Wednesday Quicktakes

Here’s what you need to know today in Montana politics.

What are they afraid of?

The Utah Catholic Conference and Utah’s Catholic bishops have been strong and vocal supporters of expanding Medicaid in Utah for years.

The Most Reverend, Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester, head of Utah’s 300,000 Catholics has chastised state legislators in his state. He’s asked why in “a state that proudly proclaims its pro-life beliefs,” the lawmakers are “frittering away” the chance to expand Medicaid.

“Right now an opportunity to protect the dignity and sanctity of human life in Utah is being squandered by legislators who refuse to act in a morally responsible manner,” the Rev. John C. Wester wrote in the Intermountain Catholic, a weekly newspaper published by the Salt Lake Diocese. “Utah cannot proclaim itself a pro-life state so long as it refuses to provide access to basic health care coverage to a significant portion of its citizens.”

Yet Montana’s Catholic Diocese has done nothing to help Montanans in need except put out this statement in an email. They have not spoken to the press, they have not spoken in hearings.    Perhaps they should listen to Utah’s Bishop:

“While it may make us uncomfortable at times, we are required to speak in the public square and be a voice for the poor, the marginalized and the voiceless. Tens of thousands of Utahns will be impacted by the health care debate…I choose to support the Healthy Utah plan.”–Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake

The Helena Diocese has what only the most charitable would call a major image problem. You would think they would be eager to start discussing something people actually like about Catholics–concern for the poor.  Instead, I’m sure their lobbyist is up at the capitol trying to gut funding for birth control.  Because if there’s one thing poor families need it’s having children before they can afford to – right?


2Legit Episode 8 is Out

It’s Time to Stop Making Citizens Pay the Oil and Gas Industry’s Share

If you’ve been following the Montana legislature, you know there are needs across our state and especially in eastern Montana that should be receiving something in return for the big bucks out-of-state oil and gas companies get when they take out finite resources and ruin our roads and pastures.

That’s where Sen. Christine Kaufmann’s SB 374 comes in.  Her op ed in the Great Falls Tribune includes some great comparisons about what the money could have done for Montana if we hadn’t given it away to multi-national companies.

The tax breaks to oil companies in 2014 alone could have instead funded any one of the following:

 Over a third of the projected costs for maintaining roads in eastern Montana as a result of increased traffic from heavy equipment in the area.

 The critical services provided to victims of domestic violence and their families through the 22 shelters in Montana for six years.

 The state’s costs in addressing disaster and emergency services for 20 years.

 The state’s budget for veteran services and their families for 15 years; or

 Three-fourths of the annual state budget for the Montana Highway Patrol.

The revenue Montana lost between 2008 and 2014 could have supported seven years of Early Edge, an investment to ensure Montana’s children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

You can learn more about the oil and gas giveaways here, from the Montana Budget and Policy Center’s latest report.




27 Comments on "Wednesday Quicktakes"

  1. The easy answer is the IRS.

    Very fine letter. Thank you for the link.

    • You can’t be serious. So when “Christians” engage in political discourse to say, shame women or crusade against civil rights, that’s a-okay? But actually advocating for something (Medicaid expansion) that could not more perfectly embody what Christianity purportedly stands for, is out of order?

      Shame on you and the 10 sociopaths in the House Human services committee who clearly failed Christian Conservatism 101.

  2. So the IRS allows Utah to lobby but not Montana- not likely. Try again.

  3. Every c-3 is allowed to lobby per federal law- no state is excluded.

    • From the IRS link above. In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying). A 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status. I would imagine each 501 (c)(3) picks its battle with an eye to crossing the line.

      Help me out here, what part of the letter’s contents is objectionable as against the medicaid cause? IMHO, instead of attacking Montana’s dioceses for not openly and forcefully lobbying, I would have thought embracing their joint letter would have been the better course and give the letter visibility. As it stands once again lefty-blogs create enemies out of potential allies.

    • There are no 501 3 (c) lobbying at the legislature because those organization’s can’t support or oppose legislation. You probably are seeing 501 c-4, which I think can speak on certain bills.

  4. So these guys are going to spend their lobbying time fighting birth control instead if helping people after their born- got it.

  5. Hell, you never know. If Catholics start fighting for the underclasses, Democrats might follow, actually do more than phone it in.

    • What happens when notable Dems are fightin’ Catholics?

      • I hate getting caught up in this stuff. Democrats sold us all down the river with ACA, killing single payer (arresting those who protested against Baucus), killing a public option, and probably knowing on some higher level that SCOTUS would ditch Medicaid and leave us all hanging with a private mandate.

        Now the mouthpieces, surely on Instruction, are harping on Medicaid as a distraction device to draw attention away from the party that, when given a historic opportunity for fix our health care system, sold us out to the Insurance Cartel.

        Medicaid matters, but in the hands of Democrats is just another rhetorical tool, a way to keep their followers off balance.

        • BULLSHIT Mr.! The repuglican party has been at the destruction of the middle class for years-even before the dipshit actor became president. They have sought to undo Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and in the process destroyed affordable healthcare by allowing big Pharma and the medical industry lobbyists to control our access to healthcare and to any form of cost control. The repuglicans have stacked the deck against any progress in containment of healthcare by their insane belief that the great capitalist idea of competition in the marketplace will reduce the costs. Works very well in the military/industrial business mode now, doesn’t it?
          The single payer option was DOA even before ACA was even being considered-we can’t put all of those insurance terrorists (I mean employees), give pink slips to all of the bean counters, legal beagles that work for collection agencies, etc., out of a job now can we?

          • The single payer option was not dead, and enjoyed majority public support, but not the support of those who finance the campaigns of Democrats. That’s why Baucus killed it. He was working for AHIP, and screwed the public. Obama promised to support a hugely popular public option when running, and then claimed he’d never said that, and he too screwed the public.

            Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare have been under attack since inception. Republicans do us the favor of full-frontal attacks, easy to defeat. Democrats prefer the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ method, and stealth. All fo us on SS enjoy much smaller benefits today thanks to Democrats, working with Republicans, of course.

            Prior to the Monica scandal Clinton had in place a program to privatize Social Security and put it all in Wall Street accounts. It had gone so far that they had even factored in the number of digits in each account number for keypunching purposes.

            It is covered in the article “How Monica Saved Social Security,” by Robin Blackburn, excerpted form his book, Banking on Death, which I have it you’d like to read it.


            • On what basis do you make the claim that a majority of the public supported single payer? This particular article indicates that is not, and has not been, the case.


              • You can do a search engine as well as I, and if you follow polls over the years you’ll find that single payer hasenjoyed huge popularity throughout the 20th century and into this one, and still does.

                You will find some clinkers in the 2009 timeframe, but those polls were usually of the push variety, attempting to educate and poll at once, asking a question like “If you knew that rats would eat your grandmother if we had single payer, would you support it?” Politicians use those kinds of poll on any issue, but they should not be trusted.

                That is where negative polls came from. Straight polling without pushing always yield 59% or more approval.

                • With nary one example. Go figure.

                • Why, in the age of search engines, do I Have to go out and deliver search engine results? It’s out there for anyone with a curious mind, but you do have to use your brain.

                  But here ya go, dullards.


                  • Hate to break it to you, Mark, but your link supports exactly what SYJ11 wrote, that the majority favor universal affordable *insurance*.

                    • You could try reading it.

                    • Already did. The question is, did you?

                      Almost everyone of those polls asked about a national “health insurance” program, which frankly, the ACA is. What they did *not* ask was about a single payer coverage system, where health car is actually free to the consumer having been paid for by taxes. I don’t expect that you would get the ‘nuance’ there, but someone as committed as you are to how stupid Americans are certainly should see the difference. You are manipulating questions to favor your view as if everyone understands the matter in the same way you do. They don’t.

                    • (And just for the record, smart guy, it’s not very intelligent talking smack about websites which ban people for disruption (speaking truth when you do it) when you’ve done the same thing at your own site to multiple users. It’s entirely retarded (in the true sense of the word) to do so when you still maintain your ‘right’ to comment at a website you’ve been banned at multiple times.)

                    • Well, Rob: In case you missed it Mark has sworn off commenting here or on any other Montana forum and has taken to deleting comments ala lizard, et al. Pathetic, really: his acceptance of self-divinity the final petard on which he has hoist his sacred heart.

                  • Oh, I haven’t missed it. He personally reached out to tell me how important he is, and how important I am that I am not allowed to engage with him.

                • Most curious is that with such a huge pool of potential support for reform, Democrats chose to ignore it and instead subsidizes the private health insurance regime.

                  It is not curious to me, as I Understand the effects of money in politics and the depth of our corruption, but you should ask yourselves why, in 2009, with popular support, control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, Democrats took the opportunity to avoid reform and instead stuck it to us. Why? Why? P

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