Political Trough: Why Would Dems Allow a Logging Bill Now?

There must be something in the school lunches up there in North Toole County, Montana…we’ll get to that story at the end of this week’s Political Trough.  Plus, is Elf on a Shelf really some NSA conspiracy?  Oh yeah, and check out Dr. Edwin Berry of Bigfork take on the “chemtrail” conspiracy theorists. There’s a battle brewing over alcohol regulations in Montana.  And, Senate Dems lose their bench.  Those stories and more are below. 

But first…why would Democrats allow a pro-logging bill to pass the US Senate and possibly get the President’s signature in the next session of Congress?  I mean, they already got their golden prize during the lame duck session with the inclusion of more wilderness land being locked up in Montana for the first time in over 30 years…if you didn’t get it in that package, why would they give it to you now?  (Hopefully they’ll prove me wrong) 

Lee Newspapers: Daines lays out ambitious GOP agenda for Congress – but says he’s a `pragmatic conservative’

Montana’s next U.S. senator, Republican Steve Daines, says the new GOP-controlled Congress will have an active agenda next year, such as taking on “Obamacare,” passing a balanced budget, blocking costly federal regulations and approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

He says he’s also working on a new bill to increase logging on all of Montana’s national forests and hinder lawsuits by “fringe groups that don’t represent the majority of Montanans.”

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who has a bill that includes more logging and wilderness on three national forests in the state, said Monday through his office he wasn’t aware of Daines’ new effort.

How long before Tester starts playing the victim card? 


Meanwhile, as Sen. Tester now focuses his efforts on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s 2016 fundraising, Roll Call features a photo of Tester on top of this story:  House Democratic Losses Deplete Bench of 2016 Senate Recruits

Sweeping House losses have not only pushed Democrats into a historic minority, they’ve depleted the bench of potential Senate recruits for the 2016 elections.

Back in the Montana Legislature…

Flathead Beacon: Battle Brewing Over Alcohol Regulations

Last week one of the main industry players — the Montana Beer and Wine Distributors — announced their separation from a statewide coalition that included members of the Montana Tavern Association and Montana Brewers Association. The group has been trying to patch up relations and find common ground after a big blowup in the 2013 session.

The bill, referred to as the “license stacking bill,” would allow breweries to purchase a retail license to sell beer and liquor while also allowing retail on-premise locations, like bars, to purchase a brewery license and brew their own beer.

“I believe raising the barrel limit is a much better solution to allow Montana breweries to grow their production without losing their ability to operate a taproom,” Brian Smith, managing partner of Blackfoot River Brewing Co., in Helena, said in a press release announcing the distributors’ separation from the coalition.

Since the topic of sexual assaults on campus has been a big discussion back here in Montana, I thought it would be worthwhile to share the below remarks from National Review’s Jim Geraghty after he read this Washington Post piece.  

Geraghty’s response:

Write about this topic, and you’re almost certainly going to be accused of insufficient empathy to victims of sexual assault. So let’s begin by state everyone who suffers sexual violence deserves care, comfort and justice, and every guilty perpetrator deserves punishment.

But I have a hard time understanding why a victim of sexual violence would have no problem reporting a crime to collegiate authorities but simultaneously hesitate to report it to law enforcement. Because law enforcement has everything it needs to handle this sort of crime (at least in theory). I’ll bet in just about every city and college town, the local police force has investigated and prosecuted sexual assault cases in the past. They have the tools. They have the experienced investigators. They have the forensics teams. They have crime labs. They have handcuffs and guns to handle violent suspects. They usually have strong relationships with local hospitals and medical facilities. They have district attorneys and prosecutors. Responding to these sorts of crimes is their job.

If you have been wronged and victimized in such a fundamental way, why would you entrust the cause of justice to a bunch of university administrators who quite possibly have every incentive to sweep it under the rug?

Geraghty also had a great writeup concerning Australian officials and some in the media who just couldn’t summon the courage to simply call Islamic Terrorism what it is…here’s what he had to say in his Monday newsletter: 

Guys. Guys. If an armed perpetrator brings a black flag with Islamic writing to a hostage situation, and makes the hostages hold it up in the windows so the media can see it . . . it isn’t to protest against the Islamic State or Islamic extremism. He’s not a confused Oakland Raider fan who really likes cursive writing.

Maybe the guy couldn’t stop by the Islamic State Merchandising Shop on his way to the hostage site. Maybe he’s not detail-oriented. But Occam’s Razor would suggest that a guy who makes hostages hold up an Islamic flag so the media can see it is acting in the name of an Islamist agenda.

I wish it were in print somewhere other than my e-mail inbox, but it is not.  However; you can sign up too by clicking here.

As an Islamic terrorist was taking hostages at a café in Sydney…this is what was being talked about back in the US.  

The Hill’s Sunday morning show wrap-up:

Cheney: Real torture was murders on 9/11  “Torture is what the al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” he said.  http://ow.ly/FRG2I

Schumer: Warren is not like Cruz  “Elizabeth Warren is constructive. She’s not like Ted Cruz,” he said.  http://ow.ly/FRw9v

Politico Playbook Monday: DATA OF THE DAY

“$1tn cost of longest US war [Afghanistan],” by FT’s Geoff Dyer and Chloe Sorvino: “80 per cent of that spending on the Afghanistan conflict has taken place during the presidency of Barack Obama.” http://on.ft.com/1zV6ORL

Politico’s Playbook Tuesday: –70 years ago today

World War II’s Battle of the Bulge began. Per the History Channel, “On December 16 [1944], three German armies (more than a quarter-million troops) launched the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war in the west in the poorly roaded, rugged, heavily forested Ardennes” to Antwerp, Belgium. http://bit.ly/1zkEnwA On Dec. 20, 1944, the lead article of the N.Y. Times – with the subhead, “OUR MEN CONFIDENT” — called it “by far the greatest battle in American history.” http://nyti.ms/1wE6Dbd

Remember the outrage from Hollywood after hackers attacked the US Department of Defense?  Or, what about the outrage from Hollywood after national security secrets were leaked by Edward Snowden?  Oh wait, I believe Hollywood made movies about and glorified both ordeals.  But now Hollywood is mad…    

Hollywood producer (of tv show West Wing declare a monument in Montana through the Antiquities Act fame) Aaron Sorkin writes this for The New York Times: Journalists Shouldn’t Help the Sony Hackers

THREE weeks ago Sony Pictures Entertainment was the victim of a massive cyberattack by an outlaw group calling itself the Guardians of Peace. They breached Sony’s security and stole tens of thousands of internal documents and emails.

Then they left a threat. The Guardians said they were going to make these private documents public if the studio went ahead with its planned release of “The Interview,” a comedy with Seth Rogen and James Franco in which the two are tasked by the Central Intelligence Agency to whack the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

If you close your eyes you can imagine the hackers sitting in a room, combing through the documents to find the ones that will draw the most blood. And in a room next door are American journalists doing the same thing. As demented and criminal as it is, at least the hackers are doing it for a cause. The press is doing it for a nickel.

ICYMI- this post has been out for a few days…but it sure is fun to see Bigfork’s Dr. Edwin Berry take on the chemtrail conspiracy theorists (Vinnie- feel free to jump in on the comments section…ha)

PolyMontana.com: Chemtrail Delusions vs Scientific Method

On the left, we have global warming believers. On the far right, we have chemtrail believers. It gets worse. Read on.

The fact is contrails are well understood in atmospheric science. Contrails persist longer when the air at their altitude is more humid and cold enough to cause water droplets to turn to ice. Spreading is dependent upon natural turbulence.

In fact, most people first believe what they want to believe and then reject facts that disagree with their belief. Thus, they never progress beyond their false beliefs.

Now….to end on a good note.  I don’t know if there’s simply something in the school lunches up there in North Toole County, or what- but the school kids in Sunburst, Montana seem to be in the news for a different award every week.  Check this out from the MT Chamber of Commerce: NORTH TOOLE COUNTY CROWNED WINNERS

       The fall semester of the High School Business Challenge wrapped up this week and saw North Toole County (Sunburst) High School take first place with a stock price of $94.15/share.  Students from this team will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.
       Whitefish High School came in second place and each team member will receive a $500 scholarship.  Rounding out the top three is Hamilton High School and each team member will receive a $250 scholarship.
       A team from Terry High School will also receive $250 scholarship each as a reward for the highest gain in stock price between quarters 4 and 8.  Bonner Middle School was the ‘lottery’ winner, a random team drawn from all teams in the top 25 percentile.  These students will also receive $250 scholarships.  Congratulations to these students, and their instructors, on all of their hard work.
       Thank you to all those who participated and all of those who continue to support this program.  Stay tuned as the Spring 2015 semester will launch on February 18.
       Thank you to new sponsors this week: CEO level – Davidson Companies; Manager level – ExxonMobil and Vistage Billings; and Shareholder level – Sherry Cladouhos and Power Townsend.
       You can still make contributions even though the fall semester has concluded.  Go to MtHSBC.com or contact Stacye Dorrington, HSBC Coordinator at 888-442-MONT (6668) ext. 100 or Stacye@MontanaChamber.com.
       You can also support business education via the Kelly Kuntz Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of our friend and former Board member.  Contributions may be made online at: Events.MontanaChamber.com/?ee=104.  If by mail or in person, please make check payable to: Montana Chamber Foundation, with memo to: Kelly Kuntz Memorial Scholarship Fund and deliver/mail to: 900 Gibbon/PO Box 1162, Helena, MT 59624-1162.

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