Another Kabuki Dance

This video, and no doubt others like it, is making the rounds on Facebook, the current and most widely used propaganda outlet for not only politicians, but hucksters of every stripe. I suggested to the Democrat that put it up that if he cannot detect fake outrage here, his right to vote should be rescinded. He suggested that I limit my criticism to “your own page,” an indication that he has unfollowed me. For a Democrat in Montana, criticism of Tester is like farting in church.

It is easy to see from the backdrop above, sound-absorbing panels with cheesy posters featuring Tester’s home state of Montana on them, that he is in a studio. That means that everything, including the paper bill he uses, is a prop. I imagine that he is looking at either a Teleprompter, or cue cards. His voice is perhaps a third higher in octave than normal, indicating some serious lying going on, like a kid saying “I didn’t eat those cookies, Mom! Honest! I didn’t!”

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Something so obvious should not be ignored so often

From Huffington Post:

Starkly different views on poverty and inequality rose to the fore again on Wednesday as Democrats in the Senate were unable to muster the supermajority of 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster of a proposal to raise the incomes of the working poor by lifting the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Left unsaid: The need for 60 votes is a requirement put there by the Democrats, who then complain about it.
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PS: The following four senators all voted “yes” on this proposal: Jon Tester, D-MT; John Walsh, D-MT, Michael Bennet, D-CO, and Mark Udall, D-CO.

I am not familiar with Udall other than knowing some of his family history, which is favorable. But the other three votes are “cloaked” – it is important to understand this if you want to understand American politics. The Democrats created a false barrier, the filibuster, that allows them to cast false votes that have no impact. Tester, Walsh and Bennet are Republicans who ran as Democrats on the theory that the best way to control the opposition is to lead the opposition.

If there were a real vote on raising the minimum wage, and if their votes mattered, I assure you, these three poseurs would vote “No!” (Yes, they would put an exclamation point by their vote.)

Breaking news! This just in! This just in! Jon Tester, John Walsh in Crow Agency! Their faces show concern! Cameras happen to be there to catch it!

My goodness! Look - just look! - at the concern on their faces. It will go away when the cameras leave.
My goodness! Look – just look! – at the concern on their faces. It will go away when the cameras leave.
Back when Marc Racicot was governor of Montana, Libby and cancer were beeping on public radar. Since Racicot was from that area, he was thought to have special concerns.

He didn’t care about it of course, not to single him out. It was a big complicated issue, and the appearance of an unusually high occurrence of asbestos-related cancers in the town threatened bankruptcy to WR Grace and Company. That was the problem. The story (naturally) was exposed by non-Montana newspaper (Seattle PI), just as all scandals involving Montana politicians usually appear elsewhere before being reported here, and only reluctantly.
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Tester goes peacenik on us … eesh!

Why do we only see head shots of this guy?
Why do we only see head shots of this guy?
This is the sort of thing that drives me absolutely batty. Here are the opening lines from the linked story:

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has joined Montana Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) in saying that will oppose proposed military action against Syria.

Tester released a statement on Thursday afternoon explaining his decision to vote against President Obama’s proposal to use force in the light of the recent use of chemical weapons in the Middle Eastern country’s civil war.

“The use of chemical weapons is deplorable. After weighing the facts and listening to Montanans, I’m convinced a military strike at this time will only make the situation worse. The best solution here is to keep putting international pressure on Syria to give up its chemical weapons.”

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Tester does the Baucus shuffle on Bill Maher’s Real Time

Not shown:" Klieg lights, staff putting dirt on jacket,  cameras, or the numerous retakes to get that homey image just right. Barn position is critical, as lines must lead our eyes to our man. The chimney is some kind of weird crown. The camera angle is upward.
Not shown: Klieg lights, staff putting dirt on jacket, cameras, or the numerous retakes to get that homey image just right. Barn position is critical, as lines must lead our eyes to our man. The chimney is some kind of weird crown. The camera angle is upward.
Montana Senator Jon Tester was a guest on Bill Maher’s Real Time recently, and Maher, though fairly clueless himself, asked some questions that Tester is not used to answering. One was about farm subsidies, to which Tester answered that he was against them for large corporations. This roughly translates to mean that he wants to keep his own, which he feels is justified. I doubt that’s ever been raised by a Montana journalist, but I am just guessing.

After the show there was an overtime segment in which Maher takes questions from viewers via the Internet. I recorded it below just to highlight the lightweight status of Bill Maher, who usually only finds out after a guest leaves that s/he lied or dissembled. In this case, Maher could easily have confronted Tester with the fact that he was a beneficiary of Citizens United, and owed his reelection to dark money, and is doing the Baucus shuffle, claiming not to know its origin.
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Dark money

 Dark money reminded us of who he is.
Dark money reminded us of who he is.
Matt Koehler is circulating Dark Money Helped Democrats Hold a Key Senate Seat, an article from Pro Publica written by Kim Barker. It is a good overview of politics in the post-Citizens United era.

A few thoughts after reading it:

  • American politics was already corrupt beyond repair, with two big-money parties freezing out every reform effort. The ability to corrupt us even further is a remarkable achievement.
  • Citizens United was handed down in 2010. In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama criticized the ruling as Sam Alito looked on in disgust (never to return for the annual theater production). Since that time, Obama has done exactly nothing about it – no bully pulpit, no bearing down on congress or stumping to help ground-level reform efforts. What stops him from leading? Does he fear dark money would cost him his office? Maybe he is just insincere. In either case, he is worthless.
  • The hypocrisy of Montana Democrats, who were furious when gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill received a similar, but smaller, influx, is illuminating. Says Tester (in a Baucus-like moment of dissembly), “We had no control over what they were saying. But by the same token, I think probably in the end if you look at it, they were helpful.” Later, “But it was important…We had to remind people of who I am.”
  • Finally, Barker insists on describing the cash influx in the wake of CU as hailing from “liberal” and “conservative” sources. I am parroting someone, and I do not know who, but in politics there are no ideologies. Only interests. The only reason that big money is invested in small people is that they return even bigger money. If Barker were to set aside such notions, she would add another level of insight to her already good work.