In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to. – Dave Hollis
Welcome to “Caught My Eye” (CME)!
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:
- Gazette & PSC
- Unemployment Claims
- One More Thing
GAZETTE & PSC:
Earlier this week the Billings Gazette editorial board wrote, “Get rid of the Public Service Commission.”
The Gazette said:
The Montana Public Service Commission has become more valuable for its entertainment value than for its contribution to public policy or utility oversight.
That was the mild part.
They also stated that if this is the best commission Montana voters can elect — for whatever reason — then the system needs to be changed.”
Amen to that.
They added these gems:
It is run like a kangaroo court. Meanwhile, these clowns are making $109,000 a year, plus expenses.
Note to my editor: The largest newspaper in Montana called someone a name.
As for what should be done, the Gazette said:
Blow it up. Get rid of it. Replace it with something that works.
One interesting thing is the Gazette reports that only 12 states still have elected public utility commissions. They add, Montana no longer needs to be one of them.
I think this is one of the first editorials that I have agreed with completely.
You can read the whole editorial by clicking HERE.
CBS News is reporting that “state unemployment systems are overwhelmed” and a recent poll shows that 55% of those filing for unemployment benefits in the last four weeks were unsuccessful.
That means the nationwide 14% unemployment rate might be double that.
One of my readers told me that there are similar problems in Montana – long delays, getting approval but then waiting a long time for checks, and when they call they get “endless busy signals.”
I checked the Montana Department of Labor website and this popped up:
DLI is experiencing an unprecedented call volume to our unemployment insurance claims processing help line. Unless you have received official notification from Unemployment Insurance that you must call our call center, please search for your answer at dli.mt.gov/employer-covid-19 in order to free up phone lines for folks who are required to call in.
Maybe some of that federal government money sent to the states can be used to make the system run better.
This week when the term “unmasking” hit the news, I imagine a lot of people thought the feds were hosting costume parties, and when the clock struck midnight, everyone was unmasked to see who they are.
That’s not it.
In politics, there’s an art in making people believe things. It’s sometimes called “spinning” the facts to fit your narrative. That’s been happening a lot this week from the Republicans.
As PolitiFact reported, here is what happened:
The acting director of national intelligence released a document listing several dozen Obama-era officials who requested more details in a report that turned out to produce the name of Michael Flynn, who was briefly President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. These types of requests have long been called “unmasking.”
Politifact says that most of the time few Americans give much thought to “unmasking,” a practice whereby senior officials can request the identities of Americans who show up in U.S. intelligence reports and intercepts. But Republicans have begun using it as a weapon against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
I tweeted earlier in the week that this was a “Nothingburger.”
It still is and it should go away as more credible information comes out.
The Republicans are desperate because the economy has crashed, people are dying because Trump failed to act quickly enough, and in many key states polls show Joe Biden is beating Donald Trump.
PolitiFact also reported the unmaskings were requested lawfully and through a regular process. In addition, unmasking is not an unusual request; it occurred roughly 27,000 times during the first two years of Trump’s administration.
The Associated Press (AP) reported:
There were 9,217 unmasking requests in the 12-month period between September 2015 and August 2016, the first period in which numbers are publicly available. The period was during the latter years of the Obama administration.
The number rose during the Trump administration. The 9,529 requests in 2017 grew to 16,721 in 2018 and 10,012 last year.
It’s a sad deal that about four years ago you could hardly find a Republican officeholder who supported Trump. Trump hated many of them, but after he was elected, these elected officials swallowed whole and will do anything to keep the power that having a Republican President brings them.
Now, these same people will lie, cheat, and steal for Trump.
Check out the full PolitiFact article HERE.
Check out the Associated Press article HERE.
ONE MORE THING:
Saturday, May 16, 2020, is Armed Forces Day here in the United States. This is the day to honor those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces.
Thanks to all those who are serving – We appreciate you!