The Billings Gazette publishes letters from readers in the Opinion section. Here are this week's letters.
To submit a letter to the editor, go here.
Raw milk restriction is undemocratic
I recently received a response to a Craigslist ad I had posted about an A2/A2 Normande bull we have for sale. Someone asked me where they could obtain raw A2 milk. Judging by our conversation, this person is a business owner, new to Montana. I had to inform him that Montanans are not free to make healthy choices, like raw milk. I should have also mentioned this is not a business-friendly state, unless you have a lot of money and lots of political leverage.
By the time you read this letter, we will have already celebrated the anniversary of our successful rebellion against a tyrant, who was against little guys, non-elite, American businesses. He was known as King George.
Sometimes it is difficult to remember that we live in a free country. It just so happens that the more power and money you have to buy politicians and media, the more freedom you have to strangle out your little-guy competition.
Remember this when you vote this fall. You should know who you vote for and who they owe their allegiance to as you drink your corporate, factory, government teat, milk.
By the way, brave Mr. Anonymous, check your facts with the CDC. Who has really hurt consumers: The little guys, or the “safe” factory milk products producers?
Habitat Montana great for state
The Habitat Montana program has been great for our state by protecting farming and ranching, while also helping create more hunting opportunity for the public. Hunters pay a small portion of their license fees that goes into a fund to buy conservation easements, as well as some special lands. The goal is to keep open lands open for wildlife, and also open for hunting access. It’s been a huge success, and it helps explain why we get to hunt for big game longer than in any other Western state.
I was outright angry that Matt Rosendale, Elsie Arntzen and Corey Stapleton told Montana hunters that we can’t use this program with their recent rejection of the Horse Creek complex conservation easement. They denied a family their private property rights, and told Montana hunters to pound sand and quit trying to protect working ag lands that also provide great habitat for deer, antelope and birds. Basically, they said we can’t use Habitat Montana.
As a Montana hunter, I’m glad Gov. Bullock stepped in and determined we don’t need land board approval for easements. We’ve gained access to 20,000 acres of prime habitat in Eastern Montana, and Montanans are better for it. This project doubles the public access to land open in that part of Montana. We know who’s really looking out for hunters, and our Habitat Montana program. We also know who isn’t.
Not too late to convict Jane Fonda
There is no statute of limitations regarding the crime of treason. Jane Fonda can still be convicted of this crime. Those of us who flew in combat in Vietnam are being asked to tell others about this website: www.hanoijanesite.com. I ask all other veterans and anyone who is truly interested in justice to visit this website.
Dr. W. David Herbert
Montana hunters rely on ranchers for access
Stenson family did not deserve this treatment.
The Stenson family worked with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for nearly two years to put together a conservation easement on their ranch near Wibaux. It took that long to work out the details and build an easement that would protect their ranch, include hunter access in perpetuity and still protect the mineral rights holder’s interest. These deals are complicated, but they worked out an easement that works for everyone.
Then it comes to the State Land Board, where Corey Stapleton, Matt Rosendale and Elsie Arntzen know better. They pulled the rug out from this longtime Montana ranch family and Montana’s hunters and said no, with no real reason. Stapleton just said he hates permanent easements. And Rosendale, who blocked off access to his own farm, doubted the appraisal but had nothing to back it up. Arntzen never gave any reasons, other than just falling in line with the other two.
Montana’s hunters are paying attention. We know that hunting access in eastern Montana is dependent on landowners like the Stensons, who are generous with their land. This family did not deserve to have an important deal killed at the 11th hour.
Gazette ridiculous in MS-13 editorial
The Gazette editorial board outdid itself this time with the ludicrous May 29 editorial concerning Trump calling MS-13 gang members “animals.” The sanctimonious, preachy tone was annoying enough, but it is ridiculous to make the giant leap that because these vile, vicious thugs were called animals that Trump was dehumanizing them so they could be persecuted. Read up on MS-13 — the members commit the most horrible of crimes without feeling one modicum of compunction about their actions. They are violent towards one another as well. They have dehumanized themselves — they are more than morally challenged, which I suppose the politically correct term would be. Trump isn't organizing a gestapo to eradicate these horrible people — he wants these illegal aliens removed from our country to make us safer. The Gazette commentary is ridiculous. There are legitimate criticisms of Trump, but this isn't one of them.
Respect lacking in society today
America is at war, between good and evil. It's a war waged on mainstream and social media. A battle declared by Democrats, far-left liberals and those who hate Donald Trump and who oppose his rule of enforcing the law of the land.
There is a call for violence, public attacks and shaming on all Trump supporters, government employees and his family members. A Hollywood celebrity called for kidnapping and torture of his 12-year-old son, and his family is threatened daily. This is unacceptable. Why aren’t these evil people being held accountable?
There is a misguided narrative and outcry for immigrant children separated from parents while they are being vetted. Parents who were willing to trade children to drug cartels, gang members and coyotes for passage to our southern border. Parents willingly placing their children’s lives in jeopardy by transporting them across dangerous terrain for thousands of miles. You say they are only seeking asylum? How do you know without proper vetting? No child should be separated from responsible parents, yet it seems these children are far better taken care of in separation than in parental care.
Thousands of children are separated from parents in the U.S. today due to the drug epidemic, and millions of unborn babies are permanently separated from mothers by abortion. Why no sympathy for their crying?
There is a lack of respect, compassion and common sense in society today. People scream vile things at each other, and commit horrible atrocities against one another.
We play to our emotions and forget what really matters. We are all human beings. We need each other to survive.
Someone recently said, God has shed a tear for what is happening at our border to immigrant children.
I believe God has shed many tears for what is happening to us all.
Hansen adds excitement to Billings Gazette sports writing
I have been quite impressed by recent Kyle Hansen articles in the Gazette sports section, regarding Montana track and field athletes currently competing in national races.
As a longtime friend and fan of the Aragon sisters, Alexa, Dani and Christina, I particularly enjoyed “A Family Affair,” about Dani and Christina qualifying for the USATF Championships. Interviewing each sister about the preparation and accomplishments of the other sister made for detailed, personalized reporting. Direct quotes from them convey the excitement and joy they experience for themselves and each other from these opportunities.
Hansen’s understanding of the nuances of qualifying times and dedication required to compete at this level is enlightening. His articles encompass all the other athletes with Montana connections who are entered in these competitions. Clearly he is willing to take the extra time and care to produce a “living” article rather than just “sports talk.”
Petition for Convention of States to take back our government
Many do, because of the obnoxious personal attacks, manipulation and broken promises.
There is a way to bypass the politicians running the show, want to know how? Join Convention of States, it's that simple.
If enough Americans stand together and make the conversations about principles, instead of being manipulated by political agendas, we can change D.C.
Americans want leaders whose priority is upholding our Constitution, our document that set America apart from other countries, by protecting individual liberty from government constraint or coercion.
The “silent majority" is wakening to the fact that Washington, D.C., is far too powerful and acting beyond their constitutional limits.
We’ve voted for politician after politician, promising to change the status quo, yet the corruption and national debt continue to rise.
The reality is clear: Washington will not fix itself, so we must turn to the Constitution in order to save liberty for future generations.
Article V of our Constitution provides us with a solution as big as the problem.
Article V, the amending article, provides the ability for state legislatures to call a Convention of the States to propose amendments that could restore the balance of power between the states and D.C.
Thousands of Montanans have already signed the petition for COS. They are deeply concerned about the future of our country and are determined to defend our Framers' vision of individual liberty. Will you help by urging your legislators to support this nationwide effort to restore the balance of power? Cosaction.com.
Gazette not serving its readers
I took a wait and see attitude when your paper made changes to the Faith/Values portion of the paper and no longer published the valuable articles by local faith leaders. Now Bob Krumm has announced that he has been let go. I am not an outdoorsman, fisherman or hunter, but I do look forward to his articles which I have always found interesting and informative.
Removing the local/regional articles from your newspaper is truly a disservice to your readers. Your new focus seems to be on news that can be obtained from many other sources and at considerably less cost than the cost of your publication. Please know that many of your readers are not pleased with your recent changes.
Teapot Dome a cautionary tale
The Teapot Dome Scandal sprouted during the term of Republican President Warren Harding. The investigation by Montana Sen. Thomas Walsh condemned two conspirators to serve their time in the D.C. jail and asylum. They were Interior Secretary Albert Fall and oil magnate Harry Sinclair.
During his investigation, Republicans tried to discredit Democrat Walsh. Wasn't he just out to smear the lofty GOP reputation as a law and order party? As Walsh uncovered more incriminating details, the Republicans screamed “partisan bias” as if bias was more damming than bribery and corruption.
Then Congressional Republicans made their biggest mistake. They appointed unbiased special prosecutors, a Republican and a Democrat. Surely now Walsh would find other fish to fry. And he did.
Walsh and fellow Montanan Burt Wheeler took on the U.S. attorney general. Soon they revealed the full scope of the sandal. Harry Dougherty, the puppet master, was Harding's campaign manager and Harding named him A.G. He continued as A.G. into President Calvin Coolidge's administration until the Montana team forced him out.
Moral of the story: Watch your step, Interior secretary.
Wyoming needs governor who will protect energy industry
I grew up a coal miner’s daughter. Rotating shifts, hardhat and vacations without my dad molded me into who I am. He worked hard to provide for us and spent his last 25 years before passing away as a devoted employee and supporter of coal. Now, my husband provides for our family through oil and gas. Wyoming’s energy production has impacted my entire life, and I take it to heart.
Concerned for Wyoming’s future, I took a hard look at Wyoming’s governor race, and was shocked with what I discovered.
Unknown to many, one Republican front runner has a long history of contributing to the very environmental groups that work to bankrupt companies supporting my family and state.
Mark Gordon served as Wyoming chair of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth, organizations devoted to keeping fossil fuels in the ground. He donated over $6,000 to the Sierra Club PAC and $2,000 to John Kerry for president.
While everyone has a past, unfortunately Gordon hasn’t disavowed his affiliations and donated to environmental organizations recently. In 2013, Gordon donated to Rocky Mountain Institute, whose “strategic focus is on getting the United States (for starters) completely off oil and coal by 2050.”
Hundreds of coal miners lost jobs thanks to efforts of environmental organizations and pressures of government. We need a governor that will fight to protect our mineral industry, for the legacy of my dad, and for the backbone of Wyoming’s economy.
Review all U.S. laws on immigration
The history of the current furor over immigration dates back to the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act which was one of the most far-reaching laws ever enacted in the country. This legislation abolished the system of national-origin that favored Europeans and created a new approach aimed at reuniting immigrant families and bringing skilled workers into the U.S. while increasing quotas for people from Latin America, Asia and Africa.
In 1965 the U.S. legal immigration total was 296,697. By 1990 that total had reached 600,000 and the passage of the 1990 Immigration Act increased that yearly total again to exceed 1.1 million. The result has dramatically transformed the demographic makeup of the country.
The Census Bureau notes that the non-Hispanic white population in the U.S. has declined from 85 percent in 1965 to 62 percent in 2014 and forecasts a further decline to 44 percent by 2060. While the impact of illegal immigration is the subject of intense national debate, the much larger flow of legal immigrants has seen almost no discussion and their impact on American society is much larger. A full review of our immigration policies are in order, not just the illegal’s status.
Tester shows up for Montanans
How can a candidate who is not ready for a debate be ready to represent us in the U.S. Senate? Matt Rosendale had two months’ notice for what was supposed to be the first debate of the 2018 Senate race on June 17 in Whitefish according to the CEO of the debate’s host, the Montana Broadcasters Association. Sen. Jon Tester invited him as soon as he won the primary, and Rosendale said, “You’ll see me in Whitefish.” Yet he apparently chickened out soon after and decided not to show.
Why would he pass up this opportunity to bring his message to Montana voters? Perhaps Rosendale was afraid to defend his record. Was he afraid to answer questions about his many votes as a member of the Montana Land Board to make it easier to transfer public lands? Was he afraid to explain his support for policies that create higher health care costs? Was it his many votes against resources for veterans when he was a legislator?
Tester was present in Whitefish, ready for a debate. As always, he was willing and able to defend his record of service on behalf of veterans, agricultural producers, seniors and all Montanans. Tester is responsive and available to his constituents and works hard for us. Sen. Tester shows up for us. Let’s show up for him in November!
The Gazette's lead article on June 19 quoted Sen. Jon Tester with regard to the border situation, "Ripping children from their mothers and fathers is sick and heartless ... " The statement is true regardless of the circumstance. Perhaps Tester would care to explain why it is not acceptable to rip children from their mothers arms on the border, but it is acceptable to rip them from their mother's wombs in the abortion clinic. Tester is willing to make headlines for thousands of children who will suffer separation from their parents, but unwilling to lift a finger to help millions and millions of children who will die in a barbaric act of violence.
The logic escapes me. Of course, aborted children will never have their voices or images crying for their mothers displayed on national TV. Of course, aborted children will never grow up to vote. But they are still precious little children who will be thrown, not in a cage, but in a trash can. Sen. Tester, please tell us why you won't say that ripping children from their mother's womb is sick and heartless.
Please don't tell us it is the law of the land. It is illegal to cross the border without proper papers. You are willing to stick your neck out for some children. Why not all children?
Merecki is the better option
Billings Heights Senate District 22 incumbent Doug Kary has proven himself untrustworthy and irresponsible. He voted against affordable health care, he favors a statewide sales tax, he has voted against teacher’s pensions, public state employees and working class wages, while voting himself a pay increase. He voted against options for veterans, against our elderly and disabled. He voted against education. He voted to allow concealed weapons, without permits, in schools, by students and outsiders, as well as restaurants and other prohibited places. He broke Montana constitutional law by leaving the session without a balanced budget, on the taxpayer’s dime, and did not offer any solutions to improve our situation. He is anti-conservation and voted to promote big state government over local governments. He voted to reduce the penalty for sexual offenders. Voted against the option to lower your utility bills. Sen. Kary wants to decrease taxes on the super-rich and big corporations, while hurting the shrinking middle class. He voted in favor of dark money and corruption in politics more than once. He’s against energy freedom and our public lands. He may say one thing, but his voting records prove otherwise, but see for yourself.
We cannot continue to support establishment rubber-stamp politicians that vote against our best interests. Fortunately, Billings Heights has a better option on the ballot this November. Jennifer Merecki is a proven populist fighter that stands with you on the issues that matter most. She deserves your support and vote.
Ridiculous government error over $50 late filing fee
Leading up to a successful moon landing on July 20, 1969, an iconic phrase was used to announce a threat by the men in their Space Capsule, “Houston, we have a problem.” Fifty years later, the citizens of Montana face a threat to their peace and freedom, “Helena, we have a problem.”
“We get the government we deserve” is a misnomer. After paying 40 percent in federal and Montana income taxes, each year, on our earnings, for the “greater good” of society, we do not deserve to be used and abused. We are, maybe, guilty in one aspect, “We get what we allow.”
We thought, “Surely, elected officials — sworn to uphold the law as public servants — will bring their code of Cowboy Ethics and do the right things.”
A recent experience with the Montana Department of Revenue has been a reminder of that from which I’ve protected my clients, for 35-plus years as a CPA.
Montana Department of Revenue sent me a bill for $50. Yes, I was tempted just to pay their usury fee — much as in the corrupt end-of-days Roman Empire. More than the money, it was and is the principle of the thing. After 57 days and the involvement of six Montana State employees, the issue is resolved.
There is a better way to invest our time and money. To read my complete story, visit: https://kimfoard.com/2018/06/16/we-the-people/
Williams would serve Montana well in U.S. House
I have known Kathleen Williams for many years. As a hunter and sportsmen advocate, she was always there for us during her three terms in the Montana legislature. Being a hunter and gun owner herself, she fully understands our concerns and values are traditions. Williams firmly supports our ability to access our public lands and would not try to sell them off to the highest bidder.
Based on her performance while in the Montana Legislature, I consider Williams a moderate who was able to work very well with both sides of the aisle. Any attempt to portray her as a “Nancy Pelosi style Democrat” is a gross misrepresentation of who Williams is and what she stands for. Like most Americans, I am sick and tired of the false and inaccurate ads by some politicians.
The American public needs to stop hiding behind the labels of “Republicans, Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives,” and instead judge the individual, not misleading labels. Neither the Democratic or Republican parties are the same as they were 30-40 years ago. Both parties seem more interested in doing what is best for their respective parties than what is best for the American people. I firmly believe that Williams would be one of those rare politicians who would be the exception and do what is best for Montanans and the American people.
Kathleen Williams is an excellent choice for Montana’s lone Representative in Washington, D.C., and would serve Montanans well!
Vito R. Quatraro
Sorry for being rude while driving in Billings
I would like to apologize to a few people that I was rude to. First of all, I am sorry to the people who were in the red truck, behind me at the intersection of Central Avenue and Sixth Street West, near Albertsons, just a few days ago. I was stopped at the light and did not realize it had turned green until they let me know by honking. I am sorry for raising my hand at them in an inappropriate manner. It was rude and I don't want people to remember me this way. I am just a little slower now and often distracted. I hope you can forgive me for my moment of anger and rudeness.
I also want to apologize for not understanding who the yield sign was for when I was merging onto the highway from under the Sixth and Montana underpass quite a few months back. I almost ran into a black four-door car with two ladies in it and acted pretty foolishly, thinking it was their fault. I found out recently that I was the one who should have yielded to them. I'm really very sorry and hope you also can forgive my foolishness toward you. I am really not an awful "old lady."
I can honestly say that I have been dealing with some pretty rough situations lately. I'm so sorry I took the stress out on you. You will remember me, blue Matrix, STR8ARO.
Time for Tester to be replaced
In 1921 Congress creates the Veterans Bureau to aid our military personnel. It becomes so corrupt in nine years that it is ended. In 1930 the Veterans Administration is established to assist our "so deserving military" and continues today.
Sen. Jon Tester, first elected in 2006, was appointed to the Senate VA Affairs Committee in 2007. In 2007 the Inspector General of the VA warned of irregularities concerning certain policies and treatment of our veterans.
Tester was re-elected in 2012. In 2012, the Inspector General of the VA warned of improprieties of directors and the abusive care our veterans were receiving. In 2014 the Obama Administration spoke of how corrupt the VA administration had become. In 2018, if you research the files of the Inspector General of the VA, although the treatment of our veterans have improved, you will find the corruption of the directors and facilities are continuing regarding payoffs, fraud and manipulating documents. All this was and is, going on during Tester's terms as an "overseer" on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and yet, Tester continually "touts" his efforts regarding our veterans.
Time for Tester to be replaced along with his liberal-progressive ideologies.
Young Montanans focus on national issues
Voting records indicate that despite their numbers, youth are disinterested in civics. However, national politics has never had more eyes and ears — a young, vocal minority floods our news feeds and trending bars with sensational stories. With so much activity taking place, why would youth who are politically engaged think about Montana’s congressional races?
Tester and Williams differ significantly from Rosendale and Gianforte on issues like Obamacare, taxes and public lands, but why focus there while compelling narratives like the Mueller investigation and Spygate rage on? The extraordinary scope of information available to young voters has warped and widened their political lens, their key issues becoming less local than previous generations’. Politicians must advertise their national significance if they wish to win over Montana’s youth voting bloc.
The candidates must clearly paint what role they will play in our colorful political story. They must demonstrate how they will stand up and stand out in D.C., because to many young voters, the state of the nation supersedes the state of the state. That may come as a shocking and upsetting proposition to older voters, but Montana’s candidates must contend with it nonetheless if they are to capitalize on the youth vote.
Test fitness of aging lawmakers
One particular political party's sore losers’ attitude has now turned to pure rage that is way off the chart. Supporters and current administration staff are being banned from bars and restaurants. A quite unusual tactic in desperate times to try and win back the American voters. In a frantic effort, states are being ordered to redraw their district lines to give a certain political party a fighting chance in the upcoming mid-term elections. Some states have granted ex-cons the right to vote again, there are still dead people on the out-of-date voter rolls that still cast their absentee ballots and then there are illegal aliens. I am not positive these people will actually vote for normal candidates, but it's likely they can find some of their own people to vote for if they qualify. Having an MS-13 gang member born in the USA that has nothing but tattoos and no criminal record might sound unlikely, but I wouldn't want to bet on it in today's political climate. If no one is interested in term limits now that members of Congress are in their 80s, 90s and approaching 100, if they win re-elections, how about at least a fitness for duty exam starting at 70 and every year thereafter? The military has this for a long time.
Melania's jacket matches the GOP
It’s not just a jacket.
Today, the First Lady, Melania Trump, visited a detention center in Texas to see refugee children, separated from their parents at the border in their quest to seek asylum here in the United States. After this visit, perhaps the president will now better understand the horrific impact his family separation policy has had on these innocent children. There was a problem with FLOTUS’ visit, however. When boarding and debarking at Andrews AFB, she wore a $39 Zara jacket with “I really don’t care, do u?” scrawled on the back. Cue Conservative cries nationwide, “It’s just a jacket!” and “fake news!”, and to quote Corey Lewandowski when describing the plight of a 10-year-old detainee with Down syndrome, “womp womp.”
I want to believe that Mrs. Trump’s jacket choice was about fashion. Unfortunately, these words too closely reflect attitudes heard throughout the Republican Party. Were it not for the fact that POTUS has ridiculed and bullied everyone from women, to people of color, to the disabled, to Gold Star families, I might look past the words.
“I really don’t care, do u?” Well, I do care about children. About the oppressed. About the traumatized. About the disabled. I care about my country. The president speaks in Tweets. Today, Mrs. Trump spoke with her clothing. If you care about your country, speak with your vote in November. Find your conscience. Reset your moral compass.
“Who cares?” We should care. We are better than this.
Gorsuch votes for internet sales tax
There were a hundred different flags that Neil Gorsuch would never represent Montana values as a Supreme Court Justice, from his full-throated support of Citizens United to his anti-union and anti-women legal opinions. Now, we’re starting to see the consequences of his confirmation to the Supreme Court: Just last week, Gorsuch was the deciding vote on a case that would force Montana businesses to collect sales taxes for out-of-state online purchases and give the money to other states.
Here in Montana, rejecting a sales tax isn’t a partisan issue. Montanans have voted against a sales tax multiple times. And it hasn’t even been close — two-thirds of Montanans soundly rejected a statewide sales tax as a bad idea. But in a Supreme Court decision last week, Gorsuch was the final and deciding vote to force states without a sales tax — like Montana — to collect a tax for other states if their customers are out-of-state.
This is an example of how out-of-touch justices can make a sweeping decision that negatively affect states on a local level. Yet, even in the aftermath of Gorsuch’s bad vote, GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale continues to constantly praise him. This is what happens when partisan politicians just rubber-stamp whoever their party leaders ask them to — you get people like Rosendale, who will blindly support a Supreme Court Justice even after they make decisions bad for Montana.
This is just the beginning of what I’m confident will be years and years of bad decision-making from Neil Gorsuch.
Social Security under strain
I read earlier this month the announcement made by the Trustees for Social Security that "the program is dipping into its trust fund for the first time since 1982 to pay benefits." In other words, the cash coming in cannot pay benefits going out and since the fund only holds Special issue Treasury bonds (IOUs), the choices aren't many:
Raise taxes, cut benefits or have the treasury sell more bonds to outsiders still willing to buy regular bonds. The last choice increases the deficit and U.S. debt that eventually someone has to pay.
I know, someone, somehow will have to face this and explain this to our grandchildren.
David B. Orser, retired CPA
Facts don't show border 'crisis'
Jeff Sessions has probably regretted invoking a bible verse when justifying our government’s zero-tolerance policy towards immigration along our southern border. I think we would all be better served if the administration followed a different bible verse, “the truth shall set you free.” And it appears that truth is what we are getting very little of.
So here is the truth in the form of facts: The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. peaked in 2007 and has declined since. The number of apprehensions along our southern border was around 1 million per year in the early 2000s and is around 400,000 today. Illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes on a percentage basis. And here is the biggest shocker of all. The vast majority of illegal immigrants come here legally. Yes, legally! They apply for and get a visa and when that visa expires they don’t go home. Homeland Security estimated there were 629,000 of these overstays in 2017. The three biggest abusers of visa overstays are Afghanistan, Iraq and African nations.
So why would you propose spending $25 billion on a wall when the biggest problem is visa overstays that you aren’t addressing? Why would you say there is an invasion or infestation coming across the Mexican border? Why would you implement zero tolerance and separate children from parents only at the Mexican border? Seems to me the real crisis is with the facts and the claimed crisis at the Mexican border is just unfounded, nasty election-year politics.
Norquist not a conservative
I understand the shorthand when the Gazette uses “conservative political advocate” to describe Grover Norquist. However, as a student — and often an advocate — of American conservativism, I take exception. Grover Norquist is not a conservative.
What is he? Norquist is a one-pony show, a one-note Johnny. His pony, his note: Reduce taxes. Lower taxes are better; no tax is best.
Most Gazette readers know that conservatism is more complicated than that. For a better example of a conservative advocate they turn to George Will, who, coincidentally, has just appeared in The Gazette: “In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him.”
That’s George Will. That’s conservatism. Grover Norquist? He’s not a conservative. He’s silly … but dangerous. Voters should ignore him and heed Will’s advice.
Bruce A. Lohof
Words of wisdom from Theodore Roosevelt
Here are some quotes from a president.
“There is no danger in having too many immigrants of the right kind.”
He also said, “I want to implant in the minds of our fellow Americans of foreign ancestry or birth, the knowledge that they have just the same rights and opportunities as anyone else in this country.”
Can that be Donald Trump who said that? I hardly think so! Those direct quotes came from Theodore Roosevelt on Feb. 26, 1907.
Robert “Bud” Flanagan
Count ways Dems lost to Trump
Dear Democratic Party,
How did you lose to a reality T.V. celebrity? Let me count the ways.
1) You anointed your candidate four years before the election.
2) Your candidate had a long record of service. She also had a long record of being a corrupt war-monger who was quick to use racist dog-whistle politics when it suited her needs.
3) Your candidate took the reins of the party. She used the state parties to launder money and in the end the coffers of the state parties were empty.
4) You colluded with the media to bury Bernie Sander's campaign and prop up Donald Trump. How did that work out for you?
5) You suppressed the votes of independent and progressive voters during the primaries. In return there is now a mass exodus from the party.
6) Your candidate was a narcissist who thought she didn't have to earn our votes and she ran the worst campaign in modern history because she forgot that the Electoral College picks the president.
In return for your effort we have a president who didn't even want the job. He did everything possible to lose except kill a guy in public. He won because he offered something different and your candidate offered nothing but empty platitudes and more incrementalism. You are like a zombie, you are a rotting corpse but you don't know it yet.
Polite language was not polite
On June 16, The Gazette ran a letter from Marylin Mader, maligning the Montana Renaissance Festival for including a gay wedding in their event. Let’s think about all the other things Marylin Mader could've done besides take to a public platform to spread her hatred. She could have left the moment the realized the ceremony conflicted with her religious views (which I hope was before the “deep throated kiss” because if having two brides at the altar and no groom isn’t a dead giveaway I don’t know what is). She could have explained to her children that while she doesn’t agree with gay marriage, it is a constitutionally protected right. She could have simply gone home. All of these things would have been in line with Mader’s parental rights. But our community is under no such obligation to censor a perfectly legal and frankly beautiful ceremony just because she has hatred in her heart.
Mader probably doesn’t know this, but June is Pride Month — a celebration of the still tenuous and insufficient protections only recently won for the LGBTQ+ community. So her request that the organizers discriminate against gay couples was more than unfortunate in its timing. There are people who still believe inter-racial marriage is a “perversion” — should we add disclaimers to those wedding programs as well?
Mader’s letter is couched in polite language to make her request sound reasonable. It's not. Mader’s parental rights don’t give her the right to discriminate.
Trump marches toward oligarchy
I am deeply saddened and worried about the fact that the current administration is following a well-worn path from democracy toward a Russian-styled oligarchy. First by attempting to discredit the free press. He wants to control the press. Second, by trying to assert complete control over the judicial system. He wants to shut down any investigation of himself or his administration. Third, by violating human rights [i.e. separating children from their parents at the border.]. The list goes on.
Sadly, when I bring these issues up to my Christian Republican friends, they act as if they don't care. They seem more concerned about keeping their political party in control.
The definition of Christian is to be a follower of Christ, not a follower of Trump. It was explained to me that we have a systems of checks and balances to counter this situation. It is clear by now that the current Republican Party is not interested in countering any thing Trump wants to do. He has violated the Constitution by profiting from his and his family's government positions. He is attempting to destroy the relationships we have with our loyal allies and is currying favor with our sworn enemies. We as Christians have more to lose from this potential dictator than we know.
Tester had the courage to ask questions
Now that an apparently qualified person, Robert Wilkie, is nominated by the president to be the next secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, it’s time to examine the “fake news” promoted by the four men seeking to replace Democrat Jon Tester in the U.S. Senate.
The nomination of Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, a one-star general in other services, was an impulsive gesture. There was no vetting, no formal interview prior to the announcement that surprised veterans, active and retired military, and virtually all of Capitol Hill.
History repeating, Wilkie’s nomination was a complete surprise to him. We can conclude there were pre-nomination interviews and questionable vetting. Wilkie, 55, made federal service his career.
While Jackson’s medical expertise is exemplary, his experience is not in large-organization leadership. His official navy biography shows he has led medical staff at platoon level. Being secretary of Veterans Affairs is not a medical practice — it’s a top-level managerial position requiring prior experience.
It was remarkable that the 25 or so enlisted and officers who had served with Jackson took the highly unusual step of going public with their concerns. Tester, ranking member of the Veterans Committee, correctly recognized the concerns of those who served with Jackson, while at the same time he called for a full investigation into the accusations. After all, there was some history: Investigations in 2012 and 2013 found he exhibited "unprofessional behaviors" and recommended the White House consider removing him. Currently, the Pentagon inspector general is vetting Jackson’s military career — something that should have been done before his nomination.
The four opportunistic challengers blindly leapt at the chance to falsely accuse Tester of “scuttling” the admiral. Not so — the nomination had a hole in its hull before it cast off from the dock.
Retired Col. Peter D. Fox
Heal and release back home
I took a job out of state, drove all night and most of the day to meet the timeline to work. The job was on a night shift so I had not time to find food for break at the new job. An old man said, “Where is your food?” I explained and he said, “Here, my son, enjoy half of my sandwich with me.”
Hit my heart forever.
Note: To help in need is not a commitment to bear others' misfortune or commitment to raising them. Abiding by the law and providing for self and family is an obligation, no matter what country you are born in. Heal and release to their homes.