Tinfoil Trilby

whistlingandy

As astute viewers of the Montana Legislature, we find that certain thematic choices seem to have been made well prior to the elections, and which now are bearing their poisoned fruits. Today was no exception as, bright and early this morning, Misrepresentative Randall Pinocci took the stand to proclaim, once and for all, that the United States is a sovereign country that will brook no nonsense from anything related to the United Nations, or the EU, Russia, The Ottoman Empire, Constantinople’s Ghost or those pesky kids. No sir, it shall not stand. Yea, we are pestered with the madness that is “Agenda 21” and the fear-mongering mongrels that spout about it feel the need to prove their own insanity whilst wasting the tax-payers precious time. Pinocci’s Mentally Unbalanced HB583 aims to cut off the Agenda before it can while its way into our very soil. Because it’s like a worm.

On Arrakis.

The Spice must flow.

As if that wasn’t enough, this small minded imbecile is also attempting to update Landlord-Tenant law, because some retaliation has happened against some landlord, some where, and the current law only covers retaliation by a landlord, not retaliation against a landlord by a tenant.

Which isn’t true, because the only thing a tenant could do is break a lease or damage the property, both of which are already covered. This bill would give landlords another tool to attack tenants, which, as anyone who’s ever been in an unbalanced power-struggle will attest, the party with the most power always needs more tools.

This bill, being both redundant and ignorant, at least shares those qualities with Mr. Pinocci. And we tip our hats in his general direction, mostly to cover our smirks at the shiny foil adorning his pate.

If we must celebrate nuts, we choose to do so not by giving credence to these morons, but instead by tippling quite possibly more than is advisable of Whistling Andy’s Coconut Hibiscus Rum.

What can we say? It’s already been that sort of week.

—E.C. Bourbon

That Rocky Mountain High

When reviewing the staggering compost pile of insanity that has been put forth by the Tea Partiers of the Montana Legislature, one could easily be confused as to their actual end goal. One imagines them snorting powdered lines of small government off the backs of Koch-provided hookers as they concoct the unbelievable tragedies that the legislative staff is then force to organize into the bills that are, as of today, still breathing. As when finding a rabid wombat in your knicker drawer, putting these drafts out of their misery would be best for all concerned.

1880 WhiskeyFollowed immediately by a shot of 1889 Whiskey from the fine folks Bozeman Distillery. Maybe three.

Particularly disturbing is how much of this crazy is centered in one senator, Jennifer Fielder. Her disturbing list of bills, which includes attempts at making an agent of the state take primacy over a federal agent, attempts to overrule federal law, attempts to take federal lands into state control (and no matter what she thinks, that’s the first step in making those same federal lands available to sale to her overlords and masters),  attempts to require the state to intervene in federal matters, and the list goes on and on and on. Her particular crazy is unmuffled and unmitigated by her supposed bonfires or her ability to teach people of all ages to ski.

While leaving no doubt that she left both Washington and Colorado barely in front of the pitchfork-and-torch-weilding mobs, we have come to the only viable conclusion about Senator Fielder: she’s being presented by the GOP as a distraction-slash-comparison, so that the rest of their psychopathy appears normal and acceptable.

She’s doing a spectacular job of it. Brava to you, Senator Fielder.

—E.C. Bourbon

Civics Lesson for the Family Foundation

aquavit

Today saw a lot of action at the legislature, most of which is interesting if, ultimately, a posturing pustule of insanity promoted by those anti-government elected officials. One would presume that being anti-government would preclude you from running for office, yet there are so many in office in Montana, it appears to be a prerequisite for filing in some counties. Off point, but interesting nonetheless.

The land grabs attempted today were both literal, with several bills attempting to remove federal lands within Montana’s borders to the care and maintenance of the state—because we have so much extra money idling about we need to own the land—to the metaphorical attempts to create new power structures in the state that, at a glance, are not only ill-advised, they are patently unconstitutional.

Hate Puppet Representative Debra Lamm has put forth several education bills promoted by the unfortunately-named Montana Family Foundation, the most egregious of which attempts to strip the power of running the schools from the school boards and from the Office of Public Instruction, and specifically stops the state from adopting anything of common core.

It seems we have yet another fool who the education system failed that has somehow landed in a position of power attempting to dismantle a system that she doesn’t understand, and certainly holds in contempt. One cannot guess how spectacular Ms. Lamm’s failures in academia were, but one guesses that the fireworks shows celebrating our disassociation from The Crown would pale in comparison.

HB376 attempts to create a new state-wide school board made up of members of the legislative education committees, and gives that board the power of yea or nay to any and all curricula attempted to be taught in the various schools around the state.

Shuttling aside the audacity of a member of the “less government” movement essentially tying the hands of the local boards on every matter to the whims and mysticisms of the members of the legislature, taking such action would effectively destroy education in the state of Montana as everything that is taught must first be approved by this new master board. Everything. Additionally, the entire business of the Office of Public Instruction would be subverted to actions of this committee, which is both a violation of the separation of powers, it’s also a destruction of the checks-and-balances that help to keep our government running. If you’re in need of a civics lesson to explain how the government structures are to work, you should not be an elected official representing anyone in the state of Montana. If Ms. Lamm is representing you, and you are not upset by that disgrace, might we suggest you abdicate any future voting. It would be best for all concerned.

Should Ms. Lamm’s calamitous bill be passed into law, the educational foundation afforded to all Montana’s children would be eradicated by the ideology espoused by the Tea Party currently holding power over the GOP.

Science? While that may continue as the name of the course, the opening of the class would have the teacher saying “turn to page 161 in your bible” instead of accessing any sort of scientific writings at all.

Sex Educaton & Health? This would be a one hour class per day where students would be told to pray away the feelings and should they fail that, they are getting what they deserve, be it AIDS or a child. Or both.

Fine Art? Cancelled completely due to nudity, demagoguery and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Whilst our mokery could easily continue forever with each point made we’d have to take another shot of aquavit, and we might very well pass on, given the amount of aquavit that would require, yet today we still recommend a single finger, middle or otherwise, of Skadi Aquavit from the Montgomery Distillery to help wash away the distasteful derangement of HB376.

We urge the legislature to back off the insanity and vote down these bills, but we aren’t holding our breath. One fervently hopes that Governor Bullock is already stocking up on red pens to save our state from this ignorance.

—E.C. Bourbon

Winning for Losing

dirtyThis Presidents’ Day saw a massive influx of citizenry swarm the capitol as they attempted to communicate their stance on several issues to the hardest of hearing legislature in our grand country. One would think that these people, having elected the very legislators they were reaching out to, would feel that their voices were heard, but one is not so optimistic after the actions on the floors of both the House and Senate had passed.

HB282 and SB179 are about equality, and both had hearings in their relative committees, and both were unceremoniously tabled along party lines. Several progressive organizations pulled together and brought in busloads of people working every day on these issues, to be at the capitol, to lobby their representatives and senators, and to see the system in action. Senator Christine Kaufmann attempted a blast motion to get her bill to the floor of the senate, and it failed along party lines. Representative Bryce Bennett attempted the same thing in the House, and it, too, failed, although there are a couple fair-minded GOP in the House, which might have been the biggest shock of the day.

While these attempts failed, they had unintended consequences. The people who arrived were prepared for a fight, and prepared to lose, and knew full-well that was the most likely result. The optimistic youth that thought they couldn’t lose, however, received a very rude awakening to the fact this fight is not over and won’t be over for a while. Marriage was just one part of it, and not even the most important.

It’s quite disgusting to realize that bigotry and hatred not only exist, but infect the halls of power in our lives. Finding that truth in the actions of the elders of the legislature is disheartening, but ultimately sets us up to win in the long run – a run that gets shorter by the day.

Oh, and Senator Rosendale, we especially raise our dirty martini in a toast to your caustic smirk and self-serving, dismissive waggle of your fingers as the supporters of equality left the Senate balcony was not only observed, it was commented on and you have made yourself a bigger target of our quest to rid the legislature of bigots and idiots. Congrats to you and yours for all that you’ve done on the wrong side of history. May it never be forgotten.

Distracturbation

Neversweat Allegheny

Over the past several days, in what might be construed as outstanding foresight on our part, the general public, the media and the social media have gone all aflutter with concern over yoga pants and speedos, citing, naturally, the very topic we wrote about on Tuesday. While unsurprised to see this topic catch the eye of so many, we are stunned at its staying power. What should have gone away the moment the legislature regained its tenuous hold on whatever sanity they do have that caused them to table this debacle in committee, has managed to remain floating in the ether like so much flotsam on the Books of Face and the Twee of Tweets. As we don’t Pinterest, we presume someone stuck a pin in it there, and yet were unsuccessful in deflating and subsequently sinking the whole thing. A rather miserable situation, all things considered.

This wouldn’t matter in the least, except there is actual business to be done by the legislature and all eyes were turned away from their other activities while we collective tittered over tits and made ourselves arses over arses. It’s all very sad.

One item that was missed was the attempt by the Senate Judiciary committee as they considered increased penalties for domestic violence offenders. Or rather, they attempted that, but became confused by the current law and instead nearly passed an amendment to reduce the already staggeringly low consequences of abusing one’s partner.

How low might those consequences be? If you were to attack a pet, say a dog, in an inhumane way, you’d face a fine rising to as much as $1,000.00 and be imprisoned in the county jail for up to a year, or any combination of those two punishments, as the judge sees fit. And so it should be.

If you were, however, to strike your partner the same as your abused canine, you would get a mere twenty-four hours in jail and a fine of $100. If the republican amendment had gone through, we surmise that the police would merely give you a free ride to the nearest Starbucks and make you purchase a fancy latte for them as punishment, and in their terrible little minds, this probably still seems like too much.

The inhumanity to man costs you far less than inhumanity to non-human, and one does cast a glancing eye at the workings of those at P.E.T.A., thinking their tacky tactics might be needed to update the laws and eradicate these outlandish disparities.

We all seemed to miss this, yet the good folks at the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence were on the ball, protecting us all again. Excellent work, we do say.

If that were the only shenanigans flounced about by the legislature, we could probably let it slide, as there was no harm, no foul this time. Sadly, the legislature had other ideas, and instead has us searching our liquor cabinets for the ingredients to a drink that could win a war without spilling a drop.

Astonishing as it may seem, the Republican caucus has decided ti’s time for gamesmanship, and have pulled out their checkers board and nearly a full compliment of pieces, supplemented by several die, a matchbox car of the General Lee, and a pigeon feather. Their games are inscrutable, true, but they only seem to be playing with themselves.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services had asked for $3 million of funding for increased protection for children from abuse and neglect. House Bill 305 was drafted and presented to the House Health & Human Services Committee, and nearly immediately, the plot thickened to unbelievable madness. Representative Wittich, who is, lest we forget, facing charges of collusion and skullduggery from his campaign, somehow dreamt up the insanity of tying the funding this program in DPHHS to the funding of the Governor’s office.

When doing that many double-takes, it is always wise to first set down your drink. And perhaps to grab a seat and stare blankly out the window in the hopes that this is all but a phantasm, mindlessly swirling through the abyss that has swallowed your mind.

Appallingly, that’s not the reality with which we are faced. This strategy is interesting, no doubt, yet it betrays the basic hauteur endemic in the GOP’s extremist fringe, which has, horribly, taken over much of the membership. To all appearances, playing with the lives and safety of the most vulnerable citizens of the state is not only acceptable to these, and we use the term ever so loosely, ‘people’, it is not a concern in the slightest.  Money, a god they claim to not hold, but which, in truth, clutches them so tightly as to be nearly internal to their very beings, is their only concern, and that fact is laid bare by these antics concocted by someone who believes that rules are for the little people, not for him and his cronies.

There isn’t enough liquor in the country to make that palatable.

However, not having a drink would be ludicrous. Why should we punish ourselves further? It’s not like Wittich and his lackeys will devise more vile schemes, so we may as well indulge our mild hedonism as a shield from their perfidy.

Tonight we suggest the Neversweat Allegheny. Perhaps have two.

—E.C. Bourbon

Nudes and Prudes

neat

Today the Montana legislature turns it’s eagle-like vision toward a problem that has plagued humanity since the days of the Garden of Eden – genitalia, and the inability to maintain a level of decorum when presented with the family jewels. HB365 is a blatant attempt by the pruderies to conceal the human body in ways best left for the Sharia courts of foreign lands, not for the land of the free, home of the brave.

If you can’t handle something as innocuous as the Naked Bike Ride, or the No Pants Subway rides, you need to get therapy, not pass laws. The human body is not a weapon, and shouldn’t be feared.

The people pushing these laws are the supposed prim and propers who spend upwards of  80% of their time thinking about naked people, people having sex, genitalia, and gays doing whatever it is they think gays do (rearrange the living room while indulging in the kinkiest of sex – the leather makes them do it – one surmises from the insanity they spout). They think a nipple can assault you from 50 meters away. They believe that a penis is more dangerous than a pistol, and would like everyone owning one to register it as a deadly weapon.

The penis. They are against any registration for pistols.

The complete disregard for servicing the actual needs of the citizenry of Montana is on full display today as they attend to this non-issue. Montanans deserve better, but alas, they haven’t voted for what they actually deserve.

It’s all quite exhausting to watch, and engorges a thirst only quenched by a whiskey. Today, we suggest a Roughstock Montana Black Label served neat. Maybe take two.

–E. C. Bourbon

Another, please

Bourbon & Frost

It seems that the Montana GOP has decided to besmirch their former good name and have instead lined up, rank and vile, to attempt to destroy anything and everything that makes Montana wonderful. It’s driving us to drink.

Currently, we have the Brotherhood Of Koch pulling the same disingenuous malarky that Grover Norquist has pulled in the past, the only difference being that this time, Norquist doesn’t appear to be the largest knob in the sack. For once.

AFP head Zach Lahn has been tasked with twisting the arms of the more moderate GOP legislators, and with the help of ROUS like Art Wittich, Austin Knudsen and Sarah Laszloffy, has managed to turn the Republican caucus into a FireSwamp.

It seems that some of the members of the caucus are fighting back, but how much fighting can they do when the money being spent is literally in the tens of millions? Montanans are strong, but unless we give these fine folks a bit of help, all we’re going to see is the political equivalent of what these bastards want to do to our public lands: slash and burn!

It’s only Monday, but for the insidious perfidy espoused by the deranged leadership of the Republican caucus in the Montana House of Representatives, we need only one thing – a stiff drink.

Today, we choose the original Old Fashioned. Join us, won’t you.

–E.C. Bourbon