Political Gossip, Satire, and Analysis from MT's Capital City "...an uncanny knack for sharp insider information..."--AP "...amazingly accurate inside info..."--Politico.com "...a viral sensation..."--Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos "Among the best state-based political blogs in the nation."--Washington Post
Last week, Montana Senate President Jeff Essmann put out a press release (thanks Google cache, and screenshot) touting state Sen. Debby Barrett as being the first woman to serve as first “Speaker Pro Tem” of the Montana Senate.
But it turns out the legislative branch’s own website shows that the first woman served as Speaker Pro Tem in Montana 20 years ago – when a woman named Marian Hanson held the post. Essmann issued a correction today.
If by trailblazer, you mean following trails that lead back to the 18th century, then Debby Barrett certainly deserves the highest honor. Barrett was nominated for recognition by the National Foundation for Women Legislators by GOP legislative leadership, who have demonstrated that by “excellence” they mean the longest serving choice among a very small pool. There are only 5 Republican women in the Montana Senate today, and Barrett is the R-TEA member who has held office the longest.
Although accepting federal funds to extend health coverage to the working poor would help small businesses, TEA Party Congressman Steve Daines has refused to hear the truth–even when told to him by business owners at a recent listening session. Continue reading →
His name was found in a box of documents in a meth house which later became the subject of a brilliant work of national investigative journalism. In a full-hour exposé of Montana politics and the secretive right-wing group, PBS’s show Frontline revealed that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found in a meth house, showing extensive communications between these and perhaps other legislative candidates and the American Traditions Partnership, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.
The list of others who could be investigated because documents and campaign materials with their names were found in the meth house includes–but is not limited to–current and former legislators Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Wendy Warburton, Jerry O’Neil, and Derek Skees. Rep. Dan Kennedy (R-Laurel) is already under investigation.
Miller announced the investigation on his own Facebook page, saying. “Well, before the press breaks the news, (or MT-Cowgirl), former MT Rep. John Ward has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices over the 2010 primary, alleging coordination with Assembly Action Fund and ATP (WTP).” Screenshot.
He said he is “not commenting further at this time on the merits of my case.” Screenshot. However he added,
“One could wonder in the Kennedy case if a candidate buys something (paper) on sale at say WalMart and Staples has the same item at a higher price, just what is the fair market value of that item. Or if a candidate buys stamps at Costco at a 25 cent discount if Costco is making a corporate contribution to the candidate as it is less than the US Post Office charges which one could assume the CoPP would think was the “fair market value.”
Former Rep. Scott Mendenhall (R-Clancy) blamed the investigation on “More divisiveness out of the self-proclaimed ‘Business Republicans.’” Those alleged to have illegally coordinated with ATP are in the TEA Party camp.
Evangelizing to the far-right rather than actually representing constituents is “eroding the effectiveness of some of our elected state representatives,” says a Republican and former Montana state legislator.
Following yet another embarrassing legislative session, a panel of lawmakers have been tasked with finding “ways to restore trust, respect, faith and confidence in the legislative branch.” The panel discussed ways to keep the legislature in Helena more often (the worst nightmare of anyone who is not a sitting legislator.) Continue reading →
Birthers Undeterred by Montana Woman’s First Usurpathon Failure
It seems that yet another group of birthers are planning a coup to overthrow the government and arrest President Obama, or as birthers call the leader of the free world, “the Great Usurper.” The tea partiers say they’re taking the President and locking him up in a Florida prison because a “citizens grand jury” sentenced him to 10 years for having a fake birth certificate. Continue reading →
When religious-right lobbyist Harris Himes stepped up to the podium in a legislative committee in 2009 and said “I stand before you a potential prison inmate,” it was perhaps the truest statement he ever made.
The anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-minority pastor from Ravalli County was convicted last week of defrauding a member of his congregation out of his life savings and could face up to 30 years in prison.
Himes, who represented himself in court, claimed he was innocent of the charges, calling them a “witch hut” trumped up by “gay and pro-choice activists.“ He told the jury pool that “I am a fundamentalist, Bible-thumping conservative Christian,” and that his trial was part of a war on Christianity.
Rev. Himes had claimed at the start of his trial that he would be calling some “15 and 20 witnesses” to support his case including many who would fly in from Mexico to do so. But that apparently didn’t end up panning out. As the Bitterroot Star reported, “Judge Loren Tucker, who has appeared clearly exasperated by Himes at various points in the trial, asked Himes what he proposed to do with the jury’s time with no witnesses to testify.”
Himes also argued his case in the court of public opinion. In a KGVO talk radio interview during the trial, Himes said he believed that children in public schools were destined to go to hell. He later went back on the same program to reiterate that what he meant to say was that public schools “jeopardize the salvation of a child.”
He lobbied heavily in the legislature for bills to repeal the ban against discrimination against gays, and also for bills to eliminate Montana’s constitutional right to privacy. During the 2011 legislative session, he even told legislators that he believes gay people should be put to death.
Himes has also led or worked closely with several religious-right lobbying groups in Montana including leading the Montana Values Alliance, serving as state coordinator for the Montana Eagle Forum, a stint as president of the Montana Family Coalition–all groups that worked closely with the Montana Family Foundation and the Montana Catholic Conference. He has been a featured speaker at Montana Republican party trainings and events.
Indeed, Himes has had quite a following among Montana’s hard right wing. Dallas Erickson, another religious right activist in Montana, compared him to Jesus Christ in a recent op-ed.
And many do not know that Himes is actually an author. His fictional work “Stand” is available on Amazon.com. Surprisingly no one has yet written a review of “Stand”, but here is an excerpt of this future blockbuster:
Satan s face was ugly.
“WE MUST WIN THIS BATTLE WITH GOD!” he thundered.
“WHAT DO I WANT?”
“THEIR SOULS AND THEIR SPIRITS!
SPIRISOULSPIRSOUL!” screamed his Shades.
Satan seeks to destroy all men and women. But the Christian Church stands in his way. Maybe.
Pivotal wars. Abortion. Marriage. Islam. America’s sovereignty.
The page-turner is “aimed at galvanizing the church and her pastors and priests and leaders to regain the moral leadership in the public forum which they once held, dating from before the Revolution—to become God’s Watchmen, warning the people, before it’s too late. ”
Himes reportedly spent two years writing the novel. But if sales remain flat in the near future, he shouldn’t worry too much. He’s could have have up to 30 years of hard time to rewrite it soon.