Montana’s Politicians… An Impotent Lot


We tell the feds to get lost when it comes to healthcare, wolves, and guns, but those we elected beg for help from the federal government to enforce marijuana laws? Please.

Today we learned that Montana medical marijuana advocate Tom Daubert was able to negotiate a plea deal with federal prosecutors. Daubert is the founder of Patients and Families United, a medical marijuana advocacy group. He was influential in the drafting of I-148, the initiative that Montana voters approved overwhelmingly to legalize medical marijuana in 2004.  Daubert was also a one of a handful of partners in Montana Cannabis, one of several caregivers who were raided in March of 2011.  Others involved in Montana Cannabis have not been quite so fortunate as they were recently indicted on multiple federal counts of conspiracy, cultivation, and gun charges.  According to news reports,  Daubert has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of “conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises”. Unlike the charges Daubert’s former partners are facing, his doesn’t carry a mandatory minimum sentence.  Recent federal cases have indicated that this is an increasingly common charge by the feds- especially when cases against the accused are relatively weak and built primarily on circumstantial evidence.

Montana’s indicted cannabis caregivers have accepted plea deals featuring significant charge and sentence reductions (most sentences range from 6 – 18 months in federal prison) although they were also subject to massive asset forfeitures and additional fines.  So far though, it appears nearly everyone has been negotiating with the feds, but what happens to those who refuse the plea deals?

Lindsey's legal practice is built upon helping clients adhere to state law. He now faces mandatory minimum sentences of 690 years as a result.

Take, for instance; Chris Lindsey.  He is a soft-spoken, educated, non-violent intellectual. He is a husband and a father to a young son.  Lindsey, a Missoula attorney, served as in-house legal counsel for Montana Cannabis (yes, Tom Daubert’s company) for less than a year.  He left the company a full fourteen months before the March 2011 raids that preceded these federal indictments.  He was indicted last week on a long list of federal conspiracy, drug, and gun charges.  The guns weren’t his. He wasn’t a drug dealer and as far as conspiracy goes, well, I suppose I’m breaking some of those federal statutes simply by writing this post.  Chris has built his legal practice around helping Montana’s medical marijuana patients adhere to state law.  He has not been accused of breaking any of Montana’s statutes and yet he is unable legally to use his clear compliance with state law in his federal defense.  He says he can’t accept a plea deal on something he believes in. So what does that mean for Chris?  Brace yourself.

Mandatory minimums on his charges amass sentences of 690 years in federal prison.  Maximum sentences are 25 consecutive life terms plus an additional 85 years.  What purpose do we serve by incarcerating a productive professional with no history of criminal activity- someone who has never been accused of any sort of violence?  This is a travesty of epic proportions.  Keep in mind that there is no parole in federal prison and that convicts must serve 85% of their sentences.  Doesn’t this make you wonder why those who make a deal (thus maintaining frightening and artificially high federal conviction rates ) are criminals who upon acceptance of a plea deal, are instantly benign enough to warrant sentences averaging one year yet those who value their principles enough to defend them in a court of law are scary enough for consecutive life sentences?

Our state government allows this injustice, without so much as a complaint. While politicians from other states protest the federal crackdown medical marijuana, those from Montana are silent. Montana politicians typically claim to exhibit a sort of libertarian-streak that is native to our people- people who just want to be left alone.  In reality however, our politicians are pussies.  Nearly every one of them.  They are too worried about being reelected to actually take a stand to protect the very people who elected them.  From our Congressional delegation to our local sheriffs, Montana politicians LOVE federal intervention on marijuana cases.  In fact, instead of actually working with our existing state law, state law enforcement often refused to prosecute those in defiance of the law in order to set up a repeal of I-148 in our last legislative session.  Rumor has it, to ensure a repeal, our elected officials even worked with federal agents to schedule a key legislative vote simultaneously with dramatic federal raids taking place in the state capital, as well as cities across the state.  On one Republican state representative’s Facebook page, he declared immediately after the raids  “Praise the Lord and Praise the Feds”.  I guess these faux Libertarian-minded Montanans believe they can deal with everything on the state level- healthcare, wolves, guns- everything but the “scourge of Montana” (yes, another state legislator called it that), marijuana.

Our governor, Brian Schweitzer, did absolutely nothing to protect Montanans from federal intervention.  Rep. Denny Rehberg and Sen. Jon Tester are fighting for Tester’s US Senate seat.  Conveniently, neither of them have stood up to federal medical marijuana intervention.  Max Baucus recently announced his intent to run for reelection in 2014- has he taken a stand?  Nope.  Our attorney general, Steve Bullock, who has continuously opposed legislation as well as legal maneuvers designed to protect patients, now wants to be our governor.  Nearly all of the prohibitionists in our state legislature are running for either reelection or election to yet another state office.  If our state governments refuse to protect us from the tyrannical federal government by use of the “supremacy clause” and a disgustingly broad interpretation of the commerce clause via Raich v Gonzales, what is the point of having state governments at all?
As we head farther into campaign season, let me remind you all that politicians are the biggest criminals alive.  We reward them with our votes and pay them healthy salaries with our taxes. We subsidize the failed war on drugs by allowing our government to perpetuate violent crime on our borders in the name of security. I am BEGGING you all, please do NOT disappoint me.  Get your asses out June 5 in primary elections and don’t you DARE neglect to vote in the general election November 6.   I do not feel safer with Chris Lindsey behind bars- or Tom Daubert, for that matter, do you?

Montana’s politicians are vacillating, submissive cowards and it is high time for some outrage from Montana’s citizens, this is embarrassing. 

Again, Please Update Your Bookmarks…..


We apologize for changing my mind….. again.  Late last year, we purchased the domain montanafesto.org in hopes that we could easily transition montanafesto’s readers to the new domain which would essentially be the same site, but with added features.  We urged followers to update their bookmarks and to subscribe to the new site instead, but few did.  No matter how much we promoted the new site on Facebook and Twitter, very few people visited the new site (they all continued to visit the original) so we felt obligated to post on both sites.  We finally just decided to go back to the old one, it continually receives countless more hits than the other.  If you were one of the few who did actually update your bookmarks, we apologize.

Yellowstone County GOP Chair’s Smear Machine Targets Innocent Candidate for Governor


“I am blessed with a great deal of energy, which I use to help our community elect Republicans.”- Jennifer Olsen.

But only SOME county Republicans apparently…. Jennifer Olsen, co-founder of Montana Shrugged Tea Party Patriots and current chairperson of the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee has recently leveled baseless accusations against a rival GOP Gubernatorial campaign.  You may recall that only a few months ago, Ms Olsen was the administrator for the Ken Miller for Governor Facebook page, but it now appears that she has either abandoned the group of green-shirted morons in favor of the Neil Livingstone campaign or she was simply thrown overboard.  Now acting as Livingstone’s unofficial spokesperson on the Montana political blog rounds, commenting as “Drill Baby Drill”, she can be found typically lauding the many virtues of Mr Livingstone.  While I take no issue with her loyal support of her favored candidate, I am disappointed and frankly appalled that the leader of Yellowstone County’s Republican Central Committee has chosen the incredibly un-classy- and public- route of accusing a rival campaign of creating a depraved anti-war website featuring pornographic photos of Mr. Livingstone when literally ZERO evidence supports her claim. Check out her comments below, which were made on this Montana Cowgirl post.

Keep drilling, Ms Olsen. Perhaps you will eventually discover reality.

You may also recall this video clip featuring Ms Olsen.

I’m a Uniter, Not a Divider!

Ms. Olsen shockingly offers no evidence to reinforce her claims that the Stapleton for Montana Governor campaign was involved in any capacity in the creation of the pornographic anti-war website.  Stapleton, former Montana Senate Minority Leader raised more money than the other GOP candidates for Governor last quarter, while the other campaigns, including Livingstone’s, continued to struggle.  Perhaps the Montana Republican Party should ask whether it is in good taste for Central Committee leaders to smear rival GOP campaigns.  *On a side note, Olsen’s attack on the Stapleton campaign should be enough evidence for most Montanans to support his bid for Governor.  After all, he is obviously not enough Teatard to pass muster with the Queen of the Tea People.  I suggest making a donation immediately.

One is left to wonder why a world-renowned international security and counter terrorism expert (Mr. Livingstone) has not determined the source of the website.  Perhaps he designed it himself.  After all, it does depict him in a dominant and quite flattering manner. Also perplexing is that Mr Stapleton, a former naval officer, would be accused of making a site devoted to exposing war criminals.

Unfortunately for Ms. Olsen, Screwingamerica.com is actually registered to David Lambon.  Perhaps the guilty culprit is the dude in the photo below, who does vaguely resemble Mr.  Livingstone’s lucky lover in the pornographic cartoons.

His domain information is all available here…. In the future, I advise Ms Olsen to conduct even a minimum level of research before making such wild allegations.  Tin Foil Hat Warning: Perhaps she believes the Stapleton camp is in bed with Mr Lambon (not literally, we hope).  This isn’t likely either considering the site was created in 2008 and hasn’t been updated since 2010. All porn images on the site are of a homosexual nature.  It does appear that Ms Olsen intended only to throw some mud at Stapleton, hoping to slow the campaign’s momentum in an effort to assist her candidate.  Livingstone is a smart guy, I suspect he will quickly distance himself from the Olsen train wreck as Ken Miller did.

Thinking Republicans in Yellowstone County (I know there are some) would best question Ms. Olsen’s ability to lead the Republican Central Committee in the state’s most populous county in such an important election year.  All candidates should be highly uncomfortable with the chairperson of the county GOP inventing elaborate stories about candidates she opposes.  Hotly contested primaries are contentious enough without party leaders involving themselves in libelous claims.  Ms. Olsen should step down from her position and offer everyone involved a sincere apology.

Common Sense Conservatives, Lobbyist Lovers, Rookies… Montana’s GOP Gubernatorial Crop


This year, Montana’s Republican Party has an opportunity to change the face of the GOP, to elect competent bright leaders who are unsullied by incestuous relationships with lobbyists.  Who will win the GOP Gubernatorial nomination and perhaps defeat Steve Bullock in the general election?

Stapleton/Keenan- Tonight via a teleconference town hall, GOP Gubernatorial candidate Corey Stapleton announced his selection of former Montana Senate President Bob Keenan as his running mate.  Stapleton and Keenan were both elected by their peers to lead the Montana Senate, Stapleton in 2007 as Minority Leader and Keenan as 2003 Senate President.   Stapleton bested all of the other candidates in the last fundraising quarter and will surely benefit from Senator Jeff Essmann bowing out of the race, especially considering they both hail from Yellowstone County.  Keenan lost the 2006 Senate Primary against scandal-plagued incumbent Conrad Burns who went on to lose the race to Jon Tester.

Ken Miller/Bill Gallagher- Ken Miller recently announced that Bill Gallagher of Public Service Commission infamy will be his running mate.  A political newcomer, Gallagher adds virtually nothing to Miller’s colorful resume of non-accomplishments (dairy farming, woodcrafter, construction worker, former furniture outlet owner, former GOP party chair).  Miller’s last run for governor resulted in a third-place finish in the four-way primary.

Rick Hill/Jon Sonju- Hill leads the other nominees in fundraising, but any support for his campaign seems reluctant at best and his “family values” are at the bottom of the pack.  I will excerpt Montana Cowgirl for this commentary as I’m frankly too bored and irritated by this sleazy ticket to come up with anything original:

“Sonju and Hill have both earned a huge portion of their wealth from Government spending. Some of this spending has provided good stimulus for Montana; others, like the giant payments to Hill’s landlord business, are wasteful and sleazy. These contracts were most likely over-market, sweetheart, inflated rent payments. They were put under Hill’s Christmas tree by his buddies Martz and Racicot, and Hill collected this easy cash for decades while he was a sitting Congressman and also while his wife was in the Governor’s office puling the strings. It’s not pure welfare, but it’s pretty close.”

Neil Livingstone/Ryan Zinke-  The Livingstone-Zinke ticket is having difficulties fundraising and there have been few, if any; sightings of their flashy campaign RV. Livingstone is known far-more for his international terrorist-hunting/negotiating escapades than for any activity in Montana.

Bob Fanning/Chuck Baldwin- This ticket frightens me.  I will leave it at that.

Antisocial conservatism: Jesus, please protect me from your followers


The socially conservative members of today’s Republican Party tout their moral superiority at every opportunity.  When one of them is caught violating those precious family values, they are quick with excuses like “God has forgiven me” or “Blame it on my undying patriotism.”  What exactly does “family values” mean to the GOP arbiters of virtue?

Marriage is sacred:  This means marriage between a man and a woman.  Cheat on your spouse, divorce, marry the mistress, that is your business. Pre-marital sex is taboo and allowing any access to contraception would lead to an epidemic of immoral sexual activity.  Extramarital sex is none of our business, though.  Shhh.  Gays should not have the right to marry because such acts endanger the sanctity of traditional marriage.  Marriage, you see, is an agreement with society.  It is easy to understand how such an agreement between two same-gendered humans who are committed to one another would threaten the very core of American families.  For this reason, much of our time and resources are spent fighting all attempts to legitimize state-supported legal “rights” for an unnatural and unhealthy lifestyle condemned by God.  Thankfully we have heroes like Dr. Marcus Bachmann whose “pray away the gay” clinics have given homosexuals opportunities to cleanse themselves of the demons that influenced their choice to be gay.   Note: This can all be explained

All human life is precious.  Stem cells, embryos, and fetuses cannot protect themselves so we have  a moral responsibility to legislate and regulate proper treatment of unborn life. After birth though, watch out.  If you need medical care and cannot afford it, ask your church, I’m sure they will provide.  If you would like to use cannabis to relieve pain, sorry; that would require violating the law, which is immoral.  (See War section). If you have a terminal illness and would like to die with dignity, our religious beliefs require you to suffer,  but we do promise to pray for your eternal salvation.  God works in mysterious ways and you never know when to expect a miracle.  If you commit a heinous crime- like selling marijuana- we believe the death penalty is justified.  All life is precious so we remain committed to eliminating access to abortion, abolishing stem cell research, preventing death with dignity/assisted suicides, and to ensuring that depraved criminals are rewarded with death.  If you happen to be a suspected terrorist, add torture to the list.  And don’t you dare bring science into our schools.  Note: Education enhances rational thinking and provides people with rational, non-mystical mechanisms for understanding the world. 

War, the price of Freedom. We never met a war we didn’t like, but if we are criticized, we will call you unpatriotic.  After all, our soldiers are giving their lives to ensure we remain free.  Speaking of free, did I mention we incarcerate more people per capita than any other nation on earth?  This is to keep you safe.  Speaking of safety, did I mention the Patriot Act?  We named it such to promote unconstitutional acts as essential to fighting the global War on Terror.  We generally only use the Patriot Act to spy on suspected drug dealers, but this is to keep your children safe.  You don’t want your kids addicted to drugs now, do you? Marijuana is only a stepping stone toward addiction to methamphetamine and heroin, culminating in near-certain death which in itself justifies the War on Drugs.  Note: Violence and herd mentalities reign supreme in a low-IQ idiocracy. 

Less government, more freedom. We believe in personal responsibility. We want the government out of our lives, but only after we have eliminated prostitution, pornography, homosexual sex, drugs and other sinful behaviors from our nation.  We owe it to our children to remove all temptation from our lives so we can remain free.  Just wait until you experience the sort of freedom we have after all choice is eliminated.  Note: religion helps people confront the terror of uncertainty in their lives. 

In time, education and evolution will hopefully bring upon the extinction of the Social Conservative Big Government Statist.  The ideology is simply too contradictory to endure.  Dedicated followers of peace-loving Jesus Christ,  these Americans are the staunchest supporters of every violent military intervention in my lifetime.  They defend the military use of torture.  They believe in criminalizing consensual sex acts. They oppose most programs to help the sick and poor, yet have no problem with the government interfering in the doctor-patient relationship to make personal healthcare decisions.  Social conservatives use the bible to support prohibition of cannabis use, ignoring science completely. Historically, this faction of Americans promoted slavery and alcohol prohibition, fought women’s suffrage, and justified Jim Crow laws.  Fail, fail, fail, and FAIL.

The Republican Party needs to publicly repudiate this uneducated and profoundly irrational segment of its population in favor of some moderation.  It is time that the GOP re-examine the tenets of its philosophy and to if nothing more, be honest about family “values”.  It is embarrassing to rational Republicans that social conservatives continue preaching less government while promoting intrusion into our bedrooms, homes and daily lives.  My Republican Party restricts government, not freedom.

Gallagher Enters Ken Miller’s Echo Chamber of Green Morons


GOP Gubernatorial candidate Ken Miller bills himself as a state’s rights advocate as he naturally mentions his role model,  much beloved Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.  Governor Brewer is perhaps best-known for her anti-immigration stance and willingness to dramatically oppose the federal government…. but only on issues that suit her.  For instance, Brewer recently launched an assault on a voter- approved medical marijuana law in her state, asking a  federal judge to strike down the law based on an arbitrary fear of federal prosecution of state workers administering the law.  Upon filing the lawsuit, she ordered the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services to reject ALL applications for dispensaries although they were allowed under the state law.  The judge has dismissed the case.

From the Missoulian:

“I look forward to the day that I can stand with Gov. Brewer on this battle with U.S. immigration and say, ‘Gov. Brewer, I’m sorry that we didn’t have a governor fighting the fight with you, but we do now.  I’m here and we’re going to stand with you’.  Then when we do that, she will be here on our issues on wolves or whatever that may be.”

One can certainly understand why Ken Miller would incessantly speak of Governor Brewer considering Montana’s current immigration problem is nothing short of a crisis.  Each day numerous, possibly even millions, of Canadians sneak across the Saskatchewan and

That's right Canadians, Ken Miller wants you to stop sneaking into Montana.

Alberta borders of Canada to give birth on Montana soil to instant American citizens. Likely, many of them are violent criminals, looking for the land of the free, the nation with the highest incarceration rate on the planet. They come in search of a better (albeit shorter) life free from the annoyances of the ever-so tricky metric system.  They take jobs from hard-working Montanans and are threatening the economic and social future of our state… right?  Does Ken Miller have any idea what the role of Governor entails?

Miller recently named Bill Gallagher as his running mate.  Gallagher is perhaps best known for being ousted as Chairman of the clown show now known as Montana’s Public Service Commission.  He is as inexperienced as Miller is ineffective.

 “It is with exceeding pride and joy that I join the Miller for Governor team. I do it because it gives the citizens, the voters, the families, and the businesses of Montana a very clear choice and an opportunity to send their message and stamp their message here in Helena and on the Executive Branch.”

These interesting announcements have come on the heels of the departure of Miller’s much-acclaimed campaign manager, William Mutch, who took an exciting post with the Colorado Springs Home Building Association amid rumors that Miller’s campaign is on its last legs.  Time will tell whether that is indeed true.  If his last quarterly filings are any indication, Miller is having fundraising troubles…. even in light of receiving the coveted James Knox endorsement.


What is higher, human body temperature or the IQ of the average Ken Miller supporter?

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.

James Knox Not Running for Re-Election, Blames Others


Merry Christmas to Montana’s HD 47.  Hopefully in 2012, you will elect someone less embarrassing to our state.  James Knox has decided that living in Houston isn’t conducive to legislating in Montana.  It isn’t his fault though… don’t blame his lies, bizarre and dramatic stories (remember the marijuana addict brother), or non-denials (he can’t recall whether he’s ever been a drug dealer).  It is because he cannot find a job and he lost his home.  So many forces seemed to push him away……  I readily admit that I was one of those forces.   Montana, you are welcome.

Aptitude, Attitude and Altitude: 2012


To accommodate our growing needs montanafesto has moved!  We are now located at our own domain, montanafesto.org. Please reset your bookmarks to the new site. In the upcoming days, our Twitter and Facebook accounts will also be redirected to the new site, so please “like” our page, friend us on Facebook (Commissar Montanafesto) and follow us on Twitter.    Although old posts will remain at this address, no new posts will be will appear here.  Our archive of previous posts will also be available at our new home.

In the last year, we have evolved from complete obscurity to a site that consistently receives hundreds to thousands of hits each day. 2012 will be an extremely important year politically and moving to our own domain allows us to integrate more precise site analytics.  Watch for site changes in the upcoming month.

The staff at montanafesto wishes you a Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays and hopes for a year of common sense reform in our state and our nation.  Thank you to all who continue to read our posts and especially everyone  most who are playing an activism role.  We have many important petitions circulating prior to the November 2012 elections, there is much work to do but the rewards will justify our toils.  We will be a force to be reckoned with at the polls, IF we are able to effectively mobilize our army. Please reward Montana’s prohibitionists with votes for their opponents in upcoming elections. Encourage the destructive members of our community to keep their eyes on the final goal and to let others take the reigns.

In this season of giving, we encourage everyone to support the MTCIA as we fight for liberty and truth in cannabis reform.  Without the MTCIA, the de facto repeal launched by Montana’s prohibitionists would have eliminated reliable and safe access to nearly all Montanans.

Here’s to the bright future of the upcoming year!

–Tana, Nic, and the montanafesto bloggers.

 

Montana Hotel Employees: Our Newest Drug War Soldiers


“….Hickman said signs hotel workers can look for include guests who pay in cash, give false vehicle information, and don’t let housekeeping into their rooms……”

Years of working all over Montana and Wyoming, staying in hotels for weeks on end taught me a few lessons.  Maids steal.  Not all of them, nor most of them, but many do.  I’ve had money, jewelry, cosmetics, flat irons, and clothing stolen while I was out of my room. None of it was particularly valuable, but the losses were extremely annoying and they certainly added up over the years, and none of the items ever turned up. I asked the housekeeping departments about my items, but most of the maids weren’t fluent in English, which further complicated the situation.  After my favorite necklace disappeared, I decided that I would no longer utilize housekeeping service.  Now, I’m considered suspicious.  I could be a drug dealer, user, or God forbid, a prostitute or one who enjoys their services.  I haven’t encountered any hotels that accepted cash payment, but if I had, I would have used cash.  It has been quite some time since a hotel required vehicle information from me, but I have never memorized my license plate number and I generally guessed- likely incorrectly.  I’m not a drug user or dealer, nor have I been or used a prostitute… although I do occasionally don some questionable boots.

From the Billings Gazette:

A two-month program to train hotel workers to keep an eye out for illegal drug sales or prostitution has resulted in arrests, law enforcement officials with the Central Montana Drug Task Force say.

Sgt. Chris Hickman of the Great Falls Police Department said workers are trained to recognize suspicious behavior, look for evidence of illegal drugs coming from rooms, and know who to call.

Hickman told the Great Falls Tribune that police are pursuing three active cases based on tips from lodging employees in Great Falls.

Hotels are trying to help in the effort, sometimes providing rooms to set up stings.

“A lot of the hotels in town are giving the complimentary space to get the bad guys,” said Sandi Thares, general manager of the O’Haire Motor Inn. “We’re not aiding, we’re trying to do what we can to help them.”

Hickman said signs hotel workers can look for include guests who pay in cash, give false vehicle information, and don’t let housekeeping into their rooms.

But Hickman noted that hotels and motels that cooperate with police can sometimes end up with bad publicity when arrests are made.

“It’s kind of like a double-edged sword,” Hickman said. “We’re not trying to pick on any hotels. We absolutely respect the heck out of these managers. They’re sending a message that we’re going to keep a sharp eye out for people.”

Last month police arrested a group of people authorities say were involved in drug sales. One of the buys, according to reports, took place in the O’Haire Motor Inn parking lot. Police said those arrests were made after getting a tip from an O’Haire employee who spotted the suspicious activity.

Thares said the benefits of stopping illegal activity outweigh the risk of the occasional bad publicity.

“Everyone wants to keep their community safe, and it’s a small way in which hoteliers can do that,” she said.

Hickman said criminal activity can show up at any motel or hotel.

“I couldn’t think of a hotel in town that hasn’t had some type of drug activity taking place,” he said.

Training ordinary people to become amateur sleuths is a frankly frightening concept for me.  While I can understand that hotel management and owners have concerns about illegal activities occurring on their property, the surveillance work should be left to the professionals- who already have access to a massive network of  government approved snitches in the form of informants. Digging through the luggage of guests presents massive security and privacy concerns as does investigating whether the sex partners of guests are paid. And what about the safety of the snitch?  Dangerous criminals tend to get even when they get mad. Our government already often punishes drug criminals more harshly than pedophiles and those who have committed violent crimes, and our tax dollars fund this war on our own people.  Involving ordinary people is dangerous on so many levels.

 

In Fed v State Power Struggle, Park County Attorney Linneweber Chooses to Aid Feds


Ambitious Park County Attorney Brett Linneweber of Livingston apparently is using his elected position for brownie points with the feds.  November 13, 182 marijuana plants were seized from a Livingston home.  Using the typical “seize now, ask questions later” policy, Linneweber said that he had yet to be able to determine whether the plants were legal under state law because “other matters have taken priority”.   Although there is a state registry available to law enforcement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, he has been too busy to determine the legality of the plants?  A simple phone call takes too long?  He hasn’t had time since November 13?

Never mind anyway.  Linneweber also stated that if he does find that the grow was legal under our state law, he will simply turn the investigation over to the federal government who would certainly find it interesting that anyone would dare grow so many plants under STATE laws allowing it.  In addition, officials seem to be deferring to I-148 as parts of SB-423 are caught up in litigation.  From the Livingston Enterprise:

The deputies took the plants because even if they turn out to be legal under Montana’s medical marijuana law, federal law prohibits growth and use of the drug, Linneweber said Friday.

Montana’s medical marijuana law — parts of which were revised by the last Legislature and are now caught up in litigation — permits use of the drug in some instances.

Given the current state of that law being caught up in court, law enforcement is referring to limits set by the previous state law, Linneweber said. That law stated a patient could have up to six mature plants for personal use and that medical marijuana providers could have up to six plants per patient.

Given those limits, the number of plants found in the Green Acres home makes it unlikely that the grow was legal, Linneweber said. And even if it’s found to be legal under Montana law, marijuana is still banned under federal law, he said.

While marijuana is prohibited under federal statutes, the Obama administration has said it won’t make prosecution of medical marijuana a priority.

Linneweber said local law enforcement officials typically defer to Montana rules regarding amounts of allowable marijuana rather than the federal law, which would permit no marijuana possession. But the number of plants found in the home Sunday is significant and likely is something federal agents would want to know about, he said.

“On 182 plants, it’s very rare that a provider … is entitled to have that many plants,” he said. “Further, the feds are generally interested in pursuing (an investigation in a case involving) that amount.”

Linneweber said that if the seized marijuana turns out to be legal under Montana law, he plans to refer the case to federal agents.

Who does Park County Attorney Brett Linneweber work for anyway?  Elected county officials are under no obligation to assist federal agencies in investigations for federal crimes that are legal under state law.  I would consider any such activity to be wanton waste of local funds and blatant disregard of state law.   Please call County Attorney Linneweber to ask him why he is ignoring Montana voters.  Contact information available below.

An Alternate Path to Defeat: Democrat Files for Montana GOP Governor


The Montana GOP is going to need a bigger tent to fit all of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor.  Yesterday, former state transportation director Jim Lynch announced his candidacy in the already very crowded field. Lynch, who lost a Senate race as a Democrat in 1994 and has been a member of Democrat Governor Brian Schweitzer‘s  cabinet since 2005 insists he is actually a Republican.  In today’s Billings Gazette, he says

 “I’m probably like most Montanans,” he said. “Most of my views are Republican. I’m a Republican. I’ve never voted for a Democrat for president in my life.”

Although he claims he is running to “pave the way for economic development”, it appears he simply needs a job after Governor Schweitzer asked him to resign under very questionable circumstances.  The governor claimed the DOT’s  hiring of Lynch’s daughter potentially violated nepotism laws but rumors have circulated for some time that Lynch was also under investigation for misappropriating hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to buy an airplane, violating Montana’s constitution.  Shortly before Lynch resigned, a district judge also ruled that the DOT had violated the Montana Environmental Protection Act in approval of the mega-loads plan with an insufficient environmental assessment. Considering the hiring of his daughter took place four years ago, it does appear there may be more to the story.

Sorry Lynch, I don’t think you are like “most Montanans”.  In fact, you may have even more baggage than Rick Hill. Ironically, Lynch was rumored earlier this year to be pondering a Democratic run at Governor, but apparently further fracturing the Republican Party was a preferable path to defeat. Fourteen have filed for candidacy thus far:

Republicans:

–State Sen. Jeff Essmann, Billings. Essmann crafted the unpopular SB 423, which essentially forces medical marijuana patients to seek black market medicine.

–Bob Fanning, Pray. Fanning is an anti-wolf activist.

–Ex-U.S. Rep. Rick Hill, Helena. Ahead in fundraising, behind in morals.

–Neil Livingstone, Helena. Livingstone’s campaign is essentially broke, but he has the means to buy himself name recognition.

–Jim Lynch, Kalispell.

–Ex-Sen. Ken Miller, Laurel.  Ken Miller was sent by God to run for Governor….. again.  His campaign is rather peculiar.

–County Commissioner Jim O’Hara, Fort Benton.

–Ex-Sen.Minority Leader Corey Stapleton, Billings.

–Drew Turiano, Helena, self-published sci-fi author

Democrats: Attorney General Steve Bullock, Helena, and State Sen. Larry Jent, Bozeman.

Independent: Robert Coate, Bozeman.

Libertarian: Ron Vandervender, Cascade.

No party disclosed yet: Ronald Lassle, Helena.

Is Lynch a Republican or a Democrat?  With his “grandiose sense of self-importance”, he perhaps suffers  from a cluster B personality disorder, like Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Anti-Social Personality Disorder. Many afflicted have a shifting morality, they are always ready to shift values when necessary.

 

War on Weed: Obama’s Department of Injustice


GUEST POST:

The Obama administration has been working very hard lately enforcing the letter of the federal law.  No, they aren’t considering prosecuting even a single person for the financial frauds which nearly collapsed the markets. Nope, not protecting our border either. Obama and his scandal-plagued Dept. of Justice, DEA, ATF & IRS are staging a crushing blow to legal and safe access to cannabis for America’s ill.

Four U.S. Attorneys from California–along with their respective counterparts  in Washington D.C. from the DEA and IRS declared that a statewide crackdown against large-scale medical cannabis cultivators and sellers with national implications is currently underway.

• Earlier this week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a long-awaited $2.5 million ruling against a major medical cannabis dispensary in California. Citing an obscure part of the US tax code meant to target drug cartels, the federal agency is barring dispensaries, even those licensed under state law, from taking any business-related tax deductions and is seeking millions in dollars in back taxes.
This adverse ruling has the very real potential to stop the regulated sale of cannabis
currently underway in California, Colorado, Maine and New Mexico; and planned in
Arizona, Montana, Delaware, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C
• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) issued a heavy-handed one-page memo to every gun and ammunition dealer nationwide informing them that they must, by law, deny sales to physician-recommended cardholding patients who use medical cannabis– effectively denying their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm for personal safety, hunting, or simply to avoid a tyrannous federal government.
• Federal regulators cracked down on banks in Colorado, California and Michigan that had
previously conducted business with medical cannabis dispensaries, barring these financial institutions from accepting cash deposits or processing credit/debit cards from state or locally approved canna-businesses.
• U.S. Attorneys in California sent warnings to local dispensaries in San Francisco, San Diego,and elsewhere warning that locally compliant facilities are still subject to federal
prosecution for violating federal ‘drug free school zones’ legislation — leaving these facilities with no choice but to either move or close.
• Federal attorneys in California have sent hundreds of legal warnings to the landlords of properties that rent to medical cannabis businesses (retail, delivery, cultivation and testing) warning that their properties and assets are subject to swift civil forfeiture proceedings, and that they personally could face decades in prison. In addition, the DOJ is assaulting our first amendment rights, also targeting all radio, TV, print and other media outlets that currently advertise  medical marijuana businesses.
• Rhode Island’s governor Lincoln Chafee pulled the plug on the state’s nascent medical
cannabis dispensary program, despite it having been previously approved 102 – 3 by the state legislature. Why? Governor Chafee cites recent memos from the Department of Justice threatening to federally prosecute employees involved in the state-licensed production or distribution of cannabis.
• Michigan courts, the legislature and the state’s Attorney General are steadily dissembling the state’s medical cannabis program, despite the law having passed with 63 percent public approval.

So why the about-face?  It could be simply a distraction from  Eric Holder & the ATF’s Fast & Furious scandal.  Perhaps to blame is fear that the cannabis industry is gaining strength & funds to fight this.  Is the Obama administration flexing its muscle or attempting to appeal to the tough-on-drugs Republicans?

Or, maybe…..the Obama administration is simply assisting GW Pharma & Novartis with eliminating the competition in preparation for the release of Sativex.  Essentially, under the guise of FDA safety, patients will be forced to buy an expensive pharmaceutical that they could grow themselves for pennies.   From GW’s website:

Q.

Does approval of Sativex by a national medicines regulatory authority mean that herbal cannabis will also be legal in that country?

No. Regulatory approvals from medicines regulatory authorities are specific to Sativex® – there is no change in the law relating to cannabis. Any changes in regulations to permit Sativex to be prescribed would apply only to such an approved product and would have no direct consequence for the legal status of herbal cannabis for recreational and medical use. This is true for all countries around the world, including the United States.

If the FDA approves Sativex, and it appears they will; how will they justify allowing Big Pharma the right to pursue the profitable medical marijuana market, while threatening thousands of patients using state-licensed cannabis with federal intervention, asset forfeiture and prison terms? And how will they ever explain all of the lies?

2011-10-08-imagecharts-Presidents_Medical_Marijuana_MPP.png


Senator Jeff Essmann’s Taxing History


Jeff Essmann announced tonight that he will GASP be running for Governor of Montana.  In an uncomfortably awkward conference call- townhall meeting, Essmann prosaically  listed his accomplishments, forgetting all about the legislation that provided him essential name-recognition. His fluffer, Senator Jason Priest; assisted with creating some faux passion for the candidate who is generally regarded as the epitome of dull.  As Essmann would launch into another list of accomplishments, occasionally Senator Priest would stop him, exclaiming “I’m sorry to interrupt you, Senator Essmann, but what you just said was pretty exciting! Perhaps you’d like to share more about that with callers.” Repeated themes throughout the “event” included:  resisting the Obama agenda, standing up to federal intrusion in our state, and “Essmann with 2 Ns”.  The callers seemed to be plants- although many cannabis patients and providers on the call tried to ask questions, none of them were able.

My favorite caller was Warren, from Lolo. He is a retired, older gentleman living on a fixed income.  Although he owns his home, he suspects he will soon be forced to sell it as the property taxes are very high.  It is interesting that Warren mentions this issue, actually; he certainly was talking to the appropriate person anyway.  You see, Essmann’s legislation, a re-write of HB 658, was an attempt to mitigate the financial sting of property reappraisals.  The attempt backfired and instead of lessening the blow, Montanans were slapped with the largest property tax increases in their lifetimes… during an economic recession.

So, Warren; does that answer your question? Essmann, a self described “conservative republican” is no stranger to funding government growth with tax proceeds-in fact, he proposed adding a local sales tax as well. As the unpopular candidate struggles to stand out in a like-minded crowd his insatiable appetite for taxes will set him almost certainly set him apart from the pack.  Currently, nine GOP candidates are vying for the position of Governor, all of whom happen to be more interesting and well-liked than Senator Essmann.

Eight Isn’t Enough: The Axis of EGO Plans a “MAJOR” Announcement


Jeff Essmann plans to make a “major announcement” later today.  Perhaps he would like to apologize to the medical marijuana patients and growers for creating health-endangering legislation that makes compliance nearly impossible.  More likely, however,  Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann (Billings, Prohibitionist/Tax Increase Party) is going to stop with the “exploratory committee” insantity and finally announce his run for Montana’s Governor tomorrow. Senator Essmann in a shocking move (not) has hired Dustin Frost, of 47 North Communications, to manage his campaign.  Frost, a former Rehberg staffer who received massive head injuries in a Flathead boat wreck a few years back; was recently quoted in the Flathead Beacon’s article “Schweitzer’s Successor“.

State Sen. Jeff Essmann from Billings is “actively considering” a run. And, according to the AP, he is being encouraged to get in the race by GOP consultants with close ties to Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg. Dustin Frost, Rehberg’s former state director and a partner in 47 North Communications, said Essmann would be a “heavyweight” if he runs.

“He’s being encouraged……… by consultants with close ties to Rehberg”, wow…. talk about a shameless name drop.  It sounds like Mr Frost was in reality only promoting his employer.  Should Montanans be influenced by the endorsement of a candidate’s employee- a paid campaign consultant? Not this Montanan.

The GOP ticket was already uncomfortably crowded, with already ample representation from Yellowstone County- Former State Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton, Former State Senator and previously unsuccessful Gubernatorial candidate Ken Miller, and rising political star Keith Winkler…. perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration.  Other Republicans running include former US Congressman Rick Hill from Helena, Neil Livingstone, a terrorism expert based in DC (although his home is in Helena) and James O’Hara, a Chouteau County  Commissioner. Earlier today, Drew Turiano of Helena filed for the race as did Robert Fanning, a retired CEO now living in Pray.  Current AG Steve Bullock is expected to be the Democrat Party nominee, but is planning a contested primary with Larry Jent.  Ron Vandevender is running as a libertarian.

Thanks to Montana’s disenfranchised medical marijuana patients, Essmann attained the level of name recognition necessary to run for a statewide office when he authored SB423, to repeal Montana’s medical marijuana law.  In a field chock-full of conservatives, let’s differentiate Essmann from his peers.

  1. Taxes.  Essmann’s legislation provided many Montanans the sharpest tax increase in their lifetimes.  It was unexpected and during a recession.
  2. Personal Responsibility. When Essmann approached Governor Schweitzer to complain about the implications of the above legislation, the Governor said “Essmann complaining about his bill is like the architect that was warned by the engineer over and over again if you build it that way, it will fall down.”
  3. Family Values. With a penchant for liberal ladies (his wives are all lefties) Senator Essmann is childless.  Perhaps he has a puppy or something instead.
  4. Smaller Government. Essmann isn’t one to challenge the federal government. If the feds consider it illegal, he certainly won’t defend your right to use it.  Oh yeah, unless we are talking about guns, wolves, or Obamacare.   He forced massive taxes on property owners and rescinded the rights of tens of thousands of medical marijuana patients to access their medicine safely. I guess his ideology borders on hypocrisy.
  5. Liberty.  Essmann’s baby, SB 423 is a clunky, oppressive prohibition bill.  It overturns a very popular citizens initiative and essentially sends the sickest people in our state to the dark alleys to obtain necessary medicine. Several primary components have already been ruled unconstitutional. An initiative by Patients for Reform, Not Repeal has officially qualified the law for the 2012 ballot to enable voters to decide its verdict, with a particularly incredible showing in Yellowstone County, even in Essmann’s own district.  Note:  Essmann refused to sign the petition.
  6. Support.  Although the rumor is “Essmann already has more money than the other candidates combined”, we know if that is the case, it is his own.  Montana’s campaign laws prevent candidates from raising money until officially filing candidacy with the state so the money, if there is any; is likely his own cash.  The lovely ladies from Safe Community, Safe Kids are no doubt on board and his biggest fan is rumored to be Tom Hauptman, an oil player who has contributed to Rick Hill in the past.

Being Governor has reportedly been Essmann’s lifelong dream but  Essmann as governor would be Montana’s nightmare. Good luck to Frost.  Creating excitement in a campaign is difficult with such a dull candidate (thus, this “major announcement”). Last session, thankfully Essmann provided us with plenty of campaign material.  Regardless of his wealth, I don’t think Essmann has any chance in this race.

Rescinding Rights, Perpetuating a Lie: Propping up the Drug War to Justify Gun Control


The ATF will do anything to catch criminals, even create them. For years the Obama administration, with the assistance of the media has carefully fed us the falsity that 90% of all firearms seized from violent Mexican drug cartels originated in the United States.  Never questioning our porous borders or lack of immigration enforcement, many simply accepted the claim.  Recent revelations have unfortunately indicated that this narrative is indeed partially true, although not for the reasons one would think. According to investigations, the Obama administration used federal agencies armed with stimulus cash, primarily the BATFE,  to supply weapons to our Mexican enemies in the “war on drugs”, also exchanging information with the Sinaloa Cartel allowing them access to sell cocaine in our country.  Using the “logic” that tracking these weapons would lead to arrests of higher ranking criminals, the agency curiously failed to initiate any recognizable plan to actually track them. So, ATF agents supplied violent drug cartels with thousands of guns, many of which were later involved in heinous crimes, some resulting in deaths of Americans.  Failing to acknowledge the inconsistencies within the bureau’s plan, Obama instead issued an executive order calling for more gun control.  With evidence mounting, ATF director Kenneth Melson was eventually fired…. I mean transferred.  Former Minnesota US Attorney, B. Todd Jones was hired to replace him.  After crafting the rhetoric to sell the crisis they created, Jones promised to get the agency back on track.

“There are going to be some changes that happen, and there’ll be a refocusing on our primary mission, which is violent crime.”

Only twelve days later, the embattled agency issued a letter reiterating and clarifying an unenforceable policy prohibiting state-licensed medical marijuana patients from possessing or buying firearms or ammunition.So much for refocusing the ATF’s mission on violent crime. The information in the letter, sent to firearms dealers; is nothing new, in fact; the Gun Control Act of 1968 specifically prohibits firearms ownership and use from the following:

  • Persons under indictment for, or convicted of, any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding on year;
  • Fugitives from justice;
  • Persons who are unlawful users of, or addicted to, any controlled substance;
  • Persons who have been declared by a court as mental defectives or have been committed to a mental institution;
  • Illegal aliens, or aliens who were admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
  • Persons who have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
  • Persons who have renounced their United States citizenship;
  • Persons subject to certain types of restraining orders; and
  • Persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Because the federal government doesn’t recognize lawful marijuana use by anyone (not even the four patients who are supplied with marijuana by the federal government) this is no surprise. While the content is not new, with the sweep of a pen, an estimated 500,000+ otherwise law-abiding citizens had their second amendment rights rescinded. No mention of alcoholics, oxycontin snorters or gas huffers, the dangers posed by medical marijuana patients owning firearms far outweigh any potential benefits, right?

Careful analysis of the ATF’s Project Gunrunner and Fast and Furious, including resulting Department of Justice actions, suggests that the scandals were not so much botched law enforcement surveillance but Cloward-Piven style strategy, demonizing firearms dealers and American gun owners in hopes of obtaining the necessary political capital to enact sweeping gun reforms, including the UN Small Arms Treaty, which places the responsibility of regulating American’s firearms in the hands of United Nations.  The BATFE letter is perhaps a distraction from the corrupt and paradoxical realities in the agency.  More likely, however; the ATF is simply following orders from the White House.

Obama as well as many in his administration have records of hostility to medical marijuana rights as well as firearms rights.  In fact, after campaigning with promises to stop raiding medical marijuana facilities, Obama’s DEA has managed to rack up more raids in three years than agencies under Bush accomplished in eight. Americans for Safe Access gave Obama a failing grade for his marijuana policies.  During his campaign for the Presidency, Obama said “I have no intention of taking away folks’ guns” yet he appointed two Supreme Court justices who will do it for him. His anti-gun rights record is hard to argue.

Over 200 people are dead as a result of the US government’s new role as an arms dealer to our southern neighbors while also providing millions in foreign aid to Mexico for the expressed purpose of combating the cartels that we are also funding. If nothing else, we are wasting massive amounts of money funding both sides of a conflict we never intend to win. This war has no defined goals or targets… it was obviously meant to never end.  If the US isn’t able to enforce its own drug laws without first breaking them, perhaps we should utilize a new strategy.

Ron Paul 2012.

Hypocrite, Meet Karma: Another Righteous Right-Winger Down


Arrest warrants for one of montanafesto’s favorite prohibitionists were issued today. Oh no, don’t worry; he wasn’t arrested for possessing the dangerous and violence- inducing marijuana,rest assured it was nothing like that.  Reverend Harris Himes and James “Jeb” Bryant stand accused of six felony charges, including theft, fraudulent practices and conspiracy to commit the same for their role in allegedly committing the pious act of bilking an investor out of his entire $150,000 inheritance. It gets worse though.  When things weren’t adding up, Himes abandoned the investor in Mexico, leaving him at property that wasn’t owned by either of the men.  Himes and his partner in crime stopped returning the victim’s calls a year ago, prompting a year long investigation which concluded that neither man are licensed to sell securities in Montana nor was their company registered as an investment property with the CSI.

Reverend Harris Himes, who believes that gay people should be put to death and that medical use of the marijuana plant is a sin against God, who ironically is often credited as the creator of said plant as well as of the Reverend Himes.  The pastor of the Big Sky Christian Center in Hamilton is often featured on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website and received quite a lot of attention when he witnessed SEIU thugs beating Kenneth Gladney a couple of years ago. The dramatic accounts of the beating were highly inconsistent and upon questioning, Himes changed several components of the tall tale, eventually admitting that he actually didn’t even see the “attack” begin.  Himes was a the GOP’s moral fixture during Montana’s 62nd legislative session, providing a special brand of moral authority, spiritual testimony and guidance in opposition of all proposed marijuana legislation, with the exception of the full repeal which God was hoping would become law.  He was also the GOP God Squad’s go- to guy when testimony containing moral judgments of homosexuality were required.  Himes, a brilliant biblical scholar; eagerly offered scripture supportive of the murder of our gay brothers and sisters sprinkled with the occasional opinion of God.  Himes was also rather concerned about the increasing number of attractive women who were suddenly interested in horticulture, which he naturally blamed on the demonic allure of the evil drug, marijuana.

The highly respected religious figure Reverend Himes also serves as the the state leader  of Montana Eagle forum….

“Montana Eagle Forum has members in all corners of the state of Montana. We are a conservative pro-family organization working in our communities and state to influence public policy on issues that affect our traditional family values, our freedoms as outlined by the U.S. Consititution and place the highest reguard (sic) for God. We accomplish this by informing and equipping citizens to take action.”

I wonder how God feels about someone who claims to act on His behalf, deceiving an innocent victim who was seeking a safe investment for his sizable inheritance.  I wonder how he feels about this man of God accompanying his investor to their non-existent property, which according to Himes was the site of their future factory.  The land, in reality; was an empty lot owned by neither of the men.  The state’s investigation concluded that the funds were indeed wired to Himes and bank records indicate the money ($150,000) was used to pay the balance of one of the frugal pastor’s credit cards.  The victim has not to this date received even one penny return on his investment in the non-existent corporation invented by the humble man of the cloth.

Although this was apparently a state investigation, I will borrow a quote from another one of montanafesto’s favorite prohibitionists, Rep James Knox:  “Praise the Lord and Praise the Feds!”  Personally, I feel far safer knowing a persuasive and sleazy preacher, quick to not only condemn the lifestyle of gay couples, but to actually PUBLICLY call for their death as an appropriate punishment, has been arrested for such serious crimes.   I support the arrest of false prophets who prey on the trust of their parishioners.  Reverend Himes, is of course innocent until proven guilty. Perhaps Montana’s cannabis patients who are now unable to find safe access to medicine will send Himes some friendly correspondence in the big house. Himes was used so often in testimony the during the last session that it is obvious he is a close friend of Montana’s GOP God Squad.  A suitable replacement should be located quickly, perhaps Nathaniel bar Jonah could provide moral guidance to the legislators instead.  Oh my, scratch that, he’s apparently passed on.

Houston, You Have our Problem


Rep Knox is now living in Texas. Their loss, our gain.

Montana’s favorite state representative James Knox now resides in West Houston although he is quick to remind his loyal Facebook friends again and again that the position is a temporary one. While he collects his healthy $733/month health benefits, compliments of Montana’s taxpayers, he is actually contributing to the Texas economy as opposed to the one in the state he was elected.  Claiming Montana Job Service was only able to offer him work as an independent Avon representative, he was forced to look for work out of state and thankfully was able to obtain a position with Peak Energy Systems on a “Dell/Exxon project”. After only two days on the job, he “was asked to take on more” and after only three days of training is already a “team lead” (sic).

He has settled in nicely to life in the Gulf, frequently enjoying his “favorite sticks” – “great Alex (sic) Bradley Black Market 6×60″ or a “JDR (sic)Titan Madiro” on his patio. For those of you who aren’t brothers of the leaf or true aficionados; “sticks” are cigars, one of Knox’s many legal, health-conscious and high-class habits. Cigar smoking, according the American Medical Association, contributes to myriad health problems including several forms of cancer and…. uh oh, heart disease. The risk of heart disease is 27% higher in cigar smokers than non-smokers and those smokers who also enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage (Knox has been known to imbibe frequently and was often spotted wearing soiled wife-beater style tank tops at various Billings liquor stores while campaigning in 2010) are more than 8 times more likely than non-smokers to acquire mouth and throat cancers.  Hmm. Sounds like he might end up being very expensive.

Although Knox admittedly and proudly has several serious vices of his own, he is quick to criticize state-licensed medical marijuana patients and cannot remember if he has sold drugs in the past.  His wife once commented that she was actually excited that proposed legislation would take medical marijuana away from patients. One would think that a frugal TEA person type conservative like Mr. Knox would be doing everything in his power to avoid wasting our tax dollars, but from Knox’s photo, he and his wife both appear to be at high risk of extremely expensive health problems.  Thankfully, as long as he is a Montana State Representative, our tax dollars will provide the health insurance that will not only pay for his next heart attack, but also spread the liability across the group, effectively raising rates for everyone.

According to his Facebook posts, James Knox is well on the path to success. I suppose success means very different things to different people though, as James recently lost his business, KBS Computer Solutions, see reviews here. Maybe he feels he is so accomplished because he pulled off the ultimate caper, effectively fooling the voters of Montana House District 47 into electing him.  Barely able to form an intelligible sentence, he saddled the tea party wave to a 2010 victory.  He proudly served his 90 days in the legislature (minus the ones he spent in the hospital after suffering a major heart attack only days into the legislative session) making quite a name for himself, with testimony like this.

Knox also told a few of the biggest lies of the session, which was quite a feat considering the talent displayed by his competition.James Knox is also a big hypocrite, claiming he “practices what he preaches” while he essentially steals from his employees by neglecting to pay them.  When his four figure radio advertising bill was past due, the radio station attempted to negotiate the total with Knox, offering to write off 50% of the total. When Knox learned he wouldn’t be able to advertise with the station until the remaining bill was paid, he threw a glass of orange juice on the young female salesperson.  Knox was investigated for inappropriate conduct with the female pages during the legislative session. Mr Knox, I have heard that everything is bigger in Texas, now I know that is true.  We would like to wish Rep Knox the best of luck in his Texas endeavors.  If collecting health insurance compliments of Montana taxpayers while he abuses his body in Texas is the only additional price we pay due to this unfortunate choice by the uninformed electorate, we will consider ourselves truly blessed.  Perhaps now that Ron Paul isn’t running for reelection, Knox sees an opportunity in the Lone Star State.  He’s all yours.

The Knox family has been unsuccessful in locating a Christ-filled church in Houston. Perhaps Christ is afraid to be associated with someone so self-righteous.

Should Knox’s new position indeed be temporary and he runs for reelection, he will be happy to know that he is going to have some more moderate and reasonable competition in the Republican primary,  Stay tuned.

Life Lessons Via Montana Politics


Over six months ago, I wrote “the girl without a party”. It was one of the lowest moments of my life politically.  I posted it on my personal blog because I wasn’t yet comfortable associating my name with montanafesto.  Concern about my political reputation and the potential for retribution was quickly outweighed by disdain for the actions of the people I’d helped elect. Ron Paul- supporting Republican cannabis activists aren’t the most popular people in the GOP.  In the last year, I have learned some tough lessons and I’m an infinitely better person as a result.

I learned that sometimes I needed to separate politics from people. Democrat State Senator Kendall Van Dyk and I were friends long ago, early in his political career.  I was even in attendance when he originally announced he was running for the Montana House. Differences in our political ideology created some distance between us and next thing you know, I was campaigning against him in the 2010 election and bashing him publicly.  I’m rather sure I referred to him regularly as a socialist.  Donning my finest liberal looking faux eyeglasses, flat hair and earth tones, I attended a lovely Forward Montana fundraiser in Kendall’s honor.  Certain my disguise was adequate, I brazenly carried on as if I fit right in with the liberals at the event.  Until, that is; that Kendall recognized his old friend and decided to politely but publicly, call out my ridiculous behavior.  I was mortified….. not because it was embarrassing, but because I was WRONG.  My partner in crime was a tea person, actually the founder of Montana Shrugged’s boyfriend and after the awkward situation, we rehashed the night’s events at length.  The overall consensus was liberals suck and KVD deserved the criticism.  I, however; wasn’t convinced that my behavior was justified so I sent Kendall a lengthy and sincere Facebook message apologizing for my heinous behavior.  The rest is history.  During the last legislative session, he was in regular contact with me- asking questions, offering suggestions.  We’ve even found a number of issues we agree on.  Life isn’t always black and white.

I learned to think twice before accepting an invitation to a politician’s holiday dinner.  Last Thanksgiving, I dined with the Representative James Knox family.  I was certain that after Knox tasted my truffles and experienced delightful and intelligent dinner conversation compliments of my honor student middle school daughter and yours truly that he would consider the possibility that Montana’s state-licensed cannabis community wasn’t entirely composed of dangerous criminals.  No dice.  While dinner was lovely, James Knox later invented statements I’d supposedly made at the dinner to use against me with his fan club, Safe Community, Safe Kids.  He sent my personal information, cell phone number, Facebook url, email address, you name it, to the entire email list of SCSK with the instructions to “flood my inbox” with harassing messages.  He threatened to sue me for defamation for posting actual business contracts he’d entered with a prominent local medical marijuana caregiver.  He accused me of photoshopping vicious statements in screenshots that I’d taken from his personal Facebook wall.  I could have forgiven him for most of it, but claiming his brother was “stolen by marijuana” as he cried on cue in legislative testimony….. it was just too much.

I learned to value behavior over beliefs. I never liked Senator Dave Wanzenried’s politics, after all, he’s a yikes, Missoula liberal.  I sure like his character though.  Although I assume he probably answered every email he received, I definitely noticed that he responded to all of mine, all of my father’s, and all of my grandmother’s.  Considering that none of us live in his senate district and none of us are democrats made this especially unusual.  As a result, I paid more attention to his politics and discovered he wasn’t THAT liberal.  Although not at all surprised, I was disappointed he withdrew from the Gubernatorial race.

I cannot respect politicians who will not respect their constituents. I never liked Senator Jeff Essmann’s character and the last legislative session only reinforced my opinion. Prior to the 2010 elections, then RNC chair Michael Steele stopped in Billings for an event on the “Fire Pelosi” bus tour.  I worked the door for the event and directed incoming traffic to one side or another depending on if they had paid for their entrance in advance.  Dutifully, I greeted the smiling Republicans as they entered the event…. until Senator Essmann arrived.  I asked him if he’d paid in advance and I will never forget the look on his face.  He looked me slowly up and down, finally steadying his gaze, as he angrily snarled “Excuse me! I sponsored this event. You’ve got to be kidding me.”  He glared at me and stomped away.  As others in line stared at me, I was certain they were shocked that a lowly nobody like me would dare request that someone as important as dry cleaning millionaire Jeff Essmann pay the family entrance fee of $35.  US Congressman Denny Rehberg…. he paid.  Former Senator Conrad Burns….. he paid.  Gubernatorial candidates….yep, they paid too.  In Essmann’s eyes, I’m apparently a nobody.  I was, at the time; the elections director for the Young Republicans…. nowhere near as important as him. Although that day, I was dirt under Essmann’s shoes, he created plenty of mud in the following months, and I can’t wait to sling it at him.  He plans to announce his run for Governor of Montana soon and I intend to show him some of the love he showed me.

I learned that currently, the only big tent in Montana’s Republican Party is a CIRCUS tent. The tent is big enough for all of the hatred and all of the tea people/extremists/religious zealots but there is only room enough for people like me right around election time when candidates need some help placing signs and knocking on doors.  Sorry boys, this cycle I won’t be helping you, but I’m not going away and neither are the thousands of Montanans who are just like me. We will hold you accountable.

I’m not giving up hope. 


Unjust Laws and a Morally Reasonable Jury


“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”

–Charles de Montesquieu

Most of our readers are aware  that America is on a dangerous path, but many still believe we can fix the system through votes and elections. The anything-but-Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, absurdly broad interpretation of the Constitution’s commerce clause…. all are symptoms of a troubling concentration of power in the hands of the federal government, contrary to intentions of the founders of our Constitution.

Montana’s medical marijuana community was ravaged in March of 2011, when government-sanctioned thugs, under the guise of public safety; dramatically (agents wore hazmat suits and were armed with machine guns) raided the businesses and homes of medical cannabis growers and patients across the state.  Patients were thrown to the ground, handcuffed and frightened; as they watched helplessly as officers from every unrelated government agency imaginable- from the EPA to OSHA- seized assets, destroyed plants and medicine, and confiscated confidential medical records of tens of thousands of Montana’s ill.  Although several indictments have resulted from investigations associated with the raids, the vast majority of them will happen in coming weeks and many Montanans will question the logic and morality of imprisoning professional and otherwise law abiding productive citizens for mandatory minimum sentences of 35 years or more.  Because the federal government continues to maintain the absurd “Reefer Madness“-esque policies of 1937, juries won’t ever hear that the defendants were in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.  The juries won’t hear Obama’s campaign speeches promising to stop prosecuting patients in states with medical marijuana laws.  The juries won’t likely read the infamous Ogden memo, the one that changed the medical marijuana world.  What will they hear?  They will hear chilling tales of money laundering, organized crime, distribution of dangerous drugs, and conspiracy- and by legal definition- each defendant is likely guilty.  Jurors will be advised that based on the evidence presented- not personal opinions of the law itself- a verdict must be reached. What about when the offense itself inspires far less horror than its punishment?

One of the government’s best kept secrets, sadly; is that juries not only have the power, but the right to acquit when the law is clearly unjust.  Although the courts won’t advise juries of this additional option, termed jury nullification; it has been recognized since the founding of our nation, as one last check in our system of checks and balances to protect us from unjust laws and tyranny. Jury nullification generally refers to a jury’s decision to acquit a defendant even though the jurors believe the accused to be factually guilty of the crime.

Increased use of jury nullification historically portends change on the horizon. Almost universally unknown among jurors, this option in the hands of an informed jury could easily tip the scales of justice in favor of reforming irrational statutes. .  Despite the court’s consistent refusal to inform juries of their veto power, the use of jury nullification was a major factor in the end of prohibition of alcohol, the repeal of the 18th amendment..   In December of 2010, Montana witnessed an extreme example, a sort of pre-jury nullification, termed the “great Montana marijuana mutiny” when Missoula prosecutors were unable to seat a jury willing to convict the defendant who had been charged with possession of only a few measly grams of cannabis.

Trials of defendants charged with marijuana crimes are prime candidates for future use of jury nullification.  Despite documented evidence supporting the substance’s medical use, a 6000+ year history of safety, and state laws providing for its use, the federal government has refused to remove cannabis from the dreaded list of dangerous Schedule I narcotics and has participated in a deadly bait and switch with America’s ill.  A majority of citizens are no longer willing to accept the propaganda supporting the failed “war on drugs” and are well aware that in reality, it is a war on us.

Education is key.  As is, the chances a jury will acquit my friends who will be soon indicted and convicted quickly in the court of public opinion are very slim.  Perhaps if members of juries were more informed, our legislators would lack the audacity to force their personal “morality” on the state.  For more information on jury nullification, check out the website of Fully Informed Jury Association, an activist group founded by two Montanans. September 5 is Jury Rights Day, in commemoration of the William Penn case in 1670 which firmly established protection for the jury, and firmly established the right of the jurors to refuse to accept bad government laws.  Celebrate by writing a letter to the editor to educate the public. Educate your friends.  When you receive a summons for jury duty, consider it an opportunity, not a punishment.  We need more informed jurors.

Jury nullification is not a right, but a RESPONSIBILITY. We only have a duty to obey and uphold just laws that promote peace, tranquility, and the common good. We have no obligation to uphold laws that favor special interests, corrupt politicians, or self-serving bureaucrats. Jury nullification is the last peaceful means of defending our Constitution- and the effects are permanent as the fifth amendment  prevents trying the defendant again.

Montanans placed medical marijuana on the ballot in 2004 because the legislature failed to do so, and 62% voted to approve its use.  The legislature ignored the issue for a few sessions until enough tea people had been elected that they knew they could force their social agenda upon the entire state.  The federal government is clearly complicit, as once again, promises of the Obama administration have been broken. We continue to spend billions of dollars imprisoning non-violent marijuana offenders. I have no hope for our federal or state governments, my bets are on the people.  We need to nullify the entire war on drugs and stop our government from taking our friends as political prisoners. The founding fathers would certainly agree.

Jurors should acquit, even against the judge’s instruction…if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong.
— Alexander Hamilton, 1804

It is not only the juror’s right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgement and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruction of the court.
–John Adams, 1771

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
— Thomas Jefferson, 1789

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made
by men of their choice, if the laws are so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they… undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.
— James Madison

Humble “Public Servant” Jeff Essmann’s Exploratory Gubernatorial Committee Wants Your Input


At last, Montana’s infamous cannabis abolitionist-senator Jeff Essmann wants to clear up some rumors he’s been hearing because you, the voters, “deserve more than rumors”.  He’d like you to know that he is “actively considering a run for Governor in 2012.”  I’ve always considered consideration to be rather passive in nature, but Essmann’s sort is apparently active.   In the following letter Senator Jeff Essmann sent to voters on August 12, he refers to himself as a “public servant“, the shepherd of a conservative balanced budget, chairman of this, leader of that, blah blah blah.  He implies that the other candidates are can-kickers who lack the leadership qualities he epitomizes.  I’ve included images of both sides of this roughly-written letter (note to Essmann:  a speech/letter/legislation writer is in order) so you can enjoy it as much as I.

Jeff Essmann WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU!!

Here is his contact information.                                                                                       406.534.3345                                                                                              jeff@jeffessmann.com                                                                                                            PO Box 80945                                                                                                                    Billings, MT  59108

Highlights for me:  He never voted for a state budget that increased government spending.  Nope, he increased YOUR spending on taxes.  I don’t know about you, but I just LOVE taxes.  In light of the number of unemployed Montanans Essmann’s legislation created, it warmed my heart to read that his annual coat drive has provided 90,000 winter coats to the needy.  Guess I know where we will be getting our coats this winter.  He mentions that his willingness to take on the toughest of challenges is a trait we need in our next governor.  Let’s see here.  He had four sessions to deal with regulating the medical marijuana industry.  He waited until the very last minute of the very last day of the very last session, when he forced dumped his hot mess, SB-423, on the laps of Montana’s elderly and ill.  Sounds courageous.

Mrs. Knox’s Under-Frocks


First of all, let me offer a pre-apology for this post.  You will understand after reading it.

Mr and Mrs Knox were getting ready for their big move to another state.  Apparently, Mrs. Knox forgot some key garments in her luggage and needed to borrow some from her hubby, our favorite tea person legislator, Rep. James Knox, who proudly represents the Billings Heights.  Shhhh…. don’t tell Alicia although I’m sure she won’t mind.  James Knox… always the gentleman.

“Running on Empty” Speaker Jeff Essmann Runs From Constituents


Earlier this week, I received several invitations to the Billings stop of the “Running on Empty” bus tour by Americans for Prosperity.  Slated to speak at the event were Sen. Jeff Essmann (author of the infamous “black market” marijuana bill, SB423), Rep. Tom McGillvray (who at at an RLCC fundraiser stated that Montana was wasting its money on meth prevention as our real problem in Montana is medical marijuana) and Rep. Krayton Kerns, who pretends to be more constitutional and liberty-minded than he is in reality. The guest speakers were greeted by far more protesters than conservative supporters. Someone in the crowd called McGillvray a “commie”, Kerns was asked if he’d returned his federal farm subsidy welfare check and the cowardly star speaker, Jeff Essmann, couldn’t be bothered to attend. Prior to the event, representatives from the Ken Miller for Governor campaign were overheard calling to warn others of the opposition. Why are so many candidates for governor afraid of their constituents?  Opponents of McGillvray and Kerns outnumbered supporters at least 3 to 1 although some reports indicated that over 100 protesters attended while 20 or so were friendly.

Where’s Essmann?

Essmann may have been home analyzing the results of the recent solicitiation letters he sent to constituents as he explores a potential Gubernatorial bid.  Oddly enough, he omitted authoring SB423 in the lengthy resume’ he included in the letters.  He has repeatedly claimed that droves of his constituents begged and pleaded for a repeal of Montana’s medical marijuana law, so it does seem strange that he didn’t mention let alone herald that particular accomplishment. Perhaps he was using medical marijuana. Oh yes, that’s right, he has never done such a thing…. or has he?    Perhaps Essmann was home proposing legislation for the biggest tax increases in Montanans’ lifetimes.  Oh, never mind.  He already did that! Maybe he was providing statements to police, hoping to ensure a newly unemployed cannabis caregiver would be charged with a violation of the dreaded “privacy in communications act”.  Yeah, he already did that too.  Perhaps Essmann was out looking for Rep. James Knox, word on the street is that he’d like him to be his lieutenant governor.  Unfortunately for Essmann, Knox is apparently planning to leave the state, presumably taking his $733/mo in health benefits, compliments of Montana taxpayers, with him.

Anyway, back to the Americans for Prosperity event.  I wasn’t in attendance, but reports of McGillvray and Kerns being loudly booed were consistent.  One Republican politician- who actually lobbied Essmann and company to abandon plans for repeal in favor of thoughtful legislation during the session- left early because he was uncomfortable with the number of union thugs shouting down the speakers.  He said that he was not there to support the speakers but to support the local effort to elect new leaders who understand the need to live within our means and recognize that over-regulating is not the conservative way. Josh Daniels, an outspoken advocate for patients’ rights as well as a member of Patients for Reform, Not Repeal , said  “Overall it was a sad showing for them.  As a libertarian I do agree with the general concept, but the MT Tea Party is working for a nanny state with the LDS church on cannabis regulation.”  Mr. Daniels held a sign that read “SB423, Welcome Back Blackmarket”.

The Bozeman and Helena stops on the bus tour Thursday afternoon were also attended by a sizable group of protesters.  Friday’s stops include Kalispell, as well as the liberal university city of Missoula.  Similar events in Florida last week drew smaller than expected crowds. Perhaps Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group funded by the libertarian Koch brothers, should do a little research on their prospective speakers. I’m pretty sure that a speech by Republican Representative Mike Miller wouldn’t have drawn such opposition.

Most of those in attendance cited the need for jobs in Montana.  Note:  McGillvray, Kerns and Essmann all voted to eliminate the thousands of jobs in Montana’s medical cannabis industry.  Times certainly have changed since the last conservative bus tour stop in Billings. When then-GOP chairman Michael Steele brought the “Fire Pelosi” bus tour to Billings prior to the 2010 elections, hundreds of smiling and cheering supporters attended the event and I don’t recall seeing even one protester.  If only we had known then what sort of fools we were electing to represent us.

The Perils of Authoring Letters to the Editor


The following letter to the editor, written by Audrey Walleser Lindgren  appeared in the Laurel Outlook on August 3, 2011.

Walker hits nail on the head

Dear Editor:

State Senator Ed Walker hit the nail on the head with his analysis of Gov. Schweitzer’s argumentative and combative response to the Yellowstone River oil spill.

Since the beginning, the Governor has viewed this spill not as much as an environmental accident in need of a cooperative and unified response, as he has a political opportunity to take to the airwaves and win a national following as a tough-talking populist demagogue. EPA, Exxon and county officials are all working together to clean up the oil, but what exactly is the governor’s administration doing to help?

It would be good if the Governor could roll up his sleeves and get to work on the cleanup, but if he can’t do that, he should at least stop talking.

Audrey Walleser Lindgren

I believe Audrey’s assessment was spot on, but more interesting was a response she received in the mail today, most likely from a liberal.  The following letter was sent to Audrey, at her home, by someone identifying himself as K. Smith, Wanda Lane in Billings (Kevin Smith lives at 210 Wanda Lane in Billings).  I did call the Kevin and Cynthia Smith residence (210 Wanda Lane, Billings, MT  59102) in case the letter wasn’t actually sent by him, but nobody answered the call.  Considering the author seems to have very passionate views, I do find it odd that I was unable to locate any political contributions from him.  Whoever the author is, he or she has done a find job of drawing negative attention to their cause.  The vast contrast in the quality of grammar and content of the letters alone does nothing for the author’s cause- especially after addressing Audrey as “dum (sic) ass”.

Know Your Place, Shut Your Face.


Last week, in hopes of providing some much needed publicity for IR-124, I sent the following letter to the editor to 28 small town newspapers in Eastern Montana.  

During Montana’s 2011 legislative session, 113 of our elected representatives, in direct contradiction of the expressed will of 62% of the people, imposed their personal social agenda on the rest of Montana by approving a repeal of Montana’s medical marijuana law. The lawmakers, after neglecting in several sessions to draft thoughtful reform legislation, approved Sen Jeff Essmann’s 33 page repeal bill and proudly announced to the 276,042 Montana voters who approved the state’s original law (I-148) that they were simply fulfilling voter intent.  To combat this legislative action, the IR-124 campaign was launched. If successful, Montana voters will have the opportunity in 2012 to vote on this unpopular- and recently ruled unconstitutional- piece of legislation. 

What happened to the will of the people?  This is an opportunity to assert your rights as a Montana citizen.  A legislative repeal of a citizens initiative sets a dangerous precedent and regardless of how Montanans actually feel about medical marijuana, it is difficult to understand how ANY could argue against empowering voters by allowing them to choose the fate of the law.  Time will tell whether this was or wasn’t what Montanans voted for, but “voter intent” should be decided by voters. 

If you are interested in helping with our efforts, would like to sign the petition, or desire more information, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our website, patientsforreform.org,   call Randy or Darcy Warburton, (trained Sheridan County petitioners) at406.580.5046 or me at  406.208.0204

While some of the editors responded almost immediately to express their interest and willingness to print the letter, others, not surprisingly; said nothing. For those of you who may not know, I grew up in Sheridan County, Montana (where you can see both Canada and North Dakota from your porch) and earlier this week, I accepted a job offer and moved somewhat reluctantly to Plentywood.  While I’m happy to be closer to my family, I am not looking forward to the harsh realities of life up here- like the brutal winters and the ever-present small town ignorance.  Which takes me back to my letter….

I’ve written a few letters to the editor in my life and although mine have virtually always been printed, I’ve learned a bit about the process through the years… most newspapers have a few guidelines, many have a word limit- often 250 or less- and most require authentication of the letter- either via call, email, or letter.  I know most of the people who work for the local newspaper, The Sheridan County News, so it wasn’t surprising to hear that the newspaper had refused to sell ad space to a caregiver on several occasions.  Although I don’t necessarily approve of such policies, I gave the management the benefit of the doubt and attempted to convince myself that  their decisions were based on their ignorant self-righteousness, not a conscious desire to foster propaganda.  Yesterday, a couple of my friends asked Joe Nistler, the editor of the newspaper, if he planned to run the letter.  His response was that he was NOT going to run it because-and I QUOTE- “we already have enough potheads in this county”.   Although I admit that Nistler is HARDLY considered influential by anyone, his thinly veiled attempts to influence readers subtly with headlines- like “Big Rigger Writes Own Songs” and “Roads Here Tested by Big Rigs”… yes, I see a small pattern developing,  indicate that Mr Nistler is likely a spineless epitome of cowardice who occasionally gets an ego boost from wielding a bit of judgment those he considers immoral- or something. Perhaps his actions aren’t malicious.  Perhaps he genuinely desires to save us all from ourselves. I’m far more concerned about saving myself from our government and protecting my daughter from this sort of pervasive ignorance.  Most weeks,, the newspaper contains  at least one kitschy “Remember when….” post, a macro shot of some fetching young lentils, or a collection of boring  images from decades ago… in addition to the primary reason many current and former Sheridan County residents still subscribe to the weekly newspaper…. that’s right, the police blotter, where the accused are proven instantly guilty through the court of public opinion, whether or not they were convicted of their alleged crimes.  

I find it sad that some of the staff at the Sheridan County News, who by the very nature of their field, should be first amendment crusaders,  are not only unwilling to print opinion pieces contrasting their own, they apparently have no interest in allowing their readers to weigh the facts and decide for themselves. My letter to the editor wasn’t promoting drug use- I’m not a patient nor do I use marijuana recreationally.  I simply recognize tyranny when I see it and I have no problem calling out my own party.  Sheridan County, with the rest of Montana, deserves an opportunity to make an informed decision. It is disappointing that the morality enforcement division of the local newspaper doesn’t trust their own friends and family to vote properly after being armed with the facts.  The SCOTUS as well as state Supreme Courts recognize that there is no more purer form of free speech than gathering signatures, refusing to cover our campaign- regardless of personal opinions on cannabis- indicates a vacuum of journalistic integrity. 

*It is worth noting that although we certainly aren’t  in competition,  the weekly and often the DAILY circulation of  montanafesto (which is less than a year old) is higher than the weekly circulation of the Sheridan County News.  Perhaps I will start running obituaries and a police blotter on the blog, readership would certainly skyrocket as the self-righteous tend to feed on the tragedies of others.