Some shameless self-promotion

Last December I received an invitation from Travis Mateer (aka Will Skink) to have a podcast conversation, which I readily accepted. We ended up talking for 90 minutes, and as a result I have a long list of things I have to look into. Travis and I don’t agree on everything (“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much” – Walter Lippman), and I have pledged to keep an open mind on the things that we do not see eye-to-eye on.

I started the Piece of Mind blog in 2006 when I lived in Bozeman, Montana. At that time, the Montana blogosphere was very active, even somewhat influential. The Montana Democratic Party had moved into blogging forcefully with two apparatchiks, Jay Stevens and Matt Singer, who formed a blog called Left in the West. Their task, their raison d’etre in my view, was Jon Tester, who would be narrowly elected US Senator in 2006. Tester sold himself as an environmentalist and progressive, and then as quickly ditched both groups after attaining office. This led to a dip in his support, so that when he ran for reelection in 2012, he eked in due to dark money injected into his campaign. It was a very professional scam on the Montana Libertarian Party, using an industry front group called Montana Hunters and Anglers to run $2 million plus in advertising urging voters to support Dan Cox, Libertarian. Cox ended up with 6.6% of the vote, mostly drawn off Tester’s Republican opponent, Dennis Rehberg. This allowed Tester a victory with 48.6% of the vote.

Continue reading “Some shameless self-promotion”

Batter Up

The Montana Green Party is back in federal district court trying one more time to regain access to the November, 2018 general election ballot.  While it is often hard to see the sense of what one does, I remind myself that some 10,000 Montana voters signed the petition to grant us a chance to compete with the corporate-owned parties in this election cycle.

For me, this will be the third time challenging Montana’s election laws in federal court.  We’re batting 1000, so why stop now?  Both previous victories, however, did not result in placing the name(s) of candidates on the ballot.  This time is a little different.  Green candidates were certified for the election by the Sec. of State and county clerks before being removed in July by a state judge and Democratic Party — the complainant.

My question:  If elections mean nothing, why all the tight sphincters across state and federal agencies and the MSM when a no-name, third-party candidate gains ballot access in a tiny western state like Montana?

I hope to find out the answer in November.

How to Rig a U.S. Senate Election

I realize for many POM readers this is nothing out of the ordinary.  There is, however, the possibility that a little explaining may move others from their constant state of cognitive dissonance to a better understanding of the electoral fraud perpetuated every two years in the U.S.  by an army of actors, “players” (and other  predator types) and funders.  Citizen-voters are the mark, always have been.

This particular example is being played out in Montana, USA.  I will be short.  Here we can see on public display another key element — media manipulation of political debates — of the anatomy of a “rigged election.” This element alone cannot sway an entire election, but helps enforce the myth that there’s an organic “two-party” system.  No journalism, no democracy, no moral foundation, just power and money talking.

As a Green Party candidate, thousands of signatures of registered voters must be gathered just to qualify to appear on the ballot.  Montana has cleverly created a petition deadline in March.  I’m usually skiing from November through March.  So, we can add the March (winter) deadline for third-party signature requirements to the other obstacles erected to eliminate competition.  This year Greens qualified for the ballot.

Add the $1,750 filling fee for U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates.  In a state with a median annual income of less than $50,000, that can be a significant barrier to any prospective candidate.

Reacting to Greens qualifying for the November ballot, Democrats sued the Montana Secretary of State for certifying “irregular” signatures in key voting districts.  Democrats are desperate to disqualify and remove the Green Party from the ballot.  This lawsuit is pending in state district court, which effectively grinds any Green Party campaign to a halt because of the uncertainty it creates.  Try fundraising in this atmosphere?  Who wants to spend money promoting a Green candidate when it could all end tomorrow by judge’s order?  There is a bit of irony to all this, of course.  For decades Democrats have been screaming about voter suppression by Republicans. They even have an entire plank in the party platform on protecting voter’s rights.  So, we can add the list Democrats suing to oust Greens from the ballot and suppress any possibility of voters choosing a Green Party candidate in November’s general election.

Now cometh the Montana Broadcasters Association, cheerfully putting its thumb on the scales of fair competition and open debate.  Alone, this corporate meddling may not be a game-changer, but when added to the other obstacles thrown down to stop competition in American elections, it is significant.  Rigging debates could be the final nail in  Montana’s so-called “democratic-elections.”

The “our democracy” meme is a huge lie we all live with daily.  Repeated ad nauseam in the mainstream media, we’re keeping the illusion alive for unsuspecting voters.  This could be called the “Tinkerbell effect.”  Clap if you want to keep democracy alive.

So, here in Montana, we’re working hard to make sure you cannot vote for the candidate of your choice (association and free speech).  Third party candidates threaten the fake two-party system, and therefore cannot be treated equally under the law, or anywhere in the media either.  The First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have no real meaning in everyday American life. Free and fair elections simply do not exist today. And, yes, journalism is as rare as bird shit in a cuckoo clock.


Continue reading “How to Rig a U.S. Senate Election”

Another Kabuki Dance

This video, and no doubt others like it, is making the rounds on Facebook, the current and most widely used propaganda outlet for not only politicians, but hucksters of every stripe. I suggested to the Democrat that put it up that if he cannot detect fake outrage here, his right to vote should be rescinded. He suggested that I limit my criticism to “your own page,” an indication that he has unfollowed me. For a Democrat in Montana, criticism of Tester is like farting in church.

It is easy to see from the backdrop above, sound-absorbing panels with cheesy posters featuring Tester’s home state of Montana on them, that he is in a studio. That means that everything, including the paper bill he uses, is a prop. I imagine that he is looking at either a Teleprompter, or cue cards. His voice is perhaps a third higher in octave than normal, indicating some serious lying going on, like a kid saying “I didn’t eat those cookies, Mom! Honest! I didn’t!”

Continue reading “Another Kabuki Dance”

Something so obvious should not be ignored so often

From Huffington Post:

Starkly different views on poverty and inequality rose to the fore again on Wednesday as Democrats in the Senate were unable to muster the supermajority of 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster of a proposal to raise the incomes of the working poor by lifting the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Left unsaid: The need for 60 votes is a requirement put there by the Democrats, who then complain about it.
PS: The following four senators all voted “yes” on this proposal: Jon Tester, D-MT; John Walsh, D-MT, Michael Bennet, D-CO, and Mark Udall, D-CO.

I am not familiar with Udall other than knowing some of his family history, which is favorable. But the other three votes are “cloaked” – it is important to understand this if you want to understand American politics. The Democrats created a false barrier, the filibuster, that allows them to cast false votes that have no impact. Tester, Walsh and Bennet are Republicans who ran as Democrats on the theory that the best way to control the opposition is to lead the opposition.

If there were a real vote on raising the minimum wage, and if their votes mattered, I assure you, these three poseurs would vote “No!” (Yes, they would put an exclamation point by their vote.)

Breaking news! This just in! This just in! Jon Tester, John Walsh in Crow Agency! Their faces show concern! Cameras happen to be there to catch it!

My goodness! Look - just look! - at the concern on their faces. It will go away when the cameras leave.
My goodness! Look – just look! – at the concern on their faces. It will go away when the cameras leave.
Back when Marc Racicot was governor of Montana, Libby and cancer were beeping on public radar. Since Racicot was from that area, he was thought to have special concerns.

He didn’t care about it of course, not to single him out. It was a big complicated issue, and the appearance of an unusually high occurrence of asbestos-related cancers in the town threatened bankruptcy to WR Grace and Company. That was the problem. The story (naturally) was exposed by non-Montana newspaper (Seattle PI), just as all scandals involving Montana politicians usually appear elsewhere before being reported here, and only reluctantly.
Continue reading “Breaking news! This just in! This just in! Jon Tester, John Walsh in Crow Agency! Their faces show concern! Cameras happen to be there to catch it!”

Tester goes peacenik on us … eesh!

Why do we only see head shots of this guy?
Why do we only see head shots of this guy?
This is the sort of thing that drives me absolutely batty. Here are the opening lines from the linked story:

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has joined Montana Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) in saying that will oppose proposed military action against Syria.

Tester released a statement on Thursday afternoon explaining his decision to vote against President Obama’s proposal to use force in the light of the recent use of chemical weapons in the Middle Eastern country’s civil war.

“The use of chemical weapons is deplorable. After weighing the facts and listening to Montanans, I’m convinced a military strike at this time will only make the situation worse. The best solution here is to keep putting international pressure on Syria to give up its chemical weapons.”

Continue reading “Tester goes peacenik on us … eesh!”

Tester does the Baucus shuffle on Bill Maher’s Real Time

Not shown:" Klieg lights, staff putting dirt on jacket,  cameras, or the numerous retakes to get that homey image just right. Barn position is critical, as lines must lead our eyes to our man. The chimney is some kind of weird crown. The camera angle is upward.
Not shown: Klieg lights, staff putting dirt on jacket, cameras, or the numerous retakes to get that homey image just right. Barn position is critical, as lines must lead our eyes to our man. The chimney is some kind of weird crown. The camera angle is upward.
Montana Senator Jon Tester was a guest on Bill Maher’s Real Time recently, and Maher, though fairly clueless himself, asked some questions that Tester is not used to answering. One was about farm subsidies, to which Tester answered that he was against them for large corporations. This roughly translates to mean that he wants to keep his own, which he feels is justified. I doubt that’s ever been raised by a Montana journalist, but I am just guessing.

After the show there was an overtime segment in which Maher takes questions from viewers via the Internet. I recorded it below just to highlight the lightweight status of Bill Maher, who usually only finds out after a guest leaves that s/he lied or dissembled. In this case, Maher could easily have confronted Tester with the fact that he was a beneficiary of Citizens United, and owed his reelection to dark money, and is doing the Baucus shuffle, claiming not to know its origin.
Continue reading “Tester does the Baucus shuffle on Bill Maher’s Real Time”

Dark money

 Dark money reminded us of who he is.
Dark money reminded us of who he is.
Matt Koehler is circulating Dark Money Helped Democrats Hold a Key Senate Seat, an article from Pro Publica written by Kim Barker. It is a good overview of politics in the post-Citizens United era.

A few thoughts after reading it:

  • American politics was already corrupt beyond repair, with two big-money parties freezing out every reform effort. The ability to corrupt us even further is a remarkable achievement.
  • Citizens United was handed down in 2010. In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama criticized the ruling as Sam Alito looked on in disgust (never to return for the annual theater production). Since that time, Obama has done exactly nothing about it – no bully pulpit, no bearing down on congress or stumping to help ground-level reform efforts. What stops him from leading? Does he fear dark money would cost him his office? Maybe he is just insincere. In either case, he is worthless.
  • The hypocrisy of Montana Democrats, who were furious when gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill received a similar, but smaller, influx, is illuminating. Says Tester (in a Baucus-like moment of dissembly), “We had no control over what they were saying. But by the same token, I think probably in the end if you look at it, they were helpful.” Later, “But it was important…We had to remind people of who I am.”
  • Finally, Barker insists on describing the cash influx in the wake of CU as hailing from “liberal” and “conservative” sources. I am parroting someone, and I do not know who, but in politics there are no ideologies. Only interests. The only reason that big money is invested in small people is that they return even bigger money. If Barker were to set aside such notions, she would add another level of insight to her already good work.