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    Sunday
    May082016

    The St. Louis Chess Club on the Beeb

    Here, with a hat tip to Marc Beishon. The part about the St. Louis Chess Club begins around 16:48 and is a decent piece, aside from a few comments that make Rex Sinquefield seem a shadowy political figure with questionable motives. (Called by some a "tyrannosaurus rex"..."he pushes a radical free market agenda.")

    The comments about Sinquefield's political preferences are entirely irrelevant to the club and to his philanthropy, and while he may be the biggest donor in Missouri individuals like George Soros have give far more money to left-wing causes. (Not to mention other primarily left-wing donors like Tom Steyer, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg and many more.) As Sinquefield's donations aren't to groups like the Ku Klux Klan, but to ordinary conservative policies and candidates well within the range of mainstream political options in the United States, it's hard to see how this is relevant to the story. It's likely that some of the chess organizations on the East coast are supported by people and have board members who have given money to causes conservatives would find objectionable. So what? If the lefties don't insinuate their politics into the chess organization, there's no reason why conservatives or reporters doing stories on those organizations should do so either. The same should go when the story is about someone who happens to be a conservative in the U.S. - but often doesn't.

    Unnecessary political jibes aside, the piece does a nice job of giving those who haven't visited the St. Louis club and its environs a sense of the place and its atmosphere.

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    Reader Comments (16)

    Funny how perspectives differ Dennis - I found the description of Sinquefield's politics entirely relevant as without it you cannot paint a picture of him, and the link with being raised in a children's home and his view of chess as fostering self-reliance made the picture even more relevant.

    This radio programme is also broadcast on the BBC World Service, and in many countries Sinquefield would be fairly extreme on the right for wanting to abolish income tax

    [DM: *State* income tax, not federal. Everyone pays the latter (provided their income reaches a certain threshold), but there are seven states (or nine, with an asterisk) that don't impose a further income tax on their residents.]

    , and although it wasn't said, his support for say the tax policies in Kansas, which I believe have proven to be pretty disastrous for services such as education

    [DM: Education is a mess in many places in the U.S., but it's unlikely that tax policies are the sole cause, if they are to blame at all. (It should also be said that conservatives' preferred tax policies aren't directly aimed at reducing tax revenues, only tax rates. Lower tax rates increase economic activity, which creates more overall wealth, which can lead to increased tax revenue going to the government.) The money spent per pupil in the U.S. has risen dramatically over the years without any corresponding improvement in outcomes. So it's complicated.]

    , is surely vital for painting a contradictory picture of man who's helping greatly through chess on the one hand but not on the other...

    [DM: But it's not contradictory unless one assumes the truth of certain political and economic views. That's okay when a piece is written for advocacy media, but isn't the BBC supposedly ideologically neutral? Further, even if one labels Sinquefield a conservative - which he is, after all - that can be done without suggesting that he's a shadowy figure with inscrutable motives. I disagree with political liberals on some issues, but assume that we share the vast majority of our basic values, and primarily disagree about the best way to apply those values in the concrete circumstances of the world.]

    This may be mainstream in the US but not elsewhere so much, although our Tories here in the UK would dearly like to follow suit (to use a bridge not a chess metaphor) if they could.

    And it's funny you should mention the Ku Klux Klan, as I see Sinquefield got into trouble for a KKK reference with regard to public education...

    [DM: Funny indeed - I was unaware of that. Of course, he's correctly putting the KKK in a bad light there.]

    May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

    Dennis I commend you for your comments and thoughts on this issue. I come from a different (older) generation where politicizing, non-political activities was extremely rare, except where communist/socialist used it to denigrate anything activity or people they disliked. This annoyingly seems to be the same Marxist playbook stuff (probably unconsciously) where everything must be viewed in light of class struggle.
    Sinquefield has put his time and money into the advancement of USA chess. So far it seems to be working. If it causes other private investment even better. I feel good that our top chess players have a support system and have a chance to make a living playing chess. Should it only be allowed if it was tax payer money, or if benefactor is not conservative? Is it ironic that many of our best players for over 40 years were those fleeing Communist repression so they could play chess without ideology interference.
    BTW did the KKK really have to be dragged into this? Sinquefield does not bring to mind a man whos is a racist, sexist, anti-Semite. In fact he promotes just the opposite.
    (Dennis you do not have to post this. The BBC and the commentator struck a nerve with me, and I was impressed with your stand)

    May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLarry L.

    Thanks for your reply - I know you tend to avoid politics if you can (wisely).

    I have to say, as a journalist myself, there's no way I'd do an item on the St Louis Chess Club without mentioning the politics and background of the founder. I follow US politics fairly closely and yes I am aware that he is opposed to state income tax, not federal tax, but from reading up on him he is an influential figure in what we in Europe see as pretty far right political activity made possible through his wealth. This does make his interest in philanthropy open to scrutiny as the evidence has been for many years that trickle down Reaganomics has never worked and never was intended to. It's moot, as you now have a GOP frontrunner who reckons he can take about 10 trillion out of your federal taxes and replace it with - what?

    [DM: That'a tendentious description - "trickle down" - of what conservative economists have advocated over the years, and which really hasn't been put into practice in any sort of consistent way. As for Trump, he's a liberal populist who has only adopted a very, very few Republican positions, and has done so for approximately the last five minutes. As for discussing Sinquefield, that's fine...in an article on Sinquefield. This is supposed to be about the St. Louis Chess Club. By the way, what do you think the odds are that a mainstream publication would have a story like this: a pro-life author muses about an ardently pro-choice chess patron, curious that she is interested in helping kids even as she supports their pre-natal murder by the millions. That would go over like gangbusters. So let's drop it, please.]

    Anyway, to stick to chess, I have an excellent parallel for you - our very own Jim Slater, who died only last November. He of course helped fund the Fischer-Spassky showdown and was a chess benefactor for some time - he gave Tony Miles a £5,000 prize for being the first UK born GM. But Slater was a notorious financial dealer for whom I believe the term 'asset stripping' was coined, and probably caused untold misery to many workers (rather like Mitt Romney, expect Slater almost went to jail and also went broke).

    [DM: That's also a rather tendentious description of what Romney did with Bain Capital. As for Slater, when I was a kid reading about his contribution to the Fischer-Spassky match there was nothing about "asset stripping" or his being a "notorious financial dealer". He was referred to simply as a financier, and that was appropriate. For an obit, the controversy is worth mentioning, but for the Fischer-Spassky match or his bonus to Miles, not at all - assuming the money wasn't known or at least strongly believed to have come from illicit activities.]

    The point - there are a lot of 'colourful' characters in chess, as we know, and the often complex and contradictory dealings and support are part of the story. On balance, I'd say chess has been the winner, but there are losers elsewhere.

    May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

    Rex is doing a bang up job of making chess in America great again - I wonder if that would fit on a trucker hat?

    [DM: I'm sure he has many great people who could do that. A lot of great people. Many of them. A bunch. He gets letters all the time telling him he's making chess great in the U.S. great again. That's what he hears, anyway. Some people, some terrible people, deny this. Sad.]

    May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Steele

    Here I completely agree with Deennis' view.

    "Lower tax rates increase economic activity, which creates more overall wealth, which can lead to increased tax revenue going to the government."
    For me this sounds completely plausible, but its very hard to argue for less taxes in Europen mainstream. It is plausible, but very hard - if not impossible to prove in a scientific way. And even if we had this scientific proof, then more economic activity not only leads to increased tax revenue, but also to increased income differences. The latter is regarded as a more unfair. Not my view, but hard to argue against.

    [DM: Hard to argue against because so many people assume nowadays that justice implies an equality of outcomes, but this is only one theory of justice among many. (See Nozick, for example, and most of the classical tradition for dissenters.) But my wish wasn't primarily to create a debate on here, but to protest that labeling someone who holds to depict someone as a suspicious, shadowy figure is objectionable (not to mention utterly irrelevant to the story) when his views are well-represented by plenty of mainstream economists past and present.]

    May 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

    "Relevant to the story" is a pretty flexible concept where From Our Own Correspondent is concerned. The show deliberately gives reporters the scope to talk about what interests them, in the hope that it will interest the audience. I was as interested in Rex Sinquefield's personal story as in the social history of St Louis (both were news to me. I'm English). The story is about more than chess, so including a bit of biographical detail worked for me.

    Apart from that, I suspect you're right that there is a tendency at the BBC to be more dubious about right-wing motives than left-wing.

    [DM: The background bit didn't bother me so much; it was more the impression I received that Sinquefield was a somewhat shadowy figure with a "radical" position, when in fact his economic views are - as far as I know - more or less mainstream conservatism. That may be extremely unpopular in the UK (my recollection reading a few chat boards after Margaret Thatcher's death was that a significant percentage of the population probably hated her more than the devil and cancer put together), but in the U.S. it's one of the normal views. Disputed, certainly, but one of the "live options".]

    May 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris Lear

    It's pretty borderline whether the BBC was being too critical or not. Conservative in America = very very conservative in Britain so it's understandable that the BBC would describe his policies as "controversial" and "radical" - from our perspective they are! More dubious is the Tyrannosaurus Rex label but personally I would be rather entertained by having a nickname like that.

    [DM: I agree that the UK is on average to the U.S.'s left, politically speaking, but normal reporting would use the adjectives that apply to the subject's context rather than the reader's, unless otherwise specified. But maybe that's only normal practice here, and there the adjectives are putatively objective.

    P.S. I'd like the T. Rex nickname as well.]

    May 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHamish

    Regardless of his politics or who donates more elsewhere, the shady part of Rex's practice is that he uses his money to dominate his local political scene. He dominates it to the point where state legislatures have had to introduce legislation they didn't support at his request or change their vote because he could fund him out of office and make allies ostracize them for fear of the same.

    [DM: But how is that shady - or at least, how is it shadier than what everyone is doing everywhere, in both parties? I can respect the view that says that there's too much donor money in politics, though I think that trying to block it violates the first amendment. (Or is at least always in danger of doing so.) But there's nothing particularly right-wing or radical about this: it's standard operating procedure on the left as well (Soros and labor unions come immediately to mind here). He has more money than most, but doesn't that just make this a version of the joke whose punchline culminates "we're just haggling about the price"?]

    He bring this stuff up so frequently in various interviews where the topic is u related it gets kind of gross to listen to him.

    [DM: Is "u related"?]

    May 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

    While Sinquefield's support of Chess is laudable, I have to agree with Marc. At least the BBC has the courage to point out such character flaws and like The Guardian, act as counterpoint to the slanted views of the WSJ and [Fox News].

    [DM: (Second part snipped because it's even less relevant.) Giving money isn't a character flaw; it's part of the American political process, heartily engaged in by advocates of all political stripes. The left has at least as many large donors as the right. As for the BBC's "courage", this is comical. There are outlets for the right, and you've successfully identified both of them. (There's also talk radio, but that doesn't claim to be anything other than opinion-based journalism.) On the other side, there's just about everyone else. I'm not claiming that that's good or bad, but it is the way things are. (Incidentally, while the WSJ's opinion pages are conservative, their news division is entirely separate, and doesn't have a rightward slant.)]

    May 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRon Fenton

    U related was a typo of unrelated.

    To response to your question though, I reiterate I didn't mention his politics or party
    He gave a speech to his Chicago (gasp!!) Saying that when you have the kind of money he has, you can dominate local politics to such an extent that you can be the sole kingmaker. He spends literally 100x more money than the next highest donor locally. It ensures no dissenting voice matters. If you don't think that's shady, I can't help you.

    [DM: If you mean you can't persuade me if I don't agree on that point, then maybe. But to say that I can't be "helped" is rather patronizing. At any rate, it doesn't follow from someone's having the loudest voice that it is unfair. For one thing, a group whose individuals are all far less wealthy can band together to compete. Second, it assumes that all politicians are corrupt, and a good system is one where all parties have an equal shot at buying them. Third, what if the loudest and best endowed voice speaks in support of the best causes? (To take a trivial example for the sake of avoiding controversy - I hope! - no one is upset that science education money runs overwhelmingly in favor of those who reject the Flat Earth Theory.)

    This is not to defend Sinquefield on any particulars, but to say that the existence of money in politics is not, or at least need not, be a bad thing. It may be unfortunate for Missourians whose political views are opposed to Sinquefield's that he can outspend them, and it's unfortunate for Missourians (full stop) if he's able to buy politicians who enact policies that harm their polis. But the same goes on in other locales where the other party absolutely dominates, and getting money out of politics disenfranchises the many for the sake of shutting up the few.]

    May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

    You may also be interested in this:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36257742

    May 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterIsh

    Unless Sinquefield's conservative politics start to intrude on his chess activities, I don't really see how they are relevant to anything. Demonizing (or, at the very least, scrutinizing) someone who has done good work for something you're passionate about (chess) simply because they hold different political beliefs than you doesn't advance your cause - it is far more likely to make your cause seem the more extreme.

    Take my beloved Chicago Cubs - they are currently owned by the Ricketts family, a family known for their donations to conservative politics. As long as they keep Wrigley's lights on and help us win a World Series, who gives a flip?

    As an example from chess, take Bobby Fischer. To be clear, I'm not comparing his insanity to any conservative political views - but chess players are able to compartmentalize their admiration for his chess away from his deplorable anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. Should he be whitewashed from the history of chess because he was a lousy human being?

    [DM: Or to add a contemporary figure, Karjakin, whose support of Putin isn't exactly making friends everywhere: https://twitter.com/OlimpiuUrcan/status/729918195620941824]

    May 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

    "Regardless of his politics or who donates more elsewhere, the shady part of Rex's practice is that he uses his money to dominate his local political scene. He dominates it to the point where state legislatures have had to introduce legislation they didn't support at his request or change their vote because he could fund him out of office and make allies ostracize them for fear of the same."

    To me that is the crux of the matter. If you value democracy, grabbing political power using money is obviously morally wrong. That's oligarchy not democracy. Of course there are shades of grey with "donations", but if you hear Rex talking about it, he is very clearly happy with calling the shots in "his" state with no democratic legitimation whatsoever.

    [DM: Money is speech here. When unions and newspapers endorse candidate x or policy y, they are doing the same thing, but hiding behind an organizational banner rather the face of a single person. If you're willing to call unions and newspapers and any other group of any sort that engages in advocacy corrupt, then I'll have some sympathy for the position. Bribes are illegal, and it's not just "anything goes" when it comes to funding candidates here in the U.S. But using money - even lots of it - to support a candidate or a policy is how things get done, both when done by individuals singly and in concert. Further, depending on one's cynicism, it's probably better that it's done in this overt way. At least here one knows who's buttering the bread!]

    What he's actually doing with that power isn't as essential. (And of course from a European perspective American politics are often so absurd that there is not much use discussing anyway. If you're not using the same book, you'll never be on the same page ...)

    May 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPhille

    [If you mean you can't persuade me if I don't agree on that point, then maybe."]

    This is a key issue. If there can be no way to persuade you then by definition, you aren't engaging honestly.

    [DM: Not at all. First, I said "maybe". Second, there may be reasons why one person couldn't persuade another while another person can. One possible reason is that the first persuader's starting points may be too distant from his interlocutor's, while the second person might share enough common ground. A third reason - which doesn't really apply here, but is a valid logical point - is that the person has achieved a level of certainty on the topic such that any evidence offered against it would be less plausible than the initial belief. This would apply, for instance, to beliefs like "1 + 1 = 2", "I exist", or "It seems to me that I'm looking at a computer screen."]

    [At any rate, it doesn't follow from someone's having the loudest voice that it is unfair. For one thing, a group whose individuals are all far less wealthy can band together to compete."]

    I think anyone who looks at wealth distribution graphs would simply get dizzy trying to understand your position here.

    [DM: A fourth reason is that being treated patronizingly makes it very psychologically challenging to seriously listen to an interlocutor. (Cf. also "I can't help you".)]

    Let me reiterate his position. His position is that he wants to completely overwhelm smaller markets in order to bubble his policies up from the bottom. On the national scale he's barely competitive and the beliefs he holds get met with strong resistance. In a small, conservative area, his wealth so completely consumes the market he has no competition. There are only 12 donors in MO who consistently give > 4 figure donations. Rex's money constitutes 99% of the that money. That's how utterly he dominates the "big donors" in his market.

    [DM: I'm not denying that he has much more money than any of his rivals. Perhaps I'm underestimating the difference, but if enough of them band together why can't they make a dent?]

    [Second, it assumes that all politicians are corrupt, and a good system is one where all parties have an equal shot at buying them.]

    Dennis, it is a bedrock principle of the right that the government is corrupt

    [DM: Incorrect. While there are plenty of people on the right - and across the political spectrum, frankly - who are afraid of government's propensity towards corruption (Lord Acton's maxim and all that), that is not a bedrock conservative principle. What is? Limited government. The government has a legitimate role to play in the life of the polis, but gov't decision-making should take place on the most local level (the principle of subsidiarity) and additionally should not be involved in determining the nature of the good life. A fear of corruption is part of the story, but only a part. Even well-meaning, benevolent government, if it oversteps its proper bounds, is a bad thing in the eyes of conservatives. (And for that matter liberals, who in the '70s and '80s were very much pro-privacy and embraced the slogan that the government should "get out of the bedroom".)]

    but at any rate, you're trying to commit me to arguments I never made. it doesn't matter if only a small portion of politicians are corrupt or they are all 100% benevolent. They can't represent us all and that's why my voice matters too. He has eliminated EVERYONES voice.

    [DM: How? Aren't there two parties there? Are both the people he supports and the people he opposes corrupt? Are all the people who vote for his preferred candidates stupid? (And is this a case of you "engaging honestly" with your opponents?) And again, to go back to my main point and away from these rabbit trails, are you happy with all the places where the opposite party has a death grip on the discourse? It is always those on the right who get this treatment in the media.]

    You keep reiterating that speech is money but talk about taking the sophist approach here.

    [DM: This must be more of that "honest engaging" I've heard so much about.]

    That only pertains to the idea that it's legal to donate. It doesn't mean more dollars makes your voice more special. it just happens to be the horrible consequence of that fact.

    [Third, what if the loudest and best endowed voice speaks in support of the best causes? (To take a trivial example for the sake of avoiding controversy - I hope! - no one is upset that science education money runs overwhelmingly in favor of those who reject the Flat Earth Theory.)]

    Let's say you're right. And when Rex leave politics an his vacuum is filled by someone not so perfect? What happens when new ideas can't exist because he's the only one allowed to have idea? This is the whole reason why America is predicated on the idea of NOT entrenching power.

    [DM: I'm not defending his ideas at all. Seriously! Other than knowing that he is, broadly speaking, a conservative and wants to eliminate the state income tax there, I don't know what his positions are. What I am defending is the idea of money as free speech. Not all money is permitted - and I'm fine with that. But helping candidates and ideas have more advertising time is something I'm fine with, even when it's my ox that's being gored. (As it often is.) So if political money in Missouri ends up flowing from the left rather than the right; well, so be it. As long as all they're doing is funding campaigns I'm fine with it, regardless of my opinion of the views being supported.]

    You chose flat earth very carefully of course because creationists love to make exactly this argument.

    [DM: No, and I'm afraid this means our conversation has come to an end. If you want to have a discussion, then some level of respect is necessary, and playing mind-reading games falls below that line. The reason I chose the flat earth theory was to pick an utterly uncontroversial example to avoid either needless offense or needless distraction.]

    They work extremely hard to capture scientific funds and to defund large scale scientific endeavors. I'm glad they get to speak - but if Rex decided evolution isn't for Missouri, I promise you he can fill the board of education with the people of his choosing. This already occurred in Texas to national effect.

    [DM: How can he "fill the board of education with the people of his choosing"? If Missourians are generally young earth creationists, then they will vote for those board members. If they aren't, then the other side will organize and advertise. Maybe hypothetical anti-evolution Sinquefield would win a school board election for his side, but the resulting stink in a state opposed to that view would oust the board the next time around.]

    The bottom line is you simply can't defend the idea of entrenched local kingships.

    [DM: Is this another example of what you mean by "honest engagement"? :) Sinquefield isn't a king; he's a citizen with a ton of money that he uses to give his positions a bigger campaign budget. Your position, I guess, is that there should be a cap on what one person can give to a particular politician or PAC? I can understand the sentiment behind it - or at least the sentiments that seem to me to underlie it, but I can think of plenty of difficulties I'll mention two.

    First, the cap can also prevent some people from having a voice. Someone's position may be in the minority in the community, and it will remain that way unless the arguments in its favor can be heard. Second - a point I think I mentioned in a previous comment - I'll take this complaint more seriously once fans of campaign finance reform (mainly, but not only, those on the left) argue that unions and the media must remain silent on all matters of political matters. Of course, this would trample on the First Amendment, but why is it okay for the New York Times and MSNBC on the left and Fox News and Rush Limbaugh on the right to have influence over millions of readers, viewers, and listeners while Sinquefield and plenty of liberal donors cannot?]

    This isn't feudal europe and Rex isn't more special than you or I just because he understood market imbalances better than me back in the 80s.

    [DM: Having more money doesn't make him more special than we are. But neither does having more political influence than we do, any more than George Soros is more special than we are. There are all kinds of ways in which one person can have more political influence than another. Let's say you set a donation limit of $2000 per candidate. There are people who can't afford that - are they less special? Or let's suppose that someone is an especially persuasive speaker, and she convinces practically everyone in her neighborhood and at her job to vote for X. Is she "more special"? No, but she is going to be more influential. That's life, and it can work for good or for ill. There are inappropriate political uses of money, and we agree on that. But what counts as inappropriate is a place where we seem to disagree, in part because I think the alternative is even worse.

    To conclude: of course I agree that if one side in an election or a ballot issue has more money, it's likelier to win, all things being equal. But I don't believe it's a certainty (look at Jeb Bush's absolute flame-out, for instance), I don't believe having more money and more speech is automatically unfair (we don't believe in equal time for flat earthers, Holocaust deniers, and a ton of other things), and I think that attempts to solve the problem by limiting speech will only make things worse - in part by exacerbating the problem you're concerned about; namely, by privileging an even smaller number of voices.]

    May 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

    Dennis, you commented so much in, over and through this guy's comment that it was unreadable. A shame. You have made some useful points on this page, but mostly it's more of the same that made you post this initially - the news story getting up your 'conservative' (i.e. pretty-far-right) political nose. You write as if, if you only talk long enough, people will agree with your ever-so-reasonable position. While sounding like you will never budge a micron yourself. You're not nearly so reasonable or your certainties so certain as you think. (Maybe that's true of everyone everywhere.) I'm just not used to you sounding wrong, I guess. hehe

    [DM: I think you're right about the formatting issue. The thread had gone on long enough that it would probably have been better to leave his post alone and to write a separate reply. Good point!

    As for hoping that people will agree if I go on long enough, sure - isn't that why everyone writes? Of course I can be wrong (but couldn't the person I was replying to? Did he (or you) "budge a micron"?) and I do change my mind from time to time. Not being a kid, however, that's less likely to happen. That's not because I've stopped thinking and am set in my ways, but because I've been exposed to many of these arguments before and have already spent time thinking about them. The same is likely true for the both of you: if you've been around the block a few times you'll at least know some of the basic moves conservatives will make. So unless you run across some new arguments, or go down deep into the bedrock of some critical issues, or run across some empirical data that favors the conservative view, you're not going to be easily moved. The same goes for me, in the opposite direction.

    So why keep replying? For at least two reasons. First, one can ideally hit bedrock, so as long as he's offering some new argument(s) each time and I'm doing the same, progress is possible. Second, it seemed to me that my main points weren't being clearly grasped, which could well be as much my fault as my interlocutor's. (This isn't a snide way of saying "the other guy doesn't agree with me, so he just doesn't understand.") So sometimes it's worth carrying on to try to make clear what one is and isn't arguing for. It seemed to me that my conversation partner thought I was stuck with certain positions, and in some cases that seemed to be mistaken.

    That is also how your amusing epithet about my "pretty-far-right political nose" strikes me, as my fundamental points had nothing to do with my politics. There is nothing intrinsically conservative about thinking that stories about chess should be about chess, or about thinking that certain restrictions (I never said "all") on political giving violate the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution (and would fail to achieve his stated aim in any case). And nothing I said was a defense of Sinquefield's candidates or hoped-for policies. My arguments may fail for one reason or another, but they are non-partisan and can be used by liberals as well as conservatives.]

    May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdamP

    I've enjoyed this thread more than most. I don't share Dennis's political views, or at least certainly not all of them, but I appreciate the commitment to clear thought that goes into the replies. My opinion about political funding is still plastic, so this has been enlightening.

    By the way, when I vote, I don't simply put an X by the name of the person who has spent the most money, and I've always assumed (committing an anecdotal fallacy no doubt) that nobody else does either.

    May 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris Lear

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