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Posts published in July 2017

The woe on drugs

bond

Tramadol?

Rhymes with damnit-all. I want to meet the creator of this newest opioid in Hell and slit his/her throat wide open. Two days of that shit was enough.
All I was looking for was a way to alleviate my intermittent back pain as arthritis encroaches. I don't care for the effects of opiates so scratch me off as a junkie. But this Tramadol crap will double-you up in so much pain, you’ll forget why you took it.

I'd take aspirin but it's hard on the stomach-lining and exacerbates the sillicic crystals that fill up our joints and cause us such pain.

Unadulterated codeine fills the bill just fine and I don't "need it" every day. Hell, in Canada you can buy it OTC, and I don't hear of a rampant codeine problem there.
Here, in the U.S., its prescription puts you and your doc on the DEA watch-list.

Why can't we just abolish the DEA entirely, grow Oriental poppies and some weed in the back yard, and if we need a little pain relief, there they are without all of Big Pharma's help. Oh, wait, you can't patent a plant. Thus is an industry born.
I am particularly unamused by licensed physicians treating 90-year-old patients who are in agony with pain with "pain management," their reasoning being that they wouldn't want their geriatric patients to get hooked on something that actually worked.

"Just say No" - one of Nancy Reagan's greatest contributions to the dementia underlying the War on Drugs and empowering the Drug Enforcement Agency with more weaponry and thug-power than the CIA could imagine in its wettest of dreams - tell that to an addict, or somebody in severe pain.

She and Ronnie launched the largest black market since the Brits blew up China 100 years ago in order for Europe to recoup its losses in their rent-serving thousand-year-old trading agreements, hooking young Chinese on powerful opiates to regain the silver China had been paid for its advanced technologies.

(The US was no innocent bystander, either. We didn't build our famed fleet of Clipper Ships for dead-head runs to the Orient. They hauled refined opium to China and returned fully-loaded with confiscated silver and a modicum of tea. Spend some time in China and look at the villages and monuments we Americans torched and wrecked.)
After a brief shelling exchange in Canton Harbour where the Royal Navy demolished China's shore batteries, the Empress sought a truce with England: Quit bringing refined opium into our ports and selling to our youth and quit stupefying them, and we'll give you Hong Kong.

So yeah, the opium argument swings both ways. It can be, like fire, incredibly harmful or incredibly helpful. But there is a huge middle-ground about these naturally occurring plants. Are the consequences of a lost relationship with Mexico and the hundreds of thousands of annual deaths worth it? Just as importantly, are our lost liberties to the DEA, the USDA and all else worth it?

My solution is simple: outlaw refineries and put Big Pharma out of business. When our civilian military are done with that, abolish them, too.

An excellent appointment

carlson

Have to give the twin devils of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions their proper due for their nomination of State Senator Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls) to be the next U.S. Attorney for Idaho.

With Davis they can’t go wrong. The ten term Idaho Falls State Senator and current Senate Majority Leader is one of Idaho’s outstanding legislators and one of the few true “super lawyers.” He is admired on both sides of the aisle for his probity, his sense of fairness, his courtliness as well as considerable intelligence and just plain decency.

He is a true compassionate conservative who lives and walks the talk of the Golden Rule. A few years back he and his wife showed up at a release hearing for an individual who had murdered their son. As heart-breaking as their son’s death was, they knew there were others who cared just as deeply for the perpetrator and was a case of another gone astray.

They intuitively recognized the truth contained in a statement by the great Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard who once wrote that “as great as God creating something out of nothing is, the even greater miracle is God creating saints out of sinners!” Rather than wallowing in grief, anger and a desire for retribution they followed the progress the perpetrator had made while imprisoned.

In an extraordinary gesture of true forgiveness they showed up at the release hearing and testified that the assailant be released and on probation. This incident is hard to imagine, but it speaks to the incredible humanity of Senator Davis and his spouse, Marion.

As U.S. Attorney Senator Davis will be called upon to exercise superb judgment on whether and when to bring lawsuits or convene grand jury panels. Solid, good judgment he has in abundance though and he will judiciously utilize it.

It should not be lost on folks that the U.S. Attorney has had a central role
in several high profile cases in the last 40 years. Recall for example the stand-off between Randy Weaver and the FBI at Ruby Ridge in northern Boundary County; or, that of Claude Dallas, and the murder of two Fish and Game employees in Owyhee County.

In the Weaver case his attorney, “Gunning for Justice” Jerry Spence danced circles around the U.S. Attorney and the prosecution team. It is a safe bet no one will dance circles around Bart Davis.

To his great credit Davis is not a knee-jerk ideologue. He thinks through issues and takes stands based on principle, not political expediency. It is another safe bet he will conduct himself and see that his office performs in an entirely non-partisan manner.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to sit next to Senator Davis on a panel on politics being held at Idaho State University and sponsored by the Idaho State Journal. Davis’ thoughtful, cant-free responses were refreshing to say the least. I couldn’t help being impressed.

Here clearly was a legislator at the top of his game who knew what he was talking about, said what he thought and meant what he said. When the event was over with I’ll never forget his leaning over and saying he had to return to Idaho Falls to face four censure resolutions because Doyle Beck and the Bonneville County Republican Central committee felt the good senator had not reflected their views on several issues.

Have legislators who think for themselves? Heavens no---do people think this is a Republic rather than a Democracy? Beck and his ilk are saying they don’t want a Bart Davis to be a representative who studies and thinks, they want an automaton who does what they demand.

To his credit Bart Davis stayed on the correct path he has always walked. He has to have welcomed the opportunity though to walk away while at the top of his game and to put all that game-playing, partisan crap behind him.

Have no doubts - his selection is a breath of fresh air and a well deserved honor for one of the state’s fine public servants. Hats off to the President and his Attorney General on this one.

Davis’ departure will of course set off a scramble to name his successor as Majority Leader and there’ll be an abundance of candidates. Early names being bandied about include Assistant Majority Leader and State Senator Chuck Winder from Boise; Majority Caucus Chair State Senator Todd Lakey, from Nampa, and State Senator Marv Hagedorn from Meridian. A dark horse surprise might be State Senator Carl Crabtree from Grangeville.

For refugees: Help on the way

jones

A group of Boise attorneys is forming a program to provide free legal help to low-income refugees. Volunteer lawyers will supplement on-going efforts of local law-related organizations to serve the legal needs of the Treasure Valley refugee community. The pro bono lawyers will work closely with the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program, Idaho Legal Aid, Intermountain Fair Housing and Concordia Law School to provide hands-on legal services to refugees who meet established income guidelines.

The program will not diminish legal help for non-refugees. Rather, additional lawyers are being recruited to assist refugees with their legal problems.

Additionally, the program will address issues unique to the refugee community. Volunteers will conduct informational presentations for refugees on our legal system and how to acclimate to it. Subjects will include family law, employment issues, consumer rights, immigration issues, and the workings of the criminal justice system. Many refugees come from countries where people avoid the police out of fear of their safety. The Boise Police Department has a good working relationship with the refugee community and the program’s lawyers will assist from the legal standpoint.

The pro bono program will work closely with Jannus, Inc., which operates the Idaho Office for Refugees and a variety of other programs providing social services to the refugee community. Lawyer volunteers will provide a legal component to the outstanding work presently being performed by Jannus.

One other goal of the program is to openly discuss refugee issues and the need support refugee settlement in the community. Idaho has a moral responsibility to welcome refugees into our good-hearted community.

Refugees in Idaho are settled primarily in Boise and Twin Falls. The five-year refugee population in Idaho from FY 2012 to FY 2016 was 4,350, with 3,080 in Boise and 1,270 in Twin Falls. In FY 2016, 1,121 refugees arrived in the State. Of those, 56% came from African countries, 32% were from Near Eastern and South Asian countries (including Bhutan, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq), and the remainder came from Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

While the refugees in the community are from many different countries, those coming from Middle Eastern countries have been the subject of discussion in recent months. Concerns being raised about those folks are completely unfounded. If people would take the time to get to know our refugee community, it would become clear that they just want what we all do—to live and raise their families in a safe environment.

There is another reason the U.S. must provide safe harbor for refugees from the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq set off a chain of events that produced the greatest refugee crisis in recent history. Since the United States was a large contributor to the refugee crisis in the Middle East, our country can’t simply turn its back on these unfortunate people. We have an ethical obligation to provide safe harbor for some of the people we helped to misplace. Many of these refugees have been subjected to unspeakable horrors and we should step forward to give them refuge.

The chance of a refugee being a disguised terrorist is virtually nonexistent. If a terrorist wanted to get into this country, he could do it quicker and with much less vetting by getting a tourist or student visa, like the 911 hijackers did. Sitting around a hot and dusty refugee camp in the Middle East for years and hoping to be referred to the U.S. refugee program for additional screening for another couple of years would not make much sense. The U.S. subjects refugees from all countries to very careful screening, which has effectively eliminated any threat to our communities.

The pro bono group is getting organized in the Treasure Valley and will continue to recruit more attorney volunteers for that area. Organizers have been in contact with attorneys in the Magic Valley and plan to set up a similar program in Twin Falls soon.

Hateful Christians

rainey

Hate groups. Raucous, loud, foul and dangerous. We’ve got a lot of ‘em out there. They come in all sizes, shapes and twisted minds. Still, I was startled the other day when finding a couple of Christian organizations on the latest lists. Yep. “Christian.” Or so they claim.

There’s a widely accepted definition of a hate group. And that’s any organization having “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

There’s no question the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has earned the international respect it enjoys. For more than 45 years, it’s been a credible source of detailed information on hate groups, their leaders, followers, locations and activities.

Still, it was a bit of a shock to see a couple of so-called “Christian” groups listed among such low-lifes as the KKK, skinheads, “patriot” nutballs, neo-Nazis and the like. But there they were. And, upon reflection, their inclusion - at least to me - seemed justified.

Among those on the dishonor role, Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel. More surprising were American Family Association - Don and Tim Wildmon - and Family Research Council headed by slick Tony Perkins. All four are loudly anti-LGBTQ and Muslims among others. Not only intolerant, but at times downright hostile in their public pronouncements. Both groups claim larger memberships than they can prove and say they speak for “millions of God-fearing Americans.”

They talk of branding those they see as “harmful to society” and accuse such movements as being “pedophiles” and “dangers to American families.” They advocate all this “in the name of Jesus” and claim to be living the “Christian way of life.”

Another outfit tracking such things is Guidestar, which calls itself “the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.” Though primarily interested in how groups handle their funding, who’s listed in the membership and such, Guidestar has added a category to track social - or anti-social - conduct. It was on that list that “Christian” groups first appeared.

Leading the listing of hate groups, of course, is still the KKK. Today’s Klans aren’t nearly as large and organized as they used to be. There’s been a lot of infighting, as there always is on the far right. Battles for leadership and dogma have splintered things so, today, while there are more Klans, some may have only three or four active members.

Those who track these types have found the Pacific Coast Knights in Oregon and California. Washington is the “home” of the White Knights of the KKK of America. Idaho has a “chapter” of Traditionalist Knights of America. It’s believed these groups, together, have no more than a couple dozen members.

Nationwide, authorities count no more than 3,000 KKK members and a few followers. Trying to make the public think they’re more sizeable than they really are, several small Klans will hold marches together, then disperse back under their various rocks. More than half of today’s active Klans were formed or restarted within the last three years. About the time of the beginning of a bitter national political campaign. Hmmm.

The latest effort by the KKK to appear larger than it is has been an attempt to hookup with the neo-Nazi crowd. The Pacific Coast Knights are one such. It’s likely some of the former neo-Nazi group from Hayden Lake, Idaho, are among those folk. Also an old Nazi outfit that has been in Northeast Washington for decades.

Another recent issue compounding noise and hatred from the far right fringe is the emergence of more small offshoots of the white supremacist element. Not surprisingly, SPLC lists the new “Alternative Right” or Alt-Right as part of the mix. They showed up about three years ago. About the time we had a bitter national election campaign starting. Naw, just coincidence.

At the moment, SPLC tracks some 917 hate groups across the country - most in the deep South and lower Midwest. The largest percentage claims some sort of “Christian” affiliation. About ten percent adhere to “Christian Identity,” a longstanding racist and anti-Semitic religious sect.

Still, it seemed startling to see the term “Christian” in the listing of fringe elements and organizations that represent violence and danger to our otherwise mainline society. As a Christian, I found it embarrassing.

But, on some reflection, why not? More important, maybe, what took so long? Perkins, Dobson, Robertson, Falwell (one and two), Baker and the junior Grahams have been mixing their brands of hatred for anything socially different with “Christianity” for decades. Maybe it’s time to recognize their false doctrines for what they are.

Christ’s admonition about “guilt” and “throwing the first stone” was certainly wasted on that bunch.

Water Digest – July 3

Water rights weekly report for July 3. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

For years, Oregon water activists have proposed a set of serious studies to better understand how the state’s groundwater system works.
The latest attempt, a serious push at the state legislature this year, has collapsed at the Statehouse.

IC Potash on June 12 said that ICP and Intercontinental Potash Corp. (USA) have received a formal offer from the company H20 of Lea County to purchase ICPUSA’s Capitan Reef Complex Aquifer water. H20 is committed to building the required infrastructure and providing the equipment costing approximately USD$2M at no cost to ICPUSA. The potential annual revenue for ICPUSA is USD$4M to USD$6M under the proposed offer by H20.

The regionally well-known Stanley Ranch, located not far from Hawthorne, Nevada, will pass into the hands of the Walker River Pauite Tribe – together with its water rights. Long privately-owned, the ranch in recent years has been held by the Walker Basin Conservancy (which was founded at about the same time).

A water priority call in the Idaho Wood River Valley was dismissed on June 7 by state Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman. The rejection does not necessarily mean the request by senior water right holders lacks validity. Instead, the petition from the Big Wood and Little Wood Water Users Association was turned down on what Spackman said was a lack of standing – the association did not itself constitute an affected party.

Idaho Briefing – July 3

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for July 3. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Lightning fires struck all over southern Idaho last week, but mostly they were quickly extinguished. More may be coming with the 4th of July weekend, especially given all the discussion about aerial fireworks and their legality, or lack thereof.

State Senator (and Senate Majority Leader) Bart Davis was nominated by President Trump as U.S. attorney for Idaho.

Idaho’s population is aging faster than the nation’s according to estimates recently released by the Census Bureau. Idaho seniors – people age 65 and older - increased by 30 percent from mid-2010 to mid-2016 compared with 22 percent for the nation.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted personal income grew 1.6 percent from $66.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $67.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017. It was the fastest growth rate in the nation. Four other states – Louisiana, Michigan, Florida and Texas – had the next fastest growth in personal income at 1.3 percent, according to recently released figures by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Nationwide, personal income increased by 1.0 percent.

Representative Raúl Labrador will chair the House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee for the remainder of the 115th Congress. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over immigration and border security issues.

The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) lifted a mandatory evacuation notice to the homes in Eagle between Hatchery, Artesian and Trout roads.

Idaho Panhandle Forest Supervisor Mary Farnsworth on June 28 said she has signed the decision, selecting alternative 2, for the Deer Creek Project located on the Bonners Ferry Ranger District.