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.

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


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 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
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
“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.


Fairness…. your choice

2011 Legislative Session

The Oil/Gas Revenue Debate:
A Discussion of the Larger Issues Involved….

I received the following letter from the Montana Rural Education Association.  It was written by Gordon Hahn, Saco School District Superintendent and was sent to the 2011 Legislature.  Interesting take on the governor’s proposed budget which is structurally unbalanced, relying on one-time money transfers as well as robbing surpluses from fiscally responsible eastern Montana schools.

As a reference, I am the superintendent at Saco School District in Saco .  We subsidize our school budget significantly with oil and gas money and thought I would give a different perspective to mull over as it relates to the oil and gas revenue controversy.  My words reflect a view from the inside of this controversy.

Saco doesn’t take any GTB and we don’t run any mills for the school, including permissive ones. We do, however, pay the mandatory 95 state wide education mills.  We subsidize our GFB by about 60% with oil and gas revenues.  We also fund many of our other funds with oil and gas money so as to not burden our local and/or state taxpayers.  We don’t compete for other grants (except the Federal ones) or special OTO money so as to not take any funds from a district that might need it.

An argument I consistently hear is that “it isn’t fair” that our tax payers aren’t assessed any mills for the school when other districts are.  The position reminds me of the 6 year old that complains he didn’t get as big a toy at Christmas as his 12 year old brother did.  Parents, myself included, often tell their children that “life isn’t fair” because, frankly, it isn’t.  There are always two sides to every situation and this oil and gas one is no exception.

Is it “fair” that Saco ’s taxpayers don’t have any mills for our school?  Is it “fair” that Billings has a swim team and we don’t?  Is it “fair” that Helena can offer four years of French when I can’t even offer any foreign language?  Is it “fair” that Bozeman is surrounded by mountains when Saco isn’t?  Is it “fair” that I have to drive 6 hours for a meeting in Helena when Townsend only has to drive 30 minutes?  Is it “fair” that we have to go 2 ½ hours to shop at Wal-Mart when Billings has two of them?  The truth is this:   You can’t “equalize” everything across the state, including school funding, because no matter what you do, something “isn’t fair” to someone else.  Is it “fair” to tax us additional mills when we won’t even use it?  Is it “fair” to force us into needing tax mills so other districts can reduce theirs?  Is it “fair” for us to subsidize AP physics class in Missoula or Helena ’s tennis team by taking our money away when we don’t have the same “extra” programs?  Is it “fair” that the property values here are significantly lower than Kalispell’s?

We, here in the northeast, put up with the drilling, the trucks, the cost of living, and the impact of getting oil and gas revenues.  The “western” portions of the state won’t allow exploration of oil and gas because “heaven forbid” they cut down a tree to do it.  I’ve seen reports that there are more oil and gas reserves in the west than the east.  Why not push a bill that spreads oil and gas money to schools in counties where they allow oil and gas exploration?  That seems fair to me.  Perhaps then, the western portion of the state will begin to tap into the financial benefits of their own oil and gas reserves.

Allow me a simple anecdote:  I bought property north of Saco when I took my job here.  My land borders one of the irrigation canals that passes through the Saco flats.  We are assessed (about) $750 per year for irrigation rights even though I don’t irrigate any of my land and never will.  Is that “fair”?  I don’t use it, but I’m taxed on it anyway.

What’s the point?  The point is this:  “It is what it is”.  If I don’t like the irrigation tax, I can move to an area that doesn’t border the canal.  Saco has no school mills for its taxpayers.  If someone wishes they had “no mills”, they can move here.  It is what it is.  If I want a school with a swim team, I’ll move to an area that has one….I’m not going to complain because my current school doesn’t have a swim team.  If I want to live where there are mountains, I’ll move there.   Finally, if we intend to equalize things, I’d like the mosquito problem here to be eliminated so we have the same mosquito count as Billings J.  Wouldn’t that be “fair”? It is what it is.

It just doesn’t seem appropriate to take what is earned here and spread it around to those counties that won’t allow any drilling.  Are the people of Saco fortunate to have the oil and gas money?  Sure we are.  Are the people of Helena fortunate to have a school with four years of French and a speech and drama team?  Sure they are.  Is it right to make the people of Saco subsidize the cost of running the schools in Helena when we don’t have the same amenities?  No.  Saco doesn’t have near the peripheral opportunities large schools offer but these same schools want to take our money from us to support their programs.   Perhaps if the legislature could guarantee that Saco High School can have everything that Missoula high schools have, maybe then sharing oil and gas revenues would be “equitable”.

I know there aren’t any easy solutions to the state’s funding of schools.  We are in this hole because of the mismanagement of the funding two years ago and now, it appears, the State wants to take money from schools that have management their resources well.  I suggest that instead of taking from us to “equalize” us with other schools, why not look at ways to give more to schools so as to equalize them with us?  How?  Allowing state-wide drilling.  That’s how.

Until all taxes are “equalized” throughout the state, it isn’t right to take from a selected few and give to all.  If this is done, then ALL tax revenues (property, utilities, natural resources, etc.) need to be shared equally.

I’m tired of hearing the “fair card” played and that we need to “equalize” out school funding in this debate.  You can’t make everything “fair”.  We’ve been telling our children this for years.

Gordon P. Hahn, superintendent

Saco Schools.