Archive for August 24th, 2006

Great letter in the Missoulian today on our state’s sole Representative, Snidely Whiplash written by Susan Edwards of Missoula:

It’s time to come home, Denny

Former Congressman and presidential candidate Pete McCloskey urged his fellow Republicans to vote Democratic this fall:

“I have decided to endorse every honorable Democrat now challenging those Republican incumbents who have acted to protect former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who have flatly reneged on their Contract With America promise in 1994 to restore high standards of ethical behavior in the House and who have combined to prevent investigation of the Cunningham and Abramoff/Pombo/DeLay scandals. These Republican incumbents have brought shame on the House, and have created a wide-spread view in the public at large that Republicans are more interested in obtaining campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists than they are in legislating in the public interest.”

Of course our Rep. Denny Rehberg was so very vocal in repudiating the unethical tactics and practices of DeLay et al, wasn’t he?

Alas, Rehberg didn’t stand up, didn’t do the right thing. On a visit to the Rehberg Missoula office last summer, when the full scope of the Abramoff/Pombo/DeLay scandals was becoming known, I asked where our representative stood. The answer (after a call to some higher up) was that Rehberg stood foursquare for God, Home and Apple Pie, and by golly if anybody did anything wrong, well he was agin’ it. A follow-up letter to his office in Washington elicited a reply of the same noncommittal, political-spin claptrap.

Time to come home Denny, you’ve been back in the big city to long. It seems you’ve not only gotten a mite confused as to the difference between right and wrong, but lot a bit of your backbone as well.

Gasp! Could Rehberg really be against Congressional reform? How dare Ms. Edwards make wild unsubstantiated accusations against our Honorable Representative?

Good thing 4&20 blackbirds is here! I’ll substantiate those accusations!

He voted twice (here’s Rehberg’s voting history; you’ll need this one a lot in this post) to kill investigations into the Abramoff scandal, first in H Res 746 (March 30, 2006) and then in H Res 762 (April 5, 2006).

He consistently voted to change Congressional rules in order to protect his beloved leader, Tom DeLay, from ethics charges (H Res 5, January 4, 2005, H Res 240, April 27, 2005) and voted to block investigation of DeLay’s ethical impropriety (H Res 845, October 8, 2004).

Rehberg voted to weaken the Congressional ban on gifts (H Res 5, January 7, 2003) and against campaign finance reform (HR 2356, February 14, 2002).

So he voted to protect his corrupt brethren. Big deal! He’s not taking any money from questionable sources! I mean besides the $18K from Abramoff. Or the “business” he did in Carter County on behalf of Abramoff associate, Kevin Ring. And forget about the little “slush fund” he staffed with friends and family right here in Missoula…

All I can say is no wonder he stands for “God, Home, and Apple Pie”: he fails to withstand scrutiny on issues like integrity and character. (And I suspect God ain’t giving him passing grades, either.)

Let’s send him home to his pie this November. (God will handle His own affairs in due time.) Support Monica Lindeen.

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So I pointed out how ridiculous some of Burns Vote Smart answers were…Shane points out the lies…so, let me get this straight. This survey is supposed to help educate the voter? Do you prefer a candidate who doesn’t fill out the survey, or who lies on the survey?

Speaking of how new development can negatively impact their communities…

WesternDemocrat on the Wyoming House race.

Budge wonders about a general drop in traffic at political blogs. Funny thing is, traffic is up at MyDD 9 percent, up at ActBlue 24 percent, up at Ned Lamont’s website by over 500 percent… Traffic is up at my site since March over 400 percent. Even those liberal sites in decline have seen only a small bump down compared to the righties. My theory? More blogs, plus fewer interested in right-wing spin.

Jeff Mangan agrees that the out-of-state funding of the terrible trio of initiatives and the anti-union campaign is essentially anti-Montanan.

Agricultural Secretary piles on Burns over his firefighter comments.

I’ve been talking about racism in conservative circles; Matt discovers a healthy does of anti-Catholic sentiment, too.

Burns is one of Jack Cafferty’s “Three Stooges”! (Burns is Curly.)

Why does Wal-Mart love authoritarian Communist regimes? Because it’s profitable! Long live the “free market,” promoting democracy across the globe!

That’s right! August 22 was supposed to be Armageddon! Did the Rapture come and leave everybody behind? Is that what happened?

Meanwhile the GOP war machine ramps up…elections must be coming!

Lieberman campaigns with Republicans. What’s that noise from the Dem leadership? *crickets*

Today the Billings Gazette offers up two guest editorials on CI-154, one “representing” each side of the debate. Actually – and the quotes may tip you off – I found Terry Anderson’s defense of CI-154 to be maliciously misleading, confusing, and…well…bad. Budge should have written this thing. At least he admits it’s a regulatory-takings initiative, not an initiative dealing with eminent domain.

So let’s look at the editorials.

Anderson’s defense starts with the SCOTUS decision on Kelo, which allowed a Connecticut town to take private property under eminent domain laws, and give it to a private developer. Anderson:

Though the Kelo ruling was a legal set back for property-rights advocates, it has since sparked a nationwide movement to limit eminent domain powers, specifically, and land-use regulations, generally.

The comparison of Kelo to CI-154 is completely irrelevant. 154 is not an initiative that limits the government’s power of eminent domain. In fact, if passed, it would place developers under fewer restraints. Kelo might have been stopped by a citizen’s initiative making environmental regulations stricter at the development site, for example, a citizens’ tactic for controlling development 154 would basically eliminate.

Got that? CI-154 would actually make eminent domain seizures of private property for private development easier. Anderson pretty much admits as much:

True, if taxpayers have to pay for regulatory takings, they may demand fewer of them. But this is just the law of demand telling us that raising the price of regulation will reduce the demand for it – “derail it,” if you will.

So…CI-154 will bless our communities with either higher taxes or an inability to pass land-use regulations. As if to further the illogic, Anderson uses Governor’s Schweitzer’s recent comments on water use in support of CI-154:

Reflecting on a district court’s ruling that the Mitchell Slough running through private land is not a natural water course and therefore not open to public access, the governor said, “If you want to buy a big ranch and you want to have a river and you want privacy, don’t buy in Montana. The rivers belong to the people of Montana.”

Of course, CI-154 means that the Governor would have to accept the court’s ruling and close off access to our public waterways so a few wealthy out-of-staters can enjoy their views and pretend they’re “real” Montanans. Is this support for 154? Do Montanans really want right Hollywood stars closing off access to our public lands and waterways? Somehow Anderson believes we do.

As if the editorial were confusing enough, Anderson ends with an outright lie:

A vote against allows government to take property without paying and leaves all property owners vulnerable to the tyranny faced by Susette Kelo.

Um. Current laws require the government to compensate owners for land taken under eminent domain laws. CI-154 has NOTHING to do with eminent domain!

Or, as CI-154 opponent William Mattice writes in his guest editorial,

Terry L. Anderson and other writers keep bringing up the Connecticut case where New London condemned private land and gave it to a developer. That is a dishonest scare tactic. That cannot happen here because Montana law wisely does not allow it.

What Anderson and the out-of-state money people who paid to collect the signatures for I-154 want is to eliminate all land regulations. They will not mind if the developers cover all of Montana with asphalt subdivision roads and asphalt roofs. They say they have a right to develop their private property and that regulations should not stop them.

Amen.

As Mattice notes, the Montana Constitution says that property owners – having the right to acquire, possess, and protect private property – must recognize “corresponding responsibilities.” That is, you shouldn’t develop your land if it negatively impacts your neighbor’s property. Environmental regulations are our community’s expression of how we want to treat our natural spaces and our health and well-being; “derailing” it – as Anderson admits 154 will do – seems to ignore this little facet of the Constitution. And that New Testament stricture, “do unto others” as well.

Mattice notes the west was built on neighbors agreeing to commonsense regulations, and ends with this cautionary note:

I said once that high-density subdivisions should be limited in remote areas to avoid depleting the water table for existing uses and avoid pollution of wells like we read about in the North Helena Valley. Someone answered, “We have plenty of water and our well isn’t polluted now, so why worry about it?” Should we wait until the water table drops and all the subdivision wells are polluted and then worry about it? It is too late then.

The West has a fragile ecosystem. Unchecked development aiding a rapidly growing population will only mean we’ll all have to pay for CI-154 later.

Liddy Dole is back! What is this…her third swing through the state?

Of course, her continued appearances on behalf of Burns only reinforces the fact that no respectable conservative will be seen in public with our junior Senator. Don’t hold your breath for John McCain. Forget about Mitt Romney. Rudy Giuliani? Not on your life.

See, these are conservatives even I would be delighted to meet. Who does Burns get? Liddy Dole. Dick Cheney. George W Bush. The unknown and the unlovable.

I guess national Republicans would rather let the Senate seat slip to Tester than risk their reputation stumping on behalf of Burns.




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