Confederate_fountainOr in this case “Fountain!”  While the state burns through the last of the fire fund progressive Democrats, young and old in Helena, find themselves twitter-pated  over the recent city commission decision to remove the Confederate Fountain from Hill Park.  “Look at us we’re just like the big city folk back east!”  Alt-right, alt-left, neo-liberal, neo-nazi, fascist, Christ0fascist all spell the same thing a moribund center that has still not reached the point of telling them ALL to sit down and shut the hell up!  But it’s a win because the city just shut the water off to it yesterday.  Who’s your daddy now…well it ain’t Jeff Davis cuz us paragons of social justice and political correctness are on the job.





And floating amongst the particulates of the ash filled skies, we have a governor who appears to be embracing the notion that he is a viable 2020 presidential candidate who is tweeting about the removal of the obnoxious monument in Helena and the glaring lack of leadership on the national level as once again our nation wrestles with the sins of our past.  Meanwhile, this week marks the end of the careers of a number of state employees who have fallen victim to the cuts in SB 261.  Lack of leadership perhaps…or…squirrel

But alas the fountain of “hate and racism” that most had no idea existed at all will be erased from the Helena landscape.  The skies will open up, the rain will come down, the fires will be extinguished, and there will be no more hungry children in the world because the fountain will be gone.

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






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.”

Petra Academy to End Course

steele_george3Bozeman’s Petra Academy announced today that it would be ending one of its most popular courses for the last ten years running.  A spokesperson from the academy made public that it would regretfully close out ‘MMA: A Path To The WWE’.  ‘We’ll be losing our instructor in one way or another.  Mr. Gianforte will be in one of two places next fall when the course would normally be offered.  We aren’t sure if he will be taking his seat in Congress or serving a maximum six month jail sentence for misdemeanor assault.’

Gianforte savagely attacked a journalist after being asked a routine question about the CBO’s report on the Trump health care plan.  To no one’s surprise Gianforte was elected as Montana’s lone Congressman the next day.  Jail time is unlikely given his relationship to the Gallatin County Attorney, local Sheriff and the fact that he donated $500,000 to Gallatin County for a new detention facility, ironically named ‘The Greg And Susan Gianforte Center for Redemption and Rehabilitation.’

According to the statement ‘He just had a way of teaching that really showed our students how to best use his techniques of picking out the smallest and most meek individual and then going from a dull blank stare to explosive rage without legitimate provocation.  Our larger and less social students, particularly our more angry boys,  gravitated to his course and excelled with practice.  While we did experience a number of injuries, we believe that was minor compared to the success of our students.’

Petra, on Gianforte’s recommendation, will be adding a new course that will deviate from the physical education program.  ‘Satanic Rituals in the Practice of Montana Law and Campaign Practices’ will be taught by the disgraced former Montana legislator and Gianforte attorney Artnosferatu-eine-symphonie-des-grauens-boat-scene-count-orlok-max-schreck-vampire-german-expressionism-dracula-classic-review-600x300 Wittich.  ‘Art is incredibly adept at twisting the law and anyone’s words to his own advantage and defense.  Our students have a lot to learn from him and our greatest hope is that Mr. Gianforte’s most loyal students will learn as much in this course and go on to practice law or better yet combine both teachings to become narcissistic political figures as well.’ said the spokesperson.


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

Laaadddiiieeesss and Geeenntttllleeemmmeeennn….

Hailing from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California with a record of 0 and 1, fighting in the red, white and blue trunks- Greg The Grappling GOPer!!!!

Nacho Libre (2006) Directed by Jared Hess Shown: Jack Black (as Nacho)

Tired of that pesky federal government overreach?  Greg The Grappling GOPer is here!


Ready for a new healthcare system that ignores the poor?  Greg The Grappling GOPer is here!


Want to see those public lands closed off and sold?  Greg The Grappling GOPer is here!


Had enough of the liberal media and the 1st Amendment?  Greg The Grappling GOPer is here!


How about some of those high paying jobs for Montana that can’t be explained?  Greg The Grappling GOPer is here!


What about all this transgender bathroom stuff?  Greg The Grappling GOPer is here!


And how about some publicly funded private education that will finally exclude the disabled?  Greg The Grappling GOPer is here!


Will Greg The Grappling GOPer continue on his losing streak to a record of 0 and 2 or will the Trump supporters rally for the body slam king and send him to Washington if he’s not convicted of a felony?  We’ll all be watching from the edge of our seats!



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






Gone Fishin’

May 25, 2017, 8pm.  Montana’s special election will be in the bag and we can all go fishing again.  And Memorial Day weekend is one day away: the unofficial start of summer.  It’s been a nonstop slog of campaigning for well over a year and we all deserve a break from yard signs, phone calls, mailings, door hangers and TV adds.  Fishing.  The river rolling by.   The water lapping up on the shores of the lake.  Feel calm already?IMG_6800

The special election campaign has been heavily peppered with public lands sound bites, the Montana tradition of getting out in the woods to hunt or on the water to wet a line.  Hell, even Greg Gianforte’s imported supporters took a break to enjoy all that Montana has to offer.  Donald Trump Jr took to the field to harvest a few prairie dogs and tried his ‘skills’ in the water.

Vice President Mike Pence took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some fishing as well.  It’s got to be rough dodging every steaming pile your boss leaves behind.  No doubt he was much in need of a little R and R while pandering to the already Gianforte faithful.  Who could blame him?

‘He looked like every other fisherman who walks in the door’ said store owner Katy Martin when Pence stopped by.  Well, except for one thing.

Pence and Trump Jr both went fishing.   Only one of them bought a fishing license.  Can you guess which one?



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

The Art of Vetting: Strike 2

Campaigns are ugly.  Anyone who’s crazy enough to jump in one needs to know that and anyone who’s pushing them needs to learn the art of vetting.  Clearly the Montana November 7, 2012Democratic Party and its principals have forgotten this art.  Yet here we are with less than ten days until the polls close on a special congressional race and Rob Quist just grew a few more warts.  From way back East comes a story with plenty of foul smelling and years old garbage.  To Quist and his family, all apologies.  Someone should have locked you in a box for a week and picked you to pieces while doing some intensive record searching.  This isn’t entirely on you.  Meet up with John Walsh for a beer when it’s all said and done.

Is it really that bad?  Quist has herpes, so does two thirds of the world’s population.  Quist smoked pot.  Less than half the US population has smoked pot- liars! This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, he was living on a bus and traveling to play music. And maybe his music career was going to take off and maybe it wasn’t.  If only he could have been on ‘The Voice’ back then.

Back to the real problem.  Party principals have now shown us their incompetence and inability to properly vet potential candidates as they continue to ride that merry-go-round of ‘same as it ever was’ and ‘this is what we’ve always done’.  November has come and gone.  The legislative session is over with no bonding bill.  It’s time for fresh leadership to take control. It’s time for new blood.  It’s time for the bold and the brave.Stop-Doing-It-The-Same-Old-Way-To-Do-List-Photo1-300x200  Established party leadership has failed us and learned no lessons by the constant defeat.  But the loss of Montana’s tier B races last November is the greatest example of all.  Once you’ve finished Trump off with your torches and pitchforks be ready to turn them inward on the Democratic Party.  Then again, you may not need to given the gasping for air and the death rattle in its throat.

But take heart.  While you’re all wondering who will run for Governor in 2020 because there is no democratic bench of candidates and no grooming taking place, rumors are spreading.  Word has it that Anthony Weiner is planning to establish residence in Montana in time to file.  Weiner mentioned something about a call from Georgetown Lake.  What could go wrong?


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

Guest post – You little rascals!

The MT GOP, aka the “he-man public employee haters club”, arrived in Helena on January 2 with one purpose to make sure state government spends the taxpayers’ money wisely over the next two years. IMG_1434On the flip side of this posturing, these same legislators in two months passed their own pay increase buried in the lump sum numbers of HB 1, which also funds the 2019 session.  Governor Steve Bullock drew a line in the sand and line-item vetoed their pay increase and sent it back.  The legislature rejected the Governor’s recommendation and passed their bill again.  Governor Bullock decided to ignore the bill this time until it became law without his signature.  Obviously the wind blew hard enough through the halls of the capital to erase his line.  Next time maybe spray paint it on the floor of the rotunda where the breeze is gentler.

Leap forward two months to the end of March and the MT GOP majority on the House Appropriations committee heard HB 13, the state and university employees pay raise. Union members played it cool this session with no outward expression regarding their pay raise until the hearing in House Appropriations on March 21. During the hearing the governor’s representatives answered a number of questions asked primarily by the Republican members of the committee.  “Why a percentage increase instead of something for the lower paid employees?”  Ms. Sessano, “because our managers and supervisors are well below market and they have not seen a significant pay increase over the last two years.”  Really!  Wasn’t the pay raise negotiated by union members for union members?  Well yes but we all know the negotiated pay raise goes to everyone in state government.  “Aw Gee”!

Seven days later on a straight party line vote the Republicans on the committee following the lead of Chair Nancy Ballance tabled HB 13. Why, because in good conscience they just couldn’t sign off on a pay raise for people who obviously care so little for the public good that they devote their careers to serving. Adding insult to injury, the future raise for public employees became a pawn in the political gamesmanship between the Governor’s budget office and the MT GOP.

Over the next several weeks the suggestion of a pay increase hung like a shade from legislative sessions past in the halls of power as IMG_1435Senator Llew “Spanky” Jones (R-SD 9) and his favorite side-kick Rob “Alfalfa” Cook (R-HD 18), held meetings between the two gangs (Republicans and Democrats) late at night in the office of Dan “Lil’ Bull” Villa and willing patsy Senator Minority Leader Jon “Uh-huh” Sesso (D-SD 37). Over thick steaks and expensive whiskey at the clubhouse they made a deal, for the greater good, to ignore the fact that at least one side had bargained in good faith.  In case you’re wondering, it was not the governor’s team, but this is how they make sausage and law.  “AND HOW”!

Now we reach the end game. On the penultimate day, House Speaker Austin “Butch” Knudsen finally held a 3rd reading on SB 294, which contained a modified version of a state and university employee pay raise.  The major change to the original bill is the implementation date of February for each year of the biennium rather than the negotiated November.  It passed and as one union boss quipped, “It’s better than a sharp poke in the eye”!

Not so fast there you little rascal! For three sessions state employees gave up their lunch hours to stand in the halls with signs claiming “a deal is a deal” and “honor the deal”.  While it’s true it hasn’t worked with the Republican majority the last thing they expected was getting two-stepped by the chief executive and his budget director.  No harm no foul, everyone knows state employees don’t work a full day anyhow and in the end who’s the real patsy…our gang of unionized state employees who show up at the bargaining table every two years breathlessly gushing, “is that a cowlick or are you just happy to see me?”IMG_1436

Eeyore “the ass sore” state employee

And She Does Word Math Too

What’s the difference between public speaking and public editorials?  Someone else can do your writing for you.  Dedicated staff indeed Elsie, indeed!  It’s far easier to read what Elsie has to say, or whoever does her writing for her has to say than it is to listen to her rambling Sarah Palin-isms.  So she took to the papers today to justify her unprecedented hiring of a high priced attorney out of Billings to handle her affairs on the Land Board.

You have to spend some time around elected officials to have an idea of what the term ‘personal staff’ really means.  In a nutshell, they are positions left for a newly elected official, such as the Governor, AG or in this case Superintendent of Public Instruction, to hand out to their former campaign staff, political operatives and hopefully people who'Meet the boss's son. The go-to guy whenever you need a piece of string or just a friendly wave.' truly understand how crucial operations work.  So in dear Elsie’s case, she has seven appointed positions.  What her editorial doesn’t say is that when she was elected she had no idea how many she could appoint and showed up in Helena for a transition meeting with an entourage and promises of cushy jobs to over twenty faithful followers across the state.  Word has it she was a bit taken aback to learn she had so few positions.  As to that fat $230,000 she plans to save: it’s called vacancy savings (insert hard working permanent staff work even harder to pick up the slack) and savings do to long term staff who flew the OPI coupe before Arntzen took office rather than work for her.

Back to that fancy smancy attorney.  As mentioned in a previous post, the Land Board members are staffed by people who understand the role of the people they work for.  And then there’s that state agency called the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation that employs a whole bunch of people who get this land stuff.  Two of the Land Board members are attorneys and the other three, umm, are, umm ahhh, Lamd Board members.  It’s understandable why Arntzen would blow the bankroll on someone who gets it no matter how ironic it might be that he’s a Billings attorney, you know, her home town.  In Elsie’s words ‘experience counts’, but it’s already there.  Such a shame that she can’t see that through the camouflage of her own justification.

Now about that dedicated staff.  Elsie, you really only mentioned your appointed cronies.  How about those two hundred or so dedicated workers who have put decades and careers into OPI?  Seems you missed the mark of who does the actual work there.  Or maybe you’re still trying to figure out why they come to work wearing life jackets as they ride out Hurricane Elsie and hope for the best in 2020.


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

Dissecting An Apology

worst_apology_ever[1]If you’re reading this you’ve probably already read the PEOPLE’S VOICE post calling out MEIC Executive Director Jim Jensen after he smugly chided a Montana AFL-CIO staffer when SB 338 went down.  Old news, OK.  Hit the link and scroll past the post to the comments and check out Jensen’s apology.  Now, let’s have a closer look.

‘I apologize for a late night, off-hand, frustrated post.’  Stop.  Apology accomplished and complete.  ‘The end of the legislative session sees tempers flare, and mine is no exception.’  What’s that smell coming in?  Could it be the proverbial excuses are like assholes wafting through?  ‘SB 338 has been the subject of much controversy and misinformation.  MEIC and our allies (read Talen), including conservation groups in Montana and the Pacific Northwest strongly oppose the bill.’  Yeah Jim, we got that when Anne Hedges and MEIC stood shoulder to shoulder with The Company in opposition of this bill and the families of Colstrip, Montana.  Add to that the families of any other Montana resource industry town that would have benefited from this bill that many referred to as a historic marker.

This anonymous web site has repeatedly claimed that most conservation groups support the bill.  The opposition to this bill is broad, deep and bi-partisan.  It claims MEIC has lied about its position.  That is simply not true.  MEIC staff put our names to what we post.’   First Jim, it’s a blog, not a website.  Second, with a tiny bit of diligence you can figure out who you might talk to if you really want to air out your hurt feelings.  Third, what you are reading is an anonymous blog.  The Ghost of Tom Joad is not affiliated with any organization and its ‘allies’ are the very people MEIC sought to and has harmed through lawsuits to shut down the plants in Colstrip and now through your lovefest with Talen by killing SB 338.

But I went too far last night in a short online comment.’  Again, stop.  Point made.  ‘My frustration got the best of me and I apologize.’  Point made, stop!  ‘MEIC supports worker’s rights.’ Worker’s rights aren’t worth much when those workers lose their jobs and are left staring at the foreclosure notices taped to their windows.  ‘When I served in the Montana in the Montana House of Representatives, I earned a 100% positive voting record with labor.’  Funny, so did Kim Gillan and look at her now, 30 pieces of silver in her pocket and the blood of injured workers on her hands.  You’re in fine company Jim.  ‘I object to the statements being posted online saying MEIC is the lone opponent of SB 338 and MEIC is “in bed” with polluters or is being paid off.’  Me thinks Jim doth protest too much.  ‘That’s a bridge too far but it still doesn’t excuse my reaction.’  You’re right Jim, it doesn’t.  But you can’t seem to just say that.

However, I do hope we can all agree that now, more than ever, we all need to return to fact-based arguments.’  Can’t we all just get along?  ‘(Finally, I must apologize to my late English-major mother for making a grammatical error.)’   Read ‘Look, I’m cute and funny so everyone should like me now because I denigrated myself for all to see.’  Well sort of.  What Jim is really saying is that whoever mocked him is small-minded. Kind of odd as part of an apology.  Heck Jim, everyone makes a mistake.  It’s OK.  But then you went on to butcher your  own apology.


How about one small piece of advice Jim?  If you’re going to apologize then just say ‘I’m sorry, that was really unprofessional.’ and stop at that.  And Jim, you clearly missed the point.  If anyone is owed an apology it’s every man, woman and child in the town of Colstrip.  How about if you, Anne and all of your ‘allies’ head east and make that apology?  Let us know how that works out for you.


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