Europeans Are Preparing…Missoula County Commissioners? Not so much

by Travis Mateer

Unlike Americans, Europeans have had TWO world wars fought in their own backyard. And, unlike Americans, people in countries like Poland–who have actually experienced Communism first hand, not some Bernie Sanders meme version of it–are preparing for those days, or worse.

Here’s an excerpt from the link (emphasis NOT mine):

Artur, 57, a pensioner, drove up from Swidnik, some 30 km (18 miles) from the mine in eastern Poland on Tuesday, hoping to buy several tonnes of coal for himself and his family.

“Toilets were put up today, but there’s no running water,” he said, after three nights of sleeping in his small red hatchback in a crawling queue of trucks, tractors towing trailers and private cars. “This is beyond imagination, people are sleeping in their cars. I remember the communist times but it didn’t cross my mind that we could return to something even worse.”

In the UK, small businesses that haven’t already succumbed to “health” mandates from the scamdemic are being hit hard with spikes in energy costs. From the Irish Times:

The owner of a small coffee shop in the centre of Athlone was shocked when she opened her electricity bill this week and realised she had been charged almost €10,000 for just over two months of energy usage.

The cost of electricity to the Poppyfields cafe for 73 days from early June until the end of August came in at €9,024.70 an increase of 250 per cent in just 12 months. There doesn’t include the €812.22 in VAT, which brought her total bill to €9,836.92.

It has left Geraldine Dolan wondering if she will be able to continue running the business she has owned for the last 16 years as Ireland heads into what is certain to be a winter of rising energy prices and cost of living spikes.

In Missoula COUNTY, the budget being proposed will add another double-digit tax increase ON TOP OF the CITY tax hike.

So, what are our County Commissioners doing to address the growing anxiety that thinking about survival and losing one’s home due to clinically cold financial terms like “inflation” produces? Well, they are doing VERY important things, like holding a PET COMMISSIONER CONTEST.

Yes, this is an actual thing, but not as much fun as doing ANOTHER very important thing, and that’s selectively forgive the debt of TWO non-profits. Why? I dunno, ’cause they do good things for our community, I guess. From the link:

Missoula County forgave nearly $150,000 in loan debt owed by two nonprofits on Tuesday, saying they provided a community benefit.

Free Cycles saw more than $87,000 in debt forgiven while Homeword had roughly $62,000 in debt forgiven. Both loans were provided by the county years ago through its Community Development Block Grant revolving loan fund.

“It makes a great deal of sense to take a look at the non-profits in a different way than we would the for-profit business as it relates to community benefit,” said Commissioner Dave Strohmaier. “It’s something we have within our jurisdiction to do, and I think it will be a big help.”

Hmmmm…are these the same types of helpless politicians who feign injury like Killdeer when criticized about passing on insurmountable costs to homeowners? The same ones that complain like a broken record about their hands being tied behind their backs by meanie Republicans at the State?

While shenanigans around pets and debt take place, attempted baby thief, Rhonda Hiner, is back in jail, this time on a felony theft charge. I’m concerned the arresting agency, MCSO (Missoula County Sheriff Office), might mistakingly assume objects have more value than babies.

So, while selective debt forgiveness and an idiotic pet commissioner contest are priorities for our County Commissioners, unstable people, like Rhonda Hiner, continue exposing the limitations of our community’s ability to provide assistance.

I’ll leave it there, for now. Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Europeans Are Preparing…Missoula County Commissioners? Not so much

  1. “The elements of kidnapping were not met.” In MT, an attempt carries the same consequences as the completed crime. Of course, this person is obviously seriously plagued by mental illness, so proving any specific intent would be impossible. MT abolished the insanity defense, also. This is no doubt the reason that MCSO keeps letting her out. She’s a big problem for the jail. Aside from the public safety risk, this situation is horribly cruel to Ms. Hiner, not to mention placing her in jeopardy of being shot by one of our thousands of no-permit-required armed citizens. The State Hospital is full, understaffed and a horrible place. No community mental health. It’s pretty much the same in most other U.S. cities. In Portland, City workers have refused to return to work because their offices are downtown, and they say that’s an unsafe and intolerable condition of work. Meanwhile, a giant corporation that pays little in taxes canceled its big block of rooms at the Benson, a premier downtown Portland Hotel, because its employees are “afraid of all the homeless and crazies walking around.”

    I was at the Clerk & Recorder’s office located in the Msla County Courthouse, Tuesday. There was about a half-dozen folks in the shade on the strip of lawn adjacent to the North annex entrance. Calm, quiet, a couple looking as if they needed their meds, but mostly just peacefully trying to beat the heat. Perhaps evicted from the Authorized Concentra … err …. Camping Site? Who knows. I mention this because there, on that strip of grass inside the City that is policed by the County Sheriff, they were being left alone. I had very courteous, quick and very helpful assistance at the Clerk’s office, but while I was drawing up a document needed to complete my transaction, one unoccupied deputy clerk chatted up another; it went like this:

    HIM: Those people are still out there.

    HER: Yeah, I know, they’ve been lyin’ on the lawn all day. It’s creepy.

    HIM: One guy was looking through the window, watching me work. I mean, he was just standing there, and he watched me for like, an hour, you know, just watching me behind my back, standing right there looking in the window.

    HER: Yeah, I know, I don’t know why they’re allowed to do that!

    It seems that the sight of our societal failures makes individuals uncomfortable (thanks, Captain Obvious!).

    It’s the same everywhere, and capitalism nourishes it. Was Communism worse? That’s impossible to say, since there hasn’t yet been a communist society in the civilized epoch.

    There were street prostitutes, addicts, untreated psychotics, thieves and thugs in the Soviet Union. Speaking only of the Soviet Far East, however, I can say that as late as two years before the USSR ceased to exist, those problems were either far less prevalent, or far less visible, than they were and are just about anywhere in the USA. I’m confident it’s the former.

    The street hookers were occasional and irregular, did not bother trying to conceal themselves, and were seen on the order of one every six or seven very long blocks or so. They weren’t addicts or psychotics; they were almost exclusively married women who needed to hustle a few rubles before their husbands arrived home from work after their walk from the tram station, in order to buy some meat and bread to feed their husbands and kids. Many had regular jobs. There were many more female than male doctors, but the shortages and inflation in a command economy (which is not a feature of small “c” communism) meant that wages were low (for the average worker, not much more than $250 USD/mo), but that was not a fair comparison because the socialism that was practiced in housing, health care, education, etc. eliminated those expenses. Also, all work was valued and being a doctor didn’t make one wealthy or grant privileges greater than those of a laborer. Anyway, in the last two years under Gorbachev, the lines, shortages, and inflation got pretty bad (though the people certainly had it better than those in our cities have it now). That wasn’t a function of glasnost, perestroika, free pluralistic elections, freeing of political prisoners, etc. but rather the acceleration of collapse brought about by Reagan’s insane arms race.

    Moreover, in 1989 I walked around in Khabarovsk alone day and night and was never afraid.

    I spent time with my late Oregon MD psychiatrist buddy in the hospital and mental health facility. I saw courts in operation. Despite the tough challenges and official bureaucracy (not a feature of actual communism), most people were upbeat. I did ask one Russian why prostitutes were not arrested. He got a perplexed look on his face. “What do you ask? I don’t understand.” I explained that prostitution was illegal in the USA and that a great amount of public money was expended for special police units that arrested prostitutes. He looked more perplexed. He finally asked, “Why would there be a law devoted to this subject? It’s a private matter.” I explained that in the USA, very few prostitutes were free to choose whether or not to engage in that trade, that there were many women and children kept as virtual slaves by criminals, the children usually having left homes in which their fathers raped them, and boys, girls and women who were homeless, addicted to drugs, victims of beating by husbands, etc. who had little opportunity for anything other than sex work, which was very dangerous because they were often raped, beaten and/or killed by customers or police. My Russian friend was appalled and could barely believe it. “In America it is this way????”

    Yes, there was homelessness and all the rest, but at least in the Soviet Far East, it didn’t approach the extent of societal decay in U.S. cities even in 1989.

    Seven years later, four years after dissolution of the USSR and the assumption of the Kremlin by a “liberal democratic” President, things were much, much different.

    The once wonderful hospital was closed, its windows shattered, its walls covered with graffiti, its doors gone, its interior stripped of everything.

    Drunks and thieves were ubiquitous. Criminal syndicates had taken over public housing, the sidewalks, and the drug trade, and built a massive prostitution racket.

    I stayed with a girlfriend, and the first day, suggested that we leave the apt. and walk across the street to a park bench, and enjoy the early evening as the heat gave way to cool Amur River breezes. This made her VERY nervous. Eventually she agreed, after looking at the clock. “We must not be there long,” She said.

    Within two minutes of sitting down on the park bench at the edge of the sidewalk, we were accosted by a drunk who yammered for a minute or so before grabbing at my lady friend and when I pushed him away, swung at me with his almost-empty vodka bottle (which by 1995 probably wasn’t the former, pure, good stuff, but most likely half vodka and half industrial solvents). Not five minutes later, two drunks began accosting us. “You are lucky to have such nice girl” one of them got out in half-Russian/half English. I stood up and yelled at them loudly, acting like a psycho, and they moved on. “OK,” I said to her, “I see now why you were reluctant. Things have really changed. Let’s go back to the flat.”

    We stood up, I took her hand and we got not ten steps before we heard someone mumble behind us. I glanced behind me and there was a man in a trench coat with hands in pockets, walking towards us VERY fast. My friend didn’t need to tell me to RUN and that we did, like sprinters to the street-level door of her old apt. bldg. Up five flights to the top floor we raced. She got the apt. door unlocked and we went in, whereupon she slammed the solid metal apt. door shut, locked the six deadbolts, ran to the kitchen and quickly returned with a butcher knife, which she held in front of her ready to use, as she stared at the apt. door.

    We heard footsteps running up the concrete stairway, and then there was a hard pounding on the door, accompanied by loud yelling, demanding that he be let in at once. After about 15 minutes, he stopped pounding and yelling, but a few minutes later, we heard footsteps on the roof. I asked why she did not call police, and she said that this was a common thing and they would likely not come. Later, when she did pick up her phone to make a call, it was dead. “I guess he cut the wires,” she explained.

    Two days later, I was with several Russian friends on an excursion to the stunningly beautiful forests, about 90 minutes from the city. Not far from the parking area, on a trail, was an item of female clothing. Then another. Then another. And so on, ending at the relatively fresh naked corpse of a woman of about 19. She had been stabbed to death. I won’t waste time on how this was reported; police came and it was dealt with.

    When I arrived back at the apt., I turned on the TV and attentively watched, making out what could of the Russian. My girlfriend asked what was so interesting, and I said I was waiting for a story about the murdered girl. “Oh, you won’t see such story, this happens every day and it is not new.”

    “Every day? Really?”

    “Yes, about once per day, a young girl is taken from the Intourist Hotel and killed by the mafia.”

    I’d stayed at the Intourist in 1989. It was very safe then.

    By “mafia,” she was referring to the mostly Chechnyan organized criminals who trafficked in teenage girls. When one was suspected of holding back some money, or of planning to escape their control, she’d be shoved into a car, driven to the edge of the forest, raped, sliced open and left to bloat.

    The point of all of this is that I don’t think any nation has a corner on the devolution and entropy of modern civilization. And people weren’t running around excited, as they were in 1991, about the new opportunities they expected from a capitalized system.

    And under Putin, the Thought Police are far more quick and efficient than even during Stalin’s reign.

    So, you know the slogan: “Be careful what you wish for…”

    # # # #

Leave a Reply