Archive for March 3rd, 2014




Imagine my surprise (not) when a friend brought to my attention the above public Facebook post from Intelligent Discontent’s Polish Wolf after our dustup in the comments of Lizard’s post “Cold War Proxy Conflicts Worsening”. I blurred out his name and photo so as to maintain his anonymity.

First off, let’s dispense with the easy stuff. I’m not sure if PW is referring to my being a ‘faux “anti-imperialist”‘ or a ‘faux… liberal’ (he might want to get some tutoring from his high school english teacher buddy on how to construct sentences clearly). Most assuredly I am an anti-imperialist. And I have never claimed, and do not claim, to be a liberal. God forbid I be lumped in with the milk toast politicians that pass as liberal democrats these days.

Maybe he’s insinuating there is no such thing as a liberal that is “anti-imperialist.” I don’t believe that all liberals have descended into neoliberalism, so I’d have to disagree with him on that point, that one could not be both a liberal and an anti-imperialist.

But I need to clarify a few things for those who would pass off a cursory look at the recent history of Ukrainian elections or economics for any indication of whether or not the CIA is involved in fomenting the instability that resulted in a coup, or if this coup is justified. There is much in-depth coverage outside of the mainstream press (and mouthpieces for neocon and neoliberal foreign policy stances).

Much more after the jump… with a “straight face.” Continue Reading »

by Pete Talbot

Some of our city’s development leaders are troubled by a lack of a Missoula “economic identity,” according to a story on the Front Page of Sunday’s Missoulian.

This concern is driven, in part, by a report from the Montana Policy Institute ranking Missoula near the bottom of Montana cities for “business friendliness.”

Of course, the Montana Policy Institute won’t be happy with Missoula until the Clark Fork is running thick with pollutants, we have 1960’s tipi-burner air quality and corporate taxes are back to zero, or less.

The Montana Policy Institute is a far-right “think tank” out of Bozeman funded by, well, no one knows who funds it since its donors are kept secret.

I’m not all that sure that the institute is still in existence.  It’s mostly-blank page on the Internet says, “this website is not updated frequently.”  So, if you want more information, forget about it. There is this on the site: the Montana Policy Institute’s noble goal of “free-market think(ing), dedicated solely to providing policy solutions that promote the liberty, prosperity, and quality of life for all Montanans.” In other words, roll back regulations and taxes.

I applaud Missoula’s economic developers for building partnerships: start ups and entrepreneurs joining with technology resources and government assistance, and linking up with our excellent university and city schools.

We have our economic fits-and-starts here, and it we’d all be happier if our kids could find gainful employment and stay in town. Let’s work on that but not in the way promoted by the Montana Policy Institute.

Most folks aren’t getting rich in Missoula, but we’ve been buffered from the radical boom-and-bust cycle better than many Montana cities precisely because of our diverse economy.  Please keep that in mind and build on it (also, support for a big hike in the minimum wage would be in everyone’s best interest, something you can be sure the Montana Policy Institute is against).

So let’s not pander to the institute’s short-sighted, free-market, non-sustainable model.  We have more going for us than that, and the Missoulian, for credibility, shouldn’t be quoting the Montana Policy Institute anymore.

by lizard

I’ve had several people direct my attention to Ed Kemmick’s new project, Last Best News, and I can see why. His peek into the racist mind of Max Lenington is incredibly well-written. Kemmick also bid his farewell to Montana’s senatorial pork hustler in a piece titled Max Baucus: A long career, a long goodbye. In that article Kemmick describes Baucus as the insider’s insider:

It’s no crime to lack spark, but in Baucus’ case the absence of connection was directly related to how much more comfortable he seemed in Washington than he did when he came back to Montana. He was the professional insider, the quiet political functionary who knows all the right people and trims his sails to catch every passing breeze.

Without Max in that position of influence, Ochenski makes note in his weekly column what that probably means for the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act. I’d read the whole piece, but for a quick summary, here is Ochenski’s conclusion:

The harsh reality is that the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act will likely fall victim to the political sleight-of-hand that brought Walsh to the Senate as Baucus’ replacement. Baucus proclaimed the bill to be “one of his top priorities as he finishes out his final term” and that he was “more determined than ever to bring the Heritage Act to the finish line.”

But the truth is that Baucus is gone and with him, all the power, persuasion and vote-trading that traditionally brings bills to “the finish line.” Instead, we get yet another example of our severely dysfunctional political system.

Instead of reading about dysfunction, I offer an alternative read. Jeffrey St. Clair has a great article celebrating his friend and activist, Mike Garrity. St. Clair opens around a campfire in Western Montana:

Five years ago, I was sitting at a campfire in the foothills of the Bridger Mountains of western Montana, with a few close friends, sipping whiskey while watching a dazzling sunset dissolve behind the ragged peak of Haystack Mountain on the distant horizon. It was my 50th birthday and there was no better place to mourn the passing of the years.

Most of us circled around that crackling fire of lodgepole pine were grizzled veterans of environmental battles and we looked the part. The decades had taken their toll: Bad backs, hip replacements, busted ankles, arthritic wrists, failing eyeballs. One of us stood out, though. He was lean, sinewy and sported the implacable, no bullshit gaze of an auditor at the IRS. His name was Mike Garrity and he was by far the most dangerous figure on the mountain that night, except, perhaps, for the young grizzly that had been sighted rummaging through a berry patch just up the slope earlier in the week.

The article describes how Garrity’s Alliance for the Wild Rockies has been so effective, and it’s not just lawsuits. Some of the collaborations Garrity cobbled together show how good he is at building relationships, even among groups that aren’t natural allies to environmental issues. Here are some examples:

Garrity has a unique gift for getting unlikely folks to take couragous stances in the defense of the environment. For example, in 1996, Garrity helped convince the Southern Utah Loggers Association to sign onto a letter to the Chief of the Forest Service calling for the protection of all roadless lands from logging. Their logic was two-fold: first, they had a legitimate concern about protecting the environment; second, they argued that timber sales in roadless areas were most likely to be bought and logged by large out-of-state corporations.

Garrity pulled a similar coup in the Northern Rockies when he almost single-handedly convinced the Teamsters and Operating Engineers Unions of eastern Washington, to back a plan drafted by the Alliance that called for reintroducing grizzly bears to Central Idaho and western Montana, as well as protecting all roadless lands and ripping out more than 3,500 of existing logging roads that pose a threat to fish and bears.

In a realm that too often lacks encouraging news, Mike Garrity’s activism is a breath of fresh air.  Go get ’em, Mike!

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