Decency and Depravity in Montana

The horrifying part of this woman’s saga is simply this: Cindi Hamilton brought at least 33 horses to Montana and proceeded to starve them with no water or feed over two Montana winters. Meanwhile 17 are thankfully being cared for by Flathead County after the Sheriff rescued the surviving horses in Cindi’s herd.

This Montana Republican State Senator spent a lot of time at fundraisers and get togethers with Cindi Hamilton while her horses were dying of starvation. The horse community was aware of Cindi’s neglect and reached out to Cindi multiple times as she moved them to various locations to avoid the law. Many horse people in the Helena Horse Rescue group reached out to rescue these horses donating feed, blankets and shelter to save her horses but Cindi couldn’t be bothered to even visit them. She was too busy with her GOP friends attending rallies and fundraisers. When they asked Cindi if she would at least give them to new owners who would take care of them, she refused numerous times. Horse people pleaded with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff to rescue the horses from this woman but they did nothing.

Cindi Hamilton was finally charged on December 30 with aggravated cruelty to Animals by Flathead County. Many of her horses died during her two years in Montana. Cindi bilked numerous Montana families by bouncing checks or refusing to pay for pasture rent and boarding while she traipsed all over Montana attending right wing GOP functions. We still haven’t heard about any court date for Cindi but I hope every single decent horse person she cheated or took advantage of while cruelly starving these poor horses shows up in Kalispell to tell the court about her depravity. Montana doesn’t need people like her in our state. And people like Cindi should never again be allowed to own horses. By the way, Theresa Manzella has known about Cindi starving her horses for at least two years. Theresa knew that Cindi was cheating Montana ranchers by skipping out on bills for feed, board and pasture. But Theresa said nothing. Theresa supposedly has run a horse rescue in the Bitterroot since 2008. Why didn’t she help these horses? At least 11 died. This is depraved hypocrisy for Theresa to run around with Cindi at GOP functions while her friend’s horses were dying in subzero cold without water or feed.


Keeping land free from human aggression is difficult. Humans are wired to build things. It’s in our DNA. Since 1964 land designated Wilderness has been under attack by business oriented groups and political groups opposed to the very idea of Wilderness. While most Wilderness supporters view Wilderness as the very essence of our American ideal of freedom, opposing groups view Wilderness as obstructing their freedom to ruin it. This, in a nutshell, describes the conflict that Wilderness poses. In the face of growing population needs and the resource competition that engenders political extremism, how do we maintain the protection that Wild lands deserve?

So far, Democracy has worked. Since the creation of the Wilderness Act, Public opinion polls have consistently supported Wilderness. But as populations expand, how can we expect public opinion to remain supportive of protection? Through well-funded opposition campaigns designed to obfuscate and deny real data in other political arenas, actual Scientific knowledge itself is under attack. How do we resist this when it comes to arguing for Wilderness Preservation? How do we combat the enormous funding of the Koch Bros and industry groups who oppose Wilderness and indeed, the very idea of Public lands in America?

Time to reboot politics in USA.

The solution is simple. It’s computer 101. When the system freezes, first try Turning it off. Then hit restart. Both parties are focused on beating each other and neither party is even attempting to listen to the majority of US on anything. They don’t respect the majority because under the current system they know if they please corporate lobbyists, enough campaign money will pour in to buy them another term. We need to stop this cycle or admit America is no longer the birthplace of Democracy…..but the scene of its murder.

Today, If the latest polls are correct Trump has lost the confidence of 57% of the country, and congress is hated by over 66%. No wonder the entire country feels like taking a knee these days; not to disrespect anything, but to mourn the slow poisoning of Democracy by the GOP and DEMS who accept the bribes of multinational corporate lobbyists who are delivering the arsenic in ever increasing doses.

The only politician in America who does not accept their bribes was effectively prevented from becoming our president in 2016 by Dems who are addicted to the poison of corruption. But they cannot prevent the growing dissatisfaction of the majority of US in 2018. What most of America wants is to remove both parties from power and elect a truly representative government which pays attention to what the majority wants and to ignore the poison being doled out by lobbyists in the halls of congress by lobbyists for special favors to corporations.

The majority of We the people want Singlepayer, Universal Health Care or Medicare for all rather than paying extortion to predatory parasites for little or no coverage.

The majority of We the people want the top 1% of America paying more taxes to pay for this.

The majority of We the people want multinational corporations paying more not less in taxes, without loopholes to pay for this.

Let’s all take a knee by not voting either party in 2018 and voting for Bernie Sanders in 2020.

that’s all I have- PB



Obamacare is failing….

man in bear suit

Now the same insurance companies who hired lobbyists to 
write the so called "Affordable Care ACT" are admitting
 they can't provide affordable health care insurance.

of course they can't. 70% of Americans knew this. That is 
why we wanted single payer Universal Health Insurance like 
every other civilized nation on earth. 

Celebrate is certainly the right word to use here….

bear instincts

my Montana political bear sense is tingling….something it has not done since Max Baucus’s corruption and the Democratic leadership mislead us in 2006 and failed to do any of the things they promised when Jon Tester was elected to the senate. but, finally we have a real choice this year…..

Amanda Curtis is the real deal. Forthright. Not afraid to speak her mind. An actual leader. Something Montana politics was once known for with the likes of Mike Mansfield, Lee Metcalf, and Pat Williams standing up for they believe in- acting like the real people they were and courageously representing the people of Montana, regardless of the politics and the cowardly advice of “handlers”

of course, eventually, as Amanda’s campaign gains steam and convinces the vipers in party politics to slither out from beneath their rocks to either attack her or, even more dangerous, offer to support her in exchange for compromise, we the voters in Montana are now in the lucky position of supporting someone like yourself- someone who is sick and tired of the failure of party politics dominating every issue in America to the detriment of the country and the people who have been waiting for someone who has the character and independence to fight the vipers who wish to destroy her.

If you are tired of party politics and corporations pulling the strings of wooden puppets who purport to represent us in Washington DC, support Amanda Curtis for Montana’s Senator.

Give what you can. DO what you can. opportunities to support a real person who wants to represent us do not come around that often.




Last night, Bud Robert couldn’t decide if this was a trip to cure something or just a trip to end everything. This morning, it doesn’t matter because his canvas backpack is packed, and the first sight of the Trailhead entices. He carries two weeks worth of provisions, even remembering to pack the small campfire espresso maker Ruth had always used and a pound of the good coffee ground fine, enough to last at least a month. This is it. The old truck is parked next to the horse corral where Howard and Gordon can pick it up if he doesn’t make it out before the snow flies. They are sworn to secrecy and they will tell no one.

He tightens the waist belt and shifts the sixty five pounds on his back until his shoulders move freely, snaps his chest strap tight and then grabs his hiking staff. Bud Robert breaks the law by walking past the USFS registration box, ignoring the required forms to fill out, as he starts up the trail. His bad right knee feels surprisingly strong. He knows that later the weight will bring pain and that he will soon regret everything he has packed, just like he always does on any extended solo Wilderness trek, But the adrenaline of entering a wild place already feels therapeutic. Leaving the horses behind was not easy. Bud Robert wants it to be simple and free of responsibility, whether it is the end or just another trip that he hopes will bring an answer to some question he is still too ignorant to ask..

The difference today….. as he marvels at the green canopy of subalpine firs crowding both sides of the trail, all his senses sharp in a lush late june landscape still smelling of recent rain, which itself is a mere five mile preamble to the deeply prehistoric breathtaking view at the notch in the East Fork Trail where it comes out on the Continental Divide, still covered in six feet of snow….. is that no one will be terribly worried about his whereabouts regardless of what happens

Bud Robert smiles as he remembers Ruth’s favorite saying when he became too worked up about things on the farm; “The single greatest impediment to happiness is taking yourself too seriously.”


TIm Lillebo…. an elegy




W.C. Fleischman

Somewhere in Oregon there is a corner of an office, a closet or attic space where dozens of cardboard tubes are hidden away. Each tube contains several topographical maps, many with scrawled notes about landscapes that he visited. Most of these landscapes were Roadless Areas in National Forests. On most of these maps are drawn boundaries; lines which hope to protect something precious.


Life has boundaries for all of us. Some are limited by income, others by physical impairments, mental limitations, or simply circumstances. Wilderness must be protected within boundaries because deep inside the DNA structure of all humans there is a primitive desire to greedily consume everything which is balanced by an equally primitive need to know that there are still places on maps where the disease of civilization has not yet infected and sickened the land. He understood this.


Wilderness advocates are an odd lot. We gather together reluctantly to protect the lands we love. In 1975, when a group in Bend first formed to protect Roadless Areas of the Deschutes National Forest, there was a slide show and a lecture scheduled in an auditorium on the campus of Central Oregon Community College. As attendees filtered into the room, most seated themselves as far from others as the space allowed, resulting in an audience that resembled an array of free radicals in a biochemistry graph.


If there can be such a thing as a camaraderie of solitary individuals, this room represented exactly that. Wilderness advocates value our isolation not because we crave loneliness but because we require solitude as a respite from the world of civilized chaos that swirls around us and threatens to devour peace of mind. A love of solitude and a desire to be free from the constraints of society form the basis of a desire to protect wild lands. But few individuals stay true to this cause their entire lives, devoting themselves to it, poring over maps for forty years with a cigarette and a cup of coffee while Red Garland’s Country Little Shack plays in the background.


Tim Lillebo loved those maps. He loved a good blues tune. He loved good coffee and he loved rolling a cigarette while his eyes followed the well spaced loops in a contour line that represented a seep or a bog where elk could wallow in mud and escape biting deer flies in the middle of summer in a remote canyon near Glacier peak. He loved to follow the tight contours of ridgelines where perhaps the last lone wolverine in Oregon was spotted near Monument Rock. He loved to stand in a forest of old ponderosa pines; he called them pumpkin pines, and gaze into the rich yellow and orange hues of their puzzled barks. He loved wild land enough to devote his entire adult life to it, with little monetary reward. If good coffee and blues and a pouch of roll your own could be acquired, Tim was happy. Saving and protecting wild land kept his soul fed. And Oregon will forever benefit from his efforts.


Over the past 40 years most of us wandered away from the cause, nipping at the edges in our respective habitats by signing a petition here, writing a letter to congress there. We had families to raise, careers to chase, dreams to follow. But Tim stayed at it, working every day to draw some protective boundaries around land that is always threatened. One man’s passing does not stop a cause as deeply rooted in the human psyche as Wilderness advocacy, but it certainly sent a tremor wave throughout this odd camaraderie of solitary souls who still seek the solitude of wild places.


Somewhere, in an office or a closet or an attic are dozens of cardboard tubes of topographical maps which should be protected so that future generations can unroll them and study the work of one man who stood for something greater in a world that seems to only reward wealth and power. We should teach those after us to follow those contour lines. Because land will endure long after human effort passes away.

Repeat offenders in Missoula must be removed.

As a bus operator in Missoula I witnessed atrocious behavior by criminal vagrants, parolees, drunks, drug users and the mentally impaired. Every route has its problems but by far the most egregious behavior was usually caused by convicted felons who are smart enough to know how to take advantage of Missoula’s lenient judges and how to scam a justice system all too willing to set them free with little or no consequences for their crimes. It was heartbreaking to watch the relief of passengers when predatory offenders were arrested then watch their relief turn to despair when the felons were released only to reappear back on the bus within a day or so, acting even more aggressive and intimidating. We bus drivers did what we could to protect the other riders but the stress on drivers and passengers was always palpable every time we pulled up to a stop. These criminal vagrants exhibited bad enough behavior on the bus. I often wondered how bad they were when not under security camera surveillance and the driver’s watch. Small business owners in Downtown Missoula have similar experiences several times a day. The taxpayers are tired of repeat violent and sexual offenders being let off with no or little jail time. It emboldens criminals to offend when judges in Missoula refuse to incarcerate these predators. We need to enforce strict guidelines in sentencing to keep them off our streets. The police are tired of watching repeat offenders walk free. Bus drivers and passengers are tired of dealing with their egregious behavior, the small business owners are tired of the crimes they repeatedly commit and the taxpayers in Missoula are tired of enduring increasingly aggressive and emboldened convicted felons in our community.
Judges and prosecuting attorneys need to enforce the law. Allowing 5% of the homeless community to repeatedly cause 95% of the problems in Missoula by setting them free again and again is not sustainable any longer.

Curly Bear Wagner

[RLP interview 2001] Curly Bear Wagner has devoted his professional life to fostering Blackfeet and Northern Plains culture through educational programs and research. For many years, he served the Blackfeet Tribe as Director of their Cultural program, and now serves as an independent consultant in the field of historic
— Read on

Montana Freedumbs

Small towns do not take kindly to those who don’t follow the herd.
I call it the cow mentality. Mix this with religious extremism and it becomes a recipe for unbridled hatred of anyone who dissents. Montana’s legislature is dominated by this sect of extremists because our state has 56 counties. Only 6 would be considered even partially urban. Montana is a state where political power is centered in small towns. We have avoided “cow mentality” for the preceding 16 years by narrowly electing Democratic Governors: first Brian Schweitzer, for 8 years Brian made great sport of vetoing the small town nonsense of zombie thinking with his branding iron.
Next, Steve Bullock used a more placating style. But he effectively kept most all of the small town “cattle mentality” and evangelical extremism from becoming a nightmare reality by preventing laws in this state targeted against the remaining people in Montana who prefer to think for ourselves.
Now comes Governor Greg Gianforte who is happy to oblige the cattle. This next 4 years starting with this legislative session will make Montana the laughingstock of a country freeing itself from the shackles of the evil empire and their leader, the former guy.
Hopefully, lawyers and good judges will help to clean up the mess left by the herd. This is our only hope at this point…..

Peace Piece

It’s like meeting Bill Evans in Montana

Liquid Louie’s is a bar that pops out of the woods surprising drivers who pay attention along a lonely highway near Swan Lake Montana. It’s a small sign that can reach out and entice just about the time the driver really needs a good cold drink where people are nice to be around.

A small gravel parking lot leads to an unadorned and unobtrusive cabin that has been added on about twelve times since the turn of the century, each new room seems to fit eclectically but contrarily to the original structure much like a jazz soloist branches out and reaches for more without the safety of underlying melody. The result is both jarring and complimentary and full of memories. People who know about Liquid Louie’s are the soul of this place and that soul is held tight against the walls in still photos of those who visit hanging alongside the photos of regulars who took their last visit with them years ago. A few of the faces from the photos can be recognized sitting at the u shaped bar if you ignore the grey, wrinkles and study their eyes.

Angie is tending today and she asks us what we want.

Sometimes just the simple act of asking Makes all the difference

When you need a piece of peace on the rocks

Montana fills the bill.

News From The Front; abbreviated.




Loons come lonely Together

To peck at a pop can

Wary of the shine

They stare one eyed




The Reading

Words like swords

Swords like poetry

And poetry like pretentious

half-believed Self-congratulation

Wobble weightless above

Spheres of home

with debts Paid like magic.

Let us drink the false pride away.


People are not dead Like words at a reading.





Dupuyer, Montana

Buy a fishing license from Bill To fish the Blackfeet Reservation.

Giving directions to Dog Gun Lake He spills life at you in coffee cups

Like time sifting down.








Made It Through Another Montana Winter with Kathleen

All the writings of Epicurus are lost.

But the empirical hereness of Thelonious Monk

Gives pleasure far beyond the land’s capability To support us.

A Crane stands alone and mute

oblivious to the push and shove of waves.

It waits.

Stabbing beak poised for just that right moment.

The river responds to the Be Bop of rise and fall.

Water lifts us like an imaginary lake

Fed by the melting glaciers of frozen dreams.

Like notes blown clean through Charlie Parker’s sax.

Like precise timing in Monk’s pause,

We recreate happiness every day in the altruistic effort of survival.



Clouds bring it

Welcome to lichen

Mountain goats find it tasty

like the mountain sips the sea from a cloud straw.

lightening rumbles when it hits Bottom.


Kids grow up

Things happen to them

and you feel helpless

hoping the skills you gave them

will be enough.


Impeach, but cure the disease.

‪We ended up with a vile, demonic, vain, spoiled brat because both parties have put politics above country for too long. Corruption in Washington has corroded and destroyed the reputation of our institutions to the point that people were willing to vote for anyone who would lie to them about draining the swamp. Both parties have failed US. People were desperate for change. What they got was more corruption with a side of collusion by a 6 time bankrupt traitor willing to deal with our enemy, Russia to stay in office. Trump is the symptom of our disease- which is a corrupt two party system that has turned its back on the people they are supposed to serve. Yes we need to impeach Trump to protect and defend our constitution, but if we really want to save this country, We must cure the disease. Not just treat the symptom.‬

  • Calendar

    • March 2023
      M T W T F S S
  • Search