Archive for August 30th, 2009

by Jamee Greer

Here’s a little reminder as we go into the next week from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s blog:

Washington, D.C. is an echo chamber in which anyone who sounds authoritative repeats the conventional authoritative wisdom about the “consensus” of inside opinion, which they’ve heard from someone else who sounds equally authoritative, who of course has heard it from another authoritative source. Follow the trail to its start and you often find an obscure congressional or White House staffer who has seen some half-assed poll number or briefing memo, but seeking to feel important hypes it a media personality or lobbyist who, desperate to sound authoritative, pronounces it as truth. In any other place on the planet it would be called rumor, gossip, or drivel. In our nation’s capital it’s called “inside information.” The process would be harmless except that it creates self-fulfilling prophesies.


So forget the authoritative sources. Mobilize and organize. We can get comprehensive, meaningful health care reform if we push hard enough. And we must.


by JC

Update 8/31, 10:30am:

Seems that Barkus found a need to hire an attorney. He is directing all questions to Todd Glazier.

And John Adams is tweeting that a press conference is currently underway. He reports: “Not much new to report from today’s [8/31] press conference. Rehberg, Smith to be released today. Frost “stable.” No update on the Barkuses.”


Ok, It’s been 3 days since Barkus slammed his boat into the rocks at Wayfarers State Park injuring everybody aboard, and we still don’t know anything about the accident, except that he was at the helm.

Well, actually, we know a lot more than that. In the Missoulian today, we’re treated to this little tidbit:

The Flathead County sheriff’s office is investigating the incident. A dispatcher at the sheriff’s office says there have been no developments in the case Sunday.

Ok, that sounds innocuous enough. But what do we know about the Sheriff, Mike Meehan? Well, it turns out that he and Barkus are buddies. Good enough buddies that Meehan endorsed Barkus for his Senate run in ’06. Here, check out the endorsement in the Daily InterLake:

Maybe now we know why there were no developments in the investigation.

James Conner at the Flathead Memo gives us some perspective on this:

[Barkus] asserts that he’s tough on crime, while carefully avoiding explaining what he means or what he wants to do as a legislator to be the tough guy he says he is. Look at the endorsements… Two stand out in a way that reflects poorly on Barkus:

First, the endorsement from Mike Meehan, the Republican candidate for Flathead County Sheriff identifies Meehan as “sheriff elect.” Meehan is running unopposed, but he hasn’t been elected yet.

Barkus also touts endorsements from three other elected officials: Jim Dupont (Sheriff), Ted Lympus (District Judge), and Ed Corrigan (County Attorney). You can decide for yourself whether you think that’s appropriate. Elected officials have the right to endorse legislative candidates, but when judges and county attorneys do it, it raises the troubling specter of partisan behavior in what should be non-partisan offices.

Second, there’s an endorsement from one Scott Warnell, identified as a “police detective.” Presumably Warnell works for the police department in Kalispell, but given the ad’s insouciant approach to getting the facts straight, Warnell might be a sheriff’s deputy. What’s wrong with this? Nothing, as long as Warnell speaks as a citizen. But when he identifies himself as a law enforcement officer, and his name in the ad is placed next to four of the county’s major elected officials in the justice system, it appears as though Barkus has the blessing of the police department in Kalispell.

Equal justice for all requires that law enforcement personnel steer clear of partisan political activity. To do otherwise is unprofessional and dangerous. Warnell, and I think the others, crossed that line. And Greg Barkus appears blind to the problem.

So, not only is Barkus in bed with the sheriff, he’s also pocketed the Police Dept., the County attorney, and the Judge. Not to mention the FWP investigators: he chairs the State Senate’s FWP committee, and he is a former FWP commissioner.

Anybody think we’re going to get a straight story out of Flathead County or FWP? Didn’t think so. Cover up is underway, it seems. There is conflict of interest and cronyism galore at work here. Then again, maybe Barkus’ “Tough on Crime” campaign, and those who supported it might just up and do the right thing. Get Tough!

by jhwygirl

We all know drinking is practically a hobby here in Montana, although that culture is slowly slinking away as education outreach works its way through generations. One would, in these days and ages, expect that our elected officials have absorbed that educational outreach…or at least set an honorable example.

Erik Iverson, who still does crisis management for Montana’s congressional representative Denny Rehberg – Washington Post’s words, not mine – scrambled to clear quick rampant judgments (based on Denny’s well-honed reputation) that Rehberg was drunk at this weekend’s Flathead Lake boating accident where Kalispell’s state Senator Greg Barkus launched a 22-foot fiberglass speedboat up on the rocks.

Check out the comment thread in this article in Denny’s hometown paper, the Billings Gazette .

Iverson – who was also Rehberg’s former chief of staff and former head of Montana’s GOP – stressed a few things: Rehberg wasn’t driving the boat…and that Rehberg’s blood alcohol level (BAC) was only .05, “well below the legal limit.”

So Denny had only had a drink or two and his judgment was fine?

Not exactly the case, it seems. How impaired is .05 BAC? Read a full description for yourself, but to sum up:

At the .05 BAC level, people begin to exhibit exaggerated behavior, experience loss of small-muscle control — such as being able to focus their eyes quickly — have impaired judgment, lowered alertness and a release of inhibition.

.05 BAC has been pushed by MADD as a more reasonable BAC to determine the legal level of impairment…enough so that it is a concern for the Montana gaming industry.

Rehberg wasn’t driving – Senator Barkus was, and we’ve yet to get his BAC – but clearly Rehberg’s judgment was impaired enough to get in a motorized vehicle with someone who (anyone want to take bets?) will to be found to have alcohol in his system.

This is bad judgment, and when it comes to getting into a motorized vehicle with 4 others – and using the thing to transport yourself across a lake that also has other innocent people transporting themselves in their own motorized and non-motorized boats – wouldn’t you want to think that your lone congressional representative in Congress had enough judgment to know that not only should he not be getting in that boat with someone who’s been drinking – but that the drunk driver shouldn’t be getting behind the wheel of any vehicle and filling that vehicle with passengers?

That poor judgment resulted in some pretty serious injuries to 4 of the 5 people involved. It’s a shame that our Representative Rehberg didn’t have the good old common sense to say “Hey – wait a minute here,” and stop what has turned out to be a pretty tragic thing for one family.

Pretty basic stuff, no? Beyond that, where in the hell is Rehberg’s own self-preservation?

Now – I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Iverson’s other backhanded defense he threw in with an on-camera interview I caught on Missoula’s NBC KECI station last night (sorry, can’t find any video), which was a description of the travel: The boat trip was for the purpose of delivering Denny to some bay/docks for some gathering he was trying to get to in Bigfork, and that they were “very close.”

Read: They had a safe trip almost all the way there….they almost made it.

So, again – Close but not touching doesn’t lessen the lack of judgment.

…name recognition has become a problem.

by JC

From the HelenaIR:

“McDonald and Missoula attorney Tyler Greenest are both vying to unseat Denny Rehberg.”

Methinks Tyler Gernant has some work to do. Is there an editor in the house?

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