Saturday, June 17, 2006

on GOP ads

The Republicans are out playing their dirty politics again. A man from whom I would not buy a used car comes into Montana and tells us that we all trust Montana's carpetbagging senator from Missouri. Another carpetbagger. And then the republican national committee (lower case since you only use capitals for proper nouns) pays for a sleazy barber ad attacking Jon Tester. As a sidelight, I really wish that it was totally illegal for anyone to make any kind of calls for political or charitable purposes as well as commercial. Sometimes I wonder just how dumb the Republicans think we are in Montana and then I remember that we elected Conrad three times, Racicot twice and Martz once. I think that the current ad supposedly featuring Tester's barber could be actionable. Not by Tester (unless he wants to challenge its accuracy) but by Tester's barber who is made to appear mean-spirited and tight. The last line by itself says he's a money-grubbing person and could be inaccurate as well. Oh, how I hate carpetbaggers who have no knowledge of our state's history and think today's conservatism is in any sense part of our past.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thouights about the latest photo-op

So Baby Bush made another surprise visit to Vietnam (oops, I meant Iraq) this week. Wonder if the American people will buy into another effort to hide his failures with a photo-op. Wonder how the U.lS.-installed head of the Iraqi government felt about being dropped in on? It's probably less effective than the promised visit to Korea that the sainted Dwight Eisenhower made that helped get him elected in 1952. As a strong conservative then, I knew it was a farce.

Thoughts on school funding

A good letter in the Gazoo last Monday (june 13) concerning the strange way that Billings residents voted to pay to play but won't pay the bills for the public education that they continually bitch about. All kinds of specious arguments are used, including abusing the Montana Education Association, the administration and poor teachers. Killing the union won't do anything but lower the quality of teachers, since candidates will be able, even from Billings, to go to another state at a higher pay scale. We are below average pay in this state, down about 47th or lower in pay. At one time even Mississippi paid more than we did. People who complain about a bloated administration obviously have never run anything bigger than a mom and pop store in their lives. I remember when the state would decide the administrators needed to be trimmed at good ole Eastern Montana College. They'd trim the administrative staff and then several years later they'd have to rehire for the same positions because the auditors did not like the way the money was being counted. When the only thing keeping teachers in our state school systems is either the amenities Montana offers (fewer and fewer of them) or that a spouse has a better paying job we're lucky to have the quality education we have in this state.

I like Gov. Schweitzer, but I think he's wrong on the school suit issue. We haven't put enough money into the school systems. If the limits on raising taxes gets on the ballot and passes this fall, we'll be in even more trouble, as Colorado discovered. We need more money for schools at all levels or we're going to be living in a society of ignoramuses. (From some of the arguments I see to justify voting against the school levy by the anti-taxers who don't want to pay for the services they want, we may not have had the system we need for several decades unless, like Sen. Burns, they are all from Missouri.) And the Republicans are laughable. The great party spokesidiot from Billings, Roy Brown, stood on my front porch one afternoon back when he was running in my legislative district and swore until I threw him off my lot, that the Republican legislature had fully funded education. Now, he says they will fully fund it again. Wonder if the court will agree if they get another chance at their mismanagement of the state?

Different thoughts in immigration

In conversation the other day, I heard a new, previously—until now—unmentioned possibility to end the immigration hassle. If the Mexicans want to become U.Sl. residents so badly, why don't they ask us to annex the country. Then we can deal better with the drug lords and they can pay our taxes.

Friday, June 09, 2006

On the Marianas

Somehow, I can't believe that our anti-immigration Montana Senator from Missouri, Conrad Burns, is that dumb. If his staff got him the best information on the Marianas issue, then why did he vote against immigration reform and standards? It is true that in his early years, his staff was not the smartest on the block, particularly on Montana. Maybe they haven't gotten as much better as I thought.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Primary thoughts

The primary is over and the surprises are settling in. Tester won the Democrat primary for the U.S. senate race and will face Montana's senator from Missouri, Conrad Burns, in November. I think that the margin in the Democrat primary was the big surprise. I thought it would be closer. I would suggest to Burns, however, that that margin may have been entirely anger at the way he has conducted himself in D.C. and the morality involved. I understand that Burns would not think he has done anything immoral in taking Abramoff $150,000 because he would have essentially backed the companies against the laborers in the Marianas. In the first vote, he didn't care enough to make an issue of it. In the second vote the money from Abramoff gave him a good reason to vote no. And supporting Abramoff's Indian clients didn't hurt anybody because they were far away from Montana and his votes didn't affect his constituents and did affect his war chest. Good reasons??? I don't think so, but then I don't like anything else he's backed. After all, he's not a Montanan; he's from Missouri, a carpetbagger from the dull Midwest.

And then we have Lindeen moving into the race against Rubber-Stamp Denny, who lives on the taxpayer in his D.C. office and doesn't spend any of his own money on housing in the most expensive city in the U.S. And if baby bush stops to soon, he has to pick Denny out of his colon.

Then there was the so-called anti-obscenity vote in Yellowstone County. I couldn't believe that enough immoralists voted for it to make the race close on the obscenity issue and to pass the zoning issue. I wonder if I could get the county commission to vote against putting a church in my neighborhood on the grounds that it might make an obscenity of my Sunday mornings?

And then there was the tax increase for the roof on the obscenity at the fairgrounds called the Metra. I have to admit I wasn't upset that it passed, but I did cast my protest "no." I don't intend to vote for another bond issue, except for public safety, until the city of Billings passes a school levy again. Since so many people protest the school levy, I suggest that I should be able to protest other taxes that I might otherwise support. But if we can't support our schools, then we can't support anything else, it seems to me. And I wonder if I could get a petition signed to take that little bit of taxes we pay to support the trade port or some such thing, which does me no good, off my tax bill?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thoughts about morality

We seem to have entered an age when every discussion of morality begins and ends with what goes on between a person's belt and his knees. It strikes me that people with this sense of morality have a very small sense of what it really means to be moral. Morality has more to do with how people treat each other in our continuing efforts to live together than it does with how we sleep together. I suggest that morals actually preceded any religious thought. It became evident very early in the human social order that rules were needed about such things as personal health, safety and property if we were to be able to live together and prosper. In small group society, those rules were needed just among the small group; all others could be cheated, raped and killed. As the groups got larger, the rules came to encompass more people. Today, we have a concept that maybe all humans belong to one group as far as social order is concerned; that our moral compass is the entire world.

I would suggest that gods developed as rulers attempted to provide their ruled with a type of all-seeing eye that would perch on each person's shoulder and ensure that he or she did what he or she was supposed to do and act toward all others as he or she was supposed to. We know that people developed rules, called morals, that enable them to live together. We also know that the concept of gods is basically only about 12,000 years old, if that.

Star Trek had its prime directive: Let a culture develop as it is supposed to. In other words, do not interfere with another person's right to exist as he or she wishes to exist extended to a culture (Native Americans take note). That's what the so-called "moralists" in today's world are forgetting. They want each of us to exist as they wish us to. I think that is the worst type of immorality.

Thoughts on ACLU awards

My wife and I were in the audience tonight when the ACLU presented its Jeanette Rankin awards to the Rev. Vern Klingman (who, incidentally, married us almost 40 years ago) and KEMC's Marvin Granger. Klingman is the retired minister from First Methodist Church who is a frequent writer against and critic of the religious wrong's effort to claim this is a Christian country and should be theocratically controlled. Granger is the manager of KEMC who has put together a string of National Public Radio stations and transmitters across the state from the headquarters at Montana State University-Billings. I have had my differences at times with both men, but overall believe they are among the quality people in the city of Billings.

Vern received his award for his outspoken defenses of the First Amendment and the separation of church and state that is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution (no matter what some people say). Granger received the award for promoting the excellence of public radio in fostering intellectual discussion in its audience. The Jeanette Rankin award is given in memory of the activist from Montana who voted against both world wars in Congress and was a member of the first ACLU board when it became active after the repressions of liberties during WWI.

People who oppose the ACLU are, with some few exceptions, those whose particular ox has been gored or who feel that people should be punished for speaking their minds or not buying into the fallacies of the majority.

More thoughts on Conrad of Missouri

I have just sent an e.mail to Conrad Burns, Montana's senator from Missouri, asking for an apology and a retraction for the slander he has put upon me and some other long-term residents of Montana by claiming in a heavy-handed tv ad that his stance on immigration is "a Montana value." As someone whose roots in Montana go back as early as 1864, I resent being given that label. I would rather that he side with the President on this issue (as much as I find it difficult to believe baby bush sincere about anything).

It seems to me that Conrad is not cognizant of the history of Montana if he thinks that this is a true Montana value. It was not a Montana value in the 1800s when our first state constitution was adopted and the flood of immigrants from Europe kept the mines rolling in Butte and later in Roundup and Red Lodge, among others. Nor was it a Montana value in 1972 when we adopted our second constitution. I think our unesteemed senator should get his head out of his colon and learn something about his adopted state.

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