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View Full Version : A Good Letter from Montana's Gov



Buzz
06-05-2012, 09:27 AM
I especially liked the last line...



Mining for Influence in Montana
IN Montanaís frontier days, we learned a hard lesson about money in politics, one thatís shaped our campaign-finance laws for a century and made our political system one of the countryís most transparent.Those laws, and our political way of life, are now being threatened by theSupreme Court (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/s/supreme_court/index.html?inline=nyt-org) ó which is why I recently signed a petition for a federal constitutional amendment to ban corporate money from all elections.
Montanaís approach to campaign law began when a miner named William A. Clark (http://www.1st100.com/part1/wclark.html) came upon a massive copper vein near Butte. It was the largest deposit on earth, and overnight he became one of the wealthiest men in the world. He bought up half the state of Montana, and if he needed favors from politicians, he bought those as well.
In 1899 he decided he wanted to become a United States senator. The State Legislature appointed United States senators in those days, so Clark simply gave each corruptible state legislator $10,000 in cash, the equivalent of $250,000 today.
Clark ďwonĒ the ďelection,Ē but when the Senate learned about the bribes, it kicked him out. ďI never bought a man who wasnít for sale,Ē Clark complained as he headed back to Montana.
Nevertheless, this type of corruption continued until 1912, when the people of Montana approved a ballot initiative banning corporate money from campaigns (with limited exceptions). We later banned large individual donations, too. Candidates in Montana may not take more than a few hundred dollars from an individual donor per election; a state legislator canít take more than $160. And everything must be disclosed (http://politicalpractices.mt.gov/default.mcpx).
These laws have nurtured a rare, pure form of democracy. Thereís very little money in Montana politics. Legislators are basically volunteers: they are ranchers, teachers, carpenters and all else, who put their professions on hold to serve a 90-day session, every odd year, for $80 a day.
And since money canít be used to gain access, public contact with politicians is expected and rarely denied. A person who wants to visit with a public official, even the governor, can pretty much just walk into the Capitol and say hello. All meetings with officials are open to the public. So are all documents ó even my own handwritten notes and e-mails.
All this is in jeopardy, though, thanks to the Supreme Court and its infamous Citizens United ruling. In February the court notified the office of Montanaís commissioner of political practices, which oversees state campaigns, that until further notice, we may no longer enforce our anti-corruption statute, specifically our restriction on corporate money.
The court, which will make a formal ruling on the law soon, cited in the 2010 Citizens United case that corporations are people, too, and told us that our 110-year effort to prevent corruption in Montana had likely been unconstitutional. Who knew?
The effects of the courtís stay are already being felt here. The ink wasnít even dry when corporate front groups started funneling lots of corporate cash into our legislative races. Many of the backers have remained anonymous by taking advantage of other loopholes in federal law.
But itís easy to figure out who they are: every industry that wants to change the laws so that more profit can be made and more citizens can be shortchanged.
I know this because Iíve started receiving bills on my desk that have been ghostwritten by a host of industries looking to weaken state laws, including gold mining companies that want to overturn a state ban on the use of cyanide to mine gold, and developers who want to build condos right on the edge of our legendary trout streams.
In the absence of strict rules governing campaign money, these big players will eventually get what they seek. I vetoed these bills, but future governors might sign them if they have been bribed by the same type of money that is now corrupting our State Legislature.
This will mean, sadly, that the Washington model of corruption ó where corporations legally bribe members of Congress by bankrolling their campaigns with so-called independent expenditures, and get whatever they need in return ó will have infected Montana.
Thatís why, in the event we donít win in the court, Iím also supporting a federal constitutional amendment that would enshrine the right of a state to ban corporate money from political campaigns. Iím hoping the rest of Montana will join me ó indeed, thepetition will be presented (http://www.standwithmontanans.org/) to voters in November.
Itís not much, but itís a start. If other states get into the act, maybe we can start a prairie fire that will burn all the way to Washington. In the meantime, we will see whether the court decides to blow the stink of Washington into Montana, or whether we can preserve our fresh mountain air.
Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, is the governor of Montana.

road kill
06-05-2012, 09:37 AM
It is so refreshing and reassuring that we have these Democrats to be the pillars of righteousnous!!:rolleyes:

Thanks Buzz!!

luvmylabs23139
06-05-2012, 09:40 AM
HOw about the ban all union money from politics, that would be a better start!

road kill
06-05-2012, 09:41 AM
HOw about the ban all union money from politics, that would be a better start!
That would be a tremendous source of revenue for the Govt.

How much did the AFSCME pay in taxes last year??

huntinman
06-05-2012, 09:46 AM
How come every time the Dems think they are on the verge of losing.... Suddenly they want to change they rules? They always think that the system is screwed up, or the voters didn't hear their message correctly or some such drivel.

Well guess what? The voters know who you are and don't want what you are offering.

luvmylabs23139
06-05-2012, 09:50 AM
Lets at least start with Public unions. Afterall they take taxpayer money by force and then use that money against the taxpayer!

road kill
06-05-2012, 09:54 AM
Lets at least start with Public unions. Afterall they take taxpayer money by force and then use that money against the taxpayer!
We are addressing that issue here in WI today!!:D

Buzz
06-05-2012, 11:09 AM
We are addressing that issue here in WI today!!:D


Nothing like false equivalence horse crap.

Comparing an association of many many individuals with a few very very wealthy individuals who would like to undermine the lifestyle of the average man is false equivalence.

You guys have it all backward...

menmon
06-05-2012, 11:15 AM
That letter says it all. Nothing has changed except the lawyers wear more expensive suits!

Keep giving corporations more political power and see were it gets you....the Unions can't bring near the money to the table, and yes they have an agenda too. But that agenda is the workers they represent. O'yea, they take your money and spend it on something you disagree with but they also help maintain your wage, so damn them.

Corporations are run by people and their jobs are to make more money for the shareholders that live somewhere else that do not care weather they polute your water, ruin the landscape of your stream. You need to rethink this throwing out the guy that truly has our back....it is class warfare, and we are on the losing side. I wish I would have had a say in the development of the Katy Prairie. A few people made a lot of money and we lost one of the largest stopping grounds of geese in the country. We just accept it....yea it made some jobs but at what price....now to have good goose hunts we have to go north. Somebody has to stand in the way every now and then.

See pure capitalism doesn't care!

road kill
06-05-2012, 11:19 AM
Nothing like false equivalence horse crap.

Comparing an association of many many individuals with a few very very wealthy individuals who would like to undermine the lifestyle of the average man is false equivalence.

You guys have it all backward...

Let me tell you something Buzz.
I am not wealthy at all.
I lost my house, my 401K, my savings and some money I didn't have at the time.
I paid every cent of debt I had back after this trauma was over.
I didn't get 1 cent from anyone except my Mom.
I worked hard to make some deals and every debtor was satisfied.
Between that and the market crash I was destroyed financially.
Not your issue, mine, but the point is into each life a little rain must fall!
BTW--This happened as I helped my wife battle cancer......we lost!
I would do it again in a heartbeat......on my OWN dime!

I was very fortunate that I worked hard and made a couple business deals and worked my way back a bit.
I now have some in the bank and a plan to retire.

I am NOT a 1% or rich.
I pay enough taxes and I am tired of a few heavy handed representatives of less than 10% of the population of the state I live in running the Govt.
DA UNION does NOT care about teachers, classroom size, curriculum, working conditions and most importantly the students.
They care about MANDATORY membership and dues to DA UNION!
Oh, and making DA UNION members buy insurance at an inflated rate from the insurance company DA UNION OWNS!!!!!

That is wrong!

ENOUGH!!!!!

The rank and file taxpayer deserves a break.
We must stop spending money we don't have on crap we don't need.


No, I think the taxpayers in WI deserve better than what we have been getting.
And we are about to show that.

Depending how many members of DA UNION get bussed in to vote.
And there is a report that a caravan from Ohio and MI has been stopped in Kensha before they could vote.

Buzz, not once have I ever insulted your opinions as "horse-crap."

I guess I have mis-judged again.:(

BonMallari
06-05-2012, 11:37 AM
That letter says it all. Nothing has changed except the lawyers wear more expensive suits!

Keep giving corporations more political power and see were it gets you....the Unions can't bring near the money to the table, and yes they have an agenda too. But that agenda is the workers they represent. O'yea, they take your money and spend it on something you disagree with but they also help maintain your wage, so damn them.

Corporations are run by people and their jobs are to make more money for the shareholders that live somewhere else that do not care weather they polute your water, ruin the landscape of your stream. You need to rethink this throwing out the guy that truly has our back....it is class warfare, and we are on the losing side. I wish I would have had a say in the development of the Katy Prairie. A few people made a lot of money and we lost one of the largest stopping grounds of geese in the country. We just accept it....yea it made some jobs but at what price....now to have good goose hunts we have to go north. Somebody has to stand in the way every now and then.

See pure capitalism doesn't care!



Horsecrap...the unions use pension funds to wield their influence, and their rank and file have ZERO say so in its use, they determine what projects get done and which don't..the unions have stalled many projects until union labor is used to construct them...I think its called extortion by many


what is your alternative to capitalism ? surely not socialism or communism

Marvin S
06-05-2012, 11:45 AM
I especially liked the last line...

Buzz - have you ever been to MT. If you had & were aware of your surroundings you would have noticed that strip mine about 3 miles or so E of Whitehall less than a mile of above the Jefferson @ Cardwell. The Jefferson meets the Madison @ Three Forks a few miles further on to form the Missouri. They are not using ground water to leach the AU from the rock :o. & that is a fairly new mine, 130 jobs :p. Going to be a hell of a price to pay for a few jobs when the liners under the pile fail.


Or go by the Wal-Mart in Butte & try to get a spot in the parking lot. Butte is a strident union town, all those customers must be from somewhere else :). & the guys who work the pit, now non union, they really enjoy those productivity bonuses at the end of the year.


I guess you believe the baloney pedalled as long as it's from someone like minded :p.


But FYI, I don't care how much is spent as long as it is required to be immediately available information. Your union friends have enjoyed unfettered access to the populace entirely to long to the detriment of the working taxpayer.

Gerry Clinchy
06-05-2012, 12:07 PM
What about those individuals who spend $50,000/plate at fund-raisers?

If unions can contribute because they represent many individuals, then should contributions be limited by headcount? $X for each union member? In which case corporations could be limited to $X for each individual they employ?

An each individual would be limited to $X.

If campaigns were thus limited in funds, maybe they would spend their money on ads that actually say something pertinent?

If Obama (or either party) can raise $1 billion for a campaign for President (not to mention all the $ raised for other campaigns), that $1 billion could also replenish the $ taken away from Medicare for Obamacare. Then maybe the poor AND the elderly could both get some better health care?

luvmylabs23139
06-05-2012, 12:24 PM
Nothing like false equivalence horse crap.

Comparing an association of many many individuals with a few very very wealthy individuals who would like to undermine the lifestyle of the average man is false equivalence.

You guys have it all backward...


Ha aha ha!!!!! The taxpayers who actually pay taxes have had enough of the public unions. The private unions are not directly stealing my money. WHY THE HECK should I pay some clown better benefits than I get? The garbage guy does not deserve that, any high school drop out can pick up crap and maybe we should just make the welfare leaches do it to get a piece of the taxpayer money. IE , if you want me to pay for your food or housing get off of your fat ass and pick up the trash and shut up etc, I Owe that leach nothing!! . I personally only hold police and firefighters in a totally different light. They are willing to risk teir lives for us. and cops have to deal with more bs than the rest of the world .

luvmylabs23139
06-05-2012, 12:26 PM
That letter says it all. Nothing has changed except the lawyers wear more expensive suits!

Keep giving corporations more political power and see were it gets you....the Unions can't bring near the money to the table, and yes they have an agenda too. But that agenda is the workers they represent. O'yea, they take your money and spend it on something you disagree with but they also help maintain your wage, so damn them.

Corporations are run by people and their jobs are to make more money for the shareholders that live somewhere else that do not care weather they polute your water, ruin the landscape of your stream. You need to rethink this throwing out the guy that truly has our back....it is class warfare, and we are on the losing side. I wish I would have had a say in the development of the Katy Prairie. A few people made a lot of money and we lost one of the largest stopping grounds of geese in the country. We just accept it....yea it made some jobs but at what price....now to have good goose hunts we have to go north. Somebody has to stand in the way every now and then.

See pure capitalism doesn't care!

Anyone in a public union is stealing taxpayer money to get more taxpayer money!!! THey suck the taxpayer dry and deead. They are killing me!!!

menmon
06-05-2012, 02:26 PM
Stan...I'm sorry you lost your wife. That is a tough one and your story speaks volumes to your charactor. Not a lot of that around anymore.

The point Buzz and I keep trying to make is that people need a break every now and then, because when life throws someone somethings as bad as it did you, it puts good men in bad places. I have had pitfalls in my life too, thank God none as bad as yours, but I know I'm not immune from them and my comfortable life could get turned upsidedown on a dime. This is why I lean towards giving the working man like us a chance when life is not fair.

I know people abuse it and it angers me too, but I still like the thought that someone might have my back if I was in need.

I'll be the first to say that Unions have and will abuse their power, but I also know that management/government will too. Example: lets layoff some teachers so that I can fund the developers/constractors projects so they can make money.

I'm sure the union is not all right up there but be careful what you wish for.

huntinman
06-05-2012, 02:30 PM
Stan...I'm sorry you lost your wife. That is a tough one and your story speaks volumes to your charactor. Not a lot of that around anymore.

The point Buzz and I keep trying to make is that people need a break every now and then, because when life throws someone somethings as bad as it did you, it puts good men in bad places. I have had pitfalls in my life too, thank God none as bad as yours, but I know I'm not immune from them and my comfortable life could get turned upsidedown on a dime. This is why I lean towards giving the working man like us a chance when life is not fair.

I know people abuse it and it angers me too, but I still like the thought that someone might have my back if I was in need.
I'll be the first to say that Unions have and will abuse their power, but I also know that management/government will too. Example: lets layoff some teachers so that I can fund the developers/constractors projects so they can make money.

I'm sure the union is not all right up there but be careful what you wish for.

That's what family, friends and faith based organizations are for. Don't need the gov't there every step of the way. People in this country got along just fine without gov't handouts for years... gov't handouts have been the downfall of a good portion of our society.

road kill
06-05-2012, 03:01 PM
Stan...I'm sorry you lost your wife. That is a tough one and your story speaks volumes to your charactor. Not a lot of that around anymore.

The point Buzz and I keep trying to make is that people need a break every now and then, because when life throws someone somethings as bad as it did you, it puts good men in bad places. I have had pitfalls in my life too, thank God none as bad as yours, but I know I'm not immune from them and my comfortable life could get turned upsidedown on a dime. This is why I lean towards giving the working man like us a chance when life is not fair.

I know people abuse it and it angers me too, but I still like the thought that someone might have my back if I was in need.

I'll be the first to say that Unions have and will abuse their power, but I also know that management/government will too. Example: lets layoff some teachers so that I can fund the developers/constractors projects so they can make money.

I'm sure the union is not all right up there but be careful what you wish for.
I made my own break.
That's the way my Mom & Dad raised me.

Maybe I am just lucky that I had the self reliance to gut it out.

Maybe some of these poor down trodden teat suckers just don't have the luxury of facing the pain and looking death in the eye and having the will to do the right thing!!
And of course, a secular progressive school teacher I know asked me when she passed "where is your God now?"
My answer, "he is with me more than ever!"

Man up..........

menmon
06-05-2012, 03:06 PM
Man will let you down everytime.