Facts in Five Friday

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Former Governor Brian Schweitzer apologized for his insensitive sexist and homophobic remarks about Dianne Feinstein and Eric Cantor, suggesting, at least, that the former Governor knows he was wrong. There is no defending what Schweitzer had to say, but the spectacle of Montana and national conservatives falling all over themselves to condemn Schweitzer when they’ve not only said worse, but enacted legislation that put bigotry into practice, certainly makes it difficult not to be a cynic about politics. It’s also especially cynical for former Baucus staff member Jim Messina, who was responsible for the profoundly homophobic Mike Taylor ad to be quoted calling Schweitzer the “most overrated pol (in) memory,” and [saying] that “offensive comments and bolo ties don’t get you (the president of the United States).”

The Medicaid expansion initiative fell short of the signatures necessary to get on the November ballot, despite the best efforts of proponents to get the job done. As MT Cowgirl points out, their efforts were certainly hampered by Attorney General Tim Fox, whose legal dithering delayed the signature gathering as long as possible. Unsurprisingly, former Montana Democratic “consultant” and John Bohlinger advisor Bob Brigham took to Twitter to condemn the governor’s office, conveniently forgetting his own very public and even more vitriolic opposition to the initiative process and/or the idea of a special session, depending on the political winds in the instant he was speaking.

The Montana Democratic Party is continuing to hammer Steve Daines for his repeated efforts to claim he supports programs despite voting against funding for them. Daines has mastered the act of showing up to claim credit for programs that help Montana’s elderly, poor, and veterans, but the media seems loathe to call him out for failing to truly support the programs with the funding they require.

Daines has also drawn fire from at least one former Republican staffer for a dishonest ad attacking Senator John Walsh. Former Burns staffer Jackie Brown wrote last week at The Western Word that “Daines has been quick to praise veterans, but in this attack on Walsh it makes me and other folks wonder if his praise for veterans is just for votes. I’d like to know if Daines actually respects the sacrifices veterans like Walsh have made for this country at all. Daines should be thanking Walsh for his military service instead of trying to swift boat him. I give Steve Daines’ new campaign ad “Personal Gain” a zero. It’s by far his worst ad yet, and he should pull it.”

The Montana Congressional delegation is calling on President Obama not to send troops to deal with the sectarian violence ripping Iraq apart. I’m reminded of something Colin Powell once said about Pottery Barn. The Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush cabal’s disastrous war is going to ripple through history and damage American interests for decades. It’s encouraging that our Congressional delegation sees the danger of becoming entangled again.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

30 Comments

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  • Gee………He took all of 15 seconds to write a 29 word semi-sincere apology on his Facebook page.   I guess he must be really, really, really sorry.   Same old Brian.

  • “Sectarian.” Heh heh. Someone gets his news from community college dropout Bryan Williams.

  • MarkTokarski Please explain Iraq to us. We all humbly await your explanation. I don’t know why any of us read the news, given your ability to explain everything to us.

  • I’ve written about it, so has Lizard and JC, but none of that would satisfy your conformation bias. it’s right there, and you’ve not read any of it. How do I know? I just do. You do not venture out and expose yourself to opinions that you are not predisposed to agree with.
    In addition into being unable to put up a cogent response here, you’re narrow and sectarian and deeply uninformed, and the last to know it, of course.
    Go. NPR is beckoning, wanting to fill your void. I heard them today talking about Obama’s reluctance to get involved I sectarian violence, this after we killed what … 1.2 million of them, displace another 2 million? Then I puked.

  • MarkTokarski Oh, I didn’t realize you were going to bring out the most credible sources on the situation in Iraq: yourself and two anonymous bloggers who live in Montana.

    Given the ethos of that collection, I surely will change my opinion. What adjective should I use for the conflict in Iraq?

  • God you’re shallow! It’s not that. You asked me to explain, so I explained that it’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t take trouble to inform himself. JC and Lizard and I and others are knee-deep in this stuff, you’re not. You’re NPR. We express opinions, like you. Ours have some depth. You’re NPR.

  • MarkTokarski Yeah, I’ve loved your dispatches from the ground in Iraq. I think the three of you collectively have most of the answers to foreign policy questions that have vexed the United States for decades. 

    Alternatively, instead of being your typically smug, fact-free self, maybe you could have come into the thread, critiqued my characterization of the conflict in Iraq and offered some evidence or analysis to support your position.

    But no. Instead, you fell back on your typical strategy of using a lack of evidence commensurate with your lack of personal skills.

    Well done.

  • I have no obligation to bring my or anyone’s work to a man who does not seek things out in his own. Your most notable feature is your incuriosity. You’d make a great American journalist.
    I’ve been following matters in Iraq since this attack began in 1990, when they were lured into Kuwait. There were no blogs in the 90’s as Clinton starved a half million kids to death, and the 2003 attack was premised on easily discovered lies. The body count was staggering, the devastation of the once nearly first-world country barbaric. Fallujah was apparently nuked. The forces moving on Iraq now are US-backed, with Saudi and French support. “al Qaeda,” our old friend and ally, is part of it. Many of them are fresh out of Syria, and Ukraine, our latest fascist ally, has supplied weapons. The object is to break the country up into three states, disempower the Shiite majority, place the oil in the hands of Sunni and Kurdish forces loyal to the West. “Obama’s” policy is that of Bush I and II. He’s a NeoCon, as it turns out, and US policy towards Iraq is unchanged since 1990, when the fall of the Soviet Union empowered Bush I to unleash the Pentagon beast on them. Funny that.
    Along comes you, up to your ears in easily-attained state controlled US news. If you got nothing to bring, you could at least remain silent on these matters.

    • 1) My favorite part of your commentary is definitely your smug assumption that you know more and have read more than anyone on every issue that’s debated. I’m beyond certain that I have read and researched Iraq more thoroughly that your scan of Dissent every couple of months allows. I’m certainly aware of, and realize the unrelated nature of the devastating sanctions under Clinton and the absurd justifications for the first Iraq invasion. They are irrelevant to this discussion, and hardly prove the depth of your knowledge.

      2) Your conspiracy theory nonsense that the US is arming the Iraq rebels, that Ukraine is fascist, and that we are suddenly supporting the Sunnis is beyond absurdity–and unprovable idiocy. Given the credulity with which you swallow every one of these arguments about American imperialism, perhaps you should do some thinking about your confirmation bias.

      3) Critics of the American imperial project, something I’ve never denied or endorsed, might be slightly more effective if they based their arguments in the world as it is, not the one they create in their fevered imaginations.

  • One of the more famous comedy lines:
    Take my wife……please!
    One you will NEVER hear:
    Take my gay partner…….PLEASE!
    For you see, the bigot police in this country are doing double duty.  There can be NOTHING funny in gay relations!  Gay people are off limits in the humor department since they’ve been elevated to special status based upon their sexual orientation.  I mean, just think about that for a minute.  Gays come in all colors,  shapes, and sizes.  They are NOT a race.  They are simply practicing a lifestyle.  And really, since when is it against the morality police law in this country to poke fun at a lifestyle??  I don’t get it.  When was the last time you heard a gay joke?  Nope.  Me neither!

  • How in the hell is “do not dismantle the Iraqi government” not a change of policy with “dismantle the Iraqi government”?! While somewhat similar (in that they were involved in Iraq) the policy’s of former President George Bush and former President George W Bush are VASTLY different and it’s ignorent of history to argue elsewise.

  • Larry Kralj  – don’t you know that claiming to be gay earns you ‘victim status’ in 2014 America ?

  • The Billowing Toadstool I beg to differ on that. You must simply step back and gauge broad policy. Try this: The US MIC intends to control resources, remove surplus population, reduce the standard of living of those remaining to subsistence, control the government.

    With that in mind you can look at our policy in Iraq, 1990 to present, and see it has not changed an iota, and is unencumbered, as is all foreign (and most domestic) policy, from American election, which are meaningless.

  • MarkTokarski The Billowing Toadstool  If our policy has remained unchanged why did it change from Bush Sr.’s “do not dismantle the Iraqi government” to Bush Jr’s “dismantle the iraqi government? I ask this again because you have provided yourself with a frame and then proceeded to state that it has four walls.  To deny change in Iraq-US policy between 1990 and today is to deny the 2003 Operation Iraqi freedom which completely rewrote Iraqi-US relations through the instillation of new Iraqi government.  Oh I forgot, elections don’t matter to you, thus the people in government are irrelevant because they have no power, no?  Thus we are still at war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi MIIC, continuously, from 1990 until today.  Surely you can understand how preposterous these arguments are?  They are your own.

  • There’s censorship, and then there’s homo censorship.  Vee….Must…. Hav……Zee….. Homo……….Sensorship!

  • Yes, I do realize what these arguments sound like, as it is all strange and different to you. I am used to that reaction. It’s tough living under the American bubble. Information available to you is sparse at best.
    You are confusing the overall policy goal, destruction of Iraq, with the interim strategies. The first attack in 1991, was horrible and barbaric, and directed not at military targets, but the civilian infrastructure. They bombed the electric grid and water supply system, schools and hospitals and factories and farms. When it was shown that they had bombed an infant formula factory, the Pentagon propaganda mill quickly turned baby milk into chemical weapons. Americans drank it.
    But Iraq still had weapons, and a march on Baghdad to overthrow the government would have produced massive American casualties and threatened public support for the massacre. That was when Bush I announced that he was not going to dismantle the government and that was why. Ultimately, they wanted to dismantle the government. It was strategic retreat.
    So they pulled back, set up the sanction regime and refused to let them fix their water system , so that disease would spread, and refused to let them import enough food so that kids and old people would starve. God it was ugly, and that went on all the way through the Clinton years, supposedly a different government due to an election. God that was ugly! meanwhile, the UN was combing the country looking for weapons, and the Iraqis were cooperating and got rid of everything. So by 2003, a supposedly new government due to an election here, assured that the WMD’s were gone, announced they were going after the nonexistent WMD’s and attacked again, this time to dismantle the government and finish the job. And it was interesting to watch because it was the fact that the weapons were gone that prompted the attack, even as they said the weapons were the reason for the attack. Americans are kind of gullible.
    That attack, which killed 1.2 million and caused another two million to flee, still did not get the job done, and worse yet, in 2011 the Obama Administration, supposedly a new government put in by election, was forced to concede military defeat and withdraw most troops, as Bush had agreed to do earlier. Iraqis have to be some of the bravest people on the planet. So Obama pretended it was his idea, like he’s in charge and all that, and the Pentagon backed off. Another strategic retreat.
    Obama, supposedly a new government here due to an election,, had backed a terrorist attack on Syria, brutal and killing hundreds of thousands, and of course blamed on the Syrian government, but that attack failed too, and those terrorists were in retreat, and so they were retrenched and regrouped, armed with weapons from the new Ukrainian fascist regime and under French, Saudi and American leadership, and have attacked Iraq again. That’s where we are at.
    Six elections here in the interim, not a dime’s worth of difference in policy. Same objective, to destroy the country, break it up into fiefdoms, depopulate and reduce them to subsistence, make them scream. This endeth the lesson.
    If you love your country, you might consider leaving.

  • Bro, bro, bro. There is simply no getting through to you and I will leave it at that. Good luck up in Canada, eh?

  • Did you like just say love it or leave it? Are you kidding me? You come on here all aggressive and shallow and clueless and encounter a shit storm, and all you can say is that?
    Read a book some day.

  • Sir, you have me utterly convinced that you don’t read your own type. Last line you recommend leaving the US, hence the Canada comment. I don’t understand why you think NPR is a part of my life, why you insist on calling me illiterate, or why you enjoy arguing online if you refuse to directly and suscinctly refute your opponents points. Have a good day my fellow American. Also that you found any of my posts aggressive suggests that’s what you came on here looking for, as agression was not a component of any of my posts. Seriously though, have a good day, enjoy a good laugh. It helps.

  • I gave you my reading of American foreign policy, 1990 to present. I’ve followed it closely and have taken the puzzle pieces that media gives us, followed leads, read books and journalists and people deeply involved, and tried to understand what our MIIC is up to over there. No one ever says anything true in public, every American speaking is lying, so it is quite a puzzle palace. Assembling, reassembling, all while being aware of the bloody carnage they visit on these places they claim to be liberating, is the job of a citizen.
    You gave me about two sentences that I generously thought you might have picked up from NPR. Bryan Williams more likely, perhaps Fox, they are all the same. You don’t know anything. Ignorance is no crime. It’s a starting point, but your efforts here to be dismissive as you slam the door indicate you’re happy to be ignorant. So be it.

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