Letters to the editor, April 21 – April 27

The Editor:

I sent a March 16, 2016 letter to the House Committee on Ethics, asking for an investigation into Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke.

My letter was in response to Zinke’s March 15, 2016 letter to acting inspector general of the DOD Glenn Fine, in which the congressman calls for an investigation of USACE Colonel John G. Buck, relating to the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) project proposed in Whatcom County.

Zinke provided no evidence to support the claims he made against Colonel Buck.

In my letter to the house committee, I said I believe that Congressman Zinke has violated the U.S. House of Representatives Code of Official Conduct, Rule XXIII “Code of Official Conduct.”

I said I also suspect that Congressman Zinke is potentially in breach of United States Code, Title 18-Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Part I-Crimes, Chapter 47-Fraud and False Statements, Section 1001, letter (a), numbers (1), (2), and (3).

Zinke’s actions (outlined in my letter) cause me to believe he intentionally misrepresented facts to the inspector general of the DOD, and to the public at large, for the benefit of the companies and organizations involved in, and/or which have direct or indirect financial interests in the proposed GPT project, some of which are generous contributors to Zinke’s election campaign.

I also believe Congressman Zinke has intentionally been misleading the public and our U.S. government to make it appear as though the Crow Nation has a present real ownership stake in Pacific International Terminals (PIT)/GPT, in an effort to influence governmental entities and the public regarding the permitting phase of the GPT project.

Zinke’s March 15, 2016 press release stated: “The Crow have invested in this terminal [GPT] so they can export their vast coal reserves to Pacific Rim markets…”

Zinke’s press release also stated: “The GPT, which is owned in-part by the Crow Nation of Southeast Montana…”

It’s my understanding that the Crow Tribe currently does not have any official ownership investment stake with PIT/GPT. The Crow Tribe has an option to secure 5 percent of Cloud Peak’s 49 percent stake in PIT/GPT. That option has not been exercised.

Sandy Robson

Blaine

The Editor:

The current controversy over redistricting, eliciting comments made by some of our county councilmembers begs me to inquire; what is your mind upon free government?

Responsible governance in a free Republic should be concerned with upholding the rights of the people – all the people.

Demonizing and marginalizing a sizable minority of the people you are entrusted and empowered to legislate for is antithetical to the American ideals of self government.

Celebrating diversity in a pluralistic society is laudable, unless, of course, my ideas and values are too diverse, putting me outside the pale of acceptable diversity.

The American political experience is based upon no concept of “left” or “right,” but upon a balanced center – upon the will of the majority with the rights of the minority held inviolate.

If we now have a majority of county councilmembers whose foundational political precepts are to gain and keep power to control the people whom they despise; to suppress their rights and even the legitimacy to exercise and express their freedom of conscience, then what happens to justice? To equality? To fairness? What becomes of freedom?

If I govern myself, that is self-government. I have no moral right to govern another person to their detriment and without their consent.

This is, or was, our leading principle – the anchor of American political practice. If we do not jealously guard the rights of all, then the rights of none are safeguarded.

Mark Aaron Aamot

Custer

The Editor:

I am writing this letter to help my sister-in-law, Leandra, raise money to buy a memorial sign to be placed on the truck route where her brother, my ex-husband, Doug Benton (aka Damn-it Dougie) was hit and killed on his bicycle.

As most of you already know a young man was driving on a suspended license and he hit and killed Doug when he crossed the road on a dark, stormy night last year. This young man has been sentenced to four years in prison and then he will be released and put this time behind him.

Doug’s family – his sisters, his son, his nieces, his nephews – don’t want to forget Doug; they want something tangible to remember him and to remind people to slow down and to drive responsibly.  If you would like to help us raise the needed money please contact me at my shop, Beth the Barber on H Street here in Blaine.

I hope to see you all at the Fisherman’s Memorial and Blessing of the Fleet on May 1.

Beth Lawrenson

Blaine

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