CSKT Water Compact – Dr. Vandemoer

Last night, March 22, 2015, 8:00 pm, MST, Dr. Kate Vandemoer was hostess on The View From Montana Blogtalk Radio Show. The subject of the show was the CSKT Water Compact which is a bill pending before the State Legislature. The Compact is 1,500 pages long and it is likely that very few of the Legislators have read the bill let alone understand it. Incidentally, the CSK Tribes are claiming that the Compact bill cannot be amended. Much of the frustration for landowners and water users is the inability of the groups fighting passage of the bill to convince Legislators that the Compact is unconstitutional and in no way benefits the citizens of Montana.

Per the Montana Constitution, Article IX, Section 3. Water rights. (1) All existing rights to the use of any waters for any useful or beneficial purpose are hereby recognized and confirmed.

(2) The use of all water that is now or may hereafter be appropriated for sale, rent, distribution, or other beneficial use, the right of way over the lands of others for all ditches, drains, flumes, canals, and aqueducts necessarily used in connection therewith, and the sites for reservoirs necessary for collecting and storing water shall be held to be a public use.

(3) All surface, underground, flood, and atmospheric waters within the boundaries of the state are the property of the state for the use of its people and are subject to appropriation for beneficial uses as provided by law.

      1. The legislature shall provide for the administration, control, and regulation of water rights and shall establish a system of centralized records, in addition to the present system of local records.

Governor Bullock, AG Fox, DNRC and Montana Legislators are supporting the Compact on the general assertion that it is “good” for Montana. The assertion couldn’t be anything further from the truth. Per the Montana Constitution, All water “…within the boundaries of the state are the property of the state for the use of its people”. The CSK Tribes have not quantified water appropriations for their beneficial use.

The CSKT Water Compact will not only effect land owners and water users on the reservation, it will also effect eleven counties surrounding the Reservation. If the Compact passes, it is also likely that other Tribes will want to renegotiate their Treaties and it will effect all water usage in the State of Montana. In essence, the Federal Government is using the Tribes as a tool to achieve total control over all of Montana’s water.

Contact your Legislator and strenuously demand that the CSKT Water Compact be defeated and dismissed. Dr. Vandemoer will be hostess for another show next Saturday at 8:00 pm. Links to The View From Montana, blogtalk radio show will be provided during the week. Please plan to listen and/or participate in the show. Legislators are welcome to provide their rationale for or against passage of the Compact.

CSKT Blog Talk Radio Show Reminder Mar 21

In case you aren’t aware of this, there’s a power grab for MT water. We need national coverage on this cause if this CSKT water compact is past as written, it will set a precedent regarding water rights all over the country.

Montana’s Blue Gold-CSKT Water Compact Talk

Showtime: Saturday, March 21 2015 8:00 PM MST

Short Link: http://tobtr.com/s/7454269

Werthmann – Don’t Let Freedom Slip Away

“After America , There is No Place to Go”

The author of this article lives in South Dakota and appears to be very active in attempting to maintain our freedom. I encourage everybody to read this article and pass it along. I see so many parallels in this country–are we going to sit by and watch it happen? Spread the word; also contact your congressional reps; vote them out if they don’t do what they should. If you don’t want to be bothered, then you’re part of the problem! Google Kitty Werthmann and you will see articles and videos.

Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don’t Let Freedom Slip Away

By: Kitty Werthmann

What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or will ever read in history books.

I believe that I am an eyewitness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide – 98% of the vote.. I’ve never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.

In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates.

Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs. My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.

The Communist Party and the National Socialist Party were fighting each other. Blocks and blocks of cities like Vienna , Linz , and Graz were destroyed. The people became desperate and petitioned the government to let them decide what kind of government they wanted.

We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany , where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living. Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group — Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria . We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

We were overjoyed, and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.

After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.
Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.

Hitler Targets Education – Eliminates Religious Instruction for Children:

Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang “Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,” and had physical education.

Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail. The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free. We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.

My mother was very unhappy. When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination. I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing. Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler. It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.

Equal Rights Hits Home:

In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death. Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.

Soon after this, the draft was implemented. It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps. During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys. They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines. When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat. Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.

Hitler Restructured the Family Through Daycare:
When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers. You could take your children ages 4 weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, 7 days a week, under the total care of the government. The state raised a whole generation of children.. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.

Health Care and Small Business Suffer Under Government Controls:

Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna . After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything. When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full. If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.
As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80% of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families. All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.

We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables. Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands. Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.

We had consumer protection. We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the live-stock, then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.

“Mercy Killing” Redefined:

In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps . The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work. I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van. I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months. They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness.

As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.

The Final Steps – Gun Laws:

Next came gun registration.. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long after-wards, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily.

No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up.

Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria . Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.

After World War II, Russian troops occupied Austria . Women were raped, preteen to elderly. The press never wrote about this either. When the Soviets left in 1955, they took everything that they could, dismantling whole factories in the process. They sawed down whole orchards of fruit, and what they couldn’t destroy, they burned. We called it The Burned Earth. Most of the population barricaded themselves in their houses. Women hid in their cellars for 6 weeks as the troops mobilized. Those who couldn’t, paid the price. There is a monument in Vienna today, dedicated to those women who were massacred by the Russians. This is an eye witness account.

“It’s true..those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity.

America Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don’t Let Freedom Slip Away

“After America , There is No Place to Go”

Granite County Medical Center Overdrafts

On February 26, 2015, the Philipsburg Mail published an article “Ongoing negative balance a concern to residents”. The question of the Granite County Medical District (GCMD) overdrafts being covered by Granite County was brought to the attention of the Commissioners by Sue Peterson at the February 17, 2015 open meeting session. The County Cash Report indicated that the GCMD had a beginning negative balance of $204,907. The Granite County Commissioners indicated that they “…will look into establishing a policy on any negative cash balance for the GCMD”. In the article, Commissioner Slaughter indicated that negative balances were “not illegal” and that “… it was not uncommon for funds to run into the negative”. Commissioner Slaughter reiterated that the Commissioners would be working on an overdraft policy next month. Blaine Bradshaw, CA will also be looking into how the County should proceed.

I have previously provided to the Commissioners copies of applicable open meeting statutes. Again, we have another incident where the Commissioners are conducting the Peoples’ business without the participation and knowledge of the citizens of Granite County. Apparently, the Commissioners and GCMD Trustees have been conducting closed meetings concerning overdrafts since October-November, 2014. Article 8 and 9 of the Montana Constitution, prescribes the Peoples’ right to know and participate in the citizens business. Per MCA 2-3-203 (1), “All meetings of public or governmental bodies, …must be open to the public”. Per MCA 7-1-7121, publication of meetings must be in a newspaper.

The assertion that the Commissioners are going to establish an overdraft policy ignores existing statutes which determine how the County covers overdrafts. For the GCMD overdraft warrants, the County Commissioners must direct the County Treasurer to purchase the warrants. The warrants must be registered with the County. The Commissioners “shall” designate the fund, fix the amount that may be purchased and designate the warrants that are to be purchased. Obviously, no public meetings were conducted and none of the provisions concerning warrant registration were followed. Cash flow is still a major concern for the GCMD. The question becomes who will be liable for future GCMD overdrafts.

The citizens of Granite County have to consider whether the County Commissioners and GCMD Trustees willfully violated open meeting laws and statutes prescribing procedures for exceeding appropriations. Per MCA 2-3-213, “Any decision made in violation of 2-3-203 (open meetings) may be declared void by a district court having jurisdiction”. A suit for violating open meeting laws must be filed within 30 days with the District Court. The GCMD incurred obligations in excess of their total appropriations. Per 7-6-4005, expenditures are limited to appropriations and local government officials who violate the subsection are “… liable for the amount of the excess disbursement, expenditure, or obligation personally”.

At the February 17, 2015 meeting, I recommended that the Commissioners also review their open meeting policies and procedures. None of their meetings are consistent with the requirements of Open Meeting laws. The Commissioners continue to conduct their meetings inconsistent with applicable statutes and have not indicated that they intend to review the Counties Open Meeting Policies and Procedures. Again, it is time to remind the Commissioners and GCMD Trustees that they are conducting the Peoples’ business and spending the Peoples’ money. The Commissioners and GCMD Trustees have a duty to conduct meetings openly and with procedures that assist public participation. The citizens of Granite County do not wish to abdicate their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. In the event our public officials continue to willfully violate applicable laws, they should be removed from office.

 

Granite County Open Meeting Session 02/17/15

At the Granite County Commissioners meeting, February 17, 2015, public comments session, Sue Peterson raised the question of the County covering overdrafts of the GC Medical Center. The County has covered $204,997 in overdrafts without registering the warrants. There was no indication when the County began covering the overdrafts, a resolution authorizing public funds for the overdrafts or a meeting scheduled for public participation. For the last couple of months, the Commissioners and GCMC Board have been using the public comment session of Commissioner’s meetings to discuss and decide on the manner of covering the overdrafts and other GCMC business. Since the Drummond Withdrawal Petition was delayed and dismissed in January, you have to assume that the decision was prearranged between the Commissioners and GCMC Board prior to the January Resolution. All of the work the petitioners did to construct and circulate the Petition had already been decided. Dismissal of the Withdrawal Petition was not consistent with the Commissioners authority. The question before the Commissioners was whether the Petition was valid, not whether they personally thought they benefited from the Drummond Clinic remaining in the District. So much for the stated intent of the Constitution and Legislature that all “public agencies in this state exist to aid in the conduct of the peoples’ business”. Maria Stoppler, Administrator, commented on the overdrafts and provided information that the GCMC received, February 13, 2015, approximately $590,000 as reimbursement for billing charges. A cash report was also provided which indicated a negative cash balance of $-113,625.

Representatives of the GCMC were also present for the public comment session. The reason for their presence was not specifically stated, but it must be assumed that they intended to continue their ad hoc nonagenda meetings with the Commissioners. Elena Gagliano pointed out that the session was for the public and not intended for an agency of the County. The GCMC should schedule all meetings with the Commissioners and they should be placed on the agenda.

Elena Gagliano raised questions concerning compliance with open meetings and a request for the minutes of the County Commissioners. When the session began, Commissioner Bonney read to the attendees his new guidelines for conducting meetings. Based on the conduct of the meeting, Elena Gagliano and Dick Motta pointed out that the guidelines are not consistent with the People’s Constitutional right “to know and participate” in public meetings. Dick Motta previously presented the Commissioners with a list of applicable statutes for the conduct of open meetings and suggested that the Commissioners revise their policy and procedure manual to be consistent with the statutes. Elena Gagliano provided a letter which she previously presented to the Commissioners requesting copies of the minutes. Commissioner Adler did not think that the minutes should be provided until after the Commissioners had a chance to review the minutes. Blaine Bradshaw, CA, will review the legal requirements for providing the public with minutes and other documents.

Dick Motta questioned the recording of the Flint Creek Hydroelectric equipment as assets of the County. Commissioner Adler maintained that Granite County was the owner of the equipment and therefore, $4.5 million, was recorded as County assets. There was no indication that Flint Creek Hydroelectric provided a contract or asset transfer agreement to confirm the transfer of title for the equipment. Motta also questioned why the County was insuring assets, $22,000/yr, which they did not own. Per the Amended Hydroelectric Agreement, the insurance costs should have been paid by Flint Creek Hydroelectric. Blaine Bradshaw, CA, will review the ownership and recording of the hydroelectric plant assets.

 

Governor Bullock – $84,000 Grants Indian Equity Fund

Nine Native American Business Owners Receive FundingFunding to Native AmericanSmall Businesses

Totals $84,000

Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary announced a total of $84,000 in grant funding to nine Native American business owners to help grow and expand their business operations. The funds are being made available through the Montana Indian Equity Fund Program (IEF).
“Native-owned businesses and our tribal communities play a crucial role in the strength and vitality of Main Streets throughout Montana,” said Governor Bullock. “These grants help support the entrepreneurial activities taking place at Native-owned businesses across Montana.”
Equity Funds are grants designed to assist current or new Native American business owners start or expand their businesses. The funds are available only to enrolled members of Montana’s federally recognized Tribes and to enrolled members of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe. Because of the fund’s ability to offer these grants to be used by the recipient for building business assets, the fund is able to play a unique role in assisting in the growth of Native American small business.
“The Indian Equity Fund has proven to be an excellent resource for tribal members with entrepreneurial goals,” said Director Meg O’Leary. “We’ve seen some true success stories of these funds helping new businesses start out on the right foot and helping established businesses really take off running.”
Edward DesRosier, owner of Sun Tours, received a grant to add another coach to his existing fleet and help him with marketing and advertising efforts.“I am very grateful to receive this grant from the State of Montana and appreciate their support,” said DesRosier.“This grant allows me to invest in my company, which is at the same time invested in our community.”
Indian Equity Fund Recipients Include:

  • Robert Bell, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, owner of Kick Start Compost received $14,000 to purchase dirt screening and bagging machinery to allow his business to sell to local distributors
  • Roxanne Braine-Howe, Northern Cheyenne, owner of Roxy’s Rockin’ Coffee Shop received $2,500 to purchase an expresso machine for her coffee shop
  • Dennis Dahle, Northern Cheyenne, owner of Cowboy Transport received $7,000 to purchase a livestock trailer for transporting horses and cattle
  • Edward DesRosier, Blackfeet Tribe, owner of Sun Tours received $14,000 to add a coach to his existing fleet and for marketing and advertising
  • Jennifer Perez Cole, Fort Belknap Indian Community, owner of Buckskin Transport, LLC received $14,000 to acquire a 40-foot gooseneck flatbed trailer and accessories to increase transport capacity for clients
  • Leander Scott Simpson, Crow Tribe, owner of Simpson’s Mobile Wild Game Processing received $13,500 to purchase a refrigerated trailer, cutting saws and the equipment and tools necessary to process and package meat
  • Colton Small, Northern Cheyenne, owner of Good Warrior Engineering, LLC received $7,000 to purchase an AUTO CAD Total Station with data storage and transfer capabilities
  • Jason D. Small, Northern Cheyenne, owner of Fire & Rock Construction, Inc. received $7,000 to expand his road building and grading services by purchasing a John Deere 550 Dozier
  • Valerie A. Veis, Little Shell, owner of Montana Baskets received $5,000 for website redesign, a cargo trailer, and panels for trade shows
The Montana Indian Equity Fund began in 2007 and has awarded a total of $973,000 to 132 business owners since its inception. There were a total of 45 applicants for fiscal year 2015 grants.The Montana Indian Equity Fund is a state-funded program administered by the Montana Department of Commerce. Funding is utilized from the Indian Country Economic Development program (ICED) via the recommendation of the State Tribal Economic Development Commission (STED) and the approval of the Director of the Department of Commerce.For more information about Montana Indian Equity Fund Grant, please contact Philip Belangie, Indian Entrepreneur Development Program Manager, at (406) 721-3663 or visit http://entrepreneur.mt.gov/indianequityfund.mcpx.

CSKT Water Compact – Kelly Grant

TRIBES SPEND MILLIONS ON HIGH POWERED PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN ENGINEERED BY AN EXPENSIVE DC LOBBYING AGENCY TO SUPPORT A MONTANA WATER COMPACT BEING HEAVILY OPPOSED BY PRIVATE WATER RIGHT OWNERS.

February 8, 2015—-by Fred Kelly Grant, Chairman of Board and CEO Stand and Fight Club Inc.

 

email grab.jpg

Many historically significant battlefields are visited annually in Montana. Today, another historic battle is being fought over water, and the battle field is the Montana statehouse. A water compact between the United States, the state of Montana and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will award even off reservation water rights to the Tribes. Some opponents of the Compact say that the Tribes will be given the right to direct distribution of water even off reservation. A reading of the convoluted 1600 page compact seems to support their belief.

It would be a big mistake for owners of private water rights outside the state of Montana to overlook the importance of this hotly contested water issue. If successful in their efforts, legislative supporters of the compact will create a pattern that will endanger private rights wherever private, Tribal and federal water interests collide.

Private property owners throughout the state have voiced strong objections to the compact sponsored by a senator who formerly opposed the compact concept. In an email exchange with a constituent, the sponsor explains that after “several hundred hours” of study, he sees the wisdom in negotiating the off-reservation Tribal rights. But so far, I haven’t been able to detect significant changes in the compact that would protect private water rights, and there is no explanation by supporters of where those changes are located in the document.

One worry I would have as a Montanan would be the extensive immunity from liability the producers of the compact and the bill to implement it give themselves. I don’t believe in 50 years in the business, I have ever seen such an all-out, all inclusive effort by drafters and supporters to give themselves immunity. I would always worry if a proponent of a legislative or administrative act says: “What we are doing is straight legal and constitutional, but if that isn’t clear, we want it absolutely clear that we are not responsible for the unconstitutionality and we want it even clearer that we are immune from liability for creating an unconstitutional taking.”

Unsatisfied with the sponsor’s answer to him, the constituent from Troy Montana made this statement:

Our corporate attorney for several decades has passed
away, but I still remember one of his favorite statements that fits many
situations – He said every negotiation, no matter what it was in regards
to, ended by answering the question of Who Gets What? Since well over 2
million dollars has been spent for advertising to attempt to convince the
people to accept this compact, who is paying that and what do they get?
Many people of influence have changed their mind after meeting with the
tribes or the feds or both, all of which begs the question – Who Gets What?

 

One thing that is clear here is that we do know that high-power DC lobbying, public relations company, Mercury, is getting $1 million dollars to run the campaign to persuade the legislators to vote “yes” and to persuade the Montana citizenry that everything is kosher about a “yes” vote. And, we know that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes entered into the contract to pay the million to Mercury. In addition, they have set aside another $1.8 million dollars for other unspecified public events (to be run by Mercury, one wonders?)

That’s a lot of money to be changing hands to gain support for a water compact. I have observed many such agreements negotiated through the past two decades, and never have I seen this much money spent for public relations and advertising—-it has been my experience that water compacts, water settlements, water negotiations sell themselves if both private water rights and Tribal rights are protected.

In this case, apparently the proponents are not confident that the compact can be sold on its merits—maybe because the objectors’ rights are not protected? Say what? State legislators would not support a compact that did not protect their constituents’ rights would they?

So, who is this Mercury company that comes with such a high price?

The Hill, a leading newspaper in DC which carries weight on capital hill, considers Mercury one of the top lobbying firms in DC. (See “Top Lobbyists 2014: Hired Guns”, The Hill, October 22, 2014) A review of the partners reveals political heavy-weights that I am surprised to see carrying in the fight over a water issue, unless the compact is critical to political interests other than Tribal.

The political clout at Mercury is wielded in a bi-partisan manner: The partner considered the best of the lobbyists by The Hill, Vin Weber, is republican through and through—a former Representative from Minnesota’s second congressional district, member of the Appropriations Committee and member of the republican House leadership; Montanans are represented in the republican leadership of the firm by Denny Rebehrg, former member of Congress; Rick Wiley was political director for the Republican National Committee.

But, the Obama priorities are heavily represented in the firm also: Ashley Walker served as the 2012 Florida State Director for Obama for America, and two years earlier managed grassroots support for the President’s priority projects: the Affordable Care Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; Erin Pelton is a former Spokesperson to the United States Mission to the United Nations and served in senior roles in the Obama administration; many other staff spent prior time in support of Obama projects related to “sustainability”.

Mercury’s influence is intensified by its being a part of Omnicom Group Inc, self described as “a leading global advertising and marketing communications services company[providing services] to “more than 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.” Omnicom Group reported worldwide revenue of $3,749.6 million dollars for the third quarter of 2014 and revenue in the United States of $1,996.3 million dollars for the same quarter.

It may come as a surprise to outsiders that proponents of the compact have called on such expensive, high-flying, talent who boast of their “innate ability to leverage the diverse expertise of our global networks for the benefit of our clients.” (Website of Omnicom Group) The appropriateness of the campaign being waged has been pointedly challenged by Montanans who oppose the compact and do not have anywhere near the funds needed to combat high-powered pr firms such as Mercury and Omnicom Group.

A former member of the Montana legislature, well respected by private property supporters because of commitment to protection of constituents’ property rights, the high price Mercury advertising program makes “dubious assertions” in behalf of its frontispiece Farmers and Ranchers for Montana (FARM). Pointing to an editorial, perhaps penned by Mercury, the legislator said the purpose of the ad campaign appeared to be to”educate Montanans about the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes”. (A copy of the opinion, published in the Great Falls Tribune follows) I have now heard recordings of two of the commercials and I agree that they contain nothing of educational substance as to why the compact is good for all of Montana.

Rather, the ads proclaim that farmers, ranchers, sportsmen, republicans, democrats, the Tribes, irrigators all support the compact and the bill that will implement it. One only needs peruse the email strings to conclude that an inference that a majority of all these groups support the compact is simply not true—–in fact, is pretty close to a factual falsehood. The implication that is intended is purely a falsehood.

Radio ads making the claims do not identify who is paying for them. Prior to public revelation of Mercury’s high priced contract with the Tribes, a local government official called a radio station and inquired as to who was paying for what appeared to be false advertising. The station manager said he was prohibited from revealing the identity of the person or organization providing the ads to the station, and that the station had no obligation to assure that ads conveyed truthful information. That’s an interesting interpretation of the FCC’s ethical guidelines for commercial radio stations. But, no more interesting than the entire high priced pr campaign.

Without a scientific poll, I don’t believe that even a slight majority of farmers, ranchers, sportsmen and irrigators support the compact—and I have serious doubts that any really conservative republican would support the compact. After reading through the compact, I doubt that any true conservative republican could even be sure that private water rights already proved up by beneficial use will be protected by the compact.

In fact, after reading the attempts by proponents to explain the compact, it seems clear to me that republicans in the Montana Senate are being asked to pass the bill to implement the tome that is the compact “in order to see what it means and what is in it.” Can anyone say “the Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare”?

Unlike the Mercury ads, and unlike the convoluted explanations of the compact by supporters, a long term member of the legislature has provided an articulate opposition to the compact and bill. The legislature has long been recognized as an expert on water law and the Montana Constitution. A copy of the letter detailing the flaws in the compact follows.

The primary sponsor of the compact and bill has committed to provide to opponents a “risk analysis” that will demonstrate how the compact protects private water rights. I am curious as to what this “risk analysis” will contain, since the sponsor has assured constituents in the county of Lincoln that they are “protected”. If in fact there is no danger to private water rights in off reservation lands, why would one county need protection?

One statement by supporters claims that passage of the bill implementing the compact will result in less litigation by the Tribes seeking water rights. But, I see no spell-out of how that is practical or even possible. The series of Indian water rights lawsuits since Winters v. United States, involve the extent to which Indian tribes and individuals can exert water rights in every body of water that runs into, over or under, or borders a reservation. How will this compact or any compact short of just awarding Tribes water rights wherever they want them at the expense of ancient private water rights assure there will be less litigation over water? In short, it cannot do so. If the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have fishing rights reserved off the reservation, they can always argue that they need more water, even to the point of minimum stream flow, to provide sufficient support for their fishing. If this compact protects against that, perhaps someone will be good enough to point out where.

In the meantime,

The opponents seem to be on point. I will be interested to see whether the primary sponsor comes forward with answers to the detailed criticisms in the letter which follows. Particularly, I will be interested to see whether he comes forward with answers prior to the committee hearing currently set for February 16, 2015.

Hold on for the ride on this political rollercoaster, and stay tuned right here for developments. What happens in Montana can easily become the format for your private property rights.

Following is a letter from a former legislator to supporters of the compact:

[The compact] is unconstitutional! It seeks to overturn Article IX,Section 3 of the Montana Constitution and it pits the machinations
of the Reserved Water Rights Commission on behalf of the tribes and the federal government against the long held tenets of
Montana water law and the Montana Water Court. So it becomes a States’ Rights Issue.

It is prejudicial in that it holds tribal and non-tribal water users to different standards. Tribal water use is set at a
far higher standard than all other water right holders, as well as Irrigation Districts throughout the state.

Not one of the six previously negotiated compacts grants a tribal entity authority over non-reservation water. What is to
preclude any, or all, of them from seeking the same consideration? What is to preclude the Salish/Kootenai from bringing
suit at a later date to seek more authority,

e.g. the Crow’s action. The Compact erodes the authority of the Water Court and allows a reservation entity the ability to
oversee water issues and property rights both on and off the reservation—a board, the members of which, are required to
have no knowledge of water law. There is no way to justify compromising the authority of Montana’s Water Court and granting
oversight of Western Montana water to enrich this tribal corporation.

The entire adjudication process loses its value if the tribes are exempted from compliance. Millions have been spent to
comply with the adjudication mandates to establish how much Montana water is being put to a beneficial use, where, and by
whom. The Salish/Kootenai have not quantified water they are claiming to have put to a beneficial use, rather resorting to
some previously unrecognized modeling system so even Montana’s long recognized “first in time, first in right” doctrine
loses its value!

 

How are we to understand the allocation of greater volumes of water allocated to tribal members than to non-indians? How
does that square with equal treatment under the law?

 

“Negotiated” becomes a misnomer when applied to this compact. What have the Salish/Kootenai offered in return for unlimited
access and control of our Western Montana water resources? They remind me of an attorney negotiating for the Crow when
asked what they wished to put forward in their compact, he replied: “Why do that when we already have everything there is
to gain and nothing to lose?”

Their “Everything To Gain” for the tribes” in the CSKT compact is mind-boggling! The promise of 1.2 billion from the
federal government and another 55 million from the state of Montana, plus control of Western Montana water use should be
way more than enough. However, along with the ability to control downstream use (Kerr Dam) (Hungry Horse Dam), comes the
potential to control the water level of Flathead Lake and ultimately the value of lakefront property so private property
rights may also be added to the equation.

We have been told repeatedly that authorization of this Compact will save millions. We strongly disagree and believe the
courts will be clogged and backed up. It stands to reason that passage of this compact will result in the loss of
numerable citizen’s water rights which under the law constitutes a “taking” for which that owner must be compensated.
Should lakeshore property be devalued because of fluctuating water levels, that too could be viewed as a “taking” which
could end up in the court system. It is a sobering thought to consider that in any contested case it will be some hapless
Montana citizen vs. the U.S. Justice Department litigating on behalf of the Reservation Corporation.

Anyone can recognize that this is a win/winfor the Tribes as they are asking for it all, and this Compact appears to be
conceding to their every demand. We know that this will be costing Montana 55 million. We have examined the negative
scenarios. What we want to know is what, if anything, does Montana stand to gain in what appears to be the largest
giveaway in Montana history? A giveaway for all time!

Only you have the ability to say “no” on behalf of your constituents and thousands of Montanans.

We do not plan to be silent about our position on this critical issue.”

Following is Opinion column published in Great Falls Tribune on February 5, 2015:

 

MEDIA BLITZ RAISES NEW QUESTIONS

Yes, we know that the Salish/Kootenai tribes are promised $ 1.2 billion if the CSKT Compact is approved & Montana is committed to pony up another $ 55 million. Now we hear that upwards of another million has been added to the mix with the emergence of an intensive media campaign purported to be in the scope of a gubernatorial or presidential campaign—that much in radio contracts alone.

Concerned water users in the Clark Fork Basin, puzzled by the dubious assertions made by the spokesperson for the newly formed group, Farmers and Ranchers for Montana, have had their attention jerked to this even more puzzling development. Who is paying for the radio ad campaign? What special interest can afford the side bar ads on the Internet? They are not cheap.

In an editorial printed here on 1/15 it was indicated that the expressed purpose of the above group is to “educate Montanans about the CSKT. Yet there seems to be no substantive information made available and it seems to be the case with the other promotional ads too. Only glowing statements supporting passage. How can they be so certain when the sponsor of the CSKT bill is still endeavoring this week-end to prepare what he described as a “risk analysis.” This, too, grabs attention when the senator has stated that our county, one of eleven “off-reservation” counties whose water rights could be compromised, is protected.

Montanans do need educating about the 1400 (1500?) page CSKT Compact! We need to learn exactly what Montana stands to gain, other than an ethereal promise of less water litigation. We need to know the cause of these actions hanging over our heads. Are they related to 12,000 actions threatened by the tribes if the CSKT is not passed by the Montana Legislature? Anywhere else that could be perceived as a threat.

We need to know if Montana’s best interest here is the same as the interests of non-tribal water users who have properly filed on water they are putting to beneficial use and depending upon Montana’s Constitution and court system to protect their rights.

We need to know the ramifications of agreeing to a precedent-setting deal—the like of which never before in these United States has given a sovereign tribal nation the right to control distribution of off-reservation water. We know that the U.S. Justice Department will enforce that right, once it is surrendered by Montana, but the big question is who will be defending the rights of John or Jane Doe? Has any thought been given to the number of suits when they discover that their rights have been literally sold down the river? And once other Tribal Nations view the bonanza granted the Salish/Kootenai, what is to prevent them from bringing actions to obtain the same advantage? Endless litigation.

Wake up, Montana, before special interests; Uncle Sam and/or the Salish Kootenai buy enough advertising to convince your legislator to capitulate to their demands. Make no mistake—they want it all. and too many people we have sent to Helena seem willing to help them get it. The U.S. Justice Department has never backed off from representing tribal interests on the reservations—now the Compact opens the door to a whole new playing field. It makes perfect sense for the federal government to ante up 1.2 billion dollars if it can buy them the ability to see that control of water in the entire Clark Fork Basin is placed within their grasp as custodians of tribal interests. Water is today’s gold!

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

 

Posted on February 9, 2015 .

Obama’s Force Authorization Is a Blank Check for War Worldwide

Obama’s Force Authorization Is a Blank Check for War Worldwide

by Ron Paul, February 12, 2015

It has been reported that the president is going to request that the authority limit the use of ground troops. However it would not affect the troops already engaged in Syria and Iraq to the tune of many thousands. This new authority will acknowledge that more advisors will be sent. Most importantly it will appear to have given moral sanction to the wars that have already been going for years.

Interestingly it actually expands the ability of the president to wage war although the president publicly indicates he would like to restrain it. The new authorization explicitly does not impose geographic limits on the use of troops anywhere in the world and expands the definition of ISIS to that of all “associated forces.” A grant of this authority will do nothing to limit our dangerous involvement in these constant Middle East wars.

The war propagandists are very active and are winning over the support of many unsuspecting American citizens. It is not difficult to motivate resistance against an organization like ISIS that engages in such evil displays of horrific violence.

We have been fighting in the Middle East for 25 years. There have been no victories and no “mission accomplished.” Many needless deaths and dollars have been spent and yet we never reassess our policies of foreign interventionism. One would think after the humiliating defeat of the Republicans in 2008, as a reaction to the disastrous foreign policy of George W. Bush, that the American people would be more cautious in granting support to expanding our military presence in that region.

Even if our policies led to no boots on the ground, the unintended consequences of blowback and the enemy obtaining more American weapons will continue. The CIA has said that 20,000 foreigners are on their way to Iraq and Syria to join the ISIS. Our government has no more credibility in telling us the truth about the facts that require us to expand our military presence in this region than Brian Williams. Constant war propaganda has proven too often to be our nemesis in supporting constant war promoted by the neoconservatives and the military industrial complex.

It’s my opinion that giving additional authority to wage war in the Middle East is a serious mistake. Instead, the authority granted in 2001 and 2002 should be repealed. A simple and correct solution would be for our elected officials to follow the rules regarding war laid out in the Constitution.

Ironically there may well be some Republicans in the Congress who will oppose this resolution because of their desire to have an all-out war and not be limited in any way by the number of troops that we should be sending to this region. The only way that Congress can be persuaded to back off with our dangerous interventionism, whether it’s in the Middle East or Ukraine, is for the American people to speak out clearly in opposition.

There is no doubt that ISIS represents a monstrous problem – a problem that should be dealt with by the many millions of Arabs and Muslims in the region. ISIS cannot exist without the support of the people in the region. Currently it is estimated that their numbers are in a range of 30,000. This is not the responsibility of American soldiers or the American taxpayer.

Declaring war against ISIS is like declaring war against communism or fascism. The enemy cannot be identified or limited. Both are ideological and armies are incapable of stopping an idea, good or bad, that the people do not resist or that they support. Besides, the strength of ISIS has been enhanced by our efforts. Our involvement in the Middle East is being used as a very successful recruitment tool to expand the number of radical jihadists willing to fight and die for what they believe in. And sadly our efforts have further backfired with the weapons that we send ending up in the hands of our enemies and used against our allies and Americans caught in the crossfire. Good intentions are not enough. Wise policies and common sense would go a long way toward working for peace and prosperity instead of escalating violence and motivating the enemy.

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity

http://original.antiwar.com/paul/2015/02/11/obamas-force-authorization-is-a-blank-check-for-war-worldwide/

 

CSKT Water Compact Throws Thousands of Montanans “under the bus”

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:04 PM PST

This letter by the President of the Montana Senate, Senator Debby Barrett, needs to be sent out to everyone in Montana, who need to send it to each and every legislator From their area. SEND THIS OUT UNTIL YOUR FINGERS BLEED.
Paul Stramer
Note: our sincerest thanks to Senator Debby Barrett President of the Montana Senate, for this OpEd piece concerning the water compact. It has gone out to newspapers state wide. It is wonderful to know that our voices have not gone unheard. Share this with everyone you know!!!!!!!!!!
CSKT Water Compact throws thousands of Montanans “under the bus”
By: Senator Debby Barrett
As a rancher with deep roots on a family place in southwest Montana, I know something about the importance of history—and water rights. I also understand negotiation and compromise. That’s why I have served on the state’s Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission since 2011 and voted for some compacts. However, during my time on the reserved water rights commission, I’ve voted “no” to provisions within this compact on seven occasions. Here is why I will not support the proposed CSKT Compact.
The Legislature’s role is to examine a proposed compact and decide whether or not to enact it into Montana law. The Legislature’s responsibility and authority includes amending proposals if necessary, and approving all state costs associated with a compact such as this one. (The price tag of the state’s share on the CSKT compact is $55 million total). But at an informational meeting held by proponents, the Legislature was warned that it cannot amend the proposal. It’s a “take it or leave it” deal.
That insult to the constitutional role of the Legislature is enough for me to want to leave it. Other proposed compacts have not been thrust on us, the Legislature, with such arrogance and disrespect for Legislators. But there are other good reasons, too.
The 2013 Legislature refused to ratify the last CSKT Water Right Compact, for many good reasons concerning its legality and equal treatment of this state’s citizens, both on and off the reservation. In fact, the primary proponents of the Compact this time concede that the previous version was very flawed and needed to be rejected.
Now, it has been re-introduced, but not much changed or improved. While one portion of it was somewhat re-negotiated during the interim between the 2013 and the 2015 Legislative Sessions, the result did not improve that portion enough to protect local individual water users, both tribal members and nonmembers, and failed completely to address legal and policy shortcomings, on and off reservation, in the original proposal.
Off the Flathead reservation, these failures include more than a dozen permanent surrenders of the Legislature’s authority over water in Montana, allowing the CSKT to choose whether to obey legislative enactments or not and giving them complete immunity from compliance with important aspects of Montana water and environmental law, including the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). It also requires the State to give partial ownership of some of its water rights and its contracts for water to the CSKT and to manage those assets for the Tribes’ benefit, rather than all citizens of the State. In essence, this proposed Compact requires the State to limit its legal authority off the reservation by sharing it with the CSKT–permanently.
On reservation, it gives the CSKT the water right to 110,000 acres of irrigated land owned by individuals, whose irrigation districts have filed on that same water right. It also reduces irrigation water to many if not all these irrigators, who are tribal members and nonmembers, and it establishes a unique water administration code and governing body, with the State of Montana again compromising its constitutional authority over water rights.
I recognize there are powerful supporters of SB 262, including some elected officials who managed to negotiate changes to the proposals, protecting their constituents at home. Having heard the evidence as a member of the Compact Commission, I believe the off-reservation in stream flow water rights the Compact gives are not scientifically based or well-grounded in law or history. But I also recognize that the CSKT and their public relations people have artfully threatened much of the state with water right filings for in stream flows if the Legislature doesn’t simply accept this “take it or leave it” deal.
As a rancher and a Senator who values little ahead of private property rights, I think I know when to call a bluff, and when to stand my ground no matter what. This is such a time. Not all values and principles should be compromised away. I do not believe my fellow ranchers and farmers really want to turn their backs on the thousands of Montanans whose property, including water rights, will be devastated by this proposal.
The proposed CSKT compact is the perfect example of overreaching in negotiations, causing their failure. The CSKT and federal government on their behalf demanded too much, and the Compact Commission negotiators surrendered too much. As a state we tried for years to negotiate a deal good for all. In this compact alone, that has proven to be impossible. So, it’s time to recognize that this compact is not going to work, and we must prepare to protect the State’s rights, interests, and sovereignty. This compact is not just poor policy, sacrificing the rights of thousands of Montanans to protect the rest of the state is the worst policy possible.
Senator Debby Barrett, R-Dillon, is an eight-term lawmaker representing Senate District 36 in the Montana Legislature. She serves as Senate President for the 64th legislative session.