The Wednesday Read: Legislature, Budget, Emails, Cabinet, & Fake News

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. – Isaac Asimov

These items caught my attention for this edition of The Wednesday Read:

  • Montana Legislature
  • Governor’s Budget
  • Campaign/Private Emails
  • Cabinet & Appointees
  • Fake News

Ain’t It Amazing?

It was amazing during the days leading up to the general election the Republican Party was acting like they were waiting for a funeral. Now the Republicans act like it’s Christmas and the Democrats are the ones attending the funeral.

From what I am hearing from sources it sounds like the Republicans are planning on bringing some gifts – like tax breaks or refunds to “we the people” right after the inauguration. Don’t worry fiscal watchdogs; they can just print more money to pay the bills. It’s not like we are $19,000,000,000,000 ($19 trillion) in debt or something.

Montana Legislature:

The Montana Legislature picked their leadership teams for the 2017 session. Yawn. You can see who the leaders are by clicking HERE. Some of them bring some baggage.

Montanans want to see their legislators compromise and work together. They don’t want to see a circus with a bunch of clowns running around the state capitol like in past sessions.

Here at The Western Word, I don’t hold the Montana Legislature in very high regard, but I am holding out hope that they will surprise me. I hope they run this session better than an eighth-grade government class would in a mock session of the legislature.

By the way, don’t forget to vote! Should the Montana lawmakers receive an 82% pay raise? Click HERE to vote in The Western Word poll.

The Governor’s Budget:

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, released his two-year budget plan on Tuesday. The Associated Press has the story HERE.

House Speaker Austin Knudsen and Senate President-elect Scott Sales, both Republicans, shot down the Governor’s plan rather quickly showing that they really haven’t gotten over their man, Greg Gianforte, losing to Bullock.

On the first day of the session of the Montana Legislature, I urge state legislators and the governor to pass a bill making the use of recreational marijuana legal in Montana. If they do that, we probably won’t give a damn what they screw up between January-April.

Campaign/Private Emails:

One of the people I follow on Twitter, Mike Jopek, posted a Tweet saying, “5 out of 6 of the all-male 2017 GOP leadership team chose to use private email during and after the last Legislature.” You can see the Tweet HERE.

I won’t go into all six Republican leaders being male because I think President-elect Donald Trump pretty much set the tone for how Republicans feel about women.

As for using private email, I wrote about soon-to-be Montana Senate President Scott Sales was using his private email back in September.

Sales’ email on his official Legislator Profile page last session (run by the state of Montana) is There are probably others who use a private campaign email address for their contact info (that does not make it legal), but as long as people are getting nitpicky about the state email crap, we might as well go all in. It’s deliberate campaigning using state government resources.

Just imagine what the Republicans would say if Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, listed a private email “Bullock4Governor@” for his contact on the official state page.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl should look into this. Maybe someone will write to him about this campaign issue. You can paste this column for reference if you wish.

President-elect’s Cabinet & Appointees:

People can bitch and moan all they want about President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks, but the fact is he was elected and can pick whomever he wants (except for close relatives) to fill his cabinet.

There could be a filibuster on some nominations in the senate, but I look for the Republicans to try and do away with the filibuster if that happens. Harry Reid is retiring from the senate, so will there be any fighters left on the Democrats’ side?

I’ve always thought that Presidents should be able to pick whomever they want on their cabinet unless that person is a felon or mass murderer or white supremacist or someone like that.

I also believed that President Obama should have been allowed to put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. That denial of a hearing or vote has probably left a shitty taste in the mouth of some Senate Democrats. Revenge?

I heard some Senators want Trump to nominate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for the Supreme Court so the senate could get rid of him.

It will be interesting to see who U.S. Senator Steve Daines recommends to the President to fill some “key” presidential appointments in Montana. They are not really “key” appointments as they are filled with loyal supporters and good ol’ boys and girls. The agencies would run just fine without these people.

There are three spots that I can think of right now that need to be filled in Montana: U.S. Attorney, U.S Marshal, and head of USDA Rural Development. I’m sure Daines will let Rep. Ryan Zinke have input. I would encourage Daines to pick veterans.

Daines should review the history of former Senator Max Baucus to see how not to do the process of recommending a Montanan for a presidential appointment.

Speaking of Baucus, his days are probably numbered as United States Ambassador to China. I imagine he will be heading back to Montana sometime next year with his state director wife for retirement after his replacement is confirmed.

As for me, I’d like to be a Presidential blogger, but I would probably start a war or something. I would want to do it from my bunker in Montana and just visit the White House for parties, state dinners, and the Easter egg roll…

Fake News:

I happened to see that Google and Facebook announced measures aimed at halting the spread of “fake news” on the internet by targeting how some purveyors of phony content make money: advertising. (Reuters)

Does this mean Fox News is shutting down? Just kiddin…

This is good to see. I plan on posting this story on my personal Facebook page because I have several “friends” who are dumb enough that they believe anything they see on the Internet and re-post it.

If you are not one of my “dumb” friends, don’t be offended…


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5 thoughts on “The Wednesday Read: Legislature, Budget, Emails, Cabinet, & Fake News

  1. Meanwhile, “back home in Indiana”, Pence is doing everything he can to hide his administration’s e-mails from his time as Governor. IOKIYAR

    • Doug – There’s no need for Pence to hide them; hackers probably already have them! #Merica

  2. Merrick Garland would have been a decent SC Justice. I guess the Republicans could have held a hearing and postponed the vote but that would be playing games, ’cause it’s always about gamesmanship. I was fine with the Senate saying to wait for the next POTUS to choose. Without knowing the outcome, the Republicans scored big…

    It should be noted that Republicans gained seats at every level of government; local, state and federal…which tells me the Democrats will be in the back of the bus for awhile…they’re even going after Nancy Pelosi…

    • Barry – Thanks for commenting. I was not OK with the GOP Senate putting off the vote for that long. Scalia died in February so it will at least be a year before a replacement is in place. Like I have written, the Republicans own this for at least the next two years. No matter who was elected, I was going to have a lot to write about! Thanks again! -JmB

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