Although 99 percent of Montanans will experience no increases in their Medicare tax, Congressman Denny Rehberg has lashed out at the increased tax that would only affect those earning more than $200,000 annually ($250,000 for married couples) who currently pay no tax on unearned income. Rehberg, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, erroneously predicted that middle class families were at risk if they sell their homes or rent out property. Most Montanans will see no tax increase in the new health insurance reform law. Unwilling to support a measure that will enable the uninsured and underinsured to obtain insurance protection, Rehberg and his wealthy friends would see a modest increase in the Medicare tax they would pay.
Obviously, multi-millionaire Rehberg is positioning himself for a run at Jon Tester’s Senate seat or possibly that of the governor—and he is doing favors now for those who will lend him their support in 2012. In the meantime, Rehberg has voted against reform of the health care system, opposed measures to protect the environment, rejected the conservation-minded energy bill, voted against Supreme Court nominee Sonja Sotomayor and vigorously opposed the economic stimulus package.
Who says Rehberg has acted on behalf of Montana and its people? After 10 years in Congress, Rehberg has scammed Montanans long enough. It’s time to send Denny back to the ranch where he can do some useful work.
When I read the Independent article on the passing of the non-discrimination ordinance (see “Diversity and respect,” April 15, 2010) I was saddened to see no mention of the substantial support for the ordinance by people of faith. The article mentioned pastor Russ Smith who thanked the council for uniting Christians on one issue. The article did not, however, mention that this statement could not be more wrong. Many, many people of faith, including several pastors from different denominations, spoke out for equality.
When the Independent prints a statement that Christian opinion is unanimously against equality, and takes no steps to counter this perception, they perpetuate a lie that causes immense damage to both faithful Christians who believe in a God of love, and LGBT people who have been damaged by hateful, unchristian attitudes spread in the name of the church. I know many people who have been harmed by the vile falsehood that God hates them for who they are. It would have been nice if the Independent had not assisted in perpetuating that lie.
As I look at how churches are treating faith, I see hope. More and more denominations are ordaining LGBT clergy. More and more pastors are preaching messages of love, not fear, from their pulpits. More and more churches are realizing that discrimination is incompatible with Christian values. I only wish the Independent’s coverage had reflected that fact.
Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., were prepared last week to introduce comprehensive clean energy legislation that would mark a vital step forward in putting America back in control of its energy future (see “Happy Earth Day?” April 22, 2010). Yet due to political uncertainty over which legislative item should be of highest priority, it appears Senate leaders and one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. Graham, might miss a golden opportunity to move forward with this legislation this year that will cut carbon pollution, create jobs and strengthen our national security.
My fellow citizens of Montana and America, it is of supreme importance that we urge the Senate, especially Sens. Baucus and Tester, to get their priorities straight. We have the necessary skills, resources and technology to make America the global leader in a new clean energy economy. We just need the bipartisan leadership that will usher in a brighter future for all Americans. Baucus and Tester should urge their colleagues to seize this opportunity to pass a meaningful climate and energy policy this year.
This is what we voted them into office for, isn’t it? Their priorities should be to hear the people, to speak as the people, to move and work as the people—not to sit in meetings and luncheons, just to turn around and say to us that they are moving forward with our concerns, later to find out through the media that they have decided to put the Clean Energy Bill on the back shelf!
We need to act fast and make our voices heard again before we are swept under the carpet, once again fooled by the flattery of politicians.
Today Mother’s Day is all about honoring our mothers with flowers and gifts. But the idea of Mother’s Day in the United States arose out of a desire for peace.
In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, in reaction to the horrors of death and carnage of the Civil War, wrote the following proclamation calling on mothers of the nation to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their sons killing the sons of other mothers. She called for an international Mother’s Day celebrating peace and motherhood.
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
“We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.
Julia Ward Howe had penned “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1902. The U.S. Congress approved Mother’s Day in 1914.
Happy Mother’s Day, Montana!