The Billings Outpost

Gray matter needed on guns

The gun control issue has now taken top attention with the reckless shootings [at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., and another school across the country in Marin County, Calif. I am a firm believer in my Second Amendment right to bear arms. I want to be able to protect myself FROM my own government.

My own government acts as an invader and a murderer, steeped in and seeking out ever more violence in far-flung countries with cultural practices we believe are perverted. Violence has to do with the emotional, spiritual and physical state of mind, most of which has to do with examples set by the people around them. Big Business and the U.S. Government are prime perpetrators of setting an example to promote violence, regardless of their self-proclaimed cause of “American Values.”

When a government goes into another country and starts killing the citizens they find there because their governments or cultures clash, what is to stop me from doing the same because I don’t like my neighbors’ attitude or culture?

We need education and example, not more useless laws and regulations that no one follows or can follow. Here is how NOT to set an example: Recently, we had a neighbor who got into an argument with his mother and wife about whether the safety mechanism was on or off on a revolver. He held the gun to his head and said, “If the safety is off, would I do this?” And he pulled the trigger and died right there. The first tool of gun control is that gray matter between the ears of the person with the gun.

From the time of Cain and Abel, sibling rivalry and family feuds have been the norm. I don’t think Cain had a gun when he killed Abel. A person bent on killing will use any method available, be it a gun, sword, sling shot, knife, toxic chemical or gas or bare hands.

Where are the examples of peacefulness and coexistence we need to see?

Lauris Byxbe

Pompeys Pillar

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 10:26

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Drastic tax increase

There is no get-out-of-jail-free card for America’s small business owners — when times are tight they have to find new ways to stretch their resources in order to keep their doors open and stay competitive. Which is why it is so disappointing to see how our leadership in Washington is handling our current financial situation.

Instead of addressing the fiscal cliff by ratcheting back unnecessary spending and making government more accountable, some of our elected officials are looking to the taxpayers to provide them a get-out-of-jail free card. One way policy makers in Washington are looking to “increase revenue” — or in other words, ask you to bail them out — is by increasing taxes on American energy producers.

American companies that have operations abroad benefit from what is known as the dual capacity tax credit, which prevents companies from being double taxed on income earned abroad. It stands to reason that if a company pays income tax to a foreign country where they earned the income, they shouldn’t have to pay tax again to the United States on the same income. It’s a standard tax practice around the globe to ensure that foreign companies can compete abroad.

But now that our elected officials are facing down the fiscal cliff they want to exclude our domestic energy producers (and only them) from the dual capacity credit and force them to pay taxes on their profits, not just once, but twice. Under such an unfair tax regime, it’s hard to imagine how American energy companies would be able to compete in foreign markets.

This drastic increase in taxes on American energy producers would not only hurt small businesses, but would have a financial impact on individual consumers as well as the nation as a whole.

Small business owners are already having a hard enough time keeping the lights on and the doors open in our stagnant national economy, and increases in energy taxes would only worsen that problem by increasing energy prices for consumers. If our government really wants to spur economic growth, then they need to look towards cutting taxes and decreasing costs for businesses in a way that will allow them to grow and hire more workers, not increase the burden on America’s job creators.

Excluding our energy producers from the benefits of the dual capacity rule discourages companies from investing in expanding exploration efforts and innovative new technologies that would help American become more energy independent.

Forcing our producers to try to compete on such an uneven playing field would essentially be subsidizing foreign energy production, allowing our competitors abroad to surpass us even further in terms of the efficiency and cost effectiveness of their energy production.

Instead of looking to consumers and taxpayers to bail our government out of jail for their irresponsible financial decisions, I hope that they will look at the bigger picture and realize that increasing taxes on the businesses that can revitalize our economy will cause more harm than good and instead focus their efforts on conserving funds and cutting spending.

Rep. Mike Miller

R-Helmville

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 10:24

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Heights Task Force

As former chairpersons of the Heights Community Development Task Force and current City Council Members representing Billings Heights, we take this opportunity to express the importance of the task force and how vital these monthly meetings are for the future of Billings Heights.

Within this group, we envision new leaders stepping forward in our community and also offer the opportunity for residents and business owners to gather together and visit with city, county, school district and state representatives and take an active role in their neighborhoods. Important issues that face our Heights community are presented each month, including building, subdivisions, zoning, code enforcement, police patrol and road development.

Please join us at our new location, The Oasis, Conference Room, 543 Aronson, every fourth Tuesday. We look forward to seeing you there!

Angela Cimmino and Denis Pitman

City Council, Ward 2

Billings Heights

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 10:24

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Visit Heights Task Force

As former chairpersons of the Heights Community Development Task Force and current City Council Members representing Billings Heights, we take this opportunity to express the importance of the task force and how vital these monthly meetings are for the future of Billings Heights.

Within this group, we envision new leaders stepping forward in our community and also offer the opportunity for residents and business owners to gather together and visit with city, county, school district and state representatives and take an active role in their neighborhoods. Important issues that face our Heights community are presented each month, including building, subdivisions, zoning, code enforcement, police patrol and road development.

Please join us at our new location, The Oasis, Conference Room, 543 Aronson, at 7 p.m. Jan. 22, 2013. We look forward to seeing you there!

Angela Cimmino and Denis Pitman

City Council, Ward 2

Billings Heights

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:28

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Thanks for support

I want to thank the voters of Yellowstone County for giving me the opportunity to serve them as the new Clerk of District Court. I am grateful to my family and supporters for their belief in me. I also want to thank Carol Muessig for her years of service. I wish her only the very best going forward.

I will work hard at making the clerk of courts office run as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Kristie Lee Boelter

Clerk of Court

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:28

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Toward cleaner air

The president’s decision to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particle Pollution is a cause for celebration. More stringent limits on the amount of particulate matter allowed to enter the air we breathe will provide life-changing benefits, especially to those with lung disease.

Extremely harmful to the respiratory system, this pollutant can trigger severe asthma attacks and places a strain on our healthcare system by increasing the number of patients seeking emergency room care thereby leading to greater hospitalization rates. Those with lung disease are not the only ones who suffer. Breathing particle pollution can be lethal and cause serious illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes.

Every day in my clinical practice, I see the undeserved pain and suffering caused by respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD. It’s refreshing to have the president stand as an ally to those of us on the front lines of patient care. Despite tremendous advances in the field of pharmacology, there is no prescription that can completely conceal the ill effects of dirty air.

This critical move toward a healthy air future is a tremendous quality of life improvement for not only my patients, but for all of us who breathe.

Dr. Robert Merchant

Billings Clinic

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 11:25

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