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Posts tagged: Marty Trillhaase

MT: Obamacare Working In Idaho

Despite a faltering economy and a steady expansion in the ranks of uninsured Idahoans unable to pay their medical bills, the program that covers those costs stabilized. Credit good management.  But you can't ignore how much of this accomplishment is tied to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. You know. Obamacare/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Would most Republican Idaho legislators admit that Obamacare is working, even if they knew for sure that it was?

Trillhaase: R’s Debate ‘Weirdest’ Stuff

JEERS … to Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko. Last week, his party's central committee met in Boise and debated some of the weirdest stuff imaginable — declaring the courting of foreign investment to Idaho “subversive,” demanding the firing of any university president who resists arming college students with concealed guns or labeling Idaho “the Free-Market State.” So what happened? For some reason, Semanko's GOP website won't tell you. But we will. Foreign investment is safe. The guns on campus measure failed. Free-Market State? That passed/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Do you have a cheer or jeer to give to an elected official this fine Friday the 13th?

Trillhaase: Teetotaler Pledge Crazy

You'd think Idaho politicians would be gagging on pledges already. There's a pledge to loyally support the Republican Party platform.  A pledge never to raise taxes. A pledge never to cross the gun lobby on one side or the anti-abortion rights league on another. But as pledges go, Scott Andrus of Twin Falls has matched the gold standard for being ludicrous. As the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey reported, Andrus, who pleaded guilty in a drunken driving-related case, put out the call for temperance: “I humbly ask that you pledge that no beverage alcohol will pass your lips during the 2012 legislative session. Please remain sober as you conduct the affairs of state.” What's next? No more dirty jokes? Decaffinated coffee, anyone? And don't forget your hand sanitizer/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you a teetotaler?

Trib: Shocked By Idahoans In Limos

Shocked to find a group of Idaho legislators taking a taxpayer-funded limousine ride - replete with mini-bar, mood lighting and television - along the streets of Manhattan at five times the cost of a taxi? Stunned to discover that some of these lawmakers take their spouses along on a junket to New York City? Amazed that Treasurer Ron Crane has been squiring these politicians to the Big Apple in splendor for some time? Dumbstruck that it takes nearly a dozen legislators to tell Wall Street its business? Incredulous that until The Associated Press exposed the practice, nobody seemed to notice? Then you've not been paying attention. Make certain you're registered to vote. The state's political machinery is counting on your support/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: At this point, are you still surprised by the shenanigans pulled by some top elected Idaho Republican officials (Hart, McGee, Chigbrow, Loertscher, etc.) and tacitly allowed by others?

Trib: Labrador Pockets Campaign $$$

Anytime a politician approaches an ethical border, the first thing out of his mouth is: “It's legal.” And the next thing is: “Everybody else does it.” So it goes with freshman Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who waited all of five months in office before putting his wife Becca on the payroll. As the Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell reported, Labrador hired his wife as his campaign accountant. Hired in May, she's paid $2,050 a month and is the campaign's sole employee. Nepotism laws apply only to federal offices. Becca Labrador can't draw a salary from her husband's congressional staff - where he earns $174,000. And Labrador can't spend campaign contributions on himself. Even after he retires from office, the law prohibits him converting whatever cash remains in that account to personal use. But hiring his wife for the campaign accomplishes the same result/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you consider this to be the first serious ethical slip by Congressman Labrador? Or do you even consider it to be a slip?

Trib: Another Jeer For Phil Hart

JEERS … to Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, northern Idaho's Never-Ending Story, Chapter 26: Politician who craves the power to write laws everyone else must follow while extending his middle finger anytime authority knocks at his door. Last week, federal prosecutors sought $550,000 in back taxes and moved to foreclose on Hart's Athol home - which, by the way, was built partially with timber he stole from the state of Idaho endowment lands. Hart contends taxes are unconstitutional - at both the federal and state level. Here's another reminder of a tax scofflaw GOP House leadership not only tolerates, but safeguards. If Hart insists on being an anarchist, why is he still in the Idaho Legislature? If his own GOP leadership won't boot him out, why are the voters of Kootenai County not ousting him?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Actually, Marty missed to mark a here. Rather than asking why the voters of Kootenai County don't oust Hart, he should be asking why the voters of House District 3 (Hayden, Hayden Lake, Rathdrum, Spirit Lake, Athol, & Bayview) don't give him the boot. Why don't you guys up north toss this guy?

Trib: Why Rex Rammell Fascinates Us

If Rex Rammell's tale were strictly a political one, his 15 minutes of fame would be up. He lost last year's GOP gubernatorial primary to Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter by more than a 2-to-1 margin. He carried only two counties - Benewah and Idaho - which explains his move to the Grangeville area. Two years earlier, he did no better than 5 percent against U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. In 2004, he got only 35.7 percent of the vote against state Rep. Mack Shirley, R-Rexburg. In 2002, he ran fourth in a five-way Republican primary for a seat in the Idaho House. He self-financed his campaigns while declaring bankruptcy/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you fascinated by the train wreck that has become Rex Rammell?

Lewiston Trib Jeers Labrador

JEERS … to Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. When you see somebody resurrecting a piece of former Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage's portfolio, it's a good idea to ask why. Labrador wants Congress enabled to veto the president's authority to declare national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906. That's the law that Teddy Roosevelt used to preserve the Grand Canyon. It's the one Franklin Roosevelt applied to help save what became Grand Teton National Park. It's also the law used to expand Idaho's Craters of the Moon/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

More Idaho Opinion:

Question: Who would you trust more to do what's right re: wilderness designations in the West — President Obama or Congressman Labradro?

Hoffman: No Pol Gets A Pass From Us

It sure is strange to see Lewiston Tribune editorial writer Marty Trillhaase complain that the Idaho Freedom Foundation is not being aggressively free market enough. Is he serious? I doubt it, because Trillhaase and his newspaper aren't exactly champions of freedom and free markets. If Trillhaase and the Lewiston Tribune are complaining, odds are we're doing something right. But what's even more surprising is my friend Marty's contention, printed last week, that IFF has been silent about Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter's plan to accept federal Obamacare money. Trillhaase says “you've not heard one word of protest” from IFF. Indeed, Trillhaase goes on to invoke the name of my mentor, Ralph Smeed, who died a year ago. Trillhaase says Smeed would have been more critical of our governor and that IFF isn't because my organization has been co-opted by a governor who supports our cause. Hogwash, hogwash and more hogwash/Wayne Hoffman, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Does the Idaho Freedom Foundation watch its friends as closely as it does its enemies?

Marty Jeers Hear-No-Evil Goedde

JEERS … to Idaho Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene. He doesn't think much of teachers who criticized state school Superintendent Tom Luna's plan to divert tax dollars from the classroom into online instruction. The State Board of Education will decide how many online classes students will be required to take. A subcommittee has recommended two courses. Goedde serves on that panel. Most of the testimony that committee heard was negative, but that's because only teachers testified - and what do they know? Goedde said. “I was there for the Coeur d'Alene testimony, and without exception, every person that testified was either an educator or a former educator,” Goedde said. “And I think that is just consistent with their insistence that education reform is a bad thing.” Would Geodde support health care reform opposed by 98 percent of the nation's doctors?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Other Idaho Opinion:

Question: Does Goedde deserve Marty's jeers?

Trillhaase: Butch Knows Best

When professional economists analyze how well Idaho will do in the next 18 months, they consider a host of factors. Will interest rates spur investment? Will more people have jobs? How much will they get paid? What will Idaho's commodities and manufactured goods command on the open market? How will the timber and mining sectors perform? Will the nation as a whole prosper? And what do some of the country's leading analysts predict? That information is spun into a statistical formula, then massaged into a formal projection of how much tax revenue Idaho can expect to have on hand for its programs. It's not flawless. Coming within 1 or 2 percentage points is remarkable, but even that can produce shortfalls or surpluses. No matter. Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter knows better. He relies on his instincts and his ideology/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

More Idaho Opinion:

Question: Does Butch really know best about the Idaho economy & budget?

Trillhaase: Murder Strikes Home

From the time Benoit contacted the UI on June 10 with her concerns, the university appeared fully engaged. It investigated. It contacted police. It prodded Benoit to take precautions. It severed ties with Bustamante six weeks after Benoit made her complaint - virtually the speed of sound in a government bureaucracy. Moscow police should have been brought in sooner and more aggressively. Focusing the investigation more firmly upon Bustamante - such as bringing him in for an interview and checking his background - might have yielded results. Nonetheless, would an irrational person respond to rational appeals? It suggests cops have more discretion than they otherwise might when no restraining order was sought or issued/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Can society deal with a mentally ill person bent on violence?

Trillhaase: Rep. Hart Delays, Obstructs

Idaho's courts are obligated to tolerate Rep. Phil Hart's insistence that it respect every single one of his due process rights before he pays his taxes. But the Athol Republican's constituents are free to judge Hart's actions now. As his latest legal maneuver makes clear, Hart is — to borrow liberally from Idaho State Tax Commission lawyers - clearly engaged in a “pattern of delay and obstruction.” Hart's claim to fame is that he writes laws for the rest of us to obey while taking a decidedly cavalier approach to following those laws himself/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Reaction?

Marty: Idaho GOP Is A House Divided

Idaho Republicans agree on two things: Their affinity for Reaganesque platitudes in November and their animosity toward President Obama year-round. And that's just about it. On the debt ceiling crisis, where is any common ground between 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador and 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson? Until the last minute, Labrador seemed willing to risk default to constrain debt. Simpson sees default as the greater hazard. Can you really say this party stands for a simple standard of right and wrong when the GOP Central Committee can condemn Senate Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee of Caldwell — a moderate — for drunken driving, but looks the other way when Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol — a renegade conservative — steals state timber and shirks his taxes?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Will Democrats ever benefit from the divided Idaho GOP?

Trib: Believing Lies, Obscuring Truth

Accuse Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter of selling the state out to the Chinese and people will believe it. Tell them the governor puts big corporations and special interests at the front of the line, however, and they're incredulous. What would you call people who buy a conspiracy theory but ignore their own reality? Republicans. Meeting in Moscow Saturday, the state GOP Central Committee gave credence to the China story by directing Otter to go slow. The GOP resolution says in part: “The stability of our form of government is being undermined by strategies used by the Chinese state-government-controlled entities through investments, corporate takeovers, intelligence operations and rare-Earth monopolization”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Why do partisans of all stripes, and not just Idaho Republicans, believe lies & obscure truth of their elected party leaders?

Marty: Megaloaders Seal Idaho Deal

Of course, the Western Legacy Alliance thought it perfectly OK to feature the Idaho flag and state seal in its newspaper advertising promoting megaloads. Why wouldn't it? Idaho's officialdom has stood firmly allied with plans to haul operating equipment along U.S. Highway 12 bound for the oil sands project of Alberta, Canada. When the pro-business group confiscated the state seal in ads that popped up in the June 14 Lewiston Tribune and every other daily newspaper across Idaho, many shrugged it off. But not everybody. Some began asking if using a state seal was appropriate. “The guidelines are that the seal be used in good taste, without alteration and without the intent to mistakenly convey state of Idaho sponsorship, endorsement or approval of a product or service,” Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's office responded/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you bothered that the Idaho flag and state seal were used to promote megaloads in newspaper advertising?

Marty Jeers Redistricter Evan Frasure

JEERS … to former state Sen. Evan Frasure, R-Pocatello (pictured). His launch as co-chairman of Idaho's newly ordained redistricting commission is a visceral reminder of why he's not been missed from public office: He's a partisan mischief-maker who makes Peter Lorre look like a novice. Now he's sitting on the six-member citizens commission - half Democrats, half Republicans - responsible for redrawing Idaho's political map. At Tuesday's inaugural hearing, Frasure all but declared open season on the Democrats: “This is a very partisan event. There's no getting around it. It's political bloodsport”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you have faith that the Idaho Redistricting Committee, co-chaired by former state Sen. Evan Frasure, will do what's best for Idaho residents not the Idaho Republican Party?

Trillhaase: Denney Protects Denney

Idaho always has tolerated an element of good old boy politics. Its lawmakers self-policed themselves. But at least when the political parties were more balanced, a natural tension kept legislators honest. The good old boys also operated under a honor system. In the Senate, a ethics review essentially ousted former Sen. Jack Noble, R-Kuna, who tried to promote a bill to profit himself. In the House, former Speaker Bruce Newcomb, R-Burley, once called an ethics probe on himself. Political balance no longer exists. The good old boys are gone. So is their political culture that held itself to an ethical standard. The sooner Idahoans realize that, the sooner they'll give the job of enforcing ethics to somebody else/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is it time for ethical GOP lawmakers — if there are any of them with a backbone — to band together to remove Lawerence Denney from his role as House Speaker?

Trillhaase: Jeers To Lying Cop

JEERS … to Idaho State Police Cpl. Fred Rice. You can no longer rely on a cop to tell the truth when his testimony condemns someone to 25 years in prison. Rice walked into a 2006 trial of Jonathan Wade Ellington (pictured at 2006 trial) of Hayden. Then he lied. Ellington was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery for running over a woman in what was allegedly a road rage incident. Ellington's expert witness, Dr. William Skelton, said the defendant didn't have time to respond. Reaction time averages 1.5 seconds, he said. He also said wreckage from the accident indicated Ellington had been in the proper lane. Rice disputed the idea of an average reaction time and the reliability of the debris field. Like most people, the jury believed the police officer. More here/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. (SR file photo)

Question: Do you think the overwhelming number of cops tell the truth?

Marty: Luna Spreading McCarthyism

Good morning and welcome to the annual Joseph R. McCarthy Award. This year, the choice was clear: Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. As we all know, this accolade's namesake set the standard for using flimsy evidence, making reckless accusations, employing political intimidation, coercion, blacklisting and hypocrisy. … Which brings us to Luna's scare tactics. Unhappy with the superintendent's newly passed laws that impose merit pay, curb collective bargaining rights and replace breathing teachers with artificial intelligence, some educators are working to recall him. Others would put all three laws up for a referendum vote in 2012. Luna wants it stopped/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Have you ever been victimized by a form of McCarthyism?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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