Monthly Archives: February 2011

Daines Continues Campaign to Manipulate Google Searches

Steve Daines, the Bozeman billionaire running for Congress (at least for now) in Montana, appears to be continuing his campaign to manipulate Google searches toward information he considers favorable, even though his tactics have already been exposed.

The most recent example? The so-called “Concerned Women for America” announced their endorsement of Steve Daines last November, but hilariously, something called “PR Media” — whatever that is — published this as a news release this weekend.

Google has acknowledged that by flooding the internet with references to the candidates and repeatedly cross-linking to specific articles and sites, it is possible to take advantage of Google’s formula and force those articles to the top of the list of search results.  The tactic works especially well for complete unknowns like Daines.

It will be harder to manipulate results for searches of the name of a candidate who has already been widely covered in the news and widely discussed in the blogosphere, because so many links and so many pages already refer to that particular name. Search results on lesser-known candidates, with a smaller body of references and links, may be easier to change.

With his internet search manipulation tactics, Daines is probably hoping that articles like this will disappear down into the depths of the internets never to be read again.

Fundamentalists Strengthen Ties to Shadier Movements

The fact that Chuck Baldwin was tapped to be the keynote speaker for a Flathead “Pro-life” event in Kalispell this January is one more piece of evidence of connections between Montana’s white nationalists and the Flathead area’s anti-choice crusaders.  Chuck Baldwin is  the new-to-the-Flathead preacher and constitution party presidential candidate whose columns are archived on, a racist website that regularly bashes immigrants, and who states that he believes the South was right in the Civil War (although he quickly adds that he is no racist).

The connection between race-based politics and Flathead area anti-choicers is alive and well as Cheryl Wolfe outlines on her blog in a must-read piece: GOP Manifest Destiny.

Rightwingers Trying to ‘Poll’ Wool Over Our Eyes

Rightwing radio host Aaron Flint is trying to peddle a political poll he and his young GOP insider friends threw together last week.  Apparently they want to graduate from the sandbox by showing off what they think is a big kid poll.

First, let’s look at the characters behind it.  This poll is a joint effort by 47 North Communications and Northern Broadcasting (Flint got to slap his picture on it).  In other words, don’t expect any accuracy.

  • Northern Broadcasting, founded by Conrad Burns, is now run by Taylor Brown—the guy who introduced Dennis Rehberg when Rehberg announced Steve Daines could no longer run for the Senate.
  • Former Burns staffer and current GOP operative Aaron Flint has already burned through his 15 minutes of fame by suing the University of Montana as a student—a case that went to U.S. District Court.
  • 47 North Communications is sort of a consulting firm run by Jake Eaton and Dustin Frost.  Who can forget Eaton, who also landed in U.S. District Court for trying to suppress the votes of 6,000 Montanans in 2008.  With his tail between his legs, Eaton resigned, left Montana, then came back hoping nobody would notice.  And then there’s Frost, a Rehberg employee until he was put into a coma under his boss’s watch.

So are we supposed to trust numbers from these guys?  Their math doesn’t even add up.

Among a small sample of 400 “likely voters” polled, 46% identified themselves as Republicans, 36% as Democrats and 14% independents.  Not only does this only add up to 96%, it’s also inconsistent with traditional polling numbers in Montana.  A recent poll by Public Policy Polling identified a whopping 32% of Montanans as independents.

Let’s also not forget the poll was conducted with “computer aided telephone interviewing,” which usually means you get a call from a live person who tosses you into a computer system.  And then you have to push buttons to answer questions.

Also, why doesn’t this poll tell us about a matchup between the two people who might very well be frontrunners in the 2012 gubernatorial race: Rick “I’m Better Now” Hill and Steve Bullock?  Don’t tell me our GOP friends forgot to ask that question.

This isn’t the first time Republicans have tried to take a whee on our leg and tell us it’s raining.  In 2008, the Montana GOP claimed Roy Brown was ahead of Governor Schweitzer by 4 points—in response to a real poll indicating that Schweitzer actually led Brown with a 39-point lead.  We all know how well that worked out for Roy Brown.

Havre Republicans Prove Rest of Us Wrong

The Republican legislative delegation from Havre, while speaking with the public and the Havre Daily News over the legislative break, took the opportunity to clear their good names and prove wrong the Montanans across the state who have called their work “frivolous and unconstitutional bills that do nothing to create jobs.”

First, new GOP-TEA Representative Kris Hansen doesn’t let evidence get in the way of obvious truth when she publicly proclaimed that:

She said she gets hundreds, even thousands of e-mails each week attacking her for her votes and actions in Helena. She might get three or four telling her she is doing a good job.

Hanson was also quick to offer the proof that Republicans are fixing the economy and creating jobs, and took her opportunity in the spotlight to focus on what surely is one of the best bills of the session, a bill brought by her fellow Havre Republican, Wendy Warburton.

“I expect there area some of you out there who think we’re doing nothing for business since we got to Helena, and that’s not the truth, ” she said.

One of her examples was a bill that will allow landlords to not put carbon monoxide detectors in some of their units.

The Cowgirl Blog had earlier highlighted the bill here. The fine folks at Intelligent Discontent have already pointed out that the GOP has been unfairly picked on by the media, as Hansen, Warburton, and Hutton explain so clearly in their interview. Thank you Havre Republicans for clearing up the situation for the rest of us on the excellent work with which the GOP-controlled legislature is engaged.

Montana Has So Many Wacky Bills, Governor Buys VETO Branding Iron

Governor Brian Schweitzer Has Registered a VETO Brand with the Montana Dept of Livestock.The Billings Gazette is reporting today that Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, faced with a ridiculous amount of ridiculous legislation headed for his desk, has got himself a cattle branding iron with the word VETO and has registered the brand with the Department of Livestock.

He has said that he will be vetoing any bill that does not create jobs.  This is Schweitzer showmanship at its classic best. It makes a point, and will likely get results.  There are many giant Republican asses in the legislature, they will not want to be burned with a hot branding iron.

Wacky bills this session include allowing hunting with spears among many others, click here for a partial list.

Gossip for Your Weekend Cocktails

First, strong words from Wulfgar at A Chicken Is Not Pillage”

The next time some right wingnut tells you how the state is, you know that they’re lying or ignorant or both.

He makes the case for the statement well in this must read post.  And if your friends are wondering what the GOP is saying about all the national negative attention,the post provides some great fodder for conversation in the form of a summary of what Montana’s rightwing blogs are saying(so we don’t have to go there.)

Second, are you heading out with some outdoor loving friends this weekend?  Chat up your friends over beers on the deck at Great Divide with some of the latest and most intelligent discussion of Montana’s climate change denier (Note: He denies climate change is true, but if it is true, global warming is great stuff).

Finally, the item everyone will be talking about  and the one thing you don’t want to miss listening to is the prank call to WI Gov Scott Walker by a gonzo journalist pretending to be national TEA Party bankroller David Koch:

“Refudiating” Has Cousins in Montana Legislature

Now that Republicans have brought national attention to the Montana Legislature, it’s fitting to take a closer look at some of the reasons behind the fame: the unique qualities of GOP legislators and their supporters of which you may not yet be familiar.

Representative Pat Ingraham (R-Thompson Falls) places such high esteem on the English language that she  voted to require that drivers license exams be given only in English (House Bill 302 by Rep. Janna Taylor, R-Dayton). Her esteem is also apparent in the video below, in which Rep. Ingraham demonstrates her ability to come up with new, never before used words such as “revelant” while speaking to the Montana House of Representatives.

Derek Skees (R-Whitefish Kalispell) is beyond a student of constitutional history. In fact, he’s a teacher of it down at the local Perkins diner chain.  However, the bills he’s presented this session demonstrate that he not only understands constitutional history enough to teach a class at Perkins, he even has a working familiarity with historical documents of which college professors have never heard.  Listen to Rep. Skees’ unique historical insights as he presents yet another nullification bill, HJ 20. (Click here to hear “Magna Carter.”)

No one loves learning more than the Lewis and Clark County TEA Party, the group that sued the Helena School District to stop them from teaching kids about basic health, presumably to allow more time for other topics, such as great literature. As pointed out by commenters here, Conservative TEA Party leader Tim Ravndal values Shakespeare as a particular favorite.

So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, with the degree of learning and knowledge our lawmakers demonstrate, if these same individuals do not remember one small fact: where in history the road to nullification ended –with the firing on Fort Sumter, in 1861, and finally in defeat at Appomattox, in 1865 when the Civil War finally ended.   They will undoubtedly recall for years to come the events of 2012, when many of them will be up for re-election.  That’s when we should remind the public of the demonstrated knowledge of our lawmakers, the evidence of which will benefit us all.

TEA Partiers Plan to Gather at MT Capitol with Weapons

Just when you thought the Montana Legislature couldn’t get any crazier, this post from the TEA Party forum appeared in the blog inbox.

TEA Party Plans to Storm Montana Capitol Building with WeaponsWhat does “Extra-Conservative” TEA Party leader Tim Ravndal mean by a “very very very loud message” ?

Members of the forum on which this announcement was posted include the following: Rep. James Knox, 2012 Gubernatorial candidate Ken Miller, Rep. “Birther” Bob Wagner, Tim Baldwin (son of Chuck Baldwin), Rep. Cary Smith, Rep. Champ Edmunds, Robert Brown (who lists his title as Coordinator of the John Birch Society in Montana, though he always claims he testifies only on his own behalf) Rep. Dan Kennedy, and Republican operative Chuck Denowh.

Public Outcry Over GOP Hypocrisy, Lack of Focus on Jobs, Increases

This weekend, letters to the editor appeared in Sunday dailies across Montana decrying the focus of Montana TEA Party Republicans in the legislature on frivolous, anti-worker, unnecessary and hypocritical bills instead of jobs.

In Billings, Republicans raise hypocrisy to art form:

The governor proposes a balanced budget; Republicans counter with $497 million in cuts, but then increase their own per diem expenses. They vehemently oppose health care reform, but then enhance their own personal health insurance benefits. They propose business tax reductions, but underfund education, thereby increasing college tuition and forcing us to raise taxes through local school mill levies.

In Helena, Actions, rhetoric don’t match

In its rhetoric, the Republican Party claims to be the party of small government. The reality — at least as reflected in bills proposed in the Montana Legislature this session — suggests something else. Among the Republican proposals are several bills that intrude on privacy rights and individual liberties, including ones to require unnecessary medical tests (ultrasounds before abortions) and mandatory counseling (for couples seeking divorce). Other Republican-sponsored bills seek to take local control away from municipalities (overturning Missoula’s nondiscrimination ordinance) and from school districts.

In Butte, Sales opinion Tea Party spin

Americans for Prosperity and its hyped populist Tea Party, was started by the oil industry billionaire Koch Brothers of Koch industries, along with Rupert Murdoch who owns FOX News, and other lesser multimillionaires according to Using such secretive front groups as AFP, these extreme right wing elites are engaged in a well-planned strategy to destroy unions, the presidency and the environment.

Even the Great Falls Tribune editorial page got in on the action:

We’ll close today with a 10-point code that we think ought to be the dominant topic in the Capitol right now:

Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.