The Billings Outpost

Rehberg’s jingoism

Speaking at a recent Republican kickoff conference, Denny Rehberg said the following, “If you want your mother to take care of you, that’s maternalism. If you want your father to take care of you, that’s paternalism. If you want the government to take care of you, that’s socialism.” He went on to say, “If you want to take care of yourself, that’s Americanism. That’s what we stand for.”

And talk like that, that’s jingoism. And a state where it’s every man for himself, that’s anarchy. Does Denny envision an America more like Somalia, a country with plenty of anarchy and virtually free of socialism?

Additional thoughts: So, would Denny impose his standards of “Americanism” on livestock producers and farmers enjoying subsidized public grazing lands and federal crop supports? On oil companies granted substantial tax breaks? On rich folks like himself who pay a significantly lower income-tax rate than average working people and small businesses?

Frank Ferguson



Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:04

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Thanks to Baucus, Tester

I’m writing to thank Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Max Baucus for standing up for healthy kids and families and supporting the Safe Chemicals Act.

As a mom, grandparent and retired teacher, I’ve spent much of my life working to protect kids. I fed them nutritious foods and taught them about diet and exercise, convinced it would prepare them to lead long, happy and healthy lives.

That’s why it is increasingly frustrating to learn on a nearly daily basis about another product with toxic chemicals in it — toothpaste, baby bottles, and children’s mattresses. We keep learning about these things after the fact, often when it is too late. When will we finally have the knowledge and information available to us about the products we consume? We should not have to rely on daily talk shows to find out which products in our households are safe for our kids.

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 requires chemical companies to test chemicals before they go on the market and publicize how safe or unsafe they are for human use, exposure and consumption. That seems like common sense to me, and I can’t believe it’s not already standard practice. Congress needs to pass this bill this year.

Our senators support these reforms that make our kids safer. At least someone in Washington is looking out for families back at home. Thanks again to Sen. Tester and Sen. Baucus for fighting to protect kids from toxic chemicals.

Carol Gibson



Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:03

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Rethinking personhood

Attorney David Cobb is touring the United States trying to help people understand how corporate personhood works, and doesn’t work, in our great nation. Cobb spoke in Billings Sunday, May 6, at Universalist Fellowship church on Central Avenue.

He began with four enormous topics: democracy, sovereignty, legal personhood, and corporations. Cobb described democracy as rule by the people, with liberty, justice and equality for all.

“Do the people rule?” Cobb asked. He pointed out that consumer choices are not all there is to freedom. Sovereignty means the authority to rule, such as the sovereignty of a king given power by God.

Cobb described legal personhood as having the ability to assert rights.  A corporation is a legal fiction created by a government, just as the original 13 states of the United States were created.

In 1784, in order to become a corporation, an entity had to apply to the House of Representatives, get it passed (like a bill), get it through the other House, and then get it signed by the executive branch of government. At that time in our history, a corporation could only exist for a specific number of years before the incorporation expired. If the corporation failed at any time to meet the public interest, then the right to incorporate expired immediately. Things have certainly changed since those days!

Free people delegate powers to government so that government can fulfill its many duties to the people. Cobb describes the history of the United States as a long struggle among various peoples to achieve legal personhood with its rights and privileges. Originally only about 5 percent of the population could vote and was free: only white males who owned property. Gradually that has been expanded to include women, blacks, Indians and others who finally achieved citizenship/personhood.

We may have gone a bit too far when we included corporations as persons!  Exxon-Mobil, for example, has become a worldwide sovereign, dealing in a sovereign way with governments around the world and having no social responsibilities toward any public interest, no time span, and no global accountability.

As a result of this new understanding among many Americans, serious efforts are under way around the country to reverse the idea that corporations can be people, or that money equals speech instead of just being property. These are interesting times!

Joan Hurdle



Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:58

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Vote for Bucy

Many people respect Pam Bucy for her legal experience as a prosecutor and as chief deputy attorney general, but fewer know about Pam’s behind-the-scenes work representing low-income people. For 15 years — ever since she became a lawyer — Pam has had pro bono clients. She has represented these people (typically in divorce and child custody cases) without pay and without publicity.

I became aware of this while working as information specialist at the State Bar of Montana, where Pam volunteered as co-chair of the Equal Justice Task Force. I was impressed with this capable yet modest woman, who not only took on legal cases personally but also addressed access-to-justice issues statewide.

Pam is someone who is not too good for or too busy for people in need. This is only one of many qualities that will make her a great attorney general for Montana. Please vote for Pam Bucy.

Jill Sundby Van Alstyne



Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:57

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Vote for Johnson

I’m writing to ask you to join me in supporting Brad Johnson for Montana Secretary of State in the Republican primary. Brad is a proven leader with plenty of experience, commitment to serve and just plain common sense. He has earned my friendship, my respect and my vote.

Brad Johnson served us well as secretary of state and we need him back to convince the State Land Board to expand responsible development of our national resources. And, to bring common sense, experience and an agricultural background to lease negotiations with our producers.

Brad has the experience necessary to get to work on the first day and have an immediate, positive impact on the state. Montana is a great place and it will be an even better place with Brad back in the saddle as our next secretary of state. Please join me in voting for Brad Johnson.

Conrad Burns



Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:56

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Re-elect Jon Tester

As Montanans, aware of how important agriculture is in our economy, we are fortunate to have Sen. Jon Tester, an intelligent and hardworking farmer, representing us in the U.S. Senate.

I have known him since 1988, when he chaired the Democratic state platform committee on agriculture. His knowledge and concern for the problems of farmers and small business in Montana impressed me then.

His leadership impressed his colleagues in the Montana Senate when they elected him president of the Senate. In the U.S. Senate he has been appointed to several important committees, including Veterans’ Affairs, Appropriations, Banking, Homeland Security and Indian Affairs. A former school board member, he has always supported better public education.

Jon keeps in close touch with his neighbors and constituents in Montana, making frequent trips back to his farm near Big Sandy, talking with individuals and groups. Like a neighbor you can know and trust, Jon Tester talks honestly about his stand on the issues important to people of Montana. We need to re-elect him to the Senate.

Ruth Carrington Birch



Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:53

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