by William Skink
Over at Intelligent Discontent, Don Pogreba bemoans the continued efforts of the Montana Meth Project. Besides coining my new favorite term—propagandistic vandalism—Don draws attention to the diminishing donations and big pay check for the executive director. Also, there’s the little matter of it not working.
Ironically we learn about the failure of the Montana Meth Project from the Billings Gazette reporting on a panel on exploding meth use in Eastern Montana sponsored by…the Montana Meth Project. From the link:
Chances are high that the local crimes you read about in the newspaper — robbery, assault, theft — have a common root in meth use.
That’s because the drug has evolved and is making a resurgence in Billings, local experts said Monday at a forum on methamphetamine held at the Billings Public Library.
“It’s making a huge, huge comeback,” said Rod Ostermiller, chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Service.
The event, sponsored by the Montana Meth Project and Billings Gazette Communications, featured criminal justice and drug treatment officials as well as first lady Lisa Bullock and a spokesperson from the Montana Petroleum Association.
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito called meth the top public safety threat in Billings for the way it fuels other, sometimes violent crime, reiterating comments made last month in a Gazette story on the drug.
The obscene reality is meth’s resurgence may ultimately be good for the Montana Meth Project. Sponsoring a panel that gets media coverage could help reverse that downward donor trend Don highlighted. NOT EVEN ONCE could get a whole new surge of money. Notice the presence of Lisa Bullock, and wonder how far away the ear of the Governor may be to directing public money to this effort.
Remember, back in 2006, the Indy reported it like this:
Montana officials at every level have cozied up to the project and are now working to secure public funding to sustain it, while the state’s congressional delegation is looking for ways to export it beyond Montana’s borders through federal grants. Arizona and Utah are hastily trying to import the ads, encouraged by their dramatic profile and the unanimous support they’ve received from politicians and news coverage alike. The Montana Meth Project has successfully developed a public image of itself as not only a bighearted offering from a deep-pocketed man, but also as a revolutionary and, more important, successful attempt to rein in Montana’s meth problem.
One of the reported differences with this latest surge in Meth use is the provenance of the crank is out of state, and out of country. Just today there was news of an alleged leader in a California-to-Montana Meth ring sentenced. I say alleged because there’s no chance Joshua Alberto Rodriguez is anything other than a middleman. Even US Attorney Mike Cotter admitted this dealer’s replaceability:
U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter said the investigation dismantled “an acute and violent threat” to Great Falls and surrounding areas, but he acknowledged in a news conference that other dealers have stepped in since the bust. He declined to elaborate.
The drugs appear to have been manufactured in Mexico and were sold uncut in Montana, said Joseph Kirkland of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The other defendants include residents of California and Montana who range in age from 25 to 46. All 20 have been ordered to pay a $2.4 million monetary judgment.
Investigators used search warrants, a wiretap, physical surveillance and financial documents to learn the details of the operation. They also tracked Rodriguez’s trips to Montana through the GPS on his phone.
Let’s look on the bright side. Drug problems could be good for justifying increases in Law Enforcement budgets. The Meth problem could be good for that six-figure salaried director of the Montana Meth Project. And drug sales are good for Big Banks, who launder the loot and get wrist slaps from the now Attorney General, Loretta Lynch:
Some Republican Senators are having a field day, and rightly so, over the fact that Obama’s attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, looks to have allowed bank giant HSBC, and more important, its executives and officers, off vastly too easy in a massive money-laundering and tax evasion scheme.
The background is that Lynch, as attorney for the Eastern District of New York, led the investigation of HSBC’s money laundering for drug dealers and other unsavory types that led to a $1.9 billion settlement in 2012. That deal was pilloried by both the right and left as being too lenient given the scale of HSBC’s misdeeds.
Crap, there I go again, being all negative and critical. Good party loyalists aren’t supposed to look beyond the tokenism of her appointment to her servitude to power.
I blame my reptile dysfunction. From my warped perspective, it’s almost like there’s political protection for that lucrative intersection between big banks and drug cartels.