The Billings Outpost

Pro-coal propaganda

Propaganda apparently works. The Helena Independent Record recently published an article entitled “Majority favors death penalty, less regulation to develop fossil fuels.” It reported a poll indicating a majority of Montanans favor removing environmental protections in order to spur strip-mining and fracking across the state.

Reading this article, I couldn’t help but think that it shows the success of an apparently deliberate campaign by Lee Newspapers to influence public opinion to favor expanded strip-mining in Montana. The evidence: 1. Numerous reports that the IR has refused without explanation to publish letters to the editor (including one from a city commissioner) questioning the wisdom of increased strip-mining and shipping coal to Asia.

2. a recent IR editorial strongly advocating increased coal exports to Asia while ignoring the negative impacts of such coal exports.

The motive (and further evidence): a clear conflict of interest, which the IR failed to disclose with its coal-export editorial. That is, the editorial board never reported that Berkshire Hathaway — which stands to directly profit from increased coal exports due to its ownership of BNSF

Railway — also owns (by recent purchase, which it sought to hide) a significant stake in the IR’s parent corporation — Lee Enterprises.

Given that Lee Enterprises owns not only the IR, but four other major Montana newspapers, the extent of its statewide influence is considerable. So, in this respect, the poll results are not entirely surprising.

And if you glimpse the ghost of the Anaconda Copper Co., that wouldn’t be entirely surprising either.

Shiloh Hernandez

Helena

Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 18:34

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Shameful spending

It seems absolutely shameful that $6 billion was spent on the recent election when we have 60 million American children living in poverty. To make matters even worse, we are exactly where we were before spending the $6 billion: facing the fiscal cliff with a divided Congress, each party still insisting, even after a very decisive presidential election, that their vision for American is right one and ought to be enacted!

We might as well have not even had an election since concession seems to mean nothing at all. Is that fair or honest?

Joan Hurdle

Billings

Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 18:33

Hits: 1984

You and me

After listening to all the political ads most of the summer, there are six words I find lacking in our society. The six words are: morality, ethics, honesty, integrity, respect and responsibility. The only way to teach these concepts is by action, example or doing them. By watching our government, politicians, business, news media or any programs, none of these ideals is even represented.

It’s despicable.

Our government tries to legislate by making regulations and laws that take away our freedoms to try other ideas or methods. Our business community seems to barely have one iota of respect for nature or individuals. Big business is after profits at any cost.

Our media portray lifestyles which would repulse our grandparents and even make modern individuals question to what extent Hollywood will push the limits of morality to make a buck.

The only way to teach or enforce these principles is to  perform them. All the lectures, studies and regulations are useless without the scaffolding of an example to follow.

Any change starts with one person, YOU or ME.

Lauris Byxbe

Pompeys Pillar

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 December 2012 10:57

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Fair or honest?

It seems absolutely shameful that $6 billion was spent on the recent election when we have 60 million American children living in poverty.

To make matters even worse, we are exactly where we were before spending the $6 billion: facing the fiscal cliff with a divided Congress, each party still insisting, even after a very decisive presidential election, that their vision for American is the right one and ought to be enacted!

We might as well have not even had an election since concession seems to mean nothing at all. Is that fair or honest?

Joan Hurdle

Billings

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 November 2012 13:17

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Honor World War II veterans

It seems fitting that Veterans Day falls on the weekend following Election Day. After a hotly contested election season filled with passion, it is appropriate that we collectively remember those who fought to protect our right to vote and exercise freedom of expression.

As we gather with friends and family to honor America’s veterans of all branches and all eras, it is a good time to reflect on a special group of veterans who are fading into history: Montana’s World War II veterans. Called “The Greatest Generation” by many, this group of men and women stood tall in the face of worldwide tyranny and oppression. In all, 16 million Americans served in World War II and, per capita, Montanans did more than any other state to serve the country.

As a statewide effort, Big Sky Honor Flight is working to recognize those veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by flying them to Washington, D.C. — at no cost to them — to see the World War II memorial. About 190 veterans have already made two tours for through Big Sky Honor Flight this year and another 300 veterans have applied to be a part of future trips.

Unfortunately, we are in a race against time. As the days go by, many of our aging World War II veterans pass away without getting the chance to be a part of this honor. That’s why a statewide effort is now under way to step up for them.

It costs $152,000 for one flight of veterans to Washington and we continue to raise the necessary funding for the next two, three or four flights. Schoolchildren, business leaders and civic groups have stepped up to help get these flights off the ground, but more help is needed. Any contribution, no matter how small, can help. Simply go to www.bigskyhonorflight.org, and click on the donation button.

It’s time for our World War II veterans to take one last mission. With your help, we can get them there.

Dan Carter

Big Sky Honor Flight

Billings

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 November 2012 13:17

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A corporate perspective

I didn’t know the Earned Income Credit was a Republican initiative. It seems incongruous with the anti-entitlement rhetoric we hear so much about these days, but it makes perfect sense from the corporate point of view. A lot of entitlements make perfect sense from the corporate point of view.

If they can put a person on the ground at minimum wage with less than full-time hours, they have more capital to invest. The working poor who seem to feel entitled to food, shelter and a doctor if they need one, can look elsewhere for subsistence. They can look to the Welfare State to make up the shortfall. So far, it has worked pretty well.

There seems to be no end to the social services that support the employees of Corporate America at both the state and federal levels. There are housing subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid and daycare grants – if you’re lucky. These “entitlements” that drain our public coffers enable the “real money people” to talk billion dollar deals. It’s wonderful!

But to be fair, the working poor are guaranteed at least a minimum subsistence allowance. Corporate America generously supports an Earned Income Credit—paid for by you and me.Their money is used to invest in our future.

Julie Kraenzel

Billings

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 November 2012 13:16

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