Caught My Eye…

If it’s Friday then it’s “Caught My Eye!” Congrats on making it to Friday! School is just about finished in Montana – so be careful out there.

NOTICE: It’s the first Friday in June and that means it is National Doughnut Day!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted right here every Friday morning! This is when I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. I often throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or both.

Today I write about the D-Day anniversary, 18 veterans died, fixing the VA, the Vote Vets Ad, swift-boating, Bowe Bergdahl, Montana Political Practices, Tester, Walsh, Daines, Zinke, plus we have a repeat winner who is Making Montana Proud!

D-Day Anniversary:

Today is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion. (Source)

I salute those who took part in the invasion and their families.

I saw a tweet from U.S. Senator Jon Tester yesterday saying, “Tonight Sharla and I will fly to France to honor the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy.” A press release from Tester’s senate office said, “Tester is part of a bipartisan Congressional Delegation that will attend ceremonies on Friday to honor the American and Allied troops that stormed the beaches along the French coastline.”

Good for him. Send me a photo…

18 Veterans:

The Los Angeles Times is reporting this morning that 18 veterans on the waiting list at the Phoenix VA died.

Our country is really letting our veterans down.

Senators Bernie Sanders and John McCain have reached a deal to “fix” the VA according to a report from The Hill. The bill to fix the VA is slated to cost $2 billion, and it authorizes the construction of 27 new VA facilities in 18 states, plus “$500 million in money already authorized for the VA toward hiring new doctors and nurses.”

That money could be better used in paying for veterans to use healthcare facilities in their home towns.

Vote Vets Ad:

The Vote Vets Action Fund released a pro-Walsh ad called “Tough” in which a Montana mother of nine (six are Marines) says Steve Daines hurts military families. You can watch the ad HERE.

I am probably one of the few people who actually reads the information on the screen in political ads. This ad shows on the screen the words, “Steve Daines Against Troop Raises” and “Steve Daines Against Improving Veterans’ Health Services.” They cite a house bill HR 3547 and the date the vote was taken was 01/15/2014.

So like a good blogger, I did some checking. The bill passed 359-67. Steve Daines was one of the 67 voting no. It was one of those bills that was heavily amended. It also passed the senate 72-26 with Senators Baucus/Tester voting for it. It is now public law.

The bill ended up being a consolidated appropriations bill to fund government agencies like the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. In the political world you can get 100 political ads from this bill if you vote no and 100 if you vote yes.

If the Daines’ camp wants to explain his no vote on a bill that 82% of Congress supported, my e-mail is western_word@yahoo.com.

Veterans’ Vote:

We are now in General Election season mode. Here in Big Sky Country there are over 100,000 veterans and we vote. Many of us are independents.

I would caution candidates, their staffers, and supporters to stay away from the swift-boat style attacks on veterans like U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke (R) and U.S. Senate candidate John Walsh (D).

These two retired military veterans devoted their lives to protect our freedom and liberty. They deserve the utmost respect for that.

Ironically, many of these attacks come from people who were, in my opinion, not brave enough to serve their country in the United States Armed Forces.

We’ll be watching…

Bowe Bergdahl:

Although I wrote about this earlier in the week (my column is now on Yahoo) it’s worth a few more comments.

In my column I said, “The circumstances surrounding his capture and his release deserve to be investigated” and they still do, but some of the right wingers need to calm down. Let this play out and let him be interviewed. Some of the commentary coming from cable news, especially Fox News, is just plain bat-crap crazy.

I tweeted yesterday that “Now would be a good time for some folks to read Army Regulation 630–10 which deals with AWOL & Desertion & Defection.”

MT Political Practices:

The Associated Press reported, “An interim legislative panel considered a bill Thursday that would require the governor to choose a commissioner of political practices from a list of nominees.”

Good grief. Interim committees are nothing but a tool for Montana state legislators to make a little extra money and to keep them in the spotlight during the year when the legislature does not meet.

To have effective refereeing of campaigns in Montana, you will need to basically kill the present system. I’ve said before “As commissioner you are appointed by a politician (Governor) and voted on by politicians (state senate) to oversee political campaigns. Something just seems funny about that…”

The new idea is to bring more politicians into the selection process. Goofy.

Selecting someone for the position who is non-partisan would be best. Political donations, party affiliation, employed by a politician, etc., should all be reasons for disqualification.

I also think a three-person panel might be better. The three commissioners and extra staff can be paid for in part by terminating the interim committees and using that money. They could also have political parties pay out the teeth to be a qualified political party in the state – and they could add steep fees for political groups to register in the state.

Making Montana Proud:

This section is where I mention people or groups whose actions embarrass Montana in some way.

-From the Billings Gazette: The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered suspension and public censure for District Judge G. Todd Baugh, of Billings, who during a sentencing said a 14-year-old rape victim appeared older than her chronological age.

This is Baugh’s second time on the Making Montana Proud list.

Baugh will be suspended for 31 days at the end of his term in December since he is retiring – and so he will be able to get a head start on Christmas shopping. The public censure will take place July 1.

This is a little more than a slap on the wrist. In fact it’s a joke and the Montana Supreme Court should be ashamed of their punishment.

One More Thing:

Don’t Forget to Stretch…

 

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