Archive for November 9th, 2010

by jhwygirl

Montana’s GOP is shoring up for a showdown for Speaker of the House. Every Tea Partier’s favorite Krayton Kerns – truly on the extreme edges of tea partyism – is expressing a desire to hold the seat.

Mike Milburn of Cascade was the favorite. Here’s his voting record.

Kerns, by comparison, is billing himself as “more conservative.”

~~~~~
Kerns is, of course, a puppet of another Tea Partier plus gun nut plus state’s rights advocate plus so-called constitutionalist Gary Marbut (president one-man chief lobbyist for the Montana Shooting Sports Association). Remember that crazy gun bill from last session? HB228?

Kerns’.

So how much influence will Missoula resident and right-wing loon Gary Marbut have with the Montana Legislature? Marbut, I assure you, is trying to figure out just the same.

So he’s getting started early this year, trying to score one of his mouthpieces into the Speaker of the House position.

Speaker is a pretty important position – as the Billings Gazette explains:

The speaker sets schedules, grants committee assignments, assigns legislation and controls much of the business of the chamber. The position is a key figure in negotiations with state Senate leaders and the governor’s office.

Who’s going to run the show? Marbut, Kerns and his merry band of Tea Party jesters, or the Montana GOP?

If anything, can I ask that someone consider that he’s got one of the most annoying nasally whining weaselly screechy sounding voices I’ve ever heard. Pitty all reporters that’ll have to deal with that. Do they really want Krayton out there on camera?

Come to think of it…that could be fun.

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By Duganz

Politico reports that millionaire, excuse me, Republican, Steve Daines will be the first pachyderm to throw his hat into the ring against Sen. Jon Tester in 2012. This of course stands against the logical idea most people had that Rep. Dennis “You drive the boat” Rehberg would be going after the seat (He’s accomplished nothing in the House, so it’s about time he try and accomplish nothing in the Senate).

But Daines is saying he’ll have a big announcement Saturday, and it may very well be this run for Senate. (Here’s a Facebook page promoting it…)

It would appear the Montana Democrats are readying for the challenge from Daines, a pro-life/anti-tax/”kill the Muzzlams!” candidate if ever they could find one. They’ve filed a complaint against Daines with the Federal Elections Commission saying that he is already running for Senate, albeit secretly and (the kicker…) illegally. Their evidence? This:

To quote comedian Marc Maron…. “What the fuck?!” That’s quite clearly a political campaign ad. From start to finish.

But wait, there’s more.

Common Sense Montana, producers of the above, are now running a new ad on Montana radio that is dizzying with just how much bullshit it is willing to dole out. Of course I couldn’t find a way to snag the file of the ad (see prior link), but here is a bit of the transcript:

SFX:[door open]

Norm:This the patent office?

Bitsy:Yessir!

Norm:I want to patent this [thud].

Bitsy:My, what a big question mark!

Norm:It’s a Tester-Tester. Push this button and it asks a question Jon Tester can’t answer…

…at least with a straight face. Like this…

SFX:[Mnemonic: Bzzzz + computer whirring + ding]

TEST:“Why did Jon Tester cast the single deciding vote in favor of ObamaCare?”

Bitsy:[breath]…He can answer that?

Norm:Uhhh…No.

ANNCR:The way Jon Tester poses in manly Montana pictures makes you think we have a tax-fighting farmer working for us in Washington. Turns out he was the one vote the President needed to force us into ObamaCare…and he stood with Obama, not Montana. Jon Tester’s not running in November, but you can visit TesterTester dot org and ask more questions he…just can’t answer.

If you read that and said, “Wait. Wasn’t that *Rep. Bart Stupak who stalled the Health Care bill and then got what he wanted and was thus the deciding vote?” well, of course, you’re not the kind of person to vote for Steve Daines, or be led astray by such an ad. (Also, on a more personal note, how freaking sexist is it that the guy’s name is “Norm” and the woman’s name is “Bitsy”? Not the least bit, right? *Groan*) But how many people have already forgot Stupak’s name? I’m betting plenty, and so is Steve Daines and his cronies.

Anyway…

Who is Common Sense Montana? Good question. I can’t answer that. If you go to CommonSenseMontana.com you go directly to the Tester ad and are left without any explanation of who these folks are. However, if you move your cursor over either link on the page (“Home” or “Blog”) you see this:

So, that’s convenient. Montana is being manipulated by a Colorado group (so it appears… stay with me). Nice. An outside group adopts a homebase name and face and starts pushing an agenda. Perfect.

Common Sense Issues, the folks behind ideasforcolorado.com, represents the epitome of everything that is the rightwing scare base. The group is headed by Harold “Zeke” Swift, a rightwing ideologue from Procter&Gamble who helped push Mike Huckabee into the national spotlight. Here’s they’re mission, stated via GuideStar.org:

The organization’s primary exempt purpose is educating and informing American citizens about issues related to public policy and about working together to encourage opinion leaders and public officials to approach and seek solutions to the problems faced by Americans using basic common sense principles.

Again, to quote Marc Maron, “WHAT THE FUCK?!” How any of their ads are about “working together” is beyond me, I mean, my god, the above are anything but inclusive.

But the real kicker is that Common Sense Issues is based in Cincinnati, Ohio (That’s close to where Zeke lives), the Colorado connection comes via another Huckabee guy, Patrick Davis.

Davis, as his page shows, has a big ol’ issue with our Senators Max and Jon.  He’s also (by his client list) a HUGE supporter of the Teabaggers. More than that, however, is Davis’ past: he was a Conrad Burns insider via the Republican National Senatorial Committee.

Yup, that’s right, one of ol’ Burnsie’s guys is coming back trying to oust the guy who defeated Conrad.

And these are the people backing Steve Daines. He is their ideological front man in Montana, an anti-personal liberty conservative who is going to fight to repeal or end any health care reform efforts, back corporate America, and ultimately move us further right. Having worked with Swift at Procter&Gamble, and with Davis during the Burns years, Steve Daines is a well-connected and well-financed Republican puppet; a businessman of high class and low morals.

In other words: Meet the competition.

Me? I’m with Jon Tester, a really nice guy who runs a Montana farm, and is the furthest you can get from being a political ideologue. He ran a campaign in Montana, with Montana voters.

Plus, he liked the jacket I was wearing in the above photo. You know why? Cause he isn’t just posing for “manly” photos. He’s a real damn man… missing fingers he lost farming.

And the best part: He’s not some puppet backed by nutty Christians from out of state. He’s just Jon.

Author note: This piece originally called Rep. Bart Stupak a Senator. Commenter “Doug” caught that.

“It was an accident… I’ll leave it at that.”

–Montana State Senator Greg Barkus on his drunken and near fatal escapade last year
barkus drunken crash site
By JC

With his November 29th trial pending on three felony counts for “piloting” his boat with Denny Rehberg and staff to a near fatal crash on a rocky outcropping on Flathead Lake, outgoing Montana State Senator Greg Barkus decided that the cards were stacked against him, and filed for a plea agreement. And of course, his attorney waited until the day after the election to file the motion:

Glazier said the timing of his motion for a change-of-plea hearing – one day after the Nov. 2 election, which saw Rehberg re-elected to a sixth term – had nothing to do with politics. The date of the filing had only to do with the court’s scheduling docket and the fact that plea negotiations have wrapped up.

“Quite frankly, it didn’t even cross my mind,” Glazier said. “He’s termed out anyway, so the election wasn’t a concern.”

So… let’s get this straight. The lawyer for a prominent politician didn’t even think that filing a motion the day after the election had any political motive? And that the passenger on that boat was a U.S. Congressional Respresentative running for reelection, and whose name was on that ballot?

That flies in the face of all sensibilities. Of course, the real political move was done when the judge set the trial date for almost a month after the election. Just a minor detail so the defense could have a little plausible deniability.

And of course, the details of the plea bargain won’t be known for a while:

[Flathead County Attorney Ed] Corrigan was not available for comment on Monday, but Vickie Eggum, administrator for the Flathead County Attorney’s Office, said details of the agreement would not be released until the document had been signed and finalized.

Hmmm… That’s the same Ed Corrigan who endorsed Senator Barkus as being “tough on crime.”

Let’s just see how tough on crime big Ed turns out to be. Of course, in the era where some peeps have greater privileges than others, who you are dictates how you are charged, and how your crimes are settled in “plea agreements.”

Let’s not forget the case last summer where the Morgan Stanley Wealth Manager, Martin Erzinger, recently had his hit and run charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, because…well, he drove a Mercedes, and a felony might impact his job, and…blah, blah, blah.

Senator Barkus is term limited, and doesn’t have a job to worry about. But he has friends in high places. Some who boast about being tough on crime. Let’s just see how tough they are on Denny Rehberg’s friend, even when he almost killed Rehberg, and left Rehberg’s Chief of Staff with a brain injury and other disabilities that he’ll have to deal with the rest of his life.

And finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from commenter madderthanhell at the Great Falls Tribune who sums up my feelings rather well:

“No, Greg, it was not an accident, you were drunk off your rear”

Once more, a well-connected politician who believes the law does not apply to him commits a crime and seriously injures the people around him and will walk away with his get out of jail free card intact. How can someone with no code of ethics act ethically in the legislature? To say nothing of those who helped him skirt the law.

“It was an accident,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that.” No, Greg, it was not an accident, you were drunk off your rear and it was reckless endangerment at best, attempted manslaughter at worst. You deserve to wake up in a 6×8 cell next to Otis, the drunk. Oh wait, I forgot, you are Otis the drunk. Hey Greg, give us a preview of what your gonna do next year, be DUI and run over a hooker somewhere?

By JC

Well, it was just a matter of time until our Governor’s hollow words took a turn to the right. In a little noticed story tucked back inside the B Section of last Sunday’s Missoulian, we find out that Exxon–the world’s richest corporation–is protesting nearly a million dollars in taxes in the small Montana town of Lockwood. The protest amounts to 44% of the town’s tax base, and will cost 18 jobs:

Leaders in Lockwood met with ExxonMobil executives and representatives from the Montana Department of Revenue on Thursday to discuss Exxon’s decision and the ramifications it could have for the school district.

“What we will do we don’t know at this point,” said Eileen Johnson, superintendent of the Lockwood School District.

District officials first heard the news from Exxon officials when they met on Thursday. Exxon sent five officials to the meeting, including two of its tax experts from Houston.

Those officials traveled to Helena on Friday to meet with state leaders. A call to Exxon’s Lockwood office Friday was not returned.

“Meet with state leaders…” Hmm, I wonder just what the governor or his underlings are telling Exxon? “C’mon on in, the door’s open, we need your ‘jobs, jobs, jobs.'” I wonder what the next public proclamations from Schweitzer will be about this situation? Push harder for the project because we need even more jobs now? Maybe Exxon is pushing for a little bit of quid pro quo? Pay to play? Extortion…??? So many questions, and so few answers.

I know many of our commenters here think that Exxon and the Canadian oil cartel are such fine upstanding corporate citizens, what with they provide us all the tar for our hippy bike paths. But when the world’s richest corporation has the ability to throw small communities in our state into total disarray and turmoil by simply protesting its taxes, well then, they are no friend to our state and should be dealt with accordingly.

And in related news:
tar sands resistance

International Tar Sands Resistance Summit, Nov 19-22 at Lubrecht

The Indigenous Environmental Network and Northern Rockies Rising Tide are pleased to announce the “International Tar Sands Resistance Summit,” which will take place November 19-22 at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest conference center, 30 miles east of Missoula, Montana, USA. The summit is designed to be a place where individuals representing tar sands-impacted communities can come together to strategize, learn skills and network in order to grow and strengthen the international effort to effectively resist the most destructive industrial project on the planet, the Alberta tar sands. The four-day convergence will focus primarily on connecting individuals and communities affected by the Alberta Tar Sands, the XL Energy Pipeline, and the proposed mega-load shipments. This event is free and open to the public, but due to limited space we will have to cap the number of attendees. Feel free to register online , but please be sure to read the information provided on the form.




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