Back in the Reagan days I used to spend time arguing online with right-wingers (on CompuServe! – I even had a back-and-forth with Limbaugh once.) I used to research budget numbers and other statistics to refute the right-wing arguments, like “tax cuts cause revenue to increase,” “welfare causes women to have more babies,” and of course the old Republican standard, “blacks are less intelligent than whites.” (I was working on a never completed book.) Eventually I came across a website of a guy doing very similar work – Steve Kangas and his Liberalism Resurgent pages. He was even in the same town as me, although I never met him.
On Feb. 8 1999, Steve Kangas was found dead in a bathroom near Richard Mellon Scaife’s office. It was ruled a suicide.
About Me by Steve Kangas.
His home page and Liberalism Resurgent are mirrored as a tribute.
Tribute to Steve Kangas
There’s a Steve Kangas page at BartCop.
The Strange Death of Steve Kangas
Steve Kangas: Suicide?
Evidence of Kangas’ murder
While ruled a suicide, questions still linger about the death of Steve Kangas
From Scaife’s newspaper, actually a very good article, Suicide leaves more questions than answers,
… Among those who knew him, Kangas, who left the world in a sudden, inexplicable moment of self-directed violence, is now a cipher.
A man of professed nonviolence who argued against gun ownership, Kangas bought a gun, left Las Vegas and hid out in a restroom near the offices of conservative publisher Richard Mellon Scaife, against whom he had written. Moments after a building engineer stumbled across him around 11:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Kangas shot himself.
He left no suicide note. There was no manifesto. Police found $14.63 in his pockets and a nearly empty whiskey bottle nearby. He had three books, a few magazines, socks and toilet paper in his backpack. What was in his head is anybody’s guess.
Who was Steve Kangas, and what was he doing on the 39th floor of One Oxford Centre in the dying hours of that Monday night? Scaife’s organization hired a private detective to try to find out.
[. . .] On the Internet, he was read by an assortment of people who love to debate politics. His online biography tells of a guy who joined the Army after high school and wound up working in military intelligence, both in Central America and Germany, during the waning days of the Cold War.
To friends in Santa Cruz, the easygoing California town where he attended college from 1987 to 1994 without completing his degree, Kangas was a masterful chess player and former president of the local chess club.
One acquaintance described him as a gambler. Another remembered him as living just one step from homelessness as he eked out a marginal living selling free-lance writings to a Colorado Web site.
Flash ahead a few years to 1997 and it was Steve Kangas the swell.
He joined P.W. Enterprises, a Las Vegas firm developing software that combines assorted factors on racehorses and, its creators hope, comes up with consistent winners. The company currently is marketing the software in Hong Kong.
He told his sister he made as much as $200,000 in one year. When she mentioned, in passing, that she needed to save some money, Kangas sent her six $100 bills in the fall of 1997.
“He took great pride in that,” she said.
[. . .] One of Kangas’ online essays, “Origins of the Overclass,” purports to show “why the richest 1 percent have exploded ahead since 1975, with the help of the New Right, Corporate America and, surprisingly, the CIA.”
Toward the end of the essay, he introduces Scaife and tells of the billionaire’s role – later confirmed – in running a London news agency that was a CIA front.
The essay also discusses Scaife’s donations to various right-wing think tanks and other organizations.
Kangas went into greater detail on Scaife in another piece discussing the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that first lady Hillary Clinton has claimed was aligned against President Clinton.
The piece is largely a rehash of previously published accounts of Scaife’s involvement with think tanks and the American Spectator’s “Arkansas Project,” to which Scaife contributed more than $1.8 million in an effort to dig up dirt on Clinton.