Archive for the ‘Tea Party’ Category

by Pete Talbot

When Montana Rep. Steve Daines votes to the right of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on a budget bill, well, that says it all.

Please keep in mind that Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential candidate in 2012, basically to placate the Republican fringe because Romney was too “moderate.”

The budget bill, hammered out by Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, is a deal designed to avoid future government shutdowns.  To say that it’s moderate legislation would be an overstatement.  There are curbs on federal workers’ pensions; there are no tax increases for anyone or extensions of benefits for 1.3 million unemployed, or relief for kids on the WIC program or families on food stamps or … but it’s probably the best we’ll get out of this congress.

The final tally was 332-94 in favor of the compromise bill.  Daines voted “no” with just 62 of the most far-right members of the U.S. House.

If Ryan is a tea party darling, what does that make Daines?

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by jhwygirl

But shhhh…no one’s supposed to know. He has a plan.

Out on the far right of the state (can’t get any further west Senate District 7) Greg Hinkle – a favorite around these parts for years – has decided that he’s not going to run for a second term.

Even though Hinkle won by about 1000 votes over Democrat Paul Clark in 2008 (5555 to 4581), incumbents have an advantage and Hinkle knows that. So no one’s supposed to know that Greg doesn’t plan to file.

Why? The Tea Party (of which Hinkle is part of) has two good reasons for this: One is that Mark French is planning a run for that seat, and Hinkle wants to see him run unopposed.

French, if you recall, made a run for the chair of the Montana GOP last year after losing his congressional run (25K to Denny’s 96K) in the GOP primary in 2010. After that miserable loss, he then a run for the GOP chairmanship in 2011.

He failed there, too, to Missoula’s most refined and civilized Will Deschamps.

The second reason no one’s supposed to know that Hinkle isn’t going to file for SD7? Back in 2010, the Sanders County GOP had a bit of a split in their ranks, things having gone haywire after the Tea Party tried to take over. The details are foggy to me right now (why oh why didn’t I write about it then???) but the county group split, then later regrouped with the Tea Party triumphant.

In between, Judy Stang, a Republican and former county commissioner in Mineral County then began a write-in campaign for SD7, but eventually withdrew due to Montana GOP harassment, throwing her support to Democrat Paul Clark.

Yeah – things got a little crazy. There are still a lot of pissed of Republicans up there, and the incidents of 2010 have yet to dissolve from the memory for many.

Republicans, though – older ones, especially – still abide by that ‘speak no evil’ rule – which is where Hinkle’s incumbency shines. He knows no one is going to challenge him and that means something.

And so will his endorsement.

So when Hinkle doesn’t file, but Mark French does just a few days before the filing deadline, Hinkle is planning on endorsing Mark French.

Delightful plan, huh?

Incidentally – Hinkle made nationwide news last year with his spears-for-hunting bill, which died in standing committee.

It might sound crazy to some – and he tried to legitimize it as taking up a cause of the poor persecuted spear hunters of Montana thing – but it is symbolic of the Tea Party: Wanting to take Montana back to the day of the Cro-magnon man.

~~~~~
Have I dastardly foiled the Hinkle/French/Tea Party plans for Senate District 7? Who knows. But will Republicans and Democrats and Fake Republicans and Fake Democrats be considering a run for that seat now?

If they read this, they just may. Especially the ones that are calling themselves the “real Republicans” after this last eminent domain-enabling, more-government-intrusion legislative session.

By CFS

After more than a year of protests, general strikes, and clashes with authority, the Greek people have been given a chance to decide their own destiny and it looks very likely that voters will reject the debt deal put forward by the EU.  Financial markets reacted very negatively to the news, it would seem that markets aren’t very confident that Greek voters have international banks’ best interests in heart.

Ordinary people given the chance to decide the future of their own democratic country seems almost like a novelty.  I wonder what would have happened had Americans been given the chance to vote on TARP?  We might not have seen the rise of the Tea Party and OWS had it not been the shoveling of trillions of dollars tax payer money down the black hole of Wall Street’s quarterly reports.

Of course, Europe’s and America’s power brokers are just a little displeased, as the Greek PM, George Papandreou, is threatened by the fall of his government for his decision to put this issue in front of voters and will face angry EU leaders who will push for implementation of the plan even in the face of the Greek vote.  I guess he’ll learn his lesson that governing is for technocrats, not people… silly socialist.

The financial deal would force Greece to accept large cuts in public spending and is projected to increase already high unemployment rate partially caused by austerity measures adopted in 2010 in return for another bailout package.  But, as we’ve seen with Wall Street bailouts, such measures aren’t meant to help Greece, but to insure the profits of the bond holders, and of course, the only answer to debt is more debt.  Sound logic if you ask me.  The Naked Capitalist blog has a good post on the success of another country that rejected a financial bailout, even in the face of rising social spending.

I’m personally very interested in how a democratic vote will end up effecting this year’s Christmas bonuses at financial firms.

by Pete Talbot

“I shouldn’t say this …” Conrad Burns said. It was the only accurate statement he made all day.

He then went on to insult Indians, Wall Street occupiers and the President.

He was talking to a small tea party crowd in Billings, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity and underwritten by the billionaire Koch brothers.

I’ve been waiting for another Montana blogger to write about this (Montana Cowgirl, Pogie?) but haven’t seen a thing. Maybe Conrad’s speech was so obtuse it didn’t deserve notice. I, however, think it might because it mirrors the far-right’s rhetoric of ignorance, intolerance and racism.

Ignorance: “Burns was there to ‘expose the Obama administration’s $40 billion energy tax grab that will destroy jobs, decrease government revenues at a time of exploding national debt and make America less competitive.'”

In reality, the idea is to eliminate taxpayer-financed oil subsidies and tax breaks, and reinvest the $40 billion into social programs, green energy and job creation, according to Forcechange.com. C’mon Conrad, continued subsidies for oil companies with record-breaking profits are going to reduce the deficit, destroy jobs and make America less competitive? Well, it might give the oil companies slightly less money to employ corporate mouthpieces such as yourself.

Intolerance: On the Wall Street/Missoula/Helena/etc. occupiers, Burns said: “I feel sorry for these kids. They’re kind of spoiled. They’re down there having a hissy fit. They don’t know who they’re mad at.”

Oh, they know who they’re mad at, these spoiled kids, it’s the likes of you: politicians who push economic inequality, and advance the financial institutions responsible for a recession that’s crippling middle-class Montanans and devastating the poor.

Racism: “We got a guy in the White House (who) believes all of us should be dependent on the government,” Burns said. “I shouldn’t say this, but he wants this whole country to become like an Indian reservation.”

Conrad is on the record as a bigot: Arabs, African-Americans and now, Native Americans. Those damn Indians … and after all that the government has done for them. (R.I.P. Elouise Cobell. Please ignore Burns’ spiteful comments.)

So Conrad is still out there. He’s working for GAGE, a Leo Giacometto/Son-of-Rehberg Washington, D.C., lobbying firm, and spewing far-right rhetoric.

In these troubled times, do we really need the former Senator sowing seeds of hate, divisiveness and malice. I think not.

by jhwygirl

I’ve found myself wondering this for too long…and in asking around, I’ve yet to understand the answer to my question. So I’m putting it out there with that headline, hoping that perhaps someone can explain to me.

Why isn’t anyone suing to stop the Tea Party? That’s a very basic breakdown of the question, but if the New Party was stopped because it was determined – legally – that it was its own party regardless of how it had operated, apparently coattailing onto the Democrats, why isn’t anyone requiring the same of the Tea Party?

They call themselves a party. They have a Tea Party Debate. They raise their own money, and they have their own infrastructure system in all 50 states. How is that not a completely separate organization?

They campaigned to take out regular GOP candidates the last election.

What is different about the Tea Party?

Practical experience and the cynic is me speculates that it was the Democrats who took out the New Party…and Republicans operate under the Ronald Reagan 11th commandment. Ya’all know how wont they are to publicly criticize their own. Is that it?

Does anyone know?

From my vantage point, I don’t know the advantage to allowing the Tea Party to continue to coattail onto the GOP. Maybe there is an advantage and I’m missing it?

Anyways – been pondering it, been trying to get some answers, and now I’m ‘pimpin’ the blog’.

By JC

Tea Party takes it as a sign from god to cut spending!

Nevermind. (But read the comments–they’re hilarious!)

The Free Republic claims that Obama said the earthquake happened somewhere along “Bush’s Fault”.

By JC

by jhwygirl

Progressives delivered another take-down movement in Wisconsin yesterday with the first elections geared towards gaining a Democratic control of the Wisconsin legislature. The Democratic primary held yesterday saw 6 “fake” Democrats defeated in 6 senate primary recall elections.

An important factoid there is that Wisconsin has open primaries. Koch Industries funded Wisconsin Republicans didn’t even try to hide the fact they ran fake Democrats. The 6 REAL Democrats won – 5 of them quite decisively – which has to have 6 Republican state senators getting the boxes ready for moving day. Or should.

For every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. Those crazy tea party people! Look what doo-doo they got themselves into over there.

Thank Goddess for those crazy radical storm-the-capital union-loving progressives! It sure as hell wasn’t a bunch of milquetoast leftys out there camping in the capital, or marching the streets or gathering signatures up within weeks of their legislative session’s sine die to recall the Republicans and regain control of their state.

Congratulations Wisconsin. Congratulations.

Democrats? Progressives? – pay attention, take notes and learn something. Raising Hell (and Hope) is how it’s done.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.

A new study shows that the death penalty costs $300 million per person.

The main drug used in lethal injection is no longer in production in the U.S. That means that no state can obtain the drug legally. (with a hat tip to Steve Dogiakos)

If you haven’t read this piece, you should. From Time Magazine’s political blog Swampland, it’s an indepth look at Montana’s Tea Party. The piece is recent – June 17th.

So yeah…more national attention on Montana.

Has anyone read Sarah Palin’s InBox yet?

Public Policy Polling has all kinds of polling out on Montana 2012 races. With both a Senate and a Governor’s seat open, there’s lots of national interest.

Must read from The Nation on reimaging our economic future. There’s lot’s to it – a series of articles – but well worthy of bookmarking.

Pogie reports on this weekend’s gathering of the John Birch Society with featured guest Derek Skees. It’s a must read. And do remember – that’s straight-up serious stuff he’s talking about.

Button Valley recently threw down on the economic realities of Arch Coal, one of Montana’s newest raider of taxpayer-owned natural resources. Poor Arch Coal. Thank Goddess the Montana taxpayers were able to subsidize their bid for the state’s schoolchildren’s coal. Corporate coal welfare – what would the industry do without it.

Which reminds me – Steve Bullock for Attorney General. Only.

by jhwygirl

Montanan’s – and the world – first found out about Rep. Denny Rehberg’s push for “hard science” about two weeks ago when he pushed for an amendment that would require “hard science” before the FDA could enact regulatory controls.

Rehberg’s amendment passed. Whee for him, right? And screw the health of Americans….Rehberg was finally able to add something to that very slim resume of his.

Not really…..Rehberg – even as chair – couldn’t follow procedure, having attempted to legislation through Appropriations, which is against House rules.

How embarrassing. Let’s point out here that Denny is chair of that committee. Clearly, he isn’t very effective and doesn’t understand some of the basic parameters of his own committee. I’m sure he blames it on his staff.

What exactly is “hard science”? Here’s the definition, right out of Denny’s original amendment:

Sec. 740. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Food and Drug Administration to write, prepare, develop or publish a proposed, interim, or final rule, regulation, or guidance that is intended to restrict the use of a substance or a compound unless the Secretary bases such rule, regulation or guidance on hard science (and not on such factors as cost and consumer behavior), and determines that the weight of toxicological evidence, epidemiological evidence, and risk assessments clearly justifies such action, including a demonstration that a product containing such substance or compound is more harmful to users than a product that does not contain such substance or compound, or in the case of pharmaceuticals, has been demonstrated by scientific study to have none of the purported benefits.

Yep. Humans as lab rats – body counts required.

Honest to Goddess. And don’t you know those tea party people think they are oh so smart by coming up with the term “hard science” for this crap.

What was Rehberg’s original intent of his amendment? To stop the FDA from regulating what many have said for decades is the overuse of antibiotics in livestock – which is resulting in humans increasingly becoming bacteria resistant, resulting in the need for stronger and stronger antibiotics (or death).

Take a look a the FDA’s apparently-not-“hard-science” report.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week threatened to take up Denny Rehberg’s “hard science” cause – having ingeniously found a way to get around that can’t-legislate-from-House Appropriations thing.

Trouble for Rehberg and the rest of the tea party patriots down there in the House is that a bipartisan group of Senators have offered up their own bill which would restrict the use of antibiotics in cattle.

So the tea party bats are loose, crapping in the U.S. House now..and we’ve got dueling bills on an issue that has been generally agreed upon accepted science. Until Denny Rehberg came up with his own new concept: “hard science”.

It’s sad, really. In the future, historians will look back upon this early 21st century political scenery and find accounts of elected officials not only ignoring science, but dismantling the very foundations built by America’s greatest legislators and administrations all to appease the corporate interests of the upper 2% of the population.

By CFS

In all this ongoing back and forth between the liberal/progressive/Democrat blogs of Montana (the Great Flame War of 2011) one point that is yet to be made is the differing approach that the two parties seem to deal with internal dissent.  One party gives the impression of eagerly embracing the mutiny… while the other is trying to quickly stomp out the fire before it can spread.

What started as a grassroots movement from outside the ramparts of a party historically known for it’s discipline in pulling it’s member into line on issues; the Tea People’s anger, enthusiasm, and naivety was quickly capitalized upon by the Republican establishment and old guard power base.  Organizations that, at first ad-hoc groups meeting at coffee shops bitching about how the Republicans had betrayed their ideals, were quickly provided with organizational support, funds, and training from long-time Republican political operatives.  Nation-wide organizations were built by the likes of Dick Army and elected Republicans such as Michele Bachmann embraced the mass of angry white people produced by a steady diet of Fox News.

Now that the Tea People are well ensconced in the warm and loving embrace of the GOP guess what happens whenever the Tea People get all uppity?  Thats right… Boehner quickly folds and make overtures to please his new far right base.

Contrast this with the current approach that the mainline Democrats seem to want to take when dealing the more progressive/liberal/whatever side of the party…

This attitude comes straight from the top as Obama and his press secretary have said more than once that they are tired of the criticism coming from the left.  Other Democrats have used this type of language, calling liberals “extremists.”

 The same attitude has been on display recently on various Montana progressive blogs.  Pogie actually did a great job of getting to the issue and fostering a discussion around the role of dissension within a political party in shaping policy and strategy.  Others however have been eager to follow the STFU guidelines.  From LITW:

Here’s the dealio.  Democrats still have value.  I like Jon Tester, even more for taking action on wolf control dictated by the judiciary.  Don’t like that?  Tough shit.  Leave.  I like Barrack Obama.  I think he called out the Republicans and has played them very well.  Don’t like that?  Tough shit.  Leave.  Seriously.  You don’t like Democrats?  Leave, assholes.

The problem with the STFU/your-either-with-us-or-against-us type attitude is that people really do leave.  People will choose to vote for third party candidate like Nader when they get frustrated enough which then gives us 8 years of THE ADVENTURES OF BUSHIT AND TURD BLOSSOM .

If a party doesn’t listen to internal dissent and respond to the criticism by addressing people’s grievances then people leave.  The Republicants were electorally successful in the last cycle specifically because they embraced the crazy hidden within themselves and physically manifested as the Tea People.

Do we really want to put this at the entrance to the Democratic party?

By CFS

The fight over the budget and debt continues in D.C. and I’m sure that Republicans will be making sacrifices and praying to the patron-saint of B-list Celebrities Turned Politician Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan  for strength and guidance.  I suggest that we on the left use the memory of Reagan to illustrate just how far right the party of Tea has moved since the golden age of fighting tyranny.  Because even Saint Ronnie raised taxes.

Same shit… different day.  Just a week after a compromise was reached to forestall shutting down the government the circus clowns are once again piling out  of the VW to debate the debt ceiling.  And one again nothing will actually change that makes a difference in our country’s fiscal solvency.

Will anything constructive take shape on the revenue side… doubt it.  Instead budget cuts will come at the expense of those that don’t have a voice at the table.  If you can’t afford a six figure lobbyist you don’t deserve to be at the table.  Fuck I’m being pessimistic today.

by Pete Talbot

You get who you vote for

Montana’s PSC is one of the most important government bodies we have in this state. As the banner at its website reveals: energy, telecommunications, water/sewer, transportation and pipeline safety are all under its purview. Since last November’s elections and the new 3-2 Republican majority, the commission has been in turmoil. The latest dust up is being well chronicled by Pogie at Intelligent Discontent, and by the Great Falls Tribune, Lee Newspapers and the Associated Press.

But since the voters decided to return the incendiary “rogue commissioner”* Brad Molner to the commission, and replace utility expert and consumer advocate Ken Toole with utility owner Bill Gallagher, well, what do you expect?

The jury is still out on Travis Kavulla.

* Attributed to PSC Commissioner Gail Gutsche.

Denny’s going down

Rep. Denny Rehberg toed the Tea Party line when he voted against House Resolution 1473, the congressional compromise that cut $38 billion but kept the government up and running.

From the L.A. Tribune’s Washington Bureau:

The bill approved by the House and Senate Thursday will fund the government through the end of the 2011 fiscal year on Sept. 30, cutting $38 billion from environmental, health, education, job-training and other domestic programs. Despite the steep reductions, the measure didn’t go far enough for the House’s most conservative members, exposing divisions among Republicans. (Emphasis mine.)

It’s still early and anything could happen but if the Senate race isn’t already trending to Sen. Tester, I’d be surprised. Tester has been in the news a lot, lately: his wolf-delisting rider, veteran’s issues, and a wilderness bill (there are folks on both sides of the aisle upset with his wolf and wilderness stances, which indicate that they’re moderate positions). And Montanans, for the most part, are a moderate lot, which bodes well for Tester.

Rehberg has done nothing of note (besides casting Tea Party votes) and therefore hasn’t been getting much press, either good or bad, which goes to the old political axiom: I don’t care what you write about me, just spell my name right.

And I was so worried that Gadhafi would appear on the ballot

Some Montana legislators have offered up crazy stuff this session but most of the bills have died in committee, on the floor or have been vetoed by the governor. Not so in Arizona, where a bill promoted by the “birthers” is on the Arizona Governor’s desk awaiting her signature — and it’s possible the socially-conservative Republican governor will sign it. The bill demands proof of U.S citizenship before allowing presidential candidates on the ballot, and Arizona wants to see hospital records, baptismal certificates or circumcision records, along with other affidavits.

Always good to see that Montana’s legislature hasn’t cornered the market on wacky.

by Pete Talbot

Montana’s governor isn’t Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  And there aren’t quite the same union-busting laws being advanced by either the executive or legislative branch here in Montana.  But there’s potential for a Wisconsin-like rally on Friday, April Fool’s Day, in Helena.

This is very apropos, considering the many foolish bills, radical cuts and a special session offered up by the Republican majority during this legislature.

The rally is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. at the Capitol.  Here’s some background from the Havre Daily News.

One of the organizers of the event, Molly Moody, said the rally represents union members, community leaders, neighbors, teachers, firefighters, nurses, snowplow drivers, health workers, business owners, conservationists, cowboys, police officers …

No one is sure what the turnout will be yet.  Buses are being chartered in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Havre, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula, so I’m betting it’s larger the March 3 Tea Party rally. I know I’m going.

Continue Reading »

By CFS

First they came for the unions,

and I didn’t speak out because I was not a union member.

Then they came for Medicare and Medicaid,

and I didn’t speak out because I was not poor nor elderly.

Then they came for Social Security,

and I didn’t speak out because I was not retired.

Then they came for progressives,

and there was no one left to speak out

by jhwygirl

And I know a whole lot of them were inside working…so just to make sure they don’t miss the bigger picture out there:

KGVO AM 1290 – conservative talk radio down here in Missoula – reported today that “less than a dozen protesters” were at the rally.

Reuters has even joined in, reporting that protesters were Outnumbered by the media and politicians in attendance”.

It was a gun-toting rally that had to have special permission to carry the guns on the Capital grounds.

Bring Your Gun to The Capitol Day? What is this? Show and yell? Or just a redo of Sen. Joe Balyeat riding a donkey into the rotunda during the 2009 session?

I’m going to suggest puppies and kittens next time. I’m thinking they’d draw more attention.

Which, speaking of, Reuters has a nice little slideshow (4 or 5 pics) of the freak show, including this nice pic of Tim Ravndal, Executive Director of Lewis & Clark County’s Conservative Tea Party:

Even former state representative Scott Sales, Montana director for Americans for Prosperity got into the mix.

Honestly? Maybe we should be giving the MTGOP credit for creating jobs – its practically bank now that out-of-state journalists are here to watch the show…which means they’re getting a hotel room, eating in restaurants and I’m sure enjoying some of Montana’s fine 8.75 microbrew in the 4000 foot elevation of the state capitol.

The “freak show” statement might sound harsh, but do put that in the context of the fact that there had been a rally in support of workers and middle class America held in conjunction with the freak show, yet there’s nary a mention of that protest, which drew hundreds.

And seriously – if Sarah Elliot isn’t inviting Stephen Colbert for a visit with the Governor and his buddy Jag, she isn’t thinking outside the box.

by problembear

see, i don’t think most people in montana or wisconsin or indiana or ohio knew what they were voting for when they marked their x in the box accross from these tea party candidates. and new polls are being conducted all over the country which are starting to show that the wind is shifting for the GOP, who stupidly hitched their wagons to the tea party with a radical anti-union, anti-women, extremist agenda. now the backfire is turning on them…..

old crew boss on a backfire with my cat-skinning crew always told us to check our exits and pay attention when the wind shifts. GOP take heed.

in fact, i think the GOP attacks on unions have started people wondering if they shouldn’t join up.

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar! at Left in the West gets the hat tip on this one.

From Friday’s hearings, detailed in several posts below. Watch Superstar State Representative Ellie Hill (HD-94) take on the Montana’s Christian Taliban’s Reverend Harris Himes.

Rep. Hill? THANK YOU.

This is a civilized society. It seems that some of the GOP running these committees forgets these things. Every statement does not fall under “free speech” and inciting violence is not anything that should be tolerated.

And Rep. Ken Peterson, of Billings? 10 minutes is not a public hearing.

You represent ALL, not just those than elected you. You are a disgrace to the state bar (if you hold it); a disgrace to the House Judiciary; and a disgrace to the Montana Legislature.

And pulling for seventeen executive actions in House Judicary on Monday morning, in less than 4 hours? That leaves no time for meaningful discussion between legislators – but that’s exactly what you want now, isn’t it?

You are a disgrace to democracy.

by jhwygirl

State Representative James Knox (Billings) tweeting this morning from his state taxpayer-funded laptop, on the state internet network, and from the House floor this morning at approximately 9 a.m.:

Leaves little to the imagination for what he doesn’t say in public.

*Don Pogreba was a candidate in the 2008 democratic primary for Governor. He is also a superb political writer at Intelligent Discontent who has been doing an extremely fine job covering session activities up in Helena this year.

by jhwygirl

They’re coming – and we’re all dying. You can’t avoid dying. You might want to hold on clinging to life from a drip tube, rotting in your own flesh as cancer rots you inside….but the future is coming and includes you dying. One way or the other.

Eventually folks – and I’m speaking to the faux conservatives up there in Helena that professed that this legislative session would be all about jobs jobs jobs but all they’ve been doing is meddling between me and my doctor’s office and my own private body and concerning themselves with who I marry and what happens in bedrooms across the state between consenting adults – you xenophobes up there will be outnumbered.

Them’s simply the facts.

Frankly, from what I see in testimony up there in Helena, you really are outnumbered. Now, that doesn’t mean the mob of citizens up there testifying is right, but it should be cause for some self-reflection.

Anyone hear what Jenna Bush had to say lately?

This is our future. Zach Wahls is a 19 year old, testifying in front of an Iowa legislative hearing on January 31, 2011:

On the other end of the age spectrum is one of my favorite bloggers, a senior chic who uses the name Helen Pilpot over at Margaret’s and Helen’s (link on right). She’s wise enough and has been around long enough that she really does legitimately get to just spit it out to the Tea Party people of the world: Grow up – Shit Happens.

I hate to even call ’em conservatives – I’d like to think that there really are a few true conservatives or Libertarians up there in Helena – but that group up there is approving and looking at some utterly ridiculous stuff. Today I saw a hearing where law enforcement officers and social service agencies and attorneys got up in opposition to a law that would effectively eliminate the need to obtain a a concealed weapons permit. During the Q&A, wanna know who all the tea partyiers asked for clarification? Gary Marbut. Not legal staff or law enforcement, but radical anti-government activist lobbyist Gary Marbut.

Marbut is so bad that I was told by someone in the NRA that even they don’t really like him.

And Marbut apparently doesn’t work with law enforcement much anymore when it comes to developing better laws and rules – heard that today in testimony, too.

Closing out that testimony was Krayton Kerns – HB271 is his bill – said something to this effect:

We’re not eliminating the concealed weapons permit. People can still go get one if they want – they just won’t have to.

So that is our legislature right now – a group of them are dragging knuckles back to pre-Tombstone days and flying in the face of their tea party pro-sheriff-is-the-ultimate-law-of-the-land mantra they all so seem to love.

In other words – more proof that they don’t make sense. There’s a lack of logic there that just plain is.

By JC

Nast

I don’t know why. For whatever reason, tonight I found myself revisiting the same old rubbish from the Tea Party and Rush Limbaugh about “The Great Thanksgiving Day Hoax” (via Mises) about how the original Pilgrim Thanksgiving is all about how socialism failed. I’m not going to dredge up a bunch of links and clips–they’re all over the place this week and are easy to find, and all point to the same story refabricating the meaning of the Pilgrims early days. You all can argue about the meaning of Thanksgiving in the comments if you choose. I’m not going there. Instead, I went searching for some counter-point and to try and learn something.

So, I’m just going to offer up this great political cartoon (which sums up my feelings nicely) from Thomas Nast (a “radical republican”) published in 1869 in Harper’s Weekly. The uber-right can go off on their ideologizing of the meaning of Thanksgiving. But Nash ties into the sentiment about how Thanksgiving is all about us being a melting pot of peoples, ideas, and customs. His was a progressive vision that has become lost in the right’s quest for white nationalism and purist economic ideology. Don’t forget to click on the comic to see the enlarged version, and some commentary from the NY Times and HarpWeek.

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.

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.

By JC

While all eyes are focused on the upcoming elections and the big picture about the makeup of the next Congress, many people have been watching the undercurrents, reading the tea leaves for indications about the makeup of the 2012 republican primaries. While the common wisdom has Sarah Palin underperforming in a wide open republican primary, not everybody thinks the same. The CW goes like this, as Moorcat succinctly put it last week:

Palin stands zero chance to be the next president. In every poll run on a possible matchup for the 2012 election, Palin has been (at best) third behind Romney and Huckabee.

But in an article yesterday by John Heilemann in the NY Magazine, “2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President,” he lays out the scenario:

1) The t-party pushes Sarah through to the republican nomination;
2) Obama’s popularity wanes even more amidst republican intransigence aimed to get Sarah Palin elected;
3) Michael Bloomberg enters the race as an independent, intent to assure that grownups (pragmatic centrists) persevere

Then all that needs to happen is the following (the first 2 scenarios being an Obama reelection or a Bloomberg upset):

But there is a third scenario, one that involves a more granular kind of analysis-cum-speculation. By the accounts of strategists in both parties, Bloomberg—especially with the help of his billions—would stand a reasonable chance of carrying New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and California. Combine that with a strong-enough showing in a few other places in the industrial Northeast to deny Obama those states, and with Palin holding the fire-engine-red states of the South, and the president might find himself short of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win.

Assuming you still remember the basics from American Government 101, you know what would happen next: The election would be thrown to the House of Representatives—which, after November 2, is likely to be controlled by the Republicans. The result: Hello, President Palin!

Now, if you happen to be a Democrat, your first instinct might be to dismiss all of this as a dystopian anti-fantasy, or the kind of spook story told around a campfire, scary but ultimately harmless because it’s make-believe, or maybe the ravings of a madman. (I wouldn’t argue with that last one.) Certainly, it qualifies as far-fetched.

But, then, everything about Palin’s story is far-fetched: McCain’s selection of her as his running mate, her ascension after abruptly quitting the highest post she’d ever held, her status as one of the front-runners for her party’s presidential nomination. But here she is, a phenomenon nearly—nearly—unprecedented in modern politics, a figure so electrifying to the most hopped-up segment of her party that at times she seems unstoppable.

“She’s a supernova,” says McKinnon. “The only parallel is Barack Obama. And look what happened to him.”

Talk amongst yourselves as you watch the returns next week. Things will start moving much faster and with more clarity.

Me? I’m thinking of putting up a big fence around my farm, maybe dig in a bunker or two, and start stockpiling some 2nd amendment remedies.
sarah

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 jhwygirl

Why do I call him Supermontanareporter? Because John S. Adams isn’t afraid to back down off of a story. Try and intimidate him – and believe me, it has happened, and it will continue to happen – and he doesn’t blink an eye. Adams is the stuff that becomes a Pulitizer.

And no, I’m not exaggerating. You heard it here first, but when it happens, all the credit goes to him, certainly.

I caught Tea Party jackass Tim Ravdahl, president of Helena’s Big Sky Tea Party on KGVO this morning, reading off his press release – which had appeared to be both taped and rambling, as the host kept playing multiple snippets of it througout the morning. An “exclusive” he said.

The parts I heard, he blamed the whole affair on being misquoted and the evils of political correctness and social justice.

Yep – that damned justice for society is an evil that we need to stop RIGHT NOW!

Well, apparently it was a press release addressing Supermontanareporter John S. Adams’ story in last Saturday’s Great Falls Tribune.

You’ll have to read that pretty quickly, as the GFT archives its stuff pretty quickly.

So Adams caught wind of banned Big Sky Tea Party president Tim Ravdahl’s press release and fired back at him, saying Ravdahl “plays loose with the truth” and lied about being misquoted or misrepresented.

Does Supermontanareporter Adams stop there? Nope. He called Ravdahl this afternoon to ask him for the specifics of the allegations Ravdahl was putting out in his press release. What did Tim Ravdahl do? After stumbling around the subject a bit, he hung up.

And lest Ravdahl try and discredit a good honest hard-hitting reporter like Adams, he’ll have some trouble – JSA taped the conversation. You can hear even hear the abrupt silence of Ravdahl hanging up on him.

Political correctness? Yeah – I’m a bit sick of it too – a liar is a liar, and when a reporter is ready willing and able to label a liar a liar, I’m all for throwing political correctness aside. The idea that you can’t call out a politician as a liar or a lie as a lie has gone on for far too long.

Thank Goddess for journalists like John S. Adams and George Ochenski. Long may they live, and all others like them.

“Government is the means by which citizens are forced to do that which they would not do voluntarily”

by JC

And with these words, DIck Armey declared that tea baggers will rise up to take over the republican party:

“Let us be clear about one thing: The tea party movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party, but a hostile takeover of it.”

While Armey in one breath declares the tea party leaderless:

“The tea party movement has blossomed into a powerful social phenomenon because it is leaderless—not directed by any one mind, political party or parochial agenda.”

In the next he lays out the ground rules for membership:

“The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don’t taking credit for other people’s work.”

Not to mention he also is the CEO of Freedomworks, the group that is heavily invested in funding tea bagger events and groups, his role in Freedomworks is in direct conflict with his words:

“Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge.”

Armey wishes to build an army of tea bagger compatriots to do his and his conservative funders’ agenda. The Democratic party would do well to see the train wreck that is coming down the track at them, if they think that the GOP is a party to whom they can work with in Congress. Dems, if they truly believe themselves to be a different animal than middle-of-the-road republicans, need to shift gears and change strategy.

The Baucusonian strategy of compromising with republicans led to the sham that was health care reform last year. Yet we hear no mea culpa for his role in playing into the GOP’s hands. A GOP that already was in the grip of the tea party and its crusade of ignorance directed at republicans.

So while democrats debate the wisdom of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs taking pot-shots at the “professional left,” the tea party gears up for a takeover of the GOP. If ever there was a time when the democratic party needed the support of its far left, that time would be now.

Unfortunately, it seems that Obama is willing to hunker down in a receding political middle ground, leaving the left to reorganize in disgust as they lay out strategy for moving forward with their progressive vision, in lieu of any coherent leadership from the President.

Democrats are going to find themselves in a precarious position if they don’t realize that they are getting flanked from both sides, and begin to act accordingly. American politics is on the way to becoming far more polarized, with a vapid middle political establishment being attacked from both sides for being a visionless and corrupt tool of special interests.

The winner in this battle will be either the far right tea baggers or the far left radical progressives. Whichever one can get better organized and find the hearts, minds and souls of middle america, which no longer trusts the political establishment to do what’s best for the country.

Time for the left to reorganize and find a leader who is willing to recognize the threat, and challenge D.C. orthodoxy and the tea bagger uprising. Either that, or it is time for the left to move out to pasture, and throw in the towel.




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