There was lots of news to sift through after a busy week/weekend….so in no particular order- here is this week’s Political Trough.
Daines renews call for VA Secretary Shinseki to resign. Did the VA lose a bunch of records from Kalispell, Montana? The endorsement roundup in the US House race. Schweitzer is back with Bill Maher on HBO. Car tracking data raises concerns in Montana, and much more is included below.
National Shooting Sports Foundation Offers $100,000 to Colleges for Shooting Teams and Clubs
NSSF is making a total of $100,000 in grants available to public and private colleges for start-ups of new target-shooting clubs and teams.
Up to $10,000 will be awarded to each qualifying school. Grant guidelines and applications are available at www.nssf.org/college.
All new cars sold in the United States will have data recorders that track the vehicle’s activities starting this fall, and all that data is raising privacy concerns in Montana.
“This information’s being instantly uploaded to the manufacturers about what your doing in your vehicle, where you’re at, how fast you’re going. It can be almost unlimited,” said state Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, a Republican from Billings.
RealClearPolitics- Maher: Why Were Conservatives Okay With Government Up Until Five Years Ago?
(Note to Maher- they weren’t)
MAHER: I know, but you don’t think there is any racial element in this?
CONWAY: In Cliven Bundy? Yes.
MAHER: And these people who are his followers?
CONWAY: They want to get rid of white Republicans, too.
MAHER: Somehow just five years ago, everything was going great until then, until Obama got elected, and then suddenly we have to overthrow the government.
Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) joined Maher on the program. Click the link above to view the video.
Lee Newspapers: Endorsement roundup in the US House race
Click link above for the full list of endorsements made in the US House race in Montana.
While the rest of us were outraged about the stories involving the VA…is this the quote that the Dems were freaking out about?
From MSNBC: The ‘anti-science party’
In a little-noticed 2012 interview, Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the front-runner in Montana’s open 2014 Senate race, expressed support for teaching creationism in public schools.
In an interview that aired on November 2, 2012, Sally Mauk, news director for Montana Public Radio, asked Daines, who was then running for Montana’s lone House seat, whether public schools should teach creationism. Daines responded, “What the schools should teach is, as it relates to biology and science is that they have, um, there’s evolution theory, there’s creation theory, and so forth. I think we should teach students to think critically, and teach students that there are evolutionary theories, there’s intelligent-design theories, and allow the students to make up their minds. But I think those kinds of decisions should be decided at the local school board level.” He added, “Personally I’d like to teach my kids both sides of the equation there and let them come up to their own conclusion on it.”
U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., met with area officials in Sidney Wednesday to discuss ways to combat crime in the Bakken oilfield.
The largest issues, identified by Sidney Chief of Police Frank DiFonzo, were drug crimes and lack of resources.
A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in attendance agreed drugs crimes in the Bakken have increased. The agent said in the last three years, methamphetamine found in Montana has been 80 to 100 percent pure, and most likely from Mexico.
The Hill: Lawmakers seeking promotions miss votes
Other Senate candidates who have missed fewer than 10 votes this year are Reps. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), who has launched a gubernatorial bid, has missed only one roll call.
Daines noted that he had been in business for 28 years before being elected and that experience helps him multi-task.
Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.), who replaced Max Baucus in February, hasn’t missed any. There have been 157 roll call votes in the Senate this year.
Fox News First: TEAM OBAMA WARNED ON VETS SCANDAL IN 2008
WashTimes: “The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal. Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting. ‘This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care,’ the officials wrote. The briefing materials, obtained by The Washington Times through the Freedom of Information Act, make clear that the problems existed well before Mr. Obama took office, dating back at least to the Bush administration.”
VA AND IRS SCANDAL RESPONSES MORE THAN A SMIDGEON ALIKE
Feel like you’ve seen this movie before? We are told that the president is angry and White House officials are touting a high-level firing – but the firing isn’t a firing and the anger doesn’t seem to translate into action. The Obama administration scandal maintenance playbook might need an update for the growing outrage over mistreatment of veterans at government hospitals, but so far the approach seems nearly identical to the White House strategy a year ago in combating the revelation that the IRS had targeted the president’s political enemies. On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told CBS News that his boss was “madder than hell. In May 2013, President Obama said “Americans are right to be angry about [IRS targeting], and I am angry about it.” In the same speech the president announced the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. It turned out, though, that Miller was planning to leave his post the next month anyway. Now, the administration is talking tough about the “resignation” of Dr. Robert Petzel as the VA’s second in command was announced. Guess what? Petzel was already slated to retire. It took only nine months for the president to go from surprised anger to laughing assurances that there wasn’t “even a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS. While the president’s rage was abating over the abuse of his political detractors, his team was working hard to knock down and muddy the story. This time, good luck with that. When the victims are veterans rather than conservative activists, it will be much harder to convince Democrats to blow off evidence of corruption.
The Neuroscience and Spine Institute in Kalispell was asked to provide the Veterans Administration’s Montana Health Care System copies of roughly 686 medical records due to a computer glitch, something a VA spokesman declined to confirm.
Excerpt from Press Release: DAINES RENEWS CALL FOR SHINSEKI RESIGNATION AND CONTINUES PUSH FOR VA REFORM
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following today’s resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Congressman Steve Daines renewed his call for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.
Petzel testified alongside Shinseki yesterday before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to answer questions about treatment delays recently blamed for the death of 40 veterans in the Phoenix, Ariz. VA system.
“Secretary Shinseki failed to provide adequate answers for the VA’s persistent delays and chronic mismanagement of care for our veterans at yesterday’s hearing. Three weeks is too long to wait for a report while veterans are dying on secret waiting lists. We need accountability now,” Daines said. “Replacing Secretary Shinseki won’t fix all of the VA’s problems, but it will be the first step towards changing the culture of the VA to one that treats veterans with the honor, dignity, and respect that they have earned in their service to our nation.”
“Secretary Shinseki runs the VA and is ultimately responsible for its actions. I think at this point, the secretary should be held accountable for what’s happened on his watch. Those who have been in the military know the commander has great authority and with authority comes responsibility, therefore the commander is held responsible when things go wrong. I don’t see this any differently.” – Montana veteran and American Legion member George Blackard
Breitbart.com- Tapper: How Many Dead Veterans Do You Need
After McDonough argued that the VA is working on fixing the problems within its system Tapper asked “How many stories like this, how many letters like this, how many dead veterans do you need before somebody asks the question within the White House ‘Maybe this guy isn’t the best steward of these veterans’?”
— Aaron Flint (@aaronflint) May 16, 2014