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Our Most Popular Posts of 2016

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Despite a bit of a hiatus following the November debacle that will go down as the worst presidential election in American history, 2016 proved to be, by far, the year with the most readers in the 11-year history of our little blog. Despite taking most of November and December off, we published 308 pieces this year and saw our page views increase from 255,000 last year to what is likely to be 325, 000 this year.

We’re small fish, certainly, but appreciative of readers who have kept coming back to our site over the years.

Our top five posts this year were about the two biggest races in Montana, and all offer some degree of useful information as Montana’s Congressman Ryan Zinke faces Senate confirmation as the Secretary of the Interior and as Greg Gianforte is no doubt mulling over another attempt to buy an election.

Thanks for reading, and I suspect you’ll see some new content soon. After all, the circus is coming to town!

5. Why Doesn’t Greg Gianforte’s Petra Academy Welcome Students with Disabilities?

January 27:It’s hard to understand how a school that prides itself as being built on Christian values explicitly informs potential applicants that they may be denied admittance for having a disability, but it’s unconscionable to argue that the state and its taxpayers should actually pay for schools that have discriminatory policies written into their admissions policies.

4. The Great White Gianforte Says Indians Just Need More Respect for Free Markets

August 18: Now, Greg Gianforte didn’t have the courage to tell any actual Native people his real feelings about them and reservation life. While he talks about property rights, he refuses to take a stand on the CSKT Treaty, which restores property rights and boosts economic viability for western tribes. When Gianforte talks to Montana Indian leaders directly, he assures them that, as governor, he will boost prosperity on reservations, but the measure of a bigot is what he says when his target isn’t in the room.

3. It’s Not the Crime. It’s the Cover-Up: The Curious Case of the Snowfrog Inn

October 11: You’ll remember that exactly a week ago I published a post suggesting that Congressman Zinke no longer lives in Whitefish, and that he has moved with his family to Santa Barbara. There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that suggests my claim is true, from campaign fundraisers to the apparent absence of a home for the Zinkes in Whitefish, who own no property in their own names here in Montana.

2. The Discrimination at Greg Gianforte’s Petra Academy Is Worse Than We Thought

September 14: While groups Mr. Gianforte has funded are running around the state denigrating the work of public school teachers and laying the groundwork for privatization of Montana’s excellent schools, it certainly seems worth asking why the school he had led from its beginning has embraced a discriminatory admissions and education policy. It’s even more critical for the press to ask Mr. Gianforte to explain if he believes that all schools should be required to follow the law, and just what kind of legislation he’d sign as governor.

1. Does Congressman Zinke Even Live in Montana or is He California Dreamin’?

October 4: Independent media, Republican fundraisers, and the words of his own wife, combined with the absence of a place to live here in Montana at least raise serious questions about just where Congressman Zinke lives and, more importantly, just who he represents.

Congressman Zinke, who collected 71% of his campaign donations from outside of Montana during the 2014 election, and who has, so far collected 89% of them from outside the state during the 2016 campaign, is certainly beholden to out-of-state interests. Now the real question is whether or not he is just another of those out-of-state special interests himself.

Finally, in a category all by itself is a post from 2014 that has been the most-read piece at the site each of the past three years:

His Former Commander Exposes Ryan Zinke’s Navy SEAL Career and Defective “Moral Make-up”

May 30, 2014: No one here has questioned the value of Senator Zinke’s service to his nation in the military, but his tendency to inflate his own role and promote himself at the expense of the truth and even basic decency, has been the defining element of his political career.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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