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
…Ravalli County Commissioner Suzy Foss. For ranting against abortion after saying she’d had one herself; and for then eliminating all women’s health services from a county health clinic, a clinic which doesn’t even provide abortions. Foss and her fellow Republicans eliminated all women’s health services from the county, including breast and cervical cancer screening and even birth control, which makes abortion less necessary in the first place.
Foss, who spends her time providing interviews to secession blogs, says her vote to get rid of the county’s women’s health services was grounded in her religious beliefs. Foss didn’t mention whether she spoke with any constituents who might be impacted by the service cuts. But since she’s on record saying that she gets ticked her off when voters contact her, it seems unlikely that she sought input. As the Bitterroot Star reported this spring, the Republican doesn’t like it when members of the public contact the commission to:
“bombard our emails and to protest during our meetings. While this gets lots of press it does not help your perceived agenda with us, at least not with me. It actually ticks me off and I have to fight my urge to say no on principle”
Instead, Foss says she ”talked to several preachers and that her decision rested between her and God.”
Meanwhile, fellow GOP commissioner Jeff Burrows said he “does not believe the county government should be involved in personal health care at all.”
Burrows himself runs a blog about the imminent threat posed by the “control forces” in government. For example, he believes that government immunization programs are really stealth campaigns to implant nano-chips into our brains. This is the person now in charge of making decisions about county health services in Ravalli.
It is not against the law for hypocrites and imbeciles to hold elected office in Ravalli County, and so Burrows will be commissioner for another three years. Foss is up for election in 2014. Ravalli ought to be ashamed and humiliated that these are their executive officials.
Fox is talking about the so-called “navigators” hired to help with the new health care law. He told the Billings Gazette that, “The federal government’s lackadaisical approach to handling Americans’ private information doesn’t pass muster under any standard, and in particular Montana standards.”
The existing navigators are called State Health Insurance Assistance Program (or SHIP) counselors, and they’ve been helping people choose options and navigate the Medicare program without trouble for decades. In fact, the Obamacare “navigator” program is modeled after the existing State Health Insurance Assistance counselor program.
Fox signed a letter with twelve other TEA Party attorneys general saying that when it comes to these helpers the federal government “has no realistic plan to prevent identity theft or to provide recourse to consumers when it inevitably occurs.”
“We don’t want your grubby government hands in our health care” Fox and friends yell, not comprehending the irony of the demand. The reason they don’t get how funny they are is because the TEA Party is spreading these lies as fast as they can. Perhaps loosening their grips on their pitchforks would help.
The fact is the Medicare navigator program works, and if people find that out, the TEA Party (and the politicians like Fox passing out the pitchforks) will be shown to have stepped in it yet again.
But count on Tim Fox to make sure the facts don’t get in the way of a good press opportunity. That’s why he’s this week’s hypocrite. He will be making many return appearances, you can be assured of that.
…the chair of the judiciary committee in the Montana house of representatives, Krayton Kerns.
Let’s hear it for Kerns, who wrote a column this week excoriating a local business owner who refused to publicly disclose his support for the TEA party lawmaker (saying that would be “political suicide”). Kerns then used the same column to lash out against members of his own party who would require businesses to disclose their financial support for political candidates.
Our winner is so upset that he uses his column to out the owner, using the hardware store owner’s first name in a one-hardware-store town, saying, in essence, that anonymity is the security blanket of the insane.
“when I became a candidate, I traded my security blanket of anonymity for the sword and shield of truth, because to remain quiet and watch the country collapse would be insane.”
When it comes to insanity one could argue that Kerns quite audaciously straddles that line. Hypocrisy, however, is clearly an essential attribute for the Kerns, Wittich, Priest bunch. It’s also clear that supporting even the smallest ethical reform in Republican circles is a major faux pas.
…Roger Koopman and Bob Lake. For voting in the legislature to repeal the privacy rights of women and then for voting in the PSC to make the salaries of utility company CEO’s a secret (citing privacy concerns), Lake and Koopman are this week’s clear winners.
While running for a seat on the Public Service Commission, Koopman demanded that fellow Republicans be “sanctioned” for calling him “ineffective and divisive”. He then used the first PSC meeting to vote against the PSC’s own legislative proposals–bills his fellow Republicans unanimously supported.
After one day on the job, Public Service Commissioner Roger Koopman cast the lone unfavorable votes on two PSC-sponsored bills headed to the Montana Legislature.
Koopman voted against a bill that his fellow GOP commissioners believed would fix flaws in an existing program–flaws that would force utility companies to waste money. He said he’s against fixing the problems because to do so would imply support for clean energy, which he called ”anti-market, anti-consumer and anti-freedom.”
But the hypocrisy didn’t end there.
Koopman had campaigned on what he called a ”no show, no dough” platform, saying if you don’t show up you don’t get paid. (His opponent had attended some PSC meetings by phone so he could care for his wife, who has MS.) While the other commissioners agreed to talk about their legislation at the next meeting, Koopman told them he wouldn’t be showing up. Seems he can’t even make it to the second meeting.
…Steve Daines, whose speech at the RNC lionized his ancestor as not being “Saved by Government” when that ancestor received a huge government handout in the form of a homestead under a federal program called the Homestead Act.
In his speech to the GOP faithful, Daines told a story about how his great-great-grandmother’s tombstone read “Saved by Grace” and certainly did not read “Saved by Government.” Zing! Daines became so excited by the story himself he forgot which generation a Montanan he was claiming to be. 5th? 6th? Too exciting to worry about it, I guess.
The faces of the Montana GOPers in the crowd are flush with ecstasy over Daines’ tale of government aid. As they pump their fists in the air, there is no trace of comprehension of how ridiculous they appear for missing the irony. Instead, one sees only joy and delirium.
It takes a special kind of hypocrite to trumpet government programs in a speech railing against government programs. And that’s why Steve Daines deserves such a special award. Get back out there on that yacht and celebrate Mr. Daines. As you pound down the martinis and coconut shrimp, don’t waste a thought on how today’s GOP would treat your great-great-grandmother, an impoverished, immigrant widow with seven children.
….Steve Daines, the Republican millionaire who makes his money shipping American jobs overseas.
Mr. Daines first revealed his hypocrisy to Montana voters when he said that we need more transparency in Congress. If Daines really wants more transparency in Congress, he should probably remove himself from the Montana house race.
Here’s what happened. Responding to Kim Gillan’s call for Montana’s next Member of Congress to pledge that they will place their assets in Blind Trust to avoid ethical conflicts of interest in Congress, a Daines spokesperson said in the Billings Gazettethat Congress need to focus on “the real issues of increasing transparency.”
But even the briefest glance at Daines’ background reveals that Steve Daines is not really a big transparency fan.Take the two $10,000 donations Daines collected for his political action committee (PAC) called the “Daines Montana Victory Committee.”
The law says that Daines must report the occupation and employer of his PAC’s donors. However, months have passed since Daines received the cash and he still hasn’t made that information public. That’s what makes him an award winning hypocrite.
The checks came from a Sid Greehy and a Sam Tallis, who both claimed 214 Main Street in Scobey, Montana, as their address. This same address is listed as belonging to the Shale Exploration Oil Company, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. An internet search shows that Greehy is the CEO of the Shale Exploration and Tallis is the Texas company’s president. Neither Greehey or Tallis were found in a search of Montana voting registration records.
Of course this isn’t the first time Daines has hidden his financial backers from Montanans. Back in 2007, Daines started a shadow 501(c)4 organization that attacked the Governor Schweitzer for being fiscally conservative. When asked in the Billings Gazetteto disclose who was funding his front group, Daines declined:
“Daines has declined to reveal who’s funding the group or how much it has spent, and he said GiveItBack.com will disclose whatever is required under the law.”
…a right-wing group calling itself “Montanans Against Assisted Suicide. This is the group that is fighting to revoke the right of terminally ill patients to request aid in dying from their physicians.
You see, GOP-ers are always trying to say that they oppose the Affordable Care Act because “it puts a bureaucrat between you and your doctor.” Meanwhile, its minions at the so-called “Montanans Against Assisted Suicide” are fighting to insert politicians and crackpots into that relationship at every turn.
Basically, these guys can’t win in Montana. We’re a state that doesn’t want the government deciding what health care is best for us. At all.
They’ve lost at the Montana Supreme Court level. They lost at the state legislative level–even in the Bat Crap Crazy Legislative Session of 2011. The general public in Montana wants access to aid in dying—and wants these decisions to be between doctors and patients. And now they’ve lost with the Montana Board of Medical Examiners. They’ve got no game. So they’re reduced to making litigious threats against doctors and the non-profit group Compassion & Choices, as you can see from this bucket of crazy. People that want to control other people’s lives get very frustrated when they’re not allowed to do it. This is what that frustration looks like.
The fact that these guys are so frustrated is a testament to the people of Montana. Government has no business coming between citizens and their end-of-life decisions. And so, for continuing to attempt exactly what the critics of “Obamacare” claim to worry about most: forcing the government between a patient and a doctor–this group is the Montana GOP Hypocrite of the Week.
But don’t feel too bad, “Montanans Against Assisted Suicide.” This hypocrisy is just as embarrassing for the GOP as it is for you.