parties, and I would hope you would be constructive enough and non-partisan enough to join me in advocating for the return of accountability to political interest groups, and to Congress. I am not interested in having the Democrats in Washington kowtow to special interests. I want them to be doing their constituents business rather than their contributors. I’m am quite willing to tell them that they should support this.

Are you willing to put the pressure on your side, or do you just think this kind of corruption of Government’s purpose is nothing to be up in arms about?

Do you want your government back, or are you fine with who’s hands it is in?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2010 11:28 AM
Comment #310845

Stephen, have you heard about this yet?:

Teapublican Memo exposes secret list of conservative donors

Oh yeah, those teapublicans sure are for supporting all the “little guys” and “outsiders” — who are CEOs and owners of massive multinational corporations, along with Glenn Beck!

Posted by: Adrienne at October 21, 2010 2:44 PM
Comment #310846

Stephen wrote to C&J-
“I will admit, as many other Democrats would, that Obama let too many people from Wall Street formulate policy, as he also let too many people from the oil business formulate policy on their end.”

Stephen, could you please explain to me how Obama, for the past 3 years, has waged unrelenting war against Wall Street and Big Oil and yet allows Wall Street and Big Oil to formulate policy.

I believe this is one of the problems voter have with Obama.

Who wrote the Stimulus Bill?

“It was the Apollo Alliance — a progressive, George Soros-funded, extreme left-wing organization. Harry Reid admitted to the nation — no, actually, he thanked the Apollo Alliance for their help.”

Who wrote the Obamacare bill?

“Robert Creamer, a convicted felon, is married to a congresswoman from Illinois; he’s a powerful Democratic lobbyist and well-known Democratic consultant, including at one time for the George Soros’ funded Open Society Institute, wrote the blueprint for the healthcare bill.”

And the list goes on:

Posted by: Bill at October 21, 2010 2:47 PM
Comment #310847

Also, the Guy who started the Tea Party addressing what the Tea Party has become — The Republican Party, Part 2.

Here’s the link:
To The Tea Party: Go Screw Yourself

Posted by: Adrienne at October 21, 2010 2:50 PM
Comment #310851

Thanks, Adrienne. Great links!

Posted by: jane doe at October 21, 2010 4:44 PM
Comment #310852

You wish for me to prove your rhetorical excess? Sorry, you’re out of luck. Obama hasn’t been their pushover, but he hasn’t always done enough to curb their excesses. If you see that as waging war, then you are not full informed of the situation.

As for the rest? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Apollo Alliance was involved. It’s not really that sinister. To say they wrote it entirely would be a distortion, a lie if said in knowing contradiction to the facts.

Far from being a Marxist or any BS like that, George Soros is a capitalist, and an advocate for open Democracy. he pushed that message in Eastern Europe, and was a staunch anti-communist.

Why don’t you know this? Because it doesn’t fit the convenient Conservative/Republican narrative that all the people who criticize the party or its leaders are Commies or left-wing totalitarians. I could name you a ****load of centrists and former Bush and Reagan officials who criticized Bush and the Republicans and got bashed as left-wing pinkos for their troubles.

And Creamer? Do me a favor, and produce some damn evidence of that claim, because you’re talking about a huge bill that was batted back and forth between all kinds of different committees, with Republicans inputting dozens of provisions.

And really, the Healthcare bill that passed was largely based on the Heritage Foundation response to the Clinton Bill. That includes the unpopular mandates, which are a necessary part of any system that requires insurance companies to cover everybody so people don’t wait until just before they need insurance to buy it.

It sounds to me like you’re getting your fact directly from the horse’s ass mouth, which is to say, from Glenn Beck.

This video sums up my thoughts about Glenn Beck.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2010 5:07 PM
Comment #310866


Thanks. If not everybody has clicked on your link they should. Let me repeat the link here. I suggest everyone read through the letter and the program. I think Koch is a hero for doing this with his own time and money. He has helped save our country.

Posted by: C&J at October 21, 2010 9:16 PM
Comment #310878


The Koch Brothers are as rich and as crooked as they come, and so is every one of those people who went to that Tea-Publican Secret Meeting.

And, the founder of the tea party obviously knows this, too. Which is exactly why he’s just told the Tea-Publicans to go screw themselves — because in letting the GOP completely hijack what had been an anti-corruption, anti-Wall Street movement it’s exactly like they’re begging to get screwed-over (again) by the party that brought it to them in the first place.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 21, 2010 10:38 PM
Comment #310891

>I think Koch is a hero for doing this with his own time and money. He has helped save our country.
Posted by: C&J at October 21, 2010 09:16 PM


You may be right…they have Thomas and Scalia in their collective pockets. Two of the well balanced Supremes can’t be wrong…right?…right?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 22, 2010 12:03 AM
Comment #310892

Koch is a hero?

No. The money he sacrifices is out of a multi billion dollar fortune. He’s not a poor contributor struggling to make ends meet who makes a donation.

Nor is he some person having to face down the status quo in Washington. His people represent the status quo. His lobbyists and front groups flood Washington whenever somebody thinks of doing something he doesn’t like.

He’s not one of the little people who has dim hopes of being able to influence the system. He’s a person who wields considerable influence over policy already.

You lionize him for standing up against the Democrats. But ****, man, do you realize that he’s one of the people who feed your Conservative news outlets their talking points, that one of the reasons you worship him as some knight in shining armor is likely his own propaganda, shaping your views?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2010 12:04 AM
Comment #310899

Since you are from Texas and try to display your brilliance so often, I am shocked you can’t tell the difference from BS and your S. Looks the same to me, but I’m not from Texas.

I’m forwarding some of your writings to the Obama clowns to see if they have an outfit for you. You would fit in greatly and with the horde of departees from the admin. you can even take a pick of what you want. Of course with all those Marist/Progressive/liberal/et al, you would probably have to publicly make a pronouncement about just where you stand. But again, that group is so solidly in the southpaws hands that the opposition won’t have to distinguish the difference in all of it.

Your writings fit the bill. Go for it big boy.

Posted by: tom humes at October 22, 2010 1:02 AM
Comment #310914

tom humes-
Well, demonstrating intelligence as often as possible is vastly preferable to demonstrating one’s stupidity in the same fashion, don’t you think?

You know you’re in sad shape when you blame somebody for trying to be brilliant all the time. I try to be brilliant because to me there’s no point in failing to out-think, out-wit, and out-persuade the other guy.

In other words, I believe in winning the competition on the merits, without having to appeal to some anti-intellectual bias in order to even the playing field.

Everybody knows I’m a Democrat, a Liberal, and a Progressive. I don’t know how much more damage it would do to my credibility for anybody who actually thinks I have some for you to claim, accurately, that I might like a job in the Obama Administration.

You’re assuming that everybody has the abject hatred of the left that you do. It ain’t necessarily so.

I wonder, when are you going to try and win on the content of your ideas, rather than trying to demagogue my already obvious politics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2010 10:08 AM
Comment #310926


This is a little off thread, but I’d like to include it anyway. I got it as a forward in my email box this morning and thought it a witty assessment:

It is a slow day in the small Minnesota town of Winona and the streets are deserted.

Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.

A tourist visiting the area from Wisconsin drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night.

As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.

The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 and leaves.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Stimulus Package works.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 22, 2010 11:15 AM
Comment #310938

Stephen D. said: “Republicans claim that the rise in their poll numbers across the country are a mandate. Democrats claim the same before. The parties will be quick to spin the anti-incumbent votes in their favor when they head their way.”

SO? How the parties spin it, will have little to no deterrence on the anti-incumbent voters, who know that just that kind of spin, is part of why they will continue to vote anti-incumbent. Anti-incumbent voters want honesty, and solutions. Spin is neither honest, nor problem solving for the nation’s and average American’s challenges.

You seem to be reversing cause and effect in your statement. The anti-incumbent vote is the action. The SPIN is the inappropriate and maladaptive RE-ACTION of the duopoly Party. Which will have the effect of increasing the anti-incumbent voter population growth. The DUOPOLY PARTY is really DUMB about this. But, they will see the light, eventually.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2010 1:39 PM
Comment #310941

Free markets are the appropriate venue for competition of financial and economic ideas. Politics is the appropriate venue for the competition of social and national direction ideas. When they co-mingle, the first victim is competition. And the second is the average, law abiding, American family.

Get the money out of politics, and get the government politics out of board rooms, and America just might have a fighting chance of rescuing its future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2010 1:50 PM
Comment #310954

David R. Remer-
An election is an opaque kind of symbol, because there’s only one piece of information that is truly objective: who won, who lost, and by how much. Everything else is up to interpretation.

If you don’t have strong influence over the mode of interpretation, that is the culture into which the interpretation grows, then there’s hardly any guarantee that the crucial message, the message behind the quest to oust irresponsible incumbents, will actually get through.

At the end of the day, both the voters and the candidate, particular the candidate, have to have a good idea of why people lost, and why they won.

That’s why I don’t go into the weeds of duopoly or whatever. Put simply, what those folks in Washington need to understand are the things necessary to inhibit their behavior even when lobbyists come on strong.

We need them to police themselves, because they know their days are numbered if they’re caught doing something. Accountability must be based on a model of factual entrapment, facts emphasized and push with the direct purpose of limiting the scope of successful spin.

But that’s not a generalized movement. That’s something you have to deal with candidate by candidate, with the additional challenge of not rewarding folks who are worse. after all, you don’t want a muddled message.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2010 5:53 PM
Comment #310965

Christine O’Donnel just admitted to embezzling campaign funds to pay her rent.

Posted by: gergle at October 22, 2010 6:57 PM
Comment #310977

Stephen D. said: “We need them to police themselves, because they know their days are numbered if they’re caught doing something.”

Ordinarily, your commentary and opinion sit in accord with facts of real life. The one above, however, is entirely inconsistent with reality.

Asking a politician to police him/herself is like asking career criminals to rehabilitate themselves. In the real world, most people would do whatever is necessary to protect their career or job. Why should politicians be any different? External policing is require, and the only source for that in a democracy has to come from the voters themselves, who hire them in the first place. If the voters won’t vote out incumbents who oversee bad government results, then their is no policing of politicians at all.

As for getting caught, a host of politicians have been caught and were, and are reelected. Which is a testament to the politicization of our Justice system. The idea of a criminal justice system for regular Americans, and an “Ethics Panel” for politicians, is the most preposterous and blatant double standard ever erected in a democracy. It has been so successful in permitting politicians to circumvent the justice system, that lawyers and doctors and engineers have established similar “ethics review” self-policing systems to circumvent justice, as well.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2010 8:26 PM
Comment #310999

Funny that everyone seems to be ignoring your post, gergle.
Thanks for it…..

Posted by: jane doe at October 23, 2010 12:38 AM
Comment #311007

jane doe,

Not ignoring it jane doe…if it is acknowledged by those on the right, they’d either have to admit they were wrong (not in THIS world), or defend her (they are thinking up ways, and that ain’t easy).

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2010 6:29 AM
Comment #311020

David R. Remer-
You misread what I wrote. What I want are the political problems of being caught being in somebody’s pocket to be so profound that their political self-preservation instincts overrule their impulse to abuse their office and the Public trust.

Which is to say, I’m fully in favor of making things difficult for irresponsible incumbents. But rather than making this a generalized movement based on a generalized notion that Politicians might spontaneous do something if incumbency becomes voluntary, I would make the focus specific to candidates, with specific issues brought up that are unique to the candidates.

Why? First, because then we’re not simply hitting people for being incumbents. We’re hitting them for being bad incumbents. Second, we’re not merely selling that fact from the conclusion, we’re selling it from the premises themselves, which will help to steer people towards the conclusion.

See, what we’re dealing with is not really a big problem, but rather a bunch of small problems in a big pile.

We don’t even really have to oust them all. We mainly just have to take down enough so that fear inhibits the corruption of those who remain. That’s what I mean by self-policing. And really, if you think about it, that’s about the only way you really get results. Why? Because the elections are few and far between in the scheme of things, and people don’t tend to pay all that much attention to what these folks do.

And why is that important? Motivation. People have to want to take the risk. People love defaults. You have to convince them of why they should decide against the candidate in question.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2010 11:58 AM
Comment #311034


So we have some good apples and bad apples in the bushel. If we take just some of the bad apples out then the other bad apples will turn good. Hogwash!!

Posted by: tom humes at October 23, 2010 3:13 PM
Comment #311065

Tom Humes,

That isn’t what Stephen said. If you collect rotten apples in a bushel basket, you are probably an idiot, or making applesauce or wine. Assuming that you have a degree of intelligence you collect ripe, not rotten apples. The ones that become rotten apples may rot the entire bushel, unless you cull them. You may not get all the rotten apples, but the more you do, the less the rot will spread.

He never stated that rotten apples will turn good. However, one hopes you think more of human abilities than apples, and that policing will make those on the brink decide against corruption. What you are saying, in effect, is that policing is useless. Based on that logic, why not open the jails?

The problem with your logic may be in your desire to collect rotten apples.

Posted by: gergle at October 23, 2010 9:55 PM
Comment #311070

Stephen D. wrote: “Why? First, because then we’re not simply hitting people for being incumbents. We’re hitting them for being bad incumbents.”

You miss the reality, entirely. If government is producing negative results for the nation and its people, there are no good incumbents. There are incumbents directly responsible for that bad governance and then there are incumbents who are and were INEFFECTIVE in preventing those negative government results. Any attempt to justify incumbents residing over bad governance, is a partisan attempt to justify bad government by saying it wasn’t YOUR incumbent’s fault. Yeah, IT WAS! Your Incumbent, my incumbent, all incumbents, FAILED to prevent bad governance, and to vote to reelect them is to vote for more bad governance that sustains itself by blaming the other guy, for it.

I think one of the best people in Congress today is Russ Feingold, and I have contributed to his campaign in the past. But, I am glad to see his incumbency is threatened, precisely because, he has been ineffective in dissuading his fellow Congress persons from their egregious actions which brought our nation’s workers and economy to its knees. It is not enough that he opposed the Iraq War and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. He failed to deter the rest of Congress from those actions which cost American lives, jobs, and a prosperous future for my daughter who started college this year. I respect the man, but, I would vote him out in a heartbeat if he were my Incumbent representative.

American cannot afford any longer to reward incompetence, corruption, and ineffectiveness. We are 13 Trillion dollars in debt and racing toward 20 trillion by 2020. Rewarding incumbents overseeing this reality is suicidal for our nation’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 24, 2010 12:58 AM
Comment #311080


If government is producing negative results for the nation and its people, there are no good incumbents.

A bit like the only good Indian is a dead Indian, isn’t it?

If a mob hangs someone and by standers do not stop it, regardless of the fact the mob is armed and the by stander isn’t, is he just as guilty?

This is a nonsense argument, or completely deranged radicalism.

This is the problem I have with VOID. It is mob mentality. It is war mentality. You are basically advocating for revolution, but hedging your words. Either you are for replacing the government or you aren’t. Why aren’t you taking up arms? Doesn’t this make you as bad as the congressmen who “do nothing” in your words?

Posted by: gergle at October 24, 2010 10:08 AM
Comment #311085

karl rove almost criticized rush limpballs.. stutters and immediately back tracks on Face the Nation.

Posted by: Jeff at October 24, 2010 10:54 AM
Comment #311087

Get the money out of politics, and get the government politics out of board rooms, and America just might have a fighting chance of rescuing its future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2010

That statement really sums it up for me. Amen brother!

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 24, 2010 11:33 AM
Comment #311089


Well worded. Get politics out of boardrooms…good idea. Get government out of regulation of business practices…not so good. You said it just right.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 24, 2010 12:15 PM
Comment #311112

Politics out of the boardrooms? Money out of politics?

Neither are issues in this election.

The Democrats say that there are Republican politicians that are corrupt. The Republicans say, oh yea, some of your politicians are corrupt to.

Who is more corrupt, the politicians or their partisans?

Evidence that a politician is corrupt is often dismissed by his constituents.

Quid pro quo is even less of an issue with constituents. Harry Reid is an obvious quid pro quo candidate. His opponent, Angle is an obvious quid pro quo candidate. Nearly every politician running in this election is a quid pro quo candidate. Our government has been bought by the highest bidders and it is obvious that the partisans don’t care.

David, did Feingold fail to convince his fellow Democrats or did his fellow Democrats fail to convince Feingold to take the money, vote for the bill and shut up.

What if 80% of the people were in favor of taxpayer funding of elections and a bill was introduced to effect that change. According to your statement, if 40% of the politicians voted for the bill, they deserve to be removed from office for failing to convince the other 60% who voted against it.

If VOID’s objective is fiscal responsibility and good governance, shouldn’t VOID be flexible enough to recognize those few politicians who’s voting records suggest they are trying to accomplish those goals; and single them out as worthy of a VOIDers vote?

Posted by: jlw at October 24, 2010 4:56 PM
Comment #311113

It seems to me, the primary concern, of any constituent, in determining the potential reelection of any incumbent is that incumbents voting record rather than his or her rhetoric. Unfortunately, it is usually the rhetoric that carries the day.

Posted by: jlw at October 24, 2010 5:25 PM
Comment #311117

David R. Remer-

You miss the reality, entirely.

I don’t seem to have missed a sore spot. What is the reality?

The reality is that our Senate and House of Representatives are deliberately constructed as composite institutions. A myriad of communities come into play, and the people you would want to get rid of, they might not.

The reality is, that unles you want to deal in broad, generalized, ideological politics, you have to deal with the individual Senators and Congresspersons.

The reality is, you will never get a good Congress from a broad ideology alone, because the broad ideologies would tend to encourage people to vote for the parties they represent, and not for the individual Congressmen and women on their merits. So, instead of truly changing things, you only end up getting batted back and forth between the parties as a means to unseat their opponents. People don’t learn, they don’t want to learn, because they believe.

The truth is, this is a matter of standards, and to apply standards, you must drop your focus down to the behavior of the people in question. The national change that must occur, is that of a raising of standards and expectations for lawmakers.

If you see two lousy candidates, look at the substance of their records, and pick the best out of the two. Don’t just count on ideology, because a trained monkey can ape ideology. Look at what they’ve actually done in their lives, or their political careers. Don’t stick with losers. If the next campaign yields somebody better, pick them.

But remember, substance counts more than politics, because you’re not merely asking this person to represent you in some kind of debating society, you’re electing people to actually run your government.

What we’re doing here is not merely an abstract exercise in politics, but a very real exercise in shaping our public policy, and my concern is that one of the parties, far from being simply corrupt, seems to have gone off the deep end into being absolutely incapable of governing properly. That is my first concern. We need stronger people to oppose them, better people, but we do not need to kid ourselves that the parties are equivalently bad, not with the way the Republicans are behaving.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 24, 2010 6:31 PM
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