Caught My Eye…

Quote for the Day…

The smoother the path the easier it is to slip. – Estonian Proverb

Caught My Eye (CME) is the once-a-week column that is posted every Friday morning. This is when I look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week.

Here are some of the things that “Caught My Eye” this week:

  • U.S. House Debates
  • News Conference
  • Montana Public Service Commission
  • Slaughter – No Photos



In case you did not know, there are debates Saturday evening on your local MTN channel. They start at 6:00 pm.

I’ve made up my mind on who I am voting for in the eastern district race, so I won’t be watching.

I guess there was a debate in Butte last night (Thursday) between Republican Ryan Zinke, Democrat Monica Tranel, and Libertarian John Lamb.

The debates on Saturday night have reportedly excluded the Libertarian candidates. The eastern district debate will feature Republican Matt Rosendale, Democrat Penny Ronning, and Independent Gary Buchanan.

The western district debate will pit Zinke versus Tranel.

The western district race has been the most interesting. The arguments over how many debates to have reminded me of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The porridge was too hot. The second bowl was too cold, and another bowl was just right. There are not enough debates according to Tranel. There are too many debates according to Zinke. The Libertarian candidate is happy to be involved in any debates, so the numbers of debates are just right for him.

More information about the debates can be found at the Daily Montanan by clicking HERE.


The Great Falls Police Department (GFPD) had a busy week. There was an officer-involved shooting and some threats toward the public schools that kept them busy.

On the GFPD Facebook page, they announced there would be a “News Conference” about the shooting. Six people were standing behind the lectern. One, the Chief of Police, announced that he was reading a statement and they would not take questions.

No questions? Six people? WTF!

I’ve seen it time and time again in Montana – officials not taking questions. It’s bullshit. The chief of police or sheriff should be able to answer some questions from local reporters about the incident. We all know some questions can’t be answered, but some can. If the official cannot answer some simple questions, they might be in the wrong occupation. Besides, most of the local folks in the news business are supporters, not reporters.

Press or News Conferences are held to give information and answer questions from the media. That’s not happening in Great Falls and Cascade County.


Lee Newspapers reported this week that NorthWestern Energy customers will see higher bills beginning in October, following a unanimous Tuesday vote by state utility regulators allowing the company to collect an extra $92.2 million for electricity and gas services.

Reminder – Republicans control all five seats on the PSC. See who your PSC commissioner is by clicking HERE.

If you read the Lee Newspapers stories there seemed to be a lot of “If this happens” or “If that happens.” The bottom line is that all five Republicans on the PSC voted to increase your utility bills.

Read the Lee Newspaper story HERE.


On Wednesday of this week, I wrote about Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter responding to the Gun Show at the fairgrounds due to a report of someone taking photos of vehicles.

By the way, it’s not illegal to take photos on public property.

Slaughter reported that the man was from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the other fellow was from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives). For those of you not knowledgeable about the ATF, this agency is part of the United States Government. By the way, Montana is still part of the United States, although I wonder if Slaughter believes it.

Lee Newspapers reported this piece of information that should concern all citizens of Cascade County:

Although state law does not require federal investigators to obtain approval from local law enforcement to conduct operations, the agents left the fairgrounds “reluctantly” and without issue. Slaughter has positioned himself as a “constitutional sheriff,” which theorizes sheriffs are the ultimate authority in their county — above local, state and federal officials — raising questions in this incident about possible friction between layers of law enforcement.

Those “ultimate authority” and “constitutional sheriff” beliefs are held by the uneducated fringe members of the Republican party, many of who are MAGA and “big lie” believers.

Slaughter probably likes the federal dollars his department gets for federal inmates, etc. He probably likes the help he can get from the FBI, Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, and even Malmstrom AFB – all federal agencies in the Great Falls area.

I’ll bet none of those federal officials thinks of Slaughter as the “ultimate authority” in his little spot in the world. They probably think of him as a wacko wingnut. Slaughter is embarrassing us.

Read the Lee Newspapers story HERE.



12 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Article said the ATF contacted the GF PD to tell them they were at the fairgrounds. Don’t know if PD were told about the Canadian LE.
    From what Slaughter says they should have contacted him as it’s not city property. GF LE didn’t or did tell them to contact Slaughter.
    If they had contacted him might he not have had a problem?
    Interesting situation.
    And in Canada a couple of jurisdictions said they would not allow the use of Canadian Mounties to search for recently declared illegal firearms.

    • Thanks for your comments. Like you, I have a lot of questions.
      While some applaud Slaughter’s views against the Feds, I think it’s embarrassing. -JmB

      • All the articles mention that these type of operations are meant to thwart not your average Canadian hunter who yearns a deer rifle, but to stop illegal guns destined to be used for organized crime, as Terry had mentioned. In essence what Slaughter has done is become the best friend organized crime could have. A cop who looks the other way! He might just get a top cop award from a guy named big Tony!

      • IMO the fundamental question remains what did the Feds suspect was going on at the Great Falls Gun Show, right under the noses of the CCSO, and on County property? One would think CCSO should have a real good handle on all the gun pushers operating in the county, and moreover all those operating out of a County facility thoroughly vetted. Maybe it wasn’t a mistake they were not notified.

        All the rest of this stuff, whether one sees it as embarrassing or applause worthy, is merely smoke obscuring that fundamental question.

      • Agree. Once one declares themselves to be a constitutionalist sheriff, all kinds of red flags go off for the other LE departments. They feds are used to dealing with anti-government types. Militia, sovereign citizens, constitutionalist sheriffs all share similar beliefs. An antipathy towards the federal government. Hence, how reliable are they to partner with? Where do their loyalties lie? Slaughter has been adamant in his belief that NO gun laws are to be permitted in his fiefdom. Period. Guess that applies to organized crime bosses and their henchmen too. Good point, Terry.

        Kinda of ironic that Slaughter used the excuse that a situation might develop endangering folks. Ya gotta wonder how much danger innocent folks are gonna be in when those guns reach their destination. Guess it’s a trade off Slaughter is willing to make. Better safe in his fiefdom than in Canada gang lands! Guess it depends on your perspective as to whether applaud or condemn. I suspect I know which one the Canadians would choose!

  2. Slaughter:

    According to that Helena IR story, Jesse claimed to have difficulty reconciling why a Canadian policeman might be investigating a Canadian citizen (or citizens) for smuggling in illegal weapons while the ATF officer said he was investigating an unlicensed U.S. gun seller. Never in our wildest dreams would we imagine a gun smuggler might be connected to a seller, would we.

    It never seemed even to be an option to simply respond, “Well hey, thanks for the explanation, and thanks for the help here in Cascade County we support efforts to curtail gun smuggling 100%. So we’ll explain it to the gun show folks and keep an eye out”. Nope, just a stock TV cop drama, “You Feds are on our turf! Get the hell off!” and short-circuiting a gun running investigation so the bad guys could go on about their business.

    And that law Jesse hopes for in 2023 that would require Feds and anyone else to check in with local law enforcement for everything sounds like a real winner. A real winner for any local law enforcement officials (and their friends) who would thus be tipped off they might be the ones under investigation, that is. Can you imagine if the Feds had to check in with the locals in a place like Chicago, for instance? Open season for local corruption.

    Utility hike:

    All of us have the opportunity to vote against two of the rate hikers this year.

    In Cascade County, Randy Pinocci – Yes the same Pinocci who spied on his fellow commissioners’ emails which then – somehow – mysteriously got published in a right wing blog, who coaches local Republicans on how to get more God in government, and who has voted maybe once in his PSC tenure for the people and against corporate interests (when NWE wanted to charge people for their rooftop solar).

    Statewide, James Brown – Building on his short but corporation-friendly stint on the PSC he’s now running for state Supreme Court (pretty blatantly as a partisan Republican). Presumably to weaken the state’s constitution and make it even easier for the big corporations, businesses, and out-of-state interests that fund the Republican party to exploit Montana’s resources, poison our environment, and empty the pocketbooks of Montanans. Along with all the other things the Montana Republican party stands for like limiting public access, intruding into our private lives, fighting any climate change mitigation efforts, etc.

    • Terry – Thanks. The MAGA folks are loving Slaughter today. He’s their hero. For folks who have common sense, he’s an embarrassment.
      Great reminder about voting this November. The state is in the shitter.

      • Not surprised. MAGA folks seem deathly opposed to any efforts whatsoever to end gun violence, whether it is simply keeping guns out of the hands of certain individuals or now, it would appear, even our own government’s efforts to prevent US-based sellers from illegally supplying those they should not, including smugglers to other countries.

        But MAGAs will be the first to scream and holler how the governments of other countries aren’t doing nearly enough to prevent drugs from flowing into the USA. That was one of Trump’s greatest hits.

  3. It should be obvious to all by now that Slaughter buys into all that bizarre nonsense espoused by the constitutionalist sheriff organization, one tenet of which says the “greatest threat to America is the federal government.” Jesse is the closest thing there is to a militia sheriff, or a sovereign citizen sheriff, for their beliefs are identical. And how does that play out? We’ve already seen it in action. You threaten to arrest feds doing their job at the fairgrounds.

    And now, Jesse wants to indoctrinate little children in his bizarre beliefs, and Jesse wants you to pay for it. He calls it a “safety budget.” I call it BS.

    It’s time for the people of Great Falls to wake up and realize that we made a huge mistake by electing Slaughter. But it’s really not our fault. This whole wacko constitutionalist thing is so new we never dreamed it would affect us. And here it is. Of course it didn’t help when Jesse lied about being a democrat.

    But what do we do now? First, keep his “instructors” out of the classroom. They don’t belong anywhere near a school to spread seditious lies and hate. They’re not teachers. Second, we need to monitor Jesse closely and call out all his bull, just like with this fairground incident. He’ll do it again. It’s the nature of constitutionalists. They don’t stop until they’re voted out. They think they have a mandate from God. And third, continue to educate the public on who these renegade sheriffs are. People must know. And to help, I add the following article to remind folks just what Jesse represents.

    Jesse also belongs to a group called Protect America Now. Please google them and research, and understand that these people are crazy. It’s a blending of fascism with law enforcement. Very scary stuff.

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