Law Abiding Citizen

A term that does not apply to Montana Governor Greg Gianforte. His latest offense that he somehow talked himself out of was not possessing the required certificate to trap wolves. If you don’t know anything about hunting or licensing you’d probably think this is a pretty simple oversight. And, you’d be wrong. Gianforte purchased his wolf tag with full knowlege that he had no right to do so. If you’ve ever bought a hunting license of any kind you know damn well you have to either show proof of completion of the required courses or by marking ‘yes’ you are attesting that you have done so. And, equally as ugly, he kept his warning citation a secret from the people of Montana for over a month. Bottom line, he lied and he’s still lying. Of course this isn’t his first run in with FWP game wardens. Way back in 2000 Montana’s poacher in the corner office violated one of the cornerstones of the hunter’s education program by not absolutely indentifying the animal and being sure of his target and beyond.

wolf reg

So sure, there could be a plausible answer here.  He’s hunting on his wealthy buddy’s hobby ranch where the hired man had set traps.  The bonafide trapper let’s them know one has been caught and Jersey boy hops on a borrowed sled and rides out to shoot the wolf.  Now, did he trap the wolf, maybe not.  But did he engage in unethical ‘hunting’?  You’re damn right.  And never mind the amount of time wasted by a law enforcement officer tasked to deal with this.  It’s just not very back the blue-ish of Governor Gianforte.

There are plenty of rumors, as there always are, surrounging something like this and, Gianforte, having experience in such situations has learned that his best response is a press release and then answer no further questions on the matter.  ‘I said I was sorry, well sort of.’  But what some enterprising reporter who doesn’t work for a Sinclair Broadcasting station should look into is a significant anynomous donation made to one of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks special programs right arouind the time the that the warning citation was issued.  Seems entirely too conicidental.  Of course it’ll be difficult to piece any of that together given the Trumpian gag order that the new governor has placed on state employees.


But here’s the real issue- Gianforte isn’t remotely like the rest of us.  He’s an unbelievablely wealthy sociopath.  It’s entirely possible he staged this entire thing to pander to his base because after all, the only good wolf is a dead wolf and if you don’t believe in that then you probably don’t believe in packing your six shooter into the Quicky Mart for protection either.  But seriously, wealthy narcissists like the govenor are above reproach because they don’t understand or know the concept and reality ‘need and want’.  Any problem is solved with dollars and cents that represent a drop in the bucket compared to the totallity of thier amassed wealth.  To make things even worse, Montana is thier personal playground and the common folk can clean up the mess.

People who feel remorse make amends.  In Greg’s case and as he’s shown in the past, there is no remorse.  He’s kept the wolf hide and skull for mounting.  Maybe he can get it mounted wearing the collar and hang the framed citation underneath the carcus.  


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

RTW And A Throne of Lies

It’s a sad day for 38 members of the House of Representatives and a joyous day for 45,000 working Montana families who rely on their union rights for power in the work place. Amy Regier and Caleb Hinkle’s House Bill 251 met it’s comeuppance on the House floor this morning and died the same death as all of its sister bills this session. Montana’s union workers and union leaders should relish in this moment since the worst scenario they had seen in many decades was playing out and yet they have won the battle. But make no mistake, the war will continue on.

Now what about this sad story that Caleb Hinkle tells about the big bad United Food and Commercial Workers and how they ruined his short life. In Hinkle’s bill presentation to House Business and Labor he claims that the union let him know before he started work about this obligation to join the union, also a time when the steward surely would have let him know about any initiation fee. Lie 1: he was not obligated to join the union and instead could have paid a representation fee as a non-member. Next came his difficult to believe tale regarding the union initiation fee that had yet to be paid some two months into the job, in this case and in his words, a $500 initiation fee. Pay or be fired. Lie 2: the UFCW does not have an exorbitant initiation fee and after doing a little checking it’s actually less than $50 with ability to pay over the course of six months and are cut in half if the new member attends a new member meeting. No need to believe what you’re reading, it’s all right here. Finally, young Caleb claims he was forced to leave. Lie 3: no, he made a choice to leave rather than contact the union and make arrangements to pay his fifty dollars or twenty-five discounted/show up fee.

garrisonSo here’s the thing, and aside from the outright blatant falsehoods, Hinkle wasn’t forced to do anything and could have easily stayed in his new found deli job at minimum wage.  Well, he called it minimum wage but neglected to mention the union negotiated health insurance, sick leave, vacation leave, job protections, just cause, due process, seniority and all the other benefits of a union contract to hopefully include a pension.  You see he could have stayed on in his much needed job and rather than cry and complain about the union fees and initiation fee, he would have met his agreed upon obligation and then dug into the union and got himself elected as a local officer much like he did as a representative.  From there he could have worked towards a better understanding of that initiation fee and where his dues went, but even more importantly, he could have worked towards change on those issues and helped guide the union for newly hired, young workers like himself.  In the floor session today Representative Tschida gave the boy a pat on the head and uttered the word ‘courage’.  Not sure where that courage was then, but sure.  

Hinkle’s misrepresentations are a tiny part of today’s story but needed to be exposed. The real story today, and this week for that matter, is the death of every anti-labor bill brought forward in a session where the unions were sure of another pound of pressure on their necks by corporately funded forces that wish to kill them. That is no exaggeration folks. The important story today is labor remembered it’s roots, it’s power and who labor really is. Today’s presence was made up of trade union members in sticker plastered hard hats, firefighters, nurses, teachers, state employees, professionals, high school graduates and dropouts. You name it, they were there. The middle class of Montana showed up and made their voices heard. There’s a reprieve that’s been given here and it’s not the first time which begs the question to union members and union bosses alike. What will you do with this opportunity? Montana’s middle class, working poor and poor need you. Do not squander this opportunity. Educate, Agitate and Organize!!



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