Monthly Archives: July 2011

Killing Jobs

Congressman Rehberg is on the front lines when it comes to killing Montana jobs, this time in Billings and Eastern Montana.

And he’s getting another spanking in the Billings Gazette this week for it, because he and other Congressional Republicans, who refused to fund air safety services, are putting Eastern Montana jobs at risk–and have already cost the federal Government more than $200 million in revenue.

This revenue is money that was slated to pay for major airport construction projects like a runway construction project in Billings, which would create more construction jobs.  You don’t have to be a genius to know that a better airport is an incentive to businesses who would relocate to Montana.  Congressman Rehberg, you should listen to the Gazette:

Let’s not sacrifice Glendive’s only airline service in this political fight. Let’s not sacrifice jobs.

Something’s Rotten

The shadow group Western Traditions Partnership’s defense of Exxon after the Yellowstone River oil spill and its adulation for candidates defending the oil giant are raising eyebrows in Montana.

News reports indicate that WTP, which now calls itself American Traditions Partnership after it came to light that it was based in Washington D.C., rather than the west, appears to be coming very close to stumping for Dan Kennedy–something they shouldn’t be doing.

The national newspaper the Washington Independent is reporting that the executive director of WTP earlier this month:

flew to the site of ExxonMobil’s Yellowstone River pipeline spill to praise the cleanup response by the oil and gas giant and to laud the efforts of state Rep. Dan Kennedy.
“State Rep. Dan Kennedy, whose home is at the center of the incident, should be commended for his efforts to coordinate response with the local community and involve local workers in the ongoing cleanup efforts,” ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson said in a press release. “I am very impressed with ExxonMobil’s response to this [oil pipeline] release.”

Hmmm.  Rep. Dan Kennedy (R-Laurel) comes out for Exxon, and WTP comes in to “laud his efforts.”  Maybe Ferguson was aware at some of how bad this looks, because he put this disclaimer at the end of his laudatory remarks:

“Donald Ferguson has paid for this trip out of his own pocket, and did not come at the request of any official or company.”

I wonder if Fergeson intended this disclaimer to distance his actions from Exxon, or from WTP?

Since WTP won’t disclose their donors, we don’t know if Exxon paid WTP with a secret donation rather than an outright contract.  WTP claims to work on “education” not getting candidates elected, and as to the question of whether WTP is stumping for Fergeson, how much does it matter if he “paid for it out of his own pocket” when he is the director, spokesperson, and figurehead of WTP, from whence he presumably draws his salary?

WTP is the lead plaintiff in the legal challenge to Montana’s ban on corporate spending for candidates.  They tout their organization’s secrecy as a benefit of giving them money and have been under fire for corruption in Montana and other states.  Montana TEA Party legislator Art Wittich (R-TEA Bozeman) is said to be the new local figurehead for the entity.

Daines Has More Trouble Figuring Out What to Do

Steve Daines has had trouble figure out what office he was running for.  Now, he can’t figure out his position on the most important issue currently facing the office he seeks.

This past January, Congressional candidate Steve Daines went on record at the Bitterroot Pachyderm luncheon promising, “that he would not approve an increase in the debt ceiling.”  Today, Daines has flipped his stance on the issue.

For months, Steve Daines’s campaign website asked followers to “add your name now to the petition to tell Congress to vote ‘NO’ to raising the ceiling on the national debt.”  That petition has disappeared, but here’s a screenshot:

Daines No Debt Limit Increase Petition


Daines now advocates Speaker Boehner’s plan to increase the debt ceiling, a complete reversal from his original position.

Franke Wilmer’s campaign caught the discrepancy, noting in a press release that Daines

“first agreed with the Tea Party and wanted America to default on our debt, now he agrees with Boehner and wants to cut Social Security and Medicare before raising the ceiling.”


Miller Campaign Touts GOP Primary Poll Results

The Ken Miller for Governor campaign today released polling results which they say shows “the Republican field tightening and Miller holding a very competitive position against Rick Hill.”

Information about the poll by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies, which was an autodial survey of 676 likely GOP primary voters, and its toplines and crosstabs can be found here, along with a press release from the polling firm itself. 

In the Ken Miller campaign email, which was sent to supporters (and is pasted below the fold), Miller writes:

We shared that Ken Miller is a family farmer, small businessman, and a grassroots conservative, and Rick HIll is an insurance company executive, former Congressman, and an establishment moderate. After providing this information, respondents chose Ken Miller with 61% over 14% for Rick Hill and 25% undecided.

Of course, that’s comparing Hill’s negatives with Miller’s positives.  Miller also points out that the poll shows Miller and Hill are the race’s frontrunners.

Interestingly, the one negative that they didn’t test (or at least they didn’t release) is the one Miller’s campaign is suspected of shopping around.


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Dennis Rehberg’s “Welfare” May Be Holdup of House Debt Bill

Did anyone catch this little gem from The Hill this afternoon?  House conservatives are apparently up in arms over Pell Grant funding in John Boehner’s budget-slashing bill.  As of this posting, Boehner has delayed a vote on his bill, and sources say it’s because he doesn’t have the votes to pass it.

Why?  According to The Hill, it may be because “conservatives who have stalled legislation to raise the national debt limit are angry that it includes $17 billion in supplemental spending for Pell Grants, which some compare to welfare.”

Yes, Pell Grants.  And yes, we can thank our own esteemed millionaire Congressman for the “welfare” reference.

After calling Pell Grants the “welfare of the 21st Century” this spring, Dennis Rehberg tried to take back his words… by comparing Pell Grants to welfare again.

He’s going to need a better explanation than that no matter how he votes on the Republicans’ Medicare-cutting budget bill.

“Concerned Women” Concerned About Very Important Stuff

Stacy Rogge-Senterfeit, Co-Chair of Women for Tester, this week shined a light on another out-of-state shadow group called “Concerned Women for America,” which is spending another $200,000 on TV ads attacking Tester’s record of tax cuts for middle class families, responsible decisions and common sense spending cuts.  The group does not reveal its donors.

“The Concerned Women for America,” as your women friends will surely tell you, is only the most important women’s policy group in America (after Curves of course).

But for those not yet familiar with the highly credible organization, according to the watchdog group Right Wing Watch,  the Concerned Women for America are, rightly, concerned that health care reform violates each and every single one of the Ten Commandments, that gays are discriminatory bullies who hate American democracy, that climate change science is a conspiracy against poor people, and that President Obama wants communists to control America’s children.

Anyway, here’s a PDF fact check for the Concerned Women for America ad.


Rehberg Brings in the Moonies to His Defense

Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s political brinkmanship and refusal to compromise to avert a national economic crisis has brought a barrage of constituent email that crashed the congressional website and switchboard, a scathing editorial from Montana’s most-read newspaper, and hundreds of critical Facebook posts from the people of Montana.

Problem is, his actions are so ridiculous that the only people he could find to come to his defense are the Moonies.  In his angry rant against the Billings Gazette for daring to point out the problems with his actions, Rehberg cites…wait for it…the Washington Times.  Not familiar with this paper? You wouldn’t be unless maybe you were a Moonie.

The Washington Times is founded by the Moonies and has been kept on a close leash by the Moonie staff:

The Washington Times is a daily broadsheet newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. It was founded in 1982 by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, and until 2010 was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with the church….

In July 2010 international leaders of the Unification Church issued a letter protesting the direction the Times was taking and urging closer ties between it and the church.[41] In August 2010, a deal was made to sell the Times to a group more closely related to the church. Editor-in-chief Sam Dealey said that this was a welcome development among the Times’ staff.

UPDATE: D. Gregory Smith at the excellent blog From Eternity to Here has a good take on this too.  Go read it here.

Finally, It All Makes Sense

Dennis Rehberg and the Montana Legislature are peas in a pod...a pod of crazy.Millionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg has been voting to kill Medicare and Social Security in Washington DC because he’s taking advice from Republicans in the Montana Legislature.

You remember them – the “leaders” who responded to Montana’s economic challenges with theatrics like the spear hunting bill?  They just wrote a letter to Congressman Rehberg pushing him to follow their economic policies.

Congressman Rehberg–who has voted to increase the debt ceiling nine times (yes, NINE TIMES) —is more than willing to listen to extremists who had more success embarrassing Montana than actually creating jobs.

Here’s more of what Congressman Rehberg’s council of economic advisors in the state legislature have in store for Montana:

The Gold Standard – Congressman Rehberg can expect to get a letter asking him to replace US dollars with gold any day now.  Rep. Bob Wagner (of CNN fame) introduced a bill that could force Montanans to pay their rent with gold.

Cracking Down on DUI Laws – Rep. Alan Hale told Montanans that DUI laws “are not doing small businesses in our state any good.”  Congressman Rehberg has had his own brush with drinking-related accidents, so he might be willing to listen if Rep. Hale asked for help in “reigning in” DUI laws.

Tax Breaks for Millionaires – Legislative Republicans voted to protect tax breaks for millionaires, while gutting education and health care for Montanans. Congressman Rehberg has already thought of this one, but as a millionaire, he wouldn’t need much prodding to vote himself another tax cut.

Raising Tuition for College Students – Just like Congressman Rehberg—who thinks Pell Grants are ‘welfare’—Republicans in the state legislature voted to raise tuition on college students.

Exxon PAC Gives Rehberg $10,000 in 2011

As one of Big Oil’s most loyal defenders, millionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg raked in plenty of campaign cash from the nation’s most profitable oil companies.  Now, it has come to light that one of the contributors was ExxonMobil’s Political Action Committee, which has so far given $10,000 to Rehberg in 2011.

How are the landowners that live along the Yellowstone oil spill people supposed to believe that Rehberg is on their side when he’s taking this kind of money from Exxon.  (And this year is all we know about, though I imagine someone will look into his past donations from Exxon soon.)  Rehberg is known for voting for big oil.  As the Montana Conservation Voters point out,

The oil giant’s pipeline burst near Laurel on July 1st and spewed out 42,000 some gallons of oil pollution into the Yellowstone River.  As,  On July 13th Rehberg voted for dirty water legislation (H.R. 2018) in the U.S. House, which undermines protections of our nation’s water ways.


Rehberg also voted to keep subsidies for big oil in spite of the fact that the leadership of Rehberg’s own party in the House has repeatedly pointed out that the oil industry doesn’t need the subsidies.

MT Legislature Named in Top 10 Craziest, But Refuses To Settle For Anything but Number 1

Welcome to the land of nutters, the Montana Legislature.After it was revealed that the nuttiest of nutmegs in the Montana Legislature have only been rated number seven among the Top Ten Craziest State Legislatures in America today, Montana Republicans realized that anything but first place in this category just wasn’t good enough for them.

That’s when they decided to put a gun to their collective heads and eagerly pulled the trigger with their support of a constitutional amendment to force massive gutting of Medicare and Social Security.

After all, how else could they top all the good ideas they wanted to pass during the session like the gold standard, selling off the national parks, nullifying federal laws, and lifting the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons in bars, churches, and banks.  

The majority of the tea-bagging wing of the Montana Legislature (see the list here) did themselves proud in the crazy category  today by simply admitting what the establishment wing of the Far-Right has been too modest to speak of in broad daylight:  Their support for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution to destroy Medicare, destroy Social Security, and leave 80% of the country to go off and die alone in old age, as soon as they’re no longer able to stand and greet us at the door of Walmart.

The impetus behind this move is to elect more TEA baggers into office by making this amendment part of a debt ceiling deal, then claiming that anyone who votes against their proposal loves unlimited deficits–when everyone knows that the deficits were caused by the Bush tax cuts and two unpaid for wars.  (Of course, the move will also help them secure the top spot in the national crazy legislature scene.)

Jeff Essmann, Denny Rehberg, and the Republicans who signed this must surely be proud of their perseverance, their striving to win, and most of all for their endorsement of cuts to Medicare  and social security–willingly making their own reelections more difficult now that Democrats might use their signatures against them in the campaign.

Those not signing up against Medicare and Social Security?

Tom Berry, Mark Blasdel, Ron Ehli,  John Esp, Roy Hollandsworth, Brian Hoven, Harry Klock,  Steve Lavin, Walter McNutt, Sterling Small, Max Yates and every Democratic member of the House and Senate.