consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Montana Special Election: Understanding in part the Rob Quist "Public Lands in Public Hands" opposition to furtive and direct effort to weaken federal protection of wilderness, wildlife and federal land. Furtive deceit of the worse kind exists. It is the Republicans.

WHEN IS A RULE NOT A RULE? Common thought is a rules bill or resolution , properly, would deal with rules. And that, in harmony, substantive changes in law would be handled by legislation clearly presented as something besides rules. But, then uncommon thought is known to originate with Republicans as surely as Alice was in Wonderland.

Of course that is a mere rant, not truth, right?

Consider this apparently necessary 43 page long rules proposal for a new session of Congress. Note a brief preamble and with the Republicans, properly, it starts with "DECORUM." In a snake den without decorum there are fatal bites and thinning of the ranks.

But then "snake den" is an offensive usage, right? These are duly elected representatives of the entire populace, assembled to first make rules to civilly move into substantive setting of law and policy, right? They deserve our honoring them, right?

And they in proposing rules, stick to rules and rules alone, as apparent from this page in the item, selected at random.

Calling witnesses, and compelling attendance for rcalcitrant ones is essential in order to hold hearings (and get TV coverage), so it is inherent to the body of representatives in deliberation before passing legislation. No problem, right? If they showboat a little in front of the cameras, so what? It's part of the job.

Now, some might object to a rules thing even having the words "public lands" anywhere in it. In the Capitol or congressional office buildings those in a sense are "public lands" but norms of maintenance and improvement and such seem a subject for budgeting, yet, perhaps a rule about dealing with construction or modification of facilities, how to proceed when it happens, there might be need for that, right?

However, a word search of the item, search = public lands, is educational. Buried, p.35, is this:

Whoa, Kemo Sabe, big rat in that drainditch.

No, Tonto, just an ordinary rules bill.

Let the intrepid pair discuss it, but from here it looks as if somebody exceeded ratiness and stealthily threw a giant venomous snake on the table, not a rat but meaner and more dangerous.

Stuff like that can get a fellow like Rob Quist talking. Guardian last month published:

Quist supported Bernie Sanders, who won Montana’s Democratic primary by seven points. Republican Rick Hill, who held the seat Quist seeks, referred to him in a Facebook post as a “cowboy hat wearing hippie”. Quists laughs about the description and isn’t offended.

“I think the thing I liked about Bernie is he was a man of the people and really connected to grassroots. That’s what I’m all about. The other choices we’re offered are really connected to corporate America, which in a lot of ways has undue influence on the politics of our country,” Quist says. “My goal is to be a strong, independent voice for the people of Montana.”

Rob Quist was raised on a farm and learned to play banjo and guitar in Cut Bank, just south of the Canadian border, on the edge of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Cut Bank is conservative, but Quist became politically progressive when he moved to Missoula for college and joined a band. The Mission Mountain Wood Band toured Montana and the region relentlessly, packing in partying crowds for a decade. Quist left the group in the 1980s and formed Rob Quist and Great Northern, another popular band, and continued making a living as a touring musician.

From that, he’s widely known among people 40 and older. His challenge now is to get his name out to younger voters, while rallying those who know him to get out and vote. But he’s up against a big money blitz, with no backing as yet from the national Democrats.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican Super Pac, has spent $700,000 on anti-Quist advertising, calling him “out of tune” with Montana.

In response, Quist challenged his opponent to a banjo duel to see “who’s really out of tune”.

The wet blanket declined the challenge. Sad.

Tune time and a bonus.

Back to the thread. Multiple Quist items have been posted online from time to time, but citing Guardian has merit. Guardian is how that "rules resolution" thing excerpted in the images above was accessed online. They posted it and linked. This item, Heather Hansman writing in January, opening two paragraphs:

In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.

[links in original] The item goes on to report that the snaked-in language was "authored by Utah Republican representative Rob Bishop," and:

Essentially, the revised budget rules deny that federal land has any value at all, allowing the new Congress to sidestep requirements that a bill giving away a piece of federal land does not decrease federal revenue or contribute to the federal debt.

[...] The Congressional devaluation of national property is the most far-reaching legislative change in a recent push to transfer federal lands to the states. Because of the Republican majority in Congress, bills proposing land transfers could now swiftly diminish Forest Service and BLM lands across the country.

“We didn’t see it coming. I think it was sneaky and underhanded. It exemplifies an effort to not play by the rules,” said Alan Rowsome, senior director of government relations at The Wilderness Society. “This is the worst Congress for public lands ever.”

The Guardian report goes well beyond quoted material, and any reader as ignorant of the issue as I was before finding the item online should, if interested, read the entire thing. And a follow-up Guardian posted online item from February titled, " Republicans back off bill to sell 3.3m acres of public land after outcry -- Congressman Jason Chaffetz withdraws House bill 621 as conservationists and outdoorsmen vow to continue fight over similar legislation." Chaffetz and Bishop are both Utah Republicans, and the Febuary Guardian item is aimed at a specific federal land attack, not the sweeping "hidden in a rules bill at p.35 in January" declaration that it all can be given away; so line up for the Fat City taking. (Folks in the lobby like it written that way. Short. Simple. Unequivocal. And available.)

That entire agenda is/was/will be out of tune with Quist, with much of Montana, and with reasonable BLM and Forest Service responsibility.

So out of tune it can and arguably should be made a key if not the key policy plank a candidate like Quist would run on in a state with as much currently well-managed federal land as Montana.

But that Republican public land disenfranchisement agenda is in tune with Cliven Bundy (who on a bet votes Republican). Bundy, who's bigger than the rest of us or claims so as specially entitled apparently, differs from Rep. Bishop and the other honorable gentlemen who had a hand in authoring that rules proposal in that Bundy is up front and open, not sneaking backdoor.

And clearly, Rob Quist has met the challenge and seized the issue. Gianforte tries to waffle, but you decide; YouTube, here, here and here (where watching the speech leads to an interview unfortunately with obscuring background noise).

If you don't believe Gianforte is on board with Bishop's rule ruse, were you born yesterday? Replay that first link of the three and do you want butter and syrup with that waffle? Gianforte, via the first YouTube item seems to be loudly telling voters what he believes they want to hear, clearly with a hedge, so is "public lands in public hands" what he believes?

Follow his money. His money speaks with less equivocation than he does. His position fits with the Utah Republicans wanting to take the "federal" out of "federal lands" and one must wonder what agenda is behind the effort. Federal lands have not been mismanaged, and the more local you get the more crony friendships can exercise a power unable to influence the fish in the bigger pond.

Rob Quist's campaign has a YouTube channel. Check it out.


From the Quist campaign page

go to the contribution page and use ActBlue

- or -

snail mail:

Rob Quist Congressional Campaign
PO Box 1917 Kalispell, MT 59903


Minnesotans consider: Under that mischief the Utah Repubicans and their confederates are cooking up out west, would it not be possible for an act of Congress to deed federal land in Minnesota to, say, the IRRRB, with consequences? Is the problem then larger than a "western states" issue? Reread that p.35 "rule."

Also for Minnesotans to consider, a common terminology out of Montana, "copper barons." Study "there" and learn for "here." History has purposes. This link.

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