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
As of today, Montana Secretary of State Linda McColluch's office has certified Initiative Referendum number 124 for the November 2011 ballot. The signatures have been gathered (well more than needed) and Montana has the opportunity to tell our state legislature not to go about thwarting the will of the people, a will we've already voted on.
To all activists and partisans, i urge you to read the text of the IR carefully, and frame it in the manner I have here. Those who would support the loathsome SB 423 will attempt to frame this as a vote on whether we still favor unbridled use of marijuana. That isn't what IR-124 is about. It's about whether we support the legislature in repealing a good initiative, voted on by all Montanans, in favor of a weak attempt to control what the state favors. IR-124 is not about whether Montana favors the use of medical marijuana. That was decided when the voters approved I-148. This Referendum is specifically about spanking SB 423, or supporting it. Ballot language in full, below the fold:
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.
Huge hat tip to the most excellent RumpRoast Blog. Here's what we're facing, my friends. We can have political discussions high brow, low brow or no brow. We can focus on candidates or issues or attempt to do both. But ultimately the nemesis to whatever we desire is captured right here in video.
Notice please, this guy isn't an idiot. He's probably very intelligent, just drunk off his ass. I guarantee you, however, that he believed the same BS about the Constitution and Ron Paul upon waking in the new Gallatin County Detention Center that he was hurling at the deputies that night. This guy represents a bunch of folk who have a belly-full of self-interest. They don't care about the issues that the emo-progs so focus on. They don't have any respect for the law that prag-progs such as myself hold dear. They believe in self-interest first and only. They often have money and they vote. This is the portrait of the enemy, folks. 2012 will not be an election about Ron Paul. It will be an election carried by those who think themselves better than you, if you don't see them as the threat that they are.
I must be on the worst of email lists. I received one today describing how the Kenyon socialist hidden-Muslim Oreo President will use his Chicago thugs to kill Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He will do so, according to this authoritative source, so that the one term negro President can appoint a "communist activist judge" to replace him. (That is an actual quote). Such a judge will lead the fight to overturn landmark rulings like DC v. Heller and Citizens United v. FEC. ~sigh~
JC has a terrific post up about a ground-up (double entendre totally meant) movement to amend the Constitution, overturning the ridiculous idea of 'corporate personhood'. In truth, that was never part of the Constitution at all. It is hard to know which is more saddening. The idea that corporations are persons, or the notion that we need an amendment to spell the obvious outright, that corporations do not have a voice which speaks as one person.
Strangely, I agree with Dave Budge. This probably isn't an issue that should be tackled at the city level. Tackling it at the Missoula city level is a certain way to garner opposition from most of the rest of the state. I disagree with Dave this much: a city resolution might inspire a state representative to introduce the call for amendment to the Montana Legislature, a much more appropriate venue. Of course, given our current state legislature, that would be as useful as farting in the wind. Still, the call should go forward.
Not that it will matter when the Kenyon's mob kills Justice Kennedy ...
After a pleasant weekend spent mostly away from the 'Tubes, I awoke this morning to much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the fact that the Congress may be close to passing a budget/deficit/debt resolution bill. No one seems happy with it, and I'm not either, even though the specifics remain illusive. Paul Krugman thinks it's a disaster. Booman attempts to see the glass as half full. A valid point of contention is the call for a "Super-Congress", 12 special folk who have the ability to make or break the nation's economic future .. to a point. That's insidious and likely not very Constitutional. An invalid point of contention is that Congress is enacting the wrong policy, the point about which Krugman is very shrill. I agree that this austerity push is the wrong direction for economic policy, but that isn't the claim being made. The claim at hand is that these people don't have the authority to do this contrary to the people's needs and the people's will. Yes, they really do because ~we~ gave it to them when ~we~ elected them. Just ask the voters in Wisconsin. Sometimes politicians lie. Okay, most of the time, politicians lie. It's often helpful to remember political reality is what it is, and saying you want to do something you fail to do is not always a lie. That's because, quite simply, others carrying the authority ~we~ gave them might just disagree.
As of this writing, the Senate will pass this deficit reduction 'compromise'. Nate Silver is handicapping that the House won't. I'm not going to bother linking to Twitter because that could all change in the next hour. But what is, or at least should be, clear is that Congress is pursuing this effort. That is as it should be. Not the result, of course, but the effort certainly. What has struck me strongly through this whole debate is the importance given to one man, truly desperately, by both the right and the left. This is all about President Obama. We have been lied to, duped, by a meme far beyond the idea policy should be what we want it to be. We have been duped into thinking that we have a unitary executive. I can't count the number of times I have written that the President is the executor of the will of Congress, and that Congress is the representative body of the American people.
All sorts of progressive folk this past two days are writing that they will never again vote for Barack Obama. I'm not disagreeing with them. I just think they're following a path set by the right that will damage the country far more than accepting the austerity thematics/dramatics. These folk are buying into the idea that we have a unitary executive. They have accepted what the right has worshiped as gospel for at least 30 years. They think we have a king we can vote for. We don't. In fact, we have a populace that increasingly accepts that we don't have a role in governance, and we elect 'leaders' who have no principles by which to govern. We blame the President for not being what he/she was never meant to be.
Any prioritization scheme amounts to the Treasury making de facto appropriations decisions.
I think this is worrisome. But on the other hand, it goes to a trend in our politics that has been escalating since the 1960s. More and more, Congress has been willing to simply forego its role in making policy to the President. This trend has only been highlighted during the Obama Administration, because Obama, more than any President in recent memory, has been deferential to Congress' role as policymaker. We saw that in the Health Care Bill and Stimulus Packages, and we're seeing it now in the debt ceiling fiasco. The result is an almost desperate flailing by Congress to get the President to do something. That's a bad thing for Constitutional governance.
Third and finally, however, there's a lot of rhetoric in conservative circles about fidelity to the Constitution. Well, it's clear who's supposed to originate budget and revenue related policy: Congress. Not the President. Congress. All the Constitution allows is for the President to veto budget laws. Yes, we've established a tradition of the President putting forth policy, but it's just that - a tradition. And not a healthy one.
That's the point that keeps getting missed with the frustration, desperation and agitation over this debt ceiling fiasco. It isn't Obama's job to fix this problem. It wasn't his job to fix health care, or DADT or DOMA. It isn't the job of the President to "fix" Congress. It's ours. And holy crap have we dropped the ball. 'Fixing' Congress should be the clear principle we follow. After all, it's stated very clearly in the Constitution that that's our job, our goal and our agreement by which we will live with ourselves in this country.
President Obama has already said that this debate may be the one that 'gets him fired' next year. If the 'Tubes are to be believed, it will be. To me, that's fine. He's already done more for the effort of forcing Congress to represent in 3 years than any President I remember in the last 30. He's tried to get Congress to do it's job. We progressives love to talk about how we want to hold politicians "accountable". Obama has actually attempted to do that. I respect that effort. It won't make me vote for him; I have other reasons to do that. But his efforts speak clearly to my principles, chief among them supporting the rule of law as defined by the Constitution. I don't like this budget "compromise", which is more of a capitulation. But if we want different, perhaps we'd be better served by getting the Tea Party and corporate Republicans out of our governance.
I've no interest in having the same tired arguments about how corporations force every hand in the voting booth save our special digits, when we bother to bring them. There is no point to discussing how big money purchases our politicians. If all that caterwaul is universally true, then there isn't a damned thing we can do anyway, and all this smack talk about how Obama is dead to our principled selves is just ego blather. Our politicians will do what we want when ~we~ remember who they serve and why. They take an oath to serve the Constitution. It's hard for them to remember that, I'm certain, when the electorate forgets that we implicitly serve the Constitution as well, as it serves us. A unitary executive doesn't serve anyone, and there is strictly no principled point to demanding that it will. That's where the Republican/Tea Party fails the principles of the Constitution. If the American people didn't agree with them, the Overton Window wouldn't be drifting to the right. I wonder why many on the left are so willing to follow those lemmings off that cliff.
I haven't any doubt that there will be those who read this and say to themselves "He's just a Demorat/Obamabot defending President Betrayer". Hardly. Turner, over at 4 &20, sarcastically asked:
Would President Bachmann please you?
My answer: Yes, IF I could have a Congress that actually represented the will of the people, and was actually capable of accomplishing anything.
Apparently, I have been designated an "ambassador" for the Democratic party. I don't remember the ribbons and parades, but still, huzzah to me!
Many years ago, (2006), I was on the radio discussing how Conrad Burns went out of his way to hold a by-name committee vote in support of child slavery/underage prostitution in the Marianas Islands. A gal called in to tell me that my mean attacks against Conrad Burns had convinced her to vote against Jon Tester. (Notice, that wasn't convincing her to vote for Conrad Burns, but against Jon Tester.) My co-host and I looked at each other (even though he is legally blind), we laughed, and were almost dumbstruck by the shear stupidity of that statement. When I regained my voice, I told the caller that she had just given one of the silliest reasons ever for not voting for someone. (It is likely that this woman was John Sinrud's wife, having also had to deal with John on that particular show. You remember her, I'm certain. She's the one who likened John having to travel to Helena for a special session to a soldier having to serve the Christmas season in Iraq.) I pointed out to this person that not voting for someone based on who does support that someone is an abrogation of responsibility. It is foolishness, meant to blame another for not being able to make a decision.
So, some would have it that I am a poor ambassador for the Democratic party and that gives them a reason to not be responsible for their own well-being. I accept this with a tip of my hat, and the wry knowing smile. I urge all to follow the dictate of my poor representation. Let's us not vote for Ellie Hill or Bryce Bennett. After all, Wulfgar is a poor ambassador for the Democratic party, and that means no one is responsible save me, right?
For the most part, I know who I'm voting for next year. Unless he cuts off the rest of his fingers and eats them on live TV, I will vote for Jon Tester. If he tackles a bison out of the park and rips it's throat out with his teeth, I might consider not voting for him, but will just because that is so bad-ass. When Bullock gets off the pot, I will vote for him to be Governor. I will vote for Franke Wilmer to be the US House Rep for Montana. I will vote for Barack Obama to be President, unless Kodos runs. Notice, those people aren't a party. They are people. I will vote for those people.
So, ignorant assholes who want to tell all and sundry that they can't vote for folk a poor 'Democratic ambassador' such as myself votes for are fools. There is no lesser of two evils. There is evil, and those who oppose evil. Which are you going to vote for?
The Montana Cowgirl Blog has a post up that probably ought to be read. On the heels of Exxon spilling as yet undetermined amounts of crude oil into the Yellowstone river with as yet undetermined environmental impact, the leader of the Montana GOP had a letter posted in the Missoulian calling for Exxon to "stick it" to the city and county of Missoula. Notice please that "stick it" is a euphemism for "to F**k". That's what the Montana GOP wants, according to its head Will Deschamps, is for a business to f**k Missoula.
There was some discussion at the MCBlog about how Deschamps may regret the timing of his letter given the oil spill. He must be an idiot not to see how that would play in the popular will. Further, he must be an idiot to suggest that Exxon would be better served by hauling their own gas for the mega-rigs, given that the rigs hauling the gas would also need gas. And I speak with a bit of inside knowledge when I tell you driving further for motel rooms in the Summer travel season is a fool's quest. Deschamps call for Exxon to f**k Missoula is pretty idiotic, except that Deschamps isn't an idiot.
The Cowgirl Blog, as did the Montana Democratic party jumped Dennis Rehberg as an accomplice to this heinous tantrum from the Montana GOP. I suggest that the heinous tantrum was precisely the point. The post at the Montana Cowgirl Blog writes:
Rehberg's campaign manager has been going on the radio to say Republicans are going after Missoula voters. Too bad now we know how Rehberg's party really feels about jobs in Missoula
I think the author misunderstood Rehberg's MiniMe (Erik Iverson). The GOP is going after Missoula voters, not to woo them or convince them, but to marginalize them to the rest of the state. It's a tactic written of many hundreds of years ago by Sun Tzu. Divide your opponents and they have no strength. Sun Tzu also wrote, and I would add, turn your opponents into monsters and they have less strength indeed. That's the point. The Montana GOP isn't recruiting disaffected Missoula moderates or Democrats. They are isolating them. They took this cue from the intense disagreement among 'progressives' and they're running with it. I can't blame them; okay maybe I can and do. But it's a good tactic.
That was the point of Deschamps' letter. He wants to separate the rest of the state from the very identity that Missoula holds dear. Missoula is a bastion of liberalism, the bastion of liberalism, and don't any dare to appeal to those false wizards for help because they don't care for you. He's not terribly wrong in pointing that out, just terribly wrong in the implication of it.
If one needs more evidence that this is a concerted attack, then I give you Rob Natelson. He is rather clumsy about his effort, and writes too close to the truth. The GOP doesn't want people to disagree with Missoula. They want people to think that Missoulians are "weird". They want them punished. They want others like-minded to be wary, or distrustful (frankly something that the vocal in Missoula make very easy.) More than anything, they desire the Missoula voice to have little impact in the elections of 2012. If they convince Missoulians what those folk already are desperate to believe, that they are an island in a sea of nasty conservatism, then the GOP's job is already half done. I ask the readers here to keep that in mind.
Good afternoon, I say to you as we reside just 6 hours away from a federal government shutdown. In the interest of full disclosure, that shutdown will directly effect 5 people very near and dear to me. Avoidance of the shut down would effect many more, about half our population in fact.
Hi, my name is Rob Kailey, and I am an addict. Less than 2 weeks after telling myself that I was done with the website FireDogLake, I am about to post a link to that website. (The "pay for membership and Jane's manicures" model of blogging I find truly repugnant.) However, being an addict, I read a diary over there this afternoon which peaked my interest a great deal.
David Swanson pens a diary titled "Is Obama Even Worse Than Bush?" Provocative, no? Like an addict, I clicked the link expecting to find another PUMA-Freeper mash of debilitating disappointment. That part is actually in the comments. But David's post is indeed provocative, and actually worth a read. What he lays out is a case for the impeachment of President Obama. I don't agree with much of it, but it's absolutely worth your time to read it. So go do that.
Here's his deal. He argues that the Unitary Executive has become extra-legal, beyond the law, and that those powers once accepted will never be given up. I agree. Here's where I show that not only am I an addict blogger, I'm a bad blogger. I don't meticulously catalog of tag my posts, and I have no index file of my comments. So, please trust me on this, and hopefully some of the longer term members will validate. Back in late 2007, early 2008, when I was arguing even at this site with right-wingers, there was great concern on my part about Chimpy's power grabs. In the debate about FISA renewal, I continually asked our rightward compatriots "Do you really want Barack, John or Hillary to have those powers?"
That's really what it boils down to. Powers granted become the norm, and are used and not given up. I had hope (is that trademarked?) that Obama would actually give up some of that Executive power. I had none that Clinton would, and I wrote as much at the time, born out by Secretary Clinton's actions over the last several weeks. And now we see the truth of it; No President will give up power once attained. That isn't surprising. It also isn't cause for a freak out. It is what it is.
So, Swanson's call for impeachment actually has teeth. The President has and is using powers that under scrutiny could be illegal. I was attracted to his argument because he posts about the position and the situation, not the man. That is important to keep in mind. Ultimately, I disagree with him based on some assumptions he makes concerning motivation (a true failure of the Professional Left), and the message that such conveys to the American people. Swanson calls for a "true" democratic republic. I concur. Swanson's argument relies on claims that the President is much of a figurehead, our defacto King, much as the founders saw the position. Again, I concur. But if that's the case, then impeaching the President won't fix what's broken in our representation. The Presidential office is taking power from somewhere, and that would be Congress. So fixing things? That would involve fixing Congress. Yes? It could well be argued, and has on the blogs, that it would also involve fixing our media, our social structures and most of all, our economy. Impeaching the President would assist none of those efforts, and in fact would hinder them all.
The racial issue still hangs out there. Many Americans are asking why so much bitterness is spewed at our black President, and many Americans are asking for impeachment because we have a black President. As much as Swanson wants to remove 'the man' from 'the office', you really can't. An impeachment is not taking back power for the branch which should hold such. It is taking away the position of a man, who, to date, is still well favored.
Still, I find that diary intriguing, and present it to you folks here. What do you think?
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."
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.
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.
It's somewhat surprising that this has gone unnoticed in the leftward Montana blogs, but Senator Dave Wanzenried has thrown his hat into the ring for a run at taking over Schweitzer's seat in Helena. The name is certainly not unfamiliar to Montana Democrats, with his service in the House, the Senate and as Governor Schwinden's Chief of Staff. His voting record is liberal, if not dowright supportably progressive. This will, of course, open him to attacks from the right as being a "loony liberal".
I confess. Beyond his political activity, I know very little about the guy. Schweitzer got elected, as many of our governors have, based as much on his ability to be a character as his political views. I'm left with many questions. What is his savvy? Is he going to get eaten by the right wing hippy punchers, or perhaps those on the left wing? Will he use this upcoming session to drift towards the favorable center/right? The guy can obviously campaign in Missoula. How about the rest of the state? Seeing how many of his votes have been cast in losing causes speaks highly of his integrity, but not so much his electability. Do we have someone we can support, or is this a failure waiting to happen?
Just a few real simple questions for your Friday afternoon ...