Monthly Archives: April 2012

Let Them Eat Chilean Sea Bass

It’s not easy to campaign for Governor of Montana when you haven’t lived here for 40 years.

I’d gotten a tip that Neil Livingstone had begun airing TV ads, and so I went to Youtube to see what I could find.There are no Livingstone TV ads on Youtube, but I found something much, much better.   It is a professionally produced, six minute “official campaign video,” with a voice narration made to sound like it’s a reporter doing an extended news story about a day in the life of the Livingstone-Zinke campaign.

And what a peach it its.


Let’s get right to the climax of the video, and work back from there.  Livingstone, at around the 3:35 mark, states emphatically that he is “a blue collar Republican” and “not a country club Republican.”

Indeed, his wardrobe bears this out. Throughout the video, he is dressed in what appear to be:

– a hounds-tooth brushed suede Ralph Lauren shirt;

– a blue mock turtle-neck merino wool zip-up pullover by Hugo Boss (or maybe its green),

– and a black cashmere weekend sport coat by Prada, with satin arm patches.

At the outset of this comedic six-minute video, the narrator tells us that we should be amazed that this video encompasses a period of time in which Livingstone made “twenty-four campaign stops in three days…a break neck pace that only an international businessman could handle.”

We are then told that the objective of a Livingstone administration will be to “rebuild Montana.” We are also informed that campaign staffers enjoy referring to Livingstone and Zinke as “the dynamic duo.” (The staffers are shown posing for a photo with the candidates. Does anyone recognize them? I would suspect not; they are likely from Washington DC.)

Livingstone is shown getting off his bus and chatting up Montana citizens and business owners.  He is interviewed at intervals, and gives us his usual charismatic discussion of how the state has “too much regulation” and a “terrible business climate” and a “lack of natural resource development” (all of these aspersions being the opposite of reality)

Livingstone says he will “fix” Montana, by developing oil and gas and coal. But he also has a novel new proposal, which he unveils during a visit to a local Butte butcher.  Livingstone proposes that he will  “put traditional moneymakers, like beef, back on the menu.”

“Why shouldn’t Montana beef be popular in Tokyo,” he asks,  “the way Chilean sea bass is in America?”

Livingstone is certainly familiar with Chilean sea bass. In his days as a high-powered lobbyist, Livingstone was known around Washington as “deep mouth,” for his love of fine dining.  The daily newspaper Roll Call once reported that Livingstone had set a world record by eating at the finest restaurant in Washington a total of 88 times in a 57 day period.

Note to Neil: most Montanans have probably never eaten Chilean sea bass.

Speaking of not understanding basic concepts, most of the video is shot in Butte.  I’m not sure if Livingstone understands this, but there aren’t many votes for him to find in Butte. It is a rock-hard Democratic city.

Livingstone also cautions us that beyond the failure of Montana to develop our natural resources and get rid of excessive reguations, there is a far greater threat: grizzly bears. We are shown a photo of a cattle ranch and a few bears which supposedly invaded the ranch to steal the cows’ food. And we are shown a picture of a dead wolf, shot “near a residential area,” we are told.   These are the grave problems facing Montana which the statesman Neil Livingstone will address. And, of course, Livingstone says that “Washington elites” are to blame for these terrible problems.

Washington elites. Hmmm. This is a candidate who is a member of the super-elite, ultra-exclusive “Cosmos Club,” a 130-year-old-social club where Washington’s elite socialites come to play bridge and chess, drink champagne and talk politics.  The club’s dress policy states that “Casual slacks, denim, beachwear, T-shirts, and athletic attire or athletic footwear are not appropriate.” However, blue collar members like Livingstone can take consolation in the fact that “The dress code for male members is relaxed from Memorial Day (last Monday in May) to Labor Day (first Monday in September) when gentlemen are not required to wear a necktie in the Club.”

Also to be seen in this world class video production is a shot of what is supposed to be the Montana Senate, presented to the viewer while the narrator is describing Ryan Zinke’s career as an ace legislator.  There’s only one problem: the Senate chamber seen in the photo is not from the Montana Capitol building, but from some other state.

Nevertheless, this video has gotten an extraordinary reception by the internet viewing public.  The video was posted exactly two months ago.  As of last night (as you can see from my screenshot), the video had been viewed by a total of….twelve people.

A Poem for Republicans

This poem has been making the rounds on email, author unknown. It’s posted here for your reading pleasure.  –Cowgirl

Obama this, Obama that, you’d think he was the devil.
He’s been called everything, even an infidel.

There is no way that just one man could have caused all that trouble,
Wake up my friends, and use your heads, you’re living in a bubble.

Your logic and your facts are wrong, your thinking is askew
The ideas that you’ve got in your heads are stuck like Super Glue.

It does no good to show you facts, you know what you believe
I wonder if your common sense is absent without leave.

I don’t care what you say, you have so many gripes
I don’t listen to Fox News’s numerous media hypes

But there’s one thing that galls me, one thing that really stinks
You’ve got the nerve to tell me what it is, that you think, I thinks!

Progressive, liberals, democrats are not pontificating
About the things, that you say, they say, and always are berating

Now did you get that sentence straight? I didn’t mean to fool you
I just want you to realize you’re out of line and stop all this dog doo-doo.

Instead of spewing sewage, if you are willing and you are able,
Fix the mess, devise a plan, and bring something to the table!

Despite what I’m sure you believe, our youth are well-informed
They know the truth; they know how this administration has performed.

They know the future lies with them,
Not conservative old men.

So it really doesn’t matter what you say or what you do
Because the ultimate revenge, is that they’ll outlive you.

Rick Hill: “I DON’T EAT DELI!”

As Montanans observes National Administrative Professionals Week – and bosses across Montana honor and thank their hardworking employees – the Montana Democratic Party is expressing its sympathy to those who currently work for Congressman Hill, who is notorious for being difficult to work for.

Congressman Hill, during his tenure in the nation’s capital, was rated by George magazine as the “second most-difficult boss” in all of congress.  [Source: The Associated Press, “Magazine Finds Hill Second Most Difficult Boss in Congress,” June 19, 1999.]

To earn this dubious distinction, George noted that the Congressman:

  • “angrily hurled a letter opener at an aide”
  • Shouted: “I don’t eat deli” to a staffer who brought him the wrong sandwich
  • “fills some afternoons playing Free Cell, a computer game”’
  • And went through three chiefs of staff, three legislative directors and three schedulers in two years.

There’s no sign his diva mentality has let up since.  He appears to have insisted that his gubernatorial campaign pay for a new car for him to cross the state in luxury.

Other worse boss nominees over the years have included Mark Sanford, who asks his aides to wash his sheets, and Sheila Jackson Lee, who “had an intern positioned at her side all day so he’d be ready to open her Sweet ‘n Low packets for her.”

Strohmaier’s Smart Ad

Montana Congressional Candidate Dave Strohmaier (D) has a smart new ad up.  The ad is different than anything else on the airwaves and shows he believes in fairness and equality for all people.  If he were really smart, Strohmaier could probably get some national talk show attention for this.  Perhaps that’s already in the works.

Here’s the ad:

Concerns Mount Against Rehberg’s Land Grab Bill

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 CongressTen local sporting organizations this week asked Congressman Dennis Rehberg to host listening sessions on H.R. 1505, Rehberg’s an unpopular bill to restrict access to public lands within 100 miles of all United States borders.

It’s surprising that Rehberg would try to push such a controversial idea before the Montana public had a chance to weigh in.

There are a couple of theories out there on why Rehberg may be avoiding public input. One theory goes that Rehberg’s ultimate goal is the privatization of Montana hunting. Privatizing hunting land has already been done in other states–Texas is one. Rehberg has already come out in favor of other steps to privatizing hunting grounds like eliminating wilderness areas. If this is the plan, Rehberg’s avoidance of public input makes more sense.  The other theory is that Rehberg just doesn’t like interacting with Montanans.

The groups calling on Rehberg to hold the listing sessions include: Libby Rod and Gun Club, Flathead Wildlife Incorporated, Park County Rod and Gun Club, Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, Helena Hunters and Anglers, Gallatin Wildlife Association, Headwaters Sportsmen’s Association, Russell Country Sportsmen and the Public Land and Water Access Association. The letter calling for the listening sessions can be downloaded here.

Montana hunters and anglers have many concerns about Rehberg’s bill.  These include giving one federal agency supremacy over all other agencies, as well as what could happen in regards to access to public lands. H.R. 1505 puts an unprecedented amount of power into one federal agency, eliminating the public’s voice in how public lands are managed. Congressman Dennis Rehberg should gather input from real Montanans before this bill moves forward.

Tony Jones, President of the Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association said:

“More listening sessions mean more viewpoints from across Montana for Congressman Rehberg to hear as he decides if he will continue to co-sponsor this legislation. We feel it puts in jeopardy the long-standing outdoor heritage families and sportsman share in our state.”

VIDEO: Governor Schweitzer on Letterman and Morning Joe

Gov. Brian Schweitzer appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last night as part of a New York City tour promoting Montana products and Montana as a vacation destination.  Here’s the video:


The Governor appeared this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Heavenly Polygamy

A few right-wingers came out with predictable fake outrage last week, when Brian Schweitzer suggested that Mitt Romney might be squeamish about talking openly about his Mexican heritage due to the presence of polygamists in his line of ancestors.

The talking point fashioned by Montana Republicans is that Schweitzer was being bigoted.  Schweitzer has said he was simply stating a political reality, which is that Romney will stay away from the topic.

The line goes “You can’t choose your ancestors.” This is true, which is why Romney should not shy away from talking openly about having polygamist ancestors, just as Obama has spoken, and written, extensively on his own ancestors including his polygamous father.

But Romney will probably shy away from it, and will thus prove Schweitzer’s point.

And alas, the Mormon church is not entirely clean on this subject of polygamy.  For though the Church forbids polygamy on earth, polygamy is still permitted, and encouraged, in heaven.

The LDS church teaches that in heaven, a polygamous existence is awaiting all men who were married multiple times on earth. So let’s say a widower gets married upon the death of his first wife.  When this man and his second wife are all dead, there is a threesome awaiting him in heaven.  He will be married, in the afterlife, to both wives, forever.

Do women get the same “sweet” deal?  Heavens no.  Heavenly Mormon Polygamy is reserved only for men.

So, this is a small but crucial example of a Mormon tenet that is both sexist and supportive of polygamy.  To be sure, all of the major religions, or portions of them, have sexism which needs to be rooted out.  Catholic priests are a male-only club, and the Catholic church condemns women who want to decide for themselves when and whether to have children.   Certain branches of Judaism likewise forbid women from becoming rabbis, and also force women to sit in the back of the synagogue in a walled-off room during services. And Islam treats women as inferior in many respects, including the practice of  “honor killings” of female relatives who disgrace the family by having premarital sex. These practices aren’t relegated to some tiny tribal sects either: 90 perent of women in modern Egypt were victims of genital mutilation.

So it’s not like Mormonism is breaking any new ground in these matters. But, it is a small but pertinent fact: When it outlawed polygamy on earth, the LDS Church kept it legal in heaven.

Dennis Rehberg Finally Reads the Highway Bill

Remember how upset Montanans were when Congressman Dennis Rehberg and the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the Senate’s bipartisan Highway Bill?  The legislation also included long-term stability for the Secure Rural Schools and Payments In Lieu of Taxes programs, prompting county leaders to urge Rehberg to follow the Senate’s lead.

For nearly two months, Dennis Rehberg ignored them.  And now, after weeks of inaction that has resulted in construction delays and threats to the health of Montana’s highways and schools, Dennis Rehberg is just now getting around to reading the Senate’s bill. (The highway bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 74 to 22).

I guess it’s nice that Rehberg finally started paying attention.  On Tuesday, he sent this press release raising a concern over a provision in the bill about data recorders in new vehicles.  That’s something the Bush Administration authorized way back in 2006.  So the real question is: Why didn’t Dennis Rehberg raise concern over this issue six years ago?

Political Quick Hits

Judge Rules Against Head of Local Anti-Gay Movement

A district judge has ruled against Robert Dellwo, the leader of the opposition to the Helena non-discrimination ordinance. Dellwo is the head of the unaccredited Helena Christian School, which is affiliated with East Helena’s Canyon Ferry Baptist Church. Apparently the school borrowed money to build a subdivision but didn’t pay it back. At one time, the church proposed that 800 new homes be built in an area already struggling with water shortages.   The school wanted to build the subdivision on the site of an old cyanide mine, which also raised concerns about contaminated soil.

What the church and Christian school  will do with their own subdivision is unknown.  Montanans tend to be wary of religious colonies after the Church Universal and Triumphant started one outside Yellowstone Park. CUT was the bunch who believed that the world was going to end of a nuclear holocaust at a particular hour and minute on April 23, 1990. They built a massive underground bomb shelter up near Gardiner, MT and stocked it to the rafters with illegally purchased semi-automatic weapons, in preparation for The End (as reported by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Feb. 27, 1995; Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 14, 1995).

Dellwo is appealing the ruling.

Today’s Must Read Political Blog Posts

Montanafesto and Intelligent Discontent have today’s must-read posts. Both look at the allegations of corrupt campaign finance practices by GOP Gubernatorial hopeful Ken Miller. The Montanafesto piece is a hilarious look at the contrast between how the Republican portrays himself, and reality. Intelligent Discontent writes about the accusations flying from the other candidates, who have their own troubles.

Three Days Left

The Flathead Democrats are making news for their fun and innovative fundraising. KCFW Missoula TV news  and HXLH Helena both covered the eBay auction of the framed Schweitzer VETO memorabilia set–a reminder of the infamous 2011 legislative session. The auction ends Friday April 27.


They Still Don’t Get It

The University of Montana football team has penned a strange joint letter to the citizens of Montana that leaves serious doubts about whether the school understands its problem–an alarming series of sexual assaults involving football players.

The five-paragraph letter rambles on about “excellence” in football, but does not once express concern for the women allegedly raped or assaulted by U of M football players.

Instead, the letter portrays the football players as victims–for having lost their coach.  The letter is posted on the official University of  Montana Athletics website and Facebook  page, which appears to indicate that its contents are sanctioned by university officials.  The letter also contains language more likely to have been written by university public relations officials than football players. Take, for example, this sentence:

We also write this letter as students of a University we love, members of a community we cherish and as stewards of one of the most respected and honored football traditions of excellence in the nation.

If the university administration thinks this letter was a good idea, it shows that they still don’t get it. It shows that U of M officials are still more concerned with the football team than the women who were raped.

The whole letter is bizarre.  The team writes that:

We understand and accept the fact that a few of our teammates’ actions, whether intended and deserved or not, have contributed to this unfortunate situation.

Just what the players mean by whether their numerous teammates’ actions were “intended and deserved” is unclear. Do they mean that the players deserved to rape women, that the women deserved to be raped, or that the players didn’t deserve to be held accountable?

The letter goes on to say that the players acknowledge their responsibility to honor their supporters and respect their fellow players and coaches.  It does not mention their responsibility to respect women (rather than raping them.)

It shows that the trouble at U of M is bigger than the fact that football players aren’t being accountable for their treatment of women.  It’s about the school’s failure to address a systematic problem: the way women are treated by the university.  It shows that they still don’t get it.

UPDATE: John Marshall’s take on this mess in the Missoula Independent is not to be missed.