Note:  our sincerest thanks to former Representative Derek Skees for his comments related to the Vincent meeting held in Helena yesterday evening to explain his support of the CSKT water compact to his constituents.

I had the fortune of participating in the town hall offered by Senator Vincent in Libby Tuesday night. The little theatre was packed with folks, and the majority present that spoke, they did so against the CSKT Compact. The event was videotaped by Mrs. O’Neil and David, so I am sure they will post those soon for your reference. It was not a good night for proponents of the compact, as the vast majority of the crowd was vehemently against it, and brought up great points of its failures.

As my lovely wife pointed out in her comments, the good Senator did a lovely job demonstrating to all of us present that he is an expert dancer, nimbly moving from one seemingly related point to another in a morass of complexity (deftly construed I would suggest to confuse and bewilder the listener to think the good Senator was a master of its understanding) without really answering directly any point brought up. The vast majority of the comments were preceded by personal references such as “I feel”, “I know”, “I have spent hundreds of hours” and my favorite, “trust me”.

This compact has many flaws, and most were pointed out last night, yet the default answer was time and again, that he is protecting us from the “10,000” lawsuit threat voiced by the CSKT. He told us there are many things he doesn’t like about the compact, and that it is not perfect…but it’s better than being sued by the Indians; Seriously?

I told him about Snake River in Idaho (where 6000 claims were filed and the tribe only won 5) in an attempt to show him the threat was unfounded, yet he told us “the rest of the story”….kind of. He pointed out that on appeal the state lost and settled out of court for over 200 claims. While that is true, it is definitely not the end of the story. Those settled claims were for small stream flows, and had a priority date of 2007. (Note: and the claims are not held in the tribe’s name) Idaho did a great job defending its citizens from this taking of water.

I wish I could say the same about Montana.

Senator Vincent, omitting a truth by obfuscation, is still a lie. That is what I heard all night; lies, intimidation, misdirection and the big stick of expensive law suits.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. – JFK