The Chump and Trump

It’s a sad time for Larry Jent.  Last week he was trounced by Attorney General Tim Fox in a 228461debate on Face the State and then this week a recorded interview with Enhancing Montana’s Wildlife & Habitat was posted.  Some thirteen or so minutes into that interview Jent accuses the Montana Public Employees Association and organized labor, the Montana AFL-CIO, of being the root cause for the lack of qualified game wardens in Montana.

It’s difficult to believe that someone with Jent’s intelligence and background could make a statement that accuses a labor organization of being too ‘…wedded to the collective bargaining process…’.  Larry, collective bargaining is the very process for which unions exist.  Perhaps reading this slowly would help- workers band together to form a collective bargaining unit (aka a union) and then workers collectively bargain.  To say the two are wedded would somehow insinuate that one could ever exist without the other or that somewhere in time the two existed separately.  Make no mistake, Jent has clearly been fuming for some time for not being endorsed by Montana’s labor unions.  Jent managed to invite himself to speak to the excutive board of Montana AFL-CIO and left without an endorsement.  And why should he have expected it?  After all he did enter the race at the very last minute on the very last day and by his own admission, at the urging of former Governor Brian Schweitzer.  To simplify again, running for the office wasn’t even his own idea.

Jent alludes to and refers to two legislative sessions in the interview.  The 2005 session in which House Bill 35 was passed and created a  new pay mechanism for Montana Highway Patrol officers.  Some quick research showed that the bill had the blessing of the attorney general, governor and the union.  By all accounts Jent championed the bill and followed his script well.  In fact, his website touts the bill signing with all of the players pictured.  He’s obviously proud of the work he did. Unfortunately, and much like his claims to have saved the public employee retirement system on Face the State, he believes he single handedly saved the Montana Highway Patrol from going out of business.

The ‘Stay At Home Attorney General’ candidate made a vague reference to House Bill 313 that was a stand alone pay increase just for game wardens and the MPEA during the 2011 session.  What he doesn’t point out is that this bill had no support, was poorly planned and executed by Montana Game Warden’s Association.  Apparently “Larry-Come-Lately” Jent missed the wild west days of every state agency bringing its own pay plan  to the legislature before former Governor Marc Racicot put an end to the nonsense.  donald-trump3The MPEA and MEA-MFT had already reached a pay agreement with the Schweitzer administration, that had overwhelmingly support from the members, and could not support a rogue pay bill. In the labor world this would be called an unfair labor practice.  Maybe that’s just too wedded for Larry. The game wardens and the Montana Public Employees Association have since gone their separate ways and the game wardens have now joined the ranks of the esteemed Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).  The same FOP that recently endorsed Donald Trump, that paragon of Gilded Age excess and anti-union rhetoric.

Larry was for many years considered a class act and a reliable legislator who was willing toimg_5823 carry bills.  Like many legislators, he needed to be reminded of what he was working on and kept in a lane to get to the end of the process.  He treated people with respect and was in turn treated with respect.  Perhaps the strings that are directing him in this ill fated race for AG are too tight or perhaps not tight enough.    You’re better than this Larry and it’s not too late to finish this race with dignity and your self-respect still intact.


‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’


The Marcus Daly Shotgun

It has to be impossible for Greg Gianforte to make this kind of Freudian slip again during his now spirally campaign, but we can all hope he will for the sake of entertainment.  During an interview with Montana Public Radio at his latest campaign stunt Gianforte was asked what kind of gun he was using and responded ‘It’s a Marcus Daly over under’.  In fact, Gianforte was shooting a Charles Daly over and under, his trusty all around gun.  It’s hard to tell which model he’s trying to impress the average Montanan with, however, he may have wanted to opt for a different brand.  Charles Daly shotguns are made in Turkey and probably have the finger prints of Muslims all over them.  But that and the fact that it’s imported aren’t really the point.


Susan, be sure to thank the guy in the KC shirt for holding my beer so I wouldn’t drop my spiffy gun.

The idiocy here is the continued grasping of the vetoes by Governor Bullock relating to ‘pro gun’ legislation in the past two legislative sessions.  While it would be important to understand the specifics of each bill it may be more valuable to understand just how some legislation passes ‘along party lines’.  Particularly when there is a veto pen (or brand) waiting at the legislative factory doors when such garbage law is dumped.  Seasoned and sensible legislators understand that they have to maintain some level of standing within their party to move their own bills when the time comes. Sticking to a party line on bills that are destined for the big V is a safe and logical way to do just that.  To believe that all Republican legislators who voted in favor of bizarre ‘gun bills’ were actually in favor of such bills is pure ignorance of what actually takes place during those 90 days every other year.

House Bill 240 is a prime example and one of the six bills the Republican Party and atf-drunk-redneck-alocohol-guns-for-web1Gianforte have been trotting out as Bullock is labeled as anti Second Amendment.  HB 240 would have prohibited the Board of Regents and the Montana University System from ‘…regulating or restricting the possession of firearms on university property…’.  Fortunately, and to date, Montana has not had to mourn the tragedy of a campus shooting and will hopefully continue to avoid the national spotlight thanks to Governor Bullock refusing to sign such a moronic bill. College freshman should leave their firearms back home and stick to keg stands, beer bongs and visits to the ER for alcohol poisoning.  Perhaps there is a ‘liberal’ open carry policy at Gianforte’s Petra Acedemy.

Gianforte has aligned himself with the likes of Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting untitledSports Association and enjoys his endorsement by the National Rifle Association.  A rhetorical question here, how is an ‘A’ rating from the NRA possible without having done anything but engage in his usual promise of anything they ask?   Sounds a bit like an NRA participation medal presented by Marbut himself.

To paraphrase:  It’s been four years of Steve Bullock and all I got was to keep my guns and health care.’


‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

Labor Day in America

Labor unions across the United States celebrated today in a variety of fashions: parades, picnics, hosting endorsed candidates, and perhaps heaving a collective sigh of relief that another year has come and gone and unions in America still exist and have a purpose.

Montana has celebrated the first Monday in September as “Labors’ Day” since the early 1890s.  In fact, Montana adopted the holiday several years before President Grover Cleveland signed it into existence on the federal level.  Not surprising given the strength of unions in the Treasure State but also a bit deceiving.  Elmer Mats, a self-proclaimed Daly Democrat, carried the Montana Labor Day bill through the legislature in 1891 not because he had a strong desire to honor the working class people of Montana but because it suited the agenda of his political benefactor, Copper King Marcus Daly.  A small fraud we overlook today that helps mask an even larger fraud perpetrated at the expense of working class America, a fraud that stretches all the way back to Chicago and the Haymarket Square Riot of 1886.

In response to the injustice of the prosecution and execution of the Haymarket Martyrs, the Second International, those pesky commies, designated May 1st, May Day, as the International Workers Day.  However, when it came time for the United States to acknowledge and adopt a Labor Day the conservative elements in the American labor movement colluded with corporate America and the political elite, selecting the first Monday in September.  The fraud goes deeper because we don’t celebrate the working class, in the United States of Corporate America we democratically celebrate everyone: the worker and the boss, the poor and the 1% because we all work regardless of our financial status or social class.

And what has this benevolent attitude regarding Labor Day gotten us?  A country where over half the states have unjust right to work laws; a country that no longer boasts a vibrant and progressive middle class; a country once again enjoying the inequities of a Second Gilded Age; a country that has embraced a law giving corporations the status of individuals.  So as you wind up your 2016 Labor Day give yourself some time for reflection and introspection and if you don’t like what you see then roll up your sleeves and work to change it.

Rowan – “Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.”  T-Bone Slim

Greg The Gimmick Man


Hey Aaron, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!



Nothing of substance up my sleeve….

Candidate Gianforte brings us yet another gimmick: sell the state-owned governor’s plane and use the cash to fund computer science in high schools across Montana. The idea is that the governor, and whoever the governor is in the future, can get out on the road, like the rest of us and that there are “…commercial providers available.”  (Eliminating a governmental entity for a commercial substitution is also known as ‘privatization’.)

It would appear that the desperation of the campaign is reaching a bit of a frenzy with the increase of stunts to try to distract from the fact that Gianforte has produced no tangible substance whatsoever.  And then there’s the problem of when he does produce something that he believes has value and will seduce voters, he later finds out that as Governor, he just doesn’t have the authority to pull it off.

How about a sampling of his feints so far?

Greg won’t accept PAC money and challenges Governor Bullock to do the same.  Greg will, however, fund his own campaign and accept the assistance of PACs such as the recent racist and fear mongering mailing regarding refugees in Montana.

Greg will donate his salary as Governor.  Around $110,00 annually.  That’s quite a sacrifice from a billionaire.

Greg will match any campaign contributions with his own money.  ‘I know I’ve claimed you commoners are among the lowest paid in the nation, but do you see how much money I have?’

Greg will sell the plane and fund education, but only computer science.  And he will put what’s left towards infrastructure, that is if Austin Knudson will let him.


There are, of course, more examples.  But back to the plane stunt.  You would think that if IMG_5698‘sarcasm’ was going to be a campaign tactic that he should look like he’s enjoying it and coach those around him to do the same.  Instead, we get Representative Brad Tischida with his best Burgermeister Meisterburger glower.  Brad, this axe is starting to run short of metal from all your grinding on it and you’ll be needing a new trick soon.

And one last observation: Irony.  The candidate who proclaims to be the guru of technology and will bring high paying tech jobs to Montana poses with a prop of a newsprint classified advertisement.  Greg, couldn’t you at least try to sell that plane on Craigslist?  Surely they store their data on your cloud.


‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

MSU: Once More Into The Breach

Well Waded, here we are again with a new story that’ll cause you to put on your dancing shoes to show us all how well you can tip toe around yet another ‘donation’ for MSU.  Take 10605758_G[1].jpga quick trip back to May of this year (which people like Waded and the Regents always hope you won’t) to remember the ‘agony’ by all those involved in the decision to allow gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte to buy a building and continue down a path of self promotion.  Now fast forward and exchange Gianforte for Koch to find a similar dilemma, or worse.

The story isn’t anything new.  It was reported shortly after the building drama that MSU had applied for a grant from none other than the anti government and anti public service Koch Brothers: the founders of Americans for Prosperity and the funders of Citizens rs-_koch_bros[1].jpgUnited.  The Bozeman Daily Chronicle posted a blip on the radar story that MSU had landed the 5.7 million dollar grant from Charles Koch which could create a ‘research center’ to study impacts of government policies and regulations on society.  Unbiased of course.  After all, why would the Koch brothers ever attach any strings to their money?

The question may be obvious, but should be asked: what’s the problem?  It’s just grant money and grant money has been floating around for a long time now.  In fact, we find ourselves in an era where funding for public education becomes more scarce each year.  (Hmmm, lack of funding.  Greater activity by ultra conservative groups like those funded by the Koch Brothers.  Could there be a connection?) Commissioner Clay Christian espoused the dire need to scour the earth for other sources of funding while excusing away the ethical and moral tentacles that extended from the Gianforte building monster.

In less than a month the Regents will again debate whether or not to accept money and this time, the dirtiest of money, Koch Brother money.  During their discussion regarding the Gianforte ‘donation’ each regent expressed the great consternation and deep angst of the decision to be made.  In the end they, of course, voted to approve the acceptance of the donation.  They will very soon find themselves facing the real test of whether they put their sorrowful words into action or if they put Koch money where their mouths are instead.


‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’


A good rule of thumb is if you’ve made it to thirty-five and your job still requires you to wear a name tag, you’ve made a serious vocational error.”  Dennis Miller

Five minutes of browsing through Greg Gianforte’s Facebook and Twitter pictures will leave you with a few thoughts: he can’t draw a crowd, genuinely smiling is difficult and what is with that name 9742772_G[1]tag?  You would think that a millionaire running for the most important job in the State of Montana, and someone who’s been at this for a while would have earned automatic recognition by now.  And if that’s what you thought, you would be wrong.  You can count on two things at every ‘event’: his forced smile and a name tag.


Just me and all this hay, but I know who I am.  I have this name tag to tell me.  We have people coming today, right?


Yes, I am Greg Gianforte.  My sign and snazzy name tag tell me so.


I like boats, cannons, and most of all, I like name tags.


Great crowd today!  As you can see by my name tag, I’m Greg Gianforte.


I’m Greg Gianforte and this is Greg Gianforte’s truck.  I smile better when I’m with my truck.


Why am I here and why did I wear my name tag?  I feel really uncomfortable….

IMG_5536 (1)

Aaron, are they laughing at me and my name tag?  I’m not sure what they just said.  I still feel really uncomfortable….


Best day to wear my name tag ever!!!  Did I mention that I’m Greg Gianforte?


I know they can’t see me!  But dang it, the name tag makes me feel more confident!


Maybe I should get shirts to go with my name tag.  Donald has shirts.  Maybe I should pay people to show up too, hmmmmm….


That’s some beard, but not worthy of a forced smile.  If you say my name you can have my ice cream, it’s right here on my name tag.




‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

What Matt doesn’t know, doesn’t matter.

Montana’s gubernatorial contest between Governor Bullock and Greg Gianforte is gettingRosendale-630x353[1] all the ink this year and that’s no surprise. It’s hugely important. However, there is another race that deserves your immediate and urgent attention and that’s the contest for State Auditor. Why? Because Matt Rosendale is one of the most radical politicians to ever run for statewide office in Montana’s recent history.

You may know the name Rosendale. You may not. He’s a State Senator who recently moved to Montana from Maryland and ran for Congress in 2014. He spent over a million dollars of his own money (on ads depicting him shooting down drones and talking with a heavy Maryland accent) in the GOP Primary and still only managed to come in third place.


Rosendale, isn’t just dangerous because he’s willing to spend a massive amount of his own money to buy elections. He’s dangerous because of his radical ideology and lack of experience.

As State Auditor, Matt Rosendale would have a seat on the Montana Land Board. That matter because Rosendale has been unabashed in his support for transferring public lands to the state, which would result in their ultimate sale. By his own admission, Rosendale works closely with the American Lands Council. The American Lands Council is an extremist group that wants to shutdown public lands throughout the American West.

The majority of Montanans (a very, very large majority) depend on public lands, rivers, and streams to recreate, hunt, and fish. Rosendale, who if elected would have a seat on the Land Board, wants to strip Montanans of that access and sell those lands and rivers to the highest bidder.

The frightening ideology of Matt Rosendale goes beyond public lands, hunting, and fishing, however. The job of Montana’s State Auditor is to protect consumers and the middle class. As State Auditor, Rosendale wants to strip over 70,000 Montanans of their health insurance. That isn’t protecting the Montana middle class. Furthermore, his ties to the Montana State Fund are troubling.

The State Fund has plenty of critics. In 2015, it came under fire for lobbying “against allowing Montana firefighters to get the care they need when injured on the job.” They have also been criticized for offensive public relations campaigns.

During the 2015 Legislative Session, the Montana State Fund hired TEA Party activist Ethan Heverly to head up their lobbying efforts and liaison to the Leader of the Senator: Matt Rosendale. Ethan Heverly just so happens to have served as Rosendale’s campaign manager in 2014. This is all problematic since the State Auditor is charged with regulating the State Fund. With these ties we can assume that Rosendale will not stand up for workers, firefighters, and nurses – he will do what his former campaign manager tells him to do. This is no exaggeration.

Rosendale has absolutely no relevant experience when it comes to doing the job of State Auditor. Zero. That’s probably why he is the only statewide candidate who is refusing to take part in a televised debate with his opponent, Jesse Laslovich. Laslovich clearly outmatches Rosendale in experience and temperament.

Jesse Laslovich currently serves as the Chief Legal Counsel in the State Auditor’s office; he has nearly two decades of public service experience; he has a record of getting things done for consumers and Montanans. A perfect example has been his crusade to hold air ambulances accountable – a private sector business model that bankrupts families when they’re at their most vulnerable.

Over the last seven years, Laslovich has recovered over $100,000,000 for victims of fraud and over $21,000,000 to working Montanans in disputes with their insurance companies. Jesse Laslovich is what a consumer advocate looks like. He also has the temperament to be a statewide elected official and that’s why he has the support of such a broad coalition of people, from liberals to conservatives.

In this day and age, we could use more elected officials with the class and composure Jesse Laslovich brings to public office. The same cannot be said for Rosendale and his brand of politics.


Governor Sues Over Public Access

January 23, 2017
Governor Gianforte again shocked citizens of the state today when he filed two lawsuits, one against his own Department of Administration and the other against the City of Helena. Both suits center around his attempts to further privatize and isolate the state Greg_Gianfortecapitol complex and specifically the state owned Governor’s Residence. Filing documents against the City claim that sidewalks are offset onto the residence property and the Helena Police Department is refusing to enforce his no trespassing postings along Broadway Street. In the second suit, Governor Gianforte alleges that representatives from the Department of Administration have refused his gubernatorial order to erect a fence around the residence.
Gianforte’s directive to the DOA has been met with questions of legality and costs. The Governor believes he has the authority to erect a ten foot privacy fence along the outside of the sidewalk that borders the public building. ‘Susan has had to put up with citizens walking freely along those walkways. They often look at the house and she feels uncomfortable. Just because I was elected Governor doesn’t mean I’m some sort of public servant or figurehead and either is my wife,’ Gianforte said in a brief press release. Gianforte has been at odds with the department that he directs since taking office.
Chief Legal Counsel Art Wittich believes there are numerous access points to the Capitol vampires-nosferatu[1]complex and that anyone without permission wanting to access the area can simply find another way. The privacy fence demanded by the Governor and his wife is to be built on the outside of the sidewalk and would block public access from the walkway. ‘It’s a simple project and won’t have any sustainable jobs attached to it, so we are contracting with a New Jersey company to install the fence once we are granted our motion.’
Fish Wildlife and Parks Director John Brenden and Department of Natural Resources and IMG_5546 (2)Conservation Director Jennifer Fielder have offered to mediate the situation in hopes of saving tax payer dollars for more fencing projects on public land. According to Fielder ‘There has been great progress in closing off public property since the Governor has taken office. John and I believe we can get a fence up to close this property as well.’  Brenden added ‘We are well aware that agencies have separate funding for these projects. We’ve streamlined government finally and are just mixing all this stuff together.’
The suit filed against the City of Helena contains two claims. The first asserts that the City illegally constructed the sidewalks two inches into the grounds of the residence. ‘We brought in our own surveyor and found, rightfully so I believe, that the sidewalks are not set properly and should be moved two inches towards the street.’ An initial demand letter failed to either convince or compel the City to tear out the sidewalks and align them properly to the new survey. ‘Look, they are holding up this fence project and we believe colluding with the DOA,’ commented Aaron Flint, the Governor’s communications director. The second claim against the Helena Police Department asserts that the HPD is not enforcing the no trespassing signs that have been posted along the residence and at all5498da3ecbc45.preview-620 intersections along Broadway Street.
When asked how a public street and sidewalk could be posted for no trespassing, Flint answered ‘Now listen, just like there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every street. This side belongs to the Governor and that side can be used by citizens as posted at each intersection and on the appropriate days and times.’
Department of Administration representatives are meeting with the Attorney General’s office to determine who will defend the State against the State. City of Helena officials intend to file a counter claim.

In other news, real estate mogul and President of the United States Donald Trump has advertised that he is selling the state of Montana for $1.8 billion to offset the rising cost of the construction of a wall between the US and Canada.


‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

Not His Daddy’s Party

Sorry Joe Dooling, you’re just going to have to take the shovel here. Dooling, not a union member and has never been one, recently decided to take issue with Montana’s Labor unions and their support of the Democratic party despite, in his limited view, the ‘extreme environmentalism’ that is ‘choking out the interests of labor within the party.’  IMG_5515 In all honesty Joe, Labor isn’t sure if either party has Labors ‘interests’ at heart and instead Labor finds itself threading a very fine needle in an effort to be looked after and represented here in Montana and back East. The ‘reality is’, Joe, you need a little education.
Labor will and should support those who support workers on as broad an agenda as possible. By no means does the Democratic Party pull that off 100% of the time, in fact, it could be said the percentage is much lower. However, in comparison, the true lip service comes from the other direction, the Republican Party. Candidate Gianforte put his millions where his mouth is and snubbed Labor by first scheduling a call in interview and later canceling even that call without any effort to meet with the elected board of the Montana AFL-CIO. Of course, he was able to spin a quick story, but  in the end he showed his respect and concern for Labor in Montana: that would be a 0%. So of course Bullock was endorsed, he did the very thing that is expected of any one in this arena: he showed up and he committed to Labor on a number of issues, not just Colstrip.
Montana has always been a ‘boom and bust’ economy. The boom is easy to explain: there’s gold in them hills! The bust always gets a lot of blame which is typically laid upon the shoulders of greedy unions and lazy politicians. The real culprit often escapes or rather, pulled out with their bags of money long before anyone realized the lights were being turned off. Large industry, aka ‘The Company’, has always set up shop, made some cheap improvements along the way but never reinvested in real time processes, technology and upgrades that would keep facilities viable and profitable in the end. Instead, the wealth has been extracted and the getting is good, so it’s time to go.
Now, to say Gianforte is ‘doggedly fighting to protect industry…’ and ‘good union jobs’ is a bit of a stretch. To date Gianforte is merely a candidate and all he is ‘doggedly’ doing is giving sound bites much like a certain national candidate. And much like that national candidate, Gianforte has been forced to alter his position once he realizes as Governor he would never be able to deliver. For instance, insisting that the Governor of Washington State veto legislation that affects Colstrip. Sorry Greg and Joe, only the citizens of Washington State pack that punch. But it sounds good and may even sound good to some union members. Snake oil once sold quite well too.
No doubt Labor should be grateful that Dooling opposes right to work legislation. As the Chair of the Lewis and Clark GOP he should be able to exert some influence with the Representative Wittich’s of the world (or is it Gianforte Chief Legal Counsel Wittich?) as they introduce legislation to cripple unions. Looking back at the last session and the single bill for right to work, Joe you missed your opportunity to stand up for Labor. Thanks for the comment though, it’s a ‘dogged’ approach. In reality Joe, there’s the party that isn’t backing Labor 100% but shows up and then there’s the party that is trying to kill labor (the facts speak for themselves Joe) and shows up 100% to do just that.
Two parting thoughts: Joe, could it be that you’re really still smarting from a failed Senate race against a union member and Labor endorsed candidate, a race you resented not getting an AFL-CIO endorsement in? And to the ‘friends in organized labor’ of Joe Dooling, why are you friends with Joe Dooling?


‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

Timber & Dumb and Dumber

Yep the timber barons are closing up mills in Montana again and blaming it on the dirty rotten “gubmint” and those damn tree hugging hippies for choking off the timber supply. Really?!?! Or is Weyerhaeuser just consolidating its hold on the industry by ensuring that Montana timber gets processed in Washington mills.

Not according to Senator Daines and Congressman Zinke. Dumb and Dumber are all in for selling Montana’s public lands so they can once again bring back good paying jobs to Montana. Both ignore the fact that Senator Tester wrestled with a recalcitrant congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, in a futile attempt to get his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act passed and failed. Tester’s bill while not perfect presented the best opportunity to pump life into an industry that has been on life support since the 1980s.

Since a cold glass of water and an original thought could possibly kill him, Senator Daines “borrowed” Tester’s idea claiming in his 2014 election bid for former Senator Max Baucus’ seat that he was going to submit a jobs bill to boost the flagging timber industry of Montana. Two years later, how’s that going for the people of western Montana?!? Now the Weyerhaeuser bombshell lands on the community of Columbia Falls in a county known for electing rabid anti-government state legislators intent on dismantling a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Now Dumb and Dumber are both blaming the closure on misguided activists who are operating beyond the pale and government regulation. The sad thing is that their sound bytes along with the company line will sell well with the voters of northwest Montana who have felt like they have been on the losing end for the last thirty years. By now they are well trained and the voters in the surrounding area will go to the polls in November and vote for the very same political party that has held them enthralled for the last three decades.

Meanwhile, the smokescreen put up by the United States of Corporate America is functioning at an impressive level, while Senator Daines and Congressman Zinke earn their corporate sponsorship with empty promises and scripted words of outrage.

Rowan – “Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.” T-Bone Slim