I Stand by My Friend

I take personal umbrage at the invective hurled at my colleague, Kris Hansen, state representative from Havre. She has received threats and vitriol by phone. She has endured harsh verbal treatment, finger wagging, name calling and scorn, in Helena establishments.

Kris is a fine person, a reasonable person, a person of distinction and accomplishment, a person who has served in the U.S. military. She is a county attorney in Havre. She has endured unmerited rebukes with fortitude. She should not have to do this alone. And so I stand at her side. I am her friend and admirer. I voted for some of her bills.

We’ve played basketball together. She sets a fierce pick, always in good humor and spirit. She’s no weakling. But it is time for her allies to rally around her.

The recent telephone message she received was abominable. The anonymous caller is a coward. His words are like a spear thrown from the blackness of a fetid cave. I invite him into the open field.

Government Diabetes Programs

Who benefits from diabetes prevention?

If the government pays for all a person’s prevention and treatment, it saves a lot by convincing the person to prevent diabetes by walking and eating less food, proper foods.

Assume that prevention programs, where persons are put through lectures, weigh-ins, group-support meetings, cost the government $1,100 per year. Assume the government instead gives out medicine and insulin at a cost of $1,800 per year. Should the government be able to force recipients into the cheaper treatment, walking and temperance?

Does a Medicare or Medicaid person pay much if he or she gets diabetes? Does the government? The more a person bears the costs of sedentary ways and poor food and drink choices, the more likely he or she will be to self-correct. As long as the government pays no matter what they choose, persons will likely choose tasty foods, large portions and idle entertainment.

Can the government force the recipient to engage in brisk walking and proper eating since the government suffers all the costs of inactivity and over-indulgence?

For the person, such a pitiable ignominy!

Supporting material:

The researchers point to the increase in the prevalence of obesity and the medical problems it triggers as the culprit that is driving increases in total medical spending.  Although private payers bear a large portion of costs associated with spending on risks related to obesity, public-sector spending remains substantial.  Medical spending linked with obesity accounts for 8.5 percent of Medicare expenditures and 11.8 percent of Medicaid expenditures

State Spending Transparency

Microscope on State Spending

Employees

Montana State Employees: The Highest Paid 909 Employees

State employee compensation website

List of types of compensation for state employees

Budget

Budgets by department

Legislative Fiscal Division perspective

Spending by Department: go to the Appendix starting on page 12

Financial State of Montana report

Governor’s budget

Financial report

Schools

Great Schools.org How does your school stack up?

Montana School Rankings Another ranking site

School funding booklet Learn how school funding works.

List of superintendents Names, addresses, email addresses

Office of Public Instruction employees list Directory, titles, assignments

Transparency in Montana Schools

Other

Compare costs of Medicaid spending from state-to-state

List of leases

Audits of government activities and departments

Recently released state audits

Chart of the Week from Legislative Fiscal Division

Sunshine Review Montana State Budget

Montana’s ranking in MHI

Montana’s ranking in per capita income

Montana’s ranking in economic freedom

State census and economic information

Report on Department of Public Health and Human Services

Books to the Legislature

Books to the legislature:

I brought to Helena the following:

The Bible and other sacred scriptures

Immortal Poems of the English Language (Williams)

The Patriot’s Toolbox (Heartland Institute)

Principles for a Free Society (Epstein)

Simple Rules for a Complex World (Epstein)

The Structure of Liberty (Barnett)

Rights Talk (Glendon)

The Peacemaker

As You Like It (Shakespeare- audio)

 

Besides the reading pertaining to my committee assignments, I’m making sporadic progress in The Spirit of Laws, (Montesquieu), Justice (Sandel) and The Peacemaker.

 

Competing Interests

Competing Interests. You Decide.

 

Imagine being a decider in the following circumstance.

A, B and C need food, medicine and schoolteachers. X, Y and Z have surrendered their earnings to you, M, the decider.

Available funds are $30,000.

You can split the money three ways equally, or in any way you consider just. A,B, and C appear before you, each insisting that their need is greatest. How will you split the money?

 

Or, try this scenario:

As parents, you have $4,500 discretionary income. Sally needs braces costing $4,500. Jim needs his first semester college expenses paid, in the amount of $4,500. Your mother-in-law is in a drafty, uncaring nursing home. To upgrade to a better home would cost $4,500 more than the one she is in for the first year. On what grounds can you decide who gets the money?

 

Welcome to the Appropriations committee.

 

A Vigilant Authority

“It profits me but little, after all, that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquility of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life, and if it so monopolizes movement and life that when it languishes everything languishes around it, that when it sleeps everything must sleep.”

Alexis de Tocqueville 1835

Looks Like a Win

Looks Like a Win

Though it is not official yet, it appears we won. What a great accomplishment for our team! With 64 votes more than my opponent, there are 68 provisional ballots yet to count. If all were accepted and every one went to my opponent, I/we would lose. The chance of that is vanishingly small. Right now the count is 2,682 to 2,618.

I’m humbled by the responsibility to do right and serve each person. I’m excited to do a small part in restraining and turning back rampant government spending growth, in promoting economic growth, in impeding Obamacare, and in defending life, liberty and property. I’m enormously grateful to the team. I’m talking about 100 volunteers, 250 contributors and 350 sign hosts. I’m talking about fundraisers, advisors, scores of letter writers, the Montana Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, the county GOP, the state GOP, people within Campaign for Liberty and the Tea Party, Gallatin Republican Women, precinct men and women, and my wife and family. I appreciate those who voted for me.

I also thank Nancy Pelosi. Her huge spending, tax increases, takeover of health care, deficits, and cap and trade legislation reveals what progressives want. Thanks for making it so clear, Nancy!

 

Persons or The People?

Honor Persons or The People?

Contrast the U.S. Constitution with that of Communist China. Ours is an individualist document, theirs, collectivist.

The Constitution begins with WE THE PEOPLE, but few collective references follow. The next and only other “the People” appears is in Article 1, Section 2: “the People of the several States.” The inclusion of the last four words does not allow for an understanding of “the People” as an amorphous monolith, as people are understood to be in socialist countries. That is the last time “the People” appears in our Constitution, the preamble through Article 7.

Thereafter, the document refers to Electors, Citizens, Members, Officers, Inventors, all terms about discrete individuals, and Persons. “Persons” is used eighteen times.

In the Bill of Rights, the term, “the people” is written five times, “persons”, three. Taking private property for “public use” is allowed but within narrow limits.

The Constitution is plainly an affirmation of the rights of persons, individual and discrete, each and every one. It affirms human dignity.

In The People’s Republic of China, things are different. All government action is for the common good. The Chinese constitution is drunk with references to “the people”; persons are only reverenced for their role in the whole. References to “the people” and “the people’s” number 28, references to socialism, socialist, and social number 26, and references to the state number 68. These counts are from only the first 40% of their constitution, 10/25 printed pages.

Other terms showing the weight of collectivism are; the public interest, public order, the whole nation, activities of a mass nature, society, and collective(s). Token claims of respect for individual persons entered in as well; freedom, right, inviolable. But they were obviated by ability of the state to suppress and control property, labor and dissent. It reads, “Privacy of correspondence is protected by law”. We know how well Chinese authorities uphold this!

In summary, our Constitution empowers the person, the Chinese constitution, the people.

Legislative acts, in order to harmonize with the U.S. Constitution, should honor individuals, not the collective will. Property, speech, assembly, religion, and markets should be protected for individuals. Mass transportation, national health, and plans to mitigate global concerns are collective in nature and contravene the spirit of the Constitution.

 

The Unseen Carbon Agenda

The Unseen Carbon Agenda

The Wall Street Journal wrote today that, though cap and tax has been stymied for the moment, the White House is pursuing the aims of carbon abatement through other means, notably through EPA regulations.

It made me reflect on the breadth of the carbon abatement agenda. It reaches throughout the realm. It underlies Smarth Growth, densification, empty Streamline buses, mass transit subsidies, light rail, the Hiawatha passenger rail proposal, Neighborhood Conservation Clubs, carbon task forces in cities, counties, colleges and state agencies, empty parking garages, water bottle bans, plastic bag bans, recycling, weatherization, subsidies for solar, green building codes, windmills, green jobs, prohibitions on car idling, city-provided electric car charging stations, roundabouts, CAFÉ standards, and California’s clean energy portfolio standards. It’s everywhere.

A Few Clarifications

Some people cast aspersions.

One aspersion is that, “Tom would have us believe that anyone who accepts government assistance of any type for any reason has no dignity.”

It is well accepted that it is more dignified to be self-reliant and that America is founded on a Declaration of Independence not a declaration of dependence. I do admire people who refuse subsidies. I have family members and friends who mail back U.S. Treasury stimulus checks. This is admirable.

Another aspersion is that, roughly paraphrased, Tom would consider those who need remedial education as less than worthy. Who spends time mentoring young men who are poor and need guidance, teaching math and reading skills and character habits? Who teaches as a volunteer in the public schools? Who “adopts” elderly folks in the nursing homes with his children and visits them? Who visits underprivileged homes and helps out? Who works in homeless programs? Who worked for decades on charitable welfare boards? Who plays accordion for Girl Scout events and in nursing homes?

Another aspersion is that because Tom’s business doubled after he sold it, he must not be that smart at business. If his business doubled several times before the sale, would it not be natural to expect it to keep doubling? That should cast a positive light. People who know how to expand business are needed in the legislature. Who knows if it doubled? Double the square feet does not mean a doubling of profit, when employment stayed at roughly the same level.