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Montanans protest GOP ‘assault’ on environmental and labor programs

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 18:02 EDT
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More than a thousand Montanans gathered in front of the state Capitol of Helena on Monday to protest budgetary plans to cut health, educational, environmental and labor programs while pushing for corporate tax cuts.

Republicans in Montana are pushing legislation to gut the Montana Environmental Policy Act, reduce workers’ compensation insurance, close the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls, prevent the establishment of a state health insurance exchange, slash a number of health programs, and cut funding to higher education in the state.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have said they will eliminate the state’s business equipment tax. Eliminating the tax would amount to a loss of $90 million to local governments statewide, The Daily Inter Lake reported.

The rally followed similar demonstrations that occurred in Wisconsin and Ohio, where public employees have organized large protests against efforts to curb their collective bargaining rights.

Conservationists, sportsmen, firefighters, teachers, correctional officers and others at the rally chanted slogans such as “hunting, fishing, recreation — makes Montana the best in the nation,” The Great Falls Tribune reported.

One piece of legislation, introduced by Republican State Rep. Joe Read, would declare global warming a “natural occurrence” that it is “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.”

“They are inside introducing unconstitutional laws that make the state I love a laughingstock of the country,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau told the Tribune. “They are inside making public employees, who do the work that matters every day, a punching bag.”

“They are inside slashing and burning, claiming climate change is good, nullifying the Endangered Species Act and attempting to change our state’s constitutional mandate for a clean and healthful environment,” she added.

Republicans in Montana claim the cuts to health, environmental, and labor programs are necessary to encourage economic growth in the state.

“By obstructing the responsible development of these abundant natural resources, Democrats and environmentalists are killing opportunities for good-paying jobs in Montana,” House GOP spokesman Chris Shipp said.

The growing labor unrest in the United States has exposed the Republican Party’s plan to essentially divide-and-conquer the lower classes in America, according to Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
 
 
 
 
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  • cannotvote

    It’s spreading!

  • http://thepoliticalbandit.com/ William Cormier

    For all of those that are witnessing this GOP assault on the American people – remember, it was the SCOTUS that contributed to these right-wing fascists gaining power throughout the nation. Even worse than that is our Mainstream News Media that refuses to host an honest dialogue as to why these proposals are being made in almost every state and whose passage and implementation will guarantee that our “economic recovery” stalls and dies.

    All of us need to remember the most chilling aspect of this “union busting” being advocated and introduced by the GOP and draw the proper conclusions:

    May 1933: Hitler Abolishes Unions http://newsjunkiepost.com/2011/02/20/may-1933-hitler-abolishes-unions/

    Our nation is quickly embracing fascism and unless we do something about it and soon, I fear we may never be able to cast off the yoke of oppression.

  • Anonymous

    Start talking to your friends and family because this will be coming soon to a Republican controlled state near you.

  • Anonymous

    I think the Republicans will scare people with all this crap and it will backfire on them. I still believe most people are middle of the road.

  • Anonymous

    So the GOP plan is as follows:
    1) Cut business taxes down to nearly zero
    2) Virtually eliminate taxes for the wealthy
    3) Deregulate the financial industry so those at the top can get big payoffs for themselves and bailouts for their company at taxpayer expense with no accountability whatsoever
    4) Destroy unions so average Americans maintain stagnant wages or gradually slip into poverty, or have their jobs shipped overseas to cheaper labor
    5) Destroy the environment so those at the top can have more and more and more
    6) Destroy Social Security and Medicare so that the poor and elderly who have probably already lost a bundle in retirement income thanks to the “credit default swap” mess created by the deregulated financial industry will have to fend for themselves (hope they like the taste of cat food and rice cakes – don’t worry the GOP will pray for you as they prey upon you)
    7) Allow speculators to continue to drive up the prices of oil and gas, regardless of current supply levels
    8) Force all Americans to carry a gun to protect themselves from the chaos that is going to result from their policies. Too bad most will be too poor to afford one.
    9) Blame all of this chaos on liberals, minorities, Muslims, atheists, and gays.
    10) Laugh all the way to the bank.

  • Anonymous

    The funny thing is that some if not many of the protesters now used to be tea baggers. And now they are seeing the results of their push for republicans and fellow tea baggers. They are cutting THEIR MONEY, and they don’t like that. The hypocrisy is funny, the useful idiocy is funny, they couldn’t see the forest because of the tree. They are slowly seeing what the republicans are truly about, and it’s about making sure that their are just two classes the poor and the rich nothing else. Hell, it has been said many of times that the plans of the republicans is to get rid of SS, Medicare and to destroy the public unions. And now we are seeing the republicans wanting to cut money to agencies that protect our food and environment and also regulations. They want a world at the turn of the 20th century, Like in the Book The Jungle where the company was your live and industry treated you essentially like a slave and the rich called the shots (kinda like now but worse).

  • Guest

    “They are inside making public employees, who do the work that matters every day, a punching bag.”

    It’s good to see Montanans see it too.

    Bait and switch republicons…cut business taxes, scream bloody murder about deficits, then demand public working people make up the difference. After public sector, then who will make up the deficits? It obviously won’t be the business sector.

  • Guest

    It is SPREADING! What happened? Have all the “reality shows” been taken off the air?!

    Now THIS is a REALITY SHOW that means something! May it continue to spread!!!

  • Anonymous

    this all started with the Republicans back with St. Ronald Reagan. they even told Americans what and how they would do it. Thanks to Fox and the “liberal” media, they have finally got to the tipping point.

    count the states that are still free of the “Republican virus”. aren’t that many who haven’t been sold out. soon it will be way too late to stop them. United states of Republican Corporate America.

    Freedom was nice but the Zombies gave it up for lies and a campaign of terror. St. Ronnie is the “symbol” of all that has gone wrong in America. A B-grade actor selling his countrymen down the river for a pot of gold.

    thankfully freedom is stirring in Egypt and the Arab minds. Americans sold their children and grandchildren to the Republicans.

    you reap what you sow. it ain’t pretty!!!

  • Guest

    If you’re middle-class, middle of the road is not a good place to be standing.

  • Guest

    H1B visas. Don’t forget the H1B visas.

    So much for minimum wages.
    Spirally ever downward to win the race to the bottom.

  • Anonymous

    Funny how this “GOP” assault as it’s inanely referred to here is actually the result of free and fair elections, and demonstrate the actual will of the people in these states. As Obama said, elections have consequences. Suck it up and deal with it, because YOU are out of the mainstream, lol.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    REVOLUTION NOW. DESTROY CORPORATE POWER AND ITS MINION, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. BEFORE THEY DESTROY US.

  • Anonymous

    1000 people in Montana? That’s gotta be like half the state’s population!

  • curtis

    ” There is only one thing in the middle of the road,

    A yellow line,

    Where the possums crawl out to and die”

    Ed Asner

  • Anonymous

    I hope all the republican teachers and cops FINALLY get it that the people they’ve voted for their whole lives hate them, and want to kill them just to see them die.

  • Guest

    But how long can this be sustained? This is the part I don’t get. If we supposedly live in a consumer-based economy, where is everyone gonna get the money to buy things to keep the wheels spinning, if no one has a job or enough money to buy anything??

  • Anonymous

    Lots of dumbasses in Montana. Because a lot of GOP folks live there. Another civil war could be starting, smart against the moron GOP. Smart will win.

  • Anonymous

    If this is happening in Montana, then come 2012 there won’t be a single GOP candidate elected in most every state. (There are some just plain dumb states.) They have overplayed their hand. Maybe, FINALLY, Americans are beginning to see that the GOP is the enemy of everyone but the corporations and the mega-wealthy.

  • Ma’at

    If I may ask of my fellow liberals/progressives, etc … why the FUCK didn’t you turn out to vote in 2010? Was all of this shrouded in mystery? Did you think the GOP was kidding? Did you think TeaBags, once in power, would, I dunno, become human?

    Nate Silver did an excellent piece about a month ago where he pointed out that the independents that voted GOP this time were different Independents than voted Obama in 2008. In 2010, 29 million liberals/independents sat home. Had those people shown up in 2010, the Dems would have kept the House. The GOP would have lost just one governorship. In short, we wouldn’t be in the middle of this disaster.

    So, my humble suggestion … vote in 2012 and take somebody with ya? Because the polls on the issue of enthusiasm shows liberal enthusiasm skyrocketing. There are SO many more of thus than them. All we gotta do is show up. Why do you think the GOP tries to keep the voting rolls down and keep people from voting?

  • kiboshki

    “Free and fair elections”? Like those recent ones with the billion dollar campaigns run by corporate super-citizens; unverifiable electronic voting; gerrymandered districts; and partisan election officials?

    Elecions in America are “free and fair” only in the same way that FOX News is “fair and balanced”.

  • Anonymous

    Citizens United scotus decision = money power = republican power = union busting.

    Union busting = worker abuse = more money to the wealthy = more money spent by them to lower their taxes and misrepresent elections (2012).

  • SocialistCafe

    I’m hoping that people have finally figured out that voting for a Democrat doesn’t do any good. Both major parties are completely corrupted by the rich and their corporations. Change won’t happen at the ballot box. If it happens it will happen, first, in the street.

  • Anonymous

    Were these republicans running on a platform of union busting, medicaid death panels, destroying educational systems that were already marginal, passing more tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class? If they were and were elected on that platform, go for it. If, instead, they ran a stealth campaign supported by massive donations from corporate lobbyists, that hid their real agenda then they should be recalled (where that’s an option) and run out of town on a thin rail.

  • Anonymous

    Good point. Reminds me of, first they came after the (name of despised minority) and I did nothing. Then they came after (surviving despised minority) and I did nothing. Now they’re coming after me and there is no one to come to my aid. The people need to wake up to the divide and conquer strategy of the republican party, aided tremendously by fox news and neanderthals like rush. It is succeeding and we need to resist it.

  • Anonymous

    The mayor of New York a Republican wanted to keep the tax cuts for the rich. He made up for it by cutting the Roads Dept. When the snow hit the sleazy Republicans blamed the underfunded Roads Dept.

    Walker cut deals with business and created a deficit and now is putting the blame on public workers.

    The Republicans during the Bush Jr administration made sure states become broke but the rich gets a free ride and then the Republicans turn around with slick propaganda makes it look like the public workers are to blame for the crash and the problem.

    This is the Milton Freidman shock treatment. The idiots that voted Republican don’t realize they are next.

    When you drive down the road and hit a pot hole and this causes damage to your car costing thousands of dollars, blame the Republicans not the Roads Dept.

    When you call the police but the police can’t get to you in a decent response time, blame the Republicans.

    When your schools fail, blame the Republicans.

    When there are no jobs, blame the Republican.

    When your realize your voice doesn’t count and only the big money voice counts, blame the Republicans.

    When you turn on the faucet and the water comes out brown, blame the Republicans.

    When you step outside and the air is black, blame the Republicans.

    When you give a prescription to your child and your child dies and you realize that the pill was a death trap and you realize you can’t sue the pill company, blame the Republicans.

    What has Republicans done for the nation in the spirit of “We the People”? Look at the Republican’s middle finger there is your answer.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, the republicans like the poor. That’s why they’re so intent on creating many more of them.

  • Anonymous

    You might want to hold that thought until after the election . Remember , you’re dealing with the American public here and they just got done voting back in the very people that caused the current mess we’re in , in a landslide no less . They still don’t seem to have figured out that the entities that caused this are bankers and corporations robbing us blind , not workers , government or otherwise . Our glorious democratic party seems loath to point out that obvious fact either . So you may want to wait and see the effects of piles of corporate money being liberally spread over the corporate controlled media before you start visualizing mobs with pitchforks running the bums out of town . By the time we get to the election the republicans may well have our intellectually and memory challenged brethren convinced it’s their children causing the problem , and what we need are more sweatshops and less schools .

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    Agencies that protect our food and the environment succumbed to corporate control in the eighties. We are probably better off without them.

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    Dude, we need more of this shit, not less. Only by allowing the election of the likes of Bachmann and Palin can we quickly come to the point where people take to the streets. Voting Democrat won’t change anything. What this country needs is a big dose of Egypt.

  • Anonymous

    Will republican teachers and cops FINALLY get that the people they’ve voted for their whole lives hate them, and want to kill them just to watch them die?

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    Dude you got all that right except for where you wrote “Republicans” you should have written “Republicans and the Democrats”.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    1,000? Isn’t that the entire population of Montana?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Voting is like shampoo for the dumb Amerikans. Rinse, lather, repeat. Elect Democrats. They don’t work out? Elect Republicans? They don’t work out? Elect Democrats.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    The will of the people. ROFL! Yeah, the people demonstrated their will with Bus too…twice even.

    And, yeah, I know that you have nooooooooo idea what I’m talking about.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    It’s a good thing they’re revolting over there in the ME, freeing themselves and instituting democracy. There’s hope that in 50 years or so, they’ll invade us and spread some of that democracy here.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    The law of unintended consequences. See, that’s what happens when people are unemployed and homeless. They can’t watch teevee and reality hits them over the head like a brick.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    It will run amok till the jobs start coming back from China. Then, we’ll be working for 25¢ a day and eating off garbage dumps.

  • ghostof911

    50-State Mobilization to Save the American Dream

    This is a call for people to assemble at the 50 state capitols at noon this Saturday.

  • Anonymous

    Republican Teabagger buyers remorse continues and spreads!

  • Anonymous

    Will republican teachers and cops FINALLY get that the people they’ve voted for their whole lives hate them, and want to kill them just to watch them die?

    Just say no to snorting Koch.
    Don’t be a Kochsucker. Support unions.
    Stomp the Kochroaches.

  • Ron

    Well, the Germans finally cast off the yoke of oppression, with foreign help. Perhaps that’s how we’ll do it, too.

  • Ron

    Middle of the road is where you get run over.

  • Ron

    Long way to go, yet. It will take 100 times this level of protest to be significant. I expect it to fade away, actually, until there is much more pain.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Montana. It will be in idaho tomorrow. Who’s that guy there? Something to do with shit……Oh yeah! Crappo!….Mike Crappo.

  • Ron

    I’m not sure the people knew they were voting for this, so I’m not convinced what’s going on today is the will of the people. Many of the people are making their will known today in a way that clearly demonstrates the malfeasance of their government. We will see who is out of the mainstream.

  • Ron

    Yeah, we need to see millions and millions of people protesting around the clock all across the nation before anybody will take it seriously.

  • Ron

    Take the red pill. Take the blue pill. Take the red pill. Take the blue pill.

    At what point does it become irrational?

  • Ron

    Nah, that’s a divide and conquer talking point. Democrats are not as bad as Republicans.

  • Anonymous

    The plan is for the very rich to empty this country of every last penny and then leave. They care not for you and me, they care not for the Constitution, they care not for our history, they care not for the Rule of Law, they care not about our environment, they care not about public education, the care not about the well being of veterans, and they care not about the future of this country. What the do care about is their unlimited wealth and power.

  • Anonymous

    You mean like the Bush family buying a ranch in Paraguay or Haliburton moving to Dubai?
    Maybe some already have the plan in place for when they finish looting the country.
    They will be playing golf in Dubai with Mubarak and the ex-President of Tunisia.

  • Anonymous

    The reality of fewer jobs, no more retirement, pay raises or benefits and less money have stirred them from their teevee induced stupor.
    They might even eventually start to notice that the wealthy keep getting a bigger piece of the pie while paying fewer taxes while the economy is gutted and public services disappear.

  • Anonymous

    There was so much propaganda stuffed in my mail box every single day before the last election I couldn’t believe it.
    I’ve never seen anything like that before.
    Propaganda works to a certain extent.
    History has shown that over and over……If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t be spending in the billions of dollars on every election these days.
    but it doesn’t work forever, it always work for a limited time and then the people are on to it.
    History has show that time and time again….most recently in the Middle East.
    After a while people stop believing the lies.

  • Anonymous

    We’ve passed that point.

  • Anonymous

    I agree Democratic politicians ave VERY bad for the country, but the Republican politicians are HORRENDOUSLY bad for the country.
    I have to go with the lesser evil in most cases until we figure out how to replace the less evil whores and charlatans also.

  • Anonymous

    If you shine a light on Kochroaches they run and hide.
    They like to operate in the dark.

  • Anonymous

    Nice, unions illegal in china also…

  • Anonymous

    I hear this alot from ex-republicans and libertarians. they drop it in every chance they get, about every issue. all.. the… time…

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    And from ex-Democrats (like me), apparently. Both parties are slaves to the corporations – understandable when you consider that the politician’s public persona is determined by corporate media – but it doesn’t change the fact that there is no way to vote ourselves out of the mess we are in. Ascribing the fault to Republicans is utterly inadequate, nay, worse, it’s just plain wrong. It’s a dead end. It would be a disservice to anyone reading not to point this out.

  • Guest

    Stand up Montanans, stand up, Democracy is for everyone, not just the rich. MONTANANS DON’T BE PUSHED AROUND BY THE RETHUGLICANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    “Suck it up and deal with it”

    Uh, let me think for a second………NAH. Get corporate money out of elections, or we’re going to get it out by FORCE. What are your “free and fair elections” going to do then, hmmm? People like you and Mr. Walker and the Koch Brothers are the ENEMY, and I mean that literally….

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, and it’s exactly like the bailouts on Wall Street: Privatize the gains, and socialize the losses! Thank you, Mr. Taxpayer!

  • Anonymous

    They’re not. We’re all just going to be really poor–like all those other societies around the world that we’ve condescended to for so many years….

  • Anonymous

    Yes, indeed…never, EVER forget the SCOTUS pigs. Get them first….

  • Guest

    “I expect it to fade away, actually, until there is much more pain.”

    I’m afraid I agree with you, Ron.

  • Anonymous

    Funny how the GOP has suddenly become fiscally minded. When their hero George Bush was borrowing billions of dollars from the Chinese to give $300 tax refunds and to fund a futile search for WMDs that didn’t exist, all these same right-wing politicians didn’t say a word. Now, they claim it’s time for Joe the Plumber to pay the price.

  • Lincoln Paradox

    shrapnel–

    Reagan gutted the regulatory agencies and pushed self-regulation in every industry. He claimed it was to save taxpayer dollars. Now we have no control over banks and Wall Street, shoddy housing, constant recalls of toys, and coliform bacteria in every product we eat.

    That last one means we’re always eating poop.

    The agencies did a great job from the early 1900s to the 1970s.

  • Anonymous

    I know that politicians get the same talking points memo but isn’t it a little strange that multiple states are suddenly all trying to pass “the same bill” all at the same time?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZF7YJAO4XTY6HPLDCVK7L5KGUY JT

    Do you think that there is any correlation between the decay in power of organized labor since Ronald Reagan, and the huge disparity of the wealth held by the corporate elite over that held by the common man/woman on main street today? Both are definably true conditions today and in my opinion related.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/BATQTRSD53GBBRKC2ZELNTTE5I Hardy

    WHERE DA HELL IS DA JOBS, BOEHNER??????

  • Anonymous

    if the first three paragraphs of this article do not make you want to go insane then there is something absolutely wrong with you.

    taking away everything that the people have and then cutting a tax that would take 90 million out of the state budget is just like Scott Walker who had a surplus and then gave it all to the corporations

    Republicans are determined to destroy education in this country and destroy things that America’s people have worked for hundreds of years for. If you are one of the people who voted them in, you need to be really ashamed

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZF7YJAO4XTY6HPLDCVK7L5KGUY JT

    I read a story attacking public unions in the January issue of The Economist magazine.
    Also I believe this was a topic of discussion in the recent meeting in California held by the Koch brothers.

  • Anonymous

    Employers ask: Keep providing health coverage to employees? Or drop coverage, let employees buy insurance thru exchange? http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=3649

  • BrainRagYell

    Heh, good point.

  • BrainRagYell

    Actually, the disservice is to ignore that A) the Republican Congressional Minority was the most obstructive in the history of the body, and B) Republicans held both the House and Senate for fourteen years (eight of them under a Republican president) and it is the employment of Republican economic theory that created the economic mess we Americans now find ourselves in, and C) somehow people thought that we’d have dug ourselves out of it by the end of Obama’s first year.

    Obama did make one crucial mistake in his policy agenda: going for Health Reform first. I understand why (health care costs are tied to the consumer confidence), but if he’d spent those first two years on Jay Oh Bee Ess, he’d still have his majorities in both houses and we wouldn’t be witnessing this literal scourge of conservative madness.

  • Anonymous

    When you cut taxes for the rich who don’t need their taxes cut. Then eliminate programs that help communities the imbalance is unbelievable. People are finally waking up to the fact who the republican parties only care about. As things get worst and worst for the average American they will react like the people in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    Yeah right. If only this had been different, or that hadn’t happened then we would be enjoying a resurgence of broad based prosperity and there would be no wars, and the Patriot act would have been repealed and cannabis would no longer be criminal and the CIA would no longer be in charge and the politicians would be advocating for serious jail time for Wall Street fraudsters and we’d all live happily ever after. You Democrats desperately trying to hang on to your high school fantasies are becoming more ridiculous with every passing day. But but the Republicans… Just name ONE Democrat who has ever stated the blindingly obvious fact that 911 was a false flag operation. And don’t tell me about Cynthia McKinney — she was abandoned by the Democrats for simply raising the question. Two parties ONE policy and the same people in charge no matter who gets elected.

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