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Legislative leaders in Montana seem to be taking the right approach ahead of the legislative session that is supposed to kick off in January. If Democrats want to stay home and remote in for the session, they can do so. If Republicans want to be there in person working on behalf of their constituents they can do so also.

Seems pretty open minded and tolerant, doesn't it? That's what I thought too. But legislative Democrats, who just got trounced in the November elections, are still complaining.

On Monday, I mentioned on the radio how the Lee newspapers were now going to staff up their capital bureau in Helena. One listener says it is an obvious move to attack the Republicans who will take over the governor's office in January for the first time in 16 years. And, of course, you can already see the biased coverage of the Montana Legislature- even though they haven't formally gotten into session yet.

You'll notice in the Lee newspapers piece published in The Missoulian that they pounce on Rep. Barry Usher (R-Billings) for questioning COVID death statistics, and for citing a Johns Hopkins report showing that the death rate hasn't changed from last year to this year. But, of course, they didn't even question a Democrat lawmaker from Bighorn County who talked about her county being hardest hit by the virus, and why everyone needs to wear masks. I guess the reporter didn't think to even mention the fact that Bighorn County has had a mask mandate longer than the state of Montana has had a mask directive. Don't question the Democrats. Pounce on the Republicans.

And yet, Barry Usher was right to question the death stats from last year to this year. Former CIA operations officer Sam Faddis also headed up the CIA's counter WMD unit at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center. He writes for the AND Magazine website, and pointed to that same Johns Hopkins report, which was compiled by "Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Johns Hopkins University."

Faddis writes:

While deaths attributed to COVID-19 dramatically increased, deaths attributed to all other causes suddenly plummeted. Most notable perhaps was the decrease in deaths attributed to heart disease. Somehow, suddenly, according to the data, in the midst of worldwide pandemic, Americans were much less likely to have heart attacks or strokes.

By the way, I spoke with Faddis about this very topic several days ago. You can listen to the full conversation by downloading our NewsTalk or Montana Talks app on your smartphone. You can also click here to find it through Google.

READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19


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