Editors Choice: Der Führer Cometh

Editors Choice: Der Führer Cometh

By: James C. Nelson, Montana Supreme Court Justice (Ret).

Have you ever thanked God that you never lived Nazi Germany? Well don’t  get off your knees just yet; you might still find out what that was like. 

Donald J. Trump is straight out of fascism’s, central casting: think Hitler (who  Trump seeks to emulate and whose speeches he quotes), Bolsonaro (whose legacy  and tactics he endorses), Orbán (who he endorses and who is the darling of the reactionary GOP and Fox News) and Putin (with whom Trump is bonded). 

If elected, Trump intends to be America’s first dictator in the mold of the  foregoing authoritarians or “strongmen.” 

Trump (along with Steven Miller, and other lickspittles and sycophants) has  openly proclaimed his plans for America if he’s elected President in 2024. Indeed,  his formal plans have names–Project 2025 and Agenda47—and come complete with  a 920-page policy book from 400+ contributors, orchestrated by the right-wing  Heritage Foundation. 

Specifically, here’s a summary of what Trump has in store for us: 

Hiring and training an army of 54,000 loyalists ready to hit the ground on  inauguration day, to be appointed to government jobs and positions vacated  when the civil service, administrative agencies, FBI, DOJ and intelligence  agencies are purged of Trump’s enemies;  

Establishing concentration camps to hold aggressively rounded-up,  unauthorized immigrants, pending their deportation by the “millions each  year;” 

Placing loyal military officers over social engineering and non-defense  matters including climate change, critical race theory, and manufactured  extremism; 

Invoking the Insurrection Act, on Trump’s first day in office, and declaring  martial law so as to use the military against political opponents and unrest and  protests on election day;

Criminally prosecuting those designated by Trump for “retribution,” and  “revenge” including President Biden and his family, Democrats, and former  cabinet, staff, military officers, and public officials deemed “disloyal” when  he was President; 

Politicizing the federal civil service and undermining laws aimed at  preventing corruption and cronyism; 

Totally controlling federal agencies that presently operate with a great deal of  independence, with all reporting directly to Trump; 

Ending separation between the White House and the DOJ that prevents  presidents from using prosecutions for political purposes; 

Dehumanizing political opponents, by, for example, referring to them as thugs  and “vermin;” 

Gutting the Justice system and firing career prosecutors; 

Gutting the National Security and Intelligence apparatus; 

Requiring local law enforcement agencies to use controversial stop and frisk  practices; 

Banning travel to and from Muslim countries;  

These plans have been openly and defiantly proclaimed by Trump. Indeed,  his vitriol and promises, coming from a candidate for the highest and most  powerful office in the free world, are without precedent. 

Trump, who gives all the appearances of being mentally deranged and  paranoid, functions on the basis of only three premises: (1) will it make me look  good?; (2) will I make money doing it?; and (3) will it allow me to seek revenge  and retribution on my enemies?. He has no concern for political norms or  customs; he has no concern for the rule of law; and he has no concern for our  Country, its citizens, its institutions, its government or its Constitution. He is a  pathological liar. He promises be judge, jury and executioner; a law unto himself  alone. He promises to be America’s dictator-in-chief. 

In the 2024 presidential election we will have two choices: vote for democracy  or vote for Trump. 

If you vote for the latter, stay on your knees and practice your one-arm salute. Sieg heil!

Cascade County Chaos Continues

Cascade County Chaos Continues

After multiple embarrassing blunders and missteps, the Cascade County Commission today approved the canvas of the Great Falls Municipal Election.  Widespread media coverage shows the depth and breadth of ineptitude displayed by Commissioner Rae Grulkowski and Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant. There’s been a lot to keep up with, and if you, like the average GF resident, preferred to spend your holiday eating turkey instead of monitoring the minutiae of dysfunctional local government, you may have missed some news. Don’t worry, dear reader. We’ve done the work for you and rounded up the funniest and most informative articles highlighting  Sandra Merchant’s No Good Very Bad Week. 

Here are a few of our favorite highlights from Merchant’s cirque de failure.

“Jasmine Taylor, a former Democratic candidate for the legislature, said Grulkowski tried to circumvent commissioners Briggs and Larson, who refused to participate in an improperly noticed meeting, by asking other elected officials to hold the meeting.

And that didn’t work out for you, and thank God it did not,” Taylor said. “Because can you imagine if we had other elected officials up there with a farce of a canvass that you held? You cannot complain about your co-workers not coming to you when you go behind the scenes and behind their back and try to circumvent normal public processes in Cascade County.”

Read the full story here: https://dailymontanan.com/2023/11/28/cascade-county-commission-votes-to-restructure-chairperson-selection-process/?fbclid=IwAR16fDYmkoPCdnMbePjVacZY7Gmky8PBLdTpBv-JnXusljfkdPnyP4kyU-w

“Briggs said he moved to adjourn last Wednesday’s meeting after he noticed several discrepancies in the post-election reports for the outlying communities of Cascade and Belt. He noted that the canvass was a significant departure from past elections, with commissioners not receiving materials prior to the meeting and not being presented with the information needed to compare the number of ballots processed by vote-tabulating machines with the number of ballots returned by voters to the elections office.
Merchant did not respond to multiple messages requesting comment.”

Read the full story here: https://montanafreepress.org/2023/11/28/cascade-county-misses-election-canvass-deadline/

“Looking at (the Secretary of State’s) report and comparing it to the tabulator machine results for the town of Belt and the town of Cascade – the numbers of ballots received did not match,” explained Commissioner Rae Grulkowski. “Commissioner Briggs made a motion to table until the Secretary of State’s Office could be reached to conclude why those numbers were different.”

Read the full story here: https://www.newsbreak.com/news/3242654584429-when-will-it-count-cascade-county-s-nov-7-election-results-still-in-limbo?_f=app_share&s=a3&share_destination_id=MjIyODA3MDU2LTE3MDA5NDM2NTI3NDc%3D&pd=0F4sIC3l&hl=en_US&send_time=1700943652&actBtn=null&trans_data=%7B%22platform%22%3A1%2C%22cv%22%3A%2223.46.1%22%2C%22languages%22%3A%22en%22%7D&fbclid=IwAR17LY483tJBbRE5o6VP7ERDBo4UFd_wQeSdfEH41xy4eWz4pTsmXkzt2XU

“Jane Weber, former Cascade County Commissioner and co-founder of the Election Protection Committee, a resident-organized watchdog group, noted the canvass diverged from the usual process even before it started. Weber said in her written testimony never in her 10 years on the commission had she witnessed a canvass where commissioners didn’t get necessary reports from the Clerk and Recorder prior to the meeting. “This process today was a sham designed to outlast the public who came to make comment. I’m embarrassed and deeply troubled for any future elections in this county chamber,” Weber said.

Read the full story here: https://dailymontanan.com/2023/11/24/cascade-county-commission-tables-election-canvass-amidst-ballot-tally-confusion/?fbclid=IwAR3fGBPw6qfOgDA8tXzfD2zslcSzB9kUbr0GICDoKeBGdcvrskyQGeNxWVM

We’ll have more on the fantastic failures of Merchant and Grulkowski later this week. For now, enjoy this cartoon, as a treat.

Merchant Blows Canvass Deadline

Merchant Blows Canvass Deadline

TL,DR? Scroll to the bottom and check out the video breakdown of the shitshow. 

Another day, another massive error by Cascade County Clerk and Recorder, Sandra Merchant. 

Merchant’s antics today have arguably outpaced her mistakes of the past. But before we get into that, dear reader, here’s a quick and dirty civics lesson.

Election results must be accepted and finalized in a process called a “canvass.” You may recall that the Great Falls Public School Board’s canvass of that election showed significant errors by Merchant, including precincts that didn’t balance. Although the School Board acknowledged these errors, they ultimately decided to accept the canvass, thus solidifying the results of the election.

Fast forward to the Great Falls Municipal Election. The Election Protection Committee (EPC) reported a number of errors with this election, including double ballots which could be voted twice, and voters receiving ballots for the Great Falls election despite not living in the city. Over 100 voters were turned away at the Expo Park on election day. Then, midway through the day, a ballot box was delivered to the Expo Park, and over 100 ballots were accepted at that location. The entire day was a debacle, once again caused by Merchant’s failure to communicate with the press and the community.

That brings us to today, Monday, November 20, 2023. Today Sandra Merchant attempted to hold the canvass for the Great Falls Municipal Election. The problem? Merchant failed to provide the required 48-hours notice to the public. And thus the shitshow began. Merchant scheduled the canvass for 3:30 today, despite ignoring the rules for notifying the public. When the Election Protection Committee (EPC) learned of this meeting, volunteers quickly assembled at the County Commission Chambers. 

Citizens were left waiting as the hour drew near and neither Commissioner Rae Grulkowski nor Sandra Merchant were anywhere to be found. Less than an hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin, it was canceled.

The EPC soon learned the reason behind the cancellation. Commissioners Joe Briggs and Jim Larson refused to attend the meeting. The Commissioners knew that the required 48-hours public notice had not been provided. Rather than attend a potentially unlawful meeting, Briggs and Larson refused to attend. Thus, Commissioner Grulkowski was without the necessary numbers to hold a quorum, and the canvass was not held.

Merchant has now rescheduled the canvass for Wednesday, November 22, 2023. Despite the fact that scheduling a public meeting the day before Thanksgiving is not serving the public’s interest, it’s also, literally, too late. Per the Secretary of States’ “Municipal Primary and General Election Calendar” Merchant must conduct the canvass on or before November 21, 2023.  There is no way for Merchant to meet this deadline AND provide the required 48-hours notice.

Once again, Merchant has failed to perform even the most basic functions of her job duties. First, Merchant failed to schedule the canvass before the November 21, 2023 deadline. Then, Merchant attempted to hold a potentially unlawful meeting to accept the canvass, without providing the proper public notice.  Merchant has blamed others for her mistakes at every turn.

Incorrect information printed in the newspaper? Blame the Tribune, even though Merchant is ultimately responsible for review of printed materials.
Duplicate ballots? Blame the printer, even though Merchant’s procrastination kept the ballots from being printed in-house.
Sending ballots to deceased voters? Blame the previous Clerk and Recorder even though a basic understanding of chronological time shows that pulling the deceased list was, and has been, Merchant’s responsibility since January 1, 2023.

However, Merchant cannot blame today’s error on anyone but herself. Despite her campaign platform of “transparency” it was Merchant herself who failed to notify the public, who attempted to hold a public meeting WITHOUT the public’s knowledge, and failed to conduct the canvass before the required deadline.

Wondering who to blame for all these errors, Ms. Merchant? We suggest you look in the mirror. 

Check out Jasmine’s video breakdown here: 


Editor’s Choice: Mary Moe Talks GF Elections Crisis

Editor’s Choice: Mary Moe Talks GF Elections Crisis

Mary Sheehy Moe: Foxes and doggies and frogs – Oh my!

I struggle to find the apt analogy: The dog that finally catches the bus? The frog that doesn’t notice the water is boiling? The fox in the henhouse?

All of the above swirl around the drain of what’s happening to the most fundamental of our democratic rights — the right to vote. The nationwide wave of efforts to discourage voting laps even at Montana’s shores. On the pretext of securing election integrity, Republicans continually advance bills making it harder for some populations to vote — Native Americans, college students, the homebound, people who can’t get off work or find a way into town on two different days to register and then to vote.

But now we’re seeing a new twist — relentless efforts to discredit those who run our elections and replace them with election deniers. In 2022, election deniers comprised 80% of the candidates running nationwide in secretary of state races. Half won their primaries. Only 8% ultimately won the seat. Thankfully, most voters don’t want a Fox-fed fox in their most precious henhouse.

Unfortunately, there’s more. Since late 2020, 161 chief local elections officials (40%) in 11 Western states, Montana included, left their positions. The average experience levels in those 161 offices plummeted from approximately eight years to about one. With the cybersecurity, technology and legal issues surrounding elections, experience matters. As the cross-partisan political reform group Issue One cautions, inexperienced elections officers are “more prone to making small mistakes based on lack of knowledge — mistakes that, however innocuous, may be interpreted by hyper-partisans as malicious acts.”

What those 161 offices have now isn’t a fox in the henhouse, but a dog who caught the bus. This inexperience feeds the very narrative election deniers were yipping between howled lies before the newbies were elected. You need look no farther than Great Falls, to see how alarmingly this dog don’t hunt. Since being elected clerk and recorder in 2022, the election denier there has fouled up election after election.

In May, flood and irrigation district elections were so riddled with errors that both districts have turned to the courts for resolution.

The school board election was even worse — contradictory ballot instructions, misfolded ballots hampering ballot-counting, some voters receiving two ballots, others getting none, voters who work unable to vote because the polling place opened late, signature verification hindered by the fact that ballots were separated from envelopes … in short, so many gaffes that the court appointed an election monitor to oversee the next election.

Enter June’s library levy election: miscommunication on election dates, instructions so erroneous they had to be reprinted three times, multiple ballots to the same voter; no ballots for some voters … same-new, same-new.

And in the municipal elections last week, the nightmare continued. In addition to the now-usual dysfunction, inadequate prior notice had voters reporting to the usual polling place (the fairgrounds), where they were directed to the elections office, a small space on a busy downtown street with parking at a premium. Already disgruntled, voters plugged meters and queued up to enter a room whose very décor screamed partiality.

An enlarged Corinthians quote and a big ceramic elephant dominated the counter space. The walls were filled with pithy, pick-a-fight quotations incongruously placed next to more charitable tokens. My favorite: A large wooden cross adjacent to an even larger picture of a longhorn emblazoned with the words, “Do No Harm. But Take No Bull.” Jesus would be so pleased.

These are relatively small-potatoes local elections with low voter turnout. But 2024 is just around the corner. What’s that, Kermit? Water too warm?

Find the original article here: https://helenair.com/opinion/column/mary-sheehy-moe-foxes-and-doggies-and-frogs-oh-my/article_cd5c55f6-83d9-11ee-a5d6-43e02c899978.html