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January 30, 2015

Comments

Decent post, some good points:

But you reference Ben Howe. This is Ben Howe:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ben-howe-red-state-id-have-shot-mike-brown-in-face

Also:

"I don't think most of the conservative grifters think of themselves that way, as scammers who are fleecing the rubes. I think they raise money because they can, with the intention of helping the conservative cause -- it just happens to mostly end up in their own pockets."

Politically correct bullsh*t.

Who cares how these sensitive souls think of themselves.

It doesn't just happen. Theft IS Capitalism to them. What do you think the smirks signify?

They are armed, ruthless murderers.

They'd be happy to see you dead if you were in the position of being denied Obamacare, for example, not as happy as they would to see themselves get rich by any means, but they'd settle for the first instance as compensation.

By the way, my criticism of your referencing Ben Howe is not a sop to Romney.

In fact, Ben Howe is the epitome of the rank armed Republican base that Romney tried to suck up to in 2012.

He needed these pig filth to put him over the top.

The thing is, Ben Howe read Romney correctly.

Mitt never would have had the heart to institute the murderous policies Howe favors.

Mitt is a RINO. A frat-boy face man happy to play up to the ruthless, murderous, racist, Confederate Erickson agenda, but his heart just wasn't in it.

Nothing personal, Doc. You're just too nice.

One of the things that prompted my departure from the Libertarian party was the realization that Harry Browne was a grifter, and that the LP establishment were ok with that.

However, I think this disparity you're seeing is mostly a matter of perception. You don't notice that Jesse Jackson is a grifter? Al Sharpton?

However, " In 2012, all of the GOP candidates except Romney and Ron Paul failed to get on some primary ballots."

Let's say that you're a candidate, a real candidate, and you have finite resources. I think that's a reasonable assumption, no?

Let's further assume that you can identify a few states with winner takes all primaries, where you stand essentially zero chance of being that winner, even if you were doing well enough to possibly secure the nomination. Also a not unreasonable assumption.

Doesn't it follow that you wouldn't expend resources to get on those primary ballots?

Now, if you're Romney, you've got enough resources that getting on all the ballots is a trivial expenditure. If you're Paul, you probably didn't consider not trying to get on all the ballots.

But any of the other candidates, gifted with neither effectively unlimited budgets, or extremely enthusiastic and widespread supporters, they have to make that calculation.

Incidentally, if you're going to identify grifters on that basis, shouldn't you perhaps look at the 2008 Democratic primaries, to see who didn't bother contesting every state? I believe you've just identified Joe Biden as a grifter.

. Maybe liberal outlets simply tend to be less ruthless, less willing to set up scam fundraising organizations than conservative outlets.

And any that ARE that ruthless would just set up an operation targeting conservatives while funneling cash to liberals. Win-win!

Gotta wonder about those big "administrative expenses", cause that would be how it's done.

Doc,

If you have not read it already, I recommend The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank. "The Grift" is, for all intents and purposes, an institutional attribute of today's Republican Party.

Perhaps it is the languid slide into epistemic closure that has promoted this development as close knit groups attract grifters like sh*t draws flies.

i'll just copy my comment from there over to here:

:::

a big, scared, credulous audience has self-selected themselves into being consumers of tabloid-level political magazines, websites (ex NewsMax, TownHall) and radio (Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.). what's a scammy marketer not to love?

they've already proven themselves to be dupes and suckers by coming back for more and more of the ostensibly straight content, so savvy marketers know they're the kind of people who just might be good targets for some sketchy ads, as well.

as the marketers lined the pockets of the, err, content providers, they both stepped up their efforts to milk more and more of the masses' cash. they've grown up together and now one can't live without the other: co-dependent parasites.

but of course that happened decades ago.

the left probably never had a large enough media ecosystem to get such a thing started - until the web came along.

I rather agree with Brett re: candidates that don't get on primary ballots on every state; for real candidates, there's a cost/benefit calculation they need to make.

In any case, the label "grifter" is more appropriate to campaign functionaries rather than the candidates themselves. Palin and Sharpton, you can toss in the same box: at this point, they're all about the publicity and pushing the issues important to them.

"Toss in the same box"...hmmm...mud wrestling on PPV? Any grifters out there want to make it happen?

Ben Carson, reportedly a gifted pediatric surgeon, hawks sh*t and crap from lying supplement and "health" businesses.

Even the National Review is on to him:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/396193/ben-carsons-troubling-connection-jim-geraghty

Meanwhile, right, he vomits up "Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery".

These are the people (the entire Republican Party power structure) who are very close to "privatizing" Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Let's trust them.

I look forward to getting late night calls from Social Security call centers in Boca Raton telling me my SS check is being invested in Florida Coastal housing developments as part of Republican legislation (entitled: the John Galt Social Security Reinvestment Act) "revamping" the program.

No sir, Medicare no longer pays for that surgery, but we'll charge you $2999 (one dollar less than the new Medicare deductible) miracle salve. Call Vinny at 1-900-F*ckyou to get your orders now.

Cheating lying low-lifes like Governor Rick Got-Off-Scott-Free from charges he stole millions from Medicare ("stealing" and "entrepreneurship" -- synonyms) by taking the 5th -- how many dozens of times?

Pigs.

They are really different than Vlad Putin's inner circle of thug "businessmen" and "investors" putting every Russian asset in their own names and calling it, I don't know,
"The Renew Russia for Ruble Freedom Program".

Has a Luntzian twang to it, doesn't it.


Caleb Howe, fellow Erickson punk and Ben Howe's brother:

http://gawker.com/5537780/how-drunk-was-the-tea-bagger-blogger-who-mocked-rogert-eberts-cancer

Cut to same receiving charity money from liberals at DKOS because he was too f*cking pig-as* stupid to medically insure himself and his kids.

Obamacare was available.


You don't notice that Jesse Jackson is a grifter? Al Sharpton?

The scale of the Jackson/Sharpton grift pales to insignificance when compared to that found on the right, and, as Doc pointed out, is qualitatively different from that found on the right of the political spectrum.

No points today for your attempt at deflection.

We return you to your regularly scheduled Superbowl programming.

The DKOS link"

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/31/1228070/-RedState-s-Chief-Blogger-in-Critical-Condition-in-NC-No-Insurance

See the difference.

I'm not sure how much is causation and how much mere correlation. But there seem to be a lot more mega-churchs (and TV preachers) on the conservative side than the liberal side. And those certainly seem to make their "preachers" extremely wealthy. Yes, the big establishment churchs lean liberal. But they don't seem to be making their preachers vast sums.

As I say, not sure why the correlation even. But it sure seems to be there.

About Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, I am sure they beg for money from supporters, either for political campaigns or other projects. But I do not recall any instances of either of them, or any other leftish activist/political figure, selling the mailing lists of their supporters to "One Weird Trick to Beat Cancer!" and "Fabulous Investment Opportunity the IRS Hates!" hucksters.

All activists and politicians ask for financial support from likeminded others. I don't really see that as grifting or scamming. It's the monetizing of their supporters that makes me see the right-wingers as scam artists.

No, what they do, that I find disreputable, is essentially sell "protection". If your company gives them money, they don't go after you.

Maybe you regard that as distinct from grifting?

A round-up:

http://etb-former-fundamentalists.blogspot.com/2012/04/onward-christian-soldiers.html

Brett notes Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, with the implication that grifter also means liberal. However, my take is that the grifter linkage is through large faith based organizations, which allow mobilization of membership. As they simplify the message to reach the maximum number of people and mobilize, you are going to have temptation.

This is not to dismiss large group action, this is an interesting example of that.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2015/01/13/how-harry-potter-fans-won-a-four-year-fight-against-child-slavery/

One could look at the group as threatening the value of Warner Brother's intellectual property and therefore grifting, but it seems different, no?

" with the implication that grifter also means liberal."

Actually, the implication would be that grifter doesn't mean liberal OR conservative.

It means grifter.

I don't think anyone was arguing that grifting was unique to any particular political view. Clearly it is not. The question was why there seems to be substantially more of it on the right.

And, in particular, more of it directed at individuals. Rather than extortion aimed at corporations, which isn't quite the same thing.

it might also be simply a case of grifters going where the money is. the money isn't in poor minorities or college kids, it's in older people - especially older people who are fearful of losing that money. and those people lean conservative.

So, WJ, what you're suggesting is that the the left's criminal subculture preys in a different way than the right's? That I'd easily believe, if you really think it that important to distinguish between "grifting" and extortion.

If "grifting" and "extortion" are more or less the same thing, it seems pointless to have two different words for it.

--TP

"If "grifting" and "extortion" are more or less the same thing, it seems pointless to have two different words for it."

That's why the perpetrators refer to it with one word: business.

Fraud (aka grifting) is definitely different from extortion. I'm not sure how one could miss the threat that is an integral part of the latter. (Threats are important. Otherwise we wouldn't need guns for defense against them, right?)

No question but that both are criminal. But, again, the question was about grifting on the right. If you prefer, it could have been phrased as asking why those on the right are more gullible to the particular kinds of fraud which occur there. It doesn't require gullibility to give in to extortion, merely understanding of the threat being made.

Perhaps another way to look at it might be this. Grifters (at least the kind we are talking about) are taking advantage of fear of others, i.e. not themselves. And those supposed threats can be real or, at least as often, imaginary. Extortionists are taking advantage of fear of what they, themsleves, threaten to do. And since they are threatening to do something themselves, those threats are real -- regardless of whether they would actually carry them out.

Oh yes. In case I wasn't clear (and I think I wasn't), I consider extortion more noxious than fraud. Had we been discussing the level of noxiousness of behavior in both ends of the political spectrum, that would have been relevant.

In the category of petty fraud, I nominate Governor Rick Perry for the hip-looking eyeglasses he's wearing for this next clown go-around.

The first time I saw them perched on his nose, I felt like I'd stepped out back to the swinery and caught my prize myopic boar hog wearing spectacles, spats, and a cock ring.

Even though the new ocular accoutrements raised his rating a few points on the Republican racial fashion IQ scale, he remains mired somewhere between Sarah Death Palin and Goober despite trying to advance beyond his white trash station in life.

And here I thought the only optometric prescription he required were the high-powered sights attached to the large caliber automatic weapons he murders Mexican kids with from taxpayer-supplied helicopters.

Whoops, thought that was a coyote!

Watch the primary debates to see if during a lengthy pause, as he feigns an intelligent squint and tries to remember the names of the Cabinet agencies he promises to direct to kill various undesirable Americans, but on a sharply cut budget, he reaches up to rub his eye and he puts his finger clear through one of the eye holes where most normal people have correctable lenses, but his are just frames with non-existent lenses, and you'll see what I mean.

" If you prefer, it could have been phrased as asking why those on the right are more gullible to the particular kinds of fraud which occur there."

Well, I do have a theory about that. It also explains why you've got the Tea Party movement on the right, and no apparent counterpart on the left.

Essentially, there has arisen in America a distinct ruling culture. To a large extent, the fight between the two major parties is a kind of shirts vs skins affair. They share a lot of their basic views. But the problem for the GOP side of this fake war, is that the ruling culture is more in agreement with moderate left views than conservative views.

So liberals have no great difficulty finding politicians to support who actually agree with them. Sure, you've got your grifters, but they have to compete with the real deal, which is tough where actual track records are available.

But conservatives have a great deal of difficulty finding actual conservative politicians to support, particularly above the local or at best state level, because the GOP establishment is pretty relentless about killing off the careers of politicians who are really conservative, and look like they're getting traction.

This means that conservative grifters don't have to compete so much with the real deal. The Establishment doesn't mind the grifters, after all, they're in a sense grifters themselves, pulling a perpetual bait and switch on their base.

This is exacerbated by the fact that until the last couple of decades, the GOP was a powerless minority in Congress, so GOP leaders didn't have to deliver on the causes they claimed to be championing. They could just make a show of fighting the good fight, and losing.

Then along came 1994, and the dog caught the car. And the GOP establishment tried to continue as usual, fighting the good fight and losing. And the base noticed that they were taking a dive.

Since then it's been internal war on the right, with actual conservatives fighting to replace an establishment that only talks conservative, and the establishment using their position at the party's levers of power to stop them. If the Dems and Republicans hadn't gotten together in the 80's on 'campaign reforming' third parties into perpetual futility, the GOP would have split up by now.

In this environment, the grifters have the advantage, that the establishment prefers them over the real deal. It wants the energies of conservatives, to the extent they can't be channeled into electing RINOs, to be wasted. So the grifters have the party establishment's back.

And there's a shortage of real-deal conservatives at the federal level to compete with them.

And, this IS different from the Democratic party, where the party establishment is not so actively hostile to the principles it supposedly is working to enact. Indifferent, perhaps, but not actively hostile.

But conservatives have a great deal of difficulty finding actual conservative politicians to support

They're depraved on account of they're deprived?

If only someone would strike the chains from the poor true conservatives, so they could lead us back to our virtuous republican ideals.

" with the implication that grifter also means liberal."

Actually, the implication would be that grifter doesn't mean liberal OR conservative.

Someone was sleeping one day in their logic class...

"They're depraved on account of they're deprived?"

I certainly didn't suggest conservatives were depraved. Just in a situation where the grifter to real deal ratio is very high, and the party establishment is promoting the former, not the latter.

Ok, LJ, Grifter neither means liberal nor conservative. Happy.

Geeze, I spent decades learning to speak colloquially, and this is the thanks I get.

Brett:

I'm not at all sure you're *right*, but that's certainly a take I have to think about.

Does your viewpoint explain, to you, why the Romney campaign (quintessential Republican Establishment, right?) was beset by grifters, mostly in the form of consultants?

There's also the matter of conservative email promotions, as opposed to liberal's. Do my observations match yours, or are you seeing more "monetized" email from liberals sites?

Q: "Why do you rob banks?" A: "Because that's where the money is."

I think bobbyp's link above explains things well. It's not a left/right thing, but more about tribal trust. That there may be more opportunity on the right is mostly coincidental.

russell, thanks as usual! [stay cool, boy!]

I certainly didn't suggest conservatives were depraved.

It was a joke, Brett.

ral got it, anyway.

In any case, your 5:06 appears to be yet another retread of "whatever conservatives do that's FUBAR, it's only because they're not really conservative, and real conservatives would never do that".

Do you vote? Own it.

Here's my position, from here on out, concerning any bad policies or behavior from anyone claiming to be on "the left" in American politics.

See, if they were really and truly liberal, like Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi or maybe, I don't know, Albert Schweizer, then they wouldn't behave badly.

It's only because they aren't freaking Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi or Albert Schweizer that their actions and policies fail us.

What we need is simply to abandon the corrupt political infrastructure that has metastasized over our good old pure original American electoral system and get some good honest liberals in office, like Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi or maybe Albert Schweizer.

If I'm not mistaken, that corrupt self-serving party-oriented politicking kicked in around 1800.

The election of 1796 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1796was a doozy.

Ever since Washington refused to run for a third term, it's been downhill.

Turtles all the way.

Attack Ads, Circa 1800 (YouTube)

Slightly faulty link there, dr ngo. The 'was' should not be part of it.

What we need is simply to abandon the corrupt political infrastructure that has metastasized over our good old pure original American electoral system and get some good honest liberals in office, like Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi or maybe Albert Schweizer.

What's so wrong with that?
The GOP is evil and corrupt, the Dems are weak and corrupt. The voters could at least try to do something about the corrupt part.

Schweitzer's views on race would be a problem though.

With a choice between a weak and corrupt party, and an evil and corrupt party, (Republicans say, the evil party, that's you, and the stupid party, that's them.) why in the world would you want to entrust more and more of life to government?

Maybe it might occur to you to minimize the part of society controlled by a corrupt institution?

what part of society is free of corrupt institutions?

let me know, because i'm gonna go sign up.

No part of society is completely free of corrupt institutions, but most areas outside government are not run exclusively by corrupt institutions.

Brett, would you agree that some governments, or at least some parts of some governments, are noticably less corrupt thatn others? (Or, if you prefer, that some are more corrupt than others?)

If so, there would seem to be something to be said for trying to make the government we have less corrupt. Since, like it or not (and I know you don't) there is no real prospect of massively reducing it any time soon.

If so, there would seem to be something to be said for trying to make the government we have less corrupt.

Obviously, the solution is to remove any and all limits or regulations on money flows into political campaigning.

What always strikes me about Brett's analyses of current-day political life here in the US are their asymmetry.

The poor, put-upon true conservative has to somehow struggle with their lack of representation in, and access to, the political establishment.

Folks on the left, however, have never had it so good. The entire political establishment of the country is, apparently, oriented completely toward the goals and preferences of the left.

You can tell that this is so, because of the obvious left-wing orientation of virtually all (D)'s, and the de-facto (if sub rosa) support that left-wing policies receive from the nominally conservative (R)'s.

You may not have realized this, but we actually live in a socialist paradise.

"You may not have realized this, but we actually live in a socialist paradise."

well, in Massachusetts. And Vermont. And Washington State. In other states paradise awaits. Is it a coincidence that they played in the Super Bowl? Is Defellategate a secret anti socialist plot? Or a cunning sleight of hand conspiracy between Obama and the NFL to prop up those socialist governments? Remember, you heard it herefirst, or second I am not sure.

If it's Defellategate, it must be a gay thing. ;-)

Defellategate?

Not another one of those! What's next? Blowghazi?

I think once fellated, forever fellated. You can't put it back in the bottle, as Bill Clinton finally admitted, redfaced, not that he wanted to.

There should probably be something about the vanity of thinking you can put the toothpaste back in the tube, but I'll leave that for another wagster.

"Republicans say, the evil party, that's you, and the stupid party, that's them."

Somehow, Brett always exempts himself from the evil and stupidity the rest of us practice. You and them, but never him.

It's defellating, to say the least.

Soren Kierkagaard wrote, according to Walker Percy, that Hegel explained everything in the universe except what it is to be an individual, to be born, to live, and to die.

Percy aimed the same accusation at science, or what he called scientism, and provided examples, which are beside the point here.

But, Brett's formulations are of the same genre or species. All is explained, except one thing: Brett, the non-participant who stands outside or above it all, judging.

He writes: "Maybe it might occur to you to minimize the part of society controlled by a corrupt institution?"

Which part? The "of the people" part, or the "by the people" part. Or the "for the people" part? "People", each with interests, being the main constituent and corrupt part. And of course, we've not mentioned the really important people, the luckiest people in the world, the corporate people who love corporate people.

This seems apt:

http://news.yahoo.com/gops-christie-parents-choice-vaccinations-135148862--politics.html

"People" with the freedom pox should be able to infect the rest of us, without the corrupt institution of government lending a hand to scratch the itch.

I don't know about defellation, but we're headed for bugger all.

Central banks around the world are finally turning their powers against defellation, instead of this nearly forty year obsession with infellation.

Why, just yesterday, in a joint oral presentation for the press, the New Greek Prime Minister, fresh from his recent landslide erection, said the Eurozone must stop with this constant fight against fellation and let our economies grow larger, which seemed contradictory, but there it is.

The French, not surprisingly, agreed with the Greeks.

The Germans, always uptight about fellation, blushed and demurred, but plan a rearguard action against the Greek insurrection.

Janey Yellen said she was keeping an eye on the entire spectacle, and who can blame her?

I just make it a matter of personal policy that:

Hey, there's already too much money in politics; me giving someone money for the cause du jour would be making things worse.

OTOH, as some of my liberal friends have pointed out, I don't always vote my wallet, because my wallet isn't my only priority. "Best interests" aren't solely financial. I'd be hard-pressed to prioritize my interests, though, so don't ask.

Obviously, Christie's gambit to make the measles lobby his own, is but the opening shot for the rest of the Republican Party to draft most of the major diseases to their side in the quest to gain the White House (and then be quarantined).

Rick Perry is on the phone to chicken pox and shingles lovers everywhere.

Mike Huckabee will speak in front of Hepatitis C, B, and Z afficianados next week, while Sarah Palin will lead a parade of polio fans for her "Polio Virus Restoration Project", as they limp toward the finish line, where they will pile like breathless clowns into an iron lung.

AIDS and EBOLA vaccines now in the works will be burnt on effigy at the next Steve King Republican fete in Iowa and Jodi Ernst will attend a target practice at her local gun range and take pot shots at Chlamydia Vaccine developers, while warning that she is a proud sufferer of chlamydia and will do everything in her power to spread the gospel, at gunpoint.

Swine flu is one of her favorites too.

America's head is so far up our collective asses, that .................

if liberals care so much about all those endangered species, why do they want to eradicate measles? huh? why do we have to save the spotted owl but we have to kill off measles ? tell me that, mister en-vi-ro-ment!

Count, you're getting too ad-hominemy at Brett. Back off, please.

He can handle it, but O.K.

russell, it does rather seem like, if corruption (i.e the influence of money) in government is a bad thing, then the amount of money being spent on politics ought to be reduced, not opened up. But perhaps there is something subtle here about the interaction of removing limits on spending and reducing corruption that I'm missing. Wouldn't be the first time.

Limits on contributions corrupt the natural process of corruption. Bribists have to take great care whom to bribe to be effective. The limits serve the purpose to channel the limited bribes to a limited number of bribees, those who make the rules and profit off them. Someone not yet part of this group will find it far more difficult to get bribed enough to rise high enough to reach the same teat. So the pool of corruptees turns stale because there is not enough turnover. Without the limits a bribist could tell the old guard of bribees "Yes, I will give you the usual amnount because you have proven a reliable corruptee who will give me what I desire in return. But in order to keep you from getting lazy and complacent, I will spend on fresh corruptible blood to compete with you. Maybe I can get a little bit more for a little bit less, if you have to fear that you will receive less of the invigorating corruptive fluid." So, removing limits and regulations will keep the process of bribes and corruption more honest. It will also be more cost effective since less is lost in the arduous process of circumventing the rules and regulations.

Btw, it's time to replace that old complicated motto 'e pluribus unum' with the more simple and true-to-life 'do ut des' (although that is a rather dissonant chord).

The White House seems a little less forthright than the Count when it comes to vaccination:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/30/press-briefing-press-secretary-josh-earnest-1302015
Q And obviously it has revived the debate over vaccines. Does the President, does the White House have a message about that and who will be getting vaccinated?

MR. EARNEST: Well, the President certainly believes that these kinds of decisions are decisions that should be made by parents, because ultimately when we’re talking about vaccinations, we’re typically talking about vaccinations that are given to children. But the science on this, as our public health professionals I’m sure would be happy to tell you, the science on this is really clear.

Q That people should get vaccinated?

MR. EARNEST: That’s certainly what the science indicates, and that’s obviously what our public health professionals recommend. And being guided by the science in matters like this is typically the right approach.
Kevin.

the WH knows that to come out strongly in favor of something would guarantee that Republicans would immediately come out against it. so, their best move is to say "being guided by the science in matters like this is typically the right approach"

Ad-hominemey sounds like one of the last steps in preparing a Southern-style breakfast.

[...]
For instance: If you're interested in finding communitarians, look for highly educated whites who frequently attend church services and have lower socioeconomic statuses. If you want to find libertarian women, look for white, heterosexual atheists or Christians with infrequent church attendance, high education levels, and incomes above the median.

If you want to find lawyers who are opposed to tax hikes, look for ones who got lower SAT scores and attended bottom-tier schools; they will tend to have more pessimistic expectations about their future earnings capacity. The higher an individual's human capital, the less likely they are to be concerned about future tax hikes. That goes for accountants and hot dog cart owners alike.
[...]

Are Demographics Destiny?: Self-interest, sex, snakes, and the making of our political preferences

"then the amount of money being spent on politics ought to be reduced, not opened up."

But corruption IN government is a matter of corrupt incumbents, and "money being spent on politics" is often spent trying to *replace* corrupt incumbents.

So, when you "reduce money spent on politics", you are playing into the hands of incumbents, who view this as a darned effective way of handicapping challengers.

time handicaps all incumbents.

Ad-hominemey = one-man, single-serving grits.

Also something Ralph Kramden might stutter.

"But corruption IN government is a matter of corrupt incumbents, and "money being spent on politics" is often spent trying to *replace* corrupt incumbents."

So, when the incumbent who is bought and paid for to adhere to certain planks goes against the big money to vote his or her consciences ....

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/01/the-republican-partys-abortion-bind/384736/

... is the corrupt one, but the bigger money that calls him or her a traitor to the Party and a RINO and fattens the money envelope slipped into the slot of the unmarked mailbox in, probably Texas, to remove said traitor from office using even bigger money to put a supposedly non-corrupt mouthpiece in to stick unquestioningly to the entire Party line is clean money?:

http://www.redstate.com/2015/01/23/renee-ellmers-call-campaign-team-primary-challenge/

I guess corruption equals refusing to be paid off.

I hope that was somewhat opposite of ad hominum.

http://crookedtimber.org/2010/03/25/whats-the-opposite-of-ad-hominem/


you are playing into the hands of incumbents

I am, instead, playing into the hands of my bank account, my ability to retire as planned, and my lack of interest in electing either incumbents or challengers due to the quality of candidates.

This is, as I see it, a purely personal decision. I would not, for example, dream of constraining others from doing as they please with their money.

time handicaps all incumbents

With a baton, to the knee.

We can always hope.

Brett, as you yourself remarked a couple of days ago, Harry Browne was a grifter (corrupt), despite his platform against incumbency and politicians, and yet he was corrupt without ever having experienced political incumbency.

Of course, he was a financial newsletter writer, so I guess bullsh*t was baked into the cake without his ever having served in office.

In fact, his profession was superb training for lying, cheating, corruption, and incumbency. Browne was made for politics.

I seems to me the bottom line is that "the People" are the raw material that all corrupt incumbency derives from.

We need new raw material.

Soylent Green, also good for breakfast.

There are arguably lots of causes of corruption in government.

Quid pro quo deals, guarantees of fat consulting gigs after your career as an elected official are over. The sheer number of folks whose entire working lives are dedicated to throwing money at elected officials. The ginormous buckets of money those folks have to throw.

Lots and lots of reasons.

The thing that just doesn't seem to rise to the top of the list is the limited amount of money available to spend on political campaigns.

The Koch Brothers have spent a lot of money to end the incumbency of moderate RINO Republicans, not to mention Democrats, prone to the corrupt practice of compromise.

I wonder why?

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_02/pledging_allegiance053986.php

But corruption IN government is a matter of corrupt incumbents...

So if we lower the number of incumbents there will be less corruption? I am reminded of the wingers elected in the 90's who advocated term limits and conveniently forgot about that once they achieved office.

I would also note that the level of government corruption appears to be inversely correlated with its size.

Not necessarily, but you need to keep in mind that incumbents are always trying to game the system to render themselves safe, and one of the ways they do so is by finding ways to deny challengers enough funding to run an effective campaign. More of campaign 'reform' has been incumbents doing just this, than the 'reformers' care to admit.

I would also note that the level of government corruption appears to be inversely correlated with its size.

I'd like to see some substantiating evidence for that statement.

Also, it'd be interesting to hear what you think is and isn't government corruption.

As an aside:

The Romney 2012 campaign was riddled with them. After the fact, Ben Howe at RedState wrote that The Romney Campaign was a Consultant Con Job: he talked to sources inside the campaign who said "the consultants essentially used the Romney campaign as a money making scheme, forcing employees to spin false data as truth in order to paint a rosy picture of a successful campaign as a form of job security."

If I was prone to schadenfreude, this would be delicious.

As it is, I'll just call it karma.

To grift you need suckers, people who don't have a firm grasp on how things actually happen. The rightwing has both cultivated and self-selected that quality. To be rightwing in the USA nowadays you have to be able to deny reality, and that makes you a perfect dupe.

How do we distinguish between corruption of the "pay office holders for favors" variety from corruption of the "pay office holders', or would-be office holders', campaign funds in exchange for favors" variety.

wj, that's easy. The former is illegal, the latter is legal.

Defellating: A typo I knew the Count would appreciate. I did have to add the second l after noticing the spelling error. I was really trying to figure out a crisp definition but, alas, my mind was unable to rise to the occasion again.

How do we distinguish between...

The gold standard, per the SCOTUS, is that there has to be a clear, unambiguous, explicit quid pro quo in order for it to earn the name "corruption".

I.e., "I will pay you $10,000 for a yes vote on this bill, here's a bag of money, and can I have a receipt".

I'm not sure, but I think that *perhaps* Boehner's handing out of checks on the floor of the House in exchange for votes might have qualified, had that standard been articulated at that time.

Merely paying for influence, where "influence" apparently includes writing the text of legislation, is not corruption, says the court. Apparently, it's now known as "speech".

ral, it may be legal, but it is still corruption. Just sayin'

I think it's paying for access. Senator X will meet/talk with Big Donor Z who can make a pretty convincing case to adopt Preferred Policy #3, especially when there is no one arguing Not Preferred Policy #3 with similar access. And it's not like Big Donor Z's argument is "vote for this bill so I gets teh $$$!" It's always good public policy, or beneficial to the district/state, or both, or for the good of the country, etc.

So, it gets you listened to, perhaps to the exclusion of others. I'd argue it is similar to legacy admissions - if you're a legacy that means your file gets a "real" look, not necessarily that you'll be admitted over more a qualified non-legacy candidate (not that there won't be exceptions). Since the top schools now get enough applicants to fill their incoming freshman class with uber-qualified candidates, including legacies, why not admit more legacies and get the (presumably) extra-donation $$ that might come with that?

wj, I hope you know I agree with you 100%

"Are you a policeman?"

"No, a constable."

"What's the difference?"

"They're spelt differently."

[the Goon Show]

I'd like to see some substantiating evidence for that statement.

Slarti,

I am burning the candle at both ends at work right now...so, no, I do not have quantitative evidence, but I shall do some searching about and see what I can find. For now I simply ask you some questions in return:

1. Who is more likely to be on "the take"...the local cop on the beat or an FBI/Treasury agent?
2. Who is more likely to hire your worthless nephew for a government job based simply on your say so...a local municipality or the federal civil service?
3. Where do you find more instances of land use back scratching...your local planning agency or the BLM?
4. When it comes to flat out criminal dipping into the public till, where do you see this more often...at the local level or the federal level?

For good or for ill, that's what I was thinking when I wrote that statement.

Also, it'd be interesting to hear what you think is and isn't government corruption.

Here's an article by Juan Cole listing "10 ways the us is the most corrupt....yada, yada in the WORLD!" While these items are indeed lamentable, I do not consider them corruption. They are consciously adopted public policies that are hurting our polity, crippling our future, and constraining our ability to be a truly functional democracy. With the right politics, these policies can be altered, rolled back, or eliminated. They are the outcome of the self dealing of an array of interest groups working through the political process.

Hope that helps....now to find some data.

bobbyp, thanks for the link to the Cole piece.

IMO most of the items on that list are obvious and blatant forms of corruption.

None of them is recognized as such under US law.

Per Kennedy in Citizens United, and Roberts in McCutcheon, corruption consists solely and entirely in the direct exchange of an official act for money.

Here is a check for $50,000, you can have it if you vote "yes" on this bill.

Pay for access is not even close. Basically, the view appears to be that *money is speech*, and so spending money is protected activity under the 1st A. Not just issue advocacy, or campaigning, but lobbying as well.

Money buying the privilege of having your speech heard is not only not wrong, it's the way it's supposed to work.

Want to be heard? Get more money.

if money is speech because it can facilitate speech, is it voting because it can buy all the things you need to get to the polls? is it religion because it can buy churches and hymnals? is it guns because it can buy guns?

Time is money.

if time is money, then money is time. and if money is speech, then time is speech. therefore ... wasting my time is a violation of my 1st A rights?

"if money is speech because it can facilitate speech, is it voting because it can buy all the things you need to get to the polls? is it religion because it can buy churches and hymnals? is it guns because it can buy guns?"

Yes.

Because the power to prohibit people from spending money to do something is the power to prevent them from doing that thing. Freedom of the press means you can't bar people from buying ink and paper, from renting or buying a printing press. Freedom of religion means you can't prohibit people from giving money to a church. The right to keep and bear arms means you can't prohibit people from buying or selling arms.

People try to use money as a handle to regulate rights, and pretend that they're not regulating the right, just the money. Nobody whose right is under attack that way buys it for an instant, and, thankfully, neither does the Supreme court.

Apropos of nothing, and therefore everything, I give you this quote from the freshly minted Greek Finance Minister, regarding upcoming debt negotiations with the Eurozone:

“I only entered politics three weeks ago,” the Greek minister said on Tuesday. “Therefore, I remain optimistic on the possibility of an agreement.”

I'm glad to see the spirit of Aristophanes lives on in Greece.

The French may view it as Panglossian.

The trouble with the "explicit exchange of money for action" definition is that it ignores the "nod and wink" kind of understanding. Everybody knows that, if you don't vote the way some big donor asks, your chances of future donations nosedive. Nobody has to say so explicitly. Which means that it isn't legally corruption . . . just really.

People try to use money as a handle to regulate rights, and pretend that they're not regulating the right, just the money. Nobody whose right is under attack that way buys it for an instant, and, thankfully, neither does the Supreme court.

So what you are saying is that corruption (real corruption, not just the narrow legal definition) must be allowed? OK, if that's the way you see it. But never again complain about the corruption of those in office.

Personally, I think that corruption can be dealt with by constraints on spending money just as reasonably as freedom of speech is constrained by prohibiting shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater or prohibiting libel and slander. Both are undoubtedly restrictions on a Constitutional right. But that doesn't mean that they are unreasonalble.

"Because the power to prohibit people from spending money to do something is the power to prevent them from doing that thing. Freedom of the press means you can't bar people from buying ink and paper, from renting or buying a printing press. Freedom of religion means you can't prohibit people from giving money to a church. The right to keep and bear arms means you can't prohibit people from buying or selling arms"

All very pristine.

How much money traveled under the table and up the britches of the Founding Fathers from the special interests of the day to cause the former to believe all that you posit here was self-evident?

Corruption flowing therefrom:

A. Because the power to prohibit people from spending money to do something is the power to prevent them from doing that thing.

Slavery, yup.

B. Freedom of the press means you can't bar people from buying ink and paper, from renting or buying a printing press.

William Randolph Hearst and the Spanish-American War

FOX News, Drudge, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the Second War in Iraq, not to mention the first, but who is counting?

"Freedom of religion means you can't prohibit people from giving money to a church."

Tax exemptions for religious institutions are a corrupt carve-out. You, yourself, have noted in recent days the Church of Scientology criminal enterprise (tax exempt), and the need to do something about Islam, which I presume, might include tinkering with constitutional protections for Mosques on American soil.

"The right to keep and bear arms means you can't prohibit people from buying or selling arms"

The language of the Second Amendment does not include the words "bullets" or "ammunition", so your absolutist tone about this stuff has no basis in the text. However, you'll be gratified to know that I'm working on a novel legal theory that, in fact, if money is speech, and money can buy or sell weapons, then guns are amplifiers for human speech, and bullets are in fact the speech that requires no trigger warnings, just like now.

I'm pretty sure I can get that past the current Supreme Court, who spend their time just making sh*t up, like the characters in Alice in Wonderland.

Along the lines of when Ted Nugent hoists his automatic military weaponry in concert or on FOX News and says "It's time that we let these babies do the talking!" or when Bundy or his militias let their fingers on the triggers do the walking and the talking, and to be fair and balanced, the BLM, the ATF, the IRS, and police forces across the country do the same.

I'm going to take all of their weapons. And their bullets.

Then they can talk to each other like human beings.

While these items are indeed lamentable, I do not consider them corruption. They are consciously adopted public policies that are hurting our polity, crippling our future, and constraining our ability to be a truly functional democracy. With the right politics, these policies can be altered, rolled back, or eliminated.

Corruption does not cease to be corruption simply because it's been institutionalized. It's simply made more formal, rote, and respectable, and is allowed to show its face in public.

Because the power to prohibit people from spending money to do something is the power to prevent them from doing that thing.

This is only true if we can only have completely unrestrained freedoms - if it's binary, and either you can do anything you can construe to be X, or else you "can't really" do X. I.e., if we don't have free speech if someone can hold that we don't have the right to speak "Fire!" at the top of our lungs in a crowded theater, or the right to speak untruths simply because we gave an oath not to, or to speak untruths about earnings to your shareholders, or to speak someone else's name when identifying yourself in a civilly/financially significant matter, etc.

Money makes it easier to do many of the things you've mentioned, and lets you do them on a larger scale. It facilitates certain kinds of speech, but does not "allow speech" full stop. To claim that it cannot be limited without eliminating the underlying right is to claim that freedoms must be wholly unconstrained, always and without question, or they do not exist. Without that extreme and frankly dangerous stance, we've already established what the Constitution is; now we're just negotiating the price.

Getting a firm grip on what counts as corruption in America is problematic, to say the least.

Since I brought up "Health" supplements earlier, to wit:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-herbal-supplements-might-be-a-sham-2015-02-03?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Now, the supplement makers until recent years have been free to lie and cheat at will (not all, mind you) regarding the contents of their miracle-cure capsules, caplets, salves, and draughts and the spectacular disease-preventing properties of such.

But here comes the FDA, conducting peer-reviewed blind studies over many years and sure enough many of these claims are hot air, so we will now, at the very least, regulate the labeling of the products to reflect the actual ingredients ... ie, reality.

Well, this is enough to send the, pale, cross-eyed, besandaled hippies (again, not all) who started the supplement movement down to the local gun store, with a stop at the NRC's outpost to pick up some brochures, to protect their God-given First Amendment rights to believe and sell whatever they want and either say so (bullsh*t) with extravagant labeling claims OR not be forced, I say forced, by gummint NOT to say so by listing the ingredients on the bottle and not making unfounded claims for the products. After all, what the customer doesn't know, won't hurt him (what's he going to do, put the ingredients in a centrifuge and then, donning his lab coat, eye the contents under an electron microscope?) and will keep the stuff flying off the shelves.

Depending on who you talk to (or pay, money being speech), the lies heretofore claimed to be the Truth by the supplement industry are NOT corruption.

Indeed, the heavy hand of the FDA and the Agriculture Department trying to ferret out the truth and labeling the products so, is where the corruption lies.

Show me the money! I'm listening.

Yes

money is guns and speech and religion.

tell us again about doing violence to the language.

Yes, but language isn't speech, otherwise I wouldn't always be asked to watch the former.

I read this topic yesterday but couldn't post on chrome, I'm trying again using Firefox, today.

I just had one thing I wanted to say after reading the big "gullibility theory" post of Brett's.

Brett, your post sounds remarkably like someone that is about to BE grifted. It's full of 'purity' and 'us vs them' where you can ONLY trust the 'true conservatives'. When you only trust ONE group, that group can take you for everything if you won't even LISTEN to the 'others'. Notice how the 'Republican Establishment' are all 'RINOS' now because you've decided they aren't 'Tea Party'.

I'm not going to go any further with this, but just be aware that the group you apparently believe in, is one of the MAJOR groups full of grifters right now, NOT just 'The Establishment'.

The "WHEREVER your hands have been is guaranteed by the Constitution" caucus arrives straight on the heels (what have they been stepping in, and why are you stirring my fruit smoothie with your feet, not that there is anything wrong with that?) of the yeah-my-kid-has-the-measles-and-dengue-fever-gotta-problem-with-that-Chief? crowd gearing up for the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary, which promises to be the biggest subhuman sh*tstorm of pig-ignorant, armed jagoffery and as*holery kicked up since John Adams threatened darkly that female chastity would go by the wayside if Tom Jefferson got his way.

Full disclosure, I voted for Jefferson in that election, but I've always believed that those who lose their chastity should be forced to wash their hands after the act and before Republicans and Libertarians rush to lick the fingers of the unchaste before the latter serve dinner.

Link:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/thom-tillis-washing-hands-toilet

Funny, Tillis believes servers shouldn't be forced to wash their hands after micturating into the soup, but Huckabee (a character out of Mark Twain) believes the FOX blondes should have their mouths washed out for cursing like O'Reilly on an Irish bender.

Within 24 hours from the time of this comment, a Republican State legislator, probably from a state somewhere south of the Mason Dixon, although that line has shifted all the way to the Canadian border, will bring legislation to the floor (which they eat off of) mandating that unvaccinated children (the victimized), whose parents probably don't keep any soap and towels in their bathrooms, must be permitted to attend school while contagious, and further that vaccinated children, whose parents are statist totalitarians with immaculately cleaned fingernails, should be disallowed from attending school until the expiration date on their vaccinations has passed.

Armed pig teachers, carrying the swine flu, would monitor who got their booster shots on the sneaky-sly and take appropriate action.

I also predict Tillis will be quoted thusly: "There's nothing wrong with getting your hands dirty in the bathroom at work (more Americans -- you know who I'm talking about! -- need to roll up their sleeves, wipe their *sses and get back to work in this country) and then separating those damnable American cheese slices for the cheeseburgers without wearing hygienic gloves. Taste the freedom!"

According to the USSC, money is speech.

Also, speech is money. As in, say something supportive of Al-Qaida, and it counts as "material support of terrorism".

Mixing distinct categories corrupts all of them.

One good thing about unlimited incumbency is it removes the need to constantly redecorate Congressional digs, at what cost to the tender, demoralized, put-upon taxpayer, by Tea Party pig filth who promise to cut the balls off we lesser pigs.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2015/02/03/shiny-metal-objects-forever/

It wouldn't surprise if the entire anti-incumbency movement has been bought and paid for by the National Association of Interior Heterosexual Decorators to keep their cash flow steady from one election cycle to the next.

Corruption.

Fantastic point Berial. That self proclaimed moral purity also means that folks don't want to admit when they have been scammed. I've often wondered about the charges of how librulz want to dictate x, y and z, be it marriage practices, multi-culturalism, toilet flush rates or light bulbs, which often seem less a description of liberal behavior and more like a funhouse mirror held up to the persons writing.

Fluoride again, if you can believe it:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/pat-robertson-vaccines-fluoridation

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