Political Trough: How’s this for Reinforcing Stereotypes?

In case your opinion of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore couldn’t go any lower, he now basically referred to Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle as a coward.  That story is below.  Plus, retired General Paul Vallely , who lives in Bigfork, Montana, says he doesn’t trust the Congressional inquiry into Benghazi.  And, look for Congressman Ryan Zinke to give his reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address during Tuesday’s Voices of Montana statewide radio show.  You’ll find all of those stories in the Political Trough below.  

Plus, why the price of gas is really $1.50 a gallon in Montana.  And, you’d think this Montana state senator would’ve known better than to reinforce the stereotype about pot smokers… 

But first…

Top Tweet: As Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) addresses the Montana Legislature on Monday…

Well…way to reinforce the stereotype. Check out this quote in the Helena IR.

Helena IR: Lawmakers may again be debating marijuana at 2015 Montana Legislature

Marijuana once again will be an issue at the Legislature, with a number of bills anticipated, from possibly decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot to banning medical marijuana.

“I wanted to do a legalization of marijuana bill, but I don’t have the energy,” Sen. Mary Caferro, D-Helena, said.

The only way that quote could have been any worse is if the reporter noted that the senator was questioned in the basement of the capitol while munching on a bag of Doritos…

Johnson Column: Bullock public works plan draws GOP questions

Republicans are wary about the state going further into debt. If Bullock’s bill passes, the state would owe about $14 million annually for 20 years, with less in the first two and last two years.

The subcommittee chair, Rep. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, said he worries that children today will be stuck paying off the bonds until 2037.

“I still have a lot of questions about building long-term debt when we have cash in the bank,” said Cuffe, who called HB5 “a big boggling bill.”

Great Falls Tribune- Medicaid expansion: More than a legislative rerun

This battle might sound like a re-run. A bill to expand Medicaid with the plan under the Affordable Care Act failed in 2013 after a mistaken vote left the bill to die in committee.

One thing the Democrats have pledged to do differently this time is to get the bill moving earlier. In 2013, it didn’t see a committee hearing until March, and was essentially dead by the end of the month.

You may have seen my earlier post that Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) is coming to the Montana state capitol in order to press for a balanced budget amendment at the national level.  Well…

The Hill: Conservatives start new push for ‘balance’ in the Constitution

Conservatives in Congress are reviving the push for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution now that Republicans control both houses of Congress.

GOP lawmakers in both chambers have filed several amendment proposals in the early days of the congressional session, breathing new life into an issue that had faded somewhat from the agenda.

WND.com: Admirals, generals, intel: Benghazi inquest compromised; ‘I think Gowdy has been warned away or threatened’

It was a lack of trust in the congressional investigation of Benghazi that prompted the formation of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi in 2013. The founding members of the CCB were U.S Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, U.S. Navy four-star Adm. James Lyons, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney (all retired) and Accuracy in Media Editor Roger Aronoff.

Vallely told WND that he believes Gowdy “has received much pressure not to get to the truth, and we are now coming to the conclusion that there is no longer any intention in Washington, by the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, to get to the truth.”

“An honest investigation into Benghazi would prove treasonous acts at the very top of the White House and the State Department, and a continuing cover-up in Congress that now involves the Republican leadership and especially House Speaker John Boehner,” Vallely said.

The Daily Inter Lake: ‘Je suis Frank’; how ’bout you?

The week when everyone swore “Je suis Charlie” in order to defend free speech and the free press, I was engaged in an e-mail exchange with a somewhat less noble creature of the “progressive” left who held me in about the same amount of esteem as the Muslim terrorists held the staff of Charlie Hebdo. 
Sadly, my experience over the past 10 years is not the same. Writing a column from a conservative point of view has left me exposed to vitriol, venom and vulgarity more times than I care to remember. Prominent citizens wonder aloud how I could be allowed to write my column and say what I believe. Can’t I be muzzled? Silenced? Stopped?

The pen is mightier than many things, but ignorance is a hard shield to penetrate.


President Barack Obama will call on the new Republican-led Congress to raise taxes on investments and inherited property and to create or expand a range of tax breaks for middle-income families, laying out an opening position in a debate over taxation that both parties see as a potential area of compromise. In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Mr. Obama will propose using revenue generated from the tax increases—which would fall mainly on high-income households—to pay for a raft of new breaks aimed at boosting stagnant incomes for low- and middle-income households. Those initiatives include tripling the child-care tax credit and creating a new credit for families in which both spouses work.

(Grover Norquist says the above will create a 2nd death tax)

Speaking of taxes…

Big Sky Business Journal Hot Sheet: Gas Price is Really $1.50 /gal.

While contemplating the decline in gasoline prices in Montana, motorists should keep in mind that gas priced at $2 a gallon is actually less than it seems. A fourth of that price is actually taxes. Total tax on a gallon of gasoline in Montana is 46.2 cents (and it’s 53 cents for diesel). At 27.8 cents per gallon, Montana has the 21st highest tax on gasoline in the nation. But, nonetheless, the state ranks 16th in terms of how much gas tax is paid per capita (which in 2009 amounted to $545).

PERC: The economics behind America’s shale revolution.

The revitalization of the oil and natural gas sector in the United States can be attributed to a fortunate combination of technological innovation and private property rights. The technological innovation has many parts, but hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is often singled out as a key component. Although fracking has been used since the late 1940s, its recent application with directional and horizontal drilling is helping unlock massive amounts of oil and gas, most of which were previously out of reach.The results are remarkable. From 2007 to 2012, U.S. economic reserves of crude oil increased by 43 percent. During that same period, natural gas reserves grew by more than 30 percent. While the price of oil is closely tied to global oil markets, these increases triggered a sharp decline in the price of natural gas in the United States. Spot prices for natural gas have averaged $3.87 since the beginning of 2009, versus $7.46 for the five years prior. The technical revolution has given rise to an economic one.

THE UNITED STATES IS UNIQUE in that private citizens own a majority of the mineral property. In most other countries, the government retains ownership and control of mineral development. But in the United States, private rights to mineral property evolved to solve disputes over mining, especially on the western frontier. Property rights to oil and gas follow the rule of capture. The rule of capture means that property rights to oil and gas resources are established by bringing them to the surface. The rule often creates an incentive to extract oil and gas more quickly than geophysics dictates is optimal. As a result, a variety of regulatory and contractual solutions were created to address the problems associated with common pool resources such as oil and gas. Regulatory examples include restrictions on the amount of space between wells. Contractual solutions include unitization and communitization agreements, which are contracts between competitors that help to reduce resource waste. Such contractual agreements are widely used, although in some cases parties have weak incentives to enter into the contracts voluntarily.Oil and gas companies usually obtain access to resources by leasing rather than purchasing mineral rights. Historically, leasing allowed companies to sink a vertical well to access the underlying oil and gas through the rule of capture. The rights of neighboring mineral owners were protected by state regulations on offsets and well spacing.

Directional drilling introduces a new set of property rights questions. A directional well could, in theory, infringe on neighboring mineral rights by crossing a property line—even thousands of feet underground. However, when oil and gas wells are permitted by state oil and gas commissions, proof of lease is required for all minerals accessed. Such permit requirements help drillers avoid trespass with the drill bit.The fracking process itself creates new property rights issues to consider. Because fractures are necessary to crack the rocks and release the oil and gas, the chance of trespass seems endemic. A fracture could easily extend across a property line and access neighboring resources. And although unconventional reservoirs are less permeable than conventional reservoirs, the oil and gas resources are still fugitive once they are accessed by fractures. Microseismic surveys help engineers and geologists understand how fractures are created, but this information is typically used to improve frac design rather than resolve trespass disputes. Because the interpretation of microseismic data is not indisputable, courts have so far opted to continue applying the rule of capture for fracking, citing a 2010 Texas Supreme Court decision. – See more at: http://perc.org/articles/frackonomics#sthash.QEDs1h0G.dpuf

The Sidney Herald- Zinke: Sugar beet industry is economic engine

Montana is one of the leading producers of sugar beets in the nation. We have tens of thousands of acres dedicated to the crop, average annual revenues of $50 million, plus millions more to the local communities that support the industry through operations like processing and transportation, our sugar beet industry is an economic engine for the region.

Sugar beets are the second leading source of sucrose, but Montana sugar beet products aren’t solely enjoyed in sweets and confections. Sugar beets are processed into feed for our cattle, hogs and other livestock, helping support Montana’s entire ag economy.

Now, I have to apologize- but after a sweet article like that…we’ll end up leaving you with a bad taste after you read this: 

The Daily Caller: Michael Moore Slams ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle As A ‘Coward’

Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore is not a fan of “American Sniper.”

The biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle directed by Clint Eastwood and staring Bradley Cooper is setting box office records, and the “Sicko” director is not too happy about that.

Taking to his Twitter account, Moore wrote, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

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