Would two ballot initiatives in Montana cancel each other out? Is Christianity under attack, even from a former Montana Supreme Court Justice? The Army’s death by 50,000 cuts. And- cattle rise to record highs. That and more is included in the Political Trough below.
Montana Media Trackers: Conflicting Montana Obamacare Ballot Initiatives Bring Potential Legal Chaos
A case of two conflicting laws getting passed by a state’s voters at the same appears to be unprecedented. Neither the Montana Constitution nor the Montana Annotated Code address the issue of conflicting ballot initiatives.
The Medicaid expansion initiative has already had to clear one significant legal hurdle. The Attorney General refused to approve the initial ballot language on constitutional grounds, because it created an “illegal appropriation of funds.” Only the State Legislature may appropriate funds.
Last week, the Obamacare Medicaid expansion language was approved after being amended to state that it would only authorize the expansion of Medicaid, leaving the legislature to decide whether to fund it.
Cattle futures rose to a record as ranchers struggle to boost the U.S. herd from a 63-year low, and hogs climbed to a 34-month high after a virus that kills piglets spread, spurring concerns that meat supplies will shrink.
Beef output in the U.S., the world’s top producer, will fall 5.3 percent this year to 24.35 billion pounds (11.04 million metric tons), the lowest since 1994, the Department of Agriculture has forecast. At the start of this year, the cattle herd fell to 87.7 million head, the lowest since 1951, following drought and high feed costs. Porcine epidemic virus has killed more than 4 million pigs, according to an industry group.
This month, the USDA lowered its 2014 forecast for red-meat production and boosted the outlook for cattle and hog costs. Higher meat prices will raise expenses for retailers, while grocery shoppers will pay as much as 3.5 percent more for meat this year, compared with a 1.2 percent increase in 2013, the government projects.
Here’s an update to a story I brought you earlier this week. I mentioned the story of a Yellowstone Club couple who are being accused of an Olympic-size hoax. Apparently their home is up for sale, according to The Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
McKenna said the couple owns a property that real estate agent Ryan Kulesza has listed for $20 million since October.
Kulesza told the Chronicle he’s selling the mansion for a holding company, Holdings LLC, and can’t confirm that the couple is connected.
“People that watch know they were heavily invested in the area. They’ve spent a lot of time here,” Kulesza said. “They had some races at Lone Mountain Ranch, and I saw on their blog that they had another race down at West Yellowstone that was a qualifier for (the Olympics).”
Also from The Chronicle: Non-discrimination ordinance opponents vent concerns to Bozeman City Commission
Meanwhile, from The Washington Examiner- Poll: Christianity under attack, losing culture war
Conceding that devout Christians are now a minority in America, seven out of 10 Protestant pastors believe that they’re losing the nation’s culture war and 50 percent of Americans believe Christians are under attack, according to a new poll on religion.
LifeWay Research’s poll of 1,001 Americans and 1,007 Protestant pastors revealed that church leaders and regular churchgoers believe they are in the minority and face intolerance and segregation in America for their views from a mainstream populationthat is less religious.
— Matthew Monforton (@monforton4hd69) February 27, 2014
— Aaron Flint (@aaronflint) February 27, 2014
Major General Curry for The Daily Caller: The Army’s death by 50,000 cuts
Defense spending should not be determined by the size of entitlement spending or savings. We should first determine the size of the military forces needed to win, and then match that requirement. If we can’t match it, we shouldn’t be involved in that particular military action in the first place.
America shouldn’ increase or limit the number of soldiers, aircraft, submarines and carriers it deploys around the world based on non-military budgetary matters such as entitlement spending. We should deploy the nation’s armed forces into combat based only on national defense needs, requirements and strategy.
Isn’t it time the Congress learned the lesson that the United States of America — the world’s only Super Power – cannot afford to drastically and arbitrarily down-size its military forces, ever? I say the Congress because The White House, just as it seems determined to work around the Constitution, seems determined to unilaterally disarm the United States.
Great Falls Tribune: Hagel’s budget would preserve ICBM mission
Hagel said the budget will preserve all three legs of the nuclear triad, which includes the intercontinental ballistic missiles located at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
Those investments were not detailed, nor was the force structure and manning levels of the preserved nuclear triad.
Last week, Pentagon officials told the Great Falls Tribune that Hagel’s office directed the Air Force to initiate an environmental assessment to collect information from all three missile bases on the effect of eliminating no more than 50 ICBM silos in determining options for New START treaty reductions, required by February 2018.
Nearly five years after Chrysler terminated his Billings, Mont., Chrysler-Jeep store, along with 788 other dealerships around the country, (Steve) Zabawa believes he is on the threshold of reopening. If it happens, he will be one of a small band of Chrysler dealers in the country to pass from termination to reinstatement to reopening.
The legal sticking point is essentially this: Lithia, which owns 96 stores in 12 states, argues that Chrysler is wrong to put another dealership into its market. Billings has a population of 106,954, according to the 2012 census. Lithia says putting Rimrock’s Chrysler-Jeep store less than a mile away, as Zabawa has proposed, would overcrowd the market, cannibalizing Lithia’s business.
In the West, consumers are accustomed to driving longer distances than in the nation’s more compact markets. Billings draws a vehicle-buying market of 500,000 people scattered on ranches and little towns within 200 miles. The closest sizable market is Bozeman, Mont., population 38,685, a 146-mile drive to the west. The nearest Chrysler dealership to Lithia’s is 87 miles to the south along a two-lane road.