Uncommon Ground

Uncommon Ground

Montana’s Political Courage

In one of the first initiatives Montana voters passed, the 100-year-old Corrupt Practices Act prohibits direct corporate campaign contributions. Montana’s state and local elections are still transparent by mandated disclosure laws. The U.S. Constitution never gave person-rights to corporations. The activist U.S. Supreme Court reopened those floodgates with Citizens United. Justice John Paul Stevens said […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Food Fight

Most in Congress ignore the growing hunger for better food. Today a budding constituency is fed up with the quality of our school lunches and the laboratory modifications made to real food. Food has become a social movement. It makes sense: people make eating decisions three times a day. And eaters do not like all […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

New Year’s Miracle

Christmas season offers joy, a time to reflect on our lives, and a resolve for the New Year. To people worldwide Christmas miracles are everyday possibilities. Miracles grow from natural dirt. Dr. Terry Wahls is a professor of medicine in Iowa. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a decade ago, for which there is no […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Real Politics

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is nationally recognized for his plain talk and good ideas. The Democrat selected a Republican running mate by allowing Montanans to mail in their nominees. He used the same strategy to trim the state budget and to select the design for the state quarter. Schweitzer is frugal with the Montana budget, […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Something has Changed

It was the conviction for social justice that drew former Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis to Wall Street to join activists at the Occupy movement. Lewis was arrested by New York police as protests entered their third month. “The fact that they were not doing this for themselves; they were doing this for all people […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Political Capital

Leftist journalist Naomi Klein wrote the books “No Logo” and “The Shock Doctrine.” The social activist spoke at the Occupy Wall Street movement indicating that they can fulfill on the promises of the 1999 global trade action in Seattle. That was the last time a global and youth-led movement took aim at corporate power. Asked […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

The Ballot Box is Open

Middle America knows it is getting squeezed. A decade after the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act, greedy Wall Street firms made too many irresponsible bets that collapsed the housing market, sending unemployment skyrocketing. Plenty of politicians insist that government should not create jobs by spending public money to fix bridges, hire teachers, rebuild roads, […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Flathead: Worth Saving

Hey townies, please vote for a change. Municipal turnout is typically very low with most locals not voting. But local races offer townies a big vote on the type of community they want fostered. When it all boils down, the deciding factor for most votes is still trust. Who do you trust as advocates for […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Toning it Down

There were political lessons that Montana voters learned after watching legislators debate laws in Helena during the first part of this year. In five weeks the Flathead will see how that debacle translates for city voters on Election Day. Most of us get the “taxed enough already” motto preached during the campaigns. But the balance […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Can’t Fight City Hall

The prospect that politicians may move City Hall out of the downtown, and onto the highway strip, will come as a shock to many residents. Whitefish has been pondering a newer City Hall for years, and by all accounts improvements are much needed to the aging structure. The city will mostly use urban renewal funds […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Vote First

In 2005, less than a quarter of Whitefish voters went to the polls for city elections. By 2007, Whitefish held a mail-in election and turnout more than doubled. Compared to Kalispell, where one in ten locals voted, the 2007 Whitefish turnout was a wild success. In the 2007 election, hydrologist John Muhlfeld bested a commercial […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Congress on Recess

After crafting a lackluster compromise to retire national debt obligations, Congress is on recess. Lawmakers will return to Washington in September for another couple weeks of work. But if the 1st Session is any indication of accomplishments, the public should not expect much help from the 112th Congress. Americans are hungry for work and better […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

GOP Seal of Approval

The debt reduction compromise puts a balanced budget Constitutional amendment to a full Congressional vote this year. Montana would ratify the leftover idea from the “Contract with America.” A balanced budget has plenty of populist appeal. “That is not fair to the American people to hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Do Something Congress

In politics the Senate acts more civil than the House. Both chambers are needed since compromise moves the nation forward. Lawmaking is an ugly and painful process to watch, but it works. Though distasteful to party bases, compromise does advance the people’s interest. The lack of progress in 2011 Congress is stifling to the small […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Compromising Debt

As President Barack Obama was sworn into office, America had an annual unbalanced budget deficit of $1.3 trillion. This was the result of previous years when Congress did not pay its way, including a Wall Street bailout. America has never been out of debt, except once. Former President Andrew Jackson holds the honor for detesting […]

By Mike Jopek

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