Culture Greg Gianforte Jon Tester Montana Politics Steve Daines

Weekend recaps: single payer, fires, Daines, 2018 congressional race, Miss Montana USA

Written by Pete Talbot
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The winds of change

Former Senator/Ambassador Max Baucus and current Sen. Jon Tester have said single-payer health care is something “we should start looking at.”

This is a reversal from both of these Montanans’ earlier stands. So why the change of heart? It could be that after Senate Democrats (with the help of three Republicans) were able to hold off the right’s dismantling of Obamacare, things have evolved. Tester said as much at a meeting with Missoula Democrats in July. From an earlier post:

Health care was a heady topic and an audience member asked about advancing a single-payer plan. Tester responded that keeping the ACA (Obamacare) in tact was a big enough battle — single payer was off the table.

Now, according to Tester, it’s back on the table. As for Baucus, after he took single payer “off the table” during the 2009 health care hearings, he might be seeing the light (and he doesn’t have to fundraise for an election).

What’s also possible is that the American public is beginning to see the light, plus single payer is a simpler thing to grasp than the complicated ACA (Obamacare) or AHCA (Trumpcare) that has been offered up. From WaPo:

In conversations this week, several Democrats said that a lesson from the 2016 campaign, applicable to health care, was that voters favored an idea they could quickly understand over an idea that was means-tested (ACA) but overly complicated.

Implementing single payer also won’t be that simple but it’s where we’re headed — maybe start with a government option and move forward from there.

Let it rain

When the predicted precipitation begins falling later this week, reducing smoke and fires, let us not forget how miserable the past few weeks have been.

Some in-depth reporting on fire behavior would be welcome. Right now, it seems to be mostly gadflies and pundits telling us what’s what — picking up where Montana Republican leadership left off — with more logging and less litigation the meme making the Letter-to-the-Editor rounds.

So, what’s the reality? Did the fires burn in areas already logged or in virgin stands? In places where forests were thinned, was the spread of fire lessened? Are prescribed burns the answer? What’s the role of climate change in our increasingly intense fire season?

Some real science applied to these questions and reported in Montana’s media would be a welcome change although a good place to start for some background, suggests Last Best News, is Red Lodge author Gary Ferguson’s “Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West.”

One letter that bucked the trend of blaming “environmental extremists” and also put a smile on my face is in today’s Missoulian:

This morning we breathed smoke, ate breakfast, listened to reports of unprecedented coastal devastation by Harvey and Irma and wondered why Montana’s epic fires aren’t getting national coverage. Perhaps it would help to give them catchy names and, to give credit where it’s due, name them after our politicians who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of climate change.

The toxic hot gasses generated by the Lolo Peak fire make it a candidate for the “Trump Complex.” The athletic sprint of the Lodgepole Complex reminds us of macho Commander Zinke. U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, well-practiced at choking people, deserves an honorific, as does U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, whose fundraising letters are masterpieces of inflammatory rhetoric.

Daines “inflammatory rhetoric,” continued

To commemorate the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center 16 years ago, Sen. Steve Daines sent out an email to his constituents. This is a solemn occasion, no doubt, and worthy of remembrance. Of course, Daines took the opportunity to get political, beat a dead horse and pander to his base:

We also remember the American lives lost in the September 11, 2012, terror attack on the United States embassy in Benghazi, Libya: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. We still push for answers on what happened that tragic day.

Benghazi, really? Then there was his plug for a flag-burning amendment. I personally find burning the American flag abhorrent but a Constitutional Amendment? One that trumps the First Amendment, you know, the one about free speech?

At the end of September 11, 2001, and every day since, the Stars and Stripes has still flown high. I have introduced a Constitutional Amendment to give Congress the authority to prohibit burning the American flag because I believe this symbol of hope and freedom ought to be respected and set apart as a protected symbol worthy of honor.

Continue your irrelevance, Senator.

U.S. House wannabes

Four names are being bandied about for for the 2018 Democratic congressional primary. More are sure to follow since Republican Representative Greg Gianforte’s mug shot should figure prominently in the November general election. The fact that he hasn’t held a town hall meeting with constituents, even during the August recess, doesn’t bode well for the incumbent.

Grant Kier of Missoula’s Five Valleys Land Trust is showing interest. He was glad-handing delegates at the Democrats’ convention last month. He’s a political neophyte but is known for working well with both sides of the aisle when it comes to land conservation issues in Western Montana.

Bozemanian Tom Woods, a three-term member of the Montana House, is exploring a run. What’s holding him back, he says, is the “absurd” sum of money he’d have to raise to be competitive. I can certainly respect that. Big money is the name of the game in politics these days.

Lynda Moss of Billings, who served two terms in the Montana Senate, is interested, according to Logicosity: “Moss has been reaching out to those within her network to determine how much support she might expect if she were to jump in.” At this point, she has the most name recognition, at least in Montana’s largest city.

Another Billings resident, John Heenan, has been the most aggressive candidate of the four. He has formally announced and even has a TV spot out. Here’s the one-minute version. He’s a political newcomer but is making the rounds and has actively courted the progressive wing of the party.

It’s still, relatively, early and The Montana Post will keep you updated.

She had a good run

On Sunday, a friend and compatriot ran for the title of Miss Montana USA.

I don’t ordinarily promote pageants but Anita Green is an LGBTQ activist and political progressive who I’ve worked alongside on candidate and issue campaigns. She’s also the first transgender woman to compete in the Montana pageant.

I’ve learned firsthand from her and her friends about the struggles — the discrimination and even violence — they’ve faced in Montana. I love how she’s shaking up the status quo (and, hopefully, giving Jeff Laszloffy and fellow travelers at the Montana Family Foundation, conniptions).

Two national publications took an interest: Cosmopolitan and People.

Anita broke new ground and was a gracious competitor. From her Facebook page:

In case people didn’t hear the news yet, Dani Walker won the title of Miss Montana USA 2018. I’m honestly very happy for her! I don’t think any of the other contestants invested anywhere near as much time as her into the pageant industry. Congratulations Dani! You really did earn it!

As for me, I didn’t place. Was it for political reasons? Was now just not the time for a transgender woman to win a state title? Or did I genuinely not perform as well as the other contestants? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.

I’m glad I took advantage of this opportunity and I certainly learned a lot, but I think this was a one time thing for me. Who knows what the future has in store for me though? For now, I’m just going to catch up on some much-needed sleep!

About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

28 Comments

  • Pete — Heenan assured early supporters that he vetted his intention with “all the usual suspects,” and came away convinced he could be solo in the Primary. So why are these others muddying the waters? It’s their right, of course, but why? Nothing like fragmenting the Democratic party even more…..

    • I am entirely opposed to the idea of someone being able to clear the field and get assurance that he won’t face a primary. That certainly hasn’t worked for Dems in the past.

      Let’s have a heated primary and vet these candidates. I want an old-fashioned ’06 Tester-Morrison throw down.

        • Well, JC, I know there’s no love lost between you and the Senator, but having received an email today from Matt Rosendale, who could end up the 2018 Republican nominee, Tester is looking better-and-better. Some Rosendale outtakes:

          “I stand behind President Trump and Vice President Pence 100% as they work to drain the swamp in Washington and Make America Great Again, and I am eager to fight alongside them.

          Jon Tester, on the other hand, has clearly sided with the liberal-left to obstruct President Trump’s agenda at every turn … the candidates he’s worked to elect supported amnesty for illegal aliens, abortion on demand, new restrictions on your gun rights … and the list goes on and on!”

          “He recently suggested that Congress should “take a solid look” at a single-payer health care system – a complete federal takeover of our families’ health care that would cost $32 TRILLION over ten years. It would mean MASSIVE tax hikes on hardworking Montanans!”

          Not only is Rosendale lying his ass off but he’s just plain scary — makes Tester look like a lefty enviro peacenik.

          I suppose there could be a primary challenger to Tester but I don’t think she/he would get very far.

          • I’m sure there will be a third party candidate to siphon off voters who can’t bear the stench of voting for Jon. If anybody ever were to view tester as “a lefty enviro peacenik”, then they haven’t a clue about either the left, enviros, or peaceniks. It doesn’t matter how far the GOP drags their party to the right, voters with integrity don’t have to get drug to the right pursuing a lousy politician like Tester. Jon would have made a moderate republican senator in the 70s-80s.

            • @JC – “Jon would have made a moderate republican senator in the 70s-80s.” You say that like it’s a bad thing!!

              Having reached voting age in time to vote against Nixon, I treasure the status of having been a lifelong Independent. I have very clear and positive recollections of those “moderate Republican Senators” in the 70s-80s. If the GOP managed to resurrect a Nelson Rockefeller, Chuck Percy, Everett Dirksen, Jacob Javits, Mark Hatfield, or Margaret Chase Smith, I would vote for such a candidate in a heartbeat!!

              I don’t know why you so despise Sen Tester, but given the general tone of your remarks, I tend to react, “If you’re agin’ him, I’m fer him.”

              • Why despise him? Besides the way he treated fellow democratic senatorial candidate Paul Richards and Paul’s supporters in 2006, lots of reasons. Mostly because he has been corrupted and trades committee votes for campaign contributions. He is a man of the lobbyist and the corporatist before being a man of the people. I find that despicable in any politician, not just Jon Tester.

    • Hi Pat. You’re thinking the Montana Democratic Party is a well-oiled machine that properly vets candidates and advances the best one. It doesn’t usually work that way and obviously, there are flaws in the system. I have to side with Don, though, and I look forward to a robust primary, if there is one. I like Heenan’s message and hope Democrats are paying attention. But it’s already suggested that the party is an insider organization, and it would be good to dispel that myth.

      Or we could take the Republican approach and select candidates from the Forbes 400 richest Americans.

    • “Heenan assured early supporters that he vetted his intention with “all the usual suspects,” and came away convinced he could be solo in the Primary.” If he believed that, if he believed the fix was in, and provided early supporters with assurances that the field had been cleared for himself, he was thinking like Hillary Clinton, who believed she’d cleared the field, and was entitled to clear the field, and thus was enraged when Bernie Sanders exercised his right to seek the nomination. Primaries do not fragment political parties. They vet candidates, and teach the winners how to campaign. Let the voters decide the nomination — and let the party’s fixers not meddle with the primary.

  • The idea, it appears, is to try to eliminate Progressive Heenan with a DLC-style “moderate” when we truly need someone to stand up and kick some ass!

  • RE: “Some in-depth reporting on fire behavior would be welcome.”

    Totally agree Pete. Maybe that will happen down the road, but up until this point it sure seems like the majority in the Montana news media are content to give Montana politicians, especially the GOP, free reign to just blame all the wildfires on ‘radical’ ‘fringe’ ‘extremist’ environmentalists.

    That’s why this interview featuring Philip Higuera, a professor of fire ecology at the University of Montana, was so refreshing: https://www.citylab.com/environment/2017/09/the-west-is-on-fire-get-used-to-it/539352/

    Hopefully people like Dr. Higuera are given more opportunities to share their knowledge and facts about wildfires in general Montana news outlets, and not just this CityLab blog belonging to The Atlantic.

    Here are some highlights. Imagine how different the discussion and debate about wildfires, public lands management and logging would be if experts and facts like this were part of the discussion. Well, in defense of the environmental movement, we’ve been bringing up the same facts both this year, and in many wildfire seasons over the past few decades.

    ————-

    Why is this fire season so dramatic?

    Dr. Higuera: The main reason there is so much burning right now is the strong seasonal drought across the region. The term we use is that these fires are “climate enabled.” The drought makes most of the vegetation, live or dead, receptive to burning. In Missoula, we had the driest July and August on record and the third-warmest July and August. With those types of conditions, we expect widespread burning. But people underestimate the role that seasonal climate plays in these events, and we start to grasp at lots of other things to explain it.

    Why are these fires so hard to put out?

    Dr. Higuera: This goes back to why the fires are happening. The fuels are extremely dry. And most areas burn during extreme weather conditions—the days when it’s hot, humidity is low and there are high winds. These are the conditions in which fires quickly double in size. They are also the conditions where it’s most dangerous to put people in front of the fire. Also, a lot of these fires start in very remote areas with rugged terrain, and just putting people on the ground comes with some risk.

    Montana alone has already spent tens of millions of dollars trying to suppress wildfires this summer, and two firefighters have been killed. Is that having any impact, or is it like driving down the expressway throwing bags of money out the window?

    Dr. Higuera: When you say it’s not working, the key question is, What’s the goal? “It’s not working” assumes the goal is to have no fires. We will fail if that is the goal. Most of these ecosystems that are burning have evolved with fire. We expect them to burn. We need them to burn if we want them to continue to exist.

    So it’s like trying to stop rain?

    Dr. Higuera: It’s like trying to stop an earthquake. Trying to stop a volcano. To me, the goal can’t be to have no fire. That’s gotten us into trouble when we pursued that goal. I think the metric should be how much area has burned that we wanted to burn compared to how much burned that we didn’t want to burn. Or closer to the nugget, how many resources were harmed—how many houses were lost, how many people were either directly or indirectly killed?

    You don’t see raging forest fires as a failure of suppression efforts?

    Dr. Higuera: No. Knowing how climate enables and drives these large fires, I think that it would be impossible to put these fires out.

    Another school of thought says we should allow more logging to clear trees and help prevent wildfires. Does that hold water?

    Dr. Higuera: I don’t think that holds water. That is based on the assumption that fires are occurring because there is more fuel available to burn than in the past. That’s generally not what’s driving this. It’s the drought. It’s true that if cut, there is less fuel in the forests. But in a lot of cases, there is what’s called slash—woody debris—left on the ground that will carry fire across the forest floor, which is what you need for it to spread.

    The simple answer—if you want to eliminate fire, then pave it. There will be no fire.

    • Here’s another interesting tidbit about wildfires in the United States year-to-date.

      According to today’s September 12 Incident Management Situation Report from the National Interagency Coordination Center (https://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf)….

      Year-to-date the Southern Area of the United States has had 19,393 MORE wildfires that burned 397,654 MORE acres than what has burned in the Northern Rockies.

      Specially, the Southern Area has had a total of 22,260 wildfires which burned 1,634,883 acres, compare with the Northern Rockies area, which has had a total of 2,867 wildfires that burned 1,237,229 acres.

    • We’re fucking doomed, Matt, just look at the comments on Daines’ guest column today. You’ll have to scroll down a few posts on the Missoulian’s Facebook page:

      https://www.facebook.com/search/str/missoulian/keywords_blended_featured_posts

      Some samples:

      “Time to take the Wilderness and Antiquities acts away. Tear down the gates and rebuild the roads. Bring back grazing, logging, mines and oil drilling. Really manage the land for the real public.”

      “So tired of the environmentalists having their way. Hoping for a change.”

      “Good for you Mr. Daines. Good luck fighting the global warming fools who believe cows farting in the fields, dead wood all over the floor of our forests is good for Montana. It doesn’t matter to them what you do or say, their ideology is more important to them than reality.”

      “The forests have been choking on their own dying vegetation because liberals whine and file a lawsuit every time there is an effort to do anything about cleaning them up. The liberals are the ones who have shut down the wood and logging industry in Montana.”

      That’s the gist of the majority of comments.

      • Doesn’t sound any worse than when Reagan/Bush and James Watt took over in the 80s. Then Don Hodell, Manny Lujan, Ed Madigan, Max Peterson, Dale Robertson, Robert Burford, Anne Gorsuch, and on and on continued the land raping. If these names don’t ring a bell, it’s because they were incredibly adept administrators of the USDA, USFS, BLM, and EPA when the greatest gutting of environmental policy occurred. Today’s plethora of inept crony capitalists are wimps compared to those guys. And there is a large cadre of enviros who cut their wisdom teeth on the 80s land sharks. Today’s version of Tester-led MWA collaborationists are just as dangerous as any of the above republican appointed administrators. If enviros didn’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time fending of liberal progressives doing the bidding of campaign and nonprofit funders, they could continue the good work of neutering the minions of end stage capitalism.

        If anything, the likes of James Watt and the rest of the 80s crew did wonders to spark the environmental movement into hyper drive. It was the hypnotic droll of Clinton and Obama and their “environmental leaders” and their misguided policies and programs that pulled the carpet out of the movement.

        Tester under Obama was able to accomplish something that no republican could do: delist the wolf. Tester is a danger to the environment more insidious than any republican has been, as he has mastered the art of wrapping his wolf-like ways in sheep’s wool.

        I fully expect epithets of radical extremist to be flung out, so save yourselves as I won’t respond.

  • Jon Tester, quoted in last week’s The Hill:

    “Maybe it’s something we should, quite frankly, take a solid look at.”

    Then Bernie Sanders introduces his Universal Healthcare, single-payer bill. Here’s what Jon Tester was quoted yesterday in The Hill:

    Tester told reporters he won’t be supporting Sanders’s legislation. ‘I support fixing what we got because I think that’s more likely to happen.’ Tester is up for reelection in 2018 in what’s likely to be a tight race.”

    Classic flip-flop. What changed, besides his opportunistic use of the word “maybe” in the first quote? An honest weighing of “more likely to happen” as if any bill to fix Obamacare is going to get through the republican controlled Congress and signed by Trump? When you have two bills, both of which has zero chance of passing this Congress, one may as well hang ones hat on that bill that most closely resembles one’s true desire.

    Or, as The Hill insinuates, its all cold political calculation as “Tester is up for reelection in 2018 in what’s likely to be a tight race.”

    One could also look at Testers recent funding activity. Of the top 20 campaign contributors this cycle, here’s a smattering:

    4. Metlife Inc $60,000
    6. Blue Cross/Blue Shield $48,250
    11. Pfizer Inc $33,700
    16. Amgen Inc $30,000
    17 American Hospital Assn $29,500

    Of all the rest of the top 20 funders, only 2 can be said to represent real people or progressive interests (LCV and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community). The rest are financial outfits that among other things profit off the health care industry, or are military-industrial complex transnational corporations.

    Crony capitalist to the max.

  • RE: “Some in-depth reporting on fire behavior would be welcome” Part 2

    Yet a few more national media outlets are somehow able to write about Montana wildfires and find actual, real-life Montana-based fire ecologist, researcher and/or scientific experts to interview and offer their knowledgeable opinion.

    There’s this piece in today’s NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/climate/yellowstone-western-fires-in-two-forests.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

    And this piece from Megan Molteni in the latest WIRED is very much worth a read. It’s titled “The Science of Fighting Wildfires Gets a Satellite Boost” and you can read the entire article here: https://www.wired.com/story/the-science-of-fighting-wildfires-gets-a-satellite-boost/

    These paragraphs SNIPPED below were very interesting, especially since Zinke, Daines, Gianforte and the Montana timber industry have blamed environmentalists for all the wildfires in Montana, and specifically the Park Creek Fire near Lincoln.

    Meanwhile, many folks in the Montana news media seem entirely intent on just letting Montana’s politicians – especially from the GOP – engaged in childish name calling like calling Montana citizens who are environmentalists ‘extremists’ ‘fringe’ or ‘radicals’ (thereby inciting hatred, and maybe even potential violence against environmentalists in Montana).

    Maybe someday soon more media outlets in Montana will be able to locate the wildfire scientists, researchers and experts literally living right under their noses, or maybe even right next door.

    ——————

    SNIPS From “The Science of Fighting Wildfires Gets a Satellite Boost” via WIRED:

    Here’s the straightforward logic of Zinke’s scapegoating: Environmentalists block the Forest Service from lowering the fuel load on the land, land catches on fire, and now it’s harder to put out. Thanks, tree-huggers.

    But fire scientists say it’s more complicated than that. Many question the ecological (and economic) value of thinning forests out, for three big reasons. One, the evidence for its efficacy is both scant and at times contradictory. Two, probabilistic risk assessments show that the thinning doesn’t really help much because the likelihood of a fire starting close enough to interact with thinned areas is negligibly small. And three, in the worst weather conditions—dry, hot, and most importantly, windy—no amount of thinning or selective logging is going to make much difference.

    A case in point: that Park Creek fire burning outside of Lincoln. It started on a remote slope that wasn’t slated for any prescribed burns or dead tree removals. But such treatments wouldn’t have made much difference anyway, according to Carl Seielstad, a fire ecologist at the National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis at the University of Montana, because the closest road is more than mile away, at the bottom of a slope.

    If you know anything about fire behavior, you know it moves much faster uphill. And in this case there wasn’t much in that direction, except more trees. “Without any roads in this area there was nothing for firefighters to anchor to,” says Seielstad, pointing at a 3D rendering of the fire’s path he’s pulled up on his computer. “It’s fair to say that regardless of treatment, this area would probably have been impossible to contain.”

  • @JC: given the despicable September 11 truther garbage on your blog, you’re not in any position to be giving sanctimonious lectures about integrity.

    • I suppose you believe the official government conspiracy theory — you know the one that has led us to perennial war, 10’s of thousands dead across the middle east in countries having nothing to do with 9/11, loss of civil rights, rampant surveillance by burgeoning intelligence services (all 27 of them), police militarization, ballooning debt to finance the military-industrial-complex running our foreign policy, etc. etc.

      Then again, ever the retreat to ad hominem around here to fend off the facts surrounding a corrupt politician. And people wonder why democrats have lost independents and much of the left. It’s this circling of the wagons around a small pool of thought, and excommunicating free thinkers that is killing dems. Not legitimate criticism.

      • @JC – As I said earlier, given the tone of your remarks, “If you’re agin’ him, I’m fer him.”

        I would recommend extra care on your part when you brush your teeth. If you happen to bite yourself, you’ll probably end up in the ER getting anti-venom treatments.

  • oh but legitimate criticism it certainly is. If this is your example of free thinking, if this is the standard you’re setting, you are the problem. As said on stonekettle, you want a better country, be a better citizen.
    You can’t choose to be a man of the conspiracy theorists on one site and expect to be taken seriously in your criticism of a ‘corrupt’ politician on another. Maybe the corruption lies in the integrity of your rationale?
    Or maybe you’re just a victim of ad hominem. That would be a lot easier wouldn’t it?
    Being a better citizen isn’t easy.
    Compromise isn’t easy.
    Circling the wagons around an unrealistic pool of ideological purity?
    Well that’s easy.

      • You’re probably right. Democrats should focus all of their energy on getting your vote. You seem very persuadable. And, given that Tester has won without you twice, you represent a critical demographic.

        • Actually, I voted for Tester, and worked on his campaign in 2006. But as you might remember (I know you hate remembering, much less thinking about this), Paul Richards was the third candidate in the race, and Paul thought Jon had a better chance of beating Conrad Burns than John Morrison did, and after coming up with a series of agreements, and a gentleman’s handshake, he threw his support to Jon. And Paul encouraged his supporters and campaign workers to vote for Jon and work on his campaign. So we did. And then after winning Jon broke several of his agreements with Paul, called many of us extremists, and the rest is history.

          And in case you or any of your readers want to see Paul Richard’s commentary on the issue, they can read it here:

          https://newwest.net/topic/article/tester_logging_bill_breaks_campaign_promise_terms_of_endorsement_deal/C41/L41/

          Now why exactly should I or any other of the people who supported Paul Richards place their trust in Jon Tester? For those who can’t be bothered to read Paul’s commentary, I’ll include a clip below. And to any who may challenge Paul’s credulity, please note that Paul has been a stalwart democrat, and comes from a long line of democratic party-supporters in his family.

          “On May 30, 2006, Jon Tester promised, in the presence of his wife, son, and two other witnesses, that: “If elected, Jon Tester will work to protect all of Montana’s remaining roadless areas.”

          Not only does the Tester Logging Bill fail to honor that commitment, it does the exact opposite. The Tester Logging Bill is a well-orchestrated and well-funded assault upon Montana’s roadless public wildlands.

          The Tester Logging Bill was conceived and executed in very dark, dank, secret corners, by people with extremely limited tolerance for public involvement in public land stewardship.

          In the Tester Logging Bill, we are witnessing the worst of hardball politics. The Tester Logging Bill ignores economic, scientific, and environmental reality. It circumvents the public and environmental laws designed to serve the public good, such as the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act…

          How can I describe my sadness that Jon Tester, a man I once trusted and helped put into office, is now officially promoting this madness? Completely excluding the public from public land decisions, throwing away untold millions of dollars of pork for taxpayer-subsidized timber sales and lavish new sawmill equipment, exempting public wildlands from the protection of a new earnest President, “undesignating” the legacy of Montana’s greatest conservationist, and destroying an irretrievable portion of Montana’s priceless roadless wildlands heritage – Are these the actions of a leader who “values integrity, common sense, (and) transparency in government?” — Paul Richards

          • Let’s not leave out the other part of this tired debate which does some damage to your credibility.

            You’ve repeatedly claimed that this deal was the moment that won the primary for Tester, even though Richards was never really a factor in the race. It’s fascinating that you believe that, given your apparent expertise in every subject from (apparently) the temperature at which steel beams melt to Russian intelligence. Simple math, logic, research make the claim laughable.

            But let’s pretend for a moment that this secret Tester-Richards handshake deal took place. Get over it.

            I’m sure Matt Rosendale or Troy Downing will be good for environmental group fundraising, but they sure as hell won’t be good for the planet and the policies they’d help support would make the Tester Logging Bill look like the greatest piece of environmental legislation in human history.

            • Classy. Calling Paul a liar. This is why democrats in montana really have lost a lot of support and can’t win elections any more, despicable actions like this. Nice of you to reinforce that image. If you even knew Paul or his heritage, you’d shut your pie hole.

              Oh, and your red herrings… your fantasies about things I’ve said is pretty hilarious. Don’t think I’ve ever made a statement about the melting point of steel beams. But run with it, whenever you can. You’re such a smart guy.

  • “Four names are being bandied about for for the 2018 Democratic congressional primary. More are sure to follow since Republican Representative Greg Gianforte’s mug shot should figure prominently in the November general election. The fact that he hasn’t held a town hall meeting with constituents, even during the August recess, doesn’t bode well for the incumbent.”

    Don’t bet the farm on that assumption Pete. You have picked up on something I thought only I noticed, that the Dem powers-that-be are hoping if they can put Greg Gianforte’s mugshot in front of the voters that the public who just elected him will dash to vote for a Dem, no matter what that candidates values are.

    I don’t buy it, any more than when the Dems thought they were going to win special elections this year, because voters were having buyers remorse from Trump – and they didn’t. Instead they got skunked. Assuming the Dem insiders pick the same type of candidates they’ve picked for 15 years, I think their chances are not good of winning that seat.

    As far as Jon Tester goes, you can expect him to do a “Max” and get himself in front of every camera he sees, and he’ll align himself with the President on an issue or two. Yes, he’ll get the usual grumbling from the hard-core lefties, but he really doesn’t care, because he knows he’s got those votes anyway. There will be no primary challenge to Tester, and taking into account the $5,000,000 that he already has in the bank, I’m thinking the GOP’s chances of unseating him are quite poor.

    • That’s a bit of a non sequitur, Skink. You’re referring to whom? Claudius, mtcreels? But yes, off-topic comments from anonymous commenters are allowed. You’re a prime example.

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