Monday, April 30, 2012

Tester Packs his Meat

Since I spend a lot of time beating up Senator Jon “No Ear Marks Ever Tester” I thought I might present the “other side” of the story in this post. I have been accused of showing bias on occasion and would like to let you hear from the Senator in his own words. The following campaign ad is paid for by the Tester campaign and is currently airing. Tell me what you think of his ad . '

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rep. Kris Hansen Named to WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee

HD 33 Representative Kris Hansen

Press release from WICHE April 24, 2012

WICHE’s LAC is committed to higher education legislative issues in the West

Boulder, Colorado — Representative Kris Hansen has recently been named to the Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC, of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Created in 1995, the LAC works to strengthen state policymaking in higher education in the West by engaging legislators in the discussion of higher education issues and seeking their input on strategies for interstate collaboration.

“I’m very much looking forward to serving on the LAC,” says Representative Hansen, whose term on the committee, which meets annually, will last three years. “It will be a great opportunity to contribute to a productive conversation about higher education in the West and to learn from my legislative colleagues in other states.”

Representative Hansen, along with Montana’s other LAC members – Senator Kim Gillan and Senator Bob Lake – was appointed by Montana’s delegation to the WICHE Commission: Clayton Christian, Montana’s commissioner of higher education; State Senator Kim Gillan; and Sheila Stearns, Montana’s commissioner of higher education emerita.

“Higher education in the West is at a critical juncture,” says WICHE President David Longanecker. “We need to respond to increasing demands, and now that budgets are beginning to rebound, we need to think deliberately about how we move forward in this region. Montana’s leadership in Lumina-funded work aimed at boosting higher education productivity places it in a unique position to explore new ways to improve higher education in the West. Representative Hansen and the state’s other LAC members will be invaluable in helping WICHE and its members move forward.”

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education ( and its 15 mem¬ber states work collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all citizens of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy among states and institutions, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. WICHE’s 15 member states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colo¬rado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Great Falls Tribune now Giving Blogging Advice

Tribune Speaks - We Listen
Here is the "other" side

I had to laugh this morning when I read an anonymous comment written by an editorial writer from the Great Falls Tribune, (Gee Guy actually posted the whole Tribune rant in the comment section here) The Tribune was taking me to task for not posting all the “facts” about the Free Prime Rib Dinner story we posted on Wednesday.

My Bad – I guess when I posted the link to the Flint Report and also to the audio tape of the interview with Monica Lindeen’s Communication Director Lucas Hamilton I just naturally assumed all bases were covered. Apparently newspaper reporters are not quite as smart as those that read blogs for information and you have to spoon feed them slowly by repeating information over and over.

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Lucas Hamilton is claiming that these dinners cost the taxpayers nothing. The money is taken out of a “victim’s fund” that was set up to try and educate folks about how to be wary of con artists. The income for this fund comes from fines and penalties against the criminals perpetrating these crimes. It would seem that compelling the criminals to make restitution to their victims in not as important as generating income for this “education” fund in the minds of Mr. Lucas and the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Monica Lindeen. I wonder if some of the folks that are taken by these con-artists would actually prefer to have restitution or just leave the money in this fund to warn others about the potential for wrong-doing by other unscrupulous sorts? While trying to downplay the waste of money for these prime rib dinners Hamilton failed to mention that Commission staff plan, travel and attend every one of these events which is not included in the cost of the dinner. Of course they are on the state payroll anyway so they may as well be doing something is the rationale behind this thinking. My thought is that if they have plenty of staff to do all of these kinds of things maybe, just maybe, we have too many people on the state payroll.

The whole jest of the irritation portrayed by the Tribune was against bloggers in general. They said “Often it is too much trouble for bloggers to actually check out the facts behind what they are writing about.” If the Tribune anonymous editorial author was truthful he would have also mentioned that newspaper revenue is way down and nearly every newspaper in the country is cutting staff in an attempt to survive. Bloggers are not professional news people nor do we claim to be. We can however, point out the obvious in the hopes that voters and our so-called professional news people will do some of that investigative reporting they always yammer on about and uncover the complete story. Isn’t that why we pay money for a newspaper? To get the whole story?  Don't they find it odd that Commissioner Moncia Lindeen, who is running for state-wide office, is funding free prime rib dinners all over the state albeit not on her own personal or campaign dime?

If it wasn’t for bloggers “secretive empires” like Electric City Power would still be scamming Great Falls citizens out of millions of dollars of their hard earned taxes. Blogs like the Electric City Weblog not only broke the story of fraud and corruption but they continued pressing until the truth came to light. I read nothing in the Tribune about the city’s power company failures that I hadn’t first seen being questioned on The Electric City Weblog. Bloggers like us are only enjoying a degree of success because of the very failures of the newspapers like the Tribune so kindly pointed out this morning.

Did any Tribune readers know anything about free prime rib dinners in Havre until after bloggers such as The Corrector pointed it out in the article The Governor is Right:   We have Plenty of Excess Money?  Many sources have published stories about this in the last couple of days after seeing it on The Corrector. The Northern Ag Network reported this prime rib nonsense in the Flint Report. I have saw references to the story in several blogs and Face Book postings and The Corrector even obtained a copy of a news letter from the local GOP group here in Havre that had this to say;
I say let's all go to and RSVP to go have a free prime rib dinner on Monica--er  Pat Davison or Bernie Madoff or whomever is actually "paying" for this. Let's pack the Elks club next Thursday evening May 3rd at 6:00 PM!!
Instead of chastising bloggers for breaking stories for them perhaps some of these “professional” investigative reporters should use us as another free source in their oft failed attempts to report on what is happening around the state. I am beginning to think that most newsmen really don’t have it in them to write any stories at all that actually criticize the waste, fraud and corruption that bloggers easily and routinely uncover in our local government entities.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wasteful Spending

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) released what they call a “Wasteful Spending” ad campaign this week to high-light not only the Obama Administrations waste of tax-payer dollars thru the stimulus programs but it also points out billions of dollars that have been given to foreign companies to subsidize their green energy projects at the expense of unemployed American workers

As we approach this year’s elections let’s not forget that our own Senators Max Baucus and Jon “No Ear Marks  Ever” Tester voted whole-heartedly in favor of all the Presidents bogus stimulus plans

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Governor is Right: We have Plenty of Excess Money

I am beginning to think that Governor Schweitzer is right when he claims Montana has a huge surplus in our budget. Every day I read some report or another where Montanan taxpayer’s money is being lavishly spent on this or that. For instance back in September Montana Securities and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen announced she was filming a documentary about investment fraud in Montana. The documentary is called Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State and tells the story of people who have been swindled by scam artists. In her press release back in September Lindeen said;

"More than two hundred years ago, prospectors flocked to what we now call the Treasure State in search of fortunes," said Lindeen. "Though Montana's prospector days are long behind us, we have a new brand of gold diggers who prey on our trust in search of fortunes. Modern day gold diggers are scammers and con-artists who can steal a life savings in the blink of an eye."
"Education is the silver bullet when it comes to fighting fraud," said Lindeen. "The more Montanans know about their rights and where they can turn for help, the better they can protect themselves from modern day gold diggers."

Advertisment from Tuesday's HDN
 I noticed in yesterday’s local “News” paper that Lindeen is inviting everyone in town to a “Free” Prime Rib dinner at the Elks Club. Free food is apparently the lure used in an attempt to get a crowd to view the 50 minute documentary. Obviously the State budget is large enough to forget the old peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they can afford to spread around prime rib dinners like there will be no tomorrow. On second thought why are they buying anyone dinner even if it was only a sandwich which is not the case? It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Monica Lindeen is up for re-election this year and she just innocently has this special place in her heart for folks from Havre.

However further investigation reveals that these free dinners are being held all over Montana. In addition to the dinner in Havre Lindeen’s State of Montana webpage lists 16 additional free feeds to be held over the next couple of months.

Everyone better call our local republican representatives and let them know they are dead wrong when they say money is tight and we need to hold the line on spending. Apparently they have money to burn so let’s all think of some great project for Havre so we can get in on spending some of these surpluses before they are all used up buying everybody campaign dinners around the State. Maybe we need one of those duck ponds in Pepin Park like they have in Great Falls? Or what about a doggie day care? Surely something will come to mind.

**Update April 25 – Aaron Flint over at Northern Ag Network has posted a related story complete with an interview with Monica Lindeen’s Communication Director Lucas Hamilton.  Hear the recording of the interview here

Monday, April 23, 2012

Steve Bullock needs some competent campaign staff

Back on Thursday The Corrector posted a story hi-lighting an advertisement paid for by the Montana Republican Party that took Attorney General Steve Bullock to task for not joining other states in a lawsuit to fight ObamaCare. Bullock, now the apparent Democrat candidate for Montana governor, refused repeated requests to join any of the suits because he didn’t want Montana to be burdened with the cost of the suit. He conveniently left out the fact that several of the states joining the suit just paid an approximate $400 filing fee to simply add their names to existing suits. Interestingly an article posted on the Flint Report today pointed out that attorney Tim Fox offered to draft and file a friend of the court brief on behalf of Montana citizens for free. Fox, who is now seeking election to the Attorney General post, said at the time that “This is one of the most important cases to come before the Supreme Court in our lifetimes, and it is a dereliction of duty for Steve Bullock to be asleep at the wheel.” Even Bullocks fellow democrat Governor Brian Schweitzer projected it will cost Montana $300 million dollars to comply with ObamaCare.

The truth of the matter is that Bullock refused to join in any suits against ObamaCare because he didn’t want to fall out of favor with any of his Democrat cronies like Senator Tester who actually cast the vote that allowed ObamaCare to pass in the first place. Bullock didn’t want any fellow Democrats irritated with him as he was eyeing a run for the Montana governor’s office. What is truly surprising was the release of the following campaign ad paid for by the Democrat JET PAC which tries to make the claim that Bullock was only being financially conservative by refusing to join the suit. He makes out like we are getting our day in the Supreme Court for free because others have stepped up to the plate and are doing it for us. Funny thing is that Bullock was all for ObamaCare when he thought it was politically correct but now that he has seen the handwriting on the wall so to speak he is back-peddling and saying it was all about the money. Does he really think Montana voters are that simple minded?

In my humble opinion the following Democrat ad only reinforces in the voters mind that Bullock was indeed derelict in his duty.  Maybe Bullock should consider hiring a competent campaign manager that would think ads like this thru before they are actually aired?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

AG Steve Bullock Fails to Protect the Safety of Montana Children

The following is a letter to the editor submission: By Tim Kosnoff, child sex-abuse attorney
Contact: 425-830-8201; email:; web site:

I read with interest in Wednesday’s news that Montana’s Attorney General Steve Bullock’s office investigated “Three Cups of Tea” author Greg Mortenson and brokered a $1million deal to settle claims that Mortenson fabricated information in his book and mismanaged his charity, Central Asia Institute. (Associated Press story, April 18, 2012.)

Sure, it’s important to watch out for Montana citizens who may have paid money to this group. But frankly, Bullock should investigate a matter that more urgently affects the health and safety of Montana citizens than money going for charitable work in Afghanistan.

I and my co-counsel represent nearly 200 survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse in Montana. We represent 179 men and women suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena and 16 men and women suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls. These are adult survivors, who as children were raped, sodomized and physically abused by Catholic clergy or their employees over several decades. We continue to investigate claims, as more survivors come forward.

In Helena, Father Carol Bullman from Risen Christ Parish in Kalispell, is facing criminal charges after a police search turned up sexually explicit images on his computer of boys ages 12-18.

In the Great Falls case, one of our clients, a former altar boy, was raped by Father Ted Szudera for two years. The Great Falls diocese conducted its own self-styled investigation, dismissed the allegations as unfounded and allowed Szudera to continue serving as a priest around children. Following the allegations, Szudera served on a bishop’s committee advising the diocese on how to handle clergy sex-abuse claims.

The Great Falls diocese also used an off-duty police officer from the Great Falls Police Department working as private investigator to “investigate” cases for the diocese. Instead of launching a criminal investigation into child rape allegations at Catholic churches, this police officer has been working for the employer of the alleged rapists. The diocese has acknowledged as many as 10 cases where off-duty police have “investigated” for them. It’s a practice we believe is highly improper and represents a failure to protect the public.

Bullock has publicly bristled at the suggestion that his office should be involved and has complained bitterly that he’s being unfairly targeted. This, during a highly charged political season. What could be more important than the safety of Montana children when his office has the power to investigate?

The fact is, Catholic bishops and other church officials cannot be trusted to police themselves. We know this because in the past decade there have been thousands of settlements and verdicts around the country related to clergy sex abuse, as well as an explosion of revelations in Ireland, across Europe and the globe.

We have vast evidence that supports patterns and practices of rampant child sexual abuse over many decades right here in Bullock’s back yard.

Catholic church officials have acted as their own “gate-keepers.” “Reforms” in this context are illusory because, in the end, all the power resides with the bishop. The bishop decides whether to disclose a complaint. And, as you’ve seen in Great Falls and Helena, these dioceses have decided for themselves that these allegations of criminal conduct aren’t credible.

We should forget about our outrage over the church's gross breach of trust, and instead think logically about the system and the rules under which it operates. Catholic bishops are only acting consistent with the rules of the system and organizational culture which they inhabit – and those rules place the interests of the church and its priests over the rules of secular society regarding the protection of children. It is not a problem of "bad bishops." It is not the bishops that have failed; it is the failure of secular officials to enforce its rules equally. And that means local prosecutors and Montana’s state attorney general need to take action and rid themselves of the easy “peace” they have with the dioceses.

What would it take for Bullock’s office to take action?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Did Buffett Help Obama Kill Keystone?

I happened across an interesting story by Aaron Flint over at Northern Ag Network talking about the connection between Warren Buffett and the denial of the Keystone Pipeline Project by our Dear Leader. The suggestion was made that perhaps President Obama denied the Keystone permit simply to help out his good buddy and owner of the Burlington Northern so again the railroad would have another captive market customer forced to utilize rail service to ship oil no matter what the expense.

Oddly this is the very same question the Corrector asked in our article “Keystone Blockage Makes Millions for Warren Buffett" clear back on January 24, 2012. The Blaze also carried a similar story Tuesday and posted the following video of the Glenn Beck show where the question was explored in depth.

Apparently we are not the only ones that saw something sinister in the motivation used to block the Keystone project.

Steve Bullock Needs to Think of a Better Excuse

The following political advertisement attacking Steve Bullock, Democrat candidate for Governor, is being aired and paid for by the Montana Republican Party.  You might recall that Attorney General Bullock refused to join a lawsuit seeking to over-turn ObamaCare even though the majority of Montanans are against it and want to see it repealed.  The Bullock campaign has given the excuse that no Democrat Attorney General joined the suit, which is not true as Missouri Democrat Attorney General  Chris Coster joined the suit.  Bullock has also stated that he refused to join 14 other states in the suit because he was being a good conservative and didn’t want to spend Montana tax money on the suit.  Interestingly several of the states involved only were required to pay the $400 filing fee and nothing more was required.  I don’t know for certain but my guess would be that the Montanan Republican Party would have donated this amount to Bullock for the suit. 

Other State Attorney Generals filed legal challenges to ObamaCare within minutes of the bill being signed by the President. The Christian Science Monitor reported back in March of 2010 that 12 attorneys general joined Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum in the suit filed in Federal court. Virginia also filed a similar suit in federal court in Richmond. A third suit was filed in Michigan

We can only wait and see what the Supreme Court decides but the fact of the matter is Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock only cared about the agenda of his national Democrat comrades over what is the wishes of the Montanan citizens he was elected to protect.

Will he do anything different as governor?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Global Warming - The End is Near

A bit of a problem befell the Al Gore global warming worshippers this week when the UK Daily Mail reported that French scientists have discovered that glaciers in a mountain range west of the Himalayas have been growing larger. Apparently global cooling and a bit of an “ice age” have been occurring over the past decade or so. Needless to say I couldn’t find any good excuses for this phenomenon from the global warming crowd even after an extensive search. The Daily Caller printed the following explanation.

Glaciers are growing in the Karakoram range

Stephan Harrison, associate professor in quaternary science at the UK's University of Exeter, said the new research had showed there is 'considerable variability' in the global climate and in how glaciers respond to it. ……………. ‘Overall, the impact of melting glaciers such as these on sea level rise is known to be negligible, but it does mean that there is much more to be learnt about exactly how the world's glaciers will respond to continued global warming.'
Just to make sure we are not headed for a new ice age I think I will write my congressmen and tell them to end the carbon credit program before we all find ourselves frozen like giant popsicles. Considering the fact that we have fought the expansion of fossil fuel production and coal mining because of the release of carbon which supposedly was causing global warming we may be in danger of not having enough fuel for a heat source to save ourselves from extinction. I also seem to remember that Senator Tester spent a fair amount of time last campaign season wringing his hands over the global warming “problem” while he was berating Conrad Burns for not doing enough to save us from the inconsiderate folks spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

It would appear that this new revelation will create quite a pickle for all those warming alarmists. I wonder if Al Gore will return the millions he made by writing the “Inconvenient Truth” that helped whip everyone up into a frenzy?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Redistributing the Wealth

Our Supreme Dear Leader, President Obama, has really been ramping up the old class warfare rhetoric to the point that one would think he is first cousins with Robin Hood.  One of our blog
readers sent us the following synopsis on how this could possibly work. Doesn’t seem like it would do that much for us once you get the details down on paper. Tell me what you think.
Liberals want to redistribute the wealth. Well, let's break this down a little. If you go by the Forbes 500 list of the richest Americans and tally up their assets you get roughly $500 billion dollars. There are more than 300 million people in this country. So if you just stripped them of their wealth entirely and divided it equally among every American that would be a one-time distribution of $1,667. Of course, you'd need that $1,667 for food because there would no longer be any jobs

Monday, April 16, 2012

MEA-MFT speaks against Capitalism

I don’t know how many of you read the MEA-MFT Today newsletter but it has gotten to be nothing more than a liberal propaganda piece full of exaggerations, political innuendos and out-right bull. So much for just sticking to advocating for the “little guy” as they like to label their union members.

For instance, the March issue starts off with a bizarre article about how “ultra-rich, ultra-right wing players” like the Koch brothers are “orchestrating attacks” on public schools. Later in the newsletter when talking of the Koch brothers MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver was quoted as saying “Everything that matters to our members is at stake: their jobs, their rights, their families and communities, the very existence of public education and services in this state.” Melanie Carlson, president of the Missoula Education Association, is then quoted as saying that the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has even infiltrated our local Montana legislature and MEA-MFT members should begin giving $5 a month to the MEA-MFT political action committee to “fight back.” Are you kidding me?

Ironically the newsletter also reported that the billionaire Koch brothers have been donating huge amounts of “six-, seven-, and eight figures” cash gifts to public higher learning institutions. The MEA-MFT position is that academics should be leery considering Koch’s anti-government activism. So are they saying they should turn down millions of dollars of donations because the donor is a capitalist? Here I thought the favored academic chant was "We Need Mo' Money"

The Koch brothers have actually had the audacity of dictating that they want their donations to go towards the “expansion of centers to study capitalism, free enterprise, and economic freedom.” Considering that the new wave of university study is geared towards topics such as Wall Street Occupiers and Marxism this capitalistic approach is something that should be viewed with skepticism according to the people that hold your union dues in their bulging political action committee bank account.

MEA-MFT Political Director Terry Minow reported that the MEA-MFT Board of Directors have declared the 2012 elections a state-wide “crisis.” A “Crisis Team” has spent “hundreds of hours interviewing candidates, reviewing voting records, and scrutinizing candidates’ position papers.” This propaganda info-mercial then went on to state as fact that they have given every politician a fair shake and “recommendations are based solely on issues. Personality and political party play no role.”

Interestingly when the actual “recommendations” are made as to who the members should support the list began with Democrats and ended with Democrats without a mention of anyone from any other political party. I am sure the process was fair and this over-sight was just a coincidence. Apparently, according to this tripe, all political parties other than Democrats want to just close up the schools and go back to the system of the 1800’s when book learning was viewed as keeping kids from their labors on the farm.

I often wonder why it is legal to force union members to render financial dues like a hostage at gun point to an organization that doesn’t represent the political views of all members. I assure you that I know teachers that think some people on your recommended vote list like Senator Jon Tester have done irreparable harm to our country with their out of touch agendas. Why should hostage union members that don't agree with these selections have to fund via extortian a political action committees like this farce operated by the MEA-MFT  under the direction of Eric Feaver?

On the bright side however, I now have the MEA-MFT union’s “recommended” voting list to take to the polls so I know with certainty which candidates to vote against.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oil Exploration: Why Not in Montana?
Everyone has heard the Drill Baby Drill chant from those that think our country should be doing more drilling to offset our dependence on foreign oil. In Williston, N.D city leaders recently kicked-off a “Build Baby Build” marketing program to encourage builders and developers to invest in their community which is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

The New York Times reported earlier that plenty of jobs are available but there is no place to live. Man camps have been set up for some workers, people are living in campers, some locals are renting out rooms in their basements for $400 to $500 a month and mobile home lots are renting for up to $1,000 a month. Currently there are 109 oil rigs drilling in North Dakota and that number is expected to hit 150 this summer.

The population of Williston has ballooned to nearly 25,000 people up from around 12,000 in 2008. The Williston City webpage has a chart that shows 27 total living units permitted and built in 2003 up to a total of 1,373 in 2011. The value of the permitted construction projects in Williston in 2003 was around $15,790,000 and the value of construction projects in 2011 was $357,708,114.  Call the Hill County Treasurer and find out how much the yearly tax on that much real estate would add to our coffers if you think this number is something to sneeze at.

From everything we have read it appears that North Dakota is set to be a boom area for the next couple of decades. Every single business in North Dakota is benefiting from this black-gold boom. The only business report we have ran across that is performing below par for the region is some of the banks. Apparently people with fists full of cash really don’t need to borrow any money.

Come on – let’s hear it.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fracking Is Good For Montanans

Carl Graham, CEO, Montana Policy Institute

So what’s all the fuss about fracking? Its most vocal opponents charge that fracking will burn your water, pollute your air, and cause the very ground to shift beneath you. The oil and gas industry obviously disagree. So who’s right?

Well, not being a scientist I have to base my opinions on information I get from trusted sources, as do most of fracking’s detractors. And based on that information my conclusion is that, just like the Keystone pipeline opposition isn’t about pipelines, coal dust alarmism isn’t about coal dust, and mega-load obstructionism isn’t about mega-loads; most of the fuss about fracking has little to do with the actual process and more to do with getting rid of fossil fuels.

Let’s start with a simple, verifiable fact: In its 60-plus year history, there has been no generally accepted peer reviewed scientific study demonstrating negative impacts of fracking on water supplies. That’s zero, zip, nada. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson – hardly a fossil fuel advocate – told Congress just last year that there have been “no proven cases where the fracking process itself has affected water.”

Sure, there are plenty of studies “proving” that fracking is either essential to mankind or, alternatively, its inevitable downfall. Most of these tend to be a tad self-serving. As the old proverb says, a lie will go ‘round the world while the truth pulls its boots on.

But what have those who are actually responsible for public safety said about fracking? Dimock, Pennsylvania and Pavilion, Wyoming have been under the fracking microscope for years and are good indicators.

Residents in Dimock, PA reported dirty water that was famously ignitable at times. But both state regulators and the EPA said claims relating those problems to fracking were unfounded, and the water posed “no immediate health concerns.”

My humble abode is also over an aquifer that gets cloudy as melted snow enters the sandstone structure. It looks awful but is perfectly drinkable. We deal with it. And I can remember stories as a kid in Northeast Montana of burning stock ponds as naturally occurring methane bubbled to the surface. It should come as no shock that methane gets into water wells in areas where there are also gas wells. That’s where the gas is. Relating the two is a common but dangerous trick that tries to confuse coincidence and causation. It’s just like my being cranky on days that end in “Y” doesn’t necessarily mean the letter “Y” makes me cranky.

In the Wyoming case, the EPA came out with a 121 page draft report claiming that fracking contaminated ground water. But the report has not yet been peer reviewed and appears to leave some significant questions. It tested wells where hydrocarbons were already present, and that were far deeper than drinking water wells. Potential contamination could have come from “legacy pits,” or even the testing process itself. And it ignored the fact that organic chemicals were present in local water supplies long before fracking was employed. In short, the jury is still out on this one.

A final report on fracking’s impact on drinking water is due later this year. But it’s likely to be anticlimactic. Fracking solutions are typically over 99% water and sand. If you’re worried about the remaining 1%, you can look up individual well ingredients yourself at

So why all the fuss if the data is not all in, and what data there is proves no harm? It’s a fuss because for the zealots, this argument is about fossil fuels and not fracking. Just like the Keystone pipeline, coal dust, mega-loads, and so many other battles, this is about shutting down the fossil fuel industry, and facts are the first casualty in what is essentially a highly coordinated, well-financed public relations campaign.

It’s also counterproductive. Cleaner, cheaper natural gas is rapidly replacing coal in the nation’s energy grid, already accounting for about 25% of power production. That would not be possible without fracking. If you care about global warming and affordable electricity, you should be a fracking fan.

And finally, fracking’s good for Montana. It brings in jobs, prosperity, and tax revenues. The economic benefits are measurable and immediate. And the smiling faces of mothers and fathers in Eastern Montana watching their kids put on their boots and go to high paying jobs close to home are a welcome change.

Carl Graham is CEO of the Montana Policy Institute.
Montana Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research center dedicated to educating Montanans on the benefits of limited government, free market principles, individual liberty, and individual responsibility. To find out more, visit us at

You can help by making a tax free contribution here: Support MPI.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Look, New Features!

You asked and we listened!

Over this very relaxing and sunny Easter weekend, we at the HDC have been busy with a little spring cleaning. Since Spring is the season of rebirth and rejuvenation, we decided to make a few adjustments to make your browsing experience more fun and memorable. 

We have a new look and a little different flow, but the same great controversial content you've become accustomed to stays. You might also notice the share buttons below each post so you can send our content to your friends through the various social media outlets out there these days. We also added the reaction buttons so you can tag our posts you find funny, interesting or cool. 

Try it out, play around with it and let us know what you think. We're always willing to try new things, so feel free to send us your ideas not just for posts, but blog features you'd like to see too and we'll see what we can do.

Thanks again for your loyal readership, we here at the HDC really appreciate it and are looking forward to continuing to provide a place to vent those opinions and ask the questions the regular "news won't cover!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Paradoxical Quote of the Day from Ben Stein...

Something to ponder...

"Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured, but not everyone must prove they are a citizen." --Ben Stein

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Smoking May become a Primary Traffic Offense

I don’t know if Havre councilman Woody Woodwick or former HDN publisher Val Murri read the Washington Times so I wanted to mention this story because I am sure they will love it. Now that we have cut thousands of vehicular accidents in Havre because of the cell phone ban championed by Woodwick and Murri they might want to be the voice to likewise save bazillions of kids that are dying daily from second hand smoke.

The Times reports that the Maryland Senate just passed a bill to ban all smoking in cars carrying kids under the age of 8. Supporters say they have “studies” so it must be a bona fide problem. The best part is that Maryland’s new smoking ban will be a primary offense so any officer seeing them light up may pull them over and ticket them. No mention was made about residual smoke even when a kid is not along but there are studies supporting that also so I suspect that could be next. After all – why do you think most new cars no longer come with ashtrays?

Come on Havre Council. Ban smoking in all cars to save the innocent from smoke or worse yet the residual smoke. It is just so unfair to those of us that can’t buy a used car without that ashtray smell in the headliner.

Source: Washington Times

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

America's Royal Family Spring Break Vacation

Why is it you have never seen a story about Malia Obama, the 13 year old daughter of president Obama, jetting off with 25 secret service agents to Oaxaca, Mexico for a little spring break vacation? I first saw the story on the Edmonton Journal clear back on March 19th. Subsequent news reports stated that Malia was on a school trip with 10 of her school classmates and her security was being handled by the 25 Secret Service agents as well as the Mexican police.

It appears that the White House asked media outlets to remove articles about the visit from their websites. The White House lifted the news blackout after a strong earthquake hit Oaxaca and they released a press release saying everyone was alright.

While it bothers me that the taxpayers are on the hook for millions for this trip because of the cost associated with Secret Service and costs paid to the Mexican police what I really find disturbing is the fact that the White House has the power to scrub all traces of the story from the internet. Seems kind of like a political news blackout similar to how third world countries routinely do to control their subjective citizens. Is that what America has become?

The Prudence Paine Papers has posted a lengthy story entitled “Someone’s Scrubbing the Internet of First Daughter’s Taxpayer-Footed Extravagant Spring Break” that is well worth the read. They state that the “White House or someone with extreme power is attempting to scrub the entire news media of any mention of this outrageous expense.” Apparently news articles of this trip were being written and posted at online sites but they were mysteriously vanishing after they were posted. Click on the link in red above to read the entire story.

If you actually knew about this story and have been worried about the safety of Malia Obama while vacationing in a country known for their drug wars and gang-land killings you can breathe a sigh of relief because ABC News is reporting that Michelle and the girls are now vacationing in Las Vegas. You may recall that earlier this year while speaking about the recession President Obama said we all have to tighten our belts and pull together. The exact quote was something to the effect that you don’t go to Vegas to blow a bunch of cash when you are trying to save for college. I guess he just means the rest of us and not him and his royal family personally.

It’s not all fun and games for the First Family girls however, it was reported on ABC News that they will be traveling on to San Francisco, Senator Tester’s favorite liberal vacation paradise, to hold a political fundraiser and to give the girls a chance to meet Taylor Swift. 

Is it just me or do these people really hold utter disdain for the American taxpayers?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Something is Screwy with Havre CTEP Funds

The Atrium sidewalks are back in the headlines over at the Havre Daily “News”. The article in tonight’s paper said that the council gave “final approval to a plan to reconstruct sidewalks around the Atrium Mall in downtown Havre.” They went on to report as fact that the city approved a $19,000 grant under the Montana Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP) and that the mall owners agreed to match the grant.

Something is terribly amiss with this story. I may not be the sharpest mathematician in town but $19,000 plus $19,000 equals $38,000 and even a guy like me knows that is not enough cash to do sidewalks around a whole city block. Back in January of 2011 the Corrector had a story about this very same project and the council voted to expend $148,000 of their CTEP funds for this project and the mall owners were to contribute approximately another additional $20,000 to the project.

Either the cost of concrete has gotten considerably cheaper after another 15 months of the Obama recession or the local “news” paper is deliberately trying to mislead the taxpayers. This private property project was slated to drain our CTEP funding at a total project cost of over $168,000. Why the big difference in reported numbers? Either the Havre Daily has a dang poor reporter or the council is trying to sweep this huge taxpayer donation to private property owners under the rug.

Combining church and state precipitates a higher sewer rate

Written by Councilman Rick Dow

The United States has a long tradition of keeping church and state separate. The U.S. Declaration of Independence was based on Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, which was written by George Mason. When it became clear that the Bill of Rights would not be in the U.S. Constitution, Mason refused to sign it. He wanted to make sure that our country did not have an established religion. Fortunately for all Americans the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, was ratified just three short years after the signing of our United States Constitution.

The ban on an official government religion is explicit in our 1st Amendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … ." Mason and many of the other Founding Fathers had seen the tyrannical results of requiring those in government to be lock-step in their religious convictions.

A modern day affirmation of this opinion came in 1992. Associate Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in Lee v. Weisman. "The mixing of government and religion can be a threat to free government, even if no one is forced to participate. ... When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion, it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some."

Sadly, this has not stopped some religious zealots from trying to impose their beliefs on others by manipulating government policy. Worse yet, rather than abating as the years go by, these attempts at combining church and state have increased in recent years.

The following is Webster’s definition of religion: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. One of the most pernicious religions is that of earth worship. The central tenet of this mindset is the absolute belief in anthropogenic global warming or more commonly referred to as man-made global warming. (I wonder why the desire for nongender specific language was not avoided when naming this faux phenomenon, but I digress.)

The adherents to this religion have been asked to believe since the 1920s that we were cooling, then in the 1960s we were warming, then back to cooling in the 1970s, then back to warming in the 1990s. The belief system required to rationalize so many blatant contradictions is truly extraordinary. Global warming/cooling has been recently re-branded as Climate Change. The Church of Climatology has high priests such as Al Gore. Dispensation can be attained if you purchase "carbon credits." The most pious among these adherents can choose to purchase a Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Volt to show that they are "greener" than others are. It seems that Karl Marx, the author of the Communist Manifesto, was correct, when applied to the religion of global warming, that, "Religion is the opiate of the masses."

The Environmental Protection Agency acts as the ancient Pharisees. They have studied the scrolls of Rachael Carson, Al Gore, and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They act within the United States allegedly to protect the environment, when in fact they are advancing their religious dictates through a labyrinth of legalese.

February 21, 2012, was the first public meeting on the Wastewater System Preliminary Engineering Report. At the end of this very well-delivered presentation I asked the woman how much of this project cost would be needed, if not for changes in EPA standards. Her reply was that regular maintenance of the current system would only be a small fraction of the proposed upgrades. The reason is the EPA has added nitrous oxide to its list of gases that need to be mitigated because of their potential to increase global warming. The EPA has also signaled that phosphate mitigation standards will be tightened in the near future which will also lead to more upgrades and associated costs. We have gone from rightly keeping waterways clean to instead fighting a religious war with your tax dollars.

It seems that the flagellants of the global warming religion are never satiated. How many more examples are needed to prove that tyranny results from the combining of church and state?

Republican Rick Dow is our Ward 3 representative on the Havre City Council

reprinted with permission

U.S. Postal Service Wants to Opt-Out of Government Health Insurance

Isn’t this ironic? The Supreme Court has just heard arguments on the legitimacy of the new healthcare law (now officially called ObamaCare) and now CBS News is reporting that theU.S. Postal Service wants to opt out of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan and go with a private plan.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testified before the House Oversight Committee that he can provide the same benefits thru the private sector for far less money. CBS also reported that the USPS recently released a financial plan which counts on cuts to their health Insurance costs the closure of a few rural post offices as the main-stay in their quest to stop the yearly USPS deficit spending.

I only had to think about that 2 seconds to wonder how prudent it was to count on something like health insurance costs not to rising, operational costs decreasing and mail delivery revenues to increase. The Postmaster General makes the big bucks, or should I say the huge bucks, so I guess I must not understand prudent business practices as well as he does.

Oddly some of the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee questioned the feasibility of the USPS plan. There you have it. The big plan is to cut a health cost that is historically ever increasing, down grade service and increase mail usage. Three very unlikely solutions.

Not one mention was made wanting to add all federal USPS employees onto the President – Tester ObamaCare plan. Shouldn’t government employees be the very first to be required to join ObamaCare that was being touted as so good for the rest of us?

Maybe the postal service should consider putting mail services out for bids on the private sector and just get out of the business all together?

Montana Watchdog and Online News Reporting

We have made no secret that we love the fair accurate reporting of the folks over at the Montana Watchdog. Their news always seems to be well researched and they don’t have the normal biases that we have become accustomed to in our local papers.

According to the Watchdog’s website mission statement they “operate as an independent news-gathering organization that shares its research and findings with the public and other media organizations. It is a project of the Montana Policy Institute, a nonpartisan policy research center and an associate member of the Montana Newspaper Association.”

I have noticed when I read articles from various towns around Montana that many of them use articles reported in the Watchdog. I have often wondered why our local Havre paper doesn’t follow suit instead of always running AP articles such as the one they ran from the San Francisco paper a few days ago. I would encourage our readers to give the Havre Daily people a call and ask them why? Their contact information can be found on this Montana Newspaper Association website. Wouldn’t open honestly reported news articles written about Montana generate more interest with Havre readers than say an ObamaCare love article written for a San Francisco paper?

The Montana Watchdog organization is just one of a trend towards nonprofit journalism that utilizes website based reporting. You may have noticed recent articles about the Lee Newspapers laying off staff and reporters because of declining revenues.  The Montana Watchdog website has the following information posted on their webpage answering some questions about their organization.

Why an online news service in Montana?
Why not? Cash-strapped news organizations are cutting back in many areas, leaving voters less informed. is committed to helping fill this void with objective non-partisan news reports. We’re part of a growing breed of nonprofit journalism organization media outlets.

Are you in competition with newspapers and other media?
We’re not here to compete. We’re here to help. We want to enhance news coverage.

What do you do? provides original, thoughtful and detailed investigative reporting. Our main focus is on government waste and inefficiency, political corruption and anything that goes against the core values of the U.S. and Montana constitutions.

We support open, transparent, and accountable state government by reporting on the activities of agencies, bureaucracies, and politicians in Montana. We have an office in Helena, just blocks from the state capitol. We also have a reporter in Bozeman.

Who is your audience?
Everyone. We’re a resource for reporters, editors, bloggers and the general public. We also want to be a place where residents can learn how to make their city halls and school systems more transparent—and to keep public officials honest.

Who is behind you? is a project of the Montana Policy Institute, a Bozeman-based nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank dedicated to a more open and accountable state government.

How can I get your stories?
It’s simple. Our stories are e-mailed to newsrooms and radio and TV stations. Or you can go to and check out our website. Help yourself; all of our stories are free. All we ask is that you credit us for our work. Or call us at (406) 442-4561 or (406) 219-0510 for more information.

Do you have an agenda or bias?
No. operates independently as a newsgathering team and has complete editorial control over the subject matter and content of our stories. reporters strive to provide balanced and original reporting on issues of importance to Montanans. The Montana Policy Institute has a point of view on certain issues just as every newspaper editorial board takes a position on certain issues. We work hard to ensure the line between editorial and news content is not crossed.

Who funds the work that you do?
We are supported through grants and gifts from private citizens and foundations. Donors may wish their support to be private for personal or professional reasons ranging from the virtue of anonymous giving, to concerns about being associated with any of the controversial topics that might cover. And like virtually all nonprofits, we respect and honor that desire and right to privacy. Like any news organization, we believe that we should be judged on the quality of our work and hold ourselves to a standard of well researched, independent and accurate stories.

How can I support this new wave of journalism in Montana?
Visit our website and read our stories. Tell others about us and the work we do. You can send a check to:, 900 N. Montana Ave, Ste. B6, Helena, MT 59601. Or you can support us online at

Just a few days ago a fellow Montana blogger pointed out a website to me as a source for news articles that is similar to the Montana Watchdog which is called the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. On their mission statement page it says in part:
Specializing in state and local government, Franklin Center has focused its efforts on reaching maximum penetration within small and mid-sized media markets – on driving a conversation about transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility at the grassroots level and putting a human face on public policy. We specialize in reaching a layman’s audience through local media, coordinating our nationwide network to ensure that we are hitting this audience in every state.
What I found most interesting was that the Franklin Center is advertising to hire a journalist and bureau chief to be located in Helena, Montana. The job posting says:
Energetic, experienced journalist sought to start up and run a Helena, Mont., statehouse bureau for Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a leader in non-profit journalism. The ideal bureau chief will be knowledgeable about Montana politics, work independently and have a proven capacity to lead others.

Meeting stenographers and clock watchers need not apply.

We want someone who will break new ground in statehouse coverage and will shun “pack journalism.” We are unapologetic and uncompromising in our mission: Our journalists write their stories from the perspective of taxpayers. We are not only committed to uncovering waste, fraud and abuse but to being the agenda setters in Montana. Montana statehouse news stories will appear online and may be used by newspapers, radio stations and television stations across the state.
Did you catch that? This person must “shun pack journalism” and be “committed to uncovering waste, fraud and abuse” and in addition report from the perspective of the taxpayers. It has been apparent for some time that the liberal media in Montana is faltering and has been laying off people and cutting costs to stay afloat and yet news operations that do some actual investigative reporting are expanding. This is great news and here’s hoping that Montana gets another great reporter, like Phil Drake over at the Montana Watchdog.

Don’t forget to call your local newspaper and ask them why they don’t use articles from the reporters at the Montana Watchdog instead of just printing “filler” from out of state AP articles.  Since the Watchdog relies on donations to stay in operation I would also encourage you to send them a few bucks to help them continue to provide Montanan’s with accurate news articles.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another "NEW" Energy Plan

Another "New" Plan.  Listen to this and tell me again how much this administration is helping the fossil fuel industry.

Yep, makes sense to me. If every single investment you have made on renewable energy has failed over the last 4 years of your stimulus spending it only makes perfect sense to “double down” on the next roll of the dice and try it again. Sounds like a typical bureaucrat to me. Keep doing the same failing actions over and over anticipating a different result this time by some miracle. Of course if he does do this his campaign war chest donating cronies from GM, the Al Gore wind energy worshipers, future solar bankruptcy contenders and labor unions will love him and fall all over themselves filling the campaign coffers.

I have a novel idea. How about we ease some permitting regulations and increase drilling on Montana’s side of the Bakkens? You know we will be successful with that – no doubling down needed. Maybe throw in a Montana refinery or two while you are at it. Has anyone ever given a second thought to the fact that since oil commodities trade in US dollars what will happen when dollar collapses and something other than US currency is required for its purchase? Printing more cash will do no good at that point.

I can hardly wait to go to the polls and check NO to both this guy and his clone "No Ear Marks Ever" Tester.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Don't Call it "ObamaCare"

It was insulting but now it’s cool.

I can’t count the times I have been berated for using the term “ObamaCare” because it is demeaning to the president, it is racist, it is a hate crime, it is an unpatriotic negative term, it’s un-American , it is disrespectful and on and on. Democrats hated the term enough to even attempt to ban its use at the Montana State Legislature this last session.

The Ravalli Republic ran an article by Mike Dennison about the whole flap at the Montana legislature back in March of last year wondering if it was a slur to use the name ObamaCare. The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee caused such a ruckus over the use of the term ObamaCare that Republican Ken Peterson, who chaired the committee, told committee members they could no longer use the term “out of respect for Democratic members on the committee.” The article went on to say that:
Democrats believe “ObamaCare is a derisive, political polarizing term, used as slang, negative reference to the law. Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, said Democrats have “objected time and time again,” and didn’t see why Republicans couldn’t simply honor that objection and not use the term “ObamaCare” during committee and floor debates.”
There was even an instance when a member of the public, an older gentleman who was just a regular citizen, stood up to testify on a bill and made some comment stating to the effect of “not supporting any federal mandates like “ObamaCare” and all the Democrats present started howling and berating the old guy. The old guy didn’t even realize he was saying anything wrong as he was just using the term the whole country had come to recognize. The Democrats present immediately berated  him by complaining about how disrespectful and insulting he was for having used that slanderous term. What a scene – howling and stomping over using a term like “ObamaCare.” All the news stations such as KFBB TV ran segments about the whole uproar.
When Senator Jason Priest introduced SB 106 asking the Montana Attorney General to join about 20 other states suing the Federal Government and referenced “ObamaCare” the responses from Democrat Senator Andrew Blewett and his pack of antagonistic fellow Democrats went wild. Representative Carolyn Pease-Lopez quickly added the term is “derived from racism towards the president.

For only a $35 donation you not only
get an ObamaCare T-shirt but a
bumper sticker and a lapel button
Imagine my surprise when I started reading stories that President Obama has now “officially” claimed the moniker of “ObamaCare.” A San Francisco Chronicle headline read Spin Meter:  President Embraces ‘ObamaCare’, which ironically is the exact same headline and story the Havre Daily “News” ran in their Wednesday’s paper with the exact same copy. I guess we now know what liberal papers the HDN staff reads to formulate their liberalistic agenda and do their copy and paste reporting. Since the President has given the term his endorsement liberal activists have taken to the streets with “We love ObamaCare” chants and campaign materials. Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said “It meets the voters where they are” and claimed that it shows Obama cares. I guess all that headline grabbing Democratic uproar and feigned moral outrage at the Montana legislature was for naught. 
What is truly heartwarming is the fact that the Barack Obama campaign website is now selling a whole host of items with “We Love ObamaCare” printed all over them.  I wonder how Montana Democrats will spin this new found party line adoration of the term ObamaCare?

This recent turn of events must sure leave some of our incensed Montana lawmakers with egg on their faces.   :-)