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Anonymous Blogger Tries to Out Anonymous Political Ranking Website

I'll acknowledge that Dakota War College did one of its first yummy blog posts in quite some time last night. DWC took the simple step of reading the source code of and identifying server information that appears to link the new rabble-rousing GOP Platform Scorecard with Representative Stace Nelson, who, likely not coincidentally, is one of the highest ranked legislators on the scorecard.

Let us note first the grand irony of "Bill Clay," an anonymous blogger who refuses to respond to any questions about her/his real identity, feeling it is her/his prerogative to reveal the identity of other political discussants who wish to preserve their anonymity. The French have a term for a person like that: trou du cul. (Look that up after work.)

I contacted the admin Monday when I first posted about the website and its legislator rankings and asked them if they would be willing to say who they are. The admin declined, saying she/he does not know all of the people involved, that some who are involved are afraid of retaliation, and that regardless of who is involved in the rankings, it is good for members of the public to be involved and informed.

In his comments here on the Madville Times, Rep. Nelson has avoided acknowledging involvement with He refers to the group as these folks and they. I hesitate to accuse an ex-Marine who outweighs me by at least a couple stone of verbal trickery. But Rep. Nelson does seem to be choosing his words carefully so far about whether or not is his baby or his ugly stepchild. (Of course, Rep. Nelson has other fish to fry right now... stay tuned!)

I agree that more information is better. I agree that it is important to know who created these rankings, who made the very subjective choices of GOP platform issues to include in the rankings and the broader issues the rankings ignore. (Troy Jones does a bang-up job of explaining the choices made.) I agree that the rankings would carry even more weight in public discourse if its progenitors would step forward, put their names to their work, and say, "Here's what we believe. Let's talk, face to face."

And if they do that, they'll have more credibility as Republicans and as citizens than "Bill Clay" and the vast majority of his sock-puppet commenters who cower behind anonymity while flinging insults at others who take the public stage.

p.s.: Worth noting: So far, Dakota War College has ignored the substance of what the GOP Platform Voting Scorecard says about the voting records of our legislators and their fidelity or lack thereof to the Republican platform. As usual, DWC prefers to talk personalities instead of issues. The only websites working to interpret the scorecard itself and the facts about the voting record are the right-wingnuts who feel the Republican party shuts them out (see Steve Sibson, Bob Ellis, Gordon Howie) and little old me, who finds it noteworthy and perhaps alarming that some of my favorite fellow Democrats rank higher on a right-wing scorecard of Republican platform fidelity than the Republican leadership.


  1. Steve Sibson 2011.11.30


    I have learned over time that conservative Republicans and populist Democrats have something in common based on principle...we look out for the little guy. Sad that in the name of "capitalism", conservatives feel compelled to defend the policy agenda of the GOP's economic development through Big Government where the little guy is forced out of the market via government regulations. Instead I think conservatives need to join forces with populist Democrats. Perhaps then the Dems will put in leadership those who understand that government is not the answer to the oppression of the working class.

  2. troy jones 2011.11.30


    Just like a legislator might discern a bill is so fundamentally flawed and improvement is impossible, the bills selected are so obviously self-serving (make friends look good and enemies look bad), I don't fault anyone, including the SDWC for choosing to ignore this scorecard. If I had had proof Nelson was involved at the outset, I wouldn't have taken the time I did yesterday to analyze this.

    My initial motive was to assess whether I thought this group selected a representative sample of the platform or not. When it was obvious it was selective based on a particular agenda, I wrote what I did.

    My current motive for monitoring this is not about the issues (as I personally would be ranked rather high) but about making it clear this self-appointed group is making a claim about themselves regarding who is a "good Republican" without telling us who they are and what makes them determine these are the most Republican of issues.

    Seriously, a scorecard that makes Angie Buhl more Republican than over half the caucus? C'mon.

  3. troy jones 2011.11.30

    OK, I should have said "suspected" but I didn't accuse you of being involved. Sorry for the poor choice of words.

  4. Bill Fleming 2011.11.30

    So Nelson, are you saying legislators should make Hog Housing common practice in the legislature and that there is somehow more integrity and transparency in that? If so, that sounds like hogwash to me. (pun intended)

  5. Steve Sibson 2011.11.30

    "When it was obvious it was selective based on a particular agenda, I wrote what I did."

    And that agenda is the SDGOP platform policies the are promoted by GOP politicians to garner conservatives votes in order to defeat those evil Big GOvernemtn Democrats.

    "Seriously, a scorecard that makes Angie Buhl more Republican than over half the caucus?"

    So the group behind this is the far-left wing of the SDGOP? Come on, let us have a constructive discussion on policies and drop the personal attacks. Troy admit that you SDGOP Establishment believe government is the solution but don't say that to get elected.

  6. troy jones 2011.11.30


    I'm not saying this group is "far left wing", I'm saying the bills selected don't define a Republican if a good liberal like Angie can score so high. And, I say nothing to get elected to anything. I only speak my mind.

  7. Steve Sibson 2011.11.30


    Since you believe so highly in complete honest and total disclosure, how are your SDGOP Establishment cohorts are taking the news? Any specific plans for retaliation? Or are we instead all ready to discuss policy? I would love to join your conversation over at SDWC on all this, but the last time I tried I wasn't allowed to leave a comment. How much pull to you have over there? Or does Pat Powers still call the shots?

  8. troy jones 2011.11.30

    I have talked to nobody. And I'm always willing to talk policy. I have no authority or pull at SDWC except to occassionally write on whatever I choose.

  9. Steve Sibson 2011.11.30

    "I’m saying the bills selected don’t define a Republican if a good liberal like Angie can score so high."

    I already knew that their are Democrats in the Senate Chamber more conservative than half of the Republicans. How do you suppose they go elected on conservative South Dakota? I am not surprised by the results.

    Again Troy, provide bill numbers to votes that should be added to the scorecard. I am very interested in the idea of making this analysis more comprehensive. It would be inerested to see if that would make a statistical difference to say, Tim Rave's ranking.

  10. mike 2011.11.30

    I dont' really give a crap about who is behind the website or behind the blogging. I just like reading decent blogs that's why I'm here.

  11. Steve Sibson 2011.11.30

    Tom, I just read the dead tree version. Thanks for the great work.

  12. Douglas Wiken 2011.11.30

    Looks like simply corrupt kleptocracy running South Dakota GOP has little in common with real conservatism or populism. Sibby is in the right direction when he tosses the fascism term and corporatist Republicans. There seems to be some correlation in the attempt to make large business and financial interests a fourth of fifth arm of our system depending on where we stick the fourth estate (press).

    The problem with the way Sibby uses fascism is that he applies it to just about anything he disagrees with. Such abuses of language owe much to Newt Gingrich, but they add little to real discussion of actual issues.

  13. larry kurtz 2011.11.30

    Why would someone in the law enforcement/prison/industrial complex serve on the Ag committee in the first place?

    The chemical toilet can confine 7000 humans and get cash back from the lobbyists in direct competition with other lobbyists and get the Feds to kill things:

    Put Rep. Nelson on a committee that kills something, like corrections, for instance.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.30

    Troy's point about how Dems rate on this Republican scorecard is worth considering. If I were doing an academic research paper, and if I constructed some survey instrument that I said would identify "Republicanism," but then if my survey ranked several known Democrats higher than several known Republicans, the reviewers of my paper might conclude that my instrument had revealed that our understanding of who is Republican and who is not is flawed. However, it is more likely that the reviewers would take the position that my instrument is flawed.

    Mike, I'm always glad to have your eyeballs and your voice in the conversation. But I put a high value on knowing who's involved, on knowing that we are all neighbors, all real people, all in the same boat. DWC's post appears to agree that knowing who's speaking is important. But DWC refuses to apply that principle to itself. That's why DWC lacks credibility in this discussion.

  15. Steve Sibson 2011.11.30

    Cory, the instrument was the Republican platform. Go ahead and argue that the instrument is flawed. That is what the RINOs need to do.

    HB1230 is going to voted on. Why would taking taxes from the small guy and give to a committeee to dish out to the big guys fit any platform. The Democrats all voted against it. The Republicans minus one voted for it as they were told...if you want to have a future in the party, you have to vote for this. The problem is not the instrument, it is the corruption. Every Democrat gained 5% points on that bill. If the Republicans were voting on principle and not under coercion, the bill would have been soundly defeated in the House. Don't blame the scorecard because Republicans put greed in front of their platform and chose not to use it.

    And speaking of greed, the RINOs joined the Democrats on illegal immigration because they want cheap labor for their business special interest (The Chamber and the facsist Economic Develolpment Corps). That lowered the scores for both Democrats and RINOs.

    And speaking of greed, the RINOs joined the Democrats on Obamacare (SB38 & SB43) so that the Corporate Medical Establishment and Insurance special interests can increase their revenues. Don't think fromer Governor Mike Rounds is not in favor of insurance companies having customers laid into their laps funded by money borrowed from future generations? That lowered the scores for both Democrats and RINOS

    The Republican platform was flawed during the 2011 legislative session because it wasn't used. Don't blame the scorecard for putting it to use now.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.30

    Careful, Sibby. As Troy pointed out yesterday, the scorecard is not based on the Republican platform. It is based on carefully chosen and interpreted portions of the Republican platform. That doesn't excuse Republicans for not living up to those portions of the platform, and I think you can take a very good argument to your Republican legislators and convention delegates as to why Republicans are voting in ways that don't uphold those portions of the platform.

    But using this particular "instrument" to say a whole bunch of Republicans aren't really Republicans is rather like arguing that because Herman Cain committed adultery and didn't tithe 10% last month, he's not a Christian.

  17. Steve Sibson 2011.11.30

    Cory, Herman Cain did not repent, so his Christianity is questionable. And the RINOs are not repenting. Why would they, they have far-left activists like you and Fleming to defend them.

    The scorecard are based on 20 votes from each chamber whose position from a Republican point of view is determined by the SDGOP platform. Again, if Troy wants to expand the analysi by including more votes, bring it on. I welcome that.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.12.01

    Troy does not have to produce a complete analysis on a moment's notice in order to maintain the position he has staked out. He is saying that the GOP Platform Voting Scorecard ignores numerous key provisions of the GOP platform, as well as a majority of votes in the 2011 Legislature. That statement is true. Now to go further and claim that the GOP legislators are much more Republican than you claim would require Jones to compose his own analysis of the platform and votes... but if we demanded that of him, he would be entitled to at least as much time as your friends took to compose their scorecard. How much time did that effort take, Sibby?

    Back to the academic analogy: I don't have to create and test my own research instrument to challenge the validity of someone else's.

  19. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    The purpose of a political party is to win elections. If you try to make it into a rigorous ideology you won't win any elections, thus defeating the purpose of having the party in the first place. Trying to stipulate the relative purity of a Republican is like trying to measure the relative purity of someone else's Christian faith. What kind of fool would do that?


    Never mind.

  20. Steve Sibson 2011.12.01


    Until Troy completes his analysis, he has no basis to claim that it would be statistically different than this one. He is simply blowing smoke so that the truth can be keep in check...the SDGOP leadership is misleading their conservative base. Simply voting Republican as the solution to the evil socialist Democrats has been exposed as a lie by this scorecard. Now if the populist Democrats, who voted high on the scorecard, need to stop believing that bigger government is the solution to the corruption. Big government is a natural magnet for corruption.

    The solution is for wise citizens to push the concept that we can be more responsible, believe and truse we can do it ourselves, and become less dependent on the control freaks who use governemnt to have their way with us. And they are in both parties. That is why we saw the NEA join forces with Chamber of Commerce in 2008 to prevent the reforms designed to lessen the ease upon which the corrupt have used the national debt to line their pockets and to garner power.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.12.01

    Steve, I will grant you that he cannot prove that a different instrument would produce different results until he actually carries out that analysis. But he can make the claim that your instrument lacks validity based on the sampling bias in the votes and platform planks chosen and its disagreement with the empirical political alignments of Angie Buhl and others.

  22. Steve Sibson 2011.12.01


    Troy actually was more constructive with most others including yourself. But he is on the same side of those who want to dismiss the entire analysis because it was put together by a bunch of right-wing theocrats, 912s, Tea Party fringe lunatics. That is what happens to those who stand up to the wealthy special interests that control the political process in Pierre. What was the first thing the SDWC do? Figure out the who so that the personal attacks and the marginalization process can begin. And they have far-left Big Government activists like Bill Fleming all to happy to join in. Why? Because the Establishment GOP and the far-left Democrats have one common denominator...they LOVE Big GOvernment.

    And by the way Cory, what was the first thing you this the work of a bunch of ring wing theocrats and attempted to tie me in.

    But this is politics, a game where winning is all that matters. And at all costs, as long as it is someone else's loss.

  23. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    Yup. Fatalistic persecution complex. Another sure sign of the Paranoid Political Style. Recall that there is never any meaningful recommended solution. No way out. Only desperation.

  24. Steve Sibson 2011.12.01

    Bill, you have yet to answer the Tom Daschle campaign motto question. Your attempts to distract from the substance of issues and truth is making you irrelevant. You are part of the problem, not a source for solutions. You are violating your own monistic theology by causing disunity. A sinful man who denies their is sin is a recipe for eternal destruction. If that does not make you paranoid, then you are a total fool. The last person anyone should listen to is a total fool.

  25. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    As usual, I did answer it, Sibby. You just didn't like the answer. The man who said "Only the paranoid survive" was Andrew Grove.

    Daschle was no doubt referencing Grove's book of the same title.

    Unlike you, Grove had good real life reasons to be paranoid.

  26. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    Beyond that, Sibby, the passage from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" was more than ample response to your lame question about "sins" and "fools." And I respectfully refuse to dumb it down for you on the off chance that you might then perhaps understand it. If you have problems with the literature, take an English class.

  27. Steve Sibson 2011.12.01

    Bill, did you know the Shakespeare may have been involved with Francis Bacon? Check out his lost city of Atlantis and how relates to the New World that we call America today.

    Before that, tell us why you made hundred's of thousands on a far-left guy's campaign that centered on paranoia, if you believe paranoia to be only a right-wing issue?

  28. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    Never once said the Paranoid Style was exclusive to the far-right, Sibby.

    In fact, quite the opposite.

    This is the problem with giving you things to read.

    You don't read them.

    You just make up what you think they said.

    Care to try again?:

    Very first two sentences:

    "It had been around a long time before the Radical Right discovered it—and its targets have ranged from “the international bankers” to Masons, Jesuits, and munitions makers.

    American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers..."

  29. Steve Sibson 2011.12.01

    "Never once said the Paranoid Style was exclusive to the far-right, Sibby."

    Bill, now it is you that is using the deception that you charged Stace with.

    Now come out an admit that you are also paranoid or is the above someone who has used pantheistic monism (New Age) to spirtiually evolve into a god?

  30. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    To be sure, there are those on the left who are engaged in Paranoid Style politics, Sibby. The "Truthers" for example.

    I'm not one of them. Not a conspiracy guy.

    Sorry to burst your bubble (again.)

    I'm more of a "cat herder." Comes with my profession. I work with a lot of geniuses, and can rarely ever get them to agree on anything.

  31. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    Well, you guys ARE moronic. That's just an observation, not a conspiracy (or at least not a very good one ;^).

  32. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01


    Sib, that just reminded me...

    Remember when you and that guy Braird(sp?) stepped on your dicks trying to change Stephanie Herseth's Wiki entry, and Bruce Whalen had to fire your sorry butts?

    Morons I tell ya.

  33. Bill Fleming 2011.12.01

    Oh yeah, now your talkin' Jana.
    I forgot about that guy.
    One of my heroes. ;^)

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