Republican Calls for Less Food for Montanans in Need

Happy Holidays from TEA Party Republican State Representative Tom Burnett, of Bozeman.

To celebrate the spirit of the season,  Burnett has penned a bizarre 53-page treatise on his beliefs that we should cut food for needy families. In “Hunger in America: The Myth,” which has been making the email rounds this week, Burnett writes that hunger doesn’t exist because he hasn’t seen it:

No advocates parade a line of emaciated children at any school or playground. They just can’t be found.

But that’s not the only reason Representative Burnett has come to the conclusion that no one is really going hungry.  He also bases his case on…wait for it…pictures of fat people he found on the internet (see right), which he includes in his article as “evidence.” More Burnett this guy naked?

Burnett has apparently decided to decided to ignore the studies showing the increased risk of obesity among the nation’s poor, who must rely on cheap starchy and higher fat foods to feed their families.  A box of mac and cheese will last on the shelf a lot longer than a cucumber.
In addition to claiming that hunger doesn’t exist.  He also sanely tells us that not being hungry “kills,”

Hunger is a normal part of a healthy person’s day. One should expect to be hungry six hours per day, the two hours preceding each meal. Satiety kills.

He proposes to create a massive federal food police bureaucracy to crack down on the poor to stop them from buying items that Burnett feels they don’t deserve. Those in need, says Burnett are characterized by “Indolence. Shirking responsibility. Indulgence. Enabled laziness.”

They don’t budget or plan. Lack of foresight is common in this population. They don’t restrain their impulses, one of the definitions of management problems. They don’t discipline themselves to stay in school, to turn in their homework, to get out of bed on time, to study when they’d rather watch movies.

There have been attempts by Republicans in Congress and the Montana Legislature to slash the budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but this just might be the oddest attempt to make the case.

Meanwhile, Congressional candidate and State Representative Franke Wilmer is working to shed light on the issue and those Americans suffering the most in these harsh economic times. Wilmer has been living off of $31.50 worth of food ($4.50 per day), the average weekly benefit the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program provides to help hungry people in need to buy food.

Don’t expect this kind of compassion from Tom Burnett, who has only stern advice to hungry Montanans. Here it is:

Nine kids. One income, a teacher’s income. Federal Poverty Level.

Work 17-hour days. Expect little entertainment.
Work a full-time job, seasonal jobs, and home businesses.
No whining.
Get out of bed early. Stay out of bed and off the couch.
Glean potatoes, apples. Gather wild berries. Hunt.
When conditions allow, raise a garden. Raise rabbits, a calf, geese, chickens.
Slaughter. Butcher.
Can, dry, freeze and store food.
Cook from scratch. Use basic ingredients; flour, rice, beans, vegetables.
Cook in large batches. Goulash, Spanish rice, soups, stews, pan muffins, fried or baked potatoes, pancakes, waffles, bread, casseroles. Hot cereal is cheap. Boil wheat.
Plan ahead. Budget. Stretch a budget. Never buy junk food, prepared food.
Avoid fast food and restaurants.
Never waste a morsel. Keep and serve later. Meld into future dishes.
Refuse government aid, free school lunch, church charity.
Lunch: One peanut butter and honey sandwich, four carrot sticks, an apple.
Expect occasional hunger.
Fast two meals per month. Give money saved to “the poor” through the church.
Glean tomatoes and beans on the church welfare farm, “for the poor.”
Forego other spending. Wear undershirts until holes gape. Shop for clothes at the thrift store.
Never waste money on drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or electronic entertainment.
The dignity of self-reliance is not cheap. It is priceless.


35 Comments on "Republican Calls for Less Food for Montanans in Need"

  1. What an asshole.
    I guess, according him, no one ever needs help from time to time… And no-one that uses stamps (consider the elderly) ever uses them wisely.

    I so tire of the, “I did it all myself” sentiment from these idiots. The hypocrisy is just overwhelming….

  2. One wishes his constituents would hunger for a reality based representative.

    • They did, for the most part. But as with the rest of the state, voter turnout was slightly depressed in HD 63 among left-leaners, and in this case somewhat elevated among the TeaPublicans. Tom played heavily on the goodwill still extended towards his parents (speaking of being “self-reliant”) and he only won the race by about 75 votes.

  3. I’d like to see him live off the junk you can afford to buy on food stamps

  4. One needn’t guess here. According to Tom people do need help every now and then, and that help should always come from church community.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but what Tom is preaching (and preaching it is) is a Mormon homily. It’s the same backwards thinking that following the commandments of others is “self-reliance” and will lead one to “dignity”. The insidious part of Tom’s advice is that some of it is very good. What makes it truly awful is the assumption that it works to formula. Tom Tomorrow had a little something to say about that. And at the risk of being bigoted, I am very amused by the thought that Tom’s Holy Under Garments get worn until they have ‘gaping holes’. (One would think the Armor of God a bit more durable.)

    I won’t even begin to touch the rampant sexism inherent in Tom’s little 53 page dictate. Perhaps someone else wants to take up that challenge?

  5. Okay, so I’m feeling a little petty about this, but I did find it surprising that Tom doesn’t see emaciated people around. Have you ever seen the guy? He could be Max Schreck’s brother from Murnau’s Nosferatu.

  6. A lot of people live off of food stamps and they eat pretty well. America is the only country in the world where poor people are fat.

    • Wow. Two sentences, and neither of them are true. Do you care to offer some support for your claims, or any evidence at all?

      a) Define “well”. Eating a lot of garbage calories does not equal adequate food intake. Poor people eat a lot of garbage calories. There are very poor, very fat, very unhealthy people in China because they “glean” (Tom’s word) rice and eat as much as they can get.

      b) “Poor people” are not all fat. Some are, some aren’t. That is universal around the globe. Take a look at Mexico.

      c) Are you really silly enough to set the bar so low that Americans have to look like starving Rawandans before we think we may have a problem? Do you, as your comment suggests, really want the USA to achieve third world status before you will acknowledge a need among your fellow country-folk?

    • Obesity is not caused by eating well, quite the opposite.

  7. Gleaning is Bible speak for dumpster diving. Back in the day, (before there were dumpsters) the benevolent rich would let the peasants come on their property and pick up the garbage produce that they wouldn’t feed to their goats.

    This is big in Mormon doctrine.

  8. Holy Shit, Tom sits around hungry for 2 hours before he eats. Maybe he should try eating more starch and corn syrup.

    Here are a couple quotes from Mr. Burnett highlighted on

    “Food Stamp millionaires feel no shame taking handouts”

    “Food Stamps are (57%) a waste of money”

  9. Yeah, I’m sure my landlord is going to let me “raise a calf” in my apartment! Great idea Tom Burnett! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that before!

  10. Here is a link to the report <a href="; online

    The dems just put out a response:

    For Immediate Release:
    December 2, 2011

    State Rep. Burnett Joins Rehberg in GOP War on School Lunch
    Echoing Rehberg’s accusations of fraud in school lunch, Republican state rep has harsh words for the program

    Helena, Mont. — State Rep. Tom Burnett has delivered the latest blow in Montana Republicans’ war against school lunch, claiming that “Expanded free school lunch is unwarranted” in a self-released ‘report’ called “Hunger in America: the Myth”

    The Bozeman Tea Party Republican wants to stop school lunch expansion because he believes “Poor kids, those qualified for free lunch, throw away more food than those that pay full price” [p. 13 of the same ‘report’].

    In early October, Congressman Dennis Rehberg interrogated school officials with similar accusations of waste, fraud and abuse in the Montana school lunch program:

    Rehberg asked [his sister and school district official Brenda Koch] pointed questions about fraud and whether families ever dupe the free and reduced-price meal system.

    Koch explained that each year, a random sample of families who sign up and qualify are audited by the district to make sure they meet the income guidelines.

    On top of that, she said, the district is audited by the state every year on how its Title I dollars are spent.

    “Congressman Rehberg and Rep. Burnett’s attacks on school lunch for poor students are completely irresponsible and out of touch,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party. “But sadly these attacks are not surprising, given the increasingly extreme direction of the same Montana Republican Party that insists on giving tax breaks to millionaires, while turning their backs on Medicare and Pell Grants.”

    Unusual initiatives like Congressman Rehberg and Rep. Burnett’s investigations into school lunch “fraud” have gained national attention and raised concerns:

    HEADLINE: Tea Party Vision for Montana raising concerns “Their state would be a place where officials can ignore U.S. laws, force FBI agents to get a sheriff’s OK before arresting anyone, ban abortions . . . and create armed citizen militias. It’s the tea party world. But not everyone is buying their vision.” [AP, 2/24/11]
    HEADLINE: National media focuses on Montana Legislature “Bills put forth in this session of the Legislature have attracted attention, ranging from videos posted on YouTube of testimony in committees, to mock-conservative comedian Steven Colbert joking on “The Colbert Report” about a Montana House bill declaring that greenhouse gases are not harmful and that global warming is a natural phenomenon that is beneficial to Montana. ” [Havre Daily News, 3/18/11]
    HEADLINE: Session watchers weigh in on the Montana Legislature “I think it’s really radical – a very radical session,” [University of Montana political science professor Jim Lopach] said. So far conservatives made aggressive moves to cut spending, roll back long-standing environmental regulations and defy the federal government on issues ranging from health care reform to the execution of federal search warrants.

  11. This man is a geniues. Maybe when he is done solving Montana’s problems he can go cure hunger in Africa too.

  12. He forgot to add that we should force poor people to eat their pets. Unless that’s included under “Butcher and slaughter” above.

  13. American kids are too fat to enter the military to carry out the GOP energy policy, which is to fight oil wars for the rest of this century. So cut off the food supply and end child labor laws and put ’em to work so they’ll get in shape to be cannon fodder.
    Oh, and don’t forget the tax cuts.

  14. Republican Slogan
    “Humans, a renewable resource.”

    Cowgirl, Thanks for adding me to the Blog Roll.

  15. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | December 2, 2011 5:42 PM at 5:42 PM |

    St. Tom the Bashit! Oh my GAWD! What a freaknin’ coincidence! You see, I was diggn’ through my neighbor’s garden lookin’ for leftover pataters, when suddenly all of a sudden, I SEEN’em! Some golden tablets just layin’ there in the dirt. So’s I grabbed’em UP and took a close look at them.

    They was written in a lingo I’d never seen before, but somehow’s, I was able to unnerSTAND it! And it was the lost chapter from the book of mormon, the Book of Baloni! (pronounced baloneye(

    And what a book it is! It’s kinda like what ol’ Tom the Batshit is talkin’ about, ‘cept that this book deals with sex and morality! YIKES!

    But anyway’s, here goes my exact translation. I’m sure that St. Tom the Batshit would approve.

    Chap. I, ver. I: Too much nookie is as bad as a cookie! Sex is ONLY for procreation! And one must not take ANY pleasure in the act, for that will make one lazy, indolent, redolent, and corpulent. AND, one will be suckcumbing to one’s baser urgers. Oh sure, you mightest burn a few calories, but it is not worth the moral turpitude. Glean some turnips instead.

    Ver. II: Don’t touch your baloney thus spoketh Moroni! Young men have urges, but one must NOT give into temptation. Oh sure, one will be horny 24/7, but that is only natural and buildth character. One must NOT debaseth oneself by chokingst thy fowl or floggingst thy mule.

    Ver. III: Don’t look at porn, go glean some corn! It is better to glean thy corn than glean thy porn! Find a suitable actitivity that requireth strenous excerise to taketh thy mind of copulation, fornication, and masturbation.

    Ver. IV: Too much beer and you might turn queer! Avoid the devil’s spirits and fermentation to keep yourself righteeous and pure.

    Ver. V: Cheaper by the dozen so marry your cousin! Taketh many wives, or in other words, glean from your own team thus spaketh Baloni. It is best to marry from within your own clan when virgins are of age.

    Wow! Was I blown away by this unkown Book of Baloni! But I was particularly struck by the last verse which is very apropos to St. Tom the Batshit, and that one is,

    Ver. VI: Thus spaketh Baloni, the more ruffage one eats, the more one SHITS!

    Methinks that St. Tom the Batshit has been eating just a wee bit too much ruffage!!

  16. The photo on the left, I am quite sure, is either champ edmunds, james knox, steve gallus or jeff essman.

  17. Burnett wants to be Newt’s running mate

    I took mt neighbor for her box at the food bank, 5% of it was vegetables, no fruit, lots of Bread and processed foods like “Cooking Cream”…..

  18. This comes from a guy who gets health insurance from the state of Montana.

  19. off topic…again…
    but while the cat sniffs local personality issues…
    the rats in washing-down are cementing a foundational stone for a big surprise to homer amelika….
    in case you haven’t seen anything about sb1867…
    here’s a very optimistic view of the first step to much bigger things:

    • rleeh, you make the same bogus error that many on both right and left make. You assume that others can hold only one thought at a time. You assume that if a blogger or commenters do not feature your pet issue, then they are somehow unaware of what’s going on. You are, not remarkably, wrong. To willfully post off-topic comments is generally insulting to the readership. Most won’t say so, but I’m not very bashful. I will. The NDAA has been well and poorly written about on the Intertubes, and has been featured by many on the links you will find to the right side of your screen.

      This is a blog about Montana politics. The NDAA affects Montana but is not the focus around these parts, nor do you have the right to demand that it be so. I’m not trying at all to be insulting, but if this issue is so very important to you that you feel compelled to post off-topic comments about it, then I suggest it’s time you get your own blog.

      • The only way I know rleeh is off topic is when rleeh says so in plain English. Which isn’t every often. Most of the time I find arleeh’s comments incomprehensible as drunken poetry.

        But I do agree with Kailey: time for arleeh to get arleeh’s own blog.

      • sorry to disturb the meditative state here.
        surely if one of us gets carted off (of course that will never happen in a free country like ours though a few japanese amelikans might contest the claim)…
        everybody else will post bail…
        oh, wait…
        there won’t be any bail…
        but there will be some ditty about the suit worn by some republicon from the back woods.

  20. There once was an Irish writer by the name of Jonathan Swift, who once recomended that poor Irish Children be ground up and feed to the British wealthy as a new dietary source. Im afraid Tom read this story and took it to heart, he wants to turn your children into hamburger patties, after the mother is denied an abortion, and feed them to his fellow Republicans. But you can rest assured that he will put ketchup and mustard on them, and maybe a Wheat Montana bun.

    • Farmboy, funny that you should mention this! Tom Burnett actually has a blog post touting nullification of child labor laws and using children to pay for Medicare.

      Read “Child Labor Can Save Medicare” here:

      • Our children are simply not doing enough to carry their own weight. They spend their days in those buildings called schools, listening to those idiots called teachers, doing what? I say end all public schools, close them down and schooling should be at home, and besides, we need people at home to get Fedex and UPS packages, who better then the kids. And absoultuly they should be doing labor, and saving our medicare, after all we have to take care of them old geezers somehow? And why should it be the middle generation? I say send the old geezers out in the snow and cold like what the Eskimos did up in the Artic, except now we have turned the Artic into a tropical paridise.

      • To be fair, that blog post mentioned above was facetious, an weak attempt at a Swiftian take on Boomers demanding the same benefits (e.g. pensions, subsidized medical care) that their parents enjoyed, (too bad that ideal was destroyed in the 80s by Reaganites wanting their cake and eating it too).

        This subject thread is pretty disturbing because it harkens back to early Calvinism. My read of this is that we have preserved our own little bit of 16th century Reformation values right here in the heart of Montana.

        I’m so appalled I don’t know what to do with this.

        • Again, at the risk of sounding bigoted, the Mormon religion is ‘very’ Calvinistic … or, as I would call it, formulaic. That always leaves the fall back position.

          ‘God has decided already who to favor or not. If you do what is said to be right, and you end up well favored, then such it was ordained. If you do what is said to be right and end up ill-favored, then others have not done their job to support you, and it is they who are lacking (or leeching). If you do what is not right, then all ill-favor is your own burden. BUY MORMON, and God bless …’

          • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | December 6, 2011 12:04 PM at 12:04 PM |

            Calvinistic??? NO, Rob! You mean Calvin KLEINish!

            “Forego other spending. Wear undershirts until holes gape. Shop for clothes at the thrift store.”

            You see, St. Tom the Batshit is a FASION mogul too! What’s the last thing a good mormon mom says to the kids as they run out the door?

            “Kids, be sure to wear your holey underwear in case you’re hit by a car. We don’t want folks to think we’re jack mormons!”!!!

            And THEN, St. Tom offers one of his famous dietary admonitions for the poor.

            “After a week or two of wearin’ the same skivvies, BOIL them suckers to make a hearty soup!, thereby cleanin’ your skivvies AND gettin’ some nutritiou soup at the same time”!

            That St. Tom the Batshit, he’s quite the ASScetic!

  21. So, this means right wing string bean Tom Burnett was googling naked fat men on the internet. Hmmm. OK.

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