Letters published Jan. 28, 2018

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There are two sides to the issue of tax-exemption

Tim Adams’ letter of Jan. 16 regarding the Johnson Amendment fails to acknowledge the tremendous financial profits that “non-profit” organizations enjoy due to their tax-exemption status.

Taxpayers should not be forced to supplement the incomes of nonprofit organizations, including all religious organizations, that engage in political activities.

If organizations wish to give up their tax-exempt status, then they can freely engage in political activities. —Robbi Perry, Kalispell

Hillary’s anger

Everybody knows Hillary Clinton is an angry woman. But few know she’s always been that way.

She spent most of her husband’s presidency chasing as many bimbos out of the White House as she did in Arkansas when Bill was governor. Over the decades, she’s accused nearly 30 women of being “deplorable,” yet never divorced Bill. One has to wonder if she even wanted to be president, or was actually helping Bill get into the White House for a third term?

As secretary of state, she transferred emails of the Clinton Foundation uranium transactions to Russia onto an illegal private-server to her assistant Huma Abedin to hide. Huma then, unwisely, transferred those records to her husband’s computer, not knowing Anthony Weiner was having imaginary affairs with 16-year-old girls on the internet. FBI Director James Comey followed the trail of treason and ultimately had Weiner arrested in 2016 to justify seizing Weiner’s unsecured computer without bringing attention to, or indicting, Hillary Clinton.

James Comey clearly exonerated the Clinton Foundation at Anthony Weiner’s expense. So Weiner sits in jail, and the Clintons still possess millions of dollars in graft for selling America’s uranium to the Russians. Right now, the Clintons are very aware and very frightened that they may be prosecuted and convicted.

One wonders why Hillary remained married to Bill for years? Possibly because law states no one can be forced to testify in court against their own spouse. The Clinton marriage, like the Clinton Foundation and hopes of the Hillary Clinton presidency, was a fraud. It was a device for evading criminal scrutiny and prosecution. Of all people, Hillary Clinton has ended up a sad figure in history. She’s still an angry, unloved woman, a failed politician, and a human being who remains an American tragedy. —Mike Donohue, Kalispell

Here’s what the president might really have said

It is interesting how people only hear what they think they heard. Has anyone noticed that the word PITIFUL sounds just like the vulgar word some Democrats say was spoken by the president?

There are always those who try to make others look bad for their own purposes. Many have said they did not hear the vulgar expression the Democrat put forward. “Pitiful” sounds like it, but if someone has a hearing problem, or has an agenda to make someone look bad, they would say they heard the vulgar expression. If you hear the two words, you have to agree, they sound alike.

The president said he did not say the vulgar term, and others said they didn’t hear him say it. It might be interesting to see how many of those who say they heard it, have hearing problems, or are just out to make our president look bad. Perhaps you have noticed there are some trying very hard to discredit a lawfully elected president.

Also, one must admit that the  conditions in many of these countries are very pitiful to see. That is why so many are contributing to help the people living there with contributions to improve their lives. Pitiful also describes those who are so quick to believe those trying to hurt our lawfully elected president! Try hearing both words and decide for yourselves whether they sound alike. —Harold Graham, Kalispell

Lingering doubts about the CSKT water compact

Thanks to the Daily Inter Lake for the article by Patrick Reilly on the Salish and Kootenai water compact (Dec. 10). He did a lot of research on the complex issue. I was involved with the CSKT Compact in many hearings before it was introduced in the Montana Legislature. I noticed two issues in the remarks made by attorney Colleen Coyle in the article that were misleading regarding the CSKT Hell Gate Treaty and adjudication.

First, the Hell Gate Treaty is very specific and easy to understand and it does not mention water or water rights.

The statement in the Treaty (article III) that is referred to by Coyle is “right to take fish in common with the citizens of the Territory.” This is not a water right. Instead this right is an access right, which showed up in some treaties and was given only to tribes known to be peaceful to allow them access to some off reservation areas to fish and hunt. To infer that the tribes are entitled to have water rights to manage the streams off reservation is absurd.

Also, the Treaty (Article VIII) states: “The confederated tribes of Indians acknowledge their dependence upon the Government of the United States, and promise to be friendly with all citizens thereof, and pledge themselves to commit no depredations upon the property of such citizens.” Off Reservation CSKT stream water rights in the compact are a blatant violation of both Article III and Article VIII because they degrade the value of off-reservation property. Irrigated land that is subject to a water call by the CSKT (ordered to stop using water) is greatly depreciated in value because of the uncertainty of getting water. Also, minimum flows for fish and wildlife are not an issue because the 1967 Montana Legislature responded to several lawsuits and passed Murphy Water Rights for streams off the reservation to be managed by Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Second, Coyle’s understanding of adjudication is much different than mine. My observation has been that adjudication is a fair and equitable process. In many cases it is done without a lawyer. The Montana Water Court would sort and manage the filed off-reservation water rights based on their degree of similarity and legal validity. Each case (group of individuals) is issued an order. Most off-reservation rights will not be legally recognized because they have no basis in the Hell Gate Treaty, case law or state/federal constitutions.

The Nez Perce Tribe’s negotiation with the state of Idaho is similar and has been held up as a negotiation that some people say resulted in off-reservation water rights. However, unlike the CSKT compact, the Nez Perce Tribe did not get off-reservation water rights. Idaho was not willing to breach their state sovereignty by giving control or ownership of water to the Nez Perce Tribe. Idaho’s Department of Water Resources maintained ownership and control by establishing minimum in-stream flow water rights for “springs and fountains” off the reservation. The rights had a priority date of 2007 and all present and some future uses were protected. To date, no tribe has been given off-reservation water rights in an Indian water-right settlement or in court. —Verdell Jackson, Kalispell

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