Caught My Eye…

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. – Winston Churchill

Welcome to Friday and “Caught My Eye” (CME). If you are a first-time visitor, CME is posted here every Friday morning. This column is where 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 snarkiness to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – maybe both.

Today’s topics include Montana GOP vs Montana Attorney General, Tester & the Iran Nuclear Agreement, letters of apology, Hillary’s email server, plus we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud!

Montana GOP vs Montana Attorney General:

The Associated Press (AP) reported this week that the Montana Republican Party filed a motion accusing the state attorney general’s office of misconduct related to the party’s lawsuit to close primary elections.

For those of you not playing the Montana political game at home, the Montana Attorney General, Tim Fox, is a Republican. Fox is the one and only bright spot for the Montana Republicans in state government.

The reason for the motion is the GOP seeks to remove Deputy Attorney General Jon Bennion, a Republican, from the case and wants any documents related to a phone call between him and party executive director Chris Shipp.

In other words, the Montana Republican Party is doing what they do best: beating up on their own people.

It was reported that Republican Party attorney Jim Brown said, “It’s certainly nothing personal.” I don’t believe that for a minute. There’s a group of extreme Republicans who want to exclude moderates from voting in primary elections. It does not matter who they run over to get their way.

Bennion is one of the good people in Montana Republican circles. He does not deserve this crap. I will leave it at that.

Tester & the Iran Nuclear Agreement:

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) announced Thursday afternoon that he was supporting the Iran nuclear agreement. If you’re one of my followers on Twitter (@TheWesternWord) then you would have been one of the first to know.

Last month I said that I like parts of it and I am concerned about other parts, but the bottom line is the deal keeps Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. It will be interesting watching how the vote goes in Congress.

Tester issued a statement in which he said:

After reading the agreement, consulting with experts and listening to Montanans, it’s clear this deal is the only option right now to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. This agreement isn’t built on trust — it’s about holding Iran accountable through intrusive inspections and aggressive monitoring. If Iran violates this agreement, all options are on the table to ensure the security of America, Israel and our allies.

I appreciate the way Tester went about making this decision. Maybe he was for it all the time, but he at least he gave the appearance of actually doing some research and asking several experts about it. He posted a link to the agreement on his website and asked for comments from Montanans.

The other two members of the Montana Congressional delegation (U.S. Senator Steve Daines & U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke, both Republicans) seemed to be against the agreement before they even read it. Daines and Zinke also gave the appearance that they were against it because a Democrat in the White House negotiated it. I was disappointed in the way they went about it.

The Great Falls Tribune is asking readers if they agree with Tester regarding his decision to support the Iran deal. Click HERE to vote in their poll.

Write a Check & Letters of Apology:

The Cascade County Attorney’s Office under the direction of John Parker has had several problems in the past few years.

According to reports in the Great Falls Tribune and on KRTV’s website, this week District Court Judge Greg Pinski ordered the Cascade County Attorney’s Office to pay more than $1,200 in attorney fees to the Office of Public Defenders. They also have to write several letters of apology to the court, to the jurors involved in the trial, to the defendant, and to their attorney. This is all because an unlicensed attorney in the county attorney’s office played a role in the prosecution of two felony cases.

According to reports, the letters of apology must be completed within seven days or the Judge said he would begin contempt proceedings.

That $1200 is taxpayer money that now cannot be used to prosecute criminals. As for seven days to write a few letters of apology, with how that office has been operating recently, that may be a monumental task.

Making Montana Proud:

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

From the Missoulian: A 31-year-old Missoula man (Ryan Alexander Payne) was arrested late Tuesday night after he allegedly locked himself in the trunk of a 2001 BMW he broke into. As for an excuse, he initially told responding officers that he fell into the trunk of the car…

You fall into a well or a hole or a ditch, but falling into a trunk – C’mon man!

This story has been posted on websites around the world. Congrats to Payne for Making Montana Proud!

Hillary’s Server:

Now that Hillary Clinton has turned over her email server to the Justice Department, it will be great to see everyone get back to the real issues…

I was just joking about getting back to the real issues. The Republicans have found an issue and it won’t be going away anytime soon. You know it’s a big problem when the Clinton campaign’s Communication Director, Jennifer Palmieri, sends a 700 word email explaining the facts about Hillary Clinton’s emails. I subscribe to updates from candidates from both sides of the fence and I received the email from Palmieri.

Palmieri closed her email with this statement:

The bottom line: Look, this kind of nonsense comes with the territory of running for president. We know it, Hillary knows it, and we expect it to continue from now until Election Day.

The Republicans will sell the “nonsense” as a major issue. It looks like one angle is saying she sent classified information from her private email. This is one thing the campaign strongly denies. The campaign contends that no information in her emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them.

The Benghazi committee hearing in October in which Clinton will testify is more about “getting Clinton” than about Benghazi. That’s politics in 2015.

Can Clinton weather this storm or should Joe Biden head to the bullpen to start warming up? Maybe it really is time for Bernie! I also hear rumblings that Al Gore is tan, rested, and ready…

One More Thing:

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. – Bill Gates

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One thought on “Caught My Eye…

  1. I doubt many have read Jon Bennion’s book, Big Sky Politics, but I have and it’s clear the guy is smart. I didn’t realize he was so young. I don’t know why the GOP would be going after him, unless we have a lot of short-sighted, short-term individuals currently at the top of the party.

    If someone’s smart enough to write a book about all the Montana politicians going back 40 years, they’re probably smarter than most people in Montana politics. They certainly have more knowledge, and knowledge is power.

    Clearly the Montana Republicans are not interested in knowledge, historical perspective, or long-term potentials.

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