KlanersBy Peter Galuszka

I was looking through a some old clips today and spotted this Golden Oldie that ran in the Jan. 30, 2000 edition of BusinessWeek magazine where I worked for about 15 years. Bloomberg now owns rights to it and I hope they don’t mind me re-running it.

Mindful of the lofty rhetoric one reads on this blog about being Southern and symbols, I thought this might be an interesting read about how nothing is sacred. Not the Confederate Flag. Not even Stonewall Jackson.

It also shows how little things change. The flag and statues of Confederate generals are still flashpoint issues and people like GOP presidential candidate hopeful Donald Trump are running around making offensive statements about Mexican immigrants. (For the record, the late U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia had been a Klan member early in his life and he later renounced his membership).

The Ku Klux Klan rally I covered was on Nov. 6, 1999.

Here goes:

Letter From West Virginia

The High Price of a Klan Rally

Studying me solemnly from across his desk, Thomas A. Keeley sighs and says in his West Virginia twang: “I have to take care of my people.” I kid Tom that he sounds like the sheriff who was battling coal-company thugs in the 1988 movie Matewan. Tom grins. He puts up with me, since we go back 35 years–to grade school here in Clarksburg, a town of 18,000 nestled in the hills of central West Virginia. Today, Tom, as president of the Harrison County Commission, is the county’s top elected official, and I’ve come to find out how he intends to take care of “his people” in what could be one of the biggest crises Clarksburg has ever faced.

In two days, the Knights of the White Kamellia, one of 55 units of the Ku Klux Klan, will hold a rally on the front steps of the Harrison County Courthouse in downtown Clarksburg. The Klan picked the spot because of its dramatic statue of Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, born in Clarksburg in 1824. The Klan figures that Stonewall, riding north against the Yankees, will make a dandy prop for its November rally. So will the 70 state troopers, city police, and county deputies who will be providing the security. The Klan believes that the police presence not only will make it appear to be an oppressed group but will also increase the media coverage.

The city-county expense for the Clarksburg rally will be about $50,000–pin money compared with what 40 cities spent in 1999 hosting the Klan. Security at Cleveland’s August rally ran $600,000, although only 21 Klansmen showed up. But Harrison County is in the heart of the Appalachian poverty belt, and it desperately needs the money for other things. The hamlet of Marshville, for example, badly needs help, since its groundwater has been polluted by coal mines. “It’s costing us a lot of money to accommodate a bunch of white-trash bigots, and you can quote me on that,” says Tom, leaning back in his rumpled suit.

But he doesn’t have much choice. Not only is the Klan making noise, but a far more dangerous ultra-right-wing group is also active locally: the Mountaineer Militia, a cabal of heavily armed survivalists ready to fight what they consider excessive federal power. Militia members from the Clarksburg area hatched an Oklahoma City-style plot in 1996 to bomb the new $200 million FBI fingerprinting center in Clarksburg. The installation employs 3,000. After the FBI infiltrated the group, five men were convicted or pleaded guilty to explosives charges; one was convicted of selling blueprints of the center.

IDENTITY CRISIS. Taking a cue from New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has also had to deal with a Klan demonstration, Tom is forbidding the wearing of masks at the rally, figuring that fewer Klansmen will show up if they are not able to keep their identity secret. At this point, nobody is sure who they are. The only known Klansman is Cletus Norris, who wrote Tom the letter announcing the rally, using a post office box in Grafton, 20 miles to the east. Norris is a former road worker, once employed by the city. The next day, as I drive to Grafton in search of Norris, I try to recall if the Klan had been active when I lived here back in the 1960s.

In the Deep South at that time, the Klan was bombing black churches and killing civil-rights workers. But from what I remember, not much happened here. Besides, Klansmen in these parts traditionally weren’t so much antiblack (there were few blacks here) as anti-Catholic. That was in reaction to the Italian immigrants who streamed into the area in the 1800s to build the Baltimore & Ohio’s main line to St. Louis, taking jobs away from Protestant backwoods types. The animosity was resolved naturally over the years as boy met girl and both defied ethnic hostility. Today, largely due to intermarriage, 40% of local folk are of Italian descent.

As luck would have it, driving down a Grafton street, I spot a parked gray Dodge pickup with bumper stickers bearing Confederate flags and the slogan, “Racial Purity Equals American Security.” Bingo! I walk up the crumbling concrete stairs to a yellow clapboard house and knock on the door. A slim man with a reddish-blond beard answers. “I am the Grand Dragon,” confirms Cletus Norris. He invites me to sit in the warm autumn sun on the front porch of his parents’ house. The experience is unnerving because for an hour, this 33-year-old is talking softly, pleasantly, almost seductively, but is expounding truly hateful ideas. At one point, Norris asks gently, “You aren’t Jewish, are you?” I reply: “No, but I am Catholic.” Norris says: “That’s O.K.”

A Klansman for five years, Norris claims his group is peaceful and interested only in protecting white rights. “Our rally,” Norris reassures me, “will set a lot of minds at ease. They’ll listen to us and see that we’re just normal Christian men.” Their agenda? “By the year 2040, we will be outnumbered by the combined nonwhite races of this country, and whites won’t get a fair shake.” The message is spreading through cyberspace. “We have some people in Europe and Australia, thanks to the Internet,” he says, as he hushes a dog barking inside the house. Norris insists he doesn’t hate blacks, only “race-mixing.” As for Mexicans, the border to the south should be closed. And Jews? “Christ didn’t have one good thing to say about the Jews.”

Later, I contact Mark Potok, editor of The Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery (Ala.) nonprofit that tracks hate groups. He says Klan membership is static at about 5,000, but that 200,000 belong to other hate groups: Membership in those groups is increasing 25% a year.

PEPPER GAS. The following day–rally day–the police are nervous. Clarksburg looks as if it’s occupied by an invading army. Police vehicles include a bomb disposal truck. There are SWAT teams wearing black Wehrmacht-style helmets and face masks. “If things really get out of hand,” says policeman J.P. Walker says at a press briefing, “you’ll hear a siren, and then you’ve got 10 seconds until the pepper gas goes off.” The rally site has three fenced-in pens–one for Klan supporters, one for the press, and one for protesters. Participants must go through detectors, and attendees can’t bring in anything more than a car key.

Right on time, Norris, head up and confident-looking, dressed in white robe, leads the Klan parade out of the courthouse onto the front plaza, right past Stonewall. He is followed by eight Klansmen and two Klanswomen in brightly colored robes and hoods–no masks. About 150 protesters and 20 supporters shout insults at each other. “This country will go down the tubes,” shouts Norris, but he is barely heard above the noise because Tom won’t allow loudspeakers. When a rumor sweeps the crowd that one Klanswoman is a local English teacher (which turns out to be false), she yells good-naturedly: “There’ll be a test Monday morning.”

After two hours without incident and only one arrest–for disorderly conduct–the Klanspeople are escorted to a city parking lot, where they get into three cars, with Missouri, Ohio, and Virginia plates. Norris announces that a rally the next day in Fairmont, 20 miles north, has been canceled. Is that because the mayor refuses to provide security, I ask? “No, we just don’t want to make a nuisance of ourselves,” Norris says. The irony of that is not lost on one police officer. As he waves to the departing caravan, he mutters: “Goodbye, you sons of bitches–and to think I had seats on the 50-yard line at the West Virginia-Virginia Tech game today.”

By Peter Galuszka; Edited by Sandra Dallas

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  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    If the Kluckers and related group had 200,000 members in 1999 and were increasing by 25 percent per year, there would be about 5 million now, right? And this year they would all be voting for Trump.

    You did the best thing that could be done – you quoted them accurately and let the readers conclude for themselves how pathetic they were.

  2. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Dear Peter,

    I don’t disagree with your revulsion with the Klan, but, yes, BUT, are you really surprised that this is happening, that some white people, especially in the working class, are joining far right groups? Government at all levels aid business in importing tens of millions of aliens to break unions, reduce wages and increase the labor pool, while increasing the demand, and costs, for real property, thus raising rents, and, oh, and changing the demographics of the country? Basically, the government is promoting an invasion of our country, on behalf of big business, hence the Republican Party’s complicity, in spite of the rhetoric we have heard at times. They want it. They just don’t want to be SEEN by their voters as wanting it. The other large beneficiaries are “minority leaders” who deliver votes and large bureaucracies that need more clients to justify their budgets. There is also the environmental damage importing tens of millions more immigrants will do. Even a powerful, if vulgar, billionaire like Donald Trump is the subject of economic sanctions because he correctly notes that criminal illegals, yes, it more than a redundancy, are being set loose by the government to prey on the citizens. Why is that? Is it because of the power of the immigrants themselves? No! It is because of the businesses and institutions that have tied their growth plans to their continued inflow. That is why Donald Trump is being pillioried. It is this “money power” as Jeffersonians called it in the 19th century that is not so much “offended”, as feeling threatened by the negative response of ordinary Americans, including Blacks and some Hispanics, by the tidal wave of immigration. Yet, it is not the immigrants, individually, who are the gravest problem, but the American businessmen and other leaders who demand that they be brought in, and punish anyone who says “no”. Until responsible, sane civic and business leaders can find the balls to stand up to this lobby, then far-right extremist groups will flourish. As usual, one extreme feeds the other extreme. They validate each other’s existence. While I do not like Trump personally, I am glad that he does have the courage to say what does need saying, and doing.

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I have a completely different view of labor and immigrants. WHy are they here? Because there are jobs available that others already here cannot or will not do. These include dirty, rough work in construction, health care and construction.At the higher end, AMericans schools are not turning out enough math and engineer types so we have special visa programs.
    You lose sight that everyone here, save Native Americans, are immigrants of some types. My German ancestors came here in the 18th century, followed by my Scottish and Austrian-Polish ancestors in the 19th century.
    As far as Mexico goes, Mexican ancestry can trace back much farther than that of Northern and Central European ones, yet the latter group always thinks it is on top and gets to make the rules.
    I always get a chuckle when I think of white, middle-class retirees from the Midwest or Northeast retiring in places like Arizona and then cracking down on brown-skinned people who have actually been there for centuries.

    1. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

      “These include dirty, rough work in construction, health care and construction.”

      Always fun to see this nonsense trotted out for a walk around the yard. “Americans don’t like to do dirty work. They don’t want to get their hands dirty. They don’t like the tough jobs.”

      Now, while it’s true this country was founded by people who were so lazy they’d rather put their fellow man in chains that pick their own crops, American workers are no more or less willing and able than other laborers. In fact, Americans work more than anyone else in the industrialized world.

      However, Americans are not going to work for sub-American wages, nor should we expect them to. Undocumented workers from other countries will, and we should neither expect nor allow them to. That we do – as a nation – is an indictment of our laws and priorities, but not our workers.

    2. Not quite on Arizona. Virtually nobody lived in Arizona one hundred and fifty years ago. It could have been called America’s “Empty Quarter”. In 1860 there were 31M Americans, 6,842 of whom lived in Arizona. By 1870 the population had swelled to 9,658. It broke 100,000 in 1900. Broke 1M in 1960. Stands at just under 6.5M today.

      Other than Hopi and Navajo there have been no established civilizations residing in Arizona for centuries.

      The idea that the 1.9M Hispanics living in Arizona today are direct decedents of the couple of thousand people who lived there in 1860 is beyond absurd.

    3. There are jobs Americans “will not do?” Correction: will not do at the price offered. Offer a high enough price for a job and any number of Americans will do it.

      Unrestricted immigration lowers the wages for these jobs, from ditch digging to engineering.

      “… everyone here, save Native Americans [leftist-speak for Indians], are immigrants of some types.”

      Heck, even the Indians were immigrants, from Asia. And perhaps they were immigrants in Asia, who knows. There’s no known case where people just sprang up out of the ground. “We are a nation of immigrants” is a completely vacuous statement.

      As I point out in my article “Open Borders and Individual Rights” (ARIwatch.com) the Pilgrims were not immigrants of any kind. They came here to take over. When they arrived there was no infrastructure, no government or social system – they started with nothing. Pushing aside any savage Indians that got in the way they created civilization out of wilderness. Instead of immigrants they were *settlers* or *colonists*.

      Furthermore, saying “We are a nation of immigrants” is like saying “We are a nation of animals.” Yes, but any kind of animal, any kind of immigrant? The answer is that we are – or were before the leftists got control of U.S. immigration policy – a nation of Western immigrants.

      The leftists are slowly browning American by using transparently false clichés about lazy whites who are just immigrants too anyway even if 300 years ago.

  4. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    You may have a different view of the cultural effects of these immigrants, Peter, but my points about the economic and political forces demanding that they come, and imposing sanctions on those who oppose them, these things still stand. There is no “free and fair debate” on this subject. The Capitalists and Marxists are colluding in squashing such a debate, because they know that they would lose.

    1. Cville Resident Avatar
      Cville Resident

      This is an interesting debate you two have going.

      I don’t agree with a lot of Roesell’s stated opinions, but he touches on something that is being lost in American debate. To a heck of a lot of people in this country, it feels like everything about political life is “out of their control.” Technology, globalization, worker immigration patterns, finance, judicial review of social policy, etc.

      The average guy is told by both sides (D and R) that “this is how the world now works and you can’t do anything to stop it”…..which seems VERY anti-democratic. Democracy is based on the idea that the voting public can organize and elect candidates to “change” the current condition of the polity. And we have both parties saying, “Sorry, vote however you want, you can’t change these globalization/elite forces.”

      People can laugh at Trump and Sanders….but they’re striking a chord with a lot of these people. They are advocating the idea that somehow our democracy can actually “mean something” and has the capacity to change American society rather than simply saying, “Well, there’s not much we can do no matter how much we disagree with it.”

  5. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Cville Resident. The British Land Planner, Graham Ashworth, who consulted with the PEC in the 1970s said to that august group in the 1970s something about land-use that I think is easily transferrable to the question of the politics, or lack thereof, surrounding “globalization”:
    “Some years ago I can remember actually being asked by an American Planner, ‘Do you believe in existing-trend planning?’ Just think about those words for a moment: Existing-trend planning. To me that means you sit down with a crystal ball and try to guess what’s going to happen and then organize life so that it can happen that way a bit more easily.
    “Well, that is great if what’s going to happen is good; but if what’s going to happen is disastrous and you sit down and work out the way in which you can enable it to happen more speedily and effectively, that really is a counsel of despair, isn’t it? And, it isn’t what I mean by planning.” Likewise, with globalization, including immigration, we are told there is nothing that can be done to stop it, and so, all of our institutions close ranks to make it happen, in spite of the fact that a majority oppose what is happening. Our country has been hijacked by those who see it only as a platform for more growth, and profits for themselves, and those who despise its identity, and seek to destroy it as something basically evil. While Americans, and Southerners, have done evil things, I love my country and my people in spite of these things.

  6. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Excellent points C-Ville.

    Yes, there is a lot of frustration that cuts across many cultural and political lines. Part of the problem is that “globalization” has been pushed by a shadowy bunch from finance, think tanks, international institutions and so on. It’s government by technocrats. Everybody buys into it — Clinton, Bush, Obama, anyone. Party doesn’t matter. It basically says that big corporations, which do not necessarily have “American” interests at heart — will go wherever they want to maximize profits. If their factory jobs goes overseas, American workers are just supposed to shut up and deal with it. One of the less happy memories I had at BusinessWeek was that the New York-based editors, who lived intellectually rich but otherwise sheltered lives, all bought into the “Globalization Is Good” mantra.
    That’s why I took pleasure in Greece’s vote this week. A bunch of bureaucrats from the European Union are telling them they have to tighten their belts, ya ya ya. It’s because of debt and the currency. But who the hell are they? This kind of union has only been around since 1992 because it was the flavor of the year then among the chattering classes. Why does it have to be one currency? Where does Germany, with a completely different set of opportunities and problems, get off telling Greece what to do?

    When I was reporting from Russia after Communism fell, a bunch of bureaucrats from the IMF were calling the shots about belt-tightening and so on. Here the Russian people are just getting rid of the crazy socialist system and they suddenly have a bunch of well-gfed, high income graduate students from INSEAD or Harvard telling them how to live their new lives. No wonder Putin got in power.

    Damn, if American banks $%#k up on bad real estate loans and crash our economy, gee that’s too bad, they get TARP and their CEOs get bonuses.

    But these issues are an entirely different set of worms than hanging on to old Confederate flags.

    1. Why do you consider Obama’s policy of unfettered immigration anything but another form of globalization?

  7. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    I agree with all that you say on globalist bureaucrats and corporations, Peter. Don’t faint! It’s true! ;-)<

    In terms of your original topic of the Klansmen, it's that none of the parties honestly address these issues, but the extremists do, so people join them because there is very little sensible leadership coming from "the better sort." Irony intended, given today's standards of "eliteness."

  8. Cville Resident Avatar
    Cville Resident


    Really great points!

    As to the Confederate flag, I try to be a critical thinker on all issues. I’d argue that while it is different in the sense of war/completely domestic…..it’s also a bit of the same……while the horrific events in Charleston were a rallying cry, from what I’ve read….one of the main factors in Haley’s decision was “economics” and “business recruitment.” Which is just another form of governing for corporate/global interests to “attract” their business.

    Greece is interesting. We’ll see what happens on Sunday. But I don’t think the globalization/elite crowd will not have a clue as to what to do if Greece actually walks. It went under reported b/c of everything that was happening in 08, but Iceland also exercised some sovereignty and didn’t buckle to int’l banking demands.

  9. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Cville, the Republican Party has no soul. Mammon is its god.

  10. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Good discussion going on here.

    George Will today had excellent article in Washington Post. It spoke of Greece but was infused with comments on related ideas such as EU, Globalization, and existing trend planning, ideas implicit within each other.

    See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-greek-tantrum-masquerading-as-governance

    Yes, Cville Resident, I suspect most anything can happen on Greece.

    Perhaps EU’s greatest immediate fear that their failure to act might well ignite an instant humanitarian disaster. One suddenly flares rampant, visible throughout the world, unraveling Greece with unimaginable consequences there and elsewhere.

    1. Cville Resident Avatar
      Cville Resident

      My fears are:

      1. The humanitarian crisis you speak of: I’ve read that Greek weekly GDP dropped by 50% in the past week and that pharmacies are at the breaking point.

      2. Russia. Remember Crimea? Without money, Greece can’t pay an army….something to consider.

      3. ISIS…again, without an army or border enforcement…..what’s to stop a group from making landfall?

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Yes, all of these threat laden possibilities are very real.

        Greece’s Geopolitical importance has reigned since Homer, the crossroads of Europe, Asia, the Middle East.

        Given what’s happening today, those Geopolitical stakes are higher than ever:

        1/ the Russian Bear now pawing at the underside of eastern Europe, after taking Crimea, and eastern parts of Ukraine

        2/ and instability in Middle East from Aden to Turkey (even across much of nearby North Africa now)

        3/ the rise of an extremely aggressive Iran supported by a growing list of regional client states.

        4/ an increasingly threatened and insecure Israel

        5/ the continuing fragility of the Slavic Balkans long dominated by Soviets

        7/ the fact that Greece and Turkey have now become increasingly unreliable members of NATO, two nations critical to 20th century American security.

        6/ the very possibility that a collapsed Greece could fall under Russian control, become a client state, upsetting power balances in all directions, north south east and west,

        (It opens the Mediterranean to Russian sea-power bringing Suez into range, it neutralizes Turkey along with Greece, both long time NATO allies bulwark against Russian and Iran, it opens the Slavic Balkans to a series of threats from the east and south, and could ignite collapse of Middle East.)

        All of this, the threats, and stakes put in play, are huge should Greece Collapse into a failed state. It could trigger WW III.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          These nightmare scenario’s are what keeps the EU at the table feeding Greece, I believe. And those ultimate possibilities become more real as those in the neighborhood see a growing weakness of US power and commitment to use it in the area, even in support of its best friends.

          1. Cville Resident Avatar
            Cville Resident

            Amen. I think people underestimate Greece’s hands…..you’re absolutely correct that these geopolitical concerns are of much greater concern to the EU than a missed payment. At least they should be…

      2. In my opinion, you are looking in the wrong direction. Greece is more or less irrelevant. The real story is the crashing stock market (and, I think, economy) in China.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          I don’t share your views on Greece, but I fear China four ways to Sunday. China is a ticking time bomb with several lit fuses. How those fuses interact is key. That could go many ways, many quite awful for all concerned. When you add in North Korea, whatever happens there, likely will be a sideshow, if not the spark of ignition at the Asian Pacific Rim.

          I also believe that Greece may well be the canary in the mineshaft. We may well be looking at the beginning of the disintegration of the EU, including a vast weakening and instability of southern Mediterranean Europe (including France).

          Thus that southern European rim region will no longer be able to anchor, counter balance, and/or buffer the current and ongoing disintegration of the Middle East, and its outflow north into Europe across the Mediterranean sea or each end of it.

          Here too the Middle East is trending toward violent fragmentation, with great potential to be breaking apart every which way. Left will be an likely an ultimate showdown between whoever might be left standing which is anyone’s guess (Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Iran).

          But you can be sure that Russia will be involved in all of this, and perhaps China too, while the Asian Pacific Rim experiences its own unpredictable but quite likely highly dangerous future.

          1. I buy the canary in the coal mine analogy. However, remember that the reason you bring a canary into a coal mine is because it will die before you do. If the bird’s on its back … hit the road, Jack. Europe can survive without Greece in the EU. However, will the rest of the EU recognize the dead canary for what it is – warning to start running in the opposite direction?

            The canary may have already flatlined and been defibrillated back to life. I understand Germany is conceding on more bailout and Greece is back talking more austerity in the last 12 – 14 hours.

            As for the Euro … it has been a dead man walking since Milton Friedman pronounced its eventual demise back in 1997. Here is part of what he wrote back in 1997:

            ” The drive for the Euro has been motivated by politics not economics. The aim has been to link Germany and France so closely as to make a future European war impossible, and to set the stage for a federal United States of Europe. I believe that adoption of the Euro would have the opposite effect. It would exacerbate political tensions by converting divergent shocks that could have been readily accommodated by exchange rate changes into divisive political issues. Political unity can pave the way for monetary unity. Monetary unity imposed under unfavorable conditions will prove a barrier to the achievement of political unity.”

          2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Don – your quote of Milton Friedman pushes me to read him yet again.

            “Europe can survive without Greece in the EU. However, will the rest of the EU recognize the dead canary for what it is – warning to start running in the opposite direction?”

            That would seem to be the grand question. Logically it should. Logic however does not rule history.

            History suggests that only a grand disaster will turn southern Europe away from its current sinking into the status of failed states that run out of money during a time when their appeal to the kindness of strangers to keep their heads above water fails too.

  11. LarrytheG Avatar

    well not the first rodeo for Greece… and in general I consider Germany the adult.

    and not sure what any of this has to do with the Klan…

    of course I can be pretty thick at times… as well as guilty
    of going far astray on threads!

    but agree with Cville – people do not trust the govt any more – and it’s not just the govt – it’s many long-standing institutions also. And .. worse – some are basically believing what they wish to believe regardless of history, realities, facts or science.

    1. Cville Resident Avatar
      Cville Resident


      That’s why the GOP should realize that Trump could win the nomination. I watched his interview with NBC. Yes, he’s a self-glosser, he’s an egomaniac, but he’s the only one who says things like “America First” and “I’ll deal with Mexico and China”……in other words, he’s the only one who acts like America has actual sovereignty and free will….all the rest of them seem to concede that “global” elements (free trade, illegal immigration, corporate power, corporate driven educational policies, political correctness, global financiers, etc.) are in control. That message, as phony as it may sound to elites, has a real resonance in this country. A lot of people want a guy who’s “America First” and looks out for America’s interest and not global interests.

      I think a Trump candidacy (like this thread) is actually a VERY good thing for this nation (so long as he doesn’t get too clownish). We simply haven’t had a sincere national conversation about globalization. Perhaps a Trump candidacy can make us talk about the pros and cons of these trends and whether we want to be part of such a system.

      1. Lionel Hutz Avatar
        Lionel Hutz

        Tump won’t be the nominee. Heck, Trump won’t even be a candidate in about 100 days. There is absolutely no chance he ever, ever, EVER files the required FEC financial disclosure forms that are due 30 days after officially filing (you can also get two 45-day extensions, for a total of 120 days). Trump’s candidacy has had a set expiration date on it since the moment he announced.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          probably true but not before he’s scared the bejesus out of the other candidates…

          he’s probably helping Bush – who tends to be not as “wild” as some of the others.

          I thought the last slate of GOP for the 2nd term of Obama had a number of both wacko-birds and ego-maniacs…and the process ended up with a fatally-flawed Romney candidacy… he could not even claim some of his signature accomplishments in Massachusetts.

      2. I agree that if Trump can force a dialog on globalization he will have been useful. It is obvious that dialog will not come from the current occupant of the White House, his party or mainstream Republicans. Of course, the Obama apologists (and there are many on this blog) conveniently look the other way when His Majesty, promisor of the most transparent administration in American history, seeks fast track status to negotiate a secret trade agreement that would (from the rumors at least) accelerate globalization.

  12. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    I think that the Republican Establishment would do everything they could to elect a Democrat, if Trump receieved the nomination. It would be like Goldwater in 1964. They did the same thing against Mike Farris when he ran for Lt Governor in the 1990s and also to Ollie North, fielding Marshall Coleman as the designated torpedo. The GOP Establishment is far closer to the Democratic Party than either are to Trump. Pat Buchanan calls the Democrats and Republicans, “two wings of the same bird of prey.” Amen. We get to vote on personalities, but not policies, the two parties are so close together, but this reality is disguised by the “professional wrestling” style bravado that they use against each other. They sound different only because they speak to different voters. But the voters don’t count when it comes to governing. We live in a very vulgar oligarchy.

  13. The Klan in 1999 was a bunch of pathetic, marginalized losers who sought refuge in their whiteness. They are even more pathetic and more marginalized now. If they weren’t so racist, I would almost feel sorry for them. I agree with the commentators above that the Klan and like-minded brethren ares the victims of automation, globalization social breakdown, illegal immigration, cultural change and the scathing contempt of the elite classes, and that their racism is a way to channel their frustration and helpless rage. But their remedy for their ills is totally wrong-headed and self-destructive.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      The problem is that the ever more polarized, ideological and uncivil a society becomes, the more it can threaten to flare up groups of hateful or ideologically driven people whose causes and actions that can then spread among others so disposed, on all sides of an issue.

      Very quickly hate and illusion can join and metastasize, whether its targets be black, white, Jew, Muslim, or a hosts of others who differ.

      These pathologies are always lurking under the surface of most all societies. I fear a discernible trend in ours heading in this direction to an alarming degree, to the point where a very small match might ignite a rampage.

    2. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

      Capitalism. The forces you’re describing as victimizing these people is capitalism. Just go ahead and say it and now that you’ve named it you can address their victimhood.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Interesting. Please explain your assertion – “The forces you’re describing as victimizing these people is capitalism.”

        1. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

          Since capitalism’s only concern is turning a profit…

          Automation: The best worker is the worker you only have to pay once to install. All the surplus value created goes straight to profit and not wages.

          Globalization: The second best thing to a worker you have to buy once is a worker you can pay and protect less than your current workers. If the cost of transportation is less than the savings you get by exploiting workers in countries without labor/environmental/workplace safety laws then it makes total sense to do that.

          Illegal immigration: Same thing as globalization, except you don’t have to travel halfway across the world to get the results. Even better, it’s a pliant workforce that can be kept in constant fear by the threat of deportation either for them or their family should they demand better wages and treatment.

          Culture change: Since capitalism cares only about what is most profitable it has no real loyalty to any culture other than the one that perpetuates it. So if racism guarantees the best market share then racism is what’s going to carry the day. If recognizing the rights of homosexuals gets more money than not doing that then those rights will be recognized. Wal-Mart didn’t decide to stop selling American swastikas because they suddenly realized they were racist, they decided to stop selling them because they became a liability to their profit margin.

          Elite classes: This is one of the things capitalism does incredibly well – define winners and losers. The winners have the money and get to claim elite status and the losers are everyone else and get to be constantly reminded that their lack of status is due to moral failing/outside groups by media sources controlled by the people who have money. That’s why the entire illegal immigration debate is driven by notions of building fences and how supposedly terrible American workers are instead of bringing the hammer down on the employers who pay those workers for coming here.

      2. Most surveys cite Germany as the most capitalist country in the world followed by the United States and … China. Yet Germany has a vibrant and immensely successful on-shore manufacturing industry despite being a country where wages are very high.

        It’s not Capitalism that is ruining America. It is a corrupt government full of elected thieves who willfully siphon money from one part of the economy and give it to the monied interests which constitute their support.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          “It’s not Capitalism that is ruining America. It is a corrupt government full of elected thieves who willfully siphon money from one part of the economy and give it to the monied interests which constitute their support.”

          Bravo to that. Truer words have never been written down.

        2. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

          Do you have a few surveys you’d care to share with us?

          Also, even if I accept Germany’s position as a seat of ubercapitalism – more of which in a second – that means capitalism is batting 1 for 3 in the “treating workers well” category. Those are great numbers for a starting hitter, less so elsewhere.

          Further, I doubt most American capitalists would look at things like the high amount of union participation in the workforce and the lower overall and ratio of CEO:Worker pay in Germany and want to adopt those measures over here so we can get our capitalism to work better. To say nothing of how much time off their workers get, the universal health insurance scheme (which is quite like a version of Obamacare passed by civilized people instead of the American legislative branch) and tuition-free colleges.

          “It’s not Capitalism that is ruining America.”

          I didn’t say capitalism was ruining America, I said it was the root cause of the worker frustrations Jim mentioned.

          1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Capitalism is the greatest generator of wealth for mankind in world history. No other system come close, both in terms of productivity and in lifting the boats of all people.

            When capitalism is combined with some form of representative government ruled by law (not men), the economic results generated by this fortuitous combination for citizens boogie the mind. The second half of the 2oth century for example.

            What thwarts capitalism and representative government, and the proper regulation of both systems to best serve citizens, is the inherent fallen nature of man. Hence the need for a continuous and on going struggle against man’s worst Angels – like for example Madison’s remarkable checks and balances formulas.

  14. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” That’s why the GOP should realize that Trump could win the nomination.’

    I think if Trump were discovered to be a stalking horse to out-pander the right on populist issues – I’d not be shocked.

    He’s taken all these fairly meaty and significant issues and turned them into comic-bookish sound bites that too many folks today relish and what Trump is saying is actually in the same church, different pew as the KKK with a little Evita Peron/Ross Perot smell to it.

    Folks will notice – he’s stayed far, far away from religion… the evangelicals.. etc.

    @Cville – how would you feel if Trump will run as 3rd party? Do you think he’d help or hurt the GOP or the DEms ?

    People are upset at the loss of jobs – and I do not blame them but the reality is …. the 21st century.. is here and robotization and automation are taking what used to be the default high school grad jobs.

    and we have been in denial about this… we make excuses why we are 25th in the world in education – and .. now we blame NCLB and are opposed to Common Core – despite some principled GOP .. the GOP base – yes the GOP base is largely opposed to BOTH NCLB ..AND COMMON CORE!

    That base wants a simpler world where Americans are exceptional in the world and are due the best jobs… because of American Exceptionalism (sic).

    We no longer – as a nation – know what hard work means in terms of making opportunity pay off.

    We don’t want to take the core-academic subjects in school. We have an abysmal rate at AP for things like Calculus and Science.

    and it’s even worse than that – because the kids not bound for college – they’re basically throw-aways… they put their 12 years in and get flushed.

    and back to the top – Donald Trump is saying all the things that the simple-minded want to hear…

    if you don’t want illegals and automation to take your job – then you need to have the kind of education that will let you write code for a drone that inspects powerlines… or construct a national database of traffic data… or build a GPS that automatically re-routes for traffic tie-ups, etc.

    Think about the kids in school these days. Think about how many of them actually have legitimate 3.5 averages in RIGOROUS subject matter.

    it’s a a joke.

    1. Ross Perot said all the things in the run up to 1992 that people are saying on this blog today. He was vehemently anti-NAFTA, anti-globalization. It was that bloated, half-wit, crony capitalist, con artist Al Gore (you know … the guy who invented the internet) who took out a framed picture of Smoot and Hawley and handed the picture to Ross Perot. He did that to show how stupid Perot was to worry that globalization might have negative consequences for working Americans. Now Gore flies around on a private jet making green from green – kind of a cross between Al Sharpton and Ernest Angley.

      While I’d have to go back and refresh my memory in detail many of Perot’s ideas seemed a lot more in line with Elizabeth Warren than Donald Trump.

      1. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

        “Al Gore (you know … the guy who invented the internet)”

        You know, the guy who never said that…

        “Now Gore flies around on a private jet making green from green…”

        How is Gore’s support of environmentalism connected to NAFTA? It isn’t? You’re just relying on auto-pilot to paint smears for you (“Environmentalists are the real hypocrites because they have big houses because individual behavior is the same as advocating for systemic change.”).

        You had a good point about the Clinton/Gore neoliberal embrace of NAFTA and how glib they were to mock people who rightly pointed out the havoc it was going to wreak on American workers (you, of course, fail to mention that NAFTA was spearheaded by GHWB and supported by a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate, but there’s that principled independent streak showing itself again). It’s a shame you had to go blow it up with baseless ad hominems.

  15. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Putin truly scares me but I don’t think it is wise to get into a lot of goofy Tom Clancy-style scenarios for WWIII involving Greece.

    The fact is, the Russians would have to somehow get through the straits in Turkey to get to Greece or somehow overrun Bulgaria, Romania, etc.

    A more likely scenario would be that Putin’s units in Ukraine or along Russia’s western border get into a tangled with NATO/U.S. forces. Obama has put U.S. heavy weapons and troops in the Baltics and Poland. There are not many, but they are exactly the trigger-style forces we had in Germany during the Cold War.

    Someone shoots at someone, they get hit, and in the confusion you are somehow up to the tactical nuke level. Then you could have WWIII.

    But I can’t see the Russians invading Greece. Why would they want that economic mess? How would they get there? And, don’t forget, Putin’s weakness is the low global price for oil. His economy is tanking because of it and he really can’t afford an extended military effort beyond “little green men” and units in Eastern Ukraine.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      It is remarkable that despite your professional life, you live in a world of illusions.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        pot, kettle, black?


        1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
          Andrew Roesell

          No, LarrytheG! pot, kettle, white!

  16. newmann Avatar

    Trump, seriously? It’s histrionics and nothing more.

    Re Greece,
    If Angela Merckel takes the advice of the 5 prominent economists who wrote her an open letter 2 days ago, then perhaps Greece can stave off disaster. They reminded her that ‘modern Europe was founded on the forgiveness of past debts, which generated a massive contribution to post-war economic growth and peace.’ In the 1950s Germany itself had a cool 60% of its external debt forgiven by the same European countries balking now, which was the basis for its eventual miracle.

    IMO Thomas Piketty is right, fundamentally the only way Greece can come out of this is inflation, a special tax on private wealth, and debt relief…as well as restructuring internal debt…

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      For Americans – Greece is Kabuki Theater for the gloom & doom types.

      Greece is the “Detroit” of world countries and proof positive that OECD type govt is essentially “liberal” and doomed to fail.. Detroit/Greece being the first ones to drop but others surely to follow – one by one util all OECD countries have “failed”.

      Libertarian style Capitalism is the only thing that can save us.


  17. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” very small match might ignite a rampage.”

    as in … Baltimore?

    or did we have something else in mind like a Confederate Style Militia?

    Personally I’d love to see self-styled militia nut jobs cross the line and get thrown in the clink.

    re: Russian invasions.. I agree with Peter… although will say this – Each of the countries that broke off from the USSR has some amount of folks who would like to re-join the USSR and Putin … is quite a calculating fellow.. He will use the Ukraine experience to his advantage.

  18. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Ya gotta love this blog at times you can have five conversations going about one post

  19. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Larryg come to think about it there is a mutually respected religious tie between the greeks and russians

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      you know the discussion today is often about how dysfunctional the middle east is… as you know from your travels.. Europe has had a long history of it’s own challenges. Not that long ago that the world watched in horror at Bosnia.

      and your travels in Kazakhstan had to add to your insights.. I’m sure.

  20. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    And jim. I am glad you feelnthat way about the klan. I was worried you might sell them a sponsorship

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      So you worried that Jim was (or is) or could well prostitute his profession?

      1. Reed!

        Comparing journalism to prostitution is unwarranted, unnecessary and completely inappropriate. What have prostitutes ever done to deserve that?

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          Excellent Observation. It’s a vast undeserved slur on prostitutes. Hence I apologize to them.

  21. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I am very worried that Jim would do just that. Total slut comes to mind.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      oh man, Peter… gasoline on the fire!

    2. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

      1) Way to use the word ‘slut’ as pejorative. Very liberal and very adult of you.

      2) Give it a rest, purity troll. We get it, Jim went out and got Dominion sponsorship because time isn’t free and neither is server space. He did the adult thing and shared that relationship with his readership, which he had no obligation to do. Since then, you’ve rewarded this transparency ALL THE TIME without asking the fundamental question of: has anything about Jim’s POV changed. And the reason you don’t ask it is because the answer is plainly of course not. Dominion didn’t need to buy out James Bacon because he already agrees with them. He already loved to punch hippies before they showed up. He already thought the state power concern was right and the EPA was the boogeyman. The only thing that’s changed is that he’s now getting some kickback for professing views he already held. You’re paid by Style weekly, right? Do we need to rub your face in that every time you criticize the Richmond Times-Dispatch because they’re the competitor of people who pay you? Or are we all mature enough to accept that sometimes we hold opinions outside and before the people who pay us come in to play.

      Jim has long been skeptical of green energy because he’s a capitalist who thinks subsidies for power are wrong now that hydrocarbon power generators have used them to gain market dominance and don’t want to compete with renewable power, probably because he had a run in with some really obnoxious flower children (as if there were any other kind) when he was on Grounds in 196whatever. You (correctly) think the Richmond Times-Dispatch is staffed at the highest level by aristocratic provincials who are incapable of both competently providing leadership to the city of Richmond as they plainly desire and seeing the problems the city has for what they truly are, probably because when you first arrived in Richmond the people here didn’t bow to the clear superiority of your cosmopolitan experiences and had the audacity to actually enjoy living here.

      Both of you have opinions and points of view shaped before and beyond who is signing the checks. Grow up and move on.

  22. John B Avatar

    Andrew: “I think that the Republican Establishment would do everything they could to elect a Democrat, if Trump receieved the nomination. ”

    Were you serious or was this hyperbole?

    BTW, remembering that Greece has about 1/30th the population of USA they are the proverbial tail doing the wagging in EU.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      yeah.. I’d like to know more about that also… I see where FOX has come up with a NEW rule for the debates – that any candidate to qualify for inclusion in the debate has to file financial disclosure forms prior to the debate.

      oh oh….

    2. Andrew Roesell Avatar
      Andrew Roesell

      Yes, I was serious about the GOP establishment. I don’t think they would COME OUT and say so, but they would work behind the scenes to undermine him, just the way they did to Goldwater, Farris, and North.

  23. For those of you considering the “globalization” concern, check out a book by John Perkins titled “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and look into “public-private partnership” tollway construction in the U.S. The “money” only cares about making more money — in any way possible. It doesn’t have loyalty; doesn’t have nationality; doesn’t have morality. It’s only about “money.”

    Today the Pope is trying to get us to realize that commercialism ISN’T the only way. I’m not Catholic, or even a practicing Christian, but I hope people listen.

    1. Cville Resident Avatar
      Cville Resident

      That is a very good book. And I agree with your analysis of its conclusions. It’s why I’m surprised so many “conservatives” support the “free market.” The “free market” is the antithesis of “conservative” if you believe conservatism is about culture, community, values, etc. That book makes it very clear that capitalists could not care less about those values.

  24. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    I agree with LifeontheFallLine. This is a result of global capitalism, as an ideology believing that everything is about dollars, only. If something makes money, they are for it. If not, “it’s fired.” The traditional American nation is being fired, because in the eyes of capitalists, it is “an under-performing asset: Birthrates too low, wages too high, too many environmental regs. Mass immigration of people with higher birthrates (Jeb Bush’s “they’re more fertile remark”), lower wages, more docile, don’t care about self-government since they’re used to be told what to do. The same forces that paved over Northern Virginia want to open America to endless immigration. They care not a fig for beauty, truth, etc, just money and power.

    1. Andrew, Andrew, Andrew …

      If global capitalism was the disease then Germany would have the worst symptoms. It does not. In fact, the country rated “most capitalist” pretty much shows the rest of the world how it can be done.

      As for paving over Northern Virginia – please. What suburbs of large MSAs aren’t “paved over”? Dallas? San Francisco? Melbourne, Australia? Paris?

      Funny thing … the only suburbs of big cities I can think of in the developed world which don’t seem paved over are in … wait for it … Germany.

      1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
        Andrew Roesell

        DonR, leave my scapegoat alone! ;-)< Seriously, you are right, in a sense. However, the way I mean "capitalism" is as an ideology, in other words, what people are doing with a set of beliefs private property, supply and demand, highest and best use, etc, and making them into a set of absolute doctrines that must necessarily override everything else. Germany has been better able to incorporate other factors into their system. Wilhelm Roepke was a theoretician of the German model that is a kind of "social capitalism," if you will. I am not an ideologue, and I do not hate private property, but I reject "capitalism" as an idolatory of wealth and property, an "economic totalitarianism" as Wendell Berry has termed it. Thanks for "messing" with me, DonR!

        1. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”–Alexander Hamilton on human nature and government. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man.

          I think either of the major economic models could probably be made to work – capitalism or socialism.

          I think a number of political systems could be made to work – democracy / republic, monarchy / dictatorship.

          The key is how the economic system and the political system interact.

          Too much political system control and you get the USSR’s 5 year plans and Mao’s Great Leap Forward.

          Too little political system control and you get the tragedy of the commons.

          Today, America’s political system has been coopted by elements within the economic system. The economic system puppeteers allow the political system to take vast mountains of money and distribute it in the hope of getting votes. However, the economic system interferes in the political system’s ability to maintain a fair and level playing field.

          We need the money out of politics and the term limits into the constitutions.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            It’s funny – on one hand people say the political system is not responding to the will of the people and that is encouraging “rebellion” and on the other hand – that money in politics is having too much influence…

            I don’t think the money, influence and lobbying is anything new. I think it was going on way back during Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency:
            “The Crédit Mobilier scandal of 1872 involved the Union Pacific Railroad and the Crédit Mobilier of America construction company in the building of the eastern portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
            The scandal’s origins dated back to the Abraham Lincoln presidency, when the Union Pacific Railroad was chartered in 1864 by the federal government and the associated Crédit Mobilier was established. In 1868, during the Andrew Johnson presidency, Congressman Oakes Ames had distributed Crédit Mobilier shares of stock to other congressmen, in addition to making cash bribes. The story was broken by the New York newspaper, The Sun, during the 1872 presidential campaign, when Ulysses S. Grant was running for re-election. The scandal involved Grant’s Vice President, Schuyler Colfax, and Henry Wilson, a Congressman who Grant selected to replace Colfax during the 1872 Presidential election. The scandal caused widespread public distrust of Congress and the federal government during the Gilded Age.”

            good GAWD – what did it say? “widespread public distrust of Congress and the federal government ” gee willikers ..seems
            like all I’ve heard lately is folks saying the country has “strayed from it’s roots”…

            read on: ” It was a lucrative deal for the congressmen, because they helped themselves by approving federal subsidies for the cost of railroad construction without paying much attention to expenses, enabling railroad builders to make huge profits. When the New York Sun broke the story on the eve of the 1872 election, Speaker of the House James G. Blaine, a Maine Republican implicated in the scandal, set up a congressional committee to investigate.

            The House censured two of its members who were involved in the scandal: Oakes Ames of Massachusetts and James Brooks of New York. But the affair also tarnished the careers of outgoing vice president Schuyler Colfax, incoming vice president Henry Wilson, and Representative James A. Garfield, all of whom were implicated (although Garfield denied the charges and was subsequently elected president).

            what’s new is the speed and scale at which information moves now.

            people are now finding out about things that only inside players knew.. and new info travels at light speed … to everyone…

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        globalization has been going on for a while and it affects most all countries – and it benefits some countries and disadvantages other countries – but especially countries that are not keeping up with 21st century education requirements. Germany is kicking our keisters on education.

        This country is in denial about it despite a litany of CEOs and world rankings, the POTUS – all tell us the same thing – we continue to believe that our 20th century education standards should get us the best of the world economy and the more horrible truth is – we have a substantial number of people who are opposed to education standards like NCLB and COmmon Core.

  25. LarrytheG Avatar

    So I have a question – How come Globalization is only about the impacts in the US?

    Doesn’t globalization also affect other countries both those that benefited from a pre-globalization world – as well as those who now benefit from it?

    There IS a 21st century out there and it has jobs for those who actually have 21st century educations.

    Isn’t this an inevitable evolution from the time when we saw US Steel and textile and furniture jobs leave the US and go overseas?

    people still make a living , making steel, textiles and furniture … just not so much here any more.

    But we have jobs – synchronizing traffic lights, putting up more internet satellites, designing software to do increasingly more things.. of value.

    but we cannot compete for those jobs with 20th century educations and we seem to be in denial about it.

    I do not know what has happened to us – as a people – it’s like we just deny the realities and then revert to blame games.

  26. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    Another power source that no one seems to address are the big private foundations and nonprofits. I’m not talking about the ones that give or use money to rehab houses for poor people, scholarships for kids whose family never went to college, etc. But what about those that fund lobbying, write papers and advocate their view of what environmental or immigration laws should be, and pay executives big bucks. Why do we worry whether a GS13 is paying enough taxes when we allow Henry Ford to use his money tax free some 68 years after he died?

    We need to downsize the private foundations big time.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      You tickle me TMT – there are ALL KINDS of foundations that pursue different agendas.

      and no shortage of organizations like ALEC and Heritage and CATO who basically oppose – even current world-standard OECD type govt… and would take us back to a 3rd world type nation… no public education, no Medicare, no Social Security, and no health care.

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        Larry, you are comparing apples and potatoes. My point was the U.S. should take a look at the tax status of big private foundations and nonprofits that are involved in advocacy, rather than direct charitable work. And, yes, I understand there are foundations and nonprofits that advocate or fund advocacy on all sides of all issues. Why are they all tax exempt when a small business cannot deduct the costs of lobbying its US senators on a bill?

        Then I remain confused as to why organizations cannot advocate against government programs? There are a number that advocate for them and for having more. I say tax them, but let them advocate for whatever they want.

    2. Couldn’t agree more. Letting people like Bill Gates use tax breaks to fund what are essentially alternate government entities is absolutely absurd. There should be a “hard ceiling” on annual tax exemptions for individuals (say $10,000) and corporations (say 1% of revenue). If anybody wants to donate more, fine – pay your taxes and then donate what is left.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        wait! Do you support the Citizens’s United decision – that people are free to spend money to promote free speech?

        I declare.. DECLARE – the twists and turns in this blog sometimes are nothing short of astounding!

        If someone creates a foundation – …. and it lives off on a sustaining endowment – and they can hire all kinds of folks to research and make arguments… that become a part of the public dialogue… why is that bad?

        I do not care for the likes of some like Heritage because I feel they actually promote disinformation but I’d never want them quieted… it’s up to us to be responsible about informing ourselves and not be gullible.

        1. Do I support a Supreme Court decision? I have a very binary lens for that. If the justices interpreted the Constitution then I support their decision. If the justices legislated then I oppose their decision. In the case of Citizens United I believe that the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution. Therefore, I support their ruling. However, I do not support the logic of extending human rights to corporations or any other non-human entities. I believe the Constitution has a flaw. It has had many flaws (slavery, election of US Senators by state legislature, women’s suffrage). No matter. We can amend the Constitution to clarify that corporations are not people and enjoy no right to free speech. But that probably won’t happen despite there being two workable ways to amend the Constitution and an overwhelming interest on the part of Americans to see such an amendment pass. However, the puppet-masters of our political elite do not want that amendment. It would reduce their power and influence. And what the puppet-masters want the puppet-masters get.

        2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          I fully support Citizens United until labor unions and left-leaning foundations are also prohibited from making campaign contributions or spending money on advocacy. Sauce for the goose.

          Let’s have a constitutional amendment that allows only individuals to give campaign contributions subject to a reasonable and indexed limit and limited to candidates they can vote for; no bundling; no PACs; no Super-PACs; and no special exception for media endorsements. But unless and until then, Citizens United is the law of the land.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            I can totally sign on to TMT’s idea and I think
            it can be legislated effectively by requiring immediate and extreme transparency – like within minutes of the donation.

  27. newmann Avatar

    Doesn’t globalization also affect other countries both those that benefited from a pre-globalization world – as well as those who now benefit from it?

    It affects everyone, everywhere in varying degrees. It’s too broad a topic for this post, also there are various kinds of ‘globalization……technological, economic, political, cultural, ideological, social, ecological…. To my mind technology has made possible all of the latter. We decry all the problems the ‘big G’ causes, but reap the benefits everyday. We wouldn’t be having this discussion, using this form of communication without it…

    As a college student I remember many conversations about these problems with classmates from a variety of developing countries. We didn’t call it globalization then however. Nearly all of these students compared the effect of change on the US vs. their countries. Invariably they said that for them change was rapid and occurring at the core and changing their cultures dramatically, whereas in the US it was more marginal, and took place at the edges. To a certain degree their perspective is still true, but the pace has picked up for everyone for better or worse………

  28. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka


    What’s style weekly have to with anything. It is reputable journalism outlet that has won a slew of awards. It reports what the rtd doesn’t. I write for a bunch of outlets if it is any of your business. I also use my real name.

    1. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

      “What’s style weekly have to with anything.”

      Well, like I said: they pay you money and are a competitor with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, an organization you frequently criticize. Since you’re so spun up about who is handing Bacon’s Rebellion money and how it might influence Jim’s decision what and how to cover why can’t you see the same standard applying to you?

      “It is reputable journalism outlet that has won a slew of awards.”

      So is and so has the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

      “It reports what the rtd doesn’t.”

      And the RTD has covered issues that Style hasn’t. No news organization is capable of covering all news. I fail to see the point in this statement.

      “I write for a bunch of outlets if it is any of your business.”

      Someone’s sensitive. I guess standards are only supposed to flow in one direction.

      “I also use my real name.”

      And? I prefer to use a pseudonym, you know, like the authors of The Federalist Papers.

  29. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    You are full of crap. Big difference when a journalist takes Money writing for a newspaper or from a powerful electric utlility. End of discussion

    1. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

      “You are full of crap.”

      Brevity is the soul of wit, so by that metric this was a witty retort. Clever on the other hand…

      “Big difference when a journalist takes Money writing for a newspaper or from a powerful electric utlility.”

      Not really because the fundamental question remains the same: does the money influence inform how you cover and respond to issues where a conflict of interest could seemingly arise. I don’t think it does for either of you because your opinions were formed well before the money entered the equation. The difference between the two of you is that Jim was A) Willing to admit the appearance of a conflict of interest and B) Willing to preemptively cede the question as valid. You seem to operate as if you’re standing on some moral high ground while you childishly call names and insert the non-issue even in posts where it has no connection.

      “End of discussion.”

      Yeah, if I were you I’d want to quit before this got any worse for me, too.

  30. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Btw lufeonethefallime, jim only pays if i get this above 100 comments so keep going. Ok?

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