Monthly Archives: November 2011

Flathead Republicans Save Democracy By Burning It Down

A Flathead citizens group this week released their analysis of an official county survey to decide who will control zoning in the outskirts of the city of Whitefish – the city, or the county.  It’s not good.

After the election switched control of the Whitefish City Council from conservative to progressive, the bigwigs on the Flathead County Commission (all Republicans) announced that the results of an official county government survey put them in charge of the outskirts of the city of Whitefish, not the city council:

“This points us in the direction to go,” Flathead County Commissioner Jim Dupont told the [Whitefish] Pilot. “The doughnut residents have spoken about what they want.”

The official government survey results came out in favor of the Republican County Commissioners by a 3-1 margin. Problem is, the county didn’t survey the “residents.” Rather, they only asked certain people.  Oh, and also some corporations. They asked those who owned property in the area–some of whom didn’t actually reside in the area at all. Some people got multiple votes. If you resided in the area, but didn’t make enough to own property, well, you weren’t allowed to voice your opinion.  According to a citizens group who analyzed the survey results, “less than half, 47%, of the survey cards mailed out went to people who actually live in the two-mile area around Whitefish, while another 53% went to people who don’t even live in Whitefish.”

How did the Republicans do this?  If you don’t call it an election,  you don’t have to follow those silly election laws.  Because some people hate our freedom, you know. And if we had allowed the democratic process to move forward by actually giving all residents equal voice, the freedom haters would have won!  Or so must have gone the sane and rational thought process of these Republicans. It all makes so much sense, I think my head might explode.

Citizens for a Better Flathead compiled some fun facts about some of the more unique aspects of this alternative to voting.

Some individuals received multiple ballots simply because their address had been spelled two different ways in the county’s list. For example, a person whose address includes the word “Highway” would have received two surveys, one to a “Highway” address and one to a “Hwy” address. Some 185 different corporations got at least one vote and many multiple votes.

So this is an exciting new electoral implementation of the Republican view that corporations are obviously people.

The citizens made a chart that detailed who got to vote in this election who received the survey and also noted some interesting data from the Flathead County Elections Office:

Registered voters in the two-mile area around the City of Whitefish in 2010, according to the County Elections Office 1916
Total surveys sent, according to Flathead County 3235
Total # of addresses receiving multiple surveys 1614
Greatest # of surveys for one address  58
# of addresses that received 3 or more opportunities to vote  840
# of couples who received only one ballot Many—not yet counted but estimated as high as 1/4 of list
# of corporations that got one or more votes 185
# of surveys sent to Whitefish addresses 1481
# of surveys sent to other Montana addresses 432
# of surveys sent to out-of-state addresses in the USA 933
# of surveys sent to out-of-country addresses 325

Unfortunately, the irregularities don’t stop there, the citizens inconveniently point out:

The county says they mailed out 3235 “surveys,” but the receipt from the business that did the mailing doesn’t match that total.  The mailing service includes a record for 3,080 post cards…168 more postcards than the county reports were mailed.  Additionally, an unidentified county mailing of 100 pieces was sent out of the country on October 21, 2011…One address received 58 [surveys] and another received 39 survey cards to vote with.

Anyway, the Republicans are very pleased that the survey turned out the desired results, so it should be counted as a total success. I predict some lucrative consulting opportunities in Zimbabwe are about to open up for these county commissioners, as the entire enterprise was a great proving ground for techniques that could certainly be used elsewhere.  They should get in touch with Republican PSC Commissioner Brad Molnar to find out how he started his consulting work in Moldova or whatever.


Livingstone Tried to Get Qaddafi to Hire Him, for $10 Million

In one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of Montana gubernatorial campaigns, GOP candidate Neil Livingstone last week was revealed by the New York Times to have sent a letter to Muammar Qaddafi, offering, for the small price of $10,000,000, to help Qaddafi escape Libya and relocate safely.

Alas, Qaddafi should have taken Livingstone’s offer because Gaddafi is now in a meat locker.

The letter obtained by the New York Times is signed by three people including Livingstone, making the offer to the Qaddafi family.  Here is an excerpt from the NY Times story:

Even as NATO bombed Libya, the Americans [Livingstone and his associates] offered to make Col.Muammar el-Qaddafi their client — and charge him a hefty consulting fee. Their price: a $10 million retainer before beginning negotiations with Colonel Qaddafi’s representatives.

“The fees and payments set forth in this contract are MINIMUM NON-REFUNDABLE FEES,” said the draft contract, with capital letters for emphasis. “The fees are an inducement for the ATTORNEYS AND ADVISORS to take the case and nothing else.”

Neil C. Livingstone, 65, the terrorism specialist and consultant, said he helped put together the deal after hearing that one of Colonel Qaddafi’s sons, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, was interested in an exit strategy for the family. But he and his partners were not going to work for free, Mr. Livingstone said.

“We were not an eleemosynary organization,” he said.

Mr. Livingstone, a television commentator and prolific author who moved home to Montana this year to try a run for governor, said he had long been a vocal critic of Colonel Qaddafi and was briefly jailed by his government on a visit to Libya in the 1970s. The goal of the consulting deal, he insisted, was not to save Colonel Qaddafi but to prevent a bloodbath in Libya by creating a quick way out for the ruler and his family.


First, what the heck is an eleemosynary organization? (I mean, come on.)

Second, what kind of idiot would do this type of thing while actively laying the groundwork for a bid for Governor? Did Livingstone honestly believe that this activity would never be exposed?  I mean, even those who are raising money for Livingstone now appear tainted.  A piece in the Huffington Post last week dings former Republican Senator from Florida George Lemieux for hosting a fundraiser for Livingstone.

Needless to say, my inbox was flooded over the weekend with e-mails from anti-Livingstone folks, nudging me to write about this.  Which is another strange aspect of this story.  To date, not a single Montana newspaper except the Flathead Beacon has written about this crazy business.   Pogie at Intelligent Discontent also has a great post up on the scandal here.

The best part about the letter is that it is signed “Your obedient servant.”  Now if that doesn’t qualify you to be the GOP nominee for governor, I don’t know what does.

As I reported two weeks ago, Livingstone’s campaign is already pretty much dormant, and broke.  So it’s not likely that this development would change anything on the ground.  But I’m personally hoping that he can turn it around. With a little luck, maybe one of Qaddafi’s relatives will come to Montana to do a fundraiser for him.



A Brief History of the 2016 Presidential Election

I got this from a tipster last week.  It’s an in-depth, day by day simulation of the 2016 election season, all the way from Iowa and New Hampshire through the entire primary season through the convention, all the way to election night in November 2016, in which a Schweitzer-Manchin (W.Va) ticket loses narrowly to Christie-Rubio ticket.

Good stuff.;wap2

Political Quick Hits

Back in the National News

Rob Kailey at Left in the West this week highlights
 just what kind of wackos the fringe elements in Montana have attracted. It’s a must read, especially given the fact that Chuck Baldwin understands very well he his chances of becoming Governor. So is the latest piece by James Conner at the Flathead Memo.  It’s a takedown of Baldwin’s introductory statements to Montana voters that the leaders of the old confederacy weren’t racists, and were people who Baldwin holds “in the highest regard.”   In yesterday’s Daily Inter Lake,

Baldwin makes clear the Fanning-Baldwin political strategy in a field of nine gubernatorial candidates.

“The pie is going to be sliced mighty thin, and in Montana, there is no run-off in the primaries. That means, whoever gets the most votes — no matter what the percentage — wins,” Baldwin wrote. “It is very conceivable, therefore, that the winner will receive far less than 30 percent of the votes. Do you see the opportunity Bob and I have in this election?”

As a former presidential candidate, he poses a real threat to the candidates running for Governor, most of which have never run for statewide office before.  Even those who have, such as Hill, or have some national media experience, such as Livingstone, face losing home turf to Baldwin, who is also from the Flathead.


This Is Embarrassing

Apparently flying a giant flag above a furniture store isn’t good enough for veterans to support Ken Miller.

After at least two months with a “Veterans for Miller” page up, (which can be seen here) he still only has one supporter.  Maybe that’s because unlike Steve Bullock, who has a record of helping Veterans, Ken Miller has only ever flown a flag.


 Sour Grapes

One angry loser in the recent Whitefish City elections was Rick Blake, who in an odd parting shot at the winning slate of candidates, hurled the tax and spend label, then bragged that he had spent an eye-popping $22,786 attempting to defeat the winners.

New Ad Pressures Rehberg on Medicare, Medicaid Cuts

A new ad campaign goes up today pressuring TEA Party Congressman Dennis Rehberg not to cut Medicare or Medicaid, which are clearly on the Super Committee chopping block, Roll Call reports. It starts today in Billings and Missoula airing through the week. Here’s the ad:

You can watch it on youtube here.

Tom McMahon, Executive Director of Americans United for Change, the group behind the ad says:

“They say an elephant never forgets but these Republicans in Congress clearly have forgotten that the economy needs to work for everyone. No matter how they frame the cuts, Rep. Denny Rehberg and his Republicans colleagues need to realize that slashing Medicare and Medicaid will do nothing to create jobs. And you better believe Montana residents will remember those cuts. Asking our seniors and those who can least afford it to bear the burden while millionaires continue to enjoy the privilege of tax breaks – as Republicans have a history of doing – not only doesn’t make fiscal sense but it’s just cruel. It’s time for the GOP to remember their constituents and not just those that line their campaign coffers.”

Here’s the script:

SCRIPT: I’ll Remember

ANNCR:  If you vote to cut Medicare, Congressman Rehberg – I will remember it every time I visit my doctor.


ANNCR:  I’ll remember you cut Medicare and Medicaid every time I fill a prescription

ANNCR:   I’ll remember you cut Medicare if I fall down, or get hurt

ANNCR:  I’ll remember you chose protecting millionaires over protecting my health.

My friends will remember it too – all of them.

ANNCR:  Call Congressman Rehberg.

Tell him to protect Medicare and Medicaid