Dirty Machinations

At last April’s State Democratic convention in Los Angeles, the head of the powerful South Bay Labor Council, Cindy Chavez, called a face-to-face meeting with state Assemblymember Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles and labor leader Maria Elena Durazo. Chavez wanted to discuss de Leon’s fundraising activity for a San Jose City Council campaign.

De Leon had contributed $250 and helped bring in campaign funding for Magdalena Carrasco, his ex-wife, who was running against the SBLC-backed candidate for the District 5 council seat, Xavier Campos.

Chavez declined to answer any questions for this article. But according to others present at the meeting, Chavez seemed to believe that as a longtime friend of labor, de Leon should have checked in with her before he endorsed Carrasco over Campos in the San Jose race.

Chavez demanded that Durazo hold off on giving de Leon the labor endorsement in his own Senate campaign.

Dan Reeves, de Leon’s chief of staff, says Durazo and de Leon left the meeting scratching their heads as to why Chavez was trying to assert political influence in a Southern California race.

“It seemed like a gigantic overreaction on Cindy’s part,” Reeves says. “And the message was sort of, ‘Don’t do anything in our area without first asking our permission.’ I think my boss was like, ‘I don’t have to ask your permission to help my ex wife.’”

In the end, the pressure failed. Despite Chavez’s intervention, de Leon’s labor-friendly voting record earned him both the Democratic and LA labor endorsements without pause.

A few weeks later, a series of anti-Carrasco mailers paid for by the SBLC showed up in District 5 mailboxes. Adorned with an angry-looking cartoon elephant and Carrasco’s photo, one reads: “Don’t be fooled by Republican Dirty Tricks ... Say no to outsider Magdalena Carrasco.”

Another reads: “Republican special interests are buying Magdalena Carrasco a city council seat ... Tell Republicans that we need a city councilmember from our community.” A third flier has a large photo of Carrasco along with the words “The Outsider,” and claims that Carrasco is “bankrolled from outside our community.”

Despite the mailers’ claims, Carrasco is in fact a lifetime Democrat who grew up in District 5. Though she did move to Santa Barbara for college and stayed while married to de Leon, she moved back to San Jose in 1991, earned her master’s at San Jose State University, and has been working for the nonprofit children’s group First 5 since 2008.

Around the same time that these SBLC-sanctioned fliers appeared, a fraudulent anti-Carrasco political flier hit the district’s mailboxes. Featuring a photo of de Leon with his face crossed out, it painted Carrasco as a proponent of L.A. traffic, gangs and smog: “L.A. Politicians have made a mess of Los Angeles ... Now they’ve hand-picked Magdalena Carrasco to run for City Council in East San Jose.”

Around that time, another mailer was sent, targeting District 5 voters with Vietnamese names. That one branded Carrasco a “communist.”
A footnote on these two mailers claimed they were paid for by the “Committee to Keep San Jose Safe,” an organization that does not exist.

That is a violation of state and federal campaign laws. The person behind these mailers has yet to be found, and the ChamberPAC, a business community political action committee affiliated with the San Jose Chamber of Commerce, has offered a reward to find out who is behind it.

Massive Attack

Jude Barry, a longtime local Democratic political consultant, says that, before this election cycle, San Jose and Santa Clara County politics were known for their civility. Barry, whose clients include supervisorial candidate Teresa Alvarado, the San Jose Police Officers Association and the San Francisco 49ers, had a political hardball aimed at his head earlier this election season, when the California Federation of Labor blacklisted him.

There had been some anonymous dirty tricks before, and they almost always benefited SBLC-aligned candidates, such as Manny Diaz in his 2000 Assembly race against Tony West, who was the victim of a racially tinged mailer, or Councilwoman Nancy Pyle, whose 2004 opponent, Rich de la Rosa, was the target of an ethnically divisive mailer.

At the time, the statewide labor group claimed they were putting Barry on their “do-not-patronize” list because a technology company he co-owns did business with an antiunion client. But many locals believe he was targeted for helping Alvarado, who is running against the SBLC-backed candidate, Forrest Williams.

“In any major East Coast city, this would be considered child’s play,” Barry says. “Politics in our community, in relative terms, has been pretty clean. There have not been may occasions of dirty tricks or underhanded tactics, especially compared to other urban areas.

Incumbents don’t get challenged by other major candidates, people tend to wait their turn to run for office, and campaigns are typically above-board and clean compared to other cities, even polite.”

Natalie LeBlanc, a political consultant who is working for Carrasco, agrees that this has been a negative tactic.

In addition to the fliers, she says, District 5 voters have been receiving telephone calls with attack questions about her client—a tactic known as “push-polling.”

“Its really unfortunate, because all that is being said about her is false,” LeBlanc says. “One of the questions was something to the effect that she hasn’t lived here, or that she wasn’t from San Jose.”
“At some point, it has to end. At some point, all the crazy negative campaigning has to come to a halt.”

There have also been reports of similarly skewed telephone polls in the District 9 race, which is shaping up to be a three-way face-off between Republican Larry Pegram and Democrats Jim Cogan and Don Rocha. District 9 residents have been getting calls that seem to tear down Pegram and Rocha for their stances on public safety.

Republican political consultant Victor Ajlouny describes the classic push poll: “They asked very negative questions about Larry, and very negative questions about [Rocha] and very positive questions about [Cogan]. The way they asked it was ,‘If you knew this candidate wanted to cut police and fire, would that make you more inclined to vote for them, slightly more inclined, less inclined. And the only reason to do a poll now would be to attack.”

Uncivil War

Another attack appeared in the form of a package that showed up in Metro’s mailbox two weeks ago.  An envelope with no return address contained three court documents that show that Pegram, an evangelical activist, failed to pay more than $25,000 in alimony and child support to his ex-wife, Sandra Ann Pegram.

Though he hasn’t talked about it much publicly, Pegram admits now that he went through a “rough patch.” This was all before he found religion, married his now-wife Shelley and started campaigning against gay marriage.

Pegram, who is running a campaign emphasizing fiscal responsibility, says the documents are factual, but incomplete. “Divorce is never a simple matter, and the court documents do not fully reflect the verbal agreements between my former wife and I,” Pegram says.

For his part, Ajlouny would not go on the record about who he thinks is behind the mailer or the push polls.

“I doubt very much that it was done by the campaigns because nobody has that kind of money,” Ajlouny says. “This whole tactic is just one step above the sleazy, illegal things done against Magdalena, so it’s probably done by individuals supporting one opponent or another.”

Jim Cogan, who shares labor’s endorsement with Rocha, is also endorsed by San Jose’s police and firefighter unions. He says that this information on Pegram’s divorce has been making the rounds for a while, but that he has no knowledge of how the package came to Metro.

In fact, Cogan says he also received the anonymous package in the mail a few months ago, and chose not to release the information on Pegram’s divorce. He also says he’s heard about the District 9 push polling from a neighbor, but insists he is absolutely not involved.  “We don’t have the money to do polling, so it’s definitely not me or my campaign.”

Jay Rosenthal, another longtime local political consultant, calls push-polling “a desperate tactic.”

“Certainly in some of these races there are desperate groups who have major interests in these races, and have proven themselves over the past several months to engage in very political, very aggressive tactics.”
He says things may get worse.

“I think you’re seeing folks on either end of the political spectrum doing more aggressive things to stand their ground. Any candidate running in any election is always concerned about last-minute attacks. When attacks happen before the last minute, they are even more worried about it. This election has been very, very negative, so who knows what the next 10 days hold in store.”

52 Comments

  1. There are plenty of reasons to vote against Pegram without bringing his divorce into it. Of course, since he wants to prevent some people from getting married to “maintain the sanctity of marriage” it does make him look like a hypocrite.

  2. I once thought Cindy Chavez was one of the better politicians in our fair city of San Jose.  Either I was wrong or something’s happened to her brain.  Threatening an LA politician for helping his ex-wife?  Dumb.

  3. I for one will be glad when this election is over. I’m sick of all this hatred, and politics. While I am sure special interest groups are behind this negative campaigning, I also think that lesser candidates are playing a part in this too.

    As to “Robo Calls,” my neighbors and I have received some bashing Jim Cogan. I have to wonder why the very medias that endorsed Rocha aren’t mentioning those too. I think the public has a right to know everything not just be spoon-fed what works for media endorsed candidates.

    What ever happened to true journalism and running on your own merits and experience?

    • Kathleen,

      Jessica and I both spoke to Jim about the push-poll calls. He didn’t mention anything about any robo-calls bashing him, and neither did anyone else we interviewed, or we certainly would have included that information in the story.

      • Thank you Eric for letting me know. I’ve received 15 of them in the past few weeks. It is so annoying I don’t answer the phone any more without knowing who it is now!

        I’ve also had friends and neighbors tell me stories about what some of the candidates themselves are saying about their opponents, when they walk door to door. One D9 candidate said that one of his opponents (it was not Jim, was not Larry) walked HIS street bashing him! How dumb can you get?

        I had one African American friend tell me one of the BOS candidates (Running for Gage’s seat) walked up to her door and automatically assumed that because she is black that she was voting for Forrest Williams. This idiot, before knowing my friends concerns, had the nerve to say, “Well you’re probably voting for Forrest, but I hope you’ll keep an open mind.” 

        I have to wonder what kind of political consultants these candidates have. My friend said that she walked into her house, picked up her ballot and voted for Forrest. Not because he or she is black, but because she refused to vote for someone that bigoted. 

        If you want the real scoop, send your reporters out in the field. Your hair will fall out at the stories you’ll hear! I even got a packet on my doorstep with a copy of Rocha’s divorce papers in it, and a photo of his website showing he is living with his ex-wife and kids, UNMARRIED. Who cares! How low can you go? Really pathetic!

        On another note: I did notice though that the Merc DID NOT print anything about the press conference DA Carr held about animal abuse and neglect. I wonder why the TV stations carried it, but the Merc, nor the Metro did. Do you have any idea how important this issue is? Most serial killers and rapists start by abusing animals, and then move on to women and children. This is a vital topic that needs public awareness and media coverage. Especially NOW since some nut in Santa Cruz is sexually assualting horses!

        • Kathleen:

          You mean Don Rocha coming down my street.  Ya, my wife was the one that told me, because she had heard it from the ladies at her monthly bunko game.

          The women in my wifes bunko game are mostly from our street, but they also spread out around the neighborhood.  From what we can tell, he only visited Tifton Way.

          He coalesce the vapor of my experience to them.



        • Carr,
          Have you read ANYTHING about this case? Anything at all? Go back and read what the Metro just wrote about why the case wasn’t brought to trial and stop blaming Carr for something she couldn’t control. If you don’t like the law then change it but don’t shoot the messenger.

        • So nice to know that Carr cares about the rights of animals more than she cares about young women who have been gang raped.  I bet Carr makes sure all the evidence is tested in the case of the horse.

      • Wondering about Kathleen,

          I’m not lying. You can believe what you will but I have no reason to lie about it. Do you work for someone in D9s campaign? If you do be honest about it.

  4. My family was a victim of the anti-Pegram push poll.  It wouldn’t be so bad except it was oh, so obvious what was going on.  Give us a break, folks.  We’re smarter than that.  It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out who was behind it—just figure out who has the deepest pockets and the most to lose, and add in who has endorsed whom.

    There are two camps in San Jose.  One camp is the preserver of the status quo.  Those in this camp have run the city into the ground.  You can’t keep having budget deficits of hundreds of millions of dollars every year without inviting the grim reaper to knock on your door.  These people are the problem.

    The other camp is people like Pegram who are the solution. Like the Merc says, he will be a strong vote for budget reform, and he works hard for what he believes in.  Agree with him or not on every issue, he’s passionate about what he believes in, and his agenda is well known.  Unlike some other candidates, he actually tells you what he thinks.

    Divorce is a messy business.  Maybe one reason why Pegram became a pro-family advocate is because he went through one.  The ability to learn from your mistakes is one of the the things that makes a person great.

    • Pegram carried the water for development and sprawl the last time he was on the Council. If he had totally prevailed in his quest to pave over SJ we would be in even worse mess today than we are.
      Pegram is not the solution but he is part of the answer as to why we are in the mess we’re in today.

      • > If he had totally prevailed in his quest to pave over SJ we would be in even worse mess today than we are.

        Based on the crappy state of many of San Jose’s streets, I would say that some paving would be a good thing.

      • Didn’t Pegram cast the final vote to stop development in Coyote Valley?  It’s easy to take pot shots at people, but it’s rare for a pot shot to accurately tell the whole story.

        San Jose has a different set of problems today.  Growth is not our problem.  The status quo is the problem.  There are hundreds of millions of reasons why we need to change the status quo.

        • Not sure what vote you are referring to, but I don’t think so. The votes to stop development in Coyote are more recent than when Pegram was on the Council. If you have some info to support this I’d be interested but I don’t think you will find that Pegram would have voted to stop development in Coyote.

        • Larry cast the deciding vote during the General Plan Hearings in 1975 to keep the Coyote Valley out of the Urban Service Area and in the Urban Reserve thus preserving the Coyote Valley from development.  During the remainder of his time on the Council, he was a solid vote, against intense pressure from the development community, to keep the Coyote Valley in the Urban Reserve. 

          He also supported and voted for the 15% slope policy keeping development from the hillsides above 15% slope.  His decisions on Council were solidly for infill, increased densities along major transportation corridors, and for traffic mitigation for infill areas that were General Planned for development.

          While Larry voted for projects that were in the City’s General Plan for development, he could hardly be called anything other that a controlled growth councilmember.

        • If your scenario is true then one has to wonder why? Did the development community not pony up enough dollars for Larry to support them? He was hardly known as a controlled growth councilmember and there is nothing now to make me believe he would have more common sense today than he did decades ago when he was part of the “Fearsome Foursome.” We don’t need to go back to the future with someone like Pegram. We need forward looking leadership. Sorry, I just don’t see that from Pegram.

  5. Don’t blame Cindy.  She’s just caught up in all the “Hope and Change” emanating from Washington DC.

    Sestak, Romanoff, Blagojevich, Rezko, etc.

    Anyone know what the line is on Obama finishing out his first term before getting impeached?

    • If the one common denominator is SBLC backed candidates and this goes back years and years already its pretty safe to bet that its the South Bay Labor Council behind the dirty tricks.  They have the money and the inclination.

      The union leadership is misguided.  They’re under attack with the city budget and they’re worried about Carrasco winning a seat they had already promised to flunkee Campos.  Vote on the budget is next week, Carrasco or Campos won’t be voting on that budget.  Union missed their shot with the current council. 

      Thankfully Cindy Chavez lost her bid for Mayor.  Lets get rid of these union owned and bankrolled lackeys one at a time.  Hopefully Madison Nguyen fails too and then soon afterwards Kansen Chu and Ash Kalra.

    • Anyone know what the line is on Obama finishing out his first term before getting impeached?

      About the same as Novice making an intelligent comment.

  6. Victor is discussing sleazy tactics?

    Isn’t that like Syria serving on the Human Rights Commission?

    LGBT community leaders are now asking why they should support Calderon when Ajlouny and Pegram known for their anti gay record are backing Calderon.

    • I don’t see how Pegram’s support of Calderon (Aljouny is merely a political consultant; I doubt he has any genuine socio-political views of any kind) means gay leaders should vote for Laurie Smith (or Martin Monica).  Sure, it would be ironic if gay leaders and Larry Pegram were to back the same candidate for Sheriff, but unless Calderon has embraced some actual platform proposal(s) that are of specific concern to the gay community, then I don’t see the issue.  Could it simply be that Larry Pegram and the gay leadership are both astute enough to be supporting the best candidate ie., Richard Calderon for Sheriff?

    • This is about the 3rd or 4th time I’ve seen this false information on blogs about Richard. I want to correct this campaign of misinformation by giving you a few facts:

      I know Richard very well. He is a Christian and treats all people in a respectful and courteous manner. If you had the opportunity to speak to Richard Calderon you would know he is not anti-gay. As a matter of fact, he teaches cultural diversity, and tolerance of all groups.

      For about 15 years Richard Calderon was a subject matter expert for the State of California Peace Officer’s Standard Training (P.O.S.T.) in the subject of cultural diversity. Cultural Diversity includes instruction on Discrimination, Bias and Racism directed towards all community groups and included the topics Racial Profiling, Sexual Harassment and Hate Crime. This means that he helped with the production of the last State Wide Video training on Cultural Diversity.

      He helped with the development of the State Wide Cultural Diversity Training Curriculum in the last fifteen years. He was also an instructor throughout the State of California of Cultural Diversity and multiple other topics including ethics. He facilitated the development of the Department wide Code of Ethics for the San Mateo Police Department and the County of Contra Costa Department of Probation. He also facilitated the Department wide Ethics Training for the San Mateo Police Department. He also facilitated the creation of San Mateo Police Department’s Code of Ethics which each Department member signed off as a commitment to honor the Code they created.

      You might want to call his campaign and ask Richard his stand on the LGBT community rather than spreading misinformation. He’s a good man who has nothing to hide. 408-275-6101.

  7. “University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” – Henry Kissinger

    Let’s just say that the mini-mayor system of 10 council districts has created an entertaining process.  I’ve seen ugly council races in the past where some candidates have gotten the whole slew of dirty tricks from the race card being played to signs stolen and hit piece mailers with misleading statements arriving too late for any rebuttal.

    At this point in time, for at least one major constituency, the unionized public employees, the stakes are actually pretty big, and the votes against reform are weaker and weaker.

    I think people are smarter than the political schemers give them credit for. 

    I’m actually going to come out on the side of free speech and not worry too much about dumb tactics like push polling and stupid mailers.  I consider it part of everyone’s political maturity that they eventually learn not to trust political communications for informing their vote and that they consider the source of the information they do consider. 

    The chaos and deception depresses the quantity of voters as people turn-off, tune-out, etc…but it increases the quality of votes by those who have cultivated civic responsibility, which includes taking the time to make an informed decision on electoral matters.

    The anonymous slander, however, is criminal and needs to be treated as such.  Putting out a “so and so is a communist” mailer in vietnamese is really sleazy.  I’d like to see what the vietnamese press reports about these deceptive practices because I suspect vietnamese-americans are smart and savvy enough to see through this lame stuff (I’m hoping.)

    • University politics is sleazy.

      Rachel Greathouse who sits on the board of the Spartan Foundation along with Wiggsy Sivertsen used to employ tactics claiming some students were disturbered and subject to to restraining orders which was false.

  8. Please tell Ms. Chavez and other union leaders that the enemy of freedom is zealotry. Those clothed in self-righteous behavior are frequently proven to be neither right nor well-behaved. The preponderance of the evidence is overwhelming and the unions should cleanse themselves of illegal tactics and intolerant leadership.

  9. I love how Xavier Campos derides Magdalena Carrasco as “an outsider.”  Earth to Xavier:  We don’t all have the luxury of being able try and succeed our sister on the City Council.

    • Not only is he a total elitist and full of a sense of entitlement but he lies.  His campaign website states emphatically that he has lived in district 5 his entire life when in face he has not.  Xavier lived in Evergreen for several years after he lived in San Francisco with his wife. 

      There’s nothing wrong with having moved “up & out” of district 5 for a time so it makes me wonder “WHY DOES HE LIE ABOUT IT AND TRY TO MISLEAD PEOPLE?”  If he does it with insignificant things like this, just imagine what he’d do in office.  Heck, it makes me wonder a whole lot more about his role in the MACSA embezzlent and coverup.  WHERE IS THAT MONEY MR CAMPOS?

  10. “Another attack appeared in the form of a package that showed up in Metro’s mailbox two weeks ago.  An envelope with no return address contained three court documents that show that Pegram, an evangelical activist, failed to pay more than $25,000 in alimony and child support to his ex-wife, Sandra Ann Pegram.”

    FYI, they’ve taken it up a notch.  Today, in my mailbox, I retrieved a flyer containing the same information, and characterizing Larry Pegram as engaged in “hypocrisy,” and of lacking in “character.”

    This distasteful missive had a return address:

    Coalition for a Safer California
    1020 12th Street, Suite 408
    Sacramento, CA. 95814

    I Googled that address, and discovered that it is the address of “Paul Kinney Productions, award winning promotional media and politics.”

    If anyone would like to contact Mr. Kinney, and let them know what they think about his work on the District 9 Council campaign, his office phone number is (916) 447-8868.  His FAX line is (916) 447-8889.  His email address is [email protected], while the email address of his office manager is [email protected].

    http://www.paulkinney.com/index.html

    • The union political plan: when you have rubber stamp candidates, no real ideas other than preserving the status quo at all costs, and nothing else substantive to offer, start name calling.

    • This group is targeting Larry Pegram since he supports putting binding arbitration on the ballot and letting the residents of San Jose decide. This group is supporting Jim Cogan since he we would not vote to put this on the ballot.

      Why not just say they support Jim Cogan instead of smearing Larry Pegram? Why not just say that they believe that binding arbitration is a good idea?

      Another example of how unions control and manipulate.

  11. I should have noted that the anti-Pegram flyer I received had a photograph of Jim Cogan on it, and describes him as “a much better choice for City Council.”

    • Kevin,
      I just got a flier with Pegram’s photo on it with Hypocrisy stamped on it, with info on his divorce and other stuff. Is that the one you got?

      It clearly states that this flier was NOT authorized or approved by any candidate for city office. I am sure Jim Cogan did NOT have any knowledge of this, nor would he condone something this trashy.

      • Kathleen,

        Cogan may not have officially authorized it, but has he condemned it?  Could you ask him and post here for us to know?

        I believe Rocha has condemned the flyer but I’m not sure about it.

      • Yeah, well, it did say that, yes.  In the real world, I doubt these things happen without the candidate’s knowledge & approval, but I suppose there may be some exceptions.

  12. Not once did you mention the negative attacks launched by the Chamber of Commerce this election cycle. You seem to only be focused on the Labor Council. Next time, can we get a story telling all sides? This article should be example #1 of a hit piece.

    Not that I’ve ever been a huge fan of the Metro, but you’ve really let the reporting slip down the drain.

    • The Chamber followed the law and identified themselves as paying for the mailers. And they attacked Xavier Campos for something relevant.  It’s fair to talk about the financial skills or lack thereof of candidates.  I commend Metro for this article which was well researched and sourced.  There’s only one thing missing from this piece:  why the unions continue to promote dogmeat candidates.  Seriously, look at the list: Terry Gregory, Cindy Chavez, Xavier Campos, …

    • Yes—the Chamber did send out mailers attacking Xavier Campos for his longtime connection to MACSA, which faces charges of financial malfeasance. We judged that those mailers didn’t quite qualify as political sleaze, because Campos was in fact in a position of power at MACSA, whereas Carrasco is neither a Republican nor an “outsider,” as the SBLC mailers suggested.

      And if you’re suggesting that Metro is a shill for the Chamber of Commerce—that’s just laughable.

  13. All this kerfuffle about “attack ads” and “negative campaigning” is truly disheartening. Not so much that it happens but that it works.
    The problem isn’t the quality of the candidates- it’s the quality of the voters.

    • > The problem isn’t the quality of the candidates- it’s the quality of the voters.

      Exactly so, Galtie.

      I usually ignore or discount negative ads, because they’re so lame or stupid.  And I would hope that in a healthy, well-informed, and appropriately skeptical society, voters would similarly effectively separate the wheat from the crap.

      In any case, that’s what voters are paid to do.  And if they do a poor job, well, screw them because they just end up with a dip wad in office.

      I hold the view that suppressing “negative campaigning” and “negative ads” actually HELPS the worst candidates.

      If a Saint were running against a Scoundrel an a hypothetical election, and the election authorities took steps to suppress “negative campaigning”, it would help the Scoundrel and hurt the Saint. 

      The Scoundrel would have nothing bad to say about the Saint, and suppressing negative ads about the Saint would have no effect.

      The Saint, on the other hand, probably would have a LOT he COULD say about the sordid and sleazy record of the Scoundrel, but if negative ads were suppressed, the Saint would effectively be silenced, the Scoundrel would benefit, and the voters could elect the worse candidate because of lack of information.

      So, look at negative campaigning as useful information, where responsibility for safe and effective usage lies with the voters—where it should be.

      • The Scoundrel would have nothing bad to say about the Saint, and suppressing negative ads about the Saint would have no effect.

        No, a negative ad is based on a lie, or a distortion.  Telling the truth is not negative campaigning.

        For example, saying “Al Gore claims to have invented the Internet” is a lie, and would be a negative ad.  Saying Al Gore recognized early on the potential of the fledgling ARPA net, and became a cheerleader for network technology would be the truth.

        • > For example, saying “Al Gore claims to have invented the Internet” is a lie, and would be a negative ad.  Saying Al Gore recognized early on the potential of the fledgling ARPA net, and became a cheerleader for network technology would be the truth.

          BWAAHAAAHAAA!

          This is what I call “situational ultraprecision”.

          At some level of construction, they mean the same thing.

          Bottom line:  Al Gore took credit for “creating” the internet.

          Creating?  Inventing?  “Recognizing early potential”?

          Sophistic hair splitting.

          The Sophists were a school of Greek philisophers who essentially believed that there was no “objective reality”.  They believed that a person’s reality was based on what their perceptions told them was real.  Sophists believed that rhetoric influenced what a person perceived, and therefore skillful use of rhetoric could define what a perceiver understood as “reality”.

          The Sophists offered instruction in rhetoric for a fee and claimed that they could show people how to make “the weaker argument appear to be the stronger.”

          So, lets just say for the sake of sophistic example that I have successfully changed your perceptions so that you now believe that “recognizing early potential” means the same as “inventing”.

          Therefore, Al Gore claimed that he “invented” the internet.

          Q. E. D.

          I rest my case.

      • > Democracy suffers from the same problem that Communism was undermined by; its not well-suited to the actual nature of humanity.

        Probably true.  And also probably the reason why the word “democracy” does NOT appear in the Constitution.

        The United States of America is . . . a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

        The Constitution is a SHORT list of enumerated powers delegated to the federal government.  ALL other powers are “reserved to the states and to the people”.

        Does anyone believe that Ellen Kagan understands this?

        • Constitutional republics which democratically elect its officers are what is known as “a democracy.”  A “constitutional republic” could be anything (the USSR could have been said to fit that definition, for example, since it was a republic with a constitution).  Our constitutional republic happens to be a democracy.

%d bloggers like this: