Burnin’ Down the House


It’s summer and the skies are smoky.  And so too appear to be the brains of some Democratic Party players.  In checking the inbox for the tips this week there appeared an IMG_7289email thread titled ‘Fire Season’ launched by party Executive Director Keenan as an announcement that the party will be sending a check to aid those suffering from the Lodgepole Fire Complex.  Wise move to be sure and wise to also be aware that it likely won’t do any good in swaying voters.  Bottom line, in times like this we are all Montanans and this is what we do for each other regardless of the color of our votes in November.

Well done, Nancy.  And then comes the pettiness of the party old timers.  Long time obstructionist Pat Mishcel gives his two cents of bitterness and is supported by MEA-MFT staffer Maggie Copeland with her own vile response.  Ooppss!  But not as a staffer.  (Note the time stamps:  it only took her boss, Eric Feaver, three minutes to call her.)


It’s a strange sentiment from folks who proclaim themselves as leaders in the ‘People’s Party’ and points to a symptom of the cancer within the party.  In case anyone hasn’t notice, Montana’s democrats are on the losing end these days and the time for change has come.  That change should involve weeding out the likes of these two.  While mostrun_out_of_town_on_a_rail[1] are out there trying to make the party shine, the Pat’s and Maggie’s of the party are busy hitting ‘reply all’ to spew their vitriol.  No matter how small or how contained this moment was, it is not a proud moment by any means and belongs to all of the leaders within the party.

And to Maggie and Pat, you sound an awful lot like a certain President.  Could it be that at night you pull a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat out from under your bed and pull it down tight on your head with a smile as you drift off to sleep?


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


Triggers to the left of me , triggers to the right…

There’s been some heat in the news lately about “triggers“, “state fire fund“, “healthcare“, “Montana State Library“, “Montana Historical Society“, and the demon that spawned it all Senate Bill 261.  It seems appropriate as Montana valleys fill with the smoke from forest fires that we take some time to contemplate how this austerity measure came into being and the likelihood it will leave a swath of scorched earth in its wake. Rumblings from around the capitol indicate that before the end of August the revenue shortfall will be such that cuts will extend into tier four budget cuts.  Below is a list of the proposed cuts as outlined in the bill as well as the proposed revenue triggers that will automatically implement the budget reductions.

Senate Bill 261 triggers

The devil’s bargain

As the fallout begins with the pending cuts to services and layoffs of state employees, there is considerable head scratching, not much finger pointing, and plenty of blame to go around.  Regardless of what you read or hear, this was a bipartisan bill that passed the senate and house by wide margins before Governor Bullock signed it into law.   Follow the links and truth will shine a light on naysayers and aye-sayers alike.  Say that three times fast!

The chief architects, however, Senator Llew Jones (R-Conrad) and state budget director

Dan Villa (aka Pancho and Lefty) have managed to fly under the turbulence created by their backroom deal.  Look as you might, but try as you might, you won’t find the smokin’ gun because these savvy individuals know how to cover their back trail; they’ve had three sessions to hone their partnership and bring on board just enough “tools”, right and left, to make the whole thing work.  As chair of the senate finance and claims committee, Jones carriers a lot of weight when it comes to the budget and unlike his counterpart, chair Nancy Ballance of House Appropriations, he knows how to work his caucus.



Psst! You tell them the Republicans are to blame and I’ll say it’s the Democrats.

Obviously the leadership on both sides of the aisle were aware of the deal on SB 261,  to deliver a satisfactory budget that Governor Bullock would sign negating the possibility of a special session.  This despite the disparity between revenue estimates from the governor’s budget office and the legislative fiscal division.  Equally confusing, or not, was the willingness of Governor Bullock and budget director Villa to accept the higher estimate from LFD.  When has that ever happened…NEVER!  Can you smell the brimstone now or is it sausage making?  Either way, we ended up with triggers to the left, triggers to the right, and a number of innocent bystanders who will actually feel the pinch from the loss of services and employment.

But perhaps the most irritating aspect of the budget deal is the rising tide of voices bemoaning the coming cuts.  The rending of cloth and wearing of sackcloth and ashes from some Democrats and a pithy comment from Conrad, “government has to learn to live within its means.”  Pandering to the small government masses and buttressing one of the three pillars of conservatism.  And then fires breakout in Garfield County and grow to over 250,000 acres.  Oops!  Failure






Apparently a 90 day sessions stretches the ability of some of our citizen legislators to read, comprehend, and debate the implications of the legislation they vote on.   It just goes to show you, if you wait long enough, obfuscate a little, finish it off with a beguiling smile and a third round infrastructure bill double cross, doodoo gets overlooked until some poor rube steps in it.  CRAP!


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