Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meeting Today In Dillon On MSTI PLease Come

We are having a MSTI meeting to inform the Public what chicanery Northwest Energy is up to, and how you can help Us fight this. Professor Rob Thomas and special Guests will be explaining what you can do to help support keeping Northwest from spoiling our lands.

Later in the Evening at 6 PM Democratic Candidate Dennis McDonald will be on hand to listen to your concerns about MSTI, and firm up his Commitment to keep Montana Green and Rural. Though these two meetings are actually different events they both have to do with MSTI.

Please Join us at the "Great Room" on the second floor at the  Swysgood Technology Center at starting at4 P.M. July 22,2010 for the Anti MSTI Meeting and stay if you will, to get to know Dennis McDonald the Democratic Candidate for Congress who we think is a great choice for our way of life in Montana.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quit calling the Tea Party Populist!!!

A new poll by Democracy Corps, state what was been long believed by progressives regarding the TEA Party. I have Copied what I think is the most pressing issues and ask my readers to pass this Poll along to other Democrats as talking points! In this combined database of over 2,600 interviews, 25 percent identify themselves as “strong” supporters of the Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party: Popular accounts describe it as a populist revolt against elites. Richard Viguerie at a tax day rally said, “The tea parties are an unfettered new force of the middle class tapping into the anger [at] most major American institutions such as Wall Street, education, Hollywood, the media, big labor.”  And Matt Bai in The New York Times writes, “the only potent grass-roots movement to emerge from this moment of dissatisfaction with America’s economic elite exists … in the form of the so-called Tea Party rebellions that are injecting new energy into the Republican cause.”
While many of the Tea Party supporters are also frustrated with the Republican Party of TARP bailouts, that does not alter the character of the movement:
  • 86 percent of Tea Party supporters and activists identify with or lean to the Republican Party.
  • 79 percent identify as conservatives.
  • They are among the most pro-big business segments of the electorate: 54 percent rate it warmly and 20 percent coolly.
  • The Tea Party movement is not particularly blue collar.  Tea Party supporters are slightly less likely to be college-graduates than the likely electorate (41 percent, versus 45 percent), and the activists more so (48 percent).  And 85 percent of the supporters are white.
  • Only 5 percent report having voted for Obama in 2008.
With Tea Party supporters comprising one in four (25 percent) likely voters and one in ten (10 percent) active as donors or attending rallies, what they think matters:
  • They are fired up – 94 percent of the supporters say they are almost certain to vote.
  • They share a great disdain for President Obama, with over 92 percent disapproving of Obama’s performance, and 89 percent strongly. Only 6 percent think Obama ‘shares their values.’
  • They share a coherent, anti-government, conservative ideology that wants small government, little spending and returning the country to the Constitution.
  • They are united against “Obama’s Socialist Agenda” – that puts the country gravely at risk.
  • They deeply identify with Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the NRA – which share their worldview – re-enforced by the echo-chamber of Fox News, their main source of news. 
  • They are gaining energy from the prospect that they can stop Obama in this year’s election, save the party from fake conservatives and use the Republican Party to save the Constitution. 
The Tea Party supporters are a blessing for the Republican Party in this off-year challenge to the Democrats, but in important ways, they have become the Republican Party.  Almost half of self-identified Republicans (47 percent) are strong Tea Party supporters who have already played an outside role in punishing Republican moderates and producing a unified, polarizing, and unpopular national Republican Party.  The Tea Party is not very popular outside the Republican Party and Republican-leaning independents, and Beck and Palin even less so.
And in a presidential year, strong Tea Party supporters are only 21 percent of the larger electorate.
Obama’s Socialist Agenda
Tea Party activists and supporters see Obama as the defining and motivating threat to the country and its well-being, typified by his socialist agenda. Among supporters, 90 percent say the socialist label describes Obama well and 68 percent say it describes him very well. Obama fares no better on the other attributes tested: nine-in-10 think he is too liberal (93 percent) and a big spender (90 percent).
The driving force behind their negativity toward Obama is the belief that his actions and goals are un-American.  Throughout the focus groups, people repeatedly invoked “Obama’s Socialist Agenda” – with the occasional communism comment thrown in.  Participants said it is this socialist agenda – which underlies all of Obama’s policies seeking to make citizens more dependent on the state – that has put people over the edge and launched a movement that has been percolating for a long time.

The subject that may have drawn the most attention to the Tea Party movement was their vocal opposition to health care reform – and that may be contributing to the perception of hostility more broadly in the electorate.  The new health care law was a keystone for their opposition to government intrusion into their lives.  Just 3 percent give it a warm rating.   But it is worth noting that among non-Tea Party supporters, a respectable 48 percent give the new health care law a warm rating.

Tea Party supporters give very low ratings to the mainstream media – networks such as ABC, CBS and NBC.  Only 7 percent give the media a warm rating – confirming the intense distrust of the media in the focus groups. They are seen as a cheerleader for President Obama, and have been since the beginning of the campaign.  This distrust extends to network news – ABC, CBS, and NBC are all seen as biased – and CNN referred to as “the Communist News Network.”

In Beck We Trust
Glenn Beck is the most highly regarded individual among Tea Party supporters of the people we tested. He scores an extraordinarily high 75 percent warm rating, 57 percent very warm.
This affinity for Beck came through very clearly in the focus groups. The only news source that participants said they could trust was Fox.  Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity were cited as people who “are not afraid to tell it like it is” and support their arguments with solid facts.  Beck was undoubtedly the hero in these groups.  Participants consider him an “educator” (in contrast to the popular Rush Limbaugh who is an “entertainer”) who teaches people history and puts himself at risk because he exposes the truth.  In the words of a woman in Ft. Lauderdale, “I would trust my life in his hands.”

Economic Uncertainty ?
When asked what they (Tea Partiers) thought of the country’s economic situation or their own personal situation, focus group members would repeatedly revert back to talking about how bad Obama is and that the government needs to get out of our lives.  Any discussion of jobs or recovery turned to “all the new jobs are government and census jobs which don’t do anything for our economy.”
These groups suggest that the Tea Party movement is not fueled by the economic situation in the country.  Yes, there were a lot of economic concerns among the non-college educated women, but for the other three groups this was just not the issue.  In the open-ended discussion at the beginning of the groups, they rarely brought up the economy unprompted.  And when asked what they thought of the country’s economic situation or their own personal situation, they would not engage

Pretty foreboding Stuff about parts of our Population Folks. Time for some Neighbor to Neighbor re-education on our part.

This memo from Democracy Corps is based on focus groups and polls conducted in April, May and June by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps and Citizen Opinion. All surveys were based on telephone interviews with likely voters, conducted on the following dates: April 17-20, 2010 among 872 likely voters, May 15-18, 2010 among 875 likely voters and June 19-22, 2010 among 867 likely voters. The margin of error for the combined 652 strong supporters is 4 percentage points, for the 243 activists it is 6.5 percentage points. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Letter from Rob Thomas

I wanted to alert your Lewis & Clark Chapter to the proposed construction of a 500kV power line by Northwestern Energy to run down the Beaverhead River and through the Camp Fortunate area. These 1' diameter high-voltage lines will be strung on towers that are up to 180 feet tall! They plan to place 6 per mile, and they will run right along the Lewis and Clark Path along the Beaverhead River, impacting sites like Clark's Lookout and Rattlesnake Cliffs. Attached is a schematic of the towers, a map showing the routes and a list of concerns from the folks in the Whitehall area (another Lewis and Clark route that will be impacted). I would appreciate it if you could distribute this to your membership, and if they are inclined, to write to the paper (especially the Missoulian) expressing their concerns. 

Just one last bit of helpful information regarding the proposed Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) project and my personal plea (from the depth of my heart) to write a short letter to the newspapers if you are even mildly concerned about the impacts of this 500kV line on our community. From ranching to recreation, our economy and well being in Dillon are tied to landscape. Here are just some of the things to think about if this project happens:

1. The towers are at least 140 feet tall (the Statue of Liberty is 111 feet tall from heal to head!).

2. There will be between 4 and 6 towers per mile and at least some of them will have strobe lights!
3. The main line runs down and crosses the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Red Rock Rivers (see attached map).
4. Additional lines are proposed to run down the Jefferson and Ruby Rivers, intersecting in Dillon (see attached map)!
5. Negative economic impacts to ranching and farming, the fishing industry, real estate, tourism, geology camps and UMW recruiting.
6. Decreased property values for all of us.
7. Increased risk of disease associated with the electromagnetic radiation.
8. Increased power rates (i.e., bigger bills for you and me).

9. Not one volt of this power is available to Montanan's.

10. They say it is a line for wind power, yet Montana does not have 500kV of wind power available (e.g., NWE is building a natural gas plant right now in Anaconda).

11. Negative impacts to wildlife and wildlife corridors, increased noxious weed problems and unparalleled habitat destruction.

This is not a done deal. You can do something about it! The most important thing we can do is write letters to the newspapers (contact information attached) and the Beaverhead County Commissioners (who are in support, even though county commissioners from Jefferson and Silver Bow Counties are not). It will make a difference. 

Please, please, please act now before it is too late. Thanks for considering.

Rob Thomas - Dillon, MT

MSTI Meetings On July 22, 2010 at Montana Western College, Dillon MT

Hey Folks, Just Passing on some important information here I think you should be a Part of.  Northwest Energy is contemplating running a huge powerline  mostly following the Wonderful rivers in our County.
The scenic Jefferson Valley. The geological wonder at Notch Bottom on the Big Hole River. Views of the Pioneer Mountains from Dillon. The world-class trout fishery of the Beaverhead River, are all at risk of being lost, including eminent land takeover of private ranchland for this proposed Powerline. We are currently inviting you for your help in stopping Northwest Energy from attempting to pull this boondoggle off and we need your help.

On July 22, at 4 pm, we are having a MSTI meeting to inform the Public what chicanery Northwest Energy is up to, and how you can help Us fight this. Professor Rob Thomas and special Guests will be explaining what you can do to help support keeping Northwest from spoiling our lands.

Later in the Evening at 6 PM Democratic Candidate Dennis McDonald will be on hand to listen to your concerns about MSTI, and firm up his Commitment to keep Montana Green and Rural. Though these two meetings are actually different events they both have to do with MSTI.

Please Join us at the "Great Room" on the second floor at the  Swysgood Technology Center at starting at4 P.M. July 22,2010 for the Anti MSTI Meeting and stay if you will, to get to know Dennis McDonald the Democratic Candidate for Congress who we think is a great choice for our way of life in Montana.

 Here is a link to an informational website about the MSTI powerline proposal. Please pass this on and help keep the public informed about this extremely important issue that effects our rural places.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Montana spends millions on illegal immigrants, new study finds

Montana spends millions on illegal immigrants, new study finds

Wendy Sefsaf, communications director for the Immigration Policy Center (IPC), said the FAIR report only examines one side of the issue.
“What they never do is contrast it with contributions,” Sefsaf said of the FAIR analysis. “They always look at fiscal costs and we try to bring in benefits to balance it out.”
A fact sheet released by the IPC, a non-partisan research and policy center also headquartered in Washington, D.C. says illegal immigrants provide millions of dollars in productivity for the Montana economy.
“If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Montana, the state would lose $96.3 million in economic activity, $42.8 million in gross state product, and approximately 720 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group,” the fact sheet states.
Martin said while spending is estimated to be lowest in Montana, there is statistically no significant difference among spending by the states with the lowest number of illegal immigrants. Montana is one of seven states that have an estimated illegal immigration population of 5,000 or less. The others are Maine, Nebraska, Vermont, Wyoming, and both Dakotas.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hopefully the Beginning of the End for the Gulf Oil Spill!

Live Camera Feed of the Deep Horizon Spill Below!!! 
So can we imagine it?. The Oil stopping and finally being capped, and the beginning of a cleanup that will take a decade, as we monitor how the oil and dispersants will effect the ecology of the Gulf coast well into our Grandchildren's life as adults.

An entire way of life regarding fishing gone forever to families who have put shrimp and crab on our dinner plates for over two generations? How well, will the government treat those farmers of the sea in the years to come, whose businesses are devastated ? How will we save the animal life of over 70 species, which are already endangered or on the threatened list from becoming extinct???

Imagine a spill of this magnitude on land. A slick of oil the size of the entire Counties of Beaverhead and Madison combined. You step out of your house to fumes that make you sick, and your children have trouble breathing while rashes break out all over there bodies. The Cattle on you ranch lay dying, robins and finches lay covered with oil at you feet, and your fields will be too contaminated to grow crops for ten to a hundred years.

And all the while this BP company that caused this mess... flew over your fields time and time again spraying dispersants, that sunk the oil beneath the dirt of you fields making it impossible to save the organic matter that made your lands so fertile. Driving chemical toxicity into your well water and into underground streams. Tainted water that flows for hundreds of miles and pops up into the Majestic Yellowstone Valley, or the streams of the Grand Tetons.

Think about this Montanans... As there would be no more hunting, or fishing, because the wildlife would have died off or been poisoned. Can you imagine the smell of decay as the forests wilt and no wildflowers ever came up again in spring.

This is what those people must live with at the gulf Coast now, and Republican Politicians are siding with Big Oil. Especially our Denny Rehburg the Republican Congressman up for re-election this fall.  Those same Republican Politicians who don't give a rats ass about us hard working people, want to control the Congress and the Senate this fall. Are you gonna go ahead and vote for the Party of "NO"??

If you allow these sympathizers of big business that access, by voting for them in November you will have a disaster like this waiting in the wings for Montana. Coal Mining, to supply other states dirty energy needs, will pollute the air we breath, and the water we drink no matter which county of Montana you live in. And the only pockets who will be enriched is Big Coal Companies like Northwestern, who is already scheming to destroy our county with MSTI.

Don't let big business destroy our state! Allow our state to be protected for your grandchildren, with thoughtful, smart people by keeping/ putting the Democrats in power. Otherwise we will not see clean technology save our lands with wind and solar energy for our future generations.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fighting Northwestern Energy

Try to keep Thursday evening, July 22, open to attend a meeting at the college about stopping NorthWestern Energy's billion-dollar Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) project.  The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.  We don't know yet exactly where it will take place on the campus, but we will update this blog when we have the meeting site.
Dennis McDonald, Montana's Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, will be at the meeting.  He is leaning very heavily toward opposing MSTI and I think we can help him firm up his position.  His opponent, Denny Rehburg of course, is firmly behind NorthWestern Energy, and destroying our environment.
In November, there is a clear choice to make your vote between the Candidates. We are betting, once you meet Dennis McDonald, you will know he is the better choice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Guns in Chruch! Really? Republicans Again? Figures!

As quoted from Jason Linkens @ the Huffington Post If you're like most Americans, there's probably been a time in your life when you've been sitting in church, listening to a particularly ennui-inducing homily or enduring another warbly version of "Holy Holy Holy" and thought, "Man! I could really reach for some steel right now, squeeze off a few rounds, and let these fools know what the score is!" Well, in Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal has recently signed into law a measure that would allow you to at least feel comforted by the presence of your gun in the house of the Lord.Read more at From the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Rehberg Sues Billings For Wildfire?????

"Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), fresh off his Republican primary win, filed a lawsuit Friday against the City of Billings and the Billings Fire Department for damages sustained in a 2008 fire. Rehberg is the developer of record for the 1,000-acre subdivision that is managed by his wife.
The lawsuit, which seeks an award to be determined at trial, says that the fire department "breached its duty" during the July 2008 fire. The Rehbergs are claiming damages for the loss of trees and ground cover in an area they intended to develop.

Rehberg is not the first Montana politician to take on firefighters. Former Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) made headlines in 2006 when he had an airport altercation with firefighters flown in from Virginia following a 143-acre fire. Burns accused the firefighters of doing a "poor job" and not allowing ranchers to fight fires as they saw fit. Burns lost his reelection bid later that year.
Rehberg himself is no stranger to the legal system, as he has been involved in legal proceedings for the last year a boat crash led to felony alcohol charges against the driver, Montana State Sen. Greg Barkus."

When are all of us Montanans going to grow up and get rid of this guy Rehberg? Aren't we sick of this drunk yet?

He hasn't written a single bill to protect Montanans for over a year! He is part of the Good old boy's party of "No" which has included no extended unemployment benefits for some of our population, still hit hard by the President Bush's financial melt-down of Wall Street in September of 2008.

Denny is only worried about his own pocketbook, suing Montanans for a wildfire (an act of nature not men). Is it the Billings firefighters fault or city of Billings? Shouldn't he be thanking them for saving what they could of his property, not penalizing his constituents?  WE can do better then this Montana! Vote McDonald for our new Representative in Congress!

Friday, July 2, 2010

"The Case Against MTSI" Sent to the Editor of the Dillon Tribune

We are not all Republican in this state as a writer from Twin Bridges would tell you. There are opposing views to ludicrous ideas about how energy should function. Northwest would have you believe that the state (that means all of us) would be enriched by setting electric towers along the very stable economy that brought us Montanans more wealth then this corporation ever has... That is our river basins, and tourist trade in fishing, hunting and scenic beauty. Northwest would tell you that it needs to build these metal energy blights because they are not intelligent enough to use the existing grids (which can handle increased output). Our President asked for smart grids, not more grids. Numerous studies have already shown that building more grids is not the answer to more energy.

And here is more to think about. I was at an energy fair here at the college a year ago and asked the Northwest representative why we were not using wind and solar power here. The winds are constant, around 5-20 miles a day and we have full sun over three hundred days a year in Beaverhead County alone. Surely striking a deal with farmers for land use in new viable energy production would bring farmers new income, and new jobs into the area for maintenance.

His answer was pretty simple, they are a coal company! They do not want the headache of setting up power collection points or paying out monies to hundreds of energy producers.

 Why not? I said. California does it. PG&E help's customers set up solar grids on their houses that eventually pay people back in full for the energy the panels produce.

We do that, but we only take off so much of the bill a month. he retorted.

You mean you want the energy, but you are unwilling to pay the whole amount?

Do you know what kind a headache that would cause in our financing department?

So you are basically discouraging it

No, we just don’t want it to take over our entire business.

Folks, they do not care about us or our environment, they wish to continue burning coal, and loping off mountain tops to get at it. Poisoning our rivers and streams with lead and arsenic and selling their energy outside of our state while they destroy our state. So please NO MSTI.

Norma Duffy

The Dillon City Emergency Council Hearing on Beaverhead Meats

God, I love politics here. It’s not caught up with the rest of the world. Council People at times scamper out of control, because not enough notice is given to the township of 3500 residents to help in informing the city council of the community’s thoughts on any matter. So when the city council (not all of them mind you) starts to think for themselves, and tries to ram ordinances through thinking it will be good for the coffers of our broke little town. … The shit hits the fan…. Intelligent regular folk come out in droves and screech for justice, just before a major foo-pa is created by city government.

Sometimes the council listens, and sometimes it does not…. But today our little city almost bit off more than it can chew. It almost put a kill floor for a meat packing place in the middle of town.

To put things in perspective here, about the tiny town of Dillon; the City and county here have no local zoning code, no local building codes, they rely on the state’s basic guidelines sometimes to help them, but alias they don’t even have a good interpretation of that, to preserve what is a terrific little town in southwest Montana from sliding under the weight of bad decisions. We are well on our way to looking like a giant strip mall, and not a quaint little western town anymore!

The Owner of the meat house is not the villain here. The owner is a reputable business man who markets great local beef and wanted to expand his business. Somehow he was assured in the last couple of months that this was a done deal to permit his new building, and expand his business. So much so, was his belief, that he went ahead and started retrofitting his business, to its new task.

The citizens though, had every reason to worry, because they were not keep in the loop… my guess there was some secret handshakes and ex-parte conversation between someone in the council and the business owner that made the little Ibyville area of Dillon wondering if their property value would go down to zip, or if there would be a stench from the killing of numerous animals a week…  No one at the city went to the effort of Montana law to publically notice those very people who lived by the little plant of such changes being reviewed by mail. No one is really certain if the sewer system could handle all of the wash down of the plant. No one knows if the meat plant owner’s implemented Ideas and possible expansion of business down the road, would keep 1000 pound animals from escaping from his little plant, or find his future packaged beef steak running down Montana Street, and creating havoc in some residential neighborhood close by. Nobody ever took the time to investigate the myriad of problems that could bubble up in placing a Kill floor in a residential area! No one.

As usual, certain Republican city council members who evaded getting booted out in the general election went back to business as usual in making bad decisions. The owner of the little plant, is a Republican politician himself, who knew he was working with the very same people who caused the county and city money problems in the past… so why was he surprised at the betrayal? He actually allowed them to pull the wool over his eyes again.

The citizens got what they wanted for now, no permit for a kill floor in town, but this story is not over folks. The meat owner can ask for new permit, a variance in a zoning code that doesn’t exist in this city… And certain city council members still think they can place light industrial within the city limits which by Montana state code they cannot… so keep up the fight little citizens! Your nightmares are just beginning to unfold for another 2 years of Republican chicanery!

Lastly we need this guys business to succeed here, like a lot of Mom and pop organizations in town. It was in the cities best interests, in the beginning of negotiations with this meat company to swap land with this guy to the outskirts of town so he could fill the hole other meat packers in our area failed to do, and expand his business with glee in an area set aside for light industry (If we had zoning laws first). And down the line, he would hire new workers to ply his goods as his business grew bigger and stronger.

 It was in the best interest of everyone involved to be honest with the citizens of Dillon. The city council (and not all of them) failed again to assert the principles of transparent  government in Dillon! There was a way to keep all parties happy, and again the city council members of Dillon failed the test of good government!