Kochtosoros-Rex

Ever since Jane Mayer’s infamous Koch-brothers article last year, one of the quickest ways for progressives to write off libertarians is to say “the Koch-funded Cato institute” or “Koch lackeys at Reason” or some similar dismissal. And while DougJ did indeed include non-libertarian think-tanks in his indictment of Big Money yesterday, the focus has still been on the libertarian think-tanks in particular, using their ties to the Koch brothers as a reason to cast doubt on anyone affiliated with them. This is silly. This is like dismissing a reporter at The New York Times because it is a “liberal rag”. Or dismissing Matt Yglesias out of hand because George Soros indirectly signs his paycheck.

Actually, if you follow this line of reasoning you’ll discover that you can pretty much no longer trust anyone who is writing and getting paid to write in any capacity by anyone with a political bias. All the writers at The American Prospect are suspect now because they are on the payroll of liberal publishers, ditto National Review and so forth. Yes, the money does matter – especially when heads roll at a think tank for no stated reason or you see some concerted effort to toe a party line, but for the most part these institutions operate with stated bias and are funded by people who share this bias. There is nothing nefarious about that. A healthy distrust of media is a good thing; using the Koch brothers or George Soros as a way to write off your opponents is just lazy.

There was some disbelief expressed in the comments to DougJ’s post when I mentioned that all mainstream political coalitions have think tanks. Commenter J Michael Neal wrote:

The point is that the funders of libertarianism bring a lot of money to the table. The funders of liberalism, on the other hand, fall into one of two categories:

1) They aren’t very liberal, or
2) They don’t have a lot of money.

This means that the political discourse is constrained, because it’s only going to go where the money is.

Well, according to The American Prospect this isn’t entirely true:

Some of the biggest fortunes in America now tilt left, and that can be seen in the vast sums of cash pouring into Democratic coffers and progressive organizations. Billionaires like George Soros and Peter Lewis have given tens of millions of dollars each to liberal 527s and have also helped to bankroll a greatly enlarged progressive infrastructure that includes groups like the Center for American Progress and Media Matters. David Gelbaum, a successful investor, has given remarkable sums to two flagship liberal organizations — $94 million to the American Civil Liberties Union and more than $200 million to the Sierra Club. The Democracy Alliance, a funding umbrella formed in 2005, now has approximately 100 partners who collectively give millions of dollars a year to progressive groups. Nearly half of the groups it funds did not exist a decade ago.

I find this entirely plausible, especially given the fact that a progressive sits in the White House, and Democrats recently passed a shit ton (pardon the technical expression) of progressive legislation over the past two years (not every last piece of progressive legislation, but healthcare reform, financial reform, and the repeal of DADT are nothing to sniff at).

Commenter Xenos wrote, “Surely you can’t be serious” in response to my assertion, and commenter maus pointed out that “Conservative “Libertarianism” is centralized. “Liberalism” is not, unless you actually believe George Soros/MoveOn run modern Democrats, which I’d love to hear.”

I don’t believe they do, any more than I believe the Koch brothers run modern libertarians. But then again, Democrats represent a huge demographic and are one of the major parties in our political system. Libertarians represent a small minority of voters and have never even seated a president. If libertarianism is truly centralized – and I question that assertion – it is because it is a much smaller political movement in comparison to liberalism. Neither libertarians or progressives have the lockstep achieved by the conservative movement.

And finally commenter PIGL challenged:

name me three “liberal” think tanks that have any influence on bobble-head chatter or policy direction.

Almost all the major think tanks are libertarian or neo-conservative, and they push agendas that have distinctions without differences. And guess what: there is a reason for this. They are all funded by the same interests.

I’m not sure how we can properly gauge policy direction or at least the amount of influence various think tanks actually exert over it. As I mentioned above, the progressive cause has progressed at a nice clip under President Obama, and I suppose some progressive think tanks and media groups had something to do with it, such as:

Other well-organized and well-funded progressive groups include MoveOn.org, Media Matters and a host of magazines and newspapers including The American Prospect and The New York Times (others like the Washington Post and The New Republic are admittedly more hawkish and play host to a variety of neoconservatives); and if you look at the list of top federal donors or “heavy hitters” at OpenSecrets.org you’ll notice quickly that the third largest donor since 1989 is the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

Here’s the top ten list of the biggest federal-level givers since 1989:

  • ActBlue                                                                    $47,896,163
  • AT&T Inc                                                                 $46,024,320
  • American Fedn of State,County & Municipal Employees        $43,295,361
  • National Assn of Realtors                                  $38,628,241
  • Goldman Sachs                                                      $33,264,702
  • American Assn for Justice                                   $32,939,279
  • Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers            $32,927,766
  • National Education Assn                                    $31,832,740
  • Laborers Union                                                      $30,061,550
  • Service Employees International Union          $29,114,982

ActBlue is an organization dedicated to advancing the agenda of the Democratic party. The American Association for Justice is comprised of trial lawyers. Then you have, in the top ten list alone, five big labor organizations, mixed in there with Goldman Sachs, AT&T, and the realtors. Check out the full list – number eleven is the Teamsters, followed by a bunch more big labor outfits and financial institutions.

With all this money finding its way to progressive causes and the Democratic party, I have a hard time believing that the Koch brothers and the Cato Institute (and the various other libertarian think tanks) pose such an enormous threat or are by comparison somehow more in the pockets of special interest groups. If you look at this OpenSecrets report on Soros and the Koch brothers you’ll find that both have donated ridiculous amounts of money to political causes. And both have donated ridiculous amounts of money to other causes as well, such as cancer research.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m walking back on my previous critique of libertarians and their major political operations: I do think priorities should shift, and I  think that a lot of the corporate money and revanchist philosophy that’s worked its way into libertarian thought over the years has had a profoundly negative impact on libertarianism writ large. But this whole notion that progressives are getting out-funded by libertarians, or that the simple fact that wealthy people contribute to libertarian think-tanks should somehow invalidate libertarianism or prove, once and for all, that libertarians are merely puppets of big business is lazy argumentation. It is assertion masquerading as argument. Nor is it some exercise in High Broderism to point out that libertarians, conservatives and progressives alike have a great deal of money pumped into their various political and policy pursuits.






223 replies
  1. 1
    freelancer says:

    Won’t someone think of the kittens?!

  2. 2

    […] E.D. Kain on January 14, 2011 Over at Balloon Juice, I have a long post up about money in politics, pointing out that the much-dreaded Koch brothers are but two among many political donors, and that […]

  3. 3
    schrodinger's cat says:

    OMG! A kitten just died.
    @freelancer: Mindmeld?

  4. 4
    E.D. Kain says:

    @freelancer: I meant to put up a disclaimer saying that no kittens were harmed in the making of this post, but apparently it is good that I didn’t. My regrets to the kitten’s family.

  5. 5
    meh says:

    yeah this is going to end badly…put on your headphones…incoming matako chan screeching rant in 3…2…1…

  6. 6
    licensed to kill time says:

    @freelancer: {{{busts out laughing}}}

  7. 7
    Napoleon says:

    Speaking of what the Koch brothers are up to:

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonath.....he-curtain

  8. 8
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Aside from it being disturbing for any other number of reasons, is there a synergistic effect on kittens if someone uses this post as masturbatory fodder?

  9. 9
    Legalize says:

    I need an (in)appropriate t-shirt to wear to that kitty’s memorial service.

  10. 10
    freelancer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    My regrets to the kitten’s family.

    Free Market God’s Invisible Hand just delivered a bill to them for the bullet.

  11. 11
    Warren Terra says:

    There is one big difference between the issue advocacy practiced by the Koch brothers and (some of) the issue advocacy practiced by Soros: Soros promotes ideas about social liberalism and economic justice that are orthogonal to or even detrimental to his bottom line; the Koch brothers promote a deregulatory scheme that would benefit their pollution-based, worker-abusing industries.

    Now, that is an oversimplification, as I doubt the Center For American Progress spends a lot of time digging into the justice of global currency markets and I know the Koch brothers fund things philanthropically (including a one year graduate student fellowship in Biology that I myself received). But as a general rule, I think it stands up.

  12. 12
    MikeBoyScout says:

    E.D. says ‘Have a Koch and a smile.

    Also too, both sides do it.

  13. 13
    SP says:

    The progressive Brookings that employs hippies like Michael “PNAC” O’Hanlon and Kenneth “The Case for Invading Iraq ” Pollack?
    The general difference I see between the “progressive” groups you list and conservative think-tanks is that the conservative ones are funded with an answer already in mind. Don’t come to the right conclusion and you’re suddenly a former Senior Fellow.

  14. 14
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @freelancer:

    Free Market Ceiling Cat’s God’s Invisible Hand Paw just delivered a bill to them for the bullet.

    corrected for accuracy

  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    I’m just gonna say it:

    The Koch Brothers are everything that’s wrong with this country. Their beliefs and ideas are selfish, wrong-headed, and lead to a less democratic USA.

    George Soros is rich, but at least his political beliefs are not based on further enrichment of himself to the exclusion of everyone else who needs help and good government.

    All taint is not equal.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    Nice informative post. Thanks for the informative part.

    I do agree that arguments based solely on the source of funding are lazy, and usually boil down to some kind of informal fallacy (ad hominem or genetic fallacy).

    But you miss two important points that play a big role in many complaints about the funding of the Kochs and Scaifes and their ilk.

    Moderate,liberal and progressive funding organizations rarely hide their influence. If you look at the webpage or publication of most Soros funded efforts, you will see plainly that it is a Soros funded effort. There is transparency.

    One of the problems with the the reactionary extremist funding is that it goes into astroturf efforts that are pretending to be something that it is not. For example, the big money funding of the Teabaggers’ protests during the HCR debates.

    Second, some of the most influential reactionary extremist think tanks are a little less than straightforward about what they do. An example is the Heritage Foundation, which does little original work of its own, but instead usually repackages work that other like minded think tanks have done, but are a little fuzzy about this when they present themselves. I do not have the link now, but I remember one of the recent heads of Heritage admitting that they were usually played the role of a policy advocacy and communications group than one who did original research. I think this kind of flim flam that I think amounts to bad faith is largely missing from, for example, Soros funded foundations, or PPI. They are more straightforward and transparent about what they do.

  17. 17
    Jim says:

    This is like dismissing a reporter at The New York Times because it is a “liberal rag”.

    Um, no. This is an opinion (and a rather ill-informed one).

    The Koch brothers funding think tanks, tea parties, etc. is a matter of Objective fact.

    Don’t you libertarians love that word?

  18. 18
    pragmatism says:

    one aspect that is missing here: the koch funding of the tea parties and the funding of libertarianesque entities. you could look at it as serving two interests or you could look at it as two separate avenues (teatard energy and libertarian rhetorical cover) serving the same interest.

  19. 19
    Lee says:

    you can pretty much no longer trust anyone who is writing and getting paid to write in any capacity by anyone with a political bias

    And you act as if this is a bad thing….

  20. 20
  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    The American Association for Justice is comprised of trial lawyers.

    OH MY GOD!!!!! TRIAL LAWYERS!?!?!?!?!?!

    WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO LIVE?

    Seriously though, shouldn’t libertarians love trial lawyers? With minimal government regulation, the only way for the individual to right a wrong is through the court system. They should be heroes to libertarians.

    Unless they’re not really as crazy about individual rights as they claim to be.

  22. 22
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Warren Terra: It depends. I think Soros believes his bottom line will benefit from the policies he hopes to implement, and it may very well.

  23. 23
    Jon Marcus says:

    With the recent SCOTUS decision, how much political spending goes unreported? And how much of the Koch contributions fall into that hole? Does that throw off your comparisons at all?

  24. 24
    E.D. Kain says:

    @MikeJ: I have nothing at all against trial lawyers, but they do tend to donate to the D’s.

  25. 25
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Jon Marcus: It applies to union-spending as well. I have no idea honestly, but it’s new and these numbers are reflective of a longer time span.

  26. 26
    Loneoak says:

    The obvious elephant in the room is that the libertarian think tanks advance not only the philosophical/moral beliefs of the Koch brothers, they also advance their economic interests. Not so with Soros et al. I will always be more skeptical of people whose philosophical beliefs align perfectly with their economic interests. It might be unfair, but it is what it is.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    E.D. Kain says:

    @jl: Thanks.

    I think that’s a good point, but I also think the Koch bros. are pretty upfront about their involvement with these groups. Their names are everywhere on the think tank websites, etc.

    And I have no defense of Heritage. But Cato is not Heritage.

  29. 29
    suzanne says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    My regrets to the kitten’s family.

    You gotta be more sincere than that. Maybe release an 8-minute You Tube video.

  30. 30
    Kmeyer the lurker says:

    Why does anybody continue to defend such an intellectually bankrupt ideology in the first place? Libertarianism is a utopian ideal. It has never worked ever, in the entire collection of recorded human history. The nations closest to the libertarian ideal are chaotic cesspools of gross inequality, crime and social dysfunction. I don’t care who funds which think tanks, it does not lend any credit to this childish, asinine philosophy. Sorry, but this is just total bullshit and I’m sick of people trying to defend something so stupid.

  31. 31
    mr. whipple says:

    Actually, if you follow this line of reasoning you’ll discover that you can pretty much no longer trust anyone who is writing and getting paid to write in any capacity by anyone with a political bias

    I think that is actually very healthy. Mandatory even.

    The major difference is who benefits from the propoganda being put forth by these various outfits.

  32. 32
    The Bobs says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Liberals groups like the American Prospect and Media Matters are not in the business of pushing demonstrably false information like the Koch bros.

  33. 33
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Loneoak: I disagree. Soros, like the Kochs, is rich enough not to actually have to worry that much about his economic interests. Besides, he is a financier. His tax rate is tiny, tiny, tiny because of how we tax capital gains. Most of the policies he’s advancing won’t harm him in any way at all. Certainly both the Kochs and Soros give enough money away that it is apparent neither group is worried about money!

  34. 34
    Mark S. says:

    @MikeJ:

    I have certainly seen libertarians (I’m pretty sure Milton Friedman made some variant of this argument) argue that there is no need of, say, pollution controls, because you can just sue the company that gave you cancer.

  35. 35
    shep says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    It depends. I think Soros believes his bottom line will benefit from the policies he hopes to implement, and it may very well.

    Nevertheless, as far as we know, Soros doesn’t fund lying propaganda. The same cannot be said for the Koch brothers. That’s a fairly significant difference to me.

  36. 36
    david mizner says:

    There should actually be a lot more, not less, focus on who funds what. Let consumers determine the significance for themselves.

    Next to every Yglesias post should be a link to see a detailed profile of CAP funding. Etc.

  37. 37
    MikeJ says:

    @E.D. Kain: Do you know what they call the lawyers that defend corporations in lawsuits?

    Trial lawyers.

    Do you really believe that they lean Dem?

  38. 38
    Tom Hilton says:

    Actually, if you follow this line of reasoning you’ll discover that you can pretty much no longer trust anyone who is writing and getting paid to write in any capacity by anyone with a political bias.

    Um, no. The problem with Reason isn’t that it’s funded by the Koch brothers; it’s that its writers cling to a discredited ideology that bears no conceivable relationship to reality. The fact that in doing so they are advancing the financial interests of the Koch brothers elevates their output from merely nonsensical to potentially harmful, but that fact is not the sole or primary basis of everyone’s mockery of Reason.

  39. 39
    E.D. Kain says:

    @suzanne: Telling me to release an eight-minute video to apologize to those kittens is tantamount to blood libel…

  40. 40
    Punchy says:

    This is like dismissing a reporter at The New York Times because it is a “liberal rag”.

    No, it’s not at all like that. One has truth behind it (libertarian TTs funded by agenda-driven Koch et al) and the other is a false perjorative smear that has no basis in fact.

    You can really be a insolent jackass. No offense.

  41. 41
    jl says:

    And, also too, the EPI and Brookings have had a big impact on Obama’s economic policies? Really?

    That part of your argument is not weak, it is nonexistent. As far as I understand it, your argument goes:

    Non reactionary extremist thinktanks get money.
    A non reactionary extremist is president
    You speculate that these Non reactionary extremist thinktanks’ ideas have ‘progressed at a nice clip’.
    Therefore, therefor complaints about reactionary extremist influence are invalid.

    Is that right?

    Final omission from your piece, a substantial fraction of corporate lobbying money, which works with the reactionary extremist funding. that is certainly not the case with moderate to liberal progressive funders and advocacy groups (except maybe those d*MN*d Trial Lawyers, which cancels it all out, I guess).

  42. 42
    kdaug says:

    @mr. whipple:

    The major difference is who benefits from the propoganda being put forth by these various outfits.

    Ding! We have a winner!

    Follow the money. When they say “It’s not about the money”, it’s about the money.

    That’s it. Bottom line. Full stop.

  43. 43
    eemom says:

    @meh:

    I’m beginning to think ED knows what he’s doing here…..keep taunting her with posts like this until her little brain explodes, her ideas degenerate into total gibberish, and her posts resemble one of those screens you get when your computer tries to open a file format it doesn’t recognize.

    Diabolical, but commendable.

  44. 44
    david mizner says:

    Oh, and if you think ties to Soros are as embarrassing/discrediting/compromising as ties to Koch, then you’re been swimming too long in the wrong waters.

  45. 45
    BGinCHI says:

    @E.D. Kain: Let’s try to simplify this:

    What would this country look like if the Kochs were allowed carte blanche to implement all their ideas at the political level?

    What would it look like if Soros were allowed to do the same thing?

  46. 46
    Jonas says:

    Comparing ActBlue with AT&T is insane. One is a company, the other is an aggregator of small donors, like the folks on Balloon Juice.

  47. 47
    Zifnab says:

    But this whole notion that progressives are getting out-funded by libertarians, or that the simple fact that wealthy people contribute to libertarian think-tanks should somehow invalidate libertarianism or prove, once and for all, that libertarians are merely puppets of big business is lazy argumentation. It is assertion masquerading as argument

    I think you’ve got it a bit backwards, E.D. This whole debate sprang up around J.C. pointing out that libertarians are quick to denounce the tyranny of big government but somehow blind to the overreach of big corporations.

    One of the responses was, “Of course the big libertarian organizations are blind. They’re funded by the same big business groups.” We’re not dismissing an argument (or lack there of) on the grounds that Koch helps fund Cato Institute and Reason magazine. We’re highlighting what we believe are the motivations of the authors.

    I give my fellow commentators a lot of credit for going out and finding exactly why a given claim by given published libertarian is wrong. But eventually you have to come back and ask a question like “Why the hell do Erick Erickson and Megan McArdle have jobs?” “Why do people who are chronically wrong continue to get published?” And the answer many of us have turned to is that the folks that sign their paychecks WANT them front and center, spewing their wrongness.

    The Murdoch and the Koch Brothers aren’t villains because they have think tanks or new organizations. They are villains because the groups they run regularly pump out lies and disinformation. Journalism that – in a sane world – should have gotten you canned ages ago gets pushed out again and again to perpetuate the zombie lies.

    And that’s what gives us fits.

  48. 48
    wag says:

    I believe the ED is trying to get everyone to examine their own biases. We all com at the news with our own biases. What everyone needs to learn is that we should have open minds.

    Am I suspicious of anything that comes out of Cato? Sure.

    Do I at least think about the ideas and the fact (if any) behind the release? I try to.

    If I come to the conclusion that Cato may be correct, do I reject the idea anyway, out of spite for Cato? I hope not.

  49. 49
    guster says:

    I’m not sure how to respond to the assertion that the New York Times is progressive.

    You seem to misunderstand ActBlue entirely. And I think that this is the root of much of the disconnect: “$94 million to the American Civil Liberties Union.”

    The ACLU is, obviously, a liberal group, because they defend (among others) far-right whackjobs. Don’t get me started on the Sierra Club.

  50. 50
    Warren Terra says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    @Warren Terra: It depends. I think Soros believes his bottom line will benefit from the policies he hopes to implement, and it may very well.

    Like what?

    If you can show me how George Soros stands to make a lot of money off of health care reform, or immigration reform, or reduced international bellocisty, I’d be fascinated. Likewise how he plans to make a buck from a more progressive tax structure. I’m sure that he thinks these things would benefit the US and the world in the long run, and so make being a wealthy guy in the world more fun – but that’s rather different from distorting the country and the world for your own personal benefit.

    The Koch brothers, by contrast, advance a deregulatory agenda with obvious immediate focused benefits for their vast commercial undertakings. Laws limiting pollution or giving rights to workers come straight off their bottom line, in precisely the way that 15% of Americans having no health insurance doesn’t actually inconvenience Soros’s bank account in the slightest. And that’s the key difference.

    Now, I already stipulated that (as someone who knows little about the matter) I’m aware there may be reasons to be nervous about international currency markets, as they can be vulnerable to manipulation. Soros has been accused of doing exactly this, and wihle I don’t know how much attention the organizations he funds have paid to the issue, I’m guessing it isn’t an awful lot. Other funders of left-wing think tanks are straightforward issue-advocacy groups like unions and environmental groups, and of course they provide money to advance their beliefs. But strictly on the issue of Koch versus Soros, I don’t see much equivalence.

  51. 51
    E.D. Kain says:

    @jl: Corporate lobbying goes to D’s and R’s. Corporations aren’t stupid – they go after both sides. I mean, look at the lobbying efforts of drug companies on healthcare reform. And they got tons of concessions.

  52. 52
    Loneoak says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    I will say this for you, E.D.: you’re the only frontpager who actually sticks around to argue.

  53. 53
    TBogg says:

    David Gelbaum, a successful investor, has given remarkable sums to two flagship liberal organizations—$94 million to the American Civil Liberties Union and more than $200 million to the Sierra Club.

    Both of which are the moral equivalent of the Khmer Rouge and the Nazis. Combined.

    E.D., please…..

  54. 54
    jl says:

    @E.D. Kain: Thanks, but you will need to put up a post documenting that the Koch brothers, and Dick Armey’s outifit, and other big money and corporate funders were transparent about their support of the Teabagger protests.

    The Teabagger protests against HCR were reported as a grassroots effort. But behind the scenes there was seed money for publicity and organization, bus transportation, all sorts of substantial resources provided for this ‘grassroots’ effort.

    When has a Soros organization done anything like that? Some accuse Soros of being behind the ‘color revolutions’ in some countries, but that is not the US, and I follow Soros’ efforts, since they usually provide reliable info, and I have never seen any behind the scenes money hanky panky. They say who they are upfront.

  55. 55
    eric says:

    @BGinCHI: well, the British Pound may disagree with you, but George is a new man ;)

  56. 56
    liberty60 says:

    If someone’s argument began and ended with “they are funded by X” then E.D. would have a point.

    But how often do we see this?

    Usually the arguments I hear are something like “their logic is faulty AND they are funded by X which gives them a bias towards their conclusions

  57. 57
    Ailuridae says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    You saved me some typing.

    I liked balloon-juice a lot more before ED Kain came back and started shitting all over the front page with his ignorant, poorly considered posts.

  58. 58
    david mizner says:

    I forgot my disclaimer: I work for a human rights organization that has received money from George Soros.

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    ED, you realize you just killed a kitten!!

    ETA, oooh, lookit all the mindmeld around here.

  60. 60
    Barry says:

    @E.D. Kain: “I disagree. Soros, like the Kochs, is rich enough not to actually have to worry that much about his economic interests. ”

    Except that the Kochs (and the Scaifes, and Wall St) demonstrably don’t act that way. They act like having a billion entitles them to several billion.

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MikeJ:

    Unless they’re not really as crazy about individual rights as they claim to be.

    Well, they’re highly selective in who exactly the individuals who have rights should be.

    You need some sort of sign…I know, a lot of $$$…to be one of the “moral” individuals worthy of all those rights.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MikeJ:

    Unless they’re not really as crazy about individual rights as they claim to be.

    Well, they’re highly selective in who exactly the individuals who have rights should be.

    You need some sort of sign…I know, a lot of $$$…to be one of the “moral” individuals worthy of all those rights.

  63. 63
    jl says:

    I have to leave this conversation for now and will have to check back later.

    See, my Soros check is late and I gotta get back to my daygig and go earn some bread.

    Edit: and I dismiss Yglesias, and don’t read his blog anymore, because too many of his posts start with a paragraph of gibberish.

  64. 64
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @E.D. Kain: LOL, nicely played.

  65. 65
    kdaug says:

    @Loneoak:

    I will say this for you, E.D.: you’re the only frontpager who actually sticks around to argue.

    Ahem. I believe he learned that lesson early, and often.

  66. 66
    aimai says:

    This post represents an emotional sensitivity so delicate that its practically a permanent gag reflex. Or maybe E.D.’s sensitivities are making me break out in hives. No one cares, E.D.about whether Libertarians are just as money grubbing as other people. That’s not really the issue. We’re just pointing out that the caged versions make their living sucking up to the wealthy regardless of how different the interests of wealthy people are from poor people. Basically, you are bought and paid for to toe the party line–a party line that you wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for if you had to work for a living as anything *other* than a shill. In the real world there are no libertarians living life as libertarians (other than Arthur Silber, I mean). You guys are like some kind of strange, lab bred life form that simply couldn’t survive in the wild. Because in the wild–or civilization as we like to call it–you actually have to co-operate with other people, share goods and services, and act like a mensch occasionally. In Koch funded enclaves you can act and reason like assholes because you get paid to do so.

    aimai

  67. 67
    BGinCHI says:

    @david mizner: You are tainted but I still like you.

  68. 68
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Warren Terra: Okay that’s a lot of assertions. How about this. Anyone who keeps claiming that Soros doesn’t profit while the Koch’s do profit from their various investments in think-tanks, please provide some numbers to back those assertions up.

  69. 69
    eric says:

    Seems to me that ED’s argument is: Vadar is a Jedi and Luke is a Jedi — same thing. Some forces are dark and you know them by their deeds, not their name. Look at what the two sides want to do with their influence….

  70. 70
    freelancer says:

    @TBogg:

    Loved your most recent post title, btw. You and DougJ getting to be neck and neck with the brilliant musical allusions/references.

  71. 71
    PeakVT says:

    “Both sides do it” is going to be the death of this country.

  72. 72
    KG says:

    @E.D. Kain: as a sometimes trial lawyer it might have something to do with the GOP continually trying to put us out of work through “tort reform” that is really attempts to limit damages and make it unprofitable for lawyers to bring legitimate claims against large businesses.

  73. 73
    E.D. Kain says:

    @BGinCHI: Dude, I have no fucking idea and god I don’t want to know in either scenario!

  74. 74
    t jasper parnell says:

    @E.D. Kain: So you think that Soros believes that his promotion of open societies will pad his bottom line. Really? You don’t think that Soros promotes open societies because he was convinced by experiences in Nazi occupied Europe and by Popper’s book that it was the right thing to do? Odd position to take, particularly as you have no evidence for the assertion. Some folks act for non-economic reasons others act in the interests of corporations by seeking to overturn the conditions necessary to rein in corporate power, i.e., state regulation of the market..

  75. 75
    morzer says:

    @Ailuridae:

    You could always adopt a radical progressive strategy and not read them. Just sayin’.

  76. 76
    kth says:

    The Koch-sucking was the last straw with Reason and Cato, not the first.

  77. 77
    BGinCHI says:

    @E.D. Kain: Nope.

    The answer was, respectively, Guatemala and Denmark. Sweden would have also been accepted for the Soros question.

  78. 78
    morzer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Hey, ED, how’s the blood-libel colored mohawk holding up?

  79. 79
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Zifnab: I won’t defend any of the lies published by any of these organizations. But I know for a fact that a lot of honest, truthful people work at these outfits also and throwing them under the blanket accusation based on something as flimsy as Koch-funding is unfair and a poor argument that sidesteps the actual ideas.

  80. 80
    morzer says:

    @BGinCHI:

    So it comes down to coffee and chocolate versus pneumatic blondes and butter?

  81. 81
    guster says:

    @E.D. Kain: Now _that_ would be an interesting post.

  82. 82
    BGinCHI says:

    @morzer: Yep, but in the first you can only look at the pictures while in the second you get to possess them.

  83. 83
    E.D. Kain says:

    @wag: I think that’s about right – I am here, in large part, to examine my own biases. I think an important part of discourse is just to examine our own biases, prejudices, etc. I’m not very good at this a lot of the time.

  84. 84
    Zifnab says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Anyone who keeps claiming that Soros doesn’t profit while the Koch’s do profit from their various investments in think-tanks, please provide some numbers to back those assertions up.

    What? You don’t get to forward a claim

    It depends. I think Soros believes his bottom line will benefit from the policies he hopes to implement, and it may very well.

    And then – when someone says “I don’t think that’s true” – shout back “PROVE IT!”

    It’s YOUR CLAIM. You have to defend it.

  85. 85
    E.D. Kain says:

    Also – some of you are using circular reasoning. For instance:

    A) The Koch funded organizations put out dishonest work.
    B) How do we know they put out dishonest work rather than just work that is wrong or objectionable?
    C) Because they are Koch-funded organizations.

  86. 86
    The Bobs says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    As I said above, the Koch brothers push demonstrably false information. That tars anyone associated with them.

    But, hey, maybe by defending them you too can land one of those sweet paying gigs.

  87. 87
    pragmatism says:

    @E.D. Kain: how many “everyone does it” assertions can you fit in one post? the +/- is eleventy.

  88. 88
    matt says:

    That’s very special that one E.D. Kain thinks that Soros picks his policy preferences out of self-interest, but left at that it’s just a point about E.D. Kain’s emotional feelings, not a fact.

  89. 89
    BGinCHI says:

    @E.D. Kain: Why do you hate circles?

    They’re so perfect and round.

    Square.

  90. 90
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Zifnab: Not true. People are asserting that the Kock brothers profit and Soros does not. I’m asking them to prove their assertion. My stance is that both Soros and the Kochs profit.

    But here’s one example just in case nobody is willing to take me up on the challenge.

  91. 91
    NobodySpecial says:

    The lack of sinecures in liberal ‘think tanks’ is well known and another point of difference between conservative/libertarian ‘think tanks’ and liberal ones. As Markos noted in his first book, young conservatives are frequently funded extensively by a multitude of organizations thanks to donors with the names Koch, Coors, Scaife, etc. His example of the career trajectory of Naomi Riley was an instructive one in comparison to liberal organizations which frequently don’t even have paid interns.

    I’ll edit and say that I agree with Kain that Soros certainly stands to profit from a number of things he funds and that he has, like most large business owners, funded and done things that were detrimental to the majority of society at one point or another. One instance was selling short the pound. That said, equating the left with the right in the area of think tanks isn’t very reasonable.

  92. 92
    Cackalacka says:

    It’s all fun and games, until white-supremecists Koch-supported goons try to dismantle a highly functional public school district which peacefully desegregated nearly two generations ago to appeal to white-supremecists concerned exurban parents that don’t want their children to socialize with minorities are “concerned” about minority performance and “social engineering” ala desegregation.

    Google “Wake County Board of Education.”

    Forget Papa Koch and the Birchers (which you seem to argue for here.) Shit is, literally, happening today.

    Kids will suffer, as will my home’s property value (perfect timing for that, wingnuts.) All due to the Tea-bagger-libertarian-froth bullshit.

    Say what you want about Soros, but at least he isn’t attempting to dismantle vital social infrastructure in a partially veiled attempt to restore segregation. Nor is the NYTimes.

    But yeah, both sides do it. Or some other bullshit. Fuck that.

  93. 93
    gwangung says:

    @E.D. Kain: This is more shorthand than circular.

    They have put out dishonest and non-transparent work such as with the health care reform efforts and the astroturfing work with the Tea party.

    Because of this dishonest work, it is not advisable to trust their work without indpendent verification.

  94. 94
    E.D. Kain says:

    @t jasper parnell: And yet you want me to agree that all libertarians want is prosperity for the very reach – that a philosophy based on the capitalism that has driven this country to unprecedented prosperity are only in it for themselves? I mean, again, lots of assumptions here but not really anything more than assumptions. Of course I think Soros is self-interested, but he’s also very likely trying to do what he believes is right. I also think the Koch brothers are doing what they think is right. They are billionaires and have no need to make any more money at this point, and could make more money by just lobbying or just investing their money – not giving it away to think tanks and cancer research.

  95. 95
    Zifnab says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    But I know for a fact that a lot of honest, truthful people work at these outfits also and throwing them under the blanket accusation based on something as flimsy as Koch-funding is unfair and a poor argument that sidesteps the actual ideas.

    And I’m saying I don’t see us doing that at all.

    We address the claims at face value. We evaluate their truthfulness. And we form our conclusions from there.

    It’s only after a claim gets challenged or debunked that we get into the “Why did they say that?” and “Why would their publication continue to employ them?” questions. If I ran a math journal that continued to insist 2 + 2 = 5, you wouldn’t need to insinuate a vast media conspiracy to prove me wrong. However, if you then raised the question of how my math journal kept getting in people’s mail boxes and you found out I was funded by the “Society of Neo-Arithmetic Adherents” whose biggest donor was Chuck Math-Disagreer, it would not be unfair to suggest that my articles keep getting published because Chuck wants to convince people 2 + 2 really does equal 5.

    You can substitute “2 + 2 = 5” with “Global Warming is a myth”, “Gays gave everyone AIDS”, and “Cutting Taxes increases Government Revenue” at your convenience.

  96. 96
    freelancer says:

    OT-

    DougJ,
    Tom Levenson,

    McMegan is just begging for it

    Let me just add: if you’re spending time worrying over whether my emails contain one or two spaces, you need to ask them to let you out of the asylum more often so you can pursue a more interesting hobby. I double space after sentences because I learned to type on a manual typewriter, and it’s not worth the effort to retrain myself. Even if typographers groan every time they open one of my missives.

    Gastritis held her spacebar down!

  97. 97
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Barry: Soros is a hedge fund guy. He is a Wall Street guy. C’mon.

  98. 98
    kdaug says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    But I know for a fact that a lot of honest, truthful people work at these outfits also and throwing them under the blanket accusation based on something as flimsy as Koch-funding is unfair and a poor argument that sidesteps the actual ideas.

    That’s the point – the “actual ideas” don’t work. They’re bad ideas. They’ve been tried, and they’ve failed. Empirically. Repeatedly.

    BGinCHI is right. The “libertarian way” leads to banana republics, gated communities, and massive wealth disparity.

    History shows that these systems don’t last long, and when they die off, it’s rarely pretty.

  99. 99
    Martin says:

    @guster:

    The ACLU is, obviously, a liberal group, because they defend (among others) far-right whackjobs.

    Actually, they’re a liberal group because they strictly interpret the bill of rights. Quite the intellectual disconnect we’ve got going on in this country, eh?

  100. 100
    Ailuridae says:

    @Zifnab:

    And then – when someone says “I don’t think that’s true” – shout back “PROVE IT!”
    It’s YOUR CLAIM. You have to defend it.

    Those aren’t the rules ED plays by around here. Some of us have been asking him to defend his preposterous assertion that a municipality bidding out a services contract is a monopoly for months. To which we have been greeted with …. silence.

    BTW, did ED get fired from his job? He sure seems to be more able to engage in comments these days. His engagement is feeble and embarrassing and forcing him to produce ever other day mea culpas but he certainly has the time now.

  101. 101
    t jasper parnell says:

    @E.D. Kain: So, let’s see, Soros pushed for more invasive security at airports via one or another of his Open Society funded think tanks? Must have missed that one.

  102. 102
    E.D. Kain says:

    Okay. I will have to check back in later. Thanks for the discussion so far.

  103. 103
    Redshift says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    I think Soros believes his bottom line will benefit from the policies he hopes to implement, and it may very well.

    I think there’s a very large difference between advocating policies that obviously benefit people at large and may benefit yourself financially, and advocating policies that obviously benefit yourself financially at the expense of people at large (such as the Kochs’ heavy funding of climate-change deniers.)

    The position you’re putting forth would make them equivalent unless a philanthropist only funded causes that could be clearly demonstrated to be of no benefit to them, no matter how indirect.

  104. 104
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cackalacka: Word. Both sides don’t do that. Period.

  105. 105
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Ailuridae: No – I’ve had some spare time that I’ve chosen to spend with you guys.

  106. 106
    Zifnab says:

    @Ailuridae:

    BTW, did ED get fired from his job? He sure seems to be more able to engage in comments these days.

    Dude. Don’t be a dick.

  107. 107
    morzer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    But this line of argument justifies anything. Besides, it is a rather large assumption that the extreme “free market and destruction of government” ideology of the libertarians is what made the US prosperous. Who created the infrastructure and the educational institutions that made the US a world-beater? Not the libertarians, that’s for sure.

  108. 108
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Every time pictures of Jared Lee Loughner surface, nude, sometimes in red G-string, holding his Glock (the pistol, not any euphemism), kittens beg to be murdered.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....09329.html

  109. 109
    John Cole says:

    Those aren’t the rules ED plays by around here. Some of us have been asking him to defend his preposterous assertion that a municipality bidding out a services contract is a monopoly for months. To which we have been greeted with …. silence.

    That’s when I quit arguing with Radley, too.

  110. 110
    t jasper parnell says:

    @E.D. Kain: This claim

    that a philosophy based on the capitalism that has driven this country to unprecedented prosperity are only in it for themselves?

    is just wrong. The world of post war prosperity came about because of progressive reforms and government intervention. Libertarian “ideals” run counter to the US’s economic development during its long period of growth. It is no accident that after 30 yrs of Libertarian de-regulation and etc that the economy is in a mess.

  111. 111
    morzer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    I feel a tingle running up my leg.

    Seriously, I don’t agree with many of your ideas, but it’s good to have you engaging in debate and challenging us.

  112. 112
    BGinCHI says:

    @E.D. Kain: Thanks for the posts and arguments. Appreciated.

  113. 113
    Ailuridae says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    And you read that comment and still won’t address why you think a municipality bidding out a services’ contract is a monopoly. You’re lack of intellectual integrity is astounding. Typical for a libertarian but astounding nonetheless.

  114. 114
    Ailuridae says:

    @Zifnab:

    ED Kains behavior in multiple comment threads re: foreclosure was far more dickish than anything I wrote.

    It is pretty obvious when ED will stick around the comments – its when he has a juvenile rhetorical game to play that takes a long time to unravel. If you want to pretend he is arguing in good faith, so be it. He is demonstrably not. And once the rhetorical game is unraveled he “has to go”.

    Nobody arguing in good faith would compare Soros-funded and Koch-funded think tanks as equally questionable. Nobody. This is Glenn Reynolds territory.

  115. 115
    Tom Hilton says:

    @E.D. Kain: I don’t see where you get the idea that Soros “believes his bottom line will benefit from the policies he hopes to implement”, but even if we were to grant that point you’re still ignoring a crucial difference: the open-society policies Soros advocates are broadly beneficial; the policies the Koch brothers advocate benefit themselves to the exclusion of the vast majority of Americans.

    Kind of a difference.

    Edit: And it looks like Redshift made that point a while ago. Oh well.

  116. 116
    nancydarling says:

    @Ailuridae: Maybe we should all ease up on Kain. It sounds to me like he is going through some dark night of soul. He’s trying to justify his long held beliefs. Maybe he’ll make it to the light like Cole did.

  117. 117
    Ailuridae says:

    @John Cole:

    Every time ED posts something demonstrably false here think of yourself as Fred Hiatt. It really isn’t any different.

  118. 118
    singfoom says:

    There’s also a elite tribe thing about these think tanks. I went to high school with the son of one of the Kochs.

    As far as I know, one of the guys who kissed his ass all through high school is now employed at one the think tanks, kissing ideological ass for his paycheck.

    Remember, they started all these think tanks back in the day to lower their tax burden. I think that has worked out perfectly for them.

    Kudos for participating in the discussion ED, glad to see you here in the comments section.

    Think tanks aren’t inherently bad, but the transparency of who is funding them gives an informed observer an idea of where their ideas are coming from and why.

  119. 119
    Mark S. says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    No – I’ve had some spare time that I’ve chosen to spend with you guys

    Have you considered counseling?

  120. 120
    Redshift says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    It is no accident that after 30 yrs of Libertarian de-regulation and etc that the economy is in a mess.

    And more of the national debt has been incurred under the three Republican Administrations in that period than by all other administrations combined, and that inflation-adjusted incomes of working people have been essentially flat after 30+ years of a growing middle class.

    Libertarianism =/= capitalism.

  121. 121
    Zifnab says:

    @Ailuridae:

    ED Kains behavior in multiple comment threads re: foreclosure was far more dickish than anything I wrote.

    That’s fine. But two dickish comments don’t make a… uh… ? I don’t know.

    The point is, don’t be a dick. Even if you think the other guy is a dick. Once you cede the high ground to dicks, you just get it in the ass.

  122. 122
    kdaug says:

    @nancydarling:

    Maybe we should all ease up on Kain. It sounds to me like he is going through some dark night of soul. He’s trying to justify his long held beliefs. Maybe he’ll make it to the light like Cole did.

    Fair enough. He seems an insightful (if misguided) sort of chap.

    Though the arguments we make are just weight on the other side of the dam.

    My experience, though, is that it takes a catalyzing event to truly turn someone around.

    For Cole, it was Shiavo. For Sully, Abu Ghraib. That’s when the cracks in the dam finally give way. Having never been the one holding the water back, I can’t know the experience.

    But I can empathize.

  123. 123
    Redshift says:

    @Zifnab: And after a few of those biggies, Koch funding becomes a reasonable cause for suspicion. It doesn’t prove that the “research” is dishonest, but it means it’s a damn good idea to not to accept any statement of fact from them without checking it.

  124. 124
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Redshift: Exactly, the reason why folks mock Libertarians as glibertarians is that the policies didn’t work, don’t work, and will not work.

  125. 125
    Poopyman says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to report that this has now become a two-kitten post.

    (Removes hat.)

  126. 126
    Observer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    that a philosophy based on the capitalism that has driven this country to unprecedented prosperity are only in it for themselves?

    I don’t know specifically why the US is a prosperous country and neither do you. Canada is also prosperous. Both Canada and the USA took over a vast piece of land, mostly killed the inhabitants and then spread out like wildfire. Australia is pretty prosperous too. More or less the same story.

    Germany is pretty prosperous too. Very different story.

    What I do know is that “unprecedented prosperity” is hard to quantify. Germans live longer, work less per week, have way more vacation time and recover faster when they get sick. All the while being the worlds largest exporter in 7 of the last 8 years.

    And pretty well doing this with policies that are exactly the opposite of what is advocated by the Koch funded “thinkers” at Cato and Reason.

  127. 127
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    The trouble is, as pointed out earlier, that libertarianism is a Potemkin political philosophy. There’s a fake little village set up by the Koch brothers and others — Cato, Reason — and nothing beyond that. No elected official, no party infrastructure.

    I like MoveOn and Center For American Progress. But if they were the only representatives of liberalism in our entire society, I wouldn’t think much of liberalism.

  128. 128
    Skepticat says:

    a progressive sits in the White House

    I wish.

  129. 129
    gwangung says:

    @Redshift: Exactly, precisely.

    Take anything from their groups with a grain of salt (after all, it may be time for a busted sun dial). But you sure as hell don’t extend them the same benefit of the doubt as you do other groups.

  130. 130
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    One more thing, I was going to make this into a post, but I’m tired of posting about libertarianism. Most of the arguments I’ve had with libertarians have gone like this:

    1) They throw out something ridiculously naive, something that is prima facie wrong and misguided.
    2) They are presented with facts that contradict that something.
    3) They start using words like “regulatory capture” and “nominal dollars” to defend themselves.
    4) They are presented with more facts that contradict their position.
    5) They admit they are wrong

    ED is very gracious in Step 5 and I give a lot of credit for that. Megan McArdle complains about gastritis in Step 5 and I give her less credit.

  131. 131
    freelancer says:

    @Zifnab:

    You had me at “Dicks fuck assholes.”

  132. 132
    Redshift says:

    It also seems to me that saying “Soros may very well benefit from the causes he funds” (as compared to the Koch brothers funding climate change deniers and anti-environmentalists that directly benefit their refinery-based bottom line at the expense of the health and well-being of vast numbers of people around the world) is the rhetorical equivalent of Malkin’s responding to the fact that the Tucson memorial was entirely planned by the university by saying “I think the odds are high” that the White House was involved in the staging.

    If there is any evidence, give it. If not, then saying “it’s probably happening” in some unknown, indirect, and inefficient way does not in any way establish an equivalence to the Kochs’ funding of causes that obviously and directly benefit their own bottom line.

    And even if they think, as you say, that they’re “doing what they think is right,” that doesn’t prove that what they’re doing isn’t evil.

  133. 133
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Loneoak:

    I will say this for you, E.D.: you’re the only frontpager who actually sticks around to argue.

    No. This is not a real thing. A fairly new development for E.D., yes. But a real thing? No.

  134. 134
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: All the kittens in the world thank you, for not writing another post on the philosophy that must not be named. Praise the Ceiling Cat and pass the nip.
    BTW did you read Bobo’s inane column in NYT this morning, it didn’t make any sense.

    P.S. John Cole, if you are reading this, we need Tunch and his paw of doom to rescue us from this madness.

  135. 135
    BGinCHI says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: Well, she is on a 12-step program. Give her time.

  136. 136
    srv says:

    I’m perfectly fine dismissing the NYT or WP for any reason.

    I’m imaging that somewhere there is a group of Galtian Libertarians who fund their own ideological introspection without support from some overlord.

    If anarchists can do it, why can’t they?

  137. 137

    What aimai said. We’ve seen the Kochs massively fined for pollution and spend a ton more money to gin up support for deregulation, both of which will harm Americans.

    You like the Kochs so much, raise you kid next to one of their refineries. After all, they’re just like Soros, right? They mean well and just want freedom for Americans, right? It’s not like they’re trying to hurt anyone.

    And the boys who work at Reason and Cato and AEI are such nice, clean men, with pleasant demeanors and fun personalities. They have absolutely nothing to do with anything that will actually harm anyone. Just like Megan McArdle is a sweet, fun woman who just wants to say nice things about the good, educated, smart, well-meaning bankers who just want to support small businesses and lower your taxes.

    If you are polite to your mama and mind your manners and went to a good school, you couldn’t possibly ever be a dick who is paid to harm other people.

  138. 138
    Turgidson says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    And the infuriating thing is that so many of the ones I’ve come in contact with, whether in person or by reading their intertron musings, is that they are insufferably arrogant about their views because they can’t ever be proven wrong because they haven’t ever, and will not ever, be put into practice to the full extent the adherents believe is necessary to prove their superior wisdom and insight (and thank FSM for that). Any tax or government regulation they disapprove of is too many and proof that what they know to be the proper course isn’t being tried.

    But we’ve seen what happens when we move precipitously in the direction they claim to want. It’s been happening the last 30 years, and it happened during the Gilded Age and the 20s. Ended up in mindnumbing income inequality and massive market failures and economic trouble. Why would doing the things that led to that, but doing it a lot more so somehow end up in utopia? That’s basically what libertarians try to push on us, and it’s batshit insane.

    NOTE: I’m not saying ED is one of the people I just described. He’s not, not at all. Temperamentally, as his mea culpa thread and participation in this one show, he’s willing to learn something at odds with his preconceived notions (too many libertarians are utterly, maddeningly unwilling). And ideologically, at least in today’s political world, it seems to me he’s basically a Democrat who can’t admit it.

    /rant

  139. 139
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @srv: Because leather jackets are expensive.

  140. 140

    Also, I seriously doubt that it is a coincidence that we are suddenly starting to see a ton of push-back from the libertarian-types in comments and elsewhere on the web.

  141. 141
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @t jasper parnell: I hear a call for a 93% upper tax rate. The post-war boom led us to prosperity via public infrastructure expenditures. Because the thing is, the median wage has been stagnant since the 70’s. Meaning all the prosperity that EDK thinks is so great isn’t going to very many people. If anyone wonders why we think libertarians are in it to enrich the already wealthy, it is because that is consistently the end result of libertarian-type policies. It’s fine and well to say that wasn’t what you wanted, but that’s what you get every time.

  142. 142
    freelancer says:

    @BGinCHI:

    She thought she was already done with all 1.2 steps, admitting she was powerless before her Randian overlords.

  143. 143
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: You forgot “moral hazard”. That’s a big one for them.

  144. 144

    Sourcewatch:

    Koch Industries is also a major polluter. During the 1990s, its faulty pipelines were responsible for more than 300 oil spills in five states, prompting a landmark penalty of $35 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Minnesota, it was fined an additional $8 million for discharging oil into streams. During the months leading up to the 2000 presidential elections, the company faced even more liability, in the form of a 97-count federal indictment charging it with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, a known carcinogen, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Koch Industries was ranked number 10 on the list of Toxic 100 Air Polluters by the Political Economy Research Institute in March, 2010. [1][2]

    In a study released in the spring of 2010, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the United States’ top ten air polluters. [15]

    Republican Ties
    If convicted, the company faced fines of up to $352 million, plus possible jail time for company executives. After George W. Bush became president, however, the U.S. Justice Department dropped 88 of the charges. Two days before the trial, John Ashcroft settled for a plea bargain, in which Koch pled guilty to falsifying documents. All major charges were dropped, and Koch and Ashcroft settled the lawsuit for a fraction of that amount.

    Koch had contributed $800,000 to the Bush election campaign and other Republican candidates.

    Alex Beehler, assistant deputy under secretary of defense for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, previously served at Koch as director of environmental and regulatory affairs and concurrently served at the Charles G. Koch Foundation as vice president for environmental projects. [16] Beehler was later nominated and re-nominated by the Bush White House, to become the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General. [17]

  145. 145
    Zifnab says:

    @Ailuridae:

    Nobody arguing in good faith would compare Soros-funded and Koch-funded think tanks as equally questionable. Nobody. This is Glenn Reynolds territory.

    Meh. They’re clearly both billionaires with personal agendas. In that sense, they’re very much in common. Just don’t look at their agendas.

    And Kain’s point was that libertarians do not have a monopoly on think tanks and special interest groups. He’s absolutely right. Just because libertarians and conservatives dominate the modern television news doesn’t mean they control everything.

    So he’s right on the facts, but wrong on the intent of the commentators. The idea that we just dismiss Reason at first glance because it takes money from the Kochs is incorrect. Reason regularly gets dismissed for making grievous logic errors, engaging in hopeless idealism, and lashing out at rhetorical straw men. The Koch money might be their motivation, but it’s not their crime.

    Still, Kain is right. You can’t just wave away libertarian think tanks because of who they get their money from. It’s a point worth noting. Just not one that is particularly pressing.

  146. 146
    IM says:

    So you did actually not pull out the even-the -liberal-new-republic card! But if you mention the New York Times as a left wing newspaper, you still don’t have much.

    All you have shown is that there democratic think tanks and big donors to democrats and democratic institutions.

    Now the democratic party is coalition party, with a moderate and liberal wing or centrist and left wing.

    All the money, all the magazines, all the big think tanks are moderate democratic think tanks. The New York Times is a moderate democratic newspaper. The CAP is headed by a Clintonite and neolib Yglesias is their left wing.

    Brookings is big and traditional think tank, but even in the past it was center-left and nowadays it is ultra-centrist.

    And that has to with donors: The foreign policy stance of Brookings is influenced by people like Saban.

    The other institutes you member have a budget the size of a flea bag (I hope that is the right expression).

    So big donors supporting liberal think tanks just don’t exist. (I hope I don’t have to explain who finances a union)

  147. 147
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Redshift:

    If there is any evidence, give it. If not, then saying “it’s probably happening” in some unknown, indirect, and inefficient way does not in any way establish an equivalence to the Kochs’ funding of causes that obviously and directly benefit their own bottom line.

    And this is a common tactic with E.D. When confronted with empirically documented evidence, when faced with facts that are reflected by the actual world around us, he typically resorts to vague, specious comments and platitudes that are hedged by what he thinks and feels to be correct, not what is actually correct.

    I find this entirely plausible, especially given the fact that a progressive sits in the White House, and Democrats recently passed a shit ton (pardon the technical expression) of progressive legislation over the past two years (not every last piece of progressive legislation, but healthcare reform, financial reform, and the repeal of DADT are nothing to sniff at).

    Here’s the thing: You can actually research a point like this and find the answer you are looking for. It’s not something you just get to find plausible; it has an answer and that answer dictates the way you respond accordingly. You don’t get to speak as though the information you are referencing has not already been verified and documented.

    It depends. I think Soros believes his bottom line will benefit from the policies he hopes to implement, and it may very well.

    I think that’s a good point, but I also think the Koch bros. are pretty upfront about their involvement with these groups. Their names are everywhere on the think tank websites, etc.

    What you think isn’t reflected in reality. Fact. But that doesn’t stop you from asking questions about things that have already been researched, documented, and verified. You possess this amazingly frustrating ability, E.D., to approach every issue that you are ignorant of as though everyone else in the world is ignorant of that same issue. Such as comments like this:

    B) How do we know they put out dishonest work rather than just work that is wrong or objectionable?

    BECAUSE PEOPLE TOOK THE TIME TO RESEARCH THEIR CLAIMS AND DISCOVERED THEY WERE FULL OF SHIT! It’s not a hard fucking thing to figure out, man. The Koch Brothers sponsor a paper on some topic they care about using to increase their financial well-being, it is released and non-shills examine it to find it is wholly lacking in legitimacy and credibility, THE FUCKING END. We know they put out dishonest work because we’ve put in the fucking to measure their claims and determine they are outright bullshit. Stop fucking arguing every issue from the position that just because you don’t know something, the individual you are having a dialogue with must not know either.

    You have do yourself no favors with that approach so far, and I can’t imagine that changing any time soon.

  148. 148
    IM says:

    So institutions of the left in the US: The nation and a few think tanks that are basically a guy with a website.

    That is not the same dimension.

  149. 149
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Turgidson: @Barb (formerly Gex): 93% marginal rate on everything over 2 million with railroads for all.

  150. 150
    The Raven says:

    The difference between NYT employment and Koch funding is that the NYT hires its employees to gather news, whereas the Koch funding is strictly for advancing the political views and business interests of the Koch brothers. I’d also really like to see those funding numbers for the past five years, not the past two decades. Choosing two decades is disingenuous; we know that major funding of radical-right organizations was much less in the early 1990s than it presently is, and the unions have much less money to spend now than in 1990.

    Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the huge visibility the tea parties are getting seem to be largely due to covert Koch funding; without that funding they’d be a bunch of crazies screaming from the margins.

    Croak!

  151. 151
    MarkusR says:

    Libertarians aren’t puppets. Just useful idiots. If it wasn’t for the Koch brothers, you’d never hear about the Cato Institute on the major news networks.

  152. 152

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: I give you major credit for the name change. Cracks me up every time I see it.

    GO PATS!

    I’m sure this has been said and I missed it, but WTF is Actblue doing listed with all of the other groups in this post? It’s an aggregator of donations, nothing more.

  153. 153
    Pooh says:

    Not ED Kain’s proudest moment, this post/thread.

  154. 154

    @Midnight Marauder:

    We know they put out dishonest work because we’ve put in the fucking to measure their claims and determine they are outright bullshit. Stop fucking arguing every issue from the position that just because you don’t know something, the individual you are having a dialogue with must not know either.

    How does one find the job postings for this kind of research?

  155. 155
    The Raven says:

    “I also think the Koch bros. are pretty upfront about their involvement with these groups.”

    But not about the funding of the Tea Party radicals. So far as I can tell the Tea Parties would have been a minor radical fringe group were it not for Koch funding; it would be more accurate to call them the Koch Party.

    BTW, it is disingenuous to cite numbers for the last two decades. Cite them for the last five years; they will tell a different story.

    Finally, the NYT hires people to report news. The Kochs fund organizations for political purposes and to advance their business aims.

    This is not an intellectually credible argument.

    Croak!

  156. 156
    elm says:

    @E.D. Kain: So billionaire Soros owns approximately $300k worth of stock in a company with one subsidiary that produces invasive scanners. Soros has an estimated net worth of around $14,000,000,000, so that $300,000 comes to about 0.002% of his net worth.

    Next, when did Yglesias, Media Matters, the Center for American Progress, or another Soros-backed think tank promote those devices?

  157. 157
    tomvox1 says:

    But, but, but… Al Gore made a fortune by elevating global warming to a major policy issue and he’s spending money to advance his anti-global warming agenda! See?!? It’s just like the Koch’s being land rapers and worker exploiters and pursuing their interest in these all-American free market ideas by funding disingenuous think tanks to write about the benefits of land raping and worker exploitation to the really, truly free market!

    What a poor argument, Mr. Kain. Please try again to explain to us why your lazy political philosophy of Libertarianism (aka “I got mine, now fuck off poor people–I owe the government nothing but thanks for all those jets and shit!”) should even count in the discussion of serious governing concepts?

  158. 158
    NeuroSci says:

    @<a href="#comme@Redshift: “The position you’re putting forth would make them equivalent unless a philanthropist only funded causes that could be clearly demonstrated to be of no benefit to them, no matter how indirect.”

    Yeah, kind reminiscent of how Randroids define “altruism”, ain’t it?

  159. 159
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @Blackfrancis:

    I know. That whole part about PACs didn’t make any sense to me.

  160. 160
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    Also too ED: you lose for naming Brookings as a “liberal” think tank. They supported the Iraq War to the hilt, for example.

  161. 161
    Judas Escargot says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    93% marginal rate on everything over 2 million with railroads for all.

    But then, most of the job-creating billionaires will leave the country!

    Better make it 100%. Just to be sure they all leave.

    I hear Rwanda’s lovely this time of year.

  162. 162
    Turgidson says:

    @tomvox1:

    You forgot to mention that Al Gore is also fat. You can’t win/end the argument without saying that.

  163. 163
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    So, according to EDK, we have a progressive in the White House and the Brookings Institution is liberal.

    What country does this guy live in?

  164. 164
    agrippa says:

    “Who pays you” is not, in my view, an effecttive way of impeaching credibilty. I judge an argument on the merits; whether or not the logic is good and the facts are there.

    If that is present, I take it in. If not, I discount.

  165. 165
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Turgidson: I am thinking of answering that with “Rush Limbaugh is morbidly obese, so there,” from now on.

  166. 166
    agrippa says:

    @Kmeyer the lurker:

    I agree that libertarianism is a utopian ideal.

    I consider it an interesting abstration which should never be applied to human life.

  167. 167
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @agrippa: Yes, as people have noted, the fact of payment is not the problem. Recurring, egregious errors in favor of the payor, though, can be circumstantial evidence of dishonesty.

  168. 168
    Turgidson says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    That’s not part of the rules, though.

    Rule 1: Al Gore is fat = silver bullet that ends any argument about global warming on the spot, and the denier wins.

    Rule 2: Limbaugh is the size of a whale and a drug addict to boot = Librul loses argument because SHUTUP that’s why. Also, too.

    Lame, I know.

  169. 169
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Turgidson: I suppose it would also be some kind of blood libel as well. I am glad you clued me in before I embarrassed myself.

  170. 170
    Warren Terra says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    @Warren Terra: Okay that’s a lot of assertions. How about this. Anyone who keeps claiming that Soros doesn’t profit while the Koch’s do profit from their various investments in think-tanks, please provide some numbers to back those assertions up.

    I concede that I don’t have hard numbers. But I was actually very clear: the think tanks sponsored by the Koch brothers advance an agenda of less regulation of corporations, and especially of less control of pollution and less protection of worker rights. The Koch brothers make massive amounts of money from industries that pollute quite badly, and are famous for exploiting their workers.

    The think tanks that Soros funds are famous for promoting a number of things. In terms of active legislation, the most striking are healthcare and immigration reform. The changes Soros wants to happen in those realms will not help his bottom line in the slightest – except perhaps in the very long term and indirectly by strengthening the country (this latter being a claim the devout Libertarian would make about the Koch brothers’ agenda as well, of course, though I’d disagree). The other items on the agenda of think tanks sponsored by Soros include such items as government transparency, reduced international bellicosity, and the like. None of these have any direct benefit for Soros.

    In response, you ask for numbers and you cite that Soros has a (to him insignificantly small) stake in a company making body scanners. And you don’t even cite any push by Soros-funded institutions for greater use of body scanners; indeed, I can recall a lot of concerns from Democrats about scanning cargo and securing the ports, but increased scanning of passengers was a fairly nonpartisan result of the Panty Bomber.

    Basically, your response was so weak as to amount to a concession.

  171. 171
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    Will I ever tire of seeing a libertarian argument get dismantled like this? I don’t think so.

  172. 172

    EDK,
    I don’t dismiss Libertarianism because the Kochs love them some, I dismiss it for very real reasons far beyond it being interesting that very rich loons are backers of it.

    You play at at concepts that don’t and have never existed, you fuck around with buzz words like “free market” and “free trade” when the reality is that the closest you can find in this country is the Gilded Age, also known as the Robber Baron Era. Maybe that is where you’d like to return, though I’d like to give you enough credit to doubt it.

    You’d like to return to what? Adam Smith discounted your idea of unfettered capitalism. Alexander Hamilton died in duel based on whose interests the system would be rigged. The broad prosperity of this nation occurred post – Gilded Age – I’m sorry in direct correlation with government interference. Not in the realm Libertarians imagine. This history of the nation and the world demonstrate that not only don’t your so-called basic assumption not exist and have not, but that in the closest approximations to them disparity of wealth is huge and control of markets degenerates into the hands of a few isolated from the consequences.

    This post reads like something an earnest teen would write, you “politely” link people together who have not the least in common and organizations that are entirely dissimilat to prove that … a pack of bullshit is equivelant to reasoned and demonstrated methodology. You have never once responded to the assertion that your first principles don’t exist have not ever existed beyond in imagination.

    The fact that you know people who are smart and nice who support intellectualized imaginary bullshit doesn’t mean a damned thing about that bullshit, anymore than the obnoxious lefties I know define that.

    As a small businessman in construction, I am scarcely in favor of being strangled by pointless bullshit government interference, but under as much regulation as I am – I find most of it useful in consumer and labor protection. I and my suppliers are given certain protections in exchange, I can ask for arbitration as opposed to costly court action and I have the ability to lay a lien since I cannot hook a house to my truck and “repossess” it like a car and I do not have to show ownership as in the case of a bank – simply a violated contract. Go ahead and make an argument against building codes to somebody who does it like your fellows do.

  173. 173
    brantl says:

    ED, The idea that the Brookings Institute has been progressive in the last five years is horseshit. I’ve been listening to their knuckleheads on NPR since Bush came into office, and their retrogressive assholes. Period. I can’t speak to the rest of those, but you do seem to keep confusing think tanks with other things, like action groups. Move-on isn’t a think tank, doofus. Pick an argument and stickk with it.

  174. 174
    brantl says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    Will I ever tire of seeing a libertarian argument get dismantled like this? I don’t think so.

    Unfortunately, apparently Kaine won’t, either.

  175. 175
    nick says:

    E.D.:

    What I’d really like is someone to explain why ANY conservative position is good for the country.

    I just don’t see much daylight between Obama and Bush on major issues, other than Guns, God and Gays. Economically, they are pretty much neoliberals. On war–Obama has continued Bush’s policies, as far as I can see. As far as GGG go–that’s the shit they use to keep people from uniting in their economic interests.

    So it would be nice if you, or someone who purports to be conservative, would point out some truly significant issue where it’s better to be on the conservative side.

    If you can’t, then you’re siding with people who use bigotry as a wedge issue, to the detriment of oppressed groups. And of course the makes you a bigot enabler.

    So please, trot out some significant policy issues which conservatives address better than liberals. I’m a pragmatist; fuck anything else.

  176. 176
    Turgidson says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    You play at at concepts that don’t and have never existed, you fuck around with buzz words like “free market” and “free trade” when the reality is that the closest you can find in this country is the Gilded Age, also known as the Robber Baron Era. Maybe that is where you’d like to return, though I’d like to give you enough credit to doubt it.

    He said in another thread (I think as a comment, not in his post) on this topic that the Gilded Age does not represent his ideal society (although I don’t think he conceded that that era was more libertarian than others, either). He then basically recited major planks of the Democratic Party platform (we need a social safety net, some regulation is necessary, yada yada) as things he believes any civilized capitalistic society ought to have, which is why I have more than once said that ED is basically a Democrat who can’t admit it. It just seems lodged in his head that a Democrat’s answer to everything is to regulate and tax a problem out of existence – which was never really true, and is less true now than it’s ever been. 30+ years of loud, mindless propaganda along those lines will do that to even educated, reasonable people I guess.

    Why he’s going to such lengths with these posts and comments to defend an ideological group he doesn’t even remotely belong to in its current form (in my view), I’m not sure. But some of it has been interesting, so what the hey.

  177. 177
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Turgidson: Because the liberal label has been damaged by the right. It is a pejorative.

  178. 178
    brantl says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    No – I’ve had some spare time that I’ve chosen to spend with you guys.

    Jesus, you’re a glutton for punishment. Are you a masochist; do you come here and say this stupid shit, so that you’ll get beaten up, and not have to pay for it?

  179. 179
    Pioneer10 says:

    Really concerned about data points that start in 1989. finance laws have changed significantly since then. Hell Citizen’s United effect only started in the last year.

    Also some of these comparisons are non-sensical. Actblue is in there? Those are individual donations: they have nothing to do with think tanks, lobbying, etc. The ACLU should if anything be supported by libertarians. The Brookings Institute is a centrist organization and to characterize it as liberal or aligned with the Democratic party is tenuous.

    Finally this statement bothers me:

    But then again, Democrats represent a huge demographic and are one of the major parties in our political system. Libertarians represent a small minority of voters and have never even seated a president. If libertarianism is truly centralized – and I question that assertion – it is because it is a much smaller political movement in comparison to liberalism. Neither libertarians or progressives have the lockstep achieved by the conservative movement.

    Even if you prove which I don’t think you have that the Koch’s and there like have been equalized by liberal donors, its the fact that a small band with a much narrower interest then a broad demographic group can put out the same amount of lobbying, think tank, reports despite there size if frightening. This is the essence of why many liberals feel mainstream libertarianism is dangerous. Only the corporate friendly stuff actually gets pushed hard when it comes to actual votes in Washington and the rest is fluff articles that can be linked to at times when libertarianism needs to prove its bonafides against liberal attack.

  180. 180
    PIGL says:

    @E.D. Kain: have you completely lost your marbles?

    The drug and insurange industries lobbies throw money at Rs in order to help them prevent any reform, and they throw money at Ds in order to weaken any reform that they somehow fail to prevent. And this is clearly an equivalence in your mind?

    Assumptions of your good faith are no longer tenable.

  181. 181
    Ailuridae says:

    @nick:

    Well there are a lot of classic conservative positions that, are, indeed good for the country. But those types of conservative positions especially regarding economic issues, are heresy in the Republican party. There was a time where the notion of fighting an unfunded war was anathema to the GOP. Think of Bob Dole or Poppy Bush.

    Speaking of Bush, he doesn’t deserve equal credit with Clinton for the 90s boom time but he did start the US on a path to fiscal responsibility with the dual decisions to rein in military spending and raise taxes. I would welcome those kinds of conservatives into a debate any time. The problem is that there are no longer elected members of the GOP who are fiscally responsible.

  182. 182
    va says:

    MEDIA MATTERS DOES NOT EXIST FOR GEORGE SOROS’ BENEFIT (Reason, by contrast, is totally Koch friendly.)

    God, Kain, you have no concept of power, who is exercising it how and for who’s benefit. You’re like artificial intelligence.

  183. 183
    Sean says:

    If libertarianism is so fucking great, why can’t these assholes sell enough ads to sell their crap rag?

    Why do they need subsidies from rich dudes who are using them as cover?

    Especially when taken with their Galtian horseshit, it makes me want to puke. According to these douches, poor people suck for taking government largesse, and contribute nothing to society. But by accepting largesse from rich assholes, and contributing nothing to society, they consider themselves some kind of heroes.

    Pretending that Reason isn’t compromised by being almost wholly funded by the Kochs is hideously stupid. They influence the Reason children so much that a writer for the Atlantic also has to carry their water. And you can tell how insincere their libertarian plant is: she can’t even get the story straight half the time.

  184. 184
    Sean says:

    @Ailuridae: Good point.

    I’ve always been confused by my shit head republican friends who claim “it wasn’t Clinton’s economic recovery, it was Bush’s!”

    I retort “so tax hikes are good for the economy, right? And raising taxes during a recession works, right?”

    And then they change the subject.

  185. 185
    Ailuridae says:

    @Sean:

    I find it best to look at taxes in the 80-90s on a continuum rather than as isolated events. When Reagan took office he was likely right in cutting taxes and just cut them too far. In fairness to Reagan’s team when they saw how little revenue they were generating they actually raised taxes. It turns out that they didn’t raise taxes near enough to cover Reagan’s policy of military Keynesianism. When Bush took office his team looked at the bookssaw the widening gap and did the responsible, small “c” conservative thing and greatly curtailed the military spending and raised taxes. And Bush is still a pariah in the party for doing so. The people who took over the GOP were so upset with that fiscally responsible wing of the party that they tried to fuck over Bob Dole in 1996 IIRC. And those are the ass holes we have now.

    Continuing the theme Clinton saw the gap still wasn’t closed and he fucking closed it. But that doesn’t ignore the contributions along the way that Reagan’s team made after initially overstepping and then Poppy’s folks did to clean up that mess.

  186. 186
    Ruckus says:

    @BGinCHI:
    Well, she is on a 12-step program

    Is that 2 steps forward, 3 steps back? Aren’t you supposed to finish one step before you move to the next or declare victory in your own mind?

  187. 187
    FuzzyWuzzy says:

    This is fascinating because the think tanks the author quotes were listed today on another blog as center right. I guess it must depend upon which end of the stadium you are sitting in-is the 50 yard line the middle or is the end zone? Are libertarians really Trustafarians?

  188. 188
    LackWit says:

    @Zifnab:

    I agree with Zifnab. There is a fundamental difference between an organization attempting (however futilely) to discover the facts of a complex matter and publishing those facts openly and an organization which exists to publish fabrications intended to further the interests of non-democratic wealthy monsters.

    When groups of political organizations bleat falsehoods in unison, accusing opposing political organizations of desiring the destruction of the nation, of planning the termination of grandparents in death panels, of stealing the nation’s birthright, that is not equivalent to publishing an editorial on the politics of Afghanistan, circa 1957, when Afghanistanism was the publishing of heated and emotional editorials about totally irrelevant issues.

    The right-wing politicians in America who accuse Democratic politicians of treason, hatred of America, plotting the destruction of America, well, long ago I realized that the best way of interpreting Rush Limbaugh’s commentary was to turn it around: what he accuses liberals of, he plots to accomplish himself for the benefit of his invisible backers.

    Whatever he accuses his target of the day of plotting, he knows is being plotted by his invisible backers. Destroying democracy as we know it? Rush’s most fervid dreams! The obvious intention of his owners.

    This is true of all the right-wing-nut haters. Their creation of political whirlwinds of treason is because they intend to break the American system of government; we cannot manage a complex country successfully without compromise and genuine respect between all parties, and their daily bread is earned by destroying trust and creating a poisoned atmosphere wherein no one trusts another.

    There is nothing more despicable than people who lie about others to conceal their own secrets, and that is what we’re surrounded by today. If they tell others behind your back that they saw you stealing from someone’s pocket, you can know it is because they are stealing, think you are aware of their theft, and they seek to make sure that if you tell the world of their theft, you won’t be trusted as a truth teller.

    This is the reason behind much of the maelstrom of hate being preached by strange religious sects, focused on odd little verses deep in the more obscure books of the bible and ignoring the sermon on the mount. The camel walking through the eye of the needle while the rich man cannot enter our father’s house – they can’t mention this parable, can they?

    The prayer which should be private, so that no one will think you pray to be seen as holier than thou. Instead these dis-believers pray before crowds of tens of thousands, and on television, acting as if this is what their creed instructs. It does not, he told all to pray in private, look it up Matthew 6:6! No one preaching to millions is following the words of their prophet.

    [ I find the homonyms between pray and prey, prophet and profit instructive, although a little off topic, maybe. Maybe not, tho… ]

    The fervid religious have a lot of verses memorized, but only the ones that make them feel good about their sins. They carefully avoid the majority of the teachings of their prophet, and concentrate on the folks who wrote about their prophet, decades and centuries after he passed to heaven, and who mostly distorted his teaching because of their environment.

    That’s why no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. It isn’t christian at all, the most unbelievable distortions of the teachings of Jesus there could ever be. And you know there are ministers preaching today who would like nothing more than a good auto-da-fe – just between friends, don’t you know? Ted, or Jimmy, or Franklin, or Dr. M. Hobson, especially him!

    I don’t know these guys, but I see their works, and the results of their direction, and I cringe for the day when the 1st Amendment slides below the surface of their slime. I mean, people running for Senator, who don’t know that’s in there? They would put it away in an instant if they could, and they will if they ever see a chance.

    /rant

    sorry about all that, but it built up, the horror does, and i have to let it out so my teeth won’t crack. back to work, nothing to see here, move along.

  189. 189
    icecreammang says:

    a progressive sits in the White House

    I’m throwing a penalty flag for unsportsmanlike conduct, taunting.

  190. 190
    Stillwater says:

    Very late to this, but…

    Upthread, EDK wrote this:

    Also – some of you are using circular reasoning. For instance:

    A) The Koch funded organizations put out dishonest work.
    B) How do we know they put out dishonest work rather than just work that is wrong or objectionable?
    C) Because they are Koch-funded organizations.

    One thing just jumps out about this comment: By making this statement, EDK is implicitly admitting that, from his pov, facts and reasoning just simply don’t matter in determining political truths. It’s only first principles that come into play. I mean, after what he’s been through over the last couple of days here, to actually ascribe such a trivial, petty, and downright weasely reason for criticisms of of libertarianism is evidence of either deliberate ignorance (he’s a bullshitter) or irrational true believer status (in which case matoko_chan is right :) ).

    And really, that’s game/set/match. EDK just hasn’t figured out that the majority of liberals (and almost everyone that comments at BJ) are unlike him in one very important respect: we evaluate policy decisions and principles based on empirical evidence and argument, not on esoteric and impractical a priori conceptions of the good.

  191. 191
    matoko_chan says:

    @Ailuridae: ditto.
    the endless fapping about markets and “good” conservative ideas is wearing me down.
    but its Coles blog and he digs the feedlot drench i guess.
    EDK is to Cole as Douchebag and McMegan are to Sully.
    that is why balloon juice is now officially the low rent Atlantic
    @Stillwater:

    either deliberate ignorance (he’s a bullshitter) or irrational true believer status

    close. he does both. he is just ladling out recycled conservative shit aka feedlot drench, and he thinks the occasion headfake towards rationality is going to give him cover.
    the only kind of true believer he is is that “divided gubmint” crap.
    he knows the conservative paradigm is a foul reeking necrotizing corpse.
    even his soi disant liberaltarianism is just stealth conservatism.
    Plenty of cudlips here for him to fuck over though.

    Let me condense this whole post into its core theme.
    BOTH SIDES DO IT.
    its right in the title you dumb fucking cows.
    you deserve this asshole.

  192. 192
    matoko_chan says:

    @E.D. Kain: GO AWAY
    Cole is too polite to give you the hook , but more sapients see through your fucking glibertarian bullshytt every day.
    you are a failure here.
    i thought it was cool he gave you a chance but enough already.
    you have had at least fifty chances and ur just dropping the same recycled shit on us.

    fuck off and DIAF.

  193. 193
    matoko_chan says:

    @meh: you dumb cow.
    all you have to do is read the title.
    this is just another tedious nauseating spew on BOTH SIDES DO IT
    EDK is playing you retards like a 5 pound brookie on 20 pound test.
    YOU STUPID.

  194. 194
    matoko_chan says:

    @Turgidson: AMG he doesnt learn anything!
    cant you read?
    look at the title of the post.
    this is one of the core conservative memes.
    BOTH SIDES DO EET
    fucking cudlips everywhere.

  195. 195
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: he knows the conservative paradigm is a foul reeking necrotizing corpse.

    But he believes in it, no? Or tries to bullshit us about how deep his thinking regarding conservatism goes? For a while I retained the hope that some sliver of light would make him realize that facts can actually refute an otherwise elegant and beautiful a priori argument. Not any more.

    I feel dirty.

  196. 196
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: what THEY ALL BELIEVE is that they are ENTITLED to say anything in name of divided government.
    they are just levelling the playing field as they see it.
    they are also anti-empirical supernaturalists.
    supply side economics is relly just as counter-rational as creationism.
    both reject empiricism.

    But why in name of white plastic jeebus did anyone bother to read past the title?
    Kochtosoros rex– BOTH SIDES DO IT
    both sides are the same.
    its a toxic eumeme that EDK FUCKING ENDLESSLY PROMOTES HERE.

  197. 197
    roshan says:

    The correct characteristic to identify shitty think-tanks and institutions with is not ideological-bias but it’s how often do they get stuff wrong. And, if that characteristic turns out to align with a certain ideology (liberal/conservative/libertarian/other) then we can handily dismiss it. We can almost positively mark the research and opinions coming out of those think-tanks as having been poisoned by the ideology they align themselves with.

  198. 198
    matoko_chan says:

    Look…Cole wont do it, for w/e reason.
    EDK will stay here and keep shitting all over the front page as long as he can con dumb cows like eemom into swallowing the drench.
    i cant believe this post has 200 comments.
    its the EXACT SAME recycled conservative shit EDK has been serving up since he got here……its in a balloon-juice wrapper is all.
    does that make it taste better?

  199. 199
    Crusty Dem says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    So your example is that something that Soros owns ~$300k in stock in a company that sells scanners that no liberal group has ever, to my knowledge, advocated?

    I suppose a weaker example could be ginned up, but I haven’t seen it yet..

    I see Elm got this first, but it bears repeating, $300,000/$14,000,000,000 is probably not a motivation..

  200. 200
    matoko_chan says:

    @roshan:

    the research and opinions coming out of those think-tanks as having been poisoned by the ideology they align themselves with.

    that is correct. and since libertarianism is anti-empirical by nature, they devolve into justifying the failed ideology with first culture circular arguments.
    EDK is a sterling example of this.

  201. 201
    matoko_chan says:

    @John Cole: please…..im begging here.
    give this toxic assclown the hook.
    hes a grievous waste of spacetime.
    it took nearly 200 comments to see what EDK is saying?
    its right in the title.
    Kochtosoros.
    both sides do it.
    AMG is there anyone here with an IQ over room temperature?
    besides yours truly, nach.
    ;)

  202. 202
    Joe Buck says:

    Brookings isn’t liberal; it hasn’t been for a long time. Their people are busily defending the wars, praising Obama for continuing Bush’s national security policies, putting out papers attacking anyone who criticizes Obama from the left, and the like. They are a corporate, middle of the road, go along to get along outfit.

  203. 203
    Joe Buck says:

    Obama, Bush, and Clinton all buy into the neoliberal world view; their differences are mainly about tactics and nuance. Bush had to appease his right, and Obama and Clinton had to pretend to be social democrats during the primaries, but they govern in much the same way.

  204. 204
    matoko_chan says:

    Ever since Jane Mayer’s “infamous” Koch-brothers article last year, one of the quickest ways for progressives to write off libertarians is to say “the Koch-funded Cato institute” or “Koch lackeys at Reason” or some similar dismissal.

    note EDK’s use of infamous- i added the scare quotes.
    po’ whittle libertarians.
    we think libertarains are whores because they are whores.

  205. 205
    Church Lady says:

    @matoko_chan: Reading all the crap you wrote, I have just one question: Did it hurt when you were dropped on your head. It’s the only explanation I can think of, other than enthusiastic use of drugs.

  206. 206
    Ailuridae says:

    @Stillwater:

    And really, that’s game/set/match. EDK just hasn’t figured out that the majority of liberals (and almost everyone that comments at BJ) are unlike him in one very important respect: we evaluate policy decisions and principles based on empirical evidence and argument, not on esoteric and impractical a priori conceptions of the good.

    In fairness to Herr Kant he would think Kain is an ignorant tosser too. But yeah the refusal to evaluate data is a conservative phenomenon. I noticed it first on an NBA blog. The people who couldn’t wrap their minds around per minute (versus per game) production were invariably conservatives. Not only could they not deal with data – they were openly scornful.

  207. 207
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    I count about 20 uses of some form of the word “libertarian” in your article.

    Can you explain, in a few short words, why “libertarian” in this country should have any currency whatever? Can you show a movement? A theory of applied policy or public administration? A coherent model of government, or a history of actual government or administration, from anywhere, any jurisdiction?

    What the fuck is “libertarian” other than a goofy-assed dog whistle word that has no actual application in any workable model of anything?

    Let’s be clear: What can you show us that would indicate that “libertarian” is anything but a completely bullshit troll of modern American politics? Don’t weasel or lie, motherfucker, put it up or shut up.

  208. 208

    @Church Lady:

    You’re one to talk about writing incredibly stupid posts on Balloon Juice. Reading all of the crap you’ve written I have to wonder, what explains your stupidity Church Lady?

    Mom drank heavily while she was pregnant with you?
    Childhood diet consisting of nothing but red dye no. 2, high fructose corn syrup and lead based paint chips?
    Excessive inbreeding?
    Penchant for auto-erotic asphyxiation causing severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen?
    Brain damage caused by hanging out with other southern conservative white-trash types and huffing glue?

    Or are you some sort of alien creature who came to our universe from a parallel universe where the laws of nature prevent clues from even coming into being, much less existing?

  209. 209
    Jamey says:

    @Warren Terra: THIS!

    Thank you, Warren. Hidden in among all of ED’s unsupported presumptions about NYT and ACLU and squishy linguistic placeholders like “I think” and “but they do tend” and “I have no idea honestly, but” is a tacit knowledge that he’s got to carry the water for the corporatists. ED’s value “appears to” (SWIDT?!) in giving rational cover to the blatant liars–a veneer of rational thought that gives the appearance of rising above all the “but BOTH sides do it” din.

  210. 210
    matoko_chan says:

    @Church Lady: you retarded old cow.
    you are still sukking up the feedlot drench.
    why does anyone here need to read past the title of the post?
    “Kochtosoros rex”– cant you fucking read you stupid old bovine jesushumper?
    EDK is just pimping one of the conservative core memes–
    BOTH SIDES DO IT.

    Every single fucking whorish braindead post that EDK lays down follows the same format– “well, this is bad, but i fake-apologize and besides liberals do it too.
    and besides……fap-fap-fap- freemarkets!”

    NONE of their shit works! it is anti-empirical and counter-factual.
    EDK’s only game is headfakes and eumemes and recycled conservative shit in a pretty ballon-juice wrapper.
    Cole is giving him credibility and a podium.
    He’s worse than Sully. at least Sully just links Douchebag.
    that is why McMegan is ALWAYS WRONG because she has zero concept of empirical data. if it is correct in their heads its always right.

    no matter how “reasonable” and “mannered” and “thoughtful” EDK’s balloon-juice posts are the material is the fucking same.
    its all shit, and to those of us with IQs over room temp it still tastes like shit.

    the jig is up, EDK.
    there is an approaching critical mass of sapients here that reject your recycled conservative bullshytt.
    game over, you oozing syphilitic pustulant freemarket whore.
    GO AWAY

  211. 211
    matoko_chan says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    what explains your stupidity Church Lady?

    shez a closet conservative.
    pithed by jesus.
    and full up to the eyeballs with recycled conservative shit, aka feedlot drench.

  212. 212
    matoko_chan says:

    @Jamey: yeah, Warren got the message at post 50.
    some people, like church lady, will never get it.

  213. 213
    Stillwater says:

    @Ailuridae: In fairness to Herr Kant he would think Kain is an ignorant tosser too. But yeah the refusal to evaluate data is a conservative phenomenon.

    Bringing Kant into this was a mistake on my part: that guy had a reverence for the truth, a concept which Kain appears to hold in some form of passive-aggressive contempt. In my view, Kain is caught in the paradox of the propagandist: he accepts (in some sense) the belief that there is no objective evidence to settle political disputes one way or the other (we all see things through ideological filters), but given that, on what grounds ought we to accept his argument as correct?

    To answer this, Kain (like all good propagandists) goes meta: he’s above the ideological fray, non-aligned, arguing in good faith. It’s ironic, then – but only ironic, don’t read too much into this fact! – that his theses are all recycled Libertarian and social-conservative principles.

  214. 214
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater:

    that his theses are all recycled Libertarian and social-conservative principles.

    Drench.
    Recycled shit that has been through the system once already.
    How amazing is it that juicers still dont get this after dozens of EDK posts and thousands of comments that say EXACTLY THE SAME THING?
    give this dishonest fucker the hook.
    he is unteachable.

  215. 215
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: give this fucker the hook.

    I agree. After taking an asswhoopin in the comments, Kain doesn’t revise his beliefs, he just dresses them up in a new set of BJ-friendly clothes. Eg., his dreck about foreclosures. He admitted that he didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about, didn’t know a damned thing, but even after learning about it, his views regarding Libertarianism, regulation, big-gov, etc., didn’t change. (It’s court system’s fault!!) Facts and reason mean nothing to him.

    What’s the use of reading posts by a guy who’s opinions are formed independently of the way the world actually is?

  216. 216
    Stillwater says:

    @roshan: The correct characteristic to identify shitty think-tanks and institutions with is not ideological-bias but it’s how often do they get stuff wrong.

    I agree with this completely. Psychological stuff about believing what your paycheck requires you to is good and fine, but pretty irrelevant unless the case is already made that you consistently get stuff wrong. It’s only after that has been established that question like ‘why is that?’ even make any sense.

    Thankfully, that question does make sense, since libertarians are consistently wrong, on the merits, on the first-principles, on the belief that repeated assertion = sound argument.

    God these fuckers are a joke!

  217. 217
    matoko_chan says:

    if Cole continues to cluelessly insist on giving this intransigent glibertarian assclown FP real estate, could we please ask Cleek to write a pie filter for the frontpage.
    it makes me physically ill to see the commentariat here continuously ass-raped by a propagandist.
    hes not a “good guy”.
    hes a toxic whore spewing eumemes just EXACTLY LIKE Douchebag and McMegan.

  218. 218
    matoko_chan says:

    And Cole quit washing your fucking hands.
    You leant this fucker your burdha (cloak) by giving him credibility and airtime.
    none of us evah would go read his crappy “libertarian” blogs.
    YOU INFLICTED HIM ON US.
    now MAKE HIM GO AWAY.
    are you an anti-empiricist now?
    he spoofed you.
    he hasnt changed his phailosophy by a nanomeme.

  219. 219
    Stillwater says:

    @Ailuridae: One other thing. When I wrote that liberals are different from EDK in that evidence actually forms the basis of our policy positions, I wasn’t suggesting merely that conservatives are allergic to facts and evidence (that part I think is pretty well established.) The point I was trying to make was that since EDK doesn’t base policy decisions on supporting evidence, he assumes that liberals don’t either – that our policy proposals are based on ideology first, with opportunistic ‘facts’ merely supporting what we already believe.

    But adding to this, one thing becomes pretty clear: EDK feels comfortable promoting the ‘both sides do it’ line because he views himself as being unencumbered by the ideological biases inherent in the views of people who self-identify as either conservative or liberal. He thinks he sees policy more clearly than us because of this. He alone is a person able to view policy policy objectively. His views are better than ours.

  220. 220
    mclaren says:

    Actually, if you follow this line of reasoning you’ll discover that you can pretty much no longer trust anyone who is writing and getting paid to write in any capacity …

    You are correct, sir. This is a true statement.

  221. 221
    Pseudonym says:

    The Koch brothers made their fortunes running a business focused on the extraction and exploitation of natural resources, oil in particular. Koch Industries is widely known to be a major polluter and has been subject to record-setting fines for environmental damage, and any increase in environmental regulation or move toward renewable energy sources would cause major damage to its bottom line. The Koch brothers also fund “think tanks” such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heartland Institute that claim to adhere to a libertarian philosophy but primarily serve as anti-environmentalism, anti-global-warming, pro-pollution advocacy organizations. Their so-called research has been consistently discredited by real scientists (to the tune of something like 95% of scientists with relevant expertise). These institutes are picking answers to scientific questions based at best on political philosophy and at worst on financial interest.

    George Soros, I believe, has made most of his money through currency speculation. Were he to fund think tanks that advocated for certain exchange rate policies while at the same time investing his money in currency swaps whose positions would benefit from those policies, for example, I think a fair comparison to David and Charles Koch would be in order. I am unaware of any such thing, however. I am also unaware of currency exchange policies being the focus of any of the progressive organizations that he funds or of his political stance in favor of open societies. I would greatly appreciate any evidence of this that you could provide in order to enlighten me.

  222. 222

    […] might not be enough – Freddie should organize. If organized labor in this country is withering it isn’t for lack of money or political influence, it is because those who advocate for its survival are not organizing for its survival. In the age […]

  223. 223
    Lidia says:

    @Observer: Why the US and Canada are prosperous: along with the massive amounts of “free” natural resources (taken from aboriginals) along with relatively low population densities, how about (in the case of the US) 100+ years of slave labor input?

    I think political and economic ideologies have taken credit for a prosperity whose due is more correctly owed to the unusual recent energy inputs unaccounted for in our chosen system.

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  1. […] might not be enough – Freddie should organize. If organized labor in this country is withering it isn’t for lack of money or political influence, it is because those who advocate for its survival are not organizing for its survival. In the age […]

  2. […] E.D. Kain on January 14, 2011 Over at Balloon Juice, I have a long post up about money in politics, pointing out that the much-dreaded Koch brothers are but two among many political donors, and that […]

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