Archive for June 6th, 2010

by jhwygirl

Even if you like coal and supported development of the Otter Creek tracts, this should cause you pause.

Clean coal is a fallacy. The coal industry spends far more in dividend payments and buying bigger diesel-gobbling machinery than it does in search of technology for clean coal – and when that won’t work, they’ll just continue shipping the stuff off to China.

It’s a multitude of old industries joined together in the common cause of coal..holding on to the market they have for coal and mining machinery, railroad equipment and rail building, large-scale shipping. All subsidized by state and federal tax dollars – yours. Lobbying against clean energy and any policies that might lead us towards weaning our power industry off of coal.

Kinda like drug dealers, you know?

Meanwhile the U.S. lags behind in green industries. The windmill here in Montana? Built in Germany, Denmark, Spain and China. Congress has been, with all intent and purpose, walking away from the one burgeoning industry potential here in the U.S. Even industrialist and oil man T. Boone Pickens knows that wind energy is the future of America.

McDonald gives one statement to Montana Conservation Voters, another to the crowds here in Missoula, and a different one to the voters out east in Billings and Bozeman? What’s a voter to believe? I know I heard him here in Missoula say that ‘until coal can be made clean,’ he didn’t think we should be developing coal.

In a big state with such a small main street, why would any candidate put out a mixed message on such a high-profile issue?


by jhwygirl

Payday loan lenders are fighting back, with television ads throughout the state saying “Don’t sign I-164”.

The ad features one of the two brothers who own several payday loan lending places here and throughout the state – E-Z Money. I’d reckon most people would recognize their smiling faces from their television ads.

I-164 has these guys and their sordid industry running scared. The television commercial I saw propagandized that they only fees they charge are $15 for a two week $100 loan, $25 for a two week $200 loan and $35 for a two week $300 loan.

That’s $390 in interest per year on a $100 loan – if the person who got the loan is able to at least meet the loan fee.

And if it isn’t the initiative that has these guys running scared, it’s a problembear, who is doing battle with one of their paid lobbyists in pb’s most recent post here at 4&20.

problembear has been out gathering signatures for I-164, and he has also been back to his blogging over at Problembear’s Weblog.

Goddess Bless him.

Imagine the dire straits someone would be in to head to a payday loan lender for a $100 loan. A mother or father with a sick child, perhaps? Working minimum wage (not unlikely, given all those high-paying job Missoula has, right?). These people are already down and behind, and that’s how these places get their hooks into desperate people. Making that kind of money, it’s hard to keep yourself up with that kind of paycheck to begin with – you’re already counting pennies just to make rent, keep food on the table and gas in the car to get to work.

The E-Z Money owner and the ad intentionally blurs the line as if payday loan lenders, title loan lenders and retail installment lenders are all one in the same. All are just as evil. Right now, under Montana law, payday lenders may charge up to 650% on a 14-day loan. Title lenders can charge 300% on a 30-day loan. Plus they can take the car when you default for 60 days.

Here’s the language from I-164:

Under Montana law, deferred deposit (payday) lenders may charge fees equaling one-fourth of the loan, which is the same as an annual interest rate of 300 percent for a 31-day loan or 650 percent for a 14-day loan. Title lenders may charge interest equaling one-fourth of the loan, which is the same as an annual interest rate of 300 percent for a 30-day loan. I-164 reduces the interest, fees, and charges that payday, title, and retail installment lenders may charge to an annual interest rate of 36 percent. It prohibits businesses from structuring other transactions to avoid the rate limit.

This evil loan industry is putting out the same tired crap that they’ve used at the legislature for at least the last two sessions – “over 600 jobs at risk” and “over 100 businesses affected statewide” – and while that may have worked for the Republican legislators that wouldn’t allow bills even out on to the floor for a vote, it isn’t working for initiative signature gatherers, who I’ve been told (by problembear and others) aren’t have any trouble at all gathering the signatures that they need.

Again – Goddess bless ’em.

The lobbyist firm they’ve created to do battle with I-164 is Coalition for Consumer’s Choice. Here’s their contact information, just in case you want to write:

Coalition for Consumer’s Choice
Bernie Harrington, Treasurer
PO Box 81137
Billings, MT 59108

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