Archive for the ‘Tea Party’ Category

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?

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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

Sen. Greg Hinkle, who resides in Thompson Falls and represents state senate district 7, writes a column pretty regularly for The Clark Fork Chronicle. He’s one of those tea party types who hates government, but is more than happy to run for office and collect his senator’s pay and per diem that they all get when they are in session.

Gotta love that irony, huh?

In his latest column he gets to comparing undocumented immigrants to livestock as he rants on about a proposal by the USDA to require documentation for livestock that crosses state lines.

Whoa! The thought just occurred to me; I wonder if these same officials are drafting regulations requiring the USFWS to track diseased wolves (or deer and elk for that matter) crossing state lines? In the same vein, it does not appear that there is the same concern for diseases brought across our southern border by illegal aliens.

So not only is he a xenophobic disgusting piece of a human being, he supports big government Again – got to love that irony.

You know what’s even more amazing to me? That Sen. Greg Hinkle is so comfortable in his own skin that he writes a piece of garbage like this and sends it to a newspaper knowing that it is going to be printed and published and read by 1,000’s of readers in at least 3 counties. The twisted sick word that he lives in has him thinking that it is OK to contemplate the need for the USDA to regulate border crossings – southern border crossings – of human beings.

As an aside from this topic, Sen. Greg Hinkle clearly has no respect for the Montana Constitution. He’s proposing a bill to ban physician assisted suicide.

So here is a state legislator – a state senator at that – that doesn’t even have a basic understanding of the court case to which he is trying to overturn with a law. The right in Montana for a terminally ill person to seek physician-assisted suicide is found in our state’s constitution.

Putting it another way – no legislator can write laws to forbid those rights that are granted to us by our constitution.

He takes two separate oaths as a state senator – one to uphold the United States Constitution, and another to uphold the Montana Constitution. I guess those oaths don’t mean crap to him.

For me, this is another example of tea baggery gone mad – not only does Hinkle want more laws to regulate that which can’t be regulated away, he wants to take away constitutional rights of Montana’s citizens AND have Montana citizens rack up the legal tab defending a law that would be unconstitutional from its inception.

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 JC

Problembear’s post the other day about letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire has sparked a lively debate between Big Swede and Mr. Benson, and pb and I. The governing philosophy on their side it seems, is this notion that the more money the rich have, the more jobs they will create. Here’s Big Swede:

“Will raising taxes on the wealthy increase jobs?”

This is nothing more than regurgitated reaganism and its trickle-down, supply-side economic theory. BS and Mr. Benson seem to be wishing for a return to the days of a “shining city upon a hill.”

I see this as nothing more than wishing for a new era of neo-fuedalism where the success of the country is dependent upon the most wealthy individuals. And because we are dependent upon them, we must give them whatever they ask for, because the consequences of not doing so are dire: Who will create the jobs? Who will buy the luxury items that drive economic growth and technological advance…

The inequity in wealth between the rich and the poor has returned to early Depression-era levels. Congress is awash in crony capitalism, and the Obama administration is mired in corporatism. Corporations have been given first amendment rights by the Supreme Court. Wall Street dictates financial policy. The health insurance industry controls access to, and provision of health care. Energy companies must never be held accountable for fear we’ll have another return to a Carter-era energy shortage.

And we’re being asked by conservatives to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, because, well, because who else is going to create jobs?

This is nothing more than sheer economic blackmail. It is more than looking back for guidance from Reagan, it is looking to the dark ages and a return to the comfort of the lord in his castle on the hill, surrounded by his serfs who will do his bidding in return for a small scrap of land to sleep on, and enough of a share in the crops in order to not starve.

This drive to let the rich and powerful run free among us, dictating policy and our economic future paints an ugly picture of the state of our union. For when the wind blows foul from the past, it is time for those who value true freedom and independence to declare that enough is enough.

This debate is not about taxes, as the tea baggers would have us believe. But they are just tools of the rich and powerful used to create a smokescreen behind which the lords can solidify their grip on our nation.

As Gharrett Johnson wrote in “Slouching Towards Neofeudalism”:

“Neofeudalism isn’t just about the powerful taking over everything. It’s about conditioning the poor to accept their designated role in society, even fighting to defend the ability of the wealthy to exploit them. It requires working people to do things that are against their own interests, and nowhere is this more true than in our current economic system.”

This is about the future of our country, and what it will become. This isn’t about politics. It transcends the two party system. It is about whether or not the masses are willing to become subservient to money and power. It is class warfare.

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.

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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

Via The Clark Fork Chronicle, news comes to us that the Mineral County Sheriff’s race is heating up with one of the candidates – Ernie Ornelas – saying that he would not enforce federal laws. He cites the United Nations Small Arms Treaty as one he has problems with:

“The U.N. can pass the small arms treaty, but they cannot usurp our constitutional rights,” he said. “There are those in the federal government who believe they should. We have Supreme Court justices citing other countries’ rulings and U.N. rulings in their Supreme Court decisions, and that’s not constitutional.”

One he likes is House Bill 246, passed by the 2009 Montana Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brian Schweitzer. I mentioned this bill last session here, calling it “another one of those crazy unconstitutional ones”:

“Those are the types of things I’m talking about when states are trying to assert their rights,” he said. “Not just Second Amendment rights, but anything. Our states and states across the U.S. are starting to exert their Tenth Amendment rights.”

The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The problem is that the federal government has been expanding its purview and assuming powers over matters that should have been reserved to the States and the people. “I am going to stand up for our state,” he said. “As a sheriff of a Montana county–a political subdivision of the state–to the extent that the federal government is trying to usurp the authority of the states, I’m standing up for what our state believes in.”

Lovely.

Mike Johnson, who is also vying for the seat, shot back today with an op-ed in The Clark Fork Chronicle, saying that a sheriff who picks and chooses which laws to enforce is violating the very checks and balances that form the basis of our government:

A Constitutional Sheriff? As a candidate and a resident in this county, what does that mean to all of us living here? If Mr. Ornelas objects to a law, does that mean he’s not going to enforce it? Does he even have the authority or the ethical right to pick and choose, for everyone, what laws he will or will not enforce?

The questions continue. If Mr. Ornelas is elected, how will the actions and decisions of a “Constitutional Sheriff” affect the working relationships we now have with federal organizations we rely on? I’m talking about agencies like the Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshals Service who are in charge of sending us federal inmates. I’m talking about federal grants and Forest Service contracts that put money into the budget.

Right now we have working relationships with HIDTA and ICE. HIDTA is the drug task force with whom Mineral County has worked for years. ICE is Immigration and Customs who have invited the Sheriff’s department to participate in drug interdictions on the interstate and pay for it. How will a “Constitutional Sheriff” affect these relationships?

On one hand Mr. Ornelas states that Mineral County has limited resources. On the other hand, if he realizes it or not, he is proposing to isolate Mineral County from federal agencies who provide us with resource assistance.

Johnson is right – and points to some of the very basic federal funding sources that Mineral County relies on heavily. PILT and SRS funding payments, for example, (I’ve written about those here and here) supplement schools and Mineral County’s general budget. National Security grants help to upgrade 911 systems…and as Johnson points out, HIDTA and ICE have provided assistance to the department for years with both training and enforcement assistance.

All this for a rural county that is comprised of 1,223-square-miles, much of it forested area connected by dirt roads. 6 deputies (and the sheriff) cover this entire area.

This upcoming election in Mineral County also brings with it a 3-year temporary 25-mill levy for public safety. That might seem harsh – but consider that in order to make up the $200,000 that the levy would raise, the department would have to cut 2 deputies and one dispatcher.

Ornelas’s solution? To “avoid vicarious liability”, he would sue the county.

Yeah – that’s conservative talk. Shun federal money and sue your own employers. What will that cost?

Mineral County residents would do well to send Ornelas packing and pick the 18-year Mineral County Sheriff’s department veteran and Montana native Mike Johnson who understands the issues…and plainly has some common sense.

By CFS

“We are the army out to free men!” – Sheriff Richard Mack

I just want to get back to building an army and preparing for a revolution.” – Schaeffer Cox

“While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State. – Vladimir Lenin

That last quote by Lenin could have easily come from the mouth of your average American Libertarian.

This last weekend saw Ravalli County political group Celebrating Conservatism host the first ever Liberty Convention held at the Adams Center on The University of Montana campus.  While the Adams Center might have seemed a little hollow with so few people in attendance, that fact didn’t  seem to bother the convention organizers.  “This,” said Mona Docteur, the driving force behind much of Celebrating Conservatism’s activities, “was mainly a chance to network with like minded individuals.”  But while the numbers might have been small, the philosophical foundation from which the Liberty movement is building upon is not; it is bold, steeped Western anti-government sentiment and rugged individualism, and wants to radically change the relationship between the individual and the state.

The fact that Conservatism is in the name of the group is an insult to true Conservatives.  Conservatism as a political and social philosophy is one that respects traditional institutions that work to uphold the functioning of a society and rejects radical change.  Many of the people brought into speak at the Liberty Convention made a point to specifically call for a radical break from current political institutions and radically reshape American society.  On the surface of things, Celebrating Conservatism and many similar small groups around Montana and the West are pushing for many policies that many would associate with conservatism… gun rights,  states sovereignty, small government, and individual freedom.

Peel back the public veneer and what this movement wants is much more radical; a libertarian utopia devoid of any from of central government “tyranny,” and ultimate freedom for the individual.  When speaking about the “proper” role of government Gary Marbut – local Missoula gun rights advocate and author of the Firearms Freedom Act – questioned whether building highways was a legitimate use of government authority.  If a so called  “conservative” is questioning the building of roads you can imagine his opinion on the BLM, Forest Service, Social Security, DUI laws, etc.  To them, individuals should operate as they see fit without any regulation upon behavior… except for vigilante justice dispensed by local citizen militias and an armed populace.  I guess a clean gun is supposed to make for good neighbors.

Many of the speakers at the convention expressly stated such beliefs based not only upon political philosophy but also scripture.  2008 Constitution Party Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin – whom spoke Friday night – in a May 19th 2010 article available on his website predicts the breakup of the United States and applauds the prospect of states succeeding from the union (in the same article he also claims that bringing women into the military is a globalist plot to make our military less efficient and weaken our national security to the point that wee can’t operate without UN support).

Red Beckman – perpetual tax protester and long time militia movement supporter – shared this same view that the tyrannical Federal Government will be brought down because we as a nation have forsaken God and that, just as the USSR was brought down by God, the Federal Government will disappear as part of God’s will.  He also stated that illegal immigration was God’s curse on this nation for the Roe v. Wade decision.  They don’t just see the fall of the American Empire… they actively want to push it over the edge.

This group sees themselves as being oppressed by a tyrannical and unjust government that time and again ignores the constitution and has usurped individual freedom.  How they propose to reshape the political landscape is truly nothing short of a revolution.  Red Beckman implored the audience to follow the example of Romanian soldiers whom in 1989 turned on and killed the dictator.

The one feature of language used throughout the convention that surprised me was the constant allusions to and mentioning of “building an army.”  Speakers referred to the audience as “foot soldiers” and Mona Docteur asked them to, “stand on the front lines.”  As much as they disparaged against socialism, communism, and specifically the Bolshevik Revolutionaries it seems that they share much in common with the Bolsheviks in their formative year.  The pattern of history the Liberty Movement sees themselves part of is awkwardly similar to how Marx and Lenin foretold the fall of the oppressive Tsarist regime.

Just as the Bolsheviks saw themselves as the awakened and enlightened vanguard that would lead Russia to a proletariat democratic utopia; the Liberty Movement’s professional revolutionaries  on display this last weekend talked of “leading the charge,” and “bringing enlightenment to the rest of America,” from this small base of people that can, “see the truth,” of how oppressive and tyrannical the government is.  Speaker Schaeffer Cox – Fairbanks, AK militia organizer – talked of, “being right on the edge of having to bloody our swords… revolutions are not instituted, they are provoked, and they are provoked by government.”  Sounds oddly like “a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation,” declared by Vladimir Lenin.

The normal person involved in these meetings and the movement are just that… normal people that are simply fed-up with the current political atmosphere and I’m sure they wouldn’t consider themselves revolutionary.  A lot of the allusions to revolution might be hyperbole… but it seems to me that these luminaries, the professional revolutionaries of the Liberty Movement, believe what they are saying.  They are in no why cynical and actually quite optimistic in their assessment of what they can and will accomplish and are attempting to build a larger coalition across the West.

Groups like these feed off of troubling and uncertain times and today is full a many challenges and uncertainties about the future.  Just as in the 1930s this country, saw a large uptick in communist and fascist party membership people today are looking for a fresh political movement that will provide a clear way forward and a promising future to those that currently see only despair.  While this movement is small today no group that openly talks of revolution should be ignored.  Rather they should be studied to understand the mechanisms by which they operate and grow so that their very legitimate concerns may be addressed within society at large.

Vladimir Lenin established his first revolutionary group in 1895, it wasn’t until 1917 that the revolution came to fruition… jolted violently to life by the collapse of the Russian economy after WWI.  The Liberty Movement is predicting such a collapse… hoping for such a collapse… and biding their time until such a collapse happens.

By CFS

I counted 52 participants at the Liberty rally kicking off the Liberty Convention 2010 event this weekend.  I’m sorry to say that it was much less eventful than I thought it would be and the enthusiasm level of the people in the demonstration was poorly lacking in energy. No crazy signs appeared… the best signs were at the beginning of the first video and the one I tried to capture in the second short video. I think the Tea Party movement in general is starting to learn that the crazy signs were hurting the movement and a concerted effort is being made to keep that kind of thing out of the public eye.

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Consider this an open thread on the Liberty Convention, the Ravalli County group Celebrating Conservatism, and the Tea Party movement

By CFS

Today sees the start of the Liberty Convention 2010 being held at the University of Montana and organized by Mona Doctour of Celebrating Conservatism.  It kicks off today with a rally down at Caras Park and parade to the university and runs for two days.

They are walking into the lions den of Montana Liberalism and want to make a big show and statement by holding their convention here in Missoula.  In an interview with Mona Doctour of Celebrating Conservatism available here, Mona wants conservatives from around the state to bring their big trucks and tractors to make a big show during their parade through Missoula.  Holding the convention in Missoula is, in my opinion, as much about symbolism as it is about finding a venue of the appropriate size.

If you don’t already know what some of the views espoused by some of the people speaking and organizing this event are, I’ll just run through a list very quickly and save the in depth analysis for another post.

  • Main stream Republicans aren’t conservative enough
  • Want to break down the line between religion and politics
  • Support deregulation of firearm laws and advocate for 2nd Amendment Rights and Open Carry Laws.
  • Oppose any form of central political authority such as the federal government and United Nations
  • Espouse return to citizen controlled Common Law System and are pushing petitions to establish Citizen Grand Juries to allow citizens to convene grand juries at the county level.
  • Oppose land use planning, building codes, and any other law/regulation that is a “taking” of private property

The event should be pretty interesting and I’ll be covering it all weekend with live updates, tweets, and video (i hope).

by jhwygirl

Flathead Beacon reports:

Well well well – fresh on the heels of Tuesday’s anti-incumbent fueled primary elections elsewhere in the U.S., Flathead County Republic Chair Ava Walters gave Mark French an endorsement that would of had 10-year congressional alumni Representative Dennis Rehberg bragging:

“I find Denny Rehberg makes a great politician and certainly knows his way around Washington DC. After all, he has been there for 10 years. Denny Rehberg has served Montana fairly well, but I think it is time for a change. Since we have a great candidate in Mark French, I am supporting him as a private citizen and encourage all of you to join me in your support of Mark as well.”

Instead, it’s Mark French that’s bragging.

Who else has endorsed French? Brent Matson, Chairman of the Lake County Republican Party….and militia hero, former Sheriff Richard Mack.

I see French signs – more than I’ve seen Rehberg signs. I see ’em in Missoula County, in Ravalli County, in Mineral County…in Powell, Lewis & Clark, Deer Lodge.

Rehberg’s never seemed to do much campaigning. I think it’s his modus operandi to do as least as possible when it comes to campaigning, lest risk having to become engaged. It’s much like, frankly, his work in congress for the last 10 years.

Save for his engagement, for the last 10 years, in earmarks and deficit spending. Rehberg’s been great at that.

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Is Dennis Rehberg vulnerable? A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll done last August shows Rehberg’s numbers aren’t that great – and that was before anti-incumbent Tuesday.

46 favorable, 45 unfavorable with a +/- of 4%. Yikes.

by jhwygirl

I certainly hope the Dems in Kalispell are paying attention to this.

Democratic candidate for HD8, Dane Clark, of Kalispell was handing out tea party pamphlets, packin’ heat (because rumors of agent provocateurs, it seemed prudent) and passing out campaign lit for Mark French, Republican primary congressional wingnut racist bigot from Sanders County.

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James Conner never writes enough for me. I wish he wrote more – but it looks like he’s done two pieces recently, both regarding Flathead County politics.

I did read his eulogy for friend Loren Kreck, back when he posted it a couple weeks ago. Loren Kreck is an environmental hero that I had never heard of, yet generations of Montanans – generations of people – will benefit from his diligent work to preserve the North Fork of the Flathead.

James? You did Loren righteous. It’s a beautiful piece of writing.

by jhwygirl

Teabaggers around the states today celebrated whatever it is they celebrated by getting out and protesting whatever it is they’re protesting. On Keith Olbermann’s show tonight, he reported on a senior citizen that was interviewed at one of these many protests who said she was on social security, did not want to see it dissolved, and didn’t know that the teabaggers wanted to get rid of social security.

They’re teabaggers, and they’re proud of it:

Jay has a great piece up at Left in the West pointing out many interesting facts about those that love tea.

I got a nominal refund from the feds. I like it that way. Big refunds mean a freebee loan to uncle, and why would anyone want to do that? I owed the state a few bucks, and I was happy to do it – it means that much less in coal porn profits for my share.

President Obama and his wife paid $1.8 million in taxes on the $5.5 million that he made. They donated $329.100 to charities – and none of those figures include the $1.4 million Nobel Peace prize the President won and then donated to a number of organizations, include Bozeman’s Greg Mortenson, who works building schools in Afghanistan.

I like my government. I like having police and schools. I like that someone builds and maintains roads and highways. I also like that someone regulates things like food and hospitals, and ensures that places like gas stations don’t present a hazard to the public.

The reality that these teabaggers create is interesting. In 2009? 47% of Americans did not pay federal income tax. 47%.

Interestingly, a preliminary table created by the Tax Policy Center estimated 45% of Americans would have no tax liability – but what is even more interesting is that under a “simplified tax system”, which many tea partyiers advocate for (including my brother), only 27% of people would have a no tax liability.

Who isn’t paying taxes? The lowest income folks – those on social security, families and single parents utilizing the earned-income credit. Who’s fault is that? Blame it on Ronald Reagan:

It is no accident, btw, that the number of people not paying income tax was so high in 2009. You may have noticed that we’ve had a recession lately. And here is a powerful insight: When people’s incomes decline so too does their income tax (at least most of the time). At the same time, many working families have benefited from temporary tax cuts aimed at boosting the economy, and as a result some did not pay income taxes last year. As the economy improves and those tax cuts expire, it should also be no surprise that the share of people who don’t pay income taxes will likely shrink from half last year to less than 40 percent by 2012.

There is, however, another reason why some people don’t pay. For decades, both Democratic and Republican governments have made conscious policy decisions to remove low-income working families from the income tax rolls. And, guess what, sometimes government policy works exactly as intended. That’s what happened this time.

Let’s take one of the biggest drivers: the Earned Income Tax Credit. Based on an idea (the negative income tax) originated by conservative icon Milton Friedman, the EITC is refundable, so that people who work for low wages can not only wipe out their income tax liability, they can even get a cash payment from the government. The EITC was enacted in 1975 under President Ford, greatly expanded in 1986 under President Reagan, and expanded again under presidents Clinton and Bush (both of them). It’s been the very model of bipartisan tax policy (which, I suppose, is why some dislike it so).

Both the EITC and the child care credit are explicitly designed to encourage people to work—a goal most of us (including Friedman and Ronald Reagan) thought was a very good thing.

Doesn’t make much sense to tax people that aren’t sitting on their cash – people living hand-to-mouth are only going to spend.

Which is something even that tea partyin’ senior citizen on social security realized as she was being interviewed, having used her social security check to put gas in the car to get her to the protest.

by JC

Via TPM: “Our plan is not to shout them down… but to infiltrate them and push them farther from the mainstream.”

tea party


The scheme reads like a sequel to “Being John Malkovich”: Levin’s group of protesters plan to get in the heads of tea partiers at the Tax Day Tea Parties nationwide Thursday and manipulate them right out of relevance. They’ll dress like tea partiers, talk like tea partiers and carry signs like tea partiers. In fact, according to Levin they’ll be completely indistinguishable from tea partiers, except for one thing — they won’t be out-crazied by anyone.

This sounds like fun! Time for a Missoula Chapter of “Crash the Tea Party” anyone? Everybody’s favorite Rick Jore will be on hand at the Missoula Tax Day Rally, and the MIssoulian has other times and places in western Montana for rallies.

The Missoula rally, billed as a “nonpartisan, nondenominational rally of concerned Americans” by organizers, takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday in front of the federal building on Broadway.

And don’t forget to check out the Crash the Tea Party forums to see what events may be going on in your neighborhood!

Or how not to alienate your progressive base

by JC

In a move branded by Politico as “Triangulation Lite” President Obama took his Clinton-eque charade out of the closet with his announcement about opening up offshore waters to oil drilling:

And the drilling decision also allows the president to distance himself from liberal environmentalists disdained by some pro-drilling, blue-collar voters.

“It’s not a bad thing to show you’re willing to do something that gets liberals angry right after you pass the biggest liberal bill in a generation,” said a Senate Democrat staffer, whose boss opposes the policy.

Couple this with Obama’s embracing of the following: his health care reform was a warmed-over hodge-podge of republican ideas; he has called for new nuclear power plants; his failure to close Guantanamo as promised; continuation of FISA warrantless wiretapping policies; unwillingness to pursue accountability of the Bush administration for its roll role in Iraq and Justice Department politicization, among other things; protection of Wall Street as Main Street continues to struggle; tepid plans for climate change and financial regulation legislation; failure to repeal DADT; strengthening anti-choice policy; and on and on, it is amazing to hear this quote out of the mouth of DNC Chairman Tim Kaine today about feeling ok with the base:

“My sense is that we are [OK with the base],” Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine told the Huffington Post shortly after health care’s passage. “I think we’re okay. There were tough points along the way, very tough issues along the way, because this is an issue that people feel strongly about.”

And when the Administration starts to display hubris like this:

“Top-ranking officials and strategists express confidence that both the president and the party will suffer little long-term blowback by negotiating away specific policy principles cherished by progressive groups. They note that while… [like how] health care reform was defined for months by howling over the sacrifice of a public option for insurance coverage, by the time the bill came to a vote there was near-Democratic unanimity behind its passage”

it is time for progressives to do something different than howl every time the president uses them to triangulate with the right in order to move to the center and appear moderate and pragmatic (“sacrificing the public option.” Huh… nice plan. Set up the left then whack them with the old “don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good” argument). Because as I say in the title, it takes three to triangulate. And you can’t triangulate with a position that refuses to react.

“Near-Democratic unanimity” does not a governing coalition make. Many, many progressives like myself proclaim themselves to be left of that “democratic unanimity” and are not part of the 30% +/- of the populace that self-identify with the Democratic party. Left-wing independents (or affiliated with dozens of fringe political persuasions like Greens, Social democrats, etc.).

And how do I propose that the left-wing react instead? Well, it’s time to bring forth another third party movement based on progressive principles–not progressive politics. Instead of ranting and raving, progressives just need to divert their attention to supporting a politician who is principled and willing to call out Obama from the left for what he has done, and what he is becoming. A politician who is willing to unite those of whom Obama would use as a point of his triangulation.

Howard Dean (“this isn’t health care reform–it’s tepid insurance reform at best”) is one such person who has shown the willingness to criticize the president, and was shut out of the Administration for his progressive beliefs. There may be more. But one thing is for sure. There are millions of disgruntled progressives who are being taken for granted and used by President Obama in his move to create an illusion of a populist center from which to govern.

That’s not change I can believe in. It is time to begin to consolidate on the left and leave the triangulation politics behind.

My reaction to Obama’s announcement that he wants to open up off-shore waters to drilling and build more nukes? I guess I’m not surprised anymore. And it’s not worth getting all blustered up about it and playing the triangulation game. And I’m going to send off a contribution to DFA earmarked for a Dean primary run against Obama, for starters. And I’m still trying to get off of the OFA mailing list–and they continue to spam me. Infuriating.

Then I’m going to look around for a good third party movement on which to start focusing my attention and energies. Anybody else?

by JC

Frank Rich cast some light into the dark morass of tea bagging and the GOP today in the New York Times article “The Rage Is Not About Health Care”:

“If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.”

angry bagger

I’ve been wondering all along why the tea baggers would be so dead-set against a health care bill that is basically a bag of republican ideas–including a mandate conceptualized by the Heritage Foundation–working off of the model that republican Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. A plan that furthers the republican goal of moving public wealth to private corporations. I daresay we’ll be hearing plenty from those trying to upsell this republican plan as progressive legislation the rest of the year. But that will do nothing to assuage the baggers and their GOP and Fox/Rush/Palin chearleaders.

Rich traces the roots of the tea bagger revolt back to Sarah Palin’s introductory speech at the RNC convention. With that speech, it suddenly became fashionable again to whip the right-wing crazies into a frenzy with a bunch of veiled bigotry and disinformation. And one way to curry favor with the new diva was to try and emulate or outdo her.

“Take our country back” has become the rallying cry for the current wave of hysteria and bigotry in this country. The problem is, however, that it was never “their” country in the first place. The country belongs to all, equally. Even those who are legally immigrating here.

If there was anybody who has a legitimate claim on “Take our country back”, though it would be Native Americans. I once listened to Bearhead Swaney out at the National Bison Range, on an anniversary of the Hellgate Treaty tell a nice little “joke”: What did native people call this land before the white man came? “OURS!”

We are witnessing nothing more than the second coming of white man to America.

by JC

wingnuts

This week is seeing an escalation of right-wing craziness egged on by republicans. I don’t hardly need to provide any links, but anyone who was watching the health care bill vote saw republican representatives on the balcony outside the chamber cheering on the tea baggers as they protested outside Congress. The same protestors who were throwing racial and homophobic slurs at Congresspersons as they marched up the steps.

We’ve got bloggers posting the wrong address for a Congressman, and tea baggers severing gas lines. Bullets. Bricks. An upcoming April 19th open carry rally in DC on the anniversary of Tim McVeigh’s bombing of the Murrah building, the burning of David Koresh’s Branch Davidian complex and the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Sarah Palin using gunsights on the districts of Congressional districts she’s targeting. Michael Steele referencing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s fall election as a “firing line.” Former Congressman Dick Army’s funding of the apparatus that is stirring up all this hate. Former House Speaker Newt Gingritch blaming Democrats for all the violence because of their policies and actions–even though they are duly elected and ran legislation through a regular process. The ex-Vice President’s daughter fomenting McCarthyism over public defenders as she gears up a possible run for the Presidency.

This list goes on and on. It is what is passing for politics in the GOP these days, as the organization teeters from spectacle to spectacle. Birthers. Deathers. Deniers. Haters. At some point, though, this ignorance and fomenting of anger will have consequences. People will get shot, offices burned and bombed, and chaos will reign.

Maybe this is really the future the GOP wishes on this country. A future where liberty equates anarchy. Freedom is synonymous with bigotry. Where compassionate conservatism is reserved for the worthy, wealthy. It is a slash and burn mentality that is taking hold, one where the GOP “Party of No” wishes this country to fail, so they can ride in–white knight in shining armor–to save the day.

I’ve heard references to how this is beginning to parallel the anti-war movement sentiments of the 60’s, in that it is painting a picture of a political party that will endure in people’s minds for generations. Heck, we’ve got commenters here who still hate on hippies. I can see it in 2040, my grandkids will be saying: look grandpa, another dirty teabagger with his hate signs!

I’ve only pointed to the tip of the iceberg here. What think all of you?

by jhwygirl

That, from Democratic congressional candidate Tyler Gernant in today’s Helena Independent op-ed section.

Dennis Rehberg has been twittering the-sky-is-falling for weeks – no, make that months – now of the impending doom of healthcare.

Rehberg’s done nothing to contribute to meaningful discussion on reform – Rehberg has, in fact, been part of the teaparty movement of heckling some of the people who need health reform the most.

That’s right – Rehberg heckled a wheelchair-bound Hamilton woman to illustrate his meaningful input on health insurance reform.

Ugh.

As health reform legislation works its way to President Obama’s desk tonight (or what may be tomorrow, eastern time), many of us recognize that this reform is not perfect…but it is an important first step that will save lives. Gernant notes that in his editorial:

That is not to say that this legislation is perfect; it is not. Montanans still need a meaningful alternative to private insurance through a deficit-neutral public option. We still need a system that pays doctors for the value of their services instead of the volume. Although we may not get everything this year, there are a lot of positive changes that this legislation would bring to our health care system. We have waited nearly 40 years to attempt reform that would merely get us out of the starting gate. We cannot wait another 40 years for Dennis Rehberg to decide that true health care reform means more than to join a gym and stop smoking.

No battle is easy – and none is without loss to all who attempt the task. This bill includes over 200 Republican amendments, yet Republicans can not find even one vote in support. It does not provide the public option or single payer that so many progressives wanted to see.

With Rehberg, Montanan’s get even less – we get a man who heckles Montanans who need health insurance reform the most…a representative who would chose to leave 564,000 Montanans on the loosing end of completely unregulated health insurance industry.

by JC
sarah plin

Here’s few choice Palinisms from her performance:

“Around the world, people who are seeking freedom from oppressive regimes wonder if Alaska is still that beacon of hope for democracy.” Alaska?

“Now a year later I gotta ask all the supporters of that, how’s that hopey changie stuff workin’ out fer ya?”

“Nuke-u-lar power” — gack, more Bush-speak

“would be wise of us to start seeking some divine intervention again in this country so that we can be safe and secure and prosperous again”

Calls main stream media “irrelevant”




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