Aliens probably ride past Earth and lock their doors… – Unknown
Welcome to the big column to end the week, “Caught My Eye” (CME)!
If you are a first-time visitor, welcome! CME is the once a week column that 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. There may be some sarcasm and pointed independent commentary so be warned!
Here are the topics that “Caught My Eye” this week:
- Todd Capser
- Daines and the Census
- Pope Francis
- Inside Montana Politics
- One More Thing
Sometimes I read something in my email from my Google Alerts and do a double take because I can’t believe it.
That was the case when I read a Billings Gazette story about my former co-worker Todd Capser. Capser and I both worked for the late U.S. Senator Conrad Burns. He was the state director and I was the deputy state director for Burns.
Capser was arrested on an indictment from the U.S. Southern District of New York. The press release from the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York states that Capser “allegedly managed to mislead a Canadian financial institution into lending him more than $43 million, and tried to mislead other financial institutions into lending him tens of millions of dollars more, by creating mountains of false evidence of his solvency to represent himself as a legitimate business owner. Capser is now in custody and faces significant time in prison for his alleged crimes.”
According to the Gazette, he is charged with wire fraud, felony conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
Of course, the Billings Gazette juiced up the article for click bait. I’ve found over the years that reporter Tom Lutey is better at sensationalizing an article than providing just the facts. I don’t know what a person did as an occupation 13 years ago has anything to do with anything today except to sell papers.
I have not spoken with Capser for over a decade, but when we worked together, I found him to be one of the most honest and hard-working people I ever met. He was like a Boy Scout.
One part of the story that was not widely reported is this line in the press release from U.S. Attorney’s office:
The charges in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
I think I will stick with that line until it’s proven otherwise.
Read the press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, HERE.
Read the Billings Gazette story HERE.
Daines and the Census:
If I’ve learned anything over the years watching Steve Daines, it’s two things: He toes the party line pretty closely and he will stop at nothing to generate a little publicity for himself.
This week the first term U.S. Senator announced that he was introducing a bill that would require the government to include the citizenship question on all government census forms. It was important enough that Daines sent two press releases about the subject.
Daines was quoted in his press release saying:
“This is America. We are a sovereign nation. It’s absurd that we don’t know how many citizens and non-citizens are living in this country. That’s why I’m introducing this bill to require a citizenship question on the census.”
I worked for the Census Bureau during the 2010 Census and from my experience, many people are already afraid to fill out the census forms. Adding a citizenship question will make even more people afraid (remember the Japanese Americans in World War II?)
We need to know how many people, not just citizens, are using our resources so the amount of money we send to the states can be properly distributed. A complete count would do that. Anything we do that scares people and prevents them from completing the census form hurts our country.
I suggest Daines concentrate on getting the right-wing wackos who support him to complete their census forms – they are the ones who are afraid the “guberment” is coming for their guns. I hope as we approach Census Day 2020 that Daines uses his resources to send out a couple of press releases encouraging people to complete their 2020 Census forms and return them.
The Associated Press reported this week that Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law Thursday requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities.
That’s the good part.
The AP also reported that abuse victims and their advocates said the law was a step forward, but not enough since it doesn’t require the crimes to be reported to police and essentially tasks discredited bishops who have mishandled abuse for decades with policing their own.
That’s not good. Lord help us…
Inside Montana Politics:
MTN News chief political reporter Mike Dennison has written a book that will be available July 8 called, “Inside Montana Politics: A Reporter’s View from the Trenches.”
It should be an interesting read.
For the link to the book on Amazon, click HERE.
One More Thing:
Great Falls (Montana) is getting a Cat House!
Don’t believe me? Click HERE.