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Montana Politics

Testing some political hypotheses

Anyone who passed high school science had to learn how to write an if-then statement: a way of writing down your hypothesis that makes it testable. It goes something like: “If [my hypothesis], then [expected experimental result]. For example, “If Mitt Romney wanted to run the country like he ran Bain capital, using layoffs to turn a profit for the shareholders, then he would choose a running mate who has already tried to do so.” See? We’ve proven our hypothesis.

So lets try this on some common hypotheses being thrown around the blogs of late:

“If Barack Obama really is a corporate shill, he should have no trouble keeping up with Mitt Romney’s fundraising, just like every presidential incumbent in history.”

hmm….this one seems to fall short . Obama is making history by not managing to raise more money than a presidential challenger, and spending by outside groups seems to be following suit. Obama is not the populist hero he wants to be, but he is also not the corporate candidate – if he were, he would have Wall Street and the markets behind him, as the incumbent generally does. He’s between extremes, in a place called the ‘center’. We used to value that place, though it has since gone out of style.

“If Jon Tester is an environmental Quisling (a term deriving from a traitorous Norwegian executed after WWII, but not in anyway condoning violence. Somehow.), then he will be able to at least compete with Denny Rehberg in contributions from resources extraction groups”

In fact, four* out of Denny’s top five contributors are resource extraction interests. None of Jon’s are, though they do include the apparently Vichy (see definition of Quisling) League of Conservation voters and a law firm that represented asbestos victims.

Last one: “If the purveyors of the above hypotheses are both as politically astute and as genuinely concerned with progressive causes as they claim, they will stop defending and disseminating such ridiculous hypotheses.”

It’s not too late for this one to go either way. We get to watch (political) science in action!

*The fifth is the Las Vegas Sands Casino, though I can only imagine that is actually just the payoff on a huge odds bet Denny made that it was in fact possible “where I’m from’ to recklessly put a man in a coma and still not do any jail time.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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The Polish Wolf


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  • You covered a lot of ground here so I’d like to start at the top.

    We need some like Ryan to solve our financial crisis. D’s and their supporters may stick their heads in the ground by not passing a budget, taking wild trips like the GSA, look the other way while illegals file fraudulent refund forms, invest in kickback green industry, underestimate on purpose the true costs of the ACA, stimulate nothing, cause the housing crisis with the affordable housing act, John Corzine, ….etc and on and on we go.

    Ryan is the only grown up in the room.

    • Ingy –

      No. A grownup does what works. In 1999, we had a surplus. We also didn’t have a war, had lower military spending, and hadn’t passed the Bush tax cuts. How do we get back to those days? End the wars (one down, one to go), lower military spending (already planned and semi-implemented), and eliminate the tax cuts. Romney and Ryan and instead taking actions very similar to the ‘austerity’ (which affects everyone but the rich) enacted in Britain, which has had the charming effect of causing a double dip recession.

      Also, Paul Ryan thinks the inauguration is November 6, so he’s apparently the only grown up in the room to fail American government.

  • PW: you’ve covered a lot of ground here so let’s start at the top.

    The Romneys ARE the financial crisis:Romney/Ryan solidifies that.

    The market is doing great: even Lee Enterprises is making me money.

    The true cost to the United States is a 1% reaping obscene profits from war.

      • Well, Ingy, would YOU get on a boat, WITH your staff for whom you’re responsible, in the dark of night, WITH a dude who’s WAY over the BAC, and allow that moron driving to STEER with a GPS, at a VERY high rate of speed? Ingy, I don’t think that even YOU’RE that dense. Bottom line, amigo, Dopey Reeburp DOES share the blame here. No way around it.

        (dry down there? any fires round your place? scary summer, kinda like ’88)

          • Never seen that before. Geez that’s heelarious! The perfect Dopey Reeburp boating scene! I wonder, did the Barkus lawyer USE this clip in court?? He should have!

            “Your honor, my client was SCREWED by his GPS! It the GPS that’s guilty here, NOT Mr. Barkus”!

        • Keep beating this dead horse Scary. Did it have any effect on the polls?

          Gone and forgotten, but lives on rent free in your minds.

  • “Obama is not the populist hero he wants to be, but he is also not the corporate candidate – if he were, he would have Wall Street and the markets behind him, as the incumbent generally does. He’s between extremes, in a place called the ‘center’. We used to value that place, though it has since gone out of style.”

    Thank you. This is the best commentary on Romney v. Obama fundraising that I have read thus far.

  • I just spent a few minutes ar Open Secrets checking out your claims. It’s quite a swamp. You have reported on but a sliver of what is going on with these campaigns, and the evidence you selected to justify your conclusions was cherry picked. Beyond that, we only need took at behavior in office to get a sense of these men. They are indeed supporting their constituencies … if one dollar equals one vote. Quisling and Vichy are approperiate rhetorical devices when describing human behavior in the shadow of power.

    • I reported top donors, Mark. That seemed like a good place to start. No matter how you look at it, resource extraction is the largest industry donating to Rehberg, and they aren’t donating trivial amounts. If you insist on using World War II metaphors, Tester is more like Salazar, under pressure from both sides but ultimately giving important advantages to the allies. And if they truly do represent their biggest donors, I’d prefer Tester’s to Rehberg’s.

      • Trivial compared to Law firms 964K to Oil’s 306K. More than three times as much.

        Tell me PW what’s better for MT economy, MT schools and counties than oil and gas development? Do you realize why our state had decent employment and a flush treasury? Bakken perhaps?

        Would the pipeline further help our state?

        What does Jon’s cozy relationship with Lawyers give us? Jobs? How ’bout the 459K that lobbyists poured into Jon’s campaign? What possible benefit would that provide?

        The banks gave Jon 271K. Are we going to be getting some benefits there. Chase moving it’s HQ’s to Helena?

        And why no mention of the totals. Industry gave almost twice as much to Jon as to Denny.
        No problems with that?

        • I do think oil and gas can be important to Montana’s economy, especially Eastern Montana. Before the current boom, though, I recall seeing a sign (I think it was in Baker), saying “Please God, give us another gas boom. We promise we won’t piss it all away this time.” How you exploit oil, gas and coal is at least as important as when you exploit them. The gas will most likely be exploited, the pipeline will most likely be built, in one direction or another. However, those things can be done well, or they can be done poorly. Who is more likely to demand concessions, Democrats who already have, or Republicans, who openly state that they won’t bargain hard with resource companies? Venezuela has shown that it doesn’t really matter how hard of ball you play with hydrocarbon companies, the product is worth enough that they are almost always willing to compromise if they think they actually have to.

          Yes Ingy, Jon took a lot of money from lawyers, and look at the number one law firm giving to him- a firm whose crowning achievement is mesothelioma cases. I can’t speak to the others, but if that’s a representative one, I’m not too worried.

          As to the banks – we know the favor Jon did them. He took their side in their fight with the retailers, but lost. I haven’t noticed the wave of lower prices and an increase in debit card acceptance as a result of that particular bank-bashing, however, which is what we were promised.

          It is interesting that industry gave more money to Tester than to Rehberg…Until you realize that Tester is a Senator, and Rehberg is a rep, and therefore Jon’s numbers go from 2007 to 2012, whereas Denny’s are only for 2011 to 2012. Important detail, eh?

            • I think you’re reading it wrong, but it is written strangely and I can’t blame you. When I follow the link you give, it does appear as though they are referring only to this election cycle. However, if you look at Jon Tester and Denny Rehberg’s personal pages, you can see that although the election cycle chosen for Tester is campaign cycle 2012, the subtitle makes clear that it is from 2007-2012, whereas Rehberg’s numbers are from 2010-2012. No matter what election cycle you use, Tester’s numbers always go back five years. I think it’s a failing of the default settings on the site. Ultimately the totals are not particularly important, however, as greater amounts of money are going to be spend outside the officially reported channels than by the campaign committees themselves, but it’s a pretty good guess that the same companies and industries giving officially are giving unofficially, as well.

          • Polish not only are you right, but What Ingy doesn’t want to talk about is where all this Gas, Oil, and Coal is going. Not the United States. Does anyone really know what “Conserving” in the GOP means anymore.

            Leaving that energy in the ground till we need it, makes more sense then to sell it to other countries who really don”t like us.

            All you Teabaggers worried about selling out our country to the Chinese, while your leadership sell all of our mineral wealth for Chinese Paper currency? WTF are you people thinking?

            Another precious common resource we have, and have been outsourcing overseas, is United States Sand. Seems we have the perfect sand for making solar panels, and Glass windows. but we don’t even want to make a finished product here anymore. Pretty sad when the GOP wants to sell us off inch be inch, because they want more money off of each dollar they invest overseas.

              • That’s a Untruth too. When are you guys gonna speak truth to Corporate Power. Corporations are paying lower taxes in this country then they have ever done. They pay lower taxes, then other industrialized countries in the world.

                Stop propagating lies! They are off shoring jobs to 3rd world countries to avoid paying a living wage, and taxes.

    • Even as a minimalist post, if one dollar equals one vote, then why is the conclusion a fallacy? The more important question is not if they are supporting the people who pay for their campaigns, but who those people are in terms of the whole constituency, regardless of their initial support (at the end of the day, you represent people who do not vote/pay for you). Behavior in office is generally the aftermath of monetary influence on campaigns.

  • “Behavior in office is generally the aftermath of monetary influence on campaigns.”

    Though not always – spending on campaigns is sometimes a reward for previous behavior, and sometimes an attempt to either influence future behavior, or assist a candidate whose behavior is seen as predictable. Those who focus on campaign funding tend to believe that campaign donors are better informed about a candidates intentions than voters. That is true, but their information is not infallible – sometimes politicians disappoint their donors.

    • There’s another factor you seem to overlook – that money is rolling in to both sides from essentially the same forces. Much of it is bet hedging, nothing more.

      “Law firms” at Open Secrets is probably lobbying outfits in disguise. Obama especially wants to distance himself from lobbyists, and the top people at these outfits are often attorneys not formally registered as lobbyists. It’s a bit of a loophole.

      Also unmentioned are the sheer quantities – both Tester and Obama have received double the amount of their opponents.

      I don’t necessarily jump on WWII analogies as instances where people, faced with certain defeat in the face of overwhelming power simply make the necessary internal compromises to justify working with and for power. It is normal human behavior, and being human myself, and not confronted with such awful choices, I cannot say how I would behave. But history is littered not only with quisling and Vichy references. There are also the Tolstoy’s, Solzhenitsyn’s, White Roses, Mandela’s, Thoreau’s, Gandhi’s and King’s.

      And don’t set aside lightly the idea that within every evil regime in history there were embedded lesser evil people. Given the choice, would you vote for Hermann Göring over Hitler? It does satisfy lesser evilism, does it not? Where do we draw the line?

      • “There’s another factor you seem to overlook – that money is rolling in to both sides from essentially the same forces. Much of it is bet hedging, nothing more. ”

        That’s why I focused on sectors – because the people who are giving to Rehberg are not giving to Jon Tester. Oil and gas companies don’t even appear to be hedging their bets on this one – they are giving almost exclusively to Rehberg.

    • Just curious – these two comments, yours and mine, are shaded in blue on my screen, an no others are. Does that mean they are visible only to me? Is that part of banning?

      • They are shaded in blue on my screen as well, and I’m not logged in. I don’t know the function of the blue shading, though this isn’t the first time I’ve seen it.

  • Campaign contributions buy tv ads that supposedly move voters. One could view Tester’s overt attacks on our national forests, roadless areas, the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, wolves and environmental activists as a direct appeal to a specific voting sector. Tester has obviously done some figuring. He has no shortage of Wall Street money. What Tester needs is votes. No need to spin, his unambiguous actions speak for themselves. His hypothesis will be tested on election day.

  • Man I like to know what Press releases you are reading from? The Republican Party has tried everything in its power to destroy the clean water and Air actions in our state constitution.
    It has done every thing it can to diminish fishing and Hunting rights in this state.

    Take ELK for example:

    There are more elk in this country now than there were 40 years ago, largely due in part to the efforts of groups like the Elk Foundation. The problem isn’t Tester it is the Republicans.

    According to the Montana State Legislature, Montana needs to kill 22,000 more elk just to come into compliance with a law that was passed in 2003 – HB 42.

    HB42 says that FWP has to manage at or below objective. While that may or may not be a contributing factor in all elk herds, it is indicative of the goofy mindset, our GOP legislature has had when it comes to conserving elk habitat, or any wildlife habitat for that matter.

    This last legislative session alone, there were repeated attempts By Montana Republicans to eliminate funding for conservation programs like Habitat Montana, to get rid of Federal Public Lands, and to eliminate the voice of the people in FWP Commission decisions.

    The Montana Republican Party, has tried Repeatedly to dump EPA laws, and usurp protected wilderness from the Government, Stop fishing access with the ditch bill, and keep the state from buying more land to protect our wildlife corridors….. and you want to blame Tester? That’s incredibly Dumb of you!

  • Norma,

    You never disappoint. One more time, all together now, Senator Tester’s actions speak for themselves. Your emotional plea in the senator’s defense is very sweet. Feel free to call me whatever names you like. I am honored to know that you care. No amount of denial, however, can erase the substantial damage caused by his actions.

    • That is funny, Norma. You actually think my brother and I are disrespecting you as a woman? Steve Kelly, a failed candidate who blamed everyone else for his woes, thinks your fact laced comment an “emotional plea” and finds that “very sweet”. He is so deeply honored to know that you “care”. That would be, he feels honored because he can deride what you claim to care about, silly girl.

      Not once have I gone after you based on gender. I’d be interested if you could say the same about Mr. Steve Kelly.

    • Steve, Stop talking trash and move a little closer to proving your facts. I can name the bills your Montana Republican party tried to cram down the Montanans throats. Your just alot of talk without proof. Come on Show us what Tester did with facts to ruin your day. Otherwise, I am gonna blow it off, as the complete BS it deserves to be called.

      • ~hehehhehehehehe~ or as the kids say, ~LOL~

        Norma, Norma, Norma …

        Steve was the second person to challenge Dennis Rehberg. Denny was the incumbent, and Steve actually ran a decent campaign, as a Democrat. Dennis won. Steve Kelly ran as a conservative with environmental ideals. That wasn’t so bad. What was is that after he lost, badly, he blamed us (democrats) for costing him the election. This was apparently before your time in this state.

        Now, Kelly challenges you based on gender, but you are stupid enough to think that the “Kaileys” are your enemies. I’m laughing at you, Duffy. There are great reasons I should.

        • So Rob Why are you telling me Stuff I already know??

          I mean just cuz Steve is a GOP person doesn’t mean I cant at first give him a chance to give the facts.

          WHy the side show? Are you looking for some entertainment value? Trying to start a fight? What? Turn On the TV or something, you comments have nothing to do with the Original posts?

          • Because you don’t seem to know anything? Steve isn’t a “GOP” person. Never was.

            You can do whatever the f**k you want. Just don’t expect others to think that bright for doing so.

            He’s still challenged you as a woman, and you haven’t the guts or smarts to say anything. You’d rather talk stupid smack against those who tried to warn you against your own behavior. You are an idiot, Norma, and can’t even support the ideals you claim to believe. I am laughing at you. And I should.

            • It is amazing to me how some people, like you, take being polite, yet firm as a sign of weakness in someone else .

              The second problem for you is the most obvious, a man telling a woman how she should feel, or act as a woman. Pretty much the same as a white man telling a black man, how to act as a black man.

        • Let me re-phrase: Jon is not an environmentalist in the philosophical, almost religious way you and many others are. He is a pragmatic environmentalist: he doesn’t seem to value wilderness for its own sake, but he does see the value that unspoiled environments have for humans, and can therefore negotiate and compare alternative valuations of land usage.

          And how exactly are we going to stand up to Denny, Mark? The way we stood up to Bush? We were all united against Bush, we all knew he had terrible plans, and we were all trying to ‘stand up’ to him together. It should have been a utopia of standing up – a perfect situation for your way of thinking. What good was it? Sure, you had some great protests and organizing, but we still basically watched him bankrupt and gut the country’s financing, invade Iraq and kill hundreds of thousands of people, as well as wasting thousands of American lives and billions of dollars, and leave us with some fun environmental problems as well.

          Not every politician is vulnerable to ‘standing up’, because not every politicians cars about their constituents. If he’s made one thing clear, Jon does listen closely to Montana voters (too closely for either of our personal political tastes). So I’ll tell you what – I’ll try to get Jon Tester elected, and then you guys can get back to ‘standing up’ to him again.

          • I’m glad I missed this post when it came out — been in the back country for the last three days with no computer or phone.

            Here’s one for you:

            If Jon Tester were a utilitarian environmentalist in the republican vein, then he’d gut the Endangered Species Act and the Wilderness Act with his legislative maneuvers.

            Jon is no centrist, when it comes to the environment. And as Steve Kelly posits, the proof will be in the votes that are cast come election time.

            Here’s another one:

            If Jon Tester were a man of the people (of Montana) then he wouldn’t be raising almost 3 times as much lobbyist money as his opponent, nor would he be almost ranking second nationally to leader Mitt Romney.

            Fact: Jon is ranked third nationally in raising money from lobbyists, closely following Sen. Maria Cantwell.

            So, does those lobbying dollars buy any votes? Looking at just one example lobbyist, and the groups that have retained the services of Elmendorf Ryan, of which Steve Elmendorf is a principle, and has donated the max to Senator Tester, I’d have to say yes.

            Follow the money back to find the corporations behind all of Jon Tester’s lobbyist donors, and a not-so-pretty picture of corporate influence, contrary to the will of Montana democrats is revealed.

            • Apparently, JC, you didn’t take the same science courses that TPW and I did. See, we were taught (at least I was) that any hypothesis should be removed from the bias of the experimenter or the experiment itself. Yet the best you can come up with is this?

              “If Jon Tester were a utilitarian environmentalist in the republican vein, then…”

              In science, that would be called a garbage hypothesis. In logic it’s called ‘begging the question’, and yes, it’s a blatant fallacy. If you would like me to list the rest of the fallacies you perpetrate, I happily will. Among them are ‘false generalization’, ‘compound questions’, and of course, your typical Straw Man concerning “the will of Montana democrats”. You’d best stop writing about things you know nothing about.

            • Hey JC –

              I want to see evidence that Jon made votes concerning the environment contrary to the will of most Montanans. Most Montanans wanted fewer wolves, and they didn’t want to depend on Wyoming to do it. Schweitzer and Otter were both on the verge of effectively nullifying federal law. Tester didn’t gut the endangered species act, he removed one non-endangered species from it in two states, and in so doing saved it from state nullification. As to wilderness areas, how do you figure Tester gutted it? He did try to bypass a lot of the courts and bureaucracy, but in so doing attempted to create new wilderness areas as well as open wilderness study areas up to various uses. That may be utilitarian environmentalism – but it’s quite different from the agenda espoused and pursued by Denny Rehberg.

              • What do you have to say about Tester being number 3 in lobbyist contributions? Much easier to deflect to other issues. And I didn’t say most montanans. I said montana democrats.

                Elmendorf Ryan is lobbying on behalf of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. I’d say that his vote against the Brown Kaufman too big to fail amendment might have garnered him that contribution.

                • Montana Democrats are a minority. I don’t expect to Jon to represent a minority of Montanans. That’s not how to win elections. As to lobbyist contributions, a couple of points. One, as Ms Nielson noted, official campaign funding for the Senate campaigns is increasingly irrelevant, as funding outside the officials campaigns will likely eclipse official funding. That’s why I focused not on how much money Rehberg has received, but that that money is skewed heavily towards one or two industries. That suggests that unofficial spending, and priorities, are similarly skewed. There is no similar skewing in Tester’s contributors.

                  Moreover, lobbyists are a diverse group. They represent all manner of clients, many with opposing interests. Therefore, Tester receiving a lot of their money probably indicates one thing: that he is a Senator who could go either way on a lot of issues. That much is certainly true.

                • So what if montanan dems are a minority? That’s the core of the constituency that is needed to reelect him.

                  I only picked lobbyists as one example of where Tester’s funding is at an extreme. Let’s look at Finance/Insurance/Real Estate contributions (this is how Open Secrets aggregates data) for the 2012 cycle.

                  Jon Tester received $1.2 million vs. 600k for Rehberg. That’s a pretty heavy skewing, but understandable knowing that Tester is a member of the Banking Committee.

                  For just bankers, its $200k to $49k. That’s pretty skewed.
                  Lobbyists: $363k to $149k.

                  Conversely, Rehberg leads construction industry contributions $154k to $59k.

                  Point being that there always is skewing in contributions — contrary to your assertion. And in Jon Tester’s case, being a sitting Senator, I find it advantageous to look at his committee votes in light of those contributions. I’m sure Rehberg has similar votes aligning with his contributors’ totals.

                  Pay for play and corruption is rampant in D.C. Jon ran on being a different sort of candidate in 2006. I’d offer that his performance in fundraising and committee voting shows that he is just another D.C.pol, playing the same old games.

                  Trying to prove that he is different from Rehberg in this aspect is just more politics, and really doesn’t offer any real insight into the campaign.

                • So Tester receives more money from financial institutions. Rehberg more money from oil and gas extractors. Guess which one is likely to be worse for the environment?

                  Again, you’re comparing total figures between candidates. Compare within candidates to determine what their priorities are. I agree, Tester shows that he is indebted to the finance industry, though that is also Rehberg’s top contributor. But that is unlikely to make any difference regarding environmental policy, which is what the post was addressing.

                • “Worse for the environment”?

                  When banks are too big to fail (the Brown-Kaufman Amendment limiting bank size Tester voted against), they take teh whole economy down with them (proven since 2008 housing bubble burst).

                  Then it becomes a competing ideology on how to resurrect the economy. Republicans managed to strangle the economy long enough to have a fighting chance to take over Congress and the WH this year.

                  What’s the first thing that goes in a republican environment? Regulations, particularly environmental regulations.

                  Let’s say the republicans don’t succeed in taking the Senate or WH. But the economy has been strangled long enough that Keystone XL and tar sands development look like good ideas to pols to generate jobs.

                  In my mind, Tester’s vote against Brown-Kaufman and the failure of that Amendment to pass was the single most dangerous thing he has done. When looking at all of the banker and lobbyist donations, I can see why he did it.

                  Banks will fail again, and will get bailed out again. And the economy and the environment and the poor and middle class will suffer for it.

                • So Tester made votes that made is possible for Republicans to take over, which is dangerous for the environment, so to punish him we should not vote for him, and instead let Republicans take over?

                • He’s a flawed candidate, and tool of the banking and finance industry.

                  I’m a policy guy. I just calls them as I see them. You guys want to play politics and not look at specific issues and votes do so at your own risk.

                  As long as our banking system remains vulnerable due to the (increasing) size of banks, the economy will be subject to boom and bust cycles. And when the economy tanks in recession/depression, then all sorts of bad things can (and do, as we are witnessing) happen.

                  Limiting the size of banks is the single most important part of fin reg that could have happened. It just so happens that the banks have enough money to buy the outcomes they want.

                • Never said he was an ideal banking candidate. I said he was the better environmental candidate. The two are only vaguely related – I’m glad to see you’ve backed off trying to make the connection. After all, the major economy with the strictest control over its banking system is China, the people’s republic of environmental catastrophe.

                • And why is China an environmental catastrophe? Because they burn incredible amounts of coal — much of which comes, and much more to come if the coal exports accelerate — to make electricity to make us cheap stuff (Walmart and Apple and other electronic manufacturers love China). So all of us are to one degree or the another are responsible for the environmental and labor conditions in China.

                  And trying to compare our banking/environmental systems with China’s is apples and oranges. We enacted strong environmental laws while banks and the finance industry were separated in the 60’s and 70’s and regulations were stronger, and wealth inequity was less.

                  Jon Tester’s environmental record and stances are no better than the average republican of 40 years ago, or so.

          • I said nothing anout protesting. I think it is generally pointless. Organizing is extremely hard as we progressives have our own faults and failures and have failed to attain critical mass. We had a shot in 2000, and were beaten back, and 9/11 harened the population. But we must keep on trying. OWS had some success, I thought it was perhaps a start. We’ll see.

            You misconstrue “standing up” to winning. Those things you listed that Bush did he did with your party’s support. You guys swept the 2006 elections by running against Iraq, and then funded it some more. Bush had tremendous success despite the progressive wing of your party standing up to him. With your guy in power doing the very same things, here are none in your party trying to stop him. That is why I said that with Rehberg in power, at least your party will not be enablers. But maybe you will. You were with Bush.

            I define an environmentalist as a politically active conservationist, conservation being key. You want to change the definition to accommodate Tester. You want him to still be able to lay some claim to the environmentalist label while at the same time working against conservationists.

            Tester put hundreds of thousands of acres on the table. There was no need to do that. We are not short of timber, the mining act allows unfetterd access to all land save wilderness for hard rock minerals. But those lands represent cash flows, conversion of raw materials to commodities for its own sake, and not for public benefit. Those lands he wants to give up are not particularly important from a developmnt or profit (euphemistically called “jobs”). They are just fuel fmachine machine. We need to think about conservation because there is a limited quantity of undeveloped land. tester should realize this, but could to stand up to financial power.

            You have attempted to take the conservation ethic and equate it with political extremism. This is political framing, a way of marginalizing people. It is tried and true. But conservation is a noble cause, and no politician who wants to sell off our remaining wild lands will ever lay legitimate claim to the word “reasonable” by doing things that do not need to be done to satisfy the money people.

            Tester could easily say “enough.” It would take political courage, but would be a perfectly reasonable position.

            • I’m guessing Jon didn’t say enough because he doesn’t believe its enough, and most Montanans don’t either. He, and most Montanans, are fond of the idea of compromise, and fed up with ideological environmentalists. I’m not saying he or most Montanans are necessarily right, merely that he is representing his constituents, and at the same time de-clawing the anti-environmental movement that until recently was quite strong in Montana

              And Mark, until you give me a definition of ‘organizing’, this chimera which solves all of our problems, no one will know what you are actually talking about.

              • “de-clawing the anti-environmental movement ”

                Huh??? The anti environmental movement is alive and well, and is succeeding beyond its wildest dreams in moving the debate to the right, by sucking “fond of the idea of compromise” democrats into the void left as they move to the extreme right and refuse to compromise.

                What Tester has accomplished is separating himself from the environmental left with his anti-ESA and anti-Wilderness Act legislation. And the environmental left is fed up with ideological centrists, who are perpetuating the split in the dem party.

                • Seen any anti-environmental commercials or ads lately? That’s what I mean. That ammunition is gone. Though I admit I am still occasionally told that environmentalists needs to ‘get jobs’ and ‘stop jumping up and down on tables’, Jon has distanced himself from those wildly unpopular movements.

                  And don’t you think the ESA will survive, perhaps even become a little stronger, if a few of the species ‘of least concern’ (as per the IUCN) are removed from it to the extent that they are not in danger of being wiped out.

                • Elections are about more than commercials and ads. Who was it that challenged Montana’s anti-corporate campaign finance laws in the Supreme Court and won? Right — American Tradition PArtnership. ATP derived from the anti-environmental radicalism alliance between Ron Marlenee (past Montana Rep) and JOhn Sinrud in the form of the Western Tradition Partnership.

                  So your anti-environmental forces just opened the floodgates of corporate money in Montana elections.

                  And no, I don’t think the ESA “will survive, perhaps even become a little stronger” given that some delistings haven’t followed the law, instead taking, or potentially taking the form of congressional riders.

                  And for the Wilderness Act, Tester weakens it with his logging bill.

                • “And no, I don’t think the ESA “will survive, perhaps even become a little stronger” given that some delistings haven’t followed the law, instead taking, or potentially taking the form of congressional riders. ”

                  The delisting was passed by congress; thus it is an amendment to the law. The inclusion of a non-endangered, non-threatened species to the endangered species act made it much easier to attack. The law was biologically unjustified – to make scientific sense, it would have had to prove that Northern Rockies wolves are someone different on one side of an imaginary line than the other, or only protected those packs not originating in Canada. Don’t get me wrong, I support having wolves in Montana, but they are not an endangered species.

                • Really? Let me parse it more clearly:

                  The Endangered Species Act was meant to protect endangered species. Gray Wolves are not an endangered species. Therefore, protecting them with the ESA separates the Law of the Act from the biological facts about endangered species. Wolves are only ‘endangered’ according to the law; therefore, you are in no position to complain when the law defines them as no longer being endangered. Science does not support their protection as an endangered species.

                  Now, I do think that for a variety of reasons, historical, cultural, and biological, it is good to have wolves in the Northern Rockies. But rather than muddy the ESA by including non-endangered animals, we would be better off dealing with wolves in separate legislation that treats them as a protected, but not endangered, species. That is indeed the situation they are in now, thanks to Jon Tester.

                • Oh, I get it. Instead of the feds and states following the process outlined in the ESA to delist, we’re better off with the USFWS just getting threatened or endangered species to the point that some people like you think that they are no longer threatened or endangered, then politicians can jump in with riders to do some of the public’s (or corporation’s) bidding, and delist legislatively.

                  Thanks for clearing that up.

                • No, JC, gray wolves have never been endangered. By every manner of classifying species, gray wolves are abundant and in no danger of extinction – as they have been perpetually.

                  Now, they were at one point extinct in some areas. However, it is only the imaginary line of the Canadian border that allows them to be classified as endangered. Therefore, as I said, the law made them endangered, and it is only appropriate that the law ought define them as un-endangered, based on imaginary, non-biological political lines.

                • Nice that you can admit you are wrong, if even indirectly or unwittingly. From your link:

                  “In North America, some of the [Canis lupus]reintroduced populations are still threatened” — IUCN RedList

                • ““In North America, some of the [Canis lupus]reintroduced populations are still threatened” ”

                  Then perhaps they ought to be covered under the ‘threatened populations act’, not the endangered species act.

                  They are re-introduced populations (hence, genetically indistinguishable from the populations from which they originated in), and they are threatened.

                  The requirement to protect those populations for the future of the gray wolf species is not biological, as absolute wolf biodiversity and species survival is absolutely unaffected by the fate of wolves on this side of the Canadian border.

                  Rather, the mandate to protect those populations was strictly legislative/political – wolves are protected because they were politically popular, hence their reintroduction, not because their existence in the Northern Rockies was necessary for their survival or because they were an extant threatened population. Which puts you in an unfortunate position trying to argue that it’s inappropriate to remove that protection by legislative means.

                • Do I really have to school you on this stuff? The Endangered Species Act covers endangered and threatened species:

                  “Section 2… (b) PURPOSES.—The purposes of this Act are to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved, to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species…”

                  And unfortunately, you opinion that what happens outside the U.S> should have no bearing on what we do in the U.S. is all too typical of myopic thinking on the issue.

                  And despite your assertions that you think that wolf reintroduction was a legislative/political endeavor, it was no more so than any other species needed protection and a recovery plan. The wolf has undergone a variety of Biological Assessment and Opinions like any other species during the workup on its recovery plan and FEIS..

                  And the only unfortunate position I’m in is trying to get and your buddies to recognize that you can’t substitute your opinion for the laws, regulations and judicial process of the U.S.

                • “And unfortunately, you opinion that what happens outside the U.S> should have no bearing on what we do in the U.S. is all too typical of myopic thinking on the issue.”

                  JC – wolves are only a threatened species if you take a myopic view – that is, if you only consider the US. Globally, even regionally, gray wolves are a species of least concern. The re-introduction of wolves (note that only re-introduced species are still threatened) occurred after the passage of the endangered species act. In other words, we created an endangered species by taking some wolves from a non-threatened population and transforming them into a new, endangered population. Do you see how this might make a few people angry, even question the very basis of the ESA and its adherence to its stated purpose?

                  “And the only unfortunate position I’m in is trying to get and your buddies to recognize that you can’t substitute your opinion for the laws, regulations and judicial process of the U.S.”

                  The law of the USA currently states that wolves are not endangered in Montana or Idaho. More broadly, the laws of the USA state that the legislature has, in the end, the power to change the laws they pass. Many would say that they in fact have a responsibility to do so when those laws are unpopular among the people most closely impacted by them.

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