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
Interesting development in Idaho this week. A Republican state Representative was busted for lying about his criminal record and had his concealed weapons permit revoked. But he says he’s the victim – of a sheriff out for revenge after the legislator inquired about the sheriff’s office expenditures.
Idaho state Representative Mark Patterson (R-Boise) did jail time and pleaded guilty to a rape-related charge in Florida when he was 21. A few years later he was acquitted of rape at trial in another city.
Patterson was charged with forcible rape in May 1974. As the Idaho Statesman reports:
The victim, thena 46-year-old mother of five, told police that Patterson forced her to have sex twice and threatened to have his Doberman pinscher attack her if she refused, according to police reports.
He pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser charge (assault with intent to rape).
But now, the Republican is trying to say not only that he didn’t commit the crime but that he didn’t lie about it either. He claims his memory has been wiped clean of any recollection of this whole affair by a chemotherapy treatment he received to treat a case of Hepatitis C he says he got at the dentist.
Patterson says he’s the victim of a local sheriff who by revoking his permit is really:
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 →
[This spoof article about former state legislator Tom Burnett's new 2013 "study" called "Deceptions in the Hunger Crusade," in which he purports to prove that no one should help hungry children get something to eat is making the rounds via email. While the quotes appear to be satirical, these are the same arguments Burnett actually makes in his new study. The credo is Burnett's exact wording.]
Former state legislator Tom Burnett (R-TEA Bozeman), Montana’s leading crusader for barring hungry kids from receiving food, reached out to food banks today claiming he has new groundbreaking research to prove there is no such thing as childhood hunger.
Writing from an undisclosed bunker in Gallatin County, Burnett said “I embarked on this crusade with a simple goal: to keep basic low-cost food out of the reach of ordinary Montana children who God chose to punish by bringing them up to parents who don’t make a lot of money. And while a battle was lost when voters booted me from office, that dream—that precious, cherished dream—will live on.” 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.
A Montana toddler whose battle with brain cancer captured national attention is the subject of a new documentary to be screened in Billings this week.
After being told that young Cash Hyde had little hope of surviving, his parents turned to an oil made from medical marijuana, and his cancer went into remission. When the 2011 legislature changed Montana’s medical marijuana law, it was was much harder to get the medicine and that’s when the Hydes say their son’s cancer returned. When the little boy passed away, his parents started a foundation in his name to raise awareness about how medical marijuana can help the terminally ill. Continue reading →
A terrible thing will soon happen in Montana. It is a nightmare: as reported in the Helena IR today, there will soon be a website which will advertise low-cost health insurance plans, affordable to people who cannot presently afford to buy insurance. These plans will be offered by private companies, but listed comprehensively for one-stop easy shopping on the web by the federal government, courtesy of Obamacare.
Rep. David Howard (R-Park City) believes that school shootings in America are caused by too few, rather than too many, guns in school. He wants to know why the sign on the right isn’t posted in front of ever school in America.
On his Facebook page, Howard explains his views on gun free schools:
This is like zebra’s declaring a section of the Serengeti to be a Lion free zone! They would go out and mark the boundaries, lie down and relax. The lions on the other hand, would be rejoicing and putting out signs that would say “Defenseless Stupid Zebra’s Ahead”.
The godless liberals are forcing America’s kids to be sitting ducks. Sad!
Howard is backing a piece of legislation, along with other Montana Republicans, that would allow students and teachers to bring side arms to school. This is one of several measures that the GOP believes will make for a safer society. The other is a bill to allow concealed weapons in bars, banks, schools and state government buildings. These were vetoed by Schweitzer last session, and will likely be vetoed again.
What Howard and company cannot come to terms with is this basic fact: that in places like Sweden, Finland, Canada, Germany, England and many other strong democracies, there is plenty of hunting and gun ownership, but virtually no school shootings and in fact barely any gun violence at all. And no, they don’t accomplish it by arming elementary school students. They do it through common sense regulation. No assault weapons, no gun show loopholes where you can pay cash for a gun without any record of the transaction. No 100-round clips of ammo.
The fun part of the upcoming legislative session will be to observe the diminished power that Gary Marbut will wield. Marbut runs an outfit called Montana Shooting Sports Association, a group he formed to compete with the NRA which he views as too liberal an organization. He wants guns everywhere, and is the force behind bills like the ones that Howard is pushing. But it’s crazy stuff that even Montanans, who are gun purists, don’t really go in for.
Rep. Howard is the Chair of the House Human Services Committee of the Montana Legislature.