The Billings Outpost

Letting off steam

How can anyone believe we have a democratic government when it’s clear we have dictatorship?

It starts with the conservative branch of the Supreme Court allowing corporations the same rights as individuals to spend billions of dollars to influence voters to vote Republican. The Democrats get very little, if any, donations because they’re not in the pockets of those big corporations like the Koch Brothers, big oil, gas and coal, the National Rifle Association, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.

This letter is too little, too late and Is just to let off steam – I am so angry!

One more thing. How can anyone believe the bad things said about our president? He was made a scapegoat for the Republicans to try to win the election. I guess it worked.

But how said it is because he’s been a good president despite the fact that he had to try to work with a “do-nothing” Congress.

Lois Principe


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:50

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Worst that can happen?

Our present prosperous society is built on modern medical care, abundant natural resources, high-yield agriculture, cheap energy and a credit-based financial system.

The whole thing is completely dependent on a stable, predictable climate.

In his brilliant little book “What’s the Worst That Could Happen? The Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate,” Greg Craven uses the analogy of a bridge with trusses and supporting beams. If one of those trusses buckles, as the banking system did in 2008, our bridge comes very close to collapse. What if the main support – our current climate – were to drastically change and become completely unpredictable and unstable?

That’s what the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The National Research Council, the CIA, FBI, the National Security Agency, and the Pentagon have been warning us about for years. We are hurtling toward a future we know little about and leaving the consequences for our children to figure out.

Sen.-elect Steve Daines believes that our climate is changing and also that humans have something to do with it. However, he thinks that the price we would pay now to fix it is too high. Compared to what? The scenarios of what could happen are far worse than anything we could suffer now.

We wouldn’t be discussing hundreds of jobs lost or even thousands but no jobs at all. We wouldn’t be facing a few bad fire seasons but twice as many as we have ever seen.

We wouldn’t just have arguments about water but wars about water. How do you know, Sen.-elect Daines, what the future holds? Do you have better information than the best minds in the country? How can you be so sure that the worst won’t happen?

Anne Greene


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:50

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Column gets it right

I would like to express my deep and sincere appreciation for David Crisp’s comments in the Editor’s Notebook that appeared in the Nov. 20 issue of the Outpost (“What? American voters stupid? How dare you”).

I do not know how many words Mr. Crisp used in expressing his opinion, but I can say that I am in full agreement with every one of them!

Given the discord that has occurred in Congress over the last six years between Republican and Democratic members of Congress and the amount of blatant, caustic and unjustified criticism many members have for our current president, it is very difficult for many of us to explain why the last election went the way it did.

It is also somewhat difficult for some of us to adequately express our feelings concerning those election results. Mr. Crisp, however, said it much better than I ever could. In fact, he took the thoughts right out of my head.

Larry Robson


Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 12:23

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Greed is pervasive

HR 1526 is a bill passed by the House of Representatives recommending transfer of public land management to the states. This land transfer is also recommended by Montana’s state and local Chambers of Commerce.

HR1526 is an effort by the wealthy to take public land from the middle class of this country. Do we want to end up like Texas where citizens have absolutely no opportunity to recreate on public land because only 1.9 percent of Texas is public land, where wildlife and resources are privatized? Texans have to pay for all those privileges that are free to Montanans.

Who would be adversely affected by transferring federal land to states?  Everyone  who uses federal land for any purpose be it wood cutting, grazing land lessees, access to private land, hunting, fishing, outfitting, skiing or just recreation. At present public lands do not create enough income to pay for maintenance and management. The federal government pays the shortfall.   Montana cannot afford such shortfalls. Montana would have to look for alternative ways to 1) increase income from undervalued properties, 2) decrease expenses, or 3) sell them. 

Those desiring to transfer federal properties to Montana know we cannot afford the associated costs.  They want to own our public land.

Once sold, few Montanans will be able to afford the benefits all Montanans currently enjoy.  The question for Montanans is:  how would a federal land transfer to Montana affect your family and your way of life?

Harold Johns


Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 12:23

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Carbon tax wouldn’t help

I don’t know what planet she lives on or what she smokes, but does Kristin Walser (Outpost, Oct. 30) really think that any of the “carbon tax” would ever be redistributed to all Americans? Past history pretty well shows what will occur if the tax were to become a reality.

First, all manufacturers using the taxed items would pass the cost of the tax on to consumers, thus raising the prices that consumers pay for the products, which in turn would reduce consumer spending on anything but the necessary.

Second, any tax collected by the government would be seen as more to be spent by the government and would be spent by the government, but not in the form of a rebate to the people.

A third thought comes to mind: Would the proposed rebate really offset the higher prices caused by the tax?

I think the Citizens’ Climate Lobby should put its efforts into a little publicized problem of carbon absorption: That is the increased reduction of plant life around the world that absorbs the CO2, stores the carbon and emits oxygen into the air.

Terry Wittmer

Sheridan, Wyo.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 12:22

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Homeowners, unite!

For the past several years the taxes that go to support cities, school districts, counties and our state government have become a major burden on homeowners. We should ask politicians their positions on protecting homeowners from shifting tax burdens onto us .

Having managed a business for some 44 years, as real estate taxes grew, I was able to make changes by improving operational efficiencies, charging more fees, paying less dividends, etc.

We homeowners don’t have those options as we are at the “beginning of the food chain” with no place to shift increasing taxes.

I have been before legislative committees a few times on this issue and have been insulted by our representatives telling me, “If you can’t pay your taxes, sell it.”

I have begun to wonder who represents us – the homeowners?  I always mistakenly thought it was those we sent to Helena. But I’m beginning to think they represent the 442 registered lobbyists and the government agencies – not us.

Where do homeowners fit in with timberland, agriculture, real estate speculators with 20-acre+ parcels? Those special interests all get tax breaks, as do businesses with the decreased business equipment and inventory tax.

Our homes are special places, very special, and they need to be treated as such – not the second homes, rental properties, recreational properties.

Suggested legislation should consider length of ownership and occupancy (five years), primary living quarters ten months per year, ability to register to vote where your home is located.

Since our elected officials give no consideration to homeowners, must we band together and hire a lobbyist to get noticed?  We shouldn’t need to, as we are a tremendous voting bloc.  How do we get their attention?

Charles R. Abell



Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 12:21

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