Montana senate debacle an opportunity for real change

donkeyelephantThe “two”-party system is a nice containment vehicle, a way to at once allow people the illusion of participation in their governance while preventing it. It requires constant management. Any real leaders who break free of party leadership have to be quickly contained.

The Amanda Curtis affair in Montana is an interesting one, but not unusual. The sacrificial lamb is an old strategy. The idea is that progressives have no place to go in our system but the Democrat Party, whose money-backed leadership finds them repugnant. Once every two years, if there is a contested primary, there might be some outlet for progressive voices in campaign rhetoric. Usually the person giving voice is a false leader who quickly shuts down after the election and reverts to form.

However, there is in the wake of wreckage a chance to teach progressives a lesson, and that is where the sacrificial lamb strategy come into play. The Montana Democrat Party fucked up royally in foisting John Walsh on its members. It’s not that Walsh lacked any real qualification or even the ability to think properly, but rather that these features of his ho-hum persona were exposed. The party’s money backers are perfectly happy with such zombies in office. Now that Walsh and the party leadership have been exposed, they have to beat a strategic retreat. So they assume the mantle of sincerity about putting up a real person in the place of a robot.

democrats-vs-republicans-differences-sop-politics-nonsense-politics-1389740460The Montana Senate seat is lost. It’s time to make lemonade. So Montana Democrat Party leadership is seizing the opportunity to show its progressive wing that progressives cannot win elections.

That is not true. Progressives can win elections. But they have no access to the big money that regular right-wing Democrats enjoy, along with TV exposure, without which no candidate can win. If the party leadership would turn their marketing wing to supporting a progressive, they could make it happen. Seriously, dear reader, if those geniuses can keep Max Baucus in office for 24 years; if they can make a man like John Walsh seem like a real human being; if they can land Jon Tester’s sorry fat ass in office for six years with 48% of the vote … then trust me. They can back a progressive to victory. They choose not to do so.

So the thrust of the Curtis “nomination” (selection) is for 2018 and beyond, to make sure that progressive Democrats in Montana know their candidates cannot win, to keep them in line and supporting the normal cloaked Republicans that the party likes.

As a Nader supporter I am well-schooled in these matters. Nader was not so much a threat to Al Gore as something else. Below the fold here, and linked here, is the 2000 Green Party platform that Nader ran on. Merely publicizing that platform was a reminder of what Democrats do not support. Nader exposed their bankruptcy, which is why the party leadership unleashed a venom on him never visited on Republicans.

The Illusion of Free Choice democrats republicansDemocrats, click the words “continue reading” below here to learn all about what your party is not. It will help you understand the massacre about to unfold in Montana. Perhaps then you will realize that you need an upheaval, that you need to change your heads, get rid of the low-life and lizards that currency run your party. It is time for some fresh air. The cold shower you will enjoy in November is not a defeat, but an opportunity to build a real grassroots party. If Curtis has chops, as she appears to, she might indeed have a vital role to fill in the leadership vacuum that will result.

(Can progressives win? In the coming week I am going to write about opinion surveys I have read about the general attitudes of most Americans. Our two parties are far, far to the right of the American public. You will be genuinely surprised, as my source is unimpeachable.)


[as ratified at the Green Party National Convention, June 2000]

A Call To Action

Platform Preamble


Green Key Values


A. Political Reform

B. Political Participation

C. Community

D. Foreign Policy


A. Education

B. Health Care

C. Economic Justice / Social Safety Net

D. Tax Justice / Fairness

E. Management-Labor Relations

F. Criminal Justice

G. Civil And Equal Rights

H. Free Speech

I. Native Americans

J. Immigration / Emigration

K. Housing

L. National Service


A. Energy Policy

B. Nuclear Issues

C. Waste Management

D. Fossil Fuels

E. Renewable Energy

F. Transportation Policy

G. Clean Air / Greenhouse Effect / Ozone Depletion

H. Land Use

I. Water

J. Agriculture

K. Biological Diversity


A. Eco-Nomics

B. Re-asserting Local Citizen Control Over Corporations

C. Livable Income

D. Community Involvement

E. Small Business And Job Creation

F. Trade

G. Rural Development

H. Banking For People

I. Insurance Reform

J. Pension Reform

K. Anti-Trust Enforcement

L. Advanced Tech / Defense Conversion

M. The National Debt


The GREEN PLATFORM is an evolving document, a living work-in-progress that expresses our commitment to creating meaningful and enduring change in the political process. Our Party’s first priority is to value-based politics, in contrast to a system extolling exploitation, consumption, and non-sustainable competition.

We believe in an alternative, independent politics and active, responsible government.

We believe in empowering citizens and communities.

We offer hope and a call to action.

In this platform we make our case to change the way our government operates – to change the quality of our everyday lives – to build a vision that brings new and lasting opportunities.


Click here to view entire document.

29 thoughts on “Montana senate debacle an opportunity for real change

  1. Right on the money, Mark. Here’s the tell from award-winning blogger and Spectator-in-Chief himself, Pogie: “It’s Amanda Curtis for Senate: Some Advice from the Sidelines.” And sidelines it will likely be for the Tester/Bullock cabal.

    I think all Montanans mulling things over, especially those capable of thnking for themselves, have a couple of questions for Ms. Curtis. Depending on her answers, this could quickly become a very interesting and rare opportunity. The void left by the Baucus/Walsh debacle is on the scale of the Berkeley Pit.

    It will also require rapid recognition of her real situation. This will be very difficult because her new-found “friends” are real some-kind-of-path (hard to spot) enemies to all living things, and her in particular. A little bit like those recognition questions in the IQ test a few entries back. If she gets it though, it’s “got it, good,” and onto the global battlefield with a rock and sling if she’s lucky. We’ll know shortly.


  2. Looking at your Green Party Platform and Curtis I’m thinking there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two.

    But I’ll reserve that judgement until she cranks out a website. So far some form of gun control seems to be attached to both sides. I’m sure she’s against any natural resource development and supports unions (except union coal miners, rail road builders, pipeline fabricators, oil and gas hands, and refinery employees) supports free health care, ..etc.


    1. I wish.

      Gun control is wedge politics. I wish you’d learn that easy lesson. Neither party cares about it and only trots it out during campaigns to rally your ass to the polls.

      Unions are, far and away, a good thing. Just like corporations, they can have bad side effects and turn very corrupt. But over all, they offer more benefit than detriment. That’s why I support that part of the platform.

      “Free” health care is, of course, paid for by taxpayers, and so costs far less and reaches more people than corporate insurance-based health care. That’s why I support that part of the platform.

      Development on the commons has to be done with public oversight, and with principles of conservation in mind, which is why conservatives, like me, favor heavy regulation of all who mine, graze and log our commons. That’s why I support that part of the platform.

      I can debate the entire platform with you Swede, but I don’t think you’re up to it.


    1. First of all because of the current situation on our southern border I’m bothered by the GP’s stance on immigration.

      “While it would be ideal to erase borders between countries, that would be impractical without reciprocity between nations. We seek that reciprocity as a practical goal. While we recognize that there must be some controls on immigration, if only for the sake of national security, the Green Party would endorse a friendlier (less intimidating) attitude towards immigration in all nations within certain guidelines.”


          1. That’s kind of muddleheaded, Swede. “Free trade” means “unregulated” trade. It is a race to the bottom, as advanced countries force developing countries into resource colony status, places that offer cheap materials, labor, and to which we can export pollution.

            Unregulated trade among equals, say the US and Canada or Germany, serves both well, in my opinion. But developing countries need to be able to impose tariffs to protect domestic industry, just as the US did throughout its history.


            1. BS Mark. Here’s your study.

              “But subsequent reviews of the study showed fatal flaws that undermined its findings. In 1996, a review of the study by the Employment Policies Institute found that the data sets Krueger and Card used were so badly flawed that “no credible conclusions can be drawn from the report.” Specifically, the study found, “the data set used in the New Jersey study bears no relation to numbers drawn from payroll records of the restaurants the New Jersey study claims to cover.”

              Rather than look at those payroll records, Krueger and Card called fast food managers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to ask about changes in employment at their restaurants. But not only did the data they obtained inaccurately reflect changes in fast food employment in the two states, according to the EPI, about a third of their data points got the direction of hiring wrong – that is, the data showed restaurants reduced employment when they actually increased it, and vice versa, during the period measured.”


              1. I am completely aware of all of that, Swede. I breathed this stuff back in the 90’s when I was working the minimum wage campaign. I know about EPI, who were like hired guns. If they are the ones I am thinking of, they refused to release their data sets. Card and Krueger never backed down on this, ever, released their data sets to boot. It was as close to perfect as we can get in real economies to isolate a variable. CK in my mind proved one thing, that at the very least, regular minimum wage increases, indexed to inflation, are beneficial.

                Without a MW we spiral intoo sweatshops, and eventually, slavery. That’s what free markets do.


  3. Thanks Swede, I appreciate your thoughts. Do you think NAFTA could have had something to do with today’s situation? Did you initally, or do you now, support NAFTA, GATT, etc.?


    1. Regarding NAFTA all three countries that participated have seen a rise in medium income and wages and a decrease in cost of living. Meaning of course when things are better at home, why leave?

      The current influx weighs solely on the shoulder of this adm. with 24/7 talk of amnesty, and the bulk of the new illegals are from countries south of Mexico.


        1. The above comment at 9:55 was meant for here. That said address the medium income and COL points I brought up. Plus did you actually read my last sentence?

          And please provide some verification of Ag displacement.


        2. I always read your comments, when you actually write stuff. We do not disagree about the need to regulate borders, nor does the Green Party circa 2000. We do disagree about the effects of NAFTA, as the US did indeed flood the Mexican market with cheap subsidized corn, which indeed droves farmers off the land, which indeed drove them north. I know you think they wanted to come here and live, but they were merely surviving.

          Statistics about median income are not terribly useful if there is wide disparities, which indeed there are in Mexico, as here, and which NAFTA exacerbated.


        1. Evidence, Swede. Evidence! I know all of the right-wing neoclassical theories about minimum wage laws. The problem is that in real life, it does not work as the theorists predict. In fact, just the opposite.


            1. I’ve heard of that study, which does not isolate variables, and so is a mush. The authors cannot draw a direct line from wages and employment due to too many other interfering factors. It is worthless, almost confirmation bias.

              I have a study, Card/Krueger, that in fact isolates variables as much as can be done in a flowing marketplace, and found that a state with an increased minimum waged showed increased employment – this was Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a perfect laboratory, as they an increase in minimum wage in one state, and the researchers we re able to follow the activists of fast food establishments in the border region. It has not, despite what you might read in right wing circles, ever been debunked.


  4. Swede, here’s how it really works. I know it is risky for me to jump from Mexico and Central America to Ukraine, but the game is the same. Montana is no different. Please bear with me.

    “Finance in today’s world has become war by non-military means. Its object is the same as that of military conquest: appropriation of land and basic infrastructure, and the rents that can be extracted as tribute. In today’s world this is taken mainly in the form of debt service and privatization. That is how neoliberalism works, subduing economies by indebting their governments and using unpayably high debts as a lever to pry away the public domain at distress prices. It is what today’s New Cold War is all about.”

    Ever watch the Montana Legislature spend the bulk of its 90-day session fighting over who gets what of the federal dollars coming into the state — half of our Montana economy?


  5. Swede,
    The question: “What do you folks pay?” I assume the subject is state and federal income taxes. I assume the implication is that those who would benefit from a minumum-wage increase don’t pay “their fair share,” or don’t pay anything — I have heard that repeatedly.

    Do (Medicaid/Soc. Sec.) other payroll taxes count? No. Do gas, alcohol and tobacco taxes count? No. How about property taxes, usually included with insurance, maintenance, etc. in the rental fee for those who do not own their own home (with the (mortgage) bank and city and county, of course)? Nope. If you have a car, it is taxed annually. Why doesn’t that count? Rich people with expensive cars actually pay a lower percent tax on a vehicle’s value than poor people driving older cars with low to no real value.

    I am no tax expert, but add it all up, and “fair share” as a percentage of income tilts wildly in favor of the rich, which, to any reasonable person, reveals the rediculousness of the premise.


    1. I know you’re a voracious reader but sometimes you may want to pick up Hayek’s book, “The Road to Serfdom”.

      “The Road to Serfdom is a book written by the Austrian-born economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek (1899–1992) between 1940–1943, in which he “warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning.”[1] He further argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator, and the serfdom of the individual. Significantly, Hayek challenged the general view among British academics that fascism was a capitalist reaction against socialism. He argued that fascism and socialism had common roots in central economic planning and empowering the state over the individual.”-Wiki.

      Just for a different point of view.


      1. I am familiar with him, somewhat, and as with Adam Smith,whose work I did read, that my comprehension level is so low that it is almost pointless for me to read it first hand. However, I do know of the notion that government interference in the market place is not conducive to individual freedom, and I don’t think it is true just based on observation. “Market freedom” really means that when one person has power over another, that there should be no restraints placed on that power. That is the downward spiral that leads to slavery, and not government regulation.

        And it is true also that the hand of the state, the one we have that is wiretapping us, railroading people into jail. and murdering and massacring people around the world, running drugs out of Afghanistan and shooting down airliners in Ukraine, is out of hand. But it is not market interference that created that monster. It derived at least in part from the importation of the German SS and its blending with the OSS and passage of the National Security Act of 1947, hardly connected to economics. That began the long road to our own brand of fascism, now in evidence.


  6. Mark,

    Thanks for your well written post. My question is if the Democrats really wanted to “show its progressive wing that progressives cannot win elections.” why not nominate Dirk Adams? It was clear in his speech to the convention that he is the real progressive. I assume part of the answer is that the Democratic Insiders wanted somebody who they could control but if they can control a candidate, then by definition, this candidate is not a real progressive.


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