Greg The Gimmick Man

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

 

Again?

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.

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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.

TGTJ

‘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.

TGTJ

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

Say My Name: GIANFORTE

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.

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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?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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.


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GIANFORTE!  YOU’RE GOSH DARN RIGHT!


TGTJ

‘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.

TGTJ

‘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?

TGTJ

‘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

A rising tide lifts all boats but what if you’re in a dinghy?

 This is a stock phrase that a number of labor unions use but not many say anything about the size of the boat.  While it’s true a rising tide lifts all boats what happens when the boat isn’t equipped to handle a bigger tide?  For a number of years beginning with the New Deal under Roosevelt through the Great Society of Johnson, the goal was to not only raise everyone but also provide a safe harbor for those who found themselves confined to a dinghy and in danger of being swamped.  Currently we seem to have lost our political way and as such surrendered the governance of our nation and state to those who are essentially one trick ponies who come with an agenda that has little if anything to do with actually running government for the benefit of the people.
Instead of simply adopting cookie-cutter legislation it’s time for each statehouse to take a long hard look at where their state is; its strengths and weaknesses; its goals and long term objectives.  This is something that the far-right has figured out after a fashion but they have also fallen victim to organizations like the Montana Family Foundation, American Tradition Partnerships, and ALEC who without regard to a state’s history and culture pass out boiler-plate legislation like Meth at a schoolyard spawning a generation of right-wing legislators waiting for their legislation fix.  In the meantime, the far left seems caught up with the minutia of social justice falling prey to the latest social issue trending on Facebook or Twitter such as the LGBTQ community and their right to take care of their bodily functions in the public restroom of their choice when quite frankly no one cares except those on the fringes.
Both sides have failed to grasp that while exciting the fringes of their respective parties’justice-louis-brandeis might spark an impressive orgasm, the hyper-sensitivity they create is unsustainable.    It’s time for the states to get back to the business of legislating for their constituents independent of the national political scene.  Justice Louis Brandeis took the oath for Supreme Court Justice 100 years ago firmly convinced that the best laws and therefor the best legislation started at the state level where legislatures could formulate laws, amend, or repeal legislation that best served the populace.  He was a staunch advocate for the intelligence of the people and their ability to find the best way to govern.  As such, he supported a number of the New Deal programs implemented during the Roosevelt administration but opposed those pieces that threatened the sovereignty of the people cautioning the president to send his acolytes to the states to do their work among the people because after all this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  It’s time for the “people” to shake off the spectacle of fringe politics and work on building a better boat.
Rowan
“Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.” T-Bone Slim

A Dead Horse: One Last Lashing

To paraphrase Lt. Colonel Frank Slade: ‘Oh uh, Waded- about your little problem- there are two kinds of people in this world: those who stand and face the music, and those who run for cover.  Cover is better.’  Cover is all in the perspective.  The Regents, Christian and Cruzado may all see themselves as having faced a painful decision and ‘faced the music’ because of their conflicted feelings and ‘hurt hearts’.  Others, like many of us, see them as having done nothing more than run for cover.  In pouring their conflicted and tormented hearts out to anyone in the room or tuned in via the internet they exposed themselves in having opted for the easy path.  To lament the pain of the decision and then vote in favor of accepting money, and lots of it, from a discriminating racist really only serves as an attempt to gain sympathy.  In reality, to have wrestled with the decision and then voted down the ‘gift’ would have been facing the music in a more than a few ways.  However, that horse is dead on the ground and it’s getting to be time to move on.

There still exists a problem and one that will bring itself back to the Regents at some point in the not so distant future.  Whose money do they accept and who’s do they turn away and for what reasons.  In fact, and on a deeper level, this is a timeless question: how much Le_penseur_de_la_Porte_de_lEnfer_(musée_Rodin)_(4528252054)will it take to buy the moral and ethical compass of a human being.  Humankind has fought with this animal since the quest for food and shelter was managed and we could consider greater things in the world.  For instance, getting someone else to do our dirty work for us and in hopes that there will be personal gain as a result.  Gianforte may have achieved just that in getting President Cruzado and those poor and tortured Regent’s to do just the same.

Maybe we should go easy on everyone involved here.  After all, no one has figured this out yet and this isn’t the first time anyone has had to look in the mirror and wonder about who they are and what lives inside their own soul.  For instance, shortly after the end of World War II a great deal of information was discovered that had been gathered as a result of incredibly horrific human torture.  Many of those tortured were ‘subversives’ to a pure nation: minorities, gays, disabled, the unwanted of that pure nation.  As a result of that inhumane torture we gained a much more accelerated understanding of multiple physical conditions both induced and environmental.  The very real question at the time, and today an academic one: should that knowledge be used knowing how it had been gathered and that it would likely save lives or should it be destroyed knowing that it’s origination was far to horrific and unethical to be considered.

By no means does Gianforte’s ‘donation’ rise to this example.  However, as an individual who has a public record of stating his personal point of view regarding humankind that does not match up to his own theological standards, there is far more to his $8 million than just a name on a building.  There is truly the question of what is the greater good.  In this case the question should have been one is it ethical to accept and promote his brand of quiet, calm hate while ignoring the souls and minds of those who will pass under that name each day and wonder what that pang of uneasiness is within themselves.  And speaking of an uneasy feeling, it has to be wondered out loud after having made that decision and taken Gianforte’s tainted money: President Cruzado, what is that uneasy feeling that wakes you up during the night?  Or does it?

TGTJ

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

The Woolly Mammoth In The Room

gop_mammoth_logo_stickers-rb8007047024544819d9283fa4798589a_v9waf_8byvr_512Over the past two days the Montana Board of Regents met in Havre to discuss their usual lofty business. Of note on their agenda was an action item to approve the acceptance of a ‘donation’ from gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte in the amount of $8 million dollars. The brief discussion surrounding the ‘generous gift’ was well scripted and precisely choreographed to include carefully planted questions that allowed both President Cruzado and Commissioner Christian a wide berth of the prehistoric beast in the room: donor Gianforte is a candidate for governor of the State of Montana. Cruzado and John Paxton pounced on the opportunity to regale all of the Gianforte’s many contributions to MSU over the course of the last 20 years. While well-rehearsed and prepared, the discussion lacked any level of energy, enthusiasm and spirit. A tightly controlled plan and atmosphere will do that.

One of the most overused words on the script was ‘timing’. Cruzado and Christian obviously paid attention to the noise surrounding this proposal and did some whitewashing to convince Montana that the ‘timing’ is now and acting in the here and now means the future for all students. Forget the notion that accepting this $8 million dollars leaves the Regents in a position of diminished credibility. As fully expected, the Regents have accepted Gianforte’s ‘generous gift’. In ignoring the question of political ethics they have fed the beast that is devouring any legitimacy of an authentic electoral process. As referenced in a past post, money is green to the Regents and the Commissioner, therefore, no one will be turned away. Real time ethical or moral issues be damned.

So let’s all just call this what it really is, a blatant move on the part of Candidate Gianforte to earn free press and promote his ‘technology’ jobs idea for Montana. Let’s also not pretend he didn’t have a lot of help. Perhaps for another $8 million Gianforte could sign off on a confidential agreement to have all ethics and philosophy courses removed. After all, we really don’t want leaders, like the Board of Regents, thinking in terms of a larger ethical picture or approaching proposals like this ‘donation’ at this particular ‘time’ by using a critical thought process.

TGTJ

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