Archive for September 8th, 2006

Steven Benen has a fascinating post up about how the Democratic leadership had to recreate a special unit dedicated to catching Osama bin Laden. That’s right: there was once a special CIA unit whose primary task was to catch Osama, and Bush disbanded it right before the Fourth of July, where news of it promptly vanished into the bright lights of holiday fireworks. And now the Senate – thanks to Democrats – have recreated it.

My favorite Senator to mock – Ted Stevens of Alaska – had these choice words:

Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska blasted the amendment as a politically motivated “slam at the intelligence community,” but urged fellow Republicans to go on record supporting it.

But the really interesting thing about Benen’s post is how he notices Bush is using bin Laden’s statements to prop up his own anti-terror agenda. Benen:

There’s just something fundamentally strange about the president saying, “If you don’t believe me, believe bin Laden.”

Does that mean the President thinks bin Laden is a more credible source?

You may have seen in today’s “Links” post the ad from the conservative group, “Progress for America,” which basically tries to terrify us into voting Republican this election, although I think this tactic will fail miserably.


Check out the CBS/NYTimes poll (also in “Links”) analyzing citizen views on terror. The main story is that fewer people feel “safe” than did five years ago. A growing number of people also said the threat of terror has increased since 9/11.

But check out why they feel this way:

…by a four-to-one margin (48 percent to 12 percent), Americans think the war in Iraq has made the threat of terrorism against the United States worse rather than better.


Both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are viewed as having created breeding grounds for terrorists. Fifty-four percent say the wars have created more terrorists, while just 15 percent say they’ve eliminated terrorists.

There’s also increased pessimism about the overall war on terrorism, with 21 percent — the highest number ever — saying the terrorists are winning. Thirty-six percent say the United States is winning and 38 percent say neither side is winning.

It is true that about half the respondents feel comfy with Bush’s terror agenda and that it’s effective. Why? The poll speculates that “nearly half of Americans don’t think terrorism is a problem a president can do much about.”

Besides showing some deep and misguided flaws in the reasoning capability of the electorate, the poll also shows one thing: if the Republicans continue hammering on national security – as they will – the Democrats need to respond by showing that the Iraq War is detracting from out nation’s security – as it is – and by putting forth a clear agenda on how they plan to reduce terrorism. An easy way would be to hammer the point that they will spend resources in catching Osama bin Laden.

Which brings us back to the recent Democratic Senate leadership action of re-creating the CIA group dedicated to catching Osama.

Jon Tester has said he’d push the government to go after Osama bin Laden if elected. Burns has advocated “unwavering support” of Bush’s Iraq War. Had enough? The choice is clear.

Creep: Dallas Erickson

Congratulations to this week’s creep, Dallas Erickson! He’s managed to do something no other 4&20 blackbird creep has ever done! He’s a creep for two different reasons on the same issue!

Many of you are already no doubt familiar with this Stevensville resident and far-right fundamentalist Christian anti-gay activist. He was, after all, one of the sources behind Yellowstone Country’s recent voted-down obscenity ordinance, and has been working for years to eliminate pornography from the public sphere:

Erickson, of Stevensville, is the founder of Help Our Moral Environment, or HOME. The organization says it works to “significantly reduce sexual violence and the victimization of children, women, men and families by eliminating child pornography, regulating sexually oriented businesses and removing illegal pornography from the open market in Montana.”


The Montana Human Rights Network has described Erickson as anti-gay, and his Web site formerly stated the organization’s opposition to “the homosexual agenda.”

Fine. So he’s a moral prude and crusader. For that alone, Erickson does not earn his 4&20 blackbirds “creep” label. I think he’s wrong, but I admit he has a right to pursue his agenda in our community. (An argument could be made to creepify him based on all the time and money Montana communities have spent on lawsuits overturning Ravalli County ordinances he spearheaded, but let’s let that slide for now.)

No, what has earned Erickson’s “creep” label is another matter entirely. And it has to do with Wal-Mart. You see, Ravalli County has passed a resolution limiting the size of big-box stores in their community (hurry! 154 may still pass!), ostensibly to keep Wal-Mart out, and Erickson doesn’t like it. In fact he started a “citizens’ group” to oppose it: “Citizens for Economic Opportunity.”


“…this is about free enterprise,” said Erickson….“This isn’t about Wal-Mart. It’s about the freedom to do business.”

I’ll let you digest that for a moment.

That’s right! Erickson is a free-market advocate! But only of business models he agrees with!

But before I say anything else, guess who Erickson’s biggest source of funding is? That’s right, Wal-Mart!

Citizens for Economic Opportunity, a group started by the conservative activist Dallas Erickson of Stevensville, collected $41,752.41 in its effort to defeat the resolution that would limit big-box stores to 60,000 square feet, documents show. Wal-Mart, which is seeking to build a supercenter in Hamilton, gave $41,000 of that amount in a check written in late May, just as the petition drive was getting under way.

Erickson said Wednesday that Wal-Mart had “contributed” to the drive to get 15 percent of Ravalli County voters to sign the petition – that drive succeeded – but he said he couldn’t be sure about the accuracy of the figure listed on the form filed with the state commissioner of political practices. The form was filed by Erickson’s group.

Erickson said his group used the company’s money to pay for several “major” mailings and to pay petitioners to gather signatures.

Don’t we already have enough big-money-sourced initiatives on our state ballots?

Yes, Erickson has hit a double creepdom. He’s a hypocrite of the worst sort and he’s a tool of a big out-of-state corporation looking to alter a Montana community in the name of a buck.

Double ugh.


Justin’s very persuasive (and poetic) argument for allowing cruising on Billings streets. Any cops or business owners out there care to rebut?

Rebels Are We! catches Testermania. Coming to a community near you!

Last night’s appearance by initiative front-man Travis Butcheron Yellowstone Public Radio has hit the ‘Net. Give it a listen. I would love it if someone made a transcript…

Jeff M on how Montana’s college system scores on affordability.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Burns to help out. Apparently he doesn’t give a d*mn.

Part 3 of New West’s series on Oregon’s regulatory-takings initiative.

Notorious Mark T on Iraq War. He claims that both Dems and Repubs believe in the unjust war, but offers no solution on how to extract ourselves from it. Pony up, Mark T!

Idaho’s Bill Sali shows us just what an idiot he is and why the state’s 1st District is in play.

The entire Democratic Senate leadership sends a little note to Disney – threatening to destroy them when they get into power. Now this is what I’m talking about!

Hm. Here’s an interesting reason why the 9/11 Commission chair isn’t speaking out against the gross inaccuracies of ABC’s “documentary.”

Speaking of 9/11, both Bush and Guliani knew that the air quality in Lower Manhattan was toxic when they reopened it. You think that’s in the ABC special?

Is it Constitutional to deny lawyers fees for challenging church-state infringements? House Republicans think so. But then their track record on the Constitution is less than stellar.

Conservatives begin the fear-mongering. Buckle up, Americans. Don’t let them scare you into approving of their incompetence and corruption.

By the way, the fear-mongering appears to be working. Only thing is, Americans blame the Iraq War for their unease. So…does that mean the GOP’s fear-mongering campaign will actually backfire?

Fred Phelps proves Jonathan Swift’s words: “”When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

I guess HP jumped the gun on privatizing government activities

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