Letters, published on July 9, 2017

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Planning board members unfit

This is support for Whitefish city officials’ request to dismiss two county planning board members who used bigoted language in a May 10 meeting, making reference to “Whitefish Nazis.”

As Peter Drucker noted, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” —Mary Jane and Steve Barrett, Kalispell

There you go again, Whitefish

The city of Whitefish is at it again, demanding of the county commissioners that two county planning board members either be removed from the board or required to recuse themselves from any issues coming before the board that might involve Whitefish.

Apparently the city was offended by the comments of two board members expressing their frustration at that city’s continuing refusal to accept the Montana Supreme Court’s 2014 decision against the city’s demand to control private property and property owners outside of the Whitefish city limits. One of the offending board members comments included the phrase, “Whitefish Nazis”!

I would suggest that the city of Whitefish would be better served if they channeled their righteous indignation from attacking county property owners and the county planning board members representing them, to reflecting on why anyone would even conceive of such a comparison. Perhaps a little honest reflection rather than condemnation would go a long way toward bringing the Flathead’s most “progressive” city back into the mainstream of public thought and values.

Unless or until this happens, county property owners are fortunate to have one former Whitefish City Council member who has accurately put this entire matter in its proper prospective, Flathead County Commissioner Phil Mitchell.

In the words of Commissioner Mitchell: “It’s typical Whitefish.” —Russell Crowder, Marion

Estate-planning guide was misleading

The Inter Lake ran a feature titled “Estate and Pre-Planning Guide” on April 28. The feature laudably encouraged people of all ages to create a will, living will, and/or durable power of attorney. The feature was divided into two parts, e.g., Inventory Your Belongings and Health-Care Directives.

The section on health-care directives contains a number of incompetent and misleading statements that could result in irreparable harm to a sick or dying person or [politically correctly trigger warning, I am about to use the masculine pronoun] his surviving family.

Start out with the leading sentence of the health-care section: “when preparing your final will, an important section will cover health-care directives.” No it won’t. A will only comes into effect when you are dead. Emphasis on the word, DEAD. Unless your name is Lazarus, you don’t need any health-care directives in your will. You need health-care directives in a living declaration, a.k.a. a living will, or a durable power of attorney. It is guaranteed that if you arrive at the hospital with Aunt Maude’s will, containing Maude’s health-care directives, you will be shown the door as regards Aunt Maude’s dying health care.

The section on health-care directives contains this sentence, “[b]e as thorough as possible to take some of the weight off your power of attorney’s shoulders.” No you shouldn’t. There is no entity known as a “power of attorney.” A power of attorney is created when one person (the principal) appoints another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to act in the principal’s stead while the person is living. Please don’t confuse your readers into thinking there is a “reputable power of attorney” or “trustworthy power of attorney.”

There are three basic powers of attorney, i.e., general power of attorney, special power of attorney or durable power of attorney, which can be either special or general. Getting confused? Here is the point: Go to an attorney. He will be able to help you prepare the documents you need. Gentle reader, please don’t pull a form off the internet. Or if you do, please have your attorney review it before you sign it and put it in your sock drawer. Don’t be a cheapskate. You could literally be making a life or death decision.

Finally, don’t wait. Prepare that will, living declaration, and power of attorney today. —Scott Hamilton, Esq., Kalispell

We will all pay for Trump’s mistakes

I have to wonder how many Americans are prepared to acknowledge what has become so blatantly obvious. Trump acts like a tough guy because he is not. He overstates his intelligence because he is utterly average. He exaggerates the historical significance of his Electoral College victory, fabricates delusional excuses for losing the popular vote, and keeps trying to drag us into wild conspiracy theories as a distraction from his increasingly glaring administrative impotence and suspicious dealings with Russian oligarchs.

I have to wonder ... will the pandering salve he provides to a certain sect of our society really feel worth it to them.

What a fitting swan song for post-modern conservatism. We have a Republican president who is hardly conservative yet awkwardly embraced (with a wince) by the GOP because his zeal for purging Muslims managed to unleash a near barbaric political feeding frenzy among their white evangelical base. (Enter political theater stage door right — token social conservative Mike Pence.) We have a balance of power in Congress that does not represent the majority of the populace it governs, but rather a gerrymandered congressional map intended to give outsized influence to votes coming out of conservative districts. We have a return to failed trickle-down economics already creating market bubbles that can only burst and erase the hard earned gains made over the last eight years. In the light of day, we have fringe bigots coming out of the shadows with or without guns to demand Near East immigrants go back to where they came from — a bit of a mixed message in the cases where immigrants were shot while being told to go away.

It’s Trump’s party now, and that is a bell that can never be un-rung. The GOP will own Trump’s legacy long after he vacates the oval office. They will own Trump, but the economic, social, and cultural debts he leaves in his wake will bear down on all of our shoulders. I wonder who his supporters will choose to blame. —Todd W. Cardin, Kalispell

Don’t be fooled by the Saudis

Of the many concerns I have with regard to the early path of the Trump policy, I am most upset by our president’s unequivocal support of Saudi Arabia. In his recent visit, he boasted about making an obscene deal with the Saudis — promising a $110 billion arms deal — one that, if carried through, would be the equivalent of providing each citizen of that country with $3,500 worth of weapons.

How would these weapons be used? Saudi Arabia is home of Wahhabi Islam, perhaps the most radical branch of that religion. Through its sponsorship of schools and mosques from Africa to Indonesia the fundamentalist message of Wahhabism is spreading, and providing a fertile environment for the growth of terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State. Recall that 16 of the 29 terrorists of 9/11 were Saudis, Saudi nationals make up the second-largest group of foreign fighters in the Islamic State and, by some accounts, the largest in the terrorist group’s Iraqi operations. The kingdom is in a tacit alliance with al-Qaida in Yemen. (See Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post, May 25, 2017.)

If the Saudis do find the money (U.S. dollars spent for petroleum) to close this deal, their action will not be to suppress the terrorist organizations that are causing discomfort in the Western world, but rather to prosecute the inhuman war in Yemen, and to promote their form of Islam particularly in opposition to Shia Islam, whose home base is Iran.

In what way does the United States profit from the alliance that Donald Trump is establishing? We strengthen the “fundamentalist Islamic terrorism” that we profess to be fighting, and we become complicit in acts of inhumanity.

Oh yes, we get some jobs. —Sam Neff, Whitefish

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