The Billings Outpost

Nothing for veterans

I would like to respond to Karolin Loendorf’s letter dated Feb. 24 in The Billings Gazette in regards to [U.S. Rep. Denny] Rehberg supporting veterans’ interests. I disagree 100 percent. Rehberg has done nothing for veterans of Montana.

If it wasn’t for Sen. [Jon] Tester, Montana veterans would not have the badly needed new Veterans Clinics in Billings, Cut Bank, Lewistown and Libby and a new Veterans Center in Great Falls and Kalispell. Sen. Tester also voted to increase the mileage for veterans’ health care.

What has Rehberg done? Nothing. Oh, I forgot, he voted against the $250 payment to seniors, against extending jobless benefits, against middle class tax cuts, against the school nutrition meals along with many other bills pertaining to veterans, seniors, low-income families and child care.

Where was Rehberg when Montana veterans needed to talk to him about things that matter to veterans like health issues?

Rehberg is only interested in big oil companies and the big pharmaceutical companies.

I wrote several letters to find out why he sleeps in his office instead of a motel or apartment and got no answer. He is too damn cheap, and another thing I would like to know if he wasn’t drunk, why did he get in the boat with a drunk and go 40 mph across a lake at night without any lights?

Rehberg was either awful damn drunk or awful damn stupid.

We need to keep Sen. Tester in the Senate.

Ron Kuneff



Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 10:25

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Case wrongly decided

As your readers know, in the recent Montana Supreme Court decision in the Western Traditional Partnership case v. Attorney General the Montana Supreme Court, a majority of the Montana Supreme Court upheld Montana’s limits on political spending by corporations against attacks based on a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United case.

In the Citizens United decision, which was a 5 to 4 decision, the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional for the Congress to limit the amount of money corporations could spend on elections. The Supreme Court majority said that corporations were “persons” under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and as such had the same free speech rights as human beings.

The 13th and 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution repealed the Dred Scott decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, which helped start the Civil War. The Dred Scott decision held that blacks, whether free or slave, could never be citizens and were not “people” referred to in the Declaration of Independence. The 13th Amendment freed the slaves.

The 14th Amendment guaranteed equal protection to all “persons,” that is, the former slaves.

In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the U.S. Supreme Court simply decreed, without hearing argument, that a corporation is a “person” for purposes of the 14th Amendment. A few years later the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the 14th Amendment’s protection for black people when it approved racial segregation in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. Racial segregation was only ended by the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

By 1938 Justice Hugo Black observed with dismay that, of the cases in which the Court applied the 14th Amendment during the first 50 years after Santa Clara, “less than one-half of 1 percent invoked it in protection of the Negro race, and more than 50 percent asked that its benefits be extended to corporations.” Over the years the U.S. Supreme Court has extended almost all the God-given rights  recognized in the U.S. Constitution to corporations with the exception of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

In Citizens United the majority appeared to create a small exception for some state laws. In Western Traditional Partners the majority on the Montana Supreme Court fit Montana laws through that very small exception. That case is on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two Montana Supreme Court Justices dissented from the decision by the Montana Supreme Court. One was Montana Justice James Nelson.

Justice Nelson, in his dissent, summarized why Citizens United is wrong and why the ruling that corporations are persons is very, very wrong.  He wrote: “Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people — human beings — to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creations of government.

“Worse still, while corporations and human beings share many of the same rights under the law, they clearly are not bound equally to the same codes of good conduct, decency, and morality, and they are not held equally accountable for their sins. Indeed, it is truly ironic that the death penalty and hell are reserved only to natural persons.”

The U.S. Supreme Court was profoundly wrong in Dreg Scott, in Santa Clara County, in Plessy v. Ferguson, and now in Citizens United.

Paul Van Tricht



Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 10:25

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Just say no

Once again those extremists who want to force their personal religious views on everyone else are out with their petitions. They want to put their own beliefs into the Montana Constitution. We should not even put Constitutional Initiative 108 on the ballot!

This proposed change to Montana’s Constitution could have unintended consequences. The wording is so vague that it could affect everything from birth control to stem cell research. 

This initiative is so rigid and extreme that it doesn’t even make allowances for incest or rape. 

Just say NO when asked to sign this assault on women’s rights and women’s health!

Joan Hurdle



Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 10:24

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Court’s faith misplaced

The recent district court ruling on the Otter Creek coal tracts lease expressed faith in the capacity of state agencies to effectively and objectively go through the permitting and regulatory process for that proposed mine.

I fear that the court’s faith may be misplaced.

The state of Montana is Arch Coal’s business partner. The Land Board’s lease was just the first step in that business relationship, and the state has a strong financial interest and, frankly, a conflict of interest in seeing that the Otter Creek coal is mined.

It’s naïve of the court to assume that the Land Board could say “no” to a permit for the mine if it ever moves forward. Having leased the coal, the Land Board has started the wheels in motion for bringing money into state coffers. There’s little chance the Land Board would refuse a permit or even put restrictive conditions onto it. Montanans would be left dealing with the impacts when most of the coal will be sold to Asian customers.

Experience has taught us that getting safeguards enforced by state agencies can be a big enough challenge. But when it’s exercising oversight over its own business partner, how can we seriously expect the state to also be an effective enforcer of the laws protecting our land and water and air?

Janet McMillan



Last Updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012 22:58

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The war against guns

As usual there is much ado  about “gun control” in the news and in the political agenda. Let me assure you, that all of the freedoms of this country rest upon the foundation of the Second Amendment! That is exactly why it is under constant attack. The question is who is behind and who are the spokesmen for the elimination of personal arms possession and protection?

1. The Elitists. These are the folks who have the money and power and who believe that they are anointed to rule and decide what is best for us. Of course they cannot attend to their agenda if a bunch of freedom lovers are out there with the means of self protection and determination.

2. The Authoritarians. Here are those who believe in absolute submission to those in power(politicians) who know that an armed populace will not submit to their desires of absolute control of the population.

3. The Criminals. These guys know that if people can defend themselves their business will suffer. And there are multiple thousands of personal protection every year. These guys, of course, favor gun control so they have a free zone and open killing fields. The liberals think that gun control will limit the number of guns in the hands of criminals. Can anyone really be that naïve?  No they can’t, they have an agenda.

4. The Fearful. People who are afraid that their neighbor who has a gun might kill them. They consider those who protect themselves with relative force are barbaric and animals. Rather than getting after the perpetrators of crime, they demonize those who believe in their constitutional rights of self protection of themselves and their families and their property.

5. The Ideologues. These just go with the flow of whatever is popular at the time and they jump on the band wagon of restricting constitutional rights.  They could be labeled groupies.

6. The Security Folks. Having an armed populace is not positive for those in the security  business. If people are self sufficient in this area, they won’t need a professional gun to protect them. And no, the law enforcement cannot protect every citizen! Their involvement, for the most part, is after the fact. The Supreme Court of the United States has adjudicated this issue and ruled that the protection of the populace law is not the function of the police and that is why they are labeled law enforcement.

7. The Dysfunctionalists. Those existing in protective, safe environments just cannot understand why there is a need for self protection and property.  They have lots of it and they use their wealth and “norms” which is everyone except themselves. Hello, Hollywood and academia!

This is not to say that all in any one group fall into these categories. It is interesting to note that those who want to disarm us, the people, have no problem hiring armed body guards to protect them. If you are interested in the expanded version of this you can google Gus Coty Jr. or go to  Hurry though, as the First Amendment will be the second to go after the Second.

Happy  hunting!

Keith Babcock



Last Updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012 22:56

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