Thursday, June 28, 2012

You’re the crackpot

Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 4:00 AM

I rarely pay attention to the letters to the editor from certain left-wing extremists, as they have openly declared their intent to take down the Ravalli County Commission. However, a recent letter submitted by Bill LaCroix (see “Crackpots,” June 21) has crossed the line of decency and is such an outright defamation on my character that I simply cannot turn the other cheek.

First of all, I want to make it clear that I was raised with the value system that defines our value as human beings based upon our integrity and our code of honor. I rarely share the same beliefs as Mr. LaCroix; however, I have always respected him as a fellow human being and a father, and even his right to his progressive beliefs.

In his letter, LaCroix quotes me from a letter I recently wrote where I shared my pride in our commission and our role as leaders in the state compared to the role of being the model of “what not to do as a county” that the commission had when I took office. He then jumps to state that I supported another extremist, this one I am ashamed to say from my party affiliation, a man who showed racism to the extreme in his sick display of what he termed the “Obama Outhouse” at recent public events. Both of these men show an equal lack of integrity and honor when defaming people either with disgusting lies or statements foul and inappropriate.

LaCroix also states that the man with the outhouse is a “prominent local Republican,” which at one time was true; however, his ever-increasing irresponsible choices in how he expresses himself have moved him to the same fringe of the Republican party that I would suspect most good and sincere Democrats have relegated Lacroix and his “friends” to: the “we don't recognize you” outer fringe.

Extremists have the right to express themselves, and good and honorable people have the right to be disgusted and ignore them. I can state as a fact that Dave Hurtt’s outhouse was not part of the Republican Party events. He came on his own and was asked to remove his display at the convention when it was brought to the attention of the party leadership. It is a free country and his application to participate in the Corvallis parade was granted by the parade organization, not the Republican Party.

Our founding fathers gave us the protection of the right to free speech and it is our most cherished gift in that perfect document, our Constitution. So even though I abhor the tactics of both of these men in their quest to gain a voice in the political process, I would rather have the equal right to respond to this nonsense than not have either side have the right to openly choose to be stupid or honorable in the public discourse.

Suzy Foss

Ravalli County Commissioner


Explain yourself, Rehberg

Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Glacier National Park is a sanctuary for wildlife, backcountry enthusiasts and international visitors. Teddy Roosevelt and his contemporaries guaranteed us access to and preservation of such lands in the spirit of both protecting the natural landscape and inviting individuals to enjoy it in a leisurely fashion.

H.R. 1505, supported by our congressman Denny Rehberg, is threatening both tourism (upon which our community depends) and our natural environment (which grizzly bears, showy asters and the psyches of future generations rely on) by giving Homeland Security free reign for 100 miles into our fair nation. With this extended power, they will not merely be securing our borders but be able to overturn 36 laws largely environmentally based while disempowering the individual stewards who are most knowledgeable and best suited to care for these lands.

This is not about terrorism. We are fighting an imaginary “drug war” that since its inception has served to overpopulate our prisons, wreak havoc on our judicial system and cause us to lose sight of our nation’s priorities. I love national security as much as the next (bunker-building) guy, but at some point we have to realize when we’ve gone too far.

I urge you, Denny Rehberg, to explain to us how this represents the values of Montanans who, time and again, ask for fewer restrictive laws, more freedom to enjoy our public lands and less bureaucracy hindering one’s ability to honor and cherish the land we have left.

Roads will be built. Fences will go up. Motorized traffic will plague our wild lands. Glacier National Park—our backyard!—will become the spectacle that Arizona has become and you, Mr. Rehberg, my friend, will become a disgrace to Teddy Roosevelt and the other honorable men who have realized the value of our land and its preservation.

Sara Boilen


Pass the Safe Chemicals Act

Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Wouldn’t you want to know if the products you came into contact with on a regular basis had toxic chemicals in them? Well, you can’t. Current chemical laws have no requirement for chemicals to be tested for safety before they are put into products we buy.

The good news is that this could change. The Safe Chemicals Act would do just that. It would require that chemical companies prove that what they are using in their products is safe—before those products hit the shelves. The Safe Chemicals Act isn’t about targeting a specific chemical, but about making sure that all chemicals used are safe. It would also go an additional step further and require proper labeling, so that we can see what is in the products we are putting ourselves, and those around us, into contact with every day.

Please join me in urging the U.S. congress to pass this bill. It’s a no-brainer.

Stephen Gade


Thursday, June 21, 2012


Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

In a recent email to fellow Ravalli County commissioners, Commissioner Suzy Foss stated the following: “Our county is currently considered the leader in producing solid policies other counties can emulate, in the past we have been the laughing stock of the state. Personally I prefer to be a leader in county government versus a follower.”

So what are these leaders leading us toward? A crude and overt threat against a president’s life in the form of a bullet-pocked outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Reading Library,” adorned with infantile sexual slurs against the first lady, built by a prominent local Republican and displayed as a Republican float at Corvallis’s Memorial Day Parade? A call to violence with a Shoot, Shovel and Shut-up raffle sponsored by your Ravalli County Republican Central Committee, which is headed by Terry Nelson, a well-paid county employee hired by our commissioners whose main job seems to be promoting anti-government county supremacy schemes such as the “Large Predator Policy” and “Natural Resource Management Policies”?

Please specify, Ms. Foss: Who is leading whom, and who is and who is not laughing at Ravalli County?

All of you Tea Partiers who claim to be so concerned for the children and for “future generations,” please enlighten us: Are bullet-pocked threats against chief executives and other overt calls to violence from your own employees and Republican operatives actually “solid policy” or did you really mean to say “solid waste”?

Apparently you haven’t noticed yet that the tea you’re swimming in is leaking pretty rapidly out of a cracked pot.

Bill LaCroix


Outhouse outrage

Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

My father was a die-hard Republican who didn’t much like FDR. I was seven years old when President Roosevelt died, and the small New Mexico town where we lived held a community-wide celebration of his life. My father took me out of school to attend, as he believed it appropriate to honor the office of the president. I remember how thrilled I was to go with him, and I especially remember that we all sang Roosevelt’s favorite song, “Home on the Range.”

What a contrast to the Republican party of today. How horrified my father would be at the complete lack of respect for the office of president displayed at the recent state Republican convention—an outhouse covered with graffiti. I am quite certain my father couldn’t support such antics, and I know I certainly can’t. Our country is in real trouble when bathroom humor is considered acceptable by supposedly responsible people who want to lead. I wonder where they will lead us.

Jean Bowman


I-166 misguided

Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

I have read small business owners support Initiative 166, which supposedly is going to keep large national corporations from, in the words of our governor, stealing our government.

I-166 supporters’ intent may be to keep out-of-state corporate money out of Montana politics, but the actual effect of the initiative’s passage will have far-reaching and devastating consequences for Montana’s farmers, ranchers and other small business owners.

We may well succeed in denying free speech to groups of Montanans, but I-166 will have little effect on billionaires like George Soros who have a battery of lawyers on call to protect their rights.

I-166 would establish “a state policy that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings, and charges Montana elected and appointed officials, state and federal, to implement that policy.” If it passes, this will become Montana law and be enforced against Montanans, but it will not change the U.S. Constitution or affect major national or international corporations in any way.

Ninety-nine out of 100 Montana businesses, including small farms and ranches, are incorporated. We incorporate to share the proceeds of our enterprise with our family or business partners and to protect them from punitive taxes and regulations.

As a group of folks forced to incorporate for our protection, why should we be denied the same rights we have as individuals?

If we lose those rights, we lose due process, the legal means to protect our property and our family’s future. If you are a Montana business owner and support I-166, you are bringing the rope to your own hanging.

Jake Cummins

Montana Farm Bureau Federation


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Supreme Court’s folly

Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

I appreciated Ray Ring’s depiction of those fictional, giant corporation-people with wealth that exceeds that of many nation states and, often, with the influence to match (see Range, May 24). It was good for a chuckle despite its dark side. The humanity he attributed to ExxonMobil (“Exx’Em”), Victoria’s Secret (likes to be called Vikki) and Nike instantly reforms these faceless and beguiling entities with no discernible mission except to further their own interests with little regard to their effects on others. They could almost have personalities.

But what about the even darker side of this rush to personhood? Such as Royal Dutch Shell? Or BP? How about vignettes of their actual, living lives as people, realizing it would be entirely possible to have these mammoth, foreign-based corporations easily drown out reason in our electoral process and get their way in Congress and, perhaps, the White House?

Or how about the Sinopec Group and China National Petroleum? Since China is the largest foreign holder of our IOUs, why shouldn’t their global corporate players be granted U.S. personhood and all the rights and privileges thereof? Maybe an opportunity to bid for control of our electoral system? What the hell, a permanent seat on the Supreme Court? An office in the West Wing? Why not naming rights? Forget about that long, clumsy “The United States of America.” No more rabid cries of “USA! USA! USA!” at the Nike/GE Olympic Games. Try on “Sinoamerica” for size. Has a certain lyrical ring, doesn’t it?

Ray Ring gets it right: The uprising in the West against the Supreme Court’s lunacy is beginning to resemble the Arab Spring. People are, indeed, rising up and declaring that corporations are not people and that their money—in fact, any money—is not speech. And that at least five members of our once respected Supreme Court are nuts.

The only way to shove this Supreme Court aside and nullify their bizarre Citizens United ruling is to organize and mobilize for the protracted battle to amend the U. S. Constitution, reaffirming the original intent of the authors of our founding document. Sorry, Victoria, your secret is safe with us, but you’re not a person. And no, Exx’Em, your money is not speech; not one penny of it.

Missoula is making its pitch in this effort. We’ve already passed, resoundingly, a referendum rejecting the Supreme Court’s folly and calling for such a constitutional amendment. Stand with Montanans is aggressively circulating a petition calling for the state of Montana to adopt, as its policy, the twin concepts that money is not speech and corporations, though useful, are not people. And we have formed Missoula Moves to Amend, a local action and education group to inform and involve citizens in this effort.

Want to help? Sign the Stand with Montanans petition. Contact at Missoula Moves to Amend and tell him you want to help. Spread the word. Talk it up. We’re right. The court is wrong.

Bruce Midgett


Beautiful and true

Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Jamie Rogers’s piece is brilliant (“The one that got away,” June 7). Ah, but you already know that!

Dave Van Nice


Micro-unions, bad

Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Abraham Lincoln imparted upon us this wisdom. In much the same way, a workplace divided into separate union groups does not create a prosperous business environment.

However, a troubling new rule, called the “micro-union rule” and put in place by Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, could lead to just such a situation. It allows for the creation of multiple collective-bargaining units in a single workplace. That’s a significant departure from traditional union formation and an alarming development for employers.

In fact, the NLRB recently approved the formation of a new micro-union in New York in a department store. Workers in the second-floor designer shoe department are now in one union and workers in the fifth-floor contemporary shoe department are in a separate union.

Imagine a similar situation soon occurring in Montana. The results could be devastating for business as employers suddenly are forced to negotiate with multiple, competing collective-bargaining units with varying agendas. Division would ensue and miles more red tape would further choke job creation.

This nightmare situation can occur because a new NLRB regulation created in 2011 stomped on decades of bipartisan policy and replaced well-thought-out rules with entirely new and short-sighted regulations that allow for multiple micro-unions within a single company—something that only benefits big labor bosses.

Although others in Montana’s congressional delegation have weighed in, Sen. Jon Tester has remained curiously quiet about an issue that clearly is not in Montanans’ best interests. I am sure the millions in big labor campaign contributions have everything to do with his silence.

Micro-unions are bad for both Montana workers and employers alike.

Jill Taber


The human quota

Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Now that the population of Montana has exceeded the one million mark, how many can I, as a native Montanan with a sense of equal “justice,” trap, haze, herd, harass, poison, shoot or execute to bring the number back down to our time-honored “under a million” population? Where do I find the application for that license for legal kill? And who gets to select the human targets to get picked off?

In peace,

Marie A. Root


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