Necklines, Legislative Riders and Dead Hostages

by lizard

Oh Montana Democrats, you are too easily played. Going apoplectic over the GOP dress code is a great way to deplete the outrage reserves before the session even starts. Surprisingly there is a comment from the link worth reposting here from Dallas Reese:

This “dress policy” is misdirection and the Ultra-Conservatives are good at misdirection, if nothing else. They know how D’s will overreact and rely on the D’s hew and cry while they secretly, quietly, try to accomplish other goals. It’s a trick they use all the time, and rather effectively, since we continue to fall for it.

The issue of our focus, as Rob points out, is the potential removal of the press office from a convenient location within the Capital Building. And the challenges to open meetings laws. And continued gutting of environmental laws, more tax cuts for the un-needy and corresponding, budget cuts to education, social services, etc, etc.

If we present every peccadillo as a crisis, the truly critical gets washed out in the noise. And to win back the Legislature, we’re going to need moderate and independent voters and many of them are thinking “what’s the big deal about this dress code nonsense”. Every little injustice like this need to be pointed out but overplaying our hand (something else the right-wingers depend on) won’t convince the independent voter to give us a chance. And won’t get public opinion on our side for the truly critical during the Legislative Session.

While this local controversy provides great fodder for Twitter, it certainly does distract from other more serious items of business being undertaken before the end of the year, like legislating via riders—something our disingenuous Democrat Senator said he wouldn’t do if elected back in 2006. From Ochenski:

Some may well recall U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s first campaign, in which he challenged then-incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns. One of the things about Burns’ record that Tester attacked – and promised not to do – was use “riders” on unrelated bills to pass legislation. No doubt this was a reflection on Tester’s time in the Montana Senate, where such riders are, for all the right reasons, prohibited.

But of course that was before Mr. Tester went to Washington. Since he’s been there, however, Tester’s tune has definitely changed. He used a rider on an unrelated bill to exempt wolves from Endangered Species Act protections – a first in the 37 year history of the act and a horrible precedent that will undoubtedly be followed whenever an endangered species gets in the way of commerce.

Likewise, Tester has desperately tried to stick his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act on unrelated bills without success, and admitted to reporters last week that he “pushed hard for the bill but it made people nervous because it would change how land was managed.” Indeed, the measure contains an unprecedented congressional mandate to set logging levels on Montana’s national forests. Tester’s terrible policy precedent has already been followed in a Draconian House-passed bill that would permanently set aside enormous chunks of national forest for logging as its highest and best purpose.

Tester and U.S. Sen.-elect Steve Daines have now tacked on several public lands measures to the totally unrelated Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House late last week. This week the Senate will take up the measure and, most likely, won’t strip the riders off the bill.

The NDAA is itself a terrible piece of legislation, but why talk about that when there are necklines to discuss?

Internationally, an American is dead after a botched rescue attempt in Yemen. Once again our pathetic media fails to achieve the quality of reporting found at blogs like Moon of Alabama. On December 6th, b reported on the reckless U.S. rescue attempt that killed not only an American (the only kind of people who count in our state media) but also a South African who was about to be freed the following day. Today b has another post on the topic, and it raises some serious questions:

A second foreign hostage, Pierre Korkie, was killed in the recent rescue attempt. Eight Yemeni civilians were also killed. Korkie was supposed to be freed the very same day due to a ransom payment. There have long been negotiations between the hostage takers and the charity Gift of the Givers that employed Korkie. The U.S. now claims it was unaware of negotiations for his imminent release. That does not sound plausible to me. The NSA is certainly listening to every call in Yemen that might be of interest.

For the full context, go to the link and read the whole post. There is clearly something else going on here, and I think b’s perspective is closer to the impetus for this “rescue” than anything you’d find in our complicit corporate media. Here is a bit more from the conclusion of b’s post:

It is not plausible with all the national and international communication going on between the charity, the parents of the hostage, the mediators and the hostage takers that the U.S. was unaware of all this.

In November it hit the mediators with a drone when they were going to meet the hostage takers. This time it hit the hostages right when the mediators were taking off to meet them. At least ten innocent people were killed with this last raid.

The U.S. has some explaining to do. How did it detect the hostage takers if not by following the mediators communications? Why did it decide to do those two raids on November 25 and December 6 when there was, at least at the first date, no imminent threat to the civilian hostages lives? What was the real purpose and target of these military attacks?

There are still rumors that AQAP nabbed a U.S. “trainer” during a raid on Al Anad airbase in November. Was that captured U.S. soldier the real target of the failed raids? Or what about the Marine Travis Barton AQAP claims to have captured during Saturday’s raid?

I know it’s a lot more fun to talk about GOP cavemen and how they want their lady folks to be modestly dressed, but some of us would like to keep the focus on the issues that have more serious implications for the future.

  1. Matthew Koehler

    Some Context on the Defense Bill Riders: Public Lands Losses Far Outweigh Any Wins

    Full Article at:

    Bottom Line: This public lands package attached as a rider to an unrelated National Defense Authorization Act will mean more public lands grazing, mining, oil and gas development and logging…and less public input, less protection for wildlife species and less science-based management overall.

    There are a total of 6,397,000 unprotected Wilderness-eligible roadless acres in Montana. This public lands rider would protect only 67,000 acres in Montana as Wilderness. That means that this “Historic” bill would amount to protecting just 1% of the total Wilderness-eligible roadless acres in Montana as Wilderness.

    Nationally, the number of Wilderness acres protected in this bill is even more pitiful. This ‘historic’ 449 page-long Public Lands rider attached to the National Defense Authorization Act would protect a whopping 0.2% of all remaining Wilderness-eligible roadless acres in the United States. Nothing says “Happy 50th Birthday Wilderness Act” than boldly protecting 0.2% of what remains, right?

    But that’s not really even the bad parts of the 449 page long rider package. Read this full article to see what else is being undermined and given away:

    For example, as the MEIC points out in this blog post (, Senator Tester and Rep Daines’ last minute change to the RMFHA now includes the release Wilderness Study Areas in eastern Montana, 350 to 500 miles away from the RMF.

    Alarmingly, there were ZERO PUBLIC MEETINGS about the release of these Wilderness Study Areas in Montana and Daines and Tester offered the public zero notice or opportunity to comment about their intent to release these public lands Wilderness Study Areas from their current protection. And clearly, Wilderness Study Areas 350 and 500 miles away from the Rocky Mountain Front have very little to do with a Rocky Mountain Front bill, other than Sen Tester and Rep Daines secretively used it as means to release eastern Montana Wilderness Study Areas for more development.

    Also, according to MEIC, part of the public lands rider means that Great Northern Properties gets 112 million tons of coal adjacent to the Signal Peak mine.

    MEIC has stated that, for reference, 112 million tons of coal is approximately 3 years worth of coal production by every single coal mine in Montana, and would result in an extra 224 million tons of carbon pollution. So Tester and Daines have just given away 3 years worth of ALL coal mining in Montana with one fell swoop and no public meetings, public notice or opportunity for the public to provide input! How can anyone – left, right, middle – be ok with this?

    So honestly, the end result of this supposed “historic” day for Wilderness in Montana may be a complete wash.

    Or how about the so-called “Grazing Improvement Act,” which was a rider in the bill? This is a complete roll back of environmental laws and public input regrading public lands grazing permit renewals. Under this rider in the package, public lands grazing permits must be renewed regardless of a NEPA analysis, public land health conditions and regardless of the impact on wildlife, including endangered species. Essentially this rider in the bill ensures the listing of the Great Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

    Oh, and did you hear that under this bill Tester and Daines would give 2,400 acres of the Tonto Nation Forest in Arizona – ancestral homeland of the Apache Tribe – to a foreign mining company and allow them to put in a huge copper mine on these sacred lands. Ironically, the mining corporation is Rio Tinto, a foreign corporation that also happens to co-own a uranium mine with the Iranian government!! Oh, and the mining company says the copper will mined in the U.S. but processed in China. Funny that this is in a rider to the National Defense Bill, eh?

    I’d encourage Montanans, and all Americans, to look at the details and decide for yourself if this is how to preserve and protect America’s public lands legacy. Please do not simply take sound bites from politicians – or people who have a $$ conflict of interest, whether industry or million dollar conservation groups – as the only truth regarding what’s actually a 449 pages worth of public lands riders and pork-barrel projects!

    Find out more information here:

    Thanks for caring about America’s public lands and Wilderness legacy.

  2. steve kelly

    Maybe the MSM directs us to “hostages” when this is happening:
    “Reckless Congress ‘Declares War’ on Russia”
    – Ron Paul

  3. Eric

    The Dems need something non-gloomy to talk about.

    Looking at the damage President Obama has done to the Dem party, I kind of feel sorry for them.

    • lizard19

      Obama and Bush have done similar things to damage this country, and I kind of feel sorry for you that you don’t have the brain to compute that reality.

      • Eric

        I’m not talking about damage to America, I’m talking about the Dem parties decline in the last 8 years.

        The middle class voters have abandoned them, the GOP has the largest majorities in Washington since Truman and the victory by Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy means that Democrats in January will be left without a single U.S. Senator or Governor across nine states — stretching from the Carolinas to Texas.

        Furthermore, Republicans in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas will control nearly every congressional district and both state legislative chambers.

        In Montana, it appears that the Dems are going to be a permanent minority in Helena.

        Looking at the list of Senators who voted for Obamacare, a lot of them are gone, and Tester is one of the few who survived it (so far) but I expect him to be gone in 2018 when the Dems sit on their checkbooks. No Senate in the balance next time around.

        Historically, the next President will be a Republican too, and I expect the GOP to pass legislation that The Great Leader will veto, labeling himself and his fellow Dems as the party of NO, and put whoever they nominate in 2016 in the uncomfortable position of disavowing the vetos, but still appease the far-left base.

        So Liz, if you have some kind of brain I don’t have, why don’t you point out how I’m wrong in my observations here?

        • steve kelly

          If roughly 1/3 of eligibles went to the polls in 2014, which led to “the largest majorities in Washington since Truman” for Republicans, how thin is that ice you’re jumping up and down on?

          A little more global warming and both parties will be swimming without lifejackets.

          The elephant in the room you and most party groupies are just not seeing, or choosing to look away from, is the 2/3 who for one reason or another are not interested in what either party is selling. The great con has run its course. Enjoy your “victory” while you can.

          • Eric

            33% is high voter turnout in most areas. I’ve spent a lot of time going through the election books, and about the only crowd that reliably goes to the polls is older married couples. Alienating that group of voters with Obamacare forced upon them, class warfare, failed economic policies, a pro-gay agenda, and now the specter of a flood of illegal immigrants, is a recipe for Dem disasters to come.

            Go down to the courthouse, and take a look at the precinct books and see where the signatures are, and you’ll see what I mean.

            That’s why the Dems are ‘worried’ about dress codes at the capitol. Paul Ryan isn’t pushing granny over a cliff – Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have pushed the Dems there, and they need something, anything to make news.

            • I think SK might be suggesting that party differences are illusory, and most people, for a variety of reasons, don’t care about anything, including the issues you listed that you regard as reason for a shift in the so-called undecideds.

              Polling shows that both parties are far, far to the right of ordinary American attitudes. Politicians represent their financial backers, and not their voters. That’s one reason why 2/3, including me, don’t vote for them.

        • lizard19

          the damage comes from Democrats becoming no longer distinguishable from Republicans when it comes to waging war and enabling Wall Street. people like you, Eric, think there are still significant ideological differences between the two parties. people like you are wrong.

  4. steve kelly

    Hemlines, parties, central banks, even national sovereignty may all be decided in due time at a little known bank in Basel.

    Play on. I know; “conspiracy theory.”

  5. Matthew Koehler

    What they didn’t tell you about the public lands riders
    By Steve Charter

    Steve Charter ranches over coal that would be traded by the public lands proposal, and is the chair of Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council.


    When U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and Sens. John Walsh and Jon Tester were celebrating the public lands package they sneaked into a defense bill, I wonder if they thought about the landowners and taxpayers they threw under the bus by doing it.

    Their package transfers valuable coal under my family’s ranch and our neighbors in the Bull Mountains to Great Northern Properties, a mega-corporation spun off from the railroad years ago, in exchange for other coal in southeastern Montana. Great Northern Properties gets a windfall by giving up low-quality coal that will almost certainly never be mined and gains high-quality coal next to mines with a high likelihood of development. It’s like trading a trailer house for a mansion. Continue at:

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