Helena Independent Record
Montana Communities deserve to keep their minor league teams

As a boy growing up in Helena, I’d often go to Kindrick Legion Field to watch Helena’s minor league baseball team – first, the Phillies, then Gold Sox, then, lastly, Brewers – do battle against other teams, but also, pre-game, to watch my great-uncle, Denny Dunn, get the field ready for play. Uncle Denny, a groundskeeper at Kindrick Legion Field, was committed to ensuring that the field was in impeccable shape for Helena’s teams. Even after he had been diagnosed with emphysema, well into his later years, I recall him sitting in the riding mower, covering every square inch of the outfield.

When the Brewers left in 2018, that was a big blow to Helena, another whittling down of the institutions that glue, empower and inspire our Montana communities.

Now, Major League Baseball (MLB) has proposed eliminating 42 minor league teams across the nation, including the three remaining Pioneer League teams in Montana – the Billings Mustangs, Great Falls Voyagers, and Missoula PaddleHeads. Indelibly, there are reasons for the proposed drawdown. MLB, whose teams are collectively worth more than $50 billion, has estimated that it can save $21 million per year, or less than $1 million per MLB team owner. In addition, higher-order statistical tools – think “Moneyball” – may have identified other methods by which to develop MLB talent.

That said, as the next U.S. Senator from Montana, I will not take the elimination of Montana’s three minor league baseball teams and the 42 teams overall lightly. I approach this not out of political opportunism, but a deep-seated belief that large, influential organizations in the 21st century – whether corporations like Amazon and Facebook, nonprofits like the National Football League, or pass-through businesses like MLB – should make America’s communities stronger.

After all, our small Main Street businesses, frequently under assault by mega-corporations, are meaningfully contributing to our communities. They hire locally and pay taxes. Their workers volunteer in the community. Many such businesses serve as meeting points, bringing people together, breaking down divisions, entertaining and informing.

ssive organizations like MLB should do more. Indeed, some may argue that showcasing a 7-game World Series as good as this year’s and a 162 game-long season is more than enough. I won’t disagree. In fact, MLB, as a legal business entity, has the right to provide society nothing beyond adhering to the rule of law and its core, profitable offerings.

But, likewise, the United States of America, vis-à-vis Congress, has no obligation to extend the anti-trust exemption conferred to MLB, nor to minimize the taxes incurred by pass-through entities like MLB. Should MLB move forward with eliminating Montana’s three minor league teams – indispensable community institutions that also connect MLB to rural America, a key source of its talent – I will join, if elected as U.S. senator, the others in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives whom object to MLB’s plan (already, publicly, more than 100 members) to rescind MLB’s sweetheart tax and monopoly privileges.

Similarly, our country has no duty to protect the special interest-built regulatory framework that enables Amazon to, again, pay no federal taxes, Facebook to algorithmically itemize our citizens into echo chambers, maximizing disinformation and division, or JP Morgan to create and sell the next-generation of economy-cratering financial derivatives, as it did prior to the 2008-09 Great Recession.

Our country’s continued greatness necessitates holding even the most powerful of organizations, however admired, accountable. I expect MLB, a recipient of political largess, to care every bit as much about America’s communities as my great uncle – Greatest Generation, U.S. Navy veteran, and Kindrick Legion Field’s groundskeeper – did.

John Mues is a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, former naval officer and U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Montana high school teacher, and senior engineer in the business sector with London Business School MBA.

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Billings Gazette
Let’s honor U.S. heroes with action, not just words

I’m no hero, but I’ve been privileged to have served alongside heroes.

One such man is Mike “Groove” McGreevy. We completed the arduous Pre-Mini BUD/S training together at the U.S. Naval Academy, during our Second Class (or, Junior) year as midshipmen. That training took me a full month to recover. McGreevy, conversely, ran the Marine Corps Marathon at a brisk pace soon afterwards. He then, some years later, went on to lay down his life for our nation in Afghanistan as a Navy SEAL officer of a Quick Reaction Force trying to help four fellow SEALS under siege from hundreds of Taliban. Mike is a hero and is immortalized in the memories of his Naval Academy classmates, SEAL team-mates, and in the Naval Academy’s hallowed Memorial Hall and Arlington Cemetery.

Jeff McDonald is another. He and I served together at Submarine Group Eight at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom and coordinated the largest nuclear submarine task force in our nation’s history, paving the way for the ground invasion of Iraq. After two and a half years at Group Eight, Jeff and I were sent back to an operational submarine. He was assigned to the USS San Francisco and I was vectored to the USS Asheville, both of which were being deployed overseas. We were both in the Western Pacific Theater, under the operating authority of Task Force 74, when Jeff’s boat ran into, at flank speed, an un-surveyed, newly formed underwater mountaintop. Almost everyone aboard the ship was injured, including Jeff, and one killed. Jeff hobbled his way to the Control Room, as the boat barely resurfaced after an emergency blow of its main ballast tanks, and manned the bridge as Officer of the Deck, safely navigating the ship, with devastated hull.

In Guam, while my own boat was getting some maintenance done, Jeff and I spent hours together and deliberately avoided talking about the deadly accident, though, after a pint or two, he’d return to that day and the ubiquitous blood found throughout the submarine from forward to aft. Had it not been for Jeff’s stewardship in the bridge, the USS San Francisco and its 120 crew members may have slipped permanently beneath the Pacific’s waves.

Montana, of course, punches well above its weight in supplying our nation with patriotic young men and women. In fact, Montana, outside of Alaska, has the highest rate of military service in the nation, and our heroes range from the posthumous Medal of Honor-winner Travis Atkins of Bozeman to, though our politics differ, Robert O’Neil of Butte, who helped hunt down Osama Bin Laden, to those like Bud Campbell who survived the Bataan Death March of World War II, the Korean War’s Newton Old Crow Sr., and the Vietnam War’s Bob Jewell.

Veterans Day gives us all a chance to reflect on those who have served our nation in uniform. It has also given me, as a U.S. Senate candidate, the opportunity to develop the policies that will help our veterans: protecting and fortifying the Veterans Administration, destigmatizing and treating war’s hidden injuries, including PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury), expanding rural Montana’s access to high quality health care, incentivizing the hiring and training of veterans, solving veteran homelessness, and tackling our state’s suicide epidemic head-on.

In other words, it is important to honor our veterans’ sacrifice through smart, empathetic, and high-return investments, responsive communications, and inter-agency collaboration rather than just symbols and words.

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Bill Basl Endorses John Mues

A leading advocate for national service and former national director of AmeriCorps at the Corporation for National Service, Bill Basl, is formally endorsing the candidacy of John Mues to serve as the next U.S. Senator from the State of Montana.   With his endorsement of John Mues to be elected to the U.S. Senate, Bill Basl … Continued

Montanans Are Paying the Price of the Trade War with China

In traveling throughout Montana as a U.S. Senate candidate, I can attest that our farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and everyday consumers are being hurt by the poorly conceived trade war with China.  Companies have gone bankrupt, grain is being dumped on the ground outside of bins, train cars are sitting idle on railroad tracks, and … Continued

Kelly McCarthy Endorses John Mues to be Elected to the U.S. Senate

  “I’m honored to endorse my friend and fellow veteran, John Mues, to be the next US Senator from Montana.  He is our first best choice to make sure Montana remains The Last Best Place.” -Kelly McCarthy  Air Force veteran and former Montana House of Representatives leader from Yellowstone County, Kelly McCarthy, announced his endorsement … Continued

Great Falls Tribune
9/11 – Never Again

We Cannot Forget the Significance of the 9/11 and U.S.S. Cole Attacks

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 occurred in the middle of my naval service.  They also weren’t the first time that America had been hit by Al Qaida. That initial attack had occurred less than a year before, as I was serving in the Persian Gulf. 

That day, I had just, as our submarine’s SCUBA Diving Officer, finished up a security dive with a swim buddy around and under the hull, ensuring no abnormalities.  The water had been warm, and visibility had been effectively zero. A sheep carcass, perhaps from the passing barges of animals, was floating outside the submarine’s protective berm.  As a result, we swam slowly and methodically in order to cover everything. 

Once topsides, we received flash message traffic to immediately get our submarine underway, a full day earlier than planned.  I shed my SCUBA gear and began calling crew members back to the submarine, many of whom had been ashore exploring Bahrain. Then, we received a follow-up message, ordering us to use a special procedure to further reduce our time to sea. 

I quickly changed into my uniform, gathered our engineering team in the Wardroom, and briefed the team on the directive.  I headed aft to Maneuvering, the supervisory space of the propulsion plant, and led, as Engineering Officer of the Watch, the reactor startup’s execution.  We successfully established propulsion, and, in record time, got safely to sea. 

Before we dove, we learned the reason for our accelerated underway:  the USS Cole that day, in Aden Harbor, Yemen, had been bombed, killing seventeen American sailors.

Upon diving, we assumed position in our operating area, went to Battle Stations, spun up Tomahawk missiles, and stood by for authorization to launch an attack against Al Qaida. 

When 9/11 happened, eleven months later, our submarine was in Pearl Harbor Submarine Base.  As we watched the carnage of the Twin Towers, Pentagon, where an Annapolis classmate of mine was killed, and Flight 93, we agonized with the victims and their families, just as we had with those of the USS Cole.  

Shortly after, I received orders to COMSUBGRU EIGHT/CTF 69 directing me to supervise a task force of deployed submarines, including those with Navy SEAL capabilities.  Initially, from that overseas joint operating center in a deep underground bunker, war seemed distant, as Afghanistan was beyond our theater. Yet, over the next 2 ½ years, our own theater became transformed.  I coordinated one of the largest nuclear submarine task forces in history for Operation Iraqi Freedom, collaborated with CIA and SOCOM on weapons of mass destruction issues, built multinational naval exercises, and planned Global War on Terrorism missions requiring the President’s direct approval.

Many issues are critical in the 2020 U.S. Senate race, from healthcare to our agricultural markets.  National security is also critical. In particular, I will fight, as Montana’s next U.S. Senator, to keep partisanship out of, and data-driven decision making in, our governmental agencies, from CIA to Homeland Security.  I will also work to restore our alliances around the world, especially with countries whose troops have fought in our wars and whose intelligence services have helped us prevent another major terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  In addition, I will never forget that national security is a selfless, intergenerational, non-partisan effort – just as it was over the multi-decadal Cold War, won by the U.S. – for which there should be no reward other than the safety, happiness, and prosperity of one’s fellow Americans. 

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Round Up Web
Democratic Senate Candidate John Mues Speaks to Richland County Voters

John Mues is running for the Montana U.S. senate seat against incumbent (R) Steve Daines. Sunday afternoon, August 25, Mr. Mues spoke in front of small group at the Extension building about his desire to replace Senator Daines in the upcoming elections. Mues and wife Claudia live near Loma. They are expecting their first child shortly. Muse, 45, said he has worked in the energy sector for 11 years as a senior engineer. He has a master’s in business administration from the London Business School. John Mues also graduated from the U.S. Naval academy and trained as a submarine warfare officer and nuclear engineer. Mues participated in the Troops to Teachers Program and taught on the Fort Belknap Reservation at Hays/Lodge Pole for a number of years. He believes that his most important skill set is empathy.

Mues finds Senator Daines an “inadequate and destructive senator” representing Montana. Mues battles for this seat against Daines but also fellow Democrat Wilmot Collins who Mues refers to as “not a solid candidate.” John spoke of the “need to have a functional government” and criticized Daines and Trump for the “politicization of public offices.” Candidate Mues has several items on his agenda when he is elected to the U.S. Senate. “Job creation is at the top,” says Mues. It should be noted that U.S. unemployment rates stood at 3.7% in July of this year. Montana’s unemployment rate as of July this year was 3.4% according to the BLS current population survey. Along with increasing broadband in rural areas of the U.S. he would like to lower taxes on small to medium businesses while making sure the “economically elite” do not continue to widen economic gaps. Mr. Mues talked about the need for infrastructure policy as many basic structures are in dire need of repair or replacement. He would like to see more of the U.S., especially Montana, transition to a more clean energy economy. Though he has worked in the upstream oil & gas industry he believes that “climate change is real” and we should move into less traditional and more renewable options, like wind turbines. Mues believes that education is critical especially to increase the options and benefit of promoting trade and vocational schools. He also talked about the “trade wars” that are currently being done at the federal level. Although Mues believes that we do need to stand up to China on trade, he says that “there is a smart way and a dumb way and Trump is doing it in the dumb category.” Another aspect he would like to address is national security and border security. Mues believes that the U.S. has 6 borders to protect; all four land accesses but also the space above us and virtual boarders. Cybercrimes against citizens and U.S. government are increasing.

Mues is traveling around the state and recently wrapped up some time in Miles City. While there he toured the community and talked with local officials about the levee and flood issues. Mues is scheduled for over 20 fundraisers during the campaign.

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Silver State Post
Silver State Post Endorses John Mues for U.S. Senate

U.S. Senate candidate John Mues’ announcement video:

Mues better represents Montana values.

You need look no further than his candidacy announcement video to see Deer Lodge and Powell County holds special importance to U.S. Senate hopeful John Mues. Which makes sense, raised in Montana, Mues lived and attended school in Deer Lodge as well as numerous other Montana communities before heading to Annapolis to serve his county as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

John is well positioned to help lead our state’s energy transformation. Rather than repeat current events in Northeast Wyoming that resulted in massive layoffs and huge cuts to schools and counties, he supports a diversified energy economy utilizing Montana’s vast renewable resources. He’s a proponent for our public lands, senior citizen rights, veterans and the distinct groups of workers, ranchers, farmers, public servants and business owners who make Montana their home.

While his active duty service in the military and a MBA from the London Business School are certainly relevant to his credibility as a senator, it’s his work as a teacher on the Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation that truly exemplifies John’s Western Values.

That spirit of integrity, community, service and empathy that we value among our neighbors is sorely absent in Senator Steve Daines, who is more than willing to vilify half the population of our state. Unlike Daines, John lives the rural Montana lifestyle and calls Loma home.

It’s early in the campaign season and based on the last general election, it’s bound to be a long dirty grind. Still, it’s good to know one of our Senate candidates will aim the jabs towards his opponent and not his constituents.

-Jesse Mullen, Owner, Silver State Post

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Billings Gazette
Our Country’s Working Men and Women Built America

Labor Day is one of our most important holidays. Yet, not everyone wants us to recall that Labor Day is about working men and women who built America.

They built our dams, interstate highway system, electrical grid, shipping ports, airports, military bases, power plants. They serve in our government and teach our children, teenagers and college and university students. They provide high-quality healthcare and senior care services.

Most Montanans’ lives are rooted in labor.  For example, my grandfather climbed up an endless ladder to work on the convex face of the unfinished Canyon Ferry Dam.  My father, a union letter carrier, delivered the mail in Deer Lodge in sub-zero temperatures for decades, and my mother helped families in need as a social worker in Wolf Point. Hard rock miners in Butte rode makeshift elevators into the belly of the richest hill on earth.  My childhood friend, a standout baseball pitcher, worked the lumber mill in Deer Lodge and lost his arm in a tragic workplace accident.

Our laborers have sacrificed a great deal in order to advance our country, state and employers.  We must recognize that Labor Day is about honoring American working men and women and the tremendous, unheralded value that they add to our nation.

Without such recognition, we as a nation may find it easier to go along with the outsourcing of millions of blue collar jobs to China and other low-wage, permissive countries, as happened over the last several decades.  We may tolerate the fact that CEOs make 300x the salary of the average worker, when that metric used to be 40x.  We may ignore that the American worker has not gotten a pay raise, when normalized for inflation, in over thirty years, though the stock market and executive pay have soared.  We may rationalize the unprecedented economic inequality in our nation and its impact on democracy.  We may allow multinational corporations to control the debate over, and communicate only the benefits of, Artificial Intelligence (A/I), without noting the tens of millions of American working men and women whom it may displace.  We may condone the destruction of our unions and collective bargaining, and accept that the investor-class, through capital gains, pays a far lower tax rate than that of working families.  We may, as well, decide to vote for those to whom the American worker is an afterthought.

To be upfront, the continuance of globalization and automation, especially A/I, has the potential of placing even greater stress on America’s working families.  That’s why Labor Day should take on even greater meaning as the new century progresses.

It should remind us, every late summer, that working men and women of both traditional and new industries must be given a seat – literally – at the corporate board of directors table.  They must be granted a livable wage.  They must be allowed to unionize and benefit from collective bargaining.  They must be supported by a government that ceases to coddle multinational corporations, private equity managers, management consultants, and foreign lobbyists.  They must be granted access to affordable health care, even in times of unemployment, and equal pay regardless of gender or any other historically discriminatory characteristic.  Their children must be able to access, not only college, but quality trade and vocational schooling.

Labor Day is about picnics and barbecue at the lake or in the backyard, as it ought to be.  It also represents the very best of America, to which we owe a debt of gratitude:  Working Americans.

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Billings Gazette
Senator Daines Promotes Corporate Socialism

The greatest irony of Sen. Steve Daines’ latest howls against “socialism” — including his PR stunt on the U.S. Senate floor condemning socialism — is that Daines’ policies are leading to exactly that: Multinational corporate socialism. How so?

There is not simply one form of capitalism. There is a capitalism that is dynamic, fair and sustainable – the kind that built America’s middle class after World War II. As well, there is a capitalism that undermines the country as a whole by giving corporations and billionaires dominion over public policy. The latter option is Daines’ notion of capitalism — a system by, and for multinational corporations, special interests, and his major donors – not one for hard-working Montana families, individuals, and small- and medium-sized businesses.

Today, America faces some of the most daunting challenges in its history:

  • Economic inequality has never been greater in the United States, eroding our democracy.
  • Climate change, hardly a controversial topic in other nations, has been politicized in America.
  • Multinational corporations and America’s wealthiest families, compared to teachers, truck drivers and small business owners, pay a much lower tax rate if they pay at all.
  • Drug addiction and suicide rates are on the rise, indicative of a growing national hopelessness.
  • The federal debt ($22 trillion) is now greater than our own gross domestic product ($20 trillion).
  • Our nation’s infrastructure is not only far behind that in other modern nations, undermining our global competitiveness, it is collapsing.
  • Our students are performing near the bottom of industrialized countries, hurting our global competitiveness.
  • Our seniors increasingly need to choose between their prescription medications or food but can’t afford both.

These are solvable problems, but not by Senator Daines.

Daines just does not get it. Despite unprecedented economic inequality, Daines voted to give America’s wealthiest corporations and families massive tax breaks. He voted to add trillions of dollars to the national debt, without anything to show for it. Then, Daines voted to slash Medicare and Social Security, though our seniors are already struggling. Throughout his career in politics, Daines votes to take away health care from countless Montanans and Americans, in order to satiate his wealthy corporate political action committee donors who have already donated more than $535,000 to his re-election campaign.

He is just as bad on national security issues. Daines voted to support the installation of corporate lobbyists with extreme political views and conflicts of interest into governmental agencies. He supported America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords and the Iranian Nuclear Deal, effectively doing the bidding of Saudi Arabia, which encouraged each. He supports a trade war without any end game and having frayed international alliances critical to effectively standing up to China, hurting Montana’s farmers and ranchers.

Daines’ record is that of one who does not favor a dynamic, fair, and sustainable capitalism, but rather an unsustainable socialism for the ultra-wealthy that quickly stuffs the pockets of the few while weakening our nation as a whole. After the middle class has — after consecutive decades of economic stress, uncertainty, and marginalization — finally succumbed to this perverse notion of capitalism, what would result?

Certainly not freedom.

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