While France Celebrates Democracy, American Democrats Are Trying To Kill It

by William Skink

There will be much celebrating over the election results in France. Macron’s victory sends a strong message to the rest of Europe that the European Union is not dead, yet. If Macron had lost, the stage was set to once again blame Russia for meddling in the democratic processes of its western opponents.

Closer to home, Montanans who still believe in Democracy have a chance to send a message to Trump and the billionaire oligarchs Russia allegedly enthroned by voting for cowboy poet Quist in Montana’s special election.

Rob Quist is running as a Democrat, and Democrats are supposed to be invested in running fair, transparent elections. It’s only those evil Republicans engaged in systemic voter suppression, right?

Not so, say angry Bernie Bros. All those emails that came to light thanks to a leak (not Russian hacking) exposed the rigging of the primary against Bernie, and now the people who gave Bernie money with the expectation the process to elect the Democratic presidential candidate was a fair and impartial process want the DNC to pay, in court.

What emerged this week in a court room in Florida provides the clearest insight into how little the Democratic establishment gives a shit about Democracy. While trying to maintain the primaries weren’t weighted in Hillary’s favor, the DNC defense is trying to assert it could pick a candidate in a cigar-filled backroom if it wanted to. I wonder what Democracy-loving Democrat supporters will think of this demoralizing admission?

Here is the ugly truth that will probably be willfully ignored by the party faithful:

“People paid money in reliance on the understanding that the primary elections for the Democratic nominee—nominating process in 2016 were fair and impartial,” Beck said. “And that’s not just a bedrock assumption that we would assume just by virtue of the fact that we live in a democracy, and we assume that our elections are run in a fair and impartial manner. But that’s what the Democratic National Committee’s own charter says. It says it in black and white. And they can’t deny that.” He added, “Not only is it in the charter, but it was stated over and over again in the media by the Democratic National Committee’s employees, including Congresswoman Wassermann Schultz, that they were, in fact, acting in compliance with the charter. And they said it again and again, and we’ve cited several instances of that in the case.”

Later in the hearing, attorneys representing the DNC claim that the Democratic National Committee would be well within their rights to “go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.” By pushing the argument throughout the proceedings of this class action lawsuit, the Democratic National Committee is telling voters in a court of law that they see no enforceable obligation in having to run a fair and impartial primary election.

The DNC attorneys even go so far as to argue that the words “impartial” and “evenhanded”—used in the DNC Charter—can’t be interpreted by a court of law. Beck retorted, “I’m shocked to hear that we can’t define what it means to be evenhanded and impartial. If that were the case, we couldn’t have courts. I mean, that’s what courts do every day, is decide disputes in an evenhanded and impartial manner.”

If this is what establishment Democrats think about democracy, why should I vote for any candidate with a “D” by their name? The party refuses to change, which means these weaselly partisans will continue perpetuating the failure that produced Trump and keeps the red tide rolling across state legislatures.

Rob Quist needs my vote, and he’s not going to get it. If the party refuses to change, then breaking this political duopoly is the only way for the system to rectify the rot that has taken hold.

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Hillary Clinton Continues Pathetic Blame Game

by William Skink

Like herpes, Hillary Clinton keeps flaring up to remind Americans that she would be president right now if not for the FBI’s last minute move to reopen the investigation of her rampant misconduct regarding classified information, and Russia:

Hillary Clinton emerged from political hibernation Tuesday by declaring herself “part of the resistance” to Donald Trump’s presidency — and spreading blame for why it is not her sitting in the Oval Office.

Making a rare public appearance, Clinton attributed her surprise loss in the 2016 election to interference by Russian hackers and the actions of FBI Director James B. Comey in the campaign’s homestretch.

“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton told moderator Christiane Amanpour, the CNN anchor, at a Women for Women International event in New York.

And, like herpes, there is no known cure to rid the body politic of the Clintons.

Instead of wallowing in the blame game 6 months later, Hillary should look on the bright: she isn’t in prison, where she belongs.

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Rob Quist Supporters Pull Russia Card

by William Skink

One of the unfortunate lessons that has been learned by Democrats in this last election cycle is that a Russia smear campaign can be effective. Just ask Trump, who had to jettison some alt-right baggage and lob a few missiles to get a pause from the non-stop anti-Russia hysteria emanating from partisans and pundits.

One might think the smears are not effective, considering Hillary Clinton lost the election. People who think that way don’t understand that the information war doesn’t stop when the election is over.

So what’s up with Rob Quist and his supporters suddenly whipping out the Russia card?

I don’t know, but the post that finally did it for me is from combat veteran and (spook?) propagandist Joshua Manning, subtly titled Gianoforte Need to Pick a Side….Russia or Montana?

First, to put his terrified audience at ease, Manning let’s us know there aren’t evil Russians lurking in every crevice of every wealthy man’s stock portfolio. After that little caveat comes the smear, which is the meat of the propaganda:

Not all Russian business has ill intentions and there is not evil behind every corner. However, most of the businesses Gianforte has chosen to stick with are involved with Russian President Vladimir’s Putin’s creeping annexation of nearby countries, brutal internal repression, and tied to many of the people named and highly suspected in the election interference of 2016. Keep in mind the date of this disclosure to the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives: March 17, 2017. Gianforte is signaling he continues to invest in these companies and said as much on debate stage this past weekend. It is important to remember Gianforte only answered that he invested in these stocks based on their performance when pressed by Quist and not anyone managing the debate.

What fabulous propaganda. Putin’s “creeping annexation” omits the western-backed coup in Ukraine. Putin’s “brutal internal repression” keeps the focus on Russia, ignoring brutal regimes, like Saudi Arabia, who help fuel the jihadi proxy wars across the ME. And what Russian smear-job would be complete without referencing how Russia is “highly suspected in the election interference of 2016”?

With those narratives established, Manning does touch on some important factors at play, specifically energy resources. But it’s cut from the same propaganda cloth:

Much has initially been made of the companies Gianforte funds for violating US sanctions. Russia faced sanctions for illegitimate military operations in Ukraine that led to it claiming Crimea as a Russian territory. The companies designated are oil and gas giants like Gazprom, Rosneft, Surgutneftegas, and Transneft along with major state-sponsored banks like Sberbank (Gianforte’s largest holding).

Beyond breaking international norms, Russia’s moves toward Ukraine bring a much larger concern. Ukraine, a former Soviet republic with a long memory of repression, serves as the conduit for natural gas into Europe. In the early 2000s this caused yearly problems because Ukraine refused to pay the hefty sums charged by companies like Gazprom, which the gas provider used to drain the Ukrainian budget. Russia in turn accused the Ukrainians of turning off pipelines and keeping gas for itself. Keep in mind this is during the height of harsh eastern European winters. Putin also eyed the problematic Ukraine because it also dared to make moves toward NATO for protection and to join the larger European-Atlantic community.

However, if Putin and his allies in the oil and gas industry can turn Ukraine toward Russian interests then they control the flows of natural gas into Europe. If upset with how Germany, France, or even NATO acts, then Russia can simply turn off the gas or charge a premium for its service. Gaining greater access into Ukraine also puts Russian intelligence and political forces on Europe’s doorstep. This would allow for gains into eastern and southeastern Europe. Russia also has interest in funding “alt-right” movements in the U.K., Germany, and France as they undercut the vote and promote neo-Nazi policies. Putin and his cronies finance all of this through their lucrative oil and gas interests and money laundering through state-owned or foreign banks. The very same companies and people in Gianforte’s portfolio mean to undercut U.S. interests in our main ally: Europe.

There is so much wrong and deceitful here. So much NOT being said. While Manning laments international norms, he willfully suppresses the clear consequences of the neoliberalism he not-so-covertly supports. Manning and his ilk believe markets are to be dominated by western interests, and any threat to that domination gets attacked.

Sometimes the attacks are financial, through sanctions and market manipulation. Sometimes the attacks are a-symetrical, like selling weapons to allies who then hand them to jihadists in places like Syria. Sometimes the attacks aren’t attacks at all, but blowback, like millions of displaced refugees fueling culture clashes in Europe, creating fertile ground for more boogeymen in the guise of the “alt-right” to sprout up.

Here is the conclusion of Manning propaganda piece:

Internally, the executives and families of these connected businesses form an important wing of the Russian government. Putin can trust them to stay in line, kickback their profits to those in the government, and help him expand the enterprise. These oligarchs count their money as Putin’s intelligence and police services kill opposition figures, viciously curb protests, and imprison anyone who dares question the system. Most of Russia’s top billionaires who support this head the companies in Gianforte’s portfolio. Gianforte, a billionaire himself, must have some sort of kindred connection to them.

Let us take Gianforte at his word during the Congressional debate—he is okay with these investments because they are making him money. Notice that he offered no apology or any explanation that maybe some of the companies are in the wrong. He, like his mentor Donald Trump, doubled down on his funding of oppression and authoritarianism. He wants to take those values to Congress and represent Montana. Think about that.

There is nothing in these two paragraphs that can’t be applied to this country, including intelligence services killing opposition. Or maybe you think journalists like Gary Webb really shot himself in the head, and Michael Hastings just accidentally sped his Mercedes into a tree, exploding into a ball of flames.

But Joshua Manning doesn’t want you thinking about any of that, no, no, no. Instead, contemplate the “kindred connection” Gianforte must have with Russian oligarchs. Then connect that to Donald Trump. And please, don’t for a second ask yourself how much oppression and authoritarianism America has been propping up since WWII, because those are the kind of dangerous thoughts that undermine the effectiveness of propaganda.

And who really wants that?

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Return to Twin Peaks

by William Skink

May 21st, 2017, is the scheduled date for the return of Twin Peaks (I think I can trust the NYT for entertainment info).

In preparation, I finished reading Mark Frost’s Secret History of Twin Peaks this morning, which followed my leap into the disturbing secret diary of Laura Palmer, written by David Lynch’s daughter.

So bring it on, Mr. Missoula, Montana Eagle Scout!

With a cup of damn good coffee, and a slice of Norma’s pie, maybe we’ll figure out things like UFOs, backward talking, BOB and the origin of the evil that emanates from the Pacific Northwest.

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Mnuchin “Speaks” and we’re all F*cked.


Listening to Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealing their tax cut package during a briefing at the White House today ( I know, torture time…), I heard the following response by Secretary Mnuchin to a question about whether or not Trump would sign the legislation if wasn’t deficit neutral:

“…when we look at the deficits, and the deficit has gone from 10 to 20 trilion dollars in the last administration…”

At this point I realized just how fucked we are, when the Treasury Secretary of the U.S. doesn’t know the difference between the national debt and a deficit (or maybe he is too intellectually sloppy to articulate the difference, or is such a poor communicator he can’t think on his feet). Basic Economics 101 stuff. A deficit or surplus is the measurement (usually annually) of how out of balance the budget is — income and expenses. The national debt is an aggregate of annual deficits or surpluses over time.

While there are many different ways to look at debt and deficits (and Steve K. has had some interesting posts on that at Piece of Mind lately), and we can argue about them till the cows come home, when the person in charge of the nation’s finances (outside of the Fed — and that’s a whole ‘nother story) is not coherent enough to use the proper wordage in what will become another huge battle in Congress — tax “reform” — how can we trust any of the other words he/they use?

Obviously we can’t, which is why everything we see and hear in public is nothing more than a charade for the public and the media to focus on while the real looting goes on behind a smokescreen. Those people are idiots and tools, and they take us for less than idiots.

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Joshua Manning: Neoliberal Wolf in Progressive Sheep’s Clothing

by William Skink

Common Defense is supposedly a group of progressive veterans, at least that is how it is described in the bio that always accompanies Joshua Manning’s posts at Cowgirl:

Josh Manning is a combat veteran and serves on the leadership team of Common Defense, a group of progressive veterans who want to affect political change. You can follow him on Twitter @joshuamanning23

And here is Common Defense’s mission:

Common Defense is a diverse, grassroots organization of U.S. veterans and military family members who are fighting to preserve the core values we swore to uphold and defend. Together we vow to protect our communities from hate and violence, to serve on the front lines for social, economic, and environmental justice, and to champion a truly equitable and representative democracy.

And here is the problem: Joshua Manning is a neoliberal-supporting Hillary cheerleader who warned Montana Democrats against supporting Bernie in the primaries. Don’t believe me? Just read this:

Watch the Benghazi hearings or just the highlights. Tell me that is not a president who would stand up against the far right. Imagine Sanders in the same chair, what would he be doing and saying? Maybe he would not have taken action in Libya. Maybe Qadaffi would have wiped out the eastern half of Libya’s population. Imagine that hearing.

Could she turn in the general election to the triangulating Clinton we all fear? Sure. The passion for Sanders is real and understandable for just that reason. But he will not sustain it. Clinton has made so many promises short of what Sanders has said, and in some cases to his left, that she would have a hard time turning back on them, I trust her, I trust the team around her. As president, I cannot think of anyone more qualified to take on the risks of running an imperial presidency against Congress to do the right things despite the risks. I think she, more than anyone else, would love the challenge and risks associated with doing whatever is good and necessary to spite the right.

I can’t imagine anyone who considers themselves a progressive making a statement like this. But it gets worse. Manning is now decrying the militarism of Trump in a brazenly disingenuous manner.

Before getting to the Cowgirl post, here is a piece by Manning from last December at Foreign Policy dot com. In this post Manning adds his voice to the clamor for Michael Flynn’s head. I will mention before the quote that the removal of Flynn was a precursor to Trump’s pivot to the neolibcon lust for military intervention. From the link:

In choosing Flynn as his national security advisor, the president-elect has elevated a man who leans toward conspiracy theories as justification for action. Flynn wants to take assertive action in the Muslim world and I think he will push for that no matter what the facts may be.

My worry is that Flynn will start laying a path for conflict or war against Iran. He will have the ear of President Trump, not known as a reader, so Flynn will have a dominant role in telling the president what is going on.

For me, that represents a nightmare scenario. It is not a question of whether it will happen, it is when and how it will. I am genuinely fearful.

I don’t believe for a second that Manning’s concern is that Flynn represented a path for conflict with Iran. What Flynn represented was a threat to the Deep State’s desire to stop any chance of deescalating tensions with Russia.

If you think Manning is coming at this from a progressive position, please consider that his warning against Bernie included labeling Sanders as being “extreme left”. Sure.

And did I mention Manning’s “most trusted” economic thinker is Paul Krugman?

All this brings me to the most recent, cringe-worthy post by combat veteran Joshua Manning. Here are the opening paragraphs:

I spent a year and a half of my Army career in Iraq. I know what it takes to fight terrorism and foreign adversaries. The solution is not the President Donald Trump brand of hyper-militarism and stupid wars. Unbridled defense spending and giving the reigns to the generals and defense contractors is not what our military and veterans need or want. There are many people who voted for Donald Trump, and you can imagine many of them will vote for Gianforte, but they did not vote for one thing: Forever War.

We are still nearly a decade and a half into Bush’s wars and Trump wants to start more. Seriously, look at the posturing towards Syria, Iran, and North Korea. If you think these are just empty threats and military bluster, then take moment to think about how playing Russian Roulette with Kim Jong Un plays out.

There are glaring omissions in these two paragraphs, like Obama’s perpetuation and expansion of Bush’s military intervention, Hillary’s SOS reign of terror in places like Libya, Honduras and Ukraine, our Arab allies supporting the same jihadists Manning claims to know how to fight after a deployment in Iraq, and the full weight of the Deep State attacking Trump until he acquiesced to the hyper-militarism Manning is pretending to oppose.

Manning is trying to parlay his war experience into a one-side partisan attack on Trump and GG. Don’t buy the bullshit. Manning is a neoliberal shill who supported forever-war candidate Hillary Clinton and now is trying to bash Trump after the Deep State got their way and reshaped Trump by pushing him relentlessly with the anti-Russia hysteria into their interventionist mold.

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The Democrat Strategy for Staying in the Minority Forever

by William Skink

One would think Trump’s support would be tanking after his myriad reversals and lack of accomplishments during the first 100 days, but if Democrats were hoping for a tidal wave of (justified) buyer’s remorse, recent polls tell a different story:

Among Americans who say they voted in the 2016 election, 46 percent say they voted for Hillary Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, very close to the 2-point margin in the actual popular vote results. However, while Trump would retain almost all of his support if the election were held again today (96 percent), fewer of Clinton’s supporters say they’d stick with her (85 percent), producing a 40-43 percent Clinton-Trump result in this hypothetical re-do among self-reported 2016 voters.

Adding to the narrative of dysfunctional Dems, the insider account of the Clinton campaign shitshow, titled Shattered, further undercuts the preferred narrative of blaming Putin and sexism and Bernie Bros for Hillary’s impressive implosion.

Despite all the evidence that Democrats need to strategize a comprehensive reset, opportunities to reclaim populist positions against unpopular positions, like military intervention, are being willfully ignored. When a rogue like Tulsi Gabbard emerges, the Democratic establishment is prone to attack, not acquiesce.

Closer to home, Montana Republicans are jettisoning fiscal conservatism by burdening counties with the cost of the special election while continuing to block job-creating infrastructure investment. How are Democrats responding?

Well, one prominent Missoula Democrat is already busy making plans for the future. I appreciate this response to Rep. Hill’s presumptuous Facebook post from Logicosity. In particular, the conclusion:

While on the bench, Hill would do well to reflect on what makes a legislator a proficient lawmaker and to contrast her style and accomplishments with those of others elected representatives who seek the spotlight far less often and still manage to rack up impressive achievements.

Until she and other D’s take stock in those realities, they are destined to remain in the minority.

To understand this response, here is Rep. Hill’s full statement:

SAYING GOODBYE: Today was my last (8:00 am) Saturday session at the Capitol for awhile. After four sessions in the Montana House of Representatives, I need a break for my family and for myself. I do plan to come back to run in Senator Dick Barrett’s Senate seat (my House District) in 2020. I have endorsed Missoula’s City Council President, Marilyn Marler, to run in my House seat and I hope you will support her and give her some money. I have also endorsed my dear friend, Representative Bryce Bennett, to run in Senator Tom Facey’s seat, as we are all term limited out, as well as Representative Nate McConnell in 2020 in Senator Sue Malek’s seat (also termed). During my break, I am going to work to elect women and true progressives. Let me assure you that not all politicians– and Democrats– are the same. I plan to start saying that more. I am going to be an activist again and become a huge pain in the ass to Trump and Daines and the rest of these Neanderthal, mouth breathers, who are scaring the shit out of me and moving our country dangerously backwards. I am going to practice law, fiercely, for the indigent and accused and whose rights have been trampled. I am going to write a book with Mark Parker, my favorite member of the vast right wing conspiracy. I am going send thank you cards and no longer miss your birthdays and I am going to spend time with my family, uninterrupted. I am hoping to fall in love with politics again because for now, we’re breaking up. I’m tired and I am ready to go home to my sweet Missoula, where I don’t serve in the “minority”. But, I will be back, with my fist in air forever! #Solidarity

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The Absurdity of Marching for Science as War Looms Large

by William Skink

I’m not sure the science of it, but after forest fires do their thing, delicious fungi emerge, but only when the ground gets warm enough.

This was the bounty from mother nature I sought today with my family, not the useless MARCH FOR SCIENCE I saw people plastering Facebook with.

I get the political context of marching for science. Trump and Republicans (and Christians) are lumped into the anti-science category, so of course the resistance to that now manifests as a march in the streets for that. For science.

I wonder how many people out marching for science today gave any thought to how the application of science in the pursuit of war has created weapons capable of destroying life on earth? Not all life, but definitely ours, which is all we really care about, right?

I’m not pointing this out thinking I’m any better. I’m really not. I have the same kind of phone my friends on Facebook have to post their pictures with, the same phone that requires certain mineral elements with fancy, scientific names, like lithium. Minerals that just so happened to have been “discovered” 9 year into America’s longest war, in Afghanistan:

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

After getting dirty today hunting for mushrooms, I took a shower. But my hands are not clean. I type this post on a product that comes to me through the exploitation and suffering of others.

The way I deal with my complicity is by making art and helping others. Another thing I find helpful is refusing to allow myself to get sucked in to the dangerous political red/blue binary that blinds people to the anti-war consensus of the public, and the pro-war consensus (Republicans AND Democrats) of the political establishment.

Last weekend it was Trump’s taxes, this weekend it’s science. With war on our doorstep, what’s next on the march menu to nowhere?

When Trump launched missiles into Syria–missiles we wouldn’t be able to create without science–why did so many miss their mark? If it was a Russian missile defense system shooting them down, or a Russian hacking of the guidance technology directing the missiles, that means direct military action between two nuclear-armed nations has already occurred.

Why isn’t resistance to war the reason people are marching in the streets? We are on the verge of the lid blowing off, yet becoming cheerleaders for science on Earth Day is all the resistance can think to do?

What other conclusion is there other than we are fucked?

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Reptile Dysfunction Endorses Greg Strandberg for City Council

by William Skink

I don’t usually endorse political candidates, but when I do it’s because the candidate is Greg Strandberg.

I first noticed Greg Strandberg in the comment threads of Missoulian articles. Like walter12, any article was game for commentary. Here is someone with access to a computer and the ability to write complete sentences, I thought. The sky is the limit.

When the Missoulian shut down comments, I knew that wouldn’t phase Greg Strandberg. The few places that hadn’t banned him would surely become the recipients of his insight and wisdom. Now, many Missoula Current and Last Best News posts have one or two comments, and you damn well know one of ’em is from Greg Strandberg.

Commenting on other people’s content is not the only thing Greg Strandberg does well. At Big Sky Words one can clearly see Greg Strandberg knows how to work with people he doesn’t agree with.

Just last month, for example, Greg Strandberg stood his ground when legislation threatened to make his tobacco and marijuana more expensive. In the brilliantly titled post Fuck You, Mary, Greg Strandberg puts it all on the line to keep his vices affordable:

Mary Caferro is of course the dumb broad that’s foisting this cigarette nonsense on us.

Starting April 30, I have to pay more for the exact same thing.

This is typical Democratic politics.

What is Greg Strandberg? I’ll tell you, Greg Strandberg is not typical Democrat politics. For a few weeks Greg Strandberg was even a Republican, but sadly they wouldn’t have him either.

Greg Strandberg is going to be Greg Strandberg. If elected, Greg Strandberg will fill the shoes left behind by Harlan Wells, whom Greg Strandberg admires for saying no a lot while barely showing up for work. I have no doubt Greg Strandberg will show up. And, he will say things. He is not afraid to say things.

Take his position on the Mayor, for example. A lesser candidate would refrain from saying anything overtly offensive about the Mayor, but not Greg Strandberg. In another brilliantly titled post, Greg Strandberg makes it known he considers the Mayor of Missoula to be Fat, Drunk and Stupid.

This is the kind of boldness Missoula needs from its elected officials.

So, Missoula, get ready for Greg Strandberg’s campaign. He’ll be pounding the pavement soon, with signs and cards and the steely resolve to win so he can finally get a steady paycheck and good benefits.

And you can be a part of the change Greg Strandberg wants for himself. Help him out, Missoula, he obviously needs it.

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What You Are Not Hearing About the Homeless Problem Downtown

by William Skink

Spring is blanketing the valley with new growth (by growth I mean green and colorful things that grow, not banks and hotels). Easter has come, and gone, and the days are getting longer. Which means…

It’s time for Missoula’s annual complain-about-homeless-people-downtown discussion.

This year’s discussion happened at the state of the downtown luncheon, held at the Public House. You can read about it at this corporate rag, or you can read about here, at Missoula Current.

Before I got burned out and had to walk away, I was very involved in this discussion. And I do think there have been improvements in some areas. But there is a part of this story that is not being told, and it’s a significant barrier to improving the behavior of a VERY SMALL group of trouble makers.

As a member of the Mayor’s Downtown Advisory Commission, I was involved in doing some outreach with retailers that sold products like Steel Reserve and Colt 45. The idea was to see if there was any willingness among these retailers to consider a voluntary removal of certain products from single sale. Not a ban of cheap booze, but a minimal, voluntary effort to slightly reduce access to the type of booze the fuels so much of the problems downtown.

There was some willingness among retailers, but Tim France was not one of them. And that was too bad, because as the owner of Wordens and chair of the Business Improvement District, his decision carries weight, and that was that.

The failure of that effort was a contributing factor in my decision to stop jeopardizing my personal safety for booze peddlers who refuse to acknowledge their contribution to the problem downtown.

So when I read things like this:

Several downtown business owners, including Five on Black owner Tom Snyder, also expressed frustration over aggressive scofflaws, saying their storefronts have been urinated on and some downtown visitors remain fearful when approached by intoxicated panhandlers.

I wonder why Tom Snyder doesn’t follow that urine upstream and ask Tim France why he continues selling nasty, gut-rot booze only people with alcohol problems consume.

My suggestion to Tom Snyder and other concerned business people downtown is this: support an ordinance that restricts the sale of the alcohol products everyone close to this issue knows is a significant part of the problem.

I don’t think there would be much support for that approach, so downtown businesses should just prepare themselves for another season of dealing with our community’s chronic inability to understand this problem, and act accordingly.

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