,hl=en,siteUrl='http://0ldfox.blogspot.com/',authuser=0,security_token="v_SeT2Tv8vVdKRCcG9CCW-ZdIfQ:1429878696275"/> Old Fox KM Journal : January 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Confessions of a Campaign-Finance Racketeer


The year was 1988, the first presidential election in which I was eligible to vote, and the trauma is still nearly too much to recount. The duo, brothers, arrived at my dormitory room at the University of Texas, hauled me from the intensity of my studies and dragged me to a polling place, where one wrenched my left arm behind my back and the other bodily placed the right on the voting machine and, depressing the lever, made my choice. As they released me into the chill and black of a November night, I demanded their names. “Koch,” they replied, their snarls announcing they made no apologies and felt no remorse.
My first ballot was actually less of an anecdote. I formed an opinion, surely influenced but certainly not dictated by advertising, and cast a ballot. Alone. David and Charles Koch have yet to bribe or compel me.
I cannot, of course, speak for others. But here is Jane Mayer, scarcely three pages into Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, her exposé of the Kochs, exposing instead the fundamental fallacies of the campaign-finance racket. Having recounted David Koch’s turn as the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 1980, she declares: “The Kochs failed at the ballot box in 1980, but instead of accepting America’s verdict, they set out to change how it voted.  They used their fortune to impose their minority views on the majority by other means.”
It is actually in the nature of republicanism that losers do not have to acquiesce permanently to the sorrow of defeat. They are allowed to keep arguing. But the legitimacy of doing so depends, in some circles, on the content of one’s views. Replace “Kochs” with “Democrats,” and the first sentence—“they set out to change how [America] voted”—might ring less sinister in some ears.
Yet where the Kochs are concerned, we learn they used their fortune to “impose” their “minority” views on the “majority.” This is, precisely speaking, gibberish.
There is not a documented case anywhere, anytime—unless these brothers are badder than they give off—of the Kochs imposing (Oxford English Dictionary: “To lay on, as something to be borne, endured, or submitted to; to inflict (something) on or upon; to levy or enforce authoritatively or arbitrarily”) their views on anyone. To impose is to leave no choice.
Yet what, on Mayer’s account, did the Kochs do?  Cover the children’s ears. They “waged a long and remarkable battle of ideas.” They subsidized “think tanks and academic programs” and advocacy groups to—hey, get a load of this—“make their arguments in the national political debate.” They “hired lobbyists” to persuade Congress as well as operatives who seeded “synthetic grassroots groups” to create “political momentum.” They “press[ed] their cases in the courts” with “legal groups and judicial junkets,” the latter of which might be questionable, but on the whole, the courts are not an arena from which the left can be understood to have exempted itself.
Lost in all of this is the target of their alleged imposition, the voter, who appears in Mayer’s account—and in the campaign-finance cosmos generally—as the dupe of ad men, academics and operatives, so unthinkingly prey to manipulation that to attempt to persuade him or her is automatically to “impose.” This is the same condescension that gave us What’s the Matter with Kansas?, which assumed the incapacity of working-class voters who cast ballots for Republicans to discern their true economic interests or, if they could, to balance them with competing moral concerns.
One takes it that regulating advertising or limiting advocacy for other causes on the grounds that the target audience is too easily manipulated would offend the sensibilities of campaign regulators. Yet this is the distillation of the “money buys elections” argument.
To be sure, if it is understood in any strict way, it is actually illegal to buy elections with money. All the Kochs buy—all Mayer accuses them above of buying—is the means of persuading voters. This “imposes” on voters only if voters cannot think, a charge regulators do not explicitly make but that lurks just below the surface of their arguments.
Yet voters, being contrary, do think independently of the money spent to persuade them. If they did not, Jeb Bush ($24.8 million in campaign contributions, $103 million in outside money) would be preparing to be anointed, which he is not, and Hillary Clinton, ($77.5 and $20.3 million respectively), would be polishing her nomination address, which she probably is anyway. Similarly, Bernie Sanders, ($41.5 million campaign, $25,000 outside) and Donald Trump ($5.8 million campaign, $131,600 outside) would have been forced to find other outlets for their anger.
In turn, campaign spending on the part of some political actors victimizes others only if argumentation is a scarce commodity, such that the Kochs making an argument deprives someone else of the opportunity to do so. Yet argumentation and information, including information with which political ads can be verified or disconfirmed, have never been more plentiful or cheaper.
This is political speech, however, that the regulators wish to restrict. It is perhaps unsurprising that those who take the view that individuals are incapable of evaluating arguments are also only loosely committed to the First Amendment’s freedom to make them. What is curious, though, is that the reformers typically adhere to other political commitments supposedly rooted in the “dignity” of the individual—a minimal condition of one’s dignity, apparently, being agreeing with them.

Greg Weiner

Greg Weiner teaches political science at Assumption College. His latest book is American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
- See more at: http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/01/25/confessions-of-a-campaign-finance-racketeer/#more-19968

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Citizens United Wasn’t Really about Corporations as People


In the name of campaign finance reform, the United States government argued it could ban books.

This Friday, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” will be released in theaters nationwide. The movie, based on the book “13 Hours” by Mitchell Zuckoff, is directed by Michael Bay and gives the public a chance to see one man’s take on what happened in Libya on September 11, 2012, when terrorists stormed our diplomatic compound and killed four Americans: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Ambassador Chris Stevens, and Tyrone Woods.
The decision to make this movie and release it so widely was likely unpopular with the Democratic political establishment. While the film focuses on the events on the ground in Benghazi, it is bound to generate interest about what was happening back in Washington and what President Obama and his secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, might have done to prevent the loss of American lives. ...
Some interesting background here on the Citizens United v. FEC case, which Democrat Party members are totally mis-characterizing as "corporations are people."    I did not know that Citizens United, a non-profit corp, had complained to the Federal Election Comm. about Michael Moore's movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" in 2004.  The FEC dismissed their complaint.  So CU put out their own documentary bashing Hillary as unfit in 2008.  This time, the FEC changed their tune and tried to censor the CU movie.  A district judge agreed with them and thus it went to the S.Ct. who upheld the First Amendment 5 to 4.  It is about Free Speech, not corporations, or unions, or newspapers "electioneering" for a candidate.

We can see why Hillary hates this Free Speech affirmation, but why would Col. Sanders, Stuart Smalley, Tim Harken, Chuckie Schumer, et al. be so angry about it?    They said what was good for the goose was no good for the gander.   But tit for tat was more just, they learned.

At the oral argument on appeal, the Supreme Court justices probed the limits of the power the government claimed for itself, and questioned how it squared with the First Amendment. In one incredible back-and-forth, Chief Justice John Roberts asked Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart if there was “a 500-page book, and at the end it says, and so vote for X, the government could ban that?” Stewart’s response: yes.
“Well,” he explains, “if it says vote for X, it would be express advocacy and it would be covered by the pre-existing Federal Election Campaign Act provision.” In the name of campaign finance reform, the United States government argued it could ban books.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Property Rights v. Tyranny

Now... For The Rest Of The Story:
Following the escalation of tensions brought about by the BLM and other Federal Agencies in the Harney County Area of Oregon specifically but not limited to the legal actions taken against Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond by said Federal Agencies... A question as to what is really going on within this region poses itself.
Looking solely at the Hammond situation it has been learned that by the end of 1970’s nearly all the ranches adjacent to the Blitzen Valley in Harney County, Oregon were purchased by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and added to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge now covers over 187,000 acres and stretches over 45 miles long and 37 miles wide. The expansion of the refuge grew and surrounds the Hammond’s ranch.
Being approached numerous times by the FWS, the Hammonds refused to sell their property. Other ranchers also choose not to sell.
During the 1970’s the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), took a different approach in an attempt to force the ranchers to sell. Ranchers were told that, “grazing within the area was detrimental to wildlife and must be reduced." Thirty-Two of Fifty-Three existing permits were consequently revoked and many ranchers were forced to leave. Grazing fees were raised significantly for those who were allowed to remain. BLM Refuge personnel took over the irrigation system as well as water rights claiming them as their own.
By 1980 a conflict was well on its way over water allocations on the adjacent privately owned Silvies Plain. The FWS wanted to acquire the ranch lands on the Silvies Plain to add to their already vast holdings. Refuge personnel intentionally diverted the water to bypass the vast meadowlands, directing the water into the rising Malheur Lakes. Within a few short years the surface area of the lakes doubled. Thirty-one ranches on the Silvies plains were flooded. Homes, corrals, barns and grazing land were washed a way and destroyed. The ranchers that once fought to keep the FWS from taking their land, now broke and destroyed, begged the FWS to acquire their now useless ranches. In 1989 the waters began to recede and now the once thriving privately owned Silvies plains are a proud part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge claimed by the FWS.
By the 1990’s the Hammonds were one of the very few ranchers that still owned private property adjacent to the refuge. The Hammond's in an effort to make sense of what was happening began compiling facts about the refuge. In a hidden public record they found a study that was done by the FWS in 1975. The study showed that the “no use” policies of the FWS on the refuge were causing the wildlife to leave the refuge and move to private property. The study showed that the private property adjacent to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge produced 4 times more ducks and geese than the refuge did. It also showed that the migrating birds were 13 times more likely to land on private property than on the refuge. When The Hammonds brought this to the attention of the FWS and refuge personnel, the family became the immediate subjects of a long train of abuses and corruptions.
In 1987 a U.S. Geological Survey of the area was ordered and prepared under Survey number 1740-B. Since the time of the release of this report the geographical region has suffered a continual, unrelenting assault by numerous Federal Agencies...
Harney County, Oregon was once a solid center of rural employment. A Louisiana Pacific sawmill once churned out pine lumber and paychecks, but the sawmill has been shuttered for decades, the victim of changing international markets and more stringent federal forest policies imposed by both the BLM and the EPA.
Shortly following the closure of the lumber industry the BLM and EPA began assaulting other private industries and businesses within the region as well as private landowners utilizing a variety of Federal regulations in what became a very apparent attempt to gain control of the entire region.
A long standing feud began between local residents, ranchers and a joint effort of private industry and government to introduce numerous massive wind farms into the region began to take shape and are still ongoing. Sounding familiar to everyone?
Harney County is remembered as a place of opportunity and entrepreneurship. Why would the Federal Government seemingly be going out of its way to financially devastate an area and its residents? The fact that each of these projects are propped up by federal tax incentives is the salt in the wound of the citizens within the region.
There has to be more to this story and it is contained within the pages of the U.S. Geological Survey number 1740-B.
It seems that, according to the Survey that the area in which Harney County is located is potentially rich in many natural resources including Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc, Arsenic, Mercury, Molybdenum, Coal, Diatomite, Bentonite Natural Gas and Uranium.
It appears that our elected officials are once again involved in the utilization of overreaching Federally mandated regulations in an attempt to gain control of the wealth of our nation with the belief that if they control the wealth of our nation they will control its people.
The once again obvious greed of Federal government for both power and wealth are readily apparent in their actions within this region and clearly demonstrate their total commitment to their quest at any cost.
Standup and be heard at the ballot box. You can make a difference.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Loathsome Custom Series...

Looks like my fave King James was the first to tax tobacco...


Here is a remarkably biased, slanted, sarcastic, and snarky chapter from England.   Evidently, Colombus was not an evangelist for Isabella and Fernando's Catholic mission but was obsessed with gold.    Well, to be fair, so was the Church.