Archive for the ‘2010 Election’ Category

by problembear

apparently not.

this author spent some time with the king of the slime devils himself – allan jones. i don’t envy the poor author.

i doubt if there are enough showers in a lifetime to wash that visit off.

last time i checked, there are 5 of allan’s little torture chambers scattered around montana. i can’t wait until montana sends this guy a message loud and clear…..

montana is too good for your kind…. now get the hell out.


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by jhwygirl

Mail-in ballots are out. There’s what? 25 days left to vote? Multiple initiatives – so many candidates.

Montana Women Vote has published its 2010 Voter Guide.

MWV not only sent out questions, but their webpage is filled with informative external links like the Secretary of State’s Ballot Issues Guide.

They’ve got a rundown on the two Supreme Court seats.

And they’ve broken down some of the larger cities like Great Falls and the Bitterroot.

Lots of good info there.

by jhwygirl

The Daily Chronicle editorial boards’ endorsements focus on anti-partisanship as an ideal qualification – they use the word partisanship at least 4 times in the piece. When an editorial board says Pomnichowski’s opponent Burnett “is too ideologically rigid to be effective in the Legislature,” had to hurt. Burnett.

Ouch!

And I gotta give credit here, too, to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. How many papers actually endorse candidates anymore? The Missoula Independent does…who else?

Now…getting back: Burnett aside, the focus on why to re-elect JP Pomnichowski is the task at hand, and the Daily Chronicle concisely put together the reasoning:

“…Pomnichowski deserves a return trip to Helena. Her reasonableness and experience is needed, and she was successful in her last two terms in carrying legislation that has done good things for southwest Montana, particularly downtown Bozeman.”

JP Pomnichowski has been a legislative fan favorite for me for her last two sessions, and being that I’m sitting at a computer, I can easily prove the stuff I’m saying. For one, Pomnichowski is one hard working legislator. I’ve known that – but checking the legislative website, I find that she’s successfully carried seven bills forward this last legislative session. 7? That is nothing short of amazing.

I’d say that at least meets the definition of effective.

Lest the loonies come out and say she is anti-property rights – that seems to be a favorite substantiated talking point from the right – Pomnichowski worked hard to protect private property rights by working to revise laws related to gravel pit mining – and issue that was impacting fast-growing Gallatin county pretty hard. The revisions in law enhance the public information process for permits, helping to give both property owners the right to be informed from the beginning, and helping to ensure that the mining operators know all the rules from the get-go and helped move the backlog of permits.

Protecting private rights from too-much government oversight? Pomnichowski successfully carried a bill that required government agencies to protect private information.

And that’s just a partial rundown of 2009, folks.

I like JP because when she talks about her work, she talks about it in terms of the people she represents. It isn’t politics for her – it’s about the people.

And her record shows it.

by  problembear

a long time ago in this nation, a time honored tradition of doing business without  interjecting one’s politics, religion or one’s opinions about your dog  has seemed to disappear completely.

i always thought it was a good rule. so what has happened to this organization?

seems like when you draw sides, you automatically lose 50% of your business to those who disagree with your opinions. am i wrong?  around missoula i see a lot of businesses who display fish in their logo spaces when they advertise. also, i see a lot of marketing by businesses who display their progressive politics front and center.  is this a good thing? do we really want to limit our customers to those who worship as we do?  or to those who vote as we do?

the separate marketing which targets church and business in this country and politics and business in our daily dealings doesn’t seem healthy for a country that prides itself on being a melting pot which derives our strength from the combination of everyone’s best traits. i believe that inclusion is better than exclusion if you want to have a healthy economy. but, maybe that is just wishful old fashioned thinking on my part.

but what i hope is not old-fashioned in this country is the notion that our politics in this country should not be a battleground for foreign corporations to exert undue influence over our elected representatives. so is the chamber of commerce telling us the truth when they refute democratic party charges that the chamber is using foreign money to influence congress? you decide.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/08/AR2010100804145.html

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/09/nyt-wp-on-chamber/

one comment i read today read true…..

“just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is good for this country.”

by jhwygirl

Relatively speaking and not so relatively speaking.

Renewable Energy World released its state rankings of grades given by the solar energy. Where does Montana fall? 39th (or 40th if you count D.C.).

That’s a 2010 ranking by the industry. In calculating that ranking, 50% of Montana’s score (our score being a pithy 17 out of 100) depends upon “incentives”. Our grade in “incentives”? F.

Before ya’all go saying that solar doesn’t work here in Montana, check the maps out here, provided by National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Compare that to the states that top us in rank? Factor in size, too? So Illinois, ranking 8, blows us away. Pennsylvania, ranking 5th? Again – blowing us away.

Here is a burgeoning industry and we’re in a state with enormous solar potential and we have zilcho, comparatively speaking, to virtually all the other states in the union.

Stimson mill sits empty with railroad tracks running through it..they’re recycling silicon in Butte (a major component of photovoltaic cells), and Montana isn’t doing diddly squat to bring those kind of elements together to produce jobs.

But how about those flag-waving jobs to move Korean-built tar sands equipment? Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Moving on to wind…..

Here’s a 2009 ranking for wind energy production, state by state. Montana’s ranking? We do a bit better here (and should) – 18th.

But should we do better? Check the maps. Washington, California, Oregon? Top us on the list, yet our potential outshines them – by far. Colorado, New York, New Mexico….Indiana? Same there.

The Montana legislature squabble over the minutia of this stuff, often blaming it on MEPA and over-regulation. Anyone want to believe that looking at how places like California and New York out-rank us? Because, you know, California and New York are so regulation-free. Others put out there that the lack of powerlines to transmit the stuff doesn’t exist, which really isn’t true. It’s the lack of incentives to bring solar and wind energy here – and remember, that’s the industry talking.

Blaming MEPA is a bunch of crap. Any major transmission line has to go through NEPA, mainly because anything moving across Montana is going to be hitting federal lands…and NEPA is far more onerous.

~~~~~
This is where tax incentives should come in. I’m tired of hearing the GOP leaders talk about and advocate for blanket cuts in business taxes. We have business here. They pay taxes. They employ people. Do you honestly think the mere act of cutting their taxes is going to create jobs? The reality is that we’ve cut all sorts of business taxes and we’ve not seen any appreciable growth in the number of people employed by these businesses. We’ve seen new businesses..but not growth in existing business (which is the state purpose of the tax cuts, right?) If you are going to propose blanket business tax breaks, provide Montanans with some data showing how many jobs will be created by these existing businesses for whom you are cutting taxes.

That way we can confirm that you are wrong. Or correct.

Do you dare?

Every blanket break in taxes for existing businesses falls to someone else to pay – meaning….private property owners.

I’m not alone in thinking that…we just need good people to speak up. Everyone knows – thoughtful conservatives and liberals alike – that blanket tax breaks for existing businesses aren’t going to create enough new jobs (if any) to make up for the loss in tax revenue. Calling for tax cuts might get you elected..but if you defunct the government in doing so, you aren’t doing your job.

Montana needs targeted tax breaks for high paying industries that guarantee jobs and investment here in Montana. Guarantee jobs? Guaranteed tax incentives. Invest in Montana – help them with some incentives to get here. Tier these incentives based on the number of jobs and the taxable payroll. This isn’t rocket science – an increase in taxable payroll means more people paying taxes and supporting more businesses here in Montana.

We’re hounding down 2010..and the 2011 legislative season looms. There’s 28 days until election. Let’s hear some real tax policy talk from candidates on both sides of the aisle. Let’s talk substance, not talking points.

Specifics.

I don’t want to hear “cut taxes” and “cut business taxes” from GOP talking heads like Mat Stevenson and Champ Edmunds like I did the other night at the Target Range Homeowners Association meeting. Frankly, I ended up feeling kind of sorry for the poor fellas, and there’s really no other way to say it. While I sat and listened to the candidates from several legislative seats speak, both of these guys had it pretty tough from the crowd of mostly seniors in the audience when they started with their GOP talking points call to “cut taxes” and railing against “big government.”

So much so that when asked to be specific about what they would cut..they couldn’t answer. When begged to suggest anything that they would cut…they said they couldn’t answer until they “looked at what was proposed.”

When even that tactic of avoidance didn’t work as it was pointed out to them that they seemed ill-informed to be running for an office when they hadn’t even looked at the current year’s budget, Stevenson insisted that we (as in Republicans) would “find stuff to cut.” This angered an older fellow in the crowd who quickly took to giving him the hook (yep – it was as painful as it sounds), saying “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Here’s an idea: Targeted tax cuts tied to job creation. Tax cuts that don’t shoulder more upon property owners. Tax cuts that create new high paying jobs that increase tax overall tax revenue.

As Martha would say: That’s a good thing.

by problembear

the citizens of montana take their right to vote very seriously, and we don’t like it much when somebody tries to take that right to vote away from us.

if the citizen’s initiative process has taught me anything it has taught me that the people of the state of montana know better than their leaders how to lead. i am assuming a huge thing here, given that payday lenders are determined to try to rob montanans of the opportunity to vote on I-164 to cap the rate on payday lenders via the courts. i am assuming we will be successful in defeating the payday lenders no matter what the courts decide.

why? because the payday lenders have gone too far by suing us to prevent us from voting on this issue. no matter what , the people of this state do not appreciate special interests getting in the way of our voting rights. so i assume that the increasing anger toward payday lenders will only become more vehement if they are temporarily successful in stopping this measure.

the bipartisanship support exhibited by montana’s legislators toward passage of this measure also gives me hope  because no matter how the courts rule, the legislature cannot help but see the 85% support accross montana for this initiative and pass a similar bill in the upcoming legislature.

payday lenders have gone too far in montana with their legal shenanigans and questionable tactics.  it may or may not delay passage of this much needed bill, but their arrogance has earned them even more anger from the citizenry and leadership of montana over an industry which is already despised in this state.

one way or another, the people of this state will finally rise up and demand that the predation and greed which is victimizing the most vulnerable of our seniors on fixed incomes and our low wage workers must stop. the payday lenders are simply sealing their own doom with their army of out of state lawyers trying to get between the citizens of this state and our voting booth.

By Duganz

This AP story today about an upcoming Rolling Stone interview with President Barack Obama has left me with lots of questions, and a substantial need to dedicate time to introspection.

On President Obama’s end, he’s mad as hell about perceived apathy on the left. He is tired of progressives being down about what he sees as success––the left being comprised of glass-half-empty types.

“People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up,” Obama told Rolling Stone in an interview to be published Friday. The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and “if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”

In President Obama’s view, the more time we spend complaining about  what we see as his failures (ones he does not see), the more time we’re not watching Republicans.

But we are watching, and it’s scary as hell when we see people clapping for Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin. The Right is gaining power and enthusiasm and will probably take out a good deal of Democrats in the upcoming elections. It’s defeating, and scary, but it’s reality.

So yeah, we are mad  because we all worked hard, gave money, and voted in 2008 to change America for the better. And to see that these people are gaining power instead of being left in the dust of their flat Earth ways, it’s desheartening.

However, do not doubt how serious we are about changing America.

We are serious when we say we want equal rights for our gay friends and family members.

We are serious when we say we want an end to perpetual war.

We are serious when we say we want affordable healthcare for all.

We are serious when we say we want change.

It’s been two years, and these wants are not yet met. Our hopes are as of yet unfulfilled.

In the interview Obama says that change is hard, and I cannot agree more. Change is difficult, and hard, and we’re not a society that likes to wait. Of course some are mad, and anger breeds apathy. But those apathetic people don’t need to be admonished publicly for their malaise, they need to be brought back into the fold with actions and not just promises. It would be nice to see President Obama come clean and say that things aren’t moving as steadily as they should with Democratic control, or condemn regressives within the Democratic establishment who are just as damaging as Republicans.

We cannot live on insistence of success, we need to feel the results by seeing our friends married, our families back from war, our sick well, and our world a better place.

I believe I was right to vote for Barack Obama, and maybe this is his attempt at recreating Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech (but in a more successful way).

The thing to remember is: I am not your enemy, Mr. President. CarFreeStpdty is not your enemy (seriously… so don’t clandestinely assassinate him). The Left got you into office because we saw you as our chance. Those “HOPE” stickers weren’t passed out with apathy, but with honest hope and desire for change. And we saw it embodied within you.

Don’t blame us for being upset that you’re not holding up your end of the bargain.

by Pete Talbot

“We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal,” reads a plank in the state’s GOP platform.

So, most Montanans think that two consenting adults of the same gender should go to jail if they want to have sex. Interesting.

“I think your average Montanan would say the environmentalists have gone too far in stopping growth and stifling the economy,” says Bill Gallagher, Republican PSC candidate in District 5.

It’s environmentalists, not Wall Street and the resulting financial meltdown, that have stopped growth and crippled the economy — at least according to your “average Montanan.” Again, interesting.

This begs the question, what is an average Montanan? The Montana Republican Party, with some exceptions, thinks we’re homophobic anti-environmentalists.

It’s not easy or wise to pigeonhole people, especially Montanans. Examples I know of: a gay football coach, a Prius-driving logger, a lesbian wrangler. The Montanans I’ve met, for the most part, are a tolerant lot. They also have great respect for the outdoors. And this isn’t just in leftyville Missoula. With in-laws in Babb and Billings, and gigs in towns from Eureka to Broadus, Wolf Point to Sula, I’m constantly surprised by the depth and understanding of your “average Montanan.”

Sure, one will run into the occasional Neanderthal, but Montana doesn’t have a corner on that market.

(A quick aside. I wish I could vote in this PSC race but the Bill Gallagher/Ken Toole contest isn’t in my district. Ken Toole is a consumer advocate and industry watchdog. Gallagher is a shill for the utilities. And if Toole loses and the Republican wins in Montana’s northern District 1 [Don Ryan-D and Travis Kavulla-R] then Brad Molner would become chairman of Montana’s PSC. Scary stuff.)

I obviously disagree with the Montana Republican Party that Montanans are an intolerant lot and are opposed to environmental safeguards. Au contraire.

Some folks get stirred up by the far-right rhetoric — much of it coming from out of state: images of drag queens marching arm-in-arm up to the altar of the local Pentecostal Church, or claims of an end to all logging, mining, grazing, hunting and fishing if an environmentalist is elected. This ain’t going to happen.

And I have faith that “average Montanans” will look beyond the fear-based messages put out by the likes of Gallagher and the state Republican Party.

By JC

Ok, this is too good to pass up. You can’t make this s*#$ up. The wacky gets whackier. The crazies get louder. Then the mainstream starts buying into the legitimacy of these loony candidates. What gives?

Seems that the conservative movement, republicans and tea partiers are all aflutter this week about the ascension of one of their own to the ranks of nominee for major political office. As in the U.S. Senate.

Yes, the Tea Party sponsored candidate nominated by republicans in Delaware is a witch. As in she admitted to Bill Maher on Politiclly Incorrect:

“I dabbled into witchcraft… I never joined a coven, but I did, I did. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and I didn’t know it. I mean, there was a little blood there and stuff like that.

“We went to a movie and then had a little midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”

So for your viewing pleasure, and discussion this weekend, I bring you Christine O’Donnell’s admission to being a witch:

In related news, Christine O’Donnell canceled all of her scheduled appearances on major media this weekend–including her Sarah Palin suggested megaphone moment on Fox News.

The GOP is Dead! Long live the GOP

By Duganz

I grew up in Anaconda, Montana, which has seemingly been in a recession since, oh say, 1982. I was also pretty damn poor as a kid–we didn’t eat at Grandma’s just because she cooked, but because we didn’t have food that day. Mom went to school, Dad worked his ass off for us.

But, man, things never seemed this bad:

The number of people in poverty increased by nearly 4 [million] – to 43.6 [million] – between 2008 and 2009, officials said.

The [U.S. Census Bureau] defines poverty as any family of four living on less than $21,954 a year.

Meanwhile, new figures showed home foreclosures in August hit the highest level since the mortgage crisis began.

Banks repossessed 95,364 properties in August, up 3% from July and an increase of 25% from August 2009, said RealtyTrac, a company which charts the national picture.

The official US poverty rate in 2009 rose to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008. In 2009, 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty, up from 39.8 million the year before, the third consecutive increase, the bureau said.

What the hell was the point of the bailout again? To keep he banks afloat? Anyone want to bet that nobody from Citibank has been added to the poverty pit?

But that’s not all!

There are also 4.4 million more people without health insurance, and as p-bear already pointed out that number probably won’t be going up quickly, ya know, cause the reform bill doesn’t even really come into effect until 2014 (and it’s hard to buy insurance when you’re broke). I wonder how many more will lose insurance by then.

If we’re lucky, maybe we can have a society like the one in Metropolis.

Progressives are taking a huge hit this election year – that much seems clear – and it’s news like this. People see these numbers, and they blame those in power. We can say that President Obama and company inherited the mess all we want, but we must remember that bad numbers caused the Right to lose in 2008. It can happen again.

And who can blame the vox populi? If I was losing my home and my insurance, and I had a family (larger than just me and the Mrs.) I’d be super angry and want something to happen too. And maybe I’d revolt against the people who promised me change, and a future for my kids, and have yet to deliver on that promise (note: it’s easier to sell change than to make it happen).

I’m not trying to be a Negative-Nancy, it’s a cold reality and no amount of sugar can make it go down easy.

Unfortunately, that anger is leading to the steady rise of people like this nutcase:

It’s gonna be a long November.

By @CarFreeStpdty

Hell, we haven’t even found the path yet!

Nor have we seemed to figure out that we should  put the shovel down and stop digging ourselves a bigger whole with the policies our exalted officials seem to enjoy passing.  It’s about time we woke up to the need of reforms that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to deliver, (probably preaching to the Choir on that one).

Attempts in the past 2 years to stem financial catastrophe have only led to further enriching the global elite, exporting our wealth, continuing the trend of  impoverishing this country’s middle class, and holding off true reform measures for some later day of reckoning.  Four recent articles do a good job of  highlighing this problem:

  1. Are the American people obsolete?
  2. Do the Rich Need the Rest of America?
  3. U.S. employers push increase in cost of healthcare onto workers
  4. How to End the Great Recession

Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

The Missoula Independent took time to dig further into Ravalli County’s County Attorney candidate William Fulbright’s bankruptcy records.

This wasn’t some witch hunt – in the interest of full disclosure, William Fulbright had handed over his bankruptcy records to the Ravalli Republic a while back, as rumors swirled around his having filed bankruptcy to avoid payment of his student loan.

The Indy’s Alex Sakariassen took time to look at what was actually in Fulbright’s bankruptcy documents and found much more that should have Ravalli County residents questioning why he deserves their vote for County Attorney.

Good catch, Alex – that’s certainly news that’s fit to print, and news that voters have every right to know.

by jhwygirl

Well, remember this post where I linked to Skylar Browning’s Indy blog post on Brad Giffin’s private facebook page (he has a Giffin 4 Sheriff page too) indicating his friend status with Sarah Palin and the Tea Party?

Well, he’s apparently “de-friended” Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

Guess that sunshine on his candidacy was too much.

Again, though – good goddess! He isn’t even smart enough to know that someone might see it?

Do we really want an Einstein like that as our sheriff?

by jhwygirl

Now that summer is on the downhill side (sorry), thoughts turn to elections for many. This years election in the House and Senate gives many choices, but what is important to remember is that many serious and important issues face citizens in Montana.

Legislative sessions are tumultuous, the last two all the more so because of the precarious balance – the state house split 50-50, and the senate with a clear conservative majority.

The legislature is promising to rehash many issues, and with money short and revenues down, the budget is certain to be the big war. Funding for education and health and human services are already being cut, and certain to come – but along with that we’ve got Republicans proposing tax cuts directed towards Flathead lakefront properties.

Who’s in support and lobbying hard? The real estate industry. The very people who profited immensely for driving real estate prices up and up for the last 6 years, playing an immense part (along with bankers) in the bubble that is the housing implosion.

One of several legislative seats that Democrats have a chance of picking up is House District 100. Willis Curdy, a Grass Valley resident is repeating his candidacy this year, with Bill Nooney, the would-be incumbent having decided not to run after Curdy nearly defeated him in 2008.

4&20 was fans of Curdy last time around, and I continue to believe that he is the better candidate for the seat. An educator, a smokejumper, a trustee on the Missoula Rural Fire District….the list goes on, but his resume speaks leadership and good-as-gold common sense.

Sadly, It takes money to win an election. There’s no other way to say it. Curdy is a hard worker – knocking doors in a huge district that runs from Fish Creek to the Idaho State line and the Ravalli County line. But again – it’s gonna take cash.

Not only that – Champ Edmunds, Will Curdy’s Republican challenger, is all to happy to enjoy and cash campaign checks made out to failed GOP Missoula County Commissioner candidate Jim Edwards. As ya’all might remember, I like to listen to conservative talk radio in the morning to get my blood flowing in the morning, and a few short weeks ago I heard him bragging that he was getting campaign donations made out to Jim Edwards due to people confusing him with the former candidate. When asked what he did with them, he said – proudly – that he was “of course” cashing them, and he and the host had a nice laugh.

Lovely, huh?

Obviously, if Edmunds isn’t honest enough to at least contact the check writer and let them know that they were confused by his name before he cashed the donation, he isn’t honest or trustworthy enough to serve the very citizens he’s taking the money from.

~~~~~
You can donate to Willis Curdy by hitting this link, snail-mailing him a check, made out to Curdy for HD100, to 11280 Kona Ranch Rd. Missoula, MT 59804

In local elections, even a $5 or $10 donation adds up. It’s getting to be the time where signs need ordered, radio spots need to be planned, and newspaper and mailings prepared.

Let’s not let HD100 go to a dishonest man. Again.

by jhwygirl

Read it here.

He also {hearts} Sarah Palin.

So we can safely assume he isn’t too bright. I guess he missed all those Facebook memos too.

Yowza.

by jhwygirl

I don’t know about you, but I’m intrigued by Carl Ibsen, a candidate for sheriff who’s running for the office under the premise that a sheriff should have no political affiliation.

Refreshing.

Ibsen has worked as a law enforcement officer in Missoula for 37 years.

He lists DUI and alcohol issues and domestic violence as two of his issues on his main page.

Check that…we’ve got far too much of both, both here in Missoula and here in Montana.

Next up he lists training and recruitment, which are good things for both officer AND citizen.

Ibsen also has the county’s Detention Center listed on that front page, along with a page of his thoughts and concerns on the issue – and that is not only brave, but quite forward thinking and open and needed in this community. Issues concerning that detention center have headlined here far too long.

I’ll be looking more into Carl Ibsen. I hope to meet him – he sounds like the kind of candidate that is worthy of serious consideration.

By CFS

If you haven’t already gotten the chance to view this clip of the Daily Show – basically Jon Stewart gets so frustrated and dumbstruck with politics in Washington that he gives up trying to understand the method behind the madness that he feels like giving up – I ask that you do so now.  It sums up perfectly how I have felt about politics for about the last year and the utter failure of my meek mind to understand the stonewalling tactics of GOPers and the rise of the angry right.

The latest thing to blow my mind occurred last week when Colorado gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes’ claimed that Denver’s new bicycle share program was part of a conspiracy to “convert Denver into a United Nations community.”  Who knows what that really means but it seems that bikes could “threaten our personal freedoms.”  So while progressives are attempting to provide America with more transportation choices through making transportation funding more level for roads, transit, and non-motorized modes – and isn’t that what American freedom is all about… choice – a certain segment of conservatives would like to demonize bicycles and even ban them from our roads.  These are the types of people who are rising to the top thanks to the Tea Party… Dan Maes, Sharon Angle, and Rand?

According to a study conducted by several researchers from MIT way back in 2006, and recently updated, we live in the most partisan political atmosphere since the civil war reconstruction era.  Thanks to that radical partisanship we also have the first failed Presidency of the 21st Century… not another FDR but Hoover 2.0.  And I am referring to the perception of a failed Presidency that surrounds Obama at this point.  It is a perception that had its inception early on when the media hyped his first 100 days as akin to FDR’s famous energetic push of legislation and then Obama promptly disappointed.  No matter what the reality is of the Obama Presidency, no matter what pieces of legislation get passed, the last two years have been a failure compared to the hype of “change” that was such a clarion call to the ideologically muddled masses.

And thats the place in the story where the needle skips for me.  The gap between the reality of the Obama Presidency and the perception of Obama that has engendered the Tea Party insurgency, the “Just Say No To Everything” Republicans, and political candidates such as Dan Maes.  Obama as a danger to our future freedom has been manufactured and used to an amazing level of effectiveness.  Far from being the transformative figure he was original billed as, or the secret socialist taking over every facet of American life and ridding America of free-will that the Tea Party would like everyone to believe,  he has proven to be an inept and ineffectual manager of congress, his legislative agenda and worst of all an incrementalist rather than a radical.  In that vein he is akin to Hoover, understanding the gravity of the situation laid-out before him but being to meek to take truly bold action the like of which propelled FDR to the venerated position he occupies in the American psyche.

Little, if anything, fundamental about our country has changed since Obama’s election other than that sentiment in this country has taken another rightward lurch that seemed so unthinkable after eight years of George W. Bush.  The truly transformative presidents of the last 100 years (FDR, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan) all aggressively pushed through their legislative agendas in a paternalistic manner and largely controlled the conversation surrounding policy effectively enough to give us policies and programs that have stood the test of time and have become a part of the fundamental makeup of our Republic.  Whereas Obama has passed a health bill that a Republican resurgence will guarantee the demise of while also being unable occupy the rhetorical high ground in political battles.  Sorry Republicans, but George W. Bush gave us a more radical expansion of federal government powers, powers that fundamentally erode our rights as citizens, than anything Obama has given us.

I understand the anger and fear of an unknown future that people feel at the current moment as jobs continue to vaporize and an avalanche of foreclosures continue to steamroll the economy.  But Obama is not the great monster threatening our freedoms and our future… extreme partisanship and levels of income equality not seen since the 1920s.  30 years of conservative ideology and policies led us to a precipice which we promptly fell off with the bursting of the housing bubble… so it must be the next guys fault and not the cumulative result of decades of policy, greed, and bets gone wrong.

by jhwygirl

No?

by Pete Talbot

In his Fourth of July newsletter salutation, Congressman Denny Rehberg warns us that:

“ … teaching American History and the Constitution has taken a back seat to a politically correct alternative history curriculum.”

Seems to me that American History curriculum is actually headed in the other direction. Texas for example, has rewritten its curriculum. From the New York Times:

… the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

Texas textbooks will also challenge evolution and minimize the role of important Latino figures in Texas and American history.

So I’m not sure what Denny’s issue is unless it’s his usual goal of stirring up his base with misinformation and fear.

Then he poses one of his lame quizzes that, of course, will lead to nothing except to agitate his supporters even more.

Matt over at LiTW nailed it on Rehberg’s recent quiz on Health care.

Someday Denny will present us with the important issues of the day and suggest some solutions to the real problems that face Montanans. Yeah, right.

(Update: Looks like Pogie over at Intelligent Discontent saw the same newsletter. Here’s his take on it.)

by Pete Talbot

The numbers were already in when I arrived, late, at the Union Club. It doesn’t take long to tally votes in a primary.

Tyler Gernant was there and had mixed emotions about the outcome. He did much better than he could have hoped for when he first launched his campaign, but it wasn’t enough. The Democrat’s standard bearer, Dennis McDonald, had a 14 point lead. Gernant, with 15,724 votes, received 24% and McDonald, with 24,134 votes, had 38%.

It wasn’t a shock but I predicted closer numbers in the Gernant/McDonald contest.

Melinda Gopher with 13,287 and 21% came in a close third (which surprised both me and Gernant since she didn’t have a strong field operation). She did well with tribal voters and I’m guessing women, too. She definitely pulled some votes from Gernant.

As did Sam Rankin, who also raised very little money and didn’t really have an organization, but pulled an amazing 16% (10,233).

I and other Missoula area bloggers have been accused of being “Missoulacentric.” After all, Missoula is the center of the universe. But being here in the Garden City, one’s point of view can become a bit jaded. Tyler seemed to be doing so well in Missoula and he did capture 1143 more votes than McDonald in Missoula County. So, obviously, McDonald worked hard in other Montana counties. This shatters one of my long held opinions that if you can win Missoula County in the Democratic primary, you win the state.

I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Gernant, though.

Another race I thought would be closer was Teresa Henry’s loss to Tom Facey by 26 points. Tom’s door-to-door work is unparalleled, they say, and as a Missoula area teacher for decades, he has good name recognition. Still, Ms. Henry has a fine track record in Helena and has served more recently than Facey. I thought this race would go down to the wire but Facey ended up with nearly 63% (1190) to Henry’s 37% (708).

Ellie Hill’s victory received a rousing round of shouts and applause at the Club when her numbers were announced. She beat Lou Ann Crowley by almost 100 votes (Hill, 712 or 53% to Crowley’s 618 or 46%). Ellie ran a textbook campaign — fundraising, the doors, targeted mailing, GOTV — she did everything it takes to win and she pulled it off. I thought this race would be closer, too, but some of the yard signs of the many I saw for Crowley were in Republican yards and those folks probably voted in the Republican primary.

And on the Republican side, congressionally, voters went big for the right (incumbent Denny Rehberg got 86,271 or nearly 75% of the vote), followed by the far, far right (Mark French, 21,989 or almost 20%). Not a lot of moderate votes cast (A.J. Otjen, 6668 or close to 6%).

Some other noteworthy observations: Republican voters went to the polls at twice the number of Democrats — 129,165 to 62,811. This does not bode well for the fall general election, especially in the congressional contest. The Democrats have their work cut out for them.

And the petition gatherers for CI-102, the “amoebas are human beings” constitutional initiative, showed real class. They paraded around outside Lowell Elementary School with posters of dead fetuses.

by jhwygirl

I love it.

by jhwygirl

A little over a week ago I wrote about the Mineral County Sheriff’s race which was turning strange – in my opinion – with a candidate promising to sue the county in which he was seeking a job. He also promised not to enforce federal laws.

This kind of talk is dangerous. Frankly, it’s a little crazy.

Mineral County is facing a financial crisis (as are many government entities here and around the U.S.) – and along with the sheriff’s race, the primary election also includes a 3-year temporary 25-mill levy to ensure adequate staffing for the sheriff’s department. One candidate is against the levy, yet – of course – this teabagger state’s right fiscal conservative Constitutionalist would sue the county (with what $, I don’t know) in order to get the staffing that the county sheriff’s department so desperately needs.

Mineral County, though is facing a larger crisis of ideology. They’ve been through this before, and John Q. Murray reminds Mineral County residents – and the rest of us – with an interview with outgoing Sheriff Hopwood of the dangers Constitutionalists like Rand Paul and (while he doesn’t mention him by name), primary sheriff’s candidate Ernie Ornelas.

And he’s right – they’re not crazy – they’re dangerous.

If anyone has been up Fish Creek recently, they know that there is one of these lunatic Constitutionalists established up there, staking claim to parts of the Lolo National Forest. These people are scary, make no mistake.

Murray gives readers a history lesson in not only Mineral County’s not-too-terribly-recent past, but the Civil War and the dangers of these political ideologues that wage a verbal and ideological war against the U.S. Constitution. The take that foundation of our very government and twist its words to try and deflate its importance in an attempt to make not only states (but in this case) local sheriff’s supreme.

And while it may sound like crazy talk, and something that should be ignored, the reality is that turning the other way is more dangerous as this talk fertilizes the community as a haven for others to plant themselves.

Right here in Mineral County, Sheriff Hugh Hopwood has encountered self-professed “Constitutionalists” and “free white males” who claim they are not subject to taxes and motor vehicle laws. Elsewhere they have filed bogus tax liens against elected officials, convened their own grand juries, and issued bogus warrants to arrest judges and sheriffs.

“We worked very hard, for years, starting under Sheriff O’Brien, to get the White Supremacists and the Constitutionalists under check. We were the laughingstock of the nation when the Church of the Creator held their meetings here, and when the Church of the True Israel held their meeting up Highway 135,” Sheriff Hopwood said. “I’m worried that Mineral County will be seen as a place favorable to those extreme points of view. Once you open that door, then it is hard as hell to get it closed again.”

The danger isn’t from the people currently in Mineral County. They know their local and state candidates and their characters. The danger is from people outside who will interpret these statements as establishing a safe haven for racism and anti-government agitation. A very real danger is that they will misconstrue these remarks as suggesting a nice big welcome mat for white supremacists.

Mineral County needs the door not only shut tight, but locked, deadbolted, barred, and wired with live current to keep out the white supremacists and their twisted brand of evil.

Murray, former sheriff O’Brien, current Sheriff Hugh Hopwood and sheriff’s candidate Mike Johnson (who has directly challenged the notion of a Constitutionalist sheriff who won’t enforce federal laws) are bravely doing the job of true patriots – standing up to hate and dangerous ideology much like those that spoke out against the South as the dangerously brought this country to civil war.

I laud these guys for doing this – and I hope that the residents of Mineral County understand the dangers they face and turn out in droves to shut Ornela down.

~~~~~~
Further confirming that Ornelas is dangerous is the fact that he was endorsed by the one-man show, Missoula’s Gary Marbut/Montana Shooting Sport’s Association. Please note in this video that he calls himself president of the MSSA, and refers to it as political action group and touts the number of laws he has pushed through the Montana legislature.

Marbut has failed to register as a lobbyist for his work in Helena – where, during legislative sessions, he lives Monday-Friday. He’s also known for his intimidation tactics to those who won’t vote for his gun bills (and was pretty darn successful at it last session). Rep. Margie Campbell stood up and pleaded with the even split house and urged her fellow Democrats to not cave to the intimidation tactics of the gun lobby. Unfortunately, they did not listen to this wise woman (who is not anti-gun), and passed several horrible gun bills including HB228 and HB246.

Both were signed into law by Governor Brian Schweitzer.

by jhwygirl

This post was updated.

Democratic congressional primary candidate Tyler Gernant has gained even more momentum in the last few days with news from both ABCMontana and the Flathead Beacon that the race is too close to call.

That in the context of taking on Dennis McDonald who was, much earlier this year, the presumed winner.

Gernant has worked hard – honestly, I am in awe of his steadfast work ethic and commitment to his campaign. The guy DOES NOT rest. Will he work for me in congress? Will he work for Montanans? You betcha!

TODAY he gained the endorsements of Jay Stevens at Left in the West – who thoroughly articulates his reasons for supporting Gernant and James Conner of Flathead Memo, who also, gives a fine analysis of why he is supporting Gernant along with a nice synopsis of the other candidates.

James Conner is a fine writer who provides (not often enough, IMO) thorough thoughtful nonpartisan commentary when it comes to politics. Moderates and Independents should take note of James’ endorsement.

Matt Singer – one of the finest people I know in progressive politics and someone I admire immensely – has put out a few posts on Tyler (like this one, Rehberg Gets Schooled by Tyler Gernant), and today he takes note of the momentum that Gernant has and says “I’d make a small bet that he pulls off this primary tomorrow evening — a victory that will be newsworthy for his age and the fact that McDonald should have this in a walk.”

Don Pogreba, a 2008 Democratic primary gubernatorial candidate, is calling the race for Gernant, saying “While Dennis McDonald certainly had an advantage in name recognition and connection to the party establishment, Gernant’s had a much more energetic and visible campaign.”

I have to say, all of this brings me great joy. Key factor here now is Getting Out The Vote. Give your friends around the state a call or an email tonight and remind them to vote in this important primary. Make sure your fellow coworkers have gotten their ballots in, or offer to get them to the polls.

Not registered? Head over to the fairgrounds. You can register right there.

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?

Yikes.

by jhwygirl

The energy has been high on Tyler Gerant’s congressional democratic primary campaign for weeks now. He’s out raised his other primary contenders – including the former head of the Montana Democratic Party – in the last two FEC filings. His strong position on clean energy and green jobs – along with his consistent position on coal – have garnered the attention of the Montana Conservation Voters.

Gernant speaks to Montanans and the everyday challenges we face. In a strongly increasing corporatized America, Gernant dares to talk about rewarding work, not wealth:

“Somewhere along the line, we forgot the American dream – that anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules should have the opportunity to reach the top.”

That can be achieved, Gernant said, through reforming the tax code to “reward work instead of rewarding wealth” and promoting rural energy production like wind and solar power.

In the last few days, two notable letters to the editor have appeared in newspapers around the state. Sheila Mansfield Miller, speaking for her family, tells Montanans that Gernant has many of her “Uncle Mike’s” (the late statesman Senator Mike Mansfield) characteristics, saying that he is “principled, intelligent, and actually listens to others more then he talks.”

Not bad characteristics, huh?

Missoula Mayor John Engen endorsed Gernant on Friday, calling Tyler “an extremely gifted leader.”

I admire his quick wit, his intelligence and his commitment to the people of Montana. His hard work on the campaign trail, which has included multiple stops in communities throughout the state, and his well-thought-out policies on job creation, new energy and deficit reduction make him the stand-out choice in a talented field of candidates.

Montanans need a leader who will listen and represent – someone who will work for policies that lead to high paying sustainable clean energy jobs for Montanans. Gernant knows that Montana is positioned to be a leader in new energy, and he has taken the time to explore the possibilities of combining both new energy with the jobs that can be created here in Montana. Here’s Gernant in Bozeman, where Independent Power Systems employs 40 people working on solar energy panels:

Gernant is the next Representative that not only Democrats need, but that Montanans need. Someone who understands what it’s like to be the underdog – someone who will fight for hard-working Montanans by ensuring that policies regarding energy, jobs and taxes benefit us here at home.

Tyler Gernant will bring in home in November. Help get him there by voting Tyler Gernant this Tuesday.

by jhwygirl

I ruminated in a comment or two around here on how Rehberg really failed to engage in the primary. I had heard nothing of any forums – while I know that county Democratic organizations around the state held forums for their congressional candidates. It’s hard for any candidate that doesn’t really get the opportunity to engage, side-by-side, with their competitors. But hey – that’s Rehberg arrogance. Besides that, I know that Pogo Possum expressed an interest in hearing more from A.J. Otjen….so here you are folks. Information is power.

From A.J. Otjen:

In January, Denny promised me that we would have a Republican Primary Debate. It is now less than a week before the election and his schedule as never let that happen. It is just never in the best interest of the incumbent to debate. I have met him in public and have asked him specific questions and every time he says…”we are not going to debate now”. So when? Tell us why you are now fighting for a balanced budget without getting specific about spending cuts and where to find revenues. Tell us why you have sponsored hundred of bills and sent out thousands of press releases that go absolutely no where. Tell us why you vote against a stimulus package and then beg for the money to fund projects in Montana.

I am on the road doing my last tour of Montana before the election and do meet Mark French in public forums. He does have a following like a preacher has sheep. After one of his tirades, one of his followers even said as I stood up…”good luck following that”. Through out these events, it is always clear that he has no handle on facts. He is all fire. (The conservative conference in Missoula helped him raise money in one day) I call him the dramatic candidate and myself the practical candidate, undaunted by his brimstone. I am undaunted by his misrepresentation of me saying ‘Ms. Otjen who hates the constitution.’ I say, for that..you have to call me Dr. Otjen. Almost every male in my family has been in combat defending the constitution.

I have enjoyed most of all going into the French and Rehberg areas and turning folks around. It works mainly with small groups. When people have time to listen. When people do not get caught up with emotion and loyalties, the facts always win. There is so much hope for where we can go with politics if we treat it like an elephant that we eat one bite at a time. Even the TEA party. If they were truly just about Taxes Enough Already, maybe they would be OK. When we hold them to that….they calm down. I asked them if they were about any thing else…and they refused to say. I confronted them with their misrepresentation of me..and a few have been embarrassed. I confronted the College Republicans with their own embarrassing but humorous recruitment video and called them Fox Mimics who needed different students in their ranks.

But we could have one tremendous bite right now with this election. We could change so much about Montana oplitics with the GOP primary turning out reasonable Republicans going forward to the general. It is states with open primaries like ours that will lead the nation back to having two equal and reasonable parties. Instead we have one in power at a time, which always leads to absolute power corrupting absolutely. Extremists on either side can not keep controlling our agendas. The issues facing us right now will change the way we live just 30 years from now. Knowing that, and seeing how the future could be devastating or fantastic, is why I decided to run.

Trust that whichever Democrat wins will be fine. The real choice is in the GOP primary. Here is the my TV Commercial:

ed. note: I like how she begins that “I’m not running against Denny Rehberg, I’m running for a balanced budget.”

by problembear

i know i haven’t posted in awhile and i have tried to stay away but Mt initiative I-164 is just too important to ignore. if we are to get this citizen’s referendum up for a vote this november we have until June 18 to do it.

if you are reading this and if you or someone you know has been hurt by payday lenders please leave a comment here and tell us your story. i have been fired up about this ever since finding out what a crooked title loan place did to my daughter’s credit many years ago. up until then, i never imagined that a state licensed business could be allowed to treat people as they do in this shady predatory lending industry. i thought only the mafia acted this way in dark alleys. but, in less than ten years these places have sprouted like toxic weeds accross Montana. in fact, since 2001, predatory lenders have multiplied so much that they actually outnumber starbucks in this country.

Montana state law currently allows payday lenders to charge 650% interest per year and auto title loan businesses are allowed to charge 300% interest per year. these interest rates are unconscionable to any thinking fair-minded citizen which is why Montana’s citizens are stepping  up in the next three weeks to gather signatures so that we can get this referendum on the ballot this November and protect our most vulnerable working families from this greedy destructive bloodbath. many states such as oregon and ohio have already enacted citizen sponsored legislation which protects their working poor from these loan sharks. we must do the same. if you wish to help please contact Erin at Montana Women Vote and gather some signatures so that we can at least regulate this industry to a reasonable interest rate of 36% per year.

Montana Women Vote has a lot of good information about these predators and they are a lot smarter than me. please consider helping them to gather signatures for this important petition initiative and contact Erin. if you cannot gather signatures please seek us out and sign your name to the petition along with the growing thousands of montanans who want our state to treat our working poor with more fairness.

and thanks for having the patience to listen to a bear of very little brain once again.




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