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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
7 Comments

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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.
Dennis Rehberg

Dennis Hasn't a Clue

by: Rob Kailey

Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 16:17:38 PM MST

Having just returned from Washington DC and a meeting with Dennis Rehberg, the blogger and twitterer ILIKEWOODS reports this to a post from Don Pogreba:

You all want to hear this! I went to DC last week and I and my 8 other friends found out that Rehberg doesn't plan on dumping that border bill! He told us in about a half an hour interview that he thinks we still need this bill!

His reasons are as follows:

1. I asked him if he could site the last time we had a gun Runner caught smuggling guns into the border? He told me that I didn't know it but smuggling guns and an Illegal sex slave business was thriving in and around Glacier Park! That there were tons of reports on this very thing!

2. Even though I used to work for the BLM and I was the first person in the nation to write the fire fighting agreement for the BLM and Forest Service 30 years ago.... that their were no convenance acts between the agencies, even though I knew they have been in place for criminals and other such matters, for about the same amount of time as the my fire act was! And that the borders between us and Canada are not to be trusted!

3. That Canada is a hotbed for terrorist activities were arab badmen could come poring through the border at any second, and giving the top hundred miles to Home security, would only further jobs in the state by companies that didn't need to follow those pesky EPA rules any longer!

The man also tried to tell us he never utter that Pell grants were welfare for students, and that he wrote a Jobs bill recently.... but he couldn't remember the particulars of the bill and neither could his Communications director... but he knew it would bring Montana out of the Hole!

The man is a complete nut, and truth couldn't be found passing his lips that day! Any one who allows this man to become one of this states next senators is a nut case themselves and no friend of MONTANA

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Rehberg's Veteran Problem.

by: Rob Kailey

Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 15:59:37 PM MST

Rehberg is going to find himself in a big 'ole hole regarding Montana's sizable veteran population.

Rehberg abandoned veterans in debt debacle.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Apples and Oranges

by: Rob Kailey

Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 16:21:48 PM MST

I certainly don't want to make it a habit to link to conservative leaning websites, but in this case, Jack the blogger has well earned it.  He pin-points the battlegrounds on which the Senate election of next year will be fought.

I have a few disagreements with him.  I think his concern for Great Falls is a bit of personal bias.  Tester's appeal among Veterans is growing, and that could heavily weight Cascade county.  And I think he follows raw statistics a little too closely in the case of Stan Jones regarding Burns performance in Yellowstone County.  Still, he doesn't succumb to what has become something of a pet-peeve of mine.  Jack uses election statistics from 2006, but does not interpret 2012 purely through the lens of that election.

That would be the point of this post.  Tester's detractors, right and left, tend to use 2006 as a baseline (pun greatly intended) for what will happen in next year's election.  If I were to present the fact that since the passing of the 17th amendment, Montana has only elected 2 Republicans to the Senate, and that bodes well for Tester, most would see that trope for what it is.  It is a pointless statistic, factual but irrelevant.

Many of the claims being made on blogs and in the news are similarly factual but irrelevant.  The most egregious, of course, is that Tester only beat Burns by 3,562 votes.  Be afraid of that tiny margin.  No.  Dennis Rehberg is not Conrad Burns, who by all accounts was far more amiable and likable than Rehberg is in person.  (I personally can attest to that, though I abhor what Burns accomplished more than I laugh at what Rehberg has never done a damned thing of value.)  Jon Tester was a newb challenging an incumbent.  In this race, both Rehberg and Tester are incumbents in their own fashion, with Tester holding the seat in contest.  There is no comparison with the vote tally of 2006, leading to 2012.  None.

The second great trope is that Tester had a problem raising money in 2006.  That's true.  If not for Pearl Jam, and how I love them for this, Jon Tester's campaign would likely never have gotten off the ground.  This election is much different.  In the first several months of this year, Jon Tester has raised 1.5 million smackeroos. Dennis raised slightly more than $500,000, but put a lot of his own personal wealth into the campaign to report a war chest of over a million bucks.  This bears no relation to 2006.  What is surprising to me is the leftward reaction that Jon Tester is being bought for campaign dollars; that reaction coming angrily from the very people who cry loudly that they won't contribute to the Tester campaign until he becomes all and everything they expect.  This, strangely enough, is one of the things that can adequately be compared to the election of 2006, in a particular sense.  Jon Tester, an untried candidate, got the endorsement of Montana's large union organizations and padded his election campaign with their moneys.  The AFL-CIO and other Montana unions are already fundraising for Tester's reelection.  Strangely, this is discounted by those who wish to point out Tester's newly acquired corporate sponsors.  I do wonder why.  This is the sense in which the election of 2012 will have nothing to do with the election of 2006.  Those who wish to point, and they are many, to Jon's money issues from the previous election had best be coherent enough to accept that money won't be the problem this year.

The state has changed.  As Jack the blogger points out, certain counties are predictable.  I'm not nearly as convinced as he is.  In 2006, Gallatin County and Missoula county over performed.  In 2010, Butte-Silver Bow and Deerlodge county radically underperformed.  So did Gallatin.  In 2010, Montana took a very hard turn to the right.  This cannot be expected to continue.  What is clearly dissimilar from 2006 to 2012 is that 2006 was an off-year election.  2012 isn't.  We will be voting for Governor, we will be voting for statewide offices and we will be voting for the President of the US.  More to the point, many will be voting for state legislative office based on the pathetic performance of the 2011 legislature.  Turnout will be radically different from 2006.  Comparisons from those hoping to promote the foolish fantasy of voter fraud, or those concern trolling about Jon Tester, will get swept away in the actual vote of 2012.  We will find out which Montanans care, and which don't.

I hope that most of the progressives in the state give up the idea that Jon Tester's support is based on a minimal constituency given 2006.  He may win, he may not.  But the apples v. oranges thing is getting really old.  The future is what it is, and we can affect it.  Or we can rely on poor comparisons to the past.  Your choice, of course.

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

North Sea Oil

by: Rob Kailey

Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 16:56:56 PM MST

As a kind of addendum to my previous post ...  The Rehberg staffers are lighting up the Twitters telling us all how Dennis is going to save us from high gas prices.  He's going to do this by submitting a bill to enable more domestic production, a bill which remains non-existent.  Today, the decidedly right-wing and oh so stately "State Column" tells us all how Dennis the Rehberg told the Kenyon in Chief how we could save ourselves from a dependence.  Dennis 'made the case to the President' with this:  
“While we all agree it’s time to end our addiction to foreign energy, some think we should do that by handicapping our economy to use less energy. But there’s absolutely no reason to do that when we can use the energy we have right in our own backyard. All we need is for the government to get out of the way.”
 A few things of note.  One, Dennis made no case.  He released a statement that is being promoted as if the President should pay attention to a gnat such as himself.  Two, using less energy is actually a good idea, for a variety of reasons.  Three, this President has focused on renewable energy, not conservation, per se.  Dennis is stuck back in the poor Carter years.  Four, the dimwit Rehberg simply refuses to acknowledge that gas prices are not controlled by supply, but rather traded value on a commodity market.  The act of gearing up American production itself might drive oil prices (and gas prices thereby) through the roof.  See, Dennis Rehberg is kind of an idiot, and his Twitters follow suit.  Today, Dennis' proxies have offered this:  
I regularly drive thousands of miles around Montana as part of my job. Do you? How have gas prices impacted you? #USEnergy #gas
 My response, of which I am proud, is this:  
@DennyRehberg Excuse me there, Dennis. WE PAY FOR YOUR GAS! That's how gas prices effect me.
Yes, I am very aware that I should have written "affect" rather that "effect".  But the point remains the same.  Dennis Rehberg is too dimwitted to see that oil is not our future. Dennis Rehberg doesn't care, being a rich man and all.  It is kinda humorous to me that an Englishman saw this fight several years ago and wrote a song about it.  In fact, it was 31+ years ago.  England has power problems too.  But they don't take their angst out on their executive with false advertising of press release.  Rehberg does.  For Christmas in 1979, I received an album that remains one of my favorites to this very day. Here;'s a cut from that album.

North Sea Oil.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Dennis Talks Himself To *Win*

by: Rob Kailey

Wed Mar 09, 2011 at 17:00:23 PM MST

Once again, Montana's Andy Capp pub crawls himself to glory.  For those of you youngins out there, Andy Capp is a cartoon character who despite his drunken wanderings always finds a way to end up looking good.  That is, looking good to everybody except the people who rely on him.  As a cartoon, it's probably racist, certainly sexist, and describes our Dennis Rehberg to a tee.  This is what he writes on the twitters today:

Gas prices hitting you hard? Read about my solutions to lower prices & creates jobs

Of course, the link he posts doesn't actually point to any bill he's submitted at all.  It points to a newspaper article about what he wants you to believe that he's done, and hasn't.

Ya' see, Dennis really hasn't done a damned thing in the legislature.  Go to his own website.  Click the link that that says  Bills I Have Sponsored.  Page through them.  Please, I invite you to share the joy that is our useless Representative.  You will notice that the list ends in December of last year.  What you will hopefully also notice is this:  Dennis has actually sponsored all of about 73 bills in a decade spent in Congress.  None of those are consequential.  Not a one.

As for his bill that will offer salvation from higher gas prices through "Drill, baby, drill"?  I can't find a single thing online that shows that he introduced any such bill at all.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm certain that we'll see one in the next several days.  I'm also certain that it will be introduced by someone else, and Dennis will simply remora his maw onto the ass of whomever does actually submit such a bill.  That's how he rolls.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Should Kill The Patriot Act

by: Bob Brigham

Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 17:28:17 PM MST

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives just voted to extend The Patriot Act. Congressman Dennis Rehberg has been disgraceful on the issue. Follow that link, it's approaching malpractice that the DSCC and MDP aren't already running ads against him on it.

But instead of just pointing out how awful Rehberg is on yet another issue, Senator Jon Tester should widen the contrast by leading the fight against renewal of The Patriot Act.

He shouldn't vote against it, or try to make it less bad, he should man up and kill the "emergency powers" granted to the president almost a decade ago. He's a senator, he can shut the place down and bring all legislation to a standstill until Patriot Act supporters call uncle and give up their attacks on Americans' civil liberties. He shouldn't settle for Leahy's still awful bill, he should end The Patriot Act once and for all.

Tester would earn a great deal of respect for defending our civil liberties. And every day of the battle would highlight Rehberg's fascist tendency to cave to GOP leadership's attacks on our rights.

Come on Senator Tester, fight to win on this. And realize, the only way to win is to kill it outright.

Update:  Both Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus joined 7 other Democrats, Independent Bernie Sanders and 2 Republicans in voting against the extension.  ~ Rob Kailey

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Congressman Rehberg Still Planning on Fighting Access to Health Insurance

by: Matt Singer

Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 08:10:07 AM MST

Interesting article in Politico about the potential rise of Denny Rehberg to the chairmanship of the health subcommittee of Appropriations in the House if the Republicans assume control of the chamber.
In contrast, Rehberg wanted to kill the law. He both offered and supported Republican amendments to repeal the whole law or deny funding to pieces of it. "Denny will continue to support efforts to deny funding the bill," said his spokesman, Jed Link.

All Republicans on the subcommittee supported motions for repeal or defunding this year, but the amendments failed to pass after the votes fell along party lines. A House Republican aide said there's no reason to think Republicans on Appropriations wouldn't continue on the same path in the majority.

Let's just keep in mind what Rehberg would be trying to de-fund -- the establishment of health exchanges, basically competitive marketplaces for people to more easily and understandably buy insurance; subsidies for small businesses and the self-employed, the people who don't currently benefit from any of the other big subsidies for insurance in this country; and research into improving efficiency in the health care system.

That's what the money in this bill basically goes to do. So if Rehberg is taking funding away, it is all basically in the cause of either immediately or in the long-term making health insurance more expensive and more difficult to buy.

I have to admit, I had no idea Rehberg had risen to a level of seniority on any committee remotely related to health care. His statements on the issue have repeatedly indicated his ignorance on how the current health care system and the bill that passed Congress work. Forget the Montana angle, it is a bad day for America when a charlatan controls the purse strings.

Update -- And Young Invincibles and CAP have tackled this issue in broader light -- wondering why Republicans are campaigning to take away health insurance coverage.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Pennsylvania political donors win Montana pork

by: Jay Stevens

Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 08:35:17 AM MST

This should get interesting, I hope:

The head of the firm that won a $64 million federal stimulus grant to install a new fiber-optic network in Gallatin County is part of a Pittsburgh family that owns property at the exclusive, gated Yellowstone Club at Big Sky and is involved in a similar development nearby.

James Dolan Jr., the manager of Montana Opticom, also owns property at Big Sky, including a lot at the private Spanish Peaks housing and golf course community - which, so far, is home to the only customers served by Opticom, a small broadband firm based in Gallatin Gateway.

Opticom, which won the $64 million award Aug. 4, serves about 300 customers at the Spanish Peaks development.

The Bozeman Chronicle explains the specific objections to Opticom's deal:

...in the days after the award announcement, local Internet service companies began to question the wisdom of the government's funding decision.
Those companies say the area in question is far from underserved and that the feds have wasted stimulus funds on a project that will only duplicate work they have already done to lay broadband infrastructure in northwestern Gallatin County....

The size of Opticom's award and the company's ties to a Pennsylvania firm did not sit well with Scott Johnson, president of Global Net in Bozeman.
"For $64 million, they could fill in 90 percent of the (broadband coverage) holes in this state," Johnson said. "There can't be a single person with any kind of background that looked at this and didn't go, 'Wait a minute'"...

Johnson also said giving the money to a company with out-of-state ties is a slap in the face to purely Montanan businesses whose infrastructure work is not being subsidized by the government....

Garrett Talbot, general manager of Bridgeband Communications in Bozeman, said he couldn't understand how the USDA could look at northwestern Gallatin County and deem it either "unserved" or "underserved" with broadband.
"I'm questioning how the USDA awarded it when the services already exist," he said. "That area is already lit up."

As Dennison's report points out, Dolan and his father are big political donors - mostly to Republicans. Both Denny Rehberg and Max Baucus wrote letters to federal officials in support of Junior Dolan's telecomm bid, despite his company's size and inexperience.

Rehberg's hypocrisy on this is especially glaring. As Dennison noted, Rehberg both "voted against the stimulus funding bill and has criticized it as wasteful spending." But then how can you let slip by an opportunity to do a party donor a big favor? Rehberg also forwarded a million-dollar earmark for Junior Dolan's company, despite his avowed antipathy of all things earmark-y.

As for Baucus' motivation? Maybe he just prefers the Yellowstone Club set. That would go a long way in explaining a lot of his policy decisions.

The Bozo Chron's Michael Becker wonders why the Dolan family political contributions are relevant - "since there's no apparent evidence of misdeeds, why are the Dolans' political donations news?" - but because the earmark was so egregiously misappropriated, it would seem Dolan family connections landed them a slab of pork to gnaw. It may not be illegal, but that doesn't mean it doesn't stink.

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

...it bears mentioning...

by: Jay Stevens

Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 14:55:15 PM MST

Jorge Quintana, via Twitter: "What? @DennyRehberg sues firefighters in Billings and votes No on 9/11 responders bill http://tinyurl.com/3alqp4p Just shameful."

Yup. Here's the roll call.

Classy.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Feeling the burn...

by: Jay Stevens

Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:46:18 AM MST

Kemmick reminds us why he's teh awesome:

The problem here, as you all know, is that my opponents have tried to make political hay out of this legal action. Can you believe it? Just because I'm a millionaire congressman in the middle of an election campaign and I decide to file a legal action against the city of Billings for failing to post firefighter sentinels on my property - does that mean my opponents should jump all over this for political advantage? Have these people no shame?...

All I'm saying is that when the temperature hits 102 and the wind is blowing hard and it's the Fourth of July and you've got valuable scrubland interspersed with steep, tinder-dry, brush-choked gullies suitable for future residential development, doesn't the government have an obligation to spend unlimited amounts of money to protect that property?

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

Rehberg's Firefighter Lawsuit Links...

by: Jay Stevens

Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:52:29 AM MST

Okay...so I mentioned briefly that I've been out camping for the last several days. So imagine my surprise when I heard that Dennis Rehberg - right in the middle of an election - sues the Billings Fire Department for...well...because a fire burned on his land?

Pogie: "I certainly hope to see a McDonald ad exposing the gall of one of the richest members of Congress suing firefighters who spent a week risking their lives, to defend his scrub brush." He's also posted a couple of letters in newspapers criticizing Rehberg's decision to sue.

In a subsequent post, Pogie explains why the suit went forward, now, in the heat of an election year: the Rehbergs' request for an extension to the statute of limitations for the suit was denied by Billings city officials. Pogie: "Gosh, I wonder why they would want to wait? It would seem that two years would be enough time to determine that 'irreparable' damage was done to one's scrub brush, wouldn't it?"

Cowgirl has her blog up and running and is all over this story. For one, this isn't the first time that the Rehberg estates has had conflicts with the public over his real estate business. Cowgirl also has Rehberg on video bragging that he owns Billings' city park on the Rims. That the Rehbergs essentially treated state land as their private property shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Rehberg's record on public lands.

And the suit made for a joke on MSNBC.

Oh, and Cowgirl provides a link to the the lawsuit (pdf). And, reading Pogie's analysis of the suit, it seems like...Rehberg...assumed the Billings Fire Department should have stood guard over his scrub brush on the 4th of July two years ago?

Megan Carpentier writing on TPMMuckraker reminds us that impolite remarks to firefighters played a role in the 2006 election, and that this is the second controversy hanging over Rehberg's head this election...  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Why Rehberg Can't Balance the Budget

by: Matt Singer

Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:52:41 PM MST

One of my biggest takeaways from Saturday's session was a reminder to myself to give credit to earnest people with whom I disagree. One of the big takeaway messages supported by the whole group basically encouraged Congress to look past partisanship -- a goal that I agree with (even as I struggle with it).

But there's something very frustrating about engaging in politics with people who pay lip service to big challenges and even lie about history. Here's an AP writeup on Congressman Rehberg's budget solutions:

Rehberg, a Republican seeking his sixth term as Montana's lone representative, said slashing taxes on corporations, capital gains and payrolls while balancing the budget is the solution. He said those types of measures were used in 1961, 1981 and 2001.
Some of this stuff is just silly. Capital gains tax rates are already very low when compared to tax on income. But the really annoying thing is that "cut taxes" and "balance the budget," as though such a thing is possible. Even worse is that Rehberg cites history (and the AP lets him get away with it).

Now, it is true that tax rates were cut in 1961, 1981, and 2001. JFK pushed to cut the top marginal rate, for example, to something like 33% higher than the current rate. JFK did this while continuing to run surpluses and pay down the debt.

But let's look at what happened in 1981 and 2001:

We cut taxes and...didn't balance the budget.

Look -- in the near term in particular, I have absolutely no problem running deficits. Hell, I think we should run deficits. But planning for the long-term by advocating for specific tax cuts and only vaguely referencing spending cuts is not a plan to balance the budget. It is really just a very limited plan to expedite a great transfer of wealth from poor to rich in this country.

But the question of how to balance the budget is one we can have a serious discussion about. I had one of those on Saturday. Sadly, it looks like our Congressman had the opposite kind of conversation - absolutely nothing but empty rhetoric and misleading information.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Saturday's Budget Forum -- The Good News

by: Matt Singer

Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 09:26:02 AM MST

I was one of about 65 participants at Saturday's budget session here in Missoula. Cowgirl wrote it up earlier -- and it has received attention elsewhere. But after participating, I want to note that even if Pete Peterson's intention was to start a national drive to undermine Social Security and Medicare, he may have just done precisely the opposite.

Let me note that I was at a pretty ideologically diverse table. Our group included a few Missoula non-profit types like myself, a successful businessman who lives in the Bitterroot, a retired teacher, and several people who I think can be fairly called "tea party" activists, including one fairly prominent leader in Western Montana.

Despite those divergent viewpoints, the process, the facts, and our discussion led our table to what I think was a pretty forward-thinking approach to the long-term budget difficulties our nation faces. Namely, we supported a carbon tax, significant comprehensive tax reform (end deductions, lower rates, simplify the process, and pay down the deficit), a financial transactions tax, cuts to defense spending, the removal of the income cap on social security payroll taxes, and a few other measures.

Showing my trademark optimism, I predicted that the new health care bill would work better than CBO predicts to rein in federal health care expenditures on its own (meshing with a long history of CBO scoring items in a conservative way, as they should).

But long story short, a bunch of people showed up to a 6 hour budget discussion, evaluated a whole bunch of options, and nationally voted overwhelmingly for really positive solutions.

I left pretty convinced of a few things. First, that we should be organizing more events to educate people about the state of the budget and challenging them to find solutions -- at both the state and the federal level. Second, that it really is still possible to have meaningful political dialogue with people with pretty divergent views -- especially when there is a common task to be achieved, not simply a debate to be had.

The full national results are here. I don't think they read like a lefty wet dream of how to address our common challenges. But I do think they represent a pretty reasonable set of principles we can move forward with. I can quibble with some of the specifics -- I'm not inclined to raise the retirement age on social security, at least not across the board. But the broad sweep isn't bad. And for a set of compromises reached across the nation by 3,500 people, I'm actually fairly impressed.

Finally, Congress should take heed -- when this group was asked whether the federal government should take more immediate action to reduce unemployment, even if it increased the near-term deficit, the answer was a strong "Yes!" Give the Senate's recent inaction, folks in DC should pay a bit more attention.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Rehberg's Taxpayer-Funded Dishonesty

by: Matt Singer

Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 13:40:58 PM MST

Our Congressman's use of his office's resources continues to amaze. In addition to using his taxpayer-funded office to encourage people to vote in an election where he faced two primary opponents, Congressman Rehberg is now using tax dollars to lie to Montanans about the health care bill he opposed.

From his latest email, a survey on how to deal with healthcare costs:

If they had been included in the new law, which provision(s) do you think would have helped reduce health care costs? (Choose as many as you want)

  • Lawsuit Reform
  • Allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines
  • Letting small businesses pool their resources like larger corporations and government
Here's the problem. Under reform, insurance companies can compete across state lines and small businesses (and individuals) will pool their purchasing power.

Under the federal bill, states can sign off on eachothers' regulations and allow policies licensed for sale in, say, Montana to be sold in California, provided California's state government thinks that is kosher. In other words, it allows for increased competition while maintaining states' rights. What Rehberg is really calling for here is for the federal government to gut Montana's ability (and every other state's ability) to regulate insurance at all. The federalists in the tea party should be rightfully outraged at this proposal.

As for pooling purchasing power, small employers will soon purchase through the exchanges, which are basically places for employers and individuals to buy in a competitive marketplace and leverage their collective purchasing power. I'm not really sure what other model the Congressman would support. A number of us already "pool" our policies through programs like Chamber Choices. The exchanges do this on a much larger scale and with far more competition.

So there's reality. It's a far cry from what our Congressman is proposing.

I'd also love for him to be upfront about the fact that he wants to undermine Montana's ability to regulate insurance and to move that authority to the federal level alone. I'm sure that would be popular with his base.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

What you won't find in the paper about the Montana GOP Convention

by: Montana Cowgirl

Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 21:38:43 PM MST

...can be found in an email sent out by the Madison County GOP Chair Dan Happel this week. Since Happel encourages recipients to share and comment, I'll paste his entire email in the extended text for your commenting pleasure. To paraphrase, it appears that a "very conservative" Republican platform has gone even further to the right, and by further he means they've gone...birther.

I have no idea why this item of extreme interest was excluded from coverage by those reporting the convention  According to Happel, the Montana Republican party passed a resolution

 "for the requirement of complete documentation of candidate eligibility before candidates for President, Vice President, US Senators or Representatives can even be placed on the ballot."

Like the birther bill introduced (and going nowhere) in Congress, the Montana Republicans voted their support for requiring candidates to submit a birth certificate: a wink and a nod action that some Republicans are going to have to try to  maintain is somehow not related to the birthers' claims.  Hmmm...Republican candidates want to win the votes of the birthers, but still want to pretend not to actually be that stupid one of them.

This could get tricky.  What if a Montana reporter asks the candidate if she or he agrees with this new tenant of the Montana GOP core platform?  I mean look what happened when MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked one of the birther bill's sponsors on the show if he believed Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen, Rep. Campbell (R-CA) hedged, saying, "As far as I know, yes, OK?" He told Matthews, "it doesn`t matter whether I have doubts or not."  Birther association also became an embarrassment for the Ohio GOP, and all they did wrong was have a speaker tell a birther joke at their convention--Montana Republicans added birtherism to the list of their fundamental beliefs.

I guess I am not at all shocked to find that the Republican Party is packed with birthers that still, still, have not figured out that our own president released his birth certificate like two years ago.   But I am kind of surprised that the Republican party leadership were unable to quash this ridiculous addition to the platform that could be a real embarrassment for its candidates.   It could also be evidence of growing internal division in their ranks and/or a general state of chaos.

It will be interesting to hear Rehberg publicly respond to questions about this from the media or in the final debate in Whitefish this weekend.

Read Happels entire missive in the extended text. There are lots of other gems in this that weren't in the paper...  

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 791 words in story)

Trout must hire lobbyist

by: Montana Cowgirl

Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 11:13:52 AM MST

Reminiscent of when Denny Rehberg famously told an eastern Montana county to go hire a lobbyist if it wanted to get federal money to pave a local road (even suggesting the name of a lobbyist that they ought to hire), last week Max Baucus could be seen in the newspaper saying something similar.

For the first time in 35 years, there is agreement between Montana and Canada to permanently forbid mining and exploration in a beautiful and wild area next to Glacier and Waterton Parks. All that is needed is 17 million dollars from Congress to seal the deal. Yet last week Baucus stated publicly, and incredibly,  that the request for the appropriation "came in the wrong form".  This claim merits serious examination.  As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as a "form" for requesting federal money. When a state needs something from the federal government, the Congressman/Senator is supposed to bring it home.  Plus, Baucus could be heard saying recently that he has been working very hard on this environmental issue for 35 years.

It is a very peculiar state of affairs that no doubt traces to the ego-bumping between Schweitzer and Baucus. Some activists on this issue hope perhaps Tester can do better. Nobody expects Rehberg to do anything, of course.  The best part is that Max Baucus's staff continues to send out press releases describing Max as "America's most powerful senator."

The fish in the North Fork of the Flathead, which will be killed off by coal sludge if this deal falls apart, clearly do not understand that they need either a high-powered corporate fish lobbyist, or must write fish checks to the Baucus campaign, in order to see that their home is protected.  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

2012 rumors

by: Jay Stevens

Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 11:07:56 AM MST

Charles Johnson today mulls the rumors for the 2012 election, which should be a hum-dinger, what with a open gubernatorial seat and Jon Tester up for re-election.

According to Johnson, here are the rumored gubernatorial hopefuls:

On the Democratic side, they include Attorney General Steve Bullock of Helena; state Sen. Larry Jent of Bozeman; state Transportation Director Jim Lynch of Kalispell; and state Sen. Dave Wanzenried of Missoula.

Republicans include: state Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley; former U.S. Rep. Rick Hill of Helena; Dean Folkvord of Three Forks, CEO of Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery; former state GOP Chairman Erik Iverson of Missoula; national security and terrorism expert Neil Livingstone of Helena and Washington, D.C.; state Senate Majority Leader Jim Peterson of Buffalo; state Senate President Bob Story of Park City; and state Sen. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish.

On the Democratic side, Wanzenried and Bullock, IMHO, would seem to be the front-runners in that primary (and what an interesting primary that would be). Jent doesn't have the same political charisma of either Bullock or Wanzenried. And Lynch...? That one caught me by surprise. He's never run for office before, and the DoT seems a poor springboard for a political campaign...but who knows?

On the Republican side, it's interesting that many of the rumored gubernatorial candidates are political newcomers. Zinke and T. Brown have only one legislative session behind them. Folkvord's never run for public office, but as a former rodeo champion and owner of Wheat Montana, he's got an interesting profile.

Retread Rick Hill is an interesting option. Iverson's political ambition has been long-rumored, but does he have too much baggage from his years at the head of the state GOP and on Rehberg's staff? Of the rumored state senate candidates, Jim Peterson is distinctly uninspiring, but Bob Story could be an interesting dark horse candidate.

Of the bunch, I'd say Taylor Brown is probably the Republicans' strongest candidate. He's got a high profile in the state, a ton of money, a radio network, and could probably easily tap into Conrad Burns' former political network.

But...the biggest name is missing from this bunch: Dennis Rehberg. And Johnson links his name to the 2012 Senate race. Which, frankly, I find surprising. It'd be a lot tougher race than governor, but maybe Rehberg thinks the political winds favor him. Still, 2012 will be in another era, politically speaking, and in the middle of another presidential race.

Steve Daines' name was mentioned for the Senate race, too, but, of course he couldn't beat Bob Kelleher in the 2008 primary.

Update: My bad! Daines, of course, was Brown's running mate in their epic 2008 loss to Schweitzer. I confused him with Kirk Bushman, the other businessman-turned-politico the GOP offered up that year. My bad.

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You can't be the party of tomorrow with nothing but yesterday's ideas

by: Montana Cowgirl

Sun Jun 20, 2010 at 18:22:59 PM MST

Embattled GOP Chair Michael Steele chastised Montana Republicans for their lack of young people this week, when he appeared as the keynote speaker for the GOP platform convention in Billings. Apparently, as a (the only?) GOP staffer related on the MT GOP Facebook page, the party had first tried to get Michele Bachmann, but couldn't make it happen.

In addition to the usual political speech drivel, Steele told Montana Republicans that they needed to involve more young people.

"the next time you have this dinner, you need more of them in here. You need to go out, encourage, recruit and involve them. We are absolutely the party of tomorrow".

The party of tomorrow?  

This is a party who prides itself in shunning modern science not only terms of creationism or "intelligent design" as they are trying to rebrand it now, but also a "disbelief" in climate change, and opposition to embryonic stem cell research. Not only do they cling to the ideologies of the past, but as the world changes they have no new ideas to meet new challenges.

Rehberg, the party's only top official, introduced no ideas in his speech, nor, one could argue, in his entire term in Congress.  No solution of his own for health care, and no proposals of his own to stimulate the economy--except the ideas of the 1970s and 1980s.  News Flash Montana Republicans: It's not the same world anymore.

Steele further chastised Republicans for their losing record in Montana races:

"You got two Democrat (U.S.) senators. Now, how the heck does that happen?" he said. "You gotta change that. You got a Democrat governor in Montana."

I'll tell you how it happens-and why few young people are remotely interested in Republicans.  The Republican party is outdated and out of touch with the current world. Political ideologies do not exist in a vacuum. They need to meet the problems of the world as it exists. Democrats in Montana understand this, which may be why-despite our so-called red state status-they have been increasingly successful in Montana.

Say what you like about the Democrats we elected,  at least they understand that a new world requires new thinking.  As the world continues to evolve at an accelerating pace, conservatives, who instinctively hunker down and cling to the past, will find themselves increasingly outside of the mainstream.

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Winners and losers of the draft Forest bill's opaque transparency

by: Jay Stevens

Mon Jun 14, 2010 at 07:36:04 AM MST

So Matt Koehler recently panned Jon Tester for not sharing a recent draft of the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act with the public, which augured a lot of newsink spilled over the issue. Here, then, are the winners and losers in the controversy surrounding the unreleased recent draft of Tester's Forest bill:

Winner: John Adams. In tracking down the draft bill, Adams wrote an extremely fair post about transparency, Jon Tester, and the legislative process in the US Senate.

Did Jon's staff egregiously mislead Adams' about the existence of a draft bill? Yes. Did members of the collaborative group working on the bill see the draft? Yes. Did Jon Tester promise more transparency than we've received? Yes. But do US Senate committees typically share draft legislation with the public? No. And is the bill's semi-transparent collaborative legislative-writing process typical for Washington DC? No.

What we've got is a quasi-public process that's more open than the inside-the-Beltway gang is used to, and much less open than Montanans want. Is it Tester's fault? No. It wasn't his draft, and the other members of the committee didn't make the transparency pledges that Tester did. (Tester promised to make his changes public.) If there's fault to be put on Tester, it's that his rhetoric didn't match reality. An up-front explanation and tempering of expectations at the beginning of the process would have served him well.

Loser: Jon Tester. Not for falling short of his rhetoric, but for opposing the removal of mandated logging language from the draft:

A "discussion draft" of Tester's S. 1470 legislation started circulating last week among critics of the bill. This version did not have the requirement to log at least 10,000 acres a year in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Kootenai national forests, or the one-year limitation on U.S. Forest Service environmental reviews. It also deleted language from the wilderness sections that would have allowed military helicopter training and off-road vehicle use for livestock herding.

For his part, Tester said this week that he would not accept removing the logging mandate.

"There are a number of changes folks would like to see made to S. 1470," Tester said. "Some will be implemented, all will be considered. Make no mistake, if the timber mandates are not part of the deal, I'll pull the plug on the whole thing."

The mandate makes no sense. Sure, I get why they put it in - it's probably an end run around lawsuits against logging ventures on public lands. But...a mandate doesn't change the legal conditions around the lawsuits, and doesn't account for dropping timber prices - if the bottom falls out of the timber market...and no one wants to cut...then what?

I'm no free-market maven, but it seems...irrational...to force supply on a market without any demand.

If the timber industry wants to log public lands, they should probably work together with environmental groups to make sure they're following the law and pay attention to environmental concerns. Shoving timber on the market seems a pretty poor "compromise."

Winner: The public. Tester's forest bill has been more transparent than most, and the controversies around the draft only make the issue keener and puts more pressure on Tester to follow through on his promises of openness. Hopefully, it'll put some pressure on the Senate to make its committee-work more open. But don't hold your breath.

Losers: Conservatives. Until Dennis Rehberg starts releasing drafts of bills discussed in the House Appropriations committee, I think we can all agree that conservatives' criticism of Tester's efforts to make his committee-work open and transparent is clearly hypocritical.

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Election commentary

by: Jay Stevens

Sat Jun 12, 2010 at 11:03:25 AM MST

So...it's looking like Brad Johnson lost his bid for PSC district 5 by about 120 votes to Bill Gallagher -- only he's not conceding the race, "because the district still has some uncounted provisional ballots." If Johnson's right, and the provisional ballots favor him, we could be in an interesting situation where the GOP PSC nominee will be spending a good chunk of election season in rehab.

Which would be hilarious, if it weren't so pathetic.

*  *  *

Why did Dennis McDonald win his primary?

"It seems to me that the congressional results are not surprising, because party establishment voters chose party establishment candidates," said James Lopach, a University of Montana political science professor. "Primary turnout is usually pretty much party-faithful voters. Rehberg and McDonald were clearly the party establishment candidates, and they won."

*  *  *

And Ochenski weighs on in the "fizzle" of Montana's Tea Party influence on Republican primary elections:

A good example would be the House contest between former state Sen. John Esp and Joel Boniek in Park and Sweetgrass counties. Boniek was one of the wildest of the right-wing wild bunch in the last legislative session, but was edged out by Esp who told reporters that he "knew the people" in his district and they "weren't going to be jumping on these kinds of bandwagons." His win was echoed by similar results in which Chas Vincent of Libby, a definite right-winger, defeated Rhoda Cargill almost 4-to-1, despite her endorsement by extreme conservatives. The same thing happened in Dillon, with Jeff Wellborn defeating Ron Lake. The radical right can claim at least a few wins, however, such as MCA-supported candidate Lee Randall's victory in southeast Montana. But overall, their efforts bore little fruit.

So much for this being an election about anti-incumbency and outsider politics...

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