Monthly Archives: June 2011

More Embarrassing Wiki-Moments for Republicans

TEA Partiers Michele Bachmann and Rep. James KnoxFor a party that loves to put itself on the highest pedestal of morality it sure has attracted a lot of dishonest and deceptive politicians and followers.  It appears that attempting to alter or hide the facts of history through Wikipedia is a becoming a major Republican past time.

Unfortunately for Republicans, its not just Wikipedia’s credibility they are damaging, it is their own.

GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, the candidate who (as of this week) is leading among religious conservative voters and Montana Republicans according to the latest polling, was campaigning in Iowa a couple of days ago when she:

told a Fox News reporter that she was proud to be in the town where John Wayne was from, because she embodies his ideals. Unfortunately for her, it turns out that the actor John Wayne was not from Waterloo, but serial killer John Wayne Gacy was.

That’s when Republicans sprang into action to change John Wayne’s birthplace (in Wikipedia) to the Iowa town where John Wayne Gacy was born.  History of course remained unchanged.

But that’s not all, Bachmann’s lack of facts spurred a second round of furious editing this week when she claimed that:

the nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams, was a “founding father,” even though he was just a child when his father, the nation’s second president, signed the Declaration of Independence.

Republicans immediately altered the Quincy Adams’s Wikipedia entry was changed to call him a “founding father.”


Wikipedia Editor Issues Warning to Hill Campaign

This is a story that I have observed unfolding for some time and has now become public after being reported by the Billings Gazette. Rick Hill’s campaign has made a constant effort to remove basic facts about Rick Hill from Hill’s Wikipedia page. For a while, the campaign manager Chuck Denowh (or perhaps someone else with the screen name “cdenowh) was removing facts on a regular basis. The history of what Denowh was removing is all laid out for anyone to see. He was usually removing any reference to Hill’s extramarital affair, something that was well documented in the news when it came to light in the late 90s.

But now a formal warning has been issued by Wikipedia, in bold letters at the top of Hill’s page: “A Major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection to this subject,” the warning says, and goes on to say that the article is no longer reliable and is protected from editing because its viewpoint neutrality has been compromised.

Wikipedia editing is a common thing for political operatives to fiddle with (Conrad Burns’, Brian Schweiter’s and Brad Johnson’s people both were all reported to have been editing their bosses’ pages). But, Hill is trying to remove a basic biographical fact that is a fair-game item in a political race. He is trying to make something (namely, his penis, and the improper use thereof)  disappear, as if it never existed. Generallly not a smart thing in politics.

Scary Types in the Flathead: Realtors Have Some ‘Splaining to Do

A national AP article ran across the country last week, highlighting the right-wing nut-jobs that are gravitating toward the Flathead Valley and particularly Kalispell.

These include Chuck Baldwin, Randy Weaver and a long list of others who are on various watch-lists of human rights groups like Southern Poverty Law Center and Montana Human Rights Network.

But there is a great irony to it all.

The business that suffers most from this trend is real estate. To have a community become known as a haven for lunatics is a sure way to cause real estate prices to suffer.  And the Flathead valley does not need a drag on real estate right now, because the national real estate crash has hurt the Flathead, and hurt ancillary businesses there like wood products and construction and electricians and so on.

The irony? Realtors are partly responsible for the right-wing colonization effort in the Flathead.

For starters, the National Realtors Association had an enormous influence in creating the Montana Tea Party legislature, having spent over $2 million on Montana this past election cycle to get ultra-right-wing Republicans elected in the legislature by blanketing the airwaves with a series of campaign ads about impending taxes.

It brought new faces in the legislature like Derek Skees, who in turn started actively seeking the spotlight for himself and his crazy buddies and causes in the Flathead.  Skees, in fact, was just featured in TIME Magazine, which did a profile about him being the national leader of the nullification movement, headquartered out of the Flathead.   And there have been other disturbing articles in the national press, like the recent Associated Press piece, about how right-wing crazies are getting elected in, and moving to, the Flathead valley.  Not a good way to keep real estate values high.

John Sinrud, Realtors AssociationBut it gets worse.  Right-wing Republican John Sinrud (pictured), the current head of the Northwest Montana Realtors (the major real estate group in the Flathead), is the man who assembled the Western Tradition Partnership, a group that spent roughly $700,000 of secret, unreported funds on the 2010 legislative races (this was in addition to the $2 million that the National Realtors brought in). Sinrud has also been active in county and local races up there as well, something that the NWMR group doesn’t seem to mind at all.

So be careful what you wish for. The Realtors came to the 2010 legislative elections loaded for bear. But they are now being chased by a giant, runaway elephant, and might be regretting having gone hunting at all.

Dennis Rehberg Screws Up Again, Not as ‘Cash Poor’ as First Reported

Congressman Rehberg is trying to hide his wealth from Montana voters.Rehberg tries to "write down" his wealth so he won't have to run as one of the world's richest congressmen.One of the Richest Members of CongressRemember this story about Dennis Rehberg and his claim that the ranch he inherited then subdivided is somehow worth millions less than last year?  As it turns out, Rehberg is not quite as ‘cash poor’ as he first claimed.

Late last week, after the story went away, the millionaire congressman formally corrected  his finance report upping the value of one of his assets — Rehberg Ranch Land & Livestock — from the $500,000-$1 million range to the $1 million-$5 million range.  Read his amendment to his finance report for yourself—it’s online here.

Don’t blow this off as some minor mistake (as Rehberg’s office will surely try to do).  Now matter how he spins it, the fact is Dennis Rehberg’s original accounting was off by up to $4.5 million dollars.

As desperately as he wants to be a workaday Montanan like, well, Jon Tester, Dennis Rehberg just isn’t as “cash poor” and “struggling like everyone else” as he wants us to believe.  He’s trying to hide his wealth so he won’t have to run as one of the richest Congressmen in America.

Dennis Rehberg’s inability to accurately fill out a financial “disclosure” comes on the heels of his last effort to make headlines, when he wrote an amendment that was so bad (allowing tobacco companies to market cigarettes to children), his own party was forced to pull it.

And this guy wants to be a senator?


Worst Political Ad of the Week

This ad against CA Congressional candidate Janice Hahn is being called the most racist, sexist political ad in history. But this is bad on so many levels.  See for yourself. Youtube pulled the ad, but it is available on the video podcast below by The Young Turks.

The video was found to be produced by Ladd Ehlinger for a conservative political group called Turn Right USA, the same people who made this ad.

Damage Control Gone Wrong

Montana Congressman Rehberg

Congressman Rehberg's Lawsuit Against Firefighters is a major problem for his campaign.

Congressman Rehberg, MT-ALRehberg’s recent focus in the media on cracking down on lawsuits against the government is a classic example of abysmal damage control.

Rehberg seems to be attempting to get on the other side of the issue of “lawsuits against the government” by appearing to crack down on them.  By doing so, one presumes, he hopes to neutralize some of  the negative sentiment he dredged up over his own lawsuit against  the Billings, MT firefighters who risked their lives to save his scrub brush. No doubt Rehberg has polling which shows how damaging his lawsuit could be to his U.S. Senate campaign against the popular Jon Tester.

The most recent example of  Rehberg’s behavior can be found in today’s Missoulian, which reports that Rep. Denny Rehberg [is] one of 38 co-sponsors of the Government Litigation Savings Act that’s intended to reform the  Equal Access to Justice Act, which says any government agency that loses a lawsuit to a private individual, group or business must pay the legal costs of the winner.

But for such a practiced practitioner of political games,  Rehberg has violated the cardinal rule of Congressional crisis management: If you don’t have anything to hide, don’t behave like you do.  By signing on to this bill, and pushing it in the press at every opportunity, Rehberg appears overeager– and that is causing his strategy to backfire.  His focus on cracking down on lawsuits against the government is only serving to recall in voters’ minds Rehberg’s own lawsuit against Billings’ city firefighters.

Tester Stands Up for Rape Victims in the Military; Rehberg Thinks Rape Victims Are Lying Sluts

It’s no wonder women are getting behind Jon Tester, who is working hard for women in the quintessential good ol’ boys club (Congress), by backing legislation to better protect victims of sexual assault in the military.

Recent reports show a sharp increase in sexual assaults within the military over the past several years – twice as many service women are raped as women in the general population.

For example, female soldiers deployed overseas are reported to stop drinking water after 7 p.m. to reduce the odds of being raped if they have to use the bathroom at night.  Reports also indicate that many assaults have not been effectively investigated and being a rapist isn’t stopping anyone from receiving the highest military honors.

Tester’s bipartisan Defense Sexual Trauma Response Oversight and Good Governance (STRONG) Act would make make a bunch of changes to help protect women serving our country including providing access to legal counsel and services for sexual assault victims and actually requiring the military to keep investigation records of sexual assaults for the same amount of time required in civilian cases.  More info on the bill is available on Tester’s website, here.

Meanwhile, millionaire  Congressman Dennis Rehberg voted against rape victims when he voted to prevent the following situations from “counting” as rape: women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, minors impregnated by adults, and women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator for fear of being murdered.