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.  http://www.krtv.com/story/38882281/montana-green-party-files-suit-in-federal-court-to-gain-ballot-access

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.

Irony

I write here about a personal event, but also one that happened 31 years ago, so time has healed most of the wound. The event was as follows: A man broke into our house and raped our eight-year-old daughter on March 20, 1987. I was asleep in the basement, my then-wife asleep on the couch after having watched March Madness (she followed Notre Dame).

Police were unable to solve the crime, and because of its gruesome nature, had to provide the public with a perpetrator. They settled on a young man, Jimmy Ray Bromgard, and lacking any evidence, forged hair samples and provided an “expert”witness who said those hairs were Jim’s. The kid spent fifteen years in prison. In 2002 the Innocence Project set him free, and because the State of Montana was fraudulent in its case against him, he received a $3.5 million settlement. I imagine he got some of that. I hope he did.

In 2015 the real perpetrator was uncovered, Ronald Dwight Tipton, whose family name appears in the 1988 Billings, Montana phone book as living one block from our home. Why did he choose our daughter? That’s a family matter. I understand it now, though I did not before this year. However, Tipton will walk free now, as the statute has run.

I understand irony. It is a thing quite apart from humor. It cuts deep. Our “justice” system first imprisoned an innocent man. No one cared that Jim Bromgard was innocent. They “solved” the crime. The system worked. The lead detective on the crime landed a nice FBI position!

They have now let the guilty man go free. It cuts no deeper than that.

Campaign of Illusions: Where the Zero Cut Movement to Save the National Forests Went Wrong

Zero-Cut No Commercial Logging again? A quarter century after it became the banner and guiding star for much of the grassroots forest movement, and then over a decade of semi-retirement, the campaign for this legislation is trying to mount a national revival. My question is simple: Is it the best strategy for a collapsed forest movement, daily confronting the debacle of rapidly increasing logging and roadbuilding in the national forests?

The combination of President Trump and an overtly hostile Republican-controlled Congress has shocked the grassroots, non-collaboration forest movement. Awakening from over a decade of a sort of slumber, these forest defense activists are daily burning up internet chat rooms with news chronicling cascading losses in Agriculture and Interior Department rules, regulations, administrative edicts, and newly-passed laws and congressional riders that roll back decades of environmental laws and court victories.

They are stunned to see the reality that their strategy of timber sales appeals and lawsuits are no longer holding back the bulldozers and chain saws of the timber industry and its U.S. Forest Service puppet. As they ponder these mounting losses, they watch their local forests logged with increasing ferocity, a comprehensive assault on public lands with transgressions that few imagined they would live to see. Continue reading “Campaign of Illusions: Where the Zero Cut Movement to Save the National Forests Went Wrong”

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 https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2018/06/11/montana-senate-candidates-debate-forums/692623002/ 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 https://www.democrats.org/party-platform#voting-rights 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”

Trial by Fire

Last evening I participated as one of five presenters in a live-audience,  multi-media discussion/presentation with a group of foresters, a smoke jumper and State of Montana’s tourism specialist in the Dept. of Commerce.  The topic was “Can we manage wildfire; Should we manage wildfire.”  As the lone “tree-hugger” on the stage, I tried to probe other panel members for the reasons for their beliefs – most believed in management as a “solution” to our wildfire “problem.”  Needless to say, the anthropocentric viewpoint predominated.

Soldiering on, I tried very hard to interject a few self-evident truths about nature and fire’s natural role in the continuous mystery of life in its many forms.  When cornered with truth, however, the other participants simply lied to escape reality.  I’m sure they believed their lies, but even to the live audience lying seemed obvious, but generally an acceptable answer to a confrontation with an inescapable truth.  Continue reading “Trial by Fire”

21st Century Rape Culture

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein

Is there an environmental “rape culture” in the United States? Yes, of course, there is. Most contemporary ecological problems, or “rape the land” mentality, is deeply rooted in Western patriarchal culture.

Rape (transitive verb) definition for this piece: 1a: (archaic) to seize and take away by force b:despoil 2: to commit rape on Continue reading “21st Century Rape Culture”

“Saving” Watersheds and Urbanites

The Prussian “Iron Chancellor” Otto Von Bismarck is often credited with the saying: “To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) recently introduced legislation to speed forest clearcutting and thinning projects in the Forest Service’s Northern Region.

The “Protect Collaboration for Healthier Forests Act” would adopt a regional approach to disputes over forest management projects that Daines has sought to implement nationally. According to Sen. Daines, “fringe litigators — radical environmental extremists — sue to stop commonsense collaborative forest management projects that would reduce the risk of wildfire.” Continue reading ““Saving” Watersheds and Urbanites”