The Republican Noise Machine Enters Local Blogospheres

Forget the retraction that would never come anyway. It's time to pull the plug on Politics PA. Big tip of the hat to VeritasLux for this.
This is a bit elliptical, but bear with me...

1. Recent Democratic Participation Within the Republican Noise Machine
Back in January, I spent a lot of time and effort here at MyDD writing about the Mercatus Center. Specifically, I wrote about it because I had discovered, much to my disgust, that it was a branch of the Republican Noise Machine. The reason this was a problem was that Tim Roemer, who was running for DNC Chair at the time, was actively encouraging all Democratic Congressional Chiefs of Staff to attend a retreat they were holding on Social Security. This was not a fruitless exercise on his part either, since the previous year thirty-four Democratic Congressional Chiefs of Staff had attended the Mercatus Center retreat. In other words, Democrats were actively participating within the same Message Machine that has led to the rise of the modern conservative movement. They were feeding, and being fed by, the same machine that works to defeat Democrats. We tried to stop them.

2. Conservative Dominance of Local Blogospheres
Last month, when discussing conservative dominance of local political blogospheres, I wrote the following:

Pennsylvania is an excellent example of this problem. Philadelphia is arguably the nation's lefty blogging capital. With at least fifteen of the one hundred and three lefty blogs in this study, not to mention ten of the top fifty most trafficked left wing blogs, you would think that local Pennsylvania blogs are dominated by liberals, right? Wrongo. The only two sites in the blogads traffic rankings that were dedicated solely to Pennsylvania statewide politics were Grassroots PA and Keystone politics, both of which are conservative blogs. Much the same can be said for Politics PA, which does not use BlogAds. Even in a region steeped in popular left wing blogs, conservatives ruled the local political blogging scene. Don't even get Matt Stoller started on the superior strength of local conservative web log rings. Many of my progressive activist friends in the area use PoliticsPA as a source of breaking news on the Pennsylvania political scene. Over the past few months, as I have tried to beomce more active in the local scene, I have taken to reading Politics PA every day as well. Further, many of my local progressive blogging friends and colleagues, including Chris at Rowhouse Logic, Above Average Jane, America's Hometown, Albert Yee, and the gang at Young Philly Politics are linked in the Politics PA blogroll, and reciprocate by blogrolling Politics PA. Some other prominent local Democratic bloggers, including Will Bunch and State Rep Mark Cohen, are linked by PoliticsPA, but they do not reciprocate.

In a state and region flush with progressive blogs, for local political news many progressive activists in the region turn to Politics PA. They do so because there is no progressive website focused on Pennsylvania Politics. Grassroots PA is rank conservative, and Keystone Politics is always trying to be more-moderate-than-thou. While I don't think anyone I know thought Politics PA was progressive, it did at least, as demonstrated above, engage in a local link exchange, and so local Democrats participated.

3. The Republican Noise Machine Enters Local Blogospheres

The first two sections of this piece may seem elliptical, but there is an important connection. Yesterday, I wrote an article entitled Politics PA Donkey Splat, concerning a ridiculous and fabricated article Politics PA had written about the candidate I am supporting (as an unpaid volunteer) for the Democratic nomination in PA-08: Ginny Schrader. In the comments, a new commenter, VeritasLux, provided readers with some eye-opening information on Politics PA:

The site PoliticsPA.com is registered to the pseudonymous "Wally Edge"--along with PoliticsNJ.com. Hm-m-m, Wally Edge or is it Wedge Ally? Following the link two steps further, all of these politicsNJ/PA/NH, etc. sites apparently are the stepchildren of the Publius Institute, which is itself apparently a creation of the Claremont Institute--a conservative think tank in Claremont, CA. Since Claremont lists Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. (of ES&S and voting machine fame) on its board of directors, and his wife, Roberta Green Ahmanson, on the same web page, it is logical to assume, as with many right-wing, Christian Reconstructionist groups, that Claremont is funded by the Ahmansons. (See: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/01/06/ahmanson)

It might be worth a few hundred emails to good friend "Wally" asking them why they are performing unsubstantiated and anonymous hatchet jobs on Democratic candidates--although given the shady connections, I'd say that Ginny and Chris should take Claremont's sleazy, little, anonymous bitch slap as a compliment. Email information for these two groups is listed below.

Here also is a piece from the Boston Phoenix about the role in the 2004 NH primary of PoliticsNH.com, the sister site to PoliticsPA. The article can be found at http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/talking_politics/documents/02685359.htm

At PoliticsNH.com <<Click on " Our Team, " and it brings you to the photos and brief bios of four staffers: managing editor James W. Pindell; senior editor Brian P. Murphy, a former staffer for George magazine; Jordan S. Lieberman, who is the president of the Publius Group, which owns the site along with several others, including PoliticsNJ, PoliticsVT, and PoliticsNY; and columnist Dante J. Scala, who is also an assistant professor of politics at Saint Anselm College.<p> A check through the Networks Solutions search site reveals that PoliticsNH is registered to NameSecure.com. Wally Edge is listed as the site's " administrative contact. " Edge did not return a call from the Phoenix. On the PoliticsNJ site, though, the " About Us " link says, " PoliticsNJ.com is operated by The Publius Group (ED. Note-an apparent front for The Claremont Institute) and our editor is Wally Edge, a pseudonym for the people who are working on this site. "

Last February, Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg did a piece on anonymous political Web sites. When he called the Publius Group, Lieberman called him back but wouldn't provide additional details on who was backing the venture. Rather than identifying himself as the president of the Publius Group, as he's now listed on PoliticsNH.com, Lieberman told Rothenberg that he handled marketing for the company. Rothenberg's conclusion? " The potential for abuse with these sites is enormous. What would stop a candidate from setting up an anonymous political site and using it as a way to undercut or discredit an opponent? "

The answer is nothing. In the meantime, PoliticsNH generates buzz.>>

So, I'd say the Repugs are scared of Ginny and the netroots and are using their usual clandestine operations to try and neutralize the netroots long before the 2006 election. (BTW, their activities sound like a great basis for a blog that outs these manipulations and informs the mainstream media in real time.) Keep up the good work. OH-2 and the Hackett campaign obviously scared the hell out of them.

In light and truth,
VeritasLux

Claremont Institute info (...):
jjaime@claremont.org
and Bob Gransden
bgransden@claremont.org

PoliticsPA/PoliticsNJ Info:
PoliticsNJ.com
409 Washington Street
PMB 361
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(Pseudonym) Wally Edge
wedge@politicsnj.com

I checked it out, and it is all true. The Claremont Institute is undeniably part of the Republican Noise Machine. First, look at this post, and then look at who funds the Claremont Institute. And the connection between Publius and the Claremont Institute isn't hard to find either, since the Claremont Institute has a webpage featuring their Publius fellow program. Coincidentally, I’m sure, that program was started in 2000, the same year the Publius Group was founded.

It couldn't be any more clear: PoliticsPA is funded by the Republican Noise Machine. Like the Mercatus Center, it is just another tentacle they use to twist the national discourse, and it has pulled in many unknowing progressives, including myself.

4. End Progressive Netroots Participation within the Republican Noise Machine.

The way they bashed Dean, praise insiders, and bashed Ginny and the local netroots: it all makes sense now. This is just another part of the massive conservative project to dominate the national political discourse. What Pennsylvania progressives need to do about this is to expose it as best they can, and stop participating in the site altogether. Within the netroots, we can do this as follows:

  • If you have a blog, link to this article, and write about it.
  • If you are linked on their blogroll, ask them to remove you.
  • If you link Politics PA, remove that link now, and explain why.
  • If you do not have a blog, send an email linking this story to progressive friends you know in Pennsylvania who read, or might read, Politics PA.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania, send this article to your elected Democratic officials and candidates and urge them to immediately end all contact with Politics PA.
Politics PA is free to exist, and to write whatever it wants. It is free to do so anonymously. However, Democrats should never take part in the Republican Noise Machine. And don't give me the freedom of expression argument either. This isn't about freedom--this is about Republicans building a massive, extremely well-funded message machine to completely dominate the national political discourse. Helping them do so is nothing but self-defeating.

Enough is enough. No wonder conservatives dominate local blogospheres. It's time to pull the plug on Politics PA.

Update: Story updated to clarify Publius--Claremont connect, and to only refer to the Claremont Institute, rather than Claremont McKenna colleges in general. I'm always amazed at how many new people register here at MyDD just to post when I write something exposing the Republican Noise Machine, or questioning the wisdom of political insiders. I have no doubt that they will continue to appear and attempt to find some small nuance crack to try and slip through, but none of that matters. I’m not accusing PoliticsPA or the Publius group of breaking any laws, I’m just accusing them of being part of the Republican Noise Machine. If any progressive reads this and still participates with PoliticsPA or any other PoliticsState site, you are both nuts and self-defeating. Small cracks, maintained largely through the ravenous and baffling anonymity of the Publius Group, should not be even come close to lowering any of the several red flags that progressives should see in this picture.

Update 2: I also wish to note that I know at least a few of the writers on these sites are Democratic consultants, but I don't think that changes anything. Just as much as the Noise Machine implications, I think there is clearly an insider vs. outsider thing going on here. It's not like this would be the first time insiders in Pennsylvania politics have tried to slander and damage the career of one of my friends in the grassroots. Further, as we all know, not only do many Democratic insiders hate the netroots with a passion, they also don't seem to have a problem receiving cushy funding from the Noise Machine. Unreformed Democrats are still thriving in PA.

Tags: Blogosphere (all tags)

Comments

41 Comments

except this one:
If you are linked on their blogroll, ask them to remove you

We'll take their traffic!

I think this has been brought before, iirc, wasn't there a PoliticsVT at one point too>  THey had a really good basher repug, he used to say I was the daily dose for the deanheads.

by Jerome Armstrong 2005-08-07 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: except this one:
OK--that's true. It reminds me of the fight I got into with Little Green Footballs back around the first London bombings. They linked me, but then got mad when I didn't link them and instead went through other blogs that did link them. I'll take their traffic--it helps us. I'm not giving them traffic though, as that would help them. Every little bit helps.
by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 03:03PM | 0 recs
Chris
more importantly, who was the friggin mole on the conference call?
by BooMan 2005-08-07 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris
Good fucking question. I need to closely review my email list. I'll take care of that before Lois Murphy comes on.
by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 03:41PM | 0 recs
Perhaps
they never identified themselves.  Do you recall any 'dings' that were not followed by an introduction?

I recall one, but she waited for an opportune time and then introduced herself.

by BooMan 2005-08-07 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Perhaps
Someone else on the call told me that he remembered one ding apart from that one who never identified. It is possible there was no mole, and they just heard about the call, and made everything up.

I have to say that at least in ym heart I like that possbility better, because when I think of the people I sent out the call info too... ugh. A mole in that group? I want to vomit.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 04:07PM | 0 recs
Another theory
Although it doesn't quite fit with the theme of this article, it is possible that the distorted characterization of the call was made by a Pat Murphy supporter.

If so, it would be an obnoxious thing to do.  

My feeling is that whomever wrote the blurb had 'at least' a second hand account.

by BooMan 2005-08-07 04:47PM | 0 recs
It's possible
But I really don't think it was Murphy people. Some of them have rec'ed my diary on the subject over at dailykos.<p. My gut tells me it was either Republicans, or insider Democrats and Republicans who hate the local netroots or grassroots.
by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 05:19PM | 0 recs
Kudos to everyone who did research on this
" The potential for abuse with these sites is enormous. What would stop a candidate from setting up an anonymous political site and using it as a way to undercut or discredit an opponent? "

We are going to have to start going over campaign filing forms with a fine toothed comb to pick out any payments that look like it was for stuff like this.

And not just campaign organization, any political organization which is obliged to file statements.

Looks like a job for open source research.

by Alice Marshall 2005-08-07 03:37PM | 0 recs
This is devious stuff.
I don't put it past the GOP who had 40 years of patience to execute a takeover of every branch of power. This sounds like Karl Rove strategery.

Is it illegal to impersonate democrats? What if republicans registered as democrats to intentionally weaken the primary process by pushing the worst candidates. Is that illegal?

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-07 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: This is devious stuff.
Is it illegal to impersonate democrats? What if republicans registered as democrats to intentionally weaken the primary process by pushing the worst candidates. Is that illegal?

no
and that is the least of our worries.
documenting the Republican noise machine is what is called for in this case.

by Alice Marshall 2005-08-07 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: This is devious stuff.
Anyone can register anyway they want; I doubt that enough GOPers would want to change registration to effect the dem primary.  Afterall, that would also mean they could not vote in the GOP primary which will be very competitive as well.
by mtguyinokc 2005-08-07 04:13PM | 0 recs
Re: This is devious stuff.
I live on MA and they cross reg. all the time to affect who the R candidate will face. Dem primaries are far more competitive than the R's are.

We got shafted a few years a go in the 9th CD when there were about 4 dems running in the primary and 3 of them were liberal pro-choicers. We wound up with Stephen Lynch, basically a republicrat.  I wouldn't doubt for a minute that hoards of R's registered D. for that primary in order to get Lynch, knowing that no way an R would win the general.

by RevDeb 2005-08-07 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: This is devious stuff.
No, it's not illegal to impersonate Democrats, but this "pseudonym" business does appear to be a violation of their registrar's TOS:

3. ACCURATE INFORMATION.

You agree to:

  1. provide certain true, current, complete and accurate information about you as required by the application process; and

  2. maintain and update according to our modification procedures the information you provided to us when purchasing our services as needed to keep it current, complete and accurate.

We rely on this information to send you important information and notices regarding your account and our services. You agree that NameSecure (itself or through its third party service providers) is authorized, but not obligated, to use Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certified software and/or the National Change of Address program (and/or such other systems or programs as may be recognized by the United States Postal Service or other international postal authority for updating and/or standardizing address information) to change any address information associated with your account (e.g., registrant address, account contact address, etc.), and you agree that NameSecure may use and rely upon any such changed address information for all purposes in connection with your account (including the sending of renewal notices and other important account information) as though such changes had been made directly by you.

TOS violations are subject to the following:

9. TERMINATION.

  1. By You. You may terminate this Agreement upon at least thirty (30) days written notice to NameSecure for any reason.

  2. By Us. We may terminate this Agreement or any part of the NameSecure services at any time in the event you breach any obligation hereunder, fail to respond within ten (10) calendar days to an inquiry from us concerning the accuracy or completeness of the information referred to in Section 3 of this Agreement, if we determine in our sole discretion that you have violated the NameSecure Acceptable Use Policy, which is located on our Web site at http://www.namesecure.com/en_US/index.jhtml?cat=null&subCat=policiesAUP and is incorporated herein and made part of this Agreement by reference, or upon thirty (30) days prior written notice if we terminate or significantly alter a product or service offering.

Italic emphases added, Bold sic. There's more along those lines, but the basic thrust of it is that you aren't allowed to use false registration info, and doing so can get you shut down. It's a pretty typical TOS as far as registrars go.

Being that a credit card had to have been used in order to register the domain in the first place, the registrar has the real registrant's name on file. Wonder if there's a way to get that person's name listed on the registration instead of the pseudonym, which by definition is a false or fictitious name.

by Blogesque 2005-08-07 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: This is devious stuff.
First, the person who pays the bills does not have to be the same person as the one whose name is on file.  For example, I develop and maintain a site for a nonprofit.  I registered the site in the org's name but the billing goes onto my credit card.

Second, the contact information requirement is a requirement specified by ICANN.  You are required, under the terms of the agreement between ICANN and the registrar, to provide the domain registrar with a valid email and mailing address.  However, I would say that this requirement is widely ignored, as long as they can reach you via email.  The email contact has to be legitimate (and you want it to be legit) in order for them to contact you about any legal questions that might come up regarding your domain name and for renewals.

There are many millions of domains registered and for the registrars to police contact information would be a daunting task.  ICANN requires the registrar to send out an email annually, advising site owners of the current information on file, their obligation to maintain accurate information, and the possibility of losing the domain registration if the information is not accurate.

Although you are required to provide correct contact information, you are not required to publicly display it; you may, at your discretion, specify to the registrar that the information should be private and in that case, it will not be displayed when anyone does a `whois' or other database search.

Complaints about false or inaccurate domain registration can be made at the Whois Data Problem Report page.

mp

by pdxlooie 2005-08-08 08:19AM | 0 recs
Alternative to PPA
KeystonePolitics.com is also dedicated solely to discussing Pennsylvania politics. The site owner is listed there for all to see.

I know KP appreciates the link to it here from MyDD.

by phillydem 2005-08-07 04:20PM | 0 recs
See Kos diary
See the corresponding Kos diary
http://dailykos.com/story/2005/8/7/142733/8409

for domain ownership info about Wally

by patrioticliberal 2005-08-07 04:30PM | 0 recs
I think I understand
Although I'm not sure.  This was a complicated post.

You've discovered a think tank that's posing as a leftist organization, but  is in fact a Republican organization?  

I guess I need to ask what is the core problem, here.  Is it that folks like the DLC are being deceived? Or is it that the voters in general are being deceived?  

(sorry to be so dumb)

by Jeffrey Feldman 2005-08-07 05:24PM | 0 recs
To be blunt:
This is the most idiotic, stupid, and retarded campaign that this website has ever engaged.

Because of some deranged conspiracy theory, you want to shut down some of the best political sites in the friggin country?

by Mr Moderate 2005-08-07 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: To be blunt:
Nobody is trying to shut down anything. Just documenting the Republican noise machine.
by Alice Marshall 2005-08-07 06:40PM | 0 recs
Claremont McKenna College
Chris - in your post, you argue that "Claremont McKenna College is undeniably part of the Republican Noise Machine," based on where its funding comes from.  As a student at Claremont McKenna College (and a committed leftist and democrat), I feel that this characterization is extremely misleading.  Two specific aspects of your post come to mind.

  1.  The Claremont Institute is not affiliated with the Claremont Colleges (of which Claremont McKenna College is a member), although some members of the Claremont McKenna faculty are also members of the Claremont Institute.

  2.  Lumping the extremely diverse group of people that make up Claremont McKenna under the "republican noise machine" label serves to discredit the liberal members of the staff, faculty, and student body.  Claremont McKenna certainly has the viewpoints of conservatives represented in its faculty (especially the Government and Economics faculty) and students, but there are many liberals as well.  The most recent enrollment statistics for students indicate that people who identify as "liberals" and "democrats" outnumber people who identify as "conservatives" and "republicans," though the ratio of liberals to conservatives is much closer than at most other colleges and universities.  Students at Claremont McKenna who identify with the Democratic Party are politically aware and involved.  The Claremont College's Young Democrats (of which many members are Claremont McKenna students) has been active on the local, state, and national levels, often traveling across the country to support Democrats.  There are also a large number of liberal faculty members at Claremont McKenna (in fact, to the chagrin of conservatives they outnumber the conservative faculty).  Claremont McKenna's liberals are as committed to the Democratic Party as anyone else in this community.

That being said, stick it to Politics PA and the Claremont Institute.  The Claremont Institute is an important, though oft ignored, source for a lot of the radical right ideology.  Exposing their links to anonymous blogs like Politics PA can only do good things for the community at large.

I would, however, politely request that you don't immediately classify the students, staff, and faculty of Claremont McKenna College as mouthpieces for the radical rights agenda.  Claremont McKenna College is an extremely politically diverse institution that is not so easily labeled.

Respectfully,
Chip Dickerson
Claremont McKenna College Class of 2006
[This has been cross-posted to DKos]

by CitizenChip 2005-08-07 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Claremont McKenna College
I apologize for not focusing on the Claremont Insitute in particular, and for instead implying htat the entire group of schools was part of the machine. Sorry about that. Fixed.

As you also note, it doesn't change anything about the story at all.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Claremont McKenna College
Thanks Chris -

The conflation of Claremont McKenna and the Claremont Institute happens a lot, and it drives the liberal members of the student body and faculty crazy.  We (or at least I) can get a little touchy about the whole situation.

by CitizenChip 2005-08-07 08:24PM | 0 recs
Something's missing
"PoliticsNJ.com is operated by The Publius Group (ED. Note-an apparent front for The Claremont Institute"

How the hell is the editorial note substantiated!?!  Without this piece of evidence, there is nothing to tie these websites to the right-wing noise machine.

by Matt Lockshin 2005-08-07 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Something's missing
It's, um, not hard to find the connection:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Publius+Institute

The first hit on "Publius Institute" on Google is to the Claremont Institute:

http://www.claremont.org/projects/publius/.

If you are going to register just to post an objection to one part of a story, you really should try harder on crafting your objections.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Something's missing
The only connection here is that two separate groups are using the name the Federalist Papers were written under.  

Wally Edge is the name of a former Governor of New Jersey.  He took the name becasue of a sense of history.

Also, the PoliticsNJ.com and NH and PA folks are under the Publius GROUP, not INSTITUTE.

Unless you can find a connection tighter than a sense of history, I still don't see the connection between Claremont and Publius.

by nathan 2005-08-07 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Something's missing
Look closer at this link. You will note that Publius Fellow program at Claremont started in 2000.

Now, look at this link from the about section of the Publius group:

Since our launch in February 2000, Publius Group websites have attracted the attention of more than 100,000 loyal monthly readers.
What a cooincidence! They were founded at the same time with the same name.

Keep trying.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Something's missing
My cousin had a child in 2000.  Only now do I realize that he's connected to the conspiracy as well.
by Mr Moderate 2005-08-07 09:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Something's missing
What's with the ratings abuse? Sarcasm isn't trolling. Use 2-Lame if you think it sucks. I'll give a 3 to boost it back up.

Are you Kossacks or MyDDers?

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-08 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Something's missing
Chris,

I'm just going to go ahead and assume you don't realize that the name Publius is, in both cases, an allusion to the pseudonym chosen by the authors of the Federalist Papers.  The bare fact that these two groups (the Claremont Institute and whoever named the Publius Group) liked the same historical figure enough to name something after him, hardly providess a credible linkage.  

   

by Matt Lockshin 2005-08-07 10:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Something's missing
Yeah, this isn't quite all there yet.  They had made pretty obvious last year that one of the people involved was that state rep who had the drunk driving hit-and-run conviction.
by Adam B 2005-08-07 11:12PM | 0 recs
PoliticsNH.com
I've been a reader of PoliticsNH.com for a while, and have
found them to be reasonably even-handed without examining
their motives too closely.  Their main staff person is James
Pindell, who finished Columbia JSchool in 2000 and worked
on a local paper in WV before, according to
this web site
,


Pindell grew up in Indiana, where in eighth grade he began   writing congressmen he saw on C-SPAN. When Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) left him a response on his voice mail, an addiction was born. He graduated from Drake University in Des Moines early so he wouldn't miss the last Iowa caucuses. He spent that year working for Yepsen [a Des Moines Register
columnist -DaveMB], for whom he toiled away, a happy factotum, soaking up the master's lessons.

Two years ago [2002-DaveMB],
while covering the statehouse in West Virginia for a small newspaper, he got a strange offer. It came by e-mail from PoliticsNJ.com and invited Pindell to work at a similar site in New Hampshire. The sender was anonymous. Pindell has still never met his backers or talked to them by phone. He communicates with them by e-mail and deals with an accountant, who is regular with the checks. He guesses they are not journalists, but still Pindell felt a kinship: "They were junkies worse than I am."

It does sound sort of like Mission Impossible, doesn't it?

The other real name that used to show up a lot on PoliticsNH
is Dante Scala, who writes the "NH By The Numbers" articles.
He is described as a faculty member at St. Anselm, a small
Catholic college in Machester, and the school's web site certainly
confirms his existence.  His political leanings are not evident from
his site -- his articles are
mostly on business history.

by DaveMB 2005-08-07 06:51PM | 0 recs
I know Wally Edge ....
I have had a friendly IM and e-mail relationship with Wally Edge for years, though I still do not know who he is.

Wally gave me a column and promoted it heavily for two years, until I had to give it up for my own reasons.  He has a standing offer to me to come back if I want to.

You can read some of the columns at The Wayback Machine, though after a change to the site they are no longer posted there.

I have also in the past been asked to do a favor and handle the news links on the right side of PoliticsNJ.com.

If he gave a liberal like me free reign of the site (I had login privilidges to the server root) then I don't think he is such a right wing noise machiner.  I think he likes controversy and the battling of politics, and likes to stick the knife in occassionally to stir the pot.

While he may or may not be a Republican (he is to the right of me, surely) I do not believe he is part of the right wing noise machine.

I also don't see any evidence here of the link between Publius and Claremont.  I'm not saying there isn't, but it's not posted here.  Could you explain more why you make that connection?

by nathan 2005-08-07 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: I know Wally Edge ....
As I posted above in the comments and the updated story, the connection between Publius and Claremont is unbelievably easy to find. It's the "I'm Feelin' lucky" hit on Google for "Publius Institute" for crying out loud. Try hrader to poke holes in this one.

As for the notion of individuals rising above the purpose of the institution, my reaction can be found here:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/1/26/142543/003

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: I know Wally Edge ....
I'm not yet convinced that "Publius Group" and "Publius
Institute" are the same.  Chris' argument is that the same
name and the same time of origin is a clincher, and I don't
yet buy it though it may well be true.

The alternative hypothesis is that "Wally Edge" is a Brian
Lamb "just the facts" type guy rather than a VRWC operator.

Here's another interesting thing I found from Googling
"Publius Group", from what appears to be an site with a South Asian cultural focus:


Think Pennsylvania Avenue is the seat of power in D.C.? Wrong. It's K-street. Desi-Talk introduces us to Raj Mukherjee, a twenty year old lobbyist from Jersey who may end up there soon:

Most people would think for a 20-year-old being a lobbyist is an unusual career choice. Traditional choices for Indians have been engineering or medicine. But Raj Mukherjee doesn't think it is so atypical. It is understandable considering since the age of 10 Mukherjee claims he has been making web sites to attract politicians. Today, he is a partner in the New Jersey-based lobby firm, Impact NJ, which is a full-service government affairs firm with an emphasis on lobbying in the Garden State.

Mukherjee told News India-Times that politics is a disease, "when it bites you can't shake it away." Initially his parents didn't want him to do business or enter politics. "They wanted me to do school work. They believed in the power of academia," he said.

Mukherjee is currently working with U.S. Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ) on his campaign for governor. "I feel he can restore public trust. He is a good friend of India on the India caucus. In the Senate, he will work with Frank Pallone and Congressman Bob Menendez to represent the interests of Indian Americans in New Jersey, which has the largest Indian population in the U.S." said Mukherjee.

Pretty impressive, right? Not everyone is going to be "elect-able," especially at such a young age, but there are other ways to influence policy while he bides his time. Mukherjee already has an impressive resume.

He gained critical acclaim in N.J. political circles when at the age of 16, he became the vice chairman of the Publius Group (where he was previously director of technology & security), which owns and operates the state's heavily trafficked political news source (PoliticsNJ.com), receiving approximately 4 million gross hits per month.

Mukherjee, who speaks four languages, joined the Marines at 17 two weeks after September 11. It is difficult to establish how long he spent time in the Marines considering he is an undergraduate student at Rutgers, majoring in counterintelligence. It is an inter-disciplinary major that combines political science, Middle Eastern studies and military studies.  [Do we believe this? --DaveMB]

Damn. Now I feel like I haven't done enough today.

Emphasis in quoted text is mine.  Anyone want to try to chase this guy down further?

by DaveMB 2005-08-07 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: I know Wally Edge ....
By the way, I know Raj also.  He was a constituent of mine, and used to be the web guy for PoliticsNJ.com.

He's a Democrat, as his working for Corzine indicates.

by nathan 2005-08-07 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: I know Wally Edge ....
By the way, Raj did join the marines after 9-11.  I don't know what he is studying.
by nathan 2005-08-08 07:16AM | 0 recs
Re: I know Wally Edge ....
First of all, these websites are not under the Publius Institute, but the Publius Group.

Secondly, there is no Publius Institute or Publius Group affiliated with the Claremont Institute.

Claremont has a "Publius Fellowship" that is intended to indoctriante young right wing <strike>idiots</strike> writers in the proper way to attack.

There is no connection between the corporation The Publius Group and the Publius Fellowship handed out by the Claremont Institute.

Many people use the name Publius, once an incredibly famous moniker because it was used by Madison, Jay and JHamilton awhen they wrote the Federalist Papers in order to protect their anonymity as the country adopted its Constitution.  Here are some other places that use the name Publius:

Each of these groups have the same level of connection to PoliticsNJ and Wally Edge (and, in the case of the New Jersey company maybe more) as Claremont: the name Publius.

Lastly, as evidence that these sites are not part of the the Ahmanson/Scaiffe world, PoliticsNJ site has had among its columnists myself ( a NJ Democratic State Committeeman, Democratic Council President in North Plainfield, NJ, and the leader of Blue 7th PAC and the Dump Mike Ferguson blog) and Steve Adubato (from one of the most powerful Democratic families in New Jersey).  The Right Wing Noise Machine doesn't give people like us avenues to reach folks.

If you can catch money, corporate ownership, scholarship recipients or anything else passing between these two entities then we can talk.  But the name Publius is famous for people who are seriously into public policy and American history.  Finding it in two places is hardly a coincidence, much less a connection.

by nathan 2005-08-07 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: I know Wally Edge ....
Funny thing about the Freeper Publius, he calls himself a libertarian but then says that he is an passenger and freight rail activist who works with the government.  You have to wonder how a libertarian could be working to get better government services for rail consumers.

Plus, the guy is a classical music "fanatic" who loves chamber music.  I thought these guys were into country and NASCAR, not lieder and the opera.

by nathan 2005-08-07 09:09PM | 0 recs
Keystone Politics is NOT a conservative site
Chris,

I am one of the editors at KP and I can absolutely assure you KP is not a conservative website. Perhaps if you actually visited the site you would see that immediately. Instead you seem to have lumped KP in with GrassrootsPA, which is a conservative /republican site, doing us a great disservice.

I believe you owe KP an apology.

by phillydem 2005-08-08 06:21AM | 0 recs
This is more than cracks and nuance
The "small cracks" and "nuance" you talk about in the updates are not insignificant.  

The entire body of evidence you presented to link Politics XX and Claremont is that each group -- from opposite sides of the country -- used the name Publius for the first time in the year 2000.  You've presented nothing else.

If that is enough to convince you in this case, then any original use of the word Publius in 2000 indicates a connection between Claremont, PoliticsXX and the new user of Publius.  I decided to do a Google search on "Publius 2000" to see if any other entities met this standard.

  • The James City County Democrats of Virginia started a web publication called Publius in March 2000.  By the standards of your argument against PoliticsXX, the James City County Democrats are an offshoot of the Claremont Institute.  This is the "I'm feeling lucky" result.  
  • In 2000 AT&T launched a web publishing platform named Publius that allowed for anonymous posting to the web.  By the standards of your argument against PoliticsXX, AT&T and its failed publishing tool are offshoots of the Claremont Institute.

Now you have a conservative think tank, a network of political news sites, a local Democratic organization and a major corporation all in a conspiracy together.  All because in 2000 they named something "Publius."

I am sure I could find some more with a little digging, but this is enough to demonstrate that first use of the name Publius in the same year does not equate an operational relationship any more than some al Queda minions talking to Iraqi minions mean Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11.

You can continue to think that PoliticsPA is a tool of the right wing, and to advocate that progressive people should stay off of it.  For all I know you are right, though my own five years of experience with Wally lead me to think otherwise.

But you are presenting this as if you have a slam dunk, evidence-based, logical argument to back that claim up.  You don't.

by nathan 2005-08-08 03:01PM | 0 recs

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