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Posts tagged ‘Montana’

Sending Baucus to China Removes Democratic Critic of Obamacare.

Image: Sending Baucus to China Removes Democratic Critic of Obamacare

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Sending Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus off as the next U.S. ambassador to China could solve several problems for President Barack Obama, including removing one ofObamacare’s most vocal opponents from Capitol Hill.

Earlier this year, the outspoken lawmaker famously referred to Obamacare as a “huge train wreck,” saying it would be a failure if the government couldn’t afford money for research, reports The Washington Post. 

Baucus has also compared the launch to “Humpty Dumpty” with questions about whether the website could be eventually successful.

Removing Baucus from Washington means taking the outspoken critic away from his chairmanship of the Finance Committee since 2007. Baucus plans to retire next year, and ordinarily would be followed in the seat by second-ranking Democrat member Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va.

However, like Baucus, Rockefeller plans to retire after next year, so Baucus’ seat, if he leaves early, is expected to be taken by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the current chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senate aides told The Washington Post. Wyden has criticized the White House’s healthcare plans in the past, but he is not as strident with his opposition as Baucus.

But there are other possible reasons beyond Obamacare for the president to nominate Baucus, The Post reports.

Baucus, 72, is leaving office next year, but Republicans are expected to take the red state next year with Rep. Steve Daines.

However, if Baucus steps down early, The Post speculates, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock can appoint a Democratic replacement who would be able to run for a full six-year term in 2014. Lt. Gov. John Walsh is already running for the seat, but if he is appointed to it early, he would be the incumbent when the election takes place, giving him an advantage over other candidates.

Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, who is Baucus’ former top hand, may also be considering a campaign, The Post reports, so his name could also be in the short list to fill Baucus’ seat.

Baucus though, does have extensive experience in China, having visited eight times. He also lead U.S. efforts in the 1990s to persuade China to enter the World Trade Organization and worked to establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations between the two countries.

In addition, Baucus has hosted Chinese trade delegations in both Montana and Washington D.C.

Related Stories:

Top Democrat Baucus Sees ‘Huge Train Wreck’ for Obamacare
Top Democrat Baucus, Head of Finance Panel, to Retire

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Officials: Baucus to be Named Ambassador to China.

Democratic officials say President Barack Obama intends to nominate Montana Sen. Max Baucus as ambassador to China.

The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation. The Democrat had announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.

The 72-year-old Baucus is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over taxes, trade and other areas.

He was instrumental in efforts to pass Obama’s health care law four years ago and has spent much of this year seeking to build support for a sweeping overhaul of the tax code.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the nomination in advance of Obama’s announcement.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Finding God’s Grace for the Unlovable.

woman in poverty

In an hour, I leave for a school Christmas program, and I know at least two of my Spanish students have solos. I can hardly wait to hear them sing.

Because life is more than Spanish and I need to always remember my 45 minutes with nouns and verbs and conjugations is only a little bit of who they are. Some of them aren’t so good at pronouncing words correctly, but they can shoot a three-pointer with ease.

They ride horses. They play guitars and flutes and pianos. They paint and draw cartoons and make computer graphics. People are more than we see of them in a day.

“It’s leaning,” my husband said. “The Christmas tree is leaning.”

“Not from here,” I said.

He was looking from a different place in the room than I was. Trees and people look differently from one angle than they do from another.

Which is why we need to remember our husband isn’t just the man who leaves his cup in the living room. He’s also the man who spends eight hours at work every day, doing hero kind of stuff, like earning mortgage money.

And our kids aren’t just the ones who can step over their wet towels 50 times and never pick them up. They’re also the ones being brave at public school and trying to love Jesus in the middle of exploding F-bombs and teenage drama.

Those people of yours? When is the last time you saw them in a different setting and appreciated who they are in all those hours when you aren’t with them?

Paul says, “Bear with each other” (Col. 3:13, NIV). One way we can bear with each other is to look at the person’s whole life and not just the angle we see day in and day out.

So I put on snow boots to watch my students sing, and tomorrow I will love them more because I have pulled back to enjoy a panoramic view of who God has shaped them to be.


Christy Fitzwater is the author of A Study of Psalm 25: Seven Actions to Take When Life Gets Hard. She is a blogger, pastor’s wife and mom of two teenagers and resides in Montana. for more information about her ministry.  

Kennedy 50 Years Later: Little Evidence JFK Would Have Left Vietnam in Second Term.

Image: Kennedy 50 Years Later: Little Evidence JFK Would Have Left Vietnam in Second Term

President John F. Kennedy meets in the White House cabinet room with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, left, Sen. Mike Mansfield (D-Montana), second left, and Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.), on Sept. 9, 1963.

Americans today commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

One is sure to hear many “if only” conjectures about the 35th president. One of these is likely “If only Kennedy had survived the assassination in Dallas and won re-election, he would have reversed the U.S. military buildup in Vietnam.”

It would be in direct contrast to the action taken by his successor, fellow Democrat Lyndon Johnson, and would have avoided America’s longest war.

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But is there any hard evidence to support this claim? None at all. In fact, had President Kennedy been re-elected and taken this course, it would have contradicted just about every public action and statement he made about Vietnam during his presidency.

In his book “Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye,” onetime top Kennedy White House aide Ken O’Donnell wrote that he recalled a conversation between the president and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D.-Mont.) in May 1963 in which Kennedy said he “now agreed with the senator’s thinking on the need for a complete withdrawal from Vietnam. ‘But I can’t do it until 1965 — after I’m re-elected.'”

According to O’Donnell, Kennedy told him: “If I tried to pull out completely now from Vietnam, we would have another Joe McCarthy scare on our hands, but I can do it after I’m re-elected. So we had better make damned sure that I am re-elected.”

Echoed without any supporting evidence by other allies of JFK, this claim of President Kennedy in his second term reversing the buildup of 16,000 troops in Vietnam, that occurred for the most part during his first term, has developed a life of its own.

In his much-praised biography of Kennedy, “An Unfinished Life,” historian Robert Dallek concedes that “[n]o one can prove, of course, what Kennedy would have done about Vietnam between 1964 and 1968.” But, Dallek concludes, “His actions and statements, however, are suggestive of a carefully managed stand-down from the sort of involvement that occurred under LBJ.”

Do they? In an interview at his Hyannisport, Mass., home with CBS-TV‘s Walter Cronkite on Sept. 2, 1963, Kennedy said of Vietnam: ” . . . I don’t agree with those who say we should withdraw. That would be a great mistake. I know people don’t like Americans to be engaged in this kind of effort.

“Forty-seven Americans have been killed in combat with the enemy. But this is a very important struggle even though it is far away. We took all this — made this effort to defend Europe. Now Europe is quite secure. We also have to participate — we may not like it — in the defense of Asia.”

At a news conference 10 days later, responding to a question about the current U.S. policy toward South Vietnam, the president underscored the U.S. commitment to winning .

“I think I have stated what my view is, and we are for those things and those policies which help win the war there,” he said, “That is why some 25,000 Americans have traveled 10,000 miles to participate in that struggle. What helps to win the war, we support; what interferes with the war effort, we oppose.

“I have already made it clear that any action by either government which may handicap the winning of the war is inconsistent with our policy or our objectives.

” . . . [W]e want the war to be won, the Communists to be contained, and the Americans to go home. That is our policy. I am sure it is the policy of the people of Vietnam. But we are not there to see a war lost, and we will follow the policy which I have indicated today of advancing those causes and issues which help win the war.”

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Two months later, the president’s own words recalled his pledge in 1960 to “build a national defense which is not ‘first but,’ not ‘first if,’ not ‘first when’ but first — period. The pledge has been fulfilled.”

In the same remarks, Kennedy hailed U.S. support of other countries fighting communism, declaring: “Our assistance to these nations can be painful, risky, and costly, as is true in Southeast Asia today, But we dare not weary of the task . . . .”

” . . . [T]he righteousness of our cause must underlie our strength,” he concluded, “For as was written long ago: ‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”

These are from texts of speeches never given, scheduled for the president to deliver in Dallas on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Unemployment Rates Rise in a Third of States.

Employers cut jobs in 20 states last month, suggesting modest improvement in the job market this year is not enough to benefit all areas of the country.

The Labor Department said Friday that 29 states added jobs, while Montana showed no net gain or loss in August. Unemployment rates rose in 18 states, fell in 17 and were unchanged in 15.

“The picture is decidedly mixed,” said Jim Diffley, chief US regional economist at IHS Global Insight. “We’re still optimistic about the improvement (in hiring), but it’s been slow.”

Nationally, the economy added 169,000 jobs in August, a modest gain but hardly enough to suggest a robust job market. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.

The tepid hiring gains mean that most states still have fewer jobs than they did when the recession began in December 2007. IHS Global Insight forecasts that only 18 states will have returned to their pre-recession job levels by the end of this year.

Overall, the United States still has 1.9 million fewer jobs than before the recession. Hiring has averaged just 155,000 a month since April. That’s down from an average of 205,000 in the first four months.

Nevada’s payrolls rose 11,200. Still, its unemployment rate remained 9.5 percent, the highest in the nation.

Louisiana added 14,000 jobs. Its unemployment rate was also unchanged, at 7 percent.

Illinois had the second-highest unemployment rate at 9.2 percent. North Dakota reported the lowest rate, at 3 percent.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

A Good Name Is Rather to Be Chosen.

new teacher
(© shironosov (
It’s a little scary being the new girl, walking into a private school full of teachers and administrators and secretaries and maintenance men. They’ve been laboring here long, and I’ve only put in one week.
Who will I be in this place?
I tidy the bookshelves and make a nifty bulletin board. Hang a few pictures of my family over my desk.
Bring myself into the school.
The first week of in-service meetings is a barrage of information, and through the fire hose come unexpected streams of character assessment.
The superintendent sits at the end of the conference table and tells the new teachers about last year’s senior class. They were an amazing, impressive group of students. Will this next class be like that? We will see.
The woman whose door opens across the hall from mine is quiet and unimposing. But her name is spoken loud from every direction. The students love her. She gives every senior a collection of pictures she has gathered of them over the years. Students say her name when asked what has impacted them most.
Names never come alone. They are always followed by adjectives: “Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil’” (Job 1:8, NIV).
I was just reviewing how to say a whole list of descriptive words in Spanish: lazyhardworkingfriendly …
What descriptions go behind your name?
We do not live to impress people. I learned that freeing lesson several months ago. Yet our reputation matters because it reflects on the Father. The same adjectives that go behind His name should go behind ours, for His glory.
The good news about adjectives is that Jesus died on the cross to make it possible for us to change them.
Christy Fitzwater is the author of A Study of Psalm 25: Seven Actions to Take When Life Gets Hard. She is a blogger, pastor’s wife and mom of two teenagers and resides in Montana. for more information about her ministry. 

A Treasure Within.

Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you …?
1 Corinthians 6:19

Recommended Reading
2 Corinthians 4:1-15 ( )

A Montana man, on a road trip with his dog, Sundance, stopped for a meal, leaving the pooch in the car. Well, Sundance must have been hungry too, for he nosed around in the vehicle until he found five $100 bills and ate them like dog biscuits. The man returned to find his pet’s meal had cost him a good deal more than his own.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( )

As Christians, we have something inside us that a billion dollars can’t buy. We have something better than gold in our hearts. We have the Holy Spirit as a deposit or down payment, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 1:22). Our bodies are His temples, and we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency may be of Him (2 Corinthians 4:7).

That leads to a life of thanksgiving as our hearts overflow. Gratitude isn’t a momentary feeling; it’s a constant attitude produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit as He reminds us of our blessings in Christ. Be thankful today, as though you had swallowed sunshine.

When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine.
E. Stanley Jones

Jeremiah 51-52

By David Jeremiah.

WSJ: Obama’s ‘Grand Bargain’ Not a Serious Proposal.

Image: WSJ: Obama's 'Grand Bargain' Not a Serious Proposal

Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 10:16 PM

By Todd Beamon

President Barack Obama’s “grand bargain for middle-class jobs” that he proposed on Tuesday “isn’t a serious proposal,” The Wall Street Journal says.

“And he knows it,” the Journal says in an opinion piece published on Tuesday. “It also isn’t bipartisan,” appealing only to Democrats.

“The real bipartisan reform opportunity would be to get behind the chief Senate and House tax writers, Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Dave Camp,” the Journal notes. “They’ve been holding hearings on tax reform for years, and Mr. Baucus has even invited all senators to send him a list of tax provisions they’d like to retain and why.”

Camp is from Michigan, and Baucus represents Montana.

“The rub for Mr. Obama,” the Journal says, “is that both men conceive of using whatever money they would raise from closing loopholes to reduce tax rates. This is crucial to getting rates as low as possible, especially given that the statutory U.S. corporate rate of 35 percent [plus state corporate taxes] is the highest in the developed world.

“But it is also crucial to making reform politically possible,” the piece continues. “A reform that merely lowers rates a few percentage points has no chance of building enough support to overcome the opposition of companies and interests that will see their tax loopholes closed.”

However, “the problem, as ever, is that Mr. Obama simply can’t get over his ideological fixation to keep tax rates as high as possible,” the Journal notes. “We say ‘ideological’ because his own advisers concede that a 35 percent rate hurts U.S. business competitiveness.

“Even Japan, the last high-rate holdout among rich countries, is cutting its corporate rate.”

The Journal continues: “These columns certainly favor a simpler tax code, but compliance is merely one cost of our tax system. The bigger cost is money owed to the Treasury. Reducing the first while raising the other is not a game-changer for U.S. business or for economic growth.”

The opinion piece notes that Obama’s proposal applies mainly to the nation’s corporate tax system, which is not used by most small companies.

“Most small-business owners file under the rules for individuals, which are not being simplified under this plan and whose tax rates Mr. Obama raised substantially in January,” the Journal notes. “Cutting corporate rates without doing so for small businesses will merely increase the opportunities for tax arbitrage.”

The Journal piece also attacks Obama’s “usual grab bag of spending” options — more high-wage union jobs, more teachers, and more job training, “though the federal government already runs more than 40 job-training programs that don’t seem to do much training for real jobs.”

Further, Obama “wants more subsidies for biofuels and electric cars — the ideas that worked so well in the first term.

“All of which suggests that the president’s speeches aren’t really about tax reform or the economy,” the Journal concludes. “They’re about preparing the political ground for 2014.

“On that score, he adopted once again his charming habit of casting those who disagree with him as motivated purely by political spite.

“No wonder even Democrats want the president out of the room when they try to negotiate on immigration,” the piece notes. “He’s a deal killer.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Should You Write Off Difficult People?.

angry woman
Like a woman cooking a large family meal, I have a pot on every burner right now. Front right is the woman who has given up on her husband. Back right is the child still going the wrong direction. Front left is the young woman who has given up on her family. Back left is the woman who sees no hope in herself.
I keep a spoon of prayer stirring in each pot where someone teeters on the edge of writing someone off.
According to the Free Dictionary by Farlex, the idiom “to write someone off” means “to give up on turning someone into something, to give up on someone as a dead loss, waste of time, hopeless case, etc.”
This usually comes with the phrase, “I’m done.”
I’m done with him.
I’m done with her.
Writing people off is tempting for three reasons:
1. We are worn out. We are to-the-bone weary with trying to understand or help or forgive. Fatigue causes us to throw up our hands in defeat.
2. We have no hope. Nothing changed last year. Nothing has changed this year. Why in the world should we expect anything to be better next year?
3. We have drifted from the gospel. We have forgotten that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8, NIV). We have forgotten that Christ pushed past His own weariness and pain and trudged on for the sake of love. We have forgotten that Christ held hope that we could become whole and blameless.
I see you today in that difficult relationship, so weary you can hardly take a breath. So much pain has been inflicted that you feel you will never be healed. You’ve been in the middle of the relationship challenge for so long that you can’t lift your head up and imagine things could ever change. It seems impossible to you. It seems impossible to everyone else.
But there is the gospel.
As we pull up close to the gospel, we remember there is hope for every man to be transformed when the light of Christ shines into his or her darkness.
So, what to do with a person who causes you struggle like this?
If determining not to write them off, then the alternative is to write their name on your heart. Vulnerable place, the heart. But either way, there will be wounds, yes? Better to pull a person in close and suffer long than to shove him away.

Christy Fitzwater is the author of A Study of Psalm 25: Seven Actions to Take When Life Gets Hard.She is a blogger, pastor’s wife and mom of two teenagers and resides in Montana. for more information about her ministry. 

‘Jesus’ War Memorial Wins Battle Against Atheists.


Big Mountain Jesus
A statue of Jesus will be allowed to remain as part of a World War II memorial in Montana. (ACLJ)

A statue of Jesus will be allowed to remain as part of a World War II memorial in Montana after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to remove it.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed an amicus brief, representing nearly 100,000 Americans and 18 members of Congress, to keep the Jesus statue on the Montana mountaintop. In dismissing the suit, filed by atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), the court concluded the memorial did not violate the establishment clause and can remain in its place on Big Mountain.

“We are extremely pleased that the courts finally recognized the absurdity of this lawsuit,” says Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. “Dismissing this case is not only a win for protecting the religious heritage and history of our nation, but for the soldiers and veterans of World War II. A memorial like this, created and placed on this mountain by the veterans themselves, deserves to remain there. It honors and commemorates the basic human rights that the FFRF manipulates to routinely counteract the rights of others, like the soldiers who fight for them.”

The atheist group filed the suit more than a year ago, calling the memorial “a ruse and a sham” and demanding the National Forest Service remove the display.

Part of a war memorial on Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana since the 1950s, the statue was inspired by monuments the soldierswho were also members of the Knights of Columbussaw in the mountains of Europe during the war.

“The statue does not convey to a reasonable, informed observer that the government, rather than a private party, endorses Christianity over any other faith or the absence of faith,” says U.S. District Court judge Dana L. Christensen. “The Court finds that the renewal of the special use permit does not constitute a government endorsement of a religious message and thus does not violate the establishment clause.”


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