by Travis Mateer
In yesterday’s post I wrote about the curious omission by Martin Kidston and his online news rag, the Missoula Current, of any scrutiny directed at Missoula State Senator, Ellie Boldman (no longer) Smith, regarding her use of small business retention money for her law firm AND the Cannabis-related business, Willow Branch Science.
In today’s post I will AGAIN be writing about the reporting coming from the Missoula Current and I want readers to be thinking about yesterday’s post as we proceed.
The article we’ll be scrutinizing today is about a lawsuit filed on behalf of several businesses and an individual against the Missoula Health Board. Are politics involved? Yes, of course they are, and you get that clear impression from the title of the article, Businesses sue Missoula Health Board after Gianforte drops COVID restrictions. From the link:
Six businesses and organizations and one individual this week sued the Missoula City-County Board of Health and Health Officer Ellen Leahy, claiming the Board of Health violated their unalienable rights when it adopted additional rules on Dec. 17 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday repealing most of former Gov. Steve Bullock’s COVID-19 directives, specifically those limiting the hours of operation and number of people allowed in establishments such as bars and restaurants.
Gianforte’s order leaves it up to businesses to develop appropriate policies. However, local governments – counties, cities and reservations – can enforce stricter practices. Some have, including Gallatin, Missoula and Lewis and Clark counties.
This comes off as pretty straight reporting. Gianforte was elected Governor by a majority of voters in Montana, and that means some policies are going to change, just like at the Federal level where President Joe is busily EO’ing away any hint of Trump’s time in office. That’s politics.
But the Missoula County Health Department is supposed to be above politics, right? And their BIG CONCERN is for what the SCIENCE is telling them to do to keep people in Missoula safe, right?
Here is a portion of the statement released by the Health Department in response to this lawsuit, which it claims it has yet to receive as of Thursday (emphasis mine):
“The health officer and health board have worked diligently pursuant to (the law) to enact fair and reasonable restrictions to protect Missoula County from the spread of COVID-19. Sadly, we have lost 60 Missoula County residents from COVID-related deaths, which reflects the devastating impact of this virus on our community, and the continued need for public health measures aimed at curbing it,” the department statement said.
Let’s stop for a moment and ask ourselves whether or not a virus that you have a 99% chance of surviving if you’re under 70 actually constitutes a risk that warrants the drastic measures taken to limit the hours of operation for ONLY SOME BUSINESSES.
And let’s ALSO ask ourselves whether or not THE DEVASTATING IMPACT OF THIS VIRUS ON OUR COMMUNITY includes economic devastation and the subsequent impacts THAT will have on health and wellness, like exacerbating addiction and depression.
Or maybe I should tell my friend in recovery that the people he knows who have committed suicide during this pandemic don’t count unless we can label them a COVID-RELATED death.
The statement issued by the Health Department further explains that they don’t ENJOY enforcing policies that kill small businesses while conveniently allowing box to stores thrive:
“No one has enjoyed this aspect of the pandemic, including the health department, but it is the statutory duty of the health officer and health board to stop the spread of communicable disease, and it is a duty we take seriously in the face of a deadly pandemic.”
The Health Department clearly sees their role in all of this, as do the entities filing the lawsuit. And what is the role of the Missoula Current?
How about directing a level of scrutiny at those filing this lawsuit? The kind of scrutiny being carefully avoided when it comes to a State Senator named Ellie?
Later in the article, the hard-hitting reporting (using Facebook and Linked-In) discloses this stellar information:
Stand Up Montana is a new Bozeman-based nonprofit organization, founded in November by Cortney Brook Bent, according to a Secretary of State filing. The organization’s website says it was created “to support the civil action against Governor Bullock and the MT DPHHS to end all current COVID restrictions.”
The Stand Up Montana website also states, “What started as a small Facebook group quickly spiraled into large group of over 2500 members from around the state of Montana, but primarily focused in the Gallatin Valley. Join us in the fight against tyranny. Together we are standing up for Montana as Gallatin Unmasked.”
However, the court filing states Stand Up Montana has 400 members. The organization’s Facebook group started on Oct. 19 is private but states it has 282 followers. Gallatin Unmasked has 417 followers.
Is this group OVER-STATING their support? Gasp. Even more concerning, a church is involved:
Crosspoint Community Church on Mullan Road has attracted attention since October 2018 when pastor Bruce Speer posted campaign signs for candidates Matt Rosendale, Greg Gianforte, Brad Tschida, and Adam Hertz on the church grounds. To keep their nonprofit status, churches are required by the Internal Revenue Service to abstain from backing political candidates or initiatives.
Speer cited a 2017 executive order from former President Trump limiting action the Department of the Treasury could take against religious organizations.
“We are a church that has taken a position on what we believe is a key moral truth and that is pro-life,” Speer told KGVO radio in 2018. “We have allowed pro life candidates to put yard signs in our church property advertising their campaign.”
Can we tie any of these people to Qanon? I hope so, because then we can skip this pesky legal due process and send them straight to the reeducation camps.
If you’re not alarmed yet, there’s more to learn about these dangerous people who want to cavort in bars at 11pm without masks on, risking the death of EVERYONE YOU HAVE EVER CARED ABOUT!!! Like one of them is from California, and another one might be from Idaho:
Kingdon Enterprises operates coffee kiosks in Missoula. The owner, Warren Kingdon, moved to Lolo in 2018 and started the company after retiring as a pharmacist in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The lawsuit says Bronwen Llewellyn-Littlewolf resides in Missoula County. A web search comes up with a LinkedIn site that lists her home as Pocatello, Idaho, so she may also be a newcomer.
I think this “reporting” further exposes the political nature of the scrutiny coming from the Missoula Current, undermining the claim we are reading a report from a “news journal”. Instead, what it appears we are getting is a dispatch from Missoula’s version of MSNBC.
Science has nothing to do with any this. It’s all politics. And it stinks.