The Billings Outpost

Sorting through the mess

Our Montana philosopher-politician has emerged from his Outpost with his headlight on and his poison pen ready to dispatch enlightenment. He promises to “shine the light of truth” on “unknown campaigners.” Brad Molnar sorts through the candidates for the Montana Supreme Court.

He appears to be separating vegetables from fruits, placing them in liberal and conservative bins in his May 31 political cornucopia. In Molnar’s mixed potpourri, the candidates are either spoiled by special interests or are bruised by their prior decisions and endorsements. He laments that judges are lawyers and notes they are using campaign signs, billboards and clever slogans.

According to Molnar, “shadowy but known” movers (lawyers) are funding these judicial races. He doesn’t mention the contributions of other groups – energy, real estate and public officials.  Maybe Molnar is arguing for a truly democratic idea: Take money out of elections.

Nonetheless, I must take strong exception with Mr. Molnar’s vitriolic comments regarding Montana Conservation Voters. He states MCV’s postcards explain, “Why the liberal is the anointed one and the conservative (or rank and file Republican) candidates were elected by morons, should be shunned by their mothers and should never receive another vote.”

This statement is patently false and reflects Molnar’s perverse view of MCV and Montana politics. Maybe Molnar can provide more information for his readers on anointment, morons and parenting. However, there is one piece of truth in Molnar’s diatribe: MCV is a bipartisan organization.

I am a board member of MCV. MCV strives to protect our environment. It encourages strong citizen participation, supports recreational access and energy conservation. Montanans – Republicans, Democrats, independents, conservatives, moderates and liberals – are for clean air and water. MCV is committed to keeping Montana “The Last Best Place” for future generations.

Mr. Molnar’s cauldron bubbles with seeds of discord, half truths, distortions, and conspiratorial theories. His gloomy rhetoric runs counter to the optimism of our great people. Don’t despair!

Rumor has it Mr. Molnar has picked a trifecta: He is no longer using the drive-through window at fast food restaurants. He is no longer teaching a course on consensus building and improving communication skills. He is not blaming fellow Montanans for being term limited.

Robert M. Pumphrey



Last Updated on Saturday, 30 June 2012 11:20

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Event helped others

On March 24, Billings participated in the Walk for Water, our region’s only World Water Day event. Over 250 members of our community walked and approximately 100 volunteered to raise awareness of the world water crisis and to learn ways we can act locally to reduce global impacts. This year’s theme, The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry, focused on the impacts of agriculture on water usage.

On behalf of the World Water Day Event Committee, a special thank you to all of our amazing volunteers who have made this event possible! Thank you to our major event sponsors St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation, Energy Laboratories, HydroSolutions Inc., ECHO Geophysical Corporation and Spence Accounts.

To everyone who participated in this year’s event, you have made a difference! Awareness was great and the funds raised will benefit water projects in Uganda and Tanzania. To learn more about these projects, visit

Nadine Hart



Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 15:36

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Empty election promises

An empty promise is what Secretary of State Linda McCulloch is offering Montanans with her recycled election fraud website. It is a disservice to the people of Montana because it leads them to believe that there is redress of their grievances now available.

Currently, the secretary has neither the resources nor the authority to investigate or prosecute allegations of election fraud. The only action the secretary can take is to refer it to the appropriate county attorney.

Historically, referral has been pointless. Fifty complaints in the last election cycle resulted in no legal action being pursued. Hyping this “remedy” to election cheating creates two undesirable consequences. Law-abiding citizens are lulled into a false sense of security and those who would cheat the system realize they can do so with impunity.

The secretary bears no greater responsibility than to preserve the integrity of our elections. As secretary of state I requested the introduction of a bill that would have made willful election fraud a felony. Some argue that we do not currently have a crisis in our elections so we don’t need further vigilance. This mindset suggests that we don’t need to lock our houses because we’ve never been robbed.

Rather than recreating do-nothing web sites, the secretary should be working to put real teeth in our election laws. Good government in Montana depends on the preservation of fair elections. Instead of political posturing, we need tough enforcement and stiff penalties for those who violate our election laws. 

Brad Johnson

Former Secretary of State

East Helena


Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 15:35

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Caring about the sick

I heard a pretty good slogan recently. “Obamacare is a hell of a lot better than ‘I don’t care.’” That pretty much says it all.

Those who oppose Obamacare simply don’t care. They have no plan. They don’t care what happens to the 30 million people who don’t have and cannot obtain health insurance. Their solution is, “Don’t get sick and if you do, file bankruptcy.” What a heartless, cruel, compassionless attitude.

If this is the attitude of a majority of the people in this country, we are about to lose the greatness of this country and do not deserve to lead the world anymore.

The Affordable Health Care Act is not perfect. In fact, it was not the first choice of most Democrats. Any form of a single-payer system would be much better. Medicare works amazingly well and could easily be expanded.

But since nearly all Republicans and many independents would not accept a single-payer system, Democrats went to the Republican plan adopted in Massachusetts by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. But then Republicans disavowed their own plan and forced Mitt Romney to do the same if he wanted the Republican nomination for president.

If you don’t like the current system that gives everything to the insurance companies, let’s adopt a simple single-payer system. In any event you have got to be for something. The status quo that existed before the Affordable Health Care plan was enacted is unacceptable. If you don’t like Obamacare, what is your alternative?

Thomas E. Towe



Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 15:34

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Put cost where it belongs

I have been reading Art Wittich’s Referendum 122 which prohibits any state or federal health insurance purchase mandate. And I have been following the arguments for and against. However, these arguments ignore the Trillion Dollar elephant in the room.

Emergency rooms around the country are mandated to care for patients without regard to insurance. Hospitals are required to give care to patients in advanced stages or illness. These mandates cost the American health care consumer trillions of dollars over the years. Every family that carries insurance pays $1,000 to $2,000 extra each and every year to pay for these people who do not carry insurance of their own.

Even if we did not require these people to pay for their own insurance – if we paid it for them – it would cut the cost in half. If they had the medical care to prevent the end stage problems of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, it would cut the cost in half. If they were required to pay for it themselves, it would shift the cost to them – where it belongs. – and it would cut the cost in half.

Mike Thomas



Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 15:33

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Fighting Alzheimer’s

How can it be that almost four years have passed since my beloved mom Alice Stapleton died? After a decade-long descent into dementia, dependence and debilitation, my beautiful mother is free from Alzheimer’s, but the rest of us aren’t.

An estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, including as many as 21,000 in Montana. With these numbers growing every year, the time is now to change the trajectory of the disease. Alzheimer’s is not a Republican or Democratic issue – Congress recognized that when they passed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) which spurred the creation of the country’s first National Alzheimer’s plan. This plan is the basis for the budget request of $100 million in new resources to fight Alzheimer’s disease. It is crucial that Congress provide these resources in the fiscal year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill.

Montana’s Congressman Dennis Rehberg is Chairman of the Labor Health and Human Services Subcommittee. Pease join me in urging Congressman Rehberg to support the marshaling of resources, expertise and innovation for the millions of Americans today living with Alzheimer’s and the millions more tomorrow who may face it.

The simple truth is Alzheimer’s can’t wait. Please contact Rep. Rehberg as soon as you possibly can and ask him to do everything in his power to provide the funding necessary to support the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

Joan Stapleton Tooley

Alzheimer’s Association



Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:12

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