Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Max Baucus' Amendments

Max Baucus, our illustrious Senior Senator, is proposing a Constitutional Amendment. His amendment is in response to the Citizens United Supreme Court Ruling. The recent change of heart by the left amuses me. For years, the left has defended the Court. Praising their all knowing power, they were the end all solution. Now that the shoes on the other foot, it’s hard for them to understand.

The left has never seen money as free speech. The Supreme Court from Buckley (v. Valeo) to Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (v. FEC) and now with the Citizens’ United. The left just cannot accept the Supreme Court’s opinion in this area.

The AP in the Gazette Article said, “The proposal is an obvious long shot…” It will take 2/3rds of both chambers of Congress, and 3/4th of the State Legislatures (and no Governor Vetoes) to pass such an amendment.

“The Disclosure Act” failed to break a Senate Filibuster. Chuck Schumer is promising to hold cloture votes until this passes.

A long line of democrats defended the bill. Franken compared it to Financial Reform, and Wyden thinks it should be passed before the fall midterms.

Republican Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said it was a blatant attempt “to rig an election.”

This all comes from someone making a movie about Hillary Clinton. Only this group was attacked. Seniore Fat-So, er… Michael Moore… makes many political movies. Will he too be censored? He makes a lot of money on those movies, and they go to political causes. After a large cut is taken for Moore’s excessive daily eating.

Long story short, Baucus won’t get his Constitutional Amendment. If you don’t like the Supreme Court take that up with Marbury and Madison or John Marshall.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Do What I Say, Not What I Do!

John Kerry, flip-flopping John, you’re always good for a laugh.

The Boston Herald is reporting he has bought a new boat.

The Herald reports that Kerry "who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.

Isabel - Kerry’s luxe, 76-foot New Zealand-built Friendship sloop with an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage - was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine.

Teresa Heinz, Isabel’s hailing port is listed as “Newport” on her stern."

Kerry, who paid 7 million for Isabel, would have had to pay over 400,000 in taxes. So, Rhode Island who no longer taxes boats/yachts is where many Massachusetts residents moor their yachts, boats, and sail boats.

One has to wonder, is Kerry having a change of heart? No, he just doesn’t want to pay the piper.

With news like this, it is no wonder that Republican Scott Brown has the highest approval in the Bay State. That truck is looking pretty good, aye John?

(Read the story, including a nice political statement, here:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Big Talk, No Walk

Governor Brian Schweitzer talks big on natural resource development, but when it comes down to it little action has taken place. At a time when state revenue is falling drastically short of supporting the bloated government in Helena, the governor travels the country touting oil, coal, natural gas, and of course wind. While his speeches talk of grandiose progress in our state, the folks are struggling to make ends meet, jobs are in short supply, and the legislature is talking about raising taxes.

When a Montanan steps back and looks at our next door neighbors to the south and east we see two states that are developing their natural resources for the betterment of the citizens. Wyoming has coal, of course, and North Dakota is in the midst of one of the biggest oil booms in the country. North Dakota recently brought in $158 million in revenue from oil and gas leases on state lands and cities in the western part of the state are booming.

Here in Montana we might expect to be having a boom of our own, but that is not the case. The Governor’s statements about increasing energy production and decreasing our national reliance on foreign oil at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, don’t really add up: The Energy Information Administration states that Montana has gone from producing 2.4 million barrels of crude in January 2005, to a high of 3.1 million barrels in August 2006, to a dismal 1.3 million barrels in February 2010; compared to North Dakota’s production of 2.8, 3.5, and an astonishing 7.3 million barrels in the same months. Montanans have to ask ourselves, how did we get left out of the game? The Bakken Formation is in our state too! That answer is two-fold, first, the formation may hold more accessible oil in North Dakota, but we should still expect to see more exploration than we currently do. Secondly, Republicans in North Dakota control the governor’s office as well as both houses of the legislature. Taxes on oil production in North Dakota are 5% of the gross production value, here in Montana, we have a variety of different rates depending on what stage of the process and the type of well is producing the oil. While some of the rates are meant to encourage exploration and production, after a certain period of time the rate is increased to about 9% on most wells. The problem is in more than just the tax structure, because of the influence of the environmental lobby, Montana is generally perceived to be closed for business.

A perfect example of this occurred during the 2009 Legislative Session. Rep. Kendall van Dyk of Billings, with the support of Governor Schweitzer, proposed a $1 tax on every barrel of oil produced in Montana. This tax came on the heels of the price of Montana crude going from an all-time-high of $126.80 per barrel in June of 2008 to $26.76 per barrel in January 2009 (when the bill was introduced). What kind of company would come here when our governor and elected officials turn their back on jobs for hard-working Montanans in the midst of a recession for a political stunt to grab the headlines. Our governor can talk the talk to his coastal friends with deep pockets all he wants, but the numbers prove he hasn’t walked the walk.
Just as a side note – Kendall van Dyk is running against Sen. Roy Brown for Roy’s Senate District 25 seat, Roy needs our continued support to make sure the anti-development and anti-business van Dyk is not elected.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2012 Races Start Taking Shape...

So far, we have had two Republicans declare they're running for Governor:

1st-Ken Miller, a former State Senator from Laurel, MT. He came in 3rd in a four way race in 2004.

2nd-Corey Stapleton, a former State Senator (from Billings). He served as the Minority Leader in the 2007 session.

Charles Johnson reports that others are looking at the race as well.

On the Democratic side, they include: Attorney General Steve Bullock, of Helena; state Sen. Larry Jent, of Bozeman; state Transportation Director Jim Lynch, of Kalispell; and state Sen. Dave Wanzenried, of Missoula.

Republicans include: state Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley; former U.S. Rep. Rick Hill, of Helena; Dean Folkvord, of Three Forks, CEO of Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery; former state GOP Chairman Erik Iverson, of Missoula; national security and terrorism expert Neil Livingstone, of Helena and Washington, D.C., state Senate Majority Leader Jim Peterson, of Buffalo; state Senate President Bob Story, of Park City; and state Sen. Ryan Zinke, of Whitefish.

So, what are my thoughts...?

Let’s Start with the Democrats. One would have to assume that Bullock could clear the field of most other Democrats. Bullock is the heir-apparent to the throne of Schweitzer. (At least for now, I can’t think of anyone else though.)The AG is often seen as the best stepping stone for Governor (i.e. Marc Racicot 1992).

Jim Lynch is a failed Montana Senate Candidate-No Chance. Larry Jent has a military record, and might have an edge in Gallatin County. He would be the first out state born Governor in a long time (My research shows since Sam C. Ford in the 1940s). Expect that to be a hurdle.

The wild card: Dave Wanzenried. He is an anchor of his' party's left flank. He is popular in Missoula, where the Democrat primary is often decided. He might do well in a primary; however, his far left politics wouldn't play to well in a general. Dave came as close to the Governor's Mansion in the 80's when he worked for Schweinden. A hand's reach must exceed its grasp, or what’s a campaign for...

The Republicans... This one is a little harder. I don't know who I support out of this, yet, unrealized field. Let’s eliminate a few off right away. Taylor Brown has said no, several times. Ryan Zinke is a freshman with little name ID. Dean Folkvord told the Bozeman Chronicle that his run "isn’t likely at this moment."

Neil Livingstone is new to the scene. Word out of the GOP Convention, he gave a serious talk about threats to National Security. Everyone got a good, "Long" look at the topic. Secondly you have Sen. Robert Story, a smart man, who would be a good governor. It remains to be seen if he would have the passion to make a long race for Governor. He will also be out of office, which cuts both ways.

Then we have the return of a few Republicans. Ken Miller is a former Party Chair, and Senator. His tenure as party chair receives mixed reviews, as does his 2004 campaign. Then we have Corey Stapleton, who left the Montana Senate after the 2007 session. He was his party’s leader, and never shied away from a fight. He might have the passion for the contest. He has declared he will run, but, was a name Chuck Johnson missed. Finally Rick Hill re-enters stage right. Rick won two state-wide campaigns. Is still connected, and would no doubt be one of the smart bets in a primary. I am told that the notion of his return was received well at the GOP convention.

And the last two names, Senator Jim Peterson and Erik Iverson. The two men both play roles in the party. Jim is the majority leader in the Senate, and Iverson advises many of the campaigns in Montana. Not to mention, he is a trust confident of our lone Congressman. These two men would also carry a lot of support. They just have to declare. Of all the excuses from the Johnson story, Iverson's excuse was the best. We're planning our son's Birthday party. Made me laugh, and think Johnson should have called back later.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Always a Governor, Never a Senator...

This past weekend, Brian Schweitzer ruled out a Senate run. One has to wonder, if this is the final straw. It is this blogger’s belief that it is not.

Check out the article:

Schweitzer gives us the ‘toke’ “never say never” line. That line is tradition, nothing new.

So, do I believe the Good Guv… Nope! Brian likes the spot light, and he likes attention. Not to mention, he is a juggernaut of sorts. His entrance into Democrat politics, correlate with the Democratic Comeback of the last decade.

Will Brian run for Senate, the answer depends on the hand he is dealt. Brian is the ultimate opportunist. Brian wont challenge his friend and legacy candidate-Jon Tester. He does, however, have an option. Many know there has never been any love lost between Schweitzer and Max Baucus.

The question is this, will Max Baucus be vulnerable in 2014. Max in typical fashion-dumped all his dirty laundry right after his 2008 re-election. His divorce, new girlfriend, her attempt to get a plush DOJ job, and his involvement in HealthCare reform all may weaken Baucus, who has been un-touchable. Baucus has only been in trouble once-1996.

If Max is weak, Brian will make a go at our Senior Senator. Jay Stevens, at LeftInTheWest, points out that Brian’s coal letter, the attacks over funding for the North Fork efforts, single payer plans. What does it mean? A Montana Governor wont challenge a sitting President-no matter his popularity; perhaps there is soon to be an opening in the Obama cabinet. Certainly Jay is a better source for inner circle Democrat information.

I think Brian is waiting for a chink in the Baucus chain…

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Return

After some time in the field we’re back at blogging.

We are welcoming a few new faces to the blog. Will Selph, a UM Alumni and Former State Chair of the College Republicans.

Emma Ingalls, a mother of two. She is a full time mom and loves it. She has done anything political, until now. She use to do stuff for the kids and family. Now she ready to suit up and make her opinions heard. A certain Senator should have answered her question, instead of ignoring her.

As always I will keep posting. There may still be a few more new additions to our little blogging family. Until then, just use your common sense.

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