Bagging a Baguette: MT GOP/TEA’s Jennifer Olsen too racist for KKK


KKKAmid accounts that the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee (!warning! aesthetically obnoxious webpage design) has been reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center for consideration as a hate group as long as Jennifer Olsen is the chairwoman, it occurred to me that Olsen may soon be looking for political work in other states.  I briefly considered that the Ku Klux Klan was perhaps hiring but soon discovered this. That’s right…. the KKK is now under Christian leadership and is hoping to shed its racist reputation.  Shucks.  The KKK’s membership is down while other hate groups are enjoying tremendous growth.  One has to wonder if the Klan members were simply absorbed into the Tea Party or even (gasp!) the GOP.

Olsen, the embattled Chairwoman of the Yellowstone County Republicans and co-founder of Montana Shrugged, TEA Party Patriots, managed to attract quite a lot of media attention after posting a racist photo shortly after she was honored in the Billings Gazette‘s “40 Under 40″ segment recognizing Yellowstone County’s upstanding twenty and thirty-somethings.  The photo, which depicted a watermelon trap designed to catch President Obama appears to have trapped none other than Olsen herself.  Montanafesto posted a link to the Yellowstone County Republicans Facebook page and officers of the group almost immediately defended the racist post and projected allegations on to the author of the post.  It appears that breaking the sacred “11th Commandment” is an offense more egregious than overt bigotry.  Screenshots below. Yellowstone County Republicansthread

1  Yellowstone County Republicanskenat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even a former Montana legislator (Rep. James Knox (R), HD 47) disagreed that the post was racist and alleged that I instead was the racist.

knoxious

A Yellowstone County Republican Central Committeeman forwarded a board member of the YCRCC several links depicting the GOP in a negative light.  His response was “It seems they are linking it more to TEA party and not GOP. ”  Apparently that excuses the gaffe.

According to the editor of Billings Blog, in response to a question emailed by one of the Billings Outpost’s journalists, Jennifer’s response included the following (note, all grammatical errors hers).

“The blog posting this about me is all fabricated. This is not the first time they have made up stories about me as writer, nicole french, and I had a falling out a few years ago and since then she writes this nonsense.
“Liberals always try to take our focus away from real issues by doing things like this. It is absolutely not true.”

So there you have it.  It is the fault of liberals.  Problem is, montanafesto isn’t liberal.

For those of you who have missed some of the attention our resident racist has attracted, I’ve compiled just a taste of the negative exposure Montana is receiving as a result.

Montanafesto    Daily Kos    Montana Cowgirl      4 and 20 Blackbirds      Billings Blog     Montana Streetfighter  The New Civil Rights Movement   Patheos    Hackwhackers   Drasties   and the list goes on and on.

Olsen is apparently hiding something as she also changed the privacy settings of the Yellowstone County Republicans from “open” to “secret”.

Olsen changed the privacy of the group Yellowstone County Republicans from Open to Secret.   nicolefrench88 gmail.com   Gmail copy

 

And since we are discussing bigotry, the following reading material was delivered to each Montana legislator this morning just in time for a House Judiciary Hearing on whether to repeal Montana’s archaic and unconstitutional law making homosexual sex a felony punishable by a decade in prison. Perhaps the hateful YCRCC is responsible, or perhaps not.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the culprit is not a Democrat.

sodomites

Before anyone comments (again) that a watermelon under a cardboard box intended to trap the President is not racist, I invite you to peruse this link.   To disagree with a President’s policies is inherently American but to poke fun at his color using well-known racist stereotypes makes us all look bad.  Montana Republicans deserve an apology from Jennifer Olsen.  I won’t hold my breath.  I would like to think that perhaps this happened because Ms. Olsen is naive about social media, but the following screenshot taken from the Yellowstone Republican Women’s Facebook page suggests otherwise, Olsen claims to be the organization’s “media guru”.

jennifer olsen media guru

I wasn’t prepared to be called a lazy pothead, drug dealer, shameless liar, a failure of a person, unapologetically divisive, or (drum roll please) a Democrat for exposing a political figure as a bigot. I’m offended.

If you too are offended and embarrassed by the racism displayed by this group through its chairperson and other officers,  contact Jennifer Olsen at 406-672-1170 or email jolsen@augustenergy.net. Her Facebook account has reportedly been deactivated but the url is http://facebook.com/noczars and her Twitter account is @oilpatchkid.  Tell your legislators, the Montana GOP, the YCRCC, The Billings Gazette, The Dickinson Press and the world that Montana is intolerant of bigotry.

 

Not All Outlaws are Criminals: “Code of the West” Film Review


On the eve of the day in which approximately half of all voting Montanans will receive their 2012 primary election mail-in ballots, I dedicated some time to reviewing “Code of the West“, a documentary account of the rise and fall of Montana’s medical marijuana industry, thanks to the Montana Legislature’s obsession with eliminating this “scourge” from Montana.  Directed by Rebecca Richman Cohen, an Emmy award nominated filmmaker, “Code of the West” was a grim but generally accurate portrayal of the events surrounding Montana’s 62nd legislative session.  The footage of our great state was beautiful and the final result was a truly impartial look at medical marijuana in Montana.

Medical marijuana is a contentious issue in Montana and emotions run high on all sides of the topic. Richman Cohen accomplished something I thought was impossible.  While still unlikable, I didn’t despise Cherrie Brady, whose group “Safe Community, Safe Kids” was largely responsible for the rapid decline of legislative support for regulatory marijuana legislation,  nearly as much as I did during the legislative session.  The movie portrayed Brady as someone who was convinced of her beliefs and obviously committed to maintaining the lies behind prohibition.  It seems like many religious people feel they need to remove all temptation and risk from the lives of their children and spouses in order to live a virtuous existence and Cherrie is no exception.  With those thoughts in mind, I have decided she is no longer deserving of my enmity, I’ve decided instead to pity her.  Education is the key to overcoming ignorance, but first we must overcome fear.

I am very thankful that some of the clowns Montanans elected to represent us in our legislature won’t be returning in the 2013 session.  Mike Milburn, Speaker of the House and sponsor of HB 161, the marijuana repeal bill is termed out of the house.  Rep. James Knox, sobbing on cue in the documentary footage as he claimed the repeal was necessary to “save other people’s brothers” from the evils of marijuana, has thankfully moved to Texas.  The entire house of representatives and over half of the senate is up for reelection this June (primary) and November (general election).

Although each election is portrayed as the most important in our lifetime, this election is crucial to Montana’s future.  Marijuana didn’t destroy our state’s rough and tough cowboy image… the blame for that is placed squarely on our elected officials. They are quick to tell the feds to stay out of our healthcare, let us deal with our own wolves, and that they will pry our guns from our cold, dead hands yet when marijuana providers were being raided and robbed by our government, they not only didn’t protest, they welcomed federal intrusion.  Montana isn’t represented by strong, rugged leaders, we have spineless yes-men eager to toe the party line to protect their political future.  It is time we stand up to them and send a serious message on election day, that we are a force to be reckoned with.

Much has occurred since completion of the documentary.  Parts of SB 423, the legislature’s virtual repeal of Montana’s medical marijuana law have yet to be implemented as a result of a temporary court injunction.  Naturally, the state of Montana has appealed that ruling and oral arguments are scheduled before Montana’s Supreme Court on May 30.  Countless Montanans have lost everything they own as a result of asset forfeiture, whether or not they were ever indicted by the feds.  Those who were indicted also lost their freedom to the federal government’s unconscionable war on drugs.  Tom Daubert, one of the film’s primary characters, an indicted co-owner of Montana Cannabis, has cut a deal with the government as have nearly all of those indicted as a result of the March 2011 raids.  So far, nobody has been brave enough to test the government in court and the feds have in most cases offered very attractive deals to cooperative witnesses.  Perhaps though, the tides are changing.  Chris Lindsey, one of Daubert’s former business partners plans to take the case to trial.  Although he essentially faces a mandatory minimum life sentence, he believes in the cause enough to fight for his freedom and thus, for our rights.  As Chris faces a lifetime behind bars, the least we can all do is show up in vast numbers to vote for the candidates who are friendly to our cause.  For more information on those candidates, see the 2012 Montana Cannabis Voters Guide.  As more information becomes available, the guide will be updated.  Primary elections are Tuesday, June 5.

Want to see “Code of the West” for yourself?  Screenings of the film will be shown in cities across Montana May 15 – May 23.  For details on dates, times and locations- as well as information about the discussion panels to follow the screening, check this link.  We realize that this is an emotional issue,  but we would ask that those attending the screening refrain from any negative behavior.  We have the truth on our side, why contribute to the inaccurate image our opposition has painted for us?  Tolerance may not provide instant gratification, but in the end, it will be worth it.

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. 


“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.

Saint Essmann: The Innocence of Malignant Narcissism


Thanks to Montana Cowgirl for picking up my slack…. Senator Jeff Essmann stammered while attempting to answer a question on Aaron Flint’s Voices of Montana this morning.  That question?  “Senator Essmann, have you ever smoked marijuana?” reminded me of the time Rep James Knox (RWNJ-Billings Heights) was asked if he’d ever sold drugs.   Unfortunately, I’m far too busy coordinating the eastern side of the state in the Patients for Reform, Not Repeal quest to actually fulfill voter intent by allowing the actual voters to decide whether Jeff Essmann’s baby, SB 423 is a hot mess or a brilliant piece of legislation.  Hypocrisy reigns in the prohibition crowd….

I don’t really care if Essmann has smoked marijuana nor did I really care if President Clinton was receiving extra-curricular blowjobs, but I don’t appreciate liars- especially those who feed at the public trough. On the other hand, maybe Essmann is just that much of a dork. He could in fact be the only adult human being I’ve ever met who hasn’t tried marijuana… but I doubt it.

I See Dumb People


 

Montana’s GOP renounced the tea party in dramatic fashion earlier today.  Jennifer Olsen, Queen of the tea people was defeated in her quest to become Vice Chair of the Montana GOP.  Incumbent Chair Will Deschamps defeated his less moderate challenger Mark French as well (although I don’t necessarily consider French a tea person- certainly not the same flavor of tea as Olsen anyway).  Jennifer, from Billings; is the co-founder (with her father Eric Olsen) of Montana Shrugged, Tea Party Patriots.  Montana Shrugged is known for its divisive tactics and inconsistency in following the principles it espouses.

Pardon me while I laugh.  Upon viewing the preceding clip, I was initially certain it was a joke.  Seriously.  Never before have I encountered a more contentious person in the Republican party.  Not even A.J. Otjen…. although she often makes me laugh as well.  Representative Cary Smith, of medical marijuana GOP God Squad infamy, nominated Jennifer Olsen for Vice Chair of the MT GOP and in doing so mentioned that she is actively involved with the Young Republicans.  As someone who actually IS actively involved with the Young Republicans, I can attest that there isn’t much farther from the truth…. which isn’t surprising considering the source.

Audrey Walleser, newly elected Chairwoman of the Montana Young Republicans, and current Treasurer of the Yellowstone Young Republicans issued the following statement:

“Ms. Olsen on numerous occasions has slandered and libeled the Young Republicans.  She has shown nothing but contempt and disrespect for the Montana Young Republicans and their missions and goals.  She has also never attended a YR event nor paid dues to any YR club or organization, therefore is not a member of either the Yellowstone Young Republicans or the Montana Young Republicans.”

I offer the following screenshots as evidence of her loyalty to the Young Republicans, apparently fighting for our principles is easier than living up to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contrast the preceding screenshots with this one:

 

 

 

I am a big fan of individual liberty and personal responsibility as well as fiscal constraint, all principles that are typically associated with the tea people.  I don’t abhor everything Tea, my problem is primarily with Montana Shrugged- more specifically its leaders. Although they claim to be a patriotic force- and one to be reckoned with- independent from the GOP, two of their three leaders are now members of the executive board of the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee.  Yellowstone County is a bastion of RWNJ ideology- most members of the GOP God Squad call that area home- Representatives James Knox, Cary Smith, Tom McGillvray, and Ken Peterson as well as Senators Jeff Essmann, Ed Walker…. and those are off the top of my head.  Forgive me if I’ve forgotten any key prohibition players in Yellowstone County.

It is no secret that I’m disillusioned with both the tea people and the current hypocritical majority of the Montana Republican Party and I doubt anyone would accuse me of being a uniting force in the party these days.  However, I do believe we need to either expand our tent or distance ourselves from the uneducated extremists in the party or we will face blowing defeats in 2012 elections.

Mainstream Republicans have to know that the Tea “party” gave us a group of legislators responsible for the most ridiculous legislative session in recent history.  Some of their legislation was purely symbolic, many bills were blatantly unconstitutional and some of the profoundly flippant legislation bordered on obsessive…. all of which obscured any successes of the GOP in 2011.

Highlights From Lowlifes: Montana’s 62nd Legislature


This legislative session it seems Montana is ALWAYS in the news.  We’ve made “The Colbert Report”, “Anderson Cooper 360″, Huffington Post, New York Times, CNN, and according to Speaker Milburn, he was interviewed by the Swedish World Federation Against Drugs on a radio show.  We have yet to confirm this interview’s existence with anyone other than Speaker Milburn, but he assures us that it exists, and naturally, we believe him.  After all, he is the one who informed us that Montana is now known as a “source country, just like Columbia” because of our massive marijuana exports.  Although the session isn’t quite over, as leadership needed a vacation, here are a few highlights from Montana’s 62nd Legislative session.

  1. ‎”I’m going to ask that we take a minute here and reflect upon our own hypocrisy.” Rep. Rob Cook R-Conrad. INDEED.
  2. “If Jesus Christ himself were here today he would be an opponent of this bill,” Harris Himes speaking against a bill to abolish the death penalty.  Yes, Rev. Himes, if you were in the chair, he may indeed approve.
  3. “It’s poison, a kind of poison, it’s kind of like taking arsenic with Valium in it – it will make you feel good until it kills you. That’s the truth.” Rep. David Howard (R-Park City) speaking about medical marijuana.  And we all know marijuana kills…. how many people annually?  That’s right Rep. Howard, ZERO.
  4. “It is God himself who said homosexuality is an abomination and he has various punishments for it….. they will surely be put to death”.  Rev. Harris Hines in testimony supporting discrimination of gays. Again, that death thing.
  5. “The most important reason to repealing medical marijuana is  that marijuana and its usage is offensive to God”  Rev. Harris Himes.  Himes may want to check out Genesis 1:29
  6. “He (Dr. Carlton Turner)  told us he’d take almost any of the other drugs- crank, heroin, methamphetamines under clinical  conditions- but he wouldn’t take marijuana.  Every time they’d done a human test on it, it scared him half to death.”— Rep David Howard admits FEAR motivates him to lie?
  7. I’ll never have my brother back,  we need to save others people’s brothers.— Rep James Knox, fighting tears as he pimped his brother for marijuana repeal while inadvertently advocating nanny state government.
  8. My birth mom told me had abortion been legal, I wouldn’t have been calling her.”  Rep James Knox testifying on house floor on an abortion bill, making a great case for post natal abortion.
  9. Open Cow, Open Woman, Rep Regier compares women to cows.  This one defies all explanation.
  10. There’s new ways to kill you know, in prisons, they take little pieces of paper.  They take their blood, their saliva and do blow darts on the guards, there are new and unique ways to kill.” —Rep Janna Taylor.  I’m not sure what Taylor is getting at here.
  11. “I also voted no on this bill, the body should know that the people who run ponzi schemes, they don’t have any money of their own…. I couldn’t imagine standing in front of my constituents in Park City, where none of them make more than $35,000/yr to say we’re gonna come up with a scheme to get back up to 25,000 of what people have lost investing…….”  –Rep. Dave Howard who thinks his constituency is poor.
  12. Two wrongs don’t make a right- Sen. Verdell Jackson referring to victims of rape and incest.  While I’m not a fan of abortion, I wonder if Sen. Jackson would feel differently if he had been raped.
  13. ‎”The only way I’d be supportive of that (Dept. of Ag regulating medical marijuana) is if they treated marijuana as a noxious weed.” –Sen. John Brenden (R-Scobey). I grew up in this senate district and I can tell you, nobody up there gives a damn about medical marijuana.  Brenden is a bit noxious himself.
  14. “Across the street from the church was a bevy of good-looking young ladies going in and out of this place……they were growing marijuana across the street…. I didn’t know such good-looking women were interested in horticultural prospects”– Rev. Harris Himes. Where do we find these guys? Himes is made for mockery!
  15. “I got a medical marijuana business who moved in next door to me and it’s been craziness ever since. You see ‘em them behind their shop, behind the commercial building, they got their arms outstretched, they’re trying to fly. I find people sleeping in my vehicles in front of my business. A month and a half ago they buried a van.”– Austin Kaufman, Billings.
  16. Rep Ken Peterson: If women would make better choices they wouldn’t get cervical and breast cancer. So defund family planning already.
  17. If you act gay in public, Rep Ken Peterson wants your felon ass in jail for a decade.  Ten years in prison will teach you how to be straight, right?
  18. Steve Zabawa in SB 423 hearing: “Marijuana is illegal! The state of Montana is gonna get arrested!” Zabawa is no stranger to illegal activity, he does sell cars for a living.  He also hires most of his employees from the Alpha House, a halfway house for men returning to society after being imprisoned for major crimes. Several of his current sales and management staff are felons, actually.  A couple of them defrauded the federal government by filing false FEMA claims after Hurricane Katrina. After serving time, Zabawa hired them back!
  19. Sen. Ed Walker saying, “I don’t believe it can be reformed. It needs to be repealed. There are times the voters get it wrong, and that is what happened in 2004.”  I wonder if we may have also got it wrong in 201o when you were elected, Ed.  Just sayin’.
  20. Montana is now considered a “source country”, same as Columbia.“- Speaker Mike Milburn (R-Cascade) I wonder why anyone would bury a van filled with  marijuana if that is the case.  So many questions.
  21. “Sometimes the most compassionate answer you can give is no you don’t need this,” Senator Rowlie Hutton (R-Havre) said.  “When you love someone you are willing to do an intervention. I love this state, and it’s time we do an intervention,” concluded Hutton, who wants to take away medicine from the ill. Compassionate indeed.
  22. “The people who use medical marijuana for legitimate uses, they’ve been had. I think they probably feel like the dog who gets in the car and as they’re driving they realize they are going to the vet instead of the park. They got in with the wrong crowd,” testified Sen. Edward Walker (R-Billings).  The wrong crowd, Sen. Walker, spends time with you and your buddies at that creepy temple under the rims.
  23. Tough DUI laws “are destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years,” said Rep. Hale.  But medical cannabis is WAY too dangerous.
  24. “Homosexuals can’t go out into the heterosexual community and try to recruit people, or try to enlist them in homosexual acts,” Peterson says. He provides an example: “‘Here, young man, your hormones are raging. Let’s go in this bedroom, and we’ll engage in some homosexual acts. You’ll find you like it.’” Peterson hasn’t actually seen this happen, he says, because “I don’t associate with that group of people at all… I’ve associated with mainstream people all my life.” Again, those mainstream people hang out at the LDS temple in west Billings.
  25. And then we have this beauty.  You be the judge.
Special thanks to Hiedi Handford of Montana Connect Magazine for editing and uploading the 300+ testimony videos.  Other legislative testimony can be viewed on her YouTube channel here

Another Hard Knock for Rep James Knox


Representative James Knox used his website http://www.citizentruth.com (it has since been removed but check out this link about it) to degrade city firefighters.  Here is a screenshot of his Facebook account where he clumsily attempts to promote his “very cool website for Montana”.  He’s so sly! Knox, well known for his attention to grammar confuses us by using the word “sean”.  It doesn’t seem to be someone’s name, as it is not capitalized, so we can only assume that Knox made a spelling error.  I’m not especially nit picky about small details but if our legislators aren’t smart enough to even utilize spell check (especially when the one in question owns a computer business) I’m afraid there is something terribly wrong.  Anyway, I digress……

Knox promotes his website, citizen truth, to mock firefighters

According to a report released by the city of Billings yesterday, Knox’s ongoing and one-sided feud with the firefighters didn’t end with his cool new website.  It appears that he was not only commenting on the Billings Gazette online forums under various online identities, he also caused a serious altercation between the Fire Chief and several retired and active duty firefighters while they were eating at a local restaurant.  Here is the story:

Retired firefighters Don Regnier, Phil Phillippi and Ed Newlin and active firefighters Mike Martin and Ron Martin (no relation) were having their weekly breakfast on Dec. 7 at the Alpine Casino on 16th Street West.  A firefighter made a reference to a comment left online in discussion (shown below) of a Billings Gazette article about the firefighters by “taxed2crabbiness” who they suspected was actually Rep. James Knox who was seated at the next table- also eating I presume.

Grammatical errors, Knox? Really?

Never one to shy away from the limelight, Knox was certain to not only send the Billings Fire Chief Dextras a text message, but to also call him immediately thereafter to tattle to inform him that his firefighters were conspiring to sabotage the brakes on Quick Response Units as well as planning to put additives in the water.  He told Chief  Dextras “You better get over here“.  Within minutes, Dextras arrived in uniform.  He approached the table of firefighters, red-faced and fuming angry, according to the firefighters.  Oddly, however; Knox claims the chief was very calm.  From the Billings Gazette:

“He was angry as hell. He was very angry,” Regnier said.

“The man had fire in his eyes. Three-quarters of the way through it he still called me a liar.”

Mike Martin, one of the active firefighters and a union leader, said the incident was very tense. He said the firefighters would never do anything to damage city equipment or put the public in danger.

“It was so confrontational that I didn’t know if I was going to have to jump up and fight or what,” Martin said.

An investigator was called in from Helena by the city of Billings.  He found that Dextras inappropriately disrupted a meeting of private citizens after assuming wrongly that the firefighters were already guilty based solely on Knox’s phone call. He found no evidence that the firefighters were actually planning to sabotage the trucks.  The city redacted Knox’s name from the investigation documents although Knox gave permission to use his name.  That doesn’t surprise me a bit for some reason.  Knox says, “it was pretty evident what they were saying.” Apparently only to Knox.

This is yet another chapter in the continuing drama surrounding Knox.  Rep. James Knox was fortunate enough to ride the tea party wave into office last November, but constant mistakes, malicious attacks, and refusal to acknowledge the needs of his constituents will no doubt combine to ensure he is a ONE-TERM legislator.  It is unfortunate for Knox who suffered a heart attack shortly after the 2011 legislative session began and likely needs his $733/mo health insurance compliments of we the people, but fortunate for Montana.

See below for some highlights of Knox’s first and last legislative session.


Speaker Milburn: Please Control Representative James Knox


Representative James Knox, Continues to Dig his Hole

I’d sure appreciate if Montana’s Speaker of the House, Mike Milburn, would assert some control over his representatives. I’m tired of defending their actions as well as defending myself FROM them, one in particular.  James Knox sent me an email a few minutes ago.

from Rep. Knox <james@vote4knox.com>
to Nicole French
cc Alicia Knox <alicia@kbscs.com>
date Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 3:00 PM
subject My lawyer will

Nicole,

I and my wife have printed all conversations and the message you have posted on the web is not in any of our history.  I ask that you email me the date your claim of this valid message else I will be taking legal action for slander against my wife.

Your call, I will.

James

_______________________________

 

James Knox, you asked for it so you’ve got it!  The date in question is April 5, 2011.  Would you care to look at the screenshot again?  Although I do actually like your lovely wife Alicia, I don’t care for dishonest politicians.  Just one time, I’d appreciate if you could accept the blame and move on- you could even try apologizing for your increasingly improper behavior. If I were you, I would be more concerned about the other allegations circling about you.  Here’s a screenshot anyway though, watch for any grammatical mistakes, as I’m sure they are the fault of someone else, perhaps George Soros.  I feel the need to remind you that Mr. Knox would NEVER use poor grammar….


Oh, but it gets even worse.  This evening, in reply to a letter sent by Hiedi Handford of Montana Connect Magazine, Rep Knox responded in a delightful manner- the exchange is as follows:

On Fri, 8 Apr 2011 15:28:05 -0600, “Rep. James Knox” wrote:

Montana’s across the state have clearly said repeal it.
Thank you,
Rep. James Knox
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES KNOX House District 47
406-534-9582
____________________________________
From: Hiedi Handford [mailto:hiedi@mtconnectmagazine.com]
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 3:32 PM
To: Rep. James Knox
Subject: RE: A message from the “Scourge” 

You are so full of shit Knox. Look beyond your own damned nose……

Oh – and you and your wife celebrating patients suffering? What a nice couple you are…….”I’m glad we can take medicine away from people who need it”

Please move back to whatever rock you climbed out from under in whatever state you came from. You most certainly are NOT a Montanan.

Montana Connect Magazine
P.O. Box 432
Lincoln, MT 59639
~ We Bring Integrity & Credibility to the Medical Cannabis Industry~

_________________________________
On Fri, 8 Apr 2011 15:37:19 -0600, “Rep. James Knox” wrote:

 

FYI that post is slanderous and photo shopped I have initiated legal actions. If you actually can believe my wife would actually say that or I would in such poor English say something. Your high. Oh you are.
Thank you,
Rep. James Knox
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES KNOX House District 47
406-534-9582
“There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily.” George Washington, letter to Edmund Randolph, July 31, 1795
______________________________________
Knox, by informing others that I used Photoshop to create a false post from Alicia Knox that he claims doesn’t actually exist (although it did before it was deleted) he is actually slandering ME.  Admonishing Hiedi over his unwillingness to use poor English gave me a chuckle because the post in question was actually one of his finer ones grammatically speaking. To mock a legitimate cannabis patient, calling her “high”, however; is reprehensible.
I must admit that posts about Knox were initially sort of sickly entertaining but now, I’m over it.  I’m tired of him hearing of his antics.  I’m tired of him mocking critically ill Montana voters, I’m tired of paying his salary and $733/mo health benefits, and I’m tired of him embarrassing the Republican Party (of which I’m a disgruntled member) and most of all, I’m tired of his actions contributing to our legislature’s public humiliation.  A biennial legislative session shouldn’t remind us of a Jerry Springer or Days of our Lives episode.

Do we really want someone like this representing us?

Interested in more information about James Knox? See the following links:

Eating our Own, A How to Manual By Rep James Knox

James Knox: Montanafesto Links

James Knox: Montana Cowgirl Blog Links

James Knox: Intelligent Discontent Links

James Knox: 4&20 Blackbirds Links

Perhaps you’d like to watch him cry?

Here are some more screenshots for your viewing pleasure.  I didn’t use photoshop on them- they are disgusting enough without alteration.  Click on each thumbnail to expand to full size.



 

Dear Mr Zabawa or Milburn, Essmann, Howard, Knox, and company


UPDATE: Zabawa’s testimony on SB 423 today can be viewed here. This morning another of our bloggers received a Facebook friend request from “Mercedes Benz- Billings”, an auto dealership in part owned by one of our favorite prohibitionists, Brother Steve Zabawa.  A source within one of Zabawa’s businesses confirmed that the Facebook page indeed belonged to Zabawa so she sent a…. factually scathing message in response to the request.  After I posted her words to Zabawa on our blog’s Facebook page earlier today, she posted a comment clarifying the post.  She said that she’d received a polite response from the dealership, from a “product specialist” who claimed to monitor the page.  Although making it clear he understood his employer’s motivations and respected his right to express his opinions, he assured her that not everyone within the dealership was aligned with Zabawa’s agenda.  Because the friend request apparently did not originate with Steve Zabawa, I pondered whether or not he’d ever see her words.  After much (not really) thought, in the case that Zabawa was indeed shielded from the criticism, I took the liberty of posting it here,  utilizing , in vain, our public forum in hopes that Zabawa would notice, take heed, and engage his opponents in a productive discussion.  While the letter was written to Zabawa, the intended target could have been nearly any Republican currently serving in our state legislature as well.  I challenge any puritanical republican to address the concerns mentioned in the following letter:


Nicole French April 6 at 2:08pm
Dear Mr Zabawa, 

Considering your opposition to personal liberties, obsession with control and devotion to driving the legislative process in the opposite direction voters desire, I am puzzled by your motives in requesting my friendship.

It appears a vast majority of your Facebook friends are politically active Republicans, so initially I assumed you were innocently seeking more local political connections, but I suspect your request isn’t so innocent. Do your liberty-minded Republican friends support your determined effort to not only overturn legislation created and approved by our state’s voters, but force seriously ill Montanans to make the unfathomable choice to either participate in a crime or needlessly suffer from a debilitating condition? You may be surprised.

Whether you are aware or not, I have defended your organization in public forums on countless occasions- primarily on principle as I believe each party involved in a conflict deserves an opportunity to dispel false accusations. Isn’t that odd? Although I do not know you personally and generally am opposed to the sort of licentious behavior of which your establishment is regularly accused, I am a principled and honorable human being, always willing to participate in open and honest discussion- which is where you and I obviously differ.

What I find most astounding about your group’s opposition to the creation of a regulated industry is your continual refusal to participate in any sort of pro-active conflict resolution discussion. Although many consider you and the other group members to be truly moronic, I disagree. Your recurrent fallacious testimony quickly elucidates any possibility of a naive ignorance.

I will overlook your unwillingness to acknowledge science and patient testimonials for a moment to examine political principles. Republicans fight for smaller government, a free market, retaining more of what we make, and especially liberty. Although I’m not a cannabis user, I appreciate the freedom to choose, with my physician, alternative forms of treating illnesses. Our federal government runs Amtrak, the US Postal Service, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid…. the list of insolvent entities goes on and on. The FDA has approved a litany of drugs that kill Americans on a daily basis, but yet so many are comforted by the federal government’s approval or disapproval of substances. It is astounding that any intelligent American would appreciate federal intervention in any manner beyond the power granted by our Constitution.

Liberty is integral to being an American and especially so to many Montanans. Our voters approved the use of this substance and overturning their wishes is truly reprehensible. If this truly “isn’t what Montanans voted for”, those citizens would place reform or repeal on the ballot. To date, no one has successfully done so, so I adhere to the belief that what we have now, however flawed it may be, is closer to voters’ intentions than an outright repeal.

In testimony of marijuana opponents, I hear of frequent abuses of the current statutes, exploitation of patients in pursuit of profits, use in schools, illegal diversion of medical cannabis, the list is endless. What I fail to understand is why those perpetrators are not as a result, arrested. The industry begged regulation and especially for enforcement. Three previous legislative sessions failed to address the concerns and the “frequent abuses” have apparently gone unpunished. Patients who legitimately, effectively, and safely treat their conditions with cannabis are instead the targets of your mission.

Laws aren’t created to provide a substitute for competent parenting and historically prohibition primarily benefits criminals. Actual drug dealers, the predatory sort, not the state-licensed law-abiding providers you are complaining about today, will return to their profitable businesses- without paying taxes, hiring employees, or adhering to any sort of ethical protocol. The dangers to our communities and kids presented by prescription drug and alcohol abuse far surpass those created by allowing legal medical use of cannabis. For this reason, I’m shocked you would continue this obsession while ignoring the most dire dangers facing our state.

We owe our children more than the false “safety” that destroying an industry may provide. We owe them the truth. The truth is, overturning a citizens initiative is an assault on our Constitution and rights. The topic itself, however discomforting you consider it, should not determine that the right of the people to self-govern is void. Montana’s constitution does not define the right to citizens initiative to be inclusive of only what is palatable to the elected.
Montana voters spoke. The governing body has now decided to use the power of position to arrogate. This is a wrongful use of power and is symbolic of the underlining reason the people’s distrust of all things government has become so palpable.

Perhaps your understanding of the long-term repercussions of such action would require a personal stake in it. For your sake, I truly hope that you and your loved ones are never presented with as dire of consequences as you are seeking for Montana’s infirm.

Upon receiving this message, should you decide to address my concerns, I will accept your offer of friendship. You and I won’t necessarily ever agree on this particular issue, but we likely would on virtually all others. I hope, through not only education but by setting a positive example, that someday the vast conflict surrounding this particular substance is reduced substantially.

Sincerely,
Nicole French

Hurt so Good: Representative and Mrs. Knox, Sanctioning your Suffering


Celebrating Montanans in pain, a Knox family tradition

Representative James Knox and his lovely wife Alicia are pretty excited at the prospect of agony for 30,000 Montana citizens suffering from debilitating diseases.  Rep Knox posted the following on his Facebook recently.

Montana makes history as the first legislative body to repeal the use of marijuana!!!! It requires the Governor not to Veto it but historical still!! Montana, many of us have worked long and hard for this moment. The people have spoken through their support and signatures on the repeal petition, the legislators supported the people. Governor…Please follow through and let the peoples will pass. April 1 at 2:56pm

Knox’s wife, Alicia Ridge Knox seems very excited her husband has assisted in the GOP’s mission to legislate Montana’s morality at the expense of those who will suffer needlessly as a result of his legislation.  Knox’s above plea to Governor Schweitzer drew plenty of comments from his Facebook friends (and enemies), his wife’s benevolent comment appears last in the thread, posted below.

It is one thing to celebrate a bill's success, but this is sick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently Knox’s wife stands by her man, supporting her corpulent hubby’s diabolical endeavors, she also inadvertently destroys a couple of the GOP’s arguments in favor of repeal.  First of all, she admitted it is medicine.  Second, she agreed that people need it.  Third, and by far most horrifying  is the realization she just may have hinted at her sexual proclivities.  Alicia Ridge Knox (be sure to add her as a friend) is one who obtains pleasure and sexual gratification from inflicting pain, suffering and humiliation upon others?  Perhaps next session we should propose legislation ensuring those acts, along with the Republican’s most reviled Montana citizens (you know, those terrifying gays with an agenda)  are felonious crimes.

*It should be noted that the couple professes to be Christian. One can only assume that they are proud members of the church of Reverend Harris Himes, who thinks that gay people should be put to death…. among countless other hateful beliefs.

Yet another GOP hypocrite lurking in legislature


Zealous advocates of our clients? REALLY?

There seems to be a prevailing theme in the Republicans seeking a full repeal of Montana’s medical marijuana law which was approved by voters in 2004.  Many of the vocal repeal proponents have  made sizable, often exorbitant profits from fledgling cannabis entrepreneurs.  Representative James Knox and Mormon Steve Zabawa,  are high-ranking members of the MONTaliban, an oppressive prohibition  organization  exploiting religious interests in efforts to affect public policy are two of Montana’s most prominent members.  Zabawa attempted to take advantage of an naive and unsuspecting cannabis provider, demanding a percentage of profits in addition to monthly lease payments on property. Knox offered to virtually give away web services to his friend, a marijuana caregiver.  In my experience, $600 for creating a website using a wordpress template is a high price, certainly not a discount, “virtually giving it away”.

Meet Senator Art Wittich, owner of  Wittich Law Firm, which boasts the description “zealous advocates on behalf of our clients”. You may recall him unsuccessfully representing game farm owners against I-143, a citizens initiative banning “pet hunting”.  Wittich is one of the Tea party’s finest, scoring  a perfect rating on the prestigious”Tea Party Questionaire” .  The Tea party doesn’t put a very high value on character, it would appear.  After all, one of the Tea party’s darlings, Representative James Knox has been embroiled in scandal since taking office, as employees and business contacts accuse him of pervasive shady business practices.  Senator Wittich, however; may surpass even Rep Knox’s unethical behavior.  In Thursday’s Senate floor session, a client of Wittich Law firm, A Kinder Caregiver was shocked and hurt hearing Wittich’s testimony favoring repeal.  For more than two years, the medical cannabis business spent a considerable amount of money with Wittich’s law firm, which assisted in providing guidance to ensure compliance with the  I-148, the often vague statute governing Montana’s medical cannabis laws.  A Kinder Caregiver was willing to invest substantial financial resources to retain adequate counsel  in efforts to adhere to state laws so one can only imagine what the business endured, watching their state senator and owner of the firm providing their legal services testify in support of legislation that would not only destroy, but abolish entirely their  industry.  A vote to destroy an important industry in Wittich’s home district indicates several potential character flaws considering the basic expectation that an attorney typically protects the client’s best interests, but to voluntarily provide factually questionable yet persuasive testimony is almost unconscionable.  Wittich could have bridged the vast gap between the patient-driven industry and the pervasive ignorance exemplified by the right-wing in Montana’s legislature.  Even more disturbing was the Senator’s decision to incorporate his own status as a cancer survivor into his arguments in favor of eliminating safe access to cannabis for approximately 30,000 Montana citizens.

A Kinder Caregiver, with discreet locations in three Montana cities, acted responsibly in retaining legal counsel to ensure compliance with the initiative.  After working together for more than two years, they discovered in grand fashion, that the entity providing legal protection had more loyalty to Republican party leadership than to his constituents and clients.  While voting for repeal would have likely damaged the business’s relationship with the firm, Wittich’s testimony and exploitation of his personal health history ensured it.  The firm was fired immediately after the Senate hearing, which approved the revocation of Montana patients’ rights to safely access cannabis, in direct conflict with the desires of Montana’s citizens, as 62% approved the compassionate initiative .

Follow the MONEY:The Truth Behind “Safe Community, Safe Kids”


Do as I say, not as I do!!

Brother Steve Zabawa, LDS faithful (Montaliban/GOP God Squad member) car dealership owner, isn’t known for his integrity.  When Zabawa faced dire economic circumstances, Tony Woolery stepped in to save the auto group from financial ruin.  Woolery, Rimrock Auto Group’s general manager obtains cannabis on behalf of his wife Melanie, who suffers from terminal bone cancer.  To show his sincere gratitude, Zabawa began a campaign to repeal Montana’s medical cannabis law entirely.  Recently, he went so far as to suggest that after it is no longer legal to grow one’s own cannabis, surely some good people in the black market will step up to assist terminal patients by risking their freedom to provide illegal marijuana to them in dark alleys.  Apparently Zabawa hasn’t ever witnessed a friend or relative dying from a horribly painful illness.  May God have mercy on his soul.

Although Safe Community, Safe Kids at first glance appears to be a group composed of vast numbers of soccer mommies and nanny-state advocating citizens, nobody other than Zabawa is willing to put their money where their mouth is. According to financial reports it appears the only person financing the quest to save our communities and kids from the medical use of cannabis is Steve Zabawa.

Financial filings with the Office of Political Practices were due March 15 for all political action committees, yet Safe Community Safe Kids failed to file a timely report.  According to NBC Montana,  there were several fishy stories offered by the group when questioned about their failure to file.

NBC Montana contacted Safe Community Safe Kids to ask for financial reports. The group denied having spent any money on the ads; “nothing, not a dime!.” When confronted with a station ad placement for $816.00, spokeswoman Cherrie Brady claimed the expense was far less than the $5,000 threshold for having to file a report.

After being contacted by Jennifer Hensley, Montana’s political practices commissioner, Cherrie Brady filed a tardy report last night.  The report indicated that expenditures exceeded $15,000, well in excess of the $5,000 threshold cited by Brady.   In the interest of keeping a community safe, one would suspect the list of donors would be massive, but not in this case.  You see, Steve Zabawa, owner of Rimrock Auto Group and Mercedes Benz auto dealerships in Billings was the SOLE donor listed in the filings.  Whether he is actually the the lone financial driving force behind the group or the group is lying, is at this time unclear.  The group has a prominently displayed “DONATE” button on their website, so the absence of any other donors is highly suspicious.  Safe Community, Safe Kids co-founder Susan Smith’s husband Cary Smith is an elected state house representative from Billings, so campaign filings are nothing new to her.  Claiming ignorance of our state’s political practices statutes cannot possibly be excused for Mrs Smith.  UPDATE: Jennifer Hensley has decided against imposing penalties on the group, which promised to file timely reports in the future.

To search for campaign filings for any political action committee (PAC), go to Montana’s Office of Political Practices website.  Select “Committee Report Search” .  In the past, I’ve searched for the Safe Community, Safe Kids financial filings and have only found expenditures and in kind donations from the group’s founders, all actual donors were notably absent on their C6 forms filed quarterly.

In a montanafesto post last week, we exposed Zabawa and Rep James Knox as hypocrites after  documents surfaced tying both of them to attempts to glean exorbitant profits from a medical marijuana entrepreneur.   The  Billings Gazette Monday featured the expose’ in an article titled “Profits and principles mixed in medical marijuana debate”.   Here is a pdf file of Zabawa’s lease contract with Mark Higgins.

419 Daniels St LOI

Perhaps instead of allowing Zabawa, a businessman rumored to have ties to the mafia, to “protect”  us from the medical use of cannabis, we should focus on protecting our community and our kids from shady characters like Steve Zabawa.  His dealerships are plagued with lawsuits from former employees and customers alleging misconduct ranging from failure to honor contractual obligations to fraud, foreclosure, wrongful firing, failure to pay employees, the list goes on and on. Zabawa also has a history of hiring employees out of the Alpha House who are willing to work for virtually nothing during their stay at the halfway house. One of his salesmen, Maurice Gunn was recently arrested passed out in a McDonald’s drive thru in Billings for his 4th DUI while driving a Cadillac Escalade registered to Rimrock Auto Group. He and other Rimrock Auto Group employees served prison sentences after defrauding the federal government via fraudulent FEMA claims as they attempted to profit off of Hurricane Katrina.   Interestingly, Zabawa’s partner in crime, Representative James Knox also has a history of shady business dealings and failure to pay his employees.  Birds of a feather……..

It is clear to me that the genuine hazards for our kids, community and state are hanging out at 2540 Phyliss Lane (Rimrock Auto Group) in Billings.  I’d suggest refusing to do business with such unethical  people. For your information, Cherrie Brady owns the Del Taco restaurants in Billings and James Knox owns KBS Computers.

Knox and Edmunds for PSC?


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

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

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

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

From Intelligent Discontent:

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

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

Haha! I love it.  Poor James Knox.

 

Montaliban Members Rep. James Knox and Steve Zabawa Exposed as Hypocritical Idiots


Montanafesto made the Billings Gazette today for our expose’ on medical cannabis opponents Rep James Knox and Brother Steve Zabawa, owner of Rimrock Auto Group and Mercedes Benz in Billings.

Memorable quote from James Knox, when asked if he’d ever sold marijuana:  “No, not that I can recall.”  That is code for “yes, but until you dig up someone I sold to, I won’t be admitting that!”

Steve Zabawa told Ed Kemmick of the Gazette that he favored repeal of Montana’s medical marijuana law but would like to see small amounts decriminalized for those who truly need it, like terminal cancer patients.  He was sure to mention that it would still be illegal to cultivate cannabis and was asked how those truly deserving patients would obtain the product.  To which he said, ““I would bet there would be some good people out there willing to meet their needs.”  Nothing like sending seriously ill individuals on a quest through dark alleys in search of “good people willing to meet their needs” at the risk of imprisonment.  Odd Zabawa feels anyone needs it considering he likes to mention that it has no medical value.

After we exposed Knox and Zabawa last week, Knox found it necessary to send a message to the entire legislature claiming that the blog was filled with “slanderous lies”.  Thanks to a legislator who forwarded a copy to one of our bloggers.  Here’s a screenshot.

Really? Slanderous lies, huh? Not nervous at all, Knox!

The blog received a couple of messages from him as well.

Knox claims that marijuana ruined the life of his brother.  Would James Knox’s brother please come forward?  There are almost a million Montanans who would love to speak with him, if he actually exists.  Apparently Knox likes his alcohol, he couldn’t wait to sit in his chair to sip some whiskey last weekend.

Fun weekend plans! Sipping whiskey in a chair with your children. That is love!?

Zabawa implies that his brother’s death from lung cancer was due to smoking marijuana for 35 years….. oddly enough, there has never been a proven link between lung cancer and smoking marijuana.  Marijuana contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents, there are some studies that show it actually slows the growth of lung cancer.  No word on if Zabawa’s brother smoked cigarettes, but my guess is that he did.

Perhaps it is time for the Montaliban to give up on its efforts to control the lives of Montana’s citizens.  If you want cannabis repeal, put it on the ballot.  In the meantime, stop exploiting your family members as well as your faux tears to convey emotional connections to this issue.

Where is the TEA party now?


My disillusionment with the local TEA party began last summer when I received the following email from Jennifer Olsen, co-founder and organizer of Montana Shrugged, a Montana tea party group.

To All Concerned Citizens,
Protect your family, act now! 

In 2004 Montana Citizens voted for the Medical Marijuana Act – Initiative 148, out of concern and compassion for those in chronic pain. The ballot stated, “For allowing the limited use of marijuana, under medicalsupervision, by patients with debilitating medical conditions to alleviate the symptoms of their conditions”.

No one could have foreseen the crisis that would ensue.

Here is our current situation:

·  89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.
·  There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuanabusinesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house.
·  In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing.
·  There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind.
·  Cards are issued to minors with parental permission.
·  Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believingmarijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuanais still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children.
·  Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc.
·  Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card?

Montanans thought we were being compassionate, instead we voted in a poorly regulated big growth industry. The regulations around this industry are really loose, and are not well enforced. We have opened the flood gate and we need to work together to close it.  

We need an immediate moratorium put on this industry for at least a year and an emergency zoning ordinance put in place. A moratorium would keep the city from issuing any new licenses and an emergency zoning ordinance would allow a 1000 ft buffer around our schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods.

What can you do?  You can make a difference, we need you. Our kids need you.

·  Email or call your council man immediately.  Let him, or her, know where you stand. Ask them to vote for a moratorium and emergencyzoning that is as strict as possible.

·  Attend the City Council meeting on Monday the 10th and let your voice be heard.  If we pack that meeting it will send a loud and clear message to the council where we stand. The meeting starts at 6:30, but please come early, seating will be limited.
·  Forward this email to everyone you know.  Give them a chance to state their opinion. 

You can find your council man’s email at the following link:

http://ci.billings.mt.us/index.aspx?NID=159

If you don’t know what ward you are in or who your council member is check this site: 

http://ci.billings.mt.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5523

If you would like to get more involved please, don’t hesitate to email me. 

If you are unable to attend the meeting to voice your concerns for this issue please consider sending an email to the Mayor and all members of city council.

Richard McFadden McfaddenR@ci.billings.mt.us
Denis Pitman Pitmand@ci.billings.mt.us
Dick Clark twodc@bresnan.net

Ed Ulledalen edulledalen@yahoo.com
Jani McCall janimccall@msn.com
Jim Ronquillo jimronquillo@aol.com
Mark Astleastlem@ci.billings.mt.us
Vince Ruegamer vr@bresnan.net
Peggie Denney Gaghen GaghenP@ci.billings.mt.us
Angela Cimino CimminoA@ci.billings.mt.us
Mayor Tom Hanel HanelT@ci.billings.mt.us 

Thank you everyone for your support and continued stance for FREEDOM and LIBERTY.

Jennifer Olsen
Founder -Montana Shrugged, Tea Party Patriots

PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR RALLY SCHEDULED FOR NEXT WEDNESDAY, MAY 12TH HAS BEEN CANCELLED.  WE WILL GATHER AT 24TH AND KING SATURDAY MAY 15TH TO RALLY WITH THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO RALLY WITH US DURING THE WEEK.
I was instantly irritated and responded with the following:
 

While you are probably well aware of my stance on this issue, I must counter your arguments.  I will admit that there IS indeed some abuse of the medical marijuana law- primarily this is because the law needs to be amended.  The law itself is far too vague- allowing people to interpret components of it as they please.  I agree with that and as a legitimate caregiver, I would prefer that the laws be more clear in order to protect us all.  Unless dispensaries ONLY sell their products to their own patients, they are operating illegally- which hurts those who are legitimate- and most of us are.  I must take issue with some of the other points though- I understand your reasoning but as someone who advocates for smaller government, it seems directly opposed to such.

·  89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.
·  There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuana businesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house. Why is that our business what our neighbors are growing in their homes?  What about liberty and personal freedom?  62% of our state voted to approve this measure.  This should be considered MEDICINE.  The people I’ve encountered in this business are experts in their fields- they know their products- they can tell you exactly which strains will help every type of pain.  Do we trust the FDA and big Pharma to do a better job?  You realize they are very involved in NWO.   Since when do we prefer big government? The more regulations we have, the more government jobs, waste and expense.  I would not be entirely opposed to some sort of tax- California receives $100 million/yr on only the SALES tax of medical marijuana.
·  In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing.  And rightfully so- although there are exceptions, these people have legitimate medical reasons for this.
·  There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind. The caregivers may not be required to have training, but seriously, if they want to make any money, they have to learn much about marijuana or they will not be caregivers for long- the fact that it is available legally has reduced the street price by about half.  The illegal drug dealers are having a hard time selling their marijuana at the prices they need…. they are actually moving out of Montana- I know this for a fact.
·  Cards are issued to minors with parental permission. Kids are only allowed cards if a physician approves them for it.  Kids get prescriptions for pharmaceutical meth (adderall) like it is candy.  I have not heard of one child with a card.
·  Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believing marijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuana is still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children. The reason this is happening now is that Obama said he will defect to the states regarding medical marijuana laws.  Do you really think it should be classified as a schedule I when cocaine is a II?  While it is not possible with existing data to determine conclusively that state medical marijuana laws caused the documented declines in adolescent marijuana use, the overwhelming downward trend strongly suggests that the effect of state medical marijuana laws on teen marijuana use has been either neutral or positive.
·  Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc. Have any of us witnessed any of these people using and driving at the facility?  Just curious.  There isn’t any way to quantify (like a breath test) whether someone is impaired.
·  Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card Of the 14 states with medical marijuana laws, ours ties for most strict.  Compare to Oregon for example:  We can possess 6 plants and 1 oz usable.  In Oregon, they can have 24 ounces usable and 24 plants.  I highly doubt any medical users are moving here because they like our laws better than the ones in their own state.  Think for a moment how much money is going into the economy- and putting illegalmarijuana dealers out of business.  A set-up with lights, ballasts, nutrients, etc STARTS at $1000 for 6 plants.    Not only that, but drug felons are NOT allowed to be caregivers, thus preventing them from setting up businesses.

When I saw Montana Shrugged’s latest video, which accuses the governor’s family of “selling marijuana” in an attempt to promote a full repeal of the law (ironically, the video makes a great case for reform instead), I began to ponder the role of the tea party in Montana politics.  I originally subscribed to the ideals that the tea party was founded upon- and actually, I still do.  There are, however; many  inconsistencies in their principles.  For instance, in general they abhor the federal government.  They constantly call for reducing its size and scope- I too would prefer that our government be far smaller than it is today.  The tea party criticizes federal intervention on any level…. unless, of course they are talking about medical cannabis.  Tea party Republican James Knox posted the following on his Facebook.
So now we have an elected representative in our state legislature PRAISING federal intervention.  This issue should not be party line.  It isn’t a republican, democrat, or tea party problem- this is something ALL Montanans and ALL Americans should condemn.  Here is an excerpt from the DOJ detailing the many federal, state, and local agencies assisting with the investigation and ensuing raids.
[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Northwest Drug Task Force, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Dillon Police Department, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force – Miles City” (U.S. Department of Justice, Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney, District of Montana,News Advisory, March 15, 2011).
Are we supposed to believe that the Environmental Protection Agency had nothing better to do than work with other redundant and unnecessary agencies to raid cannabis facilities? If these charges indeed have merit, the blame should rest upon the state for failure to prosecute caregivers who were illegally diverting product.  Also, considering the prohibitionist crowd’s biggest argument, that cannabis is a “gateway drug”, it is strange that there weren’t other more dangerous drugs discovered at any of the facilities.
The TEA party appears to only be concerned about the constitutional components that fit their agenda.  In my opinion, the TEA party movement is over.  Gone are the days of a leaderless group  influencing elected officials to spend less and reduce the size of our government.  Today we see a group of loud hypocrites eager to exploit the Constitution when they see fit.

Profiting from Hypocrisy


It seems two members of the GOP God Squad, Representative James Knox and Brother Steve Zabawa  have been attempting to profit off of the very substance they call a “scourge”.  Cannabis, the plant that robs Montana of its rough and tough image and puts entire generations at risk, appears to be acceptable to these hypocrites as long as it makes them money.

Brother Steve Zabawa, faithful LDS car dealer, attempted to enter into a lease agreement with Montana Medical Marijuana at the location below.  He reportedly also negotiated with the business to rent his property in exchange for 10% of the net profits of the medical cannabis business.  He mentioned that he’d like the owner to provide his son Zac with employment as well.  Odd that little more than a year later, he’d be testifying in hearings BEGGING for the legislature to repeal the law allowing medical use of cannabis- especially considering his general manager’s wife is suffering from terminal bone cancer and receives help in pain and symptom relief from cannabis her husband obtains on her behalf.  Zabawa wants to take away her ability to sleep.  What a piece of work.               

Here is the actual agreement between Steve Zabawa and Montana Medical Cannabis.

419 Daniels St LOI

Representative James Knox, who has been CRYING as of late about medical marijuana (his brother is an “addict”) provided a quote to design a website for the same business, Montana Medical Cannabis.  He even offered to virtually “give away” his services because he was slow.  Morals in this case appear to be very dynamic, changing based on the potential for profit.   Here is a price quote from Knox.

It is mind blowing to me that Knox is critical on federal intervention on any level… unless it concerns medical marijuana.  Rumors have circulated throughout the cannabis community that Knox was a marijuana dealer prior to being a politician but Knox “cried” at the March 11, 2011 HB161 hearing because he “wants his brother back”.  Good grief…. maybe he feels guilty for getting him “hooked”?  He needs an education….. there is no such thing as marijuana addiction.

Zabawa and Knox want the federal government out of our healthcare.  I agree with them  but you won’t find me praising the feds for raiding legal medical cannabis shops as I know there are now THOUSANDS of Montanans who have no safe or legal access to a medicine that they truly need.

UPDATE: Rep. Knox has asked that we post a retraction as there was apparently a confidentiality disclaimer attached to the email where he offered to “virtually give away” his services to a medical marijuana provider. He has turned this over to his attorney.  We apologize for any inadvertent breach of confidentiality.  We are, after all not attorneys, but volunteer bloggers.  Apparently avoiding immediate consequences of blatant hypocrisy can be achieved by placing a confidentiality disclaimer to the bottom of each page of sanctimony.  Wouldn’t it be much easier to actually practice what you preach?  It never ceases to amaze me that legislators are so quick to condemn the lifestyles of others while partaking in very similar (or worse) activities.  Rep. Knox’s correspondence via Facebook suddenly includes the following message:

This communication may contain privileged and/or confidential information. It is intended solely for the use of the addressee. If you are not the intended recipient, you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing or using any of this information. If you received this communication in error, please contact the sender immediately and destroy this material in its entirety, whether electronic or hard copy. This communication may contain nonpublic personal
information about consumers subject to the restrictions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. You may not directly or indirectly reuse or disclose such information for any purpose other than to provide the services for which you are receiving the information.

UPDATE OF THE UPDATE: Here is the email in question. 
.

God Squad LIARS Can’t Handle the Truth


Prohibitionist religious zealots can't handle the truth

Once again, it appears the lying ladies (offense intended, James Knox) of Safe Community, Safe Kids have failed to accept or even acknowledge invitations for a public debate on their favorite only issue, medical cannabis.  Kelly McCarthy, founder of Politics in the Pub has invited the group to attend an event scheduled for March 15th in Billings.  Thus far, they have not responded to the invitation to join Senior High School’s police officer, Irven Rosenfeld (federal cannabis patient and author), one or more  physicians, numerous members of the industry, patients, and most importantly VOTERS to discuss the various options for medical cannabis in Montana.

Cowardly founders of Safe Community Safe Kids refuse to face the truth

For a group so passionate about saving their children’s futures, one would expect they would jump at an opportunity to publicly (safely) discuss this issue with the “cartel”, but perhaps the temple has a showing of Reefer Madness scheduled.

Maybe they are afraid little Cash Hyde will also be attending.  That would certainly make sense as I’m pretty sure his parents wouldn’t take kindly to being called cartel members for keeping their precious son alive after a malignant brain tumor threatened to cut short his 2 year life.  

Perhaps they are afraid of Irvin Rosenfeld.  He suffers from Multiple Congenital Cartilaginous Exostoses and has received rolled cannabis cigarettes directly from our federal government for decades to treat pain associated from his illness.  I wonder if he’d appreciate hearing that cannabis has no medical benefits.  

Maybe the leaders of Safe Community Safe Kids are simply afraid of the Senior High police officer.  After all, slander and libel are crimes.  Or could it be that the numerous tall tales they have told about how cannabis has infiltrated our schools to the point that boys and girls are spreading their legs for whoever will give them a puff or two actually aren’t true.

Most likely the SC,SK crowd isn’t interested in hearing the truth about anything as it is far too inconvenient for their agenda.  Shame on you ladies (James Knox included), your thousands of grandkids deserve better than a granny who lies.  Here’s an idea for you, instead of filming your little minions screaming “ARE YOU GOING TO STAND UP FOR ME?”, teach them to stand up for themselves.  Next time one of their buddies passes a bong around, tell them to just say no thanks.  Problem solved.  And if they fail to follow your advice, maybe it is because they don’t take you seriously…. after all, you have a long history of lying and unfortunately for you, the proof is all over your website and in your crazed videos.  Your kids and grandkids may be sheltered and naive, but they are still probably too smart to believe your dramatic and unsubstantiated rhetoric.  I’d be ashamed if my grandmothers were so ignorant and cowardly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 5:30pm
Bone’s Brewing, Billings, MT
Be there!

Meet thee saviors, ye lowly Montanans aka Introducing Your God Squad


Savin yous fools from yourselfs.

For your reading and viewing pleasure, today’s post is a linkfest allowing you to get to know some of the key players in the Montana GOP’s quest to save you from yourself.  Most of the links are recent bad press, but a couple of the holier than thous have managed to avoid negative publicity for a few months.  I’ve still included several older links to relevant stories however.  There is no doubt that I missed plenty of stories on plenty of your protectors, but I suffered from information overload as there were just too many great examples of recent hypocrisy within my own party.

Entire Montana GOP: “GOP abandons its principles”

House Speaker Milburn:  “GOP Speaker Caught Skipping Votes to Party” , “Medical Marijuana Repeal Bill Draws Heavy Opposition in MT”

"Marijuana is Hurricane Katrina" Milburn

"I promise to vote yes on HB 161"- James Knox

Rep. James Knox: “James Knox Responds, Logic Takes a Beating”“Interesting Comments From James Knox”“Knox questions why Don Pogreba doesn’t like threats”“Why aren’t James Knox and MT GOP focused on jobs?”

Rep Cary Smith (R-Billings) and wife, Susan Smith: “Conservative Constitutional Seminar at Capitol Stirs Controversy”

Mr and Mrs At least we admit to having a moral agenda Smith

Shockley: “Senator Shockley wants medical marijuana OUT of Montana”, “Senator Shockley in wake of open container violation steps down”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Zabawa (owner of Rimrock Auto Group and Mercedes Benz dealership, passionate LDS supporter of repealing medical marijuana):  “Lawsuits Plague Dealership” Be CERTAIN to read the comments.   “Fed probe looked at Rimrock” “Rimrock Auto Group Stole Parents Identity”

 

Zabawa wants opiate- I mean marijuana- addicts to stop breaking into his car dealerships


Cherrie Brady: “ATTN Montana Caregivers and Patients”, This brilliant piece WRITTEN by Ms Brady: “Is Montana going to pot?”, “Could Montana be the first to repeal Medi-Pot?”

Governor Schweitzer’s Paid Personal Cheerleader Under Fire for Offending the Gay Community


Poor Montana Cowgirl has made enough liberals upset that her blog was featured on a Billings Gazette headline this morning.  I find it odd that it was never a story until it bothered other liberals.  Cowgirl’s entire blog is devoted to lying about and mocking conservatives.

The rude anonymous blogger has apparently posted information using the state Capitol computer system according to the Gazette story.  Considering her love of all things Schweitzer and to a lesser extent Bullock, I’m pretty sure there is a scandal lurking within this story.  How much is our state paying Montana Cowgirl to be the governor’s personal cheerleader?  It makes sense to vote against corruption…. I suggest that Cowgirl’s sleazy tactics be rewarded with votes for the opponents of her pet candidates.

Check out the story on the Flint Report.

Veg PAC Strikes Again


 

Vote Roy Brown SD25, James Knox HD47

 

 

Values, Energy & Growth PAC, the shadowy new Montana PAC responsible for the ridiculous mailers packed with lies about Roy Brown (which interestingly used the same photos of Brown as Kendall Van Dyk’s campaign) is now weighing in on the Knox/Ellis race in HD 48 in Billings.   The new mailer encourages citizens to call in bogus “privacy invasion” claims to the already busy authorities.  While Billings police are investigating homicides, they will be interrupted to look into absurd claims that James Knox’s signs are spying on private citizens.  It appears that those responsible for stealing Knox’s signs don’t appreciate the cameras and GPS units attached to random campaign signs.

Christopher Cady of Bozeman is the group’s treasurer.  I encourage all concerned citizens to contact him immediately or better yet, contact the Montana state Commissioner of Political Practices to report these illegal mailers. The candidates benefiting from the Veg PAC’s propaganda owe Montanans an explanation.  Call out this well-funded organization, denounce their tactics.  Mud-slinging isn’t welcome in Montana.  If a candidate cannot win on merit, perhaps they shouldn’t run and if Van Dyk and Ellis remain silent, we can only believe they condone or endorse these attacks.

HD47 candidate – Pam Ellis – Dishonest and Unethical


I’ve quickly learned that politics is a dirty game.  With only 22 ½ days until the election on November 2 the complaints from democrat candidates just keep stacking up in the office of the political practices commissioner.  One must wonder if they even have merit.  Are they factual complaints or just those to try and smear the other candidate because somebody is a sore loser?

That is the pile of candidates I’d throw Pam Ellis into among others this election cycle.  Pam Ellis is running against James Knox in House District 47.  Is it truly Knox’s fault that he has a larger grassroots base to help him campaign?  We all know that with everything happening in Washington lately it is a great year to be a conservative Republican which is what James Knox is.

So, when Ellis used School District 2 in order to campaign I knew that this was not supposed to be ‘politics as usual’.  For your information, here is a copy of various emails which went back and forth between Ellis and employees of SD2.

Too often candidates file complaints which stand on no grounds and are certainly without substance.  So, why is it that when a regular everyday person attempts to file a complaint against a candidate they are told by the political practices commission that there is no ground to stand on?

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, the Billings community came together to help raise money for the Billings Schools at Saturday Live. This is a yearly event that was started 18 years ago and is run by the Education Foundation for Billings Schools. Its purpose is to raise money for Billings schools which is done predominantly by students from each school running tables with various activities that people pay to participate. Some tables, particularly the ones for elementary schools, have parents and teachers present throughout the day but in the case of older kids they are often left to run their tables alone with teachers and/or parents periodically checking on them.

Our high school student worked the Skyview table at Saturday Live and was directly affected by Pam Ellis’ campaign practices. After setup and the departure of their teacher for the day Pam Ellis approached our student’s table and stated that she had a basket of “sports schedules” to leave at their table. She did not introduce herself to the students at the table or her intentions but did indicate that she had spoken to their teacher and that permission had been given to leave a basket of these schedules on their table for people to take. It is important to note that Pam did not stay by this table during the day. Her campaign materials were left in the possession of the Skyview Choir students. As Pam left she also gave each student a copy of her schedule. These schedules, while having high school sports events on them, are clearly campaign pieces for Pam Ellis.

While following up on the events from Saturday I did find evidence that the Skyview Teacher had received a solicitation for assistance and permission to display campaign materials directly from Pam Ellis using Billings Schools email system. It is clear from the emails that permission was granted by the teacher to display the campaign materials but this does not clear Pam of her intentions, actions or use of the school email system. The teacher also clearly indicates that the email she received does not indicate that the materials are politically oriented which led her to believe these were nothing more than schedules.

See attached email thread – note it reads in reverse chronological order

During conversations with Krista Hertz and Julie Whitworth at the Education Foundation, I learned that a representative of Pam Ellis had called in advance of Saturday Live to discuss her plans to distribute her campaign materials by passing them out. Both Krista and Julie indicated that they did convey their preference that they not distribute materials at the event and that the people at the event were there for the kids not political purposes. They were also unaware that Pam had actually left a number of campaign pieces at the table with students, rather than handing them out as indicated in the inquiry, until I brought it to their attention. Julie Whitworth indicated that Pam had asked about volunteering at a table, which by appearance, would be to justify the “advertising” she had left at the table. As a business this would be appropriate if she followed the Saturday Live sponsor rules but she did not.

Additionally, as a candidate this does not justify her actions and demonstrates a willful effort to subvert Saturday Live’s requests and campaign practices as it is not appropriate for a candidate to be a sponsor at a school related event.

By leaving campaign materials at the Skyview table it clearly establishes an association of Pam Ellis to Skyview, that particular Skyview class, the teacher and Skyview students as well as the permission of the Education Foundation for her to use their event for this purpose. This is no different than a business displaying another business’s materials at their tradeshow booth or office. This proximity creates a positive association and by extension an endorsement. None of the parties involved endorse Pam Ellis nor is it ethical to suggest this connection. Additionally, her practices targeted minors and their causes as a delivery mechanism. It is not reasonable to put students in the position of deciding if this is appropriate or not – particularly when they have been told a teacher approved it. As a former teacher and administrator she would know this to be true.

In conclusion, Pam Ellis’ experience as a teacher and administrator for 25 years and as a candidate would make her acutely aware of campaign rules and how they pertain to schools and related events.

Her email to the teacher to request assistance in distributing her campaign materials is a clear violation of campaign practices in Section 2‐2‐121 (http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/2/2/2‐2‐121.htm) as well as Skyview and School District 2 policies. Additionally her indiscretion has caused unnecessary scrutiny and stress for Skyview and it teachers.

Her distribution methods of campaign materials certainly misrepresents Skyview, the Skyview table and Skyview students views and implies an endorsement of her by her using their table at Saturday Live.

This practice is dishonest and is misleading as it falsely leaves the impression that those involved endorse her. The collection of actions taken by Pam and her representatives are unethical as the entire approach is centered on the using of minor students and their school’s table as the vehicle to distribute campaign materials at a school fundraiser event. These actions violate section 13‐35‐301 (http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/13/35/13‐35‐301.htm) as her tactics are misleading and unethical.