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Barack Obama
"Lincoln Sells Out Slaves"
by: Rob Kailey - Sep 13
1 Comments
If You Haven't Seen This
by: Rob Kailey - Apr 28
5 Comments
Impeach the President?
by: Rob Kailey - Mar 16
15 Comments
It's the system, stupid!
by: Jay Stevens - Oct 24
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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.
2011

Congressman Rehberg Too Scared of Tea Party to do His Job?

by: Matt Singer

Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 15:23:40 PM MST

Montana's Congressman has a John Boehner problem -- two members of his Republican majority on the subcommittee he chairs think his budget is too big, presumably because it doesn't condemn all orphans to starvation or something. This presumably explains why Dennis has repeatedly cancelled his bill's markup. He doesn't have the votes to get something passed.

In other words, Congressman Rehberg hasn't been doing his job because he didn't do his job (assembling the votes needed to pass the budget).

But here's the other likely explanation: in a Republican Congress where everyone is scared of the Tea Party, Rehberg is keeping his profile low on a fight between the establishment and the Tea Party. The last thing he needs right now is a Tea Party challenger in his primary for bucking the Paul Ryan kill-Medicare budget. But he also can't tow the Paul Ryan kill-Medicare budget line without sinking his chances in the general.

So far--this gambit has largely avoided media coverage. We'll see if that changes in the near future.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Rehberg Votes to Close Off Access to Hunting & Fishing

by: Matt Singer

Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 17:07:39 PM MST

16 grassroots sportsmen organizations are asking Congressman Rehberg to rethink his recent vote to cut the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 80%. What sort of lands are we talking about? From the groups' press releases:
In Montana over the past 45 years, LWCF has provided approximately $408 million to help protect clean water, wildlife habitat, and working landscapes, and provide access for hunting and fishing. Thanks to LWCF investments, Montanans can enjoy the Flathead and Gallatin National Forests, Red Rocks and Charles Russell National Wildlife Refuges, Bighorn Canyon, Meeteetse Spires, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Swan Valley, the Rocky Mountain Front, as well as close-to-home recreational opportunities across the state.
Mark this as yet another in a long recent line of strange attempts by Montana's lone Congressman to play every side of conservation issues.

For example, after introducing legislation that would have just said that the ESA doesn't apply to gray wolves (a much further-reaching solution than the Tester rider, which simply held that a previous Dept of Interior solution fit within Congress's intent, contrary to a court ruling), Rehberg had the temerity to criticize Tester's much more restrained solution for not allowing access to courts (pretty reasonable given that the Tester bill clarified legislative intent, not calling any Constitutional principles into question).

Of course, for Rehberg, of all people, to be complaining about lack of access to courts is unbelievable. The jester of a Congressman has made big news for suing the city of Billings for not making his dead grass priority #1 during the 4th of July but also has introduced bills to restrict normal citizens' access to the courts over legitimate claims.

Consider this my standard, irregular rant for Left in the West and your latest reminder that Congressman Rehberg is a lousy public servant. Smart money says that tomorrow he'll be taking credit for hunting access he's denying today.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Rehberg, Unsurprisingly, Votes for Big Oil Tax Breaks Again

by: Matt Singer

Thu May 05, 2011 at 09:58:13 AM MST

Yesterday, we asked if Congressman Rehberg really meant it when he said that subsidies to big oil were really on the table when it came to addressing the deficit. Asked and answered. Just now, Rehberg voted to maintain giant tax breaks for the world's biggest oil companies, at a time of record profits (and gas prices).

Two predictions:

  1. Montana newspapers won't have time to cover this on their news pages since reporting is underfunded.
  2. Montana opinion pages will give him space to talk about how he firmly believes everything must be on the table, despite all evidence being to the contrary.
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Will Rehberg's Record Match His Rhetoric on Oil and Gas Subsidies?

by: Matt Singer

Wed May 04, 2011 at 13:46:41 PM MST

Congressman Rehberg keeps saying that oil and gas subsidies are on the table for cuts. He said earlier when ThinkProgress picked it up. He said it again during a CityClubMissoula meeting. Here it is:



Here's some good news: tomorrow, Rehberg will have a chance to prove that he's willing to take on the oil and gas industry. Note that I said "take on" not "take the money of," which has been his record historically.
Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Attention All Planets Of The Solar Federation ...

by: Rob Kailey

Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 00:00:00 AM MST

(Carfreestupidity and I must have been sharing a brain over the last day or so.  I began writing this yesterday, and his post today hits many of the highlights.  This post has been altered to reflect his.)

 Matt Singer tells us:

There's a really funny dynamic setting up in Helena that can be seen  from afar (a 30,000 foot perspective really can be useful at times). The  tea party Republicans, having run and won on a platform of limited  government and economic development, are largely dedicating themselves  to invasions of personal freedom and the advancement of pre-Civil War legal theories. That's when they're not undertaking full-fledged assaults on the U.S. Constitution.

He is so right and so wrong.  There is nothing remotely, or certainly not really, funny about this dynamic. It actually makes clear what many of us have been warning of for some time now.  The Tea Party faithful and their toadies among (even more main stream) Republicans don't care one whit about limiting government.  They see government as control over a person's life.  They don't want to alleviate that.  They want to co-opt it.  I don't care whether it's out of fear or moral righteousness; that's truly beside the point.  They don't care what you think.  As many have discovered from their own children (or likely their own behavior) even the bestest of conservative upbringing can lead to 'bad thoughts'.  Thinking is subversive, so though they will give lip service to liberal education and media, they really don't care any more.  What they want is exactly what they are acting out in the Montana legislature.  They want control of your life from birth to death.  There must be order and by GOD they are going to force it upon us.

To save me a ton of typing, which I'm really not very good at, I urge you to go review the list of Republican sponsored bills  to the Montana Legislature that CFS has posted at 4 & 20 Blackbirds.  He ranges well into the attempts to stop the people of Montana from choosing their own destiny, but there are a few specifics I would highlight:

HB 280 and SB 176 both restrict in some way a women’s right to choose.

SB 116 aims to take away a person’s right to decide how to end their own life.

These bills are aimed directly at controlling how people behave, how people live. There is no other will behind them.  Women will be "well behaved" according to their betters, and those who hurt shall be forced to continue hurting ... that last  one blows my mind.  According to Tea Party darling Greg Hinckle, the elderly, infirm and terminally in pain folks of Montana should not have the ultimate choice over their own life, which is when to end it.

Don't get me wrong.  The attacks against women are not something I have or ever will avoid writing about.  But tomorrow, Hinckle's travesty of justice comes to committee, and should be discussed.  It would be vain to do so without a touch of context from the State Senate President, Jim Peterson.  After all, he was the one who wants to tell Montana what our code of conduct should, no, WILL be.  We are cowboys, and our code is the Code of the West, according to Big Jim.  What he thinks must be codified in state law is this:

 

(1) Live each day with courage.

    (2) Take pride in your work.

    (3) Always finish what you start.

    (4) Do what has to be done.

    (5) Be tough, but fair.

    (6) When you make a promise, keep it.

    (7) Ride for the brand.

    (8) Talk less and say more.

    (9) Remember that some things aren't for sale.

    (10) Know where to draw the line.


These rules for 'proper conduct' stand strictly against accepted Montana law.  In December of 2009, the state Supreme court ruled (the Baxter v. Montana ruling) that Montanans had a right to die with dignity assisted by a physician's care if they willingly and so choose.  Notice that it has been the position of the Montana SC that "the dignity of the human being is inviolable".  And so, the MSC ruled in Baxter that
"nothing in Montana Supreme Court precedent or Montana statutes indicating that physician aid in dying is against public policy."

Note that quote well.  That is exactly what Hinckle is attempting to change.  He wants to change "public policy" based on a Teabagger sensibility that they know best what is for "us".  We don't get to choose.  They will tell us what we will choose, and that is the code of the West.  Oh wait ... no it's not.  Not even remotely.  What was that line?  Oh yeah:  Know where to draw the line.  Don't bother, Montanan.  Hinckle will draw it for you.  And you will have no say in the matter.

And that's the problem with the Tea people.  They want what they want and will tell you to conform.  They are like the Home Owners Association from Hell.  They will protect the resale value of their lives by taking the value from yours.  Don't kid yourselves that they duped fiscal conservatives into voting for their "control everything about others" agenda. People knew what they were voting for.  Montanans aren't stupid, just often misdirected.  So that's our task.  To inform Montana that people like Hinckle, Skees, Warburton, Burnett, and Knox don't give one salient crap about you is really the noblest task of us all, and is truly the Code of the West.  Be tough but fair, remember that somethings aren't for sale, and always ride for the brand, the Montana brand.  Otherwise, the weak will force those things on you.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Free Will

by: Rob Kailey

Mon Feb 07, 2011 at 18:00:26 PM MST

Just to gently annoy JC, ~wink~, and vainly attempt to remind the Tea Party of what they're supposed to be all about:

Free Will

Especially dedicated to Knox, Warburton, Skees and Hinckle.  May they kindly remember that Montanans choose their own lives, not have it chosen by those fools.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

GOP, Please Don't Throw Us in That Briar Patch!

by: Matt Singer

Mon Feb 07, 2011 at 11:32:05 AM MST

There's a really funny dynamic setting up in Helena that can be seen from afar (a 30,000 foot perspective really can be useful at times). The tea party Republicans, having run and won on a platform of limited government and economic development, are largely dedicating themselves to invasions of personal freedom and the advancement of pre-Civil War legal theories. That's when they're not undertaking full-fledged assaults on the U.S. Constitution.

More hilarious than this, though, is their belief that they've got a smart political strategy: bringing these third-rate bills into a fight with the Governor. Here's a case in point: aid in dying. Greg Hinkle is moving a bill to end Montana's currently legal practice of allowing people with terminal medical conditions to seek a physician's aid in ending their life. I'm not sure there's a better example of a personal freedom than maintaining an honest choice in whether we want to live or die. Despite that, Hinkle continues to advance his bill (surprisingly, he provides no exceptions for sheriff's who disagree or for people who choose death-by-spear). Rumor is that the Montana GOP is quite excited to pass this bill to face a veto by Governor Schweitzer.

All I can say: Please don't throw us in that briar patch. Like many of these issues, the GOP is at odds with the people of Montana. I know that they won a big election last fall, but they're also stupid to be looking forward to any fight with the Governor. By my calculations, Republican House members earned about 203,429 votes in 2010. Schweitzer received 318,670 votes in his last election, just for comparison.

Schweitzer has a bigger microphone and a more trusted brand in newspapers than any individual member of the legislature. That's just reality. Sorry, GOP, but if you pick a fight with the Governor, you're probably fighting above your weight. Smart money says you lose. Badly.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

What Rehberg is Promising

by: Matt Singer

Thu Jan 20, 2011 at 21:43:04 PM MST

Recently, Montana's lone Congressman pledged to start a spending showdown:
"I'm going to fulfill my promise to the people of Montana, that to the best of my ability I will defund Obamacare if we're not able to repeal it," Rehberg said in a telephone news conference.
Sam Stein is now looking at what would happen in that situation:
Democratic lawmakers tell The Huffington Post that they increasingly expect Republicans to try and freeze funding for the health care law. Such an attempt would face the same institutional hurdles as a straight repeal vote: a non-compliant Senate and a president wielding a veto pen. But whereas the repeal bill's death would mean -- in practical political terms -- absolutely nothing, the inability to pass an appropriations bill could have far-reaching effects.

"They are potentially setting up a situation where they will bring government, all of government, to a screeching halt," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Wednesday. "Not because of the debt ceiling. This is beyond the debt ceiling ... If they think they are going to have the end game of their appropriations bills be that they drive health care reform into an early grave ... they are literally setting up a full stop for almost everything we will possibly do this year."

"I am real concerned," Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) said. "We do operate on yearly budgets that could exact great harm if they are dedicated to that proposition. You still have to work with the Senate. So what happens when you reach that kind of impasse? We have this gridlock ... There is no doubt in my mind that the Republican leadership ... has already charted a course. They are very disciplined and very good at what they do."

Americans for Limited Government interviews and promotes Denny Rehberg and his efforts to set up this showdown.

Look, I'd feel better about this if Rep. Rehberg ever indicated he had any idea what was in the health care bill. Pogie catches him making up more shit today abut the law. This stuff is just infuriating.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

CREDO Calls Out Denny Rehberg: Support Health Care Reform or Refuse Your Own Coverage

by: Matt Singer

Thu Jan 20, 2011 at 11:33:26 AM MST

Montana's junior Congressman has been positioning himself as the number one opponent of the Affordable Care Act. Using his new role as an Approps subcommittee chair to obstruct progress. His approach is so lame that the Helena Independent Record basically editorialized that he has no substance.

That explains why CREDO has Rehberg on their list of Hypocrites in the House. Montana's millionaire US House member has no problem taking taxpayer-funded health coverage for himself (and using it to fix himself up following his alcohol-fueled accidents) but would deny health insurance reforms that are a meaningful first step toward affordable coverage for millions -- and the bending of the cost curve downwards.

It takes a special kind of hubris to take taxpayer-funded health insurance while denying help to anyone else. But Congressman Rehberg has never lacked for hubris. Take a moment to send him a fax courtesy of CREDO.

Update -- A bunch of other groups are jumping on-board a similar effort nationally. Huffington Post has details:

A coalition of Democratic groups and progressive bloggers launched a new campaign on Thursday focusing attention on Republican members of Congress who voted to repeal health care reform while getting their own coverage on the taxpayer's dime.
Daily Kos and Blue America are raising money to do local radio buys to spread the word on this.
Discuss :: (15 Comments)

Constitution Caucus is a Joke, Possibly an Illiterate One

by: Matt Singer

Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 11:37:05 AM MST

I occasionally read articles that make my head hurt. This is one of them. Now, to begin with, the federal Constitution isn't the right-wing document that Krayton Kerns would have us believe. Sorry, folks, but the Commerce and General Welfare clauses do exist. The 14th Amendment exists. I know these things break your heart, but they're in there.

But let's forget the federal Constitution for a second, because there is fairly little in there that actually constrains the power of state governments to be activist (there are provisions, like the 14th Amendment, that limit their ability to do pernicious things like discriminate). So the question on these matters is what the Montana Constitution dictates.

The Montana Constitution famously dictates "All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." The right to a clean and healthful environment isn't just in the Constitution. It's the second right listed, right after self-government and popular sovereignty.

In fact, the Constitution later mandates "The state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations." Regarding education, the Constitution says, "It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person. Equality of educational opportunity is guaranteed to each person of the state."

Cody Bloomsberg ought to schedule follow up interviews with Kerns and anyone else who considers herself or himself part of this "Constitutional caucus" and get their read on the Montana Constitution, the primary document they have obligations to represent and enforce. My guess is that we'll see their inability or refusal to read the initial intent very quickly.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Looking Forward

by: Rob Kailey

Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 15:59:49 PM MST

First, Happy New Year.  It is my hope that it will bring joy to us all.  Maudlin and unrealistic?  Probably.  So what?  Since personal mantras appear all the rage among the folks I hang with at this closing of the year, I offer you mine:  Change is inevitable, to struggle is an option.

Second, to all of you cat lovers out there, there's a new poll to your right.  Just look to the right.  There it is.  There are alternatives that I've missed, quite deliberately, but you're welcome to add them in comments.

Third, I do look forward to the new year.  Despite many predictions from our wingnut friends, 2010 did not suck for me personally as much as 2009 did.  If they want to think that one election can affect one's view of the real, then fine.  That's how they're wired. I don't agree with the fear narrative, and 2010 didn't scare me all that much.  How 'bout you?

In truth, there seems to be a lot to look forward to.  Even DoughBob LoadPants sees that equal rights for GBLT individuals is inevitable.  Minority voting blocks continue to get stronger, changing hearts and minds along the way.  And the dinosaurs will continue to portray themselves as slow moving lizards when the majority of us have seen through the facade.

Come the new year, the new House leadership will require that the Constitution be read at the opening session, and then will do everything they can to violate it or ignore it.  Dinosaurs. 

In the Clown Circus, rule changes have been proposed and the dinosaurs struggle against this "power grab".   It will likely be seen for what it is, save that the left will be fearful as well.  There's likely no reason for the left to fear Senate rule reform.

I'm not making any predictions, here.  What will happen just happens.  In my mind, that was 2010 in a nutshell.  For me, 2009 was almost malicious in it's painful progress. 2010, was not so much.  So, let me praise 2011 as the hope we've been denied for so long.  It doesn't really matter whether I'm right or not.

Happy New Year.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

The Social Wars Heat Up

by: Matt Singer

Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 09:21:46 AM MST

Jay already offered his quick take on the AP story that took the Montana GOP platform's homophobia into a national news piece. Read the comments on that post for some interesting insight.

Give jhwygirl a read as well as she looks at the fact that the Montana GOP is clearly fissuring on this topic. In fact, as noted elsewhere, the Bozeman Mayor taking such a lead on this topic identifies as (although he's not elected as) a Republican.

There's a third interesting story this week, namely an analysis piece about the difficulties the Tea Party has faced as it has become embroiled in social policy.

Wearing my pundit hat, what is most fascinating watching all of this is how the popular ground has so clearly shifted on equality issues. The GOP is fractured. Media and pundits are wondering how they could be so out of touch. Prominent individuals in their party are chastising the GOP for being out of touch with mainstream views. This is a notable shift. It also makes it far more likely that in this next session, we'll see a unified Democratic caucus on at least some equality legislation and a fractured GOP caucus on the same issues.

Where will we make progress? It may simply be bringing state statutes into line with rulings in Gryczan and Lawrence v. Texas. But I think there's a good chance of something bigger -- including LGBT individuals in the state's anti-discrimination laws or some form of relationship recognition. We may even have some very unlikely suspects lining up to testify.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Will PhRMA Be Treated the Same as Medical Marijuana?

by: Matt Singer

Fri Aug 13, 2010 at 12:44:41 PM MST

The interim subcommittee tasked with reform of the medical marijuana system has a few suggestions, including limiting financial ties between physicians and marijuana businesses:
Another key change recommended by the panel would prohibit a doctor from being paid or soliciting pay from caregivers and dispensaries. It also would be illegal for a physician to hold an economic interest in a business if that doctor certifies the "debilitating medical condition" that allows a patient to participate in a medical marijuana program.

Sands said statistics show that many physicians have authorized medical marijuana cards for a small number of patients. However, she said there are a handful of doctors who have approved medical marijuana cards for many, many people.

Frankly, I think this is a good idea, but it is also one that would be wisely imposed on all sorts of business relationships that many doctors have.

If a doctor has a financial incentive to overprescribe marijuana, my hunch is that the worst that happens is too many pot smokers have a quasi-legal way of smoking pot. Conversely, when physicians have financial incentives to order additional tests and drum up business for hospitals and their own practice, we see insane health care inflation.

If there is a place where we need to be least worried about this sort of abuse, it is probably in the medical marijuana world. At least, that's what I think. Of course, I'm down to legalize, regulate, and tax, so my position on this may not mesh with everyone. But there are far more serious problems facing this state.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)
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