The Billings Outpost

Backing Rick Hill

 

I am supporting Rick Hill for governor because I am concerned about the business climate in the state of Montana. 

Montana is the Treasure State. We have been blessed with all the natural resources: timber, minerals, water, oil, coal, and gas. But we cannot turn those resources into jobs and revenue because of the Democratic Party, the Democratic controlled Land Board, the environmentalists and their platform that kills business and jobs. All this under the guise of “saving the environment.”

Let’s save our businesses and jobs and elect Rick Hill as governor, who has the wisdom, and common sense to get the job done for the benefit of all Montanans - and the environment.

Judy Crabtree Trenka

Billings

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 September 2012 12:07

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Battling political bullies

 

Last month, on the Interstate highway between Gold Creek and Drummond, transporting a fellow Montanan to Seattle to attend to her daughter's dying, I changed a flat right front tire on my car. The new Michelin had a quarter-inch slit in its sidewall.

I kidded with a passing trucker, friendly enough to stop, even after he said he’d not have taken the trouble, had he seen the Obama 2008 bumper-sticker I got with the car, bought used two years ago. But, when we stopped to buy a replacement tire in Missoula, another customer kept staring over my shoulder at the bumper sticker, saying, "You can't be serious.”  He aggressively stuck his face into mine as I walked past into the tire store. 

I'm not a bumper sticker kind of person, so maybe this happens all the time, but I don't like it. I've resisted bullying in school, on the job, and in the military. Bullying creates the atmospherics for a small clique to do any outrageous thing they please to or about someone, without being challenged by the cowed. 

Obama lost in Montana, after fielding 80 paid staffers; there’s now one, and our folksy Gov. Schweitzer tells us our president has no chance in his state. Obama stickers are hard to get; there’s none at Montana’s State Democratic Headquarters. Who says bullying doesn't work? Yet, I’m pushing back, with a double-stickered O’Bamobile. 

John B. Driscoll

Helena

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 September 2012 12:06

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Hoover Republicans?

 

President Hoover was afraid to commit the government to the things that were necessary to pull us out of the Great Depression; he was afraid government would get too big. (Does that sound familiar?)

It took President Roosevelt more than eight years to pull us out of the depression in the 1930s, and he had the ability to get the government to act. President Obama has been at it for less than four years, with an uncooperative Congress. He has made amazing progress, especially in producing over 4 million new jobs in these troubled times. We must not be impatient.

Not only was the 2008 Recession the worst since the depression of the 1930’s but some say it may have been just as bad, if not worse, if Obama and Geitner and Paulson had not acted quickly with the bailouts, the TARP moneys, the stimulus, etc. This Week magazine says there is a remarkable consensus among economists on both the left and the right that the Obama stimulus was good. Some are proclaiming it a miracle.

Yet Republicans, especially Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, say Obama is a failure and we need a change.

They argue tax cuts are needed instead. Not one single economist with first rate credentials from the nation’s top universities could be found to agree with them.

Do we really want the Hoover Republicans to take charge in the middle of this crisis? Haven’t we learned anything from history? Heaven help us and the economy if those who think like Hoover take over.

Tom Towe

Billings

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 September 2012 11:57

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Re-elect Tester

 

Recently I read a piece in the Gazette about how, supposedly, minimum wage hurts teen employment. The writer advocated for lowering  or eliminating the minimum wage.

Nearly 90 percent of workers receiving minimum wage are 20 years old or older, according to the Economic Policy Institute. One only has to visit a few retail establishments to realize that some of these folks are senior citizens, too.

In fact, Montana ranks fourth in the nation for the number of people holding down two or more jobs to make ends meet.

Higher teen unemployment is not the result of minimum wage, but a symptom of the current economy. More people are settling for the minimum wage jobs that used to be done by teens in the absence of better paying jobs. This group includes single moms, college students and senior citizens. Lowering minimum wage will not put food on the table for working moms, supplement pensions for seniors or re-pay student loans.

Dennis Rehberg has continually voted against federal minimum wage increases. That is one more reason I am voting for Jon Tester for the U.S. Senate. Steve Bullock led the campaign to increase Montana’s minimum wage in 2006. He has earned my vote too.

Ed Logan

Billings

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 September 2012 11:56

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Bitter end

A promising start but a bitter end for Gov. Brian Schweitzer. I started a business, Rx Depot, in 2003 to help Montana residents learn about and access inexpensive Canadian patent prescription drugs. It was Business 101: Find a need and fill it.

The Montana Board of Pharmacy came knocking before the doors were open and the message was clear: “Montana drug revenues are our business, buster.” So began a six-year odyssey of court hearings and a Supreme Court appeal as I fought to represent the interest of Montana drug consumers and the board fought to represent the financial interests of Montana pharmacies.

The first action was a court hearing in August 2003, at which the board demanded an illegal injunction that the court granted, stating that it would be illegal and then dissolved it four months later because it was ... illegal. The damage to the business was obvious, but the state ducked responsibility because the illegal injunction was ... the judge’s fault.

I started another business, Canadian Connection, in April 2004 and the board was back in my office shortly saying, “We’ll do the dance again.” Then the plot thickened. Out of the West rode Brandin’ Iron Brian Schweitzer, a budding politician looking for a hot issue and cheap Canadian patent prescription drugs was just the ticket! So you rounded up some seniors and headed north cursing the drug companies and the U.S. Congress. You were in high dudgeon.

That’s when our paths crossed and it was an ill-fated meeting. We both ended up in the vendor area at MontanaFair in Billings in August 2004. You came over, introduced yourself and asked what I thought about your new plan to change the law on drug importation announced earlier in the day in The Billings Gazette. Not having read the paper yet, I was speechless. You seemed to deflate like a soufflé and that was that.

When I did have a chance to see the paper and your web site, it was apparent that you planned to change the law on importation. Unfortunately, that is a federal law, not a state law.

At that time, I and most Montanans hadn’t yet realized that your ego is as big as all outdoors and, on your signature issue, cutting the cost of U.S. patent prescription drugs, no one was going to lead Montana drug consumers to the promised land except “Moses” Schweitzer. But when you couldn’t do what you wanted to do, you failed to do what you could do. That was the Greek tragedy of “hubris.”

Although my business, assisting Montana drug consumers to learn about and access Canadian drugs, is allowed by the U.S. Government and about 45 states and understood to not be the practice of pharmacy, “Moses” gave the Board of Pharmacy the green light and spending authority (per Board Minutes) to get rid of me. You would brook no rival in the “doing good” business.

That’s when the Christian morality play of some of the Seven Deadly Sins began to play out. The “greedy” Board of Pharmacy with a voracious “gluttony” for every last dollar of revenue and profit from Montana drug consumers embarked on a six-year crusade through the court system to put me and others who might follow out of business.

It became six years because I wouldn’t cave to its “lust” for power and was willing to endure the “wrath” of all the King’s horses and all the King’s men. Now the board’s actions were perfectly understandable; it was simple naked economic self-interest.

The surprise for me was the conduct of the judiciary. If sloth be considered intellectual laziness and lack of diligence, it was the judiciary’s stock in trade. Through the district courts and a Supreme Court opinion, law, fact and precedent failed to be recognized.

My exercise in self representation cost about $900 in filing fees and transcript costs and seven unremarkable days in the Lewis and Clark County stone hotel. You, on the other hand, probably expended something north of $100,000 in taxpayer-funded legal costs to make the state safe for international drug companies and Montana pharmacies.

On the issue of helping Montana drug consumers escape the outrageous costs of U.S. patent prescription drugs, you came in with a bang but eight years later are going out with a whimper. A drug company CEO couldn’t have bollixed things up worse for Montanans. I can only reiterate my earlier opinion: On your signature issue you have been a fraud, a sham, a modern day grifter with three shells and a pea.

Tom Kennedy

Billings

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 21:52

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What about public interest?

Businesses complain about “uncertainty,” but they are just sitting on a trillion dollars instead of investing it in the future of the nation. They could take a chance and hire a few people with all that money. After all, thousands of Americans have given their lives to our country in wars, with no certainty of living through it. Now businesses demand “certainty” in order to invest in the future of this nation? Who has “certainty?” Do you? I don’t.

And, not only do they want “certainty,” but they attack the Environmental Protection Agency and want regulations rolled back as well, so they can pollute to any extent they think “necessary.”

The idea of “tax reform,” while really needed, makes me cringe, because nearly every effort at tax reform in the past has resulted in more tax breaks for those who can afford to make large contributions to elections. That is what complicates the tax code.

Now 1 percent of the population owns nearly everything and they are buying up foreclosed homes like greedy grizzlies. Coal companies are eyeing public lands. Corporations are taking over public schools. There is even the intention of privatizing postal service!

In this era of corporatizing everything, whatever happened to the concepts of “the public interest” and “the common good?” Gone with the melting glaciers.

Joan Hurdle

Billings

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 21:51

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