The Billings Outpost

typewriter imageLetters to the Editor...

Answer to Bonnie Eldredge

Yes, Bonnie, you have the right to avail yourself of the right of self protection or not [Outpost, March 7]. But remember, the law enforcement cannot keep you safe nor are they chartered to do so. Most of the police response is after the fact of a crime committed.

Remember also that a disarmed populace leads to a draconian government where everybody but law-abiding citizens has fire arms.

Check out the mess in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and you will see the results of gun registration/confiscation.

Keith Babcock


Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 14:56

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Time to buy local

In the movie, “Medicine Man,” Sean Connery found the cure for cancer in the Amazon Rain Forest. Sometimes fiction is not that far from fact. There is a plant in the Amazon area that does indeed kill cancer cells.

Unfortunately, the drug company which did all the research can’t come up with a synthetic pill. Some plants can’t be cultivated or domesticated! How can the pill pushers make a profit from weeds and herbs?

We now import more food than we raise, the question is from where? Take a product produced in a country known for its toxic food products, sell it to the food brokers who sell it to a food processor, who then sells it to the wholesaler who sells it to the retailer you buy it from. How many countries, factories and food handlers has that product been through? How does one trace where the contamination originated?

The propaganda goes: Sugar is the reason we gain so much weight. So we consume diet products with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. What we are not told is those artificial sweeteners make us crave more food and break down in our systems into their original toxic chemicals.

The side effects of sugar include muscle spasms, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, unexplained depression, anxiety, blurred vision and many more.

Some of the medical diagnoses include multiple sclerosis, seizures, depression, ADD and ADHD. It is especially dangerous with diabetics because of the glucose balance they need. The reason the artificial sweeteners are not banned: look at the profit and label of what you buy! Aspartame, Nutra Sweet, Equal or Spoonful. What product does not contain sugar?

If ever there was a time to buy local, fresh, raw, natural food product, it would be now. Might be a time to start home cooking instead of prepared prepackaged, over processed food. Above all READ THE LABEL, what poison are you ingesting today?

The things one can read in magazines and on FaceBook. The poisoning of America by our own people. We are told we are an obese people by our media, but not why.

Lauris Byxbe

Pompeys Pillar

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 14:55

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Brainless war

When we hear about sequestration and threats of shutting down funds to programs that are vital, does anyone remember the previous administration officials spent $10.6 trillion to kill one man? They also shot arms and legs off 45,000 soldiers and killed over 4,500 young men and women.

Many expenses are still ongoing because of this brainless war. Also, remember, this was the first time in history the U.S.A. ever started a war.

Lloyd DeBruycker


Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 14:54

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Join conversation on coal

Montana is in the midst of an important conversation about coal. Our state holds significant reserves of this fossil fuel, which over the decades has helped boost Montana’s economy via mining and exports and to power our nation via the coal-fired plants in Colstrip. There’s no question that coal is an important part of Montana’s history.

Yet, we’ve now reached a juncture where we must discuss how coal fits into our future. There’s great interest in mining more of this resource in our state and exporting it overseas. Local communities are concerned about the impact of increased rail traffic as a result. There’s also significant concern about how burning more Montana coal in China and elsewhere will affect our climate.

As physicians, we share these concerns, but also want to address the more immediate effects that the burning of coal has on public health. These hazards are well-documented, but tend not to get the same amount attention as coal’s impact on the larger environment.

Coal-fired power plants do more than cloud the air; they emit toxic pollution that causes illness and death. Toxins emitted by burning coal worsen asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cause heart attacks and strokes, lung and other cancers, and lead to birth defects.

Nationwide, coal-fired plants account for 386,000 tons of dangerous pollutants each year, including acid gases such as hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride, which can burn the eyes, skin and breathing passages, lead, arsenic and other metals that can harm the lungs, kidneys and nervous system, and dioxins, which pose a risk for cancer.

We urge Montanans to learn more about the impacts of coal and their health, in order to insure that the coal’s affects on human health are not overshadowed in the current debates over coal and our state’s role in burning, mining and exporting it.

An informative resource to learn more about these issues is “The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health” by Alan Lockwood, M.D. This book from the MIT Press draws on numerous peer-reviewed studies to examine every aspect of coal, from its complex medical makeup to the health effects of mining, burning, transporting and disposing of this fuel. These are all central issues to Montana residents.

Dr. Lockwood, an emeritus professor of neurology and nuclear medicine at the State University of New York, will speak at 7 p.m. March 18 at Rocky Mountain College, Losekamp Hall, 1511 Poly Drive in Billings. The event is free and open to the public. We encourage you to take this opportunity to learn more about this important topic.

Paul Smith, Missoula

Robert Shepard, Helena

Robert Merchant, Helena

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:24

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Speaking out on climate

Wilbur Wood did a great job of writing about climate change dangers and specifying what needs to be done [Outpost, March 7]. In our nation there has been a long silent period of inaction and our children will pay dearly for that selfish indifference.

It is good to see that the Outpost is not silent. Thank you.

Joan Hurdle


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:23

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Consider effects of rules

Government overreach has become so common lately that people are becoming desensitized to its persistence. Not only are our personal liberties rapidly eroding, but the small business owners and those they employ have felt the effects of an overreaching government.

Over regulation has become a huge problem in the daily operations of small businesses throughout Montana. More frequently, large corporations use the rulemaking process to restrict competition in the marketplace. The additional costs of overregulation can be easily absorbed by large businesses, but small businesses – the economic driver of Montana’s economy — are priced out.

A recent study shows small businesses around the country spend an average of $7,647 each year per employee just to comply with government regulations and mandates. This is a significantly larger sum than what larger businesses pay, which average around $5,282 per year.

For many small businesses the cost to comply can simply run them out of operation. At the very least, it hurts the employees by decreasing the funds allotted for salaries and benefits. While certain regulations are necessary and even beneficial to the function of good business, some regulations imposed by overzealous government bureaucrats have caused our economy to stagnate.

Even President Barack Obama, who is staunchly supportive of more government intervention and regulation, agrees. In January 2011, at a time when our nation’s economy was struggling to shake the effects of the Great Recession, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum calling for regulatory flexibility in order to grow small business and create jobs.

He wrote at the time, “My administration is firmly committed to eliminating excessive and unjustified burdens on small businesses. … Accordingly, I hereby direct executive departments and agencies, when initiating rulemaking that will have significant economic impact on substantial numbers of small entities, to give serious consideration to whether and how it is appropriate, consistent with law and regulatory objectives, to reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses, through increased flexibility.”

At this time during the 2011 legislative session, I introduced SB 201, a bill that would require Montana state agencies to do exactly this: consider the impacts the rulemaking processes has on small businesses in our states. It was hardly a novel concept since 42 other states have required similar considerations. The bill sailed through both the Senate and House with bipartisan support. But, alas, SB 201 and small businesses throughout Montana felt the veto fate of the cruel, red hot branding iron.

Not to be outdone, I decided to try again in 2013 with SB 139. This bill, like its early counterpart, creates an affirmative duty for state agencies to analyze the impacts to small business before passing new rules and regulations. This will not only inform decision makers about the actual adverse and positive effects of the regulation, but it would also create a record upon which small businesses could pursue legal remedy. Protecting small businesses from an over reaching government is paramount in creating jobs and growing Montana’s economy.

Opponents fear that SB 139 would allow businesses to ignore government regulations and not abide by environment or labor laws. This is simply not the case. Small businesses are fully willing to comply with regulations, but want to ensure that they are playing on a level playing field. The act only requires agencies to consider the consequences of their regulations before automatically imposing regulations.

Opponents also contend that SB 139 would require state agencies to spend additional time and funds to study the effects of the rules and regulations. Perhaps this is true, but it is a worthy investment to ensure that small businesses are being treated fairly and ensure their growth is not stunted by harsh regulations. SB 139 will require additional transparency and accountability in government agencies.

SB 139 has passed the Senate and is building momentum as it works its way through the House. Let’s hope that when it reaches Gov. [Steve] Bullock’s desk that he will stand with Montana’s job creators and sign the bill into law.

Sen. Ed Walker


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:22

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