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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
Just for discussion (hopefully more dignified discussion than what we've all been guilty of recently) Sorry for the whole conservative magazine thing, but I really thought this applied well to both sides:

http://www.weeklystandard...a.asp?pg=1

Anyone think this theory has merit?

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 4/15/2006).]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6139) 17 years ago
Casting aside all but the most fundamental objections to the author's bias, I agree that the theory itself has merit (even if the example used and the way it was presented was hopelessly skewed). I get the feeling that if the source hadn't been the Weekly Standard (or something of its ilk), the publication would have been too liberally-biased for some tastes.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (edited 4/15/2006).]
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
Brian, let's get beyond these predictably negative responses.

If it was skewed, how was it skewed? Let us see some rationale behind this obvious anger. Let us sample some liberal thought as opposed to the usual reflex of anti-conservativism.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 4/15/2006).]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10381) 17 years ago
The author does reasonably well in advocating a course of action that would increase the polarization that plagues our Nation and People today. If one favors a future for our Nation and Republic that is rooted in separatism and parochialism, well here's a plan that would get you well on your way down that road.

I found it curious that someone who is advocating a return to something akin the form of government we had under the Articles of Confederation would quote from Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was, of course, one of the primary architects behind the overthrow of the Articles and the implementation of the Constitution.

But then I suppose that was so the author could quote from the "Federalist Papers", doing so seems to be a firm and fast rule for theorists of a certain ilk. And of course the "Federalist Papers" are much like the "Prophecies of Nostradamus", one can pull a quote from them and make them appear to say just about anything under the sun.

The author could have found better quotes to bolster his call for the Balkanization of American by quoting from the likes of Franjo Tuđman (former president of Croatia), Milan Kučan (former president of Slovenia), Todor Gligorov (former president of Macedonia) - - architects of the Balkanization of the Balkans.

Simply insert state for country in the following quote and you are well on your way to describing the future of America under the author's plan:

"Why should I be a minority in your country when you can be a minority in mine?"
-- Todor Gligorov

Anyway, it could be that I'm missing something . . . But I don't see anything suggested in this article that would actually lessen the problem of polarization confronting our Nation and People today. I don't see anything in this person's argument that would bring Americans to think in terms "us". And thinking in terms of "us" - finding common ground seems to me to be the only way to counter polarization.

This article seems to me to be conducive to heightening the "us" and "them" mindset that fuels the divisions fracturing our nation. I'm uncertain how advocating parochialism could do anything but add to polarization.

In my mind, this is "us" - these are some of the people who help make our Nation what it is:
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIA...asualties/

When I look at their faces, see their names, and think of their diverse backgrounds . . . What I see "us".

I don't see conservatives or liberals . . . pro-lifers or pro-choicers. I don't see newcomers/immigrants or native born . . . the privileged or the disenfranchised. I don't see Democrats or Republicans . . . Montanans or North Dakotans. I don't see folks standing on either side of line drawn in the sands of some so-called "culture war" -- what I see is "us".

I am at the same time proud and humbled that our Nation has citizens such as these. I wonder where do they come from . . . do we deserve them? How do we continue to do whatever it is that compels these people to step forward when we need them? I think / hope that they come forward because of the common ground that they (and we) share.

Where do we find this common ground?

As this author suggests in wedge issues? . . . in advocating separatism? . . . in calling for parochialism?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -




Edward S. Herman, "The Propaganda Model: A Retrospective," PROPAGANDA, POLITICS, POWER, Volume 1:1-14, December 2003.
http://human-nature.com/r...erman.html

Edward S. Herman, "Propaganda System Number One: From Diem and Arbenz to Milosevic," PROPAGANDA, POLITICS, POWER, Volume 1:1-14, December 2003.
http://human-nature.com/r...erman.html
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6139) 17 years ago
I wasn't even looking for anything to attack, Rick. It's just a skewed article. Take a look at the adjectives, particularly when they apply to what are perceived as Liberal causes. But even before you get into the meat of the article, you come across:

First paragraph: FEBRUARY'S COMMENTARY has one of the most frightening essays of recent years, in which James Q. Wilson makes the case that Americans are polarized to an unprecedented extent; bitterly divided. Responsible conservatives should confront this problem and show the country how to solve it. Not to solve it is to invite catastrophe. Why does the burden fall on conservatives? Because they are running the federal government and it is their duty to lead.

The lead only took two sentences to become condescending. If the author believes polarization is such a problem (and I agree that it is) why propose a unilateral correction of course? It's not practical and it's contradictory.

But the collapse of federalism has ruined this valuable arrangement. The collapse gathered momentum with the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion and was a tragedy for reasons beyond those that are usually discussed; a tragedy even for Americans who believe in completely unregulated abortion.

Roe was a power grab in which uniformity was imposed on a facet of society that had been allowed to vary. "Diversity" is a big selling point on the left, but not among believers in an activist Supreme Court.


No, that's not a polemic way to present this argument at all, is it? If not for my anti-Liberal detection software, I'd never be able to pick up the author's stance on this subject. "Tragedy" is so ambivalent.

Come 1973 this invaluable peace of mind was stolen from them. In 1973, the Supreme Court imposed a uniform view of abortion on every community in the nation. (Like the ancient Romans forcing images of their gods into every temple in the Empire.) Of course there are cases in which moral considerations require all states to do the same thing. But anyone could have seen that, in the case of abortion, there were serious arguments on both sides. And nowadays even (some) liberals admit that there is no "right to abortion" in the Constitution. [Roe was a power grab pure and simple, an exercise in "raw judicial power" as Justice Byron White wrote in his Roe dissent, which seriously damaged federalism in America. A few weeks ago, South Dakota's Republican governor signed a highly restrictive new abortion law. That's what federalism is for: letting South Dakota's citizens do what they think is right in their own state, not what Vermont or the Harvard faculty thinks is right. But the law is a direct challenge to Roe, and its hold on life is tenuous.

Yes, because only Vermont and the Harvard faculty believe in abortion rights. And I couldn't pick up the slightest scent of a slant in that first sentence, just as I'm sure you won't be able to sense the least bit of sarcasm in this one.

We used to have a Supreme Court; today we have a House of Justices, not a Supreme Court but a Supreme Council, which dominates the two other branches. No wonder the nation goes temporarily haywire whenever a vacancy opens up.

I can't help but wonder if the author would feel this way had the perceived alignment of the Court been his favor. Would this have been written had Robert Bork not been blocked 19 years ago? I have my doubts.

Of course conservatives must fight to put the best possible conservative judges on the Court. But they have another and higher duty: to put the Court in its place; to abolish the self-created, all-powerful House of Justices.

Yes, because all liberals want to do is destroy the country. Liberals shouldn't have any say in the matter because liberal decisions are ALWAYS wrong. Please. I find it funny that judges are verbally spat at by conservatives if those judges are perceived to be "activist." What makes judge an activist, anyway? If a judge (gasp!) interprets the Constitution rather than reads it verbatim? If a judge sees the Constitution as a living document rather than a staid piece of parchment? That definition of an activist isn't just the slightest bit skewed?

There's a start, Rick. I'd certainly be willing to go through the rest of the article and point out its bias, but I'd hope you'd get my point by now. The author has a point to make. He sabotaged what could have been an excellent proposal by choosing to present it in a way that contradicted his stated purpose (but clearly illustrated his actual one). Of course, he did have to meet the editing guidelines of The Weekly Standard's editors, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

The fact that you don't recognize the problem with the article - not the point of the article, but the way it was written - is troubling. Swap the adjectives and I'm sure your claxon would start blaring.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
Brian, I'm starting to see that you use your gift with language to shield yourself from the true ideas people are trying to present. Every objection you have is over your perception of motive. You never spoke once about the core idea behind this article. Yes, this article was from a conservative, and written for conservatives. Yes take that into account. But no, don't throw away the very substantial ideas presented. If you disagree with the core meaning of the article say why. Can we please get beyond semantics?

Hal, I'm interested to know your true feeling on the Federalists. Did you agree with them or not? If you did, why do you put no stock in the many warnings they published about the over-consolidation of government, and the risk of that government becoming more tyrannical than the monarchy they left. If you didn't agree with the Federalists, then I would think that this article would substantiate that reasoning, and you would agree with it.

The Federalists knew their system wasn't perfect and that strong balances need to be kept in place. Most of the balances they warned needed to be maintained have been knocked over. We are now seeing the result.

Also, if you believe that 280 million+ people should all live under the same rules established by a government so distant from any of them that they have little to no impact, wouldn't the natural extrapolation of that idea consist of a one-world government. Do you really believe one government could solve the world's problems by enforcing uniform beliefs? Whose beliefs would those be?

In addition, with all the problems liberals site with our current federal administration, how, idealistically, can you then turn around and say that this government is, and always will be trustworthy enough to protect you and your way of life. We hear many on the left talk (perhaps rhetorically) about how we've elected Hitler (W.) to lead the government, and what a poor job he's doing. But it doesn't make sense coming from the people who think government is usually the best answer. Isn't that a contradiction?

From what I've normally seen, we all tend to think the government is trustworthy when it does what we agree with, while at the same time it is tyrannical to those who disagree. To me, the only "consolidated government" way to answer this is to try to get all citizens to think and feel the same way. Can you make someone from Miles City and New York City believe the same things? To me, that proposition is much scarier than any harm that any individual state could do if given proper independence to govern.

True conservatives (as the Federalists did) maintain that any government can become corrupt, and absolutely will become corrupt if made unaccountable enough. Yet we make our government and its bureaucracy more and more unaccountable every day. True conservatives, for this reason, believe government should have very little to do with our everyday lives. Instead we see their already large role increasing every day. We need to heed the warnings offered by the Federalists. They formed our system, yes, but they also knew the risks.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 4/16/2006).]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10381) 17 years ago
>> Also, if you believe that 280 million+ people should all live under the same rules established by a government so distant from any of them that they have little to no impact, wouldn't the natural extrapolation of that idea consist of a one-world government. Do you really believe one government could solve the world's problems by enforcing uniform beliefs? Whose beliefs would those be?

- - - - - - - -
Rick, if you've the time, show me an example of a functional, nation state of the first, second, third, heck, even fourth rank, that doesn't have a strong central government.
- - - - - - - -

And no, I'm not going down the path of "one world government," the trilateralists, secret cabals, men in black, and all of that. Life is too short to get caught up in the conspiracy buzz.

And yes, once I explored that notion that the only government that is legitimate is a local government . . . I listened to a folks preach that if a healthy man cannot walk to the seat of his government in a single day, then the government is too remote from the people to be a "good" government. But when I look at things with my open I see that path only leads to the way of the "Freeman" and their ilk.

Life is more complex today than ever before - government and governance is more complex that every before - trying to turn government back to what it was in the 18th century isn't something I'm going to get behind. And of course Folks are welcome to try, it's their choice to tilt at windmills to their heart's content.

Like it or not, it's a big world out there - Balkanizing / decentralizing / parochializing government might sound romantic but it just isn't practical. Unless your idea of paradise is the Republic of the Congo, then it's eminently practical. The day is long past when all the federal government of this county needed to do was to deliver the mail, regulate trade between the states, and man some cannon at the mouth of a couple harbors. And it's precisely because we are a nation of 280 million that a weak government won't be functional - a weak federal government / strong state government system it barely worked when we a nation of 4 million.

As for the Federalists, they made a great deal of sense, especially when their writings are considered in the context of the times they lived in. But then the Jeffersonian Republicans too made sense, as did those who backed the Confederation. Some of these writing even make sense today, in the context of our times.

But to say that we've "lost it" - that we've betrayed the revolution because things are different than they were in the Founders's day and age . . .well that just isn't saying much. Times change.

Heck, they themselves knew that times - and they did their best to put together a system of government that had the capacity to adapt to change when needed. The very fact that they made provisions in the Constitution for change (for amendments) seems to indicate that they recognized that government would need to change to meet changing demands.

I don't agree that the constitution checks and balances have been knocked over - they are being tested and tested hard at the moment with this theory of the unilateral presidency (or whatever the heck they're calling it). But they've been put to the test in the past and they'll be put to the test in the future. I'm not complacent about this - I realize that our system can fail, if we allow it to - but it's not yet time to mourn their passing.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18757) 17 years ago
Hmmmm...I thought the issue of state's rights was settled in 1865, not 1973.

I don't buy into the Hall Of Justices idea, either. I fail to see how shifting power into the hands of local government is going to make us all one big happy family. As the article correctly notes, one of the reasons for the increase in federal government was in response to the racial laws in the south, passed in the 1880s after reconstruction. God knows what sort of repressive laws would be passed in the south (and Utah, for that matter) if these communities were left to their own devices. And look how well our most populous state, California, does in running itself.

The fact is that the buildup of the federal government is in large part due to the complexities of modern society. We aren't going to return to the agrarian economy of the founding fathers.

I also don't see how reducing the power of the Supreme Court is going to unite the public in our other polarizing issues, like the Iraq War, the deficit, tax cuts for the rich, etc. If we return power to the states, can the blue states pull their militia from Iraq?

Personally, I feel the best way to overcome political polarization is through information and education. If people were to study the issues, instead of being handed their opinions from their favorite pundit, there stands a better chance for a meeting of the minds.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6139) 17 years ago
Brian, I'm starting to see that you use your gift with language to shield yourself from the true ideas people are trying to present. Every objection you have is over your perception of motive. You never spoke once about the core idea behind this article. Yes, this article was from a conservative, and written for conservatives. Yes take that into account. But no, don't throw away the very substantial ideas presented. If you disagree with the core meaning of the article say why. Can we please get beyond semantics?

I stated in my first response to your initial posting that the author's point was valid. I didn't throw anything away. I then suggested that the author compromised his intended point by presenting his ideas in a fashion that further polarizes the issue. If his core meaning had so much substance, why obscure it so? Let it be evaluated on its own merit. He didn't, so I called his intentions into question. I'm just not that trusting.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
What astonishes me is the amount of credit you give to our government for the progress this nation has made. I think most economists would give far more credit to corporatization than to government for where we are. The shift from the "agrarian economy" had zero to do with the federal government.

And on that token, how in the world can liberals be soooo populist when it comes to corporate consolidation, yet so in-line with government consolidation? I know I know, it seems that you would have more influence over government than corporations because of your vote. But a good argument could be made that you have just as much, if not more, influence over corporations with your dollar. Yet you trust the government (even as you say it's led by a tyrant), but never trust the corporation.

Yes, you can list for me bad things local and state governments have done. But I could list for you numerous atrocities performed by our federal government, often times during peaks in its power and influence. As said before, liberals have no problems stating your numerous grievances with our current federal administration.

The scariest part for me is your apparent belief that our government should go through this unspoken and unwritten evolution with the times. Interpreting its own laws as it sees fit for the day or situation. This seems a clear clear path for tyrannical government. Why you put so much faith in 5 individuals that you think it appropriate that they outweigh the will of 280 million, is beyond me. I have a good feeling that if those 5 become conservative instead of liberal (which we're one vote away from), you will be changing that tune.

Gunnar, you wrote

Personally, I feel the best way to overcome political polarization is through information and education. If people were to study the issues, instead of being handed their opinions from their favorite pundit, there stands a better chance for a meeting of the minds

Gunnar, just looking at this thread you can determine that you and I probably spend more time studying the issues than most. (Not that there aren't probably much more important things I should be spending my time on instead) Yet no amount of "information and education" would ever get us to see things the same way. If it did, it would have to be the scary kind of "education" that you see in futuristic big-brother type science-fiction movies. Activist conservatives are just as educated as activist liberals. There is something inherently different in our beliefs. Forcing us to look at the same sterile information, if possible, would still not change our beliefs. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, if you can truly tolerate "diversity." But more and more, "diversity" seems only a hollow argument about languages and skin colors, not about ideas.

Brian said "I then suggested that the author compromised his intended point by presenting his ideas in a fashion that further polarizes the issue"

I think you just answered what I meant when I said you were a great advertisement for "Vote Republican"

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 4/16/2006).]
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Posted by J. Dyba (+1350) 17 years ago
This thread is a perfect example of what the author was talking about.
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Posted by deer_slayer (+487) 17 years ago
Rick...how can you be so damn "Joe Republican" ??? You are a "true believer" if I have ever saw one. The republicans are running the country right now...your people...and unless you are a total idiot you have to recognize that they are doing a horrible job. I'm not saying the democrats are the answer, but to write post after post about how great these guys are is really scary. At what point will your foolish pride gave way to reason.

Things are spiraling out of control in this country. No offense to Miles City...but if you haven't lived in a major metro area you really don't have a clue about what's going on. I'm sorry, but it's true. You need a strong central government just to keep the mob in check. I mean there are so many people in this country who are one foot from the gutter. I don't care if they are legal or illegal. They are still here. If we don't provide some kind of social welfare for these people...I can't imagine what would happen. The country would be forced in a police state. It would be Nazi Germany all over agian...

...without programs like early childcare, mental health, food stamps, medicare, education, farm subsides, VA hospitals (Bush is making sure we'll continue to need those)...without all these things you are asking for violence in the streets. Maybe not in Miles City...but I can guarentee you, the rest of the world.

So have a little compassion for these people, and find the true meaning of Christ this Easter, and join the democratic party. Rush switched from being a democrat to being a republican...you Rick could be the "anti-Rush" by switching from a conservative to a liberal, which anyone will tell you is a good thing.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
No offense to Miles City...but if you haven't lived in a major metro area you really don't have a clue about what's going on. I'm sorry, but it's true. You need a strong central government just to keep the mob in check.

Your point makes my point even more clear. Why should we have to live under near-marshall law, just because that may be what is required elsewhere. Should we really govern by lowest common denominator? Let those states with urban issues deal with them. Let those states with rural issues deal with them as well.

As far as support for big government making you Christian, who is truly more compassionate...

the man who goes out and spends his own money on food for someone who is poor and hungry. Or the man who lobbies to force other people to spend their money on it (or more likely the bureaucracy operating under those pretenses)

I (and most conservatives) contend that for every problem you try to solve via government, you'll end up with no real solution, and you'll end up with two new problems that you didn't have before.
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Posted by deer_slayer (+487) 17 years ago
which is why you are clueless....

your mentality is that like the freeman's. Government is about the greatest good for the greatest number. Montana would still belong to the red man if it wasn't for the federal government. You can't take, take, take...when you want and then suddenly decide that you don't want to be part of the club later on. It doesn't work like that.

[This message has been edited by deer_slayer (edited 4/17/2006).]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
The notion of "polarization" is misleading. It's like asking whether one wants to go off a cliff at 50 mph or 75 mph. "Polarization" as it is being used in this thread is arguing over the speed we go over the cliff not whether we should go over. It is simply two wings on the same bird of prey.

When a nation of individuals lacks the self discipline to take care of themselves and starts looking to the government for a solution to every problem... that country will not survive.

I recognize that the war over federalization was lost a long time ago. So about all conservatives can hope to do is slow the ride down to 25 mph. Maybe there will be a renaissance. Undoubtedly, part of the change is because we are become a nihilistic society.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
"Montana would still belong to the red man if it wasn't for the federal government."

You say that like it is "bad". Let's see the men go hunting and fishing and riding horses everyday. The women do all of the "Teepee" work and take care of the kids. When you are not hunting or fishing you can sit in a sweat lodge and meditate or do some kind of craft.

Thanks to the Federal government you spend Monday through Wednesday working just to pay your taxes. We have put ourselves in slavery and servitude to wampum. Sometimes I think the row-crop mentality of the white man is pretty screwed up.
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Posted by deer_slayer (+487) 17 years ago
The reason I said that Montana would belong to the redman without the Federal gov. is because Rick was trying to say the Feds are no good, and that we shouldn't do anything for the "huddled masses" because the problems in Chicago or Denver shouldn't dictate what happens to the people in Montana. I'm saying Rick wouldn't be in Montana in the first place without the Federal government. By the way...I never saw anything wrong with how the Indians use to live.


As far as the Feds taking away your wages through Wed..... the Feds and the state combine to take about 25% of your wages...translated into a 40 hour work week that's 10 hours or about mid-Tuesday morning of your work week.

One more thing...if it wasn't for taxes the vast majority of you wouldn't even be able to read and write in this website in the first place. Think about it.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
I pay until noon Wednesday. I learned to read and write at SHGS and there were no tax dollars invovled.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 4/17/2006).]
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Posted by Van (+557) 17 years ago
"Your point makes my point even more clear. Why should we have to live under near-marshal law, just because that may be what is required elsewhere. Should we really govern by lowest common denominator? Let those states with urban issues deal with them. Let those states with rural issues deal with them as well."

Marshall law???? What the ---- Rick. Nobody has created more marshal law in this country that the Republicans and the Patriot act. All in the name of democracy and freedom we have lost our civil liberties.

Rick, I am a little confused by your definition of polarization. Yes political ideologies have gotten polarized. Why? Because, the Republicans have played the Moral card to polarized politics and to disenfranchise the moderates (from both parties) and militarized the radicals.

The article you give talks about liberals as the creators of our modern polarized politics by taking away the States inherent power and giving it to "big brother"- the Federal Government. You seem at this point to be in favor of the State having more control to govern itself and less control for the Federal Government. I agree with you to a point but you soon loose me. You loose me in the fact that you only want the States authority to pertain to the overturning of liberal Federal laws. Ones that you think should be over turned- the hell with the rest of society it is all about what you and your congregation want. You believe that abortion is an atrocity and you feel that the Conservatives have enough votes and power in Montana to overturn Roe V. Wade on a State level.

What about a more liberal State than Montana- would they then have the same right to vote down the Patriot Act. Would they have the right to pull soldiers from their State out of Iraq and bring them home? Would they have the right to outlaw Christianity in their State? You can't have it both ways.

Contradictions -Rick- Life is filled with them. Every day you run across them and every time I read your post you are full of them. You want things one way but you do not see that the cause of your actions may have an effect, that you do not morally agree with. You are a good guy and I know that you are smart but you have a single vision. You see the world threw Republican colored glasses and you fight for a party that would not allow you to be at their fundraiser unless you were bartending. Next time that you are out and about drive by The Country Club or The Miles City Club, walk in and yell I am a Republican where are the drinks. See how many of your fellow GOPers ask you to sit down and shoot the poop. You are a walking contradiction and you give me hope.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
I don't know how montana ranks, but every taxpayer in idaho gets more back from the federal government than we pay in, be it through subsized water payments to irrigate our fields, or through federal dollars to build the highway system to take the produce from those fields to market. Yet everywere you turn, it's "evil government this" and "big government that". In a way it's kind of funny, that the only reason most people can live in the reddest state in the nation, is through the largesse of the very blue states that they revile every day in the editoral pages of the paper.

That's the attitude of gratitude for you though....
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6139) 17 years ago
I find it ironic that most of the suggested laws and Constitutional amendments backed by those on the right would serve to limit or restrict the rights of certain groups of people (gays and women, to name a few) rather than expand them. I wouldn't think that a party which supposedly stands for less government intrusion into one's personal life would be so quick to support such legislation, thereby contradicting its self-stated position.

And people wonder why I question the intent and motives of people.

"Gullibility kills." - Carl Sagan

I came across this quote the other day - I think it's congruent with my way of thinking.

[i]"I'm a fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberal, and I think fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberalism is an ideological stance that needs defending - if necessary, with a hob-nailed boot-kick to the bollocks of budding totalitarianism."[i/] - Charles Stross
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
You don't understand it because of your nihilistic world view. But I am sure given your immense ability for open minded and expansive thought you could learn to see things from other points of view... which you claim to "respect". You just need to try harder.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 4/17/2006).]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
Well, nihlism is in the eye of the beholder I guess, and "worldview" has become overloaded as a code for those with ears to hear I suppose.

Anyways.

It was mentioned above that Christ was a Democrat and that's probably not true but I'm hard pressed to understand how the worldview of the current ruling regime (and it's enablers) can, in any way shape or form, follow as the answer to "What Would Jesus Do", except as the punchline for some sort of surrieallist knock-knock joke that, truth be told, I don't think I get.

But hey, maybe there's someone here who can explain it to me...
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6139) 17 years ago
You don't understand it because of your nihilistic world view. But I am sure given your immense ability for open minded and expansive thought you could learn to see things from other points of view... which you claim to "respect". You just need to try harder.

I don't understand it because it doesn't make sense, Richard; it's contradictory. It has nothing to do with any "nihilistic" (I'd call it rational - or skeptical, at worst) perspective you think I may have. If you tell me 1+1 = 3 and tell me that believing otherwise is due to me being close-minded, I'll tell you that 1+1 = 2 and that me believing so is because I refuse to abandon reason for the sake of taking the path of least resistance.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
I like this conversation. It really brings to life the differences between conservatives and liberals, and our ways of seeing the world. You all seem to have the conception that you are either for all government or against all of it. On issues of defense, the Federalists were pretty clear that this was the main role of the federal government. Everyone seems to agree on this, but I'm alarmed that you think because a man thinks government should be limited, he thinks it shouldn't exist at all (basically as deer_slayer stated)

By the same method of extrapolation, couldn't I say that if you are for strong government involvement, you're really for a marxist socialist state which has its hand constantly in everyone's daily affairs? Is this not the exact same level of exaggeration in reverse?

Please go on with your painting the ideas of limited government with the labels of hokey or antiquated. Please go on saying the only ones who can believe in limited government are fringe groups like the freemen. Meanwhile we will take the side of virtually every founding father and the leader of the modern conservative movement, Ronald Reagan.

"Man is not free unless government is limited."

"The most terrifying words in the English langauge are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it"

Bridger, I think that last quote identifies the cause of rural states taking more in federal dollars than it delivers. They've regulostrangled our industries and given us pennies on the dollar in return. They're gradually enslaving the middle class by lulling it to sleep with entitlement.

The most curious statement was that I should support government consolidation because I wouldn't be here without the federal government's indian wars. That is probably true. But then again, I wouldn't be here without British Imperialism either. Should we go back to that? Should we tell African Americans to stop whining about discrimination, because it's slavery that got them here in the first place? These are very hollow arguments meant to distract from the real point. It's not about where we've been, but where we're going (and as Richard points out, how fast)

Look to France to see our future down the road we're headed. Entitlement leads to socialism. Socialism leads to mediocrity. Mediocrity leads to apathy, and apathy leads to surrendering your freedom. And I'm talking about real freedom. The freedom to innovate or fail. To win or lose. When you see loss of freedom on this scale, all the whining about library cards in the Anarchist's Cookbook or tracking international phone calls to terrorists will seem meaningless.

I'm not pretending that Republicans are solving these problems because obviously they aren't. They've been seduced by the bureaucratic juggernaut, and are now just a part of the problem. But what could be worse? Delivering us into the hands of people who think there is no problem, as you've demonstrated as the bedrock of liberal thinking.

Republicans by and large have betrayed their beliefs, and need to get back to what they claim to believe. But as Richard stated, at least they aren't headed towards a cliff with the peddle to the floor, thinking the road will be straight and wide from here to eternity.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 4/17/2006).]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
Uhm Rick, could you please provide some examples? Because I'm trying to think of a sustainable industry in Montana that doesn't require federal subsidation and/or regulation to be economically viable, and I'm drawing blanks...
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Posted by deer_slayer (+487) 17 years ago
speaking of subsidies...I was talking to this old Jordan rancher once who was basically "pulling a Kuchynka" and complaining about the government. I said something along the lines..."Yeah, but y'all get subsidies like the farmers." He said that's a bunch sh*t, and that he doesn't get anything. Then he stromed off to go let his cattle graze on a few thousand acres he leased from the government next to his land. I thought to myself, "If I could lease 3,000 acres for $120 a month....I would never buy." Why would you? You don't have to pay taxes on all that land. Damn federal government. Good thing Bush and his buddies are trying to sell all the public land, so the ranchers don't have to depend on the government anymore.

And before all the ranchers read this post and get bent out of shape...I know the current price is $1.56/AUM a month...which translates to being $156 a month, if you had 300 head of cattle on 3,000 acres with an average of 10 AUM's for every 30 acres. That's a hell of a good deal in my opinion...thanks to Uncle Sam.
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Posted by Duncan Bonine (+289) 17 years ago
Deer Slayer - What's an AUM?
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
Animal Unit Month: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2006/releases/02/grazing-fee.shtml
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Posted by William S. (+71) 17 years ago
A Bonine doesn't know the definition of AUM???



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Posted by G. Huss (+166) 17 years ago
Doing the math, I think the Bonines know what an AUM is.
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Posted by Duncan Bonine (+289) 17 years ago
I don't mean for the definition of an AUM to drag this thread off topic. However, I believe that that deer_slayer's use of grazing fee's as a form of subsidy is a perfect example of what commonly happens to create polarization. We all tend to argue our position based on emotion and perception rather than facts.

I think Gunnar said it very well: "Personally, I feel the best way to overcome political polarization is through information and education."

I asked deer_slayer what an AUM is in hopes that he/she would do a little more research and gain some more understanding of the subject. I could have just as easily ranted about how wrong and off base the example is, but that only lends itself to polarization.

For the record: In this example there are 1000 AUMs on 3000 acres of land. (10 AUM on 30 A = .3 aum/A x 3000 A = 1000 AUM) At the rate of $1.56/AUM the rancher would pay $1560 for that 1000 AUMs. If the rancher turns his 300 (assuming 1000# cows) head out on the land, he can graze for 3.33 months before all of the forage is gone.

That makes the lease $468/mo not the $120 that deer_slayer initially tried to portray.
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Posted by deer_slayer (+487) 17 years ago
Duncan...

You are right...my Math sucks...I said $156 a month...I see were I was wrong...My point still stands $468 amonth for 3,000 acres is still a sweet deal. I'd be happy to have 3,000 acres for $468 a month for three months during hunting season!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God, the deer I could slay......

[This message has been edited by deer_slayer (edited 4/18/2006).]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
I'm still waiting to see a list of non-subsidized sustainable industries that need only be freed from the shackles of regulostrangulation...
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
"10 AUM's for every 30 acres". No wonder Eastern Montana is overgrazed!
An AUM is the amount of forage a 1000 lbs. cow with a calf at side will eat in 30 days. If the diet is 7% CP on a DM basis she will eat 840 pounds of forage. NOT A 1500 lbs cow, NOT a 1700 lbs cow. Thats how are range went to hell starting in 1972 with all the exotic breeds.

Back to Pollarization (the process of removing horns?? ) )
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
"I'm still waiting to see a list of non-subsidized sustainable industries that need only be freed from the shackles of regulostrangulation..."

Oh boy, here we go...

Coal mining comes to mind. I would like to reclaim the land to a more productive use than the overgrazed state that is was before mining but all the ignorant regulators insist that it has to be restored to the premine condition.



[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 4/18/2006).]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6139) 17 years ago
Let's all become libertarians! After all, the only way to escape a government that causes more problems than it solves is to embrace that oh-so-practical system that solves...nothing.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
Good news, Rick! We are making progress.
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Posted by Heath H (+641) 17 years ago
Gunnar said "Personally, I feel the best way to overcome political polarization is through information and education."

Well, Gunnar. I consider you an intelligent person, probably educated beyond high school, but I really have no idea. You are seemingly an "informed" individual. I believe I am "informed" and have 6 years of education beyond high school. However, Gunnar, I could not possibly disagree more with your politics (as posted on this website).

The best way to overcome political polarization is to take responsibility for one's own actions and STAY OUT OF OTHER PEOPLES BUSINESS. It starts with the man in the mirror. Mind your own business, do the right thing, and treat people the way you want to be treated. All the information, education, and exposure one or all of us could possibly digest won't help build a bridge between fair-minded, personally responsible people and entitlement minded folks with a socialist agenda.

Politicians and their parties are responsible for polarization. They all need to sling less mud, tell no lies, practice what they preach, and get down to the business of government. When donkeys fly.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
And yet, if it were not even for the minimal requirement to return mines to a premine state, would a mining company bother to spend the money to do so? From what I've seen, most companies need to be driven to even that minimal standard. (Berkely pit, anyone?)

Another question regarding the wester coal industry - how viable would it be if the current railroad infrastructure did not exist?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
More of the power plants would be built at the mouth of the mine.

Exactly what was the pre-mine land use at Berkley pit? Liberal Leprecon forest if I am not mistaken.

Yes... I am aware that the railroads received huge land grants to build the railroad which counts in your definition of federal subsidies. So coal doesn't probably qualify.

I guess I would like the non-conseravtives to tell me what is too much government involvement. Should our government look like Cuba or the Soviet Union or Communist China? Is that enough or do we need something more totalitarian upon which we can all become dependant.



[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 4/18/2006).]
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18757) 17 years ago
>>However, Gunnar, I could not possibly disagree more with your politics (as posted on this website).

As posted on this website? That would mean you are an anti-mining, tree hugger who supports government interference in our lives like smoking bans. Read my old posts. I never figured you to be a liberal, Heath.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
I'm not saying a subsidy is a bad thing, all I'm asking for is honesty in the debate, and an acknowledgment that some level of government is necessary, if only to avoid the tragedy of the commons.

I'd also like some people to realize that the only reason they enjoy the standard of living that they do is because:

a) the feds are there to spend money that wouldn't otherwise be available locally.

b) for better or for worse, a large segment of the economy is supported by cheap labor provided by illegal immigration (which I realize is a seperate thread) and that we need to come to terms with what the moral ramafications of our willingness to exploit this labor pool are.

but I'm probably just a dreamer....
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+586) 17 years ago
Richard, you continue to complain about the mine reclaimation laws...I don't understand. If it wasn't for these laws you would not have your job. Perhaps you disagree with the application of these laws in your(coal) industry. Perhaps you can tell me when any extractive industry out of the goodness of their hearts exceeded the reclaimation requirments. If they are so good hearted, why do they spend so much time and effort(money) fighting new and existing regulations? I would submit that it is just profit motive, nothing else...... Perhaps we all should not be so short sighted to embrace greed at all costs....Perhaps that is why these regulations are in place.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
Oh where oh where has el guapo gone,
oh where or where can he be?

he must be chasing obejo 'round the farm
Oh where oh where can he be?
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
It's a little tough to get into whether the railroads should be considered "subsidized" because they received land grants way back in the day. Pretty much all of the West would have never been settled had it not been for homesteading (or land grants made to whoever wanted to occupy it) By this measure, nobody should get credit for anything.

I also think it's interesting that anyone who's ever received a government benefit should be barred from disagreeing with the way the government operates. This is a news flash, I know, but nobody turns away free money. What a dangerous precedent, to think that all government has to do is flash a little cash, and everyone will shut up. But we all know your argument is one sided. How many liberals refunded the government for those Bush tax cuts before they felt comfortable criticizing his fiscal policy? You remember those unexpected treasury checks you got a few years back. How about those higher per-child tax credits and lower marginal rates? I'm assuming before you started complaining about Bush, you gave all that money back.

Bridger, I think part of your question has been answered already, but to me it seems like common sense. If we can't make a productive living in Montana at this point in time it's either because we're handcuffed or incompetent. I'm saying we're handcuffed.

Many to most precious metals are at or near all-time record prices. The kind of metals that used to be mined (quite profitably) in Montana.

We live in the age of an energy economy. We in Montana sit on some of the largest energy reserves on the planet, especially in the Eastern part of the state. Yet what do we have to show? Almost zero new energy development, and some of the lowest wages in the country (also in eastern Montana) But we're supposed to humble ourselves and thank our government for the scraps our poor Senators have to beg for every budget cycle.

Lumber and building products are also at record prices. Looking around the state, it looks like we should be able to make a killing. Unfortunately, nobody can afford to gamble on a big court fight to give it a try.

And finally, because of the record profits of "big oil" anyone and everyone should be jumping at the chance to build refinery capacity to partake in these days of record profits. And yet nobody in the nation has built a refinery in 30 years despite steadily rising demand. It seems unthinkable.

Until you really think about it and realize that you could easily sink tens of millions of dollars into the legal fight that would follow any refinery plans you had, and there's a good chance all you'd ever see out of it is the pleasure of seeing your favorite lawyer getting that new SUV you always wanted.

It's pretty tough to explain this kind of multi-million dollar roulette to your shareholders. So the only ones who win, are the ones who own the market already (oil companies) and the lawyers.

Normally capitalism would dictate that when profits soar, competition enters. But regulation and lawsuits have made the idea of real competition in any serious industry a joke.


I just read that last post, and you're right!

Recreational livestock. There's another potentially huge tourist industry we could build.

But you know they'd shut that down too. PETA hippies.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 4/18/2006).]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
Rick -

I think you're missing my point, but perhaps that IS the point.

Yes, if we were free of government regulation, we'd be free to clearcut the forests, poison the streams, make a ton of money(or, more likely, watch as shareholders make an obscene profit while tossing working folks the scaps. But at least they wouldn't be guvmint scraps right?).... and then what? Move to Idaho? Find a new Last Best Place? Pray for the Rapture?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
Bruce said:
"Richard, you continue to complain about the mine reclamation laws...I don't understand. If it wasn't for these laws you would not have your job. Perhaps you disagree with the application of these laws in your(coal) industry. Perhaps you can tell me when any extractive industry out of the goodness of their hearts exceeded the reclamation requirements. If they are so good hearted, why do they spend so much time and effort(money) fighting new and existing regulations? I would submit that it is just profit motive, nothing else...... Perhaps we all should not be so short sighted to embrace greed at all costs....Perhaps that is why these regulations are in place."

I clearly understand that my job is due to the mining laws that are in place. But the devil is always in the details. My frustration is that I am not allowed to use the available resources to create landscapes in a way that provide both better reclamation and reduced cost. For example, in Wyoming there is a requirement to reestablish shrub patches. But by regulation I cannot place those shrub patches into coarse material because every square foot of the reclamation has to have 18" of "topsoil". Never mind the fact that every native shrub patch in Wyoming is growing without topsoil, and in material that would be "unsuitable" due to SAR or pH or some other parameter. It is the application of these laws that drives me nuts sometimes.

Corporations (mining or otherwise) are not the only entities that try and save a buck. Let's consider the demographic called "farmers". Farmers are typically too cheap to spend $15.00 for a soil test. As a result they apply too much of some nutrients and not enough of others. Consumers end up eating bread made from wheat that is low in potassium. (Of course, when the liquid fertilizer you buy plugs up 40' of brand new grain drill I understand why you don't want to put in on your field ) They end up with nitrates in drinking water. If farmers were not so "greedy" we wouldn't have these problems. Maybe, we need some regulation...

Basically when you boil it down, we have law because none of us truly care for our neighbor as we should. We are all greedy in some way. Corporations are nothing more than a tax mechanism for a group of individuals with the same goal. The polarization issue is really all about the roll government should play in attempting to save us from ourselves.

Again, how much government is too much?


[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 4/19/2006).]
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+586) 17 years ago
Sorry to disagree with you again, but.... I was a farmer for 20 plus years and my family still continues to farm. We did do soil tests (with varied results). The fertilizer mix we used was not based on some over the counter recipe but on what worked. Results told the tale. To apply one component out of perportion would be a waste of time, money, and effort. Of course, we were dryland so nitrate run off wasn't a problem.... The biggest missuse of farm ground I saw was profiteering by breaking up marginal land and continous cropping. No regard for future use... Much like unregulated mining.. (Yeah, I worked in that industry too.)
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
Here's a couple of books that might interest some of the people in this thread:

Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed, by Jared Diamond

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water , by Marc Reisner
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15582) 17 years ago
Bruce: I used to haul fertilizer to your place (JEM Ag :eek. As a farmer in eastern MT, you are an exception to the rule and very progresive.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6139) 17 years ago
I agree with Bridgier - Collapse is excellent.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9547) 17 years ago
And the first chapter is about montana!
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 17 years ago
Bridger, how can you expect nothing from business other than for them to "clearcut the forests, poison the streams, make a ton of money(or, more likely, watch as shareholders make an obscene profit while tossing working folks the scaps"

And yet believe the Government is gonna intelligently spend your money, truly take care of the needs of the people (the ones that don't work for the government) put a chicken in every pot, and generally fend off the ever-present threat of the sky falling. Please give me the list of (non-military) accomplishments government has single-handedly given humankind. You'll probably give me a list of bad things the government has stopped, which is fine. But please give me some groundbreaking stuff any government anywhere has ever accomplished. All real innovation has been from industry.

On another note, nobody thinks there should be zero regulation. But the groundrules for a productive form of regulation should be:

Get the experts together. Let them hammer out the rules. Let them assign concrete values to what's acceptable and what is not. And when it's all signed into law, then, and here's the important part, Shut Up.

No more conversations between hippies with law degrees and judges who know nothing more about the environment than they like sunshine and puppies, and walks in the park. These people can delay anything indefinitely without merit, which costs you, joe consumer, millions and gives any attempt at responsible investment nothing but a promise of uncertainty. No responsible business can afford to invest when they have no idea of when or if there will ever be any return. They'll deal with regulation, they simply can't deal with uncertainty.

It's a big world, full of crazy people. By law of averages, there will be someone who objects to virtually anything you could ever want to do.

http://www.washingtonpost...on/columns

Why do these crazy naysayers have a trump-card over the true innovators and entrepreneurs in our society?


[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 4/20/2006).]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10381) 17 years ago
Speaking of polarization / schism . . . Elitist Rockefeller Business Wing vs. Conservative Populist Base.

"How the GOP Lost Its Way"
By Craig Shirley
WASHINGTON POST
April 22, 2006
http://www.washingtonpost...01593.html
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