The Olsens dig a deeper hole


st patty's day jen olsenJust a quick post to let everyone know what Montana Shrugged, the Tea Party Hate Group is up to these days.  Instead of hiding in a cave, apologizing, or entering some sort of rehab like most people do after they are exposed as bigots, Jennifer and Eric Olsen instead sent their entire list of “supporters” an email filled with lies.  Although montanafesto was not mentioned specifically, it isn’t a stretch to assume they were referring to this blog.  All grammatical errors in the following email are theirs:

Since our last memo, the liberal and progressive bloggers have made false accusations against Jennifer.  This is a concerted effort to takedown the good conservative leaders in America. Since forming the Montana Shrugged Teaparty group, we have received a good share of hate mail.  We figure that goes with the territory of conservative causes.  WE are proud to lead the charge in this battle.  The most blatant of these lies which was picked up by the News was manufactured by a local blogger who has shown consistency in the past of promoting false lies about many conservative leaders in Montana. 

We want you to know that there is absolutely no racist bones in our bodies  We are adamantly working against President Obama’s agenda to fundamentally transform America from a free Constitutional Republic to an Oligarchy type government where government rules all.  WE as leaders of the Teaparty, as well as the Country overall, are under attack by the liberal and progressive activists.

Every turn of the pages in the news, shows Obama’s concerted effort to control people’s freedom ever more.  The continuing deficit spending and Obama’s refusal to push for a budget is pushing our great Country to bankruptcy.

We all need to stand up against it more now than ever.  Obama is a lame duck leader without any cause to reform.  He is hell bent on breaking this country and pushing it into a socialist European like nation.  Hmmmmm how well is Europe doing?  Not well.  In fact, many Countries over there are breaking towards a capitalistic society where free enterprise rules.

One way that you all can do to help is come out in force to our rallies and parades.  Volunteer to help us make the gatherings larger and more entertaining.  We are planning the 4th Annual Teaparty Rally in Billings on April 15th.  You can sign up to attend on Facebook page under name of Montana Shrugged TEA Party Patriots.

Please check out Drill Baby Drill radio show every Monday night at 6:30 pm mountain time.  Call in to 760-259-2312 or listen to athttp://www.belladangelo.com.  You can check out archives of past shows too.

Follow us on Facebook too.

Thank you for your continued support. Stand with us and rally for America.

Eric is doing a new blog radio show on Monday Nights through a network setup in North Dakota.  As you recall, he used to to a local interview show in Billings which was very successful in getting the message out and vetting many candidates in previous State Elections.
Even Joe “The Plumber” was on the show via Skype.

Please check Eric’s new radio show out at  www.belladangelo.com or call in to 760-259-2312 to listen in or chat (EVERY MONDAY 6:30 PM).  The show is titled Drill, Baby, Drill.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ONLINE

 

If simply disagreeing with them makes me a liberal, well, I guess I’m guilty as charged, but I think the Olsens need to learn that there are plenty of conservatives who disagree with them, including me. Jennifer Olsen, who posted an image of a racist stereotype on her Facebook page on Feb 15, 2013 seems to be enjoying her infamy.  No word from Brian Kenat, another tea partier/Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee board member bigot, but he was sure to unfriend Facebook friends we shared after montanafesto published screenshots flaunting his incredible prejudice last week. Perhaps we will ask some hard questions on their popular obscure radio show.  Hopefully the bigots have learned a lesson.  Often, however; when actions have no consequences, that isn’t the case.  Too bad for Yellowstone County’s Republicans.

 

Montana Cannabis Voter’s Guide 2012


As always, cannabis law reform is a big campaign issue this election year although Montana’s “moral” majority is unlikely to acknowledge that inconvenient fact.  Montanans understand that there is nothing “moral” about maintaining harsh criminal penalties, limiting (and in most cases, eliminating) access to necessary medicines, and allowing and/or inviting federal intervention in our state’s medical marijuana program.  We are confident that Montana will vote accordingly.

The 2012 Montana Cannabis Voter’s Guide serves as a resource for Montana voters who consider liberty a priority.  In numerous districts, prohibitionists are running unopposed unfortunately, but in others, we have an opportunity to make a difference.  We’ve compiled statements, video from previous sessions, actual voting records, endorsements and other sources of information when deciding if a candidate is supportive or opposed to our cause. We have heard very little from some candidates but are hopeful we will know more by the time that absentee ballots arrive in our mailboxes in a few weeks.      As we are apprised of new information-  additional MTCIA endorsements, statements to the media, etc- this guide will be updated to reflect such data.

Should any candidates or voters have any questions about specific races or candidates or wish to provide relevant information, please email Nic (montanafesto@live.com).

Tampering Jury Pools with Federal “Truth”


Today Montana’s headlines blare “Federal Warrant Issued for 1980’s Montana Mountain Man” after federal indictments of former partners of the now-defunct medical marijuana business, Montana Cannabis Inc. were unsealed.  Montana’s media offers a sensational headline as well as a dramatic, emotional story to match- that is, if you are willing to buy the federal government’s version of the truth.

You may recall the story of the Nichols duo, Don and his son Dan, who kidnapped world class biathlete Kari Swenson while she was training in the mountains near Big Sky, Montana.   The notorious Montana “mountain men” also murdered one of Swenson’s friends after he stumbled upon their hideout in the woods.  Kari Swenson’s lung was punctured after Dan Nichols accidentally shot her during an armed standoff. She survived the injury and went on to win a bronze medal in the world biathlon championships after being rescued.  Dan Nichols was released in 1991 after serving six years in prison for the crimes.  His father is still in prison but is up for parole April 27.

Dan Nichols has been charged as an indicted co-conspirator with Chris Williams as well as Chris Lindsey, a Missoula attorney who actually left Montana Cannabis in January of 2010.  What is so outrageous about the indictment is the bizarre conspiracy that the government has invented.  First of all, Chris Lindsey, to the best of his knowledge, has never laid eyes upon Dan Nichols, nor has he heard of him.  He was apparently brought on board by Chris Williams, who remained with Montana Cannabis until March of 2011, when federal raids shut down the business.

Apparently, in the eyes of the feds, if you are EVER involved with a “criminal enterprise”, you are not allowed to quit.  You are also responsible for all  crimes that are committed by any subsequent partner or employee of said “criminal enterprise” for eternity.  Fourteen months prior to the 2011 federal raids, Chris Lindsey left Montana Cannabis after disputes over the manner in which the business was being operated.  Apparently that isn’t good enough for the feds.  He is now being lumped in with a kidnapper and murderer who he has never met, never spoken to, never even heard of.  Why?  Because sexy stories sell newspapers and when people read them, they believe them.  The feds know that prohibition is on shaky ground in the US, jurors across the nation are not only expressing reluctance to convict marijuana “criminals”, many consider prosecution of these people, especially in states that have legalized medical use of marijuana, to be a colossal waste of taxpayer funds.   Fortunately for the feds, the media is easily manipulated.  We already know the truth doesn’t matter to US federal government as marijuana wouldn’t be illegal if they were interested in science or any factual evidence.  They continue to promote their failed policies by utilizing fear.  Americans are afraid of crazed, murderous mountain men who would dare kidnap a world-class athlete.  Dan Nichols is considered armed and dangerous.  I certainly wouldn’t approach him, that fear is most likely warranted.  Chris Lindsey, on the other hand, is someone I would trust to watch my daughter.  He is a kind, compassionate intellectual.  He is an educated professional.  He isn’t a firearm enthusiast and he isn’t the least bit violent.  The actual truth isn’t nearly as scandalous though, so the feds will do their best to ensure Chris Lindsey’s story is suppressed.  It appears that the indictment of the exciting “mountain man” was necessary to substantiate the sentences Chris Lindsey is facing for spending 10 months as in-house legal counsel for Montana Cannabis, if convicted of the federal crimes in which he is accused- mandatory minimum sentences total 690 years.

Another former partner of Montana Cannabis, Tom Daubert, who authored Montana’s original medical marijuana law, is scheduled to offer a guilty plea to a federal charge of “conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises” on May 3.  Like Lindsey, Daubert divested his interest in Montana Cannabis long before the raids.  Why he wasn’t also indicted with Williams, Nichols, and Lindsey is unclear at this time.

The recent indictments as well as sentences handed down to others charged and convicted (via plea deals) as a result of the March 2011 raids have indicated that Montana’s state law umbrella offers zero protection from federal prosecution, whether the accused was operating in “clear and unambiguous compliance with state law” or not. One can only wonder why Montana’s DPHHS employees, legislators who pretended to deliver created regulatory legislation, and electric companies (the only REAL marijuana millionaires in the state) are not also indicted co-conspirators.

The Facade of Federal Justice


Leniency for corruption

Former Butte Montana city judge, Steven Kambich, convicted of bribery in federal court was sentenced this week to paying $5000 in restitution, far less than even the total of the bribes he accepted, and five years of probation.  He faced fines of $250,000, a prison sentence of up to 10 years and 3 years of supervised release.  Kambich offered guilty pleas in January for accepting bribes in excess of $13,000 in exchange for dismissing traffic tickets and other citations.  He was accused of a variety of other corrupt practices unbecoming of any human being let alone an elected official.

In a January 13, 2012 press release related to the case, U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter said:

“There are few positions in the law more powerful than that of a judge. Judges have the authority to change individual lives with their actions. Former Silver Bow County City Judge Steve Kambich pled guilty today in Federal Court to accepting bribes – usually in the form of cash or checks – for dismissing traffic and other misdemeanor tickets. The prosecution of Kambich sends a strong message that public corruption will not be tolerated and when detected it will be prosecuted.”

Chris Lindsey faces up to 25 consecutive life sentences for adhering to state medical marijuana laws.

Sounds more like a slap on the wrist to me, especially when the punishment is contrasted with sentences facing former medical marijuana caregiver Chris Lindsey.  Although he has not been accused of breaking any state laws, the Missoula attorney is facing federal mandatory sentences ranging from 690 years to 25 consecutive life sentences with an additional 85 years for good measure.

What ever happened to the guidelines contained within the infamous Ogden memo? In the memorandum, the Department of Justice said that it was committed to the “efficient and rational use” of its resources and that prosecuting patients and distributors who are in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws did not meet that standard.

Lindsey may indeed have been in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with Montana’s medical marijuana laws, but we may never hear about that in court as evidence indicating adherence to state laws is inadmissible in prosecutions for violating federal laws.

Bribery by a corrupt judge warrants a more lenient sentence than those that medical cannabis providers receive? In what sort of world is the dismissal of charges in exchange for cash a lesser crime than advising a medical marijuana business of their rights and responsibilities under state law?  Even monsters like Charles Manson have parole opportunities periodically.  This isn’t the case in federal cases where inmates serve 85% of their sentences at minimum.

Life presents us with many injustices and often reforms are only possible after exhausting struggles.  Familiarize yourself with jury nullification at http://www.fija.org.  Education is the answer.  Please share this story in any way possible-  via social media, telling everyone you know, writing a letter to the editor, however you see fit. A tyrannical federal government affects us all.  The oppressive muscle of the fed knows no bounds- now it is medical marijuana, but what is next?  Guns?  Healthcare?  Education?  Whether you use medical marijuana or not, please don’t be so naive as to believe that this doesn’t affect you.  I am haunted by this injustice.  Law enforcement is in theory a comforting sight.  Good people aren’t supposed to fear federal agents yet when I see anyone with a badge, I am faced with the reality that one day I could be in a similar position as Chris.  Although I am not a marijuana user nor am I a marijuana provider, simply discussing becoming one is a federal crime.  Most of us commit federal crimes every day without even realizing it.  Chris is your neighbor, your friend, your mentor, your brother, your father, your husband, he is me and he is you.

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

Montana’s Politicians… An Impotent Lot


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Jeff Essmann WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU!!

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

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

Hypocrisy or Hyberbole?


Montana’s GOP legislators, most of whom campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility and cutting government waste are now being labeled as hypocrites by Governor Schweitzer and many of the legislature’s Democrats.  After proposing early budget cuts, nearly every move made by  GOP lawmakers thus far has been criticized by the left.

  • Approval of $1000 stipend (down from the previous $1500 allowance approved in 2007) for purchase of a laptop to be used by members of the legislature- Governor Schweitzer thinks they should use their own computers while the legislature argues that other state employees aren’t asked to supply their own equipment.
  • Inclusion of provisions to increase health benefits for legislators in HB #1, the “feed bill” which pays for the biennial legislative session.  Democrats say that it equates to “voting themselves a pay raise” while Republicans state that voting for increased compensation for themselves is constitutionally impossible.
  • Intentions of repealing/nullifying exceedingly unpopular national health care reform mandates- Schweitzer and other Democrats are calling Republicans hypocrites for accepting health insurance from their employer, the state of Montana; while actively trying to thwart the implementation of Obamacare within the state.
  • Schweitzer also recently stated publicly that the legislators are the “biggest boozers”.  His accusation was most likely directed at the left as well as he didn’t distinguish between political parties.

What do you think?

Disgruntled District 36 Democrats Declare Dastardly Deeds Responsible for Julie French’s Defeat


 

A NE Montana couple is upset that Julie French was defeated in Montana HD 36

Although the Northeastern Montana laugh of the week was provided by the traveling gentleman who thanked the area hospital for their kind and compassionate assistance with his horrible binding case of constipation, Teresa and Robert Jensen (Reserve, MT) provided some competition. Their sugary-sweet love letter to recently defeated Montana state representative Julie French appeared in the Sheridan County News (Plentywood, MT) on November 11, 2010:

 

Thank you Rep Julie French for the dedicated and loyal service you have given the district the past four years in the State Legislature.  During your years in Helena, you proved yourself to be a tireless dependable worker on behalf of your district.

Your legislative accomplishments are solid and you showed time and again that it was your constituents who counted, not the special interests.

I’m very proud of the clean campaign you ran. You talked about the issues that are relevant to our part of the state and you didn’t make any easy promises that will be impossible to keep.  There were no false statements or slanted views. Your campaign was yours and yours alone. Your years of experience and knowledge will be a loss to the legislature, especially in dealing with BNSF.

I want to thank the voters of Sheridan County who rejected the well-funded campaign of fear and smear and voted for Julie.  They deserve credit for standing up to the outsiders who made this one of the most disgusting election campaigns in my memory.

But I am disappointed that neither the Knudsen campaign nor the responsible republican leadership in Sheridan County did not publicly and visibly repudiate those tactics.  It will be a blot on their reputation for a long time.

We need to get away from the kind of negativity that characterized this campaign.  People need to work together to resolve the issues and challenges that face the state and the district.  All our eyes now will be on your successor and we will be watching to see if he lives up to all of his promises.

Julie, while you may not be going back to Helena for the next term, I know your commitment to the people of House District 36 and to the common good of our communities will continue to find ways to express itself.

Again, thank you, Julie, for all your hard work on our behalf.

Sincerely,

Teresa and Robert Jensen

 

Mainstream Montanans will certainly miss Julie’s voting record.  In her time in office, she was able to make many new friends including  unions, radical environmentalists, and many other oppressed minorities.  She should be proud of her ‘D’ scores from Montana Shooting Sports Association, her anti-business scores of 21% and 32% from the Montana Chamber of Commerce, her score of 14% from the Montana Family Foundation, her 100% scores from radical environmentalist groups and her score of 85% from NARAL.

Businesses won’t miss her votes nor will those who work in the oil and gas industry, unborn babies, hunters and gun enthusiasts, stockgrowers, or those with family values.  Apparently Teresa and Robert Jensen don’t believe those issues are relevant to their part of the state.  District 36 is located in the northeastern corner of Montana where residents enjoy hunting and work primarily in the agriculture or oil industries.

According to her voting record, Julie French doesn’t feel Montana should require drivers license and professional examinations to be in English.  She also was opposed to creating a searchable website database for taxpayers to learn about the state budget.  Julie had no interest in defining a person either.  Julie wasn’t all bad for Montana though, after all, there were 7 legislators who voted to spend more than she did (out of 100).

So best wishes to Austin Knudsen who apparently, with his vicious campaign well-funded by special interests, stole the election with his dirty tactics.  That is what democrats say about all campaigns after they are beaten fair and square.  It appears that District 36 voters moved decidedly right like the rest of the state.  Teresa and Robert Jensen will have to enlist the help of the purple-shirted thugs next time.

 

Montana Governor Isn’t a Fan of Tourism


King Schweitzer Hates Tourism

So what is a glory-hound bully king governor to do when it appears he will eventually lose his ill-conceived battle? He changes the rules, of course.

Through Governor Schweitzer,  Montana is sending quite the message to the more than a dozen online travel booking agencies that he is suing in his quest extract more tax revenue.  That message is: “Hey, promote some other state, we don’t like tourism.”  Perhaps those companies will treat us like they did Columbus, Georgia.  After a court ruled that the online travel companies should indeed be paying more taxes, most major booking agencies simply dropped the city from their listings all together.

In Montana, the difference between the bed tax revenue that is paid and the amount the governor thinks it should be is estimated at a paltry $100,000  annually.  One of the agencies targeted by Schweitzer, Travelocity, had just announced a half-million dollar promotion plan for our state when Schweitzer thanked them with a bright, shiny, new lawsuit.

Many jurisdictions across the nation have filed similar lawsuits across the nation and nearly all rulings have favored the travel booking companies.  A representative of Expedia said the lawsuits are a question of whether the companies should pay taxes on their margins and fees. Cities and states that levy taxes on the Expedia’s commission lower its incentive for doing business there, he said.  Some cities, after failing to win similar lawsuits, have amended their laws and informed hotels that if they cannot force the agencies to pay, they will force the hotels to do so.  It is expected that, in the event the cities prevail, the booking agencies will do whatever it takes to recoup the taxes from the hotels.

Claiming that it is just the usual housekeeping, the Montana Department of  Revenue plans to publish new rules that apparently recast implementation of the hotel bed tax which clarify the the taxes. The new rules specify that the agencies need to pay tax on the retail amount received from customers, not the wholesale  value of the room.

In Montana, the online booking agencies have some help in the ongoing dispute.  The Montana Chamber of Commerce and the Montana Taxpayers Association say the Department of Revenue is wrong to use a rule-making process to go after the online companies.

However things play out, it is obvious that these lawsuits will hurt our state’s entire tourism industry.  The economic impact will remain to be seen but surely it will be larger than $100,000/annually.   And in the event  Travelocity and the other number of agencies are victorious, perhaps Governor Schweitzer will send  his brother Walt, who has been described as “Helena’s 800-pound gorilla and state government’s elephant in the room” to shake them down.

Montana Democrats:Premature Yet Rampant 2012 Paranoia


 

Answer our questions, Tester.

The paranoid Montana Democrats have filed a complaint against Steve Daines, who they claim is running an illegal shadow campaign for the US Senate seat currently held by Jon Tester.

 

At issue is a youtube ad posted by Common Sense Issues PAC attacking Tester and Baucus and appearing to endorse Steve Daines for their jobs- although the ad never mentions Daines, nor does the group’s website.

In a telephone interview with the Billings Gazette today, Daines maintained that he isn’t currently a candidate and expressed concern that the Democratic Party had consulted with the media before filing with the FEC.  The Gazette also mentions the “Draft Steve Daines for US Senate” Facebook group but fails to note that it was created by College Republicans- not by Daines, the Montana Republican Party, or the Common Sense Values PAC.

While it is widely believed that Daines will be filing soon (rumored to be November 13), there is also some speculation that current US House Representative Denny Rehberg is also interested in the position  which has led many to wonder if Daines will instead run for Rehberg’s House seat.

Personally, I just think Jon Tester is unhappy with the new website the PAC created which pokes fun at the senator’s inability and unwillingness to answer questions from his constituents.

Injustice: Marc Racicot’s Montana Legacy: Part III


Was Judge Swandal a Casualty of Cronyism?

In March 2008, Judge Cybulski rejected Beach’s request for a hearing based on the testimony before the state parole board, including witnesses who said they heard two women talk about being involved in the killing. Judge Nels Swandal was assigned the case on April 2 after the Montana Supreme Court ordered Cybulski to appoint a new judge.

Although the Department of Justice refused to specify why,  the state asked that Swandal be removed from the case. As a result, District Judge E. Wayne Phillips of Lewistown will preside over the hearing scheduled in August of 2011.

It seems to be a somewhat logical conclusion that politics was at play here.  The conservative Nels Swandal was likely not the favored candidate of the Montana Department of Justice- a group of liberal lawyers.  Were they were afraid that the Beach case, which is sure to garner national attention, would provide publicity for Swandal and thus endanger their candidate, a Department of Justice/Helena insider?  Perhaps it simply suited Marc Racicot to have a friend on the Supreme Court?  I’d love to believe that Racicot’s endorsement was heartfelt and driven solely by belief that Baker is the best candidate for the job, but I’m not convinced.

For all of these years, Marc Racicot has maintained that Barry Beach was responsible for the death of Kim Nees.  I wonder how he is able to sleep at night although maybe, just MAYBE; he is convinced that his prosecution was fair, along with a host of other big decisions he made for our state that impact us to this day.  Had the internet been more prevalent during his tenure, I wonder if he would be remembered as Montana’s most popular governor or as a ruthless narcotics smuggler, Mr Deregulation, Enron lawyer/lobbyist, or the guy who stole Barry Beach’s entire life simply because he was overly ambitious and more concerned about his future than the truth.

From the Montanan online:

Racicot makes no apologies for deregulation or any other policy decision, although without giving specifics does admit “not everything I did was right.” He hopes his legacy is his approach, saying he will be remembered for “the character of my service and the civility of it.”

Injustice: Marc Racicot’s Montana Legacy: Part I


Questions Surround Racicot’s Endorsement of Beth Baker

RINO Racicot

Former “Republican” Montana Governor Marc Racicot‘s letter to the editor (QCN, Sept. 29, 2010) endorsing Beth Baker for Montana Supreme Court Justice, may not be as puzzling as it appears at first glance….

Beth Baker beat Nels Swandal in the race for Montana Supreme Court Justice earlier this week.  Although Swandal was, from the beginning, the underdog in the race, many consider Racicot’s endorsement as one that sealed Swandal’s fate.  While Baker campaigned as a non-partisan candidate, Swandal refused to deny his conservative values. While she may portray herself otherwise, an analysis of Beth Baker’s political contributions (to only democrats or “non-partisan” judicial candidates over the last 17 years) combined with her endorsements from liberal environmentalist groups (her husband Tim Baker is former head of Montana Wilderness Association and currently their legislative campaign coordinator) imply that Baker is hardly non-partisan.

Let’s look at Baker and Racicot’s history…. In 1989, Beth Baker became an assistant attorney general with the Montana Department of Justice after four years as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell.  As assistant attorney general, Baker worked under Republican Attorney General Marc Racicot and Democrat Attorney General Joe Mazurek and became chief deputy of the department in 1997.  She is currently in private practice as the managing partner for the law firm Hughes, Kellner, Sullivan and Alke, PLLP in Helena.  Racicot said in his letter to the editor, in reference to Baker:

…Montanans could elect no better candidate to their Supreme Court than Beth Baker.

…we both believe that Beth is the embodiment of what a judge ought to be.

…In this race, and especially with this candidate, our party affiliations are irrelevant.

One questions why a “conservative” former governor/RNC Chair/Bush campaign manager/DC lobbyist would publicly endorse- jointly with a Democrat- a clearly liberal environmentalist with no judicial experience.

Next:  Part II

When You Cease to Exist, Who Will You Blame?


Democrats aren’t apparently ready to accept any responsibility for the state our nation or Montana.  One liberal blogger- a Schweitzer cheerleader-blamed it on corporate interests.  According to her/him/it, there just wasn’t  any cash available for democrats.

After all, it’s virtually impossible, especially in a year when Republicans are charged up with rage and Democrats are apathetic, to run a legislative campaign when one side has several million dollars and your side has squat.  There was simply no cash available for Democrats; whereas millions in corporate cash, as I detailed in a recent post, were spent by conservative groups. In some races there were as many as a dozen negative mailers dropped against the Democrat, where as the Republican candidate would get maybe one or two, or maybe none.

Many legislative races should have been won by democrats that were not, because the resource disparity was simply too great.  That’s showbiz. You need to go big or go home, and Dems couldn’t go big cuz the money wasn’t there.  A few large corporate interests sent huge money into Montana to influence the election.

Many are blaming Max Baucus- for sending 30 paid staffers to Nevada to campaign for the embattled Reid, for not pushing the public option, for failing America and Montana for 35 years.   Where was Tester?  In the days leading up to the election, he was campaigning in Missouri, Nevada and California….. naturally.  They managed to come together at the end, however; in their GOTV effort Saturday-Monday.

There was one “popular” democrat who seemed to be invisible during this election season- that is, when he wasn’t bragging on every national television show possible about running our state like a ranch and his “massive surplus”.  Yeah, you guessed correctly….. Brian Schweitzer.  Where was he?  Whether he was concerned about polarizing his potential constituents in his future run for US Senate, hiring some more government workers, or patrolling his personal wildlife reserve on Mullan Pass, we don’t know.  One thing is likely though, whatever he was doing was done so to benefit Brian Schweitzer and Brian Schweitzer only.

Surprisingly enough, I haven’t yet heard anyone in Montana blaming George Bush yet….. I’m confident it won’t be long.  Democrats need to look in the mirror.  This election was NOT so much an endorsement of the Republican Party, but a DENOUNCEMENT of liberal values and policies.  Americans- and especially Montanans- don’t want to be governed by the left, nor the right, nor the center.  They want to govern themselves.

 

Montana SD25 Race: Dirty Democrat Guide to Stealing Elections


 

Kendall Van Dyk's Campaign Tactics?

Although the margin of victory exceeds the margin that triggers a mandatory recount, Roy Brown is still considering whether or not to call for one anyway.  Sixteen votes separate the candidates currently.

 

If Kendall Van Dyk wins this race, we are sending a clear message- dirty attack ads prove victorious.  Never have I witnessed such a nasty race- Van Dyk’s mailers were nothing short of SLIMY, rife with distortions, false accusations, and blatant lies.  In stark contrast, Roy Brown retained his dignity and campaigned like a gentleman.

The following are lessons we can learn from this election:

  1. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy so pay people like you to do your work- over and over.  Van Dyk’s campaign paid at least 17 people WAGES.  Roy Brown?  One.  Don’t bother knocking on doors yourself, use your employees.  While Roy was seen several times at each door in SD25, most residents didn’t see Van Dyk once.
  2. Never waste a perfectly good crisis. Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose   No matter how vague of a connection, make outrageous statements connecting your opponent to emotional issues.  If he worked for an oil company three decades ago, connect him to the BP oil spill.
  3. Never go outside the experience of your people so utilize national figures and the state and national party to provide assistance.  Have DC fundraisers for a state election in Montana. Use shadowy PACs. The Values Energy & Growth PAC is funded solely by the Democratic Legislators Alumni PAC which is solely funded by….. the Montana Democratic Party.  Your constituents won’t know how to follow the money though, you’ll be alright.
  4. Whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy. If your opponent has maintained dignified campaigns in the past, step it up a notch. Always take the low road.  It is difficult to flaunt your strengths when you don’t have any.  In these cases, compensate by attacking your opponent.  Name calling is a bonus.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most powerful weapon. Whine about how your opponent has gone too far.  For instance, accuse him of “trying to tie you to Obama”.  Never mention the several photos of you attending various events with Obama at your side- after all, that doesn’t tie you to him.
  6. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules- I consider this projection:  Exploit your own weaknesses by presenting them as your opponent’s. If you were raised out of your district,  present your opponent as an outsider. Don’t mention he moved here as a toddler or that you lived most of your life on the opposite side of the state.  If you were the local NORML chapter president, instead paint your opponent as “weak on medical marijuana laws”.
  7. If you do have ANY accomplishments, make sure your opponent appears to contrast you.  For instance, if you authored a stream access bill (even though the your bill looked nothing like the final one), present yourself as a savior to sportsmen.  Publicize photos of you hunting, fishing, being a MAN.  Ignore the fact that your opponent was the one endorsed by all of the sportsmen and firearm rights interest groups.  That is irrelevant.  Most people are too stupid or apathetic to research these fine details, so don’t worry about it.
  8. It isn’t about what you have, it is about what they THINK you have. Use subliminal advertising.  If you don’t have a wife and children- or even a girlfriend, take campaign photos with your sister and her children.  Voters will simply assume you have a cute little family. Don’t mention that your entire family is republican either.
  9. If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside so NEVER actually address accusations lodged at you by your opponent.  When he calls you “Tax Hike Van Dyk”, address his name-calling, not the name itself.  Don’t mention that you LOVE taxes and big government and that you cannot wait to make your nickname a reality.
  10. Shake things up a bit.  Use different tactics so it never becomes a drag.  Attack from every angle.  If you can get your opponent’s supporters angry with him, this is a bonus.  If stock growers support your opponent, accuse him of being a vegetarian even if he eats meat regularly.
  11. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.    The ends always justifies the means so don’t worry about ethics.  You will win in the end.  Good luck!

Immediately After Reelection, Governor Schweitzer Broke Land Access Pledge


“As the governor, I’m not going to allow out-of-state interests to buy up lands and restrict access to public lands and streams.”- Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana

Another Broken Campaign Promise, Schweitzer Will Say Anything to Get Elected

What Governor Schweitzer forgot to mention was that he personally planned to buy up lands and restrict access to lands and streams as opposed to allowing out of state interests to do so.  Schweitzer owns 670 acres of land up Mullan Pass- land that in the past was available for hunting and fishing.  Shortly after being reelected in 2008, Schweitzer, citing vandalism,  placed chains, locks and signs prohibiting access to the land.  At least 4 signs grace the property- each reads “No trespassing. Jim Brenden no longer owns this ranch. Please respect my privacy. No hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or 4 wheeling. Do not enter.” Schweitzer said that if asked permission, he will most likely allow hunting, hiking, and snowmobiling although he fails to post a phone number or to otherwise direct parties who are interested in obtaining permission.

The federal stimulus provided $330,000 to upgrade the US Forest Service road providing access to the land. Schweitzer isn’t pleased that the road was improved- he preferred the remote nature of his property. It is good news for those angry with the governor’s signs, gates, and fences, however.  Hoodlums wishing to retaliate can more easily poach his elk and throw their litter onto his land-  of course neither behavior is advised.  My suggestion is to call the Capitol to ask Schweitzer himself.

Want to hunt, snowmobile or picnic? Give ole Bri a call…
Governor Brian D. Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
(406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-5529

Perhaps if he doesn’t answer, you could contact his pal Montana Representative Kendall Van Dyk, Montana’s own environmental super hero who single-handedly clarified stream access laws across Montana.

.

Anything Short of Condemnation is a Compliment to Liberals


 


Liberals: Do as I Say, Not as I Do

In the Republican state senator’s op-ed October 27, 2010 in the Whitefish Pilot, Ryan Zinke wrote the following:

 

At the local level, the big event is the house race to fill the seat vacated by the Honorable Mike Jopek. It’s a tight race between Derek Skees, a Republican, versus Will Hammerquist, representing the Democrat side. Aside from all the negative campaign tactics, the truth is that the two candidates are very different and your vote matters.

Derek Skees is a conservative who champions cutting government, state sovereignty, strong property rights and believes that economic recovery is best achieved through the free market. If you believe in those ideals, Derek is your man. Will Hammerquist, is a moderate with a background in environmental non-profit organizations and is an advocate for government-funded health care and conservation easements, and supports the use of government subsidies and tax credits for economic recovery. If you believe in those ideals, mark Will on your ballot.

Ryan Zinke is listed as a supporter on campaign literature of Derek Skees yet liberal bloggers have somehow chosen to interpret Zinke’s statement as some sort of compliment to Hammerquist.  James Conner of the Flathead Memo wrote:

Talk about damning with faint praise! The “…two candidates are very different and your vote matters.” In my book, that’s a backdoor endorsement of Will Hammerquist.

For months far-left Montana bloggers (are there any other kind?)  have tried to paint Derek Skees as a extremist. The campaigns have become increasingly negative and voters are tired of the mud-slinging.  Zinke’s statement was an endorsement of conservative ideals and by presenting it in this way,  he achieved respect from even the liberals.  Montana Cowgirl even referred to him as “the highly respected State Senator Ryan Zinke“.  My interpretation- and I’m not a member of any organized political party- of Zinke’s description of Hammerquist was:  big government advocate with no experience in the private sector supports Obama-care and government land grabs as well as redistributing your wealth.

Ryan Zinke’s words confirmed Derek Skees’s conservative values while neither endorsing nor alienating Hammerquist or his supporters, which I think is a wise strategy.  It is indeed a tight race and the candidates are very different.  The choice should therefore be very simple.  Your vote matters.

Obscure PAC Uses Deceptive Propaganda to Influence Montana Senate Race


Absentee ballots will arrive today in 140,000 Montana mailboxes.  Hoping to influence outcomes in the contentious Montana Senate District 25 race between incumbent  Republican Roy Brown and challenger Democrat Kendall “Tax Hike” Van Dyk, “Values Energy & Growth PAC” recently sent mailers to arrive immediately before absentee ballots.  Loaded with distortions, misrepresentations, and outrageous lies, the mailer portrays Roy Brown as a “Big Oil” tycoon who seeks to murder trout, vitiate the Yellowstone River and otherwise rape the earth as he protects the interests of big oil companies. In reality, it has been 14 years since Brown worked in the oil industry and nearly 3 decades since he was employed by Marathon Oil- although in the ad,  Roy was pictured wearing a “Marathon” label  (and a poorly-Photoshopped one at that)on his shirt.

Note : all red text below was added by ME to point out the distortions and lies.  Please click on image to expand to full-size.

Values Energy & Growth PAC

I'd take "Big Oil" Roy Brown over Kendall "TAX HIKE" Van Dyk any day.

LIES

The left loses more credibility each day.

A PAC is a political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates.   Unfortunately, some  don’t register their organizations with the FEC or the state and many that do register, don’t disclose their involvements.  Just who is the group “Values Energy & Growth PAC“? Registered to a Bozeman Post Office Box, Christopher Cady of Bozeman is listed as the  caliginous group’s treasurer.  Other than that,  little is known about this group.  A Google search of the group’s name returns nothing of value and searching the Federal Elections Commission website also turns up nothing. Update: The group abbreviated as “VegPAC” (how appropriate) filed a C2 in Montana on September 30,2010.  Although it provides little additional information, the filing claims intent to “support and/or oppose legislative candidates”.

Numerous 2010 Montana primary elections were potentially  influenced by last-minute attack ads and mailers from difficult-to-track  shadowy groups.  In one such race, Montana HD 57 , Debra Bonogofsky was defeated by Dan Kennedy after voters received a mailer criticizing Bonogofsky’s failure to return the group’s survey.  Bonogofsky is, according to Republican party insiders, a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and is listed as such on rinopoacher.com.  Although she was one of only two Republicans in Montana to receive the endorsement of the radical environmentalist group Montana Conservation Voters (who has endorsed Kendall Van Dyk in the SD 25 race) in June’s primaries, she denies that she is a RINO and isn’t willing to surrender without a fight.  After considering an illegal party change  (Democrats entertained the idea of her running in the general election as their candidate, which says much about her “conservatism”), Debra instead launched a write-in campaign.  It will remain to be seen if voters will regard Debra’s persistence as that of a sore loser-it is easier to blame special interest groups for a defeat than to look within.

If you have questions today as you are voting from the comfort of your own home, don’t hesitate to research further. Ask questions.  Know your candidates. If you aren’t familiar, information is available on the voting record, issue positions, and group ratings for most candidates at Project Vote Smart.  This year, absentee voters can also check the secretary of state’s website to make sure their ballots are received by the county.