Why Jon Tester Must Not Be Reelected

by lizard

Dave Lindorff rightfully slams Democrats for Taking a Meaningless Progressive Stand in Congress:

The Democrats are showing their true colors now that they have lost control of both houses of Congress.

Suddenly, with the assurance that they don’t have to worry about being taken seriously, the “party of the people” has come forward with a proposal to levy a 0.1% tax on short-term stock trades, particularly on high speed trading.

Don’t get me wrong. A stock-trade tax is a great, and long-overdue idea. In fact, such a tax, which could raise some $800 billion in revenue over a decade, should probably be bigger than just 0.1%, and targeted more directly at high speed trading. (Most experts agree high-speed trading has been undermining any semblance of a fair market for stocks and bonds by handing an outsized advantage to companies that have access to huge computers that can make enormous trades, front-running other investors by getting into and out of the market in microseconds, so why not levy a graduated trading tax that is progressively higher the shorter the time period an investment is held?)

The point is that this trading tax is something that progressives have been calling for now for years, if not longer, but while they were in a position to actually make it happen, Democrats in Congress were silent about it.

And why didn’t Democrats do anything when they actually had the power to do so? Here’s more from Lindorff:

If the Democrats had passed such measures back when they had the White House and both Houses of Congress, back in 2009 or 2010, they wouldn’t be looking at a Republican Congress today. If they’d proposed such measures last year, when they still at least controlled the Senate, they wouldn’t have lost the Senate last November.

But of course, if they had made these proposals when there was a chance of them becoming law, the Democrats in Congress would have lost all the fat campaign donations and other legal bribes that they receive from Wall Street banks, brokerages and hedgefunds.

Now it’s safe for them to make those proposals as part of their “inaction plan.” The fat cats on Wall Street know they’re not serious, and will continue to buy them in 2016, when you won’t see them making these kinds of populist proposals anymore.

It’s all part of a long-running game in which the Democratic Party pretends to be the party of the working person, while actually being just another pro-capitalist party, working hand-in-glove with the Republicans to continue sucking the life out of the American middle class and the poor to enrich the wealthiest 1% of Americans who already control some 40% of the nation’s assets, and the wealthiest 10%, who control as much national wealth as the other 90% of us put together.

This will come as no surprise to political cynics. But for those of us in Montana who got suckered by Jon Tester in 2006, there will be a chance to exact some political retribution when Tester tries to get reelected.


Because Tester is on the short list of Democrats who will help Republicans continue the bipartisan affair of coddling Wall Street to the detriment of the vast majority of Americans:

Meanwhile, the real people to watch in Congress are those Democrats who are going to vote with the ruling Republicans in House and Senate to allow pro-rich and pro-capitalist measures to get to a vote, and to provide the votes to over-ride any vetoes by President Obama. Behind all the anti-inequality talk, these are the people who really represent the leadership and the political bedrock of the Democratic Party.

We got an early look at what is coming last week, when a group of 13 Democratic senators (the scabs clearly visible on their exposed flesh), voted with an almost unanimous Republican bloc, to defeat an amendment offered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would have stripped a measure weakening the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law out of an already pro-financial corporate bail-out bill extending federal backing for terrorism coverage in insurance policies. The vote killing the Warren amendment passed 66-31 meaning there were only three abstentions. Without the 13 Democratic votes against fellow Democrat Warren, her amendment would have passed because of a 60-vote requirement for amendments.

Keep an eye on those 13 Democrats. Given that the Republicans now have 54 seats in the Senate, they only need an extra six votes from Democrats to move bills and amendments to a vote, and only 13 votes to override a presidential veto.

Here, for reference, are the 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus who killed the Warren amendment:

Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Angus King (I-ME)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Gary Peters (D-MI)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Jon Tester (D-MT)

Jon Tester serves Wall Street, not Montanans. That much should be obvious. And for those who want a reminder of how disgusting the people Tester serves are, check out Jamie Dimon whining about regulators (Zerohedge):

Earlier today, during the JPM conference call, when Jamie Dimon wasn’t busy explaining why the Q4 earnings presentation was sorely missing the page showing JPM’s latest Net Interest Margin, a staple placeholder page in the presentation appendix, he found time to lament something totally different. As Bloomberg reports, Dimon lashed out at U.S. regulators for putting his bank “under assault.”

“We have five or six regulators or people coming after us on every different issue,” Dimon, 58, said today on a call with reporters after New York-based JPMorgan reported fourth-quarter results. “It’s a hard thing to deal with.”

“In the old days, you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue, maybe two. Now it’s five or six. It makes it very difficult and very complicated. You all should ask the question about how American that is. And how fair that is. And how complex that is for companies.”

I hope no one spits their coffee out after reading that quote from a guy who should be in prison receiving visceral assaults after the hell Wall Street delivered to Americans 7 years ago.

Luckily Dimon has loyal servants like Jon Tester looking after his ill-gotten gains. For that, Montanans need to send Tester packing.

  1. evdebs

    This is brilliant! Give the Republicans a veto-proof majority. Then they can do anything they want. Heighten the contradictions! It worked for the communists in Germany after WW II. Citizens United? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

  2. I saw this phenomenon at work back when the Democrats, controlling House and Senate, gave Republicans the power to veto all legislation via the filibuster rule (supported by Tester).

    Meanwhile, in the Democrat-controlled House, there was certainty that nothing would make it through the Senate. This freed the Nancy Pelosi-run house to pass scads of progressive legislation, sealing the image of Democrats as a progressive party. It all died, of course, in the Senate, as she knew it would.

    It is a brilliant system. But there is more. Yes, you can replace Tester, but there is in place a system of rewards and punishments, wiretaps, scams, bribes, honey traps (like Monica), incentives legal and illegal, to keep them in line once elected. Suppose, just for example, that he took advantage of a call girl when he first came to DC. This would be known, as he is watched closely, and he would have been quickly compromised.

    Will a new guy fare any better?

    • lizard19

      imagine a candidate who declared at the outset to only run for one term. a candidate like that, liberated from the fundraising and influence needed for reelection, could minimize corruption and maximize time in office.

      • evdebs

        See “Citizens United.”

        • lizard19

          see Tester and Bullock raise millions in their respective roles as big money fundraisers and tell me how politics will ever change.

          • evdebs

            See 501(c)4s, 527s, and Superpacs. See Donor’s Trust.

            The reactionaries will always immensely outraise the progressives or moderates and they don’t even have to tell us what they’re spending.\

            Citizens United: Deciding a case not before them were five Republican appointees.

      • I think, at the outset, that the vetting process for a candidate, marshaled by the media and party heads, pre-selects people of low caliber. Ideally they come pre-compromised. After two people of low value are nominated, it can play out naturally.

        Suppose, for example, and I don’t know this, that Dirk Adams was a man of high caliber. He posed a threat to the preselected low caliber guy, Walsh, so they did an end-run to get the low-caliber guy in place to win. Voters then do as instructed, imagining they exercise free choice.

        • Dirk Adams was a “high caliber” career banking executive.

          • And you’re a rancher. What’s your point? I know very little about the man, and member that Tester did a lot of false posturing when running in 2006. We always have to use our brains.

            • My point?

              Nader didn’t run against Daines.

            • Somehow, that is a point, I suppose. In your world. I am talking about our political system as it really functions, where elected officials have zero power, but for the sake of domestic tranquility, we pretend they do.

              Laugh about it shout about when you get to choose, every way you look at it you lose. Words written in the 60’s, true then as now.

              • Mark, you don’t vote let alone vote here in MT. But more importantly you never endorse, only criticize our choices.

                Solutions seems to be the furthest thing from your mind.

              • Again, for the umpteenth time, I vote on issues of importance, but usually find the people running for office to be not worth the effort.

                I am doing all one person can do, helping people become aware of their real situation, to remove the blinders and help the understand our country as it really exists. This is more, certainly, than you are doing.

              • And again, I lived in Montana for 59 years, own property there, will probably return there if only for summers.

              • See, that’s a bit of a curiosity, Mark. You’ve recently written at your place that (for the umpteenth time) you are enlightened as to how reality works, that we all are not, and added that you have lost faith (hope) that the evil situation we find ourselves in can or will be resolved. You suggest that we could find progress if everyone would just ‘wake up’ (“read” is your strange way of putting ‘agreeing with your view of the way things are’) then perhaps we could overthrow our overlords. You make this strange suggestion always in concert with the argument that the over-grip is too strong and we the sheeple will never break the veil of mental coercion. Stranger still, you ended that post exhorting people to live their lives, and find joy in the living. It made for an interesting read, but raises more questions certainly than it answers.

                Many are now making the argument and science suggesting that the world in general, and certainly in western culture is less violent, more peaceful and happier than it’s ever been. (I’m currently reading Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”.) Outrage can certainly be found in most any individual circumstance, our hysterical media is quick to react to that sad fact, yet you make the statement right here that the illusions we live under keep the civil peace and order. So, isn’t it curious that you go out of your way to destroy the happiness that you claim people need to focus on, and yet you proudly think yourself helpful by doing so? An argument that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you attempt is that accepting your version of ‘the truth’ would actually make people happier. So, what exactly are you doing that is a “help”?

              • Imagine a kingdom where all of the citizens are taught from birth that their happiness and prosperity depends on each day praying before a wall, and offering occasional sacrifices. It’s quite a scene as each day thousands perform their rituals.

                One day I come along, and yell out to the crowd “Hey! It’s just a fucking wall!”

                I know this to be true because I have studied the plans, seen the other side and been to the top, and am sure that it is nothing more than rocks and mortar. Nothing passes into or through the wall. Praying and sacrificing to the wall is just an empty ritual.

                Sure enough, out of the castle appear the intellectuals and professional news readers, and they reassure everyone that the wall is dynamic, and that prayers and sacrifices are heard and transmitted to the councils inside the castles who make important decisions affecting their lives. Books appear on book shelves in the dynamics of wall worship. Group leaders begin to question my sanity, and there’s mumbling about me. Some want me led out of town, maybe in chains. Certainly I should be forced shut up. My words are an annoyance. There is talk of banning me from the city.

                But more importantly, I am told, if I want to address the wall worshipers, I must be part of the wall worship culture. Change can only come from within. Outside voices have no effect. I must pray before the wall for changes in the wall.

                I go home and reflect. I realize that wall worship keeps them happy, but that their lives are otherwise empty, as they have no voice in how their lives are run. Further, I realize that if they understand they have no voice, they won’t be as happy as they are now.

                It’s a quandary. Like life.

                PS: Any study on violence in Western culture that does not include the immense violence we visit on other cultures is deluded.

              • That still avoids a discussion of your mixed values. It is only an assumption that lives not yours are “empty of meaning” beyond worship of a wall. And you should read Pinker …

              • I can easily make a judgement on emptiness and meaning based on what I know of the purpose of our political structure. Of course our leaders want the public happy and under control. Of course, if people,realized that elections were just a fucking wall, they’d be unhappy. I don’t need to trouble myself over values, mine and theirs, to love my own life and be glad I am not part of theirs.

                I’ll put Pinker in line. I am currently reading a book on Buddhism as a favor to a cousin. Yeesh.

              • lizard19

                Mark, I sometimes grimace with how you choose to articulate a perspective I mostly agree with. I hope I don’t come off as loudly self-assured as you sometimes do. Rob isn’t wrong, there is definitely data backing his claims. if it wasn’t for the media’s if it bleeds it leads sensationalist amplification of bad news then we might look around and see how a paradigm shift is actually possible.

                one piece of data came out on MSNBC that’s stuck with me, and it was how intermarriage rates between Muslims and Non-Muslims are going up. the guest gave that as a positive indicator of social integration. I only bring that up because I am hopeful the younger generation is going to be a positive catalyst in a lot of ways, like rendering obsolete antiquated social constructs around religious dogma and and sexual orientation.

              • I am so happy to have you disagree with me and try to set me straight, for no other reason than so others know you’re in no way in my camp, that we rarely communicate, and you like to keep arm’s length along with the rest. What you write here daily is insightful and yours, all yours.

                Regarding the state of consciousness out there, if there are pockets of activity that are having an effect, I am not aware of them. I’d like to be. Intermarriage, Muslims and Christians is nice, but the whole conflict was artificial anyway, so intermarriage is probably just a natural trend that was going on anyway. But I don’t know.

                Here in Colorado I want to be active in bringing single payer in, and every avenue is through the election/legislation system, which cannot be won. That is the wall. And these are the activists. The overall state of consciousness is that we can only be effective in electing someone to office, as if once elected that person is a free agent. Just to get elected requires sale of one soul, and to stay in office yet another.

                We can accomplish great things if we forget about the wall.

              • lizard19

                I’m in no way in your camp? did you not read the words “mostly agree”?

                the reason I grimace, Mark, is because your ability to read and write and travel is a product of your privileged status as a retired white male baby boomer. the cringe factor probably stems from the fact I’m also a privileged white male. if there is any point of differentiation it’s that I’ve come to this realization earlier in life and that makes me a bit less critical of those who don’t have the luxury of reading books and searching online for the truth from the comforts of home.

              • I cannot dispute that except this: it was self employment, age 36, and not retirement, that set me free. I am pushing 65 now. Did not see freedom coming, never knew that being self employed would also free my mind. I was the last to know.

                Retirement has come long after freedom, and the ability to read and process large volumes of data – yes, I get that people don’t have time and that I am privileged.

                In their situation, just as with me as a tired employed father of five, information falls in their lap without effort via the various electronic pipelines, TV but one. That information should not be trusted. That is all. Time to process and think comes later. For now, trust no one, including me.

              • lizard19

                there are times I don’t even trust myself ;)

              • A good trait I should emulate

  3. evdebs

    See “Citizens United.”

    • JC

      I get that by you repeating “Citizen’s United” that you are declaring game over. Wall Street has won, and elections are meaningless as they just serve to elect the candidates that Wall Street approves of. Politics have become meaningless and hopelessly mired in the drive to seek more and more money.

      In that I agree. And the antidote? Revolution.

      • evdebs

        The chances of us getting a congress that would pass an amendment to overturn Citizens United are extremely slim, in what’s left of my lifetime. However, the Supremes can make more democratic decisions in the future, but not unless the Republican majority on the court changes. I’m hoping that Scalia or Thomas or Alito might drown in their own bile, with tomorrow being a great time to do it. A Republican will only appoint more of the same. The last one to appoint a decent justice was Ford, when he appointed the last Protestant on the court, Stevens.

  4. Turner

    Tester’s position on Keystone XL did it for me. But I was aware of most of his other pro-corporate positions, too. I like the idea of a Democratic Party candidate who will serve only one term.

    But, as evdebs points out, the system has been so corrupted that I doubt anyone but a DINO can be elected.

    • I forget. Did Amanda Curtis support Keystone?

        • Turner

          Curtis supported Keystone, but only with the condition that oil sent through it be refined in America. Tester supports it unconditionally.

          But I agree it was her weakest position. The AFL/CIO had a gun to her head to make her take it.

          • The decision on Keystone was made long ago, and outside the chambers of congress. Their only job is to ratify it. Enough will vote for it, and many others will be allowed to vote against it so long as passage is assured. This preserves the illusion of democracy.

            The recent election outcomes did not affect this. The vote against Keystone in the old congress was for show only.

          • For everyones benefit here the XL pipeline terminates in a Texas refinery, not at a coastal loading dock. The refineries have all been upgraded to handle the additional volumes and the heaviness of the Canadian Crude.

    • evdebs

      The Koch brothers are also investing heavily in judges in many states.

      (See, Citizens United)

      Mary Bottari on January 05, 2015
      WI GOP Targets Respected Chief Justice for Removal
      – See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/node/12700#sthash.4Vv8rE4S.dpuf

      For almost 40 years, Wisconsin’s judges have been working without a mandatory retirement age. But all of a sudden, some state GOP leaders have decided that this is a major problem.

      As the Wisconsin Supreme Court prepares to take up multiple cases involving the “John Doe” criminal investigation of potentially illegal campaign coordination between Governor Scott Walker and the “independent” issue ad groups that have bankrolled the Republican party, Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) has decided that the time has finally come to put senior judges out to pasture, saying that he plans to introduce a bill in early January.

      “75 is the age that I would set, however, there are 132 legislators here. There may be some that would prefer to set that at 77. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s discussion about 78 or 80,” Knudson told Madison’s WKOW TV.

      The focus on the precise age limit has some in the media granting the issue a bizarre legitimacy. Multiple articles have been penned discussing what age limit might impact which judges.

      But everyone in the State Capitol knows what is really going on. This solution in search of a problem is targeting one judge only: Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, one of the most prolific and respected jurists in the United States and the leader of the liberal wing of the court.

      With GOP in charge of the Assembly, the Senate and the Governor’s mansion, Abrahamson is one of the few elected officials remaining with some ability to impede the extreme agenda.

      “Let’s be frank,” says attorney and State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “This is all about consolidating political power and silencing dissent.”

      Savvy Chief Justice a Thorn in the Side of Extremists
      In 1977, the state passed a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to set an age limit for judges, but no legislature felt the need to take the measure up and times have changed. Across the nation, not only are average Americans working longer, but the nation’s jurists are penning some of their most notable decisions late in life. Today on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg and Breyer are all over 75.

      Wisconsin Supreme Court justices are currently elected to ten-year terms, meaning that voters already periodically have a chance to consider whether justices’ ages — not to mention their professional training and experience — are up to the demands of the job.

      Abrahamson, who was born in 1933, was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1976 by Governor Patrick Lucey and has been re-elected three times since then — including in 2009, when she was 75.

      Today, she is 81 and as sharp as a tack. In recent years, as right-wing justices have taken the majority, she has authored a series of important dissents.

      On Wisconsin’s voter ID law, Abrahamson wrote that: “Today the court follows not James Madison — for whom Wisconsin’s capital city is named — but rather Jim Crow, the name typically used to refer to repressive laws used to restrict rights, including the right to vote of African-Americans.”

      On a challenge to the passage of Walker’s Act 10, which overturned Wisconsin’s 50 year tradition of good faith bargaining with public sector workers, she chided the majority for giving in to political pressure, writing that: “Trust and confidence in the integrity of the judicial branch as an institution is critical at all times but especially when a case has high public visibility, is mired in partisan politics, and is emotionally charged . . . There is no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.”

      On December 16, the Court announced that it will hear three cases challenging the ongoing John Doe investigation of dark money [5] groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which CMD was the first to reveal [6]funneled millions of dollars to multiple groups during the 2011-2012 recall campaigns sparked by Walker’s attack on worker rights. With Justice Bradley having recused herself, Justices Abrahamson and Crooks will be the only two justices hearing the case whose own election campaigns did not receive substantial support from groups implicated in the investigation.

      “A National Treasure”
      Abrahamson’s awards and accolades are legion [7]. She is a past president of the National Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts. She received the first Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence, a prestigious award granted only once a year to the nation’s best jurists.

      Knudson hasn’t pointed to any particular problems caused by older judges and he told the press that his proposed legislation “really isn’t about any individual.” But no one is buying it.

      “There is no doubt in my mind that this proposal is a partisan attempt to limit the tenure of Wisconsin’s most honored and recognized justice who is known not just for her intellect, but her unparalleled work product,” says former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. “I have been told that she has penned more decisions and dissents than any justice in the United States and I don’t doubt it. To pretend that she is not up to the task is ludicrous.”

      “She is a trailblazer and a national treasure,” says Nan Aron, President of the Alliance for Justice. “She was the first woman to get tenure at the University of Wisconsin law school, the first woman to sit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and has been a nationally recognized leader in upholding access to justice for all, not just the wealthy and the powerful.”

      Knudson, a veterinarian from North Dakota, is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a recipient of Koch Industries PAC money [8]and a reliable water boy for the Republican leadership. In the critical 2011-2012 legislative session when some 19 ALEC bills become law [9], Knudson voted in lockstep with the Governor on the ALEC agenda 100 percent of the time [10]. He even supported Walker’s omnibus tort bill, which combined several ALEC “models” to make it harder for Wisconsin families to hold corporations accountable for products that injure or kill their parent, spouse, or child. He speaks often to the press about the need to “reform” the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, constructed by a bipartisan group of legislators after Wisconsin’s last campaign finance scandal, which led to the conviction of Senate and Assembly leaders a decade ago.

      Nullifying the Popular Vote
      If the Wisconsin GOP wants to convince people that this was a considered measure above partisan politics, they will allow Abrahamson and other judges whose tenure might be terminated by the bill to serve out their term as other states have done.

      “It would subvert the will of the people if the legislature stepped in and attempted to bar judges from serving beyond an arbitrarily-determined age that is not based on fitness, capacity, or any other objective criteria. In the case of the Chief Justice, the people knew how old she was when they last re-elected her and deemed her fit for another term,” said Susan Crawford of Cullen Weston Pines and Bach LLP, a firm that frequently appears before the Supreme Court.

      “The real question is whether the legislative proposals can retroactively nullify the popular vote of the people who elected a chief justice and justices for 10-year terms. To suggest that the Legislature can or should adopt either measure appears to elevate politics over law,” said Wisconsin Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a statement.

      Another proposal making the rounds this week also targets the Chief Justice. State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) is circulating a constitutional amendment to end the seniority system that determines who is the head of the court. Tiffany, best known for paving the way for a massive mine desired by the out-of-state mining firm Gogebec Taconite (which was revealed to have secretly funneled $700,000 to Wisconsin Club for Growth [11] in the John Doe investigation), wants the leader of the court to be chosen by vote of the majority.

      While the GOP ponders its best avenue of attack, Abrahamson just keeps on working, most recently asking important questions [12] about how the Court can be expected to resolve the wide-ranging set of state and federal issues presented by the dark money groups at the center of the closed-door John Doe probe without a full, factual record and with many of the key documents under seal and inaccessible to the public or even certain litigants in the case.

      “The public should, to the extent possible, be given access to documents that are the bases of the cases, as well as to the briefs (and appendices) filed in this court, to the oral arguments, and to the opinion(s) of this court. The court’s order does not give adequate consideration to the public nature of the parties’ arguments and the opinion(s) of this court. These issues may be down the road a piece, but now is the time to think about the road we are constructing and where it will ultimately lead,” she wrote.

      Precisely the transparency and thoughtful scrutiny the parties to the case and their allies in the political arena are seeking to avoid.


  5. Craig Moore

    You overlook the Schumer – Tester connection. Schumer taught Tester the ropes on raising Wall Street campaign cash. The “payback” came to the surface with Tester supporting protection efforts for card-swipe fees.

    Lizard, with the demands upon your time being a father, ACLU demands, and law school studies, how do you find the time to write this stuff?

  6. larry kurtz

    Mark’s legislature is considering a personhood bill and his new Senator wants to end civil rights for women. The GOP doesn’t give one shit about any one of us.

    liz: this post is just mean-spirited click bait and exists just to stroke your mentor, Tokarski.

    Tester will vote to sustain the president’s KXL veto if need be.

    • I don’t know how to get this across other than to ask you to read. The underlying purpose of all of the debates in the legislature is to polarize us. Neither side has the ability to set the agenda. Power lies elsewhere.

      So a personhood bill is just wedge politics, there to absorb you, define your friends and enmities, but otherwise go nowhere.

  7. evdebs

    I have a very progressive friend from Wasilla, Alaska who was the progressive Governor’s chief of staff in the ’40s, when she was in her late teens. She was secretary to the Alaska Constitutional Convention in the ’50s. She served a term in the state house in the ’80s.

    I told her that I’d sent campaign contributions to Bernie Sanders.

    After he was elected, in 1990, she called me out in the boondocks to express her amazement. She didn’t know that a democratcic Socialist could get elected (though Ron Dellums was a Democratic Socialist and Vito Marcantonio, who was defeated 50 years before Bernie ran, was first elected in 1944, on the American Labor Party ticket).

    Montana is not Vermont (or Berkeley/Oakland), but it did elect Jeannette Rankin, twice, in 1916 and 1940, a progressive running as a Republican. I was fortunate to have met her in 1967 at an anti-war march I’d helped to organize.

    Citizens United has likely put an end to democracy in the U.S. A constitutional amendment can easily be stopped in Congress.

    Five Republican Supreme Court justices. Just like Bush v. Gore.

    Remember that.

    • evdebs

      From the Daily Kos, minutes ago:

      It seems Senator Sanders knows how to mess royally with the Republicans.

      He’s introduced an amendment to the legislation that would pass the Keystone XL Pipeline. The amendment reads thusly:

      “It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that—
      (1) climate change is real;

      (2) climate change is caused by human activities;

      (3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world;

      (4) a brief window of opportunity exists before the United States and the entire planet suffer irreparable harm; and

      (5) it is imperative that the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as rapidly as possible.”

      How does this screw the Republicans? If they refuse to pass the bill with the amendment, they burn all those constituents who view the pipeline as a jobs and money maker, all over ideology. If they pass it…they burn their entire anti-environmental stand.

      The amendment is being debated as you read this.

      Catch 22 anyone! What a brilliant man Bernie is!!!!!

  8. My question speaks to the creditability of the entire scientific community.

    Many proclaimed warming temps. When that was debunked they changed the narrative to “climate change”.

      • The magazine New Scientist has devoted a special issue to the “Age of Denial,” including a lot of examples of climate deniers’ efforts to distort and attack climate science.

        DeSmogBlog’s own Richard Littlemore has an essay in the issue entitled “Living in denial: How corporations manufacture doubt,” which discusses how polluting industries have followed the tobacco playbook in order to confuse the public about climate change.

        Littlemore writes:
        “The doubt industry has ballooned in the past two decades. There are now scores of think tanks pushing dubious and confusing policy positions, and dozens of phoney grass-roots organisations created to make those positions appear to have legitimate following.”

        Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and columnist for Scientific American, explains the difference between a skeptic and a denier in his piece titled “When a sceptic isn’t a sceptic,” noting that:

        “A climate denier has a position staked out in advance, and sorts through the data employing “confirmation bias” – the tendency to look for and find confirmatory evidence for pre-existing beliefs and ignore or dismiss the rest. …

        Science is scepticism and good scientists are sceptical.

        Denial is different. It is the automatic gainsaying of a claim regardless of the evidence for it – sometimes even in the teeth of evidence. Denialism is typically driven by ideology or religious belief, where the commitment to the belief takes precedence over the evidence. Belief comes first, reasons for belief follow, and those reasons are winnowed to ensure that the belief survives intact.”

        New Scientist correspondent Jim Giles notes in his piece “Unleashing a lie,” that is very difficult to counter lies once they appear in print:

        “Once released into the wild, erroneous statements follow predictable routes into acceptance or obscurity, driven by well-known psychological processes.”

        He also discusses confirmation bias, “the natural tendency to seek out and believe evidence that fits with our preconceived ideas while ignoring or dismissing the rest.”

        Interestingly, Giles notes that forcing corrections doesn’t always solve the problem, noting that “attempts to tackle denial can end up entrenching it.”

        Michael Shermer closes out the issue with “The truth is our only weapon,” a piece that raises the important question of what to do “where scepticism morphs into denialism” and you encounter those “who, after their claim has been fully discussed and thoroughly debunked, continue to make the claim anyway?”

        Shermer says that, on balance, it is important to keep correcting deniers’ lies.

        “Those who are in possession of the facts have a duty to stand up to the deniers with a full-throated debunking repeated often and everywhere until they too go the way of the dinosaurs.”

        Check out the web version of “Age of Denial” issue at the New Scientist.

    • Steve W

      Swede, you don’t garden. At least I assume you don’t. If you did you would know the climate is changing.

      • Craig Moore

        Click to access Global-Warming-2014-Berkeley-Earth-Newsletter.pdf

        1. The global surface temperature average for 2014 was nominally the warmest since the global instrumental record began in 1850; however, within the margin of’error, it’s tied with 2005 and 2010 and so we can’t be certain it set a new record.

        2. For the land, 2014 was nominally the 4th warmest year since 1753

        3. For the sea, 2014 was the warmest year on record since 1850

        4. For the contiguous United States, 2014 ranked nominally as the 38th warmest year on record since 1850…

        The margin of uncertainty we achieved was remarkably small (0.05C with 95% confidence).This was achieved, in part, by the inclusion of data from over 30,000 temperature stations, and by the use of optimized statistical methods. Even so, the highest year could not be distinguished. That is, of course, an indication that the Earth’s average temperature for the last decade has changed very little.

        • Turner

          Climate Depot is a denialist lobbying group formed by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, an organization funded by a number of corporations including Exxon and Chevron as well as some right-wing foundations.

          They package up petroleum industry bullshit and send it off to the gullible, poorly educated people like Big Swede.

          • And your scientists are also on the take.

            Answer this T. When Greenland was green was that caused by man?

            • evdebs

              No, B.D.S. The Medieval Warm Period was largely confined to the Northern Hemisphere and was somewhat cooler than what we are experiencing today. You’ve taken the position of the 3% of denialist “scientists” who have been bought off by the Kochs. You’ve done so for free, however. There’s got to be a name for that.

              • Greenland aside. Now explain dinosaur bones and fern forests in extreme northern and southern parallels.

              • Within a 6,000 year time frame?

              • Jesus rode a dinosaur.

              • B.D.S. Abraham Ortelius in 1596 conceived the theory of continental drift. That has been superceded by plate tectonics. Somehow you missed all that.

              • This just breaking. NASA just now thinks they’re only 38% right that 2014 was the hottest yr. on record.

                “The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true…

                The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.

                Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.”

  9. larry kurtz

    Sorry, liz; probably off-topic: how many commenters here are women? Seems like a hostile environment for non-male readers while other Montana fora are more hospitable.

  10. larry kurtz

    Tester and Daines plan to block the Powder River Training Complex expansion with amendments in the KXL package the White House has promised to veto.

  11. Eric

    Tester is obviously worried that he’ll have to go back to being a failing farmer, because lately he’s been getting in front of the cameras for anything he can.

    He knows that with no Senate control in play next cycle that he won’t have $10 million bucks to spend, and that he need to remake himself from Harry’s pawn to Max Jr.

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