Pastimes of the Virtuous


                                                                                                                                             

Righteous David Howard, whose is apparently a minister of the Lord, enjoys very interesting videos in his spare time.

Screenshots like this don’t require further commentary.  Thankfully Rep. David Howard, of Montana’s GOP God Squad infamy, has a contested primary June 5.  Republicans may want to check out his conservative competition- Kathy Harman and Dale Milligan.  Democrat Jim Dickey will face the winner of the primary in November to battle for HD 60.

Other than that, I’m pretty speechless.

 

Adios Assmann!


Essentially citing lackluster support, tax-loving prohibitionist Senator Jeff Essmann has decided to focus on electing Republicans rather than waste his coin losing the 2012 GOP Gubernatorial primary election. While I can hardly control my excitement, I must admit that some part of me  was looking forward to obtaining the inevitable and infinite fodder for critique at the Yellowstone Young Republicans Gubernatorial Debate scheduled for February 9 in Billings.  Anyone who has witnessed Jeff Essmann partake in an original soliloquy knows exactly what I’m talking about.  Considering that the questions asked in the debate will not be shared with the candidates prior, one can only imagine the panic Essmann must have been experiencing.

Judging from the comments on the Billings Gazette article announcing Essmann dropping from the race, this decision has elated many Montanans.

 

Although Essmann didn’t endorse another candidate, he implied that he will be supporting Rick Hill. Many are speculating that Essmann was forced from the race after the Hill campaign discovered a scandal.  The Senator mentioned that he plans to return campaign donations… I urge those of you who contributed to Essmann to donate those funds to the campaign of Corey Stapleton.  I look forward to seeing you all at the GOP Gubernatorial debate in Billings February 9, hosted by the Yellowstone Young Republicans.

I’d also like to see approximately five of the current (crowded) GOP field of 8, after Essmann’s departure; drop out to provide a clear contrast among the remaining candidates. The filing fee exceeds some of the entire campaign treasuries of candidates and any who are unable to raise enough cash to pay for the filing fee are likely not the over-achiever we need in Montana’s Capitol.

The Obama Administration’s Schizophrenic Marijuana Policy: Ogden, Haag, and Cole


Prior to his election, Obama had a reasonable outlook on medical marijuana

“I don’t think that should be a top priority of us, raiding people who are using … medical marijuana. With all the things we’ve got to worry about, and our Justice Department should be doing, that probably shouldn’t be a high priority.” — June 2, 2007, town hall meeting in Laconia, New Hampshire

“You know, it’s really not a good use of Justice Department resources.” — responding to whether the federal government should stop medical marijuana raids, August 13, 2007, town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire

Nearly year after Obama was elected President, his administration, with great fanfare; released the Ogden memo. The memo essentially informed US Attorneys that the US government wouldn’t be focusing federal resources on the prosecution of individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.  As a result of this policy shift, the number of legal medical marijuana patients increased substantially in states allowing the use of medical marijuana.

On February 1, 2011, US Attorney Melinda Haag sent what is now known as the “Haag Memo”, to John Russo, Oakland City Attorney in response to Russo’s request of clarification of the federal stance. From the memo:

We will enforce the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law…. . ….Others who knowingly facilitate the actions of the licensees, including property owners, landlords, and financiers should also know that their conduct violates federal law.

Although hardly publicized, the Haag memo is consistent with federal action the following month:

On Wednesday, for the second time in this year, the Obama administration released a memo on  medical marijuana, the text of which can be viewed here.  This memo purports to provide clarification of previous memos yet seems more like a warning to anyone involved in any level of cannabusiness.  The text of the memo seems to acknowledge that state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis is alright, but good luck obtaining it, because the federal government is waging a war against those who grow it.  This clarification certainly clears things up.

Americans were accustomed to raids under the Bush administration, but Obama promised a different approach, giving a very false sense of security to cannabis patients.  In reality, Obama is on target to in four years, double the number of raids under 8 years of the Bush administration.  At least Bush’s actions were consistent with his words.  Some are speculating that US Atty Holder or rogue US Attys are acting without authorization, but launching raids IS policy and the number, scope, and focus of these violent raids suggests that they are orchestrated from the top.

How’s your badass president now?  I’ve had enough “change”  Perhaps it is time for a President whose actions are consistent with his words, has a decades long history of consistent messages and dedication to individual liberties, constitutional government and sound monetary policy.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you prefer wondering if federal agents will gun down your children as well as your dogs in the next early morning raid.  H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act is currently in Congress.  To urge your Representatives and Senators to support this historic legislation, use this handy web form.

Montana Governor Brands “Black Market Bill” (SB 423) Unconstitutional


In a surprising move (surprising to me at least), Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer called Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann’s SB 423, “unconstitutional on its face”.  He expressed his intention to issue an amendatory veto on the legally defective legislation as he doesn’t believe it could survive a court battle in its current form   The legislation, which passed Montana’s House and Senate earlier this week has been nicknamed the “black market bill” by opponents who believe eliminating the medical cannabis industry will invite dangerous criminal elements engaged in drug activity to again control the supply of marijuana in Montana.

In an interview with Lee Newspapers State Bureau, Schweitzer was highly critical of the GOP-led 2011 Legislature, expressing his disgust for their “squandering”  of Montana’s 90 day biennial legislative session.  He asked,

“Why don’t you just pass something that works, that’s constitutional and that can survive the test of time?” he asked.

A bipartisan interim committee, after months of work, inspired HB 68, sponsored by Diane Sands (D- Missoula).  While nowhere near perfect legislation, it is difficult if not impossible to find patients or growers who would prefer Essmann’s bill to HB 68, which was tabled in committee.  A re-written version of SB 154, a gray bill sponsored by Republican Dave Lewis (and largely preferred by patients and growers) also received little support from the repeal-driven prohibitionist Republicans.  Referring to HB 68,  Governor Schweitzer said ,

“They threw that in the garbage and now they’re going to send me this (SB) 423, which everybody’s who’s read it says, ‘Oh yeah, it’s unconstitutional,’ ” he said.  “The bill as written is not going to survive the courts.”

Montana’s governor, who recently was featured in national news stories for calling Republicans in the state legislature “Bat-crap crazy” and for registering a “VETO” cattle brand with the state (with which he last week ceremoniously killed bills he considered foolish or unconstitutional) isn’t fond of a requirement in Essmann’s bill that requires Montana’s medical cannabis patients to carry their state licensing card with them at all times, regardless of whether or not they are in possession of marijuana.  Patients are also subject to warrantless searches of their homes at any time and names and addresses of those in the program are provided to local law enforcement officials.   Schweitzer believes such provisions to be violations of the 4th amendment, which protects Americans from unlawful searches and seizures as well as the  federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

if you’re taking OxyContin or penicillin or for God’s sake, even aspirin, that is your own personal health care records,” he said. But HB423 is “demanding” that the fact that someone is using medical marijuana and “be turned over to law enforcement in every town.

Schweitzer too acknowledged the black market appeal of the legislation,

“There’s another problem with it, and I think it’s a fundamental problem,” Schweitzer said. “Under this bill, I will guar-an-dang-tee-you, that there will be more illegal marijuana (that) makes it to the alley under this proposal than we currently have because now you’re going to have 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 people growing their own. It’s not possible to monitor all of them.”

“I mean does someone with a straight face think you can have 5,000 people growing their own and none of it makes it to high schools or to college dorm rooms?” he said.

A severability clause was included in the bill, which ensures that, in the event of a court ruling striking components of the legislation, other parts of the bill remain viable.  Because of its inclusion, Schweitzer believes that Essmann and other Republicans are well aware that the bill is unconstitutional.

“Why don’t you just pass something that works, that’s constitutional and that can survive the test of time?” he asked.

That sounds far too easy for the TEA people-inspired Montana GOP, however.  This shouldn’t be about politics, it should be about doing the right thing for the segment of the population who Montana’s original medical cannabis law was designed to protect.  In efforts to eradicate all state-sanctioned medical use of cannabis, Montana’s GOP lawmakers for the past 90 days have resorted to tears, lies, and dramatic stories intended to convince the legislative body and public that our state is now considered a “source nation, like Columbia” our youth are prostituting themselves for cannabis, and that caregivers are selling marijuana in middle and high schools across the state.  Oddly enough, there have been no arrests made for any of those particular crimes.

Sponsor of the bill, Jeff Essmann cited recent correspondence with federal officials who “clarified” federal policy  in his bid to save our state from the evils of cannabis.  No word on whether he used such correspondence to ensure Montana is in compliance with federal law regarding wolves or implementation of federal health care reforms however.  We are all aware that the federal government knows best anyway, right?

Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
– Federal Bureau of Narcotics Chief Harry J. Anslinger, 1929

Republicans in Montana have been hammered by those on the right this session as well as the typical lefty critics after various testimonies  in reference to  blow-dart murders, appropriate state prison sentences for gay recruitment, and the dangers of punishing DUIs were publicized on numerous news programs. While Republicans across the nation- including several GOP presidential nomination hopefuls- are advocating sweeping  marijuana law reforms, Montana’s Republicans are determined to move backwards as they promote their dangerously myopic “morality” agenda.

Washington Post: Rick Hill, Weak Candidate


Cowgirl has the story:  According to the Washington Post…….

Republicans aren’t totally sold on Hill, who notably attacked a female opponent in the late 1990s for being unmarried and without children. But even a weak GOP candidate could put up a tough fight in this Republican-leaning state. And once the state’s legislative session ends, some fresher faces could jump in on the GOP side.

 

Who knew Montana had mermaids? Rick Hill did.....

As if the dramatic stories flapping around about Hill’s extramarital affairs with tailed ladies of the sea weren’t enough….

 

Hill may have raised more cash than the other GOP candidates thus far- after all, he is a former US Congressman- but something tells me the MONTaliban members dominating the right wing these days won’t soon forget about Hill’s character flaws.  Rep Ken Peterson wouldn’t likely associate with someone so far out of the mainstream and oh my…. what would the rough and tough proponents of the Cowboy Code of Ethics have to say about this?

The majority of donors to Hill are shady and scandalous lobbyists, moderate ex-legislators, wealthy insurance executives, and reluctant Helena insiders.  Hill has yet to issue any statements in response to Mermaid-gate but the exposure may have played a part in some prominent members of the “moral majority” (which is neither) making contributions to Ken Miller- notably, a couple of the masters of propaganda pillars of the community, Rep David Howard and Jeff Laszloffy (Montana Family Foundation).  Republicans may be wise to distance themselves from the elderly Hill as there are a number of  far superior GOP hopefuls in the 2012 Gubernatorial election.

H/T Montana Cowgirl

Rick Hill: A Lot of Baggage, Still NOT “A Lot of Folks”


While there still aren’t a “lot of folks for Rick Hill”, the 2012 hopeful republican gubernatorial candidate is at least aware that he needs some more folks.  Late last week, he sent out an email virtually begging for new followers, perhaps because nearly all of his devoted supporters (primarily lobbyists and insurance executives) already have maxed out their contributions to his campaign.  He expressed his intentions to have the most friends, Twitter followers, blog subscribers, etc and vowed to show everyone how an online campaign is run.

Dear Friend:

I’m very pleased to announce the launch of our new web site at:

www.rickhillforgovernor.com

When I last ran for public office over ten years ago, the Internet was still fairly new, and the social media revolution was in its infancy.  But I’m excited to get to try new things with this campaign, and I’ve made it my goal to be on the cutting edge of technology this election cycle.  It is my goal to be the candidate all others are trying to catch up to in our online presence.  I want the most Facebook friends, the most Twitter followers, the most subscribers to my blog, and most importantly, I want to raise the most money online.

Over the weekend we launched a new web site, a new Facebook page, and a new Twitter feed.  I need your help to get the word out to start building our presence.

Please forward this email liberally.  Please go to your own Facebook networks and suggest they join me.  Please spread the word in every way you know how and let’s show Montana how an online campaign is run!

Join me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Subscribe to my RSS feed

Contribute to my campaign

I can’t thank you enough for your support,

Rick

Paid for by A Lot of Folks for Rick Hill, Republican

PO Box 1585

Helena, MT 59624

Note:  He has not been making any friends in the medical cannabis industry, in fact, he has mocked patients and caregivers at every opportunity in nearly all of his speeches at area Lincoln Reagan Dinners.


Well one thing is for sure, Hill isn’t short on arrogance, although the fact that he wears lifts in his shoes and generally travels with a stool (kind of like tiny Michele Bachmann) to create the illusion of height at his public appearances would lead some to believe he is indeed insecure.  Because of his desire to have the most friends, most Twitter followers, etc, he has recently been imitating opponent Corey Stapleton, posting photos very similar to his and copying his Facebook status update topics.   Stapleton must be doing something right though, he has more Facebook friends and more Twitter followers.  Stapleton’s posts are generally thought provoking and he often encourages friends to comment on controversial issues.  In contrast, each of Hill’s posts masquerade as news articles about … you guessed it, Mr. Hill himself.  In reality, however, the links lead visitors to his own campaign website.  As a result, one of the candidates seems REAL while the other one seems manufactured.  I will let readers be the judge.

Unfortunately for Hill, arrogance isn’t enough to be elected governor, especially after a sudden shady decade long “retirement” that included obtaining a faux online law degree (ironically while he was supposedly going blind, cyber braille perhaps?) and working as a lobbyist.  In addition to that, some “folks” may recall his public infidelity and subsequent divorce, temper tantrums that included hurling a letter opener at a congressional staffer, abysmal JBS Freedom Index scores, and reputation for tyrannical behavior.  Hill holds a slight lead over Stapleton, but the race is young.  Former US Congressman Hill suffers from low name recognition (all of the GOP candidates do, but Hill was the only one who held national office) as well as high negatives.   Obviously the liberals are having fun mocking Hill, today Cowgirl referred to him as the GOP’s crusty leading man but he has real trouble on the right as well. A lot of baggage, but not “a lot of folks”.

(we anticipate a prompt response from  Hill’s yes man operative, Chuck Denowh, to defend his honor)

Knox and Edmunds for PSC?


MONTaliban member Rep. James Knox, Rep. Champ Edmunds, and an unidentified third person were recently seen at a meeting with PSC Chair Bill Gallagher and PSC Vice Chair Brad Molnar.  At this meeting,  “I cannot recall selling marijuana” Knox and Edmunds were reportedly asked to run for Public Service Commission in 2012.  * interesting note, newly elected Republican PSC member Travis Kavulla was apparently not present.

This presents some perplexing questions… 1.  Are they crazy? 2. Are they simply trying to get them out of the legislature?  3. Are they crazy?

It isn’t known for certain if they do indeed plan to run, although a Republican legislative staffer was reportedly asked by Knox if she’d run his PSC campaign.  Word on the street is that she politely declined.

Maybe Molnar and Gallagher had not yet seen thisthis, this, this, this, this, or this.  And those are only the links I could recall off-hand.

From Intelligent Discontent:

I suspect there are certain things no one forgets, among them:

  • the nervous feeling on your first date.
  • graduating from high school.
  • your marriage and birth of your children.
  • whether or not you’ve ever been a drug dealer.

Haha! I love it.  Poor James Knox.

 

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery


Rick Hill has a new campaign Facebook page.  You may remember, his initial group page “A lot of folks for Rick Hill“, didn’t attract many folks at all (it peaked at 78).  It appears that Mr. Hill has responded to bold branding pieces fresh from the Stapleton campaign in an attempt to compete, creating the new campaign page featuring a new Stapleton-esque photo.  Currently, Stapleton’s campaign Facebook page has around 1700 fans compared to Hill’s 31, Ken Miller’s 859, Livingstone’s 66 Twitter followers, and Jim O’Hara’s 70 Facebook fans.

Corey Stapleton released this photo weeks ago.

Hill’s version:

As a younger voter, Stapleton’s new photo definitely appeals to me- the bio is an eye-catching display portraying him as youthful, fresh and hip- a sharp contrast to the elderly (over the) Hill who has suffered from health problems for the last decade.

I’ve been criticized in the past for giving the numbers too much credit.   I do find it odd that we are expected to accept polling results yet supporters utilizing social media aren’t considered credible indicators.  I realize that calling a candidate out for copying his opponent is probably a little petty, but so is leaking a “rumor” to politico.com that an opponent was considering dropping out of the Gubernatorial race to run against fellow republican Steve Daines for US House when there has never been any evidence suggesting such.   In the past, Hill has gone dirty early, attacking his opponents in primary elections as well as generals.  This seems to be more of the same.  One would expect Hill to be polling higher at this point- after all, he was a 2 term US House Representative.

UPDATE

Thanks so much to Chuck Denowh, who mentioned that Rick has been using that photo since January. Apparently we just didn’t see it since his “A lot of folks for Rick Hill” group closed up shop after few folks showed any interest.  Didn’t see it on his website either, but I’m sure it was widely distributed.  Again, thanks Chuck!  Not going to post the retraction he requested however.

Mike Milburn, Montana Masochist


Speaker Milburn’s anti-compassion presentation.  His words in black, mine in red.

Speaker Milburn wants you to suffer. It hurts so good!!

I was asked to do this quite awhile ago. Not proud enough to claim this as your own idea, huh? As we all know the medical marijuana initiative passed the voters by some sixty percent actually 62% Mike, you know that. Followed by several years of not much activity, then all of the sudden people understood that they could get away with abuse umm, actually, that isn’t what happened at all…and the flood gates opened. Calls came in from schools, the city, and the addiction center, what they told me was shocking and of course none of these calls came in prior to 2004 when Montana approved the medical use of cannabis, right?! I went to meetings and people which people, names please expressed that they understood what was happening to our society, to our kids and to our communities what exactly is “happening to our society, kids and communities”?

It’s no longer about the medical use of marijuana; it is now all about the marijuana itself and legalizing the drug, no, Mike…. it IS about medical use of the drug.  Last I checked, there were no plans to legalize the drug.

People any specific people? No room for hearsay in the legislative process…. come on, Mike… let’s be professionals here asked, can we repeal the whole initiative? Yes, it is possible, of course it is possible, any law is possible to change, you can eliminate it, change it, and we do it everyday umm, actually, we don’t do it quite that often, Mike.

I have been getting a lot of support, more everyday, especially from the schools and their concern about the deteriorating effects they are seeing upon kids using marijuana. Kids are showing up at school under the influence or just not showing up at all and I suppose this NEVER happened prior to legalizing the medical use?

So I proceeded in this direction, seeing that there was a huge upswing in the use of marijuana by teens in our schools attributable only to our medical cannabis laws I assume? and communities and medical marijuana card numbers were going up.

We can’t keep up with the data; it’s going up so fast umm, actually, new numbers are released every month…. do you need them more frequently than monthly? The huge upswing of medical marijuana is a problem.

It is no longer an issue of medical marijuana; it’s an issue of marijuana. Actually, Mike…. we are only talking about the medical use of marijuana.  We’ve already established that non-medical use of marijuana is illegal.

We’ve opened the floodgates.  It’s like Hurricane Katrina. Great analogy. We’re not talking about the dikes holding back the water anymore. We’re talking about, how do you rebuild the city? That is where we are at. Of course you are only SAYING that though, Mike.  You have no intentions of rebuilding the city, you are looking to condemn it entirely.

What I have found, and what I believe is the only way to handle this is to shut down the industry. And  you are an expert on this subject I assume? We have got to shut it down. The money that is being made in this industry, and the drugs that are being sold, it’s staggering. Drugs, Mike?  Or how about medicine?We have an industry that is out of control. So regulation is impossible?  Because the industry isn’t what you would like it to be, it should be eliminated?

The numbers, 28,000 cards we have issued in Montana, we don’t have that many hurt people around. You are, I assume; a physician?  Oh really?  You aren’t.  Hmmm. In Helena we have greenhouses full of marijuana plants, with 6 plants per person; we have a lot of hurt people. Again, you know how many “hurt people” are in the state? That’s as many people with marijuana  cards as the population we have in the city of Helena. Although we are talking about an entire state, a population of nearly a million people.

I have been asked hearsay again, Mike, why undo something that Montanans wanted. And we will continue to ask that question. Well this is not what they wanted. You can speak for ALL of us? I do not hear from anyone that was not already a marijuana user themselves, that they wanted this. Not one person, huh?  OK, Mike.  We believe you. The widespread abuses of marijuana go far beyond the intent of the voters who approved the initiative nearly seven years ago. And because our legislature is so damned lazy and arrogant, we are going to tell those voters they made a big mistake.This is not what is wanted by voters. Speak for yourself. I don’t hear from any person that this is what they voted for.  This is a lie.  You’ve heard from me…. you just won’t admit it apparently.  I noticed you haven’t ever responded to any of my messages.

We can’t fix it. Because our legislature is inept and has a religious agenda. We have got to shut it down. Because we are lazy. What are we doing to ourselves and our kids?  What are we doing?  Not “WE”, Mike… YOU.  What are YOU doing to ourselves and our kids?  You are perpetuating the most ridiculous stereotypes.  You embarrass us! We need some breathing room. And as a person who doesn’t suffer from a debilitating illness, it is so easy for you to make that claim.

Reference is made to a chart and to the blue line increases in the chart. This is in months, not years, this is scary! This is huge. We are now #2 in the nation in teen usage of marijuana, a year ago we were 10th. This is the high end of the average in the U.S. This is serious! Oddly enough, we were also number one prior to legalizing medical use of cannabis in our state.  We won’t mention that though…. we will just put it on a website without disclosing the fact that those numbers were from almost a decade ago.

We have changed our culture in Montana in just several months. Yes, Mike.  Thanks to you and your minions, we have changed our culture to one of fear.  Patients are afraid  that you will take away a substance that has saved their lives and allowed them to become productive citizens. We used to be the rough and tough cowboys, loggers, miners, ranchers, farmers, the hard workers, ones who were proud of their families and their communities. Now we are a state governed by tyrants. We are changing our identity in just a few months. And we blame YOU. That is what we are doing. Tyranny at its best.

The money being made is staggering! Yes, the industry has put people to work! That is more than you can say for yourself. Growers are hiring people, previously vacant warehouses are suddenly filled with paying tenants, gardening supply stores are cropping up and hardware stores are benefiting. Contractors are busy, electricians are busy. Pain is the main reason for obtaining a medical marijuana card. This is odd, why?  Lots of people have pain. What is the main reason for obtaining an oxycontin prescription? It is huge on the graph found in red. Usage among teenagers is so common they think it’s legal. Because they aren’t stupid.  They are more informed than YOU are. They are shocked to find out it is illegal. Because it is such a safe substance, they see alcohol’s effects every day and they wonder why something like cannabis is considered so evil. Enough people are getting cards that students are supplying to students. And why have we not arrested these people? This is a travesty. That’s where we are at on that.

Another embarrassing thing happened. North Dakota’s initiative failed close to 70%. The Director of Criminal Investigation used us as a bad example. Which may be why it failed.  North Dakotans believed your lies. Radio and TV ads said, “We don’t want to look like Montana!” “Do you want the mess Montana is in?” It failed because they used us as a bad example. That’s why it failed?  Not because cannabis has no legitimate medical use?  You don’t say.  Thanks for making our argument for us.

Let’s look at the validity in the use of marijuana as a medicine.  First of all the Department of Justice and Drug abuse administration stated, how our nation responds to drug abuse is one of the most important and dangerous issues facing American citizens, and especially for our youth today.  United States drug enforcement administration under the US Department of Justice takes a firm stand and I quote “smoked marijuana is not a medicine and it is not safe”. Who said anything about smoking it? Have you ever heard of a vaporizer?  Or how about edibles, tincture, or ointments?

Marijuana has been classified as a schedule 1 drug. Possession, distribution and manufacturing of it is illegal under federal law. Drugs have classification under accepted medicinal use and the potential for abuse and their psychological and physical effects on the body.  Cocaine is a schedule II drug.  Clearly because it is far safer and less prone to abuse than cannabis.  Methamphetamine is a schedule II drug- prescribed in pharmaceutical form it is known as Desoxyn- and is prescribed to children for control of ADHD.  Clearly, methamphetamine is far more safe than cannabis.  You do realize how ridiculous you sound, right?

Schedule 1 drugs are categorized as such because of high potential for abuse and a lack of any accepted medical use and an absence of any accepted safety for use in medically supervised treatment. Oddly enough, the MAYO clinic PROVIDES cannabis to patients and GASP!!! even allows them to smoke it.  Clearly an expert such as yourself knows more about the medical use of cannabis than anyone at that silly MAYO clinic. The DEA was challenged, the schedule 1 status so they could regulate and distribute it. The DEA Health and Human Services Department performed rigorous testing and found marijuana to be highly addictive with no medicinal value and refused to de list it. You may want to check the facts again here, Mike.  That isn’t quite the reason….The US Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

FDA – has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease. Again, who said anything about smoking it? FDA noted that they currently have sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. As opposed to opiates which are so safe. That no sound scientific studies support the use of marijuana for medical treatment in the U.S. You are joking, right?  I can name countless studies off the top of my head.  Of course, my truth is inconvenient for you. Marijuana does not meet any standards of modern medicine for quality and safety. Because it is just that safe. Marijuana does not fall under any doctor’s management protocol of dosages, risk and side effects or drug interactions, indications and contradictions. Because it is impossible to overdose on it.  The same cannot be said even for WATER. The same holds true for a pharmacist.

So you are going to hear from proponents today about glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer and a number of diseases and conditions. God forbid you accept any testimony from actual patients who have a better quality of life because of this substance. But the following voices of the medical community do not accept smoked marijuana as a medicine.  I notice you mentioned “smoked” marijuana again.  Did we ever say anything about smoking it?

Following in:

DEA – Health and Human Services  You may want to check this link, Mike.  It appears this has more to do with money and Big Pharma than safety or efficacy.  Everyone wants a piece of the pie.

Sept. 6, 1988, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young said


“Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man,” he wrote. “By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care. … The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”

American Medical Association   Hmmm, actually, Mike…. check out this link.  The AMA in 2009 changed their 72 year long stance on marijuana.  They now claim it clearly has medical benefits.

American Cancer Society  The American Cancer Society has an issue with SMOKING marijuana.  No mention of other methods of ingestion…. again, we aren’t necessarily talking about smoking it.   The ACS members were among the first to recommend cannabis for regulation of pain, anorexia, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

American Academics of Pediatrics Clearly they haven’t met one of Montana’s youngest medical cannabis users… 2 year old Cash Hyde whose parents claim wouldn’t be with them today without medical cannabis.

American Glaucoma Society  Patients and physicians agree that marijuana is an effective treatment for relieving interocular pressure associated with glaucoma.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society  MANY MS patients and their physicians believe medical cannabis has benefits in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Institute of Medicine British Association  Why we should care what any nanny-state entity believes is beyond me.

American Society of Addiction Medicine  This entity exists only because of “addictions”.  Why work themselves out of a job?

American Society of Addiction Medicine asserts that cannabis, cannabis-based products, and cannabis delivery devices should be subject to the same standards that are applicable to other prescription medications and medical devices and that these products should not be distributed or otherwise provided to patients unless and until such products or devices have received marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration. ASAM rejects smoking as a means of drug delivery since it is not safe.  So, we can use a vaporizer.  It is settled.

All say if it is smoked it is harmful. All don’t accept marijuanaas a medicine.  No, all don’t accept SMOKED marijuana as a medicine.  Who said anything about smoking it?  And if patients choose to ingest their medicine by smoking it as opposed to some other delivery mode, they are endangering themselves.  Not our business.

Merinol in pill form is the only form that can be prescribed by a doctor.  Marinol is SYNTHETIC THC.  It is expensive, must be stored at specific temperatures, and is often thrown up before it ever has an opportunity to quell nausea associated with chemotherapy and disease.

At addiction centers nationally and locally there is more teen dependency than all other illicit drugs combined.  We aren’t talking about the nation here…. are you really going to claim that locally we have more kids in treatment for marijuana than we do for alcohol?

We talk about forming a model of marijuana to look like Europe. Umm, no we aren’t.  Who cares about nanny-state Europe.  Socialism has failed.  And who said Europe has liberal marijuana laws?  Don’t tell me you are referring to Sweden again…. We find Europe is rethinking its liberal marijuana laws and use. They report significant mental and physical consequences that lead to higher crime rate and social costs.  And they would know all about social costs considering they are all socialists.  Let’s look at one of your own quotes.

America looked socialism in the eye and said they were scared”.  Damn right we are scared Mike! One wouldn’t think you would use socialists as any sort of example.  Since when does America follow another nation’s lead?  We are the leaders of the free world…. nonsense like the propaganda you are producing makes a mockery of us.  Who the hell cares about our “rough and tough cowboy image”?  You guys want being gay to be a crime and your own judiciary chair (former) Sen. Shockley drinks while he drives.  Can you say hypocrisy??

Australia – will fight to turn around an 8 year soft drug approach and it has left lives ruined lives ruined by medical cannabis specifically?  If not, totally irrelevent.

Holland – same thing here, marijuana use is so dominate did you perhaps mean predominate  or dominant? Dominate is a verb.  Just sayin. that people don’t have space for other things in their lives, user’s crawl out of bed, smoke marijuana and don’t work, and then they don’t know what to do with their lives.  And this is because of medical use?  Please cite specific sources.

Switzerland – suffering again the same thing.  Actually, the Swiss have advocated complete decriminalization.  Although it didn’t pass parliament, they did ease marijuana laws in the past year.

California Chief of Police says that if you have drugs and money you are going to have crime. People think that by decriminalizing it that the Mexican and Asian gangs will go away. That’s not the world we live in. How do you know?  Have we ever tried it?  Clearly what we are doing is working so well.

Montana is known nationwide as a place to come for marijuana. I’m not criticizing the quality of Montana cannabis, but let’s be honest here.  Connoisseurs aren’t flocking to our state.  We are becoming known as a place where you CAN’T get marijuana because you sadistic bastards are on a power trip. It has created a multi-million dollar industry that’s largely unregulated and drawing criminals to the state.  Actually, criminals are LEAVING the state in droves because they can no longer make enough money selling marijuana.  Competition has improved quality and decreased prices.  They are headed east.  The ones who have stayed are now legally using cannabis and the ones illegally partaking are subject to criminal proceedings.  Arrest them!!

It’s a problem.  Certainly not one of our biggest problems however.  Every day we hear about yet another person being arrested for their tenth or fourteenth DUI.  Nobody is trying to criminalize alcohol though…. why?  Because we know prohibition does not work.

We are dealing with the consequences of the initiative. Actually, this is happening because you chose NOT to deal with the consequences of the initiative in any of the prior sessions.  Accept your portion of the blame, work with the industry and patients and move on. Shut the industry down. Shut the hell up, Mike Milburn.  You have no credibility.

**special thanks to cannapropaganda who will be guest blogging in my absence.

Just applyin’ your own CODE, pardner


Not so sure the Republican Cowboys want this code after all, pardner.

Jim Peterson, yes, the President of Montana’s 2011 Senate has proposed SB 216… to adopt the cowboy code of ethics as Montana’s code.  Just what does this mean for us?  Well….. not really anything.  Governor Schweitzer has already threatened it with a veto as Montanans really don’t require the legislature’s assistance to enact a code to live by.  Let’s just pretend this does indeed become the “law” of the land though…. we better investigate.

What is the Cowboy Code of Ethics?  According to James P. Owen, author of   Cowboy Code of Ethics, the code of the west was unwritten, but every cowboy knew what it was.  He broke the code into ten principles.  My commentary is in red.

1   Live each day with courage.

Recent examples of courageous behavior in the 2011 legislative session include the six Republicans who broke with the prohibitionist party and voted against Speaker Milburn’s bill to repeal medical marijuana.

2   Take pride in your work

I’ve seen lots of pride in this session but not much work.  Let me rephrase that, not much work at fulfilling campaign promises to create jobs.

3   Always finish what you start

This one is definitely debatable this session.  I’m not sure I want them to finish anything they started.

4   Do what has to be done

Key word here is “HAS”.HAS to be done.  In my opinion, that would include balancing the budget and  finding some way to stimulate the economy.  HAS refers to an immediate NEED.  Do we NEED a frivolous bill to symbolically request that Congress leave the UN?  Do we NEED the Code of the West?  Do we NEED to require couples seeking a divorce 10 hours of costly marriage counseling?  Do we NEED a Montana militia?

5   Be tough, but fair

Fairness generally means conformity of standards….. eeeeek!   Equality.   I’m not even going to get into the repercussions of this becoming our big tough state code.  A recent example (although not even close to where this will eventually be headed) is the committee hearing on Milburn’s medical cannabis repeal bill.  While all 28 repeal proponents were able to tell their sob stories about how marijuana has ruined their tiny little lives, most of the 86 opponents were only allowed to state their names, how to spell them, and their position on the bill… which should have been obvious considering they were considered the OPPOSITION.

6   When you make a promise, keep it.

Damn it! We are going to have to keep going back to those campaign promises, aren’t we?  I guess Montana’s new Cowboy Code isn’t so bad after all.  We can just say, ooops, you broke the code, why on earth are you running for reelection?

7   Ride for the brand.

I think we all can agree we need to define the brand we are a ridin fer.  Is that thar brand the party or the mighty state of Montucky?

8   Talk less and say more.

I’d imagine this is the rule they wish I would have adhered to most often this session.  Voters will say a lot with a stroke of a pen in 2012.  Not a word needs to be uttered.

9   Remember that some things aren’t for sale.

That’s right.  Some things aren’t for sale.  Our souls, for one.  You save yours, I will save mine.

10   Know where to draw the line.

Give up now.  Ask yourself, does this bill create any jobs?  Does this bill in any way, shape or form repair our economy?  Does this bill fix any IMMEDIATE need?  Does this bill fulfill campaign promises to my constituents?

And that concludes my rant.

Montana’s GOP God Squad legislating your morality, quantifying your pain, & protecting you from yourself


Take a moment today to thank the house members listed in bold below.  Why you ask? Thank them for ignoring the will of the people and voting to advance the repeal of a law passed by 62% of Montanans.

Thank you, representatives, for being so lazy.  You refused to produce any bills that created jobs but were instead focused on eradicating an entire industry that provides THOUSANDS of jobs for Montanans in addition to producing legislation on a host of other social issues.  I urge Montanans to flood these traitors and the remaining  house members with emails, calls and visits to inform them that you don’t approve of this sort of betrayal of our populace.  You elected them to fix our economy and create jobs…. and what did they do?  Not a damned thing.

Gone are the days that I defend the legislature.  When the liberals are bitching about hypocritical lawmakers seeking to repeal Obamacare while accepting taxpayer-funded health insurance, I will be right on board.  I will never give another penny to the Montana Republican party and I will never spend another moments assisting with anyone running for election.

On the flip side, the democrats in this committee are for the first time in my good graces.  There is a special place in hell for those who lack compassion for people suffering from debilitating illnesses and that has nothing to do with political party affiliation. May God have mercy on your souls.
 

David Howard Chair*
Cary Smith Vice Chair* Hubby of Susan Smith of Safe Community Safe Kids infamy
Michael (Mike) More Member*
Pat Ingraham Member*
Dan Skattum Member*
Liz Bangerter Member*
Steve Fitzpatrick Member*
Dan Kennedy Member*
Joe Read Member*
Max Yates Member*
Timothy Furey Voted NO….
Pat Noonan Voted NO
Chuck Hunter Voted NO
Ellie Boldman Hill Voted NO
Carolyn Pease-Lopez Voted NO

 

Breaking….. Yes, Denny is Challenging Jon Tester (Is anyone really surprised?)


All of the speculation surrounding Denny Rehberg‘s political plans for the future is being put to rest. Thankfully rollcall.com is breaking the “news” that Denny Rehberg is indeed challenging Jon Tester‘s senate seat.  I was getting really tired of sitting on the info while political insiders claimed he was focusing on his House seat now in light of the successful fundraising by Steve Daines.   Michele Bachmann is speaking at the Lewis & Clark Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner where Rehberg is expected to make his announcement.

Steve Daines is expected to announce Thursday that he will be dropping his senate challenge to Tester and instead running for  Rehberg’s empty house seat.  Daines was off to a great start fundraising and it is doubtful that he could have raised so much so quickly running for US Congress.

Tester has made quite a few enemies on the left lately, in part due to his vote against granting amnesty for children of illegal aliens.  He’s managed to run under the radar in Montana however, voting exactly like Max Baucus most of the time while escaping criticism.  Will Rehberg’s challenge produce a Republican senator from Montana or will our state lose all GOP representation in DC?

 

All-Mail Voting in Montana: Do Fiscal Benefits Outweigh Potentially Increased Risks for Voter Fraud?


 

Voting by mail..... or at McDonalds?

Should Montana’s elections be conducted through the mail in an effort to save money? HB 130, which is sponsored by Pat Ingraham (R-Thompson Falls) calls for vote-by-mail elections in every local, state, and federal election in Montana beginning in 2012. According to Secretary of State Linda McColloch, a hand-picked member of the George Soros-funded Secretary of State Project:

 

Vote-by-mail elections increase voter participation, enhance voter protection and save taxpayer money.”

Representatives from the Montana League of Rural Voters, Montana Disability Rights, Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders, Forward Montana, Montana Women Vote and Montana’s sovereign Indian nations worked together to propose the legislation.  Election administrators participating were from Blaine, Gallatin, Missoula, Pondera and Yellowstone counties.

Many opponents believe that all-mail voting is a way to increase dem turnout because it appeals to slackers and parasites who are too lazy to get off their duffs and vote in person while others think that voting should require some effort as a means of being certain of who is casting the votes.  Personally, although I’ve often voted via absentee ballot, I believe the proposed switch would primarily benefit democrats and I question whether the financial savings created by all-mail voting would outweigh the potential for voter fraud.

“All-mail”  is somewhat of a misnomer in other states, as completed ballots are often left at unofficial drop sites or picked up at doors by volunteers, most often sponsored by political groups and elected officials present this as a beneficial  form of constituent service.  Election officials in states where elections are conducted by mail (like WA and OR)  admit that they have no way of knowing whether they received every single ballot that was handed over to someone other than an authorized election official.  Voting by mail requires cooperation with universities, private mail services and group homes.  Group homes present extraordinary opportunities for voter fraud as dozens of ailing patients can be easily manipulated by a corrupt worker or coerced by campaign workers in a GOTV effort.  In universities, the high rate of turnover can be utilized to submit numerous fraudulent ballots.

On a local and state level, where elections are often won by a handful of votes (SD 25 for instance, where Democrat Kendall Van Dyk beat incumbent Republican Roy Brown by only 4 votes), just a few fraudulent votes could turn an election. The possibilities are truly endless.  My primary reason for not voting early is more practical than legal, however.  Much potential exists for decision-changing events or the exposure of scandalous information in the days prior to elections.  I want to ensure I don’t vote early for a flawed candidate as there is no buyer’s remorse provision for the voter.

On the other hand, there is always potential for election fraud and it is estimated that counties could save up to $2 million every election cycle by switching to voting by mail.  Your thoughts?

 

Senator Shockley and the Breeding of Lawlessness


Do as I say, not as I do.

Sigh….yet another hypocritical politician. Hey, nobody’s perfect, but when your focus as an elected official is legislating the morality of others, you should probably possess some pretty impeccable ethics yourself. Senator Jim Shockley (R, Victor), chair of the Judiciary, State Administration, and Ethics committees was cited last week for open container after an off-duty police officer noticed him drinking a beer while driving.  Shockley’s committee is hearing a number of bills regarding impairment as many consider Montana’s lax DUI laws to be responsible for high fatality rates on our highways. Senator Shockley is seeking a repeal of the medical marijuana law claiming “it breeds lawlessness.”  He is also sponsoring a bill to allow game wardens to issue minor in possession tickets as well as  one authorizing warrants to obtainblood or breath tests in DUI cases.

Senator Jim Peterson, President of the Senate, in reaction to Shockley’s citation, released the following statement:

We are obviously very disappointed to hear the report that a member of our body was found to be in possession of an open container while driving last Friday evening. We are in full support of strong laws against drinking and driving that apply to every Montanan. We are committed to pursuing meaningful DUI reform and working to change the culture of drinking and driving in Montana.”

I wonder if Shockley has been smoking some medical marijuana…. considering the lawlessness of his actions.  It seems that every day in our local newspapers, we read articles about Montanans being arrested for their eighth, tenth, or even their fourteenth citation for driving under the influence of alcohol.   Perhaps the legislators should focus on keeping habitual drunk drivers off of our streets instead of obsessing over repealing the medical marijuana law simply because it doesn’t fit into their idea of morality.

I realize that everyone makes mistakes, but we should hold our elected officials to higher standards.  Shockley’s excuse for drinking and driving was that it was a lapse in judgement.  Returning home from the legislative session in Helena, he stopped in Drummond to clear his windshield and purchased a Clamato according to Shockley.  He admitted to drinking one beer prior to leaving Helena as well.  Although the senator’s BAC was .03 (below the legal threshold of .08), this hardly seems like a “lapse in judgement” considering he had to purchase the beer and Clamato.  One would think that there would have been at least one moment where he recalled supporting a law banning the activity in which he would be momentarily participating.   I realize this charge isn’t the end of the world, Shockley was clearly not legally intoxicated this time, but how often does he drink alcohol alone as he commutes to and from Helena?  Could he truly not curtail his habit  while serving in our brief biennial session? Way to provide Governor Schweitzer (who recently called the Montana legislature the “biggest boozers”) more ammunition.

I really do prefer criticizing liberals so I pray the GOP stops giving me reason to chastise them.  Sadly, hypocrisy reigns supreme in politics.  That said, this is Senator Shockley’s first alcohol-related offense.  He paid his fine, accepted responsibility, and will no doubt be punished in his bid for attorney general.  Hopefully in the future, he will remove the log from his own eye before condemning and imposing regulations on others.

Denny’s Fresh New Deterrent to 2012 Senate Run


Will chairing powerful subcommittee be enough to deter Denny Rehberg from challenging Senator Jon Tester in 2012?

Montana’s Representative Denny Rehberg,  was today named chairman of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, one of three subcommittees within the powerful  House Appropriations Committee.  Congressman Rehberg’s approval by Speaker Boehner and the House Republican Steering Committee was unanimous, he has served on the committee since 2005.

The question of Rehberg’s 2012 political intentions remains.  Will he be satisfied with his higher profile role in Congress or will he finally decide to run for Senator Jon Tester‘s US Senate seat in 2012?

Rumors have been circulating for months and the Rehberg camp has been relatively silent on the Congressman’s plans for the future.  Republican businessman Steve Daines of Bozeman has already announced a challenge to US Senator Jon Tester and many Montanans would prefer to avoid placing Rehberg and Daines in a contested primary.  Some speculate Daines would drop out as a courtesy to Rehberg and would instead run for the Rehberg’s US Representative seat, but neither side has confirmed any such plans. Interestingly, Rehberg was also rumored, albeit to a lesser extent, to be considering running for Montana governor.  Some Montana Republicans are frustrated with Rehberg, accusing him of actively thwarting the fundraising efforts of Republican candidates for both positions in question and are encouraging him to make a decision. When asked about Rehberg’s Senate prospects in 2012, spokesman Jed Link said “Denny is focused on doing the job the overwhelming majority of Montana voters sent him to Washington to do.”

Personally, I’d like Denny to remain where he is. I’m not a fan of lifelong politicians but since he apparently intends to be one, I think he will have far more power to advance a conservative agenda  while chairing a powerful subcommittee than he would as a freshman senator.  I think Steve Daines is a likeable candidate but his alignment with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill is concerning.  I’d hate for Hill’s baggage to adversely affect Daines’s viability.  According to recent polls, US Congressman Hill currently has better name recognition but that recognition is highly negative. Daines, who is a relatively new face in politics (although he’s been involved on many levels for decades) may be wise to distance himself from the Hill campaign and instead capitalize on the current anti-incumbent/establishment politician wave.  The only one who stands to benefit from the alignment is Rick Hill, whose advanced age, health concerns, unimpressive voting record, and tendency to bail in stressful situations makes many  apprehensive about electing him to any office let alone crowning him the CEO of an entire state.

Blowing Smoke: Montana Legislators Campaign Promises vs Actual Legislative Agenda


Today is the opening day of Montana’s 90 day biennial legislative session.   Legislators continue to talk tough about the governor’s structurally unbalanced budget, opting out of national health care reform mandates, eliminating expansion of the size and scope government, job creation and other issues important to Montanans.  As always, however; there seems to be a great divide between what the legislators SAY and what they DO.  One such prime example is the emphasis the legislature is placing on repealing or reforming Initiative 148- Montana’s medical marijuana law passed by 64% of Montanans in 2004.  Currently, there are approximately 27,000 Montana medical marijuana patients as well as 5000 caregivers.  The economic impact, although unintended; is staggering.
Despite:
  • Recent Gallup polls indicating 58% of Americans in western states favor the full legalization of the use of marijuana  (48% of Americans overall)
  • The December Missoula  “marijuana mutiny” trial where prosecutors were unable to seat a jury after one by one, prospective jurors expressed their unwillingness to convict on possession of a small amount of marijuana.  The case received national attention from the Wall Street Journal’s legal blog to the Huffington Post and many Montanans were outraged at the expense of trying a man for possession of two buds of marijuana.
  • Recent quotes by Montana Republican legislators: “I do believe that moral issues are a very important part of politics and our society … and they’re personally important to me, also,” Speaker of the House Mike Milburn said. “But the focus of this session and the focus of Montana right now has to do with the economy and getting people back to work.”  Oddly enough, Mike Milburn has been actively working to repeal the medical marijuana law.
  • Recent quotes from Montana Democrat legislators:  ““We’ve got to concentrate on the things that matter and not be distracted by these proposals from the past,” added incoming House Minority Leader Jon Sesso, D-Butte. “Unless the proposal can show us that it is going to directly improve the lot of Montanans out of work, or those who are under-employed, we’re going to resist it.”

Montana legislators, primarily Republicans who campaigned on pro-business, pro-jobs, and anti-big government platforms; are proposing a host of bills ranging from fully repealing the law to regulating the industry to death.  Considering that most Republicans have criticized Obamacare, complaining that  the government has no right to step into the relationship between a physician and patient, it seems very odd that Senator Jeff Essmann would draft a bill proposing a 3 physician panel to determine if a patient does indeed have chronic pain.  Apparently he knows more about legitimate medical conditions than a trained physician.  I wonder how Essmann, an attorney, would feel about a doctor proposing laws to oversee his representation of clients.

Democrats too are in on the game.  Gov. Brian Schweitzer said he’s “absolutely convinced” a large number of Montanans with medical marijuana cards don’t have legitimate medical needs and just want to smoke marijuana “quasi-legally.”

“What we need to do is create a system so that we have people who actually have a medical need for marijuana,” he said in an interview with the Billings Gazette. “There will be a bill that will make it to my desk that is going to sort of close the loopholes in this medical marijuana. It needs to be done. I think currently the law is, ‘smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.’ “

As I’ve said before, Republicans in Montana were handed majorities in both houses on a silver platter- not because they were Republicans but because they were NOT Democrats.  The victories were not mandates and the Republicans should not be spending political capital they did not earn.  Balance the budget, create some jobs, allow Montana to opt out of Obamacare….. then the capital will be earned.  Proposing unnecessary social reforms in a time of fiscal crisis will ensure not only a loss of Republican majorities but potentially a loss of the governor seat as well in 2012.   Stop trying to legislate morality.  Nobody has ever died of a marijuana overdose in the history of time.  Focus on what matters to Montana, drugs are at the bottom of the list according to the Montana Chamber of Commerce Power Base survey, voter ID interviews, and overwhelming public sentiment.

Not a Lot of “Folks for Rick Hill”


Rick Hill Fails to Rally the Base

Peaking at 78 folks, Rick Hill’s campaign Facebook group “A Lot of Folks for Rick Hill” has apparently folded only seven weeks after his announcement to run for Montana Governor in 2012, possibly due to a lack of folks. Lackluster support is proving to be a problem for the candidate who refers to himself as a “fixer” and “member of the Tea party before it even existed”.  Younger conservatives are distancing themselves from Hill at a rapid pace.

A closed group with the same name, created a month ago by Beth Yount Ries, remains.   She added another 24 people to the group, but only a handful of them are current members.  Notably absent are former members Rick Hill and GOP candidate for US Senate Steve Daines.

In stark contrast, campaigns for Hill’s GOP opponents feature strong and passionate support. Ken Miller’s Facebook group, Ken Miller for Governor ,  has hundreds of people “liking” it.  The group was created last summer.  Corey Stapleton‘s Facebook group, Corey Stapleton for Montana’s Governor 2012, was created most recently-after Rick Hill’s- and has a couple hundred fans.

Rumors are plaguing the Rick Hill campaign, ranging from infidelity to scandals of Conrad Burns proportions and some hope he drops out of the campaign to avoid embarrassing reluctant  supporters.   Hill, a long-time lobbyist,  has also faced criticism from  Tea party leaders and members who don’t consider him conservative enough and don’t appreciate his comments implying he was endorsed by them.  Mark French,  former GOP candidate for Montana’s US House Representative harshly criticized Hill’s voting record on the blog PolyMontana.

Prior to Hill’s announcement, he confided in friends that many Democrats had encouraged him  to run for Governor because he was more moderate than the other candidates.  Democrat Dave Wanzenreid of Missoula apparently believes Hill isn’t moderate enough as he also recently filed to run for the position.  Term limits prevent current Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer from running for reelection.

Brian Schweitzer’s Pathological Projections


Whether invented to cover for revenue projection mistakes in his initial budget or due to delusions, Governor Brian Schweitzer has suddenly discovered an additional $120 million to add to his structurally unbalanced budget proposal.

Schweitzer blasted the Legislature and its fiscal staff for routinely under-estimating the revenue required to formulate the state’s budget yet in recent years, revenues were also considerably lower than the governor’s budget director’s projections.  The governor also made it clear that there will be no need to cut state programs (sigh) and implied that any future cuts in education could essentially be blamed on misguided priorities of Republicans in the legislature.

Schweitzer still plans to use one-time money to balance his budget as well as robbing surpluses in fiscally responsible school districts.

According to Montana Policy Institute’s recently released Pork Report, 10 out of the 25 highest paid state employees are psychiatrists.  Although that may seem excessive and wasteful, Schweitzer is a tough case.  We may need to hire a few more mental health professionals.

Montana Conservatives Not Sold on Rick Hill


Establishment Republicans Hill and Conrad Burns

While it appears GOP Gubernatorial candidate  Rick Hill has the reluctant? support of the typical establishment Republicans in Montana, the new breed of Montana conservative isn’t so sure.  While I love a guy with confidence- anyone with confidence for that matter- there is a fine line between that and arrogance.  If a candidate is going to mention, in a newspaper interview; that he was part of the TEA party before it was cool, he better have the voting record to back up such claims.  In the case of Rick Hill, he clearly does not.    This morning, a prominent Montana conservative forwarded me the following email thread which was sent to a list of other prominent liberty-minded Montana Republicans:

Hello everyone,

I went to the JBS web site and looked up the old Freedom Indexes for when Rick Hill served in Congress 1996-2000.  Can you say RINO?  I have attached them if you are interested.

105th Congress:  Aug ’97   –   60%

Jan ’98 –      40%      July ’98 –     70%

Oct ’98   –    39%  (yes, that’s what it was)

106th Congress:  Aug ’99    –   80%     Jan ’00   –     65%

July ’00  –     65%          Nov ’00   –    65%

And a reply from another prominent Republican:

Good job XXXXXXXXXX!
These are the real issues of this man who calls himself a Republican but does not pay much attention to the Republican platform, not to mention the Constitution. He is a pretty polished and experienced showman, but what about the heart of the man? Shouldn’t that be what matters? He is a politician. Is that what we need? NO!!! We need statesmen who revere the Constitution and the Republican platform. Lipservice Republicans are repulsive and devastating to our state and nation. This is what has put us in the shape we are in!
People, DO NOT fall for this empty show biz!
I took the liberty to put labels on his unconstitutional and socialist votes.
Take a look for yourself. I don’t think we want this man at the helm in our state.
Congress 105-1
1. Extension of  rural multifamily rental housing loans, guarenteed by the taxpayer.Please show me where this is listed in the enumerated powers of the Constitution. Either amend the constituion or abide in it, we can not continue to ignore it. HR 28
2. Build more prisons. HR 30. We need to use capitol punsihment or other deterances to keep people out of prison. We don’t have enough money to educate our kids, but we choose to lock people up to the tune of $100,000 per year. If a body can not control the disease within it, it will die.
3. $20 billion spending for socialist programs. HR5
4. Auto pilot federal spending. HR 1469
5. He opposes withdrawl from UN. HR 1757
6. Spending. FEMA, Peace keeping in Bosnia. Disaster relief. HR 1871
7. Most favored nation trading status for China. HJ 79
Congress 105-2
1. Opposed constitutional disclosure of intelegence spending. HR 1775
2. For Federal block grants. HR 1818. Where is in the enumerated powers? Either amend the constituion or abide in it, we can not continue to ignore it.
3. He opposed eliminating the national endowment for humanities. HR 2107
4. Opposed eliminating sugar loan subsidies. HR 2160. The Constituion does not allow for charity. Either amend the constituion or abide in it, we can not continue to ignore it.
5. Opposed eliminating of market access programs. Subsidising overseas advertising for big corporations. HR 2160
6. Opposed eliminating export subsidies. HR 2159
7. Opposed eliminating population controls and foreign aide. HR 2159
Congress 105-3
1. He favored VA/HUD appropriations. HR 2158 The constitution provides no provision for charity. People are to give freely if they choose. Government has nothing to give unless it takes it from someone first.
2. For foreign aide. HR 2159
3. For a global crime court. H.Con res 137
4. For dismissing Dornan election fraud. HR 355
5. For IMF Bailout. HR 3579
6. Dissanster assistance to Bosnia. HR 3579. If people or organizations choose to be charitable, great. Government has no provision for charity. Either amend the constituion or abide in it, we can not continue to ignore it.
7. For more federal involvement in public schools, stealing the local schools autonomy.HR 6
Congress 105-4
1. For super pork. HR 2400
2. Monkeying around with the 1st amendment. HJR 78
3. For food stamps etc. S 1150
4. Against 150 billion in tax cuts. HJR 284
5. Opposed Elimination of corporate welfare. HR 4101
6. For Agriculture subsidies. HR 4101
7. For funding welfare for women, infants and children (WIC). HR 3874 Again, no charity. Either amend the constituion or abide in it, we can not continue to ignore it.
8. For taxpayers subsidizing trade with China. HJR 121
Have ya had enough? There is more
Congress 106-1
1. Voted against Clinton impeachment article. HR 611
2. Voted for wild and scenic rivers land grabs. HR 193
3. For more AG subsidies. HR 1906
Congress 106-2
1. More support for China. HJR57
2. Opposed slight farm aide cut. HR 2606
3. Supported corporate welfare. HR 2606
4. Supported more foreign aide. HR 2606
5. Opposed transparency in campaign dislcosure in Doolittle campaign finance legislation.
6. Supported assult on 1st amendment and free speech. HR 417
7. Supported more Ag subsidies. HR 1906
8. More Federal Education subsidies, removing local autonomy. HR2
9. For Federal Education grants. HR 2
10. For labor/ HHS / Education spending. Where is does the Constituion address education? Either amend the constituion or abide in it, we can not continue to ignore it. HR 3064
Congress 106-3
1. For small business admin. corporate welfare. HR 3843
2. Opposed 2001 budget by conservative action team. This bill wanted $270 Billion in tax cuts.
3. Supported HUD expansion. HR 1776
4. Supported providing TV for “underserved areas. HR 3615
5. Supported funding for disabilities education. HR 4055. Note: Veterans need to be taken care of under the well funded department of defense.
6. Supported monies for more land grabs by Feds. HR 701
7. Supported permanent normal trade status with China. HR 4444
Congress 106-4
1. Automatic funding of the welfare state. HR 853
2. Opposed disclosure of intelegence spending to Congress. HR 4392
3. Supported the welfare state mother load. > 7% spending increase. HR 4577
4. Assault on the seconf amendment. June 21, 2000, Roll call 308.
5. More Ag subsidies. HR 4461
6. Foreign aide giveaways. HR 4461
7. More normal trade relations with communists. HJ 103
And another reply:
Let’s nip this one in the Bud. We don’t need another fake Republican!!
It appears the establishment Republicans would like us to believe that Rick Hill has this locked up.  AJ Otjen, who along with Mark French lost to Denny Rehberg in the 2010 GOP primary race for US Congress, has expressed her support for Hill publicly.  Otjen claimed her  reasons for supporting Rick Hill were the same reasons she supports Barack Obama.  Does Rick Hill share her Keynesian belief of spending our way out of crises? Sources close to Hill say he told them that even Montana Democrats were urging him to run because he was the most moderate in the race.  That doesn’t sound very “tea party” to me nor does his voting record.  If these rumors are true, Steve Daines who is hoping to unseat Senator Jon Tester may be wise to distance himself from Rick Hill.

Last week, my grandmother received a polling call asking if she intended to vote for Steve Bullock or Rick Hill for Governor in 2012.  She refused to answer.   The 2012 elections are nearly 2 entire years away and my grandmother is hopeful that there will be a clearer choice after primaries as she is tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.  I sure hope so too.

Montana GOP Candidates Pick Up Early Endorsements


Gun Owners of America announced this week they are endorsing Steve Daines, a Republican who recently announced his bid to unseat US Senator Jon Tester from Montana.

GOA endorses Steve Daines for US Senate

“In this race for United States Senate, we’ve found a pro-Second Amendment candidate with real leadership skills in Steve Daines,” said GOA’s Vice-Chairman Tim Macy.

Steve understands that protecting the Second Amendment is not just about gun control—it’s about control.  Elitists in Washington want to control our economy, control our ability to protect ourselves and our families and, in effect, control every aspect of the lives of Americans.”

"I'm a Republican for Rick Hill" says AJ Otjen

Gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill picked up an endorsement from liberal Republican Agnes Otjen this week. “AJ” Otjen ran unsuccessfully (as a self-described “Teddy Roosevelt Republican”) for Montana’s GOP nomination for congress earlier this year, gathering just 6% of the June primary vote. Otjen may be best remembered for her 2008 vote for Democrat Barack Obama.   She agreed that this was the very same reason she voted for Barack Obama, who ironically enough has been described recently as “too far left” by European leaders.  Hill has told friends that several Democrats have been encouraging him to run for Governor in 2012, because he “would be the moderate in the field”, although Hill’s more recent statements have attempted to court conservatives. About Hill, Otjen said “I believe Rick will build a broad coalition and focus on the things with which we can all agree.” Hill has joined former state senators Ken Miller of Laurel and Corey Stapleton of Billings in what is expected to be a crowded field for the open seat. Democrat Brian Schweitzer is barred from running again due to term limits.

Steve Daines Makes it Official


Steve and Cindy Daines

RightNow Technologies Vice President Steve Daines (R) has ended speculation on his political aspirations by officially announcing this morning his campaign to unseat Senator Jon Tester.   The fifth-generation Montanan intends to take his years of  private sector experience to Washington D.C after sending Tester back to his organic farm near Big Sandy.

Progressive Democrat Jon Tester has seen his popularity in Montana wane after voting for the stimulus and healthcare bills that Montanans largely opposed.  His voting behavior puts him in the mainstream of his party, having sided with Senate Democrats in over 90% of votes, With his partner in crime, Max Baucus, he managed to avoid virtually all contact with Montanans- most of them angry- prior to voting on the bills. In at least one instance, Baucus and Tester arrived at a listening session in Billings to find protesters outside the venue.  They promptly left the event instead of facing the anger of their constituents.  In contrast, Republican Representative Denny Rehberg held countless listening sessions and town hall meetings across the state.

Baucus has received most of the criticism over the stimulus and healthcare, in part due to his position chairing the US Senate Finance Committee as well as his public role in passing the sweeping healthcare legislation that he authored yet later admitted not ever reading.  Montanans need to remember however that Tester is just as out of touch with Montanans as Max Baucus.  In fact, Tester votes even worse than Baucus.  According to the JBS Freedom Index, a congressional scorecard based on the US Constitution, Baucus receives an overall score of 8% while Tester’s score is a paltry 5%.  Montanans should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for electing these thieves in the first place.  In contrast, while far from perfect, US Representative Rehberg’s overall score is 79% with the most recent session scoring of 90%.

Let’s send someone who has a long history of success and job creation to the  US Senate.  Running on a platform of more jobs, less government, Steve Daines is the real deal.