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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Lawrence Pettit Endorsement Announcement

Accomplished Author & National Leader in Higher Education, Lawrence Pettit, has endorsed John Mues for U.S. Senate   The former CEO of the Montana University System and accomplished professor, author and leader in public policy, Lawrence Pettit, endorsed John Mues to serve all Montanans in the U.S. Senate. Originally from Lewistown, Montana who resides in … Continued

Dorothy Bradley Endorsement Announcement

As all of you know, Dorothy Bradley is one of the premier and most compelling figures in Montana history and a genuine thought leader.  A great American. I am HONORED by her endorsement of my U.S. Senate candidacy.  I will tirelessly and effectively serve ALL Montanans, independent of background, as our next U.S. Senator from … Continued

The Missoulian
Daines comments damage Montana

An open letter to U.S. Sen. Steve Daines:

Recently, Senator Daines, you called four young newly elected congresswomen of color — Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib — on Twitter, “Anti-American” and “Anti-Semite”. Rather than retract your statement, you then went onto Fox News, doubled down, and even threw around the word “terrorist.”

A U.S. senator’s words can have real meaning. Given your position, a number of people follow and trust you. In your epithets against these women — on Twitter and Fox News — you have effectively called for action, even violence, against them. After all, according to you, they are “Anti-American,” “Anti-Semite” and somehow connected with terrorism.

Yet, these women have done absolutely nothing wrong. Their perspectives on public policy are different than yours because of the diversity and inequities of the communities that they represent. But they are each as American as you or me, and they love their country every bit as much as we do. I would know, as I served as an Annapolis-commissioned naval officer alongside brave Americans from a multitude of backgrounds, whose diversity improved our teams’ effectiveness. In contrast, you have put these young women in harm’s way.

This is not an outlying example, senator. You have turned a blind eye towards neo-Nazis and neo-fascists marching in Charlottesville, though countless American World War II soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen perished vanquishing the Third Reich, and though a young woman was murdered at the march by one of the neo-Nazis; the president’s borrowing of a phrase used by the Soviet Union’s Stalin to characterize the media as the “enemy of the people,” thus chilling free speech and placing journalists in our country and around the world in grave danger; the murder of an American-based journalist by Saudi Arabia, an oppressive regime which was then rewarded by retrograde policies you support; U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte’s body-slamming of a journalist for simply asking why he, as you, supports taking away affordable healthcare coverage from countless Montanans and other Americans; the president’s siding with Vladimir Putin, a former Soviet-era KGB officer, over our own intelligence agencies, with which I’ve worked; and, the 20-plus credible women whom have accused the president of sexual harassment or worse.

One’s voting and policy advocacy record is also a window into one’s character.

Yours has done damage to Montana and the United States. For instance, in this age of unprecedented economic inequality, you voted for a tax bill that widens that gap between the absolute wealthiest in America and the vast majority of us, straining our democracy. You voted to blow a multi-trillion-dollar hole through the nation’s pocketbook in order to give your major donors permanent tax cuts. You voted to transfer money from Montanan and American taxpayers into the pockets of wealthy foreign investors. You voted to cut Medicare and Social Security, though our seniors in Montana and throughout our country are already struggling. You supported President Trump’s withdrawal from both the Paris climate accords and the Iranian nuclear deal, seemingly doing the bidding of Saudi Arabia, which encouraged both actions. You voted for “short-term plans,” essentially fake insurance plans, in order to sabotage what little health care Montanans and Americans already have. You support President Trump’s trade war without having any end game and having trashed the international alliances we need to effectively stand up to China, hurting our farmers and ranchers.

I look forward to debating our competing visions in the coming months. Until then, I ask that you consider this open letter and be a better representative of Montana through your term.

Thank you,

John Mues

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Great Falls Tribune
Mues enters 2020 U.S. Senate race

John Mues, a fourth-generation Montanan, announced Thursday he is in the 2020 race as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now held by GOP Sen. Steve Daines.

“I’m running because we need leaders who are tough, have integrity, and who want to improve the lives of all Montanans, not just the most fortunate,” Mues said in his campaign literature.

He joins Democrat Wilmot Collins, a Liberian refugee who is now mayor of Helena, in the race.  The primary is June 2, 2020 and the general election is Nov. 3, 2020.

Mues and wife Claudia live near Loma. They are expecting their first child later this year.

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. Mues also graduated from the U.S. Naval academy  and trained as a submarine warfare officer and nuclear engineer.

“I love my home state of Montana,” Mues said in a telephone interview discussing his decision to run. “I love my country and I have the qualifications to make a major positive difference in the lives of all Montanans, not just the economically elite.”

He listed job creation as his No. 1 issue, saying there are “unprecedented levels of economic inequality” in Montana. He said infrastructure and broadband improvements were needed. And he said there needs to be investments in the education system to make sure teachers are paid what they deserve.

Other priorities as listed on campaign literature include affordable and accessible health care, veterans care, national service programs in which people can give back to their country and clean energy.

The Montana Republican Party on Thursday called Mues “yet another Democrat running in Montana to represent the radical left and their socialist agenda of open borders, free health care for illegal immigrants, taking away our gun rights, and bankrupting our nation with single payer health care and the Green New Deal.

MT GOP chair Don Kaltschmidt said Mues would oppose President Donald Trump’s policies.

“We’re proud to see Sen. Daines work alongside President Trump to always put Montana first,” he said.

Mues said that statement underscored how concerned Daines is about re-election.

“Let’s talk about facts and not propaganda,” Mues said, adding Daines “needs to be concerned.

A spokeswoman for Daines said “Steve looks forward to having thoughtful conversations during this campaign on how to best protect our Montana way of life and create good-paying Montana jobs.”

Mues campaign literature notes he grew up in a single-family household in Helena, Deer Lodge and Wolf Point. He said that shortly after being honorably discharged from the Navy, he used a teaching certificate that he got through Montana State University and Troops-for-Teachers program teaching on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation for two years.

Mues talked briefly about a drowning accident in June in which a film producer died at Canyon Ferry Lake while shooting a campaign video for Mues.

“It was an accident,” he said, adding Montanans are no strangers to tragedy and called the death “absolutely heartbreaking.”

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Yellowstone Public Radio
Second Montana Democrat Enters U.S. Senate Race

A second Montana Democrat has announced a campaign for U.S. Senate.

The 2020 election will be John Mues first foray into politics. The engineer, former teacher and Navy veteran from Loma, Montana says he’s running to address the largest economic inequality in U.S. history.

“When you have levels of inequality like this it starts to erode and destroy our democracy. Politics are up for sale.”

In an interview Thursday, Mues took swings at incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines while promoting improvements to job creation, infrastructure, hi-speed internet access, vocational education and affordable health care.

Last month, a film producer accidentally drowned in Canyon Ferry Lake while shooting a campaign ad for Mues. He says he decided to continue his candidacy after hearing from supporters.

“Look, we’re no strangers to tragedy. At the end of the day I took on board what so many folks from Montana had to say and it is the right thing to do to move forward to make sure U.S. Senate is in good hands.”

Mues joins Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins in seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Daines.

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