Analysis: Corporate Money in the 2012 Primary

For those who believe that last year’s TEA Party Republican Legislature has inflicted enough trauma on Montana, consider that what happened in this week’s primary election spells a looming disaster for the next session.  Out-of-state corporate groups worked in the primaries to push the already Bat Crap Crazy Montana legislature further rightward and over the cliff.

Mailers by third party, out-of-state, and corporate-funded groups succeeded in several races in getting more conservative candidates elected in GOP Primaries across the state.  Their work was also designed to force a further rightward shift in the votes of all legislators in the next session.  That’s because legislators who don’t currently vote hard right on every single bill now know that if they don’t toe the line next time, they are likely to face the same kind of attack ads and mailers we saw this year.

The attack mailers had an impact on several high profile races–putting in right-wingers over moderates in Laurel, Stevensville, Sidney, Polson, the Flathead, and who knows where else.   Not only do these groups refuse to disclose how much their spending and who they are spending it on, they also refuse to disclose their donors.  If their supporters were individual Montana citizens they would have nothing to hide and could just file as a Political Action Committee.  But they don’t. They claim that their attack ads are “educational” rather than “electioneering” so that they don’t have to report who’s bankrolling them. Besides their ridiculous names, here’s what is known about the groups pushing the Montana Legislature further into the abyss.

 

“Taxpayers for Liberty”

An outside ultraconservative group calling itself “Taxpayers for Liberty” (linked to American Tradition Partnership) sent out mailers like those pasted below against Republican Rep. Carmine Mowbray and Republican Sen. Bruce Tutvedt.  The group sent one mailer with a Washington DC return address.  Another had the return address of the Helena UPS store.  So, it’s unlikely a Montana group.  There’s no record of “Taxpayers for Liberty” in the Montana Secretary of State’s database or with the Commissioner of Political Practices either.  The group does not disclose its donors so the involvement of corporate or Koch brothers money can’t be ruled out. Even though they didn’t succeed in ousting Tutvedt, they still succeeded in sending a message that anyone who doesn’t vote hardline Bat Crap can expect the same treatment in 2014, thus resulting in a further right leaning legislature in January.

 


“Montana Family Foundation”

The massive amount of secret, corporate and out-of-state money at work in the Montana primaries allowed the groups that had worked in these races in the past to be more effective.  Thanks to corporate money, special interest lobbying groups working in conservative races like the so-called Montana Family Foundation didn’t have to get involved in every primary this year.  They could be more targeted, and more deadly.  In fact, after a Montana judge that struck down the law requiring accuracy in campaign ads, the Montana Family Foundation called the court decision “a good thing”and a victory, the Flathead Beacon reported.

The group put out radio ads mailers claiming that Republican legislators Carmine Mowbray and Bruce Tutvedt:

“voted to allow fifth graders to be taught different sexual positions and variations and to allow “kindergarten students to be taught sexual detail without parental consent,”

Click here to listen to the radio ad: MTF1201_Tutvedt

To be sure, Montana Family Foundation lobbyist Jeff Laszloffy insisted he’d already planned to put the attacks out before the accuracy requirement was struck.  Mowbray and Tutvedt both immediately denounced the attacks as the lies they are.  (Which is somewhat ironic since they remained silent when their own party used the exact same attacks against Democrats in 2010–even after they were proven false.)  The GOP has since removed the the press release on the sex ed attacks from their website.

You can tell the Family Foundation attack ads are designed to scare Republicans into making outrageous votes by looking at the groups “C-2″–a statement PACs are required to file with the Commissioner of Political Practices.  The [PDF] form reads so explicitly it is a veritable “kill list” of Republicans who didn’t vote how lobbyist Laszloffy ordered.   If you don’t vote like we tell you, this form says, you’re next.

Laszloffy attacked Tutvedt and Mowbray by distorting their voting records, but why he targeted Republican candidate Tami Christensen in Sidney is a puzzle.  How Laszloffy came to the conclusion that she doesn’t meet his creepy purity test is unclear, since out of hundreds of legislative candidates, only one bothered to fill out Laszoffy’s questionnaire.  One wonders if it was just because she’s a woman.  Several local Republicans spoke out against the Family Foundation’s actions, including the Mayor and former State Legislator Sen. Donald Steinbeisser.

 


“American Traditions Partnership”

The American Tradition Partnership put out a press release this week claiming “ATP Sweeps State Legislative Elections,” and that they had won 12 of the 14 races in which they spent massive amounts of corporate money.   Odd that they would put out this release after claiming in a Montana court that what they do is “issue education” rather than electioneering. The group boasted of radio ads and mailers.

The quotes from their release were particularly outrageous, given that ATP is funded by large out-of-state and multi-national corporations:

“This isn’t just a victory for ATP-Montana, it’s a victory for all ratepayers, property owners and businesspeople across the Treasure State,” said Doug Lair, State Coordinator for ATP-Montana. “Whether it’s against foreign corporations coming after our property rights or Gang Green’s hand-picked politicians bilking us through our utility bills, ATP-Montana will continue to fight for working people.”

and

“ATP is going to make sure there are consequences for regulation-happy politicians who want to use mom-and-pop business owners and employers as nothing more than punching bags and ATM machines,” added Lair, “and we won’t be shut up or shut down.”

ATP also threatened to buy the November elections, and threatened Steve Bullock in particular, saying that

“a pro-resource development agenda is sure to weigh heavily in the legislative elections in November, and particularly as party nominees Rick Hill and Steve Bullock face off in the race for governor.”

In legislative races, ATP sent out mailers like this one supporting Dee Brown in the Republican primary for the Whitefish/Columbia Falls State Senate Seat, SD 2. Previously they favored TEA Party poster boy Rep. Derek Skees in the HD4 general.  This is the group that sued Montana to allow inaccurate campaign ads, keep election donations secret, and turn back MT’s 100 year old ban on corporate funding of elections. Attorney General Steve Bullock is defending Montana against the out-of-state group.

This demagoguing flier was mailed with heavy saturation in Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and who knows where else:

 

“Montana Growth Network”

This group worked in the Supreme Court race,  but since Montana TEA Party Republican legislator Jason Priest is the groups treasurer I’m including it here. The Supreme Court race is non-partisan but the Helena IR reported that

“the Montana Growth Network, spent $19,000 with Richmond, Va.-based Desumo Strategies, which on its website lists as its one goal “Putting Republicans like you in office, at every level.”

By spending more on one saturation mailing then the conservative candidate they were backing had raised for her entire campaign, this corporate front group took the first step to buying the Supreme Court seat.  Laurie McKinnon, who dog whistled at Lincoln Reagan dinners across Montana about “judicial activism,” “strict constructionist” and other conservative buzzwords was pushed past front-runner Elizabeth Best–in spite of reports of alleged Judicial Code of Ethics violations reported in Montana papers across the state.  The allegations involve a fundraising letter sent out on McKinnon’s behalf,  paid for by Laurie McKinnon’s campaign, from a sitting conservative Judge, Nels Swandal.

On Swandal’s political views, the Billings Gazette reported that:

State District Judge Nels Swandal, who’s running for an open seat on the Montana Supreme Court, sent some clear signals Saturday to Republicans that he is the more conservative candidate in the race, saying he didn’t have or want the endorsement of a prominent labor or conservation group.

Swandal, speaking at a forum at the Republican Party Platform Convention in Billings, said some of the questions posed by the Montana AFL-CIO to candidates “are among the most un-American ideas I’ve ever seen,” and that he wouldn’t seek endorsement of the Montana Conservation Voters “because of their assault on private property.”

With groups like this pushing Montana further into nutjob territory, it’s easy to see why leaders like Steve Bullock, Brian Schweitzer and citizens from all over the state are fighting so hard to restore accuracy, transparency, and citizen input into Montana elections.  What remains of the right to vote when the only messages most people get on issues of public policy are those put forward by large businesses, out-of-staters, and those with huge amounts of disposable cash?

Posted: June 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

This post was written by Cowgirl

106 thoughts on “Analysis: Corporate Money in the 2012 Primary

  1. sNowWayter

    That ATP defeated 12 Montana candidates with corporate money is disgusting. Regular people don’t stand a chance against this kind of money.

    Don’t forget also about the RLSC’s corporate money used to defeat Jim Shockley, who is obviously the more moderate of the two AG candidates. Tim Fox is a hard, hard right-winger. He is not a moron, like Bob Wagner, hes a smart man with far right extremist views that he’ll work hard to hide until he’s elected.

  2. lisa o'conner

    What were the other 13 races that ATP spet money in? Also, I would like to see an analysis of the corporate money against Jon Tester and in the statewide races. Thanks.

  3. BREAKING NEWS

    Joe Balyeat, R Belgade, has just resigned from the Montana Senate. It is not know whether his resignation is related to a Montana court decision striking his legislative referenda gutting Montana’s budget surplus and sending the money to Exxon and PPL from the November ballot as unconstitutional.

  4. Gm

    Republicans placed several referendums directly on the ballot because by doing so thy could bypass Governor Schweitzers veto branding iron. Another referendum was struck earlier this year, the one that said everyone didn’t get to vote for supreme court justices. This is why Jason Preist and the TEA party are so pissed about the supreme court and sent that mailing to defeat Elizabeth Best.

    1. Kenneth Kailey

      This does not mean that Judge McKinnon would have allowed it, though. Judge McKinnon has been and is likely to continue to be a Judge completely motivated by upholding the LAW, not a political agenda.

        1. Kenneth Kailey

          Frankly, I don’t give a damn what Jason Priest thinks. He is an idiot with a proven track record of hard right, wingnut agendas. What you fail to do is show even one instance where Judge McKinnon has made a decision that wasn’t based completely on the Law. I would posit that Jason Priest did NOT want Best to win because she made it clear in her campaign that her ideology would influence her decisions. I do NOT want to see a left leaning Alito wantabe on the Supreme Court. I want a Judge that is dedicated to the Law first, not some ideological platform.

        2. Kenneth Kailey

          Let me make this very simple since the simple has illuded you. Jason Priest is a sponsor for all manner of silly, rightwing agendas. He knows as well as I do that it is likely some of those agendas will be successful if he can appeal to the right group of voters. He – like me – is very aware of Elizabeth Best’s activism. In his twisted world, who would he want as a Supreme Court Judge – Judge McKinnon that is entirely focused on the Law, or Elizabeth Best that has more than a decade of activist legal work under her belt? The obvious answer is Judge McKinnon. If Best is elected, his agenda is toast from the word go. If Judge McKinnon is elected, he has the same chance anyone else has if he can make a legal argument to support his agenda.

          The trick here is to elect legislators that don’t pass wingnut, hard right laws. It is the job of the Legislators to ensure that the Law is created equally. It is the job of Supreme Court justices to interpret that law and measure it against the Constitution and existing law. It is NOT the job of Supreme Court Judges to use partisan activism to change the law.

          Priest supported the Judge Candidate that was less politcally opposed to his position (Judge McKinnon has not political motivation). It is as simple as that. You can try all you want to convince people that Judge McKinnon is something that she is not, but until you can provide evidence of it, you are no better than Jason Priest.

          1. Elizabeth Best

            And likewise, Mr. Kailey, if you want to convince people that I am something I am not, provide evidence of it. Judges running for office, by the way, have a high duty under the Code of Judicial Conduct to take reasonable steps to stop their supporters from making misrepresentations on their behalf.

            1. Kenneth Kailey

              Are you denying that you have a public record of activism? That would be a silly assersion since that is what made you attractive to the people who supported you. Your record speaks for itself.

            2. Kenneth Kailey

              Let’s be clear, I do not disagree with your activism. Many of the issues you support, I feel are important. As a legislator, I would have supported you. I just feel that there is far too much partisanship in the Judiciary as it is. It is my opinion that McKinnon would make a better non-partisan judge than you and I feel that her experience as a District Court Judge trumps pretty much everything else. My voting for her does not mean I dislike you or feel you are “evil” or “bad”. That is other people’s rational, not mine. Likewise, I do not feel that Bucy is “evil” or “bad”. I simply thought that A) Laslovich would have made a better AG and B) I was very put off by the tactics employed by Bucy’s supporters. While there is no question that I will not be voting for Fox (he exemplifies the idea of Partisan Law), it remains to be seen whether the Bucy campaign can convince me that she will make a good AG.

              1. Juliian

                No candidate can be elected to office without the coveted endorsement of Kenny boy kailey.

              2. Kenneth Kailey

                Besides being completely irrelevant, it is also patently wrong. Bucy won the primary and I endorced Laslovich. Moreover, you are not making a decent case for your choice.

  5. Kenneth Kailey

    Once again, you have attempted to smear McKinnon on the basis of the actions of Priest. Even though McKinnon has quite publically denounced any connection between the actions of his group and her campaign, and even though she has made it clear that she did not approve the mailer they sent out, you continue to insist that she is “bought” by Priest’s group.

    Please show a single case where McKinnon made a decision based on anything but the Law. Please show where McKinnon was NOT awarded the CASA Judge of the Year award. Please show where anything in the mailer is incorrect.

    Fact is, Judge McKinnon is an excellent Judge (and the ONLY judge running for the position). She is non-partisan and makes it clear not only in her campaign, but in the decisions she has handed down from her court.

    I get that you all really liked Best. I have no doubt she is a great lawyer. She is quite obviously a defender of those values you hold so dear. What she isn’t, though, is a Judge. When campaigning for the Supreme Court of Montana, it appears that the majority of Montanan’s want a Judge – with Judicial experience – in that office.

    If you want to cast aspersions on Judge McKinnon, it would help your case if you could actually accuse her of something rather than attempting to make insinuations about her character based on who spent money to get her elected.

  6. Paul S.

    Dude, McKinnon paid for the letter from Swandal, as the letter clearly states. Therefore, it is not possible that she had no knowledge of his illegal actions on her behalf.

    1. Kenneth Kailey

      Keep repeating that and you might even convince someone. One of her campaign staff mailed the letter, not McKinnon and after it was pointed out to her that it had been done, she stopped any further mailings. Moreover, she apologized and took responcibility for the letter because it is what honorable people do. She did not solicate the letter being written (Judge Swandal has been very clear on that and has taken full responcibility for doing so) and she has cooperated fully in both the reporting of the incident and subsequent questions about it.

      Like I said, I get that you wanted to see Best win. Personally, I think having an activist judge is a bad thing since Judges are suppose to operate on the basis of the Law not political activism. We will just have to agree to disagree. What you (and everyone else) has failed to do is show even one instance where Judge McKinnon has made a ruling that is contrary to the law in favor of some supposed political ideology. Best has made it clear she is ideologically motivated.

      1. Paul S.

        Right…her staff did it without her knowing…interested in some beach front property in Iowa I have for sale? I’ll give you a great deal.

        1. Kenneth Kailey

          Believe what you wish. I see nothing in her record that would indicate that she would have approved of that mailer. Moreover, her quite public participation in the reporting of the event as well as her cooperation with the questions that followed leads me to believe that she did not have prior knowledge of the mailer. Judges have very specific rules when it comes to campaigning that are far more strict than those of other offices. It is likely that campaign staff was unaware of the rules that specifically apply to Judges. In fact, I did not know all the rules for Judges even though I have activily worked on more than one polical staff.

    2. sNowWayter

      Next they’ll try to tell you that McKinnon didn’t sign the checks to pay for the mailing either. Sorry, not buying it.

      1. Bozemanite

        If this candidate really didn’t know “someone” was writing checks from her campaign account to pay for illegal campaign actions then she is too stupid to be on the Supreme Court, or to serve in any elected office. End of story.

        1. Dan T.

          It’s just like what happened with Ken Miller, both are completely innocent, framed by their own staff. Conspiracy!!!~snark~

  7. larry kurtz

    Montana, Wyoming, and the other western red states already lead the country in workplace deaths and industry accidents.

    Now, union members are being targeted by Rep. Rehberg’s campaign contributors.

  8. Farmboy

    On the Tami Chistiansen vs. David Halverson race over in Richland County, Sidney area, the National Rifle Association got involved. Apparently Tami did not fill out the NRA candidate survey and her opponent did, the NRA endorsed the opponent and then Tami went out and bought an NRA membership and took a picture with it and mailed it out, and the state NRA went bananas. That was one of the deals I read about in the Sidney Herold. And from what I’ve heard she is not sad that she lost the race.
    But I saw this same thing back in 2010 and in 2008 when the Republican party was moving to the right. Basically if you are not in lock step with the Tea Party you are out. That is why I the grandson of a gun runner and the great grandson of sheep ranchers can not join the Republican party and why Im in the Democartic party.

    1. Paul S.

      So basically, anyone who wants to get elected must make a bribery payment to the NRA, regardless of how much he or she support the second amendment, or suffer the consequences.

      1. Farmboy

        Basically this woman was painted as anti-gun or anti second amendment. And when you say the word gun control in Richland County Montana people start thinking of their Ruger M77s, their Winchester Model 70s their Remington 700s, their Ithaca 37s, there Berretta shotguns, you get the idea hunting guns. Also they are in an oil boom and I have one friend who works in agriculture over there and because of all the oil field trash that has moved in, granted some of the people are good, but there is alot of trash, my friend now never goes anywhere without his pistol. So basically to be painted as anti-gun in Richland County, is the kiss of death to a political run. Now granted Tami did go buy an NRA membership but still that did not help her, so your idea of bribery would not work. Now you take me for instance, I own a closet full of rifles, pistols and shotguns. I love my guns, I love to hunt in the fall, but I will not join the NRA. But I would still support your rights to own a gun for both hunting and personal protection. Yet I would not be acceptable to the NRA.

        1. James Conner

          Her opponent was a former executive director of an anti-abortion outfit. I suspect that had a bearing on Laszloffy’s hit and help list.

  9. Dave Skinner

    Actually, the work done regarding Mowbray’s taking funds from Democrat PACs was righteous.
    Mowbray was appointed by the Bruggeman faction in the Lake County Republicans, a complete stiff-job of Janna Taylor. The “normal” thing would have been for the sitting legislator to be kicked upstairs, with Mowbray acting as Taylor’s replacement.
    And we all know about Bruggeman palling around with the Main Street RINOS and SEIU before his resignation.

    And Ken Kailey is correct. McKinnon’s ruling on the power line was the correct interpretation of the law. The power line is a new kind of entity, basically a railroad on wires, a common carrier for juice. We hadn’t defined that yet. And despite all the hype, HB 198 was a formality and I find the distortive rhetoric on that topic rather irritating. Sorry it was abused to hammer Bill Beck — I know and like both Bill and Dee Brown.

    That all said, I must admit I resent anonymous PACs. The screaming need here is for real-time disclosure. Take the limits off, but make the money naked. Money in politics is always contributed for a reason. Idealism can be a reason, but that’s a tiny share.

    1. Kenneth Kailey

      Therein lies the difficulty of researching a Judge candidate. There are very specific rules regarding their candidacy and the voters are left with very little information to base thier votes on. To research a Judge’s candidacy, you have to actually research their decisions – something beyond most people that have never done it before. Since that was too hard for most people to do, they jump at trying to make more out of things than are really there. Obviously, Skinner is aware of at least one of Judge McKinnon’s decisions. Ideologically, I am ambivilent to her decision but legally, it was the right decision to make. All of the cases I was able to research adjucated by Judge McKinnon were based on the LAW, not on ideology. Sometimes the right wing ideologs lost, sometimes the left wing ideologs lost but NEVER did the law lose.

      Sadly, I too, have to agree to a point with Skinner about anonymous PAC’s. I am not sure I want to see no limits on donations, but I do want to see – at the very least – disclosure. If I had my druthers, I would rather see corporate campaign donations go away completely and limits removed from private citizens. If a person wants to support a candidate with large sums of money, allow him to. Do NOT allow faceless corporations donate their money to campaigns at ALL.

      1. Dave Skinner

        The only way to vet a candidate, judge or whatever, for any office is via the money trail. Now that Sheehy and McKinnon have survived, their primary donor records should make it pretty darn clear whether there are partisan leanings. I’ll be picking through the primary C-5s before the general. Those are the activist donors, engaged in the process from the start — the most-interested, now the question is what those interests actually are.

        I have misgivings about the appropriate treatment of corporations. They are agglomerations of people, no different from any special interest group. The hitch is, they’re immortal as long as they can make a profit. And before anyone freaks about profit, the fact remains that profit, or net income, is taxed, supporting government. There needs to be something extra to be skinned off for the “common good” — provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty –

        Never mind that corporate cronyism is alive and well to both parties. “Throw Them All Out” is a pretty good read about IPO’s, profit slicking, and political “engagement” in the name of nonexistent green jobs.

        But consider if BNSF or Rio Tinto pulled a William Clark BUT had to disclose in real time. Voters would know before the election. The companies would burn their reputations as completely as any Daddy Warbucks or PAC does. I’m at the point where, even though I did agree with WTP/ATP in the early stages, seeing an ATP flyer pro or con is starting to trigger a response to my behavior.

        1. Kenneth Kailey

          The problem with that idea, Skinner, is that the money trail isn’t always about “supporting” a candidate. I think it likely that the money thrown at McKinnon had more to do with ensuring Best lost than about supporting McKinnon. There is nothing in her record to suggest that McKinnon would support Priest’s agenda. On the other hand, it was obvious that Best would NOT.

          This is not the only race that the money trail doesn’t necessarily make sense, either. It is just the one that I spent more time researching.

          1. Dave Skinner

            Yeah, Kenneth, the money trail is also about DESTROYING any candidate perceived as a threat.
            Good point about Best. I can only imagine what she hoped she’d “accomplish” as a Supreme Court judge — and that’s really a poor reason to be a judge, no matter your biases. I think our state constitution stinks in that regard. Judges should be appointed by the governor with State Senate confirmation and hearings. We voters really don’t know enough about our judges to make an informed choice. So few of us deal with lawyers, anyway. At least the legislators get information through the grapevine that never crosses our radars.
            Finally, I can’t believe all the negative nasty flyers — another motive there is to demotivate voters so “your” lapdogs have the circus to themselves.

  10. Farmboy

    I actually have to agree with Dave Skinner this time, he is right make the money naked. Here is the problem as I see it this election year with no holds bars corporate spending this is just the tip of the ice berg. It will get worse before it gets better.

    1. James Conner

      I want to see disclosure, full disclosure, and disclosure before voting begins. In Montana, legislative candidates file their C-5s in late May, at least two weeks after early voting begins. Advocates of early voting say it’s the greatest thing since canned beer, but why aren’t their voices just as loud on the necessity of campaign finance disclosure before voting begins? Montana has actually regressed on disclosure in the last decade.

            1. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

              Nevermind you were talking about disclosure??? With citizen United Looming this General Campaign, and the Money already out there, nothing is gonna be said. Look and see thats the plan. I agree with you totally, so do others but as long as it is the law of the land, we unfortunately need that money too. this is gonna have to happen on a national stage first. Thats just reality. I am afraid both state parties are not strong enough to make that a decision.

              In fact I know the Montana republicans have already signed friend of the court briefs through the eleventh circuit. They have already signed in blood for which side they are rooting for….AFT. I believe we can get the May disclosure through if they soften, but I really doubt it will help. the Pacs for the Bigger races might just wait until may is over with before the dump millions.

              I’ll write that bill if I get in, I promise.

  11. Debra Bonogofsky

    These mailings have Christian Lefer and ATP written all over them. Notice the stamp-they came out of Loveland, CO. I believe that even though Mr. Lefer moved to Colorado, he is still involved with ATP and Right to Work, doing “consulting”. Taxpayers for Liberty is just another front group for ATP. I am sure Lefer also moved his printing business ” Direct Mail and Communications” with him, probably because it was getting too uncomfortable for him in Montana. In 2010 when I ran against Dan Kennedy in HD 57, they formed Assembly Action Fund, with a PO Box in Lewistown, MT, and sent out attack ads and ran radio ads against me. The checks were signed by Jeremy Hofer who worked for Direct Mail and Christian Lefer. Candidates that accepted the help of John Sinrud would pay Direct Mail to send out campaign mailings for them. A “bonus” was that then ATP and these front groups would send out attack mailings against their opponents. And yet there is no collusion!? These people and groups are scum. They pretend to have Montana values but really just care about scamming the people of Montana for their own purposes and the voters are falling for it. Candidates and legislators are being blackmailed by these groups. There is no way a candidate has the money that these groups have to spend.
    The NRA also sent out a mailer against me because I did not return their survey, even though I have been a hunter and gun owner ever since I took Hunter’s Safety and am a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I believe the NRA has become more involved because of extremist Gary Marbut, Montana Shooting Sports Assoc., who is now coordinating the NRA activities in Montana.

  12. Pete Talbot

    One quick thought: maybe having these anonymous PACs trying to get far-right fringe candidates elected in the primary is a good thing for Democrats in the general election. I mean, wouldn’t a Democrat have a better chance against an extremist than a mainstream Republican … at least in most districts?

    Another quick thought: I agree with Skinner that we need naked, real-time disclosure. I don’t agree with taking the limits off, though. Without limits, elections will still go to the highest bidder. I don’t believe that money equals free speech or that corporations are people.

    1. James Conner

      A Democrat might have a better chance against an extremist than against a moderate, but in a lot of districts the extremist would still win. In the Flathead, there are no senate districts that Democrats have a realistic hope of carrying regardless of the Republican running. The same is true for all but three of the house districts. Bruce Tutvedt (SD-3) is a pretty conservative guy, but the tea-soaked right managed to convince 55 percent of the GOP voters in the primary that he was too liberal.

      In SD-6, which comprises Lake County’s HD-12 and the Lake-Flathead HD-11, Carmine Mowbray carried Lake County, but HD-11′s Janna Taylor made up the difference in Flathead County. Taylor, who worries about Agenda 21, probably keeps an eye peeled for black helicopters. Mowbray’s defeat is a loss for commonsense politics in the Polson area, and extinguishes a ray of sunshine in an ever darkening Republican Party.

  13. Dan T.

    It could be a good thing, but there is no dem I’m senate district 6, also dems aren’t elected able in 3.

    1. James Conner

      “…also dems aren’t elected able in 3.”

      That’s right. In SD-3, even a certified blue dog Democrat would be extended the welcome reserved for a cherry red Communist.

      1. Pete Talbot

        I see your point, James, but if our legislature gets any more “bat crap crazy,” won’t the voters finally push back? Maybe start electing more reasonable candidates? (You can see I’m posing this as a question rather than fact — perhaps it’s just hopeful thinking.)

        1. Kenneth Kailey

          I am not as sure of that as you are. I wanted to believe that last year’s joke of a legislative session would have pushed the voters to reject the nutcases but it doesn’t look that way from where I sit. The only hope I can see is that voters will turn out in record numbers in November to reject the idiots.

          A friend of mine used to say all the time “never bet against the stupidity of large groups of people”. I am somewhat of an optimist (as my brother points out on a regular basis) and it sometimes colors my views of politics. I hedge my bet by preparing for the worst.

        2. James Conner

          I wish the voters would push back. But they don’t. So we are getting the kind of government and policies that the people want. That’s what’s so damned depressing about the situation. There are times when I think we’d be better off with a philosopher-King — as long as the PK was me.

          1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

            James, sadly you GREATLY overestimate the intelligence of your average voter. ie. We are in the NEW, IMPROVED Dark Ages! And there is NO more telling statistic of this than the fact that a full friggin’ FORTY-SIX PERCENT of Americans believe in creationism!! Holy SHIT! Let THAT one sink in for a moment!

            You see, here’s the problem with that. Ingorance and superstition reigned supreme in the Dark Ages beCAUSE folks were illiterate and uneducated. But now, people are NOT supposedly illiterate and uneducated! So what gives?!

            How in the freakin’ HELL can we be right smack dab BACK in the Dark Ages now? I don’t get it, and I don’t have an explanation!

            People have NO sense of history or how we arrived at he level of comfort that we enjoy. And it drives me nuckin’ FUTZ! Look at Wisconsin. Exhibit A! Do these UNION voters who voted for Snot Walker not understand that their union brothers and ancestors FOUGHT, BLED, AND DIED, literally, so that they could enjoy some benefits of their labor?? They sacrificed THEMSELVES for those who would follow!

            My question to these retards is to just please SHOW me where any FASCIST bastard like the Big Kockh brothers, fought, bled, and died on their behalf! Between you and me, James, what the F*CK is WRONG with these morons??

            And the really scary part of the whole deal is that it is a very, tiny, small leap of ignorance to go from believing in creationism to believing in FASCISM! And we always wondered how it happened in Germany! Well, buddy, we are living THROUGH it! Fanaticism, ignorance, and supersticion reign supreme! And that is NOT a good combination from which to govern! We are Spain in the thirties, when the church, the military, and the fascists STOLE the election and declared war on the country! The Spanish Civil War was the precursor and model for the twentieth century!

            I had always hoped that after folks had suffered enough, they would finally figure out who the villians were. But hell, they’re VOTING for them! With glee!

            I’m not hopeful. It very well could be game over for this country. I am fast losing my faith in the courage, intelligence, and decency of my fellow American. Now, it’s dog eat dog and they seem to enjoy that! And all indicators are that things are simply growing worse. We are a sick, sick country, the sick country that Ike tried to warn us about.

            And James, we no longer have to wonder. It CAN happen here!……because it is.

            1. Kenneth Kailey

              Norma, where exactly did you get your statistic? If by creationism, you mean that 46% of the people polled believe that there is a design to the development of the earth, life etc, then I have no problem believing in that statistic. In some ways, I believe that there is design in chaos. That does not mean that 46% of of the population is stupid or owned by the Koch brothers.

              I believe that the average voter is influenced by many things, not the least of which is media. If they see things that appeal to them on the media, they will tend to react positively to that media. For example, if a person is out of work and hears a believable ad by Hill that he will work to get them jobs, they are likely to be favorable to Hill. If they hear constantly on the news that “Obamacare” is bad for them, they will be inclined to believe that “Obamacare” (and by extension, President Obama) is bad.

              This does not make them stupid or even “wrong”. We are bombarded with conflicting information constantly. It is up to us to filter that information and try to make an informed choice. Some people really are stupid – or worse, choose to be ignorant and stupid. Nothing you say or do will ever change their minds. Most aren’t.

              The rant you just made does not make a good case for you. You come off as judgemental, hardnosed and you have now alienated anyone that leans toward intellegent design (in any of it’s various forms). If you are right, and 46% of the population believes in creationism, then you have just pissed of 46% of your voting base.

              1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

                Conservative is just another name for STOOPID, dude! BTW, that was ME, not Norma that posted above. Sheesh, man, get your head out of your dark age area, Moorcat!

                I posted that poll in an ealier post. It was the latest one on the issue which showed 46 percent, which IS freaking astounding! And yes, it also breaks it down along political lines. And take a wild guess which party is the most stoopid. If you guessed Pubbie, you’d be right! Here is an older poll. PLEASE read it carefully, for I hate repeating myself endlessly for those who are paying attention!

                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/20/40-of-americans-still-bel_n_799078.html

                And really, Moorcat, do you REALLY think I care about influencing stupid people??

                And for the record, dude, please cite just WHEN some big Kockh brother fought and bled for the working man?

                You really do have your head up in your dark age area on this one, dude. ANYONE who thinks that some sort of god created the world less than ten thousand years ago is a MORON! The whole world is laffing at the U.S.

                1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

                  From the article:

                  “A new Gallup poll, released Dec. 17, reveals that 40 percent of Americans still believe that humans were created by God within the last 10,000 years. This number is slightly down from a previous high of 47 percent in 1993 and 1999.”

                  Is a gallup poll good enough for your vaunted intelligence, Moorcat?? Jus wondering.

                  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

                    FOUND IT! My original post that is.

                    Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
                    June 6, 2012 at 7:23 am · Reply
                    HOLY SHIT! HEY, if you believe THIS shit, you’ll easily believe that Snot Wanker and his Kockh bro. benefactors have your best interests at heart!

                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html

                    It USED to be fifty some years ago that the TV preachers specialized in bilking granny outta your inheritance! DROOL money! It was simply granny drooling in her soup in front of the TV and letting out a little “amen” every time jimmy swaggart blasted the devil. But now, NOW, it’s gone viral! The entire freakin’ COUNTRY has gone nucking FUTZ! And that’s not good.

                    The TV preachers have somehow stolen not just granny’s dough and your inheritance, but the entire freakin’ POLITICAL system! And it’s damn SCARY that we have become this nation of idiots!

                    I remember visiting with some villagers from El Salvador a few years back. And they told me that they couldn’t understand these new rightwing missionaries that were flooding their country. You see, previously, their religious leaders had been Jesuit priests of the Liberation Theology types who were actually trying to improve their lives.

                    But NOW, the Fundiwackmentalist preachers were simply encouraging them to accept their lot in life and have unlimited faith and respect in their corrupt government and not WORRY about their poverty, for they would soon recieve their reward in heaven! You see, life on earth is meaningless, and what really counts is your reeward in heaven! These poor Indians couldn’t understand that, for they had been abused by the government terribly, including having their own villages bombed by the government!

                    Well, and now that’s where were at in THIS country! Don’t worry about your new Kockh gubmint, for instead of any comforts here on earth, the Kockh gubmint promises you your reeward in heaven! We’ve finally donet it. We’ve finally become BANANAmerica! Thank you my fellow morons! Enjoy your CEEment Jaysus and your flag, for it’s all you got left!

                    Sad, so sad.
                    .

                  2. Kenneth Kailey

                    Actually, no, it isn’t. It depends on how the question was asked. Having read your link, it doesn’t show what methodology was used nor if the questions asked supported the results presented. BTW, the article said that 40% believe in 10000 year creationism, down from 46% previously polled.

                    Given the results presented in the article, they claim that 52% of those people listing themselves as Republicans believe in Creationism (I am assuming the 10,000 year type of creationism) and 34% of Democrats believe in creationism. The article goes on to say that over 78% of all polled believe that some sort of creationism is at work in evolution. Only 16% believe that evolution took place without any divine influence.

                    Do I believe the poll? Not so much but then again, I took too many statistical classes to ever really buy into any poll. I prefer scientific based facts. The numbers are easier to see in the raw data.

                    As far as confusing you and Norma, I apologize. I was working on responding to Norma below and mixed you two up.

  14. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

    Of course your gonna see this stuff almost every red County GOP Party in Montana signed on to protect Citizens United through the 11th district court of the USA. Right now they are on bended knee kissing the Tush of Right wing Pacs for money, and some of the Ad Money on TV shows that already.

    When you other Liberals and Moderates are done bashing each other… would you please get with the program and help our candidates out.

    Seriously this is yesterdays news and we need to get behind the candidates that won in their primary districts….. Just saying!

  15. Turner

    I was a member of the plank committee (Human Rights and Social Services)) that drafted the party’s position on gay marriage at the convention. I was very pleased by how fully everyone on the committee supported the position, which reads, in part:

    “We support repealing Section 7, Articles 13, of the Montana Constitution. All adults should have the right to legally marry another adult of their choice regardless of sex or gender. We believe same-sex spouses should have the same legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities granted to all those who marry.”

    I expected some push-back when the plank went to the full convention for approval. But there wasn’t any. It passed unanimously.

    I’m very proud of the State Democratic Party. And I don’t think our position on gay marriage or any of the other progressive positions we’re taking will hurt us in November. Those who think it’s important to treat homosexuals as second-class citizens weren’t our voters in the first place.

    1. Kenneth Kailey

      Once this issue is seen at the Supreme Court level, it is probably a moot point but I would support such an action. Sadly, about the only way it will happen is by citizen initiative because the amendment was done that way.

    2. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

      Thanks for that Richard Proud of You and Others getting that passed. This is how Democrats work on stark differences between Naysayers, and those that say we are not moving fast enough! Of Course We are moving forward but is by Inches and not by Feet. People seem to have little Tolerance for slow but sure….. they want it like it there fast food…. Now! My Mom says Americans Have been arguing this point since she was a little girl. She is 74 now.

      I think we just turn the last corner and will see it happen within the next 5 years, but Patience is not an Democratic american virtue anymore….. It better be stronger then the last emotional outrage of the right

  16. Gabby Johnson

    Until Democrats and Independents summon the courage to get on the ballot, voters in many House and Senate districts have no alternative to the crazy right.
    The threat of violence from a heavily armed right wing minority is always there, plus there’s tons of money to destroy any challenger’s reputation with falsehoods. Just look what they do to RINOS.
    Who’s going to subject their family to that kind of assault when it’s easier and safer to be “not involved?”

    1. Dave Skinner

      There’s plenty to “fear,” kids. And here’s a fact for you, Norma.
      I did a numbers-crunch once, based on a Dave Fahrenthold article in the Washington Post about the post Obama ammunition run.
      Kajillions of rounds, divided by the self-identified political makeup of the country, factored with the likelihood of which category would buy the most ammo.
      Bottom line — in just the first six months or so of Obama’s presidency, conservatives bought 32 rounds of ammo for each liberal.

      1. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

        And here is where your argument falls on its face. First you expect me to believe you without proof. second you do not talk a % of uber-Conservative that apply. lastly you lie, to make a point

        Fewer Americans own guns these days, according to the latest reports that shows a three-decade decline in the percentage of personal and household ownership of pistols and rifles. Using data collected by the federal government, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, which has been tracking such figures since 1972, determined the percentage of American households that reported having any guns dropped more than 40% from 1977 to 2010. Also, the percentage of Americans who reported personally owning a gun dropped more than 32% from 1985 to 2010. In 2010, only 32.3% of U.S. households owned guns and only 20.8% of individuals claimed personal gun ownership. The number for women was 9.9%.

        Studying the statistics, the Violence Policy Center posited several reasons for the decline, including a lack of interest in guns by youth, the decreasing popularity of hunting and the aging of the current gun-owning population—primarily white males. http://www.vpc.org/studies/ownership.pdf

        Not even a good effort on your part to even present the facts Dave. Give it a break.

        1. Kenneth Kailey

          Norma, it would help your case if you actually responded to what Dave wrote. First, he is right. There was a HUGE run on both ammunition and firearm sales following the election of President Obama. It got so bad, in fact, that the cost of ammunition and certain kinds of firearms still hasn’t recovered. Many retail sales outlets first were overwhelmed – running out of the most popular brands and calibers of ammunition and firearms, and now are holding more stock than pre-Obama years because the run ended almost as suddenly as it started.

          I will have to look into your study, but I have read at least four studies on American Gun Ownership in the last six months that disagree with what you are posting. I will go back to my trade mags and see if I can pull online copies. If registered gun ownership is going down (and I will stipulate that it might be, given that I haven’t seen your data – only data relating to gun and ammo sales), then the number of actual guns owned by those that do have guns has gone up. Actual gun sales has gone up. That is something I am positive about.

          Moreover, your dismissive attitude is grating on my nerves a lot. Fact is, ammo is being stockpiled by people – sometimes in scary numbers – and to deny that fact is not only silly, it does not help your case.

          1. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

            Its all hype. You guys watch too much TV. They press a few shows on TV and the next thing you know…. its gun Mania.

            Come on its the same guys time and time again that go to gun shows. its a few that stockpile, and when they get caught under any presidency they get thrown in jail. Most people who get caught in that situation haven’t registered all their guns, it is simple and easy in this state, to get the permits you need, if you are a good citizen, from owning a single to calling your self a collector, it isn’t that hard.

            1. Kenneth Kailey

              Norma, since you are so knowledgable about gun issues here in Montana, please, by all means, define for us what “stockpiling” is here in Montana and what law would “get us caught and put in jail”? Further, please list what laws there are in Montana about gun registration and what constitutes an “unregistered” gun in this state?

                1. Kenneth Kailey

                  Norma, do you even read the links you post?

                  First, the link you post is to Fox News. That kind of invalidate’s it’s validity to begin with. Second, the smalls arms raid in this particular article was done to capture explosive devices and automatic weapons. We are not talking about class III weapons or explosives, we are talking about the kind of guns you can walk down to your local gun store and buy. Further, Dave Skinner wasn’t even talking about guns, he was talking about ammunition. Third, there is no legal limit to the amount of slow burning black powder you can own in Montana (at least no limit I can find in Statute). Further, I can find no limit to the amount of slow burning black powder you can own in Federal Statute. By all means, please enlighten me.

                  Norma you have gone far afield and yet you failed to respond to Dave’s original statement. Ammo sales went up. That is a verifiable fact. Deal with it and quit playing politician.

        2. Kenneth Kailey

          OK… I just read your “study”. It is a questionaire based study that claims it is the “secondmost studied” data set. The problems arrise from there…

          1) Actual figures from BTAF indicate that both gun sales and ammo sales have risen. Go look for yourself. Some of the spikes in sales are pretty telling too. It seems a LOT of people were afraid electing a democratic Congress and a Democratic President would result in the enactment of a new Brady bill since sales of “Black” rifles spiked so hard, they have become one of the most popular types of firearms sold. Hell, Remington now makes an AR varient.

          2) Ammo sales (according to BTAF) have also spiked and have not yet recovered to pre – Obama days.

          One problem with your “study” is that it is not based on empirical data (like actual sales numbers) but rather questions asked (think census). If you really want to track gun ownership, look at sales records.

          1. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

            So a study the Us Government itself rely’s on isn’t what you want to see that fine. The ATF and not the BATF states very clearly how many weapon are made which is down by the way, and also talks about a world wide market not just guns sold in the US. Its down the Building of guns has been reduced and Police have BOUGHT more.

            1 Miscellaneous firearms are any firearms not specifically categorized in any of the firearms categories defined on the ATF Form 5300.11 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report. (Examples of miscellaneous firearms would include pistol grip firearms, starter guns, and firearm frames and receivers.)
            The AFMER report excludes production for the U.S. military but includes firearms purchased by domestic law enforcement agencies. The report also includes firearms manufactured for export.

            http://www.atf.gov/publications/firearms/050412-firearms-commerce-in-the-us-annual-statistical-update-2012.pdf

            You really are watching to much TV Guys.

            1. Kenneth Kailey

              Norma, did you actually read the report that you linked? It clearly shows that Firearms manufacturing and importing went UP in the last six years. Further, it also shows that the number of licences requested jumped dramatically.

              BATF and ATF are the same things, BTW.

              This has nothing to do with watching TV. In fact, I don’t watch TV. I am a gunsmith and it is my JOB to watch these kind of things. Further, you apperently have no idea what you are talking about.

              Skinner said that ammo sales went up. They did. You claimed they didn’t and posted some survey about gun ownership which A) is incorrect, and B) has nothing to do with ammo sales. I told you where to look for the actual data and you did (to your credit) but then you failed to read what you found and instead claimed that it supported your point (which it doesn’t). Further, the charts you looked at had to do with gun sales, not ammo.

              Fact – Since 2008, gun sales and gun imports went UP. Fact – Since 2008, ammunition sales and imports went UP. These are easily verified facts which you seem to be ignoring because they don’t serve your purpose. What the hell?

              Let me make another prediction. If Obama wins another term (and possibly if Romney wins), gun sales and ammo sales will again go up. Further, if there is another financial scare like the one that occured over the debt ceiling, gun sales and ammo sales will again go up. If the Dems somehow manage to take both the House and hold onto the Senate, gun sales will go up even more then they did when Obama was originally elected. You can take those predictions to the bank.

              1. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

                Look Kenny I am by no means a gunsmith, but I know the difference between a Beretta, Eagle, and Interarms revolver. I also know a little about gun law, but I don’t have to boost about it. I fit that 9% profile for women owning firearms, and I read the news same as the next guy…. and no I do not belong to any Gun Club, never have. My father taught me to Shoot, hunting has been part of our family’s heritage, I dont even plink, just practice at a range.

                The info proves my point. I don’t care what a small, tiny teeny percentage of people, within the USA…. that are afraid of a intelligent black president think, the ratio of idiots are the same, and getting older…. small! the number of people who use to own guns is getting smaller, it is a fact.

                My guess is your having a bad day! Argue more if you want but, I am the one who brought the facts to the table, the info is there and it proves my point.

                1. Kenneth Kailey

                  I can already tell, you have no substansive responce when you start your post with a deragotory name for me that you have been asked not to use by both my brother and I. This does not indicate your viability as a candidate. It is not me that is having a bad day. You responded to Dave Skinner with inaccurate information and you to invested in “always being right” to even admit it. The Info does NOT prove your point. Gun sales increased. These are FACTS proven by the very link you provided to the BATF data. Ammo sales increased. Again, these are hard numbers available for anyone to see from the ATF. You can claim that gun ownership has declined all you want. That is not what Dave said and it isn’t what I have been saying. The only “FACT” you brought to the table disproves your point – the BATF reports on gun sales. The study you linked is neither fact, nor proof dealing with gun/ammo sales.

                  This begs the question… Why are you so invested in proving Dave Skinner wrong? What is it about this subject that has your knickers in a twist? Is this kind of “fact manipulation” indicative of how you want to represent me as a voter in Dillon?

                  1. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

                    When you have nothing to come back with for evidence you wish to say I called you a derogatory name???? Where…what?

                    “My guess is your having a bad day!”

                    “Gunsmith”

                    “Kenneth” in which yo sign you name as?????

                    I have called you no Names.

                    And then there is the charges against the Militia. Contrary to what you say it didn’t include the Expolsives at all. the ATF didn’t charge them for the expolsives!

                    I only used the FOX link cause it included video, and the story is a couple of years old. Fox is one of the only news groups besides NY Times you can crosscheck old info on.

                    Lastly I used evidence and links and You expect me and others to just take your good word?

                    Today your word, just didn’t go far enough

                    1. Kenneth Kailey

                      Norma, I was refering to you calling me “Kenny” (like Mark does all the time). Go back and read your own message.

                      Beyond that, this conversation is done for me. You said all you had to say for me to get your point.

                    2. Mark Tokarski

                      It’s just a nudge – I’m saying don’t take yourself so goddammed seriously. That’s a Kailey trait, you know – Kaileyism, as I call it, a humorless and un-insightful outlook coupled with grandiose self-reverence.

                    3. Kenneth Kailey

                      I don’t take myself too seriously, Mark. I just prefer not to be called the name you and Norma seem to enjoy calling me. I realise that the idea of respect is something foreign to you (as is courtesy) and I have given up believing that you are a decent human being. I had thought better of Norma. I guess I was wrong.

                    4. Mark Tokarski

                      It’s not like I can’t read and think. You’re an open book. You are very serious about yourself, never engaging in self-effacing humor, only complimenting others in such a manner that it reflects well on you. Like your brother, you are unable to be introspective except to the degree that such inner perusals come back with glowing reviews.

          2. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

            The Questionaire has been used by the US since 1972. They consider it the most successful survey for people owning guns in the Country. It doesn’t speak to how many guns there are per household… but if a house hold owns one.

            The Declining Role Of Guns In American Society
            http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/01/435437/the-myth-of-nra-dominance-part-iv-the-declining-role-of-guns-in-american-society/?mobile=nc

            Fewer and fewer Americans own guns. Data from the General Social Survey show that rates of gun ownership have been decreasing steadily for three decades. In 1977, 54 percent of American adults lived in a household that contained a gun. By 2010, that figure had declined a full 22 percentage points to 32 percent.

            Just because American are the most ruthless killers of their countrymen in the world, doesn’t change the facts Kennith!

            1. Kenneth Kailey

              So once again, you link to a think progress article that simply refers back to the study you already linked. What about that makes any kind of sense? Moreover, let’s assume that gun ownership is declining for a second. How you interpret the RISE in gun sales in the last six years? These are hard numbers, mind you, not a survey. Someone certainly bought those guns. Moreover, Dave said nothing about gun ownership, he spoke about ammo sales.

              I find it interesting that you relate “most ruthless killers of their countrymen” to gun ownership. The most prolific serial killer is still a Russian, not an American (though some do believe that Ted Bundy might have exceeded his kill count). Interestingly enough, Bundy did not use a gun to kill with.

              1. Rob Kailey

                Holy crap, aren’t you two talking right past each other. Kenneth, Norma is right. American per capita gun ownership is going down. Politically, that means precisely nothing. Norma, Kenneth is right. The rate of purchase is going up, on guns and ammo. All that possibly means is that there might be scared people more motivated to donate to the NRA, and certainly underwrite the gun industry. However, since the NRA is a non-profit which can and has acted as a PAC, we’ll likely never know who is funneling money through the organization or what their motivations are. One thing is certain. None of this, from Skinner or the two of you, says much of anything at all about the political affects of gun ownership in the US.

                Here’s my question. Why are you two even arguing about this?

                1. Dave Skinner

                  Wow, I set off a skunk war and didn’t even see it.
                  I’m with Ken on this, you are deflecting the issue, Norma, but that’s okay.
                  As for declining gun ownership, that’s a canard. I’ve personally been amazed at the number of people who know I’m a gunnie, asking me what they should get…which NEVER happened before Obama’s election.
                  And….a fair number of them have taken up my suggestions and are now shooters and liking it. Now comes the hinting — that maybe if they enjoy the right they should throw money at defending it.
                  Furthermore, do you think I’m going to tell some anonymous pollster, who probably will not identify his or her client, how much firepower I have? Or even if I have any at all?
                  There is this little factor called lack of trust in governance, never mind in our fellows — or the institutions. With that in decline, would I ever talk about my toys specifically? Not a good idea.
                  So, like I said, there’s 32 rounds of new ammo in the stockpile for every liberal.
                  No wonder the Left hates firearms so much.
                  Finally, Rob, there is a political effect from firearms. It’s kind of like a dog whistle. I hear a politician like Carolyn McCarthy yapping about gun laws when she is utterly clueless about guns, it certainly influences my level of respect for anything else she (or her allies) might propose — on any topic of governance. If she’s so sloppy and stupid with something I understand — what about the stuff I don’t understand?
                  And there’s Congress for yah.

                  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

                    Hey, Skinflute, when me and the boys take a break a work, we like to joke about how many times we did it. Oh wait, it’s not what you think. You see, at our age, we ain’t refering to sex, but to a good BOWEL movement!

                    Yep! A good bowel movement is a thing of beauty to us older dudes! And two a day. HEAVEN!

                    And you wanna know sumthin’? YOU THE CHAMP, SKINFLUTE!

                    bwhhahahahahah!

                    That post was hands down the best bowel movement of the day, dude! You should be proud!

                    bwhahahahahaha!

                    What a buffoon you are little fella. If anyone had any doubt left at all, that post should clear things right up! What a moron!

                  2. ILIKEWOODS AKA Norma Duffy

                    The conversation shouldn’t include Kenneth’s point of view since you still haven’t answered my questions. We ended up on about fifty other gun related topics since then. just picking a side, after the dust settles, and bringing no facts to support your first post tells me nothing… You started this debacle prove your point or STFU. Reminder: YOu prove it!

                    First of all your not gonna scare this Liberal, I own. Second of all most liberals in Montana are not scared either by your scare tactics… they own, and thirdly we are not afraid of our republican brothers who own either… we have trusted their use of firearms since this state came into being. Communities not party’s bring folk together in times of need

                    What I don’t like is you making every republican a culprit for a few deviants on their side, or the left wing looneys on our side…. and your a republican

                    A reasonable person knows this. but a huckster like you likes to fan the flames…. scream fire in a crowded room and watch people trampling each other out the door, with such written nonsense.

                    So ya, I take Umbridge with you Hypothesis I am not amused you would point fingers in your party’s direction, without proof.

                    This is one Montana tradition both sides who own understand, and it isn’t a party issue with me, its a family tradition and proud right afforded by the constitution… regardless of party in Montana.

                    Its been almost 4 years and Obama hasn’t touch anyone’s gun rights, and I have seen no indication for him do so on the future!

                    What bothers me more is your party is doing everything they can to stop funding Teachers, Firefighters and cops. The very people who educate our children to be productive in their Later lives, while others put themselves on the line to keep us and our children, and personal stuff all safe from the asshole predators, or loony militia.

                    Your party has tried to ruin the countries economy, and wont even pass a jobs bill. The GOP want to continue giving money to the wealthy, even though it hasn’t worked before and companies are sitting on trillions of dollars. while the middle class implodes.

                    These are the real issues that need to be dealt with now. Not your gun scare Dave.

  17. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS

    Gabby I’ll say this again and again, this state has more sane left and right gun owners then just about any other state in the United states. so as one lefty to another I am asking you please to cut the fear crap. The Black helicopter fanatics have been around since the 1960′s in my lifetime right along with the aluminum hat fascists.

    There are a few counties in this state that have just republicans, and a lot of them are questioning their sides indulgence in X-file misery at this point. They are asking the same questions within their party as we are and struggling to get it back to some sort of normalcy…. and I for one won’t stop them. A good Democrat never banishes good competition, it makes us and the state better when we have them.

    I can tell the GOP right now how they get it back to Moderation and fiscal responsibility… But I think we might be a hair to late. Fire Will Deschamps and Cristy Clark. Two People who refuse to follow their GOP Platform, Two people who continually cater to the looney right of their Party. Secondly, while the Old GOP in Montana struggles, I see the National Brand has come in and is tailoring a new look for the Montana Party, We have a fight brewing in this state of Outside corporation over the Little Business owner in Montana. Homegrown Business over National companies….. and I don’t think the little guys see their days are numbered if they dont throw in their support on our side.

    You will notice there is some new Marketing techniques being Implemented from the National Party as well. MTGOP have a new web site that has gone totally Vague in content to make them appear mainstream.

    They have taken all the old people photos off the front page and put in nothing but Young Cowboys, and Father and son Hunters, every photo looks like they took it off a stock photo site. they are seriously promoting the site to a younger audience for the first time in years….. so get ready, they already look like they have outside money to spend. The National Party has taken an interest in Montana for exploitation of our mineral wealth.

    Democrats better be more then ready to counter it now, if you want to keep a clean environment that doesn’t look like a radiation and poison cesspool.

    What I am saying to you is the old Teapublican Boogy man crap, the left is promoting isn’t gonna work anymore. Only facts will deter their new looks. Only Truth will cut through the Makeup they are trying to adorn now.

  18. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    For all the young folks out there who don’t understand. BeFORE you vote for Teatards, sign your union card!

    And once again I offer up my challenge to ANY Teatard, Pubbie, or idiot of any stripe. Name ONE corporate fascist who fought, bled, and died for the working man like ALL the folks in the early days of the union did? How ’bout it, Skinnerflute? You CLAIM to be a working man, but you’re simply a corporate suckup! Can YOU answer the question? Sign your card, dude!

    http://www.bartcop.com/union-card-not_5.jpg

  19. Dallas Reese

    Lynn,

    This is an interesting article and good information. It also brings the discussion back to James’ point earlier about somehow reigning in the PAC ads and out of state money. An old saying in politics is that “sunshine is the best disenfectant” and that could come into play. These transparancy grades provide good info and a roadmap (Connecticut) on what we as a state should pursue.

  20. Kenneth Kailey

    Montana’s long standing law meant to limit corporate corruption in election financing was struck down today by the Supreme Court. They ruled in a partisan split decision that Montana’s law was unconstitutional due to the Citizen’s United decision (in other words, they used a bad decision of their own to say to Montana that we are incapable of making decisions for ourselves).

    This means a couple of things –
    1) First you are going to see a LOT more money from out of state pouring into Montana to aid certain Campaigns – most notably, Rick Hill, Denny Rehberg, and Steve Daines
    2) Since the majority of voters believe that the Citizens United decision is partisan politics, public opinion of the Supreme Court and it’s ability to make decisions based on law instead of special interests will be cemented in stone. This is NOT a good thing. Any future decisions made by this court will be suspect and this will, in turn, lead to further challenges on any decision made by this court.
    3) Once again, the individual has taken it in the shorts in favor of the big corporate interests. How much longer is the individual citizen going to take being minimized by these large corporate interests?

    1. Craig Moore

      Agree and Disagree. Money corrupts no matter what the source.

      Where I disagree with your analysis is that it misconstrues what happened. In Citizens United the SC held that “political
      speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation….”

      People do not lose their 1st Amendment rights merely because they come together collectively and exercise their speech through that cooperative body. Same for unions or environmental action leagues, or the local community citizens advisory board. The right doesn’t rest with the collective body, no matter what it’s legal form, but with individuals.

      1. Kenneth Kailey

        Craig, the Citizen’s United decision went far beyond the first amendment. It gave Corporations the right to donate money to campaigns without limits. This where you and I have disagreed from the get go on this.

        Yes, EACH INDIVIDUAL has the right to donate to campaigns. That right is guarenteed and is part of our political process. What citizen’s united did was give each individual a second shot at donation through corporations, giving corporations an unfair advantage (yes, unions too).

        The whole idea of corporate “personhood” is based on a clerical error. It was never intended to be by those that framed the constitution and it is a travesty of law that it even exists. Montana already addressed that issue decades ago but that issue is, once again, a problem in Montana thanks to the bought and paid for decision of the Supreme Court….

        The US Supreme Court – the best law money can buy.

  21. Drifter

    I see that those cowards at the Montana Growth Network don’t provide an email address. I just heard a radio ad slamming Ed Sheehy for opposition to the death penalty. This seems pretty ironic in light of the fact that Republican legislators are coming out against the death penalty, because it’s cheaper to house ‘em as opposed to giving ‘em the needle. Or is this just another of their many lies?

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