Daddy, Where Do Scabs Come From?

‘Scabs?  How do you know about scabs and why do you ask, son?’

‘Jimmy’s dad got kicked out of work last week and he said a scab took his daddy’s job.  Where do they find scabs?  Is a scab going to take your job, daddy?’

‘No son, a scab won’t take my job.  I don’t have a union where I work so the company would just fire me.’

With the lockout in Three Forks in week two and the Local D 239’s business agent telling the members to hunker down for a long siege you have to wonder, just where the hell would the company find a scab to take a middle class worker’s job in Montana? Surely it scabwouldn’t be a neighbor or some poor schmuck down the road from Bozeman or Whitehall?  Maybe over the hill in Butte?  Never!  OK, then where?

This may sound strange, but would you believe Minnesota?  Yep, that’s right.  Those scabs who are headed to help bust the union are coming your way from the good old Midwest.  It would seem that a company called Personnel Management Group will be ‘deploying’ a team of it’s technicians to run the plant in one of our tiny Montana towns.  Of course PMG doesn’t call their contract workers scabs, they are a supplier of a ‘crisis workforce‘.

Well, it looks like the town of Three Forks and Bozeman area are going to have 30 new faces walking around.  You have to wonder where they’ll sleep, eat, shop and have a beer after a long day of scabbing?  You also have to wonder how a small town like Three Forks could tolerate having scabs walking around while families who’ve planted their roots go hungry with no paycheck.  Seems like some businesses could exercise that right to refuse service.

On another note, the start of school is just around the corner and there are 29 families 0who are going to have a tough time buying pencils, notebooks and crayons this year.  From the looks of PMG’s website and Facebook page they do some charitable giving of school supplies, this year to the tune of around $10,000.  How about if all you readers give PMG a call at 1-855-522-6701?  Ask for David Jacobsen, he’s the President of Scabs-R-Us.  Maybe they’d do a school supply drive for the families of the Imery Talc plant.  Surely PMG would support the middle class family as they profit from the lockout?


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


Pistol Packin’ Mary

The stories are filtering out, Mary Caferro is getting asked about her YES vote  on HB 280,IMG_8596 sponsored by her good friend Representative Randy Brodehl.  You may not know much about Randy, but he collects a subsidy for a hog farm in Oregon and bellies up to the trough himself to collect his two public employee pensions on top of that tax dollar sponsored pay as a legislator.  Now why would Caferro, the great champion of kids and the disabled, feel the need to pack her 38 Special into the Senate chambers for a hard day of pushing the green button on Republican sponsored bills?  Ready?  Safety.

You see, Mary is explaining, with her best puppy dog eyes, that she didn’t  feel safe down there on the Senate floor with all those school kids parading through the gallery above her.  You know, those same school kids who’s parents had to console them over their fears and tears of a school shooting happening at their own school one day.  But to heck with them, it’s legislators first, women and children later.  Have you wandered into the Capitol IMG_8595 while the Legislature is in session?  There are no fewer than three HPD officers, as many MHP officers assigned to guard the Governor and a handful of security guards.  And then there’s all those pesky cameras in every corner out in the open for all to see, and probably a few hidden to boot.  It’s also a fair bet that if you gave Randy a tap in the small of his back his illegally carried piece would go off and shoot him in the ass.  You’re probably covered Mary, but it’s a good play on your innocent support of more guns in public places.

If you want to test safety Mary, go spend a day in a school secretary’s chair at the front door of any school in Montana to see what that feels like.  The door opens and you’re the first person anyone sees with nothing between you and that open door.  Or how about just about any government office in any town, county or state office in Montana?  Angry tax payers, hunters with suspended licenses, an injured worker at his wits end, or maybe even someone who should be institutionalized for their own safety and that of the  public who lost that safe space.  Again, open door and there’s someone sitting in range and plain sight.  Heck, had the Governor not undone your wrong with his pen, it could even be a legislator, like you, with one hand on the door knob and the other raising a 44 magnum hand cannon.  Politicians don’t seem too stable these days.


Mary, here’s a bill suggestion if you manage to dredge what charm you have left to get out of this primary, how about another bill to protect legislators like yourself  and keep you plenty safe, before anyone else.  Instead of more guns in a public place, how about an infrastructure bill to put a bullet proof dome over the House and Senate chambers?  No doubt it’s a bill that your most paranoid Republican bed fellows can get behind, hell, you could even convince Tom Burnett to support this one.  It’s an absolute win!  Jobs to build it and jobs to clean it.  But above all else, you’ll be safe in your workplace where you’ve made your career once more.  We’ll deal with those teachers and school kids some other time.


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


Cross Eyed Mary


Cross eyed Mary goes jumping in again

This primary business is getting a little sticky in the Farris-Olsen/Caferro race. And well it should.  Olsen represents a demographic of future leaders and committed activists who have grown weary of the Boomers and their same old same old.  Meanwhile, cross eyed Mary has found her groove and is deep in it as she continues to present herself as the champion of those in need and the protector of all things related to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.  Well, all things Human Services that is, that whole Public Health part is just more letters.

She signs no contract

So what of cross eyed Mary?  What’s the big deal?  Well, first there’s this problem of her character and whether she’s really who she would have us all believe she is.  Single parent, up with her boots straps and champion of the poor and disabled.  Those are all very fine qualities and to be that person also would assume integrity.  Let’s go back to the 2015 legislative session when Mary teamed up with Disability Rights of Montana to wipe out a few hundred middle class union jobs by shutting down a much needed state facility where clients could actually feel safe.  At that very same time cross eyed Mary was collecting her pieces of silver from AWARE and proclaimed NO conflict of interest.  But who gets to make that call?  In the world we live in today,  Cross eyed Mary gets to make that call and we should all just be ok with it.

But she always plays the game

But what does the average Joe think about it?  Seems like if some career politician stands to gain personally or professionally from some law they are trying to get passed that the average Joe or Jane might think to themselves ‘Well that ain’t right and it smells kind of funny too.’  But heck, maybe Joe and Jane don’t live in her district so who cares?  Cross eyed Mary is banking on the good folks who live in HD 81 not to care either.  But if Joe and Jane do live in HD 81 they should be wondering how much she cares about them since she doesn’t live in their district either and just wants another shot at more work for AWARE. Word has it that this time it’ll be Warm Springs Hospital.

She dines in Hampstead village, On expense accounted gruel

And then there’s her PR problem after losing the support of organized labor with just a couple of small exceptions, you know the ones who stand to gain from her reach across the isle.  Cross eyed Mary made her rounds to Hialeah Park and 6th Streets to kiss the rings some time ago and beg forgiveness. She was instead, and rightfully so, banished to the ends of her district.  Farris-Olsen has scored two key endorsements recently from AFSCME and the newly birthed 10,000 pound gorilla, the Montana Federation of Public Employees.  There was never a doubt that those two would swing in that direction given that privatization of public services is an absolute no-no for public employee unions.  After all, an injury to one is an injury to all. Unless, of course, you’re bedazzled in purple. Should Olsen prevail, and let’s all hope he does, the Montana Democratic Party may want to take note of these endorsements considering the lights glow in their office because of organized labor.

Hey, cross eyed Mary finds it hard to get along

Now give this a little thought. Cross Eyed Mary touts her long history of experience as a legislator, her understanding of budgets, her knowledge of human services and those less fortunate and above all else, her ability to reach across the isle.  Then riddle us this Cross Eyed Mary, if that’s all true, why do you spend your time bemoaning the damage done by the recent budget crisis in Montana instead of coming to the rescue with all that power and clout?  But hey, AWARE is coming out OK, again.

Hey, cross eyed Mary, oh baby, oh cross eyed Mary


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

The Koch Blockers

No, it’s not the title of a B movie about your teenagers who won’t get off the living room couch on a Saturday night after you and the wife have had a few martinis.  Nor is it a short story of the stresses of modern life and the toll on your libido .  It’s more an apt moniker for the Fabulous 14 Faculty at Montana State University who decided that money really can be dirty and there could be a price to pay in the end when you accept a wad of cash from the devil.  Or in this case, the devils: the Koch brothers.

Now if you don’t know who the Kochs are, then you are truly fortunate in your ignorance and should stop reading right now before you become tainted.  Charles and David Koch are the proverbial creepy uncles with candy in their pockets every time thevan[1] nieces and nephews come to visit.  And in this instance, those little ones digging deep into Koch pockets are cash strapped university campuses across the country who believe that because money is green it’s perfectly acceptable to put it in their mouths.  Honest folks, there are no strings attached, just cash that check.  Who wouldn’t trust the bankrollers of Citizens United?

Back to Montana State University, home of the Jake Jab’s School of Business and the Greg Gianforte ‘I’m running for Governor and would like a building named after me’ something school or building, or something.  Last week, and after nearly two years of debate in quiet corners of higher education, 14 faculty members said enough and ‘no’ we aren’t that desperate for cash on this campus.  Then again, it really was only 5.7 million.  Hell, Greg the Body Slammer dug deeper into his dirty pockets than that.  Don’t get lost in the irony that it was just two short years ago that this same sort of debate took place in the rare air of a Board of Regents meeting in Havre.  Fast forward just two years to Havre at the end of this May.  At least we won’t have to suffer the heart wrenching debate of those wiser than the rest of us, only to have them pop that candy into their greedy mouths after all.

There ought to be some kind of policy or guidelines damnit!  Isn’t that what the Regents proclaimed two years ago after they dried their tears?  Wasn’t Clay Christian and his high paid staff going to build some sideboards to help the most simple of us know what we should do when faced an indecent proposal like this?Well maybe not. Clearly it takes some folks with a deeper sense of morality to do that.  Don’t get too excited though, a two vote spread is a little like that old saying about ‘close’, it only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.  In this case, close means no shrapnel in your academic ass.  This time.

And as for  you ‘YES‘ voters, well, you’re just a bunch of Koch Sucklers.



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

Public Employee Spring

There is a giddy sense of optimism in the public sector unions of the United States of Trumplandia and union bosses are walking hard-heeled through the halls of state Capitols spoiling for a fight.

West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico the workers walked, are protesting, and talking walk.  So far those who have walked are a respectable 1.5-0.5 because no one is quite sure Oklahoma is a clear cut victory or a draw.

Are we seeing a labor resurgence similar to the heady days of the Flint sit-down strike of the 1930s or an anomalous phenomenon? Spring is in the air and public employee unions are feeling the sap rise.  But the Janus decision is waiting on the wings to trim the new growth from this budding sapling of hope.

And what about Montana where the teachers’ union, MEA-MFT just merged…with…some one and is now the largest union in the history of Montana.  Recently elected President Eric Feaver of the Montana Federation of Public Employees is quoted, “We are exponentially beyond being a teacher union.” It begs the question what does the long-lasting, long serving, everlasting indefatigable, incomparable Mr.  Feaver plan to do with the exponential power at hand?

The University system is a mess, state employees haven’t seen a decent raise since 2013, and the Montana Department of Corrections just closed the Great Falls Youth Transition Center as part of their $40 million budget cuts courtesy of a special session steered by the Republican caucus.  The end result of Governor Bullock and budget director  Dan Villa getting an atomic wedgie from Senator  Lew Jones, Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen, and loyal minion Representative Rob Cook.

It begs the  question is there enough anger and stamina within the ranks of state employees to pull off a strike?  Does Eric Feaver have the savvy to pull the trigger on a statewide strike during the upcoming session?  Remeber, the 1991 strike was engineered by the late  Jim McGarvey of the Montana Federation of Teachers/Montana Federation of State Employees and Tom Schneider, former executive director of the Montana Public Employees Association.   Feaver watched from the sidelines. There hasn’t been a repeat of that action in almost thirty years.Teacher Pay

So do you  wield the collective power of the most powerful union in the history of Montana or use the possibility of a strike as a bargaining chip?  Time will tell but time is waning for the aging labor boss to pull something epic and will it occur because union members want it or because Feaver is feeling his oats and the sap is on the rise?

Just remember summer follows spring and shit burns in Montana and winter is coming.  Just ask the Syrian  rebels how  that Arab Spring is working for them.

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

UM Hires Social Intelligence VP

19983460101038892704526313733188605164525066o[1]University of Montana President Seth Bodner announced today that he has created a Vice President position who’s role will fit well with The Messina Group’s work in digging deeper into the patterns of UM’s current students and those Bodner hopes will flock to campus.  ‘We believe we’ve found the perfect fit for my wife’s directive to mine all of the data possible and enhance our enrollment.  In addition to the work we’ll be doing with the Messina Group, we are extremely excited to announce that Mark Zuckerberg will begin his work as the Vice President of Social Intelligence.’ Bodner said.  ‘Zuckerberg brings a wealth of data as well as connections to think tanks who have proven their ability to manipulate that data with results.’

The announcement, first delivered on Facebook and later via email to the campus community, came as a shock to faculty given Bodner’s intention to begin slashing academic positions and shuffle departments yet again.  When pressed as to how UM can afford someone of Zuckerberg’s net worth, President Bodner explained that his wife had negotiated and agreement to allow the Facebook creator to work from an ‘alternative worksite’ given that the nature of his work will not require him to actually ever set foot on campus.  ‘People willingly share all the information on social media we’ll need so there’s no need for a bricks and mortar approach to his employment.  I mean this matter of factly, but President Trump isn’t too far off when he calls voters stupid, they share everything.’

Zuckerberg most recently made headlines by being summoned to the nations capitol for a set of congressional hearings related to the discovery of personal information which was collected and used to allegedly sway voters in the 2016 presidential elections to Trump’s favor.  Cambridge Analytics collected ‘private’ data of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge.  Chelsea Elander, Bodner’s wife and chief advisor, suggested that what Cambridge did could work for UM.  ‘We’re toying with some sort of ‘Monty Crush’ type game in hopes of getting users to send invitations to their friends and allow us access to as much personal data as possible.  I mean, it worked once, right?’ Elandar joked.

Along with gathering student and prospective student data through social media, UM also announced the release of a request for proposals to secure a medical provider to ‘chip’ all students or visitors to campus who may be interested in enrolling.  ‘We’ve beenhuman-upc[1] chipping our football players for over a decade now in order to better track their movements on Saturday nights. We use the trackers, I mean chips, to round the boys up on Sunday morning so they aren’t left in a sticky situation.’ Said head coach Bobby Hauck.  ‘I guess it could work on students who don’t contribute to the football program too if that’s important to President Bodner.’


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



Helena Industries: Who’s To Blame?

Helena Industries is closing and kicking all of its staff and clients into the gutter.  By now this is old news, and even more so, very sad news for a some of Montana’s most in needHaunted-Forest-Scenic-Backdrop[1] residents.  Yep, we’ve been hearing that for some time now and it’s not Helena-centric by any means.  The State’s ability to pay for these services, as they have for decades, has been on this track since a Republican majority planted the seeds of disaster in 2003.  Those seeds have taken root, grown trees and are now bearing rotten fruit.

That’s the bigger picture.  But in regard to HI there’s much more to the story and pointing the finger at the Department of Health and Human Services as the hammer that put the nail in their proverbial coffin is disingenuous at best.  What you won’t find in the news are accounts of mismanagement by hired leadership to include real estate speculation and a phony scheme to establish E-Recycling across Montana.  What you won’t see is the amount of money sunk into that program full of false promises and contracts with large entities that were never established or negotiated.  In a manner of speaking, what you won’t see are the fancy clothes tailored to fit HI’s Board of Directors who feel oh so bad for the loss.

According to Vice Chair of Helena Industries’ Board Chuck Siefert “This doesn’t feel like who we are as Montanans, that the most vulnerable of our society are the ones that take the hit,” he said. “It’s sad to see this evaporate like this.”  He has a great point, however, it is who Montanans and Americans, for that matter, are becoming.

So what did HI do wrong in their effort to save themselves and continue to serve the needs of their clients instead of the ignoring the failures of their leadership team?  It’s really a simple formula and was all played out in the 2015 Legislative session.  HI could have easily taken the script from AWARE and run with it.  Here’s an easy breakdown:  Hire Mary Caferro and have her collude with Disability Rights Montana to close any near by and important institution run by the State of Montana.  Then, coordinate with seiu-bus1[1]someone or some entity that dumps a fair amount of money into state political scenes via a big purple delivery truck.  Have Disability Rights file a load of complaints on behalf of clients of that state institution, have that purple money machine promise to take care of the new workers and then get the Governor to shut down his operation and lay off his own employees in order to save HI.  So simple and so few people to move around.  What could go wrong.  Oh well, too late now Helena Industries, but what a great opportunity for Mary and AWARE.


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

You’re a daisy if you do!

Broward, the latest on the assault rifle hit parade has once again got the pundits jawing and the POTUS yawning.  The gun lobby is circling the wagon and breaking out the 2nd Amendment signs..Clantons_Tombstone.”you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”  Okay, if that’s what it takes maybe it’s time to start calling out a few of these freedom loving Americans.  On the other side of the fence, the cry is once again focused on the evil of guns and those who carry them.  And yet, neither side budges so we play the fife lowly and beat the drum slowly as we carry more of our children off to boot hill.

Democrats cringe every time there’s a mass shooting, in part due to the unholy loss of life but also because of the tightrope they will now be forced to walk when up for re-election.  Take a hard-line in favor of gun legislation in a state like Montana and you might as well tell your mamma you’re a sissy-boy.  You just got branded as a steer in the herd of liberals corralled by Nancy Pelosi!  As Senator Daines and Representative Gianforte have lips firmly attached to the ass off the NRA and receive their A+ grade from the gun lobby machine of ‘Merika.

Meanwhile, Democrat Jon Tester does the two-step to avoid alienating his out-of-state PAC money or his constituents back home whose biggest purchase in the last year was a gun safe advertised to hold 48 “long-rifles” with a 40 minute survival time in a house fire of not more than 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. Daisy

Despite the fact everyone knows Tester, like a majority of the professional politicians, would never support repealing the second amendment but he/they could very well endorse legislation limiting bump-stocks, high capacity magazines, a national gun registry – oh wait, we already have that because unless you buy the gun off the back of a truck, you register it before you leave the store or gun show – or, shades, a waiting period.

Now wait, nobody says you can’t own a gun. Nobody’s even saying you can’t carry a gun. All we’re saying is you can’t carry one in town. Now that’s not so much to ask, is it?”  Yes, yes it is you dirty pinko-liberal-tree hugging disciple of communism!  This is ‘Merika, land of the free, home of the brave and we don’t need no gub’mint telling us how to manage our shootin’ irons.

Say_whenWhen it comes to Americans and their guns…”poor souls, they’re just too high strung” to ever do more than discuss implementing stiffer gun laws.  Consider the fact that it took a Civil War and another 100 years to tackle head-on slavery and discrimination and we still screw that up more often than not.  It’s time to accept the inevitable and revel in the marketing of military grade tactical gear in the civilian sphere.  We are, after all, a gunfighter nation and little Johnny and Sally will look adorable in their basic black Kevlar vests with faux ammo pouches and grenade loops.

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

I Am Not That I am

When is a legislator not a legislator?  When that legislator takes the lead in a law suit rex-whistler-tinker-and-housewife[1]against the State to throw out a law passed while he was a sitting legislator.  The irony, a legislator can’t be sued for legislative action, but a legislator can sue as a result of legislative action.  That’s a lot of legislative action!

In this case that would be Representative Greg Hertz of Polson.  Hertz made no secret of his disagreement with SB 4, a bill to charge a management fee to certain portfolios managed by the Montana Board of Investments.  In fact, Hertz’s outspoken opposition appears to be earning him the designation as Montana State Fund’s new legislative lap dog.

The Fund’s exorbitantly paid high level managers have made no secret of their displeasure with the change of direction from a new board of directors.  In most cases ’employees’ with an inability to follow a directive would have been given their walking papers by now.  But this team has been around a long time and have figured out how to work a room and they live to collect yet another paycheck.

Of course there will be plenty more to see as this plays out and no doubt Hertz and crew will see this case all the way to the seven wizards in Helena.  However, the real show here is to watch Lanny Hubbard, State Fund President, drink water while Hertz talks.



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

Friends Don’t Let Friends Primary Friends

But first it’s important to figure out who your friends really are, or more aptly put, aren’t.

The Montana Post recently put out a general introduction to Robert Farris-Olsen.  Yeah, so?  Well, Farris-Olsen will be entering the Montana political world in a primary race against the fallen flower Mary Caferro.  From the outside looking in this may look like both a bold and dumb move on his part, however, there is a bit to know about dear Mary and how this has come to be.

Sometime back in late February of 2017 as the doldrums of the session dragged on and legislators had too much time on their hands because leadership wasn’t leading, some termed out legislators started talking about their future.  Enter Caferro, who for allstyx-too-much-time-on-my-hands-1981-5[1] intents and purposes, has made herself a career politician having been first elected in 2004, some 14 years ago, and now hopes to spend a little more time back in the House where she first started.  As the Helena political machine operates, Mary sought out a few local House members hoping they’d do a seat swap.

Mary’s first run was at the now veteran and much admired Representative Funk.  ‘Uptown’, as she jokingly refers to herself, is no fool and saw the game for what it was.  On to the next, House Appropriations Committee member Janet Ellis.  Keeping Ellis in that power position, minority or not, would have been a wise move by Democrats and leadership.  But what about poor Mary and her status in the world?  What about all that good work she’s been doing for Montanans?  What about her free health care?  Well damnit Janet, she said yes.


And now come the complications.  Surrogate party leaders were looking for a spot for Melissa Romano after her narrow loss to the Sarah Palin of Montana.  The claim to Caferro’s soon to be vacated Senate seat was staked out for Romano with plenty of talk so no one could say they didn’t know.  Mary can say she just didn’t care.  To make a long story short, Ellis gives Caferro her word.  Party surrogate number 1, Eric Feaver, comes into play.  Ellis expresses anger that Feaver has abandoned her for Romano.  Feaver makes clear that Romano called ‘dibs’ first.  Ellis makes an angry face.  Feaver claims more innocence.  Tempers flare.  Talking stops.  Caferro knits in a corner smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Fast forward several months and there is much wringing of hands as sides must be drawn in this Ellis vs Romano battle royale.  MEA-MFT has already made clear where they stand, and in turn so will follow the rest of organized labor in Helena.  Ellis has done no wrong, except for being duped by the Mata Hari of the Senate.  And then comes Ellis’s reprieve!  Romano is deluged with Teacher of the Year duties and must drop out of a race she had barely started.  While Ellis will still face a challenger, at least she has a record to stand on with labor for their support.  That is if she still wants it.  Caferro has o-OLD-MAN-CONFUSED-570[1]knitted an afghan to hide under while the sparks fly.

Sound convoluted?  Feel confused?  Mary likes it that way.

Isn’t this a post about Ferris-Olsen? Or is it a post about Caferro?  Let’s go with Caferro for the finish, because really, she should be finished.   Head back to 2013 when she proposed legislation to close a long standing public institution and decimate another of Montana’s small towns.  Due to a lot of very poor work by Mary and those backing her play, the bill was tanked, but with the warning, she’d be back.  And back she came in 2015, never mind the fact that her employer would benefit most from privatization.  This time with more backing to include the Governor and majorities in both houses.  Keep in mind that MDC is, well was, unionized by both AFSCME and MEA-MFT.  Union busting through legislation, a mortal sin.  Word has it that Mary spent a little time in 2017 skulking into various union headquarter offices in an attempt to recreate her Hari role and win favor with elected and hired union heads.  She remains exiled.


And now the test.  Ferris-Olsen is a fresh face on the scene with a far more broad view of what needs to be done.  No doubt the Democratic Party will do it’s usual corner cowering and not back any one candidate while the work of drumming Caferro out will be left to folks who pay the bills for the party.  Which makes a fella wonder, why shell out that cash in the name of the party anymore?  With Mary as their darling girl and to claim we’re all ‘friends’, who needs enemies?

Best of luck to you Rob!  Caferro will make a fine lobbyist when this is all over.


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