Monthly Archives: July 2012

Political Quick Hits

Say No To Congressman Hill’s Sales Tax

That’s the name of the new Facebook page against Rick Hill’s public support for the sales tax. The new page (which has an associated Twitter account called @HillSalesTax), highlights the increased cost that people would have to pay on goods and services under Hill’s proposal. The sales tax is the most regressive option for raising revenue available to the state, and the Congressman wants to create one to pay for big tax giveaways to out-of-state corporations. People will find themselves spending more on groceries, utilities, cars, and even a new home, while the wealthiest enjoy the tax code favors one of their fellow plutocrats bestows upon them.  Hill calls this “job creation.”  It’s another recycled GOP trick that Republicans have been using for years: raise taxes on the most vulnerable to help pay for tax breaks for those that don’t need them. I’m glad someone is spreading the word about the cost of Hill’s unpopular policy proposals.  He’s been failing to get this passed for 20 years, but he might finally get his way if he’s elected.


Still a Market for Racism

First it was the “Don’t Re-nigg in 2012″ bumper sticker found for sale in a Columbia Falls pawn shop.  Then it was the bullet-ridden outhouse labled “Obama Presidential Library” at the Republican State Convention.
Now there is this item, a “Presidential Bottle Holder” that a Cowgirl tipster came across in a tourist store/restaurant west of West Glacier the other day.  Apparently, there are people out there who would actually part with money to demonstrate their view that Obama is a wino.  It’s disappointing that a product like this is being sold here in Montana.

Anti-Obama Movie, Produced by Kalispell Republican, Flops at the Box Office

There’s no business like show business, like no business I know

The opening when your heart beats like a drum        

The closing when the customers don’t come

It was one of the most anticipated movies of the year–for angry right-wing moviegoers.  But “2016: Obama’s America,” which I recently reviewed here, has flopped badly at the box office.

This film was based on a book called “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” and was produced by a Montana resident, Gerald Molen, who once had a strong career in Hollywood including involvement in the movie Schindler’s List.   But Molen now makes right-wing propaganda films.  The apparent premise of this new film, if one views the trailer for it, is that America is about to fall to the masses of people of color, because Obama harbors a secret desire to avenge the transgressions visited upon his ancestral homeland of Kenya by white colonialists.  The trailer for the film features mobs of dark-skinned people in poor countries, rioting, marching, protesting, appearing to overrun civilized society.

Fine cinema no doubt, which is why I am shocked that this film–which cost an estimated $4 million to produce and market–had grossed only $89,000 at the box office.   Also, it has played so far in only four Texas movie theaters.

This is a major disappointment for Molen.  Molen, sitting in his house in Kalispell and reading the wonderful coverage of his movie in such important newspapers as The Daily Inter Lake and Whitefish Pilot (both run by birthers), was probably growing a wild fantasy in his head that this racist film could create some buzz, and that he, in turn, would become part of the election narrative, his movie debated and discussed on cable news shows and the like.

But that’s doubtful now the the movie has bombed.  And none of this is really a surprise.  For Molen, perhaps unwittingly, has become a Montana GOP operative. Statistically, therefore, his scheme had a high likelihood of failure.

MT Catholic Leaders Say Insurance Must Not Cover Birth Control, then Demand It Pay for their Sex Abuse Lawsuit

The Catholic bishops claim that since birth control is against the churches moral tenants, Catholic institutions like hospitals shouldn’t pay for birth control coverage for their employees.

If this is true, what does this story say about the Catholic’s position on child sex abuse? The Helena, Montana Catholic Diocese says an insurance company needs to cough up the cash to pay for a growing number of child sexual abuse lawsuits the diocese is facing.

As the Helena IR reports,  the church wants an insurance company to pay for the multiple lawsuits it is facing after:

individuals alleged both male and female clergy committed abusive acts, including fondling, forced sodomy and an offer of cash for sex in Helena and other locations from the 1940s into the 1970s. The lawsuits allege that the Helena diocese engaged in a pattern of employing, sheltering and protecting clergy who it knew, or should have known, were engaged in sexual abuse.

The insurance company from whom the church as demanded payment has sued the diocese, saying it isn’t paying.

Trouble for Taylor

Polson software entrepreneur Nancy Lindsey announced her run for State Senate District 6 this week after the previous candidate withdrew from the race.    The District is an open seat previously held by Republican Sen. Carmine Mowbray.  Mowbray was defeated in the GOP primary by the embattled TEA Party state Rep. Janna Taylor,  the number one recipient of government farm subsidy cash in the Montana Legislature. With a candidate of this caliber now in the race, the seat is seen as up for grabs.

“I know first-hand what it takes to start a successful small business in this state and what it takes to create a thriving community,” continued Lindsey.  “As State Senator, I will work hard every day to make sure our community’s values are well-heard and well-represented in Helena.  And I won’t let partisan politics get in the way.”

After graduating from Polson High School, Lindsey studied engineering and business management.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from MIT, and later, a master’s in business management.  She is the co-founder of Black Mountain Software.  The successful company streamlines the budgeting and billing process for their clients across Montana, and twenty- two other states. Black Mountain’s software also allows clients to cut costly waste by allowing for paperless purchase requests and tracking accurate real-time budget information.  After 20 years of steady growth Black Mountain employs 34 people, 25 in the Polson office and 9 at their Helena office.

Lindsey will be a formidable opponent to Taylor, who made waves in the Montana legislature for her hypocrisy in government spending and her statement that the death penalty is needed to address prisoner spitballs.

Taylor was the gal, mind you, who said that Governor Schweitzer had “grown government” so much that “the governor’s residence needs to be fumigated when he leaves office.” And here is a peach of a response from Rep. Taylor, when confronted with the fact that she’s been on the dole to the tune of a 100 grand annually for the last decade: “I don’t control federal dollars. Talk to Senators Baucus or Tester.”

“The people of Lake and Flathead Counties deserve better than the partisan gridlock we’ve seen in Washington,” says Lindsey.  “I’m running for the legislature because, like all Montanans, I believe creating jobs is more important than scoring political points.  That’s the vision I’ll bring to the state legislature.”

Lindsey says she will focus on job creation, education, and ensuring our state remains the best place to live, work, and raise a family. Her candidacy is endorsed by Polson Mayor Pat DeVries and CSKT Council Member Steve Lozar. She will appear on the ballot this November.

Lindsey has also worked as a teacher, an early childhood educator, an aide for children with disabilities, and an assistant for the elderly.  She is a child of educators and raised her three children in the public school system.  Lindsey previously served on the Polson School Board from 1993 to 2001 and was elected to serve again in May of 2011.

Senate District 6 runs from Lakeside in Flathead County to Ravalli in Lake County and includes the towns of Polson, Ronan, Charlo, and St. Ignatius, and other small communities within the district.

Baucus Wants Corporate Money Out of Politics

I hate to kick a guy when he’s down, but not if he is asking for it.  It is really absurd that Max Baucus has now jumped on the anti-Citizens United bandwagon.

A few days ago, a Montana democrat forwarded to me an e-mail from Max Baucus, railing against “big money in elections,” and describing the urgency with which America must “stand up against it.”   Then I was played a robocall from Baucus, saying mostly the same thing and urging voters to unite behind him in his quest to “help fight the influence of big money in Montana” or something silly like that.

It’s unfathomable that Max Baucus would chose to join the fray on this issue, for he is just about the last person on earth that should be decrying the influence of corporate money in American elections.  Baucus is one of the most prolific raisers of corporate money in the United States Senate, if not United States Senate history.  He has raised, literally, millions of dollars from the many powerful industries that must kneel before him when they want something from the Senate Finance Committee, of which he is chair–Banks, Drug Companies, the Media Industry, and just about every multi-billion-dollar interest that wants special treatment under the law.  And, Baucus’ office staff have frequently walked back and forth through the revolving door, writing legislation that affects large industries, leaving to become lobbyists or corporate honchos for those same industries, and then returning later to write some more legislation.

When sufficient votes in the US Senate existed for a national public insurance option, that would have competed against private insurers and broken the health insurance oligopoly in America, Max brought the hammer down on it, doing the bidding of his insurance industry supporters.  And his adviser who drafted the compromise that would become the turd known as the Affordable Care Act, which provides 30 million new patients for doctors and hospitals and insurance companies but does nothing to bring down the cost of healthcare–is a health industry executive who was sent over to Baucus’ office to write the bill.

Max is not without his victories for the state of Montana, including a history of work to strengthen protection for public lands such as the Rocky Mountain Front.  And while I can certainly understand how Baucus might feel left out of the fun, with Bullock and Schweitzer gobbling up column space and cable news appearances on the Citizens United issue, Baucus simply has no business complaining about corporate money in our political system.  It is simply beyond the pale. It is an insult to all Montana progressives, and you deserve and apology for it.

A Commissioner’s Wrath

There’s an interesting article in today’s Helena IR about Helena City Commissioner Dan Ellison (the conservative on the commission).  Mr. Ellison used last night’s City Commission meeting to  publicly assail one of the IR‘s best reporters, Sanjay Talwani.

It looks like Mr. Ellison felt that the reporter mischaracterized him in an article last week.  The blurb stated that he “abstained” from a vote on the non-discrimination ordinance, which will help protect LGBT people from discrimination. In fact, he did not voice his support but also did not oppose (which one might call an abstention). Mr. Ellison took issue with that, because technically it was not a “vote” under procedural rules.

It seems Mr. Ellison complained directly to IR publisher Randy Rickman.  The IR then took what appears to me to be an unprecedented step.   Instead of issuing a correction, today’s IR reports,

The Independent Record ran a front-page story Saturday correcting the error and outlining Ellison’s concerns, as expressed Friday in a telephone interview.  In particular, [Mr. Ellison] asked whether a nondiscrimination ordinance should also apply to various other groups — he mentioned the bald and the left-handed, among others — that might also suffer discrimination.

I hadn’t realized that left-handed people can’t find a landlord who will rent to them.  But I’m glad Mr. Ellison was given front page real estate in the capital city’s newspaper to discuss this important problem.

Not satisfied with the whole extra article he got, he used the commission meeting not to work on expanding the Helena non-discrimination ordinance to the bald and left-handed, for whom he had previously voiced concern, but to lecture everyone else about the “injustice” that was done to him.

Inside Job

The Montana Republican Party is always ranting about the supposed fraud they claim is being perpetrated in Montana elections.   The unfounded belief that our elections are being stolen by fraudulent voters is now an essential piece of right-wing orthodoxy–even though these folks are never able to produce any evidence to back up their claims.

According to one attendee of the recent GOP state convention, those looking for evidence of election shenanigans need search no more.

That person has posted a Youtube video that appears to be an audience member recording of the election process from the GOP State convention.   S/he says the video is evidence of how insiders in the “Old Guard” GOP “manipulated” the party leadership election. The notes on the video say this was done to make sure delegates for Ron Paul were blocked from attending the National Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida.

You can take a look at the video here and draw your own conclusions: