Archive for the ‘Rob Natelson’ Category

by Pete Talbot

(Jhwygirl beat me to the draw, as usual, but here’s my perspective on some of her Various & Sundry observations, plus some other stuff.  Also, I changed my original Denny Rehberg headline (a strike through wouldn’t cut it) because it lacked class.  And while I have no respect for the man, I still have some for the office.)

Disingenuous Denny

I had forgotten that Rep. Denny Rehberg was going to be the speaker at Missoula’s City Club luncheon on Thursday.  I didn’t miss much, though, according to the Missoulian.  The same old: lower taxes, cut programs, reduce regulation.  Then there was this gem:

He also claimed that family planning services were losing billions of dollars by duplication between Medicaid and Title X services.

Missoula Planned Parenthood volunteer coordinator Tannis Hargrove, who asked about the family planning spending, disputed Rehberg’s duplication claim. She said Title X services were not available to Montanans eligible for Medicaid, and that Medicaid eligibility was too strict to allow that kind of double-dipping.

Rehberg also said it was the fault of the federal government that the housing market collapsed, leading to the Great Recession.  It had nothing to do with the credit default swaps of JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Goldman-Sachs, etc.  Thank God those markets aren’t better regulated.

And you can blame those pesky regulations for your $4-a-gallon gas.  That’s what’s keeping the petroleum industry from modernizing its gasoline infrastructure, which is keeping consumer gas prices high, says Denny.  I guess it’s hard to invest in new infrastructure when your first quarter profits are only $10.7 billion.

The rest of the Rehberg story is here.  Read it and weep.  KECI also has a story but I’m boycotting NBC because of that stupid Celebrity Apprentice show, which leads me to …

Rob Trump, Donald Natelson?

I like things easy and Rob Natelson makes finding a topic to post so easy.  This time, he’s picking up where The Donald left off. Couched in some historical nonsense about the English monarchy, Rob’s worried that a U.S. President could hand our country over to some foreign power.  I’m pretty sure he’s targeting Obama and the President’s penchant for all things Kenyan.  I’m surprised he didn’t raise this issue about Reagan’s Mexican proclivities.  He should also be worried about Gov. Schwarzenegger selling California to Austria.  There are just too many examples to cite. Be afraid, be very afraid.

“Extremely far-right extremists”

That’s a quote from former Sanders County Republican Chairman Mike Hashisaki.  But it looks like it’s the extremists who are running things now that state party chairman Will Deschamps says the new Sanders County Republican Central Committee will be certified at the Montana GOP convention in June.  How far to the right is the new committee?  Well, Denny Rehberg is a socialist.  According to the Missoulian:

The convention then chose Katy French of Paradise chairwoman. Her husband Mark, who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg for the Republican nomination to Congress in 2010 – charging that Rehberg had backed “irresponsible, unconstitutional and socialist issues” – was elected state committeeman.

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

I guess the 62nd Montana Legislature could have been worse, but not much.  One of the major disappointments for me — the failure to pass a bonding bill that would have paid for a new UM College of Technology building, among other buildings around the state.  It would have pumped $29 million into the Missoula economy, and would be an investment in Montana’s future by educating and training Montanans.  There was plenty of other bad stuff, too, some of it yet to reach the governor’s desk.  The Associated Press has a round-up.

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by Pete Talbot

At first glance, maybe this was something I should have attended. The Helena Independent Record headline read: Insight offered to bloggers.  Gosh, I thought, I wonder why I didn’t hear about this earlier.

Then some of the names in the story caught my eye: Aaron Flint of the Flint Report, Carl Graham of the Montana Policy Institute, Montana Watchdog, the Franklin Center — all pretty much mouthpieces for right wing and Libertarian causes.

Flint, for example, has a radio show on the Northern Ag Network, a conservative station out of Billings.  He has the Flint Report website, too, that carries headlines like: Tester Profits Off Credit Card Companies and Bullock Gets Testy Over Otter Creek.

The Montana Policy Institute out of Bozeman is a Libertarian think tank that refuses to reveal it’s funding sources.  Perhaps you’ve seen MPI President Carl Graham’s guest columns in your local paper on the wonders of a free market economy.  MPI just finished hosting a “Health Care Freedom Panel” with keynote speaker and MPI Senior Fellow Rob Natelson.

There’s Montana Watchdog, another website, that is sponsored by the Montana Policy Institute and presents itself as a news organization with Front Page links to, well, Natelson’s “Health Care Freedom Panel.”

The Franklin Center, based in North Dakota and Virginia (now there’s a strange pairing) bills itself as an organization dedicated to investigative reporting.  The group’s founder and president, Jason Stverak, is the former executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party.

Here’s a line from the end of the IR story:

Also among them was Big Sky Tea Party Association board member Roger Nummerdor, who thinks it might be time to start doing some blogging.

This all happened last Saturday at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena.

And these guys are joined at the hip.  I don’t begrudge some dudes holding a workshop, spreading the righteous word, maybe having a few beers, chewing the fat.  It’s just that they’re so sneaky about it.  You seldom see them flaunting their right-wing credentials.

Heck, they even fooled the IR reporter, who didn’t mention a thing in her story about these guys’ background.  I’m hoping she was fooled, anyway, because if she knew and didn’t mention it, that’s piss-poor reporting.

by Pete Talbot

Since the Heritage Foundation isn’t conservative enough, Libertarians have established dozens of their own “think tanks.”

I discovered this after Googling the Independence Institute, Rob Natelson’s new home. The UM professor is leaving the law school, where he taught constitutional law, for this Libertarian think tank in Colorado.

Natelson ran for Montana Governor as a Republican twice. Although he had decent showings, he never made it past the primary. He’s also a contributor to the conservative blog, Electric City Weblog.

I met Natelson once when I crashed some Republican affair here in Missoula. He was a congenial fellow and we had a brief, non-political conversation. He obviously had no idea who I was.

His politics are very conservative although I didn’t think they were of the Ron Paul variety. I’ve never taken his law class (guess I’d have to pass the LSAT first) but from his writing I’ve gleaned that he leans more toward the Scalia/Alito/Roberts/Thomas philosophy than that of Stevens/Ginsberg/Beyer/Sotomayor.

But back to the Libertarian think tanks. There are at least two in Montana that I know of, both located in Bozeman. There’s PERC, “an environmental think tank seeking free market solutions to environmental problems” and the Montana Policy Institute. They’re joined at the hip and, along with the Independence Institute, Cato Institute and a bunch of other regional think tanks, they’re: anti-government, anti-health care reform, pro-deregulation, global warming skeptics and rabid about property rights.

It’s difficult to find out where the funding comes from for the Montana and other regional think tanks. I’ve tried. The Cato Institute in Washington, DC lists the Coors, Koch and Olin family foundations among its donors. To say that these foundations are conservative free-marketeers would be an understatement. Corporate donors include WalMart, R.J. Reynolds and the American Petroleum Institute. You can imagine the kind of policy that the funders of these organizations would like to see.

So good luck, Rob, in your new job of interpreting the U.S Constitution to meet the needs of the Libertarian think tanks.




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