Caught My Eye…

It’s Friday – need I say more? Buckle up!

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

Today I provide valuable independent commentary about Dark Money & Religious Freedom in the Montana Legislature, Bowe Bergdahl, Ted Cruz, Harry Reid, a special obituary, plus I share a couple emails from my political inbox!

Dark Money:

A tip of the hat to the Montana House for endorsing SB 289, which would revise campaign finance laws by requiring more disclosure of campaign donations. (Source)

It was even bipartisan! The people who are against the bill seem to be the most extreme conservatives. Like I said before, I’ve read SB 289 several times. I like it. If I were a legislator, I would vote for it. It’s not perfect, but it is a start.

Montanans deserve to know who is spending the money to defeat or promote a candidate. The reporting of who donated for or against a candidate or issue should be super simple these days. The reporting of donations should be within 24 hours.

I don’t sweat the limits on donations that much as long as we can quickly see who is donating.

Religious Freedom:

According to the Associated Press (AP) a referendum was proposed by the Montana House of Representatives that basically asked voters if they want additional religious protections in Montana’s constitution. The proposal would give people a right to challenge state laws they say burden their freedom to exercise religion.

I have concerns about the bill (HB 615). They did not say from which religious things they needed protection, nor did they say which religion(s) would be on the list that could be burdened. It does not take a scholar to see what the bill is really about. They (thankfully) did not try to define “religion” for us which would open up a whole new debate.

HB 615 should never see the light of day. It will be a slippery slope. Sadly it passed out of the House Judiciary committee on a party-line vote. When a bill passes on a party-line vote, it normally means the bill is not that good.

Bowe Bergdahl:

It was amazing watching the media try to be the first to report about Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s charges – mostly using undisclosed sources. The whole situation has been a circus.

One fact: Bergdahl was charged with misbehavior before the enemy and desertion. The key word in that last sentence is “charged.” He has not been found guilty of anything, so calm down folks. It may be a while (if ever) before anyone gets a pound of flesh.

First an Article 32 hearing (like a grand jury) will meet and review the charges and the evidence. It could end there, or be referred for a court-martial. In my experience with the military justice system it could be a long time. Ultimately, I think it will probably be decided by a plea deal with Bergdahl doing no time and not being able to get compensation for being held captive. He will probably receive a less than honorable discharge and something will be worked out for him to continue to receive treatment for the beatings and torture he suffered in captivity.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz:

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced Monday that he is running for President of the United States in front of a crowd of 11,000 at Liberty University. It was reported that students faced a $10 fine if they did not attend the speech.

Ted Cruz will make the 2016 Presidential race fun to watch. With him being the first candidate to actually announce that he is running, he received a massive amount of press coverage. It was all so perfect – a big crowd, a good speech, showcasing the beautiful family, being first, getting all that coverage, raising some serious dough. Wowser.

We need to be realistic; Ted Cruz will not be the President of the United States. Not in 2016 or probably ever.

I’m excited about watching the “birthers” go after Ted Cruz. Cruz was born in Canada, his mother was born in the United States, and his father was born in Cuba.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid:

U.S. Senator (and minority leader) Harry Reid (D-NV) announced this morning that he would not run for reelection in 2016. You can see his video announcement HERE.

Like it or not, Reid was pretty good at his job which was leading the senate democrats. He is a lot better at being a leader in the senate than Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

I imagine the employees of Fox News are busy making plans for a party this afternoon to celebrate…

The Obituary:

I first saw this on

Captain Donald Alexander Malcolm Jr., 60, died Feb. 28, 2015, nestled in the bosom of his family, while smoking, drinking whiskey and telling lies. He died from complications resulting from being stubborn, refusing to go to the doctor, and raising hell for six decades. Stomach cancer also played a minor role in his demise.

Don cherished family above all else, and was a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He met his future wife, Maureen (Moe) Belisle Malcolm, after months at sea, crab fishing. He found her in his bed and decided to keep her. Their daughter Melissa was born “early” six months later.

You can read the rest of the obituary HERE. RIP Captain!

My Political Inbox:

Besides getting emails telling me that I have been chosen to receive $8.5 million dollars from a widow in a country I can’t pronounce, I receive some interesting emails from other organizations. Let me share a couple:

  • The subject in the line in an email from U.S. Senator Steve Daines made me take notice, “RELEASE: Daines: VA Reforms are Welcome First Step in Ensuring Veterans Receive Needed Car”

Since I am a veteran and my vehicles are getting old, I opened the email quickly. It was supposed to read “…Receive Needed Care.”

  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) sends several messages each week, but the one that contained the subject line, “not asking for money!! (enter our contest)” received my attention. Here is what the winner receives:

Friend — Need a spring vacation? Here’s your chance!

We’re sending one lucky winner and a guest to Montana to spend a day with DSCC Chair Senator Jon Tester on his farm!

Senator Tester’s farm has been in his family for three generations, and every spring he goes home to plant. This April he’s taking a Democratic supporter and their guest along!

If the DSCC would pick someone from Great Falls or Havre, they could probably save money on airfare and a hotel. Just sayin…

One More Thing:

One tell-tale sign of a Wingnut: they always confuse partisanship with patriotism. – John Avlon


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