After a bit of a vacation break, we’re back to posting some of the most interesting reads in and about Montana. As always, feel free to send stories you think we should highlight to email@example.com.
NEVADA STANDOFF: Sessions “not taking sides” on Bundys–That echoes comments Zinke made to the conservative website Breitbart News in March.At that time, Zinke asserted that conflicts like Bunkerville and the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon would be less likely to occur during the Trump administration."I would say the war is over with the new president and the administration," Zinke told the website. "We want to be the good neighbors." www.eenews.net
Montana Voices: Daines\’ tunnel vision on abortion is off-base, hypocritical ~ Missoula Current–Daines’ tunnel vision on limiting abortion access is both off-base and hypocritical. For all of Daines’ focus on championing fetuses, he has repeatedly demonstrated that this concern stops at birth. If Daines were really committed to Montana children’s well-being, would he have voted Wednesday to repeal Obamacare with no replacement? Early Friday morning, would he have fallen into line behind McConnell by voting for the “skinny repeal”, which would have caused 16 million to 20 million Americans to lose health care? Missoula Current
Daines a shy flower in healthcare debate | Last Best News–Even after Tuesday’s votes, Daines’ comments were limited to bromides about returning healthcare to the states and about favoring an “open and transparent process.”Daines remains Montana’s pale lily of the fallow valley. He toils not, but boy does he spin. lastbestnews.com
Montana’s Goon in Washington–The questions has to be asked: what exactly is Ryan Zinke doing as Secretary of the Interior? He appears to be spending a lot of time vacationing in America’s most beautiful places, while his staff work to undermine public lands and public access. And when he’s not doing that, he’s acting as Trump’s goon. What exact role should the Secretary of the Interior be playing in the health care debate? That answer is “none.” People\
How Can a Sitting Judge Run for Political Office?–In Montana, even our elected judges are non-partisan. Yeah you can usually figure out which party they lean towards, but we keep the D and the R off the ballot with good reason.But Judge Russell Fagg of Billings seems to think he’s above that. It seems he thinks those robes entitle him to skirt the ethical concerns that are designed to befoul judges trying to use the bench as a soapbox for political office turned. mtcowgirl.com
Scanlon’s Secret–While everyone has focused and fretted about the Koch brothers setting up an array of front organizations across the country, including Montana, a new brand of entities has emerged, ones with deep pockets and a complimentary, sinister agenda.Because he’s already connected to Mercury, GG won’t have to worry about recouping the $$1.5 million he loaned his Congressional campaign. Scanlon is strategically placed to assist in making it go away. Perhaps someone should start asking questions about the source of Shane’s compensation and exactly how he is helping Mercury spend in largesse in Montana. www.logicosity.com
Flathead Memo: Don’t lay down your sword & shield — health care repeal is still alive–Keep resisting. We haven’t won. The U.S. Senate is still in session, President Trump is still demanding that Congress repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Republican Senators Graham (SC), Dean Heller (NV), and Bill Cassidy (LA), are colluding with Trump and Mitch McConnell to find something that will win 50 votes. The depth of their obsession and determination makes Captain Ahab’s mad adventure seem like a dilettante’s dalliance with a sweet rose. www.flatheadmemo.com
Healthcare is Not a Free Market–When you can't meet those 3 conditions, you can't have a free market. If you try to have one anyway,which is kind of what the ACA did, and what the AHCA tries to do more, you will have a condition called market failure. This is what we are beginning to experience, with insurers leaving entire states, and an increasing number of medical practices refusing to accept Medicaid. The AHCA will make all this worse. You want to see an insurance market death spiral? Because you are about to. In my opinion, the AHCA gets us to single payer / socialized medicine 5-10 years sooner than just continuing with the ACA. Common Sense Under the Big Sky
Steve Daines takes bold stand against methamphetamine – Combat!–I suppose that last 5% of awareness is always the hardest. Still, one cannot help but think of other issues Sen. Daines might address, including the massive, secret, and extremely controversial health care bill his caucus is currently trying to ram through the senate. That bill might be why Daines keeps holding telephone town halls instead of regular ones. He hasn’t been back to Montana in a minute, and he lobbied to cancel the August recess. With all the flags-are-good and drugs-are-bad rhetoric coming out of his office right now, he’s starting to look like he might be trying to duck the issue. Combat!
Rural Montana Hit Harder Under Senate Health Care Plan | Montana Budget and Policy Center–Recently, MBPC released a report showing that the House-passed Affordable Health Care Act will hit rural Montana harder than our urban centers. The Senate took the deeply flawed House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) and made relatively minor adjustments to the bill’s framework. It does little to help those living in Montana’s rural communities who are at a greater risk of increased costs and loss of coverage. www.montanabudget.org
Sticking with the Paris Accords–In the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, a bunch of governors, mayors and business executives have announced their intention to stick with the Paris commitments. There has also been active organization in support of the agreement among state legislators (you can read the details at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators website); in Montana, a group of us sent the letter below to Governor Bullock, urging him to join in the effort. barrettforsd47.blogspot.com
LGBTQ Rights Groups Call on Attorney General Fox to Reject Anti-Transgender Ballot Initiative–“Montanans want to live their lives with dignity and safety and they want that for their neighbors, too,” said Shawn Reagor of the Montana Human Rights Network. “Policies like this are unnecessary, unenforceable, and discriminate against transgender people. This policy will have serious unintended consequences that will harm our state.” ACLU of Montana