When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
According to my state representative, Idaho cut approximately 2800 state jobs since the recession began and looks to terminate another thousand educators. They're risking millions in Medicaid funding which receives 3:1 in matching funds. They're set to reapply a means test to food stamps, the best form of economic stimulus we could utilize. What this means is that Idaho Republicans are Hoovering Idaho's economy.
Deeper spending cuts by state and local governments slowed U.S. economic growth in the final three months of last year. The government's revised estimate for the October-December quarter illustrates how growing state budget crises could hold back the economic recovery.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that economic growth increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final quarter of last year. That was down from the initial estimate of 3.2 percent.
State and local governments, wrestling with budget shortfalls, cut spending at a 2.4 percent pace. That was much deeper than the 0.9 percent annualized cut first estimated and was the most since the start of 2010.
An Idaho Senate committee killed legislation seeking to nullify the federal health care reform bill on a voice vote today after a nearly three-hour hearing, angering a crowd of close to 200 that grew restive afterward, with some members confronting lawmakers.
Lori Shewmaker, of Boise, shouted “coward” at senators as they left the hearing. Others angrily gathered around Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, and one young man told Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, “You know we’re left with no alternative but to defend ourselves.”
Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, moved to send the House-passed measure, sponsored by North Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, to the full Senate with a recommendation that it pass. But only one other committee member, Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Meridian, voted in favor of the motion.
Those angry dimwitted tea baggers sounded like they were looking for some blood by which to "water the tree of liberty". Hopefully they mean that figuratively and they's a gonna primary some Republicans, which is surely going to meet with some success. That's opportunity for an Idaho Democrat. read more »
Two of the three bills for education deform passed the senate with bipartisan opposition. This will surely pass the House handily and the Governor has advocated their passage. The third was sent back to committee
to make it appear they're doing something meaningful so they have political cover for retooling. Vote was the same on both.
* Yes votes (20): Bair, Brackett, Davis, Fulcher, Goedde, Hammond, Heider, Hill, Lodge, McGee, McKague, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nuxoll, Pearce, Siddoway, Smyser, Toryanski, Vick, Winder.
* No votes (15): Andreason, Bilyeu, Bock, Broadsword, Cameron, Corder, Darrington, Keough, LeFavour, Malepeai, Schmidt, Stegner, Stennett, Tippets and Werk.
This is a very dark day in Idaho's history marking the beginning of the end of the middle class in Idaho. Destroying 1000 more jobs and sending our precious tax dollars out of state will further tank Idaho's economy. Worse, 1108 further victimizes Idaho teachers for this recession, and marks the end of teaching as a profession in Idaho. Destroying tenure enables school boards to jeopardize a teacher's job if a teacher has a professional objection to politically charged curriculum directive, like teaching creationism.
A pair of bills, one of which is currently sitting on Governor Otter's desk, proposes to "prohibit “project labor agreements” requiring contractors to forge pacts with unions as a condition of winning government construction jobs. The second forbids unions from using their membership dues to subsidize wages to help contractors with union workers win projects." They even make it a crime. These are so extreme they drew Republican detractors.
“What we say in this criminal statute is unions cannot use their money as they see fit,” said Rep. Grant Burgoyne. “That's not consistent with American notions of liberty.”
There was one Republican dissenter on the first bill, Rep. Tom Trail of Moscow. Trail was joined by Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise opposing the second measure.
Luker, a Boise lawyer and free-market advocate, said the measure encroached too deeply in the freedoms of private groups.
“What we're really talking about is, yeah, it's a subsidy of sorts,” he said. “But it's a subsidy that comes from the voluntary contribution of the workers, to help maintain a job market for themselves.”
introduced legislation requiring anyone who files a lawsuit against a transportation project on state highways to post a bond equal to 5 percent of the value of the items being hauled, and if the plaintiffs lose the lawsuit, the whole bond would go to the Idaho Transportation Department. Plus, the bill would authorize the court to award damages to the hauler in the amount of its loss for delays related to the lawsuit.
But for the efforts of a few individuals who will be severely impacted, nobody would have become aware of the efforts to make one of Idaho’s most scenic highways into an industrial corridor. Idaho derives no benefits from those loads and the potential cost to taxpayers is extremely high.
And my God, this has got to be the stupidest things ever to come out of the mouth of a “public servant”.
“I think that that’s totally justifiable because they really did put the Department of Transportation into a lot of extra hearings, and transportation costs, going to North Idaho for the hearings and whatever else. Ultimately, they won, but without this, there was no reimbursement for their extra expenses.”
Extra expenses my ass. Its the cost of doing business for both the haulers and for government. This legislative session is all about stacking the deck in favor of the wealthy. read more »
One of the amusing stories this talented teen speaker relayed to the crowd in Boise was advice he received from Tom Luna to go into marketing when he goes to college. Those are precisely the skills education deform advocates had in short supply last night with a telephonic "town hall" sponsored by IACI. Leading the "discussion" were Governor "my wife's a teacher" Otter, Superintendent Tom "union thug" Luna, Senate Education John "gavel bustin'" Goedde, and House Education Chairman and Duane Hagadone's own Bitchin' Bob Nonini.
Otter invited recipients of the call to join the one-hour forum in a recorded message, and they could choose whether to participate in the live call.
Participants were asked two questions, according to IACI President Alex LaBeau, basically: "Do you support education reform?" and "Do you support raising taxes or not?" The reform question did not specifically mention the Luna-Otter “Students Come First” plan.
Paul Whitted of Garden Valley told the Statesman he joined the call because he’s very interested in the topic, but that he felt “snookered by Gov. Otter and his buddies” because the call was a “sales job.”
Who isn't in favor of reform? It wasn't just the loaded questions, there were dropped calls, screened questions from participants, weighted polling, basically it was this. The most sinister aspect was this disclosure by IACI guru Alex Lebeau:
The phone numbers are part of what LaBeau calls the largest and most sophisticated voter file in Idaho, with over 700,000 names. He wouldn’t say how many people were contacted, except that it was in the thousands, and that 400 or 500 people sought to put questions to the panel.
Yikes. Private data miners in charge of government. Is it OK to get paranoid yet? read more »
In Idaho, union busting has been a hallmark of Republican politics since they passed the so called "Right to Work" legislation a quarter century ago. So it comes as no surprise to Idahoans when we hear the same refrain from legislators this session. But its much more radically sinister than in year's past. In Idaho Republicans are using a fiscal crisis of their own design to punish education and other public employees. As Ezra Klein recently observed about the showdown in Wisconsin:
Let’s be clear: Whatever fiscal problems Wisconsin is -- or is not -- facing at the moment, they’re not caused by labor unions. That’s also true for New Jersey, for Ohio and for the other states [like Idaho]. There was no sharp rise in public workers’ wages in 2006 and 2007, no major reforms of the country’s labor laws, no dramatic change in how unions organize. And yet state budgets collapsed. Revenues plummeted. Taxes had to go up, and spending had to go down, all across the country.
Blame the banks. Blame global capital flows. Blame lax regulation of Wall Street. Blame home buyers, or home sellers. But don’t blame the unions. Not for this recession. read more »
"Teaching is the way our future is shaped and its the way the next generation is raised." If he's any indication, overhauling the system that produced him would seem a tad extreme. H/T HBO.
Monday, February 21st:
Emmett - Main and Washington - 9:30 a.m. (Then travel to Boise)
Idaho Falls - Sportsmans Park (next to Key Bank) – 11 a.m.
Pocatello – Corner of Oak and Yellowstone – 11 a.m.
Blackfoot – Cammack Park – 11:30 a.m.
Boise – Capitol Park – Noon
Moscow - Friendship Square – Noon
Coeur d’Alene – City Hall – 4 p.m.
Hailey - Along Main Street – 4 p.m.
Nampa - Lakeview Park – 4:30 p.m.
Payette - Payette Community Center - 6 p.m. read more »
Popkey's promised story is published, fleshing out the details in the concerted effort, for most of a decade of private, profit driven corporations gradually taking over the public education system in Idaho. The article expands the cast of characters of wealthy ideologically right wing players, including, Fox magnate Rupert Murdoch, junk bond felon Michael Milkin, the hypocrite Bill Bennett, and the son of disgraced Idaho Congressman George Hansen. In so doing Popkey connects the dots from the money to Luna and his education deform package. The heart of the story is this quote from former Republican state legislator Laird Noh:
“It reminds me very much of President Eisenhower’s warning to beware of the military-industrial complex,” said Noh, who clashed with K12 Inc. while in the Senate. “It seems to me that what we’re seeing here is the educational-industrial complex that’s operating behind the scenes, with people like Rupert Murdoch. They are interested in the millions of dollars, frequently taxpayer dollars, which they can glean through the political process.”
While you're digesting that, Betsy observed that some responses she received from legislators this week on the contents of the legislation appear to be dead wrong. C'mon Betsy, they're just the salesman, they don't need to read legislation. read more »
As her shrewness observed last night, investigative ap reporter, John Miller, has connected some more dots, exposing the association of, and the pecuniary interest in, the radical school reform legislation, by Joe Scott and the Albertsons Foundation. In so doing, a picture is coming into sharp focus of for profit companies gradually hijacking the public education system, seeding the infrastructure necessary for the private takeover to be complete. They've persuaded legislators, over time, to allocate precious resources to building the infrastructure network and all that remains is to get the state to buy laptops for every "customer" in Luna's "customer-driven" plan.
Of course, legislators must get rid of teachers to pay for it. Overhaul proponents seek to use Idaho education to generate income to their shareholders much is likely to be as abysmal as private prisons, which will surely have to be utilized to a greater degree, given the likely "product" this takeover will achieve. Moreover privatization further spirals Idaho into economic turmoil by funneling Idaho tax dollars out of state, destroying 770 jobs at the outset of this plan, instead of stimulating our economy here. read more »
Sometimes, I swear, in southern Benewah County you can sometimes hear the strains of banjos coming from a front porches. There's been an ongoing dispute between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and Benewah County officials about recognizing the authority of POST trained tribal police. Jurisdiction on the reservation is often a muddled mess, but there are cross deputization agreements just about everywhere else in the state where reservation land and counties intersect, in order to provide adequate protection for ALL residents. This dispute has been brewing for years and came to a head in 2008 when tribal police tried to apprehend a vessel operated by County Commissioner Jack Buell and his wife.
As they approached the boat, a woman on board, later identified as Eleanor Buell, yelled, "You Indians have no jurisdiction on these waters," according to the police reports.
Then a man on board, later identified as Jack Buell, asked the officers, "Do you Indians know where you are?" the reports stated.
The officers informed the occupants of the boat that they knew they were in Benewah County but that tribal police had authority on tribal waters, the report said, and told the Buells to pull the boat over.
"I am the Benewah County Commissioner and Indians have no jurisdiction on us," the officers reported Buell as saying. Then Eleanor Buell reportedly told her husband that "Indians have no authority on white people, so just leave." read more »
Update 2/18: Word is Popkey is working on a similar, bigger expose. I expect we'll see it Sunday
Great job by Tami and KBOI to get some facts out there. Unfortunately they only scratched the surface. They failed to observe the Thomas J. Wilford connection and how he's using his ties to the Albertson's Foundation and K-12. And I wish a full time investigator would go after Vadersloot's interest.
Another item touched upon is the fact that these are out of state companies. Essentially we're swapping out Idaho tax dollars being reinvested into Idaho's economy by keeping teachers employed here for funneling money out of state with no benefit.
Betsy says that two of the three bills passed through the Senate Education Committee over strong objection. Unfortunately if these get through the senate they will most assuredly get through the House. This committee is the best bet to stop these. read more »
Senator LeFavour (D-reality based Idaho) has given me permission to re-post her most excellent commentary regarding Idaho Republican efforts to mimic Herbert Hoover's disastrous policies which hastened America's spiral into the Great Depression.
Many Idahoans wonder when their state will begin to feel the national economic recovery. They worry as January's Idaho jobless numbers showed the state's economic crisis deepening rather than improving. Yet today the state faces a third year of dire fiscal crisis with budget cuts now exceeding half a billion. Below are real strategies that Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction and / or members of the Idaho Legislature is currently contemplating, has proposed or has actually legislated during the 2010 and 2011 sessions.
How to Tank a State Economy: Easy Steps for Lawmakers. read more »
This is what happened in Wisconsin yesterday as a result of its new tea bagging Governor's anti-union legislation. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan compared this uprising in Madison to what is happening in Egypt. Republicans are endeavoring to make the working men and women the bad guys for the recession. Idaho's unions have been crippled for a quarter century from so called "Right to Work" legislation, yet Republicans continue to try and legislate them out of existence so that their IACI patrons can freely exploit their unequal bargaining position when negotiating wages and benefits. Even worse than that, Republicans made a concerted effort to blame "union thuggery" for what is still a random act of vandalism.
But the demonization isn't limited to union workers. The radical legislation proposed this session will adversely affect EVERY Idahoan. Luna's de-education legislation, backed by corporate magnates Frank Vandersloot and Thomas J. Wilford, seeks to fire 770 teachers, raise class sizes, de-professionalize educators, and politicize schools, risking Idaho's children in the process. Republicans seek to criminalize the the death process. Republicans won't even hold a hearing on legislation protecting our gay friends and relatives in the workplace. Instead Republicans seek to protect insurance companies allowing them to continue to use methods to yank your insurance coverage should you become a burden to their bottom line. In so doing they also risk de-funding Medicaid, a budget they're already planning to slash by over $165 million, taking the last resources from the most vulnerable Idahoans.
The first of many protests to the tea bagger agenda begins on Saturday at noon in 17 Idaho cities regarding the Medicaid cuts. United we stand. Even if, somehow, you don't know someone who will be hurt by these cuts, all Idahoans adversely affected by the radical Idaho legislature needs to stand together and send them a message. Boise's rally is at the Statehouse. At noon. All of them are at noon. Make some noise. read more »
The Idaho Taliban is busy at the Statehouse. They persuaded the Senate State Affairs Committee to pass legislation which makes it a felony to help someone to die peacefully. The bill provides in part:
(2) A person is guilty of a felony if such person, with the purpose of assisting another person to commit or to attempt to commit suicide, knowingly and intentionally either:
(a) Provides the physical means by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide; or
(b) Participates in a physical act by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide.
This part is excerpted because I have committed this soon-to-be felony, as have many fellow Idahoans who have ever had a loved one complete the end process of our life's journey in this dimension. read more »
Republican Confederate Party passed its "Nullification" legislation on a 49-20 vote with only six confederates voting FOR the Constitutions of Idaho and the United States. Randy has the shakedown on the debate. Randy is too kind when judging the quality of the debate or the knowledge of the legislators on what they were doing. There was much discussion about the structure of government and the constitutional framework, but almost no discussion, even from Democrats, (Rep. Phyllis King hit it, I missed her participation) about the practical consequences of the legislation itself. Idaho clearly lacks the power of nullification. A court will hold that Idaho lacks that power. But this legislation will allow insurance companies to act with impunity. Idahoans will be unable to access the consumer protection provisions of the PPACA since no court in Idaho will be able to base a ruling on it. read more »
Randy Stapilus published the work of Grove Koger in tracing the money behind Luna's Education Overhaul. Its explains much, including the involvement of the Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
1993 Thomas J. Wilford becomes President of Alscott
1995-2003 Wilford President of J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation
1999 VA-based K12 founded by former U.S. Secretary of Ed. Bill Bennett
1999-2001 Wilford a Director of Albertson’s Inc. read more »
Last week the Idaho legislature scheduled three days of hearings to get feedback from the public about Superintendent Tom Luna's surprising proposal to completely overhaul Idaho's education system. Senator John Goedde is a Republican from Coeur d'Alene and chairman of the senate education committee before which the hearings were held. Goedde stacked the deck. He manipulated the process from the beginning of the debate. Despite the fact that overhaul opponents overwhelmed the proponents at the hearing, Chairman Goedde granted equal time to each group, as if there were an equal number of contentions. And when one speaker, who identified himself as a proponent, failed to speak in favor, Goedde blew a gasket.
Goedde further exercised the "chairman's prerogative" and summoned a lobbyist from Intel to share her expertise. Intel would, of course, be very interested in Luna's proposal to buy a laptop for every high school student. And then, when participants began to complain about the chair's bias, Goedde damn near busts a gavel. Goedde should have recused himself from the chair since he's a co-sponsor of the legislation. Goedde's apparent bias and desire for control have tainted this process. The fact that neither Goedde or Luna contacted stakeholders in the legislation for input ahead of time exacerbated this problem and unnecessarily raised tensions. read more »