Thursday Thoughts

Here are the topics that caught my attention today:

  • Cascade County Clerk & Recorder
  • Define Sex in Montana Law
  • Biden’s Executive Order


Great Falls and Cascade County have a problem

The Electric is reporting:

Local officials for multiple agencies are scrambling to figure out how upcoming elections will be handled after receiving notices this week from Sandra Merchant, Cascade County clerk and recorder and elections administrator, that her office could not either conduct their elections by mail or at all.


It’s interesting that for the last few years, the MAGA crowd has been telling anyone who would listen about stolen elections or that votes were not properly counted. Now, with one of their people winning the Cascade County clerk and recorder race and unseating a long-time public servant who did a great job, we might not have elections at all.

I think Merchant is in way over her head with this job. She is creating distrust in the process.

The best course of action would be for her to resign. I think the County Commissioners, if they can, should appoint the former clerk and recorder, Rina Fontana Moore, to fill in and bring stability to that office.

Read the complete report from The Electric HERE.


I’ve said many times recently that Montana Republicans seem to be more interested with what is in your pants and what you do in the privacy of your own bedroom, than in making our state better for all.

It’s kind of creepy.

Several news reports mention Senate Bill 458, which would “Define sex in Montana law.”

The Montana Free Press (MTFP) is reporting:

Republican lawmakers have advanced a bill in the Montana Senate to define “male” and “female” based on the function of a person’s reproductive systems over the opposition of Democrats, transgender and intersex people, and some medical providers.

I always look at bills and ask, “How will this affect me?” This bill won’t affect me and will only affect just a few in Montana. It’s not needed, but when you get a political party with a supermajority full of bigots, you end up with bills like this one that discriminate.

If it passes, the state will spend thousands defending it in courts and still lose.


This week President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order on Reducing Gun Violence and Making Our Communities Safer.

That sounds like a good deal – I mean who doesn’t want gun violence reduced and to make our communities safer.

My hand is raised!

The pro-gun folks went berserk.

I think Executive Orders are weak ways to govern, but at least it shows a President is trying something to help. All Presidents use them. Donald Trump issued 220 in four years. They are usually issued when they can’t get Congress to do something. The Senate and House don’t want to touch gun issues, so here comes Biden with his Executive Order.

Executive Orders can be revoked by the next President, congress can pass legislation to invalidate it or not fund it, and the federal courts could throw it out.

Here are some key points of the Executive Order that caught my attention:

  • It is the policy of my Administration that executive departments and agencies (agencies) will pursue every legally available and appropriate action to reduce gun violence.
  • I continue to call on the Congress to take additional action to reduce gun violence, including by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring background checks for all gun sales, requiring safe storage of firearms, funding my comprehensive Safer America Plan, and expanding community violence intervention and prevention strategies.
  • The Secretary of Defense; the Attorney General; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including through the Surgeon General of the United States; and the Secretary of Education shall undertake efforts to encourage effective use of extreme risk protection orders (“red flag” laws), partnering with law enforcement, health care providers, educators, and other community leaders.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter was interviewed by KRTV in Great Falls about President Biden’s Executive Order. He placed some of the blame on the federal government for not doing its job saying:

Historically, throughout my entire career I’ve seen the federal government fail repeatedly, over and over again, to properly prosecute felons in possession of firearms.”

His comments about “Red Flag Laws” were interesting:

“So more parents, teachers, police officers, health providers, counselors know how to flag a court that someone is exhibiting violent tendencies,” said the President.
Slaughter said that’s a slippery slope.
“Red flag laws probably would make the world safer, but to do that you have to throw away the entire constitution,” Slaughter said. “If a government has the power to go take away your rights based on a crime you may commit in the future, think about the potential abuse of power that could be.”

Come on, nobody wants to “throw away the entire constitution.” It amazes me how little some people in authority know about the constitution.

I would not expect Slaughter, a Republican, to agree with Biden, a Democrat, on much. Sadly, there was so little agreement regarding gun violence which I think is one of the major issues facing our country.

You can read the Executive Order HERE.

You can read the KRTV interview HERE.

## END ##


9 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts

  1. Slaughter’s statement about the US not prosecuting felon in possession often enough could also have been stated, “If Montana had stronger laws and sentences for felon in possession, we could prosecute more of these under State law instead of continually having to hand those cases off to the Feds.”

    Crimes committed with guns is never about the easy and often unaccountable availability of guns to one and all, easy availability vociferously defended by people like Slaughter. That of course includes easy availability for felons … who pay little attention to laws like “felon in possession” in the first place. It’s always something with the Feds.

  2. What a coincidence that election conspiracy deniers including Merchant railed against mail ballots for years, and all of a sudden just as soon, like as immediately as soon, as we have an election denier in the Clerk and Recorder office poof! no more mail ballots. How conveeeeenient!

      • The excuses down toward the bottom of the Electric story are simply priceless:

        “In her email, Merchant wrote, “with redistricting, the new system and everything else that is going on this spring, the June date will be pretty much impossible for us to be ready to hold another election. … We are short staffed right now and are in the process of hiring but all staff are new and there are several other things happening at the same time as mentioned above. Moving the election to a later date will ensure an efficient and accurate election.”

        Only left out, “the dog ate it”.

        In other words, “All that stuff I said before the election about being qualified for this job because I ran a horse business … never mind! I’m actually totally incompetent. Plus I chased off the experienced staff in favor of providing county payroll jobs for fellow election deniers, to boot.”

        And how also very convenient that suddenly the County can’t run the special library levy election that her fellow MAGA radicals have been fighting tooth and nail.

        The MT Secy State office needs to look into this debacle. Maybe Austie too. Of course they won’t, because Sandra is a fellow running dog radical MAGA Republican.

        WTF406 story has background on loss of experienced staff:

        Just unbelievable.

  3. Clarify the definition of who must do background checks?
    Odd – he can’t change the gun show so called “loophole.”
    It’s not a loophole It’s the law that pertains to some gun show sales. The law purposely excludes mant of the sales.

    • I think he wants to ensure that more people selling firearms have to be federally licensed. There’s really not much in the EO that will change anything. -JmB

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