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Part Of Montana Has Plenty Of Normal People-- Their Tough Luck Has Them Represented By Ryan Zinke

In Congress Bigotry Abounds

Montana is a pretty red state… but not as hopelessly so as, say Wyoming. It wasn’t that long ago that Montana elected back-to-back Democratic governors. And there is still a two-term Democratic senator, Jon Tester, who looks likely to win reelection next year. Montana gets a bad wrap. It’s the eastern part of the state that might as well join Wyoming and the Dakotas and call itself Magadonia. But western, Montana… that’s where normal people live.

Montana has two congressional districts, MT-01 in the western half (more or less, when you don’t pay any attention to the GOP legislature’s gerrymandering) and MT-02 in the east. Trump won MT-01 but by only 6.9%. MT-02, the more backward part of the state, gave Trump a 26.8 point margin. A total substandard Democratic candidate, Monica Tranel— one of the worst and most useless candidates the DCCC put up anywhere— held Republican Ryan Zinke to a 123,102 (49.6%) to 115,265 (46.5%) win. The DCCC and EMILY’s List insist on running her again next year, when she will lose by an even greater margin. If the Democrats ran a viable candidate they could beat Zinke but… I guess no one told them.

Anyway, of the 16 counties in MT-01, the two biggest, Missoula and Gallatin were firmly in Biden’s camp— respectively by 60.6% and 52.2%. Biden also won Deer Lodge (52.4%), Glacier (64.3%) and Silver Bow (55.7%) counties. In the much bigger eastern end of the state, Biden won just two small rural counties, Big Horn and Blaine, both predominantly Native American in racial makeup.

Because the Democrats have such a weak candidate for MT-01, though, the Republican incumbent, Zinke, feels no need to hide who he is. Thursday he let his freak flag fly, aware that there would be no political price to pay. This bigoted press release, Zinke Introduces Bill to Expel Palestinians from the United States, comes from his own official website.

Today, Western Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke introduced the Safeguarding Americans from Extremism (SAFE) Act to prevent Palestinian terrorists from abusing the United States’ legal immigration system by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to implement a pause on all visas, refugee status and granting of asylum for individuals holding a passport issued by the Palestinian Authority (PA). It also revokes any entrance of covered aliens who were granted visas or entered the United States on or after October 1, 2023.
“This legislation keeps America safe. I don’t trust the Biden Administration any more than I do the Palestinian Authority to screen who is allowed to come into the United States,” Zinke said. “This is the most anti-Hamas immigration legislation I have seen and it’s well deserved. Given the circumstances, the threats to our immigration system and the history of terrorists abusing refugee, asylum and visa processes all over the world, the requirements in this bill are necessary to keep Americans safe. This bill does exactly that.”

Zinke doesn’t just want to prohibit all Palestinians— including anti-Hamas Palestinians— from coming to the U.S., he wants to kick Palestinians currently in the U.S. out of the country. His co-sponsors are some of the most bigoted Know Nothing MAGAts and xenophobes in Congress: Marjorie Traitor Greene (Q-GA), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Andy Harris (R-MD), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Clay Higgins (R-LA), Aaron Bean (R-FL), Barry Moore (R-AL) and Bill Posey (R-FL). Not even the neo-Nazi from the eastern half of Montana, Matt Rosendale, wanted anything to do with it.

As Zinke’s proposal started leaking out, Democratic politicians like Barbara Lee and Ted Lieu reacted with anger and revulsion, as did progressives on social media. But don’t expect anything but congratulations from Republicans. In fact, a New York Times report on a so-called “mainstream” opponent of Trump’s, Nikki Haley, made it clear that she’s a xenophobic loon as well. “In a packed diner, in Londonderry, N.H., on Thursday,” wrote Jazmine Ulloa, “Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina who has called on the United States to ‘close’ the border and defund ‘sanctuary cities,’ was pressed on just that issue by a potential voter. The question of how to provide an avenue to citizenship or permanent legal residency for immigrants, whether undocumented or under temporary forms of protection like DACA, has long been at the center of the debate around overhauling the nation’s immigration laws… [Her response was an] encapsulation of Republicans’ embrace of hard-line tactics and her own rhetorical shifts on the issue.”

“OK, of the six to seven million that have come over since Biden did this— this is going to sound harsh— but you send them back. And the reason you send them back, the reason you send them back is because, my parents, they came here legally. They put in the time, they put in the price. I take care of my parents. They live with us. They’re 87 and 89. There’s not a time I’ve had dinner with my mom when she doesn’t say, ‘Are those people still crossing the border?’ And the reason is, they are offended by what’s happening on the border. And when you allow those six or seven million to come, to all those people who’ve done it the right way, you’re letting them jump the line.”

“On the campaign trail now, Haley and her top rivals have spent months trying to outdo each other with extreme immigration proposals and rhetoric as the party’s primary base has veered hard right on the issue. Haley, the daughter of Indian American immigrants, has in particular wielded her background to significant effect as a messenger for hard-line proposals.”

You wondering how Republicans can waste so much time forcing Congress to focus on this kind of bullshit? Yesterday and Thursday, in the prelude to passing an idiotic appropriations bill for the Department of the interior, which even some Republicans said was too dangerous for them too vote for, the House was forced to vote on dozens of foolish amendments, almost all of which failed but that took up hours and hours of everyone’s time. For example, South Carolina crackpot Ralph Norman offered a full dozen himself. Maybe he thought 13 is an unlucky number. But whatever reason-- and I want to congratulate the fine voters of York, Lancaster, Sumter, Kershaw and Spartanburg counties-- he didn't go beyond 12, all of these were voted down by a House with a Republican majority:

  • Reduces the salary of Tracy Stone-Manning, Director of the Bureau of Land Management, to $1.

  • Reduces the salary of Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, to $1.

  • Reduces the salary of Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to $1.

  • Prohibits funding for EPA's Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup

  • Prohibits funding for the American Climate Corps

  • Prohibits funding for rule titled ‘‘Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards’’

  • Prohibits funding to implement, administer, apply, enforce, or carry out any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office, program, or training

  • Prohibits funding for Department of the Interior’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights

  • Prohibits funding for the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Council at the Department of the Interior.

  • Prohibits funding for the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

  • Prohibits the use of funds to carry out Secretarial ORDER NO.3406 (Establishment of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Council), dated February 17, 2022.

  • Prohibits funding to pay the salary of any officer or employee of the Department of the Interior to carry out Secretarial ORDER NO. 3406 (Establishment of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Council), dated February 17, 2022.

Greene’s one amendment failed also: “Prohibits funds from being used to remove any monument on land under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior.” All the Democrats and 23 Republicans voted it down. In her typically crackpot defense of it she claimed that Robert E. Lee was one of the Founding Fathers, mixing up the United States with the Confederacy, probably intentionally.

They even let Kitara-- still not expelled from Congress, at least for now-- propose his very own amendment: “Defunds the Diversity, Outreach and Employee Services Division of the Environmental Protection Agency.” Even Republicans who voted not to expel him hate him and no one likes being associated with him in any way-- other than Traitor Greene, Gaetz, Oogles and Boebert. The amendment failed.

There were dozens and dozens of unserious amendments like these, mostly by members of the “Freedom” Caucus, none real legislation and all designed to get attention from right-wing media.

1 Comment

Nov 04, 2023

meh! western montana might as well be eastern idaho. Even the college towns in MT are pretty nazified. yeah... I been there.

"NORMAL" people don't elect nazi fucktards like zinke. that kind of makes the whole thing moot.

Some parts of MT are still beautiful and unspoiled. But the "normal" people of MT keep despoiling more and more of it in their pursuit of oil money, among other abominations. If it wasn't on the way to Yellowstone, there would be almost no reason to go there. The last time I did that... the whole state was on fire. Seemed kind of appropriate.

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