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
The bill to accept money from the federal government and thereby extend private health insurance to 70,000 working poor Montanans has been sent to state the Health Human Services Committee, where the GOP hardliners hope they can kill it.
If they should do so, however, we can expect to see the Medicaid expansion proposal (in true form, not the current GOP version, a compromise, which uses public funds as vouchers with which insurance may be bought from private insurance companies) on the ballot in 2014. As a ballot initiative, it is likely to pass with broad support. Continue reading →
Republican candidates across the county have tried to distance themselves from Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who believes that rape victims should be forced to give birth and said that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
That’s been much more difficult for GOPers in Montana.
The forced birth for rape victims amendment cleared the house and the senate with 96 votes. All Republicans voted for it except Lila Evans. However, because it takes a 2/3 vote of 150 legislators to amend the constitution, the amendment failed by only four votes.
Below the fold is the list of current legislative candidates who voted in favor of forced births for victims of rape and incest. Check it out to see if your legislator is on it–I’ve alphabetized the list by town.
Shamefully, Jonathan Windy Boy and Gene Vuckovich also made the list. To be sure, there are many more GOP candidates for legislature who share these beliefs but weren’t in the 2011 session–like Scott Sales. There are also many more Republican legislators who voted for this but aren’t up for re-election this year.
The birth control debate has now made its way into the Montana Legislature. Predictably, the GOP is now trying to deny it to women. An interim committee of the Montana legislature is trying to deny birth control to women who are state employees.
The 2011 Montana Legislature saw a record number of anti-women bills, globally. Now the target de jour seems to be female state employees.
Under current law, the decisions about what benefits state employees should receive under their insurance plans are made by an advisory committee of employees, unions, lawmakers, and health benefits experts hired by the state. In this video, you can hear the committee staffer assuring the legislators that yes, this would give them the authority to remove:
“contraception other things that could be very controversial..like..I don’t know, health and wellness for women.”
Sen. Lewis explained the bill was perfectly appropriate because “there’s discussions of women’s health and those things” in the legislature related to Medicaid.
The bill passed out of interim committee, and will be up for consideration in the 2013 legislature. The current bill draft number is LCsa03.
The bill draft was supported by Joanne Blyton (R-Red Lodge), Ron Arthun (R-Wilsall), Pat Ingraham (R-Thompson Falls), and (shockingly)Larry Jent (D-Bozeman). Democrats Kathy Swanson, Bryce Bennett, and Kendall Van Dyk all voted no.
Montana Republican Party bosses say they have ”no idea” why women aren’t running as Republicans. Today, we bring them the answers.
Reason # 1: Dennis Rehberg
Let’s start with the man at the top of your ticket. As we all know, one of the biggest challenges your party seems concerned with is coming up with a socially, and more importantly, legally acceptable excuse for raping women.
As an example of this, look at Congressman Rehberg’s vote to prevent certain situations from “counting” as rape. Up for debate was a bill to regulate who got to decide whether or not to have the rapist’s baby, Mother Jones via Think Progress reported. Women who were to be excluded from getting the choice: those who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, minors impregnated by adults, and women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator for fear of being murdered. This would exclude abortions as an option for women who were raped in these circumstances (drugged and unconscious, 13 year old girls impregnated by 55 year old pervs, and women who keep still for fear of being murdered) from Medicaid coverage.
Dennis Rehberg was also busted pretending to support breast cancer awareness while voting to end mammogram coverage. (Note: A mammogram is a test for breast cancer.) He opposes equal pay for women–the guy even flipped off a pregnant constituent. Rehberg tried to end funding for Planned Parenthood twice in the last year. The TEA Party Congressman cosponsored and of course voted for H.R.358, the “Let Women Die” bill. H.R.358 would force doctors to let women die rather than provide abortion care.
“Back in my days, [women] used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives; the gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”
A little while ago Congressman Dennis Rehberg said the War on Women was “fabricated.”
Reason # 2: Rick Hill
Just last month, former Congressman Rick Hill, who is running in your GOP primary for Governor, endorsed legalizing insurance company discrimination against women. This means insurance companies would be allowed to charge women more for health coverage, or to exclude women’s health needs like mammograms from coverage–which is currently illegal. He’s the subject of a recent television ad about how his first wife went public over the abuse and adultery she suffered though.
In 2000, Congressman Rick Hill criticized challenger Nancy Keenan for being a single woman without children. Keenan, a former teacher, responded by saying she “wanted to have children,” but was unable to because of a hysterectomy. She also noted: “nothing is more devastating when a doctor walks into the room and says you’ll never have children” [Great Falls Tribune, "Hill Unleashes First Campaign Volley," May 25, 1999]
Republicans never seem to mention Rick Hill’s voting record. Perhaps that is because Hill voted in support of a $115 billion cut in Medicare – a program that helps mostly women (who live longer). Hill also curbed payments to hospitals that serve a large number of poor and uninsured people who would see Medicaid payments shaved by $15 billion, and cut $2 billion from health oxygen benefits to seniors and the disabled. These cuts also predominantly impact women and children. Women are usually the one’s who bear the burden of caring for aging parents and family members with disabilities. [HR 2015, Roll Call 241, 6/25/97]
Reason # 3: GOP Legislators
Republican legislators have twice compared women to animals to convince each other to vote for anti-women bills. Coincidentally (??), your men in the legislature also openly posted pornographic images of women and animals on their Facebook pages.
During the 2011 legislative session, you Republicans tried to legalize insurance discrimination against women. You also tried to pass an entire slate of anti-woman bills. The fact that the bills were unconstitutional didn’t stop you. It got so bad that word on the street is one of the attorneys hired to draft the unconstitutional bills quit halfway through the session. He later began a campaign for Congress–on the Democratic ticket.
One of the bills would have forced women seeking an abortion to undergo a mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound. In other words, before she can get a abortion–which is her Constitutional right–she must be penetrated–with or without her consent–by an ultrasound wand in a procedure that serves no medical purpose whatsoever. (No, the other kind of outside the tummy ultra-sound won’t work because it is too early in the pregnancy.)
There are, of course, many more reasons why the Montana Republican Party is repulsive to women, but when dealing with Republicans, it is best to give information in small doses, that you might digest it more easily. At least now, you’ll have no excuse for pretending ignorance in the news.
Anti-intelligence candidate Jon Arnold has filed for office on the Republican ticket. He says he wants voters to send him “kicking and screaming” to Helena.
I will go kicking and screaming into Helena, pushing our leaders to try to take back our powers that have been restrained from us by the federal government.
I think Arnold is confused about what “going kicking and screaming” means. But that’s no surprise, considering that he’ll tell you straight up: ”intellectuals” are the problem:
We have a despotic, unconstitutional fourth branch of government, comprised of a small army of two million bureaucrats….Many of these people are considered to be “intellectuals.” The problem with intellectuals is that they are not smart enough to know the things that they don’t know. This was the brilliance of our founders.
Well, it is “the brilliance” of Jon Arnold anyway.
It used to be that being smart and getting an education was viewed as important in America. But now, it’s the dumb that we put on a pedestal. And to what do we owe this gift of dumb? Right-wing fundamentalism, both religious and political. We have a Presidential candidate who is worried that Satan is attacking America. Rick Santorum says, in public, that college is all part of Obama’s evil plan to corrupt the nation’s youth.
Arnold further demonstrates his aversion to smart when he asks voters to:
Imagine if ten years from now there is a “sin tax” (such as those for alcohol and tobacco) for the purchase of a cheeseburger…The only protection against such injustices is to not grant the government this power to begin with.
Representatives: Tom Burnett, Janna Taylor, Salomon, Wayne Stahl, Jonathan McNiven, Pat Ingraham, Tom McGillvray, Ken Peterson, Jeff Wellborn, Cary Smith, Jerry O’Neil, Bob Wagner, James Knox, Dan Skattum, Wendy Warburton, David Howard, Jerry Bennett, Jesse O’Hara, Christy Clark, Kris Hansen, Champ Edmunds, Krayton Kerns, Ron Ehli, Mark Blasdel, Doug Kary, Austin Knudsen, Kelly Flynn, Walt McNutt, John Esp, Pat Connell, Matt Rosendale, Cleve Loney, Mike Cuffe
Senators: Debby Barrett, Ed Walker, Ryan Zinke, Bob Lake
Arnold is a Republican candidate Montana Senate District 43, which includes Anaconda and surrounding communities.
Now that Republicans have brought national attention to the Montana Legislature, it’s fitting to take a closer look at some of the reasons behind the fame: the unique qualities of GOP legislators and their supporters of which you may not yet be familiar.
Representative Pat Ingraham (R-Thompson Falls) places such high esteem on the English language that she voted to require that drivers license exams be given only in English (House Bill 302 by Rep. Janna Taylor, R-Dayton). Her esteem is also apparent in the video below, in which Rep. Ingraham demonstrates her ability to come up with new, never before used words such as “revelant” while speaking to the Montana House of Representatives.
Derek Skees (R-Whitefish Kalispell) is beyond a student of constitutional history. In fact, he’s a teacher of it down at the local Perkins diner chain. However, the bills he’s presented this session demonstrate that he not only understands constitutional history enough to teach a class at Perkins, he even has a working familiarity with historical documents of which college professors have never heard. Listen to Rep. Skees’ unique historical insights as he presents yet another nullification bill, HJ 20. (Click here to hear “Magna Carter.”)
No one loves learning more than the Lewis and Clark County TEA Party, the group that sued the Helena School District to stop them from teaching kids about basic health, presumably to allow more time for other topics, such as great literature. As pointed out by commenters here, Conservative TEA Party leader Tim Ravndal values Shakespeare as a particular favorite.
So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, with the degree of learning and knowledge our lawmakers demonstrate, if these same individuals do not remember one small fact: where in history the road to nullification ended –with the firing on Fort Sumter, in 1861, and finally in defeat at Appomattox, in 1865 when the Civil War finally ended. They will undoubtedly recall for years to come the events of 2012, when many of them will be up for re-election. That’s when we should remind the public of the demonstrated knowledge of our lawmakers, the evidence of which will benefit us all.
The hypocrisy exhibited by Republicans this session is so astounding it can hardly be described. But what we’re seeing from those in the GOP seeking to court the TEA party wing goes even beyond hypocrisy and can only be called fraud.
GOP limited government rhetoric is simply never matched by that Party’s conduct, especially when they wield power. The very idea that a political party dominated by neocons, warmongers, surveillance fetishists, and privacy-hating social conservatives will be a party of “limited government” is absurd on its face. There literally is no myth more transparent than the Republican Party’s claim to believe in restrained government power. For that reason, it’s only a matter of time before the fundamental incompatibility of the “tea party movement” and the political party cynically exploiting it is exposed.
There are multitudinous examples of the fraud and hypocrisy exhibited by the GOP this session and other bloggers have written about them here and here. Still, the hypocrisy is so outrageous that I can’t resist adding to the discussion. As Wulfgar points out, House Bill 280, by Rep. Pat Ingraham, R-Thompson Falls, and SB 176 by Sen. Rowlie Hutton (R-Havre) both insert politicians right in the middle of what should be internal doctor-patient, and personal and/or family decisions only.
The GOP’s general philosophy seems to be “Protect the ‘unborn.’ After you’re born, f*ck off.” The point hasn’t been lost on Rep. Carolyn Pease-Lopez, a strong advocate for children and families, when she expressed her intent to oppose yet another intrusion into womens’ medical privacy and personal family decisions.
Rep. Carolyn Pease-Lopez, D-Billings, her voice cracking, chided Republicans for supporting the bill.
“I hope we have just as much compassion for the unborn as the children who are already born,” she said. “I cannot ask you to change your mind, but I can ask you to reconsider how you treat us after we’re born. I ask you to do this.”
Another couple of examples of the fraud come from Greg Hinkle (R, also of Thomson Falls). Hinkle has two different bills (SB169 and SB 116) to do the same thing, overturn a court decision prohibiting politicians from interfering in private personal end-of-life decisions.
Republican state representatives Pat Ingraham and Gordon Hendrick and state senator Greg Hinkle met with Sanders County school administrators to talk about the school funding challenges facing the 2011 legislature. The meeting was arranged by Sanders County Treasurer Carol Turk who is running for re-election on the Republican ticket along with Ingraham and Hendrick. All three of the state officials expressed their concern about school funding issues. There “concern” would be a lot more credible if any of them had ever actually voted for state funding for education.
So each of these legislators count themselves as pro-education. If a bill came to the House or Senate that would improve educational opportunities for children, one assumes these pro-education legislators would propose to improve it, accept a few necessary small compromises and then enthusiastically support the proposal.
Yes, indeed, every Republican legislator is pro-education except when they are regularly anti-education. The state’s education leaders give Ingraham and Hinkle a 0% education voting record, and Hendrick a 15% (all are F’s).
Ingraham, Hinkle and Hendrick are all incumbent legislators which means that they swore to uphold the Constitution.
Here are three “constitutional upholders” that are masters at hypocrisy when it comes to the constitutional rights of Montanans, which include a guarantee of a quality education for all. Senator Greg Hinkle, Representative Pat Ingerham and Gordon Hendrick, step right up, you are the Montana Cowgirl Blog’s GOP Hypocrites of the Week for all your hard work at flouting intelligence out there in Western Montana.